Dealing With Rookies

Dealing With Rookies

6 Dec 2020 | Thoughts | Rononrun

Rookie Rushing is still a thing!

December 6, 2 weeks to a new BT-04 meta, and apparently Rookie Rushing is still a thing! The current (almost previous) BT-03 set made decks a lot faster. Omega Red is now more robust thanks to BlitzGreymon and Alter-S, Blue Ulforce is suddenly too slow and fell behind its Imperialdramon counterpart. Yellow ShineGrey is now slightly more efficient thanks to Turuiemon and Antylamon. Green is now top-tier. Black is now richer with blockers. Purple became an option card toolbox. Despite all these meta-buffs, they still seemingly failed to deal with the quite standard and uncreative Rookie Rush deck.

Bandai knew about rookie rushing long before BT-03, and unless they plan to endorse it, rookie rushing is not natural to this game's design. Therefore, there is little satisfaction playing against rookies, and many players do not particularly enjoy losing to such a deck.

Just how fast are rookies?

Let's assume a standard Omega Red play-style against Rookie Rush. Under the premise that the Omega Red doesn't draw into a blocker in his starting hand, but instead has a "rookie-rush solution" Alter-S. From the movesheet below we observed that even with Alter-S board cleaning, there is still a plenty wide gap between standard digivolution routine and rookie rushing.


An example movesheet for a standard play between Omega Red and Rookie Rush.

The standard way

Rookie rushes are like timers: each LV3 digimon has a 2-cost to play, and 6 is needed for the win. Every 2 turns a LV3 can be digivolved and subsequently played from nursery hence has 0-cost. Usually, it will take 8 memory cost within 4 turns to secure the game, therefore you will need to outplay that timer!

There are several well-known cards or methods that prevent rookie rushes. These include [BT2-018] Volcanicdramon and [BT3-112] Omegamon Alter-S. Blocker digimons are also a well-known solution. However, we've seen from the movesheet above that playing them in an incorrect order will still cost you the game, even if you are playing without hand bricks. Furthermore, we had not yet considered the particular tricks of rookie rushers (such as hitting Hammer Sparks).


Play your blockers and memory-reset tamers early

Blockers are the most natural solution to rookie rushes. The strongest LV3 rookies at 5000 DP cannot surpass a standard LV4 blocker with 6000 DP. Playing blockers early will usually cause rookies to prioritise on building up numbers instead of rushing head-on (to prevent unnecessary losses), which could buy you precious time to build your solution.

Memory-reset (4-cost) tamers can also be essential against rookie rushes, to counter the constant 1-memory control. The constant 3 starting memory will be essential to fuel your moves against a tight, timer-like game.

Hand Starvation

By deliberately overloading the memory gauge to the rookie rusher, he/she will not be able to maintain a consistent hand size and outflow of LV3 digimons and this will likely break their momentum. Beware though that you will need to a mass removal solution once you have decided to lay this trap: Volcanicdramon and Alter-S are both great candidates. 

By deliberately giving the rookie rusher too much memory (overloading), they will not be able to maintain their hand size to continue playing LV3 digimons, hence starvation. It will be difficult for the rookie rusher to continue with the game.

A black army of blockers

A mass-blockers black deck is a natural disaster for rookie rushers. You will have little to worry as you continuously unleash a large number of blockers. Again, prioritise hard-playing those big cost blocker digimons such as [BT2-058] Guadromon and [BT2-061] Andromon to overload and starve your opponent. Fight numbers with numbers!

Ceresmon is fast too ...

At the cheapest route, it cost just 3 memory and 2 turns to digivolve from digitama into [BT3-056] Ceresmon (and an additional 2 cost for a hard-play LV3 candidate for Ceresmon's <Digisorption-3>), in which after will allow you to have full control over a rookie rush board. Under most circumstances, a Ceresmon deck should not have too much trouble against rookies. 

... but Blue Imperialdramon is not as fast as we thought

Playing the recently meta Blue Imperialdramon against rookies will not net you an easy win if you casually try to outpace the rookies using <Jamming>. In the movesheet below we see that during turn-3, the LV3 non-Veemon did not make a security check (due to fear of being destroyed) and instead digivolved into ExVeemon, a misplay that allowed the rookies to outpace. This happened again in turn-5 when the LV4 ExVeemon chose not to perform a security attack. 

Memory-reset (4-cost) tamers are important for Blue Imperial rigs. Play them early to gain the needed momentum to move into Imperialdramon without memory switching to your opponent. [BT3-040] Shakkoumon is also a natural solution to rookie rushes, but not often played for lack of synergy with the deck.

Playing blue imperialdramon casually will not necessarily outpace rookie rush, unless you can draw into 2 Veemons in your starting hand.

Yellow is still slower in this meta

A standard ShineGreymon deck is usually too slow against rushes: digivolving into ShineGreymon cheaply (through Turuiemon and RizeGreymon for the free tamer play) would still require a hefty 8-cost (with a free kill from ShineGreymon's effect, considering you have only 1 fielded tamer). If you are lucky to play a few tamers from security then a board wipe could net you a marginal victory. Consider playing a few copies of [BT1-061] Mistymon or [BT2-097] Lightning Paw for added robustness against rushes, or using LV5 [BT3-040] Shakkoumon: all opponent's digimon without digivolution source get <SecurityAttack-1> for opponent turn, it can slow down the speed of Rookie Rush. Recovery digimons such as [BT2-034] Salamon and [BT2-039] Magnadramon are also great additions! Momentum is key: time your moves to starve your opponent's hand while staying alive!  

And purple is too technical

Purple is a very technical deck, with many factors that boil down to what is on your starting hand and trash. Without adequate time, it is difficult to robustly fill your hand or trash with the correct cards consistently across all your games. A good scenario though would have you marginally flipping the situation around, such as the purple Metalgarurumon play below. 

Purple Metalgarurumon may be able to turn the situation around with Nail Bone and the correct combination of cards.

More digimon to deal with Rookie-Rush from BT04 (updated on 23th Dec)

These LV6 digimon, 2 of green and 1 of yellow, that are able to make the Rookie-Rush deck scares. The [BT4-049] Varodurumon, by trashing 3 cards of this digimon digivolution source, all of opponent’s digimon get -4000DP. The Rookie-Rush digimon is normaly LV3 low cost digimon, their DP are just around 2000 or 3000. So using this digimon to reduce DP to zero will be super effective way to swipe out the rookie. The second digimon, [BT4-060] Lotosmon, at all turn – if opponent’s plays a LV4 or lower digimon, suspend that digimon. This card help to suspend them so it can be destroyed in your turn. But if you are not able to destroy them, those digimon will be active in their next turn. The other green LV6 digimon, [BT4-062] Nidhoggmon, when digivolving: by trashing 4 cards in digivolution source if this digimon, you can suspend all of opponent digimon with 5000DP or less. Then, place all opponent’s suspended digimon at the bottom of their decks in any order.

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