[JP-BT17] Strong Core, Flexible Solutions: A NumeUkko Warstory

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Hi everyone! It's UNKER | Shang (@slyx183 on X), and I recently finished 2nd place at SG GAO Qualifiers with NumeUkko.

I've been playing DTCG since ST1, and finished Top 8 Asia Finals 2 years in a row, falling short of making it to worlds both times so far. You may also know me as the guy who is always cooking Beelstar lists and complaining whenever she doesn't get enough support.

 

Picture commissioned from @Artpharos, hit her up if you are looking for custom artwork!

Although I'm sure this is the millionth NumeUkko list you have seen by now, I made some interesting last minute choices in my GAO list to improve my matchups against my expected matchups: DexDoru, AncientGarurumon (AnGa), Gabu Aggro, and the Mirror.

I will be upfront that the tech cards didn't play as big of a role as I would have wanted due to my bracket. However, it can also be argued that I wasn't punished for deviating from the norm. In addition, my teammate fellow Unker Kenneth @Death_Calibur followed the same thought process as me and piloted 49/50 of the same cards to an equally impressive top4 finish (both of our runs ended by eventual champion Unker Kurova, @kurova90). Hence, the logic behind this build and its tournament run was not a one-off fluke.

I believe my thought processes to adapt to a meta I did not have much time to prepare for (because Unker need to work overseas to earn money for TCG) was sound and reflects how to remain flexible yet logical with a deck like NumeUkko.

NumeUkko has been a strong meta presence since bt16, and having played and topped with many variations of the deck since its inception, I hope to share a few insights on how to build and play the deck at the highest level.

The Core

This core is what I consider to be the non-negotiables when building any NumeUkko deck. I don't think I need to belabour the strengths that Ukkomon brings by being able to maintain consistent raising area pressure, or how being able to draw many cards off EX4 Tsunomon and BT11 Geremon is good.

Numemon X and Platinumemon provide resilience against deletion based removal. RB1 Monzaemon offers cheap removal of opposing lvl3s while also allowing you to recycle Numemon X or your blocker ESS of choice depending on what response the board requires. Monzaemon X carries debatably unfair removal of high DP threats for 0 memory while continuing to develop your board with tempo.

X-antibody Protoform is surprisingly key, allowing you to evolve into Monzaemon X directly for 2-cost when needed, while also allowing you to play aggressively and recover your pieces when your bodies are removed eventually. Finally, at least 1 Shinegreymon:Ruin Mode is needed, blanket minus DP can still lock many decks out of playing the game for 1-2 turns which is too invaluable.

Of Tempo, Floodgates, and Boss Monsters

In my opinion, the beauty of NumeUkko lies in the strength of what the core cards accomplish with such a low card count, allowing a high degree of freedom on how to best adapt to the meta of the tournament you are playing in.

Generating Tempo and Value in the Early Turns

I will start with the decision of which additional Numemon to run. There are generally 3 choices, RB1, BT14 DigiPolice, and BT15 Geremon.

The DigiPolice Numemon is paired with Tamahime Satsuki to generate an additional security check, then canceling Mind Link to allow Satsuki to give the player an additional memory each subsequent turn. This Numemon also gives unconditional blocker which can be useful for some <Blast Ace> -> Block scenarios, which RB1 Numemon blocker ESS cannot accomplish alone. However, I personally feel this build runs out of gas more easily, and also creates boards that are easier to solve by the opponent.

In addition, being forced to play Satsuki not only takes up additional deck slots, but also lowers the consistency of the deck since the cards have to be drawn together to be more useful than RB1 Numemon drawn alone in a vacuum. BT15 Geremon is an interesting choice as well that I like to have at least 1 copy of, as it combos well with Venusmon and can be a clutch play to buy an extra turn if you have lethal next turn.

One common scenario is when going 2nd against a deck with deletion based removal, evolving an Ukkomon in raising then playing out RB1 Numemon to pass your turn. Your opponent immediately faces a decision on whether to remove the Numemon via deletion. If they do, you get to dig further into your deck for Monzaemons and more Numemons. If they don’t, they face the potential of Ukkomon promoting and allowing the feared 0-cost Nume X evolution to draw 2 cards (1 from evo and 1 from Tsunomon).

In general, it is still more correct to delete the RB1 Numemon, but at least in this case you get some value in return for the deletion. There will also be situations where your opponent is unwilling to trade their only removal in their hand in turn 2 to give you a chance to search further into your deck, in which case the Nume player will profit immensely, even if you don’t have Numemon X and have to evolve directly to Lvl 5. If the Numemon is a lone BT14 Numemon instead, the decision to delete the body is much easier for your opponent to make. This thought process epitomizes how I prefer to build and play NumeUkko; To use individually strong cards and consistently ask questions of your opponent with tempo plays and force them to make decisions, then using their decisions to make reads on their hand to snowball the early game.

“I can, you cannot” – Some Floodgates, Probably

The most commonly used black lvl3s to complement Ukkomon are floodgates, usually some combination of Chuumon, Chikurimon and Kokuwamon.

The only non-negotiable I would argue for is Chikurimon, as having it on board ensures that you can go as wide as you want without fear of Dexmon. Board wipe cards like Crimson Blaze, Valkyrimon Ace, and Shinegreymon:Ruin Mode are usually more telegraphed because only certain decks can play them, whereas a random teched Dexmon can ruin your game especially in a Bo1 scenario (Bo1 is the most commonly played JP format, more on this later)

Chuumon is strong against the memory gain rookies like Loogamon and P Ukkomon, but its usage has largely fallen off in the BT17 meta because most memory gain are from tamers. In practice, the 1k DP is also quite a liability as it cannot trade with a rested Ukkomon.

Kokuwamon finally has its time to shine! Preventing BT17 and P Lobomon warping into AncientGarurumon is reason enough to run it in the current meta, but it also stops BT6 Yamato’s warp effect in Gabumon Aggro (which also runs a P Lobo + AnGa package). It also stops Golden Digizoid Awakening in Magnamon/Yellow Vaccine, and the Lvl6 warp effects in Omegamon Ace, but generally these interactions are not matchup changing and I would not consider running Kokuwamon for these reasons alone.

Other Lvl 3s I have experimented with in the past include ST15 Agumon, Bt14 Commandramon, and BT11 Monmon. However, all these cards did not pull their weight as much as simple floodgates, so I would not recommend them in a competitive environment.

The final question is how many black Lvl 3s to run. I feel that 4 is the minimum necessary, but I am willing to play up to 6 to cycle quickly into a black rookie in raising once my opponent plays down Digimon Kaiser, while still having enough spares to play down the relevant floodgate in the matchup.

“I cannot, you also cannot” – Digimon Kaiser, Definitely

Speaking of Digimon Kaiser, I believe the meta has developed to a point where if Nume does not play it, it will lose to other Ukkomon-based decks that run it themselves. It has become a necessary evil even though it goes against my playstyle of always generating tempo with every play in NumeUkko. Instead of generating tempo, it steals tempo from my opponent if I can catch them with no memory resetter and a Lvl 3 in raising. The need for my own Kaiser also cemented the decision to not play the Digipolice package, as 6 tamers is far too many deck slots to commit.

Bears or Monkeys?

There is usually room for 2-3 more Lvl 5s, and the usual choices are BT15 Warumonzaemon and EX5 Etemon.

Warumonzaemon gives more targets for Platinumemon to play from hand, while Etemon gives more targets to discard with BT11 Geremon early in the game to move the deck. Warumonzaemon provides instant access to devolve, very powerful to instant answer opposing Ace plays, and to make opponents think twice before committing to an Ace. Conversely, the “taunt” effect that comes with Etemon is very valuable to swing momentum in your favor when combined with your own Ace.

In the Magnamon X dominant metas of BT16 and EX6, I always preferred playing an Etemon + Valkyrimon Ace package to abuse the most vulnerable window of Magnamon X: the beginning of my opponent’s turn/main phase. All I need to do is prepare to evolve into Monzaemon X-antibody and play down a Numemon with a total of 3 bodies (-6k), then evolve that Numemon into Etemon (-3k) and taunt the Magnamon X. Blasting into Valkyrimon Ace instantly applies -14k which is enough to kill Magnamon X with +2k DP in its ESS. The blanket -5k DP also ensures that there is very little counterplay for the Magnamon X aside from playing down Dexmon (which is easily stopped by a lone Chikurimon)

However, with AnGa and DexDoru being the choice for top local players in BT17, I did not want my Aces to become a liability and provide more memory for my opponent to make plays. I did try Cherubimon Ace for a while, but the deck simply does not play enough yellow Lvl 4s in my opinion to justify the potential payoff. Finally, Etemon cannot taunt the raising area or tamers, which makes it a useless card against AnGa and DexDoru players who are good at keeping their board empty before their popoff turn. Thus, I chose to go back to Warumonzaemon to be able to keep pace with opponents who choose to keep the Ace package, while looking elsewhere to deal with the Magnamon X sized hole without access to Taunt Ace

Golden Opportunities

As stated in the previous section, one of the most popular Lvl 6s to run in NumeUkko is Valkyrimon Ace. Passing turn on a Lvl 5 is usually scary enough for the opponent to consider not attacking unless they can safely play around it. However, I did notice that players gradually became better at playing around Valkyrimon Ace, and I even started to get baited by opponents into Ace-ing and punished for it afterwards (particularly by AnGa and DexDoru players). Without Etemon to force attacks at the beginning of the main phase, Valkyrimon Ace becomes even easier to play around. Without practice in the month prior to GAO, I did not have the confidence to avoid being baited by good players and lose a Bo1 off a misread. I needed a solid answer to Magnamon X, hence Venusmon was a natural development.

Venusmon’s opponent’s turn effect prevents Magnamon X from triggering its <On Evo> effect, even if Magnamon X attempts to trigger it via its <All Turns> effect, as long as the Magnamon X-antibody has a <Security Attack> modifier. With RB1 Monzaemon and BT15 Geremon, it’s easy to chain -<Security Attack> with Venus and force the Magnamon X player to respond with Heaven’s Judgement.

A well timed Venusmon against DexDoru and AnGa is also game winning, although in practice it is quite difficult to push enough damage while still developing a Venusmon at the correct time against good opponents, since they will also try to mismatch their commitment turns with your potential Venusmon turns. Once the initial Venusmon turn is gone, if the Nume player is unable to end the game, it becomes very hard to maintain a Venus lock as you cannot target the raising or tamers with -<Security Attack>, and developing 2 Venusmon in consecutive turns is very unlikely

A Splash of Green Salsa

Having just returned from a month-long business trip in the US, I had a week to shake off the rust and figure out what all the craze behind this new DexDoru deck was about while I had been away. I sat down with the best pilots of the deck I could find, and proceed to be destroyed game after game by Unker Kurova and another pilot who would like to remain anonymous 😛. Once DexDoru establishes their first blocker and it deletes your body to play out another body to form another blocker, the door is shut in NumeUkko’s face. The deck has no way to get past 2 large blockers that can each block twice per turn, that can crack back on the following turn with <Alliance> to end the game. I felt like as long as DexDoru doesn’t brick for more than 2 turns, there is no angle for me to close out games normally.

I was tempted to accept the matchup as an autoloss, but mama didn’t raise no quitter, and after pondering the board state that always lost me the game over dinner on Friday night, it finally dawned on me:

I CAN JUST REST THE BLOCKERS AND GO FOR GAME.

Quartzmon can evolve over Platinumemon and swing to trash what is usually the last security of my opponent and lethal on the same attack. The only issue was that I was not confident that 3 evolution targets was enough to bring out Quartzmon consistently, and had no time to get enough games to have a significant sample size to make an informed decision. Maybe it was too risky of a call to make the night before a major tournament without enough testing…

…Nah, I doubled down and added Rapidmon X instead LOL. With X-antibody Protoform, Rapidmon X doubled as a blanket DP minus to prevent lethal attacks from opposing rookies like Valkyrimon would, while also performing a Quartzmon like duty by resting all opponent blockers should I need to go for game. Finally, it provides a 4th Lvl6 that can go up to Quartzmon.

And with that, the 50 cards for my GAO run was locked in. The decision to run 0 Ace cards was definitely risky, but I intended to abuse the Bo1 Format in my favor, as well as the fact that the last time I was active playing, I was running a Taunt Ace heavy build so players familiar with me would all the more be wary of potential taunt angles that I would seem to be setting up. By the time they realized I do not have Ace, it would usually be too late to make a difference. Revealing this info now probably makes it hard for me to pilot this exact list ever again, but now you never know against me, do you? 😉

The Run (matchups)

R1: Red Base AnGa (Loss)

This game hinged on me trying to attack my Platinumemon with Monzaemon X and
X-antibody PF in source into a rested AncientGarurumon to delete myself and play out Warumonzaemon from my hand to devolve his AncientGarurumon and break his tamer loop, while healing up with X-antibody PF and returning Monzaemon X to my hand to evolve into Venusmon eventually to lock up the game. My opponent ended up having his 1 of Imperialdramon PM Ace, sending all of my ESS to my bottom deck so that I could not make that play. I did not have another Monzaemon X in my hand to punish the Ace play with devolve + -DP, and purely devolving without removing the AncientGarurumon up would just mean that I would get more security bounced to my hand the following turn. With all the tempo drained from my sails it was a clean win for my opponent

R2: NumeUkko (Win)

Running into a good friend is never nice, especially when both of you are at 0-1 in a tournament where X-2 has little to no hope for Top Cut. Although I bricked and fell behind early, I capitalized on my opponent misplaying a few too many times with Ukkomon ordering and playing Warumonzae with no Numemon in hand or trash to trigger its on play effect. A bittersweet win to take but I was determined to not go home early.

R3: Shakamon (Win)

Played another good friend for elimination, this time in a matchup I had no experience in. Between asking about his card effects and both of us trading -(Security Attack) effects, time call was approaching and he graciously conceded to me with 2 minutes remaining as I would close out the game on the subsequent turn, instead of waiting for the double game loss which would all but send both of us home. I really appreciate his sportsmanship and was even more determined to go far in place of my 2 friends that I had unfortunately sent home early.

R4: Blue Magnamon X (Win)

Although both of us bricked, I was able to clear his hard cast Magnamon with hard cast Monzaemon + Monzaemon X, and then attacked him aggressively before he could draw out of the brick.

R5: Takemika (Win)

One of my more comfortable matchups, and where my run finally started to smoothen out. Nothing too remarkable here, just ensured that my opponent couldn’t reset their raising while keeping turn, and farming my board wide enough to OTK

R6: NumeUkko (Win)

A much cleaner mirror where I was able to generate tempo early and run my opponent out of resources by continuously deleting his Monzaemon and deny him the chance to spend memory to discard Platinumemon

R7: DexDoru (Win on Time)

For the final round of swiss, we were told that the Double Game Loss rule would not apply for the final round to ensure a clean Top Cut would be made. I knew from my practice with Kurova that this would be a difficult matchup, but at least now I also knew I had some tools to win the late game and also much more familiarity with the matchup. However, I had played my opponent in a previous Evo Cup, and although our interactions have been brief since, I could tell he is an exceptional player who can pilot technical decks with little to no misplays. The game goes as expected, and my opponent is down to 2 security before he can set up his counter push, which heals me back up to 6 via X-antibody PF. I’m ready to end the game with Rapidmon X and Quartzmon. Except there’s one problem. My hand has neither! Disaster strikes at the worst hour, and suddenly I’m not too sure how to win anymore. However, due to the technicality of the matchup, and the rather short round timer of 30 mins, we had already used 25 mins of this time when I asked for a time check. Between multiple copies of RB1 Monzaemon, my 1 of BT15 Geremon, and my opponent not miraculously not having any 5 cost or below digimon in trash, I was able to maintain my 6-2 security lead over the next 3 of my turns as I continued to apply -<Security Attack> on one digimon and blocking the other. Although it never feels good to win on time knowing I could not win otherwise, there was mutual respect for playing to my outs and we hugged it out after the game. Can’t wait to play against you again Mifdhal!

 

And with that, I had climbed from the 0-1 hole to Top Cut!

T8: Omega Ace (Win)

This is actually one of Nume’s best matchups and I knew that as long as nothing seriously bad happened on the opening turns my usual flowcharts would be enough to win the game. As expected, I was able to bait out my opponent’s White Greymon before slamming down the Chikurimon I had been holding to prevent any 8 cost lvl 6 digimons to threaten the Blast Ace at a reduced cost. Not even a hard play Omegamon Ace was enough to save my opponent, as my board had been developed sufficiently at that point that I was able to drop -15k on it and attack for lethal in the process

T4: Yellow Vaccine (Win)

I won’t go into too much detail for this game since it can be found on the official Maxsoft stream, but I guess both of us opened nuts and I was fortunate that he did not know the interaction: where pushing out a lvl 3 against Kaiser while at 1 memory causes you to miss your <Start of main phase> trigger. If my opponent had not misplayed around that, it could have been a very difficult game if he had another lvl 4 to evolve his Patamon into from the raising area. If both players open with the best hands, this matchup should be very difficult for NumeUkko, especially since I did not have Taunt Ace for any comebacks.

Finals: DexDoru (Loss)

Also streamed, and I think the game epitomizes how the matchup goes. It looked very Nume favored early game, but it is incredibly difficult to maintain, after the DexDoru establishes his board. I do want to note that on the game’s penultimate turn, I had prepared a Numemon X in raising expecting Kurova to drop a Shinegreymon:Ruin Mode on me the next turn, with my plan being to raise out Numemon X, have it delete itself immediately to play out Platinumemon, and then go into Quartzmon and rest everything, with potential lethal on next turn if he was unable to deal with my Quartzmon. However, I got outplayed and he dropped a -10k on me instead by using scramble into Ruin, completely denying me my only potential out in that scenario, and also the chance for me to show off Quartzmon on stream. Nonetheless, a really well deserved win for Kurova who went undefeated on the day, and all the best to him when representing SG in Japan!

Closing Thoughts

I hope that penning all this down will be helpful for those looking to understand what goes on in the mind of a NumeUkko player both in preparation and across the table. If NumeUkko does not get hit by any upcoming banlist, I expect that Taunt Ace will be back on the table in BT18 with ShadowSeraphimon Ace slotting into the deck almost effortlessly. We shall see if that day ever comes. Until then, please hit me up on X (@slyx183) if you want to cook EX7 Beelstarmon X, I have something on the stove simmering already 🙂 

Finally, shoutouts to all the Unkers and Nephews for the top quality practice, company, and banter. To more journeys together!

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