Invited Author: Sanco
Howdy all, my name is Sanco/PlayHeavy and I’ve been a TCG player with some moderately decent success ranging from Yu-gi-oh and Hearthstone to MTG’s legacy/commander formats. Hailing from Canada, card games have always been a great way to get out of the cold and have been a pretty active part of my life. I get into TCG’s for the deck-building aspects and feel like there is always an advantage in playing an unrepresented deck (Plus, you can just complain that your deck isn’t meta if you lose, this is an advanced strategy). As an early pioneer of Blurple Croc (which.. unfortunately has been put on the shelf for now), I’m all about playing odd decks that create interesting interactions and make unique matches.
On a serious note, I’ve had a ton of fun and some pretty good success with Black Red Garp, both at locals and online, even inspiring others to try with equal results. There have been a lot of revisions to the list but this one seems to be the most consistent one and allows for a toolbox of support against a varied meta, which has led to first place outcomes in the sim/online and multiple tops at locals.
Black is a strategy that attempts to balance both cost reduction and efficient removal in order to gain board state. What BR (Black Red) Garps ability allows us to do is run the most efficient removal package by allowing the leader to do all the reducing for us. This leads to a lot of oppressive plays that steal tempo from the opponent by removing practically any cards they play on most turns, while swinging for high damage with your Don attached leader. This deck aims to drag the opponent down into the late game and diminish all their resources. Red allows us to play efficient standalone removal as well, leading to a unique combination of resources that can go for cost or power based removal. Using these diff aspects to the fullest will lead to a lot of success, though the deck does take some practice.
The core of the deck, which allows us to reduce the cost of cards each time we place Don. This works well with 2Don Garp and Nicos paired with meteor volcano. It also pairs up this removal aspect with big swings with Don attached characters, quickly closing out the 1 life gap against mono-coloured decks.
The Garp Package
4x Garp (2Cost) : This card is seriously one of the most abused cards I’ve seen printed. As a going second deck, he clears any turn 2 opponents play if he’s not removed and leads to some of the most controlled games I’ve played in a tcg. Due to our leaders ability, we can almost always make character cost zero, making this Garp a Nico Robin on steroids.
3x Garp (5Cost): While Sakazuki is cool, this big guy is the new all star. In BR Garp, he is strictly better, providing the same removal for the same don investment + the advantage of attaching a Don to your leader/character. Usable on main (not on play), this card combos extremely well with Kuzan (10Don) allowing you to remove both the Kuzan target and a 9 or less card by activating this Garps effect. Worst case scenario, you slam him down on 5 don and make them sweat trying to remove him.
4x Meteor Volcano: Extremely versatile removal that is flexible with our leaders ability, i dont often use the trigger unless in dire situation as its such a strong removal tool.
4x Guard point: No radical beams here, we need efficient protection early to protect our garps / nicos and an early guard point can burn a lot of don investment from the opponents first attack against garp. If they dont play around it, any character they play next is going to be Garp’d (™)
4x Nico Robin: Essentially our extra Garps, have been saviors in KOing those pesky law boards and Zoro boards. Is a threat on its own and is at worst a 1k in hand.
4x Borsalino: Pretty much the most annoying blocker, catches people off guard and is almost guaranteed to get at least one block in against Red decks. Also incredibly strong against 10Cost Kaido and other black decks.
3x Koby: Just efficient removal while paired with leaders ability, but also trades with Okikus and Robins in the early game.
4x Kuzan (4Cost): Honestly not as good as i thought it would be without counter, but he keeps our hand healthy and his attack ability is great for knocking out Oden, Kids, and other threats. Keep in mind, our leaders ability can only reduce 7 or less, so we need Kuzans to help us get below 8 to finish them off.
2x Kuzan (10Cost): I wish I could run more, as I almost always win after a board is secured with this card. Great synergy with 5Don Garp and is a removal on his own + absurd stats.
4x Vista: A fast removal character, great for Zoro / Law decks and works great with the Otama Package
4x Otama: A flexible card both for the 2k spot, and the synergy with Vista, Nico and Jet Pistol
4x Chopper: its a 1 cost blocker, what else do you want
4x Shockwave: Turns out, the trigger is pretty good against Borsalino and helps the black matchups, and the Counter helps push you to the late game while cutting down wide boards.
2x Jet Pistol: Efficient removal, but too much gets clunky. Great when paired with Otama but fine on its own as well.
For the most part, our plan is pretty simple. We want to live as long as possible, and we do that by KOing everything. Garp is a going second deck, as we want to slam Garp down on the first turn.
Ideally, this is an outline of the first 5 turns in an ideal scenario
Opponents turn 1: Nothing/Blocker
Our turn 1: Garp
Opponents turn 2: 3 cost character, no removal
Our turn 2: attach 3Don to Garp character, reducing their character to zero. Garp attacks leader and KO’s the character.
Opponents Turn 3: They see a 3k tapped garp and attack raw with leader, we Guard Point out of the attack, and they spent 5 Don into a card that Garp will then KO again.
While this doesnt always happen, it does happen a ton of the time and I will devote resources to protecting Garp against decks that struggle with instant removal.
Beyond that, our curve is pretty good, we use leader ability to manipulate cost and use efficient removal like Koby and Meteor Volcano in the early game while slamming the Admirals down when we can. Kuzans help to remove the higher costed cards and serve as more beatsticks.
If we go first, we still have solid lines such as Nico robins into 5 Don garps to establish presence, or Vista if a faster response is needed.
Surprisingly, one of my highest performing matchups. Whitebeard seems to bleed himself out over the first few turns and most of his stuff is easily removed. When he gets down to that last life, he tends to play blockers that die to our removal and we overwhelm him. For the most part if you keep the board clear and counter out his big hits when you can, you’ll find that he’ll hurt himself enough to finish him off, just be careful of those radical beam full hands and you’ll be fine. This deck also struggles dealing with hitting lethal through Borsalino. Get rid of Marcos before he gets to 2 life, which is pretty simple in our deck.
Ill be honest, this can be a rough one. Borsalino’s help a ton here as theyre annoying to get through, but the deck can out speed us fairly easily. Meteor volcanos, vistas Kobys, Garps and Nico Robins are the all stars here. Mulligan for them early and use them to clear the board as much as you can. Once you get behind some borsalinos you tend to gain control fairly easily, but it can be a struggle.
Seems to be a fairly standard list between the two. I’d say Kid is stronger in the matchup due to the leaders double attack, but Garp has almost no issue removing their scary cards efficiently. Kuzans and Garps shine here as you don’t often have early game threats taking your life, and both are good at removing Kid/Oden. Be warned, 4Don Yamato can rest Borsalino, although honestly most players attack it with the 5k leader and get sad that Borsalino is still 6k on opponents turn when rested. Okikus and other tempo cards like Basil Hawkins are almost a non-issue and too slow to deal with us efficiently. I’d say we’re slightly favoured against Oden, and slightly disadvantaged against Kid.
One of our best match-ups, if we get the right cards. Garps, Nico Robins, and and Vistas are pretty great for early game control, since law tends to go wide with lower costed characters we usually have an easy time removing them. The one of 5Don luffy is still a threat through Borsalino, but they have a hard time dealing with the blocker otherwise. Stop them from going wide as much as possible and you’ll have a pretty easy time
Is this a deck still? You’d think that Kaido and the high costed units would be annoying to remove, but its mostly just queens and blockers which are too slow. They can drop 10 Drop kaido into your Borsalinos and nothing happens, and while the 9 drop Kaido can be a bit of a problem, its usually a little too late for them. We’re slightly favoured in this matchup, but not a ton of testing has been done as the deck seems to have lost its hype in OP02.
This deck is a brutal matchup. The 7k swing from leader is a little bit rough on our 4 Life leader and the efficiently played characters off the top make this a nightmare. Still try to retain board control but know when to start going for the face and ending the game off. If you feel like you’re losing control and not in threat of dying the next turn, it might be the time to start smacking him
This deck is… not good against us, to say the least. They burn their own resources for us and have no rush cards. Most things get removed and the leader ability surprisingly doesnt allow for them to keep up. I don’t think I’ve lost to this deck more than one time. Them dropping ivankov character can be scary, but they dont have many great targets to bounce with the luffy they pull out and a Croc is just not fast enough.
This deck can be a little mix and matched. Dealing with the 5Don smoker from deck can be annoying, but we often dump don into cards anyway and can attack into him. Same goes for Borsalino. We have good removal for the rest and the heavy discards of both decks turns this into a slug fest. When they flood with their cost reduction cards, we usually take the game. However, they can also do a good tempo swing with leader ability each turn, so dont let the game drag on too long.
Pros of the deck:
Incredibly fun to manage Don reduction + removal
Almost always feel like youre ahead, and never worried about any particular character or matchup
You get to Play Garp. Garp is cool
Cons of the deck
4 life means we can occasionally get rushed down if we dont mulligan/draw well. Unfortunately as an event heavy deck, we can also take some early hits by not having counters in hand and put us in a bad situation where we’re struggling against big leader hits.
Sometimes , you can have too much removal, and others not enough. It really depends on the playstyle and deck of your opponent, and i think the threat of having cards removed can make opponents play in a way that actually leads to their advantage.
This deck honestly doesn’t feel like any other deck in the game as of yet. It has such an aggressive removal strategy that at times it feels like the opponent isn’t playing. While it does struggle a bit against faster decks, the new black event from the Navy deck has lead to some huge development in that area and I really think it’s the underdog of the format. While it might not be consistent enough as of yet to lead to any treasure cup wins, I do think it has a really niche spot in the meta and has a ton of favorable matchups. I look forward to developing it more as new support comes out and think that the rogue aspect of it can sneak you some good wins.