TAK Games > Meta the devil you know…

Meta the devil you know…

A touchy subject for some, the meta is a source of constant conversation. While some believe it is stale and the same three decks can be viewed vying for dominance every week, others say there is massive variance in the range of viable decks. Maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Since Heroes and Villains and Movie Collection dropped, loud cries exclaimed the meta must shift. The usual suspects of Ginyu, Piccolo and Krillin have been winning more often than not, with all notching wins at Regional Championship events around the world. A well thought out plan and a good read of the potential field and you can have half the battle won for yourself. This is the classic Rock, Paper, Scissors situation hiding within Panini’s Dragon Ball Z TCG.

No one style of deck has an impressive match up over all others, and we have seen the ebbs and flows of this in the different types of decks winning Regional level events. While there are the usual suspects in the mix, there are some great decks that can be the rock that smashes away an opponent’s scissors.

Let’s take a look at some of the potential Big 3 decks, and their counters:


The focus here is on Blue Ginyu as it has the most favourable match ups against other decks. While it is strong, the deck does have vulnerabilities you can exploit. Its greatest foe is the bald man. Krillin is dangerous to Ginyu in both the favoured Black style and emerging Orange variant. With his Level 1 critical damage effect, he is a constant thorn in Ginyu’s side that the opponent must be aware of to play around. Team that with the disruption and removal possibilities in Black, or the sheer board presence of Orange and Ginyu is forced to work for every card in their deck.

However, there are other great counters outside of the Big 3. Orange Goku has shown it can be an equally annoying thorn in Ginyu’s side. With Orange Destruction a constant threat; Heroic Assistance providing targeted recursion of the discard pile and Goku’s ability to maintain board presence, Ginyu can be left with few options. Blue Piccolo running Blue Dominance is also a good choice with Piccolo’s Level 2 power, hero allies providing control and drills like Blue Positioning Drill amongst others causing Ginyu to become locked down and denied its strength in maximising combat actions.

Some other decks that can provide Ginyu with headaches are:

  • Saiyan Vegeta (teched with ally hate, and running Saiyan Menace and Saiyan Rescue)
  • Red Garlic (if he can remove or keep Nappa ally off the field)
  • Nappa (Black or Blue style)


Black Krillin would have to be the most consistent performer of this year’s Regional circuit. Though it has only won two Regionals in the US, it consistently makes up the largest percentage of decks within Top Cut. With his great action on level 1 with the auto critical effect generated with his power and the Black Mastery, he provides Black an answer to the biggest flaw in its arsenal, control of anger and allies.

If Organised Play was a National Geographic documentary, Black Krillin’s natural predator would be Piccolo Namekian. While the match up can be won by Krillin, it takes some great draws and much luck to help get on top of a deck that can come at you with all three victories in its kit bag. The constant anger gain and the way Namekian can generate card draw once set up can leave Krillin with little to stop an MPPV victory, or even get decked out if Namekian can chain a few nice combats with multiple energy attacks.

Anger decks like Red Tenshinhan can also give Krillin a run for his money, due to Krillin only being able to consistently deal with 1 anger each combat. Orange Goku can also be favoured in the match up if Krillin lets the opponent get set up.

Some other decks to consider:

  • Black Nappa (Physical Beats)
  • Orange Krillin (Fight fire with fire!)

Namekian Piccolo

Blue Positioning Drill provides players with many options to continue countering the Big 3.

Movie Collection‘s release saw players drop away from Namekian Piccolo, particularly as decks capitalising on Blue Dominance emerged. Locking down Namekian’s constant anger generation while mitigating the rejuvenation Namekian provides through Blue’s own targeted recursion with Blue Positioning Drill can help to prevent Namekian Piccolo from changing gears constantly to pull out one of its triple threat victory conditions. For this reason, Blue Piccolo matches up favourably to the Namekian style version by taking advantage of all the tools it provides – allies for control, his level 2 power, and anger slowdown from the Blue Mastery. Using Blue Positioning Drill and drawing with his power helps you cycle through cards in your hand that might not be optimal to the match up.

The pure damage output and constant threat of being able to fish out Frieza allows Ginyu of all colours to cramp Namekian Piccolo’s style. Blue tends to be more reliable than others as it has the advantage of slowing down all three victory conditions, where Orange and Black can be vulnerable to an anger victory.

Other decks you may wish to trial against Ginyu are:

  • Red Garlic
  • Red Tenshinhan

The main takeaway is that while the Big 3 have their advantages, with the right forethought and purposeful playtesting, you can take another deck to provide an element of surprise and counter the meta environment you expect at your next Championship level event. The more chances you give yourself to sit down to favourable match ups, the more chances you have to make Top Cut and receive awesome prizes.

Good luck and game on!

– Trent (@TAKGames_Trent) and Kyp (@justkyp).