Cardfight Coalition

[Guest Strategy Guide] Upstart Goblin (and 41 cards)

Guest spot by Tinker (Chloe)

 41 cards with Upstart is less of a meme than you thought

Upstart Goblin is a card which first released in 2004 and which has occupied a niche in reducing your deck size since. Most people reading this article are likely familiar with both this card and the memes attached. But, I want to take a more in-depth look at a card that should be in nearly every single deck.

Hello, I’m Tinker, and I’d like to thank the YGOrg for letting me write this guest article. Like Dan’s previous article on Pot of Desires, the goal of this article is to tackle a common misconception in the community. In this case? That you should only run Upstart Goblin in a 40 card deck.

This notion is because many players only see Upstart as a way to reduce deck size. Do you draw a card for no cost? Well, you practically just legally cheated the minimum deck. But, this overlooks something which has become increasingly fundamental; You can delay a draw until after you’ve searched.

Brief maths section: 

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If you open up Upstart and a single card which interacts with your deck, Upstart is no longer your 5th card draw from a 35 card deck. You’re now drawing from a 34 card deck. This concept goes even further with modern decks that often remove far more than just that single card. Now instead of 5 cards where we can’t draw something like Boot Sector Launch or Gem-Knight Garnet, it’s only 4.

Upstart is a card with several uses, and only one of them disappears when running over 40 cards. “Upstart would just get you the card which you would have drawn anyways” is wrong, because it is a statement that ignores that you can thin your deck before drawing that card. 

Running Upstart in a deck above 40 cards might only be a small consistency increase, but it is still more games that we’re winning than before. For a visual aid, refer to this chart;


The reason why this would matter is that not every deck wants to be 39 cards, especially if you have an engine requirement like Gem-Knight Garnet. An engine requirement being a card which you need to be running to enable a combo, but doesn’t work in hand.

Especially as the main cost of Upstart? Only usually matters in later games where time is a concern. In which case? Well, you have an easy pick for your first card to side out.

So, when shouldn’t we main Upstart?

To list this out;

1) You play zero cards that thin the deck and require 40 or more cards.

2) You are a combo deck which deals precisely 8k damage in one turn.

3) You can’t play spells for format or deck reasons..

4) You can’t play cards that draw.

An excellent example of (1) is Rokket FTK, a deck which has a combo which deals 8k damage. In general, each of these reasons does come up with different decks and formats, changing Upstart from being the default for a bit. 

Like if you’re playing a Sekka’s Light build, or Naturia Beast is dominating the format, Upstart Goblin can easily be a dead card to draw. Pot of Extravagance would be another example of a card that stops you from using Upstart Goblin.

5) If you’re late enough in the match to be concerned about time and life points, simply side out Upstart Goblin.



My personal experiences from playtesting

Right now, I’m playing Altergeist as a 41 card deck with Upstart. 

Our main OTK combo tends to deal 7700 damage, so there is no issue from Upstart raising their LP. Later games where that 1k does matter as we’re closer to time, I’ve usually already sided it out. This versatility has been something which I’ve greatly enjoyed, the ability to just squeeze in more counters to specific things. Instead of choosing between cards in my side, I can fluctuate my deck from 40 – 41 cards. 

There’s also a lot of other niches for Upstart that have come up. For example, Geist doesn’t usually run many spells which we can activate on our first turn, to cheat out extra negates with Forbidden Droplets. There is no more beautiful feeling than just sending a space in my deck to the GY to negate an additional monster.

Finally, I’ve won games thanks to Upstart giving me the third counter needed for Selene, Queen of the Master Magicians. Geist is a deck which doesn’t run many spells, but which I still run the Halqifibrax = Accesscode combo to enable aggressive plays in later turns. Upstart makes it easier to get the 3 spells needed to just normal a hand trap while you control another monster and drop a 5300 monster with 3 destructions (and potentially a Meluseek search.)

Of course, this section isn’t intended as evidence, but instead just exploring other useful niches of Upstart.

In conclusion

Maths supports that almost every single deck should be running Upstart Goblin, only changing depending on format or the specific deck. This holds true if the deck is 40 or 60 cards. “41 cards with Upstart lul” is a lousy meme as it mocks something which is actually correct. 

Thank you for reading this article, I’d once again like to give a big thanks to the Org and Dan in particular for editing and posting this.