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As you advance into competitive Raw Deal, especially with the advent of Revolution, it becomes very important to know exactly what cards are in your Arsenal and why. I happen to have a near-photographic memory, which helps immensely when I'm playing one of my favorite Superstars, Rene Dupree. Having the drawback of only being able to pack one of each card in your deck means that you have to be able to be creative, cover your bases redundantly, and most importantly, remember what's left in your Arsenal at any given time.

Rene Dupree/Afterburn/Raw/Face/Fan Favorite

Backstage Area:
Fifth Anniversary

Prematch: (10)
Rochester, NY
The Luck of the Draw
Find Out How to Fight From Finlay
Underestimate the Competition
Underrated Superstar (T)
Managed by Fifi
Armageddon is Upon Us
Trash Talkin' Interview (T)
Fans Love an Underdog (T)
For the Love of the Game

There are two alternate prematches here; one for offense, one for defense. The defensive prematch is played against First of All decks and Lashley; the offensive one against most everything else. With the deck being designed to overturn reversals, you need to be able to scramble Lashley's hand to prevent him from rolling you as long as you possibly can. As you're a 1 SSV, you'll be able to see the First of All coming and play Trash Talkin' Interview/Managed by Fifi/FLAU (T)/AIUU to deal with it.

Midmatch: (10)
Road to Victory
You're as Graceful as a Cow on Ice
A Phoenix Rising
This is Going Nowhere Fast
Sustained Damage
Keep Your Eyes Open Or It's Game Over
Talk is Cheap
My Name is Matt Striker....and I Am Your Teacher
The King Interferes!
Restricted Use In This Area

Heavy Red Midmatch - a Rene Dupree classic. Adding in some of the Revolution cards gives you a little protection against Means and Antics, but the trick is to pummel your opponent to dust before they get to Colossal range.

Maneuvers: (20)
Let Me Get a Shot In
Dernier Slam
French Neck Breaker
Rene's Elbow Drop
Le Bonsoir
The Finisher
Dynamic Punch
Dynamic Throw
Dynamic Arm Bar
Dynamic Hook
Dynamic Drop
Dynamic Headlock
Dynamic Knee Lift
Dynamic Slam
Dynamic Bear Hug
Dynamic Gut Stomp
Dynamic Back Breaker
Dynamic Torture Rack
Dynamic Flying Body Press
Dynamic Finisher

Shot In is there only in the case that you're getting rolled early. FTLOTG/Shot In OR Shock/Shot In is a great way to get back in the game. Everything else is Unique or Dynamic, which feeds the two themes.

Actions: (5)
McMahon Family Values
That's Broken
...And the Crowd Roars
Commission-er Rules
Divas! Divas! Divas!

Key hand disruption, mass recovery, minor searching. Basic stuff.

Antics: (4)
Shock the World
Look Under the Ring
Out Here All Night
A Spirited Turn of Events

I'm working with the theory that Antics will be the hardest to reverse cards in Afterburn format - so I sprinkled in the important ones - recovery and momentum.

Reversals (31):
Fifi Interferes
Divine Intervention
Raw Deal Revolution
Once is Enough
Hold the Phone!
Enough With the Trash Talk
It's Great to Be Back Here In...
Get Back In the Ring
The Coach Says Today's the Day
Sloppy....Very Sloppy
Step Aside
Escape Move
Reach for the Ropes
Over Sell Maneuver
Raw and Ready
Volley This!
Volleyed Beyond the Edge
The Price We Pay
There Are Two Things You Can Do....
I Gotta Say....Out of Play
Elbow to the Face
Chained Heat
Overshot Your Mark
Lift a Boot (T)
Only One Solution....Revolution
Masochist at Heart
You Telegraphed It!
Big Boot
Chicken Wing
Inverted Atomic Drop
Why Don't You Kiss My Ass?

Here's the meat and potatoes of the article and build - the reversal base. The way I get to know exactly how optimal my reversals are is asking myself how many ways I can stop a certain maneuver. For example, a Precision Kick.

Well, from hand, I have nine (Over Sell, Raw and Ready, Fifi, Step, Elbow, It's Great to Be Back, Raw Deal Revolution, Overshot Your Mark, Sloppy). From Arsenal, two (DI, Great to be Back) From Backlash deck, none. If I'm hit with a Precision Kick during the game, I'd need to look at my Ringside pile to determine whether or not I'm going to reverse the move - if I see Great to Be Back and DI over there, I know that there's no way to stop it in Arsenal so I should reverse it from hand.

The reversals in this deck run from the normal (Step, Escape, Reach) to the very situational (Volleyed Beyond the Edge, Enough With the Trash Talk). The thing they all have in common is that they all work on the overturn. I can stop a Chain move with the basic reversal, with Chained Heat, with Raw Deal Rev (depending on text), or with DI. The redundant reversals are how to survive.

Now, back to the original point - deck knowledge. If you throw a move that I know I have three or four reversals in Arsenal for, I'm more than likely to let it through and catch it on overturn, as that's the way my deck is designed. From knowing my deck, I can focus on knowing YOUR deck and putting back the correct reversals to prevent you from breaking through and pinning me.

There's an order to thinking, and while I'm no expert, I'll give you a paraphrase:

Level 1: What's in my hand?
Level 2: What's in my opponent's hand?
Level 3: What does my opponent think is in my hand? or Is my opponent thinking about what's in my hand?
Level 4: If I play this card, is my opponent going to think I'm trying to bait out a reversal?
Et cetera.

As the levels progress, the questions become more complex. Generally speaking, if you're thinking deeper than your opponent, you have a much better chance at winning games - and you can't think deeply until you know the ins and outs of your deck.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Some schlub shows up at your game store with a NetDeck that he found three hours ago, slapped together, and won the tournament. We had one of those at my store for awhile, too - he played Pat Eshegy's PPV and dominated for a couple weeks. However, I play in one of the toughest metagames in the world, and our more intelligent players figured out the counters to the design and played something that would handle PPV.

Know your deck to destroy your opponent's. It can happen in World Qualifiers; just ask my teammate John who I ran into in Philadelphia. We had been playing his BFM vs. my Rene in the hotel room almost constantly leading up to the tournament, and I kept getting steamrolled. However, when we got paired up, I was able to overturn the reversal to his first move, strip him of his reversals in the prematch, and roll over him with Dernier Slam/French Neck Breaker technology.

The deck I've posted above, on its best day, will only win about 65% of its games. However, playing it, and learning how to play it well will make you a much better player over the long term. Know thyself, and the wins will come.

....from the mind of Family Guy....

-Family Guy