How It Works
Since the limit of Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity at the beginning of the September 2012 Format, Wind-Ups have taken more of an approach towards field control and swarming (as opposed to hand control the previous format). The key components of a standard Wind-Up deck include Wind-Up Magician, Wind-Up Shark, Wind-Up Rabbit, and to a lesser extent Wind-Up Factory and Wind-Up Rat. Since the monsters mentioned (and the 1 spell) are relatively weak by themselves, the majority of a Wind-Up deck’s offense comes from the XYZ monsters they are able to conjure up with relative ease.
It may be an overstatement, but Wind-Up Magician is the heart of the deck. Its ability to special summon another Wind-Up monster upon the activation of another Wind-Up monster’s effect is actually what makes the entire deck lethal. The easiest way to trigger Magician’s effect is to use Wind-Up Shark’s trigger ability to Special Summon or to use Wind-Up Rabbit’s effect on itself. With Magician’s effect, you’d summon another Magician which enables you to repeat the process. What makes Shark a key proponent is that it has two effects that can trigger Magician, its Special Summon ability and its level changing ability. With an opening hand that includes Magician, Shark, and Wind-Up Factory, you could potentially turn those 3 cards into a field of TWO copies Number 16: Shock Master and a Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity or any other combination of XYZ monsters if you are creative enough!
How To Beat It
Stopping the first Magician’s effect from going off is critical to slowing down the deck. If the first one is stopped, the deck would not be able to explode and take off as easily. Cards like Solemn Judgment and Solemn Warning would be best used on preventing Magician from going off. However, if you aren’t able to stop Magician from going off, you can also wait it out a little bit for a Wind-Up player to overextend a little bit and then activate a trap like Torrential Tribute to reset the field. You can also use Book of Moon to prevent your opponent from performing a key XYZ summon. But long story short, the best counter against Wind-Ups is prevention.
If you aren’t able to prevent a Wind-Up XYZ explosion, Wind-Ups are actually vulnerable against strong ATK monsters that would need some other form of removal to get rid of them. Since the offense of a Wind-Up deck is only as strong as the players’ extra deck, a high ATK monster would generally make Wind-Ups struggle without another form of monster removal.
Cards To Side In
Cards you would generally side against Wind-Ups include: Thunder King Rai-Oh and Effect Veiler (if they aren’t already in your main deck), Maxx “C”, Gozen Match/Rivalry of Warlords, Forbidden Chalice/Skill Drain, King Tiger Wanghu.
Thunder King Rai-Oh and Effect Veiler can effectively slow down Wind-Ups. Rai-Oh makes Wind-Up Factory null and Rai-Oh can also be used to negate a key XYZ summon. Effect Veiler can be used to prevent Magician’s effect going off (however, keep in mind that if Veiler does not prevent Wind-Up Factory from going off, since Veiler does not negate the ACTIVATION of an effect monster).
Maxx “C” is another way to slow down this deck, albeit indirectly. Maxx “C” doesn’t directly interfere with the Wind-Up strategy but if a Wind-Up player doesn’t have a game push, they will more than likely be reluctant to pursue their full combo for fear that you would draw into multiple outs during your following turn.
Since Wind-Ups run monsters with multiple attributes and types, Gozen Match and Rivalry of Warlords can effectively give a Wind-Up player a headache, since they have to play carefully around these traps as they can only have one attribute and/or type on the field while one or both of these traps are active.
Wind-Ups, like the majority of decks, rely on monster effects. So if your deck isn’t as reliant on effects, you can benefit from using Skill Drain and Forbidden Chalice against a deck like Wind-Ups. Although, just like Effect Veiler, Wind-Up Factory would still be able to search for a Wind-up monster since neither card negates the ACTIVATION of an effect.
Lastly, since the majority of the monsters used in a Wind-Up main deck have less than 1400 ATK, King Tiger Wanghu effect can effectively hinder this deck, just by its presence alone! (Although it would have to be on the field BEFORE a Wind-Up player goes off.)