A few days after the new Forbidden & Limited List was announced I texted Loukas with one word: Evilswarms. Since its debut, neither of us have been fans of the theme. Locking down your opponent with Evilswarm Ophion was a cheap win in a variety of formats, but the strategy was never consistent enough to make any big waves on competition. Not only that, but it lacked any good searching outside of Reinforcement of the Army, unlike its sister archetype Constellars which could use Fire Formation - Tenki.

But I wanted to share with Loukas that Gold Sarcophagus actually makes a ton of fringe strategies viable, and Evilswarms is one of them. I talked about it in my Forbidden & Limited List article last week, but Gold Sarcophagus is so cool because it gives you access to any Level 4 or lower monster if you can pair it with Leviair the Sea Dragon.

Speedroid Terrortop is the perfect way to push out a Rank 3 without using your Normal Summon, and I've been obsessed with finding decks to squeeze those two cards into.

Why Evilswarms, Why Now?
Borrowing from a combo in 2012, I'm using Gold Sarcophagus to banish Rescue Rabbit to bring it back with Leviair the Sea Dragon on Turn 1. That was once a notable combo with Tour Guide From the Underworld played into Evolzar Laggia or Evolzar Dolkka, but we're going to use it to get straight to Evilswarm Ophion. You can banish Rescue Rabbit for two Evilswarm Heliotrope, setting you up for your boss monster without ever using your Normal Summon. Sure, it's not a plus of card economy, but you're trading two cards for Leviair and Ophion, which can totally shut down your opponent's deck in the right match-up.

Speaking of, the other reason I wanted to give Evilswarms a try was because I feel they're a good metagame call right now. Blue-Eyes might turn out to be one of the most popular decks in the coming weeks, with Metalfoes, Burning Abyss, and Kozmos trailing behind. Evilswarm Ophion hurts three of those decks directly, and it's basically an auto-win against one of them. Realistically speaking, Blue-Eyes decks just don't have an out to Evilswarm Ophion other than Raigeki, which doesn't matter because you'll have Infestation Pandemic to protect it. Metalfoes want to Pendulum Summon big monsters and Fusion Summon into Level 5 and higher monsters, so Ophion locks them out of their best plays.

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The main thing you'll have to watch out for are Counter Traps like Solemn Strike. Infestation Pandemic obviously can't protect you from Solemn Strike, so sometimes it's best to not use your Ophion's search ability unless your opponent doesn't have a backrow. Sometimes you can dodge this by preemptively using Infestation Pandemic, but that's a real hit or miss that usually doesn't go in your favor.

Even if Ophion isn't the right choice for the matchup, Evilswarm Kerykeion is a powerful Level 4 that makes easy 1-for-1 Rank 4's. Evilswarm Bahamut is a good choice, pitching Evilswarms in your hand to steal monsters. More importantly, cards like Abyss Dweller and Number S39: Utopia the Lightning deal with decks that Ophion can't address, like Burning Abyss. Evilswarms have technically always had the option to go into those Rank 4's, but Speedroid Terrortop and Gold Sarcophagus let you do it without losing as much card presence, or without using your Normal Summon, creating a strategy that's much more resilient than the average Evilswarm list.

Let's take a look at what I came up:

DECKID=105490The main priority that guided my decisions building this was consistency. Evilswarms are inherently less powerful than other decks because they lack search power, so the cards that I do want to see I'm playing three of. Speedroid Terrortop, Gold Sarcophagus, Evilswarm Castor, and Evilswarm Kerykeion are by far the most important parts of the deck, and as such it just makes sense to max out on them.

Going along with that plan, triple Allure of Darkness, triple Pot of Desires, and the single Upstart Goblin gets you to your combo pieces almost every game. Some players avoid those draw spells because they're essentially "blank" cards that lower your range of options, but you want to see the good cards in this deck as soon as possible. I know that there are people against Pot of Desires, but there's nothing that's really terrible to banish with it in Evilswarms, so I feel it's a safe choice. Banishing your Infestation Pandemic can be rough, but under normal circumstances you shouldn't ever notice Desires' drawback.

You'll notice the trap lineup is quite slim compared to standard builds, and that's because I only ever want to see a couple. Solemn Strike and Solemn Warning are some of the best traps in the game, and Bottomless Trap Hole combos nicely with Traptrix Rafflesia. I messed around with Drowning Mirror Force, Quacking Mirror Force, and Mirror Force, but at the end of the day the games I was losing were the ones where I drew more than two traps, so I cut them all.

A New Approach
I briefly wanted to mention that there's still room for expansion with Evilswarms, and there's one idea that I was testing that was quite interesting. Shiranui Solitaire is quickly becoming one of my favorite cards, and I love how it can snowball into quick wins if you can open with it. Because of this, I was trying out playing a small Zombie engine in Evilswarms, because PSY-Framelord Omega has some awesome synergy with Evilswarm Kerykeion.

The trick, of course, is that you can't initially summon PSY-Framelord Omega if you have Evilswarm Ophion with Xyz Materials. Luckily that's not hard to circumvent, and your ideal hand of Gold Sarcophagus, Terrortop, and Solitaire leaves you with Leviair the Sea Dragon, Evilswarm Ophion, Infestation Pandemic, and PSY-Framelord Omega. That's virtually impossible for some decks to deal with, even if Ophion isn't a counter to their strategy. Omega can also recycle cards banished by Pot of Desires, potentially opening up a combo with Call Of The Haunted.

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Furthermore, you absolutely could go a more stun route with Evilswarms, cutting the combo cards for more traps and floodgates. Hilariously, Kaiser Colosseum would have been perfect for this deck, but you obviously can't use it now that it's Forbidden. Still, cards like Macro Cosmos, Dimensional Fissure, and Anti-Spell Fragrance give you an edge in popular matchups without affecting you too much. At the very least, all of those aforementioned cards can be used in your Side Deck, covering areas that Ophion's weak against and also helping out your slower hands.

Overall, though, I feel Evilswarms are a surprisingly viable choice moving forward, at least until the new ABC theme comes out. There are lots of high level monsters running around right now, and Evilswarm Ophion totally shuts them down. That, coupled with new combos with Gold Sarcophagus, opens up Evilswarms' potential to be a contender!

- Doug Zeeff


Doug Zeeff hails from Michigan and is currently an English major in college. When he's not found emailing Konami about why there's not a single walrus card in all of Yu-Gi-Oh! you can find him regularly posting unorthodox, unfiltered semi-Yu-Gi-Oh! related content on his Youtube channel, Dzeeff. In his spare time he enjoys eating cheese, Overwatch, and, of course, playing Yu-Gi-Oh. Click here to follow him and his adventures on Facebook!