The famous quote from Sun Tzu's The Art of War reads, "All warfare is based on deception." Deceiving your opponent gives you a serious advantage in any competition. A predictable strategy's easily stopped, but when someone deviates from the expected they become much more difficult to fight. In Yu-Gi-Oh! there are plenty of decks that are predictable because so many of them are similar to one another. What do Fire Fists have to surprise you with? Not a whole lot. Strategically that's a weakness, but that's not to say deception can't be used tactically as well. A bluff is the most common form of deception as it tricks your opponent into thinking you have more traps than you actually do.

In terms of pure surprise factor nothing beats a conversion Side Deck. Conversion siding is simply the process of siding in ten or more cards at once and completely changing your deck's strategy. In some cases going up against a conversion side feels like playing against two different decks. Since you don't know which build is coming up next between games you don't know which one to side for. Decks that can convert to strategies that are countered by entirely different cards make themselves very difficult to approach, and a well-executed conversion can lead to a quick 2-0 match against an unsuspecting opponent.

Bjorn Schulze placed scored a Top 8 finish in the 1208 person YCS Berlin main event using Chain Burn. His Main Deck is worth looking over if you're a fan of the strategy – although I hope you aren't – but it's his Side Deck that was really interesting; he played a full conversion into Inzektors, of all things. It's so rare to see a deck with a conversion side perform this well, and honestly I hope it's a sign of things to come. Well I mean I hope we see more conversions, not more Chain Burn.

Does anyone really like Chain Burn? Anyways, let's take a look at the deck.

DECKID=99750Schulze's Main Deck is a fairly standard approach to the Chain Burn concept. The goal's simple: stall your opponent while taking out big chunks of their Life Points whenever the opportunity arises. It's not a deck that plans on using slow, passive burn cards over the duration of a long and drawn out duel. At the same time, Chain Burn won't always dish out 8000 points of damage in one turn, either. Chain Strike itself benefits most from being used in a long chain of damage-dealing traps. Usually you'll have several 'bursts' of card activations that can inflict a few thousand points of damage each. In the meantime you can certainly flip things like Just Desserts and Secret Barrel in response to removal, but they'll lose some of their effectiveness.

So, how exactly do you go about not losing to aggressive strategies like Hieratics and Mermail without playing traps like Torrential Tribute and Mirror Force? For starters it's crucial that you prevent your opponent from making attacks during their Battle Phase. Battle Fader and Threatening Roar prevent any further attacks, while Waboku, One Day of Peace, and Dimension Wall save you from battle damage. Alternatively, Maxx "C", Lava Golem, and Ojama Trio act as indirect forms of defense in their own way.

Dimension Wall is worth noting, mostly because it's not the more common Magic Cylinder. Wall isn't quite as effective as Cylinder, but it's also harder to stop. It doesn't target the attacking monster and Forbidden Lance won't affect it. Another important card choice here is Battle Fader over Swift Scarecrow. Not only does Fader put an extra card on the field for Ceasefire, but it also doesn't target and isn't as easily stopped as Scarecrow is. Oh, and you can use it to block one of the two attacks your opponent will have available if you manage to resolve an Ojama Trio.

Without some serious draw power this deck won't have the resources it needs to do any serious damage. Schulze played a total of fourteen draw effects in his Main Deck alongside a set of Pot of Duality to maximize his chances of opening with his defensive cards. Linking together multiple Threatening Roars, Wabokus, and Battle Faders over the course of a few turns makes setting up draw traps a breeze. Cards like Jar of Greed, Accumulated Fortune, Reckless Greed, and Legacy of the Yata-Garasu provides dig through the deck and give you enough cards to create long chain links. Speaking of chain links, these cards can also be used to build for a chain for Accumulated Fortune and Chain Strike.

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Each turn that you hold your opponent off puts you closer and closer to your win condition: a barrage of burn effects that strip away your opponent's Life Points. Because nearly every card is chainable there aren't many ways to disrupt this strategy. On the other hand, the cards that do impact it are incredibly effective. Royal Decree is impossible to play against and Trap Stun usually leads to a game-ending play if you can't chain a Waboku or Threatening Roar immediately. An in-hand Battle Fader will let you survive a turn after Royal Decree's flipped, but then what? There are no cards in the Main Deck that can remove it. In the case of a match-up against Decree Bujin, I can only image that Schulze intended to toss Game 1 out the window.

Conversion Side: Inzektor
Most Chain Burn decks side several pieces of spell and trap removal to deal with Decree, and this build is no exception. Schulze ran three copies of Mystical Space Typhoon in his Side Deck alongside another twelve cards that seem entirely out of place at first glance. A set of Inzektor monsters, support cards, and a single Foolish Burial are a surprising inclusion in a Chain Burn deck.

There are two really cool features about the Inzektor conversion: first, Inzektor and Chain Burn decks have enough in common that most of the tech choices overlap; and second, the deck's post-conversion aggression is the perfect way to capitalize on conventional siding strategies used against Chain Burn. Let's compare the two decks a bit. Notice how both of them take a bit to set up their best plays? Chain Burn is looking for a few damage-dealing traps and at least one Chain Strike, while Inzektors are trying to combo Dragonfly and Hornet. In each case Cardcar D, Pot of Duality, One Day of Peace, Jar of Greed, Reckless Greed, and Legacy of the Yata-Garasu dig for otherwise-unsearchable combo pieces.

Inzektor Centipede is a big part of the Inzektor strategy because it can search other cards in the theme. Protecting it should be a priority, and thankfully Schulze's build leaves more than enough cards to keep it safe. Waboku and Threatening Roar not only protect your Life Points, but they also prevent opposing monsters from taking out Centipede. The extra turn bought by one of those traps is enough to turn a Centipede-Ladybug combo into a Hornet-Dragonfly play. Unfortunately Dimension Wall won't stop an attack, but you can use it to defend your Life Points from direct attacks.

Back to the second point I mentioned earlier: Inzektors capitalize on conventional siding strategies used against Chain Burn. Most players are going to be siding out their protection traps like Mirror Force, Fiendish Chain, and hand traps like Effect Veiler. It doesn't make any sense to keep dead cards in the Main Deck when nearly anything in the Side Deck would be better. The resulting is a deck that's high on aggression, but lacking in defense. Those conditions happen to be perfect for Inzektors which can then clear fields with Hornet unopposed.

Of course, the thing that makes all of this possible is the Inzektor engine's small footprint. Only eleven on-theme cards are necessary, and thanks to the large amount of draw power here Schulze was probably seeing his important monsters fairly frequently. It's crucial to get Centipede's effect up and running as early as possible, but you may also draw into Hornet and Dragonfly without using it at all. In that case, dropping both cards onto the field following a Waboku or Threatening Roar gives Hornet lots of targets for its effect. Whereas during Game 1 Just Desserts, Ceasefire, and Secret Barrel were banking on the opponent to overextend, Inzektor Hornet performs in very much the same way. Instead of using Waboku to save yourself before playing multiple burn cards, you'll instead use Hornet and Xyz Summons to mop up opposing fields after you've survived an OTK.

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So what exactly did he side out? I can't say I know for sure, and I'd be willing to bet that several cards would stay in depending on the match-up. Clearly the major burn cards were the first to go. Secret Barrel, Just Desserts, and the two chain link cards Accumulated Fortune and Chain Strike were probably switched out directly for the Inzektor cards. Ojama Trio and Ceasefire could have easily been dropped, but that leaves Lava Golem in the Main Deck. Trio and Golem are decent in a few different match-ups each, so it's likely that Schulze left whichever was better at that moment.

Ultimately there's a lot of flexibility here that makes it worth testing and experimenting with. I'm honestly a bit surprised that something like this even worked in the first place; it's definitely an odd build. Still, it's one of the more interesting decks I've seen this format and I'm looking forward to (hopefully) seeing more conversion sides in the future.

Until next time then

-Kelly