Sometimes a deck is so ridiculous that I can't help but feature it in this column.

I'm filling in for Joe Soto this week with an extra What The Fix, so I decided to do something totally crazy. Don't worry, I'll be back on Friday with a more serious deck for real competition. But frankly, when I popped open my inbox and saw the following e-mail from James M.T. of Madera California, it was an immediate standout. How could I not do this for What The Fix?!

But at the same time, I really had no idea what I could contribute to James' build. I love the challenge of taking a crazy, off-the-wall concept and trying to make it more playable, but at first glance I just didn't see any immediate way to do that. Let me show you the e-mail that inspired me to stick with it:


I run clowns. That's right, CLOWNS!

That was not a typo! The reason I run clowns is to break the living heck out of Dream Clown and Crass Clown. I just feel like they have some potential. Now I'm not saying they can pimp slap Constellars, but they might have a chance at Tier 3. And yes, I'm crazy! What this deck is supposed to do is exploit the abilities of Crass Clown and/or Dream Clown, so with that in mind it uses cards like Zero Gravity and Labyrinth of Nightmare to change the battle positions of my monsters AND my opponent's.

I'd say the deck's greatest strength is that no one's going to expect Clowns! The deck's greatest weakness, however… is that I'm using Clowns. I'd like this deck to be as competitive as possible and at the very least ready for locals.

-James M. T., Madera CA


So yeah! Clowns! And let me prepare you: it's not just the two Clowns James called out in his e-mail. He put in some work finding creating ways to stick to his motif.

Also, I feel like I should point out that James actually named this deck "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite," a really clever Beatles reference that ties in with the circus theme. Well done, James. Well freakin' done…

DECKID=99464This deck's a hot mess. Crass Clown and Dream Clown were once the basis of a somewhat-viable tournament deck called Clown Control, which revolved around the idea of locking the field with Gravity Bind, forcing the opponent to play monsters, and then blowing them away with Clowns. It used Level 3's like Dream Clown to scoot under Gravity Bind and bat cleanup, and it was really a fun little strategy that scored a few notable tournament showings in its time.

But times have changed. Gravity Bind isn't viable anymore because Xyz Monsters can attack through it, so the deck's number one classic approach just won't work. Peten the Dark Clown's effect is optional, so it misses timing if you're using it for virtually anything but a chump Blocker; it won't act as free Synchro Material with Krebons.

Speaking of, I had this brilliant moment discussiing this deck list with a friend, where I was like, "Why is Krebons even here?" For your enjoyment, I'll just go ahead and cut and paste the exchange. It was actually part of a larger conversation that, minus a few omissions to protect the identity of the other party, went something like this:


Me: "God. This guy sent me a clown deck for a deck fix. And I really want to write on it. But I can't really figure out anything cool or useful to do with it."

Him: "Labyrinth of Nightmare?"

Me: "Yeah he's got that going. And like, Zero Gravity."

I proceed to copy and paste the deck list to my co-conspirator.

Him: "Yeah. Yeah, that sure is a clown deck."

Me: "It's uhh. Yeah! It's something! I'm not sure why Krebons is here."

A pause.

Me: "Oh! $%^&. He's here cuz he kind of looks like a clown. Got it."

We paused again, trying to figure out what we could do to make this deck better.

Him: "Wind-Up Juggler?"

Me: "Hey! Hey, yeah! Maybe that's the way to go! #$%^ playability, just ADD MORE CLOWNS!"

Him: "Plus Stumbling, to signify the level of impairment required to come up with this."


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And with that, the direction of today's deck fix started to take shape! I was determined to keep the clown count high, and to add no monsters to the main deck unless they were clowns, or at least clown-ish. Fun fact? James' original Extra Deck included three Extra Deck monsters that are only released in the OCG right now, so I swapped them for Number 7: Lucky Straights. Gotta keep your submissions TCG-legal, folks.

And we gotta keep this deck rich in Vitamin Clown.

With Stumbling to slow the game, leave monsters exposed, and turn Dream Clown into a superior Smashing Ground, things started to come together. The key is to protect the clowns while tricking your opponent into playing monsters so you have stuff to destroy. From there, a backbone of Rank 4 Xyz, some clown Beatdown, and more clown monster effects can make the deck more competitive.

Or at the very least, the deck will make an even bigger scene at this guy's local tournament than he's probably already making. Either way: CLOWWWWWWWWNS!

Get Those Sad-Sack Pagliaccis Outta Here
The first thing we need to do is winnow away the clown-chaff. I'm willing to keep one copy of Ryu-Kishin Clown around because it can make some really fun combos triggering your Crass Clown and Dream Clown, but we're keeping it here purely to add more clown flavor to our circus-stew. Peten the Dark Clown is largely a useless card, and Bite Shoes isn't very good, nor is it a clown, so it's gone. Maybe James played it because it's sort of like a pair of clown shoes? From a circus of nightmares and mayhem, or something. I don't know. But we've gotta make way for a better class of clown and Bite Shoes just doesn't measure up.

I'm going to drop one Krebons to make room, and with so many Dark monsters gone we can't really support Allure of Darkness anymore. I'm not sure why Double Summon was here to begin with, so I'm ditching that too. Torrential Tribute commits the cardinal clown-sin of destroying our uber-powerful clown set-ups, so we can't run it; this deck chooses contrived, crazy, and overly-complicated monster removal over simple monster removal, and by gum we're gonna stick with it.

Finally, I don't actually like Labyrinth of Nightmare. Since its effect doesn't kick in until the End Phase it won't protect you from attacks, and it won't trigger your clown tricks in time for you to capitalize on them. If we had a reliable lockdown card like Gravity Bind back in the day it might work, but as it stands it's just too conditional and doesn't accomplish enough on its own. Bottom line?

Stumbling's Just Better
Conjuring the image of a bunch of drunken clowns careening through a circus midway destroying everything in their path, Stumbling's both amusing and a killer addition to the strategy. While Stumbling's active your opponent has to play a monster, turn it to Defense Position, and let it sit on the field for a turn before they can attack with it. That slows the tempo of the game and gives you a convenient target for your +1 clown destruction effects, and that's awesome. If you keep Stumbling on the field long enough, you can actually win games.

In addition, Stumbling turns Dream Clown into the Best Smashing Ground Ever. Normally when you want to destroy a monster with Dream Clown's ability, you have to Summon it, protect it for a turn, and then manually shift it to Defense Position, giving your opponent ample time to not Summon a monster for you to destroy. With Stumbling on the table your Clown swerves to Defense Position the moment it hits the field, instantly blowing away a monster for a free +1. Next turn your opponent either has to play a monster and risk giving it up to another Dream Clown, or simply refuse to Summon altogether (in which case you'll make a direct attack). It's not an easy resource game to capitalize on, but it establishes the kind of pace you need in order to make the most of this deck. Three Stumbling's a must.

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Next up, Wind-Up Juggler is very passable as a clown! We're going to run three copies, since Juggler pulls triple-duty as a beatstick, a 1-for-1 monster removal card, and an alternate pull with Summoner Monk when you want to make a Rank 4 (but don't want to waste a Crass Clown). If you want to tweak this deck a bit, you could even work with the fact that Krebons and Wind-Up Juggler are both Psychics and add something like Psychic Overload, but I'm choosing to keep things simple. Or at least as simple as things can be in a Clown deck.

One Jester Confit helps up the clown-count as well, grabbing you a quick and repeatable +1 against Xyz and Synchros. Since you Special Summon the Jester to use its effect, you can keep developing your field while stopping your opponent from gaining ground: it's a nice combo with Crass Clown, which you'll generally set and then Flip Summon later. It really benefits from Stumbling too, since your opponent's monster won't be able to attack the turn it hits play. With Jester Confit bouncing monsters from the table every turn, nothing will stick.

I dropped that third Krebons so I could run a third Emergency Teleport. Yes, that means you could draw a Teleport with no Krebons left in deck to Summon, but the odds of that happening are really slim: by running two Krebons you minimize your chances of drawing one, and by running three Teleports you maximize your chance of drawing Teleport instead. That's good, because you really want to Special Summon your Krebons instead of Normal Summoning it; it makes Synchro Summons much easier, leaving you to Normal Summon your non-Tuner Materials. Krebons is pretty good at deflecting attacks while you're waiting for your plays to come together, but sadly Atlantean Heavy Infantry and Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear are just as good at destroying Krebons without attacking, so Emergency Teleport is both faster and more secure.

Speaking of security, two Swords of Revealing Light will fend off attacks and challenge your opponent to either leave their field bare, or risk losing a freshly-played monster to your Clown tricks. Swords usually forces your opponent either to wait to attack you, or waste a removal card on something that isn't Stumbling. I'm also going to play two copies of Safe Zone: if your opponent Summons a monster and attacks one of your Clowns, Safe Zone keeps it alive and leaves your opponent's monster trapped on the field. Also, it's amusing to imagine strapping a Clown into a spaceship and sending it screaming into the abyss.

You know. To keep the clown safe.

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Finally, Solemn Warning, Compulsory Evacuation Device, and a third Fiendish Chain help protect your set-ups so that your clowns can keep on clowning. Fiendish Chain's a risk these days due to the popularity of Mystical Space Typhoon, but you really need to chance it here to protect your monsters. Also, blocking an attack with Fiendish Chain leaves a convenient target on the field for your flesh-eating clown destruction effects.

Over in the Extra Deck, Underworld Fighter Balmung is virtually impossible to make without the Level 2's I cut, and I'm skeptical of this deck's ability to make Level 8 Synchros; I'm dropping Hundred-Eyes Dragon. As brilliant as it is to imagine turning that thing into a giant clown by borrowing an effect with its ability, I don't think it's worth running here. The Rank 3's are all really tough to make too, so I'm dropping Number 17: Leviathan Dragon, Ghostrick Alucard, and Number 49: Fortune Tune.

In their place I'll be adding the new Powered Inzektron as another strong Level 6 Synchro. And since it's easier to make Rank 4's with the reduxed build of James' mad creation, we'll run Maestroke the Symphony Djinn, Abyss Dweller, Number 85: Crazy Box, and Wolf' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Diamond Dire Wolf">Diamond Dire Wolf.

Here's the list of changes we've made:

-2 Bite Shoes
-3 Peten the Dark Clown
-2 Ryu-Kinshin Clown
-1 Krebons
-1 Allure of Darkness
-2 Double Summon
-1 Torrential Tribute
-3 Labyrinth of Nightmare

+3 Wind-Up Juggler
+1 Jester Confit
+1 Emergency Teleport
+3 Stumbling
+2 Swords of Revealing Light
+2 Safe Zone
+1 Solemn Warning
+1 Compulsory Evacuation Device
+1 Fiendish Chain

-1 Hundred-Eyes Dragon
-1 Underworld Fighter Balmung
-1 Number 17: Leviathan Dragon
-1 Ghostrick Alucard
-1 Number 49: Fortune Tune
+1 Powered Inzektron
+1 Maestroke the Symphony Djinn
+1 Abyss Dweller
+1 Number 85: Crazy Box
+1 Wolf' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Diamond Dire Wolf">Diamond Dire Wolf

Here's the final build of this carnival monstrosity!

DECKID=99465This deck's actually really tricky to approach, and it delivers a lot of great "gotcha!" moments. Zero Gravity works a lot like Threatening Roar, shutting down an opponent's attacks for the turn while also triggering Clown effects for immediate 1-for-1's or pluses. It's riskier than Roar, because if your opponent forces you to activate it early in their turn they may be able to Summon more monsters – those monsters would then be free to attack. But that's kind of just the nature of the beast when you're playing a Clown deck. Safe Zone and Ryu-Kishin Clown can deliver some definite highlight reel moments, too.

Your priority here is to protect your field so that your Clowns can control the game. Summoner Monk loads up Crass Clown in Defense Position, and if you can protect both until your following turn it's easy to score a free destruction and then make a Rank 4 (with or without keeping Crass Clown on the field). That's cool when it works, but it wouldn't really constitute an entire strategy on its own, so Emergency Teleport and more simple Rank 4 moves fill in the gaps. Be sure to use your removal cards wisely: don't waste a trap card to do something that a Clown could do better. Traps cost you card presence, but clowns work for free.

So yeah. This deck was so crazy and so much fun to work on that I just had to do it. Don't worry; I'll be back Friday with a more serious deck fix. But for now, give this thing a shot if you're bored! Or if you're just looking to recapture the essence of one of the first real Yu-Gi-Oh! strategies ever. Or if you really like clowns!

…Or better yet! Do it if you know someone who plays Yu-Gi-Oh! and who's terrified of clowns!

-Jason Grabher-Meyer

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Want a deck fix from yours truly, and see your strategy featured in a "What The Fix?" here on TCGPlayer? Just send the following to fixmydeckjason (at) gmail (dot) com to be considered:

-Your Main and Extra Deck list. (No Side Deck needed, but please send a written deck list, not a screencap.) Remember, your deck should be TCG legal!

-Your name and city.

-Remember - please use full card names! Abbreviations and mis-spellings make Jason's life sad.

-A paragraph or two describing your deck: what it does, why you're playing it, and its strengths and weaknesses.

And don't forget, the cooler your deck is the more I'll want to fix it, so don't be afraid to get creative! New stuff takes priority, because I'm not bored of it yet! -JDG