Last week I showed you guys a low key strategy featuring Skull Servant, which can be found here. That deck was obviously meant for local competition, so I figured this week we'd take a look at the opposite end of the spectrum. I'm conflicted right now on which deck is the best of the format, but I believe that Satellarknights are a smidgen ahead of Shaddolls.

Before you scroll down to the Comment section and write a paragraph on why I'm horribly wrong, hear me out: Satellarknights are more consistent, less prone to dead draws, and can beat everything Shaddolls can, if not more. The one big issue, of course, is beating Shaddolls themselves, but we'll talk about how you can do that later.

What Are Satellarknights Anyways?
Before venturing into the depths of Satellarknights it's probably important to figure out what the heckle freckle they are in the first place. Earlier last week, Beau Butler wrote an excellent article on the Counter Trap Card Stellarnova Alpha, and in it he provided a brief summary of what all the Satellarknights do. To quote him:

-Satellarknight Alsahm burns for 1000 LP.

-Satellarknight Altair is a Debris Dragon.

-Satellarknight Deneb is a Reinforcement of the Army.

-Satellarknight Vega is Legendary Six Samurai - Kageki.

-Satellarknight Unukalhai is a free Foolish Burial to set up Altair.

So now you've (hopefully) got the basics down, and maybe you're starting to notice why I adore this strategy so much. Satellarknights are essentially just an upgraded version of Spirits. Satellarknight Deneb is an Aratama, and Satellarknight Altair is Nikitama. There isn't really an Alsahm, Vega, or Unukalhai for Spirits, but we're not going to be packing three copies of any of those in our build anyways, so think of them like the supporting cast of Yaksha or Tsukuyomi.

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On an individual scale, all of the Satellarknights look pretty good. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that looping Deneb and Altair for three back-to-back-to-back Rank 4's is awesome. I think what duelists are failing to realize is that the deck is so much more than that. The theme's signature Xyz Monster, Stellarknight Delteros, takes three Level 4's to bring out, but has immediate impact upon Summon. First of all, your opponent can't activate anything in response to your Normal or Special Summons, basically making every monster you have into a mini Star Eater. Secondly you can detach one Xyz Material to pop a card on the field. Lastly, whenever Delteros is destroyed and sent to the graveyard you can Special Summon a Satellarknight from your hand or deck. Let's take a quick look at one of the many ways to Xyz Summon Delteros, taking note of how your card economy fares throughout the combo.

-Have Satellarknight Vega and Satellarknight Altair in hand

-Normal Summon Vega, Special Summon Altair

-Altair activates, bringing back Satellarknight Deneb (+1)

-Deneb searches another Satellarknight from your deck [+1(+2)]

-Overlay all three monsters for Delteros [-2(0)]

-Detach to pop a card [+1(+1)]

Okay, I know, a simple +1 isn't that special...or is it? It's not necessarily the pluses that matter in this situation, but rather the pressure you put on your opponent. Every turn Stellarknight Delteros survives it's another +1. Pretty cool, right? If it's destroyed, you can just bring out a Vega from your deck, Special Summon the Altair you searched from your hand, and then Special Summon the Deneb from your graveyard to search another Altair for next turn. Even further though, Delteros is stopping stuff like Bottomless Trap Hole, Torrential Tribute, and Fiendish Chain whenever you Normal or Special Summon. That's not technically a plus per say, but it is locking many of the other player's cards down, which is a tremendous advantage in a similar context.

And of course there's always Stellarnova Alpha, an Infernity Barrier on steroids. By sending a Satellarknight to the graveyard you can negate a monster effect, a spell, or a trap. Oh, and you draw a card. Because that's fair or something. Sending Deneb to the graveyard after searching Altair is just brutal, priming you for another search and a Rank 4 on the following turn. Satellarknights are good without Stellarnova Alpha, but with it they're just completely over the top.

What we've got here is a consistent way not only to loop cards, but also get to those cards in the first place. Additionally, everything you're grabbing actually does things that help progress you toward a win, as opposed to just gaining needless card advantage with no immediate purpose. Satellarknights are arguably the best Rank 4 theme out there right now; they accomplish what you want them to do without requiring much interaction with your opponent. Let's take a look at my personal build, and go over why I feel this is the best direction to go.

DECKID=100962One of the constant issues I found when I was testing this deck was the lack of monster cards. I'm running a standard Satellarknight count with a five-card Traptrix engine. Opening up without any of those monsters kind of puts you in a rough spot, and by "kind of" I mean "definitely." Kuribandit seemed like the perfect choice for a variety of reasons, functioning much as it would in the Kuribandit Artifact Traptrix deck.

One Kuriboh To Rule Them All
Kuribandit does so much for Satellarknights it's crazy. Obviously it accelerating you through five cards, but it's what you can do with those cards that really matters. Drew no monsters with Soul Charge or Call Of The Haunted in hand? Kuribandit into some good mills to set up mosnters in the graveyard! A hand of Kuribandit, Stellarnova Alpha, and Call Of The Haunted is almost an auto-win, getting you a ridiculous swing of momentum in the early game that few opponents can handle.

Beyond that, Kuribandit allows you to cut back on some of your three-ofs, giving you more deck space in the long run. Breakthrough Skill's spectacular right now because it stops so many effects, but you never really want to see two at the same time. That's a Little Difficult to avoid when you're using three copies, but by playing Kuribandit you only need two because you'll hopefully mill one early on. Soul Charge is another example. You obviously want to see it ASAP, but you rarely want to see more than one. And yeah, you don't really want to see it super late in the game either, because you often won't have enough Life Points to pay for it. Running just two copies helps mitigate those risks.

Finally, Kuribandit's just completely stupid in the mirror match. If your opponent isn't using it (which they won't be, I promise), the speed you get from resolving one is just too much. Like, you could even be going second and the other player could've opened really well, but as long as your resolve that Bandit everything's going to be okay. Pushing through potentially useless spells and traps while hand-picking one for yourself is absurd in all the right ways.

How Bout' Those Matchups?
"But what about Shaddolls?" you cry to me in the Comment section.

"I'm getting there."

Shaddolls are hugely important going forward; that's an unavoidable result when a deck is as hyped as much as Shaddolls have been. If you're entering a competitive event in the next couple weeks you're going to play a bunch of Shaddoll duelists. Can Satellarknights beat Shaddolls? Absolutely.

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When paired up against your shadowy foes there are two big hurtles to overcome. First off, Shaddoll Winda really screws you up. Satellarknights lack a good way to put a Rank 4 on the field without making at least two Special Summons total. The main way you're going to get around that is by using Call Of The Haunted in your opponent's End Phase. That shouldn't be too hard when you're running three Call Of The Haunted and Kuribandit, but it's still relevant to watch out for.

Vanity's Emptiness is the bigger issue. And it's not just a problem in the Shaddoll match-up, either: it's just a problem overall. There's no good way to say it. If your opponent flips Vanity's Emptiness and has a monster with more than 1800 ATK on the field they will literally just win right there. Yeah, it totally sucks, but it's a risk you have to take. I suppose you could play Mystical Space Typhoon in your Main Deck, but that's kind of dead unless your opponent flips Emptiness because Satellarknights don't really care about backrow otherwise. I'm taking my chances and leaving the Mystical Space Typhoons in the Side Deck, but it's up to you to make that call for your metagames.

Regardless, Satellarknights kind of just beat everything that's not keeping you from playing the game with Emptiness or Light-Imprisoning Mirror. They have so many different combo branches, a plethora of traps at their disposal, and they make great use of Soul Charge. In my opinion Satellarknights are one of the best decks going forward, and I'm actually taking them to a Regional Qualifier a couple days before this article gets published. If I end up getting my invite I'll make sure to report back to you guys! As always, feel free to let me know your thoughts in the Comment section, and I'll see you later.

-Doug Zeeff