The Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG's ripe with homages to mythological and religious figures. Our own Franco Ferrara, has spent a great deal of time researching that very fact. For example, did you know that Archlord Kristya is essentially the Yugi-fied version of Jesus Christ? I sure didn't until I read Franco's stuff. I was actually surprised by that fact, but it made perfect sense to me that Konami decided to make it a little less obvious to western players. Religious imagery from the East is all over our game, but Biblical references are often veiled – most likely out of respect for its place of prevalence in western society.

So imagine my great surprise when I was looking up unreleased cards a few months back and discovered Number 13: Cain's Doom and Number 31: Abel's Doom – an obvious reference to the brothers spoken of in the Book of Genesis.

Fast forward to right now and we know those two cards better by their officially localized names: Number 13: Embodiment of Crime and Number 31: Embodiment of Punishment. Biblical references aside, what's drawn me to Crime and Punishment is the relatively unique nature of their effects. When you have both monsters on the field they create a strange sort of soft lock that stops them from being destroyed but FORCES your opponent's monsters to attack them. The catch? Your opponent takes all the damage that would've been dealt to you instead. Crazy, right? They're just interactive enough to not be degenerate.

So sure, there's a cool effect here that creates a lot of unique play situations. But is there an actual deck to be had? At first, I thought the answer was a resounding "No." While a number of decks prominently feature Level 1 monsters, I didn't think that you could really build one that could crank out four of them and still recover if things fell apart. You never want your decks to be one-trick ponies and I was concerned that I'd find myself stuck with just that. Surprisingly enough, it took facing a new guy at my locals to really see that a dedicated Crime and Punishment deck was possible with just a few modifications to a pre-existing strategy. Let me give you the deck list and we'll take it from there.

DECKID=100260From first glance, it's pretty easy to see that what you're sitting on here is a tricked out Mystic Piper deck. However, instead of using Piper as a vehicle to conduct a swarm of Chaos Summons, you're using all of the card advantage it generates to crank out a bunch of Rank 1's. The Piper fixes all of the inherent drawbacks that come with the Crime and Punishment concept. See, on its own Mystic Piper does nothing but draw you into a bunch of cards. Now don't get me wrong: drawing a bunch of cards isn't a bad thing, but the question always comes down to what you should DO with all of those cards you've drawn into, and how to turn them from card advantage into an actual win condition. In a traditional Mystic Piper deck you leverage that card advantage into control and stall tactics until you can break your opponent's back with a Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning or Chaos Sorcerer.

By taking a step back from the Chaos Summons, you open up room in the Main Deck to focus further on fielding the four Level 1 monsters you need to Xyz Summon Number 13: Embodiment of Crime and Number 31: Embodiment of Punishment. There're actually some incredibly powerful Level 1's that lend themselves very well to this strategy; they existed right under my nose, but I didn't really see them until I did the due diligence and spent time researching the possibilities for this strategy.

Things Arf About To Get Serious
Sometimes I'll catch onto things way behind the curve. I can't help but think it's inevitable in a game that has thousands of unique cards; it's downright impossible to know them all, and sometimes a few really great cards completely fly right over your head. Up until recently, that was my relationship with Jester Confit. For those of you suffering from my particular brand of obliviousness, Jester Confit's a Level 1 monster you can Special Summon from your hand… and that's essentially it! It genuinely has no real restrictions other than permitting you to control only one Jester Confit at a time. Just to make things a little sweeter, if Confit stays on the field until your opponent's End Phase, you'll return it and an opposing monster back to the hand. But the Jester rarely stays in court long enough for that trick to see the light of day.

While you could spend a several hours figuring out a ton of clever uses for Jester Lord – which after this article, I plan on doing – it really shines in this particular deck, in large part for its ability to enable one of the coolest cards ever printed: Where Arf Thou?! This Little Doozy of a spell is often ignored because of the high possibility that it'll burn away a quarter of your Life Points. I think it's safe to say that most duelists' apprehension toward this card is understandable. I haven't used it up until this point for that very reason, but therein lies the brilliance of Jester Confit.

You see, Where Arf Thou? allows to you search your deck for any Level 1 monster, but to activate it you have to already control another Level 1. Finally, during the End Phase of the turn you activated Where Arf Thou?, if you didn't Normal Summon whatever you searched it burns you for 2000 Life Points. The big problem people have had in the past is getting that initial Level 1 monster on the field to activate Where Arf without eating up their Normal Summon. Battle Fader on its own wasn't reliable enough to make it playable, but all of that changes with Jester Confit. If you simply Special Summon it before activating Where Arf, you avoid the minor detail of massive damage altogether. Combined with Battle Fader and Ghostrick Jackfrost, you're almost guaranteed to resolve all three copies of Where Arf Thou? – that is, if you even wind up needing all three to begin with.

Practical Arf-lications
In the early game you'll almost always Arf for Mystic Piper. For all the talk of Where Arf Thou, Mystic Piper's still the lifeblood of this deck and getting to it early is absolutely paramount to your success. There aren't really any other cards in the deck that will consistently Pot of Greed for you – a fact that's really important to keep in mind. Once you begin to draw deeper into your deck however, Where Arf Thou's going to grab Kinka-Byo for you. That's when Special Summoning Number 13: Embodiment of Crime and Number 31: Embodiment of Punishment becomes easier than it really should be. After resolving Where Arf Thou? you'll Normal Summon Kinka-Byo and use its effect to Special Summon any other Level 1 from your graveyard. At that point you've got three out of the four monsters needed for Crime and Punishment on the field… presuming all you had on board was just the Level 1 monster needed to activate Where Arf Thou? in the first place.

The last monster that'll usually hit the field is a Jester Confit; the Jester's only-one-copy-on-the-field stipulation won't matter too much if you overlay for the first of the two Xyz monsters with the on-field Jester Confit. You can use Turbo Booster, too! Similar to Jester Confit, Turbo Booster's a Level 1 that you can Special Summon practically for free. Its only stipulation is that you must've first Normal Summoned a monster before you can Special Summon it.

#####CARDID=15929#####

I know of many players who've built this strategy around the Pinecono and Acorno combo and at first I found myself heading in that same direction, until I found out about Turbo Booster and Jester Confit. While Acorno and Pinecono have great synergy together, if you have one in hand without the other then you're just sitting on a bunch of dead cards. Turbo Booster and Jester Confit are just as strong on their own as they are together, and therein lies their advantage.

This Much Fun Should Be Illegal!
I'm going to let you know right now that you aren't going to storm the next YCS with this strategy. With enough dedication, you might be able to earn your Regional Invite with these guys through sheer surprise factor alone. This strange little strategy's crazy fun to play, though. Part of the exhilaration is from the look on your opponent's face when you successfully get the brothers together on the field AND you haven't tanked yourself in card presence doing so.

Have you gone down this road before yourself? Do you have any epic dueling tales of near Biblical proportions to share? I'd love to hear about them down in the comments section.

-Zach Buckley

Team Nofatchx