I met Paulo "PRRJ" Goncalves through Samuel Pedigo about three years ago. He's a duelist from Brazil, and he's very smart and meticulous when it comes to deck building and game play. Even after Sam quit, Paulo and I still kept in touch, and he was the first person to introduce me to the power of Burning Abyss last spring right before the deck took off at The 50th YCS -Columbus.

He's a great player and I respect him a lot.

So why am I telling you about Paulo? If you keep up with TCGplayer deck archive you'll have already known that he recently went 9-0 at a Regional Qualifier in Rio de Janeiro. His deck of choice wasn't Performage Pendulums or Kozmos, nor did he play Infernoids or Majespecters. His deck – which he refers to as the Pendulum and Kozmo killer – is actually a strategy that's been deemed "dead" for a little while now.

Here's his deck list from the Regional:

DECKID= 103875 Paulo's Burning Abyss deck definitely has some big choices that jump out at you, but first we should talk about why you'd even want to play this strategy over the other options available right now, especially since the latest Forbidden and Limited list hindered it.

The loss of two Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss and one Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss hurt the strategy, no doubt. But it's not the worst thing that could've happened to Burning Abyss. The deck's lost some consistency, yes, but it's nothing other cards can't make up for. The strength of three Cagna, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss along with one Good & Evil of the Burning Abyss is something I preached back in October, and I still think it's amazing. Cagna's essentially another Scarm because when it's sent to the graveyard you get to send Good & Evil along with it, netting you any Burning Abyss card in your deck while triggering the effect of whatever you discarded for it.

Draghig, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss is another crucial addition to help get you to your one copy of Graff. Sure, it doesn't search Graff directly to your hand, but that would probably be too good if it did. Stacking it for your next draw phase when you don't have access to Cagna, Scarm, or Tour Guide From the Underworld – which to be fair is highly unlikely anyways – is the next best thing you could possibly ask for. Crane Crane's lets you re-use powerful effects, especially Graff and Cir. Normal summons like Crane Crane and Mathematician were risky before, because they could clog your hand and open you up to Nekroz of Trishula. But now that that isn't an issue anymore so you get to take advantage of those types of powerful cards. That said, Mathematician was omitted here because it's just a little too slow. You want to be cranking out Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss from the get-go.

Taking Advantage of Current Trends
Burning Abyss has always been good at fielding free threats and creating great card advantage with Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss. The fact that so many Burning Abyss cards replace themselves when they're sent to the graveyard from either the field or the hand easily lets you support cards like Horn of Heaven and Phoenix Wing Wind Blast.

Both are insanely powerful right now, with Horn of Heaven shutting down an entire Pendulum Summon and sending all the monsters to the graveyard, while Phoenix Wing Wind Blast lets you disrupt your opponent's Scales so they can't even Pendulum Summon in the first place. Solemn Warning's great right now too, and if you count the Horns as extra copies, you're suddenly running four of them. Fire Lake of the Burning Abyss is no slacker when it comes to disrupting Scales as well, so long as your opponent isn't protecting their Scales with Pendulum Call.

Trap cards aren't the only thing the Burning Abyss engine's supporting. Magical Spring's an amazing card against Pendulum strategies, often drawing you three cards for the price of one discard and the Spring itself. As if a pseudo Graceful Charity wasn't enough, offsetting the discard effect by discarding a Burning Abyss monster makes the transaction even better.

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Flip Magical Spring on a Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer / Performage Plushfire or a double Wisdom-Eye Magician setup and you get to lock your opponent's Scales at 5 as an added bonus, essentially winning you the game right then and there.

The last card that might need explaining is Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju, which Paulo played in triplicate. Kaijus have been seeing play to counter annoying cards that can't be targeted, or have powerful controlling effects that often protect them from your disruption – think Kozmo Dark Destroyer, Kozmo Forerunner, Majespecter Unicorn - Kirin, Mist Valley Apex Avian, and Elemental HERO Dark Law.

You can kind of think of Gameciel as a Smashing Ground that actually outs all of those cards, and with only 2200 ATK it's easy to just run it over with a Dante after the fact. Gameciel's also good at just clearing a single Majespecter off the field to turn off their themed spells and traps, or to summon in the Burning Abyss mirror match to lock your opponent out Summoning their monsters. It has a ton of utility, and it works so well in Burning Abyss.

Match-Ups Against The Expected Field
The match-ups for Burning Abyss are pretty self explanatory since the deck's been around for so long now, but I'd still like to go over them. Kozmo's essentially an auto-win, as much as you'd think their non-targetable ships might put a wrench in your plans.

Number F0: Utopic Future plays a huge role in that match-up, stealing their ships and punching in for damage. Mechquipped Angineer's the perfect card to put next to it – after inevitably setting up a search for Tour Guide before you summon Utopic Future – because one of Kozmo's favorite plays while under a Utopic Future is to wall up with a defense mode Kozmo Forerunner. That keeps your opponent from taking any damage and they'll keep gaining 1000 LP in each of their standby phases. Summoning Angineer will let you swing over it and turn it into a less problematic Kozmo Sliprider, and your Angineer's effect will protect it from any attacks on the next turn.

Utopic Future's incredibly hard to beat when you back it up with cards like Horn of Heaven, Solemn Warning, and Breakthrough Skill to counter Rank 4 plays like Castel, the Skyblasting Muskateer or Number 101: Silent Honor ARK. It plays a huge role in this matchup and that's why Paulo played two copies. After Side Decking, you can hit your opponent with your three copies of System Down if they can somehow out both copies of Utopic Future. After wasting all their resources to beat them, they're sure to have nothing left. System Down's great in Burning Abyss especially because you can block damage so easily, only to banish all of their machines when your turn rolls around.

Performage Pendulum's a harder match-up than Kozmos, but I still believe it's in your favor. Like I mentioned earlier, Magical Spring and Horn of Heaven are such game changers, and your opponent won't really have anything as good as those cards against you. You can pump out a ton of damage and then stunt their turns, or gain even more card advantage with Spring.

Virgil, Rock Star of the Burning Abyss lets you disrupt your opponent's Pendulum Scales on your turn, and can even spin Pendulum Monsters back to the Main Deck instead of destroying them and sending them to the Extra Deck. You'll draw out your opponent's Performage Damage Jugglers with your Dante attacks, and eventually Barbar, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss will be free to loop and burn your opponent to 0 LP. After Side Decking you get another Pendulum stopper, in the form of Grand Horn of Heaven; a floodgate, Stygian Dirge; and you can answer Damage Jugglers and Flying "C" with Ally of Justice Cycle Reader.

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Majespecter's a tricky matchup, but going first helps a lot. You get to set your Horn of Heavens and Phoenix Wing Wind Blasts before your opponent can set up. If you go second and they didn't explode with a ton of Special Summon, Gameciel can shut off their themed spells and traps and get you into the game, as will Raigeki and Dark Hole post-siding. Magical Spring's a beating against this deck too, especially if you can catch Scales, Majesty's Pegasus, and an activating spell or trap to draw four cards. In a matchup full of grinding, resolving Magical Spring's going to put you way ahead.

I think this build of Burning Abyss is a true stroke of genius and I congratulate Paulo for coming up with it. Post-BOSH, this deck is far from dead. With cards like Fiendish Rhino Warrior and Twin Twister it only gets better. You can also run cards like Mask Change II to help combat Magicians when you're going first, as well as full suites of Maxx "C" and Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit when you're going second, without worrying about big losses of card economy.

Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju's a great answer to a Turn 1 Cyber Dragon Infinity, and it kind of gives the deck more copies of Raigeki and Dark Hole in the form of the new Kaiju spell card, Interrupted Kaiju Dream. There are plenty of options moving forward and I think this deck's still a force to be reckoned with moving forward. What do you guys think? Are full power Magicians just too powerful for a deck like this to compete? Let me know your thoughts down below!

-Mike Steinman