With the new Forbidden & Limited List in full effect, we got a chance to see it in action at the Pro-Play Games Invitational tournament in Orlando, Florida last weekend. To no one's surprise, SPYRALs had a big showing dominating more of the field than I personally predicted, taking 9 seats in the Top 16. When a deck captures more than 50% of the slots in a Top Cut, you know it's something to watch out for.
I suppose making Thunder Dragon Colossus Forbidden might have something to do with that.
But SPYRALS are far from unbeatable: Pak Pamornsut managed to crush almost every SPYRAL deck he played against to secure a 1st Place finish that had duelists talking all across the globe. Keep in mind, this was a Pro-Play Games Invitational event, meaning it was the best of the best who had crushed the competition all through 2019!
Will SPYRALs be dominant forever? Probably not; it's a solid deck that accrues many resources quickly, many of which recur thanks to SPYRAL Resort, but Droll & Lock Bird can completely shut them out. In fact, Pak Pamornsut proved that even a single well-timed hand trap can dominate even the best SPYRAL players.
Check out his list below, and again, a huge congratulations to Pamornsut for the 1st Place finish at the PPT Invitational in Orlando, Florida.
Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Deck - Altergeists by Pak Pamornsut
'Altergeists' - constructed deck list and prices for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!
Created By: Pak Pamornsut
Market Price: $382.35
Market Price: $0.11
When an opponent's monster declares an attack, if you control an "Altergeist" card: You can Special Summon this card from your hand, and if you do, negate that attack. If this card is Special Summoned: You can target 1 face-up card your opponent controls; negate the effects of that card while it and this monster are face-up on the field.
Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring
Market Price: $19.64
When a card or effect is activated that includes any of these effects (Quick Effect): You can discard this card; negate that effect.
• Add a card from the Deck to the hand.
• Special Summon from the Deck.
• Send a card from the Deck to the GY.
You can only use this effect of "Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring" once per turn.
Market Price: $1.66
When this card is Normal Summoned: You can Set 1 "Altergeist" Trap directly from your Deck to your Spell & Trap Zone. You can target 1 "Altergeist" card you control and 1 "Altergeist" monster in your GY; send that card on the field to the GY, and if you do, Special Summon that other monster from your GY. You can only use this effect of "Altergeist Marionetter" once per turn.
Market Price: $1.51
1 Normal Summoned monster with 1000 or less ATK
(Quick Effect): You can Tribute this card, then target 1 monster you control; it cannot be destroyed by your opponent's card effects this turn. When a Normal Summoned monster you control is destroyed by battle, while this card is in your GY: You can Special Summon this card. You can only use this effect of "Salamangreat Almiraj" once per turn.
Market Price: $0.46
Cannot be Normal or Special Summoned if you control a monster. Neither player can activate monster effects unless the number of monster effects that player has previously activated that turn is less than the number of monster card types currently on the field (Ritual, Fusion, Synchro, Xyz, Pendulum, and Link). (If an effect's activation was negated, it still counts toward the total for that turn. Only count effects that were activated while this monster was face-up on the field.)
Market Price: $0.86
If you activate a Trap Card (except during the Damage Step): You can Special Summon this card from your hand. If this card is Special Summoned: You can Special Summon 1 "Altergeist" monster from your Deck in Defense Position, except "Altergeist Multifaker". You cannot Special Summon monsters the turn you activate this effect, except "Altergeist" monsters. You can only use each effect of "Altergeist Multifaker" once per turn.
Droll & Lock Bird
Market Price: $7.93
If your opponent adds a card(s) from their Deck to their hand, except during the Draw Phase, you can send this card from your hand to the Graveyard. For the rest of this turn, neither player can add card(s) from their Deck to their hand. (Drawing cards is also considered as "adding a card to the hand".)
Market Price: $0.22
Target 1 "Altergeist" monster in your GY; Special Summon it in Attack Position and equip it with this card. When this card leaves the field, destroy that monster. You can banish this card from your GY, then target 1 "Altergeist" Trap in your GY; add it to your hand. You can only use this effect of "Altergeist Manifestation" once per turn.
Market Price: $0.30
2 "Altergeist" monsters
Gains ATK equal to the original ATK of each "Altergeist" monsters it points to. When a Spell/Trap Card is activated (Quick Effect): You can Tribute 1 "Altergeist" monster this card points to; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that card. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: You can add 1 "Altegeist" card from your Deck to your hand. You can only use this effect of "Altergeist Hexstia" once per turn.
Market Price: $0.41
(Quick Effect): You can return 1 other "Altergeist" card you control to the hand, then target 1 card your opponent controls; return it to the hand. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: You can target 1 "Altergeist" Trap in your GY; add it to your hand. You can only use each effect of "Altergeist Silquitous" once per turn.
Market Price: $2.73
This card can attack directly. When this card inflicts battle damage to your opponent: You can target 1 card your opponent controls; send it to the GY. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: You can add 1 "Altergeist" monster from your Deck to your hand, except "Altergeist Meluseek". You can only use this effect of "Altergeist Meluseek" once per turn.
Mekk-Knight Crusadia Avramax
Market Price: $3.53
2+ monsters Special Summoned from the Extra Deck
While this Link Summoned card is on the field, your opponent cannot target this card with card effects, also their monsters cannot target monsters for attacks, except this one. Once per battle, during damage calculation, if this card battles a Special Summoned monster (Quick Effect): You can make this card gain ATK equal to that opponent's monster's ATK during that damage calculation only. If this Link Summoned card you control is sent to your GY by an opponent's card: You can shuffle 1 card on the field into the Deck.
Market Price: $21.52
Target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; negate its effects (until the end of this turn), then, if this card was Set before activation and is on the field at resolution, for the rest of this turn all other Spell/Trap effects in this column are negated. If you control no cards, you can activate this card from your hand.
Market Price: $0.47
The activation and effects of "Altergeist" cards activated on your field cannot be negated. When your opponent activates a monster effect: You can send 1 other face-up "Altergeist" card you control to the GY; Negate the activation, and if you do, destroy it. You can only use this effect of "Altergeist Protocol" once per turn.
Market Price: $0.57
When a monster(s) would be Summoned, OR when a Spell Card, Trap Card, or monster effect is activated that includes an effect that Special Summons a monster(s): Pay 2000 LP; negate the Summon or activation, and if you do, destroy that card.
Ningirsu the World Chalice Warrior
Market Price: $1.74
2+ Link Monsters
If this card is Link Summoned: Draw cards equal to the number of "World Chalice" monsters this card points to. You can only use this effect of "Ningirsu the World Chalice Warrior" once per turn. Once per turn: You can send 1 card from each player's field to the GYs. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: You can Special Summon 1 "World Chalice" monster from your hand.
Market Price: $0.60
2+ monsters with different names
If this card is Link Summoned: You can discard 1 card, then target 1 Spell/Trap your opponent controls; destroy it, then, if this card was co-linked when this effect was activated, you can draw 1 card. You can only use this effect of "Knightmare Phoenix" once per turn. Co-linked monsters you control cannot be destroyed by battle.
Heavy Storm Duster
Market Price: $0.27
Target up to 2 Spells/Traps on the field; destroy them. You cannot conduct your Battle Phase the turn you activate this card.
Market Price: $0.47
2+ "Altergeist" monsters
During the Main Phase (Quick Effect): You can Tribute 1 other "Altergeist" monster; Special Summon 1 "Altergeist" monster from your Deck to your zone this card points to. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: You can target 1 "Altergeist" card in your GY; add it to your hand. You can only use each effect of "Altergeist Primebanshee" once per turn.
Hiita the Fire Charmer, Ablaze
Market Price: $0.66
2 monsters, including a FIRE monster
(This card is always treated as a "Familiar-Possessed" card.)
You can target 1 FIRE monster in your opponent's GY; Special Summon it to your zone this card points to. If this Link Summoned card is destroyed by battle, or is destroyed by an opponent's card effect while in its owner's Monster Zone: You can add 1 FIRE monster with 1500 or less DEF from your Deck to your hand. You can only use each effect of "Hiita the Fire Charmer, Ablaze" once per turn.
Market Price: $10.74
3+ Effect Monsters
Cannot be destroyed by battle. Once per turn (Quick Effect): You can target 1 Attack Position monster; change it to Defense Position, also, this card can make a second attack during each Battle Phase this turn. Your opponent cannot activate cards or effects in response to this effect's activation. Once per turn, when this card declares an attack on a face-up monster: You can activate this effect; until the end of this turn, this card gains ATK equal to half that monster's current ATK, and if it does, that monster's current ATK is halved.
Market Price: $1.73
1 Level 1 monster
When an opponent's monster declares an attack: You can Tribute this card; change that opponent's monster's ATK to 0, until the end of this turn. If this card is in your GY (Quick Effect): You can Tribute 1 Level 1 monster; Special Summon this card. You can only use this effect of "Linkuriboh" once per turn.
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Market Price: $3.85
When a monster(s) would be Special Summoned, OR a monster effect is activated: Pay 1500 LP; negate the Summon or activation, and if you do, destroy that card.
Market Price: $0.43
If your opponent controls more monsters than you do, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand). You can only Special Summon “Dinowrestler Pankratops” once per turn this way. (Quick Effect): You can Tribute 1 “Dinowrestler” monster, then target 1 card your opponent controls; destroy it. You can only use this effect of “Dinowrestler Pankratops” once per turn.
Pot of Duality
Market Price: $1.09
Reveal the top 3 cards of your Deck, add 1 of them to your hand, then shuffle the rest back into your Deck. You can only activate 1 "Pot of Duality" per turn. You cannot Special Summon during the turn you activate this card.
The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Mode
Market Price: $6.03
Cannot be Special Summoned. Requires 3 Tributes from either side of the field to Normal Summon to that side of the field (cannot be Normal Set), then shift control to this card's owner during the End Phase of the next turn. Cannot attack. Your opponent cannot target this card for attacks or by card effects. You can Tribute this card; Special Summon 1 "The Winged Dragon of Ra" from your hand or Deck, ignoring its Summoning conditions, and if you do, its ATK/DEF become 4000.
Market Price: $2.85
When a monster(s) would be Summoned, OR a Spell/Trap is activated: Pay half your LP; negate the Summon or activation, and if you do, destroy that card.
Market Price: $0.96
2+ monsters with different names
If this card is Link Summoned: You can discard 1 card, then target 1 card on the field; return it to the Deck, then, if this card was co-linked when this effect was activated, you can draw 1 card. You can only use this effect of "Knightmare Unicorn" once per turn. While any co-linked "Knightmare" monsters are on the field, for your normal draw in your Draw Phase, draw 1 card for each different card name among those co-linked "Knightmare" monsters, instead of drawing just 1 card.
Pot of Extravagance
Market Price: $28.86
At the start of your Main Phase 1: Banish 3 or 6 random face-down cards from your Extra Deck, face-down; draw 1 card for every 3 cards banished. For the rest of this turn after this card resolves, you cannot draw any cards by card effects.
Market Price: $0.58
Once per turn: You can shuffle 1 other "Altergeist" card from your hand or face-up from your field into the Main Deck; add 1 "Altergeist" monster from your Deck to your hand.
Market Price: $19.51
At the end of the Battle Phase, if your opponent controls more cards than you do: You can make your opponent banish cards from their field face-down so they control the same number of cards as you do. If you control no cards, you can activate this card from your hand.
Market Price: $1.72
3+ Effect Monsters
Neither player can target this card with monster effects. Once per turn (Quick Effect): You can target 1 face-up monster on the field; it loses 500 ATK/DEF. Your opponent cannot activate cards or effects in response to this effect's activation. At the start of the Damage Step, if this card attacks an opponent's monster: You can place that opponent's monster in a zone this card points to and take control of it, but send it to the GY during the End Phase of the next turn.
Perhaps the winning formula all this time was a simple omission of Sangan. Pak Pamornsut didn't play it, sacrificing some access to Altergeist Multifaker and Salamangreat Almiraj for the good feeling of simply never drawing a card that you'll never want to draw.
Just saying, I've seen Sangan in a beaucoup of Salamangreat decks and not one Salamangreat duelist has had nice things to say about the three-eyed furball.
One-Up The Combo Deck
When asked why he played Altergeists in a format that was primed for SPYRALs to take charge of competition, Pamornsut dropped some wisdom that all of us should learn from. "It's the deck I was most comfortable with… I'm not going to play a deck I don't know," he said, recounting the seemingly infinitely long combos SPYRAL players are forced to learn to have a nuanced advantage (especially in the mirror match). On paper, Altergeists aren't as powerful or explosive as SPYRALs, but Pamornsut had an answer for that.
"If you hand trap them correctly, they literally pass."
We've seen combo decks like the full-powered Orcust, Gouki, and Thunder Dragon strategies that had so many resources that they can play through several hand traps, but SPYRALs aren't like that. Sure, one or two cards can turn into SPYRAL Resort, the destructive SPYRAL Sleeper and various SPYRAL traps, but the deck doesn't have unlimited steam. With the right obstructions the deck taps out.
Even if the SPYRAL deck has extenders to create bigger plays, it's relatively straightforward in its end goal. It has a high ceiling but a very transparent one, if you will. Now consider what Pamornsut ran in his deck to beat the onslaught that is SPYRALs.
First, you have Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring and Infinite Impermanence to stop your opponent before they can get going. But arguably more important, you have Evenly Matched and Altergeist Meluseek too, to pick apart an established SPYRAL board. Those cards are especially good because they don't conflict with anything you'd want to be doing normally in other match-ups.
One-card outs to big boards like The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Mode, Neo-Spacian Grand Mole, or any given Kaiju work well in large combo decks but can conflict in control decks. Pamornsut's counter cards are selected to fit a slower deck with big traps. Both Evenly Matched and Altergeist Meluseek act as ways to level the playing field while simultaneously fitting into the establshed Altergeist gameplan.
Evenly Matched works as a pseudo hand trap while Altergeist Meluseek searches Altergeist Multifaker, cards that really come in handy when you're forced to go second. Backrow heavy decks struggle going second, often forced to run conflicting hand traps with necessary real traps, but there's no conflict of interest here.
So while going first is awesome and would let Pamornsut setup the board, going second is a reality, and simply setting some cards and passing back to your opponent isn't an option. Take a look at the Side Deck and how it combines with the main deck. When you're rotating in The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Mode, Dinowrestler Pankratops, and Inspector Boarder, there's more ways to control the field and ultimately whittle down your opponent's resources.
"I lost the dice roll all the way to the finals," Pamornsut said, knowing the reality that his deck would need to be prepared going first or second. That's why Pot of Extravagance and Pot of Duality were so crucial to Pamornsut's success - getting to just one of the board breakers, whether it was a trap or a monster, provided the momentum he needed to start off strong or mount a comeback.
Respect Or Die, My New Slogan
If you view Altergeists purely as a trap deck that slowly whittles down your opponent, you're sorely Mistaken. While you can't defeat your opponent on Turn 1, giving Altergeists breathing room to dig in and create a set-up is a costly Mistake.
Pamornsut said it best describing his strategy: "It kills you if you don't respect it."
Not paying attention to the game board? Altergeist Multifaker comes down from the hand and throws out Altergeist Silquitous; an empty board suddenly turns into defensive bodies and an out to big monsters. Killing a Meluseek means dealing with Altergeist Kunquery, blocking more attacks.
But what if you don't attack? Obviously Altergeist Silquitous can bounce cards, but leaving monsters means dealing with Altergeist Hexstia, negating cards left and right. So after an Evenly Matched wipes the board, the opponent will have to deal with negation and recursion.
Even worse for the opponent, Altergeist Manifestation can revive Multifaker, getting another search… then another trap when it's banished from the graveyard. And that revived Multifaker gets another Altergeist from the deck, starting the cycle all over again. Return to hand, send to the graveyard, negate, or just run over something in battle. Altergeists might not be a combo deck first and foremost, but a single Altergeist Meluseek turns into a whack-ton of different options.
That said, the deck doesn't hinge solely on the Altergeist cards - those slowly accumulate to big boards, sure, but they aren't immune to interference. Your opponent might have all the answers, stopping Altergeist Meluseek with Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring or a well-timed Twin Twisters. Thankfully, Altergeists have access to a whole lot more.
Solemn Judgment, Solemn Strike, and Crackdown combined in tandem with the aforementioned Altergeists can be borderline unfair. Because Altergeists already have access to so many ways to pick apart the opponent and distill the game to a low resource situation, powerful traps are often a silver bullet.
No matter how many Altergeist Silquitous or Altergeist Hexstia someone has, there's always a chance the opponent has an out, or just a board so big that it keeps the Altergeists from having a chance anyways. What's the solution for that? In that case a single Solemn Judgement or Crackdown can really swing the momentum for a one card investment. In fact, that's how Pamornsut won in the finals; stealing a SPYRAL Double Helix with Crackdown shifts the momentum so drastically that there's just nothing left to stop the smaller Altergeists from running away with the game.
If you're not familiar with Altergeists, you'd clearly be Mistaken if you thought the deck can only set traps and pass. A single Evenly Matched or Altergeist Meluseek opens the door for pretty significanrt combos, turning the tables on your opponent and re-shaping the game as if the Altergeist player went first!
Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.
Loukas Peterson lives in Nashville, Tennessee, hoping one day to run in 5th Congressional District on the platform of "Fabled Link Monsters for Everyone." You can find him on Twitter or building a bonfire in his backyard to attract the local wildlife for an audience with his ukulele. Hailed as the only person capable of cooking Minute Rice in 56 seconds, Loukas is always looking at expanding his backyard to house every dog in the world without a home. Well, and those with homes already.