Even though Goukis have yet to make it big as a self-contained and purearchetype, we've seen the theme dominate competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! thanks toits resilience and the ability to make a continued stream of searches forGouki cards. With Gouki Re-Match in the mix, it takes very little toestablish a dominating deluge of Goukis on your way to a bevy of LinkMonsters and the like.

Whether it's through Topologic Gumblar Dragon tricks or Extra Linking,Gouki cards pave the way for a bevy of combos and brutal Turn 1 setups.Arguably, Number 86: Heroic Champion - Rhongomyniad comes across as themost straightforward of boss monsters because it's an all-in-one package ofdevastation. Thanks to Number 76: Bamboozling Gossip Shadow, a fullystocked Rhongo is never far away.

My good friend Joe Bogli crushed the competitionlast weekend at the ARGCS in Hartford Connecticut, taking only one loss in Swiss play and never looking back. Through afield of Thunder Dragons, Sky Striker, Altergeist, and… Trains – that'sright, Trains – Joe Bogli is your newest ARGCS Champion.

I had the privilege of talking with him about his time at the event, boththe good and the bad, and there wasn't much to report on that was "bad"!Congrats to Joe for his resounding victory.

…As for his opponents? There was quite a bit of "bad" for them this pastweekend. Check out Bogli's slim 40 card creation.

DECKID=109476It might be unfair to call the deck anything beyond Gouki Rhongo, but it'sequally unfair to dismiss everything else that carried Bogli's strategy tovictory. Yes, a single Gouki can streamline the progression of plays andmitigate the cost of cards like Twin Twisters and D.D.R. - DifferentDimension Reincarnation, but the other pieces of the puzzle are equallyimportant to this deck's success.

Consider the Phantom Knights as a small but important portion of thestrategy. The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak and The Phantom Knights ofSilent Boots only clock in at one copy apiece, but they're important combopieces and extenders as well. Ancient Cloak searches The Silent Boots whenit hits the graveyard, and with the proper discard outlet you'll thensearch The Phantom Knights of Shade Brigandine.

Let me back up in case you're not too familiar with the central combomonster for all this: Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights. The LinkMonster searches and Special Summons Warriors, and it's basically thelynchpin of the strategy. Isolde is the reason why the deck can afford toplay so many seemingly random Warriors and succeed in big tournaments.

Junk Forward and Blue Mountain Butterspy fall into a niche category thatembodies the definition of "Miscellaneous." Without a heavy focus on onename-stamped theme, those two monsters exist in this deck to compliment theother cards. In the same way that one of those cards and a Gouki fieldsIsolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights, you can pair one of theMiscellaneous cards with a Phantom Knight for the same results and to startyour plays in different ways.

That's what most of the deck is, and that's why it works so well –structural consistency begets consistent results. Without any hand traps orexcessive fluff, Bogli kept the card count at a lean 40 cards to ensure hisopening turn would net him Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights. Bogli'sopening hand was subpar in the first turn of the finals, but The PhantomKnights of Ancient Cloak and Blue Mountain Butterspy made it work; all heneeded was two Warriors and Bogli was ready to go.

I often recommend the strong, committed use of deck space for backupthemes, but deck space doesn't always merit that luxury. Yes, Bogli ran ThePhantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche, but that Link Monster provides LinkArrows pointed in favorable directions built into an easy to make series ofplays. Bogli could have added Phantom Knights' Fog Blade as anothercounter, but the end goal was always Number 86: Heroic Champion -Rhongomyniad, and that supersedes the necessity to dive deeper into otherthemes.

I've touted the worth of Neo Space Connector and Neo-Spacian Aqua Dolphinbefore, but that hints at the duplicity of tech choices Bogli was facedwith. Obviously, Neo Space Connector fulfills the Warrior requirement forIsolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights, but just as importantly it's anavenue for Neo-Spacian Aqua Dolphin, a card that picks apart opposing handsif an errant hand trap is waiting to strike you down.

#####CARDID= 24588 #####

The challenge was that in keeping his deck count to 40 cards, Bogli neededto be ever mindful to maximize the use of his resources. Everything neededto pull double duty. Instant Fusion and Invoked Raidjin gives easy accessto a Warrior monster while also countering things like Thunder DragonColossus, but Instant Fusion also fields the Level 3 Dragoness the WickedKnight for Xyz Summons. In effect, Instant Fusion became a multi-tool allon its own.

"One thing to note," Bogli commented on his specific choices, like playingDragoness over Karbonala Warrior. "Playing the [Dragoness] comes up a lotmore than people think. Same thing with playing Leviair the Sea Dragon.They both are actually important due to finishing a combo through a handtrap or an 'awkward' hand to make a Number 86: Heroic Champion -Rhongomyniad with proper materials to shut off your opponent."

Take that, Phantom Knights' Fog Blade!

Not A Bad Card In Sight
As great as hand traps are, they cut into your chances of drawing morecombo pieces pretty severely; it's a balancing act every duelist and everydeck has to contend with.

"I chose not to play any hand traps or real traps because they decreaseyour consistency of opening with combo cards in order to 'play' throughopposing hand traps or breaking an opponent's board," Bogli said in defenseof his deck. "I'm not saying hand traps are not good, but for this kind ofdeck I chose to not play [any hand traps]."

Obviously not every opening hand gets you the best outcome, buthere are the following starter combos Bogli had in his opening games duringthe finals, just to highlight the deck's power.

- Neo Space Connector + The Phantom Knights of Shade Brigandine

- The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak + Blue Mountain Butterspy

- Junk Forward + Gouki Suprex

- Instant Fusion + Gouki Suprex

At face value those openings look clunky and demand a better backup plan,but in every situation Bogli easily made Number 86: Heroic Champion -Rhongomyniad, Topologic Gumblar Dragon or both, and sometimes picked offhis opponent's entire remaining hand afterwards.

"The deck has a very high ceiling when doing combos and each hand canhonestly perform some type of combo. A lot of variations can end with thesame end result," Bogli talked transforming apparent trash into treasure -treasure that was very painful for his opponents. "I usually endmy Turn 1 – whether I'm getting hand trapped or not – on [Rhongomyniad]with 5-6 materials, hitting 2-3 cards with [Neo-Spacian Aqua] Dolphin, andGumblar for [more]."

"Some hands can honestly do all of the above if you open 'perfect'," Boglicontinued, and he's not wrong. Because so many of the combos areinterchangeable (Summoner Sorceress and Isolde, Two Tales of the NobleKnights capitalize on Warriors of all shapes and colors), Bogli's deck onlybegets consistency.

Like The Back Of Your Hand
When asked about possible edits to the deck, Bogli was very pleased withhow his strategy fared over the 2-day event. "As of right now, I'm notchanging... I'm going to possibly use the deck at future tournaments."Sometimes it makes sense - why mess with success? "But I'm very, verycontent with how my deck performed through my weekend and didn't wish I hadany other card written in my deck list."

With only one loss the entire tournament you might think it was smoothsailing, but the Side Deck hints at the many pitfalls Bogli - along withanyone else - might face over the course of a Championship weekend. Threecopies of Twin Twisters, Book of Eclipse, and Red Reboot…those cards mightoften look like net losses in terms of sheer card economy, but thedividends Bogli got from playing through tough fields really showed.

#####CARDID= 23177 #####

"I literally know every single combo through hand traps… hand traps weren'tever a problem for me during the tournament," Bogli said, speaking of howhe built the deck to play through situations purposefully, rather than justreact. The only defensive card more mirrors and offensive push; after all,Called by the Grave just lets you play your cards like you were going toanyway.

I asked Bogli about some of the tougher matchups he played or at leastexpected to play, and ironically Number 86: Heroic Champion - Rhongomyniadhas one notable weakness: itself. "The majority of the tournament wasplayed by Thunder Dragon variants and Sky Striker."

Look back at Bogli's Side Deck, and I bet you can guess what he planned onseeing the most: "For my deck, my hardest matchup out of [Sky Striker,Thunder Dragons, and Altergeist] is Altergeist going second. Simply becauseof all their 'real' traps they play!"

Yeah, heaven forbid someone try to stop you, Joe.

With the success of winning a New Jersey Regional Qualifier the week beforeand a thunderous performance in Hartford, Bogli plans on keeping with thedeck and continuing to refine his plays to ensure his win streak staysalive. For now, our congratulations go out to him for his latest victory!

Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson


Loukas Peterson lives in Nashville, Tennessee, hoping one day to run in5th Congressional District on the platform of "Marshmallows forEveryone." When he's not submitting ideas for Fabled support and aFabled Link monster, you can find him building a bonfire in hisbackyard to attract the local wildlife for an audience with hisukulele. Hailed as the only person capable of cooking Minute Rice in 56seconds, Loukas is always looking at expanding his backyard to houseevery dog in the world without a home. Well, and those with homesalready.


Do you love winning with unconventional strategies? Do you lovecreating mash-ups? Does your deck need an injection of crazy? Send thefollowing torerouting.tcgplayer@gmail.comto have your deck featured in the "Re-Routing" deck fix column!

-Your Main and Extra Deck list. (No Side Deck needed, but please send awritten deck list, not a screencap; screencapped deck lists will befiled and then burned in the furnace accordingly… and your deck shouldbe TCG legal).

-Your name and city.

-Remember, please use full card names! Abbrevs and mis-sipllngs makeLoukas' life sad. Try your darndest to get the TCG name on there.

-A paragraph or two describing your deck: what it does, why you'replaying it, and its strengths and weaknesses. "Winning" is not astrategy per se, and neither is "beating your opponents before theybeat you."

-Your favorite card from the build and why – make me fall in love withthe deck! The cooler your strategy the more I'll want to fix it, and ifyou throw in funny jokes, that'll surely get my attention too; bewarned, unfunny jokes will push your deck to the back of the stack.Don't be afraid to get creative! New stuff takes priority, because I'mnot bored of it yet! –LJP