We already saw one player flirt with that idea at YCS London:Joshua Schmidt's FTK listincluded a backup strategy in his Side Deck in the event that his FTK wasstopped. He'd set up a defensive board by siding in a copy of KnightmareGryphon and one of several floodgates if his Firewall Dragon was banished,negated, or otherwise couldn't be Summoned.
You might recall Joshua Schmidt as the winner of YCS Prague last year, butSchmidt's collective history as a player is wild. He's had massive successin Europe with two YCS wins, a 2nd Place finish in 2016, and close to adozen Top Cuts at European YCS events. His high profile is enough of areason to check in on his build choices regularly, but this particularRegional Top stands out even among his best work; an adaptation of theengines that power the Danger! Dark World FTK, but aiming to Summon Number86: Heroic Champion - Rhongomyniad to shut down his opponent's ability toSummon monsters completely.
The concept isn't Schmidt's idea – and you can check his deck profile to seehow the idea ended up becoming his choice for the Pforzheim Regional. Butit was remarkably successful, it's a tremendous threat in competition.
The end goal of Schmidt's strategy was the Xyz Monster Number 86: HeroicChampion - Rhongomyniad and its four material effect: while Rhongomyniadhas four or more Xyz Materials your opponent cannot Summon monsters. Thiseffect's totally insane, and despite Rhongomyniad's difficult Summoningrequirements we've seen it pop up in deck lists over the years as playerstry to tap it as a win condition. Satellarknights were once Rhongomyniad'shome, but Xyz Summoning it wasn't a consistent strategy there and it waslargely unnecessary in an already successful deck.
DECKID=109293Unlike Warrior-heavy strategies of the past, Schmidt's build was designedto spit out a five-material Rhongomyniad on Turn 1 as often as possible.Schmidt explained the typical comboin a deck profile recorded immediately after the event, but the key playthat makes the strategy possible involves Summoning Number 75: BamboozlingGossip Shadow.
With both Rhongomyniad and Bamboozling Gossip Shadow on the field Schmidtcould attach his second Xyz Monster and all of it materials to Rhongomyniadto bump it up to five materials total. All he needed to do was activateBamboozling Gossip Shadow's second effect and target Rhongomyniad, and fromthere his opponent would have very few plays going into their first turn.
Rhongomyniad winds up at 3000 ATK, impervious to battle and with immunityto card effects. It also gets a floodgate effect that stops opponents fromSummoning monsters. Its mass removal ability is usually irrelevant when youSummon it so early, but since Schmidt was attaching materials with Number75: Bamboozling Gossip Shadow he could add more materials to Shadow firstbefore passing them to Rhongomyniad. Ideally he would end his first turnwith six materials on it, which meant he'd have five materials by the timehis second turn came around. Assuming his opponent couldn't outRhongomyniad in a single turn Schmidt would simply activate thefive-material effect of Rhongomyniad to destroy his opponent's field, thenattack directly to end the duel.
The Summoning restriction on Rhongomyniad is enough of a problem for mostdecks. Losing your first turn to a floodgate is nothing new, butRhongomyniad's exceptionally difficult to remove from the field once it'simmune to effects and shuts down your Summoning. You can't rely on any cardeffect that directly interacts with the monster itself, andtributing it for a Kaiju is impossible. The only card that comes to mind asa potential solution is Xyz Encore, which can target Rhongomyniadand will strip it of Xyz Materials before bouncing it back to the ExtraDeck.
Most players probably won't be siding Xyz Encore anytime soon, so for nowthe Rhongomyniad drop is effectively game over in most match-ups. That wasthe case for Schmidt in every game he Summoned it, although I could see theoccasional duelist maybe sneaking out of a five-material Rhongomyniad withthe right trap line-up. That said, an uninterrupted six-materialRhongomyniad isn't much different than an actual FTK. If you didn't draw ahand trap you've already lost, and unfortunately that's the story we'reseeing across multiple match-ups this format.
To top it all off, Rhongomyniad's power and survivability is augmented bythe rest of Schmidt's end board. Ideally Schmidt would end with a fieldthat included The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche, or at least some LinkMonster with downward arrows so Number 75: Bamboozling Gossip Shadow can beXyz Summoned. He'd have plenty of space to Summon more Extra Deck monsterson the following turn to end the game quickly – a necessity since thatfive-material Rhongomyniad would lose its floodgate effect by Schmidt'sthird turn.
Doing More With 60 Cards
Joshua Schmidt's monster line-up was an impressive thirty-seven cards. Thebulk of that wasn't too different from what we've already seen from Danger!Dark World FTK builds, including the usual play starters like Vision HEROVyon, Dark Grepher, and Armageddon Knight. There are plenty of extendershere too: dozens of easily Special Summoned monsters and a handful ofspells and traps that add monsters to the field. Again, it's nothing tooradical if you've been paying attention to FTK builds since YCS Niagara,but there are a few cards worth pointing out in Schmidt's version.
World Legacy Succession continues to see an insane amount of play in aformat where it's effectively a second, third, and fourth copy of MonsterReborn. While it can't help start plays, it can Salvage a combo that wasinterrupted by a hand trap. Special Summoning Armageddon Knight withSuccession is incredibly powerful even if a key Link Monster was negated.Succession offers huge value as long as there are Linked Zones on your sideof the field, and Schmidt clearly realized that when he decided to leanheavily into play extenders. It was a powerful addition to his strategythat paired nicely with cards that provided lower value for less effortlike Instant Fusion.
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Yazi, Evil of the Yang Zing isn't a new game-changing addition to Schmidt'sExtra Deck, but it has added significance in his build where an OTK'snecessary to conclude the Rhongomyniad lock. If Schmidt's opponent couldsomehow wall up behind defensive effects and monsters they could manage tosurvive long enough and outlast the lock. Schmidt would want to avoid thatat all costs, so he'd use Yazi and Mare Mare to seal the deal againstopponents who would try to stall out Rhongomyniad's floodgate effect.
The Scrap Dragon-like effect of Yazi helps clear a path for direct attacksfrom Rhongomyniad and any other Link Monsters that might be on the field,but when Yazi's second effect kicks in it's game over for any opponentstill under the influence of Rhongomyniad. Schmidt would use Yazi to SummonMare Mare before converting Mare Mare's Tokens into Borrelsword Dragon.
You're probably well aware of the OTK potential of Borrelsword, and thatmakes it an excellent follow-up to the Rhongomyniad lock. Schmidt woulddestroy a card and put a 3000 ATK double-attacker on the board for the lowprice of an Armageddon Knight and Destrudo, the Lost Dragon's Frisson.There's just no card in the game with more potential value than ArmageddonKnight, and Destrudo's a big part of that.
A Future Beyond The FTK
Firewall Dragon or other key components of the Danger! Dark World FTK mayend up on the Forbidden List soon, but Schmidt's build could be seen as anFTK-like successor should something happen to the loop with Grapha, DragonLord of Dark World. The power of Armageddon Knight and similar cards arejust too strong this format, and that's especially true thanks to Isolde,Two Tales of the Noble Knights requiring Warriors. It's arguably the bestLINK-2 in the game right now, and it's frighteningly easy to Summon thanksto Destiny HERO - Malicious and the nine or so cards Schmidt played to dumpMalicious in the graveyard.
It's hard to know exactly what's on the chopping block, but it's likelythat Firewall Dragon would be among the first to hit the Forbidden List.Schmidt didn't even play Firewall, so his build could be safe. Even ifIsolde lands on the Forbidden List there are still other themes that couldpick up where the deck's Dark Warrior engine leaves off. The Rhongomyniadessentially requires a Link 2, a Rank 4, and a Rank 3, and that's not aterribly tall order for a deck that's built from the ground up toaccomplish just that.
Schmidt's build is also slightly better going second than most other FTKbuilds. Rhongomyniad's an aggressive powerhouse and can easily OTK bynuking the board. Schmidt wasn't playing as much themed removal, however,and at 60 cards in his Main Deck he ran the risk of not finding an out to aspell or trap-based floodgate. That said, his Side Deck was stacked withanswers to work around hand traps, floodgates, and traditional traps.
I'm sure we're going to see more non-FTK builds playing a Dark Warriorengine mixed with Danger! monsters, but time will tell if they ultimatelybecome more popular than FTKs. It might be time to start investing in XyzEncore.
Until next time then
Kelly Locke is a West Michigangamer and writer. In addition to writing onTCGplayer, Kelly writes a personal blog covering Yu-Gi-Oh!, Destiny, andother hobbies. You can follow him onTwitter and check out his Youtube channel. He also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.