Anything that has Lunalights in it, I'm going to be excited about.Supporting engines like Orcusts, Danger and Knightmares are cool, but whenI saw that the recent Top Cut Lunalight builds were dedicating so muchspace to Lunalights themselves it really piqued my interest. You can givethe deck a fancy name, but I'll stick with Orcust Danger Lunalight today.

Regardless of creative innovations, the nomenclature alone tips you off tothe fair amount of crossover at work in these recent Top Cut builds. Inshort, the Orcust elements of the strategy - really just a few Main Deckmonsters – open up the Extra Deck to Dingirsu, the Orcust of the EveningStar and Longirsu, the Orcust Orchestrator.

Modern Lunalights concentrate less on the Extra Deck and more on floodingthe field with different Lunalight monsters. Lunalight Kaleido Chick sendsLunalights to the graveyard, triggering the effects of Lunalight YellowMarten and Lunalight Emerald Bird, while Luna Light Perfume and LunalightSerenade Dance balance the economy with "on field" effects and secondaryabilities that let you search more Lunalights.

And of course, there are the Danger monsters. With just a handful ofmonsters and no support cards, the common Danger engine's not so much atheme as it is a handy bunch of cards. They're like fancy, monster flavoredversions of Upstart Goblin, but they're important enough in current combodecks to warrant a piece of the naming prize.

Add in Fire Formation - Tenki and Lunalight Tiger and you'll have a concisepackage that summons a continuously stream of Lunalights, often kicking outmultiple monsters for the price of one. I'm not going to call the deck"Orcust Danger Lunalight Fire Formation Knightmares" because, come on, wehave to draw the line somewhere… This isn't Destiny Diva Zombie Plants, mypersonal worst Mistake to date.

Orcust Lunalights, our main focuses in today's discussion, simply means twothings. First you have the Orcust combo, and second there are Lunalights inplay to flood the board. That might seem pedantic, sure, but I mention thatbecause while the two profiles are similar, they each take some verydifferent paths to get to where they're going. Both themes center onestablishing big powerhouses on the field, but there isn't a definitive"best strategy" amongst the two.

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Before I talk about the differences betweenClifton Land's 2nd Place finish at YCS Niagara FallsandJohannes Urbicht's winning deck from YCS Ghent, I need to highlight some of the best parts of both decks, and some of thecombos that are essential to victory.

While we saw Outer Entity Azathot rise to popularity alongside The PhantomKnights' Rank-Up-Magic Launch and The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardicheearlier this year, there's a more proactive way to use that Xyz now; bygoing through Outer Entity Nyarla.

Between Danger! Mothman, Blackwing - Zephyros the Elite, Lunalight Tiger,Fire Formation - Tenki, Luna Light Perfume and roughly 981 other cards,it's not hard to see that getting two Level 4 monsters onto the field isreallyeasy in this strategy. Once you make Outer Entity Nyarla,you've already used three summons, so stacking Azathot on top of Nyarlamakes a fourth, and suddenly you've got yourself a perfect counter toNibiru, the Primal Being.

Even if Azathot leaves the field, you're still free to play around youropponent's hand traps after you render them inert. Outside of Effect Veilerit's hard to stop that Azathot combo because fielding two Level 4 monstersis so incredibly easy to do here. Whether the opponent has D.D. Crow for aLuna Light Perfume target or Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring to stop FireFormation - Tenki, Land and Urbicht had the answers, mostly by way ofredundant cards. It's like a magician who keeps pulling handkerchiefs outof his pocket.

Secondly, both duelists were packing my favorite Link Monster that almostnever sees competitive play these days, Curious, the Lightsworn Dominion.Curious sees so little table time these days because its summoningrequirements are so demanding. Three monsters of the same Attribute, butdifferent type? Who has time for that?

…Lightsworn decks?

Okay, sure. That's valid. But it turns out Danger and Lunalights can musterup those materials too! Lunalights obviously fulfill the Beast-Warriorquota, but their flooding the field also means plenty of cheap Extra Deckmonsters. So that Outer Entity Azathot and Raidraptor Force - Strix balancethe types you need, and if you factor in the Danger monsters you'll have aninstant Curious!

You could easily use a Luna Light Perfume, Lunalight Serenade Dance, orOrcust Crescendo to continue your combos, but that's notthe reasonCurious earned its place here! Let's get into the differences between thetwo builds.

DECKID=110080The real power of Curious, the Lightsworn Dominion is that it's a segueinto Knightmare Gryphon, which isn't normally part of the Orcust comboyou're probably familiar with. Instead of sending a combo extender to thegraveyard, you yard a card you want to fetch with Knightmare Gryphon,making it impossible for your opponent to do much of anything the followingturn. Land chose to play Summon Limit - a great card to see by itself, butbringing it back with Knightmare Gryphon means a complete shutdown of anycombo deck the following turn.

Even slower decks like Sky Strikers, Frogs, Kozmos and other rogue farecan't deal with Summon Limit well either. And in the mirror match what'sthere to do against Summon Limit except hope for an out? By starting withOuter Entity Azathot to secure the first turn and Summon Limit to pinchthem on the following turn you create a strong 1-2 punch that's tough toescape.

In terms of additional extenders, Land played a variety of both "real"extenders and cards that effectively serve as counters to hand traps so youcan play through. Monster Reborn, Foolish Burial, Foolish Burial Goods,Allure of Darkness - alone, those could easily pick off hand traps 1 by 1if needed, but they also made the deck more consistent and strengthened thecore theme. The excessive redundancy to play through hand traps ensuredLand's success.

Furthermore, World Legacy - "World Wand" and Lunalight Wolf were insurancewhen all else fails. After exhausting your hand with usable summons WorldWand fields gets you to another monster in a pinch, and Lunalight Wolf actsas a last resort to summon Lunalight Leo Dancer! Since Lunalight Kaleidochick sends Lunalights to the graveyard from the Main or Extra Deck, it'scomforting knowing that when all else fails you've still got one more acein the hole.

Sometimes I completely forget about Lunalight Wolf, focusing on LunalightKaleido Chick and Lunalight Serenade Dance to Fusion Summon, but it's 2019?Sometimes you don't have time for Polymerization.

DECKID=110085Johannes Urbicht went a different way, adding dimension to his deck bycapitalizing on Orcust Crescendo and playing more duplicates of certwinicards. Instead of Allure of Darkness, Monster Reborn or additionalsearchers, he stocked up on Danger! Mothman! and Lunalight Emerald Bird.Neither choice seems inherently better or worse, choosing between extraconsistency or last resort options; both decks still perform all the corecombos here brilliantly.

By running Gizmek Orochi, the Serpentron Sky Slasher, Urbicht focused onbig monsters that didn't need much set-up. And instead of trying to outplayhis opponents with an infinite stream of responses to counters he ranKumongous, the Sticky String Kaiju to simply take them out. One involvesbaiting negates while the other trades card economy to eliminate problemcards before the opponent has power to act.

Furthermore, Urbicht opted to play Imperial Order instead of Summon Limitto slow down his opponents. While Imperial Order may be more focused towardcountering specific decks, it shuts down some strategies so completely thatwhat's left is practically useless - namely Sky Striker. With AbyssDweller, Tornado Dragon and Dingirsu, the Orcust of the Evening Star,Urbicht already had all the answers he needed for monster removal andnegation and capitalized on Knightmare Gryphon and Imperial Order toremoval spells from the equation entirely.

There are some other minute differences between the two builds like the useof Chimeratech Megafleet Dragon, but the core principles of the two decksare rooted in the same powerful combos and consistent answers to opponent'sthreats, even if Land and Urbicht opted for different Gryphon targets anddifferent final boss monsters.

While the Side Decks diverged quite a bit, the two common cards are TwinTwisters and Nibiru, the Primal Being. One is a proactive way to eliminatemonster threats while the other rips apart rogue decks and often netspositive card economy. Twin Twisters is honestly is one of the bestmarriages of simplicity and card economy we've ever seen. On the surfaceyou're trading equal resources to deal with spells and traps, but bytriggering Danger cards and setting up the graveyard, I can't think of abetter side deck option.

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 "Fabled Link Monsters forEveryone." You can find him onTwitteror building a bonfire in his backyard to attract the local wildlife foran audience with his ukulele. Hailed as the only person capable ofcooking Minute Rice in 56 seconds, Loukas is always looking atexpanding his backyard to house every dog in the world without a home.Well, and those with homes already.