If you're like me, you're really into all the hidden stories behind thecards in this game; I'm always excited to see new cards further thebackstory of some of our favorite monsters.

In the case of Orcust Knightmare, the moral of the story seems to be thatif your sister ever gets possessed by an evil fairy and dies, maybe don'trebuild her in android form just so you can have another member of yourrock band.

But I digress. Orcusts are a niche strategy similar to Phantom Knights.They're the kind of theme where even just splashing a few of their cardscan influence an entire strategy. Congrats to Ed Acepcion and his Top 8finish with his Orcust hybrid at YCS Chicago, combining cards from allwalks of life to make a brilliant mash-up.

And when I said just "a few of their cards," I really meant it. The Orcustsuites we've been seeing in competition lately run somewhere around fourcards from the theme plus World Legacy - "World Wand" and a couple ExtraDeck picks. But don't dismiss those few cards as negligible fluff. WorldWand, Orcust Knightmare, Orcust Harp Horror, and Orcust Cymbal Skeletonsplinter off into a lot of different combos and they make a huge differencein any deck they're played.

Whether it be with Synchro Summons or an extra Link Material to push combosover the edge, the small Orcust suite always goes the extra mile. Cardsfrom the deck, cards from the graveyard… There's much more than meets theeye with these monsters.

DECKID=109520While it's not a pure Danger deck, Acepcion's Top 8 build certainly leanedinto some Danger that aren't always played by duelists looking purely tothin their decks and borrow only lightly from "pure" builds. Danger!Thunderbird! can be devastating in Game 1 against smug players with setcards aplenty, and by adding three copies of Danger! Mothman! Acepciontelegraphed the fact that he cared more about seeing cards than he didstrict economical card advantage. It's all about finding the cards heneeded and putting together the right combos at the right time.

Discarding the Danger cards obviously nets you some cool effects, but moreoften than not Danger players would rather discard other cards instead.That way you field a monster and thin your deck at the cost of a card inhand. With those goals in mind Danger! Mothman! is the best of both worlds.Either it'll hit the field to speed through the deck or Acepcion woulddiscard it and cycle through the deck more.

It may sound reckless, but in the land of Hand Traps Everywhere Acepcionneeded to have more options when any number of his cards were countered andstopped. Mothman facilitated that goal, whereas many Danger hybrids rightnow barely play one copy.

Another thing that might come as a shock was the lack of monstersone would typically Normal Summon in combo decks. Phantom Skyblaster,Batteryman Solar, you name it - those monsters that generate Tokens and setup the graveyard for bigger plays were entirely absent from this buildexcept for Dark Grepher. But with only one copy and its ability to SpecialSummon itself, Grepher hardly counts as a Normal Summon anyways.

Just like how Acepcion used Danger! Thunderbird! to destroy set cards, hisfocus fell again on trap heavy decks with the inclusion of Denko Sekka. Theirony isn't lost on anyone that noticed how two of Acepcion's focal cardswere two sides of the same, uh… Sekka, but prioritizing DENKO as his NormalSummon guaranteed him a big advantage against a large swath of decks. Bygoing second and having such a good shot at having Denko Sekka, youautomatically win a large percentage of your games.

It sounds elementary, but it's simple - sacrifice your Normal Summon invarious explosive combos to ensure victory against a large chunk of theplayer pool. Altergeists, Paleo Frogs, various rogue decks… completelycancelling those out of your deck building equation lets you draw a sharperfocus on the deck's main combos.

Can't Lose The Game If Your Opponent's Dead AlreadySpeaking of those combos, it's be fair if you look at Acepcion's deck andaren't sure how to classify it. As with most combo strategies, the answerslie in the extra deck and splitting the cards into either aggressive,defensive, or infrastructural.

Borrelsword Dragon, Borreload Dragon, Triple Burst Dragon, Yazi, Evil ofthe Yang Zing, Borreload Savage Dragon… turns out those beastly dragons andwyrms are extremely good at dealing massive damage, clearing threats, andeven negating cards along the way. Where cards like Summon Sorceress,Galatea, the Orcust Automaton, and various Knightmare monsters are largelystepping stones to the bigger monsters, the sheer ease with which he canbring bigger threats to the field really speaks to Acepcion's deck buildingprowess.

#####CARDID= 24849 #####

Similar to how I praised Danger! Mothman! earlier for its ability to digthrough the deck, Acepcion's main strategy lies in his ability to playthrough various problem cards and OTK his opponent while establishingnegation, similar to how many decks rely on Called by the Grave to makepushes for damage instead of using hand traps to keep their opponents down.

Instead of building unbreakable boards and shutting his opponent down withKnightmare Corrupter Iblee, Acepcion went the route of Orcust Knightmare,and that perfectly and succinctly describes his plan. The first card is acounter, and the other fields more monsters to deal more damage.

In short, most anything that could put monsters on the board withoutconflicting with Sekka's Light or Denko Sekka made the cut. FantasticalDragon Phantazmay hits the field and cycles through the deck while theKaijus out threats and come along to your field. Chances were, Acepcionwould be able to play through a handful of negates, establish his board,and potentially end the duel as soon as possible.

The Ol' Switcheroo
Once of my favorite parts about Ed's deck is the complete transformation inthe Side Deck to counter a new slew of problems. Sekka's Light in the MainDeck accelerates you through a ton of cards for more consistency, but italso provides an easy option for what to side out depending onwhat you need to counter.

The Phantom Knights combo - a path to Outer Entity Azathot on theopponent's turn - conflicts with Sekka's Light, but by taking out Sekka'sLight in Games 2 and 3 Ed tapped into other advantageous spells that thedraw power canceled out. Allure of Darkness and Card Destruction not onlycut his deck down to a manageable size, but simply put, Card Destruction isoften an instant win button.

Discarding a rogue Orcust or useless in-hand combo pieces is one thing, buthitting multiple Danger monsters with Card Destruction tips the scalemassively in your favor. For consistency, it makes more sense to playtriple Sekka's Light instead of just hoping to see Card Destruction inGames 2 and 3, but when Ed needed the Azathot combo or had to side in TwinTwisters and Red Reboot, Card Destruction and Allure of Darkness were rightthere to pick up the slack.

And at worst, The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak leads into andextra free card. Combo it together with Danger cards and you can snowballyour card economy more. But by changing the composition of the deck andsiding in upwards of 15 cards, Acepcion could take advantage of a lot ofdifferent options to outplay his opponents. Sometimes you're forced to sidein cards to counter a pesky problem card, but Ed's Side Deck morphed hisstrategy into something even more powerful.

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