I know we're fast approaching one of the craziest set releases in a while, but that doesn't mean it's not worth looking at some new twists on standard formulas. Ramiro Garcia's Regional Qualifier Top 8 Infernity Metalfoes deck made waves across the Yugiverse, and I couldn't be more thrilled.

At this point the Metalfoes formula's pretty much solved, and yet we've got another contender that adds new layers of strategy to an already versatile theme. Metalfoes are without a doubt the best Pendulum deck in competition right now, partly because of their destruction-fueled card advantage engine and their wide open, unrestricted Pendulum Scales. Even in strong decks like Draco Performapals, the Pendulum Scale was pretty much limited to summoning Level 3 or 4 monsters.

So despite the existing strength of Metalfoes, Ramiro Garcia pushed the envelope with a small Infernity engine reminiscent of Dark Performapal lists we saw early last year. Let's take a look at what he played, and then break down why it was so good.

DECKID= 107077The initial reaction that I've seen to this deck is "how can you call it an Infernity deck when there's only three Infernity cards?"

I think that's wholly incorrect, and many of my reasons are found in Zach's awesome article from last week. Basically, the Infernities make entire new combos exist, even though there's only technically three cards. However, I count the two Armageddon Knights and the Archfiend Heiress as an extension of that engine, bringing it up to a respectable six.

But how does that help out Metalfoes? Well, if you have one Armageddon Knight and a full Pendulum Scale with no cards in hand, you have a deadly play sequence at your finger tips. First, summon Armageddon Knight to send Archfiend Heiress to the graveyard and search Infernity Archfiend. Then Pendulum Summon Archfiend, using its effect to grab Infernity Launcher. Next, overlay your two Dark monsters for Number 66: Master Key Beetle, and detach Archfiend to protect any random card, most likely one of your Pendulum Scales or a backrow.

From there you can use Infernity Launcher to bring back the Archfiend from the graveyard, this time searching Infernity Barrier. That's a huge power play off of basically one card, and it's totally unexpected.

But It Gets Better
The cool part is that this play aligns perfectly with what Metalfoes are already doing, and it adds some extra consistency to standard Metalfoes interactions. The usual opening turn for Metalfoes sees them destroy all of their cards with the Metalfoes Pendulum effects, and then Pendulum Summoning all the destroyed cards back to the field. Outside of an End Phase Raremetalfoes Bismugear search, it's not uncommon to end with no cards in hand - exactly what Infernity Archfiend needs.

But my favorite thing is that when you're going second and the Infernity combo isn't the go-to play, you can use Archfiend Heiress to grab Archfiend Eccentrick, one of the best monsters for breaking boards and fixing hands by popping Metalfoes Combination. Garcia sided out the three Infernity cards every time he went second, but he kept in the Armageddon Knights and Archfiend Heiress to get to Archfiend Eccentrick almost every first turn.

What I also like is that there's room for expansion. I'm a fan of Blackwing - Zephyros the Elite in this deck because it can let you reuse your Pendulum Spell effects, creating some incredibly powerful openings when you consider Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer. You can also see that Garcia Side Decked one Shaddoll Dragon, something we've seen before. If he's taking out the Infernity cards going second it would only make sense to add Shaddoll Dragon to his deck, because he could then use Armageddon Knight to out cards like Anti-Spell Fragrance and Vanity's Emptiness. Heck, even if you draw the Dragon you can just pop it with a Metalfoes monster to destroy a backrow anyway!

Even More Disruption
Notice too that Garcia played the Guiding Ariadne engine with three Solemn Strike and one Solemn Warning in addition to Infernity Barrier. Counter Traps have fallen out of favor in Metalfoes, but this version's boosted access to Archfiend Eccentrick lets you trigger Ariadne's search effect even more often.

That said, Garcia had to make some cuts to fit his two main engines. There's no Qliphort Scout or Qliphort Monolith, but that's not totally surprising since the Infernity engine accomplishes a similar goal: setting up a strong board Turn 1 with a piece of negation. The Infernities and Armageddon Knights are actually a lot more versatile. Qliphorts only really have one purpose: making Cyber Dragon Infinity. But the Dark engine lets you see Archfiend Eccentrick more often, and also outs floodgates in Games 2 and 3.

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Garcia had to remove Rescue Rabbit too, likely because he wanted every Normal Summon to be Armageddon Knight or Majespecter Raccoon - Bunbuku. He also played just two Pot of Desires instead of three despite running a 45 card deck. While triple Desires has become near-staple in a lot of builds, banishing any the Infernity cards can have serious consequences. Pot of Desires is an incredibly powerful card, but this might be one of the few decks where it's correct to not max out with three copies.

Besides the Guiding Ariadne and Dark monsters, Garcia's deck is pretty standard. Three of each Metalfoes monster and one of each of the spells and traps has become commonplace, as have two Painful Decision and three Archfiend Eccentrick. That basically leaves Vanity's Emptiness, one of the best traps in the game right now; I'm sure you're not shocked by its appearance.

The Future Of Metalfoes
Pendulum Summoning is one of the best mechanics in Yu-Gi-Oh! because you have nearly infinite resources, and a built in Soul Charge every turn for free. Metalfoes are without a doubt the most competitive Pendulum deck right now, but their future is uncertain.

With the new D/D/D cards released last Friday, as well as Zoodiacs coming out next month, it's difficult to say whether Metalfoes will remain a top contender. There have been some successful Zoodiac Metalfoes lists in Japan, but their format is quite different from ours. With a bunch of new decks coming out in the next few months, it's impossible to tell if Metalfoes will still be relevant.

However, as one of the most flexible and consistent Pendulum Summoning themes in the game, it's easy to see that if Metalfoes are going to stay competitive, it's going to involve other engines. Qliphorts, Ultimaya Tzolkin, Infernities, Zoodiacs, and Yang Zings could all help Metalfoes against impending progress, but it's up to duelists to figure out the best way to build those variants. I think Garcia's achievement is a great sign of what's to come, and I was thrilled to watch it happen!

-Doug Zeeff

Doug Zeeff hails from Michigan and is currently an English major in college. When he's not found emailing Konami about why there's not a single walrus card in all of Yu-Gi-Oh! you can find him regularly posting unorthodox, unfiltered semi-Yu-Gi-Oh! related content on his Youtube channel, Dzeeff. In his spare time he enjoys eating cheese, Overwatch, and, of course, playing Yu-Gi-Oh. Click here to follow him and his adventures on Facebook!