Satellarknights were part of the trifecta of dominance ushered in withDuelist Alliance,when that set fundamentally changed the game backin 2014. It's rare that booster sets or even single cards are pivotalenough to restructure the game as much as Master Rule changes, but DUEA wasjust one of those sets. Burning Abyss and Shaddolls may have been theunequivocal "best decks" at the time, but even the "lesser" strategy ofSatellarknights cleaned up every other deck in competition.

It's like the time I entered a competitive Smash Bros. tournament. I lostto someone, and they said - and I quote, "Wow, I've never even won a matchand I've played in four of these!" They were the Satellarknights of theday, and I was the Fableds.

There haven't been too many Satellarknight hybrids over the years - thedeck simply doesn't lend itself to crazy combos or complicated plays. Stepone normally involves finding a way to Satellarknight Deneb, and step twois Satellarknight Altair, which in turn restricts which monsters you canattack with. What's step three? Setting a trap?

Not exactly combo friendly, is it?

That's not to say Satellarknights are weak by any means – the strategy'sjust very focused (and equally straightforward). Haidar-Ahmad played thedeck with a lot of hand traps and cards that break big boards, without anyneed to diversify his goals or make the deck anymore complicated.Historically speaking the two easiest Link Combo strategies revolve aroundIsolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights and Knightmare Mermaid. One requiresEquip Spells and the other is, well, Forbidden now.

Don't fix what isn't broken, ya know?

DECKID=110168Despite a bevy of stars, Satellarknights use only a handful of theirtheme-stamped cards in competitive play. Satellarknight Alsham,Satellarknight Procyon, and Satellarknight Sirius have seen use in ahandful of fringe strategies, but the deck really centers on SatellarknightAltair. While Satellarknight Deneb's the primary vehicle to access Altair,Altair's the missing piece - reviving Deneb turn after turn is how you keepyour coffers stocked with resources while youu deplete your opponents'.

We've seen several iterations of Satellarknights win tournaments since theywere introduced, but I think the deck we're looking at today is the bestapproach moving forward: it's fully stocked on hand traps without ignoringrevival traps, recycling your cards by maknig the same plays multiple turnsin a row.

In short, you use Call Of The Haunted to bring back Satellarknight Altair,which revives Satellarknight Deneb to search a spare Satellarknight, andthen you Xyz Summon Darktellarknight Batlamyus and discard your newlysearched Satellarknight to make Stellarknight Triverr. You'll bounce yourCall Of The Haunted, technically ending with a positive card economy, andyour opponent will see all their cards bounced back to their hand.

If that wasn't good enough, stack Stellarknight Constellar Diamond on topof Triverr, and you've shifted the tempo of the game drastically byexploiting the power of a single Call Of The Haunted or Oasis of DragonSouls.

That might be over-generalizing the strategy a bit, but that play sequenceis so strong that I'm not selling anything short. After all, the rest ofthe deck feeds into this central strategy. Satellarknight Vega means youdon't have to go through Darktellarknight Batlamyus to achieve yourultimate Stellarknight Triverr play, and Satellarknight Unukalhai feedsyour revival traps that much sooner.

The other Satellarknight components - Stellarnova Alpha and SatellarknightSkybridge – function very differently, but they're both important to thestrategy because they help mitigate subpar opening turns. Skybridge notonly dodges hand traps but it gets you the necessary Satellarknightssooner. While you're restricted to tellarknight summons with that monster,worst case scenario you'll have Stellarnova Alpha to work with instead ifDarktellarknight Batlamyus isn't working out for you.

Hello, It's Me, Super Poly
There's no denying the power of the Satellarknights in a vacuum, but thestrongest thing about Haidar-Ahmad's deck is the sheer punishment it dolesout against anyone trying to go first. With Ash Blossom & JoyousSpring, D.D. Crow, and Infinite Impermanence all mained, it's really hardto get something by Haidar-Ahmad when you're going first. And even if hisopponent manages to make plays, Evenly Matched, Dinowrestler Pankratops,and Super Polymerization are can devastate even the strongest boards oncehe's up to bat.

By focusing only on the most essential Satellarknights - that is,leveraging Satellarknight Altair and revival traps - Haidar-Ahmad had theluxury of simplifying the game with the onslaught of counters, in drasticfashion.

Going first isn't the worst, but Haidar-Ahmad stated that he lost nearlyevery die role and absolutely punished his opponents for it. Instead ofhopefully seeing a Deneb and setting a few counters, Haidar-Ahmad had avariety of hand traps to staunch plays before they could build up and wouldthen unleash devastating follow-ups with an extra draw having gone second.When the dust settled, he'd come out on top as soon as he sawSatellarknight Altair.

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Because of this focused approach, the Extra Deck and Side Deck don't needto be bloated in the pursuit of crazy combos. The Side Deck can betransformed into a slightly slower build with Solemn Judgement, ArtifactSanctum and Card of Demise, but that won't affect the overall compositionof the deck much. Haidar-Ahmad still used most of his resources to pickapart whatever fields people could muster while falling back on his planfor Satellarknight Altair triumph.

What's most surprising is the Extra Deck, with a meager one Link Monster. Idon't think I've seen a deck with so few Links in a long time, but theylargely just aren't needed here. Unless Haidar-Ahmad had the perfect handbacked up with multiple copies of Call Of The Haunted and infiniteSatellarknights, it's difficult to pump out a lot of Link monsters anyways.

Sometimes a simple Tornado Dragon or Abyss Dweller will be enough to holddown the duel, having dealt with every other threat via Stellarnova Alphaor Dinowrestler Pankratops. Obviously the Satellarknight strengths are ahuge focus for this deck, but simplifying the game with a variety ofcounters means even a simple monster – or at least one that's not veryfancy – can be enough to win the game.

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 onTwitter or 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.