If you aren't aware of Number 86: Heroic Champion - Rhongomyniad and itsdominance on the current Yu-Gi-Oh! format, you're a lucky duelist.

Basically if you can Summon both Number 75: Bamboozling Gossip Shadow andthe Number Rhongomyniad on your first turn, you steal the duel then andthere. Since Gossip Shadow can feed Rhongomyniad more than just twomonsters, a Rhongomyniad with six Xyz Materials means your opponent's firstturn is all but moot. And even as one material falls off, its 5 materialeffect of destroying all your opponent's cards paves the way for victory onthe following turn.

Needless to say Rhongo's been a very popular strategy in recent monthssince Armageddon Knight and Destiny HERO - Malicious fostered that dazzlingcombo so easily in the last format, but it turns out that even in this newformat, the hits to both those cards were only so important. Since manyRhongomyniad combos are funneled through Isolde, Two Tales of the NobleKnights, getting multiple Warrior-type monsters onto the table basicallyachieved the same goal.

The deck hasn't slowed down much, and with the release of Neo SpaceConnector as another way to field two Warrior monsters, you canargue that the Isolde shenanigans are even easier to pull off. Factor in aspare Soul Charge or Foolish Burial and making Rhongomyniad's as easy asever.

Sorrentino Pierluigi piloted his deck to a Top 32 finish in Milan, and abig congrats goes to him for setting the pace for the strategy for thecoming weeks! Here's what he ran.

DECKID=109423Pierluigi had to adapt for the new Forbidden & Limited List, but evenwith Armageddon Knight Limited there were ways to speed up the deck tocompensate. "I decided to cut the Danger monsters," Pierluigi explained. "Ijust wanted more Warriors, and you only need two to start."

Pierluigi lauded Neo Space Conductor complimentary to Neo-Spacian Dolphinas an instant Isolde, but that's not the only way he made up for ArmageddonKnight and Destiny HERO - Malicious' hits. With Super Quantum Red Layer,Junk Forward, Blue Mountain Butterspy and Invoked Raidjin along for theride, even a stuffed 60-card deck can fields two Warriors consistently.

But in adjusting his own list to maximize efficiency and power, Pierluigialso had to consider what his biggest hurdles would be come tournament day:Thunder Dragons and Sky Strikers. That said he was well prepared for bothmatchups.

"I played three of Magical Mid-Breaker Field and three Twin Twistersbecause one is good against hand traps and they're both good against SkyStrikers," Pierluigi said, who seemed to stuff his deck with nearly as manycounters to spells and hand traps as he ran combo cards. "Of course, I alsohave three Called by the Grave for hand traps."

Pierluigi also had to find comfortable intersections between what wouldhelp his core game plan function and what would be a sufficient detrimentto his opponents. "I decided to play three Kaiju, the Dark one," Pierluigiremarked, referring to his three copies of Radian, the MultidimensionalKaiju. It was a strong counter to Thunder Dragon Colossus and it could alsofeed Dark Grepher in a pinch, hitting that sweet spot between his coregoals and his need to disrupt his opposition. "They were really, reallygood against Striker, and against Thunder Dragon Colossus. That's also whyI play Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, for [Thunder Dragon Colossus.]"

It's a thin line to tightrope walk on, but Pierluigi tried to balance hiscombo extenders with starter cards alongside counters and see what couldfit into that polarizing Venn Diagram. That's why so many cards made thecut that may seem out of place or overly specialized. Three InstantFusions, despite only one compatible monster in the form of InvokedRaidjin, was well worth it; it gets a Warrior onto the table without eatingyour Normal Summon, it baits hand traps, and it's another answer to ThunderDragon Colossus. That kind of full-spread coverage was one of the biggestkeys to Pierluigi's success.

#####CARDID= 24386#####

But where would consistency be without some power plays to keep yourceiling high? Yazi, Darkness of the Yang Zing combined with Mare Mareoffers an out to a range of threats. Mare Mare lets you effectively controlthe Level of a Destrudo the Lost Dragon's Frisson in the graveyard, or itcan lead directly into Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier or Power ToolDragon.

"Yazi is best when going second," explained Pierluigi, "but if you gofirst, you can give them a monster with Summon Sorceress, and combo offfrom there as long as you have any two Warriors and another monster."Again, he was emphasizing that intersection between problem-solving spotremoval and the main combos he'd rely on to win games. "Then withMare-Mare, you can finish and make Gumblar or Number 86."

Identifying Priorities And Combos
It's easy to be distracted by shiny new toys, and I'll be the first toadmit that I'm not immune to that problem when it comes to deckbuilding. Inthis day and age almost any deck can kick out giant boss monsters andsupporting powerhouses to match, but good deck builders know that the realchallenge is balancing consistency with power.

A-to-Z-Dragon Buster Cannon's easy to summon if you have patience, luck,two Fusions, and your opponent just stops playing Yu-Gi-Oh, sure. But it'snot exactly reliable.

Pierluigi opted to side F.A. Dawn Dragster not because the card lacks powerbut because it doesn't facilitate his core combos. The Level 7 Synchro'sthe first thing that springs to mind for me when I consider plays withDestrudo the Lost Dragon's Frisson, but keep in mind that the real priorityhere is Number 86: Heroic Champion - Rhongomyniad. In Pierluigi's ownwords, "Armageddon Knight is the best card in the deck." And he's notwrong. By itself, it starts the journey towards virtually every combo,including plays that involve Power Tool Dragon.

Why is that seemingly innocuous interaction so important? Because you can'talways dictate what's in your hand, you'll need to maximize what you cancontrol as efficiently as possible. For Pierluigi, that meant getting anextra Armageddon Knight effect by way of D.D.R. - Different DimensionReincarnation, which is "just" a Power Tool Dragon away.

Since this build has no other way to send monsters from the deck to thegraveyard doubling down on Armageddon Knight is that much more important,unlocking two miniature themes of Phantom Knights, Destiny Heroes,Blackwings, or Destrudo in one shot. I mean, sure, Destrudo isn't a themeas a single entity, but if you can get to it you have access to a "freeyarded Tuner even though it technically costs half your Life Points." Andthe acronym F.Y.T.E.T.I.T.C.H.Y.L.P isn't catchy, so "Destrudo theme" itis.

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Let's break down Pierluigi's main combo, starting with Armageddon Knightyarding Destiny HERO - Malicious and fielding another to make Isolde, TwoTales of the Noble Knights. Once you send four Equips to the GY and banishArmageddon Knight with Divine Sword - Phoenix Blade, you'll have PhoenixBlade and The Phantom Knights of Ragged Gloves in hand with Dark Grepherand Isolde on the field. Discarding The Phantom Knights of Ragged Gloves,you send Blackwing - Zephyros the Elite to the graveyard and then pay 400LP to revive it and bounce your newly equipped Phoenix Blade.

Making Summon Sorceress with Dark Grepher and Isolde gets you to Blackwing- Steam the Cloak, which tunes with Zephyros to make Power Tool Dragon. ThePower Tool Dragon then fetches D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation,but you also make the Steam Token from Steam the Cloak and Power Tool intoSpace Insulator, which then links with Summon Sorceress into The PhantomKnights of Rusty Bardiche, sending The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak tothe graveyard to search The Phantom Knights of Shade Brigandine. You banishAncient Cloak for its effect to get The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots andfrom there you're almost finished.

You'll activate The Phantom Knights of Shade Brigandine to Summon it, thenbring back your banished Armageddon Knight pitching Phoenix Blade withD.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation. Armageddon Knight yardsDestrudo the Lost Dragon's Frisson; you'll target Armageddon Knight and payhalf your Life Points to bring it back at Level 4, then Summon The PhantomKnights of Silent Boots from your hand for another Level 3. OverlayBrigandine and Armageddon Knight into Number 86: Heroic ChampionRhongomyniad, then revive Steam from your graveyard by tributing RustyBardiche.

With three Level 3 monsters at your disposal, make Number 75: BamboozlingGossip Shadow and use its effect to feed Rhongomyniad four more XyzMaterials for a total of six. There's a few other things you can dodepending on your other opening cards, but it's important to note thelengths Pierluigi went to achieve that combo from nothing but asingle Armageddon Knight!

Accomplishing that meant sacrificing otherwise niche cards and loading upthe deck with a staggering eight equip spells, but that's the price ofseeing Rhongomyniad so easily, and it's certainly worth the compromise.

Check Yo' Side Deck Or Get Wrecked
The Side Deck isn't anything to brag about, but it speaks volumes about thebuid Pierliuigi created.

Red Reboot, Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries, and Artifact Lancea areused to shut off your opponent's plays completely, but Pierluigiprioritized Extra Deck support over other cards. The main combo pieces forthe strategy were in the Extra Deck to begin with, but with such easyaccess to virtually everything in the Extra Deck, it makes sense todiversify that over trying to naturally draw another card you sided in.

Outside of a mirror match, the three largest threats were Sky Strikers,Thunder Dragons and Altergeists, and the Main Deck here is already strongagainst those three matchups. With so many dual threat cards - TwinTwisters feeding your GY or Radian stoking Dark Grepher - Pierluigi alreadycovered his weaknesses and wove those solutions into his main strategy.

The success of this build is a testament to the resilience of players inadapting to the changing of the times and the changing of the F&L List.As they say, if there's a will there's a way.

Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson


Loukas Peterson lives in Nashville, Tennessee, hoping one day to run in 5thCongressional District on the platform of "Marshmallows for Everyone." Whenhe's not submitting ideas for Fabled support and a Fabled Link monster, youcan find him building a bonfire in his backyard to attract the localwildlife for an audience with his ukulele. Hailed as the only personcapable of cooking 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.


Do you love winning with unconventional strategies? Do you love creatingmash-ups? Does your deck need an injection of crazy? Send the following torerouting.tcgplayer@gmail.com to 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 be filedand then burned in the furnace accordingly… and your deck should be TCGlegal).

-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're playingit, and its strengths and weaknesses. "Winning" is not a strategy per se,and neither is "beating your opponents before they beat you."

-Your favorite card from the build and why – make me fall in love with thedeck! The cooler your strategy the more I'll want to fix it, and if youthrow in funny jokes, that'll surely get my attention too; be warned,unfunny jokes will push your deck to the back of the stack. Don't be afraidto get creative! New stuff takes priority, because I'm not bored of it yet!–LJP