One of my biggest pet peeves that a lot of people can relate to is themisnaming of decks, claiming that a single card or extremely small group ofcards dictates the nomenclature of a strategy.

Adding in a single copy of Mokey Mokey to one's Mekk-Knight deck? Not onlya bad idea, but also doesn't morph the strategy into "Mokey-MokeyBeatdown." Calling it as such cheapens the experience.The same can be saidabout variants of decks, and while not necessarily creative I think decknames should cover what the deck excels at.

On that precise note, congrats to Clifton Land and his Top 32 finish at theYu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series in Chicago this past weekend. And to beabundantly clear, today's deck is heavily control themed.

In no way does that diminish his success or the deck's power, but itdilutes the innovations and tech choices if one labeled the strategy purelyas Subterrors. Imagine the confusion, annoyance, and misdirection ifevery deck with a handful of Phantom Knights cards was labeledsolely as a "Phantom Knight" deck!

With the release of Subterror Guru in the booster setSavage Strike, Subterror Guru Control capitalizes on a bevy ofunique cards that don't work in every strategy. Even declaring the deck asa trap heavy strategy doesn't tell the whole picture; instead of mebelaboring the point, check out Land's awesome strategy below which heaptly named "Guru Control!"

DECKID= 109532Without a doubt, the all-star card of the deck is Subterror Guru, whichspeaks to the nature of the deck. Not only can Subterror Guru totallycontrol the field by flipping itself and another monster down, but uponbeing flipped face-up you'll net another Subterror card. Granted, Gurucan't search The Hidden City, but since The Hidden City searches Guruyou're already on the right path with the monster.

Before I discuss some of the deck's intricacies, take a step back and thinkof what the deck shares parallels with. Time's up, too late: it'sSpellbooks! The correlation isn't perfect since Subterrors have more nuanceand objectively better cards, but the parallels are obvious. Not to hate onmy favorite deck, but quite franklySubterrors are just better Spellbooks.

With Spellbook Magician of Prophecy, Spellbook of the Master, Spellbook ofSecrets, and like nineteen other cards, Spellbooks as a cloistered strategytend to just search The Grand Spellbook Tower and Spellbook of Fate. Oneslowly increases your card economy, one deals with threats, and virtuallyevery card is an avenue to one of those cards.

Subterror Guru Control, a devolved version of the deck with the bigSubterror Behemoths, is a microcosm of what Spellbooks have always wantedto be. Subterror Guru not only nabs you free cards but it deals withthreats and flips itself face-down too. If you're not convincedyet, well, you're probably kin to Terrifying Toddler of Torment; SubterrorGuru is for all intents and purposes Spellbook Magician of Prophecy withtwo built-in copies of Spellbook of Fate.

Combined with Subterror Final Battle's impressive recursion and SubterrorFiendess' negation, that three card family is a self-contained power housethat drips with free resources. Terraforming, The Hidden City, Pot ofDuality, Pot of Extravagance…All of that only adds to the consistency ofthose three cards.

When Land built the deck around the triple threat that is Subterror Guru,it opened up the deck to a myriad of cards that largely target singlethreats, and that's why the deck is so well stocked with them. As great ashand traps are, they're not miracle workers. Dropping a single Ash Blossom& Joyous Spring might stave off utter catastrophe, but what if youropponent went first and played through your single hand trap?

Simple - you'll start your turn with one less card and probably have anuphill battle. With Effect Veiler, Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, andInfinite Impermanence, Land was more likely to see a hand trap early on.But the loss of card economy almost couldn't hurt him because ofSubterror Guru!

#####CARDID= 24907 #####

"It sucks going second, so you'll need to interact with your opponent ontheir turn," Land says. But that's not always true of everygo-second deck. Sometimes you'll have to eat your losses, but withSubterror Guru being so powerful as a jack-of-all-trades, Land could affordto play a well-stocked suite of hand traps.

The same can be said of Solemn Warning, Solemn Strike and Solemn Judgement.While they're powerful enough to turn the tide on their own, simplifying agame into a one-on-one resource battle is tricky unless you've comeequipped with a way to amass resources before your opponent. Sky StrikerMobilize - Engage! pulls more than its fair share of weight in Sky Strikerdecks much like The Grand Spellbook Tower in Spellbooks, but Subterror Guruhardly needs any other setup to establish a stream of free cards.

I mean, really, you just need Guru itself and another Subterror card…which… you can search from your deck… Belaboring the power level ofSubterror Guru makes for about as good of a conversation as trying toconvince someone that Pot of Greed is useful.

It's a short talk.

No Bad Cards! No Extra Cards!
When you boil it all down to the simplest scenario, you'll see thatSubterror Control also takes advantage of other cards in some unique ways.The floodgates – There Can Be Only One and Gozen Match – are obviouschoices to shut down an opponent without hampering your own strategy, butPot of Extravagance and Pot of Duality put in a lot of work too.

The key to strategies that aim to simplify the game is to play cards thataren't always that useful on their own, and leaning into them to make themas useful as possible. Of course the Extra Deck would benefit marginallyfrom having a few key Link Monsters or Xyz, but Pot of Extravagance isworth neglecting cards that might be bigger necessities otherwise.

There are two paths Land could have chosen, but the one he chose was anall-in approach on Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries. Hypothetically if hedecided that he desperately needed a certain Extra Deck monster, forexample Knightmare Cerberus, he could have easily staged his Extra Deck sothat Pot of Extravagance might not banish every copy. But he made thebetter mathematical choice instead.

Honestly, which is more likely to win you the game? On an extremely rareoccasion you might find victory through Knightmare Cerberus, sure, but doesthat compare to the spread of nearly every keystone Extra Deck monster hemight face over the course of the day? The answer is really obvious.

#####CARDID= 20224 #####

With so much searching and drawing going on, running other SideDeck cards in trips is a worthwhile endeavor; especially when they allsimplify the game to benefit Subterror Guru. For the most part, itgenerally didn't matter how many cards Land has as long as he had Guru tobuild back up his resources. Popping single cards with DinowrestlerPankratops or clearing traps away with Heavy Storm Duster won't pave theway for any extravagant combos, but a single Subterror Guru unopposed canoften mean victory.

While Subterror Guru Control may be labeled as simplistic, it's unfair tosay that there wasn't deliberate thought in how the deck was constructed.After all, consider Subterror Behemoth Umastryx. "It's really good. It'sthe boss monster of the deck," Land noted in post-event remarks. "What elsecan I say?" While Land was succinct, he's certainly not wrong.

With its searchability and transitive recursion, it doesn't make sense toplay more than one copy of Umastryx, but running it that way precludesother draw spells Pot of Desires and Card of Demise.

Granted, Pot of Indulgence hampers their synergy as well, but Land's deckwas carefully crafted with a lot of intentionality. There aren't anyLoukas-flavored cards here that Land added "just for fun," nor are thereeven any crazy niche one-in-a-million combos. Everything in Land's build isdeliberate and straightforward, calculated with the utmost precision.

Congratulations again to Clifton Land for his impressive Top 16 finish atChicago with his Subterror Guru Control deck!

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