Danger Orcust variants have had a surprisingly successful record sinceSavage Strike launched in January.

In March alone we added six Regional and YCS-topping builds to ourdeck archive, and Loukas has covered acoupleofbuildsthat have topped since February. It's one of the few themes this formatthat are genuinely successful outside of the big three decks-to-beat. Whencompared to Sky Strikers, Thunder Dragons, and Salamangreats there's amassive difference between their success and the handful of tops Orcustbuilds have made, but the theme's definitely viable regardless of howpopular the top three strategies are.

The Orcust components of most of these builds are pretty light in cardcount, but playing just a handful of monsters still lets you leverage thekinds of things that make Orcust exciting in the first place. Orcusts canquickly spit out Link Monsters, rapidly Summon The Phantom Knights of RustyBardiche for the Outer Entity Azathot lockdown, and they ovver insanerecovery plays thanks to Orcust Cymbal Skeleton. Prior toSavage Strike it could be tough to get the ball rolling, butOrcust Knightmare and Knightmare Mermaid largely fixed those early gameproblems.

The build strategy for Orcust became entirely focused on SummoningKnightmare Mermaid. Cards like Phantom Skyblaster and Formud Skipper leadto Knightmare Mermaid with no assistance, and just about any extender canpair up with a Normal Summon to pull off a Link Summon for KnightmarePhoenix or Knightmare Cerberus. Danger monsters are perfect for this andoften just as economical as one-card Link 2 plays.

Don't get me wrong, we're not here to sing the praises of the Danger!engine – as if any more discussion needs to be tossed at what's effectivelythe best set of extenders the game has ever seen. But we are going to talkabout an engine that helps Orcust reach Knightmare Mermaid in a unique way.

DECKID=109683Last month Alfie Morton finished 3rd Place at the Bangor UK Regionalplaying a Danger Orcust build that leveraged three unrelated engines tohelp kickstart Orcust combos.

The Atlanteans in Morton's build stick out more than any other theme, andhis nine card Water line-up's absolutely the focus of this article.Atlanteans set Morton's build apart by offering interactions that otherOrcust variants lack completely, and there's even bonus synergy betweenAtlantean Dragoons and Knightmare Mermaid that concludes with Moulinglaciathe Elemental Lord.

The everyday Danger Orcust build just doesn't have those eements, andMorton's innovations were instrumental in helping him crack the Top 4 atthe Bangor Regional.

The star player in Morton's Atlantean engine was the relatively new LappisDragon: a Sea Serpent Tuner from Savage Strike that SpecialSummons itself when it's added from the deck or graveyard to your hand.Since Lappis Dragon's a Sea Serpent you can search it with AtlanteanDragoons, and Dragoons can be sent from the deck to the graveyard in turnand searched to your hand with Neptabyss, the Atlantean Prince.

That means Morton could Special Summon Lappis Dragon any time he activatedNeptabyss and score a +2 in the process. Summoning Neptabyss with Deep SeaDiva would be a massive +3, and One for One gave Morton another way toreach Neptabyss with a bit more upfront investment.

Let's remember that the goal here is to make a Link 2 to reach KnightmareMermaid. Lappis Dragon contributes a free Link Material when it's added tothe hand, so Neptabyss itself would be a 1-card Mermaid Summon as long asMorton didn't draw Lappis Dragon. On the surface that's not terriblyimpressive, but it's slightly more valuable than using a card likeKnightmare Corruptor Iblee or another 1-card Link 2. Neptabyss sends a copyof Dragoons to the graveyard and gets one to your hand, so evenafter he Summoned Mermaid Morton would still be holding a copy.

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Knightmare Mermaid's effect to Special Summon a Knightmare monster requiresa discard, and since Mermaid itself is a Water monster that discard willactually trigger Atlantean Dragoon's effect. Morton used that to searchMoulinglacia the Elemental Lord at the end of his combo, which wouldideally put exactly five Water monsters in his graveyard: two copies ofDragoons, plus Neptabyss, Lappis Dragon, and Knightmare Mermaid. Mermaidwould hit the graveyard if he used it for a Link Summon with KnightmareOrcust for Galatea, the Orcust Automation. Keep in mind that all of thatstarts with just a single copy of Neptabyss, and ends you on a Link 2, acopy of Knightmare Orcust in the graveyard, Moulinglacia, and two fewercards in your opponent's hand.

The real fun begins after the Atlantean engine has run its course. WithKnightmare Orcust in the graveyard and a Link-2 on the board Morton couldcontinue Link Summoning to reach Summon Sorceress, then use its effect totarget a Machine monster and Special Summon World Legacy - "World Wand"from the deck. He would then overlay Moulinglacia and World Wand to XyzSummon Number 68: Sanaphond the Sky Prison: a potentially massive Rank 8with a temporary floodgate effect.

Summoning Sanaphond the Sky Prison let Morton dodge the drawback attachedto each Elemental Lord that costs their controller their next Battle Phasewhen it leaves the field. It's also a fantastic Xyz Monster in its ownright, and its floodgate effect is devastatingly powerful in a variety ofmatch-ups like Salamangreats and the mirror.

The Atlantean engine totally changes this deck's ability to make seriousplays in the early game by offloading the pressure of making KnightmareMermaid onto a set of non-Danger cards. Neptabyss and Deep Sea Diva wouldprobably still eat Morton's Normal Summon unless he used One for One, butthe engine delivered vastly more value than even Phantom Skyblaster or NeoSpace Connector–two cards commonly found in topping Orcust lists.

Nobody is playing or expecting Moulinglacia right now, so any engine thatcan Summon it on Turn 1 as a byproduct of routine plays isdefinitely worth considering. Atlanteans as a Link engine aren'tnecessarily limited to Orcust decks, but the interaction between KnightmareMermaid and Atlantean Dragoons really helps sell this strategy.

More With Less: Trimming The Fat From Orcust Danger
Alfie Morton's Atlantean engine takes up roughly a quarter of his deck, sohe had to make smart budgeting decisions to keep the build at forty cards.His Orcust line-up's basically the same as other topping builds, but hetraded out Orcustrated Babel for Orcustrated Return.

It's an interesting move: Babel's one of the defining cards of the Orcusttheme because it lets you generate so much card advantage during youropponent's turn. The Field Spell's also extremely annoying when paired withTopologic Bomber Dragon or Topologic Trisbaena – effectively letting itscontroller nuke the field multiple times during on player's turn. It's asingle card swap with major implications: Morton was looking to win theduel early without relying on fragile defensive set-ups using a FieldSpell.

Morton also cut back on Danger! monsters by only maxing out on Danger!?Jackalope? While other players run Jackalope, Danger! Nessie! and Danger!?Tsuchinoko? at three, Morton essentially dropped one card from the engineto make space for Atlanteans. But he also added a Danger! Ogopogo! to theline-up. Since Ogopogo's a Sea Serpent it's searchable with AtlanteanDragoons, and a searchable Danger is definitely worth playing as a one-ofin a larger Danger line-up.

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Neo Space Connector was even better in Morton's build than in other liststhanks to Neo-Spacian Aqua Dolphin's Water Attribute. Discarding Dragoonswith Dolphin's effect would trigger its ability while also potentiallyknocking a hand trap away from his opponent. Summoning Moulinglacia afterburning a Normal Summon on Neo Space Connector wouldn't always be possible,but if he could do that he'd leave his opponent down three cards as theystarted their first turn.

We haven't had that level of hand control since Topologic Gumblar Dragonwas Forbidden, and it's a bit concerning to see how easily Moulinglaciafits into this strategy. Between Dolphin, Moulinglacia, and a playset ofCalled by the Grave Morton had plenty of ways to play through hisopponent's hand traps and leave them crippled going into their first turn.

At the moment much of the strength of the Danger Orcust strategy comes fromits ability to play Outer Entity Azathot. It's a play I don't expect tolast beyond this month, and I'll be very curious to see how Orcustspecifically adapt to the change. The deck's win conditions are arguablydone better by Danger Thunder Dragons, and Azathot's probably the onlyserious advantage Orcust have over competing strategies. Morton's Atlanteanengine introduces an entirely new set of plays that help guide the decktowards bigger monsters like Moulinglacia and Sanaphond, and that mightbecome a crucial part of the deck's future if Phantom Knights arerestricted in the coming weeks.

Until next time then

-Kelly


Kelly​​​ ​​​Locke​​​ ​​​is​​​ ​​​a​​​ ​​​West​​​ ​​​Michigan​​​​​​gamer and writer. You​​​ ​​​can follow​​​ ​​​him​​​ ​​​on​​​ Twitter​​​​​​ for more updates ​​​and​​​ ​​​check​​​ ​​​out​​​ ​​​his​​​ Youtube​​​ ​​​channel​​​. He​​​ ​​​also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.