Even if you didn't know what the Magical Musketeers are, I bet the phrase"Cowboy version of a German opera" would entice you to at least look at the strategy, right?

Who's laughing now, Mrs. Huddleston, my 12th grade English teacher who said that card games would never make me cultured?!?

If you have a few hours and you're a theatre nerd like me, there are plenty of ways to watch clips of the opera that inspired the Magical Musketeers and their monster names, Der Freischutz, including a full version here. Writing this article took roughly 2:22:45 longer than it should have, but it's really a pretty great opera if you've got the time. To sum up the message of the work, don't make a deal with the devil around magical bullets that the devil controls. It's just not a smart plan.

Personally, I always liked the Magical Musketeer cards but never went out of my way to pick them up, and prices on the secondary market have already been affected by the deck's recent success! Thankfully not everything will cost you an arm and a leg just yet, but if you're like me and you didn't get all the cards in the past, please join me in the collective wish that we had.

For those of you who DID get your Magical Musketeers well in advance, or for those who could still be swayed to the cowboy cause, feast your eyes onthis 3rd Place build from the latest Regional Qualifier in Ft.Worth Texas.

DECKID=110241 Congrats to DBZ439 for the success at the Regional in Fort Worth, Texas, and feel free to check out the rest of his channelherewhere he highlights a lot of fun rogue strategies, not least of all MagicalMusketeers!

Musketeers have a very niche mechanic that sort of reminds me of Jetroid,the long forgotten Roid card that I may or may not have used back in the day to annoy people with Magic Cylinder. The Musketeers are infinitely better than Jetroid in the way they use their mechanic, allowing you to play Magical Musket spell and trap cards from your hand on either player's turn. But if that wasn't good enough, when any spell or trap's played in aMagical Musketeer's column, said Magical Musketeer's effect will trigger and win you more card economy!

While you can't call a rogue strategy like Magical Musketeer "simple" per se, the effects of the monsters work in reasonable tandem for a straightforward play style. Magical Musketeer Calamity brings backMusketeers from your graveyard while Magical Musketeer Starfire gets them from the deck. Magical Musketeer Caspar searches you any Magical Musket card, while Magical Magical Musketeer Kidbrave and Magical Musketeer Doccycle Magical Musket cards from your hand and graveyard.

While recycling the Magical Musket cards is great, there's a reason thatMagical Musketeer Starfire and Magical Musketeer Caspar are the two most sought after cards in the theme. The ability to summon or search any on-theme card from your deck is no joke, and keep in mind these effects aren't triggered on Normal Summon nor are they limited to once each while on the field.

Something as routine as Normal Summoning Starfire and activating UpstartGoblin gets you a free Caspar from your deck. Now on your opponent's turn when you play any of your Magical Musket spells or traps, both Caspar and Starfire will trigger for an additional +2 in card economy, and you can use whatever card you searched again during your opponent's turn and trigger whichever new Magical Musketeer you summoned with Starfire!

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While the deck does heavily depend on Magical Musketeer Starfire andCaspar, seeing either one of them quickly snowballs out of control. Keep in mind that while you're netting a profit of cards from the MagicalMusketeers and their own effects, the Magical Musket spells and traps also have amazing effects.

Magical Musket - Cross-Domination stops effects and monsters, MagicalMusket - Crooked Crown locks down your opponent's field, Magical Musket -Desperado pops cards on the field… all of the Magical Musket spells and traps have stellar effects that are relatively generic. They all have meta equivalents too, and the fact that they combo off your Magical Musketeers makes them that much better.

I don't want to overstate the ease of execution here, but the added benefits you get from playing a Magical Musket on top of a MagicalMusketeer will quickly snowball out of control, especially when MagicalMusketeer Doc comes into play. Keep recycling Magical Musket - Desperadoand Magical Musket - Last Stand and by virtue of sheer card economy you'll decimate your opponent while you break even on the exchanges every time.

A Deal With The Devil
While Magical Musketeer Kidbrave helps thin down the deck, it's no perfect substitute for Caspar or Starfire, and admittedly the deck will suffer without those cards. Even with the meager additions of Pot of Desires andUpstart Goblin, Magical Musketeers need That Sixth card to dig further into the deck and benefit from going second.

Since the deck is tailored to go second, adding extra negations and more ways to break boards is necessary, as evidenced by our Regional topper's use of Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, Fantastical Dragon Phantazmay,Cosmic Cyclone, Instant Fusion, and Super Polymerization. Those cards areobviously good in a vacuum, but they all work to staunch the opponent's plays, cycle through the deck faster, or bait a negation all so your most important Magical Musketeer effects can go through.

It's not perfect, but that's how important Magical Musketeer Caspar andMagical Musketeer Starfire are. Simplifying the game to ensure that you trigger your most important cards is how you win the game. It's like how the old school Gadget decks reached success. By having enough SakuretsuArmors and Smashing Grounds, eventually your horde of Gadgets was enough t owin.

Theoretically, the game could come down to Magical Musketeer Doc cycling back Magical Musket - Desperado and Magical Musket - Last Stand and you'd have a clear shot at victory. Is it easy to achieve that? No, because that's not an ideal situation; you'd rather have other backup plans thanthat simple field, but the Side Deck's evidence of that simple plan.

Nibiru, the Primal Being, Evenly Matched, Mind Control, Red Reboot, those are all cards that either specifically bait negation or simplify the state of the game indiscriminately. Then again, if all that fails, Number 39:Utopia Double and Double or Nothing! can save the day. When all else seems fraught and your opponent has a field of big monsters, you can always turn your Utopia into a 5000 ATK monster that attacks twice and ends the duel.

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 for an audience with his ukulele. Hailed as the only person capable of cooking Minute Rice in 56 seconds, Loukas is always looking at expanding his backyard to house every dog in the world without a home.Well, and those with homes already.