It's hard to believe it, but Noble Knights have been around for oversix years now. The game's evolved enough that we can say the strategy is anold one – perhaps not a true legacy theme like Blue-Eyes White Dragon orHarpie Ladies, but the Noble Knights are definitely getting up there inage.

Based on Arthurian legend, the deck's certainly more than shiny cardboard,and for years it seemed like newer support cards were just on the horizon.Avalon' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Morgan, the Enchantress of Avalon">Morgan, the Enchantress of Avalon has historically been one of the mainbaddies for King Arthur and pals, so that card's release was long awaited,and more than welcome once it arrived. And if we take Noble KnightCustennin's release as a signal as to just how deep Konami's willing todive into British myths and legends to create new Noble Knight cards, wecould see swaths of Noble Knight support from here until the end of time.

But that possibility of a Bright Future shouldn't overshadow the newestwave of support from the booster sets Cybernetic Horizon andSoul Fusion. It's rare that every support card becomes useful fora given deck, but the last eight cards for Noble KNights have done justthat. In fact, Johnny Nguyen topped the recent Regional Qualifier in TulsaOklahoma omitting just one of the new cards from his 50 card Noble Knightstrategy – Noble Knight Pellinore. Even so, the card has merit and could beargued as phenomenal, having been pushed out only because we got evenbetter cards.

We may be seeing a new era of competition with Thunder Dragons eclipsingour older strategies, but Johnny Nguyen himself boasts that his deck isstrong against it; strong enough where Book of Eclipse is an afterthought.

Here's what he played.

DECKID=109248If you've seen any Gouki decks, Dark Goukis, Danger! FTKs, or just aboutany other deck these days you're well aware of the importance of Isolde,Two Tales of the Noble Knights. No surprise, but the card's just as good inNoble Knights for a vast number of reasons. I mean, thank goodness, right?Imagine how annoying it would be if a themed card was better outside of itsdeck than in it!

Good thing that never happens! (Womp)

The Equip Spells are covered for thanks to their obligatory role in thedeck, but consider the dire need for Isolde in Nguyen's deck that makes upfor the Equips. Outside of niche cards like Last Chapter of the NobleKnights, the deck doesn't lend itself to exploding with big spam sessionsof monsters from your hand. Considering that undeniable fact, theabsolutely vital importance of your Normal Summon becomes more evident, andthat in turn also shows just what a blessing Isolde is. Nguyen jokes aboutit, but it's true: "Make Isolde, make big monsters, and win."

I've stressed at length the necessity of early-game pivot cards, andNguyen's deck is a clear demonstration of that. Noble Knight Medraut,Heritage of the Chalice, Merlin, Noble Knight Iyvanne, Noble KnightBrothers…The Noble Knights need a good Normal Summon to really get the ballrolling, regardless of your immediate goal. Merlin, Noble Knight Brothers,and a few others all restrict your summons to Noble Knight monsters, soit's important to play cards that both work well as combo starters, andthat create longer players when you summon them with Isolde.

Noble Knight Brothers is probably the best example of that. Play it firstto make your all-important Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights to beginwith, or unleash it from the deck and recycle your graveyard. Thanks toMerlin's extremely silly drawback that limits its effect if you SpecialSummon Merlin itself, you could easily see the strategy devolving into amess of conflicting cards that ultimatey fail to gel. But Nguyen sees meritin it in all situations, touting its versatility. "You can even get a Level5 [monster] from your deck. It pops up every once in a while!"

Not all cards can be opening works of art, and thus some Noble Knight cardsare relegated to support roles. I'm the type of duelist that loves bankingon crazy strategies for weird plays, so I commend Nguyen for keeping thingsunder control when Noble Knights offer you so many admittedly ridiculousoptions beyond their core lineup. Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms, NobleKnight Gawayn, Noble Knight Eachtar – if your opponent stymies a play,you'll need a spare tool floating around.

If Nguyen overloaded the deck with more copies of those cards or even morefringe choices like Brilliant Fusion, The Warrior Returning Alive… well,you see the conflict. It's a balancing act ensuring you have your mostimportant cards early on, without flooding the deck.

And unlike a lot of other combo strategies that just rely on a specific twocards every game, Noble Knights need… well, "things." Noble Knight Medrautneeds a clear field and an Equip, while Noble Knight Gawayn needs a Normalmonster. I would bash on Merlin for its restriction, but Nguyen saysMerlin's effect in the graveyard as an ace in the hole. "People don't knowabout it, but that's how you OTK!" He's right, too - the effect to makeanother monster so you can strike for more damage in the Battle Phase isoften the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Enter Noble Knight Custennin and Heritage of the Chalice, the literalsaviors of the deck. While you're always trying to find the correct mix ofcards to ensure success as often as possible, an insurance policy's alwayswelcome and that's what these cards offer: Noble Knight Custennin turnseven some of the most worthless opening hands into an Isolde, whileHeritage is the Yu-Gi-Oh! equivalent of the guilty parents whoovercompensate for that time they forgot their kid at the grocery store byburying them in Christmas presents.

Who Says It's 40 Or 60?
While the Extra Normal Summon from Custennin is useful, the deck won't getanything done if you can't deal with the onslaught of cards coming yourway. A full 20% of the deck is hand traps, but I have to say, using theon-theme Avalon' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Morgan, the Enchantress of Avalon">Morgan, the Enchantress of Avalon – whose effect fits in withArthurian legend quite perfectly – just makes me so much happier.

What's most interesting about the number of hand traps Nguyen played is thetotal number of cards in the deck. A 50-card deck count is strange to saythe least. Most decks decks try to top out around the 40-card minimum sothey can be the most well oiled machine possible, or they converselystruggle to stay under the 60 maximum if they're packing a ton of tech. ButNguyen took a page from the Fifth Gadget decks of old. If you don'tremember that strategy or weren't playing back then, the idea was that onewould play 45 cards with 9 Gadgets – precisely one fifth of the deck – toensure the most even draws possible.

"I felt like bricking too many of the other cards," Nyugen admitted in hisprofile, lauding this point and the mandates he felt came with the choiceof Noble Knights. "You'll see a lot of 3-ofs."

Nguyen wasn't trying to throw anyone off with a big strategy or cut hisbuild down to the lowest number of cards. Instead, the choice to play amiddle of the road 50-card deck was a reaction to the ins-and-outs of theNoble Knight strategy. With your opening combos often taking two or threecards to accomplish you just don't have the luxury of running a millionhand traps; nothing is worse than opening with nothing but handtraps and Noble Arms cards to start the duel. The deck can't get too largeeither, or you'd be forced to run more starting cards like Noble KnightIyvanne, which ultimately weakens your range of options.

#####CARDID= 23776 #####

After all, Nguyen played a whopping eight Equip Spells. That may seem likea lot, comprising almost as much of the deck as the hand trap lineup, butthat number's not optional. You need as much diversity with the swords asyou can get, while at the same time you can't spread yourself too thin.That's why Noble Arms – Excaliburn and Noble Arms of Destiny made the listat two copies each: one gets banished to upgrade your Noble Knights whilethe other is one of the best solo cards available.

Back to the whole defensive strategy. If you've never played with NobleKnights, you might be confused as to how the deck does so well. For betteror worse, a good chunk of your gameplan is to just squat on Sacred NobleKnight of King Artorigus and use it as un unbreakable shield while it alsopunches through your opponent's monsters. You can push for damage withMerlin and the new Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again, but your strongcentral monster is just as important as your swarming Knights.

Sacred Noble Knight of King Custennin, Sacred Noble Knight of KingArtorigus, and Artorigus, King of the Noble Knights work in tandem to dealwith virtually any threat that lies before you. Nguyen dedicated most ofhis Extra Deck toward that end.

"You're pretty much only going to need these," Nguyen said, referring toKing Custennin and the two versions of Artorigus. "These will be the only[Extra Deck] monsters you'll need, but I play situation cards," alluding tohis other Extra Deck monsters. Since Noble Knight decks lend themselves toon-theme plays the majority of the time, you'll have to go all-in andcommit yourself to the big monsters ASAP. After all, Sacred Noble Knight ofKing Custennin's an instant out to Thunder Dragons, so why deviate fromyour strongest cards?

Defense, Tech, And The Best Cards Ever!
Despite your best efforts even kings can fall in battle, so the emphasis onCustennin's revival effect is paramount to your success. Not only that, butNguyen chose to capitalize on a card that might seem to conflict with yourimperative fo establishing strong opening turns. Until Noble Arms areNeeded Once Again won't help you make Isolde on Turn 1, but digging intoany handtrap and then Special Summoning a monster from the deck in one cardcan be brutal for your opponent.

You can't use both of its effects in one turn, but it's the proverbialicing on the cake – it's practically a reward for dedicating so much deckspace to other cards that aren't as good. It's your prize for committing toeight Equip Spells (nine if you count Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms).

Nguyen also ran a fair number of tech choices, and his rationale for all ofthem was well justified. Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms is only a NobleKnight Borz away as a recursive Equip Spell, but the card that mightsurprise you most is Noble Knight Drystan. Noble Knight Pellinore mightlook like a better option than Drystan since it draws you into new cards,but over the span of a Regional Qualifier Drystan's protection effect canreally shine.

#####CARDID= 22965 #####

"Keep in mind, Isolde only has 1600 ATK, so they can't attack Isolde. Theycan't use Infinite Impermanence on it," Nyugen continued. I'd argue it wasNguyen's favorite card in the deck, a choice he admits he largely madebecause Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights is so important to pushingthe deck forward. Even though Nguyen claims Until Noble Arms areNeeded Once Again was his favorite, the old school attacking lock withNoble Knight Drystan seems more his style.

Stopping attacks against your monsters might not be revolutionary, buttaking targeting card effects off the table can prove lethal. Keep in mind,Noble Arms – Excaliburn is the Noble Arms Equip Spell that doesn't comeback when it's destroyed, so making your Noble Knights immune to targetingcan easily become the difference between life and death.

Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson


Loukas Peterson lives in Nashville, Tennessee where it's warmer thanwarm, whatever that means. When he's not submitting ideas for Fabledsupport and a Fabled Link monster, you can find making "attempts" at"art" and playing his ukulele terribly, or on Wednesday nights, hangingout with the local mice. Hailed as the only person capable of cookingMinute Rice in 56 seconds, Loukas is always looking at expanding hisapartment to house every dog in the world.


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