In terms of etymology and backstory, Altergeists take the cake for mash-upcomplexity. Combining sorcery, computer security and some cultural andmythological creatures, Altergeists make up for their lack of themedcohesiveness with a surprisingly strong suite of cards.

I'll admit I never dove too deep into the Altergeist theme largely becauseof the art. I don't need the coolest or cutest monsters to consider playinga deck, but Altergeists compete with Tindangles as top nightmare fuel in mymind. Recently we've seen Altergeists pop up at various Regional Qualifierand Championship Series events, but the list that caught my eye mostrecently came from California.

Hunter Lloyd piloted his Altergeist deck to a Top 32 finish at YCSPasadena, and after talking with Altergeist sympathizer Doug "Really? NotIn 2018?" Zeeff, I became much more invested in the strategy.

Casual observers might see Altergeists as nothing more than a trap heavyhelmet deck, but you'll notice that decks that do well like Lloyd's effortare anything but slow. Rather than garner card advantage slowly or tradepower to prioritize resources, you'll see no Pot of Duality or Card ofDemise in sight.

Check out Lloyd's deck below, and if you need a few minutes to digest thecards, definitely mouse over them to see which are which. Normally I comeup with subconscious mnemonics to match with new strategies, but "UglyComputer Face" applies to every card in the theme.

There are no shortcuts.

DECKID=109345Lloyd was actually undefeated in the Swiss rounds of the YCS, but someunfortunate luck knocked him out of the tournament in Top Cut play.

Nevertheless, congratulations to him for annihilating the competition onthe first day! It leaves us with a lot to talk about.

Fun Fact: Ojamuscle Is An "Ojama"
Think back to a time when Yu-Gi-Oh! had clear divisions on who could dowhat, when, and how.

Why is that important? Think on that kind of play for a sec, thenfast-forward to today: a strange post-apocalyptic Wasteland where handtraps rule the roost and cards like Infinite Imperience don't even need tobe set. With so many cards on the field, the division between turns isstarting to become a bit blurry. Altergeists follow suit and take thatconcept to another level; to some extent, your turn never really ends.

Since Pot of Desires gifts you two cards and One for One fields a monster,you can argue that Lloyd's deck is purely monsters and traps. Outside ofthe requirement for One for One and the rare occurrence where Pot ofDesires draws you into another, the entirety of the deck neatly fits intothose two categories for maximum synergy. Consider how one of their bestcombos is the epitome of that blend, too. "I don't like seeing multipleDesires in my hand. After the first one, it's bad," Lloyd explainedpost-event.

Starting with activating a trap, you'll Summon Altergeist Multifaker andnet Altergeist Meluseek from your deck in the process. From there you'llLink Summon Altergeist Hexstia; Altergeist Meluseek gets you a free copy ofAltergeist Marionetter, and when you Normal Summon that you'll setAltergeist Manifestation. Finally you'll end your turn and Link Summonanother Altergeist Hexstia then search another Altergeist Multifaker.

When I first considered Altergeists I was only looking to my turn to see mycombos, but Lloyd's tight deck means he's seeing all these cards all thetime, and that single Altergeist Multifaker netted tons of card economy. Assoon as his opponent would draw, Lloyd would activate the set AltergeistManifestation on the first Altergeist Hexstia, likewise triggering thesecond Altergeist Multifaker in his hand and fielding AltergeistSilquitous.

Since most cards have these wide open windows for activation, youropponent's Draw Phase is effectively an extension of your turn. That singletrap and one Altergeist Multifaker turned into four monsters on the field,netting Lloyd several negations with Hexstia and a chance to bounceopposing threats with Silquitous.

#####CARDID= 23380 #####

Semantics aside, much of the deck functions like that - a continuous streamof effects that can happen any time. Many of the cards even have use in thegraveyard, like Altergeist Manifestation, further extending the stream ofcards to keep your card economy healthy.

The choice of hand traps was likewise made to mirror the fluidity of thedeck. To cover as large of a range as possible, Lloyd chose InfiniteImpermanence, Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, Ghost Belle & HauntedMansion, and Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries, none of which demandspecific steps or phases to use. Unlike Effect Veiler and other hand traps,those cards work from Draw Phase to End Phase, putting a stop to mostanything that comes your way.

"After all, we're in an FTK format," remarked Lloyd, reminding everyone ofthe lethal Danger! Dark World FTK that burns for infinite damage. "You haveto play a lot of hand traps." Against that deck, he needed all the help hecould get.

In the end a quarter of the deck is effectively hand traps, but that's nota bad thing when you're also banishing a quarter of your deck with Pot ofDesires. Even Red Reboot makes an appearance in the Side Deck; if you wantto get really technical Altergeist Multifaker netting Altergeist Silquitouscould count as a hand trap, making nearly half of your deck a response youcan use from your hand.

No Bad Cards!
I think it's safe to say Altergeists have a reputation of being a trapdeck, but the looks can be deceiving given all the fast-paced combos thedeck can pull out with a single Altergeist Multifaker. Not to discredit thedeck's inherent strengths, but Lloyd also chose to play a bunch offloodgates because by nature, the deck caters to certain cards.

Beyond some powerful cards like Solemn Judgement and Imperial Order – cardsthat shut down your opponent – Altergeists can play Rivalry of Warlordsseamlessly to shut out decks that need multiple types to generate bigcombos. Furthermore, Anti-Spell Fragrance will only be a dead draw if youopen it with two copies of Pot of Desires, but the math is heavilyin your favor to benefit from those traps rather than get hurt by them.

With Trap Trick in the Side Deck, virtually every trap Lloyd could side inwouldn't hurt him while specifically targeting his opponent. It's likeadding in four copies of everything you want to overwhelm your opponent,and remember that at the very least, they all trigger AltergeistMultifaker.

#####CARDID= 24430 #####

Having extra copies of threats like Mind Crush, Magic Deflector, and evenDifferent Dimension Ground can mean the difference between trading blowswith your opponent and blowing them out of the water. Think back to thecombo above and how easily you can gather the measly two cards it requires- the ability to stop such a wide range of effects meant Lloyd could playto his strengths.

Keeping the deck down to 40 cards, the odds that Lloyd would see his mostimportant cards early on were certainly in his favor. That only exacerbatedthe problem for his opponents when you factor in things like Trap Trick'sduplicative power and Altergeist Multifaker's ease of use, but even with somany catch-all cards, he still found room for diversity.

Altergeist Protocol neatly fits into the deck to add other negations, andPersonal Spoofing turns most cards into the mighty Altergeist Multifaker."I played triple because you have to see Multifaker," Lloyd remarked. Hedidn't need to load up on superfluous cards like a third Rivalry ofWarlords to stop his opponent, because the cards that were more effectivecould be used from the hand or field after getting the best card in hisdeck. "You need to make them play at your pace, not play at theirs,"explained Lloyd.

Having that versatility meant going first and going second wouldgive Lloyd a good chance of getting ahead; either Lloyd had ammunition witha clear field to go against his opponent's first onslaught or had the toolsto setup a broken field on his first turn. The minimal but widespread usesof the more "conventional" counters like Rivalry of Warlords meant settingup a defense without compromising what he needed to get going.

Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson

Loukas Peterson lives in Nashville, Tennessee, hoping one day to run inthe 5th Congressional District on the platform of "Marshmallows forEveryone." When he's not submitting ideas for Fabled support and aFabled Link monster to Konami, you can find him building a bonfire inhis backyard 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 to rerouting.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