There are three heavyweight picks in the Create-A-Card Project: Lightsworns, Mermails, and Frogs. Each strategy has a long history with the game, and unlike many of the themes in the Project, they're among the most competitive picks today.

Mermails in particular could explode into a devastatingly effective strategy with just one more solid support card. In an upcoming matchup we'll see Mermails square off against Photons – a theme that's largely inseparable from the Galaxy archetype. Photons are a strictly casual-level strategy, but a new support card could make a big difference.

Mermail-Fueled Hand Control Doesn't Need More Support

The Mermail deck's always been an amalgamation of a few different themes – most notably the Sea Serpent Atlanteans. Atlanteans got an absurdly powerful new starter back in Breakers of Shadow with Neptabyss, the Atlantean Prince, and Eternity Code recently delivered an expanded Deep Sea theme that built on Deep Sea Diva. Mermails have access to significantly better starters and discard outlets since their rise to glory in Abyss Rising, but the deck still isn't seeing much play. Is there room for a new support card to revive the ultimate Water strategy?

Giving Mermails a new card isn't an easy task. Mermail Abyssalacia was just released last year, so I'm not sure Mermails would get another Link so quickly. That said, I think Mermails would seriously benefit from a Link 1 or 3 that has some sort of discard cost. Right now Mermails don't have a great going-first plan outside of forcing their opponent to discard their entire hand, and if possible I'd like to avoid putting any more fuel on that fire. Ravenous Crocodragon Archethys is a step in the right direction, but Abyssalacia is way too slow for an OTK-oriented strategy. Something that bridges the gap between these two monsters would be a powerful addition to the Mermail Extra Deck. I'm not even sure it matters what that card does as long as its effects include a discard cost.

Mermails had an odd competitive history where their reign as the 'deck to beat' wasn't cut short by the Forbidden & Limited List, but instead by the release of Dragon Rulers and Spellbook of Judgment in Lord of the Tachyon Galaxy. Prior to LGTY there wasn't much that could actually compete with Mermails, especially after Mermail Abyssteus debuted as a World Premiere in Cosmo Blazer. Since then Mermails have seen short periods of competitive success, and I expect they'll continue to occasionally see play and even top events as long as Atlantean Dragoons remains Unlimited.

Other creators on Infinite have covered the Water strategy over the last few months. Loukas wrote about the new Deep Sea Diva combos made possible by Diva returning to the Unlimited List, and TeamSamuraiX1 took that a step further with a video of the full hand loop combo . More recently, Hanko Chow designed a Dinosaur/Sea Serpent build that doesn't actually play any Mermails, but it's a great showcase of what the starters of the Mermail strategy are capable of when you combine them with other themes.

Meanwhile, this is the list that I've been playing lately.

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Deck - Kelly's Water Deck by Kelly Locke

'Kelly's Water Deck' - constructed deck list and prices for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Kelly Locke

Event:

Rank:

Advanced

Market Price: $142.64

Cards

Mistar Boy

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/148338_200w.jpg

2 WATER monsters

All WATER monsters on the field gain 500 ATK and DEF, also all FIRE monsters on the field lose 400 ATK and DEF. If this card is destroyed by battle or card effect: You can target 1 WATER monster in your GY; add it to your hand. You can only use this effect of "Mistar Boy" once per turn.

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Deep Sea Minstrel

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/213317_200w.jpg

You can discard this card and 1 WATER monster; look at your opponent's hand and banish 1 card from their hand face-up, until the End Phase. If this card is Special Summoned: You can send the top 3 cards of your Deck to the GY, then target 1 Level 4 or lower WATER monster in your GY, except "Deep Sea Minstrel"; place it on the top or bottom of the Deck. You can only use each effect of "Deep Sea Minstrel" once per turn.

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Mecha Phantom Beast Jaculuslan

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227492_200w.jpg

1 "Mecha Phantom Beast" Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner "Mecha Phantom Beast" monsters

When this card is Synchro Summoned: You can Tribute "Mecha Phantom Beast Tokens" up to the number of cards in your opponent's hand; randomly discard cards from your opponent's hand, equal to the number of Tributed monsters. Other "Mecha Phantom Beast" monsters you control cannot be destroyed by battle or card effects. If this card in its owner's possession is destroyed by your opponent (by battle or card effect): You can Set 1 Quick-Play Spell Card directly from your Deck.

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Moulinglacia the Elemental Lord

Market Price: $0.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/232208_200w.jpg

Cannot be Normal Summoned/Set. Must be Special Summoned (from your hand) by having exactly 5 WATER monsters in your GY. If this card is Special Summoned: Discard 2 random cards from your opponent's hand (or their entire hand, if less than 2). You can only use this effect of "Moulinglacia the Elemental Lord" once per turn. If this face-up card leaves the field, skip the Battle Phase of your next turn.

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Called by the Grave

Market Price: $2.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/166373_200w.jpg

Target 1 monster in your opponent's GY; banish it, and if you do, monsters with the same original name as that banished monster have their effects negated until the end of the next turn.

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Knightmare Phoenix

Market Price: $0.59

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2+ monsters with different names

If this card is Link Summoned: You can discard 1 card, then target 1 Spell/Trap your opponent controls; destroy it, then, if this card was co-linked when this effect was activated, you can draw 1 card. You can only use this effect of "Knightmare Phoenix" once per turn. Co-linked monsters you control cannot be destroyed by battle.

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Crystron Rosenix

Market Price: $0.36

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You can target 1 face-up card you control; you cannot Special Summon monsters from the Extra Deck for the rest of this turn, except Machine-Type Synchro Monsters, also destroy that card, and if you do, Special Summon 1 "Crystron" Tuner from your Deck. You can banish this card from your Graveyard; Special Summon 1 "Crystron Token" (Machine-Type/WATER/Level 1/ATK 0/DEF 0), but it cannot be Tributed. You can only use 1 "Crystron Rosenix" effect per turn, and only once that turn.

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Atlantean Heavy Infantry

Market Price: $3.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/67122_200w.jpg

While this card is face-up on the field, once per turn during your Main Phase, you can Normal Summon a Level 4 or lower Sea Serpent-Type monster in addition to your Normal Summon or Set. (You can only gain this effect once per turn.) When this card is sent to the Graveyard for the activation of a WATER monster's effect: Target 1 face-up card your opponent controls; destroy that target.

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Pot of Avarice

Market Price: $1.64

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Select 5 Monster Cards from your Graveyard, then add them to your Deck and shuffle it. After that, draw 2 cards.

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Lappis Dragon

Market Price: $3.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/184133_200w.jpg

If this card is added from the Deck to your hand: You can reveal this card; Special Summon it. If this card is added from your GY to your hand by a card effect: You can reveal this card; Special Summon this card, but banish it when it leaves the field. You can only use 1 "Lappis Dragon" effect per turn, and only once that turn.

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One for One

Market Price: $1.05

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Send 1 monster from your hand to the Graveyard; Special Summon 1 Level 1 monster from your hand or Deck.

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Atlantean Marksman

Market Price: $2.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/67121_200w.jpg

When this card inflicts Battle Damage to your opponent: You can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower Sea Serpent-Type "Atlantean" monster, except "Atlantean Marksman", from your Deck. When this card is sent to the Graveyard for the activation of a WATER monster's effect: Target 1 Set card your opponent controls; destroy that target.

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Mermail Abyssgunde

Market Price: $1.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/67208_200w.jpg

If this card is discarded to the Graveyard: You can target 1 "Mermail" monster in your Graveyard, except "Mermail Abyssgunde"; Special Summon that target. You can only use the effect of "Mermail Abyssgunde" once per turn.

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Mermail Abysspike

Market Price: $0.96

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/67211_200w.jpg

When this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can discard 1 WATER monster to the Graveyard; add 1 Level 3 WATER monster from your Deck to your hand. You can only use the effect of "Mermail Abysspike" once per turn.

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Atlantean Dragoons

Market Price: $2.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/224633_200w.jpg

All your Level 3 or lower Sea Serpent monsters can attack directly. If this card is sent to the GY to activate a WATER monster's effect: Add 1 Sea Serpent monster from your Deck to your hand, except "Atlantean Dragoons".


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Deep Sea Sentry

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/213316_200w.jpg

If this card is sent to the GY to activate a WATER monster's effect: You can make your opponent banish 1 card from their hand face-up, until the End Phase. If this card is Special Summoned: You can send the top 2 cards of your Deck to the GY, then target 1 Level 4 or lower WATER monster in your GY, except "Deep Sea Sentry"; add it to your hand. You can only use each effect of "Deep Sea Sentry" once per turn.

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Mecha Phantom Beast O-Lion

Market Price: $0.67

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/82673_200w.jpg

You can banish this card from your Graveyard; immediately after this effect resolves, Normal Summon 1 "Mecha Phantom Beast" monster from your hand. While you control a Token, this card cannot be destroyed by battle or card effects. If this card is sent to the Graveyard: You can Special Summon 1 "Mecha Phantom Beast Token" (Machine-Type/WIND/Level 3/ATK 0/DEF 0). You can only use this effect of "Mecha Phantom Beast O-Lion" once per turn.

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Borreload Savage Dragon

Market Price: $15.91

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/220693_200w.jpg

1 Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters

If this card is Synchro Summoned: You can equip 1 Link Monster from your GY to this card, and if you do, place Borrel Counters on this card equal to that Link Monster's Link Rating. This card gains ATK equal to half the ATK of the monster equipped to it by its effect. When your opponent activates a card or effect (Quick Effect): You can remove 1 Borrel Counter from this card; negate the activation. You can only use this effect of "Borreload Savage Dragon" once per turn.

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Deep Sea Artisan

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/213315_200w.jpg

If this card is added from the Deck or GY to your hand by an effect of a WATER monster: You can reveal this card; look at your opponent's hand. If this card is Special Summoned: You can send the top card of your Deck to the GY, then target 1 Level 4 or lower WATER monster in your GY, except "Deep Sea Artisan"; Special Summon it, but negate its effects. You can only use each effect of "Deep Sea Artisan" once per turn.

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Mermail Abyssmegalo

Market Price: $0.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/173523_200w.jpg

You can discard 2 other WATER monsters to the Graveyard; Special Summon this card from your hand. When you do: You can add 1 "Abyss-" Spell/Trap Card from your Deck to your hand. You can Tribute 1 other face-up Attack Position WATER monster; this card can make a second attack during each Battle Phase this turn.

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Crystron Halqifibrax

Market Price: $32.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/210209_200w.jpg

2 monsters, including a Tuner

If this card is Link Summoned: You can Special Summon 1 Level 3 or lower Tuner from your hand or Deck in Defense Position, but it cannot activate its effects this turn. During your opponent's Main Phase or Battle Phase (Quick Effect): You can banish this card you control; Special Summon 1 Tuner Synchro Monster from your Extra Deck. (This is treated as a Synchro Summon.) You can only use each effect of "Crystron Halqifibrax" once per turn.

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Formula Synchron

Market Price: $1.85

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216676_200w.jpg

1 Tuner + 1 non-Tuner monster

When this card is Synchro Summoned: You can draw 1 card. Once per Chain, during your opponent's Main Phase, you can (Quick Effect): Immediately after this effect resolves, Synchro Summon using this card you control.

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Linkross

Market Price: $3.40

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/213368_200w.jpg

1 Link-2 or higher Link Monster

If this card is Link Summoned: You can activate this effect; Special Summon a number of "Link Tokens" (Cyberse/LIGHT/Level 1/ATK 0/DEF 0) up to the Link Rating of the monster used for this card's Link Summon, also you cannot use "Link Tokens" as Link Material for the rest of this turn. You can only use this effect of "Linkross" once per turn.

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Knightmare Unicorn

Market Price: $0.93

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/228687_200w.jpg

2+ monsters with different names

If this card is Link Summoned: You can discard 1 card, then target 1 card on the field; return it to the Deck, then, if this card was co-linked when this effect was activated, you can draw 1 card. You can only use this effect of "Knightmare Unicorn" once per turn. While any co-linked "Knightmare" monsters are on the field, for your normal draw in your Draw Phase, draw 1 card for each different card name among those co-linked "Knightmare" monsters, instead of drawing just 1 card.

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Double Summon

Market Price: $2.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/26144_200w.jpg

You can Normal Summon 1 additional time this turn. You can only gain this effect once per turn.

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Red Reboot

Market Price: $0.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196848_200w.jpg

When your opponent activates a Trap Card: Negate the activation, and if you do, Set that card face-down, then they can Set 1 other Trap directly from their Deck. For the rest of this turn after this card resolves, your opponent cannot activate Trap Cards. You can activate this card from your hand by paying half your LP.

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Monster Reborn

Market Price: $0.62

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/71253_200w.jpg

This promotional card is printed in Japanese.

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Coral Dragon

Market Price: $1.99

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/177667_200w.jpg

1 Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters

Once per turn: You can discard 1 card, then target 1 card your opponent controls; destroy it. If this Synchro Summoned card is sent from the field to the GY: You can draw 1 card. You can only use this effect of "Coral Dragon" once per turn.

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Mermail Abyssteus

Market Price: $0.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/173525_200w.jpg

You can discard 1 other WATER monster to the GY; Special Summon this card from your hand. If Summoned this way: Add 1 Level 4 or lower "Mermail" monster from your Deck to your hand. You can only use this effect of "Mermail Abyssteus" once per turn.

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Eria the Water Charmer, Gentle

Market Price: $1.46

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/213305_200w.jpg

2 monsters, including a WATER monster

(This card is always treated as a "Familiar-Possessed" card.)
You can target 1 WATER monster in your opponent's GY; Special Summon it to your zone this card points to. If this Link Summoned card is destroyed by battle, or is destroyed by an opponent's card effect while in its owner's Monster Zone: You can add 1 WATER monster with 1500 or less DEF from your Deck to your hand. You can only use each effect of "Eria the Water Charmer, Gentle" once per turn.

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Mermail Abyssalacia

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/220812_200w.jpg

2 Fish, Sea Serpent, and/or Aqua monsters

Monsters this card points to gain 500 ATK/DEF. You can only use each of the following effects of "Mermail Abyssalacia" once per turn.
• During your opponent's turn (Quick Effect): You can send 1 card from your hand to the GY; add 1 "Mermail" monster from your Deck to your hand.
• If this card in its owner's possession is destroyed by an opponent's attack or card effect: You can send 1 WATER monster from your Deck to the GY, then target 1 WATER monster in your GY; Special Summon it in Defense Position.

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Deep Sea Diva

Market Price: $4.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/31878_200w.jpg

When this card is Normal Summoned, you can Special Summon 1 Level 3 or lower Sea Serpent-Type monster from your Deck.

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Mecha Phantom Beast Auroradon

Market Price: $2.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/210225_200w.jpg

2+ Machine monsters

If this card is Link Summoned: You can activate this effect; Special Summon 3 "Mecha Phantom Beast Tokens" (Machine/WIND/Level 3/ATK 0/DEF 0), also you cannot Link Summon for the rest of this turn. Once per turn: You can Tribute up to 3 monsters, then apply 1 of these effects, based on the number Tributed;.
• 1: Destroy 1 card on the field.
• 2: Special Summon 1 "Mecha Phantom Beast" monster from your Deck.
• 3: Add 1 Trap from your GY to your hand.

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Neptabyss, the Atlantean Prince

Market Price: $5.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/111191_200w.jpg

You can send 1 "Atlantean" monster from your Deck to your Graveyard, except "Neptabyss, the Atlantean Prince"; add 1 "Atlantean" card from your Deck to your hand, except "Neptabyss, the Atlantean Prince". If this card is sent to the Graveyard to activate a WATER monster's effect: Target 1 "Atlantean" monster in your Graveyard, except "Neptabyss, the Atlantean Prince"; Special Summon it. You can only use each effect of "Neptabyss, the Atlantean Prince" once per turn.

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Toadally Awesome

Market Price: $4.94

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227560_200w.jpg

2 Level 2 Aqua-Type monsters

Once per turn, during the Standby Phase: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; Special Summon 1 "Frog" monster from your Deck. Once per turn, during either player's turn, when your opponent activates a Spell/Trap Card, or monster effect: You can send 1 Aqua-Type monster from your hand or face-up from your field to the Graveyard; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that card, then you can Set it to your field. If this card is sent to the Graveyard: You can target 1 WATER monster in your Graveyard; add it to your hand.

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Jet Synchron

Market Price: $0.33

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If this card is sent to the GY as Synchro Material: You can add 1 "Junk" monster from your deck to your hand. If this card is in your GY: You can send 1 card from your hand to the GY; Special Summon this card, but banish it when it leaves the field. You can only use 1 "Jet Synchron" effect per turn , and only once that turn.


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Ravenous Crocodragon Archethys

Market Price: $3.68

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/213360_200w.jpg

1 Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters

Gains 500 ATK/DEF for each card in your hand. You can only use each of the following effects of "Ravenous Crocodragon Archethys" once per turn.
• If this card is Synchro Summoned: You can draw cards equal to the number of non-Tuners used for its Synchro Summon.
• (Quick Effect): You can discard 2 cards, then target 1 card on the field; destroy it.

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Bahamut Shark

Market Price: $6.62

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216641_200w.jpg

2 Level 4 WATER monsters

Once per turn: You can detach 1 material from this card; Special Summon 1 Rank 3 or lower WATER Xyz Monster from your Extra Deck. This card cannot attack for the rest of this turn.

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Mecha Phantom Beast Blue Impala

Market Price: $0.16

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Cannot be used as a Synchro Material Monster, except for the Synchro Summon of a Machine-Type monster. The other Synchro Material Monster(s) are "Mecha Phantom Beast" monsters in your hand or on your side of the field. While you control a Token, this card cannot be destroyed by battle or card effects. If your opponent controls a monster and you control no monsters: You can banish this card from your Graveyard; Special Summon 1 "Mecha Phantom Beast Token" (Machine-Type/WIND/Level 3/ATK 0/DEF 0).

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This particular deck uses the hand discard combo that leaves your opponent with just two cards at the start of their turn. It's absolutely devastating to your opponent, and if you're lucky enough to actually lead with Deep Sea Minstrel you'll probably dodge your opponent's hand traps too.

Hanko Chow's Double Summon tech makes just as much sense in this build, and with plenty of leftover space I figured I'd also include a second copy to see it a little more often. The actual combo itself is pretty simple: by the time you can Summon Crystron Halqifibrax you'll probably have enough Water monsters in your graveyard to Summon Moulinglacia the Elemental Lord. From there you'll Link Summon Mecha Phantom Beast Auroradon, generate a bunch of tokens, and use Mecha Phantom Beast Auroradon to Summon Mecha Phantom Beast Blue Impala from the deck for the Mecha Phantom Beast Jaculuslan play.

There are plenty of solid aggressive tools in the Mermail and Atlantean monster line-ups, and the Extra Deck is fairly flexible. I think you could probably sneak Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier in as well, although your Water Synchros with discard effects are usually a better choice for propelling your strategy.

Photons Need A Lot More Help

It's impossible to talk about Photons without talking about the Galaxy theme – the two are tied together by a boatload of support cards. Put simply: this is a Rank 8 strategy that's built around manipulating Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon. There are some impressive cards attached to the strategy, including Galaxy Trance and Galaxy-Eyes Solflare Dragon, but the real stars of the show are the Rank 8s. Number 90: Galaxy-Eyes Photon Lord is a negation body that can load itself up on more materials and becomes immune to destruction effects when it has a Photon as a material. It's a little weaker than your typical Rank 8, but it's a hugely powerful defensive pick that expedites your best cards to the graveyard.

Because you're playing Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon you can also unlock the power of the Galaxy-Eyes Xyz monsters, including Neo Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon and Number 62: Galaxy Eyes-Prime Photon Dragon. Neo isn't easy to summon, but it can easily win the duel off its effect. For the most part you'll probably be focusing on summoning Number 90: Galaxy-Eyes Photon Lord, and before that using Links and the Rank 4 Starliege Photon Blast Dragon to load your field with monsters.

The Photon deck isn't hurting for more Extra Deck cards, but it could use a better set of Main Deck monsters and support cards with fewer restrictions.

Cards like Galaxy Trance, Accellight and Photon Sanctuary all come with steep conditions that make them hard to play. You'll quickly find yourself trading your Normal Summon or your ability to summon non-Light monsters, and those trade-offs aren't always worth it. It's shockingly different from Mermails or Atlanteans where virtually none of those restrictions exist, and unfortunately Photons are deeply affected by them.

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Deck - Kelly's Photon Deck by Kelly Locke

'Kelly's Photon Deck' - constructed deck list and prices for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Kelly Locke

Event:

Rank:

Advanced

Market Price: $208.82

Cards

Monster Reborn

Market Price: $0.62

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/71253_200w.jpg

This promotional card is printed in Japanese.

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Starliege Lord Galaxion

Market Price: $1.38

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92647_200w.jpg

2 level 4 "Photon" monsters 

Once per turn: You can detach 1 or 2 Xyz Materials from this card; apply this effect, depending on the number you detached.
- 1: Special Summon 1 "Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon" from your hand.
- 2: Special Summon 1 "Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon" from your Deck.

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Starliege Photon Blast Dragon

Market Price: $0.59

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230298_200w.jpg

2 Level 4 monsters

If this card is Xyz Summoned: You can Special Summon 1 "Photon" monster from your hand. While this Xyz Summoned monster is on the field, your opponent cannot target monsters you control with 2000 or more ATK with card effects, also they cannot be destroyed by your opponent's card effects. Once per opponent's turn (Quick Effect): You can detach 1 material from this card, then target 1 of your "Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon" that is banished or in your GY; Special Summon it.

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Galaxy Expedition

Market Price: $6.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/67774_200w.jpg

If you control a Level 5 or higher "Photon" or "Galaxy" monster: Special Summon 1 Level 5 or higher "Photon" or "Galaxy" monster from your Deck in face-up Defense Position. You can only activate 1 "Galaxy Expedition" per turn.

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Galaxy-Eyes Full Armor Photon Dragon

Market Price: $0.94

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122341_200w.jpg

3 Level 8 monsters

You can also Xyz Summon this card by using a "Galaxy-Eyes" Xyz Monster you control as the Xyz Material, except "Galaxy-Eyes Full Armor Photon Dragon". (Xyz Materials attached to that monster also become Xyz Materials on this card.) Once per turn: You can target up to 2 Equip Cards equipped to this card; attach them to this card as Xyz Materials. Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card, then target 1 face-up card your opponent controls; destroy it.

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Photon Thrasher

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/177322_200w.jpg

Cannot be Normal Summoned/Set. Must first be Special Summoned (from your hand) while you control no monsters. Cannot attack if you control another monster.

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Galaxy-Eyes Solflare Dragon

Market Price: $0.81

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/178004_200w.jpg

2 LIGHT monsters, including a monster with 2000 or more ATK

If this card is Link Summoned: You can target 1 “Photon” or “Galaxy” monster in your GY; add it to your hand. During your opponent’s Main Phase (Quick Effect): You can discard 2 “Photon” and/or “Galaxy” cards, OR 1 “Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon”, then target 1 Special Summoned monster your opponent controls; destroy it. You can only use each effect of “Galaxy-Eyes Solflare Dragon” once per turn.

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Cyber Dragon

Market Price: $0.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/170196_200w.jpg

If there is a monster on your opponent's side of the field and there are no monsters on your side of the field, you can Special Summon this card from your hand.

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Galaxy Soldier

Market Price: $16.86

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/186952_200w.jpg

You can send 1 other LIGHT monster from your hand to the GY; Special Summon this card from your hand in Defense Position. When this card is Special Summoned: You can add 1 "Galaxy" monster from your Deck to your hand. You can only use this effect of "Galaxy Soldier" once per turn.

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Cyber Repair Plant

Market Price: $0.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/79501_200w.jpg

If "Cyber Dragon" is in your Graveyard: You can activate 1 of these effects. If you have 3 or more "Cyber Dragons" in your Graveyard at activation, you can activate both effects and resolve in sequence. You can only activate 1 "Cyber Repair Plant" per turn.

Add 1 LIGHT Machine-Type monster from your Deck to your hand.
Target 1 LIGHT Machine-Type monster in your Graveyard; shuffle that target into your Deck.

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Union Carrier

Market Price: $4.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/210217_200w.jpg

2 monsters with the same Type or Attribute

Cannot be used as Link Material the turn it is Link Summoned. You can target 1 face-up monster you control; equip 1 monster to it from your hand or Deck with its same original Type or Attribute. The equipped monster gains 1000 ATK. If you equipped it from the Deck, you cannot Special Summon monsters with that Equip Card's name for the rest of this turn. You can only use this effect of "Union Carrier" once per turn.

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Galaxy-Eyes Cipher Dragon

Market Price: $5.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/131780_200w.jpg

2 Level 8 monsters
Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card, then target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; monsters you control cannot attack your opponent directly for the rest of this turn, except this card, also take control of the targeted monster until the End Phase, but while this effect is applied, it has its effects negated, its ATK becomes 3000, also its name becomes "Galaxy-Eyes Cipher Dragon".

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Reinforcement of the Army

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/59867_200w.jpg

Add 1 Level 4 or lower Warrior-Type monster from your Deck to your hand.

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Photon Sanctuary

Market Price: $9.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/69609_200w.jpg

Special Summon 2 "Photon Tokens" (Thunder-Type/LIGHT/Level 4/ATK 2000/DEF 0) in Defense Position. These Tokens cannot attack or be used as Synchro Material Monsters. You cannot Summon other monsters the turn you activate this card, except for LIGHT monsters.

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Number 62: Galaxy-Eyes Prime Photon Dragon

Market Price: $0.68

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230296_200w.jpg

2 Level 8 monsters

If this card battles, during damage calculation (Quick Effect): You can detach 1 material from this card once per battle; this card gains ATK equal to the combined Ranks of all Xyz Monsters currently on the field x 200, during that damage calculation only. If this card in its owner's control is destroyed by an opponent's card effect while it has "Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon" as Xyz Material: You can Special Summon this card during your 2nd Standby Phase after activation and double its ATK. Any battle damage this card inflicts to your opponent is halved unless it has "Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon" as Xyz Material.

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Alsei, the Sylvan High Protector

Market Price: $5.44

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/79020_200w.jpg

2 Level 8 monsters // Once per turn: You can declare 1 card name; excavate the top card of your Deck, and if it is the declared card, add it to your hand. Otherwise, send it to the Graveyard. If a card is sent from your Deck to the Graveyard by a card effect (except during the Damage Step): You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card, then target 1 card on the field; place that target on either the top or bottom of the Deck. You can only use this effect of "Alsei, the Sylvan High Protector" once per turn.

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Cyber Emergency

Market Price: $1.57

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/228677_200w.jpg

Add 1 LIGHT Machine monster that cannot be Normal Summoned/Set, or 1 "Cyber Dragon" monster, from your Deck to your hand. If the activation of this card in its owner's possession was negated by your opponent's card effect and sent to your GY: You can discard 1 card; add this card to your hand. You can only activate 1 "Cyber Emergency" per turn.

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Galaxy Zero

Market Price: $0.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230299_200w.jpg

Target 1 "Photon" or "Galaxy" monster in your Graveyard; Special Summon it in face-up Attack Position and equip it with this card. It cannot attack or activate its effects. If it would be destroyed during the Battle Phase, you can destroy this card instead. When this card leaves the field: The equipped monster's ATK becomes 0. You can only activate 1 "Galaxy Zero" per turn.

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Galaxy Brave

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/177973_200w.jpg

You can reveal 1 “Photon” monster in your hand; Special Summon this card from your hand, and if you do, its Level becomes the revealed monster's Level. If this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can target 1 “Galaxy” monster in your GY; this card's ATK/DEF become that monster's ATK/DEF. You can only use each effect of “Galaxy Brave” once per turn.

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Number 107: Galaxy-Eyes Tachyon Dragon

Market Price: $0.67

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/181776_200w.jpg

2 Level 8 monsters

Once per Battle Phase , at the start of your Battle Phase: You can detach 1 material from this card; all other face-up monsters currently on the field have their effects negated , also their ATK / DEF become their original ATK / DEF , and if you do any of these, during the Battle Phase this turn , each time an opponent's card effect resolves , this card gains 1000 ATK until the end of the Battle Phase, also, it can make a second attack during each Battle Phase this turn.

Official Tournament Stores must review their Konami OTS agreement before selling this product.

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Galaxy Serpent

Market Price: $0.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/138011_200w.jpg

Your hopes and dreams will be refreshed if you catch a glimpse of this rare creature in the evening twilight, soaring in the Sea of Stars.

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Galaxy Knight

Market Price: $0.58

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230292_200w.jpg

If you control a "Photon" or "Galaxy" monster, you can Normal Summon this card without Tributing. If Summoned this way: Target 1 "Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon" in your GY (if possible); regardless, this card loses 1000 ATK, and if it does, Special Summon that target (if any) in Defense Position. This ATK decrease lasts until the end of this turn.

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Constellar Pleiades

Market Price: $0.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227451_200w.jpg

2 Level 5 LIGHT monsters

Once per turn, during either player's turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card, then target 1 card on the field; return that target to the hand.

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Galaxy Trance

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/197492_200w.jpg

Pay 2000 LP, then target 1 "Photon" monster in your GY; Special Summon both it and 1 "Galaxy" monster from your Deck, with the same Level, both in Defense Position, and if you do, each monster's ATK become 2000, also their effects are negated. You can only activate 1 "Galaxy Trance" per turn. You cannot Normal or Special Summon monsters during the turn you activate this card, except "Photon" and "Galaxy" monsters.

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Neo Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon

Market Price: $6.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/136853_200w.jpg

3 Level 8 monsters

If this card is Xyz Summoned using "Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon" as any of its materials: All other face-up cards currently on the field have their effects negated. Once per turn: You can detach 1 material from this card; detach all materials from monsters your opponent controls, then this card gains 500 ATK for each, also it can attack up to that many times during each Battle Phase this turn.

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Cyber Dragon Core

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227549_200w.jpg

When this card is Normal Summoned: Add 1 "Cyber" Spell/Trap from your Deck to your hand. If only your opponent controls a monster: You can banish this card from your GY; Special Summon 1 "Cyber Dragon" monster from your Deck. You can only use 1 "Cyber Dragon Core" effect per turn, and only once that turn. This card's name becomes "Cyber Dragon" while on the field or in the GY.

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Salamangreat Almiraj

Market Price: $1.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/210294_200w.jpg

1 Normal Summoned monster with 1000 or less ATK

(Quick Effect): You can Tribute this card, then target 1 monster you control; it cannot be destroyed by your opponent's card effects this turn. When a Normal Summoned monster you control is destroyed by battle, while this card is in your GY: You can Special Summon this card. You can only use this effect of "Salamangreat Almiraj" once per turn.

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Photon Vanisher

Market Price: $0.46

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230293_200w.jpg

Cannot be Normal Summoned/Set. Must first be Special Summoned (from your hand) while you control a "Photon" or "Galaxy" monster. Cannot attack the turn it is Special Summoned. You can only Special Summon "Photon Vanisher(s)" once per turn. If this card is Special Summoned: You can add 1 "Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon" from your Deck to your hand. An Xyz Monster that was Summoned using this card on the field as material gains this effect.

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Number 90: Galaxy-Eyes Photon Lord

Market Price: $31.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/169415_200w.jpg

2 Level 8 monsters

If this card has a "Photon" card as Xyz Material, it cannot be destroyed by card effects. You can only use each of the following effects of "Number 90: Galaxy-Eyes Photon Lord" once per turn.
• When your opponent activates a monster effect (Quick Effect): You can detach 1 material from this card; negate the effect, then, if the detached material was a "Galaxy" card, destroy that card.
• During your opponent’s turn (Quick Effect): You can take 1 "Photon" or "Galaxy" card from your Deck, and either add it to your hand or attach it to this card as material.

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Dragon Shrine

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230252_200w.jpg

Send 1 Dragon monster from your Deck to the GY, then, if that monster in your GY is a Dragon Normal Monster, you can send 1 more Dragon monster from your Deck to the GY. You can only activate 1 "Dragon Shrine" per turn.

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Photon Orbital

Market Price: $6.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230294_200w.jpg

During your Main Phase: You can target 1 "Photon" or "Galaxy" monster you control; equip this monster from your hand or field to that target. It gains 500 ATK, also it cannot be destroyed by battle. You can send this Equip Card to the GY; add 1 "Photon" or "Galaxy" monster from your Deck to your hand, except "Photon Orbital". You can only use this effect of "Photon Orbital" once per turn.

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Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon

Market Price: $2.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230288_200w.jpg

You can Special Summon this card (from your hand) by Tributing 2 monsters with 2000 or more ATK. During the Battle Step, if this card battles an opponent's monster (Quick Effect): You can target that opponent's monster; banish both this card from the field and that target. Return those banished monsters to the field at the end of the Battle Phase, and if you banished an Xyz Monster, this card gains 500 ATK for each material it had when it was banished.

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World Chalice Guardragon

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196829_200w.jpg

When a card or effect is activated that targets your linked monster (Quick Effect): You can send this card from your hand or field to the GY; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that card. You can banish this card from your GY, then target 1 Normal Monster in your GY; Special Summon it in Defense Position to your zone a Link Monster points to. You can only use this effect of "World Chalice Guardragon" once per turn.

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Most of the monsters in this deck involve Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon by either summoning it or adding it to the hand from your deck or graveyard. Your top priority is either summoning Starliege Photon Blast Dragon if you have Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon in your hand, or Galaxy-Eyes Solflare Dragon if it's in the graveyard.

But what if your Dragon's still buried in the deck? That's where Union Carrier comes in handy. You can use its effect to equip Photon Orbital to a monster and then use Photon Orbital effect to search any Photon or Galaxy monster. Of course, you can also find Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon with Photon Vanisher, Galaxy Expedition and Galaxy Trance.

There's not a lot of aggressive power available outside of the Extra Deck, and even then most of it's built around activating effects during the Battle Phase. Galaxy-Eyes Solflare Dragon has a salvageable removal effect that's surprisingly easy to keep up – having Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon in your hand is what this deck's built to do – but it's only available during your opponent's turn.

This deck feels like it's just barely hanging on through the opponent's turn, and part of that is because it's hard to summon more than one Rank 8 per turn. That was fine in the era the deck was first released in, but these days modern strategies can easily field three or four negation bodies at a time. Tachyon Transmigration is an option for playing first, but I personally thought it was a bit of a gimmick.

Photons Probably Don't Stand A Chance

I actually found myself really enjoying the Photon deck as I researched it for this article. Using Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon as both an Xyz Material and a resource to fuel your Extra Deck monsters is a unique spin on an otherwise simple Rank 8 strategy. I'm not sure if Photons would be competitive with one singular new support card, but I'm much more optimistic about it now that I've had the time to thoroughly explore what the theme's capable of. This deck hinges on Union Carrier as opposed to Crystron Halqifibrax, and that itself is a nice change of pace.

Meanwhile, Mermails have a massive legacy and a much bigger fanbase than nearly every deck in the Create-A-Card Project. They're among the favorites to win here, and if Mermails lose in their Round 1 it would immediately become Yu-Gi-Oh history. I really don't think an upset of that caliber is possible, honestly. That said, maybe there's enough people that are looking down the road at the degenerate combos a new Mermail card might unleash. We really don't need any more hand loops in the game, and I get the feeling that any new Mermail card will only make that combo more consistent.

If Photons do win I'm hoping they'll get a fresh wave of reprints for key cards. Photon Orbital's shockingly expensive, and unfortunately it's definitely needed to play the deck. Photons are incredibly fun, and I'd love to see them move on in the tournament. We'll see if anyone else feels the same way.

Until next time then

-Kelly