There are a few decks I always have in the back of my mind when new cards release. Frogs are probably at the top of the list, a deck I've been playing since Swap Frog debuted in early 2010 with Stardust Overdrive. You guys already know my love for Mist Valley Falcon control decks, too. But another favorite strategy of mine happens to be one of the most fun decks I've ever played, and one that just got a huge boost from Legacy of the Valiant – Piper Chaos!

Piper decks, as the name implies, revolve around steadily building card advantage by repeatedly using Mystic Piper. You Tribute it to draw and reveal a card, and if the drawn card is a Level 1 monster you draw a second card. That means Piper's effect is generally a 1-for-1 that thins your deck – think Upstart Goblin. However, building the deck to use a wide variety of Level 1 monsters turns that 1-for-1 trade into a strong chance at a +1. Cardcar D's popular for its ability to turn one card into two, and Mystic Piper can do the same things without sacrificing most of your turn or your ability to Special Summon. By reusing Mystic Piper with efefcts, you can use its ability turn after turn, increasing your card presence significantly.

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The little spirit cat, Kinka-Byo, is one of the best ways to abuse Piper. Kinka-Byo Summons a Level 1 monster back from your graveyard when you Normal Summon it, but whatever you revive is banished when Kina leaves the field. Since it's a Spirit Monster, that generally means "use it or lose it" for anything you retrieve. Luckily, Mystic Piper Tributes itself when you activate its effect, so you'll rarely see it banished off a Kinka-Byo combo. Since Special Summoning with Kinka-Byo's free it's a temporary +1, and that turns Piper's draw into a permanent +1 overall; potentially +2 since you can draw a second card if you reveal a Level 1. With Kinka-Byo returning to your hand every turn, you can repeat this play over and over.

The downside here is that you lose your Normal Summon to Kinka-Byo. Piper decks can use a variety of methods to make up for that, usually involving Special Summoning monsters like Chaos Sorcerer and Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning. The issue is that without drawing into those boss monsters, the deck has almost no way of winning. You can have all the cards in the world, but if you can't do anything with them, it really doesn't matter. Luckily Legacy of the Valiant has sent us a handful of cards to help fill in the blanks and broaden our options! Let's check it out!
DECKID=99544If you're familiar with older versions of the Piper deck, the thing that probably stands out most here are the Ghostricks. The Level 1 count's incredibly high even for a Piper deck, clocking in at a whopping 21 monsters! Believe it or not, previous versions of this build had even more Level 1's – I've played as many as 27 – but some of those, like Kuriboh' rel=" Kuriboh">Rainbow Kuriboh and Chaos Necromancer, got trimmed out over time to make space for other cards.

Spooky Scary Skeletons
Well, actually it's a handful of Ghostricks other than Ghostrick Skeleton. To be honest, Ghostricks as a whole are nowhere near what I would call a competitive deck. These Level 1 guys though… They have a LOT of power hidden in their puny package. The Ghostrick strategy as a whole hinges around three different classes of monsters. The Level 2's tend to disrupt your opponent's monsters and force things face-down, while the Level 3's are search power and brute force. On the other hand, the Level 1's are the core of their defense, and the nature of the deck makes them surprisingly splashable.

Ghostrick Lantern and Ghostrick Jackfrost can both stop any direct attack, regardless of what deck you may be playing them in, and they work with Ghostrick Specter for more defense and deck thinning. Considering that they're all Level 1 and thus work with Mystic Piper, their defensive abilities fit perfectly here. Ghostrick Jiangshi searches out additional Ghostricks as it flips, giving another strong early game play to help you build card advantage. While the Level of the monster you search is limited by the number of Ghostricks you control, literally every other Ghostrick in the deck is Level 1, so it doesn't matter. Another cool trick with Jiangshi is that when it gets attacked, you search a monster with its effect before it's sent to the graveyard. This means you can grab Ghostrick Specter and immediately Special Summon it and draw a card. That's a +1 right there. For a battle you lost.

The newcomer Ghostrick Mary is the best of both worlds, and the Ghostrick you most want to see in the early game. Whenever you take damage, you can discard her to Summon any Ghostrick from your deck face-down. ANY Ghostrick. That means you can Summon Jiangshi straight from your deck any time you'd take damage, letting you search even more Ghostricks with its effect. Think a Tragoedia, if that Tragoedia searched Battle Faders. That's what Mary is.

All together, this gives you an incredible defensive engine that's difficult to play around without stopping Special Summons outright. Even the most aggressive of strategies struggle with so many defensive hand traps, and decks are often forced to dangerously overextend to even try to take you down. If you can capitalize on that, victory soon becomes academic, and it's all thanks to the Ghostricks.

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The best Ghostrick isn't even in the Main Deck, though! Ghostrick Dullahan's easily my favorite card in Legacy of the Valiant, and the combos in this deck are the reason. To start off, you can make Dullahan with any two Level 1's. It has a meager 1000 ATK, but gains 200 ATK for every Ghostrick card you control, including itself. That's still pretty small, but Dullahan can halve the ATK of any monster on the field until the End Phase, once per turn as a Quick Effect. That means it can run over anything under 2400 ATK, and with just one more Ghostrick on the field it topples 2700 ATK monsters and trades with 2800 ATK giants. Get two of these on the field at once, and pretty much everything that isn't immune to Dullahan's effect falls in battle after losing three quarters of its attack points.

But wait, there's more! Whenever Dullahan's sent to the graveyard, you get to add any other Ghostrick card from your graveyard to your hand! That effect can't miss timing, and triggers no matter how Dullahan hits the grave; whether it be by battle, card effect, Tribute, or even being detached from Downerd Magician or an opposing Number 101: Silent Honor ARK. You can easily grab back another defensive monster, use it to block an attack, and then combine it with another Level 1 to summon another Dullahan next turn! One cool combo especially useful in the early game, is to use Mary's effect when Dullahan's finally destroyed in battle. Much like the Jiangshi-Specter play, you take battle damage before Dullahan hits the graveyard, so Mary gets to trigger and summon a Ghostrick from your deck just before Dullahan hits the grave. Dullahan can then return Mary back to your hand to use again later.

My absolute favorite part of Ghostrick Dullahan's recycling effect, though, is that it can return other copies of itself to the Extra Deck! Your first Dullahan aids in your defenses by returning another Ghostrick, but from there on out every time a Dullahan dies, you have the option of returning another one to your Extra Deck, giving you a virtually infinite supply of headless horsemen to harass your opponent with! Ghostrick Dullahan's the core of the deck's offense, and you'll be summoning it a LOT. It's also good to note that Dullahan's the sole reason I opted to play Ghostrick Lantern in triplicate over Ghostrick Jackfrost; protecting Dullahan from an extra attack can go a long way.

While Ghostricks provide defense and Dullahan is your easy go-to attacker, Symphonic Warrior Basses is what brings in the heavy hitters. While WIND isn't the most favorable attribute in this deck, Basses makes up for that with an incredibly useful effect tacked onto its Level 1 Tuner body: it can target any Symphonic Warrior on the field and increase its Level by the number of cards you currently have in-hand. You'll nearly always target Basses itself, but it means Basses is a flexible Tuner that lets you make a wide variety of Synchro plays. Thanks to the card advantage generated by Mystic Piper and Ghostrick Jiangshi, you'll nearly always have five or six cards in hand when you go to increase Basses's Level. With a now Level 6 or 7 Tuner, you can easily Synchro with a single Level 1 to make powerful, game-shifting plays with monsters like Black Rose Dragon or Scrap Dragon.

It's also great to note that you can revive the Bass with Kinka-Byo! Yarding Treeborn Frog should be one of your early priorities, giving you a Level 1 monster for free every single turn. After reviving Treeborn, you can use Kinka-Byo to grab back Basses and increase its Level by however many cards you have in hand, letting you then Summon whatever Synchro your Levels correspond to. Three cards in hand make Armades, Keeper of Boundaries. Five make Black Rose Dragon or Gungnir, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, thanks to Treeborn Frog's Water attribute. Six cards give access to Scrap Dragon and Crimson Blader, or Dark End Dragon if you opt to use a DARK non-Tuner over Treeborn Frog. You can even just leave it at Level 1 for a Formula Synchron or Ghostrick Dullahan. Now you've just summoned a powerful monster, with nothing but a Treeborn Frog that came back for free and a Basses you summoned off a Kinka-Byo that's going to return to your hand. That means you literally had to dedicate ZERO resources to make that monster. A lot of competitive decks revolve around summoning Synchros or Xyz as 1-for-1', but this deck can literally summon them as a +1. Every. Single. Turn.

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Basses's Graveyard effect isn't used too often, but will come up from time to time. By banishing a Basses from your graveyard, you can increase the Level of another one on the field by the number of cards in-hand, letting you double-down in the rare situations where you have a smaller hand. It can help you bounce back from a Fiendish Chain or Effect Veiler used on your Basses, too.

That effect also helps when you're stuck with four cards in-hand when you need a Bass play with no Level 6 Synchros. By using the effect of the on-field Basses to boost it to Level 5, then the effect of the in-grave Basses to boost it to Level 9, you can easily make Leo, the Keeper of the Sacred Tree with any Level 1! That might seem situational, but Leo also comes up a lot via Formula Synchron and a Level 8, or with a Level 7 Basses and Jiangshi, so it's definitely worth having in your Extra Deck.

Arf! Arf! I'm A Piper!
The spell lineup's slim, but it's designed to streamline the deck and make sure it works as reliably as possible. One for One summons nearly any monster you may need, and Foolish Burial loads targets for Kinka-Byo and the all-important Treeborn Frog. Three Mystical Space Typhoons answer continuous cards and soften up backrows, and are practically a necessity in the game right now. Those are all amazing cards, but the one that really keeps the deck consistent is Where Arf Thou? Released to virtually no hype in Return of the Duelist in 2012, Where Arf Thou? was a niche card overshadowed by emerging archetypes like Madolches and Spellbooks, and the powerful-from-the-gates Geargia deck.

You can activate Where Arf Thou? whenever you control a Level 1, and it searches any Level 1 from your deck. The catch is that if you don't Normal Summon it by the End Phase, you take 2000 damage . Being nearly a Reinforcement of the Army for Level 1 monsters, Where Arf assembles your powerful combos through Mystic Piper, Treeborn Frog, Symphonic Warrior Basses, and Kinka-Byo. You're likely to Normal Summon any of them the turn you search them, either to use their effects, or to make a quick Ghostrick Dullahan and get to the graveyard, in the case of Treeborn Frog. That means if you're searching any of those monsters you generally won't have to take damage.

That's not all Where Arf's good for, though! Other powerful cards like the Ghostricks and Effect Veiler are also Level 1. You usually won't be Summoning those the turn you search them, and you'll take the 2000 damage, but saving your skin or forcing your opponent to play around those effects is often worth the cost. Another wonderful thing is that you aren't "paying" Life Points or "losing" Life Points – you're taking damage. That means you can search out a card for later, take 2000 damage, and trigger the effect of Ghostrick Mary, immediately summoning a Ghostrick Jiangshi from your deck. You can even search Mary herself if you really want to get her effect off. Where Arf Thou? speeds you towards your combos, answers problems, and even builds field presence, making it the most versatile and powerful spell in this strategy.

Heavy Hitters And The Clean-Up Crew
I already mentioned that Treeborn Frog's important for making literally free Synchro and Xyz plays with Kinka-Byo, but there's another reason why getting that early Treeborn Frog goes a long way. On top of the Level 1 core the deck plays some big hitters, designed to soften up defenses and answer the problems your Extra Deck can't handle, and five of those are ever-popular Monarchs. Three copies of Caius the Shadow Monarch make for great early game pressure while you're trying to assemble combo pieces, and Caius is a great late game answer to cards that can't be destroyed – a common roadblock for every Synchro here short of Dark End Dragon. However, Mobius the Mega Monarch's the real sleeper hit in this strategy.

One of the deck's fundamental weaknesses is that nearly all of its plays revolve around Normal Summons. That means if your Normal Summon's disrupted, you may be left with nothing to do for the turn. Mega Mobius helps immensely, taking down multiple backrow cards in an instant, and then forcing your opponent to use more cards to answer its 2800 ATK body. Making a two-Tribute Summon is nothing here: the deck runs nine defensive hand traps that leave a monster behind and Treeborn Frog constantly returns to the field. Oh, and that Frog makes all the difference with Mobius. See, while destroying three backrow cards is nice, it's even nicer to destroy them without your opponent chaining them. Mega Mobius's additional effect states that if any of the tributes for it were Water, then none of the targeted cards can be used in response. This means that any chainable shenanigans like Geargiagear or Reckless Greed can't go off, but more importantly means Mobius won't be stopped by the likes of Fiendish Chain or Divine Wrath, nor will it be cleared by Torrential Tribute or Bottomless Trap Hole in an effort to cushion the loss.

Tragoedia isn't considered a boss monster very often in today's game, but this deck would like to say otherwise. With the ridiculous level of draw power, it's rare that you'll drop a Tragoedia at less than 3000 ATK. Tragoedia forces tons of effect negation just to avoid being blown out by a giant beater, freeing up plays for your Synchros and other bosses later in the game: when it isn't stopped it can deal huge amounts of damage and clear threats that would require a larger investment otherwise. Its ability to change Levels is also useful when pairing with Basses for Synchro plays, or becoming a Level 1 for Where Arf Thou? It's weaker in the Fire Fist matchup, since it requires an attack to connect instead of outright stopping an attack from Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear, and your opponent can negate it with Brotherhod of the Fire Fist – Tiger King, but its strength in many other matchups makes it well worth playing. If Fire Fists are an overwhelmingly popular deck in your area, you can feel free to replace the Tragoedias with additional Battle Faders or work Star Eater into your Extra Deck to compensate.

Chaos Sorcerer and Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning are the last of the boss monsters. They're usually your last-ditch answers to problems you can't clear otherwise, they're otherwise saved for finishing plays. Chaos Sorcerer's a little more expendable due to its weaker effect and Level 6, making Synchro plays or being overlaid with Caius or a Level 6 Basses to make Constellar Ptolemy M7. You can return the Sorcerer to your hand with M7 to reuse it immediately, as well as recycle powerful hand traps like Effect Veiler or a lost Kinka Byo. It can also just bounce a monster from the field to hand if you need it to.

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Black Luster Soldier remains one of the most powerful cards in the game, winning you a good number of games by itself if you play it wisely. Rushing a BLS onto the field in the early game is rarely going to end well, but when you save it for when your opponent runs low on answers it can steal the entire duel. Chaos Sorcerer by itself is largely the same way, but you'll usually use it to banish a big threat rather than end the game. These are your only big monsters that don't use your Normal Summon, so you have to use them carefully.

You may be wondering why I'm only playing one copy of Chaos Sorcerer, but if you look at the Main Deck, there are only a total of six Lights here, not counting BLS. That means early on, it's rather difficult to play Sorcerer without messing up other plays down the line by banishing Mystic Piper, or being forced to waste an Effect Veiler just to get a Light into the graveyard. When I was testing two copies, drawing multiple Chaos monsters without a good way to Summon them hurt me too often, so it got cut to one. Feel free to try two if you work in more Lights, though. There are some really good picks that had to be trimmed from this deck in the end, like Kuriboh' rel=" Kuriboh">Rainbow Kuriboh.

The last "big hitter" I want to talk about is a real game-ender that no one sees coming. Number 54: Lion Heart's one of the biggest late-game momentum-changers in the game, but almost no deck can Summon it! Taking three Level 1's to Summon, Lion Heart clocks in at a whopping(ly low) 100 ATK. That's great, because it can't die in battle when it's in Attack Position, and it can make your opponent take all the damage when it battles! If you've ever been in a situation where you were really close to winning, but your opponent summoned a big monster you just couldn't kill, Lion Heart comes to the rescue.

By crashing Lion Heart into a big monster you can often do 2000 or more damage to your opponent out of nowhere. You'll usually play it to win a game outright, but it can also be used to put your opponent in a very precarious position if they don't run a lot of monster removal. By walling the opponent's attacks, you can make them either hold back entirely or try to force off materials with weaker attacks. You can often just let those go, damaging both players and saving the materials for when bigger battles happen. Three Xyz Materials isn't hard to get with all your defenses, Treeborn Frog, and Kinka-Byo, so while you won't Summon Lion Heart very often, it's not hard to make when you need it to win the game.

Different Tunes
One of my favorite things about Piper Decks is the sheer number of ways you can play them. I've run different builds using things like Chaos Dragons, Synchrons, Exodia, Relinquished, Ameba, Jurracs with Jurrac Aeolo, and even a deck that used nothing but 40 Level 1 monsters! (That last one is actually what this build evolved from.)

There are so many different ways to take advantage of this simple engine, and they all achieve different end goals. That level of diversity, innovation, and general creativity is just amazing in my eyes.

-Bobby Kenny