Hey there duelists, we're back this week with another How To Play! article from yours truly. Those of you who follow my YouTube may have already seen my video profile of today's deck, but today I wanted to bring you a much more in-depth guide on Magical Musketeers.
First appearing in the Spirit Warriors side set back in November of 2017, Magical Musketeer's pack negation, draw cards, and plenty of disruption, so it's easy to see why so many players have found the theme so appealing. But competitively speaking, the deck has always felt like it lacked that little bit of power to really put it over the top. While it attempted to use column mechanics to fuel effects, that type of strategy would become synonymous with the Mekk-Knight cards instead, and Musketeers quickly fell to the wayside over time.
That all changed in July of 2019, when Magical Musketeer Max hit the ground running, giving the deck the explosive plays it so sorely needed. As a Link 1 that could potentially summon up to five monsters, Magical Musketeer Max was an incredible addition to the deck, bringing that element of raw power. Magical Musketeer Max is actually so good that as I was writing this article, my Facebook memories popped up to remind me that about a year ago I'd once said, "Magical Musketeer Max is one of the most powerful Link Monsters ever printed."
It's a sentiment I still maintain to this day.
After seeing the popularity of the Pendulum article I wrote back in July, I decided to make a monthly project of playing a rogue deck voted on by the community, with some house rules to make each build budget-friendly. I've always had a soft spot for some of the crazier decks in Yu-Gi-Oh's history, but I wouldn't normally play anything too far outside of the competitive realm. With ten thousand unique cards printed, there are infinite possibilities, and really, any idea in Yu-Gi-Oh's only crazy until it wins. Then it's suddenly respected by the masses.
A strategy like Magical Musketeer is great for formats like the one we're in now, because so many lines of play are replicated through different decks. With cards like Crystron Halqifibrax so ubiquitous across a range of strategies, you can build your deck to have silver bullets against an array of strategies just by focusing on the plays many of the top decks share in common.
With the state of the world being as messy as it is, and with no real competitive events outside of small remote duel locals, now's the perfect time to roll up your sleeves and jump into some of those decks you might never consider otherwise. Magical Musketeer's a perfect example of a fun, niche theme that most players are incredibly unfamiliar with, all wrapped up in a wallet-friendly package. While you may not be winning a YCS with it… if there were YCS tournaments to win… you can definitely sneak some wins in for a local tournament and snag some prize packs in the process.
With that said, here's my Magical Musketeer deck.
Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Deck - Zach's Magical Musketeer Deck by Zachariah Butler
'Zach's Magical Musketeer Deck' - constructed deck list and prices for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!
Created By: Zachariah Butler
Market Price: $160.04
Number 75: Bamboozling Gossip Shadow
Market Price: $1.09
2+ Level 3 monsters
Once per turn, when an opponent's monster activates its effect (Quick Effect): You can detach 2 materials from this card; the activated effect becomes "both players draw 1 card". You can target 1 other "Number" Xyz Monster you control; attach this card to it as material. (Transfer its materials to that monster.) You can only use this effect of "Number 75: Bamboozling Gossip Shadow" once per turn.
Magical Musketeer Doc
Market Price: $1.85
During either player's turn, you can activate "Magical Musket" Spell/Trap Cards from your hand. If a Spell/Trap Card is activated in this card's column: You can add 1 "Magical Musket" card from your GY to your hand, but not a card with the same name as that activated card. You can only use this effect of "Magical Musketeer Doc" once per turn.
Market Price: $0.92
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.
Magical Musketeer Calamity
Market Price: $0.33
During either player's turn, you can activate "Magical Musket" Spell/Trap Cards from your hand. If a Spell/Trap Card is activated in this card's column: You can target 1 "Magical Musket" monster in your GY; Special Summon it in Defense Position. You can only use this effect of "Magical Musketeer Calamity" once per turn.
Topologic Bomber Dragon
Market Price: $0.35
2+ Effect Monsters
If another monster is Special Summoned to a zone a Link Monster points to, while this monster is on the field: Destroy all monsters in the Main Monster Zones, also your other monsters cannot attack for the rest of this turn. After damage calculation, if this card attacked an opponent's monster: Inflict damage to your opponent equal to that monster's original ATK.
Market Price: $0.41
2 monsters with the same Type, except Tokens
You can only Link Summon "Akashic Magician(s)" once per turn. If this card is Link Summoned: Return all monsters this card points to to the hand. Once per turn: You can declare 1 card name; excavate cards from the top of your Deck, equal to the total Link Rating of the Link Monsters co-linked to this card, then if you excavated any copies of the declared card, add them to your hand, also send the remaining cards to the GY.
Number 39: Utopia
Market Price: $0.76
2 Level 4 monsters
When any player's monster declares an attack: You can detach 1 material from this card; negate the attack. If this card is targeted for an attack, while it has no material: Destroy this card.
Market Price: $0.39
If this card is Special Summoned by the effect of "Parallel eXceed", its Level becomes 4 and its original ATK/DEF become halved. You can only use each of the following effects of "Parallel eXceed" once per turn.
• If you Link Summon: You can Special Summon this card from your hand to your zone that Link Monster points to.
• If this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can Special Summon 1 "Parallel eXceed" from your Deck.
Pot of Desires
Market Price: $1.02
Banish 10 cards from the top of your Deck, face-down; draw 2 cards. You can only activate 1 "Pot of Desires" per turn.
Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/yugioh/toon-chaos/pot-of-desires
Magical Musket - Last Stand
Market Price: $5.35
When your opponent activates a Spell/Trap Card while you control a "Magical Musket" monster: Negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that card. You can only activate 1 "Magical Musket - Last Stand" per turn.
Magical Musket - Crooked Crown
Market Price: $0.14
You can only control 1 "Magical Musket - Crooked Crown". During the Main Phase: You can Special Summon 1 "Magical Musket" monster from your hand, and if you do, if your opponent's Main Monster Zone in that monster's current column is unused, that zone cannot be used until the end of this turn (even if this card leaves the field). You can only use this effect of "Magical Musket - Crooked Crown" once per turn.
Market Price: $1.87
Draw 1 card from your Deck. Your opponent gains 1000 Life Points.
Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/yugioh/magic-ruler/upstart-goblin
Market Price: $1.74
2+ Effect Monsters
If a monster(s) is Special Summoned to a zone(s) this card points to: Banish as many of those monster(s) as possible, also as many Spells/Traps on the field as possible, and if you do, inflict 500 damage to your opponent for each of their cards banished by this effect.
Magical Musket - Dancing Needle
Market Price: $2.17
If you control a "Magical Musket" monster: Target up to 3 cards in the GYs; banish them. You can only activate 1 "Magical Musket - Dancing Needle" per turn.
Market Price: $0.56
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.
Magical Musketeer Kidbrave
Market Price: $0.77
During either player's turn, you can activate "Magical Musket" Spell/Trap Cards from your hand. If a Spell/Trap Card is activated in this card's column: You can discard 1 "Magical Musket" card; draw 2 cards. You can only use this effect of "Magical Musketeer Kidbrave" once per turn.
Magical Musket - Cross-Domination
Market Price: $8.72
If you control a "Magical Musket" monster: Target 1 face-up monster on the field; until the end of this turn, change its ATK/DEF to 0, also it has its effects negated. You can only activate 1 "Magical Musket - Cross-Domination" per turn.
Market Price: $3.00
2 monsters with different names
If this card is Link Summoned: You can discard 1 card, then target 1 Special Summoned monster in your opponent's Main Monster Zone; 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 Cerberus" once per turn. Your co-linked monsters cannot be destroyed by card effects.
Magical Musketeer Starfire
Market Price: $0.30
During either player's turn, you can activate "Magical Musket" Spell/Trap Cards from your hand. If a Spell/Trap Card is activated in this card's column (except during the Damage Step): You can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower "Magical Musket" monster from your Deck in Defense Position, except "Magical Musketeer Starfire". You can only use this effect of "Magical Musketeer Starfire" once per turn.
Market Price: $1.93
Pay 1000 LP, then target 1 Spell/Trap on the field; banish it.
Market Price: $1.94
3+ Effect Monsters
Neither player can target this card with monster effects. Once per turn (Quick Effect): You can target 1 face-up monster on the field; it loses 500 ATK/DEF. Your opponent cannot activate cards or effects in response to this effect's activation. At the start of the Damage Step, if this card attacks an opponent's monster: You can place that opponent's monster in a zone this card points to and take control of it, but send it to the GY during the End Phase of the next turn.
Magical Musket - Desperado
Market Price: $3.32
If you control a "Magical Musket" monster: Target 1 face-up card on the field; destroy it. You can only activate 1 "Magical Musket - Desperado" per turn.
Double or Nothing!
Market Price: $0.70
Activate only when a monster's attack is negated by selecting that monster. During this Battle Phase, the selected monster can attack once again. In that case, double its ATK during the Damage Step only.
Market Price: $0.94
2 Level 4 monsters
While this card has an Xyz Material attached that was originally WATER, all WATER monsters you control gain 500 ATK. Once per turn, during either player's turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; any card effects that activate in your opponent's Graveyard cannot be activated this turn.
Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit
Market Price: $2.42
When a monster on the field activates its effect, or when a Spell/Trap that is already face-up on the field activates its effect (Quick Effect): You can send this card from your hand or field to the GY; destroy that card on the field. You can only use this effect of "Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit" once per turn.
Magical Musketeer Caspar
Market Price: $0.33
During either player's turn, you can activate "Magical Musket" Spell/Trap Cards from your hand. If a Spell/Trap Card is activated in this card's column (except during the Damage Step): You can add 1 "Magical Musket" card from your Deck to your hand, but not a card with the same name as that activated card. You can only use this effect of "Magical Musketeer Caspar" once per turn.
Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring
Market Price: $19.45
When a card or effect is activated that includes any of these effects (Quick Effect): You can discard this card; negate that effect.
• Add a card from the Deck to the hand.
• Special Summon from the Deck.
• Send a card from the Deck to the GY.
You can only use this effect of "Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring" once per turn.
Market Price: $10.46
3+ Effect Monsters
Cannot be destroyed by battle. Once per turn (Quick Effect): You can target 1 Attack Position monster; change it to Defense Position, also, this card can make a second attack during each Battle Phase this turn. Your opponent cannot activate cards or effects in response to this effect's activation. Once per turn, when this card declares an attack on a face-up monster: You can activate this effect; until the end of this turn, this card gains ATK equal to half that monster's current ATK, and if it does, that monster's current ATK is halved.
Magical Musketeer Max
Market Price: $2.18
1 Level 8 or lower "Magical Musket" monster
If this card is Link Summoned: You can activate 1 of these effects;
• Add "Magical Musket" Spells/Traps with different names from your Deck to your hand, up to the number of monsters your opponent controls.
• Special Summon "Magical Musket" monsters with different names from your Deck, up to the number of Spells/Traps your opponent controls.
You can only use this effect of "Magical Musketeer Max" once per turn. During either player's turn, you can activate "Magical Musket" Spell/Trap Cards from your hand.
Number 39: Utopia Double
Market Price: $9.20
2 Level 4 monsters
(Quick Effect): You can detach 1 material from this card; add 1 "Double or Nothing!" from your Deck to your hand, then Special Summon from your Extra Deck, 1 "Utopia" Xyz Monster, except "Number 39: Utopia Double", by using this face-up card you control as material, and if you do, its ATK becomes doubled, but it cannot attack directly. (This is treated as an Xyz Summon. Transfer its materials to the Summoned monster.) You can only use this effect of "Number 39: Utopia Double" once per turn.
Market Price: $0.53
During your Main Phase: You can reveal 1 Link Monster in your Extra Deck, and if you do, when you Link Summon this turn, you can treat this card as Link Material with the same name, Type, and Attribute as the revealed monster. If this card is sent to the GY as Link Material: You can add 1 Level 5 or higher Cyberse monster from your Deck to your hand. You can only use each effect of "Formud Skipper" once per turn.
The entire deck costs a surprisingly reasonable $110 at the time of this writing, which is a great value for a rogue strategy; most rogue decks have to play pricy cards like Pot of Extravagance just to keep up with the format's leading strategies. Muskets don't have that issue, and in fact the most expensive card in the entire deck is Borrelsword Dragon, coming in at only $16.
Thanks to Duel Overload earlier in the year, Magical Musketeer Caspar and Magical Musketeer Starfire are less than a dollar total for a playset of each. That's fantastic; it means your wallet lives to fight another day, and you can spend a bit more money on some other more powerful cards to customize the list.
The Magical Musketeer monster cards are pretty simple, so let's start with those. All of your Musketeers share an effect that lets you activate Musket spell and trap cards directly from your hand on either player's turn. That's important because the monsters also trigger when a spell or trap activates in their column, giving them bonus effects.
Magical Musketeer Caspar's the star of the show; when a spell or trap's activated in its column, you can search your deck for any "Magical Musket" card aside from the one triggering Magical Musketeer Caspar ability. That's incredible, getting you follow-up summons for future turns, or finding you different calibers of ammunition in the form of spells and traps. Magical Musketeer Starfire's integral as well, Special Summoning a Musketeer from your deck in defense position. That's extra important because of key plays this deck makes with Number 39: Utopia Double, as well as the opportunities it creates for Link climbing. Next up is Magical Musketeer Kidbrave, which discards a Musket to draw you two cards, giving you the ability to dig deeper for the plays you need. The final monsters are Magical Musketeer Calamity reviving a Musketeer from the graveyard, and Magical Musketeer Doc, getting you back a Musket card from your graveyard.
From there, you've got your "Musket" spells and traps. The best one by far is Magical Musket - Cross-Domination, which is sort of an in-theme Forbidden Chalice in that it negates monster effects. But instead of gaining 400 ATK, the monster you target drops to 0 attack points instead. That's fantastic in a deck with relatively small monsters, and it makes kill shots with Number 39: Utopia Double incredibly easy. Next up, you've got Magical Musket - Desperado. Don't let the fact that it's a trap card scare you off; you can use it directly from your hand if you control a Musketeer, giving you a hefty dose of removal.
The last Musket cards are Magical Musket - Last Stand, a Counter Trap that negates spells and traps for free once per turn, and one copy each of Magical Musket - Dancing Needle and Magical Musket - Crooked Crown. Magical Musket - Dancing Needle can banish up to three cards from either graveyard, and Magical Musket - Crooked Crown gives you an additional summon, so you'll have more chances to use your Muskets as well as Main Monster Zone disruption.
That's especially useful if you're playing against a Link-based deck. An additional Normal Summon on Turn 1 is great; historically we've seen lots of examples of how good that can be, in cards like Brilliant Fusion, Double Summon and others. Those cards have all seen success because they let you further your central game play in lots of ways. But the secondary effect is even cooler. Often, combo decks will require extremely specific card placement, so keeping your opponent from using a Main Monster Zone can be enough to end their plans before they can even get things started.
When I started building this deck, I decided to play Parallel eXceed as one of the extenders, because it offered a simple way to get two Level 4 monsters for Number 39: Utopia Double. Formud Skipper wasn't even on my radar until fellow writer Hanko Chow mentioned it in passing, pointing out just how versatile the card was for this strategy. Now you have another fantastic Normal Summon that can get you to [Magical Musketeer Max]], while also searching one of the best extenders printed this year.
It's worth mentioning that Pot of Desires serves an interesting role as an extender too, since it can activate the Musketeer effects after drawing you two cards. That's pretty neat, and since you play so many cards in triplicate it really bolsters consistency. Cosmic Cyclone serves a similar role, acting as removal that can become an extender thanks to the Musketeer effects. Normal Summoning Magical Musketeer Starfire, following up with a Cosmic Cyclone and then triggering Starfire's effect, can be utterly devastating. Thanks to Number 39: Utopia Double that move can end games if your opponent controls a monster with less than 2000 ATK.
Finally, cards like Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring made the cut for sake of their high utility. Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit's especially important right now thanks to the Numeron theme's popularity. Most of the core engine itself takes care of the defensive card lineup but having more defense doesn't really hurt since the format's so fast right now, and you need to keep up with those crazy combo decks.
You might notice the random copy of Number 75: Bamboozling Gossip Shadow in the Extra Deck. There will be times when you can summon a fistful of monsters including two Level 3s, and that's when you can surprise your opponent with Number 75: Bamboozling Gossip Shadow and outplay Nibiru, the Primal Being. That doesn't come up very often, but the option's great since the Extra Deck's so flexible.
When you sit down to play your Musketeer deck, you need to recognize that you're usually playing the role of the beatdown. Johnny did a fantastic job of explaining that concept, so I don't have to. Just know that you're looking to end games fast, often in a single turn via Number 39: Utopia Double or Borrelsword Dragon. That said, you can also grind out games thanks to cards like Magical Musketeer Doc and Magical Musketeer Calamity. That sort of inherently flexibility is great, keeping you unpredictable and tough to pigeonhole.
You'll definitely want to go second whenever you can, since your cards are largely reactive. That gives cards like Magical Musket - Desperado more utility, since they won't be bricking in your hand. Going second also gives Magical Musketeer Max the ability to just end games, which is awesome. Let's say you're playing against a Numeron Invoked combo deck. Your turn could go like this if your opponent's not careful enough.
It might seem like I've oversimplified that scenario for you, but that's often how the game goes. Number 39: Utopia Double an easy win condition that most players simply won't expect or respect. And if you banish Double or Nothing! with Pot of Desires, that's totally okay. You can just swing with stuff like Borrelsword Dragon, thanks to the deck's natural ability to produce additional monsters on the field with Magical Musketeer Max.
Another cool thing though, is that you can actually go first and win. Your plays won't be as powerful, but they're usually strong enough to let you survive until the next turn when you get to reload and fire. Parallel eXceed's gold here, as its effect lets you summon Abyss Dweller as long as you drew any other Normal Summon that can become Magical Musketeer Max.
If you go first, you're looking to establish any Musketeer, plus a fistful of interaction cards like your Musket spells and Traps. Magical Musket - Desperado truly shines when you're forced to go first, since it allows you to disrupt your opponent's set-up and leave them with half a field. Magical Musket - Cross-Domination's crippling when timed correctly too. If you're facing a Crystron Halqifibrax combo, the moment Linkross hits the field is a fantastic time to bust out that negation.
Overall, the Musketeer deck's very reactive, which makes it hard to really outline the typical lines of play. There isn't one consistent combo you're trying to pull off, so much as you're constantly and carefully mapping your plays and asking yourself, "what do I want to accomplish in this situation?" Leveraging that flexibility's hugely important. You can't let yourself develop tunnel vision for one line of play; you have to constantly look at what you can be doing better, and question what your opponent can do to stop you.
Once you have a plan, try and stay flexible. The deck is so misunderstood, and at the same time so versatile in what it can do. Hopefully after a few practice games you'll find that it's pretty easy to get the hang of. And hey, if you find some cool ideas I missed or you want to change up some of the ratios for plays you personally like, feel free to go for it.
Let me know how it goes for you over on Twitter, and if you have any questions I'll be happy to answer them. Until the next time, play on!