If you're stuck in your house for a few days and really want to learn about card lore, maybe I can persuade you to check out some clips of the German opera Der Freischutz. Why? Well, that opera was what inspired the Magical Musketeers and the names of all their monsters. If you're curious you should be able to find clips and maybe even full recordings on Youtube, but I can neither confirm nor deny if I'm listening to it in the background while I'm writing this right now. If clips aren't available in your country let me at least give you the gist: don't make a deal with the devil for magical bullets that the devil himself controls.

Basically the story of my life in 2018, but that's a different tale for a different day.

Thankfully, the Magical Musketeers are all pretty straightforward; you don't need to know German opera to understand the deck's playstyle. The monsters themselves all let you play on-theme spells and traps straight from your hand on either player's turn, and each of those cards has an added bonus whenever you play it in a Magical Musketeer's column. They'll get you card advantage, fetch cards from your graveyard, and even summon new monsters at no cost!

Why is that mechanic so good? Well, there's no great way for your opponent to counter it outside of just removing the Magical Musketeer from the field before stuff starts up. Since the Magical Musketeers don't need to set any traps or quick-play spells, Lightning Storm and Twin Twisters are largely useless and your opponent never really knows how many responses you have in your hand; it's a total mystery, and that makes you very difficult to approach.

The best way for your opponent to counter the deck is through intimate knowledge of the Magical Musket cards. Since the Magical Musket spells and traps are all limited to one use per turn, it's as simple as counting cards in your opponent's hand and preparing for the worst. It's similar to playing against a deck that's more than 50% hand traps: brace for the worst case scenario and go from there. But if your opponent doesn't know the theme? Well that becomes a lot harder, and it gives you as the Magical Musketeer duelist a big advantage in a big percentage of your games.

Building the deck'll run you more than a few pennies, but only a handful cards in the actual Musketeer core command more than chump change on the secondary market. And with Duel Overload making Magical Musketeer Caspar and Magical Musketeer Starfire so cheap, assembling the core's about as affordable as grabbing a few Structure Decks. Nick Burgess got Top 8 at a Regional Qualifier a couple weeks ago with the build below, and it gives you a good idea of which Magical Musket cards are must-haves for your own version.

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Deck - Magical Musketeers by Nick Burgess

'Magical Musketeers' - constructed deck list and prices for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Nick Burgess

Event: Regional - 2020-02-29 Portsmouth England

Rank: 5th-8th

Advanced

Market Price: $261.11

Cards

Knightmare Unicorn

Market Price: $1.06

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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Magical Musket - Desperado

Market Price: $3.58

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/152416_200w.jpg

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.

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Gozen Match

Market Price: $0.96

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/28472_200w.jpg

Each player sends monsters they control to the Graveyard until they each control monsters of only 1 Attribute. Each player cannot control monsters with different Attributes.

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Pot of Desires

Market Price: $0.86

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Banish 10 cards from the top of your Deck, face-down; draw 2 cards. You can only activate 1 "Pot of Desires" per turn.

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Akashic Magician

Market Price: $0.43

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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.

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Cross-Sheep

Market Price: $3.44

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207929_200w.jpg

2 monsters with different names

If a monster is Special Summoned to a zone this card points to: You can apply the following effects, in sequence, based on the card types of the monster(s) this card points to.
• Ritual: Draw 2 cards, then discard 2 cards.
• Fusion: Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower monster from your GY.
• Synchro: All monsters you control gain 700 ATK.
• Xyz: All monsters your opponent controls lose 700 ATK.
You can only use this effect of "Cross-Sheep" once per turn.

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Borrelsword Dragon

Market Price: $10.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/197204_200w.jpg

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.

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Magical Musketeer Doc

Market Price: $1.87

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/152408_200w.jpg

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.

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Dark Ruler No More

Market Price: $5.56

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/224992_200w.jpg

Negate the effects of all face-up monsters your opponent currently controls, until the end of this turn, also, for the rest of this turn after this card resolves, your opponent takes no damage. Neither player can activate monster effects in response to this card's activation.

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Magical Musket - Crooked Crown

Market Price: $0.15

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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.

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Anti-Spell Fragrance

Market Price: $0.50

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Both players must Set Spell Cards before activating them, and can not activate them until their next turn after Setting them.

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Cosmic Cyclone

Market Price: $2.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212672_200w.jpg

Pay 1000 LP, then target 1 Spell/Trap on the field; banish it.

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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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Dinowrestler Pankratops

Market Price: $0.43

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If your opponent controls more monsters than you do, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand). You can only Special Summon “Dinowrestler Pankratops” once per turn this way. (Quick Effect): You can Tribute 1 “Dinowrestler” monster, then target 1 card your opponent controls; destroy it. You can only use this effect of “Dinowrestler Pankratops” once per turn.

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Evenly Matched

Market Price: $19.47

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235741_200w.jpg

At the end of the Battle Phase, if your opponent controls more cards than you do: You can make your opponent banish cards from their field face-down so they control the same number of cards as you do. If you control no cards, you can activate this card from your hand.

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Magical Musketeer Kidbrave

Market Price: $0.93

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/152409_200w.jpg

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.

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Spell Shattering Arrow

Market Price: $0.16

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Destroy as many face-up Spell Cards your opponent controls as possible, and if you do, inflict 500 damage to your opponent for each.

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Millennium-Eyes Restrict

Market Price: $10.21

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"Relinquished" + 1 Effect Monster

Once per turn, when your opponent activates a monster effect (Quick Effect): You can target 1 Effect Monster your opponent controls or in their GY; equip that target to this card you control. This card gains ATK/DEF equal to that equipped monster's. Monsters with that equipped monster's name cannot attack, also their effects on the field and their activated effects are negated.

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Thousand-Eyes Restrict

Market Price: $1.01

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"Relinquished" + "Thousand-Eyes Idol"

Other monsters on the field cannot change their battle positions or attack. Once per turn: You can target 1 monster your opponent controls; equip that target to this card (max. 1). This card's ATK/DEF become equal to that equipped monster's. If this card would be destroyed by battle, destroy that equipped monster instead.

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Magical Musketeer Max

Market Price: $1.90

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/193639_200w.jpg

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.

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Nibiru, the Primal Being

Market Price: $15.34

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During the Main Phase, if your opponent Normal or Special Summoned 5 or more monsters this turn (Quick Effect): You can Tribute as many face-up monsters on the field as possible, and if you do, Special Summon this card from your hand, then Special Summon 1 "Primal Being Token" (Rock/LIGHT/Level 11/ATK ?/DEF ?) to your opponent's field. (This Token's ATK/DEF become the combined original ATK/DEF of the Tributed monsters.) You can only use this effect of "Nibiru, the Primal Being" 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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Topologic Trisbaena

Market Price: $1.75

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/197113_200w.jpg

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.

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Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess

Market Price: $7.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/220851_200w.jpg

2+ monsters with different names, except Tokens

You can only control 1 "Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess". The original ATK of this card becomes 800 x the number of Link Materials used for its Link Summon. Once per Chain, when your opponent activates a monster effect (Quick Effect): You can make this card lose exactly 800 ATK, and if you do, negate the activation.

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Magical Musket - Dancing Needle

Market Price: $2.00

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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.

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Instant Fusion

Market Price: $0.64

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/208990_200w.jpg

Pay 1000 LP; Special Summon 1 Level 5 or lower Fusion Monster from your Extra Deck, but it cannot attack, also it is destroyed during the End Phase. (This is treated as a Fusion Summon.) You can only activate 1 "Instant Fusion" per turn.

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Knightmare Phoenix

Market Price: $0.60

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/228688_200w.jpg

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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Ningirsu the World Chalice Warrior

Market Price: $1.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/174816_200w.jpg

2+ Link Monsters

If this card is Link Summoned: Draw cards equal to the number of "World Chalice" monsters this card points to. You can only use this effect of "Ningirsu the World Chalice Warrior" once per turn. Once per turn: You can send 1 card from each player's field to the GYs. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: You can Special Summon 1 "World Chalice" monster from your hand.

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Magical Musket - Cross-Domination

Market Price: $9.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/152415_200w.jpg

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.

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Magical Musketeer Caspar

Market Price: $0.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/210280_200w.jpg

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.

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Upstart Goblin

Market Price: $1.82

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/22566_200w.jpg

Draw 1 card from your Deck. Your opponent gains 1000 Life Points.

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Linkuriboh

Market Price: $1.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227561_200w.jpg

1 Level 1 monster

When an opponent's monster declares an attack: You can Tribute this card; change that opponent's monster's ATK to 0, until the end of this turn. If this card is in your GY (Quick Effect): You can Tribute 1 Level 1 monster; Special Summon this card. You can only use this effect of "Linkuriboh" once per turn.

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Magical Musket - Last Stand

Market Price: $4.98

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/152419_200w.jpg

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.

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Magical Musketeer Starfire

Market Price: $0.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/210281_200w.jpg

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.

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Knightmare Cerberus

Market Price: $2.87

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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.

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Remember how I said the deck was cheap? I meant the theme core specifically, not the add-ons that so often find their way to the Main and Extra Deck. If you're really excited about the strategy, don't let Evenly Matched get you down – you can play this deck without it!

It's like Pot of Extravagance now or Pot of Desires in 2017. The deck can still function without the pricy tech cards, so don't let them be a barrier to your new favorite deck. We probably won't be going to tournaments for a few weeks anyways, so now's a great time to get familiar with a new theme even without the high-value splashables.

It's Like Pinball Wizard, But With The Devil
Feel free to branch out from Burgess' list, but there are definitely some non-negotiable monsters when it comes to building Magical Musketeers.

Magical Musketeer Caspar, the Magical Musket replacing monster, and Magical Musketeer Starfire are your biggest stars, providing the necessary fuel to keep you from running out of cards. If you remember back when dinosaurs ruled the earth and rainbows were in black and white, Magical Musketeers operate on a principle that's similar to the one that led Gadgets to domination in their heyday.

As long as you had more Sakuretsu Armors and Fissures than your opponent, your Red Gadget, Yellow Gadget, and Green Gadget would accrue damage very, very quickly by making direct attacks in a simplified game where your opponent just didn't have any cards. And if you flash forward to today, you can squint a bit and the decks look almost the same.

Magical Musketeer Starfire and Magical Musketeer Caspar are like Gadgets, but made for 2020. When you play a Magical Musket card in the right column you'll net another Magical Musket card in the process - whether it be a spell or trap card or a monster summoned straight from your deck.

Magical Musketeer Doc with a few random Magical Musket cards, can produce a good enough Turn 1 to survive.

 

Magical Musket - Cross-Domination and Magical Musket - Desperado might be a big enough catalyst to start you out on the right foot. Should you aim to go first? Obviously against an FTK deck or a deck that's virtually guaranteed to setup an impossibly big board, going first is optimal. But all other things equal, going second should be your regular go-to.

The reason is Magical Musketeer Max, ensuring that some of your most subpar hands turn into useful ones. I'm not trying to bury the lede, but Max is the best way to get to specific Magical Musketeers early. As long as you see at least one Magical Musketeer and one Magical Musket card and your opponent simply has cards on the field, you can tailor your response to your own comfort level.

Consider opening with Magical Musketeer Doc and Magical Musket - Dancing Needle when you're going second. Doc won't have anything to get back from the graveyard, and Dancing Needle's better suited to function as an on-theme D.D. Crow, offering disruption. In that case you can still get a benefit by summoning Magical Musketeer Doc turning it into Magical Musketeer Max, and if your opponent has multiple spells and traps: boom, you'll send two free Magical Musketeers to the graveyard! Summon Caspar and Starfire, and that Magical Needle becomes the catalyst to trigger Caspar's effect and search another Magical Musket card from your deck!

 

Searching Magical Musket - Desperado means popping a card on your opponent's side of the field and triggering Starfire to summon another Magical Musket from the deck, then you'll finish with an Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess. Obviously that's a cookie cutter example barring any nuance from your opponent's side, but with Magical Musketeer Max and its ability to turn "useless" cards into overwhelming advantage, I'd give the deck a passing grade.

Beyond the obvious implications with Max, think back about my Gadget example - more cards means more 1-for-1 exchanges, so you'll eventually have a small army of Magical Musketeers cards while your opponent drops resources one by one. Adding more cards that directly facilitate that style of play is the reason the deck can succeed.

Pot of Desires, Cosmic Cyclone, Evenly Matched, Mind Control, Instant Fusion… Burgess built his deck to go second more often and stocked it with cards that either bait negation, trade resources in a 1-for-1 Parry, or exist for the sole purpose of increasing your card economy. It's a blunt strategy, but it's a time-tested approach that's as old as Yu-Gi-Oh! itself.

We Were On The Verge Of Greatness; We Were This Close
I'll sing Magical Musketeer's praises to high heaven but if you've been following along with me, you might have noticed two glaring weaknesses to the deck. The first should be pretty obvious if you're used to seeing hand traps everywhere.

Unlike the last time I featured Magical Musketeers with this deck list , Burgess declined to run any hand traps in his version – there's no Effect Veiler, no Droll & Lock Bird, not even Infinite Impermanence. If you play against one of those decks where their first turn takes 20 minutes and produces a field with 4+ negates, Magical Musketeers will have a hard time getting over it. Ideally Mind Control, Instant Fusion, Evenly Matched and other soft counters will float to the top of your deck and appear early, but that's banking on drawing unsearchable off-theme cards. That's always risky.

Second, any deck that runs Solemn Warning or instant spot removal is going to be a tough Mountain to climb. Paleozoic, Altergeists, and even Salamangreats can all nerf the Normal Summon of a Magical Musketeer and stop your turn right then and there. Again, it'd be swell to always have some way to ensure your Normal Summon happens, but it's not a guarantee.

Ironically the mirror match is relatively painful, because the almighty plan of going second can Backfire so easily. It's sort of like playing a game of chicken when it comes to who plays what card first, but what exactly can you do if your opponent opens with Magical Musketeer Caspar and Magical Musket - Desperado? Your Normal Summon will get shot down while your opponent reloads on another Magical Musket card. Variance becomes a big factor there and on some levels, it's impossible to mitigate.

 

Will we see Magical Musketeers more often in competitive play? Yes: the format truly is the Wild West right now and we've seen lots of different decks punch their ticket to the Top 8 in various Regional Qualifiers. The introduction of Master Rule 5 April 1st will widen that field even more, and the reprints of Magical Musketeer Caspar and Magical Musketeer Starfire in Duel Overload make the deck that much easier to build. There's every reason to think the deck could gain more of a foothold, especially in this lull period where competition's on hiatus and people are more likely to try new strategies.

In the meantime, this is a deck that makes your opponents respect it, threatening them with a barrage of Magical Musket - Desperado and Magical - Musket Last Stand while they sit in the corner and cry. Magical Musketeers are no joke, and if you're looking for a new strategy to explore right now, give this one a shot.

Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson