Right before Duelist Alliance made its huge splash in the TCG, I mentioned in my "Monster Searcher" article that Tour Guide From the Underworld was going to see immense play due to the Burning Abyss theme. However, at the time, even I didn't expect these creatures from the depths of the earth to be sitting at the top of competition with the likes of Shaddolls.

But here we are, only a few weeks into the format and a week out from YCS Toronto and the deck's incredibly competitive. Despite its success, Burning Abyss can still struggle to finish out games and rarely ends matches quickly. The Reasoning behind this is that the Rank 3 toolbox is mostly comprised of monsters that need to attack to accomplish anything. Rank 3's play defense well, but it's not an aggressive group of cards unless you're attacking.

Currently, the win condition for Burning Abyss is Rank-Up-Magic Astral Force, which turns your Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss into Constellar Pleiades: one of the most annoying and incredible Xyz Monsters in the game. My goal in this article is to unleash a dangerous deck that can end the duel in one fell swoop without compromising its initial strategy, and that can do it without relying on one spell card to finish off your opponent.

Let's begin.

Thank You For Riding The Innovation Bus
As a reminder, please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times while moving. I don't want anyone losing a limb to wild Sangans as we travel. As usual, I'll be your guide. So sit back, relax, keep your eyes moving and enjoy the ride!

Our initial stop will be the Yu-Gi-Oh Card Database to check out all of the monsters Tour Guide can pull from your deck. I already know we'll be including full sets of all of the Burning Abyss monsters, but I want to make sure she has no other incredible targets that could fit into the deck nicely. To find her friends, simply click "Fiend," "Effect" and set both Level/Rank boxes to 3, then hit search.

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As you scroll through all 52 results, you'll see a few Archfiend monsters, some Infernity monsters and a handful of strong targets such as Night Assailant and Kuribandit. However, one theme caught my eye at the beginning of the list: the Djinns! If you're familiar with the Burning Abyss archetype, you know that they replace themselves whenever they're sent to the graveyard. You could use them as a cost for any card effect, in a Fusion Summon, a Tribute Summon or even a Ritual Summon and their effects will trigger. It's that sole reason that they're amongst the top decks right now.

The Djinns are a set of monsters that can be used for Ritual Summons from the graveyard. They give your Ritual Monsters built-in, powerful effects and in Duelist Alliance a new one joined the fray: Djinn Demolisher of Rituals. If you've ever played against Mermails, you know how devastating Leo, the Keeper of the Sacred Tree can be. The card's undeniable strength comes from the fact that it can't be targeted by card effects until your Main Phase 2. Well, Demolisher gives your Ritual Monster Leo's powerful ability, except it can't be targeted at all. You read that correctly. It cannot be targeted. Period. End of story. It's also not a part of your Ritual Monsters card effect, so even under something like Skill Drain, it cannot be targeted.

Two older Djinns are also Tour Guide targets: Djinn Releaser of Rituals and Djinn Prognosticator of Rituals. Releaser makes your Ritual Monster Vanitys Ruler locking only your opponent out of Special Summoning, while Prognosticator gives them Spirit Reaper's ability to discard one card from your opponent's hand upon inflicting battle damage.

So to recap: if you were to Ritual Summon a monster using Demolisher, Releaser and Prognosticator, your monster would lock your opponent out of Special Summoning, discard one card from your opponents hand if it inflicted battle damage AND can't be targeted. Even under Skill Drain. Sounds like a broken win condition to me. Any questions? Not yet? Great.

If You Look To Your Left…
Our next stop will be to find the perfect Ritual Monster to abuse in this deck. Going back to the card database homepage, click "Ritual" and hit search. Only 38 monsters will Pop-Up and an even smaller number actually have effects. My initial instinct was to toss in Demise, King of Armageddon, because its effect is incredible, but both End of the World and Contract with Abyss require you to perform an exact Level 8 Ritual Summon, something this deck can't accomplish easily.

Enter Divine Grace – Northwemko. This Ritual queen allows you to use any combination of monsters whose levels total seven or more – perfect! Northwemko's effect protects her from non-battle destruction, but her 2700 ATK is bigger than a ton of current boss-monsters. She's also a Light monster, which could help fuel any Chaos monsters, making her the perfect trump card for this strategy.

In order to protect herself from destruction, Northwemko's going to need some face-up cards and I think Burning Abyss decks can rely on one of the most powerful continuous cards in the game today: Supply Squad. The Burning Abyss monsters will self-destruct if you control anything that's not specifically a "Burning Abyss" monster. With Supply Squad face-up on the field, you'll net a fresh card from the top of your deck AND the Burning Abyss monster's ability. Upon destruction, Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss will Special Summon one from the deck, typically Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, while Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss will Special Summon one from the graveyard – typically Dante. It's a vicious cycle that allows you run your opponent out of resources. Scarm, in my opinion, is the most important of the bunch, because when it's sent to the graveyard, you can add any Level 3 Dark Fiend monster from your deck to your hand during your End Phase: typically Tour Guide.

As your guide, I'd like to point out a few quick things before we move on. It's important to note that Burning Abyss monsters will self-destruct if you control a face-down monster. That's because set monsters don't have names, types or attributes, and because a set monster's name cannot be "Burning Abyss" as they're considered to be nameless, they'll self-destruct. Also, much like any Tech Genus monster or XX-Saber Darksoul, Scarm must remain in the graveyard during your End Phase to search. These are very important pieces of information moving forward and as I tell my friends all the time: In life and especially the game of Yu-Gi-Oh, knowledge is power. Learning how various card interactions work is an easy way to boost your win ratio.

Since we're almost through, I ask that you hold all questions until the Comments. I'll answer them at that point. Thank you. Moving along!

On Your Right You'll Notice…
Since Northwemko's Level 7 you can run Preparation of Rites to search her out. Preparation's going to serve a multitude of purposes, because with Dante in the mix, you're going to be sending a ton of cards from your deck to the graveyard, and if one of them happens to be Ritual of Grace, Preparation can grab it back. I'm also going to include Monster Reincarnation for the same reason, just in case Northwemko falls into the graveyard.

Let's take a look at the finished product:

DECKID=101006The key to this deck's success is figuring out a way to Ritual Summon quickly and effectively. I've done my best to do just that, but there may be quicker methods that I haven't even thought of. My goal right now is to use Dante to mill Ritual of Grace, and then use Preparation of Rites to search for Northwemko and retrieve the Ritual Spell. Focusing on milling allows your Normal Summon to be fully dedicated to Burning Abyss monsters and Tour Guide From the Underworld. You could run Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands for more consistent access to the Ritual engine, but I didn't want to clog my Normal Summons. Tour Guide can bring out a Djinn, allowing you to Xyz Summon Dante, detaching the Djinn to mill up to three cards, potentially setting you up for your Ritual Summon as quickly as Turn 1.

I haven't lost a game yet where I've summoned Divine Grave – Northwemko using at least Demolisher and Releaser as part of the Ritual Summon. The Djinns make her that good. My biggest love for this deck is that everything is recyclable or useable in the graveyard: from the Djinns to Ritual of Grace to your lone copy of Astral Force. It's a deck that has a ton of options each turn and can make the most out of Ritual Summoning, which is huge right now, because it's a boss monster not summoned from the Extra Deck. Burning Abyss seems to struggle most against Shaddoll, so creating a win condition using Ritual Summoning may be the way to go moving forward.

What's your favorite deck to play in this current format? Will I be seeing any of you at YCS Toronto? If so – What decks are you considering playing for the tournament?

Remember. Knowledge is Power.

-Pasquale Crociata
Team Parallel Worlds Gaming