It's been a bit of a struggle to find highly competitive decks to play since Breakers of Shadow released: Performage Performapals are just so strong and consistent. The introduction of Performapal Monkeyboard and Draco Face-Off gave the deck a huge boost in consistency, while Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer opens up crazy combos and gives you unmatched speed. It all leads to tough-to-crack fields with Cyber Dragon Infinity, Traptrix Rafflesia and Solemn Strike.

While Deskbots don't have a prfect answer to a field of that magnitude, they can do enough to contest it, thanks to the raw power of Deskbot 004. Resolving its effect swings the momentum of the game in your favor, giving you a fighting chance to make comeback and win any game.

But if you can't get over that field, how do you win?

Slow Them Down With Hand Traps
It's that time again – hand traps are amazing. It's a little funny that they're so strong against Performage Performapals and similar strategies, because they were so terrible against the last big Pendulum deck, Qliphorts. Sure, Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit was useful in that match-up, but it wasn't enough, since it was so easy to get to Qliphort Scout and so many duelists were using Qlimate Change.

Now though, hand traps are incredible once again. They're fantastic against new Pendulum strategies and the decks being built to keep up with them. Maxx "C" is useful against Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer and Draco Face-Off, and it's good just to thwart your opponent when they tried to build a field off of a Pendulum Summon.

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Even if they Pendulum Summon three monsters to go for Cyber Dragon Infinity, your opponent will have to start with Tellarknight Ptolemaeus, use its effect to go into Cyber Dragon Nova, and then upgrade it to Infinity. That'll net you four cards under Maxx "C" and put you in a fantastic position to out the Infinity, which typically means your opponent will stop as soon as they see it. In a more obvious sense, Maxx "C" has always been great against Burning Abyss and Atlanteans: two of the decks duelists are relying on to contend Performage Performapals.

Effect Veiler's also strong right now; it can negate a ton of strong effects. Stopping Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer or Performapal Skullcrobat Joker are both good options, and you can just let your opponent Xyz Summon Tellarknight Ptolemaeus and then use your Effect Veiler on that, keeping it on the field as a useless monster. Against Kozmos you can use Effect Veiler on Kozmo Tincan before they enter their End Phase to stop their search, or on Kozmo Farmgirl before they enter the Battle Phase. Veiler's not fantastic against Mermails or Burning Abyss, but hitting Tour Guide From the Underworld, Deep Sea Diva or Mermail Abyssmegalo can easily save you from being OTK'd.

And then there's Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit. Its price was steadily dropping up until recently, as it's removal is now extremely strong. Not only can you use it like Effect Veiler on Tellarknight Ptolemaeus to stop Cyber Dragon Nova from hitting the field, you can use Snow Rabbit on Performapal Monkeyboard or Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer to keep your opponent's combos in check. It's a nice out to Mermail Abyssmegalo or Mounlinglacia, The Elemental Lord against Atlanteans, too, to keep those huge monsters off the field, preventing easy OTK's.

Now that we've briefly outlined which hand traps are good, which should we use in Deskbots? In this case, I've opted to use all of them! Let's take a look at the deck list:

DECKID=104154A few things are going to stand out to you right away, with the first probably being Giant Rat and the second going the lack of trap cards beyond Treacherous Trap Hole. I've had to make several concessions, since I've been testing this deck and the first thing I noticed was that it's just not as consistent as I want it to be.

I've tried Upstart Goblin and the like, but it didn't help enough. I've used Geargia Auger in the past, but losing your Battle Phase was costly before and it's even more costly now. You just can't afford it.

So we've arrived at Giant Rat, which actually has a bit of increased utility thanks to the Pendulum Scales and Deskbot 002 searching them out with its effect. But what it really came down to was that until Deskbot 009 and Deskbot Base come out in the TCG, Deskbots live and die by Deskbot 004 in the early game. That means you're going to need your Battle Phase, which also means you've assumed you're going to get an attack off. Giant Rats are essentially more copies of Deskbot 004, but can also open up combos with Deskbot 002 and Machine Duplication. I'll concede it's slow, but if your strategy hinges on resolving effects and the Battle Phase, then Giant Rat fits the bill perfectly.

As I've written more and more on Deskbots, the strategy's evolved from a controlling version using many traps, to a combo-heavy, big-board OTK strategy with fewer traps and more combo pieces. In my last update, which used the Magicians, I only played two traps in Solemn Warning and Vanity's Emptiness. Now, with Traptrix Rafflesia, I've eliminated those traps in favor of Treacherous Trap Hole, because you can use it right from the deck with Rafflesia's effect. Twin Twisters also influenced my decision, because I was tired of getting blown out by the powerful Quick-Play. Even if I used chainable traps, I always got discouraged when Twin Twisters resolved.

Oh. And The New Deskbots Are Pretty Good Too
Deskbot 007 and Deskbot 008 are the latest appliances to hit the TCG and they come with some neat effects. Deskbot 007 is a Scale 10 that deals piercing damage while Deskbot 008 is a Scale 1 that can attack two monsters each Battle Phase. They both gain 500 ATK and DEF for each Deskbot card in your graveyard, which means they'll get really big quickly thanks to Deskbot 004 and Machine Duplication plays. Deskbot 007 also has an effect that says your opponent can't attack any Deskbot monsters except it, while Deskbot 008 prevents Deskbot cards from being targeted by card effects except Deskbot 008.

Each monster is worded as such that if you've got two copies of either on the field, your opponent can't attack any Deskbot monsters if you've got two 007 and they won't be able to target any Deskbot cards if you've got two Deskbot 008's. The latter's clearly the better of the two, because protection from targeting is so strong right now. But it also shields your Pendulum Scales from the likes of Twin Twisters and other destruction effects. Beyond that, their high Levels give you access to big Synchro Summons with Deskbot 001 and Genex Ally Birdman.

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Deskbot 008's clearly worlds better than 007, because it can prevent your Deskbot 003 from being hit with Effect Veiler and other negation, but Deskbot 007 has one really crucial use; being paired with Genex Ally Birdman for Deskbot Jet. That's easy to accomplish using Deskbot 003 to Special Summon Deskbot 007 from the deck and then bouncing Deskbot 003 to your hand with Birdman to Synchro Summon the Jet. But beyond that, there's a really neat combo that can finish the turn with Cyber Dragon Infinity, Naturia Beast and Deskbot Jet.

You'll need Deskbot 005, Deskbot 004 and Machine Duplication in your hand. Your opponent will need to have two monsters on the field, and one has to be in attack position with more than 1500 ATK.

-Start by Normal Summoning Deskbot 004 and using Machine Duplication to Special Summon two more copies from the deck.

-Attack the monster in attack position with a Deskbot 004, sending Deskbot 001 to the graveyard. Your Deskbot 004 will be destroyed.

-Attack again with Deskbot 004, this time sending Deskbot 002 to the graveyard. Your Deskbot 004 will be destroyed again.

-Next, attack with your third Deskbot 004, but this time send Deskbot 006 to the graveyard. Chances are good that 3500 ATK will be enough to win the fight and you'll Special Summon Deskbot 004 and Deskbot 006 back to the field.

-Use Deskbot 006's effect to change your Deskbot 004 into attack position to attack again. This time, send Deskbot 007 to the graveyard with its effect, destroying your opponents final monster. You'll the finish the Battle Phase by reviving Deskbot 001 and Deskbot 007.

-In Main Phase 2, Xyz Summon Gear Gigant X by overlaying both Deskbot 004's. Then use Gear Giant X's effect to search Genex Ally Birdman.

-Use Birdman's effect to return Deskbot 006 to your hand and Special Summon it. Synchro Summon Deskbot Jet by Tuning Deskbot 007 and Birdman.

-Activate your Deskbot 005 and Deskbot 006 as Pendulum Spells.

-Activate Deskbot Jet's effect to Special Summon Deskbot 002 by destroying Deskbot 005 in your Pendulum Zone. Activate Deskbot 002's effect to search Deskbot 005 from your deck, then Special Summon another copy of Deskbot 002 with Deskbot 005's second ability.

-With your second Deskbot 002, you'll search your third and final copy of Deskbot 005.

-Synchro Summon Naturia Beast with both copies of Deskbot 002 plus Deskbot 001.

-Activate one of your Deskbot 005's as a Pendulum Spell and Pendulum Summon two copies of Deskbot 005 (one from your hand and one from your Extra Deck).

-Xyz Summon Cyber Dragon Nova using both copies of Deskbot 005 and then Xyz Summon Cyber Dragon Infinity using Nova as the material.

You'll end with Deskbot Jet, Gear Gigant X, Naturia Beast, Cyber Dragon Infinity and a full Pendulum Scale. That lengthy but deadly combo's a bit situational, but when you live in a world full of Pendulums, it's not far fetched by any means and it comes up a lot; especially as the game progresses and you've already got some of those card in your graveyard.

The reason that combo is so long is because we've assumed you've got nothing in your graveyard, but if you happen to have a handful of those monsters in there already then you can do it anytime you can Special Summon Deskbot 006 and Deskbot 004 together. It always amazes my opponents when I turn one Deskbot 004 into a field of five Deskbots thanks to Deskbot 006.

The final card I want to touch on is Speedroid Menko. Its use may seem obvious, as a pseudo-Battle Fader and something to draw into with Maxx "C". And while that's certainly true, it's also a Machine Duplication target. Menko can get you out of brick hands by thwarting an attack and letting you start your turn with Gear Giant X thanks to Machine Duplication. Before Menko I was using Threatening Roar to stop OTK's, while being chainable enough to not get blown out by Twin Twisters, but Menko's just flat out better and more unexpected. Both cards still lose to Cyber Dragon Infinity, so I'd rather not lose to Twin Twisters as well.

The format's shaping up to be a bit more exciting than most anticipated. What decks are you playing in your upcoming Regionals? Are you as excited for Monarchs as I am?

-Pasquale Crociata

Pasquale's from Long Island, New York, but has lived in New York City for nine years where he earned a BFA in Musical Theater from Pace University. Outside of the Yu-Gi- Oh! community he's a working Actor, Model and Singer. Those interested in keeping up with his Acting career can check out his website, 'Like' his Facebook Page or follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

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