As each week passes, I'm tirelessly looking for the next big strategy to break the stalemate that has become our competitive scene. While I truly love piloting my Burning Abyss deck and am totally infuriated by the annoyance of Shaddolls, nothing excites me more than digging up an old strategy and enhancing it for an upcoming tournament. This past weekend, I had some extra time on my hands and opted to run through every Synchro monster printed in the TCG. Thanks to the handy dandy Konami Yu-Gi-Oh Database finding them all was a cinch. My main purpose in doing so was to locate incredible boss monsters to help curb each of the big three decks. I wanted to have the ability to Synchro Summon powerful monsters for any situation.

Enter Thor, Lord of the Aesir.


Thor appealed to me for a number of reasons, but none more than its incredible potential against Shaddolls. At 3500 ATK, the Thunder God is bigger than all of the Shaddoll boss monsters, and despite El Shaddoll Contruct destroying Thor with its effect, Thor can revive itself during the End Phase. On your turn, you can negate the effects of all monsters your opponent controls and destroy Construct with ease. Thor's Level 10 status is also important, because another powerful Synchro shares that Level too: Leo, Keeper of the Sacred Trees.

As the competitive scene has shaped up, Leo has become a star pick against the Burning Abyss deck. That strategy lives and dies by its targeting traps and monster effects, none of which can touch Leo. In many games, especially after the Burning Abyss player has exhausted their resources, you can simply summon Leo, not attack so you never enter your Main Phase 2, and deck your opponent out. There are only a handful of ways to deal with the beast and having quick access to it can overwhelm a Burning Abyss deck rather easily. Recognizing I was onto something here, I dove headfirst into the Nordic strategy.

For Odin, For Asgard!
Jumping back to the homepage of the Yu-Gi-Oh Database, I quickly searched for all cards with "Nordic" in their name. Eighteen results flew back at me and with only a handful of monsters to spare; I knew I was going to have to mash this strategy up with another. Dang Konami and their continuous under-supporting of strategies with massive potential! But I digress…

Rolling with the punches and reading through each monster, I quickly found that the 'Nordic Beast' part of the theme was easily the best: hooray for Thor! Guldfaxe of the Nordic Beasts is your all-star Level 4 Light Tuner with no restrictions: a truly remarkable accomplishment for a Tuner. Tanngnjostr of the Nordic Beasts can be Special Summoned from your hand when any monster you control is destroyed by battle and sent to your graveyard: an already nice effect, but it gets better. Special Summon it in Defense Position, because when you switch him to face-up Attack Position, you can Special Summon any Nordic Beast straight from the deck. Tanngnjostr meet Guldfaxe and say hello to Black Rose Dragon!

The other two Nordic Beasts are a bit underwhelming, but Tanngrisnir of the Nordic Beasts replaces itself with two Level 3 "Nordic Beast Tokens" when it's destroyed by battle. A decent albeit slow effect. Meanwhile Garmr of the Nordic Beasts has an effect you'll almost never use, but is a Level 4 Dark monster with 1900 DEF and that counts for something

As we often do here at Interestingly Innovative, I switched my search of all cards "Nordic" to all things with "Nordic" in the card text. Lucky for us the theme has one more hidden gem: Fenrir' rel=", the Fetters of Fenrir">Gleipnir, the Fetters of Fenrir. This lovely trap is a Reinforcement of the Army for any Nordic monster. All right, all right. Enough! I hear you moaning and groaning about the themed search card not being a spell, but it's better as a trap. Yes, despite your inability to use this card when going first, it's a card you want as a trap. Let me explain.

If you're going first, you could set any monster and set Gleipnir. When your opponent's monster declares their attack next turn, use Gleipnir to search for Tanngnjostr. Next, when your monster's destroyed Special Summon Tanngnjstor in Defense Position. On your turn, switch Tanngnjostr to attack to grab Guldfaxe from your Main Deck. Without using your Normal Summon you've got a Level 7 Synchro available such as Black Rose Dragon or Ancient Sacred Wvyern: both incredible monsters under the right circumstances. Since Gleipnir's a trap, that sequence is hard to predict and often devastating for your opponent.

The Yin To My Yang Zing
With only two solid monsters, two more that are decent, and a nifty trap under our belts, I knew I had to look to other themes for something that worked well with Nordics. My initial instinct was to toss in Plants or Artifacts, because they're both powerful and highly versatile card groups. However, since Guldfaxe is a Level 4 Tuner, you wouldn't be able to do much with an Artifact Moralltach after you Special Summoned it. Sure, its destruction and disruption abilities are both solid, but I wanted to find something that offered more than that. Plants failed for an entirely different reason: they're all just as weak as Nordics. Tossing in a Plant engine adds even more weak combo pieces to an already combo-heavy deck. Doing so created inconsistencies and didn't help get over any smaller threats.

Heading back to the drawing board, I decided to go back and revisit my list of incredible boss Synchros. It was then that I re-discovered Baxia, Brightness of the Yang Zing. The two initial things I didn't notice about Baxia was that it can destroy any card you control to Special Summon any Level 4 or lower monster from your graveyard. With the new realization that Baxia could re-use Guldfaxe, I searched for all of the Yang Zing monsters and immediately fell in love.

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The Yang Zing added the perfect dynamic to a slower strategy that needed time to go off: stall power and strong monsters. Suanni, Fire of the Yang Zing clocks in at the always-impressive 1900 ATK, while Bixi, Water of the Yang Zing sits at a comfortable 2000 DEF. Both monsters can play offense or defense based on what you need and the fact that they can search one another adds to their dynamic. The best part about the Yang Zing is that they give your Synchros incredible abilities if they're used as Synchro Material Monsters. Bixi gives immunity from traps, while Suanni boosts their stats by 500 ATK and DEF. The two other Yang Zings, Bi'an Earth of the Yang Zing and Pulao, Wind of the Yang Zing grant your Synchros protection from Battle and Spells respectively.

For this competitive scene and this strategy, Bi'an and Pulao are the least important of the four, but are a necessary component to help continue the chain of Yang Zings Special Summoning one another from the Main Deck. Last but not least, I felt that a Level 1 Tuner was something my Nordic deck desperately needed: another reason I wanted to run Plants, but, thankfully, the Yang Zing have that too! Seriously. I could not be more excited about this mash-up.

There are two very important support cards in the Yang Zing arsenal: Yang Zing Path and Yang Zing Creation. Path is a Pot of Avarice for the theme, which is way more useful in a Yang Zing mash-up than I initially thought. For some reason I thought that Path wouldn't be live for quite awhile. My horrible prediction proved to be wrong thanks to Creation, which Summons Yang Zings to the field rapidly.

My favorite part about Creation is that it lets you Special Summon a Yang Zing from your deck when any monster, not just a Yang Zing, is destroyed by battle or card effect. In conjunction with Tanngnjostr, this deck can spit out powerful Synchros with multiple Yang Zing buffs the moment one of your monsters is destroyed by battle. It's that type of synergy that I'm always longing for; I get very excited about it when I find it.

After testing this deck out in many games and fixing up card ratios numerous times, this is what I've settled on:

DECKID=101264There are so many awesome pieces to this deck, but the two standouts after testing have to be Ayers Rock Sunrise and Skill Drain. The latter should almost go without saying, but I was worried it would conflict too much with the Nordics and I'm glad I was wrong. Like any floodgate, it's best when you can use it on your own terms, but it's still solid disruption that doesn't hurt over half of your deck and it almost forces your opponent to attack your monsters if they want to get anywhere. Ayers Rock Sunrise can revive any of your Nordic Beasts or bring Leo roaring back from the graveyard. The ATK reduction can get deadly as well.

Because you're running so many cards that rely on your opponent to destroy them, it's very important to realize when you can ram your monsters to trigger multiple effects. Turning Bi'an into Bixi at will and triggering Creation or Tanngnjostr on your own turn are two plays that can be game breaking, and options you must not forget. Heck, I've even destroyed my own Yang Zings by battle just to use Path as soon as possible.

Peeking into the Extra Deck, HTS Psyhemuth is incredible when you tune Guldfaxe and Bixi, because you create a trap-immune monster that can banish anything it battles. I started Special Summoning it over Goyo Guardian a lot, because of the pressure it applies. Not only does this strategy Summon Black Rose Dragon at will, but Mist Wurm hits the table frequently as well thanks to Bixi. A successful Tanngnjostr into Guldfaxe sequence, followed up by a Normal Summon of Bixi will net you a trap-immune Mist Wurm. Replace Bixi with Suanni and Special Summon a 3700 ATK Star Eater! The Yang Zing and Nordic mash-up creates an array of impressive Synchro Summons thanks to the variety in Levels.

While I love the version I've come up with, there are still plenty of cards to consider moving forward. Super Nimble Mega Hamster is the first that card that I removed from the deck completely, but it's still viable. Yang Zing Unleashed is another Continuous Trap that I find really interesting, but can't find the room for. Forcing your opponents monsters to attack and giving you the option to Synchro Summon with Guldfaxe on your opponents turn is certainly neat and something to explore.

What're your thoughts on Yang Zings and their future in the competitive scene?

Have you ever experimented with Nordics before?

Let me know in the comments below!
-Pasquale Crociata
Team Parallel Worlds Gaming