Pilica, Descendant of Gusto arrived in the TCG a short time ago in Primal Origins, breathing new life into a strategy begging for help. She single-handedly created consistency for the Gusto deck that needed it so badly, and allowed easy wins in the form of Daigusto Sphreez! But, like many awesome monsters, she can fit into way more strategies than meets the eye. Loukas Peterson hasn't been shy when it comes to his obsession over Pilica, creating deck after deck starring this cute Gusto princess. The builds he's created strike fast and hard, but I think there are even more possibilities!

O-Lion in the Sky
The first piece of the puzzle one needs to crack when trying to build a deck around Pilica is which Tuners to play. Heading over to the Konami Yu-Gi-Oh Database, I can easily search for her supporting cast. By simply clicking "Tuner" and "Wind" and hitting search, the database will quickly return a list of thirty-six options. Roughly half of those options are Dragunity monsters mixed with Gustos, Symphonics and Mecha Phantom Beasts.

As I read through each Tuner, I was trying to figure out which one offered the most utility and would give me the best chance at creating huge tempo swings. After careful deliberation I settled on Mecha Phantom Beast O-Lion. The choice wasn't that hard, because much like Pilica, O-lion is the true star of its own archetype. It can do almost anything, because when it hits the graveyard in any way, it'll leave behind a Level 3 Wind Mecha Phantom Beast token. O-Lion also allows for extra Normal Summons, which could be a huge boost for a combo-based deck! Since the Mecha Phantom Beast theme's comprised of all Wind monsters and all of the Mecha Phatnom Beast tokens are Wind, Pilica's main restriction of only Special Summoning Wind monsters after you use her effect hardly hurts this mash-up!

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With O-Lion and Pilica out of the way, it was time to fly into the rest of the Mecha Phantom Beasts. By going back to the home page and searching for "Mecha Phantom Beast," you'll find that the theme only has fourteen monsters that could fit into your Main Deck. For my purposes, only two of those stood out among the rest: Mecha Phantom Beast Megaraptor and Mecha Phantom Beast Tetherwolf!

Megaraptor's important to any Mecha Phantom Beast deck, because by Tributing a token, you can search out any Mecha Phantom Beast, including another Megaraptor. We've already established how important O-Lion is, so having more ways to get to it is going to be wildly important. Tetherwolf naturally pairs well with Megaraptor, because you'll get a free token upon its Normal Summon. Those two, with O-Lion in the graveyard, are a quick Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack and a search for any Mecha Phantom Beast! Powerful.

Winged Beasts and Psychics and Thunders, Oh My!
If you're like me, then aside from Pilica, you're pretty much unfamiliar with the entire Gusto theme. I know they all Special Summon one another from the deck when they're destroyed by battle or sent from the field to the graveyard. I also know the deck has insane timing issues due to the vast majority of them being "When…You Can" effects. However – I'm going to need more Psychics and more Gustos moving forward, so they're worth a look. After searching for Gustos I was underwhelmed, since I wasn't trying to play a ton of them nor was I trying to rely on the Sphreez win condition by ramming all of my Gustos into my opponents' large monsters forcing them to take all of the battle damage.

Gusto Griffin caught my eye, because it's the only "If…You Can" effect, meaning it won't fall to any timing shenanigans and it can Special Summon ANY Gusto right from the deck. I knew it was going to be useful, so I decided to try and find some optimal ways to get it from my hand to the graveyard. Before leaving the Gusto page, I decided Windaar, Sage of Gusto would be a nice one-of for Griffin to grab from the deck, as would Gusto Gulldo, being a Level 3 Wind Tuner.

At that point my monster count was getting fairly high, so when I searched for Psychic monsters, I knew I only wanted to fit a few of them to keep Emergency Teleport live. After careful deliberation and keeping in mind Gusto Griffin, one Psychic in particular seemed promising: Hushed Psychic Cleric! Cleric's typically forgotten by the masses, because it's not very good to open with and it's typically a little slow, but Griffin could make Cleric pretty incredible. Imagine this:

You've got Pilica in your graveyard, coupled with Emergency Teleport and Griffin in hand. You activate Teleport to Special Summon Cleric from your deck. You activate Cleric's ability, sending Griffin and banishing Pilica. Griffin triggers to grab Gulldo from the deck. Synchro Summon Gulldo and Cleric for Goyo Guardian, which would allow Cleric to revive Pilica!

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Pilica's effect triggers to revive Gulldo, allowing you to Synchro Summon Daigusto Sphreez and add back either Pilica or Griffin to your hand! You've recouped the card you discarded for Cleric, have two powerful Synchro monsters on the field and haven't even Normal Summoned. That right there is the kind of synergy and tempo control I'm talking about!

Swooping In
Moving onwards, I needed a few more Wind Tuners, so I went back to that search page. Dragunity Darkspear seemed like a natural fit, because it's an instant Sphreez with Pilica, or with a Mecha Phantom Beast monster it can lead to Goyo Guardian or even Leo, the Keeper of the Sacred Tree! Its effect had me pondering potential Winged Beast it could revive…and that's when it hit me: Kujakujaku! In my last article I'd joked about pairing up Pilica and Kujakujaku, but this seemed less like a joke and more like reality. Kujakujaku would allow me to search for any missing piece to my strategy, since all my monsters are Wind. All I had to do was figure out a way to Tribute it off effectively.

Heading back to the Yu-Gi-Oh! database homepage, I typed "Tribute," selected "Search by Card Text" and switched "All Cards" to "Spells." I then chose to omit searching for Ritual Spells, because I know that most Ritual Spells use the word "Tribute" in their card text and I'm all about saving myself time. Scrolling through all 84 options had me thinking about what I wanted Kujakujaku to do when it was Tributed. Since it replaces itself, I knew I needed a card that would allow me to further my Synchro Summoning game plan or break even on card economy. I eventually settled on Enemy Controller, Vertical Landing and highly considered Swallow's Nest. Nest seemed like it would be incredible, but because it only fetches Winged Beasts, I knew I'd have to run more Gustos and potentially drop the Mecha Phantom Beast lineup.

I decided that O-Lion was too incredible to revamp the entire deck to center around the mediocre Gusto Winged Beasts. Enemy Controller naturally pairs well with tokens and Vertical Landing could help me make use of Megaraptor more often by Tributing Wind monsters I don't need. With that outline in mind, let's see how I finished it up:

DECKID=100913After testing this deck pretty furiously with friends, their reactions were all amazing:

"What the heck is going on?!"

"Wow. You beat me with most random deck I've ever seen. And it worked. Well."

"Mashing up Gustos and Mecha Phantom Beasts…Talk about confusing someone to victory."

The deck has some really incredible synergy and I've made sure to include a lot of plays that don't require Pilica, but when you draw her or the Emergency Teleport, the deck has combos for days. In a way, it reminds me a bit of the Soulfire deck that got pretty popular when Soul Charge was announced. I'm sure there's more here that even I haven't discovered. The pairing of Mecha Phantom Beasts, Gustos and an array of Wind monsters seems wacky on paper, but in practice you'll see that it flows pretty seamlessly. I'm so excited to see where this deck goes; it has potential written all over it.

Let me know your thoughts and any changes you would make to the deck. Have you tried this pairing before? If so, what was your favorite play you made?Any decks out there you'd like to see me take an innovative approach on?

-Pasquale Crociata
Team Parallel Worlds Gaming