I'm doing something a Little Different this week with my column, and I feel like we know each other well enough for me to ask you to buckle in and come along for the ride. If you've been with me since the old days, you know that I wasn't always penning down the Specifically Speaking column; I used to write articles about different deck lists that I was either testing actively, or had kicking around in my head that I figured someone might do something with. It's been an awfully long time since that, though there were a couple of intermittent exceptions.

Another thing you probably know about me if you've been around for a while, is that Six Samurai sneak their way into my writing pretty often, either in straight-on focus or simple namedrop. For anyone who isn't familiar, I've said before that Six Samurai are essentially my one true love in the game of Yu-Gi-Oh, regardless of other decks that I think are really fun or interesting, or which lores catch my attention – the Samurai are always my go-to, and that's just the way it is. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to play them for the last little while here, because the shape of competition for the past many months meant playing Samurai just didn't make sense.

There's a build of the deck that I've been working on for the last couple months, and I've been testing pretty well with it lately; lemme tell you about it some.

DECKID=100894Okay, hold up. Just hear me out a minute. The problem with Six Samurai has never been speed. Either from Reinforcement of the Army and Reasoning in the earliest days, to Gateway of the Six, Shien's Smoke Signal or some combination of the lot, it's never been difficult for Samuraito drop monsters quickly and reliably. The downfall of the Six Samurai lies in the card economy of the 'popular' ways in which the deck has been built. For most people, pushing out Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En and setting a couple backrow set was the ultimate opening, and if you didn't have just the right hand, you could end up blindly committing to the field only to lose out to Mermails, Fire Fists, Inzektors, Dragon Rulers, Lightsworn or any of the other monster effect-heavy decks out there that can plus way harder than you can.

It's interesting how many plays a Six Samurai deck can make that see you take -1 of card economy or worse, since not a single monster in the theme is an inherent minus. Think about all the Six Samurai that break even or plus you: Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi; Legendary Six Samurai - Mizuho; Shi En; Enishi, Shien's Chancellor; The Six Samurai - Yaichi; Spirit of the Six Samurai; Grandmaster of the Six Samurai and Hand of the Six Samurai. Not all of those monsters are played in every build, but Legendary Enishi, Shi En and Grandmaster are, with Yaichi seeing use in several successful examples. Hand and Mizuho aren't entirely uncommon either. Counting Six Samurai United and the break-even searching spells, next to nothing in the deck forces you to lose cards, until you try to dive into the Extra Deck. That's where all the card loss comes from, unless you're going into it through Double-Edged Sword Technique. But even that doesn't generate any cards overall.

With that in mind, my new build's more capable of holding control of the field through Main Deck monsters alone. Making Shi En isn't a bad thing when you're backing it up with Kaiser Colosseum and Vanity's Emptiness, but the general playstyle here focuses on using Fire Hand and Ice Hand to secure a solid position in the early game without burning away cards. Most of the deck list was put together with the mindset of taking everything that makes HAT and Bujin strong and combining it as efficiently as possible, creating an anti-meta behemoth.

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The sheer number of ways you can keep your Kaiser Colosseum lockdown strong are unreal. Firstly, Ice and Fire Hand with Kaiser Colosseum give you a reliable way to stave off any multi-monster plays your opponent might have unless they're willing to accept exceptional strain on their card economy. Since the first Hand can basically replace itself three times, it takes a lot to mash through them, even with external card effects. Your opponent might get uppity and try to smash their weaker monster into your stronger one to clear their own field so they can Summon something else past your Colosseum, but putting Safe Zone on your opponent's monster can keep it from going anywhere. It can't die in battle or by your opponent's card effects, and with Colosseum up, there's no way to Xyz or Synchro it off the field. Short of the extremely uncommon Tribute Summon, you're creating a situation where your opponent must have Typhoon' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Mystical Space Typhoon">Mystical Space Typhoon or they lose.

…Assuming your one monster isn't Shi En or Naturia Beast.

Spirit of the Six Samurai protecting Shi En, Grandmaster or Kizan makes them more durable for Kaiser Colosseum also, and turns Double-Edged Sword Technique into a potential +2. Special Summoning any of those three monsters and Spirit with Double-Edged Sword Technique, equipping Spirit onto the other Samurai and smashing something in battle, snags you a replacement for Double-Edged and takes a monster away from your opponent before Spirit dies to save the second Samurai and keeps your Life Points safe. You're going back to exactly one monster on the field for Kaiser and generating cards in the process.

The odd Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Gorilla or stray Xyz Monster has a hard time getting through to clear your backrow thanks to Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare in the Main Deck, not to mention Solemn Warning and the impossibility of Xyz Summoning if you're using Colosseum right. Instead of relying on Breakthrough Skill or Fiendish Chain for negation that may or may not cost you cards, Trap Hole Nightmare's always going to take your opponent's monster with it, and the more 1-for-1's you can make, the longer you'll be able to keep your card presence comparable to your opponent's.

Past Modernization
Everything else here is included to eviscerate the current tournament scene. HAT, Hand Artifacts, Fire Fist HAT, and about a dozen combinations of those four archetypes are the vast majority of the competitive environment right now, so they got the most intense priority when I was figuring out tech choices and counter cards. There's some overlap, since things like Wiretap and Vanity's Emptiness have a wide range of coverage, but both of them ruin HAT. Taking away Artifact Moralltach and Artifact Sanctum reduces the deck to the Hands, a couple of Traptrix and a lot of backrow. Shi En and Naturia Barkion can handle that, as long as the trap lineup can keep them alive, and both Wiretap and Emptiness help with that.

Maining Debunk and Dimensional Prison lower the effectiveness of your opponent's Hands in Game 1 by a crazy margin, and Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare can keep Moralltach off your back. On top of that, having your own copies of the Hands can make your opponent's copies miss timing, letting you passively rampage the field. Conversely, Adreus, Keeper of Armageddon lets you actively rampage the field, brushing aside the Hands with authoritative impunity.

Bujin have a hard time with most of the same cards, though admittedly they're less vulnerable to Wiretap. Fire Hand ruins Bujin Yamato, especially now that Bujingi Turtle doesn't work in the damage step anymore, and Debunk makes every popular Bujingi worthless. Kaiser Colosseum probably won't be much use, so Side Decking into three Light-Imprisoning Mirror is a no-brainer, and Shi En and Naturia Beast can make sure they stay face-up. Paired off with the defensive backrow already in the Main Deck and a second of each Hand, most of the tricks in the Bujin arsenal are wildly ineffective. Adreus, Keeper of Armageddon comes into play against Bujin, too, forcing Bujingi Crane to stay in your opponent's hand helplessly.

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Mermails seem to be somewhat hit-and-miss by geographic area, picking up a handful of WCQ wins this year, but then hardly showing up at the North American WCQ. In my metagame they're somewhat unpopular, but Debunk, Vanity's Emptiness, Trap Hole Nightmare and Warning all give that deck a huge headache, plus two Kizan let you Double-Edged into Abyss Dweller. If the Dweller dies, between the three Types in the Main and generally diverse Extra Deck, Pot of Dichotomy can Reload Dweller so you can crank it out again.

As a matter of fact, the ubiquitous weakness to that suite of traps right now makes your Game 1 unreal, compared to most everything. After that, picking up Game 2 or 3 should be a breeze; if you win most of your Game 1's, you only have to go 50/50 in the next two games each Round. Take it a game at a time and it doesn't feel nearly as arduous.

You know what they say: baby steps.

The most dynamic change is the Lightsworn match-up, since Dimensional Prison and Wiretap are going to be worthless there. Between Light-Imprisoning Mirror and Soul Release, even that deck is only frightening if they open with some pedal-to-the-metal hand and whiplash themselves sending cards to the graveyard a dozen at a time. Keeping the number of different Lightsworn in the graveyard down and making sure Lyla doesn't pop apart your backrow essentially snags you the win, and you can grind-game it out as long as Mirror keeps them from milling.

It Just Feels Samuright
Some of the Main Deck choices look pretty peculiar on paper, like running only two Kizan, or one Asceticism for a single Elder, but it's all thought out pretty exactly. Asceticism has a low chance to be dead since Pot of Dichotomy can push a target back into the Main Deck, and Kizan's cloggy at three with the Hands and Grandmaster, but running two copies still lets you Double-Edged into a Rank 4; that gives you access to things like Evilswarm Exciton Knight or Dweller without having to minus into them. Soul Charge has the same option with only one Kizan, but it's such a power card that it doesn't make sense to blow it on a single Rank 4, and packing three cards that can do it instead of one makes everything more consistent.

Ordinarily I wouldn't worry about talking Side Deck choices since that's typically subjective and depend almost exclusively on what gets played in your local metagame, but I wanted to make a strong note that Light-Imprisoning Mirror and Typhoon' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Mystical Space Typhoon">Mystical Space Typhoon are tremendously important. Thanks to Ice Hand, you can play around Skill Drain and Royal Decree, but having answers is really necessary and there's no reason to rely so heavily on just two monsters for something that vital.

What gets played in your area right now? Would a deck like this make sense in your metagames? Does the Side even make sense for what you end up playing against? It's not very likely you'll stumble across a Six Samurai deck like this one, but it's a lot of fun, and a good way to catch your opponents off guard – there's definitely something to be said for the element of surprise causing your opponent to make misplays and bad decisions. If you're looking for a new deck to test with or something to mash up a locals with, give this a try and let me know how it goes. I've been having a good time with it, and hopefully you will, too.

-Beau