The Koa'ki Meiru theme isn't exactly one known for its success. A large majority of the monsters require you to have Iron Core of Koa'ki Meiru in your hand to activate their effects, and that's definitely rough. In addition, during the End Phase of each of your turns you either have to discard an Iron Core or reveal a monster of the same type of the Koa'ki Meiru you control – otherwise your monster blows itself up.

In addition, almost all of the spell and trap support is completely garbage, not helping the dwindling playability of this weird archetype. At the end of the day there's largely only two good ways to go about a Koa'ki Meiru deck, and it all depends on the format. The first is to use the searchable-by-Tenki Koa'ki Meiru Urnight to spam Koa'ki Meiru Crusader.

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That's an effective way to push out Rank 4's as well as gain quick +1's, but the downfall is that you need to play Iron Core – a spell that's entirely useless without Urnight in hand. In months without a lot of back row that version works well, but you're probably aware the current format's pretty trap-heavy.

Large backrows coupled with the slowness of the game right now makes the conditions perfect for the other Koa'ki Meiru strategy: Rock Stun.

The Grand Canyon of Rock-Based Decks
There aren't a lot of good Rock strategies out there. Rocks, and Pyros for that matter, are pretty much on the same boat as Sea Serpents were pre-Atlanteans. That makes constructing a functioning Rock deck very difficult. Luckily, we've got three solid Koa'ki Meiru monsters that are all exactly the same besides one or two words in their effect text: Koa'ki Meiru Guardian, Koa'ki Meiru Sandman, and Koa'ki Meiru Wall. Basically, you Tribute them to negate a specific card activation, and you keep them alive by revealing another Rock in your hand during the End Phase. Guardian negates monster effects, Sandman negates traps, and Wall negates spells.

One of the biggest reasons I'm looking at this strategy now, is because all three of those monsters are useful right now. There are often formats where you'd have to cut back on Sandman due to a lack of traps floating around, which hurts your consistency overall because you wind up playing fewer Rocks than you really need. Currently though, all three of them are useful against a variety of decks, allowing you to max out on all of them.

Of course, we're going to have to play a few more than nine Rocks as our only monsters. Koa'ki Meiru Boulder is another swell, uh, boulder troll thing, that thins the deck a little and performs decently against all matchups besides Fire Fists. Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear can tear Boulder apart, and I'd highly suggest siding it out for that particular matchup. Anyway, if you find yourself in a situation where Boulder isn't very useful you can always just leave it in your hand for the maintenance costs of your other Koa'ki Meiru monsters. At its best Boulder searches for key components, and at its worst it keeps you from having to abandon necessary plays just to hold back your Rocks to keep your Koa'ki Meirus alive.

Block Golem's one of the main reasons to play Rock Stun, and I'm going to build this version to abuse it as much as humanly possible. As long as you restrict yourself to Earth monsters only, you can tribute Block Golem to immediately bring back two Rocks. You can't use their effects that turn, but that's the only real downside. Resolving one Block Golem puts you in a great position, and resolving two pretty much guarantees the win. Like all four Koa'ki Meiru monsters I just mentioned, Block Golem has an effect that finishes in the graveyard.

…Which makes Skill Drain an awesome Main Deck pick! Keep in mind that you'll still have to reveal a Rock in your hand every End Phase to keep your Koa'kis around, but Skill Drain barely hurts your deck. It sort of messes with Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo, but against certain matchups all you need is one or the other to ensure victory anyways. Bobby Kenny wrote about a Machina deck that takes advantage of Skill Drain but could survive without it, and this deck's very similar. Skill Drain's an auto-win against a bunch of different decks, but your own strategy's success isn't entirely reliant on it/

Before I go into any further detail, let's take a look at the build:

DECKID=99880 Like I mentioned before, Skill Drain's extremely helpful right now. Monster effects are at an all time high, and a lot of decks don't have any way to take it out besides Mystical Space Typhoon. Koa'ki Meiru Wall can actually stop Typhoon from destroying Skill Drain, and that's just plain evil. Also, out of the twenty monsters in the Main Deck only two of them conflict with Skill Drain: Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo and Traptrix Myrmeleo. The idea's simple: if you're bringing out one of those monsters you just don't have Skill Drain activated, and vice versa.

Cardcar D – like everything else in this deck – Tributes itself for its effect. That completely gets around Skill Drain. Checkmate, rules. Beast King Barbaros as a one-of 3000 ATK beater under Skill Drain is pretty darn effective, too.

Oh, and I guess you technically could pull off Beast King's effect once in a while. I don't know though, that seems to lean more towards the "so over-the-top, unnecessarily flashy that your opponent goes blind" type of move.

Catapult Zone Protects The Protectors Of Catapult Zone
Fields are probably my favorite kind of spell. What started out as continuous ATK and DEF modifiers years ago, have turned into one-sided bonuses for the Field Spell's controller. Gone are the days of Umi and Sogen, modifying the stats of specific types. Now we've got stuff like The Grand Spellbook Tower, Madolche Chateau (yes I'm aware the ATK boost is technically for both sides), and Catapult Zone, selfishly giving their abilities only to the one that plays them. It's interesting because the whole point of Field Spells was to, you know, alter the entire field. It made sense that they affected both players, but I suppose they don't have as much competitive merit if they can help your opponent.

Anyway, Catapult Zone's really cool, and it brings this Rock Stun deck together better than The Seal of Orichalcos ever could. While a 500 ATK increase is great for getting over big monsters and the survivability of Seal is tempting, Catapult Zone's just better overall right now. Catapult Zone is going to do one of two things, but both have the same end result: on one hand, if your opponent keeps attacking you're going to keep milling Rock-types. That helps set up Block Golem way faster than normal. Also, it sort of acts as a Reinforcement of the Army in that you send away whichever Koa'ki Meiru you want to revive given your current situation. The other option is that your opponent stops attacking altogether, realizing that pushing your Rocks to the graveyard isn't the best idea in the world.

Either way: your monsters are staying alive, and that's what matters.

It isn't even that hard to keep Catapult Zone on the field, either. Koa'ki Meiru Wall prevents any Mystical Space Typhoon attempt from thwarting your plans. Of course, letting Catapult Zone get destroyed only to immediately flip up a game-breaking Skill-Drain is brutal beyond belief. That might not work after your opponent knows you're using Skill Drain, but even if it only happens during Game 1's you'll still pretty much have those wins thrown at you for free. Opponents get sort of frustrated if they can't attack you at all, and sometimes they'll waste that Typhoon on Catapult Zone even after you reveal Drain. It's a win no matter how you look at it.

A Rocky Strategy
Despite being made up of Rock-types, the Rock Stun deck's openings are only rocky in the best ways. Your ideal Turn 1 hand consists of two or three Rocks and some defense. Draw zero or only one Koa'ki Meiru monster and you're left passing to your opponent; draw too many and you can't protect them properly. Overall I'd say the build's consistent to the point where awkward hands are minimized, but they still happen every once in a while.

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One of the cooler things about the Rock Stun strategy is that it has a lot of future potential depending on how the game shapes up. You can Side Deck both Rivalry of Warlords and Gozen Match with total ease, something that's come in handy in the past and very well could be useful in the future. Should Dimensional Fissure and Macro Cosmos ever come off the Forbidden and Limited List, you can actually play them alongside Release from Stone instead of Call Of The Haunted. Down the line that might be extremely relevant, but only time will tell.

Looking even further ahead, eventually there's going to be some new Rank 4 Earth monsters, which would be a huge bonus. In a few months Primal Origins his shelves, bringing us Number 55: Gogogo Goliath, which allows you to detach a material to get back one of your fallen Level 4 Earth Rocks from your graveyard. Then there's Number 82: Heartlandraco, which can't be targeted for attacks when you control a face-up spell. It combos nicely with Catapult Zone, and you can even detach materials to poke for 2000 damage directly. Lastly, Number 52: Diamond Crab King's a really big Goblin Attack Force. With an enormous 3000 DEF you can detach to switch its ATK and DEF until the end of the turn, and then after Crab King battles it switches back to defense position. Usually when your opponent attacks it without material it'll move right back to attack position, but Skill Drain gets around that drawback beautifully. We don't have official release dates for Heartlandraco or Diamond Crab King, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Rock Stun make some impact after all three of these Xyz Monsters are released.

I really enjoy Rock Stun. I like the play style and, like a lot of decks I latch onto, I like the artwork. Koa'ki Meiru Wall looks like it's saying "Come at me, bro" and Koa'ki Meiru Sandman looks like a sandy abominable snowman. As a whole it's not too expensive to make, and if you're playing at a locals the next couple weeks I'd suggest giving this build a try. People might tear up about you negating all of their cards, but you can simply throw rocks at them until they stop crying (note: throwing rocks at your opponent may actually increase crying).

Let me know in the Comments below what you think of the build, and also if you'd make any of your own additions.

-Doug Zeeff
Article Aftermath #38