If you've sat across the table against Ghostricks before you're probably used to twiddling your thumbs for a while. The Ghostrick strategy has always revolved around flipping and flopping several Dark monsters in order to score direct attacks thanks to Ghostrick Mansion. Their Level 1 monsters – Ghostrick Specter and Ghostrick Lantern – hold off attacks, while Ghostrick Jiangshi and Ghostrick Stein build up card advantage. The problem?

Victory would often take days, even years to achieve.

There just weren't a lot of good ways for Ghostricks to stack up damage consistently. Ghostrick Ghoul sort of fixed that by allowing you to pump up one individual monster, but it was still way too slow to be competitive. Legacy of the Valiant brought some much needed TLC to the Ghostrick family, turning an entirely casual, slow strategy into a much faster and viable deck.

DECKID=99582The Ghostricks decks of old, like the one I wrote about a few months ago, are laughable in comparison to this new build. It's the difference between having a ton of cards you can't do anything with, and being able to actually push for game at a reasonable pace. Most of this newfound power can be attributed to the new Ghostricks from Legacy of the Valiant. It would appear that the Ghostricks from Shadow Specters were the first half of a puzzle that's now complete.

Like Peanut Butter And Jelly
I love Ghostrick Jiangshi. Most Ghostrick players would agree that it's the lynchpin of the deck. Why? Jiangshi's an instant +1 every turn it survives on the field, and it's the deck's best searcher. The problem that plagued this deck before Legacy of the Valiant was that there weren't many ways to get Jiangshi out in the first place, barring subpar, misplaced Zombie support like Pyramid Turtle or Goblin Zombie. Your odds of winning skyrocket the second Jiangshi gets rolling, but Ghostricks needed a reliable way to get to it in the first place.

Enter Ghostrick Mary: your Level 1 searcher for Ghostrick Jiangshi. Whenever you take damage – including effect damage – you can discard Mary to set Jiangshi straight from your deck to the field. That takes care of awkward openings, while at the same time upping the consistency of your strategy immensely. Three copies of Mary can clog your draws, so I prefer to play just two, but I suppose that's up to player preference.

The second new highlight is Ghostrick Jackfrost, complementing Ghostrick Lantern. Both monsters do very similar things: they each stop one attack from an opposing monster. The difference is that Ghostrick Jackfrost flips the attacking monster face-down, preventing any Main Phase 2 attempts at Xyz Summons and shutting off effects. Ghostrick Lantern, though, has the added benefit of being able to protect face-up Ghostricks like Ghostrick Alucard from being attacked. They're very similar, and you'll often find yourself grabbing whichever one fits your particular situation the best when you make a search with Jiangshi. More options is always better, and this case is no exception.

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Ghostrick Scare also gets its own parallel in Ghostrick-Go-Round. Both cards do almost identical things, but Go-Round has the longevity that Scare lacks. Naturally that makes it susceptible to spell and trap destruction like Mystical Space Typhoon, but that's hardly an issue. If playing Scrap Iron Scarecrow this past summer at the North American WCQ has taught me anything it's that people will refuse to destroy these kinds of cards until it's too late. With Scrap Iron Scarecrow it was a matter of "how many attacks can I block before my opponent breaks down and cries," and Ghostrick-Go-Round is in the same boat, but can be even more frustrating. I really like it as a one-of that Ghostrick Stein can get whenever necessary.

The last pairing is by far the most important. Ghostrick Stein was always the best way for the debut Ghostrick builds to deal damage, but now the addition of Ghostrick Mummy makes winning hundreds of times easier. I honestly didn't believe Mummy could help that much until I tried it myself, but the deck's completely different thanks to its release. Like, building up a bunch of cards with Ghostricks was never that hard, but actually winning the game was a slow process. Mummy into Stein is an instant 3100 ATK poke. Throw in the fact that Stein nets you free +1 searches when it inflicts damage, plus all the defense that Ghostricks have already to protect your extensions, and you've got a simple three-hit punch. Ghostrick Mummy carries a restriction that limits you to Special Summoning only Dark monsters, but that's barely an issue since your Main Deck is all Darks and the only Xyz you really want to play is Ghostrick Alucard.

A Few Tricks Up Their Sleeve
Annoying your opponent is par for the course when you're playing Ghostricks. It's always been that way and it always will be that way. Like I keep saying though, it's a lot more fun to annoy your opponent and win, instead of just annoying them and eventually losing. Ghostrick Dullahan is one of the coolest monsters in the Ghostrick arsenal: a brand-spanking new Rank 1 Xyz. Dullahan turns your smaller Ghostricks into a pint-sized beatstick that's actually really good. The ATK bonus doesn't seem like much, but its ATK reduction effect can be played on either player's turn, transforming the tiny Dullahan into a monster-crushing powerhouse on both attack and defense. With no other Ghostricks on the field, Dullahan can run over anything with less than 2400 ATK. That's pretty freaking awesome me.

But that's not all! Dullahan gains 200 ATK for each Ghostrick card on the field, not just monsters. That means that stuff like Ghostrick Mansion and Ghostrick-Go-Round boost its ATK as well. That combination of Ghostrick Dullahan and Ghostrick-Go-Round is really challenging to overcome, especially in the late game. You can block an insane number of attacks or make them so undesirable that your opponent won't attempt them in the first place, while you just sit there building card advantage with Ghostrick Jiangshi.

You know what else is a little silly? Downerd Magician. It's a Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger for Xyz Monsters Rank 1 through Rank 3. All of the low ATK Xyz that have great effects but tend to get run over before your next turn rolls around now have a new purpose: Summon Ghostrick Alucard, pop a face-down, and spring into Downerd Magician in Main Phase 2 so your opponent has to fight through a 2500 ATK monster instead of an easier mark with just 1800 ATK. Alternatively you can just plop the Magician over Ghostrick Dullahan for a similar result.

The best part? Both Alucard and Dullahan still get their effects to add Ghostricks back to the hand when they're detached as Xyz Materials for Downerd Magician. They don't really care where they're sent from so as long as they hit the graveyard, and that's great news for you as a Ghostrick player. Downerd Magician adds a new angle to an already versatile deck, and I love it so much for that.

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Taking a look at some of my other techs you'll see I'm playing one each of Ghostrick Ghoul, Ghostrick Witch, and Ghostrick Skeleton. These are all cards that you'll occasionally want to see but definitely don't want to run more than one copy of. Ghostrick Ghoul was generally played in threes last format, but that's only because there weren't any better options. Ghostrick Mummy usurps it as your beatstick of choice, but I'm still liking one Ghoul for those times when you can't get over a particularly large obstacle. I chose to play Ghostrick Witch for the same reason: she's an awkward Level 2 in a strategy of Level 1's and Level 3's, but her Book of Moon effect's just too good to pass up. Lastly, Ghostrick Skeleton's my favorite Ghostrick card by far, and I couldn't imagine not playing one copy of the little guy. He tries so hard to be menacing but his effect just isn't that great. You don't have to play Skeleton in your build, but I'll be personally hurt if you don't include one copy for good luck.

I think at the end of the day what matters is that Ghostricks are now infinitely more competitive than they were before. It's not that it was a bad strategy beforehand, it was just too slow to be tournament competitive. But with all the new cards we're looking at a revamped archetype that may now have the tools it needs to succeed. What do you think of Ghostricks? Do you like the new support in Legacy of the Valiant, or do you wish it could've been better? Let me know in the Comment section below!

-Doug Zeeff
Article Aftermath #30