I love Crystal Beasts. They're cool looking, they have an interesting play style, and you can build the deck in max rarity to bling your opponents to death. Not only that, but there are a bunch of different ways to actually go about building a Crystal Beast deck.

Casual players tend to flock to the Rainbow Dragon build, dedicated pioneers of the strategy have sought out help by using Ninjas, and then there's the version you'll most likely find me playing, centered around Rank 4 Xyz. Today we're going to take a look at a build focused around Mist Valley Falcon! Yes, that's right: we're taking a page straight of the official Bobby Kenny Handbook and putting this pesky Winged-Beast monster to work…

DECKID=99813If you've never experienced Crystals Beasts – a completely normal thing considering nobody ever plays them – then allow me to give you a quick crash course. Basically, whenever your monsters are destroyed they go to the spell and trap card zone instead of the graveyard. They don't technically do anything there, but they help support other cards. Take Ancient City - Rainbow Ruins for example. Depending on the number of Crystal Beasts you have crystalized you're getting a variety of benefits. The more Crystal Beasts you stack up the more value you get out of Rainbow Ruins. Get four or five and you've pretty much got game right there.

You've also got Crystal Promise and Crystal Beacon, pushing out Special Summons like crazy. Beacon seems inherently better because it Special Summons something from your deck with a slightly harder setup requirement, but they're both good in different scenarios. In short, both cards are going to help with your swarming capabilities, hopefully grabbing a Crystal Beast Ruby Carbuncle for multiple Special Summons or Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus for a painless +1.

The biggest issue with Crystal Beasts is that they're all kind of bad. Like, Pegasus is really, really good, but the rest are just "meh." This deck runs three Crystal Beast Cobalt Eagle, but it has a terrible effect. It's here because it's a Level 4 Wind, opening up Lightning Chidori plays. Similarly, Ruby Carbuncle has an awesome effect but literally every other aspect of it isn't useful. It's Level 3 so it doesn't pair with any of your other monsters for an Xyz Summon; it has horrid ATK and DEF; and it's arguably a worse topdeck than Tour Bus From the Underworld. Life would be easier if all the Crystal Beasts were as good as Pegasus.

Making The Necessary Updates: Consistency Boosts
I've been playing Crystal Beasts on and off for almost a year now. I've used them in a lot of strategies in various formats, and I think that the current playing field is one of the most favorable we've seen in years. There aren't a lot of fast strategies, backrow cards are plentiful, and duels are taking a lot longer to complete. Crystal Beasts always struggled to see their combo pieces early enough to win, but now there are plenty of decks that need to spend several turns building towards an eventual win. That not only gives you the time you need to hit the cards you want to see, but it also helps simplify games with fewer cards on either side of the table – something Crystal Beasts thrive on.

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In an attempt to take advantage of those opportunities I've had to give the strategy a facelift. Mist Valley Falcon's the first and most important of the new changes: aside from recycling Fiendish Chain, Falcon can actually bounce Crystal Beasts from your backrow right back to your hand. I've mentioned in previous articles that Pegasus is so good because it essentially fills the spots of two Crystal Beasts: one for the monster it places to your backrow when you Summon it, and another on its own destruction. Falcon extends this reach even further, turning your single Pegasus into three crystallized Crystal Beasts down the line. Alternatively, I've found myself making plays like using Wolf' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Diamond Dire Wolf">Diamond Dire Wolf to pop a Pegasus, then attacking with Falcon to return the Pegasus to my hand. It's a small combo with the potential to deliver a +2, but it's really helpful when it goes off.

Oh yeah: Falcon is also Lightning Chidori fodder, and you can overlay it with Cobalt Eagle to Xyz Summon Ice Beast Zerofyne. That card's just plain unfair here. You get to negate everything your opponent has and then it gets pumped up to insane stats due to all of your backrow crystals. It can and will end games, and it'll totally catch your opponents off guard.

Last week I updated the Dragunity strategy with triple Instant Fusion and today I'm doing the same. Mavelus is one of my favorite cards from Astral Pack 4. It instantly fulfills half of any Rank 4 you're playing, including Lightning Chidori and Ice Beast Zerofyne. I'm fully aware I'm running one too many Instant Fusions, too. You'll usually use just one, and on rare occasions you'll see the second copy. There's never been a case where the game wasn't finished by the time I saw the third copy, and even on the off chance that happens, you can always just Summoner Monk it away.

Not Your Everyday Crystal Beast Deck
Previous builds of Crystal Beasts usually wanted to get Cobalt Eagle or Ruby Carbuncle with Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus, depending on your hand. Eagle was better if you had Crystal Beacon so you could Special Summon Carbuncle from your deck, but Carbuncle was better if you had Crystal Promise so you could bring back Pegasus.

There are two ways that this deck is fundamentally different from other Crystal Beast variants, and they really change the way the deck plays. First off, I'm only using one Ruby Carbuncle. Most Crystal Beast decks run a full playset; my previous builds which boasted just two were seen as taboo. But now I'm just playing the one. Basically, if you draw Carbuncle you've pretty much lost. Opening with two in previous versions was definitely a good time to scoop and go to Game 2. I'm not a fan of taking losses due to unplayable hands, and I'm completely fine letting Crystal Beacon be subpar in the late game in return for not auto-losing Turn 1 so often.

In addition, I found myself constantly putting more and more copies of Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus in the spell and trap card zone than ever before. With a more aggressive pace and Mist Valley Falcon letting you recycle crystallized copies, it makes total sense. If you're new to the Crystal Beast strategy this might not seem like a big difference, but to someone that's been playing them for years it's like using an entirely different deck.

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And, yeah, it's infinitely more consistent than previous versions. The use of Upstart Goblin and Reckless Greed instead of the redundant Crystal Beast Topaz Tiger and extra Carbuncles make this dangerously powerful on a game-to-game basis. Other than drawing multiple Eagles in your opening there aren't a lot of straight unplayable hands – a huge leap forward for Crystal Beasts. The quicker you're getting to your important cards the easier it's going to be to deplete your opponent's Life Points.

Missing Pieces
I should probably mention some cards I'm not playing, but that you might see in other Crystal Beast decks. First off, Crystal Abundance. We're only playing seven Crystal Beasts, meaning the chance of having Abundance's in your hand when there are four Crystal Beasts crystallized is almost zero. Not only that, but if you've got four beasts crystallized you've probably already won anyway. Rainbow Ruins can take full advantage of a huge back row without the drawback of just totally sucking when very specific conditions aren't met, so it stays while Abundance goes.

If you want a field clearer just play Full House.

Crystal Release is one of my favorite equip spells ever, but now just isn't the right time for it. This build isn't using nearly enough Crystal Beasts for Release to be consistent. Remember: burning through your in-deck Crystal Beasts is how you lose games really early on. Also, Release is really only good against mass removal like Heavy Storm or Full House, and those aren't going to be played against you anyway. I suppose it could be an Evilswarm Exciton Knight counter, but that's way too limited of an application to warrant playing it. Maybe next format it'll be worth it again, but not right now.

At the end of the day I feel that this is currently one of the better Crystal Beast builds. It's a new direction for the strategy and the timing couldn't be more perfect. Mist Valley Falcon's extremely useful and its beefy 2000 ATK is all too relevant right now. We're finishing up this slower-paced format, but for now, decks like this can thrive! hat do you think of this build? Any suggestions for Crystal Beasts going forward? Let me know in the Comment section below.

-Doug Zeeff

Article Aftermath #36