For those that know me in real life, you might've noticed that I'm a huge fan of walruses. Unfortunately for me, there are literally no walrus cards in all of Yu-Gi-Oh. I'm not sure if this is some sick twist of fate directed at me personally, but as such there isn't really a way to get my arctic animal fix without branching into other sources.

Penguins have always held a close second place in my heart, and they got some more support in Primal Origin. Because of all this, today we're going to take a look at one of the many ways you can build a Penguin deck for your local metagames.

DECKID=100490Originally I wanted to incorporate Flying Penguin into this strategy, and I tried doing that with Rescue Rabbit. I soon realized that Kabazauls was simply just a better option, and from that point forward I played that version of Penguins.

A couple weeks went by and I went back to the theme, trying it out from a Rank 3 perspective as opposed to the previous Rank 4 build. Similar to Spellbooks, Penguins struggle with an actual win condition and the Rank 3 engine coupled with the power of Rank-Up-Magic Astral Force gave this deck the oomph it needed to finish games in a timely matter.

The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway
The heart of any Penguin strategy is, naturally, the Penguin monsters. Penguin Soldier's the most famous of them all, bouncing two monsters back to their respective owners' hands since 2003. You can make one of the most basic and effective plays just by Flip Summoning the Soldier and bouncing it along with one of your opponent's monsters. From there you can set Soldier again, ready to do the same thing the following turn. Nightmare Penguin's a bit beefier, packing a respectable 1800 DEF but a slightly modified effect: Nightmare Penguin's only allowed to bounce one card, but unlike Soldier it can return backrow cards – it's not restricted to monster targets. Puny Penguin's your late game specialist, allowing you to recycle any Penguin from your graveyard.

Penguin shenanigans are always appreciated, but having to constantly set stuff only to return your opponent's cards to their hand is a good way to lose card economy and take minuses over time. Luckily Primal Origin brought us Nopenguin, a godsend for these icy birds. Whenever a Penguin effect activates, Nopenguin immediately Special Summons itself from the graveyard. In addition, as long as Nopenguin's face-up on the field any card that would be bounced to the hand by a Penguin ability gets banished instead. That's awesome because it allows your Penguin monsters to make easy +1's through banishing tricks, as opposed to simply bouncing targets to the hand (which is rarely ever a +1 unless you can hit a Synchro or Xyz Monster).

Of course, I already mentioned before that the big issue with Penguins is their lack of a win condition. Nightmare Penguin's Level 4, Nopenguin is Level 3, Penguin Soldier's Level 2, and Puny Penguin is Level 1. Unfortunately that kind of takes Xyz Summoning out of the picture, or at least requires you to run other monsters beyond a pure Penguin lineup. Sure, you could play The Great Emperor Penguin, but that's an awkward Level 5 monster that quickly loses usefulness as you run out of Penguins to Special Summon from your deck. What we're looking for is a way to make use of our Penguins while at the same time pushing towards victory. We have to look for some outside help.

The Solution
I'm not sure why Crane Crane and Tour Guide From the Underworld didn't occur to me sooner, but when they finally did I realized that they brought the entire deck together. I'm a firm believer that any strategy that can play Crane Crane should be playing it, and it's a bird so it fits right in with our Penguins. Crane Crane and Tour Guide open up easy Rank 3 Xyz Summons, but the combination of them with the Penguins is what makes them so stellar here.

For example, Nightmare Penguin and Nopenguin can effectively burn through backrow cards, paving the way for Rank 3 Xyz which in turn let you go into insane Rank 5's like Tiras, Keeper of Genesis; Number 61: Volcasaurus; and Crimson Knight Vampire Bram. Nopenguin itself helps play around the likes of Breakthrough Skill, Effect Veiler, and Fiendish Chain: if any of those three cards stop your Tour Guide or Crane Crane you can simply flip up a Nightmare Penguin or Penguin Soldier to bring out Nopenguin and clear away some cards at the same time.

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Furthermore, Mathematician grants you a free and consistent way to put Nopenguin in your graveyard as early as possible. I'm playing Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls for the same reason, but Mathematician doubles as a Foolish Burial and a Level 3 for Crane Crane, so it's slightly better in this context. Mathematician also replaces itself whenever it's destroyed, digging you deeper toward your combo enablers. You can even send Penguin Soldier to the graveyard if you open with Burst Rebirth, or if you've already set everything up you can just yard extra copies of Mathematician itself and thin your deck.

Can Feet Even Be Happy?
To be completely honest, Penguins won't always draw the most consistent hands. To combat that, the plays you do make need to go off without a hitch every single time. You'll notice I've packed a full three copies of Wiretap in here, but you might even find Seven Tools of the Bandit necessary as well. Wiretap lets you push through stuff like Solemn Warning, Black Horn of Heaven, Torrential Tribute, Fiendish Chain, and Breakthrough Skill. That leads to more victories because it frees up your Rank 5's to do their damage.

Speaking of, it's important to understand what you can go into with Rank-Up-Magic Astral Force. The most common evolution will be Mechquipped Angineer into Tiras, Keeper of Genesis. I really like Tiras right now since it can steamroll through Fire Hand and it's great at avoiding Bottomless Trap Hole and Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare. Of course, Tiras won't always be your best option, as it needs to get an attack off to pop a card.

…Number 61: Volcasaurus, on the other hand, totally doesn't care about making attacks. Ranked Up from Grenosaurus, this Rank 5 Dinosaur blasts away any monster your opponent controls and inflicts massive damage to their Life Points when it does. Sure, it can't attack directly that turn, but it sure as heck can battle other monsters. If you don't end the game right then and there you can at least be sure your opponent's going to loses two monsters in the process.

Lastly, Ghostrick Alucard into Crimson Knight Vampire Bram's a common play for Rank-Up strategies, destroying a set card along the way. This strategy's no exception, although I find myself making that play less and less frequently the more I use this deck. That said, it's still an extremely viable play, and it often swings the game way into your favor.

Realistically Penguins are still going to be a strictly casual strategy. The good news is that they're a blast to play, and they've got tons of tricks that can catch your opponents off guard in the best ways possible. You don't even know true satisfaction until you banish a field of Stardust Dragon and Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack with Penguin Soldier. Seriously. Let me know in the Comments section if you have any suggestions or questions about Rank-Up Penguins!

-Doug Zeeff