Just a heads-up! Doug won his Yu-Gi-Oh! Day event this past weekend with a different version of this deck, and he'll be back to talk about it tomorrow. For now, enjoy the early cut! -Jason

I haven't been this excited to post a deck in a long time. There's a big difference between writing about a prebuilt strategy like most named archetypes these days, and writing about a strategy you come up yourself. Sure, weeding out the bad themed cards and coming up with the right numbers for something like Fire Fists or Madolches is interesting, but pulling together groups of cards that weren't ever intended to be played together and coming up with your own ideas is so much more satisfying to me. The last time I posted that sort of deck was when I wrote about Spaceships – which was over a year ago.

So, besides originality, what makes today's deck so special? Well, it combines the forces of two completely different playstyles and meshes them into one beautiful, off-the-wall creation. Abusing the controlling powers of Maiden with Eyes of Blue and the Rank 4 churning ability of new Spirit monsters Aratama and Nikitama, I've made something surprisingly strong. The lines that connect the two - Kinka-Byo and Tsukuyomi - seamlessly blend two fundamentally different strategies. What started out as a small idea blossomed into several crazy combos that weren't quite as obvious as the ones named archetypes usually plop in your lap, and I found every game I was learning something new. I honestly haven't had so much fun testing a deck in a long, long time and I'm always discovering new techs and new ideas. Without further ado, let's take a look at the list:

DECKID=99488Spirit-Eyes White Dragon is made up of several parts, chiefly the Blue-Eyes White Dragon support and the Spirit monsters. The incrediably thin spell lineup makes room for a ton of traps that serve many different purposes. I'm also taking full advantage of the card advantage generated by Aratama with Divine Wrath, Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, and Tragoedia.

There are a bunch of combos and interactions that aren't apparent until you've put in hours of testing, but I'm going to try and cover all my bases and give you an inside scoop as to what this deck's really capable of!

The Engine Of Destruction: Blue-Eyes White Dragon
Maiden with Eyes of Blue is easily my favorite card in this deck. With an effect that nets you a free +1 when attacked or targeted, she controls the game any time she's on the field. The Maiden's your best first turn play, almost ensuring that your opponent either has to waste cards to get over her or give up on attacking you. Seriously, people refuse to deal with Maiden and it's one of the funniest things to watch. On multiple occasions I've sat on Maiden for upwards of five turns: she's a huge pain. It'll take two attacks to destroy her, and then you have to deal with Blue-Eyes White Dragon. Very few decks have outs to Maiden right now that won't trigger her effect, so people really struggle to get rid of her. As far as Blue-Eyes White Dragon itself goes it's not even that bad of a card. Sure, it might not have an effect, but 3000 ATK can't be overlooked. I can't exactly justify Tribute Summoning it, but Special Summoning it for free with Maiden or Silver's Cry is awesome. Much like Maiden, very few decks can get over Blue-Eyes without having to take a loss of card economy.

Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon, the new Blue-Eyes boss monster, is a welcome addition to your arsenal. Its 3000 DEF, self-protecting effect, and ability to transform Blue-Eyes White Dragon into Treeborn Frog is extremely beneficial. It's definitely worth running, but keep in mind that if you have Maiden and Blue-Eyes on the field you're not forced to make Azure-Eyes. While it's often better dealing damage, I often found myself leaving Maiden on the field instead. The control aspect turn after turn is usually better than Azure-Eyes' two-turn punch.

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Many duelists have attempted to make a deck based solely around these cards, and I feel like that comes with challenges that just can't be overcome right now. While the Blue-Eyes cards are great as a separate engine in a larger strategy, the cards themselves – barring Maiden – don't work very well on their own. Silver's Cry and Trade-In are both stellar when they work, but they're dead draws when you don't have Blue-Eyes. I've opted not to play The White Stone of Legend and Cards of Consonance for a similar reason: having a lot of cards in your hand can be great, but not if you can't do anything with them. I wanted to build a deck that builds those large hands, but could keep individual cards live as often as possible.

…And That's Where The Spirits Come In
Before I begin talking about Aratama and Nikitama it's probably easier to discuss the one-of's I'm using – Tsukuyomi and Kinka-Byo. Why is Tsukuyomi played here? Well, for starters it can help take out opposing threats that have huge ATK but low DEF. Not only that, but it's an out to the ever-frustrating Evilswarm Ophion. Beyond shutting down your opponent's monsters, though, lies a sneaky way to fit in Maiden triggers. Should the other player refuse to activate either of your Maiden effects, Tsukuyomi comes in to save the day. You can Summon it and target Maiden with Tsukuyomi's effect, setting off a Blue-Eyes Special Summon. You can then flip Maiden back up in attack mode, totally wasting your opponent's efforts to avoid Blue-Eyes White Dragon.

As for Kinka-Byo, I wanted an effective mid to late game defense, and a one-card Slacker Magician or Formula Synchron was too good to pass up in a deck that runs five other Level 1's. It's also really good at Synchro Summoning Level 6's in combination with Nikitama. Using your Second Normal Summon to go into Formula Synchron and then into Powered Inzektron is great, turning your two in-hand monsters into a powerful Level 6 beater and another draw from Formula.

Speaking of Nikitama, it's really freaking good. Searchable by Aratama, the two combine to build an alarming amount of card advantage for little effort. A first-turn Aratama transforms into a Rank 4 and another Spirit monster by Turn 2. You can also repeatedly Normal Summon Nikitama and Aratama to poke for 1600 damage. Most opponents won't waste removal traps on your Spirits and you can easily take huge chunks of Life Points by slow-rolling damage. By the time your opponent finally stops Nikitama and Aratama, you'll have such a big resource base that winning can be academic.

Throughout The Game
One of my favorite aspects of Spirit-Eyes White Dragon is its strength across the early, middle, and late game. During the first few turns you've got a ton of controlling Normal Summons to tilt the duel in your favor. As I mentioned before, Maiden with Eyes of Blue can buy you several turns without any worry, and that's huge. You want to Summon the pesky Level 1 Spellcaster on Turn 1 every single game. Warding off attacks and threatening a 3000 ATK beater is enough to stop most players from doing anything to you during the early stages of the duel.

Similarly, starting a chain of Aratama searches is almost equally strong as an opening. It's hard to express just how easily Aratama and Nikitama get out of hand, and I'd highly advise testing this deck just to see it firsthand. One search turns into two, two turns into three, and three turns into a giant Tragoedia. Whether you're using Aratama and Nikitama simply to build up your hand or to push out Rank 4's, the Spirit monsters are difficult to overcome once you get the ball rolling.

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Speaking of Rank 4's, part of the reason that this deck's so viable right now is because of two recent additions. Number 101: Silent Honor ARK and Evilswarm Exciton Knight are brand spanking new from Legacy of the Valiant, and both pack devastating effects. While I'm pretty sure Beau will have a field day talking about both of these cards individually, right now I'll just cover the basics. Honor ARK gets around pretty much any Synchro or Xyz Monster, and it's essentially a better Maestroke the Symphony Djinn. Forgoing the Book of Moon power to add 300 more ATK and a more relevant effect, I wouldn't be surprised to see this thing replace Maestroke in tight Extra Decks. Evilswarm Exciton Knight is the Xyz version of Black Rose Dragon, threatening field wipes at the drop of a hat. While I can't say you'll be behind on card economy very often with this deck, Exciton Knight excels at turning the tables when you do find yourself behind.


You've also got several mid to late game cards that a lot of people won't be able to deal with. A top decked Kinka-Byo or Aratama puts your opponent in a less than desirable position, forcing them to commit cards to the field much earlier then they'd normally want to. Aratama's especially dangerous because it bounces to the hand during the End Phase, so your opponent can't destroy it with an attack. Heck, even Blue-Eyes White Dragon is hard to deal with when both players are low on cards. Maiden with Eyes of Blue is your ideal Turn 1, but if you can imagine how hard it is to get over her when both players have five cards in hand then you can imagine how annoying she is when the duel's down to topdecking. Maiden buys you way too much time, and should Blue-Eyes White Dragon hit the field you'll usually win shortly after.

Going Forward
While the core of this build will stay the same over time, there's a lot of room for tech options should your local metagame require tweaking. I'm playing three Trap Stun, which is best when you're paired up against a wide variety of threats like you're most likely to find at a Regional Qualifier. Should your local metagame present a situation where nobody's playing trap cards, Trap Stun's obviously going to be less than ideal. The trap lineup's extremely flexible, and I highly suggest trying out this deck to find what works for you personally.

The Side Deck capabilities of Spirit-Eyes White Dragon are better than average. Mistake's only really come into its own the past coupe weeks, but it's really great in the Side Deck here. It affects Aratama, but it can single-handedly tear down whole strategies like Spellbooks, Mermails, and Bujins, so it more than makes up for that setback. DNA Surgery, another one of my top picks this format, doesn't affect you at all; I'd highly suggest throwing a pair in your Side Deck. Similarly, Mind Crushes has become really popular over the past month, and I'd advise you to side it here.

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One option that took me a while to realize is Side Decking specific Spirit Monsters. With Aratama searching whatever you bring in, you only need one copy of any Sided Spirits you choose to run; as such, you can play any number of them in your Side Deck as one-ofs. Rasetsu is one of my favorites, helping you deal with monsters that are immune to destruction. Nikitama helps turn Rasetsu not only into a Compulsory Evacuation Device but also a Rank 4, giving added advantages. Yaksha attacks on a different front entirely, eliminating backrow cards for one turn. I'm not a fan of either of these in the Main Deck, but Siding them is an effective and creative way to win.

At the end of the day I'll admit this isn't a deck for everyone. There will be games, rare as they may be, where you'll draw entirely unplayable hands. That sucks. However, the games where you manage to get things going early on will be deeply in yur favor, and it's irresistibly fun to win games in such an unprecedented style. As always, if you have any suggestions after testing it for a bit please post them in the Comment section below!

-Doug Zeeff

Article Aftermath #26