Whenever a new set is released I never really know what strategy to profile first. Should I showcase competitive themes in hopes that readers might take a tournament off-guard? Or should I stick with under the radar options before metagames get too crazy?

With Duelist Alliance I'm choosing the latter. Before everyone finishes their Shaddoll decks there'll be some time to test out crazy shenanigans. Specifically speaking, we're testing some good ol' Skull Servant beat-down, made possible by the new Wightprince and the Burning Abyss theme!

50 Shades of Skull Servant
I've enjoyed the Skull Servant suite over the years and totally forgot that Wightprince was in Duelist Alliance. Basically, Skull Servants' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=King of the Skull Servants">King of the Skull Servants is your big attacker, buffing up by 1000 ATK per Skull Servant or King in your graveyard. There are many different forms of Skull Servant, so don't worry. Beyond the originals Normal Monster, Wightmare, The Lady in Wight, and Wightprince all technically count as Skull Servant when they're in your graveyard. Most of your games will be closed with a direct attack from a huge Skull Servants' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=King of the Skull Servants">King of the Skull Servants, and that's all thanks to Wightprince.

If you haven't had a chance to look over Prince yet, allow me to explain. Whenever its sent to the graveyard from anywhere you can send both The Lady in Wight and a Skull Servant from your deck to your graveyard. In other words, sending a Prince to the yard instantly pushes King up to 3000 ATK. Furthermore, you can use Prince's ability as many times per turn as you want as long as you have a Lady in Wight and a Skull Servant left in deck. You can also banish Prince and two other Skull Servants in your graveyard to Special Summon a King straight from your deck.

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That might seem counterproductive because you just banished all the Skull Servants in your graveyard, but you have to look at the interaction with Dark Grepher. You can discard a 'prince as a cost to send another Wightprince to the grave, and then send four more monsters to the graveyard. Banishing a Wightprince and two of those monsters puts a 3000 ATK King on the field, and direct attacks from both of your monsters costs your opponent half their Life Points. Of course, if you already have a King on board or in hand it probably just means you demolish your opponent with a one billion ATK monster, but that's neither here nor there.

The Problem
It might surprise you, but an archetype made up almost entirely of Level 1 skeletons is kind of lacking in the "good monsters to Normal Summon" department. Dark Grepher is obviously great, as is a Skull Servants' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=King of the Skull Servants">King of the Skull Servants, but that's about it. I suppose the argument could be made that The Lady in Wight is pretty cool too with her protective effect, but she's not a stand-alone card by any means. What Skull Servants need is a reliable, repeatable engine to make up the slack. That's where the Burning Abyss cards come in handy.

Don't know what any of them do? Don't worry, neither did I! The main card we're looking at is Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss. Its first effect is that it automatically implodes if you control any non-Burning Abyss monsters. What a bummer. The next two effects are significantly better, but you can only activate one of them per turn, and only once that turn. First of all, if you control no spell or trap cards you can Special Summon it from your hand. That's definitely awesome, but it can't hold a candle to its last effect. During the End Phase of the turn Scarm is sent to the graveyard from anywhere you can search a Level 3 Dark Fiend monster from your deck and add it to your hand.

So yeah, Scarm searches Tour Guide From the Underworld. No big deal.

One of the reasons that Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Bear and Fire Formation - Tenki are so powerful is that they loop into each other. Bear gets you Tenki, Tenki gets you Bear, Bear gets Tenki again, and that just goes on forever and ever. The Tour Guide and Scarm combo is the same deal. Tour Guide gets you to Scarm, and since Tour Guide negates its effect it doesn't just blow up. From there you can make a Rank 3, detach the Scarm, and grab another Tour Guide during the End Phase.

Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss is by far your go-to Rank 3. This new Xyz is essentially a Card Trooper that Special Summons a Burning Abyss from your graveyard when it dies. Dante's just a stellar card in general, but it's even better in a deck like this. Not only does Dante give you a solid defender and a way to detach Scarm, it has a chance to mill more Skull Servants. Heck, you might even hit a Wightprince off of it, loading up your graveyard without the use of Dark Grepher.

The only other Burning Abyss card we're going to play is Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, which has all the same effects of Scarm except it doesn't search a Fiend – it Special Summons a Burning Abyss from your graveyard instead. It's not on the level of Scarm, but it's still a valuable part of the deck, and the second best Burning Abyss Monster currently released. Technically there's a third Burning Abyss Fiend we could play - Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss - but I didn't think it was the right fit for this build. Before delving any deeper into the abyss let's take a look at the list itself.

DECKID=100935Avid followers might wonder why there's no Crane Crane in here. After all, any deck that can run Crane Crane should run Crane Crane, right? The truth is, there's just too many Normal Summons already. Dark Grepher plus Skull Servants' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=King of the Skull Servants">King of the Skull Servants is a one-two punch that requires both of your Normal Summons, and most of the time when you're using Tour Guide you're looping them so there's a constant stream of Rank 3's. In all honesty I have beef with Rank 3's in general, because they're so underwhelming compared to Rank 4's. There's not really a Rank 3 that just wipes out a monster without attacking, whereas there are multiple Rank 4's that do that and much more. For that reason it's difficult to form a strategy around them without the aid of a Rank-Up-Magic card.

Actually, I think that one of the reasons I love this combination is that the Skull Servant side of the deck makes up for the lower power of Rank 3's. Skull Servants' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=King of the Skull Servants">King of the Skull Servants is really, really big, and revives itself when destroyed by battle. Pushing through your opponent's cards with stuff like Ghostrick Alucard, Wind-Up Zenmaines, and Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss is all extremely relevant when you're clearing a path for a gigantic Skull Servants' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=King of the Skull Servants">King of the Skull Servants.

I feel that most of the spell lineup's straightforward, but I'll cover a few things real quick. Forbidden Lance is incredibly versatile here because of the sheer number of scenarios where it shifts the game in your favor. Whether you're taking out more backrow with Ghostrick Alucard or saving a crucial Skull Servants' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=King of the Skull Servants">King of the Skull Servants from Bottomless Trap Hole or Fiendish Chain, you can be sure that you'll get a ton of use out of Lance. As for not playing Royal Decree, I just don't think there's room in the Main Deck for it. Obviously you have to Side Deck it, mainly just to stop Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror from ruining your day, but it can easily be dead in Game 1.

All in all, I feel that Wight Abyss is a locally viable powerhouse, capable of finishing games insanely fast. More than that though, you're finishing the game with style points. Take it from the guy that runs holo'd out Crystal Beasts, style points are everything. Anyway, let me know if you have any questions or suggestions in the Comment section, and I'll see you next week with another Duelist Alliance strategy!

-Doug Zeeff