It seems like there are always restrictions when you go to build a deck. Last format you had to build around the format-warping Nekroz of Trishula because its effect was so powerful, and this format didn't go long before it got its own big threats: Kozmo Dark Destroyer requires you to play certain cards to get it off the board, and Pendulum decks aren't innocent, either. If your opponent can load their Extra Deck and then Pendulum Summon a couple times the game's over. Those decks are barely looking to interact with you; all they're trying to do is set up their unbreakable fields.

That said, there are problems with those decks. Kozmo's about as linear as you can get. Emergency Teleport and Reasoning can only do so much to raise the ceiling on the deck's power level and it's still pretty reliant on its Normal Summons. The Kozmo player's hand can wind up clogged with multiple copies of Kozmotown, the big spaceships, or the Psychic-type pilots, and flounder as a result. It gives up a ton of options because it doesn't really use the Extra Deck, which is something you should be aiming to do because you're no longer punished by Nekroz of Unicore, Nekroz of Clausolas, or Shaddoll Fusion.

Performage Pendulums can hit slow starts and general inconsistencies. It usually takes a couple of turns to load your Extra Deck, and to set up your Pendulum Scales and plays with Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer . Players have even turned to cards like Painful Decision and Vector Pendulum, the Dracoslayer to turbo through the early game. The mirror match is pretty bad because of Wavering Eyes, and although cards like that have never been a deterrent to a deck's popularity if it's the best strategy available, it's strike point against it. Pendulum decks just aren't powerful and reliable enough yet, even if Ignister Prominence is one beast of a card.

I don't think I have to go over Infernoid's problems either, as it's pretty obvious that the deck relies too heavily on cards like Reasoning and Monster Gate. Anything that depends on milling is going to have problems, and even though cards like Photon Thrasher and Reinforcement of the Army can be played to make Tsukuyomi' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Bujintei Tsukuyomi">Bujintei Tsukuyomi and help create plays when you don't draw your power spells, it's not enough.

So, what deck do I think is the best right now? The answer might surprise you. Here's what I've been using this format: Artifact Tellarknights…

DECKID= 103821The Tellarknight engine has always been known for its consistency. In the past you had three Reinforcement of the Army: it made explosive plays by searching Satellarknight Vega if your engine was online, but most importantly it got you to Satellarknight Deneb to get things rolling. Couple that with Satellarknight Unukalhai and revival traps like Call Of The Haunted and Oasis of Dragon Souls, and you can see how easy it is to get everything into motion.

Even with just one Reinforcement, the deck's still plenty consistent - any strategy with three copies of Elemental Hero Stratos is bound to be. Satellarknight Vega digs you out of a bad hand if the worst case scenario does happen, and its ability to pair with Satellarknight Altair or Satellarknight Unukalhai to make a Bujinteu Tsukuyomi and get to Satellarknight Deneb and your revival traps is a great way to find bigger and better plays. A Pot of Greed in Xyz form is about as good as it gets. Paired with your heavy backrow, chances are good that it'll live and let you go another two cards deeper on your next turn.

Still, the Satellarknight deck isn't new; in fact, it's about a year and a half old. Since the beginning of its existence I haven't been a fan, but I feel like the game has changed to a point where Satellarknights have become a perfect fit. There are the obvious factors like Stellarknight Triverr being an out to Kozmo Dark Destroyer and other cards that can't be targeted, but heavy trap decks haven't been considered the best option by top players for a long time, so let me explain why I think it's so good now.

Evilswarm Exciton Knight - GONE
The Forbidding of Evilswarm Exciton Knight is huge for trap decks in general. You always need to have two or three really good traps ready to stop your opponent's turn, especially against a combo deck. Past decks like Shaddolls and Nekroz had access to Rank 4's as well, and they were usually pretty easy to make – often free. Exciton Knight made level 4 monsters you usually wouldn't really care about into a potentially huge problem. Now in the current format, you don't really care about Rank 4 plays and can save your better traps for the actual threat at hand.

The trap cards available are pretty good right now too. Horn of Heaven, Bottomless Trap Hole, Time-Space Trap Hole, and Solemn Warning can end turns all on their own. Kozmos try to play around the Hole cards by using their Pilot effects as Chain Link 2 and Satellarnova Alpha help to break up their chains of plays so they can't do that. Those cards are all good at what they do, but they still need some help.

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As good as all of your trap cards are, many carry pretty high costs, namely Stellarnova Alpha and Horn of Heaven. Outside of the revival traps, the Tellarknight deck usually only summons one string of monsters per turn that wind up making a single Xyz. If you have Stellarnova Alpha set you'll want to combo with Vega so you can make a Rank 4 while still fulfilling Alpha's cost. Horn of Heaven's great, but how are you going to realistically support it along with three copies of Alpha?That leads us into the next set of defensive cards in the deck, the Artifacts.

The Artifact cards were a format-defining force when they were released, thanks to the disruption and instant board presence they brought to the table. The engine still had a huge presence in the format that followed, all the way up to when Artifact Moralltach was Limited to 1 per deck. Although creative Shaddoll players still used a slim Artifact engine to abuse Artifact Sanctum and search Main Decked copies of Artifact Lancea, the engine's been seen as dead ever since that specific Forbidden & Limited list. Things have changed, and I believe now's the time for this engine to shine once more.

Artifact Ignition and Artifact Sanctum are great cards in their own right. Using Sanctum to bring out Artifact Moralltach and pop a card is still as good as it ever was, but I'm actually in the minority that thinks Artifact Ignition is the better support card. Drawing Ignition alongside Sanctum is obviously amazing, but you can draw it with Artifact Beagalltach and have a crazy disruptive defense play that turns hugely aggressive on your turn. Drawing Sanctum and Beagalltach together isn't nearly as good by comparison. Drawing doubles of Ignition is really powerful, since you get to destroy a card while setting up the Ignition and Beagalltach combo.

I never understood why people ever played just two copies; I even considered playing Magician of Faith at the North American WCQ as sort of a fourth Ignition. Then on my turn I could bounce the Magician back to my hand with Constellar Pleaides for another use. Ignition is that good. But that all begs the question - why are these cards good now?

First of all, Artifact Ignition and Artifact Sanctum are good spot removal to get rid of Pendulum Spells in the Performage Pendulum matchup. Kozmos thrive on monsters that can't be targeted by card effects and Moralltach laughs at that. Outside of powerful disruption, perhaps the most appealing thing about the engine is the ability to search and activate turn-ending effects. You can search Artifact Scythe against Performage Pendulums and lock them out of their Xyz plays, and Artifact Lancea does the same thing against Infernoids in Games 2 and 3. The Artifact engine gives the deck so many more reactive ways to break up your opponent's play sequences.

The Amazing Syngergy Between Artifacts And Tellarknights
The Artifact cards also pair really well with Tsukuyomi' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Bujintei Tsukuyomi">Bujintei Tsukuyomi. I mentioned before how it's essentially a Pot of Greed in Xyz form, allowing you to draw more trap cards and giving you plays when you don't draw Deneb or Reinforcement of the Army. But Call Of The Haunted and Oasis of Dragon Souls are excellent enablers for the Artifact cards, and Tsukuyomi' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Bujintei Tsukuyomi">Bujintei Tsukuyomi gets them into the graveyard if you draw the Artifact monsters without Ignition or Sanctum.

That fixes one of the core problems plaguing Artifacts: they're generally weak when you only draw the monsters, and don't see Ignition or Sanctum. The ability to loop Call and Oasis with Stellarknight Triverr gives you infinite pops with Artifact Moralltach and turn-ending effects via Artifact Scythe and Artifact Lancea. That gives the deck even more ways to accumulate enough trap cards to win through simple grinding. The Artifacts pair perfectly with Tellarknights and it was just a matter of time before they became relevant again.

I was a huge fan of Fire Fists as a trap deck, because whenever you can play a slim lineup of monsters that can replace themselves and solve problems on their own as well, you can hold your trap cards for when you really need them. Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Bear searched Fire Formation - Tenki which would solve one of your opponent's monsters on your next turn; Satellarknight Altair continuously searching more Altairs is the same concept. That part of the deck wasn't as relevant with Nekroz and Shaddolls leading the competitive scene, but now your Rank 4 plays are extremely powerful and won't be punished by Shaddoll Fusion. The penalities for using your Extra Deck really held this strategy back for a long time, and now that problem's gone.

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The format has also shifted away from effect negation and more to cards that deal with Pendulum Summoning and Kozmo Dark Destroyer. Storming Mirror Force and Time-Space Trap Hole are popular picks right now and they barely affect this deck at all. Time-Space deals with your Rank 4 play for the turn but if your opponent's flipping that, it's just one less combo card you have to worry about; I'm fine trading a monster that replaced itself for one of my opponent's cards. As long as you don't put all of your eggs in one basket with a premature Stellarknight Triverr play, you won't get blown out by Time-Space Trap Hole. The more heavily played trap cards right now don't touch this deck.

I think Tellarknight is the best deck in the game right now for a lot of reasons: the Forbidding of Evilswarm Exciton Knight; the absence of Nekroz and Shaddolls; the abundance of good trap cards that can be re-used via Stellarknight Triverr, including the Artifacts; the Satellarknights being self-replacing problem solvers; Tsukuyomi' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Bujintei Tsukuyomi">Bujintei Tsukuyomi digging for more trap cards; and overall excellent consistency. Things definitely change with the release of the Master of Pendulum Structure Deck but I still think Tellarknights will be a great choice. We'll just have to wait and see how much that release shakes up the game. Cards like Traptrix Rafflesia and Solemn Advice in Breakers of Shadow only help strengthen the grind game, so I feel like Tellarknights will stay competitive through that set.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

-Mike Steinman