While it's safe to say that Loukas is the reigning king of monster mashes around here, the entire writing team at TCGplayer loves a good smorgasbord. Luckily it's a town big enough for all of us. For me, it harkens back to my deep love of Plant Synchro. That deck was a bunch of (relatively) random stuff thrown together to achieve a victory. It fostered creativity and lent itself to rewarding, non-linear play patterns. That's not to say I don't enjoy a good archetype soup too! It could be argued that when you manage to get different archetypes to play nice together it's an even cooler means of achieving victory! That's kind of what today is. Well, sort of.

You see, today revolves around me committing what could be considered a cardinal sin in Yu-Gi-Oh: "don't build a deck just because of a cool name." It's a really bad thing to do and it's the big reason why you see a lot of poorly built decks that float around, seemingly crafted without much thought to them beyond a cool name. This time however, I was lucky enough to actually stumble onto something… ye know, functional. Really, it's more than functional.

It's pretty freaking cool if I do say so myself.

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My saving grace when it comes to building decks like this is my predilection towards high utility monsters. If you're unfamiliar with the term in Yu-Gi-Oh, utility refers to what a card can do entirely on its own. A monster such as Thunder King Rai-Oh would be considered high utility, because it has high ATK for a Normal Summon and not one, but two powerful effects, both of which act independently and don't require combos to work. The opposite end of that spectrum is synergy, which refers to how well your card plays in combination with others. The interplay between the Mermail and Atlantean monsters is grounded in how synergistic the two archetypes are.

Do You Remember…
Historically speaking, the most dangerous strategy's usually employ a healthy dose of both kinds of cards, balancing utility and synergy to a point of perfection. The Fire First archetype – and specifically the 3-Axis variant – has always captivated me for its distinct representation of both utility and synergy within its card pool. Right off of the bat, you've got Fire Formation – Tenki, a powerful and flexible spell that's done more to catch the attention of the deck-building community over the past two years than most other cards.

What makes the 3-Axis version of Fire Fist so endearing to me is that all of the monsters work for a common goal, and yet many of them are incredibly powerful by themselves. Take for example, Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Leopard. During the turn it was Normal or Special Summoned, you can Tribute a Fire Fist monster to set a Fire Formation spell or trap from your deck. That means that this little Beast-Warrior can thin your deck by as many as two extra cards. It'll get you to Fire Formation – Tenki faster than any other card and in turn can get you to a card such as Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Spirit very early on in the game – which is important. All of this because of one little Leopard.

Okay, so the Fire portion of Earth, Wind, and Fire is accounted for – so what about the other two? Well, ever since Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Spirit was Limited, 3-Axis decks have been missing a bit of oomph. T.G. monsters fit very nicely into that void. One of their star monsters is T.G. Warwolf, which happens to be a Level 3 beast-warrior. The pairing isn't far-fetched at all. A play set each of T.G. Striker and T.G. Warwolf adds an incredible level of versatility and depth to the Extra Deck. When you add in the Wind component, the strategy becomes the love child of a Rubik's Cube and a Swiss Army Knife: practical, confusing, beautiful, and mysterious. Here's the deck list. I'll explain the rest afterwards…

DECKID=100650Right off of the bat, the sore thumb sticking out is Quickdraw Synchron. It's a Level 5 Tuner monster that can only be used for the Summoning of a Synchro Monster needing a Synchron Tuner. It sounds weird but it works surprisingly well here, and with great consistency at that.

Crafted around Quickdraw is a suite of cards designed to make good use of it; mainly Pilica, Descendent of Gusto. This Level 3 monster will Special Summon a Wind Tuner from your graveyard whenever you Normal or Special Summon it. Automatically, that creates a ton of different high-impact plays. While it's worth noting that after you use Pilica's effect you can only Special Summon Wind Monsters for the rest of the turn, that's tremendously easy to work around. So now that you've got all of the pieces in place, how exactly do you play this thing?

…The 21st Night Of September…
It's safe to say that there's a lot going on here, for sure. With that being said though, the early game is never as crazy as you'd think. Rarely will you come up with unplayable hands. Most of the time, the strength of your early game is dependent on how quickly you can get to your Fire Fist engine; consider it your first line of offense, if you will. It's a potent strategy for whittling away at your opponent's resources because the Fire Fist archetype focuses so much of its attention on garnering you myriad +1's of card economy.

The real star player in the early game is Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Spirit. The only Tuner in the Fire Fist army, Spirit can Special Summon any Level 3 Fire monster from your graveyard with 200 DEF or less. That effect has great synergy with the aforementioned Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Leopard, since its DEF is 200. That combo forms the backbone of your early plays. Most of the time, you'll overlay the two monsters for Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Lion Emperor and use its effect to recycle Spirit so that you can repeat the process.

If you're looking for some more beef, you can always go the route of Synchro Summoning Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Horse Prince in an attempt to field a ton of damage, but you have to be careful with that sort of play because it can quickly deplete your resources and could eliminate any chance of successful Lion Emperor plays.

But what if you could do both?

…Love Was Changing The Minds Of Pretenders…
This is where your T.G. monsters come into play. If you have just one T.G. Warwolf in your hand when you go to use Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Spirit, it totally changes the whole range of plays you can make. Here's what the combo would look like:

-Normal Summon Spirit and use its effect to Special Summon Leopard from the Graveyard. At this point you can Special Summon Warwolf as well.

-Using Spirit and Warwolf, Synchro Summon Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Horse Prince.

-Use Horse Prince's effect and Special Summon Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Rooster from your deck.

-Rooster's effect will trigger to add another Fire Fist monster from your deck to your hand.

-Now you're left with Horse Prince, Leopard, and Rooster on the field. You can overlay the remaining two for Lion Emperor, use its effect to get back Spirit and ensure your tricks for the next turn.

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That combo doesn't even take into account any interaction with the Fire Formations, which can garner you even more cards if you play the sequence correctly. And of course, the T.G. engine does more for you than just make your Fire Fists cooler. In general, they're your biggest team players. Just as they were originally designed to do, the Tech Genus cards make your Synchro Summons easier: on their own they can crank out all of your Level 5 Synchros as well as clogging the field, replacing themselves when destroyed thanks to their search ability.

One of the biggest boons to playing T.G.'s in your Main Deck is the opportunity to run T.G. Wonder Magician in your Extra Deck. Wonder Magician's a sort of super charged Formula Synchron: it pops an opposing spell or trap card when you Synchro Summon it, and when it's destroyed it draws you a card. Perhaps most importantly, it has Formula's ability to Synchro Summon during your opponent's Main Phase.

...While Chasing The Clouds Away!
Quickdraw Synchron and Pilica, Descendent of Gusto are the final pieces of this strange, strange puzzle. While you can't use Quickdraw Synchron for any and all Synchro Summons, there are some great options on that narrow list. Since all of your other monsters are Level 3, it's safe to put your focus on the Level 8 Synchros from that range; there only are two, but luckily both of them are great. First up is Junk Destroyer. A 2600 ATK beater, it hits the table and pops cards on the field up to the number of non-Tuners you used for its Summon. You'll never destroy more than one card with it in this strategy, but that alone can be enough to shift the game in your favor.

The other Synchro available to you is Chevalier de Fleur, or as I like to call it: play insurance. Once per turn, Chevalier lets you negate the activation of a spell or trap card and destroy it. Dropping this Synchro before your Battle Phase can mean the difference between victory and defeat, and if you back it up with Wiretap, it's extremely hard for your opponent to defend themselves. Since Chevalier's a Wind monster it also falls within the confines of Pilica's jurisdiction. This deck is chock full of ways to abuse Pilica's ability: there's Call Of The Haunted, Soul Charge, and Emergency Teleport. Since Pilica's a Psychic you can pull her right from the deck, even if it's just to make a Rank 3 when Quickdraw isn't available.

Alright, Buck. Where's The Bang?!
This strategy caps out at $100. Some of the Fire Fist stuff still fetches a decent value on the secondary market, but it's a cool deck to invest in. It fixes one of the biggest problems with Fire Fists: linearity. It forces a certain level of unpredictability with your plays, so it's easy to catch your opponent unawares and force through plays they won't see coming.

I've thoroughly enjoyed playing this strategy and despite breaking a cardinal sin of the game, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Ever played a strange mash like this? Or a weirdly named deck? Let me know in the comments section below!

-Zach Buckley