Today, we're going to continue with more Duelist Alliance shenanigans. The more and more I read into this set, the more I'm impressed with Konami's continued commitment to quality core releases for this game. With so many new game mechanics and card types, it's a tumultuous time in our game and despite all of that, we've been given a pack full of immediately usable stuff. It's obvious that the days of the throwaway set are long over and I, for one, am happy about that.

I'm also excited that Konami continues to mine neat little themes out of single cards; expanding until, all of a sudden, there's an archetype where there once wasn't one! It's given me plenty to write about and today is no exception. In fact, Fishborgs are an interesting bunch. As far as I know it's the only theme in the game built entirely off of the back of a Forbidden card. Fishborg Blaster went straight from Unlimited to Forbidden with the advent of the September 2011 Forbidden and Limited List – a position it still holds today, three years later.

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Then over a year later, Fishborg Planter and Launcher just sort of showed up in Abyss Rising. Plenty of people took notice, but considering the only other Fishborg in the game was Forbidden, there still really wasn't an archetype to be found anywhere.

The trend continued with Fishborg Archer in Judgment of the Light but a playable deck hasn't appeared until now. Duelist Alliance has given us Fishborg Doctor and with that the beginning stages of a really cool deck.

Just What The Doctor Ordered
Up until now, the Fishborg theme has given us several monsters that are easy Special Summons but are inherently useless all on their own. Just as well, two thirds of the previous Fishborgs came with hefty stipulations when it came to what kinds of monsters you could and could not have in your graveyard. It created a difficult situation for you that really limited your arsenal.

Fishborg Doctor changes everything; as a Level 4 non-Tuner that can by and large Special Summon itself for free, that doesn't restrict the kinds of monsters you can Summon, it's exactly what this fledging archetype needed. Konami also included a fair set of limitations to make sure that Doctor won't turn into Fishborg Blaster, and that's great in the grand scheme of things. Every new archetype needs a solid foundation; a card that's good but not so good that it's going to be long gone before anyone really gets to the bottom of it. It's an incredibly important thing to have.

The good Doctor also allows you to trim some fat, too. With Fishborg Archer and Fishborg Doctor, you have a functioning engine with a healthy level of redundancy. As much as I'm sure we'd all love to see Fishborg Planter and Fishborg Launcher see play, there just isn't a whole ton of incentive to run them. The available pool of Water Synchros doesn't run deep enough to give them any value – at least not enough to leverage their requirements, anyway. Maybe we'll see a killer Fishborg Synchro in the future? It's hard to say. For now, this is what we've got.

But it's more than enough to make for an incredibly fun deck! There's plenty of other fish in the sea to help out the Doctor and Archer and I have them all assembled here for you to see.

DECKID=100972It may seem counter-intuitive, but your strongest opening plays have absolutely nothing to do with Fishborg monsters at all. Your supporting cast takes center stage at the draw of the curtain and Nimble Sunfish is chief amongst them. You're running four Nimble monsters – a full set of Sunfish and one Nimble Angler – and they create an incredible amount of momentum for you. When Nimble Sunfish is destroyed by battle and sent to the graveyard, you can send a Fish from your deck to the graveyard and then Special Summon another Nimble Sunfish from your deck. Nimble Angler jumps up that process two-fold; when it's sent from your deck or hand to the graveyard, you can Special Summon two Nimble monsters from your deck. Your Fishborg monsters shine in the graveyard and the Nimble monsters make sure they get there.

Truth be told, the success of this deck hinges on a healthy graveyard and every effort's been made to create that infrastructure. Along with the Nimble monsters, Mermail Abysspike helps to load up your graveyard. Some of these monsters are just better yarded and Abysspike helps to make that happen. You're also running Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls and Foolish Burial to help you craft the appropriate grave for yourself.

Here Little Fishy-Fishy
So you've got all of your Fishborg monsters loaded up into the grave? Good. That's when the fun really begins. The fascinating and most useful part about the Fishborgs is that they need a completely empty field to really work their magic. You can't Special Summon Fishborg Planter with its effect if you have any monsters on the field, and Fishborg Doctor immediately self-destructs if there are any monster on the table other than Fishborgs. They're a selective bunch to say the least. But even within those parameters there're plays for days. All you need is the Doctor in the grave.

Starting off with Fishborg Archer and Doctor together, you get immediate access to Gungnir, Dragon of the Ice Barrier. The only legal Ice Barrier Dragon left, Gungnir is just as lethal as Trishula and Brionac. Really, the only reason it isn't on the list right now is probably because it doesn't have open Summon requirements. Depending on the look of your hand, you can take out two of your opponent's cards with Gungnir – more if you have any Atlanteans in your hand – and then follow up with a Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls, swing with both for 5100 and end the field with Mermail Abyssgaios. You do all of that without even using your Normal Summon. Really, if your opponent had nothing on the field at the time, your hand goes unaffected save for whatever you may have discarded for Archer.

The only perceivable drawback to Synchro Summoning with Fishborg Doctor is that once it's removed from the field after being Special Summoned by its own effect, it's banished. Of course, if it means the difference between winning the duel and banishing the good Doctor there really isn't much competition. You have Leviair the Sea Dragon in your Extra Deck to get any Doctors back as needed. Now, if you Xyz Summon using Fishborg Doctor, it'll merely return to the graveyard. Luckily, you've got some great options in that area.

If you've got a Fishborg Doctor in hand and an empty field, you can Normal Summon another one and then Special Summon your yarded copy to go into Bahamut Shark. This 2600 ATK Rank 4 is one of the best Xyz Monsters in the game as far as I'm concerned and this is a deck that can make really great use of it. If you want to take an offensive route, you can Special Summon Number 47: Nightmare Shark from your Extra Deck with Bahamut's effect, attach any Level 3 Water monster you may have in your hand to it, and then proceed to chunk away your opponent's Life Points with direct attacks.

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Just as well, you can Special Summon Mermail Abysstrite with Bahamut Shark and make an impenetrable wall for the late game. Since you're also running Abysspike, Abysstrite will replace herself with that if it's destroyed, continuing the cycle. You run a full set of Salvage to make that play repeatable.

And if all of that doesn't work, just enjoy trolling your opponent with Fish Depth Charge. Card's dumb.

Alright, Buck. Where's The Bang!?
This one's totally $100. The Main Deck is like, dumb cheap, but that Extra Deck, you know?

If you're the kind of duelist with money burning a hole in your pocket, then you can add in Number 11: Big Eye, Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossacks, Lavalval Chains, Number 101: Silent Honor ARKs, and Evilswarm Exciton Knights til your heart's content and really take this strategy to the next level. For the rest of us however, the level that we're sitting at is both comfortable and incredibly functional. Test out this deck for yourself. It's only going to get better from here for the fishies, trust me...

-Zach Buckley
Team Nofatchx