One of my favorite parts of this game is the fact that nothing's ever final. There's always room for growth, and there's always room for creativity. That truth is the reason why I have a job. A solid portion of my writing for TCGplayer is composed of revisits to strategies I've worked on previously because our game is growing constantly. That's my favorite part of Yu-Gi-Oh: on the surface it's just a card game, but really it's a never-ending dialogue of ideas and concepts. Those strategies begets connections and those connections beget a community. We get to grow together as we develop our decks further. It's an awesome concept when you think about it!

Today we're going to further the conversation on one of my favorite themes: Hazy Flames! As soon as this archetype dropped in Cosmo Blazer last year, I was hooked. A bunch of monsters that can't be targeted by card effects? Oh hell yes. Like, everything targets in this game. I mean, when you're playing Hazy Flames you practically walk unhindered amongst your opponent's trap cards. That's magical.

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But it doesn't stop there – in fact, that's only half the fun. Hazy Flames is one of those decks that you play to unleash exhilarating combos on your opponent just to say you can. It's not all about winning. No, scratch that: it's about saying you pulled off some jaw-dropping crazy stuff. With Hazy Flames, that means Xyz Summoning a giant chicken with five Xyz Materials.

And a glorious chicken it is! Hazy Flame Basiltrice has a number of effects depending on how many Xyz Materials are attached to it. When it's in peak form with five Materials, it can't be targeted or destroyed by card effects and it has 3500 ATK. That's a really big chicken. Essentially, your opponent has to either destroy it by battle or find a non-destructive, non-targeting means of getting it off of the field. That's not an easy task in the slightest.

Out Of The Fog...
Up until recently, getting a fully loaded Basiltrice onto the field was nothing short of an Act of God. Like straight up, you had to've been receiving some sort of divine favor to make that happen. However, when Primal Origin dropped earlier this year, a brand new Hazy Flame monster just kind of snuck into existence that changed that game for you. Hazy Flame Hydra fixed a few of the biggest problems with the theme overall.

First off, it gave the Hazy Flame archetype a strong Main Deck attacker, something that was sorely missed. This theme was released during the dawn of our new golden age when Konami began to realize, "Hey, we should stop releasing so much broken stuff." It's understandable, really. Konami released a deck that can't be targeted by card effects. Unless they were really really careful, the powers that be were going to have something really busted on their hands. But I think it's safe to say that they were a little over-cautious. None of the original monsters released broke 2200 ATK at Level 6. That's, like, a suitable power level for the game as it existed in 2004. Hydra is a new Hazy Flame for a modern age. It's a powerful and synergistic beater and that's good news.

The best part about Hazy Flame Hydra however, is its application for Xyz Summoning. An Xyz monster Summoned with Hydra as an Xyz Material gains an effect that attaches a Hazy Flame monster from your graveyard to it as another Material. That effect lets you crank out a fully charged Hazy Flame Basiltrice with little to no effort on your part. Plus, if you have multiple copies of Hydra as Xyz Material, their effects will stack. It gets pretty awesome, pretty fast. Let's look at the deck list and take it from there:

DECKID=101112Right off the bat, you probably noticed The Monarchs Stormforth. At this point, you've likely been conditioned to recognize this card everywhere. I wouldn't be surprised, I've written about nearly every single week since its release. But that's because it's such a great card. One of the biggest problems with the Hazy Flame deck is that they're all Level 6 which means that you have to find some way to get them onto the field. You can Normal Summon Hazy Flame Cerberus without Tribute, but it's the only Hazy Flame that gives you that option. The Monarchs Stormforth lets you get your Hazy's onto the field as a 1-for-1 as opposed to the straight -1 that is Tribute Summoning under regular conditions. Hazy Pillar's also great for helping you get your monsters onto the table. In fact, this continuous spell's entirely devoted to your cause. It lets you attach Xyz Materials to Xyz Monsters you control and you can also Normal Summon Hazy Flame monsters for one less Tribute. You're even running triple Battle Fader to help ease that burden.

Your secret sauce though, is Hieratic Dragon of Tefnuit. The Hieratic theme is all about Tributing. Tefnuit is the Hieratics' on-theme Cyber Dragon with the added bonus of being self-replacing. Whenever Hieratic Dragon of Tefnuit is Tributed, you can Special Summon a Dragon-type Normal Monster from your hand, deck or graveyard. For you that means whipping out a Tyhone #2! It's Level 6 and a Fire monster! That's everything you want in a Hazy Flame deck. In fact, Tefnuit, really helps you make a fully loaded Basiltrice a reality. Here's a pretty stock combo:

-Tribute Hieratic Dragon of Tefnuit to Normal Summon Hazy Flame Peryton

-Tyhone #2 hits the field, and you'll activate Peryton's effect

-Special Summon two copies of Hydra

-Overlay all three monsters, the Hydra effects will trigger, and you'll pull two extra Materials on Basiltrice

...Boom! Five Xyz Materials. That's really not a lot to ask for the payoff of a near-invincible monster on your side of the field. Hieratic Dragon of Tefnuit makes pursuing Rank 6 Xyz an enjoyable task as opposed to a daunting burden. It also gives an extra shot of synergy to a strategy that already runs Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos. Having a few more Dragons around as well as something to search out if Blaster gets banished is huge.

Back when Konami was celebrating the elements, plenty of cards were released that supported each of the individual attributes; Fire was no exception. Of course, there's always been the obnoxiously powerful Rekindling at your disposal. Like any other theme with Fire monsters, a number of the Hazy Flames have that requisite 200 DEF and the one copy of Rekindling you're allowed is put to good use here.

Accompanying Rekindling we have a few cards borrowed from our good friends the Fire Kings. Onslaught of the Fire Kings is the perfect party starter. If you control no monsters, it lets you Special Summon a Fire attribute Beast, Winged-Beast, or Beast-Warrior from your deck, and then destroys it in the End Phase. Onslaught's often used in Fire Kings to Special Summon the signature boss monster Fire King High Avatar Garunix, but here you'll be using it to unleash Hazy Flame Cerberus. You can either use it for a Rank 6 Xyz Material or let it get destroyed and make a search with it.

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You can also play Onslaught to Special Summon Hazy Flame Sphynx or Flamvell Firedog. Keep in mind that Onslaught will negate their effects of course but sometimes pulling that extra monster out of the deck is all you need to get started.

The other card you're pulling from the Fire King arsenal is Circle of the Fire Kings. It's a super cool tag-out card that lets you trade an onboard Fire monster for one in your graveyard. That means you can trade out Hazy Flame Cerberus for a yarded Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos and net a search off of it in the process. It's cool stuff.

Alright, Buck. Where's The Bang!?

This one clocks in at about $90. All of the Main Deck monsters are dirt cheap, but as usual it's the Extra Deck that gets ya'. You know how it goes; that's our story week in and week out. But hey, eventually you're going to have all of this stuff built up in your collection anyway, right? It'll be alright.

In the mean time, check out this deck! Pull off a big fat Basiltrice on your opponent and watch their hopes for an easy win evaporate. It's a ton of fun. Maybe you've done that already? Maybe you have cooler ways of doing it that I've never even thought of? Let me know in the comment section down below!

-Zach Buckley
Team Nofatchx