Welcome back! Is everybody ready for a second go-round? It sounds so weird to say, doesn't it? But for the first time in More Bang For Your Buck history, there's a direct sequel to last week's article. In the past, I've done updates to decks to bring them up to code for Format transitions or current trends, but never have I done something quite like this. In some small way, this is history and that's kind of cool. But what's the need?

Well, for the uninitiated who're joining in for this first time, More Bang For Your Buck is TCGplayer's weekly budget column. The premise is pretty simple: the entirety of my Yugi-career is devoted to showing you guys the coolest decks you can build for $100 or less. So if you're a budget player and you're in need of fresh ideas then you've come to the right place; you're amongst friends.

For many players, between available trading pools, expendable cash, and community sharing, getting ahold of expensive cards isn't altogether that difficult. As a result, the number one question I'm always asked is what would I do with a deck if I didn't have a budget to stick to? How could the deck be expanded upon in such a way as to make the most of the core strategy?

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Well, it may come as a shocker to everybody but most of the time, lifting the budgetary restrictions doesn't really do much. Don't get me wrong of course, if you can do it then by all means go ahead, but usually what you're getting is just added beef. More often than not, expanding the budget of the types of strategies I create won't radically affect the deck.

But today is a different story.

Aw, Hell! Here We Go Again!
Ice Barriers are totally the underdogs of Yu-Gi-Oh. Lots of players want to see something come from this deck and every time it's attempted there are three distinct results. First off, there's the absolute indifference. A large group of players just don't give a care at all. It's all meta all the time and there isn't much room for anything else.

Then, there's the diehard Ice Barrier fans who still carry the delusional notion that an Ice Barrier lock set-up is not only functional, but relevant to anything in this game. It's a strange fanaticism that's borderline cultish. I don't often see the Reasoning driving this kind of player but it's also difficult to argue with intense emotional fascism – especially with Ice Barrier fans. In the realm of obnoxious Yugi-fanatics, the Barrier-heads are second only to the Cult Of Fabled Fanboys: a group utterly dedicated to being on the cutting edge of mediocre. And in case you're wondering, your build is wrong in the eyes of these – always.

Finally, there's what I'll tentatively call the Progressive Barrier-heads: the kind of Ice Barrier fan who loves the strategy enough to let go of tradition in favor of progress. That's what all of this is all about. Last week I outlined my build of Burning Abyss Ice Barriers. It was an attempt to capitalize on the good qualities of this oft-misaligned theme, and for the most part, it proved successful. But the budget was genuinely hindering it. There were cards just out of that $100 price range that could take the foundation we established and build something really special on it. Let's go over last week's deck so that you can fully understand where I'm coming from with this expansion:

DECKID=101215The entire focus of this deck was to make the most out of General Gantala of the Ice Barrier. In some small part because it has a great effect, but also because there's an incredible suite of cards that just naturally make it great. General Gantala's a 2700 ATK beater that can Special Summon an Ice Barrier monster from your graveyard during your End Phase. Being a big Level 7 monster, it's not exactly the easiest to get onto the field all on its own, but that's where the support staff comes into play.

General Gantala's right hand man is Prior of the Ice Barrier. The most recently released of the Ice Barrier monsters, Prior's also one of the best: its effect lets you trade an on-field Prior for any Ice Barrier monster in your graveyard, chiefly Gantala. You're also running Defender of the Ice Barrier to shut out your opponent's attacks and to get to Leo, Keeper of the Sacred Trees. Strategist of the Ice Barrier's the last monster card bringing up the rear of the team, digging you deeper into your deck and setting up your graveyard for future plays.

The secret sauce with this variation of the Ice Barrier team is the use of Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls and Tour Guide From the Underworld – and as an extension to that, Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss. The idea is that Tidal not only helps load the graveyard with its Foolish Burial type ability, but also gives you access to Rank 7 Xyz. Tour Guide From the Underworld then recycles Prior of the Ice Barrier by way of Leviair the Sea Dragon. This all stacks up to a fun strategy that can catch your opponent off guard very quickly.

Now that you've got the gist of the first strategy, here's the modified version for this week:

DECKID=101225From just glancing at the build, it's obvious that not a whole ton has changed – at least in the Main Deck. The core of this strategy is solid and still checks out, even in the budget form. It just needed a little more help.

Having only one copy of Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls kind of sucks. You can win without it, but games where you get it into play are much easier to win. The Main Deck was already running Foolish Burial, Gold Sarcophagus, and Pot of Duality so there really wasn't much there to expand upon in terms of a Main Deck consistency boost aside from the addition of Upstart Goblin. But I mean, c'mon, was anybody really expecting that to be where all the money was going to go? Naaaaaaaah.

That Extra Boost
the suped-up Extra Deck is the real coup de grace for that burning hole in your pocket. It speeds up this deck like crazy thanks to the addition of several Rank 4's and one particular Rank 3. The most prominent of the Main Deck additions, Summoner Monk, is there to make all of those Rank 4's possible, and the chief architect of your speed is Lavalval Chain. Having the ability to pinpoint your next draw is the reason why this card has remained out of budget players' grasps since its release. Most of the time, you'll be loading Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls into the graveyard or topdecking a Prior of the Ice Barrier for next turn. The versatility of Lavalval Chai is what makes it so great.

True to any burning Abyss Deck, this version is now running Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss. So much of what makes this strategy thrive depends on having a loaded graveyard and Dante gets that train out of the station real fast. You make a lot of Rank 3's in this deck and now you finally have the best of the bunch at your fingertips. However, if you burn through too many monsters altogether you're also running Daigusto Emeral to pull back on the reins a bit. It's a healthy little addition that can make a world of difference.

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Plus! Like any other budgetless upgrade, you get that aforementioned beef! Evilswarm Exciton Knight and Number 101: Honor ARK are game changers all in their own right. And whereas last time around you could only afford half of the Rank 7 power couple, I'm happy to announced that Mecha Phantom Dracossack and Number 11: Big Eye have been reunited. And yes, it does feel so good.

Alright, Buck! Now What!?
Well, uh, you could go buy these cards? Do what you will! Build, my friends! It's hard to put into words how much these small changes affect the way this deck plays. Quite frequently when you're building a deck you feel the need to change a ton of things to make that next leap forward. But in all reality, innovation is often best delivered in small doses.

I'm excited to participate in the conversation generated by this little experiment! My favorite part of this game is developing ideas as a community, so let me know what you think! Did you work ahead of me last week? Already made a fully tricked out version yourself? I'd love to hear about it in the Comments section below!

-Zach Buckley
Team Nofatchx