I don't know about you guys, but Duelist Alliance is still captivating me completely. It's just a really cool set. Sure, it's filled to the brim with all the shiny and expensive cards that everyone now knows and loves, but there's also no denying the fact that this set is completely pouring over with mindblowingly awesome commons and rares. To recap: two weeks ago we got our shiny quotient in for the month by talking about Saffira, Queen of Dragons and how she pushes Herald of Perfection strategies into a seriously competitive place. Last week, I shared with you guys how the newly released Fishborg Doctor turns Fishborgs into an archetype all their own for the first time. That's a deck I'm looking forward to revisiting as new cards get released.

Today, let's continue that trend with the new Superheavy Samurai theme. A lot of people have been waiting a long time for this strategy and I can't blame them – it's awesome! It's not a difficult concept to grasp: big monsters that can attack while in Defense Position. You can sum up how this deck works in one sentence, but because of it's unprecedented unique nature, it leaves a lot of avenues for exploration – something our community has been doing for a while now. I've seen plenty of crazy cool decks come out of this them: Black Garden strategies, OTK decks, and cool new ways to use old equip spells. It's been a lot to digest, but I've always made a conscious effort to be different for you guys so that you have more options for your own deck-building, and usually that means thinking outside the box.

Today's different, though. Let's simplify things and build a straightforward Superheavy Samurai Deck so you can get a great feel for them before we all go off in our own cool and complicated directions.

The Best Offense Is 3500 Defense
Superheavy Samurai Big Benkei is the reigning heavyweight champion around here, and for good reason. Benkei only has 1000 ATK, but it's got a monstrous 3500 DEF and its effect lets all your Superheavy Samurai attack while in Defense Position. When you do that, you use their DEF for Damage Calculation. So yeah, what it really means is that Benkei's a 3500 ATK behemoth. Seriously, this card could arguably win in the "Most Well-Rounded" category at the Yu-Gi-Oh! Awards if they were real. Benkei also has a convenient ability that lets you change its battle position whenever it's Normal or Special Summoned. You'll see pretty quick as we go on, that its effect is invaluable to you. It gets Benkei right where you want it as soon as it hits the field.

Superheavy Samurai Blue Breaker is your other on-theme monster. It's a 2000 DEF wall that has the same position switching trick as Benkei, but with the added bonus that it can't be destroyed by battle. It can only attack in Defense Position while Benkei's on the field of course, but that's not too big of a deal. Blue Breaker usually stays around until Benkei hits the board without much difficulty.

I couldn't be bothered with Superheavy Samurai Swordsman. It isn't a bad card, and it's not without its uses. It just didn't impress me or prove itself useful enough for me to ever draw it and not wish that it was something else. But that's just me! You might love it, and if that's the case by all means, play it. It just wasn't for me. It didn't fit my play style with this deck nor the shape of competition in the metagames I was testing.

But I digress. Now that you've got a good feel for what these guys look like, let's take a peek at the deck list and piece together the rest of this puzzle.

DECKID=101008So it's pretty safe to say that the sooner you can get Superheavy Samurai Big Benkei on the field the sooner you'll win. When it comes to Summoning Benkei there's good news and there's bad news.

The bad news? Benkei has no effects or any themed support that can help you get it to the field, which sucks when the monster you're trying to Summon is Level 8. But the good news is that this Superheavy Samurai doesn't care how it hits the table at all so long as it gets there; any way you can think of to get B.B. on the board is completely valid. Luckily, there's a number of simple and effective ways to make it happen.

Tag! You're In!
Machina Fortress has always been awesome, and there's no shadow of a doubt in anybody's mind about that. Because Fortress plays so well with other Machines, it'll continue to be awesome for a long time coming. For this deck, not only is the Fortress a powerful attacker but it fixes the biggest problem with Big Benkei: you don't want it in your hand. Period. There really isn't a good way to get Benkei on the field from your hand aside from Tribute Summoning… which is a straight -1 at best and therefore bad. Pulling Benkei from the deck? Not that hard. Special Summoning it from the graveyard? Special Summoning things from the graveyard hasn't been difficult since last decade. But pulling it onto the field from your hand? There just isn't anything worthwhile and that's what makes Machina Fortress such a perfect fit.

The best part is that since Superheavy Samurai Big Benkei is a Level 8 monster, it covers the whole cost to Special Summon Machina Fortress. If you're sitting on a yarded Fortress, drawing into B.B. is as good as drawing into a Monster Reborn. A lot of people forget that you can Special Summon Fortress using its effect from either the hand OR graveyard; largely because discarding two cards to gain one new monster sucks as hard as Tribute Summoning. Benkei fixes that as a straight 1-for-1.

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Machina Gearframe's also incredibly useful in this deck outside of normal circumstances. Now of course, searching Machina Fortress is enough to merit its use, but a lot of people also forget that its second effect – which equips it to a Machine-type you control to protect it from destruction – can in fact be used on a monster other than Machina Fortress. That really helps to keep your Superheavy Samurais alive since they have no built-in effects to keep them from succumbing to effect destruction.

Sneaky and Tricky
Giant Rat's the choicest method for getting Big Benkei onto the field from your deck. It's quick and (mostly) painless, and best of all your opponent won't see it coming. Whatever your opponent's attacking with you'll effectively stop their onslaught with a Rat-Into-Benkei play, unless they're sitting on some behemoth with an ATK bigger than 3500. Seems unlikely.

You can also play Giant Rat proactively and ram it into something to bring Benkei out and start tearing up your opponent's field. It's your prerogative. To get your big boss onto the field from the graveyard, you've got the timeless Call Of The Haunted as well as everyone's favorite, Soul Charge. Both are super-effective. Call Of The Haunted has the element of surprise and won't cost Life Points, while Soul Charge is faster from your hand. Both are awesome choices. You're also running Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders, because the deck is all Earth monsters and it's just a beautiful recurring method of Special Summoning, like… anything. Because Redox.

So what if you don't think 3500 DEF is enough? Well, how about double that? D2 Shield is totally the next under-the-radar Super Rare that's going to blow up in price if this strategy takes off. It's a normal trap that just doubles the original DEF of one of your monsters. It's pretty straightforward like that. I personally love using it to swing with a 7000 DEF Benkei and I think you'd deeply enjoy that experience as well.

Alright, Buck. Where's The Bang!?
This one sits pretty at about $80. It's not a terribly expensive deck, largely because most of your monsters are commons and rares. So feel free to expand your budget to include some pricier options if you so desire, and by all means experiment!

Get the feel for this strategy and then get crazy with it, there're a ton of different avenues to explore with this theme and I can't wait to see what you guys come up with! Have some cool builds already? Feel free to share them in the comments section! I'd love to hear about them.

-Zach Buckley
Team Nofatchx