I was hooked on the Superheavy Samurai from the moment I read Superheavy Samurai Big Benkei. The ability to attack while in defense position is one of the coolest ideas we've seen in recent years. It also helped that Benkei had a 3500 DEF rump – next to nothing can get over it!

When the Superheavy Samurais first hit the scene, the all-monsters no-spells-and-traps mechanic wasn't even a glimmer on the horizon. It was all Benkei, all the time. Your only goal was booty bumping your opponents into submission with your boss monster. The deck was crazy fun to play but really didn't go anywhere because of its limited capabilities. It couldn't respond to certain threats very well, because it couldn't cover all of its bases.

Once Konami began to shift the focus of the Samurai over to a monster mash-style deck, diversification happened more naturally. Konami released several smaller monsters that acted as 'armor' of sorts for your big beaters. They were capable of handling most of what your opponent threw at you because they all had two abilities: one that you could activate from your hand and another that would trigger in the graveyard.

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More often than not, the hand effect was a proactive one that would either equip the monster to another Superheavy Samurai or the effect would help you Special Summon other Samurai monsters. The graveyard effects were the opposite, being mostly reactive. Those effects would be your main line of defense, protecting your monsters or shielding your Life Points from direct attacks. The double duty Samurai provided a lot of longevity to a deck that needed it more than ever before.

The next big complication was dealing with back row. Since you couldn't run any spells or traps yourself, traditional back row removal was off of the table. Without any Mystical Space Typhoons you had to be clever. The trouble with that was that there just wasn't anything to really get clever with. R&D seemed to recognized that pretty quickly, because the last two sets have released Samurai that deal with that issue. The end result is some of the best cards for the theme.

What's Yours Is Mine
The first big answer to the backrow problem was Superheavy Samurai Ogre Shutendoji, and it's only going to become more and more useful as Pendulum decks grow in popularity. Shutendoji's a Level 6 Synchro that has 2500 DEF and can attack in defense position just like your other big beaters. When it's Synchro Summoned, Shutendoji destroys every spell and trap card on your opponent's side of the field so long as you have no spell or traps in your graveyard. Now that the game's finally seeing a massive uptick in the number of on field spells and traps, in large thanks to Pendulums and Kozmos, Shutendoji's a game changer. It's super effective because there's nothing else like it in the game. Without Heavy Storm or an equivalent piece of mass removal floating around, the likelihood of running into something that could stop Shutendoji's effect is extremely low. Shutendoji can win games singlehandedly in certain match-ups.

Superheavy Samurai Thief isn't as dramatic as Shutendoji, but in many ways it's almost better. Thief's effect is sort of a hybridized version of the two Superheavy Samurai Synchro monsters, Shutendoji and Susanowo. You can Special Summon it from your hand and then Tribute it to destroy an opposing spell or trap. You then have the option to set it to your side of the field if you so choose. The craziest part of all? You can do the same thing with any opposing Pendulum Spell! That'll become a bigger deal once the Superheavy Samurai get their themed Pendulum monsters, but it's pretty noteworthy even today.

First off, you're breaking your opponent's Pendulum Scale. With the rise in the number of Pendulum decks seeing serious play, it's obvious that disrupting your opponent's Scale can totally disrupt the flow of the game. Early on, breaking the Scale can kill your opponent's momentum and stop them from getting their strategy off the ground. Secondly, for you non-budget players reading, Thief becomes even more invaluable if you choose to run some of the pricier generic Pendulum monsters like Archfiend Eccentrick. At that point Thief lets you quickly set up a scale of your own. Even though there's no way to Pendulum Summon Big Benkei, you could still make stellar use of a Pendulum Scale in this deck.

Let me run the full list by you real fast and then we'll discuss the last big component to your Superheavy Samurai strategy…

DECKID=103861Card economy and keeping card advantage can be a big challenge for any monster mash deck. More traditional strategies have plenty of ways to get a leg up on your opponent, so you have to be careful when you're constructing your strategy and keep that in mind.

When I last wrote about Superheavy Samurais, Mathematician was my big piece of tech that helped solve that problem. It sends Superheavy Samurai Gigagloves to the graveyard and triggers its effect to rearrange the top five cards of your deck. While you won't actually draw any cards off of that interaction, it sets you up to get two more draws while also providing an excellent defense: when your opponent declares a direct attack, you can banish Gigagloves from your graveyard, excavate the top card of your deck and if it's a Superheavy Samurai you can add it to your hand and the attacking monster's ATK becomes 0.

Since Gigagloves' first effect stacks the deck for you, you can make sure that conditions are favorable for you to see results from its second effect. When coupled with Mathematician's effect to net you a card when it eats dirt, the simple combo ended up being incredibly lucrative.

Machina Makes The Difference!
Now that Mathematician's Limited that combo's remarkably less consistent and your likelihood of seeing it early isn't nearly as great as it was a few months ago. So originally I simply tried to run the deck without Gigagloves at all. I figured I'd forgo it altogether and try any and every alternative method. The trouble was that Gigagloves was just too good – almost like it was made for this role intentionally. I had to put it back into the deck.

The issue then was replacing Mathematician, and Machina Fortress was the perfect solution. Fortress fills Mathematician's shoes and then some. It requires a bigger initial investment since you need both it and Gigagloves in hand to get the ball rolling, but the payoff in the end is much greater since Machina Fortress has 1000 more ATK; that makes it an actual threat, and it has a number of ways to resist destruction on top of that. In the end, robbing your opponent of a card from their hand or field can often be more worthwhile than anything Mathematician could've drawn you.

Since Gigagloves' ability is an "if… you can" effect, it doesn't have any timing issues when you discard it for Machina Fortresses. Once Fortress bites the dust, you're also running four Level 8 monsters that can all be justifiably leveraged into a one-for-one exchange to get Fortress back onto the field. Just having some Main Deck back up for Big Benkei's a great asset to the deck as well. It's all about keeping that big booty pressure on your opponent.

Alright, Buck! Where's The Bang!?
This one's right at $100, but this deck's also one of the most flexible budget list I've ever written about. You could very well get by with just the Main Deck and the Superheavy Synchros if you just want a breath of fresh air at your locals.

On the other hand, if you intend to take this to the top tables of your nearest Regional Qualifier, it would be easy to kit this thing out with costly tech cards that'll cost your budget but help you earn your invite. Most strategies don't have this level of flexibility to them. This deck is yours to do with what you will!

-Zach Buckley

Zach is husband to his beloved wife, Emma. He's also a composer who's studying composition and production formally in an attempt to be both happy and poor. You can follow his progress on these goals by checking out his sporadically updated blog at www.wordpress.com/zwbuckleymusic