Konami is one big tease. I'm not afraid to just come out and say it – and let's be honest, the community isn't either. How often do you find yourself begging for a reprint? If you're a duelist with living expenses and other adult things, chances are you find yourself groveling more often than you'd like. I'm the same way! For the entirety of MBFYB's first year, I couldn't include Stardust Dragon in any of my Extra Decks because it hadn't seen a reprint in ages.

What's worse than reprints, is when Konami gives us a taste of a theme to come but slowly releases the core cards over the course of several sets. That's complete agony because, like any good tease, your mind's left to fill in the blanks when it comes to all of the things you can't see. Some teases like Noble Knights just seem to fall flat. Others, like today's subject matter, are downright tantalizing.

STEEEEERIIIIIIIKE!!!
The U.A. (Ultimate Athlete) theme is currently comprised of just three cards. It's a lot to handle. Some themes enter the game discretely; the more subpar cards are released first before the good ones. Ultimate Athletes are a completely different story. Konami just released three high potential cards right off of the bat: two effect monsters and a field spell. U.A. Mighty Slugger was the first to catch my attention. It's a 2300 ATK Level 5 Warrior that stops your opponent from activating cards or effects when it attacks.

Mighty Slugger is literally a Main Deck Armades, Keeper of Boundaries. You have to keep your eye out for those sorts of things. Naturally, when I checked out Mighty Slugger's effect and was impressed by it I went to look at the rest of the theme, and imagine my surprise when I found out that U.A. Perfect Ace happens to be a micro-Herald of Perfection. If you've followed my writing for any length of time, you'll know Herald is one of my favorite cards.

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Each Ultimate Athlete also has the ability to swap itself out for the other via Special Summon if you have the matching Athlete in your hand. Essentially you'll attack unhindered with Mighty Slugger, then drop Perfect Ace in Main Phase 2 to defend your position until your next turn. Lastly, I was surprised to see the Field Spell U.A. Stadium, with its ability to search out U.A. monsters and boost attack points. Together those three cards form one coherent thought, helping to establish and then reinforcing that attack-defend, attack-defend play pattern. That synergy was enough to make me dig through this game to find cards that would compliment them.

Luckily, I really didn't have to look that far – in fact I just had to look in the same set.

Duelist Alliance boasts way too many cool cards and one of the big ones that everyone's talking about is The Monarchs Stormforth. If you haven't looked at Stormforth yet just know that it's essentially a better Soul Exchange. The two biggest differences are that it's a Quick-Play Spell instead of a Normal Spell, and instead of nixing your Battle Phase, you're just locked out of your Extra Deck for the rest of the turn – not a high price to pay at all.

The second card from DUEA that really sealed the deal for me and the Ultimate Athletes was Feast of the Wild LV5. It's a Konami signature: find an undeveloped demographic of monster and give them a really busted spell card. Special Summon up to two Level 5 Warriors from your hand or graveyard – their effects are negated and they can't attack. That's Feast of the Wild LV5! It's an incredibly awesome card.

All of these factors played into my decision to just make the plunge and build the deck. I'm excited to share my results with you guys! Here's the deck...

DECKID=101053Being composed of only three cards, the Ultimate Athlete theme leaves a lot for your imagination to fill in. Your main goal is to create a sort of soft lock with Might Slugger and Perfect Ace. Back it up with Kaiser Colosseum and U.A. Stadium and you'll find yourself in a dominating position very quickly.

Crafting a deck entirely around this purpose proved surprisingly difficult at first, and after fooling around with a few Monarch-esque Frog variants, I found I had to recognize a few of the obstacles standing in the way of this strategy to find the right direction for this build.

You HAVE To Be Able To Put Level 5 Monsters On The Field
That was the biggest initial hurdle. If you look at the deck list, you're running twelve Level 5 monsters – and none of them are Artifacts. That means you're pulling off a ton of Tribute and Special Summons. It's especially important for U.A. Stadium. If you Normal Summon a U.A. monster then you can search out its companion and begin to pick apart your opponent's field. Tribute Summoning isn't always easy but luckily, you've got plenty of tricks up your sleeve.

First up is The Monarchs Stormforth. I can't put enough emphasis on how much this card makes this deck – and let's be honest, a ton of others – viable for any level of play higher than locals. It's flexible and wonderful. You're also running a pair of Soul Exchange as well. It's the original Stormforth and limits you in more ways, but it's still incredibly valuable. Having a way to nix your opponent's monsters without destroying them is incredibly valuable in this day and age.

You're also running Battle Fader. It's a tried and true method for getting larger monsters on the field. Just as well, having not-dead insurance is a valuable plus. In a more proactive vein you've got Cyber Dragon. It's a free monster on the board and being a Level 5 itself, Cyber Dragon creates a ton of opportunities for Rank 5 Xyz Summons – something this deck is all about. Which brings you to the second biggest point with building a U.A. deck...

Feast Of The Wild LV5 All Day Every Day
You have a great card on your hands and you want to use it, that's completely understandable. But having only six Warriors for three copies of Feast of the Wild LV5 just won't cut it. You need more compatible monsters. Enter in a cool card that finally has a good application: Overlay Booster! This 2000 ATK Level 5 Warrior is the missing piece to your Wild puzzle. Booster's got great synergy here: if you control a monster with 2000 ATK or more, you can Special Summon Overlay Booster from your hand in defense position.

Cyber Dragon and U.A. Mighty Slugger are both over 2000 ATK and with the added boost from U.A. Stadium, U.A. Perfect Ace ends up right at 2000 as well. Overlay Booster makes it incredibly easy to ramp up the pressure with Rank 5 Xyz Monsters when your Ultimate Athlete lock isn't enough.

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Overlay Booster also makes Feast of the Wild LV5 live, pretty much always. A ratio of 3:1 makes pulling off your signature spell card incredibly easy. I've ended plenty of games by holding onto Wild LV5 until my opponent's resources were whittled down to nothing and just rode a Tiras, Keeper of Genesis to victory.

Overlay Booster can also do exactly what its name implies: boost up your Xyz. At any point save for the turn it's sent there, you can banish Overlay Booster from your graveyard to increase the ATK of an Xyz monster you control by 500 attack points for each Xyz Material attached to it. With a fresh-faced Tiras, you could have a 3600 ATK behemoth that can't be destroyed by card effects. That's incredibly brutal. Or you could boost up a Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger and really make sure that your piercing damage counts. It's an incredibly versatile card that shines here, in a deck that puts it to full use.

Alright, Buck. Where's The Bang?
This one is going to set you back $80, and it'll cost even less if you already have the Extra Deck cards. Almost all of the Main Deck cards are common or rare, or have been reprinted to the point of free. Pick up this deck and test it out. It might not top the next YCS, but cycling back and forth between U.A. Mighty Slugger and U.A. Perfect Ace has become one of my favorite things to do in this game.

It's a control deck with options and fallback – that's not exactly a common thing in Yu-Gi-Oh. Plus, the sooner we can get a dialogue going about this cool new theme, the sooner we'll be ready to develop it further when more Ultimate Athletes are released. Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

-Zach Buckley
Team Nofatchx