Some of you may have heard the anecdote about the boiling water and the frog. It's said that a frog in boiling water will jump out to safety immediately, because it's aware of the searing and dangerous temperatures. However, if placed in cold water that's slowly heated to a boil, the frog will be unaware of its worsening condition and imminent demise. It won't realize the water's boiling until it's too late.

I've largely felt like we players are the frog and Konami is controlling the pot of boiling water with the release of Noble Knight cards. The support for the Knights has been underwhelming and inconsistent, but I believe an overpowered trump card like Spellbook of Judgment is right around the corner. After that, we'll be partying like it's 1399. Though Noble Knights have a ways to go, their Regional Top 8 finishes this format have proved them a force to be reckoned with.

DECKID=99929Noble Knights are like a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing; their plays may take a few turns to set up, but they're hugely explosive. With just a Medraut and a Noble Arms spell, Noble Knights can go from having nothing on the field to being a total nightmare for your opponent. Even after the deck's signature boss monster falls - Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus – you'll find the Knights have quite a shallow grave because Medraut comes right back!

There's always a Ray of Hope for your master swordsmen post mortem.

Walk Up In The Club Like "What Up? I Got A Medraut!"
Simply put, Noble Knight Medraut is the Level 4 building block for the deck; Noble Knights would be moot without this Warrior. While you have no other monsters, a Medraut equipped with any Noble Arms card can Special Summons any Noble Knight from your deck. Medraut then destroys the Equip Spell, but most of them will just reattach to whatever monster you brought out so your Equip never really goes to waste. Last week I talked about Vylons, another deck that revolves around Equip Spells. The Vylon Equips fetch cards from the deck to replace themselves, while the Noble Arms replenish themselves from the graveyard.

I've heard a thousand ironic complaints that Noble Knights need a theme-specific Reinforcement of the Army, like how Spellbooks have Spellbook of Secrets and Fire Fist have Fire Formation - Tenki. I don't think most people realize that Noble Knights already have the original Reinforcement of the Army at their disposal.

The traditional play with Medraut and an Equip is to Special Summon Noble Knight Borz, re-equip the Noble Arms card onto Borz and use its effect to search out another Equip Spell to attack to Medraut. How? Borz shuffles three of your Noble Arms cards from your deck, yards two and nets you the third. Because Medraut and Borz both gain a Level when they're equipped, you can overlay into any Rank 5 Xyz, most notably Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus.

When you Xyz Summon the Rank 5 Artorigus, it equips up to three Noble Arms from your graveyard. Since you'll now have a minimum of four Equip Spells (one from Medraut's effect and three from Borz) you'll have your choice of what bling you want Artorigus to be rocking. It's the standard play Noble Knight duelists rely on to yard Equip Spells and put a boss monster on the field. Keep in mind that Noble Arms – Excaliburn and Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms won't reattach when Medraut destroys them, so you'll have to use other Equip Spells for this combo if you want to make your boss monster. Artorigus is typically the best play because not only does it destroy a monster once per turn with its effect, but it brings back a Noble Knight when it dies. Keep in mind that with Excaliburn, Queen, Destiny and Gallatin, Sacred Noble Knight's virtually impossible to kill.

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Legacy of the Valiant granted us another Noble Arms card, but this time it was a monster: Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms. It should always be the first Noble Arms you pick with Borz, because the Queen is best suited for the graveyard. Once per turn, you can re-equip Gwenhwyfar to any Noble Knight from the graveyard, extending your plays further down the road.

Yes, the two Artorigus Xyz brings back all your Noble Arms Spells when Summoned, but Borz exhausts your supply of Spells from your deck very quickly. I only included seven Noble Arms equips because, well, they're all really terrible cards on their own. I'm not saying the effects are bad, but that's the nature with Equip Spells outside of Premature Burial and Snatch Steal: they need monsters to interact with. Opening up with a hand of two, three, or four Noble Arms is downright disastrous. Gwenhwyfar allows you to keep your Noble Arms spell cards to a minimum in your Main Deck while always providing a Noble Arms card to trigger Noble Knight Medraut, Noble Knight Drystan, and Noble Knight Gwalchavad's effects late in the game.

Home, Home On Gawayn…
…Where Medraut And His Noble Knights Play
You're not limited to the Medraut and Borz combo, either. If need be, you can Xyz Summon any other Rank 5 to wreak Havoc, but not every Noble Knight goes to Level 5 when holding a giant sword. Noble Knight Drystan, Noble Knight Gwalchavad and Noble Knight Gawayn all stay at Level 4 when equipped, so your Rank 4 options are plentiful as well. Gawayn assists Xyz plays when you're bereft of Medraut; you can Special Summon it when you have most any of your Noble Knights on the field for an instant Xyz.

I mentioned earlier that one Noble Arms Spell doesn't reattach when it's destroyed: Noble Arms Excaliburn. With this card, you can make your Medraut and Borz play into a Rank 4 instead of a Rank 5, Xyz Summoning Artorigus, King of the Noble Knights. Like the Rank 5 version, Artorgius 2.0 equips your discarded swords, but it can also destroy Spells and Traps up to the number of Noble Arms on the field. Excaliburn can even transform the Rank 4 Artorigus into the Rank 5 when you banish it from your graveyard. The Rank 4 Artorigus destroys spells and traps, while the Rank 5 can destroy monsters. Excaliburn is the segue between the two.

Gwenhwyfar Teaches Old Knights New Tricks
Noble Knight Drystan was lauded as one of the most hyped Noble Knight cards of all time at the point of its release, but it fell short of its potential in competitive play because to trigger its effect, you have to make subpar plays. Whenever Drystan's equipped with a Noble Arms Equip Spell, you get to pop one face-up card on the field. However, wasting your Normal Summon and an equip just to destroy one card was highly underwhelming. The same went for Gwalchavad, which got back any Noble Knight (AKA Medraut) from your graveyard when equipped, but if you couldn't follow up with a Gawayn for an Xyz play, it underperformed. Gwalchavad paled in comparison to The Warrior Returning Alive, a subpar support card that went unused for years long before the Noble Knight's release.

This brings me back to Gwenhwyfar, because while you lose a Normal Summon with Drystan and Gwalchavad, you no longer need to waste another card in your hand to trigger your Knights' effects. Like I said before, Gwenhwyfar allows you to play fewer Noble Arms cards because it comes out of the graveyard once per turn for your Knights' effects, saving you from having to cram a dozen Noble Arms into your deck just to keep one sword at the ready at all times. Aside from the consistency boost on a deck building level, Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms also saves you card presence, allowing your Noble Knights and their effects to actually become profitable in terms of card economy.

Additionally, Gwenhwyfar gives your monster a 300 ATK boost and then applies an effect depending on your monster's attribute. If the equipped monster is Light, it's saved once a turn from destruction by a card effect. If your monster's Dark, like Borz and Medraut are at Level 5, then it turns into a one-shot Ally of Justice Catastor. That makes Borz virtually indestructible: Normal Summon Borz and equip it with any Noble Arms to use its effect, yard two Noble Arms, and Equip the third to Borz. If you managed to equip either Gwen or Noble Arms of Destiny, then your Borz will likely stick around for the next turn as an indestructible Knight that destroys any monster it battles.

Gwenwyfar helps with poor consistency, which is the biggest problem that plagues the Noble Knights, but I tried to compensate for the over-arching challenges by adding potential plays outside of the Rank 5 Medraut or indestructible Borz plays. Any of your Noble Knights and the well known Unknown Synchron can unleash Ignoble Knight of High Laundsallyn which aids in your hunt for Equip Spells. When you Synchro Summon Laundsallyn, you get any Noble Arms Equip Spell from your deck, and then it gets you another Noble Knight or another Noble Arms card from your deck to your hand when it destroys something in battle. Did someone say Medraut?

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The Noble Knight deck has a lot of parallels with Bujins, and similar to that strategy you'll want to quickly create a boss monster and protect it, just like you would Bujin Yamato. Two cards have seen amazing success recently for Bujins, and I believe that Kaiser Colosseum and Royal Decree are an even better fit in Noble Knights. Noble Arms – Excaliburn and Noble Arms of Destiny protect your Noble Knight Xyz from being destroyed or targeted, while Royal Decree and Kaiser Colosseum cut off two more avenues by which your opponent could counter your strategy. Couple those counters with Effect Veiler, and you can completely shut your opponent out. From there, just slice and dice your way to victory with your Knights of the Round Table and dance whenever you're able. Do routines and chorus scenes with footwork impeccable.

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson
Article Aftermath #16