By all Yu-Gi-Oh! logic, Piper Chaos decks should be amazing. Their focal monster, Mystic Piper, is a searchable draw engine that's recursive thanks to Kinka-Byo. Turn after turn, you'll generate massive hand advantage by possibly drawing three cards per turn. After you load up your hand and graveyard, give your opponent the final nudge off the cliff and seal the deal with your boss monsters, Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning and Chaos Sorcerer. Seems great, right?

On paper, it is great. In actuality, it's not. To quote Doug "Volcanics4lyfe" Zeeff, "The main obstacle I had to overcome was that conventional Piper Chaos decks don't really have a win condition." Rarely have we TCGplayer writers touched on Piper Chaos decks because… well because of what Doug stated above. Drawing a ton of cards to dig through your deck for big Chaos Monsters is a good idea, but that isn't a consistent path to victory. I don't care how good BLS is; it's not a win condition. I'm more of a win condition than BLS is.

Last April I profiled a Ghostrick Relinquished deck, and now I'm considering its relevance if I tweaked it for January. I tested an updated version of Ghostrick Relinquished against Shaddoll decks; if you run enough anti-OTK cards like Gorz, Emissary of Darkness and Battle Fader, you can go toe to toe with Shaddolls, rarely dipping into your Extra Deck to dodge Shaddoll Fusion and making Denko Sekka and Shaddoll Dragon all but irrelevant. Problem is, Relinquished's absorption power simply isn't as useful against Burning Abyss, Satellarknights or Qliphorts. Life's cruel.

Franklin Z. from Madison, Wisconsin writes…

I don't know if you know this, but Piper Chaos almost won a YCS in 2012! It got Top 4 before barely losing, and since then I've played Piper Chaos as my main bae. Without reprints, Kinka-Byo and Mystic Piper have retained their high price, so I can say that my blinged out deck is expensive and shiny. Despite never de-sleeving it though I'm getting bored of it, probably in the same way that you got bored of Summoning Spellbook Magician of Prophecy.

Any addition you can make to the deck would be greatly appreciated; I haven't tried too many crazy things except for the Hieratic monsters to make it a Hieratic Monarch convolution of excitement? I like what Tefnuit does for the deck - gives you more plays on Turn 1. I'm all about making the deck better. I have a couple joke cards in here that I've played around with for fun, like Droll & Lock Bird because it's a Level 1 monster. Might as well have one of every Level 1 monster you possibly can, right? Why not?

Thanks in advance,

Franklin Z. from the Capital of the Midwest (Madison)

I've been to Madison, Franklin, and never saw a sign for this supposed Midwest capital. Are you lying, Franklin? What's the truth, Franklin? Is your name even Franklin?

Where do the lies end?!?

DECKID=101665Outside of the Hieratic support, it looks like a standard Mystic Piper deck. Big Chaos monsters, Kinka-Byo and the aforementioned Piper. You could say Variety Comes Out with this deck with the inclusion of elevemt different Level 1's comprising nearly fifty percent of the deck. I like that math.

Getting Kinky
The obvious trick with Mystic Piper isn't… well, it's not a trick at all. It's a repeated combo to draw cards on cards on cards. First Summon Mystic Piper, pop it off and draw a card. If you get a Level 1 monster, you get a second draw. On (nearly) every subsequent turn, revive Piper with Kinka-Byo, rinse and repeat, draw more cards and gloat that you can hold eleven of them without dropping them. The lack of a win condition is accented by your lack of Normal Summons outside of Kinka-Byo and Piper greatly limits your options. It's great to have a million cards every turn, but you need to do something with those cards outside of showing how many cards you can gather.

I'm not bashing Mystic Piper at all; it's pivotal to your strategy and absolutely necessary for the deck to function . Otherwise it's just a floppy mishmash of Chaos monsters stirred around with no focal point. And a BLS! Woo! First and foremost, you have to establish the Mystic Piper portion of the deck, but you're met with an impasse of sorts. You can only search Mystic Piper with two cards: Where Arf Thou? (I swear, don't mention Serpentine Princess or Spellbook Star Hall); and One for One, which is Limited. Shining Angel's a little slow, and before you realize it Mystic Piper's actually pretty tough to Summon initially. Not impossible, but it's not like you have a Geargiarsenal or Lonefire Blossom for Mystic Piper.

…Yet.

Cards like Reckless Greed, Pot of Duality, Upstart Goblin and Cardcar D thin your deck but clash with Mystic Piper in several ways. Thus, they've never been popular in the strategy. Gabriel Perez, the duelist with the most tournament experience piloting Piper, ran one Pot of Duality, but I'm going to stay away from that strategy completely. Mathematically, you'll want 12 to 13 cards that will really start duel off with a bang and accelerate your strategy. In a five card opening, you'll have roughly an 85% chance of opening with at least one of your good openers. Going second increases the odds to over 90%.

#####CARDID=10984#####

When you start getting into combos, the math gets a lot trickier because the permutations change, but in Franklin's deck Hieratic Dragon of Tefnuit and Caius the Shadow Monarch make the only combo of note. That's impossible and useless if you're going first, so I'll just disregard that as an opener all together. Also I noticed this deck didn't run a Labordite Dragon or a Flamvell Guard… whoops.

But I digress. The only cards that start the game in your favor are three copies of Mystic Piper, One for One and Where Arf Thou? The latter's not optimal because it requires you to Normal Summon a (probably) useless Level One monster and burn 2000 Life Points in the process. I'd like to explore other options that can speed up your deck considerably, or at least something better than luck of the draw with Duality or Upstart. Basically, I want more good cards on Turn 1.

The first card that comes to mind is Dimensional Alchemist. It's a cheap Normal Summon that should almost always get you a card back when it dies on the field. Once per turn, you can banish the top card from your deck for an ATK boost and speed through your cards. However, there's always the chance you won't banish a monster for Dimensional Alchemist. The Alchemist is great at retrieving monsters banished via Chaos Sorcerer or the protective Battle Fader, but Dimensional Alchemist is hardly more than rolling the dice as a Turn 1 play. I'm concerned with good plays in your opening. I'm not very worried about having enough Battle Faders later in the game.

Tour Guide from the Underworld's another good option, and I'll praise that card as much as I can. The addition of Tour Guide and subsequently a Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss adds to the number good cards you can open up with. Play Tour Guide into Scarm, make a Rank 3, detach Scarm and search another Tour Guide. Suddenly you've thrown more than enough Dark Monsters in your graveyard – perhaps even more plus a Light if you stack for Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss.

However, if you don't mill a Mystic Piper while holding a Kinka-Byo or something like that, Tour Guide doesn't help you establish your Piper engine early. I wanted to take Tour Guide out so badly, but I couldn't convince myself to. Thinning your deck, putting monsters in the yard and starting with more good first turn options is key; at this point it's a lesser of evils.

Mathematical! Rhombus!
Granted, I haven't played three trillion duels to test my theory, but I've really liked Mathematician thus far. Math Man is about sixteen times better than Dimensional Alchemist because you're all but guaranteed to get a card when it goes down, not just when you've managed to banish a monster. And instead of blindly banishing cards from your deck, Mathematician yards specific cards. Obviously if you have a Kinka-Byo in your hand, you'll want to yard Mathematician, but Mathematician's a good opening card in almost any deck. Sometimes I'd prefer to see Mathematician because a blind Piper shot on the first turn may mean I have no subsequent plays.

I like a single Treeborn Frog for a couple reasons - first, it's just as powerful as the Hieratic core in your deck. Secondly it's a Level 1, so if you happen to draw it off Mystic Piper, you'll get another draw. And obviously, it combines with leftover Battle Faders on the field for Rank 1 monsters like Ghostrick Dullahan. I'm always going to be a fan of any Ghostrick monster, and Dullahan's pretty sweet not only for its aggressive and defensive split effect, but because it also recycles Ghostricks when Dullahan dies. Like Ghostrick Jackfrost!

…Which I hadn't got to talking about yet. Yeah, I know Jackfrost is pretty horrid against Qliphorts, but blocking attacks and flipping threats face-down is huge. Stopping upwards of two attacks and nullifying threats like El Shaddoll Winda is one thing, but having the ability to recycle your Jackfrost over and over and over again is great! You run out of Dullahans eventually, but a monster that handles the field this well is pretty rad. I'm not going with the full Ghostrick family but rather sticking with Jackfrost on its own. I've tried Ghostrick Piper. It's a lot of drawing cards and a whole lot of doing nothing else.

Back to the age old issue of how to win with piles of cards: establishing a strong Turn 1 isn't going to win you the duel directly. The new HERO Structure Deck is key to this deck's vitality. I honestly wouldn't run it without that card pool.

#####CARDID=16073#####

Mask Change II is the newest uber card to hit our shores, transforming a Dark monster you control and a card in your hand into any Dark HERO monster - Elemental HERO Dark Law, anyone? With 2400 ATK, this new Fusion puts so much pressure on your opponent. It's literally a one sided Macro Cosmos and anytime your opponent adds something to their hand a random card gets banished from their hand as well. The ATK isn't unbeatable, but having another threat beyond BLS puts a lot of pressure on your opponent.

And the cost to discard and the monster you lose aren't crippling by any means. I mean, with Mystic Piper you have more than enough cards to throw away for the cost of Mask Change II as you constantly draw cards every turn.

I Hate Tragoedia With Every Fiber In My Body
I'll complain about it as long as I live. I recognize that Tragoedia used to be amazing, but it's not exactly a hard card to play around these days. Yes, while you'll occasionally have enough cards in hand to make Tragoedia useful, and sure, it helps you out with Synchro and Xyz Summons, I'm already playing enough monsters that Special Summon from the hand to Block Attacks. Gorz and Fader are leagues better than Tragoedia, and Ghostrick Jackfrost is certainly more useful. Boo on you Gorz. Boo.

When you think of weaknesses, what are some cards that absolutely cripple Mystic Piper? If you guess Vanity's Emptiness, Majesty's Fiend and Skill Drain, then yay, prize for you. Mystic Piper is all about Special Summoning and monster effects, and in the wake of the aforementioned floodgates, you're beyond helpless. Don't stuff your deck to the brim with destruction, but you need ways around the cards, plain and simple.

I think spot removal is key for the deck because there are enough cards in Main and Side decks that prevent you from playing Yu-Gi-Oh. I'd rather not just scoop up my cards if I see a Majesty's Fiend or Skill Drain in Game 1, you know? Pasquale says I'm too much of a downer and a pessimist; he may be right, but go ahead and throw Raigeki in this deck. You'll need it.

Anywho, here are the changes… which are kind of a lot:

+2 Effect Veiler
+1 Ghostrick Jackfrost
+1 Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness
+3 Mathematician
+1 Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
+3 Tour Guide From the Underworld
+1 Treeborn Frog
+3 Mask Change II
+3 Mystical Space Typhoon
+1 Snatch Steal
+1 Chaos Goddess

+1 Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss
+1 Ghostrick Alucard
+3 Masked HERO Dark Law
+1 Thought Ruler Archfiend

-1 Caius the Shadow Monarch
-2 Chaos Necromancer
-2 D. D. Crow
-3 Hieratic Dragon of Tefnuit
-1 Kinka-Byo
-1 Level Eater
-1 Rainbow Kuriboh
-1 Spore
-1 Swift Scarecrow
-1 Creature Swap
-1 Foolish Burial
-2 Hieratic Seal of Convocation
-2 Where Arf Thou?

-1 Arcanite Magician
-1 Black Rose Dragon
-2 Downerd Magician
-1 Gauntlet Launcher
-1 Stardust Dragon
-1 Photon Strike Bounzer

And here's the final list.

DECKID=101667I think there's some serious potential with the deck, and I'll be the first to say I don't think I've perfected it yet. I've made dozens of edits, changing the cards almost every match and tinkering with the proportions and overall strategy to try and create the optimal Mystic Piper build. This article actually started off as a Kuriboh Chaos version with Winged Kuriboh LV10, but then I remembered Masked HERO Dark Law is really good. I may get to that Kuriboh variant later.

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson






Do you love winning with unconventional strategies? Do you love creating mash-ups? Does your deck need an injection of crazy? Send the following to rerouting.tcgplayer@gmail.com to have your deck featured in the "Re-Routing" deck fix column!

-Your Main and Extra Deck list. (No Side Deck needed, but please send a written deck list, not a screencap; screencapped deck lists will be filed and then burned in the furnace accordingly… and your deck should be TCG legal).

-Your name and city.

-Remember, please use full card names! Abbrevs and mis-sipllngs make Loukas' life sad. Try your darndest to get the TCG name on there.

-A paragraph or two describing your deck: what it does, why you're playing it, and its strengths and weaknesses. "Winning" is not a strategy per se, and neither is "beating your opponents before they beat you."

-Your favorite card from the build and why – make me fall in love with the deck!

The cooler your strategy the more I'll want to fix it, and if you throw in funny jokes, that'll surely get my attention too; be warned, unfunny jokes will push your deck to the back of the stack. Don't be afraid to get creative! New stuff takes priority, because I'm not bored of it yet! -LJP