I don't want to call this a budget deck but there's something satisfyingabout competitive strategies becoming more affordable.

I mean sure, youcould always stuff 19 copies of Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring into nearlyany given strategy and buff up its price. But then again, if you just wantsomething that won't cripple your budget but provides enough power, thenPhantom Knights is an option.

Today's contributor from Kentucky explainshis strategy...

So I recently got back into buying and trading cards again. My lastcompetitive deck was a variant of Dark Armed Dragon spam playedshortly after TeleDAD got the axe. Here, get Necroface set up withGold Sarc, Allure or Allure of Darkness, then recycle everything adnauseum. The older version used D.D. Scout Plane, D.D. Dynamite,and Prometheus, King of Shadows, but today we need to give it aserious overhaul.

The updated version is a mess, because I know almost nothing abouthow to play Phantom Knights. The traps have me very tripped up. Iwant to take advantage of Necroface's ability to strip my opponentof just enough resources that they can't make a comeback against afield of Links, Synchros, and Xyz.

I appreciate the time taken in helping an old man get back into hisgroove. I want to see people squirm again as their Deck isshredded. Help me out!

-Jeff J. ~ Lexington, KY

I always appreciate an older player getting back into the game! Let's lookat the deck. Side note: 19 copies of Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring willget you ejected from a tournament, so I'm not endorsing that.

DECKID=108716The most annoying part about Phantom Knights is their nomenclature andorigin in the context of what they are. By that I mean, the monsters areall "The Phantom Knights" instead of a singular knight, meaning that it'sreally easy to mistype or label something.

Same with Twin Twisters - I didn't realize for months that the carddepicted multiple tornados. Talk about embarrassing...

What About Those Solid Knights?
One frustrating thing is forcing budget players to go big or go home,rather, work with in a budget. It'd be super cool to have things likeSarayu Skull Dread but given all those restrictions, I won't bothermentioning some of the pricier cards. After all, sometimes the expensivecards don't affect the core exigency of the deck and are used solely as acompetitive edge.

The biggest strength of the Phantom Knight strategy is its continuousstream of resources; the deck plucks them from the graveyard so they don'texhaust your actual live card economy. The Phantom Knights' trap cards -namely Phantom Knights' Fog Blade – banish themselves to summon PhantomKnights' monsters. And conversely, the Phantom Knights' monsters searchother components.

The biggest issue is that those cards are gone once you banish them, andwithout any means of recycling your cards, you'll eventually run out ofsteam. Thankfully, Leviair the Sea Dragon isn't an overly expensive Xyz andit's easy to make with your Phantom Knights. That's really useful, but itisn't the only way you can reuse cards here.

Bujinki Amaterasu's certainly harder to make, but it's a good card to endwith on your turn. It recycles two banished cards, and when all's said anddone, both of those monsters are better options than Burial From ADifferent Dimension. I don't mind using Burial to recycle your banishedmonsters, but when you can access your means of recycling from your ExtraDeck instead of relying on something you have to draw from your Main Deck…well…. It's better.

#####CARDID= 21605 #####

I'm surprised Jeff omitted a way to do that. It's easiest to use the ExtraDeck to get what you want since all the access is just a few inches to theleft of your Main Deck, and there are two cards that work perfectly withRank 4 and Rank 3 options. Until Konami creates a Treeborn Frog infusedwith Foolish Burial, you're sunk.

Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss and Minerva, the Exalted Lightswornare effectively the same in this strategy. Both can deal 2000 damage ormore with an attack and both mill three cards from your deck, easy peasy.Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss works really well with Phantom Knightsbecause it's easy to make with the Level 3 monsters, and Dante gives youfuel for more Rank 3's.

Since we're already rocking Gold Sarcophagus, there's a perfect card to usefor Rank 4 plays moving forward - Giant Rex! I'll talk more about thatlater, but looking at all the monsters you can abuse with Gold Sarcophagus,Giant Rex stands out above Balancer Lord and Dotscraper because it costsyou nothing. Sure, Balancer Lord summons monsters from your hand to makeRank 3's, but Giant Rex and Rank 4 monsters like Armageddon Knight equalMinerva, the Exalted Lightsworn!

There's another surprisingly good card that also mills stuff: OrbitalHydralander. There are plenty of ways to manage the graveyard andmanipulate the number of monsters there so you can bring Orbital Highlanderto the field and then keep the ball rolling. It helps that Hydralander has3000 ATK and can OTK your opponent, too. It's Dark as well, meaning you canplay it after you use The Phantom Knights of Break Sword!

It's also an anti-inflammatory for skin rashes and helps you lose weight!

Necrofacebook Is The Afterlife's Favorite Social Media Network
One of the focal cards in this deck is obviously Necroface, but I'll goahead and say that's it's really hard to deck your opponent outwith it. If you leverage all your options into constantly recyclingNecroface so you can banish it again and again, you're going to find mixedresults, because there are very few ways to banish Necroface in Jeff'soriginal submission.

If you're looking for affordable cards that make a big impact, then look nofurther than Fairy Tail - Snow. It's a dirt cheap common that fields a freemonster while triggering Necroface. There aren't many negatives to it asidefrom the fact it takes a whopping seven cards to Special Summon, butconsidering it takes me hiding my alarm on the other side of my room toforce myself not to hit the snooze button, that's a relatively low cost bymy standards.

While Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights may look like a glorifiedLink-2, you can leverage the card better and use its effect to field aWarrior from your deck. By adding four Equip Spells, a Phantom Knightsmonster is always within your grasp as long as you're not extremelyunlucky. You could even get an Armageddon Knight from your deck if you're…moderately not unlucky? Half the time you'll want to summon a PhantomKnights monster, but I digress.

While you won't be summoning it off Isolde, Destiny HERO - Malicious is agreat card to send to your graveyard with Armageddon Knight. After all, asimple Armageddon Knight's effectively an Isolde by itself and two otherWarriors on the field to boot. Normal Summon Armageddon Knight, yardMalicious to field a second copy and then make Isolde. The third Maliciousand whatever Isolde summons become fodder for more Link Summons. It doesn'treally help if your lone goal is to deck out your opponent with Necrofaceevery duel, but keep in mind, that's a stupid goal and you should feel badfor relying on an alternate win condition that isn't consistent.

Surprisingly, I don't have a longstanding vendetta fueled by the trauma ofa loss to a Necroface deck or anything. I just think you'd need to dedicatean entire deck to that strategy to make it work; splashing it intosomething else won't make your opponent deck out consistently, though itmay banish some of their key cards to put you ahead.

#####CARDID= 21925 #####

With all the banishing you're doing, it's obvious that D.D.R. - DifferentDimension Reincarnation is your go-to choice for Equips, but I thinkOverdone Burial has merit as your fourth choice. Between Destiny Hero -Malicious, Orbital Hydralander, and even cards like Giant Rex, you'll haveplenty of fodder to discard for a Phantom Knight. Obviously, it's not yourbest draw, but there aren't tons of good Equips right now. I know I'mprobably one of six people in the entire world that likes Overdone Burial,but hey, too bad. It's one of the cheapest Secret Rares from a booster setthat hasn't been reprinted.

Of all the other Equip Spells, you have a surprising number of "nothorrible" options. Moon Mirror Shield turns your last ditch monster into anunkillable murder machine and in a pinch, Noble Arms - Arfeudutyr acts as aMystical Space Typhoon. In an ideal world you won't draw either of them,but it's not the End of the World if you do.

Out of all the Extra Deck cards out there I actually like Synchro Summonsthe most, so I'm sad to say I'm taking out Plaguespreader Zombie. As theysay in France, it's a "neat-o-rific" card, but that one card eats asizeable chunk of Extra Deck space. The Phantom Knights of Break Swordshifted my focus into other directions. You'll be popping cards with BreakSword much more often than you'll ever even see Plaguespreader Zombie.

By the time we're finished the changes aren't too significant, but I didremove Dark Armed Dragon as a matter of personal preference. I muddledthrough the idea of playing Eclipse Wyvern and other Dragons too, butchances are you'll mill it instead of drawing it. Orbital Hydralander'sabout as easy to summon as Dark Armed, but it's not Limited to one copy,and you can yard cards with that boss monster instead!

Here are the final changes:

-1 The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak
-3 Caius the Shadow Monarch
-1 Dark Armed Dragon
-2 Dark Grepher
-1 Plaguespreader Zombie
-2 Burial from a Different Dimension
-1 Dark Hole
-1 Phantom Knights' Sword
-2 The Phantom Knights of Wrong Magnetring
-2 The Phantom Knights of Shadow Veil

-2 Decode Talker
-1 Tri-Gate Wizard
-2 Stardust Dragon
-1 Black Rose Dragon
-1 Ally of Justice Catastor
-1 Goyo Guardian

+2 Orbital Hydralander
+1 The Phantom Knights of Ragged Gloves
+3 Destiny HERO - Malicious
+1 Armageddon Knight
+2 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
+1 Giant Rex
+1 Fairy Tail - Snow
+1 D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation
+1 Moon Mirror Shield
+1 Noble Arms - Arfeudutyr
+1 Overdone Burial

+1 Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss
+1 Underclock Taker
+1 Bujinki Amaterasu
+1 Number 41: Bagooska the Terribly Tired Tapir
+1 Minerva, the Exalted Lightsworn
+1 Leviair the Sea Dragon
+1 Cairngorgon, Antiluminescent Knight
+1 Akashic Magician

I'm no stranger tomash-up Dark decks,so if you want to call this "Dark Squishy Version 7" I'd certainlyappreciate it. Be warned: people will give you strange looks.

Something about the word "squishy" turns people away.

DECKID=108717If you want to, you could always add back some of the Phantom Knightstraps, but I just feel like that's a bit of overkill. If anyone doesn'thave Phantom Knights' Fog Blade, the other Phantom Knights traps will workjust as well for the carousel of monsters you're placing on the field. Theeffect negation is paramount for defense, but to be realistic Fog Bladeisn't cheap.

Lastly, I think if you keep Caius the Shadow Monarch you should concentrateon Rank 6 plays. Pilgrim Reaper is low-key my fourth favorite Xyz Monster,and I'm always looking for a way to play it.

Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson

Loukas Peterson lives in Nashville, Tennessee where it's warmer thanwarm, whatever that means. When he's not submitting ideas for Fabledsupport and a Fabled Link monster, you can find making "attempts" at"art" and playing his ukulele terribly, or on Wednesday nights, hangingout with the local mice. Hailed as the only person capable of cookingMinute Rice in 56 seconds, Loukas is always looking at expanding hisapartment to house every dog in the world.


Do you love winning with unconventional strategies? Do you lovecreating mash-ups? Does your deck need an injection of crazy? Send thefollowing torerouting.tcgplayer@gmail.comto have your deck featured in the "Re-Routing" deck fix column!

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

-Your name and city.

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

-A paragraph or two describing your deck: what it does, why you'replaying it, and its strengths and weaknesses. "Winning" is not astrategy per se, and neither is "beating your opponents before theybeat you."

-Your favorite card from the build and why – make me fall in love withthe deck! The cooler your strategy the more I'll want to fix it, and ifyou throw in funny jokes, that'll surely get my attention too; bewarned, 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'mnot bored of it yet! –LJP