I gotta say, adding a deck name to your submission will make me about a million more times likely to pick up the deck and test it out. My naming conventions have always been terrible, especially considering I named my last fish "Ugh." The name "Handkiller Zefras" definitely caught my attention this week because I like all those things: hands, killing, and Zefras!

Zefras never caught much traction - sure, we've seen Zefra cards splashed into decks that made the Top Cut at Regionals and YCS events, and at least two Zefra decks made the top cut at Regionals in the past, but Zefras struggle trying to generate card advantage. As Pendulum strategies go, Oracle of Zefra's a pretty weak replacement for Qliphort Scout and Performage Plushfire, so you're left to try and balance the deck by incorporating other strategies. Trying to capitalize on Oracle of Zefra's effects is often difficult, but it's not impossible. Some players have managed to combine Zefras with their predecessor themes to make new decks like what you'll see below.

This week's contributor writes...

What I love about the deck is its ability to gain card advantage while setting your opponent back. It allows you to search and "plus" with the Zefras and Satellarknight Deneb, while also taking a few cards out of your opponent's hand with the combination of Stellarknight Triverr, XX-Saber Gottoms, and Phantom Fortress Enterblathnir. Gottoms sends one card from your opponent's hand to the graveyard by tributing itself, and it's easily recycled with Cloudcastle, Oasis of Dragon Souls, and Call Of The Haunted.

Stellarknight Triverr's my favorite card here. Together with three Call Of The Haunted and three Oasis of Dragon Souls, you'll be bringing out Triverr every turn, assuming you have three Tellarknights in your graveyard. Triverr recycles your recursive traps and lets you hit another card from your opponent's hand. It also lets you bounce Pendulum Spells and Oracle of Zefra, so you can search any of the Zefras you need to make Gottoms or Cloudcastle for even more hand disruption.

Regardless, this deck has problems. Without access to the Extra Deck or Special Summons you have about zero plays. But even if it's not perfect, it can be amazing. Sometimes it's almost as bad as Wind-Ups. Or is it? Play and find out!

-Adam N. ~ Fountain Valley, California

Here's the deck list Adam sent me.

DECKID= 103822Because I'm a disgusting human being, I've always loved any deck that can loop cards out of your opponent's hand. One day Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaighty will return, and together with Ayer's Rock Sunrise I'll rise again with Wind-Ups to ruin the Saturdays of many children.

It Was The Best Of Decks, It Was The Worst Of Decks
Building an idea out in your head often translates into a hodge-podge of inconsistencies on paper. I can't tell you how many decks I've theorized to be unbeatable, only to find they produce unplayable starting hands with outs to roughly nothing (eg: Fabled Chaos Gravekeeper). I was really amped to play with Handkiller Zefras, but things went south for me once I cracked the deck open and started testing it.

Tellarknights are prized for their consistency. Across the last year, we saw Satellarknight Deneb, Reinforcement of the Army, Call Of The Haunted, Oasis of Dragon Souls and Satellarknight Unukalhai combine forces to trigger a Satellarknight Deneb every turn - with Stellarknight Triverr and Stellarnova Alpha, you had three pillars to stand on: recursive and consistent searching, non-targeting threat removal, and a brutal counter trap.

Handkiller Zefra doesn't play to any of those strengths. With no Reinforcement of the Army and no Satellarknight Unukalhai, getting to your Deneb and comboing with Oasis of Dragon Souls or Call Of The Haunted is nearly impossible. Inadvertently, it makes it that much harder to play Triverr, and Stellarnova Alpha's nowhere in sight! It's like asking for a cheeseburger without the cheese.

First things first, I don't think this deck can realistically continue without more ways to get Satellarknight Deneb on the field. A lone Reinforcement of the Army, double Satellarknight Unukalhai and Satellarknight Skybridge are necessities at this point. There's no excuse for a lack of Reinforcement of the Army, Satellarknight Unukalhai makes Call and Oasis usable as soon as you draw them, and Satellarknight Skybridge's restriction is easily overlooked because you can Xyz Summon with your wide array of Tellarknight monsters, including your Pendulum forces.

#####CARDID= 16843 #####

The only other big change I made was adding Satellarknight Alsahm. The burn damage isn't tremendously important, but I found that so often, I'd have to Summon multiple copies of a single Satellarknight in one turn and miss out on an effect as a result. Alsham replaces a Satellarknight Vega simply so you can use as many effects as possible; that's especially important when you're making a Pendulum Summon, abusing Satellarknight Altair, or even coming off of a Stellarknight Triverr.

There's no reason not to ditch Stellarknight Zefraxciton and Satellarknight Zefrathuban - both provide strong Xyz support, both destroy threats on the field and you can use them to overwhelm your opponent with Pendulum Summons. The focus is still there – you want to Triverr your opponent to death and ravage their hand!

Enter Fat Cow And Blind Pony
I have a friend that refers to Zefraniu, Secret of the Yang Zing and Zefraxi, Secret of the Yang Zing as described above in the header. Those two cards see waffling amounts of play in Yang Zing decks, as they essentially have nothing to do with the Yang Zing strategy. Adam only ran those two cards to make Level 9 Synchros, and no, not Mist Wurm or Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier. Zefraniu, Secret of the Yang Zing'ss simply a Level 6 body, but Zefraxi, Treasure of the Yang Zing is the deck's Tuner. Pendulum Summon Blind Pony and you have a Tuner to make XX-Saber Gottoms and Cloudcastle.

Since Zefraxi has that annoying restriction of returning to the deck when you Pendulum Summon it, I think it's necessary to keep three copies in the deck. Zefraniu can just chill in the Extra Deck until you need it, but you'll need to see Zefraniu again and again for your Synchro Summons. That said, I think it's a good idea to capitalize on Upstart Goblin in the same way Slyvans do: Oracle of Zefra lets you stack something really nice when you Synchro Summon, so you can effectively load the top of your deck with whatever you need and play Upstart Goblin. Sylvans do that all the time with Sylvan Charity and Mount Sylvania, and we can learn from that technique.

Furthermore I'd like to cut a Terraforming - you'll end up clogging your hand way too often since you effectively run five instances of that card, and Triverr often recycles Oracle of Zefra. You'll need to keep your Zefra count relatively high for all the previously mentioned combos, but I'd like to add in Wavering Eyes. Not only can it help your combos go off, but when Majespecters , Igknights and Performage Pendulum decks are running around everywhere, you'll end up punishing your opponent with Wavering Eyes as much as you blow up your own monsters.

The biggest area that needed revamping was the trap lineup. I know the strategy is to kill your opponent's hand, but Mind Crush is one of those cards you need to see before things go really south for you. With a general lack of defense, I think you're better off with cards that have more disruptive utility like Stellarnova Alpha. And adding more protection that way is my rationale for cutting Fiendish Chain as well - a card that pales in comparison to your Counter Traps, despite its recursive combo potential with Stellarknight Triverr.

#####CARDID= 17544 #####

Lastly, the Extra Deck doesn't need a big overhaul. I initially cut a copy of Stellarknight Triverr since I thought Stellarknight Delteros deserved a shot in the Extra, but realized there would be room to cut other things down the line. I like Ancient Pixie Dragon and Clear Wing Synchro Dragon as outs to numerous threats, but Ancient Sacred Wyvern's the bee's knees if you can get ahead in Life Points, even by just a smidgen. Obviously there will be a lot left up to personal taste in the Extra Deck, since you could play around with options like Black Rose Moonlight Dragon, Heroic Champion - Excalibur or even add Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon back in, but these were the choices that worked best for me after testing. Here are the total changes I settled on…

-1 Zefraniu, Secret of the Yang Zing
-1 Stellarknight Zefraxciton
-1 Satellarknight Vega
-1 Terraforming
-2 Mind Crush
-1 Oasis of Dragon Souls
-3 Fiendish Chain
-1 Call Of The Haunted
-1 Zefra Divine Strike
-1 Solemn Warning

-1 Stardust Spark Dragon
-1 Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon
-1 Gagaga Cowboy

+1 Satellarknight Alsahm
+2 Satellarknight Unukalhai
+1 Reinforcement of the Army
+2 Satellarknight Skybridge
+3 Upstart Goblin
+2 Wavering Eyes
+2 Stellarnova Alpha

+1 Ancient Sacred Wyvern
+1 Number 86: Heroic Champion - Rhongomyniad
+1 Stellarknight Delteros

Here's the new version of the deck list!

DECKID=103823Despite my passion for wacky and crazy tech choices, I didn't add anything unconventional this time around - the entire deck's an anomaly and didn't need my help in the weirdness department. I found out I could do some really strange things over the course of testing, like making a Cloudcastle to revive XX-Saber Gottoms and pop a card out of my opponent's hand, and then bounce back the Cloudcastle to save it for later if I'd already used Phantom Fortress Enterblathnir.

The same thing goes for a lot of the Extra Deck cards - you can bounce Castel the Skyblaster Musketeer and Number 101: Silent Honor ARK if you need their effects later, but Triverr's mostly a blowout card to remove your opponent's Synchros, Xyz and Kozmo spaceships. Recycling your own cards like Oasis of Dragon Souls and Oracle of Zefra is just icing on the cake and puts you in an even better position than before.

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson


Loukas Peterson moved back to the cold and desolate North to fulfill his dream as a popsicle in Madison, Wisconsin. When he's not playing Spellbooks, his days are spent shaking his fist in the direction of Konami's North American headquarters requesting new Fabled support. In his spare time, Loukas enjoys cooking Minute Rice in 57 seconds, painting with all the colors of the wind and pretending his Etsy account is something to write home about. His favorite joke is "I play Evilswarm because I want to have fun!"

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