I'm by no means the master of Red-Eyes or Hieratics, but I'm a very dedicated player that's piloted virtually every iteration of both strategies. Red-Eyes Sylvans? Check. Ghostrick Hieratic Monarchs? Check.

Why? I don't have a good reason – sometimes you can't help what you like.

These two themes work really well together, and united they become less ancillary add-ons and more a legitimate harmony. Truth be told, the case could be made for any Normal Dragon theme combined with Hieratics, since one is Special Summoned straight from the deck while you're off tributing the Hieratics. But I digress.

This week's contributor writes…

The goal of this deck is to put out a big board on the first turn, fielding three Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragons and Ultimaya Tzolkin. I've seen a lot of pure burn builds like this, and those never seem to work out. I feel my approach is the bes for this strategy, so I'd rather have help tweaking it instead of scrapping the whole idea.

The Hieratics pump out free card advantage and I use Cards of the Red Stone to draw cards when I'm stuck. It's not hard to see the combos; you just do things. I added in Red-Eyes Insight because it searches Return of the Red-Eyes.

-Mitchell D. ~ Oshkosh, Wisconsin

I'm uncomfortable labeling any one strategy as "the best," especially when it comes to a deck that hasn't had the collective Yu-Gi-Oh! community collaborating on it to make a globally agreed upon build. If the way you're building a deck for a specific theme isn't exactly winning events, it's fair to say the deck's either not competitive or the best version of itself. I haven't completely given up on Red-Eyes Black Dragon, so perhaps there's a "best version" of Red-Eyes to be discovered!

DECKID=107520I don't think I or anyone has ever really been happy with a first draft of their deck - if I've ever thrown together some cards at the last minute for a tournament, I can guarantee at least once choice will be subpar. But hey, you have to start somewhere!

Step One: Reassess Goals?
Mitchell belabored the point that his deck was designed to end every Turn 1 with Ultimaya Tzolkin and a Dragon of your choice with three copies of Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon. But that setup's extremely complicated and specific; quite frankly, it's impossible. Or at least, it's impossible if you're going first – no hyperbole. Even with an Extra Card going second, there's no way to achieve Mitchell's wombo combo with his combination of cards. Even if you added cards like Soul Charge, it would still be virtually impossible.

Harsh, perhaps, but it's the reality of the situation. It's like the starting goal for your breakfast was to make an omelette, but all Mitchell bought at the store was cereal and diet soda. What really irked me was that Mitchell left out Hieratic Dragon of Eset; without it, all your Hieratic cards are effectively useless on your first turn anyways. The deck is "supposed" to have a bunch of ways to make your Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragons and Ultimaya Tzolkin, but frankly, it does not.

What irks me more is that Mitchell split several Red-Eyes decks and made… well, there are several avenues that complement Red-Eyes decks and this one doesn't really take any initiative to choose a direction. At all. I harped on it earlier, but there's virtually nothing that you can do with this deck on Turn 1. Unless you open with The Black Stone of Legend, ways to get Red-Eyes B. Dragon into the graveyard, and a revival spell, you're options are limited. Even with that setup, your best play is to make a Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon… and then pass.

I guess it gets around Zoodiac Drident?

#####CARDID= 18591#####

Don't worry, I'm not just blindly selecting a theme to go with Mitchell's deck. While Mitchell ran the Hieratics mostly for Ultimaya Tzolkin, there's another hidden gem that wasn't fully explored. Hieratic Dragon of Atum brings out Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon for extra Level 7 Special Summons in the hopes of making a string of Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragons. But there's a much easier way to bring out Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon, and we can focus this deck's mid and late game plans around it.

Think of it this way - if your opponent has a monster on field, you can Special Summon Hieratic Dragon of Tefnuit, tribute it for Hieratic Dragon of Su, overlay for Atum, and there's your Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon. Problem is, it's an Extra Deck investment and a 0 ATK Darkness Metal Dragon. The investment's similar if you go the route of Ritual Summons, but you'll have a bigger output; I'm trying to stay as close as I can within the boundaries of Mitchell's initial request, but I wish he put a little more thought into the culminations of his combos. Saying "it does stuff and things" doesn't help me tailor the deck's plays.

Say you open the game with Pre-Preparation of Rites and a Hieratic monster. Just tribute the Hieratic after you search Dark Dragon Ritual and Paladin of Dark Dragon, then tribute your Paladin to Special Summon Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon from the deck. That's a two card investment as well, but instead of an Atum on the field, you have whatever Normal Dragon was Special Summoned from Tefnuit alongside your fully powered Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon.

Fresh New Insight?
Mitchell played Return of the Red-Eyes for, uh… Well, I have no idea. I think the philosophy behind it was that a 0 ATK and 0 DEF Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon won't survive the turn, so why not bring back your Dragon later when it inevitably dies? The problem is that Return of the Red-Eyes's first effect has two major restrictions. Sure, yarding it gets another free Dragon, but you'll need an Extra Normal in the grave with a Red-Eyes on the field first.

You know what sounds better? Swing of Memories.

You know what I'm not including in the deck? Swing of Memories.

On the other hand, Red-Eyes Spirit outclasses Return of the Red-Eyes virtually every time; it can revive Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon for free, and it circumvents the need for any other cards to be on your field, which is reason enough to play it over Return. So while Red-Eyes Insight doesn't have any "activate this to win" targets, it's a niche card that can yard Red-Eyes and search your newly added Red-Eyes Spirit.

Keeping Red-Eyes Insight in the deck means you can leave out Dragon Shrine. Sending several Dragons to the graveyard is great, sure, but in a deck where everything is so costly, that's not super helpful. I moved a few cards around, including the addition of Hieratic Dragon of Eset and Hieratic Dragon of Asar, but in the end I felt something was still missing. I'd completely forgone the foolhardy goal Mitchell set out to achieve, but simply put, I wanted more options for Turn 1. Mathematically, it's just not possible to say that you'll have the exact same result every Turn 1 when you're open to so many moving pieces.

#####CARDID= 20913#####

Speaking of math, you know what card isn't great for your odds? Cards of the Red Stone. More on that later.

Red-Eyes Fusion - it's been heavily underused because of the stupid restriction it imposes. Sure, you can fuse whatever you want to from the deck, but you can't summon the turn you play it outside of Flip Summoning. It's annoying, but sometimes on your first turn, you just won't have many other options. And hey, setting up for future turns while burning your opponent's Life Points with Meteor Black Comet Dragon is great. Just yard Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon, then revive it with Red-Eyes Spirit the following turn!

The Extra Deck Ain't So "Extra"
One card that I really, really, really hate is Cards of the Red Stone - at first glance it seems perfect for this deck because it yards a card from your hand and your deck. But it has a few problems.

For starters, Cards of the Red Stone conflicts with the fact that you want to Special Summon your Red-Eyes B. Dragon from the deck early and often. More than that, it's not even a Red-Eyes card. I'm still mad about that even though the card's been in circulation for over a year.

In fact, I'm never going to get over the fact that Black Metal Dragon and Cards of the Red Stone aren't "Red-Eyes" cards. Never. I'll have that etched onto my grave. So needless to say, Cards of the Red Stone is getting the boot.

Here are the final changes to the deck!

-2 Labradorite Dragon
-2 Hieratic Dragon of Tefnuit
-1 Upstart Goblin
-1 Return of the Dragon Lords
-3 Cards of the Red Stone
-2 Dragon Shrine
-3 Return of the Red-Eyes

-1 Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragon
-1 Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger
-2 Hieratic Dragon King of Atum

+2 Hieratic Dragon of Eset
+1 Hieratic Dragon of Asar
+1 Paladin of Dark Dragon
+3 Pre-Preparation of Rites
+2 Dark Dragon Ritual
+1 Red-Eyes Fusion
+1 Soul Charge
+2 Twin Twisters
+3 Red-Eyes Spirit

+1 Scrap Dragon
+1 Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack
+1 Odd-Eyes Raging Dragon
+1 Meteor Black Comet Dragon

I don't think the opportunity to field three Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragons on Turn 1 actually ever came up, and the deck doesn't cater to that lofty goal any more. It's not likely, not probable, nor even reasonable.

If the Dragon Rulers were still around I think it would be more manageable, but sadly it's 2017. Check out the final deck below.

DECKID=107521Now that I'm in Red-Eyes mode I want to build a few more variants. I have no idea what the deck would really look like, but wouldn't it be great to tribute off Meteor Black Comet Dragon for Red-Eyes Transmigration? You could summon back a Normal Monster, and, well, I'm not sure where I'm going with that. But it seems cool, right? The biggest thing to consider when you're building a deck is to make sure that whatever your goal is – whatever you're trying to achieve from the start – that it's actually possible in the first place.

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you!

-Loukas Peterson

Loukas Peterson lives in Madison, Wisconsin where every day he cries for warm weather, mollified by his job as software engineer and living in the basement. When he's not playing cards or crying about the lack of Fabled support, you can find him on his kayak reading a book and playing the ukulele or at his painting desk, probably on his 30th cup of coffee for the day. Hailed on the only one capable of cooking Minute Rice is 57 seconds, Loukas is always looking for another creative outlet and a dog to pet.

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