I think I've made fun of Stun decks more times than I've mocked Volcanics, and people that write about them habitually. And yet on a rare occasion, I do find myself gravitating back to simple lockdown strategies. Tribute Stun variants have been around for years, with Majesty's Fiend solidifying the deck's place as an impressive strategy that can often just flip an "instant win" button by dropping the right floodgate at the right time. Stun decks are always built to counter the most popular strategies of any given period, so as certain decks ebb and flow so do the effectiveness of certain cards.

Sure, you can make a case that Infernoids, Majespecters, Masked Heroes, and other decks are contenders right now, but with the new Pendulum Magician support alongside Performage Pendulums and Kozmos, one point really sticks out - Vanity's Fiend and Majesty's Fiend are very powerful. It's not complicated: if you can establish some blanket negation that stops the base goals of your opponent's deck and they can't get rid of it, you'll win. Pendulum variants and Kozmo have lots of outs to problematic threats on the field, but most of them involve tapping into the Extra Deck - something you can't do with Majesty's Fiend or Vanity's Fiend on the board.

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Chris M. from Monroe, Kentucky writes…

My favorite theme of all time would have to be the Monarchs - and we are getting AMAZING new cards, like, pretty soon. I've loved Frog Monarchs for ages, but there are better ways to play with Monarchs when the new cards come out. Until then I'm shutting down Kozmos, Infernoids and Pendulums with Tribute Monsters that aren't Monarchs. You can really set people back and make them lose in a flash when you play Majesty's Fiend, Vanity's Fiend or Vanity's Ruler.

I've opted to play some of my favorite Monarchs for when you want to do more than shut people down with your floodgate win conditions. I wish I could say I win all my games, but the most random things seem to screw me over - March of the Monarchs just isn't enough. And speaking of my favorite card in the deck, it has to be March - your opponent can't stop you!

-Chris M. ~ Monroe, Kentucky

Here's the list Chris submitted.DECKID=103856Chris included a note saying that he didn't run Extra Deck monsters since March of the Monarchs would keep him from using them anyways.

Talk about a lot of Tribute monsters! If you Tribute Summon every turn, it'll take you thirteen turns total to summon every one Chris is playing. For lack of a better phrase - that's a lot of Tribute monsters. I like the core of the deck, but I'll try to tackle that beast of a problem first and foremost.

Tribute Stun? More Like Tribute Fun!
Maybe you won't find the deck as fun as a combo-oriented strategy with two dozen summons per turn. Typically, you'll win with this deck by completely and absolutely grinding your opponent into the ground with high-octane attack driven strategies. Decks like Tribute Stun are methodical and painful; theyre slow forms of torture for your opponents. If you like watching hope drain from your adversary's face turn after turn as they draw a stream of useless cards they can't play, then continue reading!

Unlike my all-time favorite deck, the progenitor Monarch variant known as Soul Control, Tribute Stun doesn't relentlessly try to strip your opponent of their cards, but likes to render them all useless. Chris was running several different forms of tribute fodder, consuming monsters from both sides of the field for maximum efficiency. Jester Confit is passable Tribute when you can't find Soul Exchange or The Monarchs Stormforth, but it's obviously more satisfying to abuse your opponent's monsters as Tribute instead.

Sadly, I think it won't always be that easy. What if your opponent saves their resources for a big push and makes their move before you establish a secure field? With Performage Pendulums, Pendulum Magicians and Kozmo all over the place, you're bound to get blown out of the water. If you're forced to go first and you can't plop a Fiend on the field, you're just one Emergency Teleport or Performage Plushfire away from losing all your Life Points. I feel like there's a life lesson in there somewhere.

I've seen Tribute Stun run Battle Fader in OTK-heavy formats in the past. It's arguably the most holistic way to "not die." Swift Scarecrow has the advantage of being a Machine and dodging Solemn Warning, while Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness can throw down an Emissary of Darkness Token that'll make your opponent's life difficult, but Battle Fader wins out in Tribute Stun. You'll need to A) stop yourself from dying, while B) finding a monster to Tribute regardless of your spell and trap situation. Battle Fader's the best attack stopper for this strategy since it accomplishes both goals.

Haha, just kidding! The award for Best Attack Stopper actually goes to Speedroid Menko. While it doesn't stop the Battle Phase like Battle Fader, Menko switches everything to defense mode and shuts everything down anyways, barring something like Emergency Teleport. It's 2000 DEF is relevant too.

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The realness comes from the fact that Menko's searchable with cards that are more realistic than Serpentine Princess and Gear Gigant X. You can search Speedroid Menko with Speedroid Terrortop, so you'll have a lot of chances to see it. Speedroid Terrortop, coincidentally, replaces Jester Confit as both can be Special Summoned from your hand; while Jester Confit's an inherent -1 of card economy, Terrortop gets you Speedroid Menko for free. Better than a chicken sandwich and waffle fries.

I thought adding the Speedroids was a crazy re-route, but it's really just a glorified Jester Confit and a searchable Battle Fader. Beyond that though, I did want to play a lone Speedroid Taketomborg. I've needed to make a Mechquipped Angineer or Totem Bird to pave the way for Vanity's Fiend in lieu of Forbidden Lance, Royal Decree or March of the Monarchs several times. And while Xyz Summoning does conflict with March of the Monarchs, there have been enough times where I've found myself wanting something like a game-winning Nightmare Shark that it makes me want to keep a single Speedroid Taketomborg in the deck for specific niche situations. I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Fewer Tributes, More!… Okay, Not Much Rhymes With "Tributes"
I hinted at the change earlier, but it's important to cut down on the number of Tribute monsters Chris was playing here. Ideally, the max cap should be roughly ten – far fewer than the staggering thirteen Tributes Chris was originally running. Majesty's Fiend and Vanity's Fiend are must-runs in threes, but beyond Caius the Shadow Monarch at two, I don't see the need for anymore Tributes. Vanity's Ruler is obnoxiously redundant in a deck where you don't care to Special Summon yourself anyways, while Raiza the Storm Monarch is way past its prime and solves very few problems in modern metagames. I think it's best to knock those two out immediately.

Overall, the game often comes down to resolving March of the Monarchs and keeping it on the field. Pot of Duality, Upstart Goblin and Cardcar D all work nicely to dig through your deck and help you capitalize on Speedroid Menko if you can't establish a lockdown quickly. Since Tenacity of the Monarchs departs the deck list alongside Raiza the Storm Monarch, you don't have the same luxury of seeing the card when you need it.

Even so, there are still plenty of problems that March of the Monarchs can't solve, and the annoying Storming Mirror Force is probably one of your biggest threats. Adding Forbidden Lance gives you a cushion for when you can't afford to lose a Tribute Summoned monster and March is either nowhere insight or completely ineffective (cough, Storming Mirror Force, cough). Not that threats like The Monarchs Stormforth or Spellbook of Fate are exactly hot on your tail, but I believe Forbidden Lance merits use against popular and rogue decks alike. There'll even be times where a Lance helps you kill bigger threats in battle that are untouchable otherwise. You can't reasonably expect to use The Monarchs Stormforth on everything.

The sometimes-low ATK of your main beaters hopefully won't be too big a problem, and choosing which Fiend to summon can be tricky. Recognize that your opponent can overcome Majesty's Fiend with a lucky Reasoning call, and Vanity's Fiend crumbles to annoyances like Neo-Spacian Grand Mole; there are several ways your Fiend and March combo can crumble. Below are the changes and the final build - this time with an Extra Deck!

-1 Caius the Shadow Monarch
-2 Raiza the Wind Monarch
-3 Jester Confit
-2 Vanity's Ruler
-1 Soul Exchange
-3 Tenacity of the Monarchs

+3 Speedroid Terrortop
+1 Speedroid Taketomborg
+3 Speedroid Menko
+3 Forbidden Lance
+1 Raigeki
+1 Macro Cosmos

+1 Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss
+1 Mechquipped Angineer
+1 Leviair the Sea Dragon
+1 Grenosaurus
+1 Ghostrick Alucard
+1 Number 17: Leviathan Dragon
+1 Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction
+1 Temtempo the Percussion Djinn
+1 Totem Bird
+1 Number 47: Nightmare Shark
+1 Number 20: Giga-Brilliant
+1 Muzurhythm the String Djinn
+1 Wind-Up Zenmaines
+1 Number 49: Fortune Tune
+1 Battlecruiser Dianthus

Here's the final version of the deck…
DECKID=103857I think the biggest challenge for this strategy is getting to the cards that lock down your opponent early enough for them to be effective. There's no good way to search March of the Monarchs or your big Fiends, so you'll have to rely on a consistent balance of cards plus ways to thin your deck and boost your chances to get those cards off simple draws. It should go without saying, but resolving and maintaining March of the Monarchs is the deciding factor of many matches.

It caught me off guard initially, but I quickly learned that you're never completely safe - any random piece of removal can be your downfall. I encourage you to take that extra step - throw down that second March of the Monarchs; set another Royal Decree; cut yourself off from loved ones so you don't feel crippling abandonment when they desert you; and save your Raigeki for the big dogs.

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