Anyone else obsessively watch cooking shows or is it just me?

Just me?

My favorite cooking shows are typically the competitive ones where chefs win by doing the weirdest things possible. Sometimes it works, but just as often there's a not-so-surprising revelation along the lines of something like "mayonnaise ice cream in turtle cucumber soup is not a good idea." It always strikes me: aren't recipes just different iterations of core ingredients? Who would have thought that cranberry dressing would pair well with cornbread stuffing or that chicken and waffles can bring a grown man to cry tears of joy? [Loukas' note: only cried twice, though].

Yu-Gi-Oh's similar – you always have that option to just throw a bunch of stuff together and see how it works out. Sometimes cards were engineered to be symbiotic, but other times it's pure happenstance that leads you to find the perfect pairing. You'll have a seamless strategy, and then a card with absolutely no correlation gets printed as an indirect godsend! Case in point, let's meet this week's submitter and his deck. Jeremiah R. from Augusta, Maine writes…

Ever since I can remember, I've loved the Harpies - maybe because I minored in Greek in college or maybe because my mother looks like the orange-haired Harpie Lady Sister. I've stuck with the deck since day one, and boy let me tell you that things have only gotten better over the years! Imagine back when I tried to play with Normal Monsters and a Level 6 monster with no good effect. That's laughable to me now.

Even with Harpie Harpist now released, the deck wasn't truly competitive yet, and I'm already bored with the strategy. Do something crazy with it! Oh yeah: my favorite card is Hysteric Sign because you can get your Elegant Egotist back from the graveyard. I go back and forth on so many cards, but I can't seem to shake that one part of the strategy. I added in the Performage monsters last week, but they just weren't cutting it for me.

DECKID=103709To recap, the only instructions in Jeremiah's e-mail were to "make it crazy."

I don't know how "crazy" you can really make Harpies, but there are a million ideas in my head that I've been itching to try out. As long as all the core pieces are there for the Harpie deck, we can expand upon the base strategy and make it better… or at least weirder.

No mayonnaise ice cream for us, though.

Not The Friendliest Monsters
Harpie monsters are arguably the oldest "archetype" in Yu-Gi-Oh, but it's funny because their original support was so horrid you never would've dreamed of building a deck around such ridiculously terrible cards. Coming from Greek and Roman mythology, Harpie monsters emulate the physical appearance of winged bird women with nasty attitudes, big claws, and a desire to rip apart everything they could get their hands on.

It wasn't until Lord of the Tachyon Galaxy that Harpies ever had a chance of making any impact competitively. That set brought us Harpie Channeler and Hysteric Sign, two of the best Harpie cards released, and easily the best since Hysteric Party and Harpies' Hunting Ground. Finally, the deck had an explosive monster for Rank 4 and Rank 7 plays and a way to search up to three Harpie monsters in one turn to replenish your hand.

And of course, Harpie Channeler was considered "Harpie Lady" while face-up on the field or in the graveyard, escaping the nasty restriction placed on Harpie Lady 1, Harpie Lady 2, Harpie Lady 3 and Cyber Harpie Lady that keeps you from playing only a combined three copies of all of them in your Main Deck. Without those two key cards a Harpie Lady deck just wouldn't be playable.


But the support didn't stop there. Legendary Collection - Joey's World gave us the must-have Harpie Dancer and Crossed Souls netted Harpie Harpist. Finally, the deck seems to be well rounded and armed with specific cards to handle a range of functions and situations. Monster removal, spell and trap destruction, searching, recursive Special Summon spam… so what gives? Why isn't the deck better?

Despite the Harpies' ability to bounce back from high investment plays, the deck's too dependent on combos and can be absolutely mauled by an errant Breakthrough Skill or Maxx "C". Furthermore, it lacks finishing power and there aren't really any big monsters exclusive to the theme. On the bright side, the deck should beat Yang Zings 99.99999% of the time.

Playing Up The Strengths
Despite having some of the best monster utility in the game, the Rank 4 toolbox failed to impress me here - and I had the idea awhile back to create a Utopia deck that's dedicated to other things besides Number 39: Utopia. You could make a strategy with all the lettered Utopia tool cards like ZW - Asura Strike and Lightning Blade' rel=" - Lightning Blade">ZW - Lightning Blade, but I wanted to build a strategy where Number 39: Utopia and friends were accents to the main game plan - the cherry on top of the cake, if you will. With the tools Harpies have at their disposal I think they're a perfect match.

Really – just toss in a few copies of Rank-Up-Magic Numeron Force and your boring Rank 4's turn into the wickedly powerful Number C39: Utopia Ray V and Number C39: Utopia Ray Victory. Those two monsters are completely different, and they both tackle threats in completely different ways, either by boosting their own ATK or destroying a monster outright and burning for Life Point damage. Sometimes, cards like Castel the Skyblaster Musketeer just aren't enough to deal with threats and finish the game, but the Number C39 monsters can finish a duel right then and there no matter how many monsters your opponent controls.

Rank-Up-Magic The Seventh One is even more important. I thought it was going to go places, but it never saw much competitive play outside of Sylvans because it was usually either dead in your hand or you never drew it. But now with Number 99: Utopic Dragon, drawing a copy in your opening hand or running into multiples isn't so bad. Simply make a Number 39: Utopia, discard The Seventh One and bam: instant 4000 ATK monster that laughs in the face of targeting effects.

To make room for your surge of Extra Deck monsters, I thought it best to cut Queen Dragun Djinn and Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack. Having Harpie's Pet Dragon as a Rank 7 engine is fine and dandy, but it's a tight fit in the Extra Deck and those cards can be cut clean pretty easily. Obviously that means you'll cut Harpie's Pet Dragon, too. Furthermore, you'll have to cut down on Main Deck cards as well to make room for Rank-Up spells. The superfluous Upstart Goblin and one-ofs like Terraforming were prime candidates for removal.

Missing Pieces
Despite a ridiculously cramped Extra Deck with the Utopia monsters, I think Elder Entity Norden and Instant Fusion are a must. After all, I slashed extra copies of Lightning Chidori and Harpie's Pet Phantasmal Dragon to make room for Norden. Not only does Norden give you a cheap Rank 4 – perhaps Number 39 Utopia – it works really well with the Harpie monsters. Harpie Dancer and Harpie Harpist have effects that stock up monsters and remove threats, but they also bounce other Harpie monsters on your field! Norden comes in by reviving either a Harpie Channeler or Harpie Queen, so you can bounce the latter with Harpist or Dancer. You can kill an opposing threat and then make a Rank 4, or net an extra Channeler on the field for a massive push in damage.

Icarus Attack's another card I like here, despite it having seen mixed reviews in Harpie decks. With leftover monsters from Hysteric Party or the utility of Harpie Harpist, I think it has a place in the deck moving forward. I left a slew of great traps to provide defense, along with the game-changing Hysteric Party. I honestly don't know of many duels I've lost after resolving it. In a low resource situation it singlehandedly turns losses into wins.


I didn't change too much of the deck since I kept the Harpie core intact – most of the changes were made simply to allow room for the Rank-Up-Magic cards. But let's look at what's different, and then take a peek at the final deck!

-2 Cyber Harpie Lady
-1 Harpie Dancer
-2 Harpie's Pet Dragon
-3 Upstart Goblin
-1 Terraforming
-1 Raigeki
-3 Mirror Force

-1 Number 103: Ragnazero
-1 Harpie's Pet Phantasmal Dragon
-2 Lightning Chidori
-2 Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack
-2 Queen Dragon Djinn
-1 Number 101: Silent Honor ARK
-1 Gem-Knight Pearl

+1 Blackwing - Zephyros the Elite
+2 Harpie Lady 1
+2 Summoner Monk
+3 Instant Fusion
+2 Rank-Up-Magic – The Seventh One
+2 Rank-Up-Magic Numeron Force
+2 Icarus Attack

+2 Elder Entity Norden
+1 Number 107: Galaxy-Eyes Tachyon Dragon
+3 Number 39: Utopia
+1 Number 99: Utopic Dragon
+1 Number C107: Neo Galaxy-Eyes Tachyon Dragon
+1 Number C39: Utopia V
+1 Number C39: Utopia Victory

Here's what the final deck list wound up looking like…

DECKID=103710I really liked the core of the deck as Jeremiah'd built it, and integrating Utopia meant I had some tough choices when it came time to make cuts – especially given the solid first turn plays Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack can provide. But then when you think about it, it's really easy for a lot of decks to get over that thing. It's nowhere near as big of a threat as it was in 2013.

Outside of Extra Deck space being so tight, I think I'm comfortable with the end product here. I hope Jeremiah likes it too. Most of Yuma's Utopia cards are really cheap, so I don't think you'll have much trouble picking them up!

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 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