Duelist Alliance, man. We're less than a week into the release of the TCG's newest booster set and I'm already quite smitten with it. Of course, DUEA has wooed me with just one card because I'm an easy man to please, really. The fact of the matter is that any time Konami releases a new Ritual Monster, they have my attention. Any time they release a new card compatible with Herald of Perfection they have my attention as well. Imagine my surprise when they released a new Ritual Monster that's not only compatible with Herald of Perfection but is ACTUALLY good.

Yeah, today is a good day in my world.

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Saffira, Queen of Dragons is the new Ritual Monster I speak of, and as far as I'm concerned, they may have well named her Empress – she's that good. Saffira solves the two biggest problems any Herald deck faces: card advantage and consistent aggression. If you've ever played a Herald of Perfection deck then you know that having card advantage is everything; if you don't have enough Fairies in your hand you're as good as dead. Absolute negation like this only works when you have more negation power than your opponent has things to throw at you. Saffira has three different effects that you can choose from during the End Phase, all of which help you get to more cards:

-draw two cards, then discard one card

-discard one random card from your opponent's hand

-add one Light monster from your graveyard to your hand

Really, all three lines read "here, have one more card than your opponent." The only difference is that each line gives you a choice as to how you want to do it. That said, Saffira's effect only works during the End Phase of the turn you've Special Summoned her, or during the End Phase of a turn when a Light monster was sent from your hand or deck to the graveyard. Luckily, Herald of Perfection sends a Fairy – most of which are Light attribute – from your hand to the graveyard practically every turn. Saffira's effect will go off in almost every End Phase – including your opponent's turn as well. The Queen doesn't care whose turn it is, she's getting you more cards.

Saffira also does wonders for your field presence. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that a 2800 DEF wall that says "no" to everything your opponent does isn't fearsome on its own, because it is. However, while Herald of Perfection keeps your opponent from winning the game at the very same time it doesn't actually win you the game by its lonesome. That's the very dilemma that all Herald duelists have faced from day one. Now, all the speed you have when it comes to getting to Herald can translate right into pulling Saffira, Queen of Dragons from your deck as well. With 2500 ATK, Saffira is actually really beefy for a Level 6 Ritual Monster.

Constructing a Herald of Perfection deck before Saffira came along was already a tricky task. How does that numbers game translate with another Ritual monster in the fold? Surprisingly well, actually. This is the first time I've been genuinely confident in the competitive abilities of a Herald of Perfection deck on such a large scale. Let me show you the deck and maybe I can persuade you…

DECKID=100940As you can see, there's a lot going on here. In a deck so jam-packed with different cards, the early game can be kind of confusing. While it goes without saying, you always want to get Herald of Perfection onto the field as soon as humanly possible – it's the key to securing a commanding position. But what if you don't open with your trump card? In that case you want to start thinning your deck as quickly as humanly possible; something that this deck can do quite readily.

Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands is usually a Ritual Monster's best friend and that's no different here. Being able to search any piece of a Ritual Summon is indispensable. If you find yourself without any of the necessary pieces when you go to use Manju's effect, I've always found it best to search out your Ritual Spell first – preferably Advanced Ritual Art. Between the remaining Manjus, Preparation of Rites, and the actual Ritual Monsters themselves, you have better odds of drawing into the monster than you do the spell.

A Lot Of Help From Your Friends!
Herald of Perfection and the Agents have gone together like bread and butter for a long time, and that remains true to this today. Deck-thinning techniques are always important in a strategy like this and the Agent theme excels at that. The Agent of Mystery – Earth is a powerhouse searcher, grabbing the Agent of Creation – Venus from your deck so that you can thin it even further with Venus' effect! Free +1's are important in a strategy like this and having the deck loaded down with as many of them as humanly possible is incredibly important.

Master Hyperion is also a pretty big reason as to why these strategies work together so well. Hyperion adds a massive threat where there wasn't one before. The Agent boss monster serves as a win condition in a deck that'll take as many win conditions as it can get.

The newest Spirit monsters are the most recent addition to the Herald game. Nikitama and Aratama are the two monsters that saved the Spirit theme from being the cool archetype that never was. While it may seem like a strange inclusion considering Aratama's a Fiend and not a Fairy, that's actually not the case at all. Having access to the Rank 4 Toolbox has proven to be valuable time and time again. Starting with Dino Rabbit decks at the dawn of the Xyz Era, strategies with consistent access to Rank 4 monsters have always had a place in the competitive fray. Aratama and Nikitama give you unprecedented access to that toolbox and thin the deck further than before – a reoccurring theme for this strategy.

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Nikitama – the actual Fairy-type of the pair – also has some neat tricks interacting with Herald of Perfection. If you control a Spirit monster when Nikitama's sent to the graveyard, you'll automatically draw a card after the current chain resolves. Essentially, it means you can negate a card for free with Herald. That might seem like a very situational occurrence but you'd be surprised how frequently it happens – especially if you feel no need to go into a Rank 4 with your Spirits and they sit loaded in your hand.

The last piece of this beautiful puzzle is Preparation of Rites. It's been played in Herald decks for ages but now you'll really but it to use. This spell card is key to getting both Ritual monsters out one after the other. The reason why Advanced Ritual Art is the preferred Summoning technique is because it can be used on both Ritual Monsters. If you first bring Herald of Perfection to the field with Advanced Ritual Art then it means that you're only a Preparation of Rites away from Saffira, Queen of Dragons. It's crazy to think, really. You can drop one of the most powerful control suites in the game of Yu-Gi-Oh! without much hassle and proceed to plus hard off of your opponent.

I Genuinely Wish That I Hadn't Sold My Collection Now...
...because I seriously want to go rock a Regional with this deck. I can't even begin to tell you how great it is. Go play it, fool around with it, and come back with improvements to share in the comments. I want to hear what you guys have to say on this one. I think the strategy is genuinely a threat now. Maybe I'm being overzealous but as it stands right now, I'm a convert.

-Zach Buckley
Team Nofatchx