Altergeists exploded onto the competitive scene earlier this monthfollowing the release of Altergeist Multifaker inFlames of Destruction.

Boosted by a favorable Forbidden & Limited List the deck has become anoutstanding choice for the new format since other competitive standbys havefallen out of favor. Sky Strikers have the potential to radically alter theformat yet again, but for now the outlook for Altergeists is excellent.I'll be surprised if the deck suddenly stops scoring Regional tops justbecause Sky Strikers enter the fray.

Multifaker: Altergeist's New Playmaker
Altergeist Multifaker single-handedly solved a number of problems plaguingpre-FLOD Altergeist builds and introduced the deck's core loop.Multifaker's so integral to the Altergeist strategy that if you're just nowTuning into the theme you're probably wondering how the deck functioned atall previously. Summoning Multifaker repeatedly is the name of the game,and it's astonishingly easy to do thanks to Personal Spoofing andhand-activated trap cards.


Special Summoning Altergeist Multifaker triggers its ability to SpecialSummon another Altergeist monster from the deck, which rapidly increasesfield presence and gets you to the high-utility effect of AltergeistSilquitos. Multifaker's built-in Special Summon effect kickstarts theengine, and as a result hand-activated trap cards like InfiniteImpermanence are incredibly important for Summoning Multifaker as soon aspossible. Rather than setting cards and waiting a turn, your opponent canSummon Multifaker as early as the first turn of the duel by Summoning itafter Infinite Impermanence resolves.

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Waiting a turn to Summon Multifaker isn't a terrible play – PersonalSpoofing can search it by returning another Altergeist card from the handor on the field to the deck. That freshly searched Multifaker can beSpecial Summoned immediately once it's searched, so there's hardly anydowntime even if your opponent's forced to wait a turn. After AltergeistSilquitous hits the field its effect can kick away a threat and protect theset-up until the following turn. By returning Multifaker to the handSilquitous sets up its Special Summon on the next turn.

That cyclical strategy relies on a strong defense and requires consistentways to find Altergeist Multifaker. Altergeist builds are as trap heavy asPaleozoics, with 15 to 20 slots dedicated to generic and themed traps.Defending those early set-ups is extremely important to keep up momentum inthe duel. Unlike Invoked, it's much more difficult to rebuild a demolishedAltergeist board, and without the two-card interaction between Multifakerand a trap card there's very little the deck can do to establish fieldpresence in a hurry.

Targeting Multifaker
Altergeists have a couple of major vulnerabilities, and disruptingAltergeist Multifaker exposes the deck's biggest weakness: its lack ofSummoning power. Altergeists want to Summon their Links early and often toleverage their awesome effects, like Altergeist Hexstia's spell and trapnegation. To make a Link-2 your opponent will almost always need to useMultifaker, or failing that find a way to stall out your own strategy andNormal Summon their way to a Link Summon.

It's not an impossible route to victory, but it's definitely less viablethan using Multifaker. So ideally you want to put your Altergeist opponentin a position where they can only take that slower route, and we can dothat by negating Multifaker whenever it hits the field.

Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring is, of course, an excellent hand trap forthis match-up. It totally shuts off Multifaker and leaves it sitting on thefield without an extra Altergeist to back it up. Ash Blossom won't stopyour opponent from then Normal Summoning another Altergeist next to it, butthat's often irrelevant. If Multifaker's Summoned on Turn 2 after beingsearched with Personal Spoofing you can use Ash Blossom to preventAltergeist Silquitous from landing alongside it.

That's one less monster and one less disruptive effect between you and anopen field, but more importantly it means your opponent will probably needto resolve Personal Spoofing again to trigger a fresh Multifaker. Thatwon't happen very often – they'll need to protect their monster for therest of the turn with whatever backrow they have left, or with AltergeistKunquery.

Personal Spoofing represents another pinch point for Altergeists and, ofcourse, another opportunity to leverage Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring.Returning an Altergeist from the field or the hand to the deck is the costto activate Personal Spoofing, and since it's a Continous Trap you can stopit by destroying it after it activates. Losing Personal Spoofing to backrowremoval or a Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit is devastating, but even aone-time negation from Ash Blossom is enough to completely change theoutlook of the duel.

Knocking down either Personal Spoofing or Altergeist Multifaker revealsjust how weak the theme's search effects really are. Altergeist Marionettercan set an Altergeist trap directly from the deck when it's NormalSummoned, but Personal Spoofing is not an Altergeist card. Theengine needs to find Multifaker at the very least to form some semblance ofa competitive strategy, and beyond Personal Spoofing the quickest way to dothat is with Altergeist Meluseek. Using Meluseek as a Link Material forLinkuriboh – currently only possible in North America where the promoLinkuriboh's available – is a great way to net a search early in the duel,but it's terribly obvious and once again vulnerable to all of the same handtraps and negation effects.

Answering 15+ Traps
Altergeist set-ups are heavily supported by generic traps, themed traps,and plenty of disastrous floodgates. They all serve the dual purpose oftriggering Altergeist Multifaker's Special Summon effect and defending anymonsters Summoned on the opponent's turn. We're mostly concerned with cardsthat stop us from playing entirely, like Dimensional Barrier, Anti-SpellFragrance, and Altergeist Protocol.

Altergeist Protocol's particularly important because it stops you fromnegating the effects of Altergeist cards and has a monsternegation effect of its own. Remember my praise for Ash Blossom & JoyousSpring just a moment ago? Protocol laughs in the face of hand traps andhelps to build rock solid set-ups that are stacked with negation.

Altergeist Protocol isn't relevant on the first turn, but it can be face-upas early as your first turn. Chaining spell and trap removal from the handcan knock it out quickly, and cards like Twin Twisters or Cosmic Cycloneare definitely welcome when your opponent flips Personal Spoofing. Blindbackrow destruction's tempting, but Altergeist players are especially fondof siding Waking the Dragon. Unless you have a way to answer a Raidraptor -Ultimate Falcon I'd stick to knocking out the Continuous Traps as they'reflipped. Alternatively, you can use Red Reboot for an even more effectiveTrap Stun-like effect that might leave your opponent defenseless.

Red Reboot's fantastic in this match-up when used to negate the first trapactivated in the duel. It won't stop continuous effects, but it will leaveany set traps face-down for the remainder of the turn. It's strictly anOTK-enabler though, because letting your opponent set a free trap is adisaster against Altergeists. That said, you'll have knowledge of two ofyour opponent's traps: the one you negated with Red Reboot, and the onethey set from their deck.

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You could always destroy them that turn to make any perceived gain in cardeconomy irrelevant. Playing Red Reboot effectively makes all the differencehere, but keep in mind that your opponent will almost certainly be sidingtheir own copy.

Heavy Storm Duster and Unending Nightmare are very good Side Deck picks forthe mirror match in Altergeists, and Unending Nightmare's a particularlygreat choice for any deck that mostly wants solutions to Continuous Traps.Infinite Impermanence knocks out monster and spell and trapeffects if activated while set, so it's a great Turn 1 answer to AltergeistMultifaker as well as a piece of trap negation. Smart Altergeist playerswill be watching their column placement very carefully, and realisticallyeveryone should be doing the same. Infinite Impermanence is too common thisformat to be careless about your columns.

Playing first gives you an opportunity to side in Royal Decree and shutdown your opponent's entire trap line-up. It won't stop Multifaker frombeing Summoned, but the impact of Royal Decree can't be understated.If it's not knocked out by removal and if your opponentfails to negate it with Red Reboot it's absolutely a game-winning card.

Eradicator Epidemic Virus falls into the same category of being hard toplay, but totally worth it if your opponent lets it resolve. Unfortunatelyboth cards are only effective if you're playing first; their applicationsare limited. Red Reboot's a vastly more flexible card and it's exactly whatyou want to side going into the crucial Game 3, provided there's enoughtime on the clock.

I'm also a fan of Gozen Match here: it's a great way to keep Links off thefield and it really slows your opponent's strategy. It's a floodgate thatdoesn't negate anything, so Altergeist Protocol's powerless to stop it.Multifaker's the only Dark Main Deck Altergeist monster, so its effect to'Special Summon from the deck' can't be activated while Gozen Match isface-up.

The Altergeist match-up is challenging in ways we haven't seen for a while.It's been a long time since a deck other than Paleozoics has played so manytrap cards, and even longer since a theme built around Continuous Traps hasbeen tournament viable. It's a serious threat going into this year's WCQs,and it's especially good wherever Linkuriboh's legal for play.

Red Reboot is proving itself to be one of the best new traps in years – andit has some serious competition in that field. Altergeists are a starkcontrast to the spell-heavy Sky Strikers, and one of the best decks thisformat to go head-to-head with it at Regionals and beyond.

Until next time then

-Kelly


Kelly​​​ ​​​Locke​​​ ​​​is​​​ ​​​a​​​ ​​​West​​​ ​​​Michigan​​​​​​gamer and writer. In​​​ ​​​addition​​​ ​​​to​​​ ​​​writing​​​ ​​​onTCGplayer,​​​ ​​​Kelly​​​ ​​​writes​​​ a ​​​​​​personal​​​ ​​​blog​​​​​​ ​​​covering​​​ ​​​Yu-Gi-Oh!,​​​ ​​​Destiny,​​​ ​​​and​​​​​​other​​​ ​​​hobbies. You​​​ ​​​can follow​​​ ​​​him​​​ ​​​on​​​​​​​​​Twitter​​​​​​ ​​​and​​​ ​​​check​​​ ​​​out​​​ ​​​his​​​ ​​​​​​Youtube​​​ ​​​channel​​​. He​​​ ​​​also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.