Mekk-Knights were largely overlooked last month when they debuted inExtreme Force.

I don't blame anyone who wrote the deck off as yet another under supportedWorld Legacy theme following the same flawed formula as Crawlers.Mekk-Knights' unique Summoning mechanic relied too much on the opponent'sactions, and their support cards carried mediocre effects with limitedsynergy. As a pure theme Mekk-Knights are tough to build, but as an engineserving as one part of a greater whole they're helping Invoked reach a newcompetitive high.

It took until the weekend of YCS Bochum for players to wake up to thesleeper hits of Mekk-Knight Purple Nightfall and Mekk-Knight Blue Sky. Twoplayers made the Top 32 there with Invoked Mekk-Knights; in doing so, theytotally changed the narrative surrounding the theme.Joel Ramershoven's buildtook him to the Top 32 at Bochum and helped popularize the InvokedMekk-Knight strategy.Brian Reilly,Arturo Pintos, andAlexander Solertopped Regionals that same weekend, in Connecticut, Mexico, and NorthCarolina with their own Invoked Mekk-Knight builds.

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There's a case to be made that Invoked Mekk-Knights are actually one thebest strategies this format. The deck's match-ups are solid, and theInvoked engine remains one of the most consistent in the game. AddingMekk-Knights into the mix has given the strategy a new direction with somesynergies you wouldn't expect. They're Light monsters, and that'simportant, but Mekk-Knights also contribute an incredible amount ofremoval, aggression, tempo, and board presence that other Invokedstrategies lack.

Invoked variants can be a tough match-up, and it's worth planning out yourSide Deck to handle all of the possibilities your opponent might toss atyou. Whether your opponent's playing Windwitches, True Dracos,Mekk-Knights, or justa Destrudo engine, you'll want to have Side Deck tech to break up plays, get around InvokedMechaba, and deal with the most important aspects of each hybrid. ForMekk-Knight builds the danger is equal parts Invoked and Mekk-Knights, andthat makes many of the usual Side Deck picks even less effective.

Column-Based Gameplay
The usual Invoked strategy's incredibly straightforward: find Aleister theInvoker through Magical Meltdown, Summon it to search Invocation, andFusion Summon a relevant Invoked Fusion Monster. Typically the go-to Fusionis Invoked Mechaba: an outstanding negation body that's essentially a freeSummon within the context of the Invoked strategy. Mechaba doesn't replaceitself, but Aleister does, and Summoning another one is incredibly easy.It's hard to have missed the Invoked gameplan if you're playedcompetitively in the last year, and it remains one of the besttempo-oriented strategies in the game.

The Invoked deck has insane search power that keeps it consistent throughthe gauntlet of a lengthy Regional or YCS event. That consistency comes ata trade-off: it rarely has moments where it can Summon a flurry of monstersor radically change the direction of a game. Invoked Purgatrio cansometimes make big plays, but Invoked duelists rely on keeping the gamesimplified with hand traps and other forms of interruption.

Aleister the Invoker's one of the best cards in the game when both playersare down to just a few cards each, thanks to Evenly Matched, Ash Blossom& Joyous Spring, Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, and Effect Veiler,Invoked players can quickly reduce their opponent's options and lock themdown with Mechaba.

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The Extra Monster Zone rules hurt the viability of some Invoked variantsbecause Fusion Monsters like Invoked Mechaba would end up 'stuck' in theExtra Monster Zone. The Invoked engine gives you the tools to put a newFusion Monster on the field each turn, but Master Rule 4 effectivelyprevents you from doing so without a way to Summon a Link Monster first. Itwas a straight nerf to the competitiveness of the deck, and one that madethe Windwitch engine much harder to play.

The advantage of adding Mekk-Knights – without their lackluster supportspells and traps – to the Invoked strategy is fairly obvious: the entiretheme forgoes the Normal Summon and instead turns partially-filled columnsinto Special Summon opportunities. All of the Main Deck Mekk-Knights can beSpecial Summoned to a Main Monster Zone when that column has two or morecards in it, so instead of being hurt by the Extra Monster Zone theyactually benefit from it. You can achieve their Summoning conditionsagainst your opponent's empty field by playing a monster in the ExtraMonster Zone and setting a spell or trap in the same column.

In more 'pure' Mekk-Knight strategies you might use Instant Fusion to put acard in the Extra Monster Zone, but the Invoked engine's already set up topump out Fusion Monsters every turn. It's a perfect match that's evenbetter since the Mekk-Knights are high-ATK Light monsters. You can playthem aggressively to bait out hand traps, deal game-ending damage, or addmore monsters to the field for a Link Summon.

Mekk-Knight Purple Nightfall and Mekk-Knight Blue Sky have fantastic searcheffects that can quickly amass monsters to throw at your opponent. PurpleNightfall can be tough to pin down thanks to its Quick-Effect, and it cansearch a monster on both player's turns.

Invoked strategies want to play first to get Invoked Mechaba on the fieldTurn 1, but the Mekk-Knight engine actually prefers playing second. It's aninteresting dynamic that makes Invoked Mekk-Knights both flexible andconsistent. Column-based gameplay has its flaws though, and Invoked arestill vulnerable to many of the same cards they struggled with last year.Mekk-Knights fixed some problems, but there are some key vulnerabilities wecan exploit.

Playing Against Knights And Mages
The best way to give yourself an advantage in the Invoked Mekk-Knightsmatch-up is to make your opponent's Mekk-Knight engine as inconsistent aspossible. Simply put: you need to make them really work for thoseMekk-Knight Summons, and do as much as you can to limit the potential ofMekk-Knight Blue Sky. It's all about positioning your cards to ensure youropponent can't meet the Summoning conditions attached to each Mekk-Knight.

Columns 2 and 4 are the no-go zones. Your opponent can either set a spellor trap, or Summon a monster from the Extra Deck to make those columns liveif you've committed a card to either the Main Monster Zone or a Spell andTrap Zone. Setting a spell or trap, or Summoning a monster there means youropponent's just a single Invocation or Instant Fusion away from completinga column.

In every other column they'll need to set a spell or trap to their backrow,and to be fair they can also do the same in the second and fourth column.But it makes a difference if your opponent's setting their spells and traps– a big difference, in fact.

When your opponent sets a card in a column where you control a set spell ortrap yourself you can easily flip your card to rob them of a potentialcolumn. That set's now effectively wasted, and they've lost a card thatcould have gone towards building a column elsewhere. It won't stop youropponent from building a column entirely of their own cards, but thatdefeats the purpose of cards like Mekk-Knight Blue Sky. While not afoolproof plan to keep Mekk-Knights off the board, it can keep them lockedinto a single column and prevent Blue Sky from searching more monsters.

You ideally want to check out Side Deck picks that you can immediatelychain when a card is set in the same column. Dimensional Barrier's far fromperfect, but it's a great counter to Fusion Summons and can immediatelyleave the field if your opponent tries to build a two-card column using it.Shutting down Fusion Summons for a turn means you'll only have to deal withMekk-Knights for a while. Provided your opponent doesn't have some way todeal game-ending damage that turn it shouldn't be hard to push back throughtheir field on the following turn. It's far from the safest route, butDimensional Barrier still puts in a ton of work against this strategy evenif it doesn't affect the Mekk-Knights themselves.

Mind Crush is another interesting choice here that benefits from theeasily-telegraphed plays of Invoked and Mekk-Knights. Cosmic Cyclone andother chainable spell and trap removal cards can not only prevent MagicalMeltdown from resolving fully, they can also break up would-be columns andpunish your opponent for setting spells and traps. Just about anythingthat's chainable works fine, but temporary floodgates are really your bestbet here. You don't want to get into a war of attrition with a deck thatcan easily win that fight thanks to the Invoked engine.

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Anti-Spell Fragrance can be destroyed by Mekk-Knight Yellow Star, but it'snot a particularly easy card to Summon without a developed column. Luckilyfor your opponent Anti-Spell Fragrance itself helps make those keyMekk-Knight Summons possible, and you're likely to see Yellow Star at somepoint in the duel if your opponent's playing it. Conversely, Imperial IronWall and Chaos Hunter are much harder to deal with. There are fewer themedanswers to their blanket restrictions on banishing, and they'll blockseveral Mekk-Knight effects in addition to making Invocation awkward toplay.

Imperial Iron Wall and Chaos Hunter require commitments to the field thatopen up the possibility of letting Mekk-Knights enter the fray. Meanwhile,Artifact Lancea can remain safely in the hand until it's needed. Lancea'ssimilar to other cards that restrict banishing: it delays Mekk-KnightPurple Knightfall, shuts off Mekk-Knight Yellow Star and Mekk-Knight RedMoon, and makes Invocation less useful. It's also a great answer to EvenlyMatched, and the same can't be said for Chaos Hunter. Keep in mind thatPurple Nightfall will be live again on your turn, which might causeproblems if the duel drags on longer.

Mekk-Knights have given Invoked strategies a new way to play, and I thinkit's the best variant out there. It appeared inanother Top 8in Canada earlier this month packing Main Deck copies of Mind Control asplayer double down on going second. In an era of dueling where playingfirst or second can make an incredible difference it's rare to see astrategy that can take on either role. It's a huge competitive advantagefor Invoked Mekk-Knights, and one they'll need to keep leveraging asplayers become increasingly acquainted with this strategy.

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.