PSY-Frames are a Light, Psychic-Type, Synchro theme from High-Speed Riders. It's a surprisingly competitive strategy that managed to sneak under the radar until its YCS premiere, much like Ritual Beasts and Yosenju earlier in 2015. Few players expected to see PSY-Frames competing above the local level, yet the deck went on to top multiple Regionals in the following weeks.

The success of PSY-Frames is owed in part to player inexperience; knowing how to play against them gives you a massive advantage in the match-up. If you're not familiar with the deck and you try to bludgeon your way through its defenses, you'll find yourself staring down a field of Synchro Monsters in no time at all. PSY-Frames turn their opponent's actions into powerful Extra Deck monsters, negating effect activations and attacks along the way. Once you've figured out the deck's strategy, all you have to do is play around those negation cards. But that's not always easy, leaving some strategies to rely on their Side Decks to push the match-up in their favor.

Are PSY-Frames worth siding for? Absolutely – at least at the Regional level. The current format's still young, so until more data starts coming in we won't know exactly how PSY-Frames stack up against Kozmos, Majespecters, and Performage Pendulums. In the meantime we'll take a look at the best way to beat the deck, and which cards you'll want to side for it. Nobody wants to lose Round 1 or 2 at a Regional or locals to a deck they should have been prepared for.

Let's make sure that doesn't happen.

Making Herald of Perfection Jealous
The PSY-Framegear monsters are the heart of this theme: Alpha, Beta, Delta, Epsilon, and Gamma. Each Framegear responds to a certain action, including monster Summons, effect activation, and attacks. In most cases the Framegear destroys the activated or attacking card, while simultaneously Special Summoning itself from the hand. Oh, and it'll also Special Summon a copy of PSY-Frame Driver from the hand, deck, or graveyard. PSY-Framegear Alpha's the exception, trading Card Destruction for a search effect that can grab any PSY-Frame card from the deck. Each activation is a +2 for the PSY-Frame player: their opponent loses a card or Alpha searches a card, and they get a free copy of Driver.

PSY-Frames would be incredibly overpowered if not for their numerous restrictions. Although the PSY-Framegears can activate on either player's turn, the owner's field needs to be clear of any other monsters. PSY-Framegears become dead weight the second a monster hits the field. Finally, the PSY-Framegear that used its effect and the PSY-Frame Driver it Summoned will be banished during the End Phase. They need to be put to use somehow before then, and that's where the deck's spell line-up comes in.

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Spell cards support the Framegears by filling the gaps in their strategy. Their themed Field Spell – PSY-Frame Circuit – solves the banish-in-End-Phase problem with an effect that's sort of like Tuning' rel=" Tuning">Urgent Tuning. When a Framegear's successfully Special Summoned, Circuit lets its controller perform a Synchro Summon immediately with PSY-Frame monsters. Since each PSY-Framegear's a Tuner and either Level 1 or 2, they pair nicely with Driver for a Level 7 or 8 Synchro. There are lots of great options in this range, including the two PSY-Framelords.

Synchro Summons are also possible with Psychic Feel Zone. Just one Framegear effect sets up Feel Zone by banishing the PSY-Framegear itself and a copy of Driver. Returning both cards to the graveyard with Feel Zone Special Summons a PSY-Framelord from your Extra Deck in Defense Position. If you banish PSY-Framelord Omega and a Level 1 Tuner you can even get Overmind Archfiend, which has just enough ATK to destroy Kozmo Dark Destroyer. If Overmind's destroyed, all of the monsters banished by its effect are Special Summoned back to the field. In the meantime, Overmind sets up more copies of Psychic Feel Zone by banishing Psychics from the graveyard.

I've written an article on PSY-Framelord Omega already; it's an amazing card that's worth looking at in any Synchro-heavy Extra Deck. In PSY-Frames you'll see Omega do most of the heavy-lifting during the Battle Phase. Omega can hit 5300 ATK with Circuit's boost effect, and it sticks around between Main Phases by banishing itself...and it takes a card from the opponent's hand along for the ride. The Level 7 version of Omega is PSY-Framelord Zeta, which helps strip Xyz Monsters of their materials.

Lastly, don't underestimate the spot removal of PSY-Frame Overload. When Circuit isn't around to turn PSY-Framegears into Synchros, Overload leverages on-field monsters into banish effects. Interestingly Overload banishes cards face-down, introducing some strange interactions with cards like Kozmotown. While in the graveyard Overload can be banished to search another PSY-Frame card, so you'll never want to destroy it unless you absolutely have to.

Can't Touch This
As I said earlier: the best way to beat PSY-Frames is by avoiding their negation effects. That's fairly hard to do, since PSY-Framegears exist for nearly every major game action. But there's a gap in their strategy. Check out any of the Top Cut PSY-Frames lists from the past weeks and you'll see what I mean: they're not playing nearly as many PSY-Framegear Epsilons as they are the other Framegears. There are several match-ups where traps are rare, or non-existent. Epsilon sometimes finds its way into Side Decks, but since it can't negate Counter Traps it's frequently substituted for Royal Decree and Mystical Space Typhoon. If you can capably handle Royal Decree and outfit your Side Deck with chainable traps, you'll consistently win this match-up.

Mind Crush is likely the single-best Side Deck pick against PSY-Frames. Anytime a PSY-Framegear activates it needs to actually hit the field to fully resolve its effect. Flipping something like Vanity's Emptiness in response will save whatever they're trying to negate, and it works the same way when you drop their monster out of their hand. It's chainable in response to removal, or to the activation of Royal Decree. It's easily the most flexible card you can side for the match-up, since it hits the searches from PSY-Framegear Alpha, Pot of Duality, and PSY-Frame Overload.

What makes Mind Crush excellent here is its ability to reveal information about your opponent's hand. Knowing which Framegears, spells, and hand traps they're holding is invaluable. You can successfully play around your opponent's cards while you know which actions they can respond to, and which ones they can't. It clearly edges out Debunk in this case, unless they happen to be siding in several copies of Epsilon. Debunk might be faster than Mind Crush, but it doesn't give you any extra info and actually puts their Framegear right where they want it: in their removed zone. Mind Crush has awesome match-up utility this format, seeing play against Majespecters Kozmos. It's a no-brainer here, and likely a part of your siding strategy already.

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Need something for the long-term? Mind Drain's your best bet. It takes the place of Light-Imprisoning Mirror in this match-up since the Framegears don't activate any of their effects on the field. It's much more vulnerable to Mystical Space Typhoon than Mind Crush, but it makes up for that weakness with longevity. Maintaining Mind Drain over the course of a few turns should win you the duel no matter how bad your match-up usually is. Utility's another problem. Specifically, there isn't any with Mind Drain. I'd try something else unless you're going into a tournament where the metagame is saturated with PSY-Frames.

Monster-based floodgates with continuous effects put in a lot of work here. Vanity's Fiend and Majesty's Fiend lock down Framegears easily. Overload's a threat, but it's mostly unsearchable while either Fiend is in play. Once again: holding onto either card will win you the duel in a few turns, provided your opponent hasn't already made a few Synchro Summons. Majesty's Fiend is slightly more exposed to Psychic Feel Zone, but they'll need to have cards in their removed zone beforehand.

Want some more floodgates? Try Deck Lockdown, which will prevent PSY-Frame Driver from being Special Summoned. It also disables the deck-searching effects of Alpha and Overload, plus Pot of Duality. Like Mind Crush, Deck Lockdown is another great Side Deck option for Kozmos and Majespecters. Both themes heavily rely on effects that search or Special Summon from the Main Deck. It's not a permanent solution, and you're entering the realm of PSY-Framegear Delta, but even considering the drawbacks it's too strong of a card to pass up. Oh, and it's great against Performage Pendulums too. Plushfire? What Plushfire?

Lastly, you can disable all Framegears if you can put a monster on your opponent's side of the field. Stuff like Lava Golem or Kaiju are too unreliable with monsters constantly bouncing around on your opponent's field. Instead, give them some Tokens and watch them scramble to clear the field again. Ojama Trio or Black Garden will do the job nicely. You'll eventually have to deal with your opponent's PSY-Framegears when you make your final attacks, so those cards are best paired with other Side Deck options like Vanity's Fiend or Mind Drain.

PSY-Frames might not be fun to play against, but it's one of the most unique strategies in the game today. I'm personally hoping players will pick it up and do well with it, if only to add some variety to the competitive scene. You really have to think your way through the match-up, so your wins feel really rewarding. Conversely, playing the deck yourself is also a lot of fun...but, that's coming from someone who enjoyed playing Herald of Perfection back in 2009. PSY-Frames aren't a glass cannon like other lockdown-style themes, so you can actually play back-and-forth games against it instead of blowout duels. I'm excited to see what the new format has in store for this deck.

Until next time then


Kelly Locke is a West Michigan gamer, writer, and college student with too much free time on his hands. Besides playing Yugioh, Kelly posts Let's Play videos of Minecraft on his Youtube channel and plays a possibly unhealthy amount of Destiny. He is currently studying marketing at Western Michigan University, and hopes to graduate before Dragon Ravine is Unlimited.