When Bujin premiered back in Judgment of the Light, they didn't have much to work with. Despite most of their best cards hadn't been released, and there were so few of them that building an entire deck around Bujins was practically impossible. Those early builds had to play a lot of traps to make up for the lack of speed and the low monster count, so the deck didn't really go anywhere. Shadow Specters gave Bujins a handful of great cards – Bujingi Centipede, Bujin Mikazuchi and Bujintei Kagutsuchi – and that helped, but that Blue Man Group still didn't make them as strong as they needed to be. Pulling out the Bujintei Xyz wasn't very fast or efficient, and a heavy line of defensive traps was still mandatory.

With Legacy of the Valiant, we now have a third wave of Bujin cards and there's finally enough of them to make a serious deck. While Bujin were pretty underdeveloped in the past, now there are enough Beast-Warriors to keep things moving if Bujin Yamato take s awhile to appear, and improved protection to keep it on the field when it gets there. Bujingi Hare's one of the biggest additions to the strategy so far, but in my opinion the real scene-stealer is actually Bujin Arasuda.

Who-jin?
Part of what really makes Arasuda worth talking about is that it lets the Bujin deck make Xyz and filter cards from your hand to your graveyard without Yamato. As the deck stands right now, Pot of Duality's a guaranteed three-of because searching for Yamato is so important. Sometimes Yamato won't end up in your next three cards, and you have to take a different Bujin, probably grinding your turn to a halt. Grabbing a Bujin with Duality while Arasuda's face-up is enough to trigger its End Phase effect and let you draw a card and discard a card, improving your no-Yamato opening significantly.

Setting up Bujingi Hare, Bujingi Quilin or Bujing Centipede for the following turn and digging in one more card to the Yamato or Fire Formation - Tenki you inevitably need is a big deal, especially when it's free.

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The best opening Bujin could ask for used to be Yamato with any graveyard trick and a line of traps to support it, so you could search your deck for Bujingi Crane and discard another Bujingi that would act as a live card in your graveyard. Failing to open with Tenki or Yamato to make that play meant your in-hand Bujingi were effectively worthless, and left you stuck treading water until things pulled together. That kind of waiting doesn't work in a format where you opponent can +2 on you without much commitment. Arasuda and Pot of Duality open up the possibilities for first turn plays so you have more going on, letting you hit the ground running whether you have Yamato or not.

Beyond that, Arasuda gives you the benefit of having another body to absorb cards; running what's essentially four copies of Honest can really slow things down if your opponent isn't sure they can get an attack through, and putting Arasuda on the field can give you a chance to force out cards like Bottomless Trap Hole, Torrential Tribute and other general removal. Anything you can do to make Yamato more safe when it hits the field is good, and Arasuda soaking up removal cards can definitely do that.

In a general sense, any time you can draw out your opponent's answers and simplify the game without putting yourself in a bad position, you should. Along those same lines, Bujintei Susanowo can be the deciding factor that lets you win games. It can clear out an entire field of monsters in a single Battle Phase, provided you have more ATK either naturally or through Bujingi Crane and Honest. Between that raw destructive force and its built-in Reinforcement of the Army and Foolish Burial combo, Susanowo's name might as well read "Solemn Warning me, please," so paving the way for its arrival an ensuring that it hits the field is just crazy.

Beyond giving you stronger first-turn plays and baiting out cards to make Yamato and Susanowo safer, Arasuda speeds up your Xyz Summoning. Banishing a Bujingi to protect your Bujin lets you Special Summon Arasuda from your hand so you can Xyz Summon faster and more often, frequently without using Yamato. The idea of having Yamato on the field from a previous turn isn't outlandish, and Centipede and Quilin both give Arasuda an easy way to jump onto the field, leaving your Normal Summon wide open. Normal Summon any Bujingi and Xyz Summon with it and Arasuda, leaving Yamato on the field to keep digging through your deck.

Even just leaving Arasuda on the field with Yamato's a strong play, since Yamato searching for a Bujin triggers Arasuda's draw effect. Getting a free search, a free draw, and then loading two cards into the graveyard like that doesn't result in any overall gain in card economy, but it does improve your hand and helps ensure that your graveyard has Bujingi ready to go.

Wherein Bujin
The standard Bujin build plays a controlling game of "protect Yamato," and for good reason. It lets you cycle Bujingi Crane into your hand, or puts graveyard tricks straight to where they need to be. It's also got solid ATK and great support. Holding the field the entire game is almost like winning in itself; if your opponent can't get at your Life Points, they can't win. Regardless of that heavy focus on keeping Yamato alive, there are still different ways to build the deck.

Stephen Mercier's Top 16 Bujin deck from YCS Atlanta focused entirely on blocking out as much of his opponent's deck as possible, running absolutely no traps whatsoever save three Royal Decrees. Instead of playing defensively with backrow, his Bujingi were all the defense he needed. By pre-negating all of his opponent's traps, Mercier virtually guaranteed his plays would work. That lead to situations where Bujintei Susanowo coul rip apart fields and close out games. Mercier said that he felt Arasuda was "the weakest link in the deck," but was still useful and that he was perfectly happy with his build overall. Even as the weakest link, Arasuda still sealed victory for him in a Feature Match, where it replaced a Mikazuchi that was hit with Bottomless Trap Hole, flexing its ability to play through backrow.

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The more traditional Bujin deck, which has a heavy trap line, plays the usual suspects of Bottomless Trap Hole, Compulsory Evacuation Device and Mirror Force paired with some specialized defense like Safe Zone and Divine Wrath. Locking down the game while you try to out-resource your opponent with a series of 1-for-1 trades is the main goal, and Bujin Yamato searching for Bujingi Crane and Bujingi Hare is the backbone. It's hard to say which strategy's objectively better, though Mercier's version does have a more progressive feel that emphasizes the Fire Fist and Geargia matchups. He played no Mermails during YCS Atlanta, which was definitely for the best; they'd be a problem for that kind of build, since it doesn't have as many answers to keep Mermail Abyssmegalo and Mermail Abyssleed from going nuts. Hare could protect Yamato from the Atlanteans, and Crane and Honest stop any threats in the Battle Phase, but a second Atlantean Heavy Infantry in one turn means a dead Yamato.

It would be impossible for me to not mention the wording on Arasuda's drawing effect, that includes "then discard 1 card." Yamato's a strong search engine that can thin your deck, and Arasuda can discard absolutely anything, meaning it could trigger the effects of Dark World monsters in the End Phase. While it's super gimmicky and probably nothing more than a whimsical concept doomed to a life only on paper, Yamato could search for Crane or Hare, triggering Arasuda to draw a card and then discard Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World; Snoww, Unlight of Dark World; or Broww, Huntsman of Dark World. Changing Yamato and Arasuda's End Phase search-and-draw to include an extra search, draw, or destruction of an opposing card is so beautifully silly that there's no way someone (besides me) won't try it.

There's Always Money In The Bujins
While Bujin Arasuda may not be the lynchpin of the Bujin strategy, it opens up more speed and consistency, and it gives the deck a purpose when Yamato's busy being anywhere but on the field. Easier Xyz Summoning, more deck thinning, and double the power to fuel your graveyard is so stupid it's smart, let alone its synergy with Mikazuchi. Everything about Arasuda's excellent for what Bujin want to do right now, and the card's just going to be more powerful when Primal Origin unleashes the next wave of Bujin support.

Most Bujin decks moving forward will probably use one Arasuda, with some variants perhaps using two. Three's excessive for how the deck operates right now, but it wouldn't be shocking if a turbo variant that used three Arasuda and Fire Formation - Tensu was eventually played. I love that it could hybridize with Dark World, too. Either way, whether you're looking to build Bujin or you've been playing them for a while already and just want to keep up to date, don't make the huge Mistake of skipping over Bujin Arasuda.

-Beau