YCS Chicago came and went, with an unsurprisingly diverse Top 32; despite nineteen of the thirty-two decks being made up of Mermails, Fire Fists and Geargia, there were ten different strategies present. A Bujin duelist snagged the Championship title, a Dark World duelist got second place, and Ghostrick Madolche, Gadgets, Infernity, Fire Kings and Prophecy were all there, too. Interesting side note, I predicted last week in an article on Mind Control that it might see play in the Top 32 of YCS Chicago, though only minimally, and that seems to have been the case – two pure Geargia and the Gadget deck were playing it in the Main Deck. You can check out that article right here in case you missed it.

Outside of YCS Chicago, the April 1st Forbidden and Limited List got put up for everyone to see, and it didn't really change much. Fire Fists took a hit in the form of Coach Soldier Wolfbark going down to Limited, and Mermails got a stern slap on the wrist with Mermail Abyssgunde. Other than that, the biggest damage seemed to be dealt to Empty Jar strategies and anything looking to use Jackpot 7 when it comes out this May.

The real impact of the F&L List is more on what didn't get affected directly, like Bujins. They didn't get touched at all, and Primal Origin's got them poised to be the frontrunners of the next format. I've talked about Bujin Yamato and Bujin Arasuda in the past, but those articles were grounded in their own timeframe. This is about something current that can still apply to the deck come Summer when we'll have PRIO's new support and the approach to the strategy shifts: Bujincarnation.

Augmentation Through 'Incarnation
When you consider what they do individually, it's surprising that no Bujin cards were restricted even a little for the coming format. Compared to cards that are currently Limited right now, some of the Bujin stuff seems crazy-overpowered. Bujin Yamato's essentially a Reinforcement of the Army for the entire theme and a Foolish Burial at the same time, both of which are Limited. Bujingi Crane's more or less an Honest, if Honest was at three and easily searched. Bujintei Susanowo's legitimately Reinforcement and Foolish Burial; it's not just similar, it is those cards for its archetype, strapped to a 2400 ATK multi-attacking body.

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Of all the Bujin cards, Bujincarnation might be one of the most fundamentally insane. It's a fusion of Monster Reborn and Dimension Fusion, with a few tweaks for the better, I would say. Dimension Fusion and Return from the Different Dimension are both Forbidden, but they also have huge drawbacks: Fusion costs 2000 Life Points, so there are parts of the game where it's dead, and you're also giving your opponent monsters. Return can't be dead since you pay a percentage of your LP instead of a specific value, but it's a big percentage, and you have to do something with those monsters by the end of the turn. Considering Xyz and Synchro Summoning, you're basically guaranteed that you'll be left with monsters around, but the fact remains that you can't just keep the monsters you returned.

Bujincarnation doesn't seem to care about those kinds of restrictions. You can Special Summon two monsters, one each from your graveyard and banished zone, and after that you can do whatever you want. They don't leave at the end of the turn, they don't have their effects negated, they can attack and be Tributed. Other than a limitation on what you can Xyz Summon with them, they're completely fair game. Oh, and the limit to their use as Xyz Material lets you Xyz Summon all of the monsters from their own archetype. Not to mention Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Tiger King, Constellar Omega and Diamond Dire Wolf.

I guess Number 44: Sky Pegasus is there, too. If you're into that kind of thing.

The only activation condition for Bujincarnation is having no monsters, while your opponent does. Conveniently, Yamato's probably in your graveyard sometime after being removed from the field, and that probably left you with no monsters. Funny how that works out. If you had Yamato around for a turn or more, that means you probably had Bujingi Hare in your graveyard, and subsequently banished it; Yamato went to the graveyard, and you likely didn't let it die without saving it from something first. With Yamato loading Hare into the graveyard being such a standard opening play, any time after the first turn Yamato was on the field you should have the stage set for Bujincarnation to drop monsters onto the field if anything goes down.

It's not just the free +1 from bringing back two Bujin that makes Bujincarnation stand out; the way the game is right now, a +1 isn't anything special. Every deck has its share of +1 effects, from Fire Formation - Tenki to Geargiarmor to Abyss-sphere to the Atlanteans fueling Mermail abikities. Even scootching down the hierarchy a little, Dark World, Gadgets, Harpies, Infernity, Fire Kings, Madolche, Ghostricks – there's virtually no deck in tournaments today that doesn't have easy-access +1 plays. The real brilliance of Bujincarnation is three-fold.

Firstly, bringing back Yamato means you'll get another Reinforcement of the Army or Foolish Burial effect. Second, the other monster you bring back gets recycled into your graveyard to be reused, like Hare saving something a second time or Bujingi Quilin knocking a card out of your way. Finally, since Bujincarnation leaves the monsters you brought back alive indefinitely, you can Summon something else and Xyz with the two monsters you control that aren't Yamato. Assuming you Special Summoned a Hare and a Yamato, for Bujincarnation and any Level 4 monster in your hand, you get a Yamato, an Xyz, a recycled Hare, another monster from your deck with Yamato's effect, and whatever inherent gains your Xyz happens to get you. By Xyz Summoning, you're dropping back down to a +0, but it's such a stupidly powerful break-even.

The +1's don't start racking up until you pick the Xyz you want to Summon. If you get Tiger King, you'll +2 by getting Tenki and then searching for a Bujin with it. Susanowo's got a +1 from the search effect, and it can +1 again for each monster your opponent controls, provided it can kill them in battle. And let's be real: because you can search for Crane, you can. Omega and Diamond Wolf don't have the same raw card economy, but they do offer a lot of utility and the option of getting around problematic cards like Macro Cosmos, Dimensional Fissure, Light-Imprisoning Mirror and so forth.

'Incarnation, Again
Over the course of the Bujins' time in the competitive circuit, there've been a couple of iterations of the deck. Originally, the goal was to keep Yamato safe with a lot of backrow, making 1-for-1 trades to whittle down your opponent while you search for Crane and send Bujingi Turtle to the 'yard. That concept was pushed aside when Stephen Mercier made Top 16 at YCS Atlanta, choosing to forgo defensive traps for three Royal Decree and a bigger monster line; Yamato's still the main point, but the way you protect him is more focused. Stephen's Top 16 decklist redefined what people considered to be the most effective way to run the deck, and that's how most people who play them approach deck building now. Looking at Tom Mak's 1st Place Bujin list from YCS Chicago, though, we can see that the variant with a strong set of traps is still just as viable.

Those two builds are way different, and show a lot of versatility in the archetype; the two play styles are just as separate as the deck lists are. Regardless of play styles and tech choices, Bujincarnation benefits both equally, since the core idea is still Yamato and the Xyz hanging around the field as much as possible. Once PRIO comes out and shifts the Bujin deck's dynamic again, Bujincarnation's only going to be more important for spamming out big waves of Xyz and being the quickest way into Bujingi Amaterasu.

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But don't think pure Bujin decks are the only place you'll see Bujincarnation. Back when I wrote about Arasuda, I mentioned the concept of a Dark World deck that used Arasuda as a discard outlet for the Dark World monsters. Sure enough, you built and used it, and even submitted it to What The Fix?! for Jason to take a look at. There's no way I can not plug that article, so here's a link to it for anyone curious what kind of sick, beautiful monstrosities Yu-Gi-Oh! players are capable of. The original decklist belongs to Ryan S, from Melbourne Florida, and it had a stronger Dark World presence than the final cut Jason ended up with. In exchange, Bujincarnation made an appearance, emphasizing more on playing to the Bujin suite with Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World and Snoww, Unlight of Dark World peppered in for flavor. Either way I love it, and Bujincarnation's equally at home.

With any luck, somebody takes the idea I proposed in an article on Yamato to use Lightray Grepher for setting up Bujincarnation plays. I have faith in you.

Bujincarnation's not the generic, splashble kind of card that I usually talk about, but it's incredible for a lot reasons that aren't necessarily obvious to everyone. Putting Yamato onto the field and then Xyz Summoning afterward without losing Yamato in the process is crazy – especially when your Xyz options are a +2 Reinforcement of the Army with global effect negation; a Reinforcement/Foolish combo that can sweep an entire field; a 1-for-1 kill-anything card; a spell and trap-immune beater; a 2500 behemoth with built-in protection; or a hand-refresher that Special Summons stuff when it dies. Or Sky Pegasus. Plus recycling Bujingi Centipede, Turtle, Hare or Quilin as a cherry on the sundae? That doesn't even make sense.

The new format's only going to make Bujins more of a threat as other decks get weaker and Bujins remain unaffected. Fire Fists and Mermails are both knocked down a peg and Bujin are getting more support in May, so it'll be interesting to see how they develop. You can bet that no matter what happens, Bujincarnation's going to be a big part of the strategy for a long time to come.