One of the characteristics that separates Yu-Gi-Oh! from other card games is the sheer amount of consistency. Resources systems like Magic: The Gathering's mana and Pokémon's energy bog down your draws, often creating hands full of cards that you can't do anything with until you draw the right combination of resources. By dumping that mechanic Yu-Gi-Oh! gives players much faster access to their cards, creating an inherently more consistent game.

But beyond that? Yu-Gi-Oh! has an insane number of actual search cards. Not to sound old, but it wasn't always like this. I can remember a time when it was a big deal if a theme got just one Reinforcement of the Army type effect. Now though, almost every new strategy has at least one search card, and sometimes more than one. I've seen duelists look at Pokémon's abundance of ridiculous "Discard your hand, draw 7" Supporter Cards with envy, but if you've ever sat down and played the game competitively you'll notice that all those draw cards don't compete with the pinpoint search power in Yu-Gi-Oh.

That said, most monsters in this game can be searched several different ways. It's odd when an entire Type of monsters is limited to just one good search card, but such is the case with Reptiles. King of the Feral Imps is pretty much the only playable Reptile searcher, and after several years of fringe use in rogue strategies it's finally an Extra Deck staple for many Pendulum players.

Today I wanted to take a moment to discuss what King of the Feral Imps has done in the past, what it can do now, and how it might be used in the future.

In The Past
It's easy to look at King of the Feral Imps as a Reptile version of Gear Gigant X, but the comparison isn't that accurate. Gear Gigant X has a Level restriction on the Machine monsters it gets you, whereas King of the Feral Imps can search any Reptile. The downside, of course, is that Gear Gigant X can get monsters back from the graveyard while King can only get them from the deck. But the biggest distinction between the two might be that Gear Gigant X demands Machines as Xyz Material.

King of the Feral Imps is completely generic, which gives it a lot more versatility. If you're playing Gear Gigant X you're running a bunch of Level 4 Machines, and then the Xyz is granting extra consistency. With King of the Feral Imps you only really have to play one Reptile to make it worthwhile, which is part of why it's so appealing.

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Back in the day, King of the Feral Imps was used almost exclusively to grab Kagetokage. The best example was in Gadgets, where you'd summon a Gadget and use its effect as Chain Link 1, then chain Kagetokage from your hand, and follow up with Chain Summoning as Chain Link 3. That started a string of Rank 4's that could often defeat your opponent in a single turn. The strategy wasn't super competitive and was generally outclassed by less linear decks, but it was a popular pick among rogue duelists.

Personally, I used Kagetokage in tandem with Aratama and Nikitama to create strong Turn 1 boards. Opening with a hand of those three monsters let you end your turn with a King of the Feral Imps, a free draw, and those same three monsters in your hand. If the King of the Feral Imps survived you'd be looking at another free draw on your following turn, plus two Rank 4's and the chance to search Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning. In a format dominated by slower decks like Geargia and Fire Fist, that kind of opening play was frightening.

Outside of a couple other themes making similar combos, the only other time King of the Feral Imps was heavily considered for competition was back in the summer of 2013, when duelists figured out you could search Reptilianne Vaskii to out the then-popular Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack. If you weren't competing back then you might not realize that Dracossack was once a force to be reckoned with because removal like Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer and Number 101: Silent Honor ARK didn't exist yet. That combo didn't become a standard by any means, but there were plenty of players siding a Vaskii in their Rank 4 decks for that exact purpose.

In The PresentSo why's King of the Feral Imps a staple in every single Performage Pendulum list, and a near-staple in lists running the new Magician cards? The answer isn't straightforward, but the simplest reason is Masked Chameleon. The fantastic Level 4 Tuner has an awesome effect, but the majority of competitors don't plan on using it. For all intents and purposes it could be a Level 4 Normal Monster. The idea is that you Pendulum Summon a field full of Level 4's, overlay for King of the Feral Imps, and then search out a Masked Chameleon to Normal Summon.

From there you can Synchro Summon a variety of Level 8 Synchro Monsters. The obvious choice is Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer, one of the best Synchro Monsters in current competition. Packing an effect that not only propels your own strategy but punishes your opponent in the mirror match, Ignister Prominence is often the last thing your opponent sees before you take the match. As you already know, its effect doesn't target, making Masked Chameleon an important tool in defeating the un-targetable Kozmo spaceships like Kozmo Forerunner and Kozmo Dark Destroyer.

PSY-Framelord Omega's also been a popular choice the past few months, giving the Pendulum Performages pilot a defensive option that recycles Performage Damage Juggler turn after turn. While Ignister Prominence might be the better option in the mirror match, PSY-Framelord Omega deals with slower decks beautifully, constantly nabbing you free cards with Performage Damage Juggler while also taking a card out of your opponent's hand every turn.

If you don't need to make a Synchro monster you could always go for Jigabyte, which has the added benefit of not needing a Normal Summon. If you used your Normal Summon on Performapal Skullcrobat Joker then Jigabyte's probably your go-to search with King of the Feral Imps. In a lot of ways, Jigabyte's just a faster version of Kagetokage, bringing the King back to its roots of searching Xyz Material to continue your combo. Since Spellcasters are so popular now, Jigabyte's basically a searchable Performage Hat Tricker.

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Patrick Hoban won ARG Las Vegas with a Pendulum list packing a single copy of X-Saber Palomuro, a Level 1 Earth Tuner that you can grab with King of the Feral Imps. Its Level's inconvenient for Pendulum Summoning because there aren't any monsters with a Pendulum Scale of 0, but it fits a particular niche because it lets you Synchro Summon Naturia Beast with a Level 4 Earth.

His deck had a bunch of them, and yours probably does, too. Performage Hat Tricker and Dragonpulse Magician can both be paired with Palomuro to make Naturia Beast and basically auto-win the mirror match. It was a really cool idea that many players have flocked to in the past weeks and I'd imagine it to stick around for a while.

Looking Ahead
Rank 4's are more accessible than ever thanks to massive Pendulum Summoning, and as a result King of the Feral Imps is way more playable than it has been previously. The problem right now is that there just aren't a ton of great Reptiles to search, but as more and more sets are released I'd imagine this will become less of an issue. Similar to Pyro monsters, Reptiles have some neat support that's hard to take full advantage of without a decent variety of good monsters to seek out.

Still, now that more duelists are aware of King of the Feral Imps I'd bet that we'll see more experimentation with Reptiles moving forward. The fact that King can't retrieve cards from the graveyard hinders its effect by some small margin, but generally speaking it's a very powerful Rank 4 that will only get better with time. What are some obscure Reptile monsters you've been searching out these past couple weeks? Do you think King of the Feral Imps is a competitive staple? Let me know in the comments!

-Doug Zeeff

Doug Zeeff hails from Michigan and is currently an English major in college. When he's not found emailing Konami about why there's not a single walrus card in all of Yu-Gi-Oh! you can find him regularly posting unorthodox, unfiltered semi-Yu-Gi-Oh! related content on his Youtube channel, Dzeeff. In his spare time he enjoys eating cheese, crying over snow, and, of course, playing Yu-Gi-Oh.