Outside of a handful of decks, I'm happy to pilot just about any strategy out there. Pure Dark Worlds aren't really my style, and please don't get me started on my distaste for Evilswarm. Sometimes I hate decks because the strategy's overplayed; sometimes I think the cards are stupid; and sometimes I think certain strategies just aren't very fun.

The Onslaught of the Fire Kings Structure Deck was one of those decks for me, for the longest time. During the reign of Mermails and the same weekend Cosmo Blazer was released, the TCG welcomed an insanely devastating fiery bird to the play environment: Fire King High Avatar Garunix! Of course, we've had Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys since Flaming Eternity nearly a decade ago, but if Sacred Phoenix is Mega Big Chicken, then Avatar Garunix is Ultra Mega Big Booty Chicken.

Despite the hype, the Fire Kings died down faster than a campfire in a rain storm. Mermails still reigned strong thanks to Mermail Abyssteus from CBLZ, and things only got worse once Tachyon Galaxy came to our shores. To make matters worse, Fire King Avatar Yaksha arrived six months after the other Fire King Avatars, so the deck kept getting less and less relevant as time went on and it tried to subsist without one of its key cards. I can't say for certain, but I believe that we would have seen Fire Kings do something in 2013 if Yaksha had been released earlier.

And believe it or not, I absolutely hated Fire Kings when they first came out. I don't have a good reason why, but it's probably because I thought they were all so ugly. To top it off, they reminded me of Fire Fists and everyone knows I don't like that deck at all. Come to think of it, every deck my friend John plays ends up on my "never ever build" list. Oh, I also didn't like them because Doug "why don't we just take a train to Toronto I bet it's faster and cheaper" Zeeff talked non-stop about Fire King Avatar Yaksha.

For weeks.

Not that I'm a fan of nuclear warfare or anything, but my love for Fire Kings materialized when I eventually realized that blowing up everything every turn is actually kind of fun. Sure, Fire Kings aren't heavily combo oriented nor do any of the cards have uber high utility, but I've had a recent change of heart for our fiery friends. After all, who doesn't like reset buttons? A guy's got to have some fun since Fiber Jar and Chaos Emperor Dragon - Envoy of the End were locked away, never to see the light of the game again.

DECKID=100905I bet that Fire Kings are beyond under the radar. I bet most people haven't even considered this a deck in a while because, well, it only does one thing. Granted, it does that one thing really well, but still – it only does one thing, which is blowing everything up.

Cards like Raigeki and Dark Hole are similar to the big hitters in this deck because they're not reactionary. Destruction effects are good, but if they could be chained to other effects as well, that'd be amazing. How much better would Dark Hole be if it was a Quickplay Spell? Riddle me that.

Through The Fire And The Flames And The Carnage
If you're unfamiliar with the mega ultra flying chickens in this deck, I wouldn't blame you. Fire King High Avatar Garunix and Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys are similar, both being Level 8 Fire Winged-Beast monsters that get their effects after being destroyed and sent to the graveyard. Garunix has a big 2700 ATK and takes care of on-field monsters while the 2400 Phoenix wipes out spells and traps.

A somewhat linear strategy like this can be both a blessing and a curse. Fortunately, there's a handful of cards I'll talk about later that make this deck more that just a one-trick pony. Maybe a one trick fire chicken, perhaps, but I digress.

Keep in mind that High Avatar Garunix and Nephthys have to be destroyed by card effects. Whether that's Dark Hole or Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare, it doesn't matter. But when they're destroyed by battle it's a different story; a much more sad story, kinda like the time that I accidentally got caught underwater with cinderblocks duct taped to my feet. There's a story for that at a later time. But yeah, while Garunix at least Summons a different Fire King monster from your deck when it's run over in battle, Nephthys dies an uneventful death when an opposing monster takes it down. You get nothing.

Fortunately you don't have to rely on your opponent's cards to destroy your flaming poultry. Thanks to Fire King Avatar Yaksha, any time that Beast-Warrior dies you can blow up a card in your hand or on your field. Its effect kicks in both when it's destroyed by battle and by card effect, so it makes your in-hand copies of Nephthys and Garunix live. If you have Fire King Avatar Barong in your hand, you can destroy that which in effect equals out to destroying a big beater anyhow.

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You'd think that all your Level 4 monsters – including Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Bear and Coach Soldier Wolfbark, since they're legal targets of Fire Formation - Tenki – would be enough, but you'd be wrong. Fire Kings have an uncanny ability to speed through the deck to consistently blow everything up. When Barong gets destroyed by a card effect, usually by a Yaksha, you search out a Fire King card from your deck during the next Standby Phase.

It's not Spellbooks, but this deck has a circular play sequence that lets you unleash Garunix and Nephthys over and over if you play your cards right. Onslaught of the Fire Kings and Circle of the Fire Kings are two of your best searches with Barong. Circle of the Fire Kings is great because it both triggers your Fire King effects by blowing them up on the field, and then reviving another Fire monster from your graveyard. Oh, and did I mention that Onslaught brings out any Fire monster from your deck and then blows it up during the End Phase to trigger your Fire King tricks?

Yeah, because that's fair.

Something Something Not As Cool
Looking at the Fire King strategy, it's clear your neat little package of on-theme monsters and spells should be sufficient to get your heavy hitters out there. But wait, there's more! I included lil' baby chicken (Fire King Avatar Garunix) because it's actually a nice substitute when you don't have any other Fire King monsters. 1700 DEF is surprisingly relevant, but as soon as Avatar Garunix dies you can Special Summon another Fire King Avatar from your deck. Whether you Summo another Avatar Garunix or that much-needed Yaksha, Avatar Garunix will put in work; it's yet another way to get to your central combos, lending welcome consistency to this build.

Generation Force is another card I've seen a lot of debate on. Personally I'm loving the two copies played here because it triggers, geez, everything in the deck while searching out more and more cards. For example, a mediocre hand with a Barong and a Generation Shift means you're picking two cards out of your deck, probably an Onslaught of the Fire Kings to decimate your opponent. Shift also pairs well with Yaksha to blow up a card in your hand, or miniature Garunix if you need to speed up the process even faster.

Worst case scenario, you can even treat your Generation Shift like a protection card. If your High Avatar Gaunix is threatened by a Dimensional Prison, Bottomless Trap Hole or even a monster with higher ATK, chain a set Generation Force to save your Garunix, trigger its effect and then searching another copy from your deck because why not?

At first I thought Generation Shift and Circle of the Fire Kings would give me all the immunity my monsters needed, but after testing, I felt like I still needed Forbidden Lance. Not only does it allow my smaller monsters to pack a huge punch in battle and let Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear's effect trigger more, but it lets Garunix run over things in battle and saves my many Xyzs in case they're threatened as well. That's the only downside to Circle: its need to blow up a Fire monster to Special Summon a yarded one.

If you haven't picked up on it yet, the major weakness of Fire Kings is their lack of immunity to things that don't blow them up. You can laugh at the Hands all you want, but monsters like Number 101: Silent Honor ARK and Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk can really make you cry. The good news is that monster effect negation goes well in a Fire King deck. Things like Book of Moon and Forbidden Chalice may seem like annoying losses of card presence on field, but if your Garunix or Phoenix stays alive for the turn, you can just blow up all their crap later.

And remember when I said the deck wasn't a one-trick fire chicken? Heaven forbid you don't have your Yaksha, Garunix, Phoenix and Barong loops going on later in the game: in that case Fire Kings also get the boost of Coach Soldier Wolfbark and Rekindling to make massive comeback plays with Rank 4's at the drop of hat.

Running Out of Steam?
Despite Fire Kings' consistency, one of their biggest challenges is that they can exhaust their resources very quickly. Sure, you can get out a Garunix or Nephthys easily and start destroying stuff to your heart's content, but you may find yourself behind on card economy after burning through Forbidden Lances, Forbidden Chalices and Circle of the Fire Kings.

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Good thing someone decided to print Supply Squad! Last week Pasquale Crociata wrote about Aliens and their ability to use my new favorite Continuous Spell, and Supply Squad makes decks like Fire Kings, Scraps and Archfiends much stronger. I'm not saying you'll win a YCS anytime soon solely off Supply Squad, but if you're forced to blow up your own cards to trigger their must-play abilities, you might as well be drawing cards as well, right?

And I wouldn't be doing the deck justice without mentioning the dreaded Garunix loop. It's rather simple, really, but it's incredibly frustrating for your opponents to try and deal with. As soon as you get a Garunix in your graveyard ready to come back, bring out a second copy and wait for the next Standby Phase: the first Garunix will revive itself and destroy the second. When number 2 comes back, well, you get the picture right? At the very least, hopefully you'll have as much fun with this deck as I did!

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you!

-Loukas Peterson