I'll be the first to admit that not all of my decks featured here in Under the Radar will guarantee you major success at the Regional Qualifier or YCS level. I started this column to bring readers crazy ideas and unexpected decks that will give you the element of surprise in your matches. I've learned through my years of playing mashup decks that surprising your opponent's almost as important as your actual deck choice and your skill level. I've watched Doug Zeeff dismantle duelists who were playing arguably better decks because he could ambush them with Spirit monsters with names that sound more like sneezes than cards. That isn't to discredit Doug at all, quite the opposite: I'm saying that unconventional choices and unexpected decks can turn what should be a fair fight into a lopsided victory for the more aware, the more knowledgeable, and the more crazy duelist.

I'll also be the first to admit that I disliked the Bujins from the beginning. I initially viewed the deck as linear, boring, bland, insipid and void of skill and fun; the first wave of Bujin cards didn't leave you with many options besides very straightforward ways of playing the cards. But to be prepared as I possibly could, I looked into the theme to understand how it could be viable and how it functioned.

After doing some research in early January, I came to the conclusion that the Bujin deck was a horrible choice for competitive metagames. Popular main and Side Deck cards like DNA Surgery, Mistake, Light Imprisoning Mirror and Skill Drain rip Bujins to shreds unless they're dealt with immediately. This sentiment has been echoed widely across the Yu-Gi-Oh! community, with Jason Grabher-Meyer leading the pack, and the deck has become an afterthought in the eyes of many. While everyone has dismissed the deck, I'll be highlighting what I think is a sleeper pick that could give the strategy a leg up in upcoming events. You could even say that this deck is going to be under the radar…

DECKID=99634The Bujins made their debut in Judgment of the Light in 2013 and they haven't achieved much success in competitive play yet. After seeing Bujin decks in action at the JOTL Sneak Peak I wasn't impressed in the slightest, but I still wanted to collect the Bujin cards because they're so dang pretty. Shadow Specters made the deck marginally more interesting, but I still had no desire to play it until we got further Bujin support from Legacy of the Valiant.

Protect The Castle At All Costs
Protecting your one monster and keeping it alive was the only way to play Bujins when the deck debuted, playing the game of "protect the castle." When your main monster died, your Life Points quickly fell afterwards, and here you can insert as many criticisms and mockeries of Evilswarms as you wish. The earlier you can build your castle and keep the walls intact, the smoother your duels will go. Bujin Yamato is the castle for the Bujin deck because its effect is the most important, given the nature of the strategy and the monsters involved. Despite the new Bujin support released in the last two sets, Bujin Yamato will still be your ideal Turn 1 play and will continue to be your go-to even after Primal Origins hits the TCG in May. Since Yamato's a Beast-Warrior, you can fetch a copy from your deck with Fire Formation - Tenki to maximize the consistency of your first turn. Sadly, even with Tenki and the deck thinning of Pot of Duality, you'll open with no Yamato in roughly 30 percent of your games and have to make do with subpar moves until your cards all come together.

During each of your End Phases when Yamato remains on the field, you get to add a Bujin monster from your deck to your hand and then ditch a card. All the cards you're going to fetch are just weapons and shields for Yamato (and the other Beast-Warrior Bujins). You have to keep your Bujin Beast-Warrior alive and healthy, and the Bujingi beasts - which activate in your graveyard and your hand – do just that.

Of course, there are times that you'll find yourself having to make do without Yamato, as I mentioned before. All the Bujingi beasts require a Bujin Beast-Warrior on the field to activate their protection effects, and fortunately the deck isn't crippled beyond all playability if you don't have a first turn Yamato. The Beast-Warrior Bujin Mizakuchi is slightly stronger than Bujin Yamato, but its effect is much less important and only searches Bujin spells and traps; it thus won't fuel your graveyard with vital Bujingi monsters. If you still don't have a Bujin Yamato by Turn 2, you can stack any two Bujin monsters into Bujintei Susanowo (including the non-Beast-Warrior Bujingis). Not only is Susanowo a Bujin Beast-Warrior to make all your Bujingis live, but its effect lets you pitch a monster to the graveyard from your deck or search one straight from your deck to your hand. The situation's not totally hopeless if you don't open with a Bujin Yamato, but Bujin Mikazuchi and Bujintei Susanowo are subpar replacements. Just try to weather the storm until you can load your graveyard with shields, and your hands with weapons.

The best and yet most confusing way to protect your Bujin Yamato is with the one of the first Bujingis ever printed. In Judgment of the Light, we were graced with an on-theme Honest called Bujingi Crane that simply doubles your Yamato's ATK for one battle (for most intents and purposes, you can read the Bujingi text that specifics "a face up Bujin Beast-Warrior" as simply saying "Yamato"). It led to a lot of confusion when there were other ATK modifiers on the field. I should clarify: Crane doesn't double the ATK of your monster, the monster's ATK becomes double its original ATK. Confusing? Not so much.


If there's a face up Tenki on the field and you resolve Crane? 3600 ATK Yamato. You activated Forbidden Lance on Yamato to dodge a Bottomless Trap Hole and you pitch Crane for the boost in battle? 3600 ATK Yamato. Yamato is under the binds of Black Garden and you need to run over a monster with Bujingi Crane? 3600 ATK Yamato. Power goes out in your house but you still have Crane? 3600 ATK Yamato. The Russians are attacking, and you use Crane? 3600 ATK Yamato. You hailed Satan, but with Bujingi Crane? 3600 ATK Yamato.

What Does The Bujingi Fox Say?
Nothing, because that Bujin is useless in comparison to Bujingi Crane, the only real method of protecting Yamato from battle up until now. Fret not, because Legacy of the Valiant brought us the best Bujingi Beast yet: Bujingi Hare. With just 1700 ATK, it's nothing to write home about in sheer attack power, but the Hare's effect is really what makes it shine. Similar to many of the Bujingi cards, you can banish Hare from your graveyard while you control a face up Beast-Warrior Bujin monster to trigger its effect. Turtle protects your Bujin from anything that targets, but Hare protects your Bujin from any form of destruction. Protecting your Yamato has never been easier, and Bujingi Hare fills in the missing gaps that Bujingi Turtle left open. It can protect Yamato from stuff that you just never had answers to before, like Dark Hole and Torrential Tribute.

Bujingi Hare protects Yamato against most every effect sans Number 11: Big Eye and Fiendish Chain, but Yamato will only live just a hair longer. There are larger implications to this card's use. Previously, your opponent could often play around Turtle and destroy Yamato without targeting it, leaving you as the Bujin player with a dead Yamato and a useless Turtle in your graveyard. But Hare around, even if you know your Yamato won't live to see another End Phase, you can protect it temporarily and make way for the very reason I now like playing Bujins: Bujincarnation.

Bujincarnation is the bee's knees – an entire hive full of them. Like six fields of hives. It's a simple spell card that brings back one of your banished Bujins and a Bujin from your graveyard, and when Judgment of the Light was released I thought it would automatically be run in triplicate. Maybe even four or five copies if you were sneaky enough. After playing the deck pre-LVAL, I was discouraged at how few opportunities I had to activate Bujincarnation because my opponent would simply play around Turtle's protection and never give me a chance to play the best spell in this deck. I never had a Bujin card banished to make Bujincarnation live.

But what about Bujingi Quillin or Bujingi Centipede, the other two Bujingi that activate in the graveyard? Couldn't I have fueled Bujincarnation with those? The honest answer was no. Even with those two cards contributing to the struggling cause of just banishing one freaking Bujin, I usually wouldn't be able to set up a Bujincarnation early. Centipede pops spells and traps while Quilin detroys any face-up card, but between those two and Turtle, I still had to wait until the late game to resolve a Bujincarnation. If I ever got that far. This feeling resonated in the hearts of thousands of Bujin players worldwide, and for the longest time you only saw anybody play one of Bujincarnation at most. It was played solely as a Last Resort and a comeback card, but more often than not it was too little too late.

As I mentioned before, Bujin Mizazuki can search your Bujincarnation, but to do that you have to have Mikazuchi and Yamato together, or resolve a Bujingi Crane or the lesser Bujingi Crow while you control Mikazuchi. In the End Phase when you ditch a Bujin card from your hand, you get a free Bujin spell or trap from your deck with Mikazuchi, which will usually just be a Bujincarnation. Its two greatest strengths were that it was a Bujin Beast-Warrior so you could activate you Bujingi effects, and its ability to snag a Bujincarnation from your deck, which meant you could get away with just running one copy of the spell.


Now there's literally no reason not to run three Bujincarnations. Unlike Advanced Heraldry Art, the revival spell for Heraldics, you don't have to Xyz immediately with the Bujins you Special Summon. The best way to eliminate big threats is often to overlay for a Bujintei Susanowo, use its effect to snag a Crane or mill a Hare, and then go to town as you stomp over the rest of your opponent's cards. Bujincarnation limits you to Summoning Beast, Beast-Warrior or Winged Beast monsters, and for right now your Xyz options are limited to the Bujinteis, Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Tiger King, and Wolf' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Diamond Dire Wolf">Diamond Dire Wolf. More often than not I'll just make a Bujintei Susanawo and ride that monster to victory.

Some say that Bujincarnation can still be a dead draw, but honestly, it's only dead if you're already in a winning position. I love this thing because it lets you play recklessly and punish your opponent's smugness when they counter your Yamato, thinking they have the game locked. If you can use your Bujins to get your opponent into a low resource situation and simplify the duel, a single Bujincarnation can result in a ton of damage and set you up with a huge Bujintei Xyz.

Full House, In the Middle Of Our Street
If I can pick up all the Bujin cards by Saturday, I'll for sure be rocking this deck at my next Regional. I think I'm ready to weather the oodles of Side Deck hate a typical Bujin deck will face, and as much as I've prepared my Side Deck, I threw in a few cards into the Main Deck as well to ward off the plethora of spell and trap hindrances I expect to see. Dust Tornado and Mystical Space Typhoon are simply faster than Bujingi Centipede and a lot less situational; they'll help you out in virtually every match-up you play, and I even included Forbidden Lance to make sure I get the ball rolling as soon as possible. Establishing a Yamato or Bujintei Susanowo in the early game is your biggest priority, and you can't let spells and traps get in your way. Even a stray Fiendish Chain or Bottomless Trap Hole could doom your entire strategy. Speaking of Fiendish Chain, that card's the single reason I opted to play two Turtles and two Hares instead of three Hare and one Turtle.

I'm debating both Fairy Wind and Full House right now, to annihilate multiple backrow cards in one fell swoop. Fairy Wind can eliminate all face-up spell and trap threats but won't remove as many problems as Full House can. Though Full House can take out a full field of spell and traps, it needs three sets and two face-up targets to work. Against popular decks like Fire Fist and Spellbooks you'll have enough face-up targets to activate Full House, but you may have to sacrifice one of your own set cards to blow your opponent out of the water. Your own Fire Formation - Tenki can help ensure that you have enough cards to use Full House if your opponent doesn't play straight into your trap.

The new and improved Bujin deck, while insanely powerful in the right hands, is still pretty slow. I know my hardest matches will be against ultra speedy decks that generate card advantage at an alarming rate with big combos. While "+1 Fire Fists" and Mermails can establish powerful fields without losing card economy, I'll just be sitting quietly trying to resolve Yamato. I'm still deciding exactly what to include in my Side Deck, but I'm hoping to resolve Bujincarnation for the win all day long.

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson