Decks based around Ritual Monsters have had very little success in competitive Yu-Gi-Oh, often being nothing more than blips on the radar in the grand scheme of the game. Demise OTK, centered around Demise, King of Armageddon, was quickly snuffed out once Advanced Ritual Art was Limited. Gishki Hieratic decks with Gishki Gustkraken provided a hand loop, but the Forbidden and Limited list also killed that before it really began. The most notable Ritual deck is Herald of Perfection, the Ritual strategy that does a great job of annoying your opponent and eventually winning with Archlord Kristya… or something.

It's odd because Ritual Monsters have gained a ton of generic support, often with powerful effects that mirror other busted cards. Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands, Senju of the Thousand Hands and Sonic Bird are the Elemental Hero Stratos of Ritual Monsters. Preparation of Rites is another quick +1 of card economy that cuts down on the cost of Ritual Monsters by netting you a monster and a Ritual Spell. Rituals even have their own Premature Burial with Fulfillment of the Contract.

Today, I'll be highlighting my favorite Ritual Deck; your opponents won't have a ghost of a chance to win.

DECKID=100142How to you bolster a Ritual Deck to compensate for the slower Ritual mechanics? Stuff the deck with other themes and strategies to create a well-rounded deck. If you look closely, you'll see Ghostricks, Rituals, Xyz support and a 3000 DEF boss monster that work symbiotically in a cohesive game plan.

It's a little mix of everything that meshes perfectly.

Getting Squishy
If you watched the original Yu-Gi-Oh! TV show, then you'll remember the fabulous and camp Maximillion Pegasus, and how he played his Toon monsters alongside Relinquished and the now-Forbidden Thousand-Eyes Restrict. Pegasus was my favorite villain for many reasons, but most importantly because I was so entranced by his cards and stylish hair. I normally love the cuter cards like Wattgiraffe and Puny Penguin, but Relinquished has a special place in my heart despite being the exact opposite.

As a Level 1, Relinquished is inherently the easiest Ritual Monster to Summon in comparison to other blue colored monster cards. In short, Ritual Monsters require a Ritual Spell to hit the field and an appropriate number of Levels as Tribute fodder that correspond to the Level of your Ritual Monster. Virtually every monster will suffice for Relinquished, and thus your investment for will always be minimal.

What do you get for putting together a three-card combo? The power to make any opposing monster lunch for Relinquished, of course. With has a similar effect to Number 101: Silent Honor ARK, Relinquished can steal any monster on the field whether it was Normal Summoned, Special Summoned or Set. Once per turn, you can gobble up any opposing monster to act as a shield for Relinquished. In doing so, Relinquished gains ATK equal to the attack points of whatever monster it took. The stolen monster protects Relinquished in battle and makes your opponent take any battle damage, though it falls to the graveard after one battle. Don't despair, because next turn you can just steal another one!

As Kelly Locke would say, "Neat."

And as Doug "doug" Zeeff would say, "Loukas, stop making that stupid joke; it's not even funny anymore."

The easiest way to Summon your Ritual behemoth is with Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands. With a Manju and either Black Illusion Ritual or Relinquished, you can Normal Summon Manju to search whatever piece of the combo you're missing and then Tribute Manju for your Ritual Summon. Sure, technically it's a two-card investment for just one monster, but you'll be absorbing whatever monster your opponent has as soon as Relinquished hits the field. Preparation of Rites is a reset button for Relinquished. After it's destroyed, Rites returns Black Illusion Ritual from your graveyard to your hand and searches a Relinquished from your deck. With a way to recycle your Ritual Spell, you can afford to run fewer copies without sacrificing consistency.

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Mystic Piper and Kinka-Byo compliment Relinquished well because Mystic Piper's an Upstart Goblin on legs that can even turn into a free +1 if whatever you draw is a Level 1 monster. Kinka-Byo fills three roles in this deck. First, it's a recursive Mystic Piper each turn: just Normal Summon Kinka-Byo, revive Piper and Tribute it for a card, then repeat the next turn. Second, Kinka-Byo's a great way to make a Rank 1, like the aggressive Ghostrick Dullahan or the defensive Slacker Magician. Third, it's monster removal in and of itself because you can bring back a Relinquished and steal a monster, then overlay for a Rank 1 Xyz.

Them Tricky Ghosts
Sure, call me obsessed with Ghostricks, but I think they fill a void that the Relinquished strategy sorely needs filled. Without clogging up your backrow with clunky traps, Ghostricks supply you with a unique type of defense in addition to tribute fodder and backrow removal. Additionally, Ghostrick Specter and Ghostrick Mary are Level 1's, so you may be drawing cards left and right and up and down with Mystic Piper. Whether your opponent runs over a monster or attacks directly, drop Ghostrick Mary to set a Jiangshi and you can start accumulating more Ghostricks. With Mary and Jiangshi, your opponent has to fight through a wall of adorable monsters if they want to do any real damage. Meanwhile you're dropping Ghostrick Specters, thinning your deck and throwing Dark monsters into your graveyard. Worst case scenario, the monsters Jiangshi searches will provide you with tribute fodder for Relinquished.

While it's rare that you'll ever be searching one Jiangshi with another, because Jiangshi needs more Ghostricks on the field to search the higher level Ghostricks, Tour Guide From the Underworld provides an outlet for Level 3 monsters so you can make your powerful Rank 3 Xyz, the best being Ghostrick Alucard. Every deck, even Mermails and Dragons, sets a ton of spells and traps right now; you'll have to wade through them, so your finishing moves like Relinquished can do their work uninhibited. Frequently when I have a set Jiangshi with Tour Guide in hand, my opponent's wasted their effect negation cards like Effect Veiler and Fiendish Chain on both of my Dark monsters, trailblazing the way for the real threats. That kind of situation lets you make an Alucard without fear of reprisal and further eliminate potential threats that might stop you from making later plays.

Djinn Releaser of Rituals will be your best candidate for Relinquished Tribute because it has a purpose even after hitting the yard. If you banished Releaser of Rituals as Tribute for Relinquished, your opponent can't Special Summon as long as Relinquished remains on the field. With plenty of backrow removal, I think the biggest problem Relinquished decks have is a multitude of swarming monsters, because Relinquished can only use its meat-shields one at a time. Fortunately, Djinn Releaser of Rituals will stop your opponent from unleashing an onslaught of monsters. Outside of Fire Formation - Tensen and Double Summon, it's really hard to put two monsters on the field to kill a Relinquished when it's backed by Releaser's effect.

One More Song Before You Go
I've played nearly every game with this deck in the same fashion, and it's had tremendous success. You want to clear as many potential threats with your weaker pawns and then drop Relinquished to seal the deal. In a low resource situation without Special Summons, your opponent will be powerless to find a way around Relinquished. With Mystical Space Typhoon and Ghostrick Alucards to pop their set spells and traps, plus Tour Guides to waste your opponent's Veilers and Fiendish Chains, it'll be all over for them when Relinquished hits the table.

Or, at least, that's 'Plan A.' Plan B exists for a reason, but it's something neither Jeff nor I found we needed.

Plan B is The Dark Creator, the "evil" version of The Creator. If you can simplify the game down to your Dark Creator versus your opponent's couple of cards, you can amass field advantage quickly by reviving all your monsters from the graveyard over a few turns. The Ghostricks act not only as stall and draw power, but fuel for The Dark Creator, which needs at least five Darks in the graveyard to make an appearance. With 2300 ATK and 3000 DEF, that Monster Reborn on legs seems like a good enough win condition to me.

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I've never had a problem amassing enough Darks for The Dark Creator, and if your behemoth survives even just two turns, you'll be in a dominating position. You can bring back two monsters with the same Level to make an Xyz or abuse Relinquished and Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning a second, third or even fourth time. I've even brought back a fallen Dark Creator to make the Rank 8 Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand. Since I play Deck Devastation Virus in the Side Deck, I've revived a Ghostrick Dullahan or Alucard too, so I can throw down a Downerd Magician and have something to tribute with DDV. Of course, recycling Ghostrick with Dullahan or Alucard's effect is just an added bonus.

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you.

Loukas Peterson
Article Aftermath #20