Even at my local card shop, I'm known for my uncanny knack for throwing together piles of cards and trying to make something happen (did someone say Ghostrick Hieratic Monarchs?). About a week ago, my friend pitched me some truly asinine ideas. Most of his pitches were beyond terrible, but I didn't have the heart to tell him his ideas were putrid and abysmal and downright abhorrent. His suggestions were Diamond Dude Turbo sans Diamond Dude, Gravekeeper Chaos (with splashed Fabled monsters) and a deck centered around Confronting the "C" and Flying "C". I kept quiet until he said the phrase "Shaddoll Bujin," and I experienced the strangest sensation of uncontrollable laughter while also wanting to strangle someone.

I decided not to strangle him, and instead I went with his idea and was pleasantly surprised. The cohesive synergy between the decks becomes evident if you think about it for even just a few seconds, and the odd pairing isn't actually unplayable; in fact it's quite the opposite. In short, both Bujins and Shaddolls both follow a two-step plan: A) throw everything in the graveyard, and B) establish a boss monster. They're similar enough to warrant a mash-up despite their structural differences.

DECKID=101152I'll be the first to admit this deck idea seems like a joke, but it's somehow not the worst thing in the world. At the end of the day, you can fall back on either strategy because there aren't good floodgates outside of Macro Cosmos that hurt both strategies.

Light Imprisoning Mirror, Shadow Imprisoning Mirror, Stygian Dirge, Flying "C"… most Side Deck cards ready to thwart you can only stop half of this deck.

Imagine A Fanfic With The Shaddoll Monsters And Bujins
I don't know what would happen in that fantasy story, but it would be a confusing bastardization of every lore therein. Franco Ferrara would certainly have a fit, and despite my best protests, I would read it and love every second of the cheesy and banal action. I'm totally greenlighting this project; I hope one of you gets Cracking.

Backstory aside, both decks are viable in today's competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! environment; you've probably seen deck lists piling in from regionals, the ARG Circuit Series, YCS and TCGplayer.com events to show that Shaddolls certainly have the most representation at the top tables. Nevertheless, I think Bujins still can put up a fight because killing a Yamato can be really difficult and annoying.

At the core of this deck, it's really more of a Bujin strategy than a Shaddoll varaint. I didn't mean to praise Shaddolls so much and then swindle you, but I found that adding in more Shaddoll support like Shaddoll Core, Sinister Shadow Games and other Shaddoll monsters clogged the deck. Hugging the 40 card limit isn't mandatory for every strategy, but when you need a Bujin Yamato in the early game, 40 cards is pretty standard.

As evidenced by the variety of Bujingi monsters and Fire Formation – Tenki, I'll emphasize that this deck is often Yamato or bust. It's the core of your strategy, establishing an early turn Yamato and protecting it with Bujingi Crane, Bujingi Hare and Bujingi Turtle. That way, your Yamato can't be taken off the field by battle, by a destruction effect, or an errant targeting threat like Dimensional Prison.

And of course, you have your Bujin support cards. Bujin Mikazuchi acts as a backup if your Yamato bites the dust but also works in tandem with Yamato to search out Bujincarnation from your deck. Mikazuchi's neat that way because it'll trigger whenever a Bujin monster goes from your hand to your graveyard, so things like Bujin Yamato and Bujingi Crane assist Mikazuchi.

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Bujin Hirume's my favorite Bujin monster by far. Not only does it look fabulous sashaying across a beam of light, but Hirume's the biggest Bujin monster and doesn't consume your Normal Summon. It sets you up for Bujincarnation by banishing a Bujin, and honestly it's the reason Bujins haven't fallen off the competitive map completely, alongside the obvious powerhouse of Bujincarnation.

Shaddoll monsters are quite different from Bujins in terms of their effects. There isn't a monster to Normal Summon that then benefits from you slowly pitching protective armor pieces in the graveyard. Rather, Shaddolls typically vomit their decks to their graveyard with Shaddoll Fusion and Sinister Shadow Games to trigger the Shaddoll effects. The Shaddoll monsters all get a unique effect when sent to the graveyard by card effect but also get a different Flip Effect.

Shaddoll Beast draws you a card when it's sent to the graveyard, but also lets you draw two and discard one when it's flipped. Shaddoll Dragon pops a spell or trap when it's yarded, but bounces a card on the field when it's flipped. Falco, with a surprisingly big 1400 DEF, Special Summons itself went it hits the yard, but Summons another Shadoll with its second ability. Fortunately, each of these cards are limited to using only one of their effects once per turn; that restriction keeps them from being completely unfair.

Worst case scenario, you can combine the Bujins and Shaddolls to create cute interactions. For example, you can search a Bujingi Crane with Yamato during the End Phase and pitch a Shaddoll Beast to draw a card. While that's a decent enough effect, it doesn't really propel you anywhere. It leaves your Yamato open to destruction and what's the point of drawing cards if you can't do anything with them?

Let's Fuse These Decks Together
Without Shaddoll Fusion, this mash-up would be all sorts of awful and slow, corrupting the integrity both strategies to the point of collapse. Shaddoll Fusion, the themed Polymerization card, makes two huge behemoths that really hold their weight. El Shaddoll Winda, despite only having 2200 ATK, is perfect to fight alongside Yamato because Winda acts as a Kaiser Coliseum of sorts. While Winda remains face-up on the field, both players can only Special Summon once. That doesn't conflict with Bujins much because their main form of Special Summoning requires an empty field anyways (Bujincarnation).

El Shaddoll Construct is about as different from Winda as you can get. Construct requires a Shaddoll monster and a Light monster as its Fusion Materials, unlike Winda which takes two Darks. Additionally, Construct sends a Shaddoll from your deck to your graveyard upon Summon and then wins any battle versus a Special Summoned monster, kinda like Ally of Justice Catastor. Since I only ran three different Shadoll monsters (Shaddoll Hedgehog and Shaddoll Squamata don't do much for you here), I made sure to max out on the relevant monsters so you can make the most of their effects. Each Shaddoll can only be used once during the turn, so if you use Shaddoll Beast as a Fusion Material for Construct, you'd want to send a Shaddoll Falco or Shadoll Dragon to the graveyard instead of wasting another Beast.

Both are intimidating for your opponent, and both solve problems that little Yamato can't address by itself. Construct will blow up anything Yamato can't get over, and Winda prevents your opponent from spamming lots of monsters to outmaneuver your Bujingi Turtle and Bujingi Crane. Besides, wouldn't it be nice to dump those in-hand Bujin monsters with Shaddoll Fusion? Fuse Bujingi Hare and Shaddoll Beast for extra protection in grave, an extra draw and a giant Construct on the field!

But what really makes this deck a force to actually be reckoned with is Shaddoll Fusion's conditional effect: if your opponent controls a monster that was just summoned from the Extra Deck, your entire Main Deck becomes fodder for your Shadoll Fusion, netting you so much… advantage? Is there really a good word for the combination of plusses you get out of that scenario? You get to yard Bujingi monsters for free, trigger literally any Shaddoll effect you want and put a boss monster on the field. It's like having an extra Yamato on the table while you accumulate resources for free.

Pairing Bujins with Shaddolls also gives you so many cards that are great in your opening turn and the early game. Fire Formation – Tenki, Bujin Yamato and Shaddoll Fusion are great first turn plays. Of course, the more the better, but opening the duel with Shaddoll Fusion and Bujin Yamato means you're set. Add Vanity's Emptiness to the mix and your opponent might as well extend the handshake right there.

There's Room For More?
There's always room for more, and I tried to maximize the output of every card therein. Since space is inherently tight, I opted for traps that stop problems on their own and give you a chance to comeback on your turn instead of favoring spot removal and destruction. Breakthrough Skill, especially with opposing El Shaddoll Windas and Artifact Moralltachs running around, fits the bill perfectly. It's never a bad card, especially if you're rolling the dice on what decks you'll line up against down the road. While not necessarily mainstream, cards like Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo, Abyss Dweller and Koaki Meiru Drago all present problems for you and Breakthrough Skill's specialty is turning off those cards that say "you can't use your stuff."

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Many other choices here may seem obvious, but I'm still on the fence about Super Polymerization. Sure, in the Bujin or Shaddoll mirror match (I guess both are the mirror matches), Super Polymerization is awesome because it absorbs the best monsters your opponent could possibly have and hands you a boss monster in the end. I mean, think about using a Super Polymerization on an opposing Winda and Construct. Can you say game?

Soul Charge, yes; let me devote a paragraph to this card for the sake the great things you can do with 3000 Life Points. One copy's sufficient since you'll only want to pay a ton of Life Points once per game. Consider just one of many topnotch late game scenarios: bring back a Yamato, Honest, and Shaddoll Winda from your graveyard to build a dominating field. Bounce Honest back to your hand and use Yamato's effect during the End Phase so you have a dominating set-up with two pseudo-indestructible monsters and extra backup in hand. You have so many boss monsters in this deck that bringing back two or three during the late game pushes you toward a w with ease.

Since I like instant win buttons, I couldn't justify omitting Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning. You don't need any of your Bujin Beast-Warriors or Shadoll monsters after they hit the yard, so why not play one of the best stand-alone cards ever printed? Additionally, Shaddoll Falco gets even better when you pair it with a Black Luster Soldier because you can make Leo, the Keeper of the Sacred Tree! Technically you could make Leo with a Bujincarnation and Falco too, but that seems like a lot of work. More often than not, I'll make a Bujin Susanowo or Castel the Skyblaster Musketeer when I activate Bujincarnation.

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson