Countless decks have had their fifteen seconds of fame, spanning hundreds of strategies and archetypes since the dawn of Yu-Gi-Oh! While Lightsworn variants only took two YCS titles, their dominance over several formats was impressive and worthy of remembrance. The handy dandy Forbidden and Limited List didn't treat Lightsworns too kindly, though, Limiting and Semi-Limiting Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner, Judgment Dragon, Charge of the Light Brigade, Honest and Necro Gardna. The semi-annual card rotation took away a lot of the herping and most of the derping from Light of Destruction's flagship deck and pushed the followers of Light to the brink of obscurity with their power cards restricted so heavily.

In my latest Top 8 regional report, I vented my confusion when my first round opponent sat down with Lightsworn. Though some Lightsworn support has come off the F&L List, they never returned to full power. Even with Lumina, Necro Gardna and Judgment Dragon all unrestricted, I honestly believed that Lightsworns have no place in the competitive scene until the Structure Deck's released in the summer. Until then, I thought the deck would stay mediocre at best.

DECKID=100250As soon as I spoke those words, the newest card set Dragons of Legends was announced and with it several extremely powerful cards, moving Lightsworns from "mediocre pile of fish poo" to "good lord almighty have mercy on my soul." Two anime cards, Kuribandit and Soul Charge, are exactly what the doctor ordered for this deck. Sure, you won't play one or even both in every strategy, but I'll be picking up playsets quickly and abusing them in every deck I can before the ban-hammer comes down.

We Have A Swear Jar In My Apartment So Why Not A Lightsworn Jar?
There's no catchy moniker like "Troop, Dupe, Scoop" to tell you how the Lightsworns work; "Send cards from your deck at the end of the turn" doesn't have the same ring to it. With the exception of a few Lightsworns like Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter and Celestia, Lightsworn Angel, this family of Light monsters sends cards from the top of your deck to your graveyard during the End Phase. Some send two while others send three, but I'll leave the etymology and explanations of things like that to our very own Franco Ferrara.

It's an odd card mechanic to have because only Wulf, Lightsworn Beast gets any effect when sent directly to the graveyard from the deck. Yes, the Lightsworn Structure due for release in the summer includes some very good Lightsworn support and a Tuner version of Wulf, but for now Wulf's the only one that works when milled. Why waste all that time throwing your decked cards to the graveyard?

The plan is simple; we Summon the Judgment Dragon.

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The 3000 ATK Dragon blows up everything else on the field as many damn times as you want per turn because that's totally fair card design. Ranting aside, Judgment Dragon's arguably one of the best boss monsters in the existence of the game and makes Lightsworns scary; it's totally worth bleeding your deck during every End Phase so you have enough graveyard fuel to summon it. You can Special Summon as many Judgment Dragons as you please during your own turn as long as you have at least four different Lightsworns in your graveyard. The only downside to Judgment Dragon is its own milling effect during the End Phase. In eras long past, that actually lost people games from time to time. But now, if you somehow managed to suck so much that dropping two Judgment Dragons didn't win you the game, you can overlay both for Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand so you don't lose your entire deck at the end of the turn.

Don't get me wrong, the other Lightsworns have amazing effects as well, just not "blow up the entire field" amazing. Each of the Lightsworn serve a different niche for a well rounded family of monsters. With Charge of the Light Brigade and Solar Recharge, you can speed through your deck quickly to find whatever Lightsworn you need while yarding Judgment Dragon food as well.

Lyla, Lightsworn Sorcerer pops spells and traps; Ehren, Lightsworn Monk purges the field of defense position monsters, without triggering graveyard effects; and Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner turns any card in your hand into a Monster Reborn. Lumina and Wulf can lead to a ton of damage in one turn against an open field. My favorite Lightsworn in this deck is actually Celestia, the Lightsworn that had largely fallen completely out of play in previous Lightsworn decks. With three Wulfs, I think you can actually abuse Celestia's effect despite needing Tribute fodder to Summon it. Whenever you Tribute a Lightsworn for Celestia, you can mill four to destroy two and pave the way for Judgment Dragon to come down uninhibited later.

So How About Them New Cards?
I was just getting to those if you'd calm down, Voice In My Head. Sheesh.

Kuribandit is Yugi's furry Level 3 Fiend that had its effect watered down just enough to still be playable but not to the point of getting the Card of Sanctity treatment. In the anime, Kuribandit excavated five cards but the controller could keep all the non-monsters. Now, Kuribandit's owner keeps only one spell or trap instead of all of them and pitches the rest to the graveyard. In short, it's exactly what Lightsworns, Dragon Rulers and Sylvans needed.

While it's reminiscent of a few different cards, Kuribandit's most similar to Cardcar D in my mind because while it consumes your Normal Summon, it digs for specific cards. Instead of drawing two, you get to pick up five, trading that extra draw for seeing more cards in your deck. Simply choose whatever one spell or trap is most convenient at the time and discard the rest, throwing two or three Lightsworn monsters and maybe a Breakthrough Skill in your graveyard. While not as overpowered as Painful Choice, Kuribandit's a strong mix of several game mechanics and cards already proven to be insane.

And Kuribandit's just a teaser for Soul Charge. The new spell's easily one of the best cards ever printed, rivaling Painful Choice, Spellbook of Judgment and Chaos Dragon - Envoy of the End for the pinnacle of Yu-Gi-Oh! supremacy. For a meager 1000 Life Points per monster, you bring back anything you want from your graveyard. Its only restriction prevents you from attacking during the turn you play it, but you're free to Synchro, Xyz and Tribute Summon without limit.

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Sure, there are crazy combo-centric things to do with Soul Charge that let you build amazing fields, but while everyone's trying to figure out how many Shooting Quasar Dragons a Soul Charge can make, the simple stuff has been overlooked. Even if you're only reviving one or two monsters, Soul Charge is still amazing.

You can bring back Honest and bounce it to your hand for the next turn, or you can bring back Lumina to make a quick Rank 3. Worst case scenario, bring back any Lightsworn and Tribute it for Celestia to blow up two spells or traps. I don't have enough time to describe every field that Soul Charge can produce, but you get the picture: losing 1000, 2000 or 3000 LP is nothing in the grand scheme of the duel if you're churning out big beaters. It's so satisfying to hit a Soul Charge off Kuribandit while you send Lightsworns to the graveyard.

A Whole New World
Lightsworns have taken a variety of forms over the years without a clear "best" version. I could throw out words like Twilight, French Twilight, Shinysworn and Zombiesworn that probably make no sense to you unless you've played against them. Additionally, I've substituted a lot of standard Lightsworn cards for tech choices and the powerful Kuribandit and Soul Charge to create an entirely new version.

Instead of maxing out on all the Zombie monsters, I'm only using Plaguespreader Zombie, leaving Mezuki and Zombie Master in my binder. Why? With Kuribandit and the Lightsworns, I have too many monsters requiring a Normal Summon and too few turns to execute said Summons. I omitted Mezuki for the same reason I skipped a Lightsworn favorite, Necro Gardna. I absolutely hate drawing either of those cards because they only make bad hands worse. In my opinion I've already included too many "dead" cards, and packing the deck with more and more situational cards that are only useful when pitched to the graveyard brings more risk. With Gardna and Mezuki, I felt an obligation to run Beckoning Light and Monster Reincarnation. I don't want to put mediocre cards that neg you on card economy just to compensate for the dead cards I might have in my hand at the time.

I didn't just omit Necro Gardna; I also cut any similar cards like Tragoedia, Swift Scarecrow, Kuriboh' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Rainbow Kuriboh">Rainbow Kuriboh and Bacon Saver for the same reason I passed on Necro Gardna: I hate drawing dead cards. I genuinely think you won't need a plethora of defense when you can just speed through the deck and use Soul Charge and Judgment Dragon to wreck havoc. Games don't last too long when your deck's packing three Judgment Dragons and three Soul Charges.

One card choice I'd like to highlight is Treacherous Trap Hole, a trap that's very hard to use because it requires your yard to be empty of all other traps. Fortunately, Breakthrough Skill banishes itself for its secondary effect and setting up Treacherous to work its magic. If Skill Prisoner ever takes off as the next big trap (and consequently Doug Zeeff and I will make roughly six oodles of money), you could splash it in Lightsworns because Prisoner also banishes itself for a secondary effect.

Lastly, I need to touch on Genex Ally Birdman, a card that I have a strange affinity for despite its underwhelming effect. Until the Lightsworn Tuners set to be released this summer in the Realm of Light Structure Deck, I think Birdman suffices for my favorite Synchro: Black Rose Dragon. With Lumina and Birdman, you can easily make a Rank 3 or Black Rose Dragon and Swing the momentum in your favor. You're already using three Judgment Dragons, so why not a Black Rose as well? By pitching a card, you can revive any Lightsworn with Lumina and then pop her out in for Birdman so you can use Lumina's effect again on your next turn. You may call that situational, but this deck wouldn't be a Loukas deck if it didn't have something crazy going on.

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson