I can thank Zach Buckley and Pasquale Crociata for helping me out with parts 3 and 4 of the Pilica Chronicles. I'm glad my co-writers could pick up where I left off and string together two unique mash-ups I hadn't dared to go yet. If you missed those articles, you can check out Zach's here and Pasquale's here.

The inspiration from Pilica Part 5 comes right out of newest card set - Duelist Alliance! When that booster dropped, my eye didn't fancy the World Premier Burning Abyss archetype; I wasn't concerned with Shadolls; and my inclination towards Satellarknights started with Phoenix Gearfried. The one card I'd been excited for since its release is the upgraded version of the only Monarch ever to be Limited: Raiza the Mega Monarch!

DECKID=101024Ten bucks says you didn't know Raiza the Storm Monarch was Limited a long time ago. If you did know that, joke's on you because I didn't actually make a bet with you.

It's hard to imagine that Raiza once struck such fear into the hearts of duelists everywhere, especially considering how it's been shoved out of the spot light to make room for Caius the Shadow Monarch. Maybe it's time to revisit that sentiment, and maybe's it's time to give both Raizas a platform to shine. I'll talk more about that pair towards the end, but let me set you up with the meat of the deck first.

Oh, Pilica: Our Home And Native Land
If you didn't sing that in your head, you're either lying, uneducated about Canada or Doug "plays Spirits more than I ever played Spellbooks" Zeeff. Nevertheless, we're focusing again on Pilica as one of the pillars of today's strategy. Whenever Pilica's Summoned, you'll revive any Wind Tuner from your graveyard; simple, right? Whether you Normal Summon the Level 3 Psychic monster, bring it out from the deck via Emergency Teleport or use Call of the Haunted, you can start your next move with Pilica bringing along a Tuner for the ride.

I decided to run with the Gusto family this time because many of the monsters – unsurprisingly! – mesh really well with Pilica. As mentioned at length in my Zombie Gusto article, you have a concise little trio of Gusto monsters that take hit after hit for you, replacing themselves after dying in battle. When the Level 1 Gusto Egul dies in battle, you can Special Summon the Level 2 Winda, Priestess of Gusto from your deck. When that non-Tuner perishes, you can bring out the Level 3 Gusto Gulldo… which in turns Special Summons Egul from your deck after hitting the yard. It's not a perfect circle, but for all intents and purposes you should be able to open with at least one of those cards in your opening hand.

Not only does the above trio make a decent wall to stall your opponent, it also thins your deck and sets up your graveyard with Tuners for Pilica! However I've also added several more members of the Gusto family in this conglomeration. Like Winda, Kamui, Hope of Gusto Special Summons a Gusto Tuner from your deck, but its effect triggers when flipped. Of course, if your opponent attacks Kamui you'll still Special Summon, but depending on your opponent to get the ball rolling every turn is a pretty bad idea. Kamui's good because you aren't as dependent on your opponent, and Winda is good because of the previously mentioned loop of attack blockers.

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Gusto Squirro's your Level 2 Tuner for Pilica and Kamui, but it might as well be a Normal Monster for this version of Gustos. Fortunately, you'll have Gulldo and Kamui to bring it out quick, but without Windaar, Sage of Gusto, Squirro can't Special Summon anything useful and thus acts purely as a niche Tuner with 1800 DEF. Hopefully you'll Special Summon it from the deck instead of every seeing it in your opening hand. Caam, Serenity of Gusto recycles everything back and is another target for Gulldos, but don't get too complacent in your defensive engine. You're never going to win games stalling; your defensive shields just ensure you'll have another turn to make a play!

Lastly, who could forget the Daigusto Sphreez OTK? Special Summon the Level 6 Sphreez and ram enough of your stuff into a big opposing monster, and let Sphreez's effect burn away their Life Points.

Wonder-Gusto Power! Shape Of A…
I've loved Transmodify since day one, but I've never found a great use for it. For the longest time I kept trying to squeeze Spell Canceller into Mecha Phantom Beasts, but that worked out about as well as you think it would. As you can see, Gustos are packed with Wind Psychic monsters, meaning Transmodify finally has a home! In the entire Gusto family your monsters fall under two types: if it's a human, it's a Psychic; if not, it's a Winged-Beast. The two exceptions are the Thunder-type mammals, Gusto Squirro and Gusto Thunderbolt.

But back to the Psychics - I stumbled across the idea when I opted for Kamui over Winda because I thought to myself that there had to be more than just a simple Special Summon off a flip. When you flip Kamui, you bring out a Tuner at Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 and have your choice of a an easy Synchro Summon, or Transmodify to turn your Kamui into a Pilica for three monsters to play with.

Let's say you have Kamui on field with a Squirro in your graveyard. Flip your Kamui and Special Summon Gulldo from your deck, then use Transmodify to morph Kamui into Pilica. Pilica fetches Squirro from your graveyard, and you'll combine those two for Daigusto Gulldos! Return any two Gustos from your graveyard to your deck and pop a face-up monster with Gulldos' effect, and finish with a Stardust Dragon! The graveyard may take a turn or two to set up, but that defensive loop I kept mentioning earlier did have a greater purpose, I promise.

Transmodify combos with Level 3's to transition into Level 4's work just as well. Summon Pilica and revive Gusto Egul, then send away Pilica with Transmodify for your Caam. Next, recycle any two Gustos to draw a card and finish your combo with Daigusto Gulldos, popping a threat in your way! Of course once you start adding in Emergency Teleport, Call of the Haunted, Garuda the Wind Spirit and Instant Fusion, you can go far beyond one or two low-cost Synchro Summons, but for now I'm just shedding light on the basic yet strong combos. This version of Gustos has the capability of producing a huge range of Levels at any given time to maximize your options, and in case you'd been living under a rock, options are good.

You probably noticed one card in here you've never seen before - Genetic Woman, a card I nearly overlooked! For just 1000 Life Points, you get any of your banished Psychic monsters back to your hand. I know that most decks like this prefer Instant Fusion for additional Synchro material help, but I like using Garuda the Wind Spirit for that extra body, especially since you're limited to one Instant Fusion per turn. Instant Fusion's definitely more versatile, though. With Dragoness the Wicked Knight, Mavelus and Kaminari Attack, you have access to any Level combination you need.

Genetic Woman recycles your Pilicas if you've burned through them too fast or lets you keep Caam in deck for a later date. With 1700 ATK it's not the best monster in battle… but it's a Transmodify target and it rescues your banished Pilicas, so it passes for nifty, right? Worst case scenario, you could Summon this alongside a Garuda the Wind Spirit, get back a Pilica and then make a Castel the Skyblaster Musketeer. Not a bad worst case scenario, right?

King's Court
It's no Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, but there's another Level 9 that isn't too shabby against an established field. Mist Wurm's an underused Synchro Monster with built-in spot removal that'll set your opponent back a few steps. When Mist Wurm hits the field you get to bounce up to three opposing cards to your opponent's hand! Since Mist Wurm takes three monsters, it'll be at least a two card investment even if you use Pilica, so the return on investment isn't as busted as you'd hope. But remember how I praised Instant Fusion earlier? Pilica, plus any Tuner in your graveyard and Instant Fusion is an instant Wist Wurm.

But after your Mist Wurm, your next Level 9 Synchro can be the new Cloudcastle, a card that's seen play in the newest Karakuri hand loop (which I may be talking about soon.) Pilica restricts your Summons to Wind only for the turn, but both Cloudcastle and Mist Wurm happen to be Wind, so the combo's completely valid. After you make your Cloudcastle and revive your Mist Wurm, stack both for my seventh favorite Xyz Monster: Phantom Fortress Enterblathnir!

Once per turn, Phantom Fortress Enterblathnir banishes either a card from your opponent's hand, a card they control, a card from your opponent's graveyard, or a card from the top of their deck. It's safe to assume that you'd probably banish a card from your opponent's field or hand, but the versatility of this card is what makes it amazing. Unlike Daigusto Gulldos or Number 101: Silent Honor ARK, you're not restricted to what type of card you can blast away. Just remove whatever threat's in your way and then attack with a huge 2900 beatstick.

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Mist Wurm and Enterblathnir disrupt your opponent's fields quite well, but those monsters take a bit of set-up before you can maximize their full potential. The Monarchs – Raiza Jr. and Raiza Sr. – are less reactionary cards that require less set-up to play. Raiza the Storm Monarch's been around since dinosaurs roamed the earth and rainbows were in black and white, but its effect's surprisingly relevant because it can set your opponent back and inconvenience them greatly. Sure, Caius the Shadow Monarch gets rid of a threat, but Raiza can eliminate most Extra Deck threats as well and can screw over your opponent's draw phase.

And then if that wasn't good enough, Raiza the Mega Monarch can ruin your opponent's next two Draw Phases and deal with an on-field threat all in one Summon. The first part of Raiza's effect relocates a card on the field and a card in a graveyard and puts both of them back on top of the deck. The second part of its ability bounces a card to the hand, getting rid of anything your opponent has in your way… or you can bounce Mega Raiza and do it all again next turn.

Thanks to Call of the Haunted and Emergency Teleport, your Normal Summon won't be squandered just to put Tribute fodder on the field. By my count, Pilica and a Tuner count for two Tribute materials and Mega Raiza's all but free. Additionally, here's where Gusto Squirro proves itself to be slightly less useless. Revive Squirro with Pilica if you only have baby Raiza in hand and sacrifice Pilica for that Raiza. Squirro and Raiza make Stardust Dragon, but a revived Gulldo and Raiza make a Cloudcastle.

So if you wanted to dedicate the deck to Phantom Fortress Enterblathnir… I'll just throw that out there.

Having a stream of defensive walls is actually ridiculously nice. It doesn't mean you'll be invincible, but it's nice knowing you won't die immediately from an onslaught of attacks. The major problem the deck faces in terms of crazy competitive strategies right now is ironically El Shadoll Winda which restricts you to one Special Summon per turn. If you're really concerned about that, bump up your count of Breakthrough Skills or add in some Forbidden Challices.

Just remember, beat your opponent before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson