There's an uncountable number of archetypes in Yu-Gi-Oh! stemming all the way back to the first few booster sets. Both Blue-Eyes White Dragon and Dark Magician weren't deck themes themselves when they were first introduced, but they gained a lot of support over the years. The first truearchetype – in my opinion – hails from Metal Raiders and is still viable today: Harpies.

Of course, since those early days we've actually come to see real archetypes released as the center of every new booster; even older themes like Harpies acquired a significant amount of usable support under the new model. The Yugi-gods have not been quite as benevolent to the Spider or Iron Chain families, but I've been crossing my fingers since Crossroads of Chaos for something good to happen.

Some themes have seen a bit more support over time but nothing truly revolutionary since their introduction; the Agent family falls into that category. A few cards have been released to bolster the Agent arsenal, but the deck's fallen out of the competitive scene almost completely. It sounds like now could be the perfect time to bring it back.

DECKID=99435Agents have the blessing of melding into various builds with dual strategies. Counter Agents revolves around a heavy spell and trap lineup supported by The Sanctuary in the Sky. Herald Agents builds up resources around Herald of Perfection and normally wins by boring your opponent to death. The list goes on, and maybe one day I'll profile my secret deck, Slifer Agents! It's by far the silliest deck I have ever imagined.

I Vote For Agent of 007
Lest ye forget, Ancient Sanctuary actually brought the first four Agents to the table all the way back in 2004. Three are often used as bookmarks and fire kindling instead of components for a good deck, but let's not pretend the Agents were born in the Structure Deck Lost Sanctuary. The Agent of Force - Mars, The Agent of Judgment - Saturn and The Agent of Wisdom - Mercury are only worth mentioning to inform you that they exist and that's three fewer usable cards available for Agent decks if all the planets are ever accounted for. Even The Agent of Creation - Venus and Mystical Shine Ball were considered subpar without modern Agent support and Xyz monsters like Gachi Gachi Gantetsu. Shine Ball's the piddly Normal Monster with mediocre stats that can only be played with Venus.

In 2011, two more Agents and a boss monster were released in that ever-so familiar structure deck, and finally some variant of the Agent theme was competitive. In my opinion, Tour Guide Agents with multiple Genex Ally Birdman was the strongest variant of Agents ever built during its heyday, and hopefully we'll see something that powerful once again with Tour Guide of the Underworld having finally escaped the F&L List. The last Agent, The Agent of Miracles - Jupiter can certainly be useful in the right build, but I decided not to play it in this particular deck.

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The Agent of Mystery - Earth is the starting block for any and all Agent decks. When you Normal Summon it, you can fetch any other Agent from your deck. Typically you'll play Venus as your one and only searchable monster, but if you're on the fence about playing three copies of Earth, let me remind you of the Agents' biggest threat, which isn't even an Agent. I can't in good faith call it the "boss monster" for Agents because I'm familiar with the lore behind these cards. Yes, Hyperion (or Master Hyperion in card form) was insanely powerful, but his affinity with the other gods and goddesses was not amicable. I'll give Franco Ferrarra shoutout number 34 and refer you here for a good explanation.

Let's get back to the actual card, Master Hyperion. At the price of banishing an Agent monster from your field, graveyard or hand, you get a giant 2700 ATK behemoth with little to no drawbacks. Its Summoning requirement limits Master Hyperion to Agent decks, but its actual effect is less restrictive. By banishing one Light Fairy from your graveyard, you get to destroy a card on the field. The Agents and Master Hyperion get additional effects when coupled with the Field Spell A Sanctuary in the Sky, too, but I shied away from that card here. I'll explain that more a little later.

It'd be an odd Fairy deck if I omitted Archlord Kristya. If you have exactly four Fairies in your graveyard, you can Summon the biggest and baddest of all the Fairies straight from your hand, for free. If that isn't enough, Kristya retrieves any Fairy from your graveyard to use as you please. The real power of Kristya is its continuous ability to shut down all Special Summons. It hinders you, too, but literally every deck out there Special Summons. Its second effect is even more of a double-edged sword. When Kristya dies, it bounces back to the top of your deck. Depending on the situation, that could be really good or really bad. What good will drawing Kristya against an established field be?

Last but certainly not least, who could forget Honest? The Level 4 Fairy's arguably the best and most annoying hand trap ever printed. When a face-up Light monster battles, you can pitch Honest from your hand and boost your monster's ATK by the ATK of your opponent's battling monster. I won't try to explain the entirety of the Battle Phase, Damage Step and Damage Calculation to you here, but in short, Honest is one of the last card effects that's applied when two monsters duke it out. It's a last ditch trump card that powers up your monster's ATK for the rest of the turn. Additionally, Honest's first effect lets you bounce it from the field to your hand, so you can retrieve it if you needed to Normal Summon it, or bring it back with Call Of The Haunted to reuse its ability.

Is The Phrase "Happy Fairy" Redundant?
Decks like Final Countdown, Chain Burn and Exodia often trigger a violent response amongst players. I tend to shy away from those types of strategies so I don't risk being murdered by a vindictive opponent, but there is one loop for direct damage that I really like. It's come in many different forms, but it's always rooted in Cannon Soldier. A Level 4 Machine that lets you tribute any monster on your field to burn your opponent for 500 Life Points, Cannon Soldier can deal game-winning damage provided you can create a constant stream of monsters.

The first Cannon Soldier loop that saw real tournament play involved Spell Economics, Dimension Fusion and Dark Magician of Chaos, and it allowed you burn your opponent for infinite damage. If you had Dark Magician of Chaos on the field previously, all you had to do was tribute it with your Cannon Solider for your first 500 points of burn. Dark Magician of Chaos gets banished when it leaves the field, so you'd bring it back with Dimension Fusion to pop your opponent for another 500. When your Spellcaster's Summoned you can take back your Dimension Fusion from your graveyard and bam, there's the loop. Dimension Fusion costs 2000 Life Points to play, but Spell Economics let you active it for free.

The next infamous loop involved Black Ptera and Ultimate Offering. Whenever the Little Dinosaur was Tributed with Cannon Soldier, you could add it back to your hand via Ptera's effect. For an extra 500 Life Points, Offering let you Normal Summon Black Ptera again and burn for more Life Points. Both this combo and the Dimension Fusion loops are worthless today because Ultimate Offering, Dark Magician of Chaos and Dimension Fusion are all Forbidden.

The next notable Cannon Soldier Loop involved Imperial Iron Wall, a Tuner, and Quillbolt Hedgehog. In my opinion, this loop takes too much setup to actually work. With a face-up Tuner, Cannon Soldier and Imperial Iron Wall, you can keep bringing back your Quillbolt Hedgehog from the graveyard and Tribute it over and over until your opponent either punches you in the face or you when the duel via burn damage.

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In my Agent creation the burn loop is similar, but a Little Different. Yes, you still need Cannon Soldier and a Tuner on your field to bring back Quillbolt Hedghog, but I opted to use two Hedgehogs while omitting Imperial Iron Wall. The infamous trap simply isn't going to be as useful in the current format as it was in the last. The play also takes a turn to set up and preventing cards from being banished is detrimental to Master Hyperion's Summoning requirement, and its ability to pop cards on the field.

Instead, you can save Quillbolt Hedgehog from eternal banishment by stacking both copies together for an Xyz. The deck dedicated to looping your opponent with this strategy requires an Extra Deck completely full of Rank 2 Xyz monsters to deal 8000 with your Hedgehog forces. I opted not to dedicate today's build to that frail and temperamental strategy. While fun, it's highly inconsistent and won't net you many wins.

Rev Up Those Millers
One Agent variant I purposefully waited to discuss until now is Trooper Agents, the most popular version of the deck right now. I hate calling the deck by that name since Card Trooper's semi-Limited, but the name remains because "Silly Milly Agents" sounds stupid. With the inclusion of Card Trooper, you open up the opportunity to play Call Of The Haunted because you'll quickly fill your graveyard with all sorts of goodies. The revival trap can net you a Master Hyperion for no cost, or you can carefully chain your Call Of The Haunted to a Special Summon effect, reviving an Archlord Kristya and stymieing a play already in motion.

Call of Haunted can also further your secondary win condition. I only included the necessary components to start your Cannon Soldier loop with just one Cannon Soldier, one Plaguespreader Zombie and two Quillbolts, but if you send any of those pieces to the graveyard, you can just revive them with Call Of The Haunted. First, bring back Cannon Soldier with Call and then revive Plaugespreader with its own effect, and you have the loop right there.

I also played Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter. In a slower format not dominated by Dragon Rulers, spot removal's a lot more relevant. Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter is simply a better version of Man-Eater Bug. When flipped, you get to both destroy one card on the field and send the top three cards from your deck to the graveyard. Not only does that make your Call Of The Haunted more useful much faster, but it also loads the yard with Fairies so you can drop Kristya and Hyperion from your hand, all while possibly tossing your Cannon Soldiers in the graveyard.

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson

Article Aftermath #6