Plenty of duelists have a casual deck to fall back on when taking names with Mermails and Fire Fists gets a bit boring. I've refused to ever trade my Fabled cards away, and I find I tend to wander back to the theme every few months. With each new wave of cards, a new chance to tweak and revitalize my go-to deck arrives, and Legacy of the Valiant brought us an exciting new spell to bolster the Fabled strategy. Jason Grabher-Meyer, Doug Zeeff and Rob Boyajian have all covered the World Premiere card Obedience Schooled in nearly every way conceivable, creating strategies built around Naturia Exterio, Racoons, and even Desertapir' rel=" Desertapir">Dark Desertapir.

After the wave of deck ideas following Legacy of the Valiant's release, those writers left the perfect void for me to fill: Fableds!It took far too long for me to acquire three Obedience Schooled, but I finally have my playset. Mixing in the Baby Raccoon support from Shadow Specters, I've crafted yet another mashup, perhaps my favorite Fabled deck yet.

DECKID=99812Yes, Obedience Schooled has an unfortunate restriction, but that doesn't stop the card from being downright phenomenal. At the cost of literally nothing, you get to Special Summon three adorable yet vicious Level 2 or lower Beasts from your deck for free. I can't even get extra ketchup at my college's cafeteria for free. You can only Special Summon Beasts for the rest of the turn,, but your limited options are nothing to scoff at. Number 64: Ronin Raccoon Sandayu, The Fabled Unicore and Naturia Beast are powerhouses that just get that much better when it's just a one card investment.

Initially, I tried to play Obedience Schooled in a dedicated Fabled deck with the many obscure Fabled cards. I knew that drawing Obedience early in the game meant a first turn Unicore, Sandayu and a Kagemusha Raccoon Token. Backed with a few traps, that could be a very threatening opener that would put immense pressure on your opponent. If they can't wipe out your field, you'll get another Raccoon token and have close to lethal damage on Turn 2. However, problems quickly arose. I was sacrificing overall consistency to ensure a first turn Obedience, and games where I never saw it were underwhelming at best.

Saddened but not surprised, I couldn't find a pure Fabled Deck that succeeded even with my favorite new spell. Shooting Quasar Dragon's a Fabled fan favorite, but a lot of the monsters required to bring it out aren't Beasts, and Main Deck space was tight as I tried to include as many different suites of cards as possible. The conflict presented a huge downside for me, because even my standard Fabled strategy with Tour Guide of the Underworld, Black Dragon Collapserpent and White Dragon Wyverburster went out the window. My friend Joe's variant with Ghost Ship and The Tricky also conflicted with Obedience Schooled, and running more subpar cards like The Fabled Nazoochee meant inconsistent and awkward hands. There was no existing Fabled build that I could simply toss Obedience Schooled into without encountering major problems.

I was shocked but thrilled to see that Obedience Schooled was a nice bridge between the Baby Raccoons and Fableds. With Baby Raccoon Ponpoko, Baby Raccoon Tantan and Key Mouse, Obedience nets you a first turn Naturia Beast as an alternative to your Unicore and Sandayu plays, and the additional Beasts meld well with Fableds. I'll get to some of those interactions later, but I have to share my absolute favorite play: Junk Synchron and Obedience Schooled.

First, use Obedience to Summon the Level 5 Thunder Unicorn. Obedience Schooled doesn't restrict your Normal Summons, so once you make your Synchro Summon play Junk Synchron to revive any Level 2 from your graveyard. From there, Tune everything to unleash the fearsome Leo, the Keeper of the Sacred Tree. Coming from the Duel Terminal World, Leo has an impressive 3100 ATK and an ability that makes it surprisingly hard to kill: it can't be targeted by your opponent's effects except in your Main Phase 2.

I was unimpressed with Leo initially, until I lost to it because it's effectively immune to everything on your opponent's turn barring Evilswarm Exciton Knight and Dark Hole. With 3100 ATK, it's nearly impossible to take down in battle, and your opponent can't dismiss your Leo with anything that targets. That list includes Number 11: Big Eye, Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear, and Wolf' rel=" Dire Wolf">Diamond Dire Wolf, to name just a few of the threats Leo extinguishes.

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Junk Synchron's also important because it's good by itself. With virtually no set-up, your scrappy Warrior nets you a Level 5 Synchro. I've tried to keep the complicated combos with heavy investments to a minimum in a backrow-heavy format, and Junk Synchron's simple plays bolster the longevity of a Fabled deck. After all, who doesn't like one card investments that produce a hefty monster? Junk Synchron combos easily into Black Rose Dragon, Leo, and Scrap Dragon, but it's powerful enough to be a standalone card.

As great as your Beast Xyz and Synchros are, I'd be lying if I said your fields are unbreakable. I included a handful of defensive traps to keep my army of mighty Beasts alive, but to go one step further, I added in the ultimate "kick in the pants" for your opponent. Skilled players may be able to take down your Naturia Beast and The Fabled Unicore without using spells and manipulating their hand size, but it might be time for them to scoop up their cards when you smugly ask "Damage Step?" in response to their attack. Wait for their face to turn from ecstatic to depressed and flip Horn of the Phantom Beast. The easiest way to play around Beast and Unicore is to take them down in battle, but surprising your opponent with another 800 ATK in the Damage Step covers that one blind spot.

Everything Is Cooler When You're Part Of A Team
As much as I'd like to start every game with Obedience Schooled in hand, the odds aren't in your favor. Roughly 60% of your games won't start that way. In my opinion, The Fabled Unicore is the true powerhouse of this deck, and you don't need Obedience Schooled to make my little pony. Even with only 2300 ATK, you can manipulate the number of cards in your hand to control the game and make big pushes. Unicore prevents your opponent's effects from working while you have the same number of cards in hand, so you're free to attack for lethal damage while your opponent sits idly by, helplessly watching the carnage.

I built the deck so The Fabled Unicore is always just a combo away. The easiest way to Summon it is to Tune The Fabled Chawa and The Fabled Ganashia. Thanks to the Baby Raccoons, you don't have to rely on just a few Fabled cards in your deck to make the mighty Unicore, but you're never limited to just a few standard plays. If your Baby Raccoon Tantan survives a turn, you can use it to bring out a Cerburrel and make Unicore that way. In fact, your opponent needs to eliminate Ponpoko and Tantan as fast as possible, or you'll Summon multiple copies of Number 64: Ronin Raccoon Sandayu quite easily. Sandayu can't be destroyed while you have another Beast on the field, so two of them together makes a nearly unbreakable lock.

Take that, Morphtronic Boarden.

Aside from creating powerful Turn 1 plays and interacting with the Fabled cards, the Earth Beasts can function on their own as well. I tried to maximize efficiency and found Key Mouse and Kalantosa, Mystical Beast of the Forest to be useful outside of fodder for Naturia Beast. Like Fabled Grimro, Key Mouse searches Chawa, Cerberral and Ganashia, but Mr. Squeaks also gets you the Baby Raccoons when it's destroyed on the field. Even though Kalantosa's primarily summoned with Obedience Schooled, Tantan allows you to capitalize on its effect and pop a card on the field when you flip your Baby Raccoon. In conjunction with your Fabled forces, you can produce a Synchro and multiple Sandayus to make huge pushes in one turn, all without the help of any Fabled monsters.

Maxx "C?" More Like Minimum "C"
Fabled decks have always been weak to Maxx "C" because they tend to rely on many Special Summons to produce strong field presence. For example, it takes half a dozen or more Special Summons to bring out some the best boss monsters Fableds typically produce. Doppellwarrior, Dark World Dealings and the miniature Plant engine that often pop up in Fabled decks are prone to Maxx "C", and you'll have to choose between two terrible options when the "C" drops: either you stop your Special Summoning and leave your weak field exposed, or you take the Maxx "C" challenge and give your opponent upwards of ten cards. Both roads will end poorly.

Sure, Maxx "C" does restrict you from vomiting your entire hand onto the field, but rarely will it be a huge setback in this Fabled variant. You don't have to press on with Special Summons to make a dominant field. For example, if your opponent uses Maxx "C" against your Obedience Schooled, you can end with a Naturia Beast, only giving your opponent one extra card in the process. The Fabled Chawa's ability to Special Summon itself is inherent, meaning the Summon doesn't start a chain and dodges Maxx "C" if it wasn't played previously. Even if your opponent chains Maxx "C" to Junk Synchron's revival effect, their profit of card economy will be minimal.

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At the end of the day, I think this strategy works best as a Stun Deck (I'll pause as everyone gasps or spits out their water.) Popular strategies like Geargia and Fire Fists excel thanks to single cards like Geargiagear and Wolfbark' rel=" Soldier Wolfbark">Coach Soldier Wolfbark, but they can survive in grind games thanks to the plethora of defensive traps waiting to trip up any opponent. We saw the quick rise and fall of Hieratic Rulers largely in part to Geargia and Fire Fist's competitive success. Committing your entire hand against a field of three to five traps certainly means your doom, and that's always made me hate the fragility of Fableds. An errant Torrential Tribute, Bottomless Trap Hole or even Compulsory Evacuation Device meant a five card investment attempting a Shooting Quasar Dragon could be countered by just one card.

That's precisely why I'd rather play this Fabled deck right now, stunning opponents with smaller plays involving Naturia Beast or The Fabled Unicore, instead of wasting your entire hand just to fall prey to a one-card answer. Besides, it's more disheartening for your opponent if your pretty unicorn stomps all over them, and they can't do anything in response. Pony power!

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson

Article Aftermath #14