As much as I love Pilica, I'm putting Gustos on the shelf for another week to talk about a strategy that is surprisingly not the worst thing in the world. It isn't the best compliment, but I knew I'd be working uphill on this deck. Many archetypes coming from the show fall flat and calling them unplayable would be a compliment. Yu-Gi-Oh! has advanced so far that the King of Games himself had to ask what Synchro Summoning was in the feature length Yugioh: Bonds Before Time movie, and I don't see anyone winning tournaments with Joey Wheeler's Panther Warrior.

But we've also seen cards come from the anime and absolutely wreck face. Wiretap, Soul Charge, the Inzektors and dozens more have been used by protagonists, antagonists and minor characters, and you'll run out of fingers before you can list all the Forbidden cards the Pharaoh stocked in his deck. Despite the disparity between card price and duel effectiveness, I've finally got triplicates of the neatest (insert Kelly Locke squealing) anime cards and made quite the formidable deck. After all, who doesn't like Dark Magician and Blue-Eyes White Dragon?

DECKID=100468As you can see, the big beaters of the deck are the Fusion Monsters, Amulet Dragon and Dark Magician Girl the Dragon Knight, which are both Summoned with a Dragon and their respective Spellcaster. Even though their effects don't perfectly mirror the abilities of the Dragon Fusions in the show, I'm just happy these cards have been released for competitive play and didn't get watered down. Marik Ishtar's Card of Last Will came with the clause that you can't use it in a duel, and Card of Sanctity went from a possible +5 to being terrible in most instances.

Anime cards that get one of those treatments end up siting on shelves and are quickly forgotten.

F Is For Fusing Monsters Together
Dark Magician Girl the Dragon Knight and Amulet Dragon have pretty strict Fusion Materials requirements, but there are enough cards floating around that their steep requirements will generally be pretty painless. A Dark Magician Girl and any Dragon make a 2600 beater, whereas the Dark Magician fusion is the 2900 ATK Amulet Dragon. The major downside for both these cards is that you can't substitute anything for the specific Fusion Material Requirements, and once your Fusion dies it's gone forever. No Call Of The Haunted or Mystic Sheep #1 will help you here.

On the bright side, they both have awesome effects that mirror other popular cards. Dragon Knight's like a Snipe Hunter without the 33% chance of blowing up in your face, while Amulet Dragon makes the Spellbook player cry after banishing all spells in the graveyard, including Spellbook of Fate and the Spellbook of Eternity that would've retrieved it otherwise. When your Dragon dies, you can bring back Dark Magician to keep the battle going. Both effects are great, but you're probably not impressed if that's all they do for a three card investment.

That's where The Eye of Timaeus comes in. Your handy dandy better than candy spell is like a Metamorphosis for a Dark Magician or Dark Magician Girl, transforming your Spellcaster into whatever Fusion monster you desire. No muss, no fuss, and no Tribute cost in case your opponent negates your Eye of Timaeus. The best part about it is that Timaues isn't restricted to just these powerful Dragons. You can transform your Dark Magician into a Dark Paladin, too. Yugi's boss monster before Timaeus showed up was that Spellcaster with the power to negate and destroy any Spell by pitching a card. Book of Moon got you down? Negate it. Your opponent's trying to search a Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Bear with Fire Formation - Tenki? Well the joke's on them.

Rain of Mercy coming down to give you some Life Points? Ok, that one can slide.

However, Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl aren't that easy to get on the field because they're high Level Magicians with no easy Special Summon tricks. The good news? You can dodge the rules of Yu-Gi-Oh! and get a replacement copy on the field with one simple card.

Masquerade! Prisma-Faces On Parade!
Elemental Hero Prisma lets you get around the annoying task of summoning your Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl and devoting yourself to inconsistent cars like Call Of The Haunted or Ancient Rules. As long as you reveal a Fusion monster that specifically names said monster, you can yard it straight from your deck. Prisma then pretends to be that monster for the rest of the turn, a strategy that made a competitive splash in Gladiator Beast decks. I never liked the Prisma variants of Gladiator Beast, even after Gladiator Beast Bestiari was limited, but that's largely due to the clash of colors Prisma and Elemental Hero Stratos create with the Gladiator Beasts.

Thus I decided that Prisma had to become a focal point of the deck, and being a Level 4 Warrior really pushed me in that direction. Since I ran a plethora of spells, Summoner Monk can easily search your Elemental Hero Prisma, yard a Dark Magician or Dark Magician Girl, and then combo away to victory. Well, not really combo away per se. If you have an Eye of Timeaus in your hand, transform your Prisma into the appropriate Fusion. If you don't, I'd suggest you ditch a Dark Magician instead, stack your Summoner Monk and Elemental Hero Prisma for a Daigusto Emeral and revive Dark Magician that way. If your heart's set on a Dark Magician Fusion and you do have a Timeaus in your hand, you can end with Daigusto Emeral instead of a leftover Summoner Monk. It's all up to you.

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Reinforcement of the Army's nice, but I didn't want to overload you with Normal Summons. It's nice to have Prisma access early in the duel, but two Elemental Hero Prismas, one Reinforcement of the Army and two Summoner Monks should satisfy the need for an early game Prisma. That said, you can't just have Prisma alone as your only target for Monk. Destiny Hero - Diamond Dude, the core of one of my favorite decks of all time that was legal for roughly eight days (Airblade), can set you up great for your following turn. One per turn Diamond Dude lets you get a look at the top card of your deck, and if it's a Normal Spell yard it so you an use its effect next turn. You don't have to pay costs or meet the activation requirements, you just use the card's effect, so if you ever hit a Spell like Lightning Vortex, Monster Reincarnation or Ojama Delta Hurricane it's free. I wouldn't advise building a Diamond Dude Ojama Delta Hurricane deck, but if you feel the urge, by all means go for it.

Eye of Timaeus, Soul Charge, Polymerization, Upstart Goblin, Fusion Recovery and Reinforcement of the Army will all trigger off Diamond Dude. Unlike excavation, Diamond Dude's effect is… well they don't have a cool name for it like excavation. The best part about Destiny Hero Diamond Dude's ability is that you can play it during any part your Main Phase, whether it be Main Phase 1 or 2. It really doesn't expire until your End Phase so you can maximize its effectiveness.

Throwback Thursday, Or Whatever Day You're Reading This
Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and rainbows were in black and white, the only real way to Fusion Summon monsters was through Polymerization. Now we have Contact Fusion and about fifteen other cards that make Fusion Summon monsters aside from a simple spell and 2+ monsters. Hell, even Eye of Timaeus is a rip-off of Polymerization.

The original Legend of Blue Eyes White Dragon Polymerization text says "Fuses 2 or more Fusion-Material Monsters to form a new Fusion Monster," a wording that sufficed fine in a time without the dastardly complicated game system of 2014. I initially thought Polymerization would be a terrible choice but after testing… it's go big or go home, right?

Fuse The White Stone of Legend with a Dark Magician Girl for your Legendary Dragon Knight and search Blue-Eyes White Dragon via White Stone. Use Fusion Recovery to get your Dark Magician Girl back with Polymerization and make another Dragon Knight. Sure, Polymerization bleeds your hand really quickly, but I think the massive damage you can put on the field is worth it. With a set Wiretap, you should be able to churn out well over 8000 damage pretty easily.

I know a ton of you hate Soul Charge, but it's proving to be a bit more balanced than predicted. We all know the crazy wombo-combos with it by now, like how a Lonefire Blossom coupled with the spell makes a Shooting Quasar Dragon, but here it's nothing more than a solid card that provides support for the Fusion player. Instead of Silver's Cry, Birthright or Swing of Memories to revive your big monsters, Soul Charge brings back one or more of your choosing. You can pass with a behemoth on the field, fuse them together, transform one with The Eye of Timaeus or even Xyz. I bet you'd never think a Dark Magician pair would create a Number 11: Big Eye, did you? With two copies of Dark Magician Girl you can even make my third favorite Xyz, Norito the Moral Leader! Oh how I've tried to make viable decks around that card, but my efforts fallen flat more times that you can "Screw the rules; I have money." I mean, who doesn't like a Spellcaster that can shut down spells and traps?

Maybe this deck won't win you the next YCS, but it's a helluva lot more fun to play than the HAT deck. I still think this nostalgic strategy will be powerful enough to punish your opponent at the hands of your mighty dragons. Won't it be satisfying to end the duel saying "Dark Magician, Dark Magic Attack!"

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you.

Loukas Peterson