Sometimes I just miss stuff.

The Yugiverse is a pretty huge place, and it's impossible for one person – even me – to see and do and be aware of everything. That's part of the challenge and the beauty of a game that rejects set rotation: there are thousands of individual cards that make up the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, so it's impossible to even guess how many combos and synergies exist.

So every now and then I get to have the lovely experience of reading a deck submission that hinges on a really cool combo that's been around for a while, but that I've never even seen. Some of you will roll your eyes, and be all, "Duh, Jason! I knew about that!" But if you think you really, truly know everything about this game, I can tell you with some certainty: you're both a liar, and wrong. At the same time. Also? You're totally missing out! Because those little borrowed lightbulb moments where someone shows you something cool? They're the greatest. I love that every day, my friends, my fellow writers, and you guys reading this stuff teach me something new and amazing that I never knew was possible.


So that was how I felt when I was introduced to the notion of Summoner Monk pitching a spell card; Special Summoning Armageddon Knight; kicking Archfiend Heiress to the yard; fetching Archfiend's Oath; overlaying for Lavalval Chain; and then topdecking any monster you want, so you can Oath it to your hand as a +1. It blew my mind, and that's what today's submission is all about…

Hi Jason,

I got the idea for this deck after seeing Archfiend Heiress and realizing it could search Archfiend's Oath! I've long loved the Archfiends – the first time I went to Regionals as a child I played the chess-piece Archfiends shortly after their release. Looking back I should have played Yata-Garasu or Magical Scientist.

The ability to Turn 1 a Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning is incredibly powerful, and the ease with which this deck gets Soldier and Dark Armed Dragon into play is astonishing, as well as searchable Effect Veilers and Honest to back them up! The main combo is to use Summoner Monk's effect to Special Summon Armaggedon Knight, send Heiress to the graveyard to trigger its effect, search Archfiend's Oath, and then overlay for Lavalval Chain. Its ability puts whatever monster you want on top of your deck so you can use Oath to get it. Photon Thrasher's similar, letting you get to Lavalval Chain when you have Armageddon Knight in hand.

I've been out of the competitive loop for quite some time, so my Extra Deck needs a lot of work. But I believe this deck could be pretty solid with more consistency.

-Jansen S.

I did some googling around and Jansen's not a solitary mad genius; other people definitely know about this combo. Some have even built Chaos decks using it! But that group of clever individuals seems pretty slim as far as documented discussion goes. Lots of folks were like me, having used Summoner Monk for Armageddon Knight in the past, knowing that Armageddon Knight could combo with Archfiend Heiress to search Archfiend's Oath, and well aware that Lavalval Chain and Oath can grab you monsters. But not many seem to have put it all together into one play sequence.

And it really is impressive when you put it all together. For the low-low cost of just one Summoner Monk and one discarded Spell, you get Lavalval Chain, Archfiend's Oath, and a monster of your choice for a clean +1. You also load your graveyard with two Dark monsters (Heiress and whichever Level 4 you detach), plus a third Dark monster in place for next turn. That sets you up for an immediate Turn 2 Dark Armed Dragon if you do desire, and if you keep Lavalval Chain on the field you can Oath into another monster for another +1. Here's what Jansen's deck looks like:

DECKID=99517The problem? One Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning and one Dark Armed Dragon aren't really a complete strategy on their own. Jansen's tried to add more forward thrust with Photon Thrashers to go with his Armageddon Knights, giving himself another way to make Rank 4's. He's also playing Tour Guide From the Underworld, which can load the graveyard, deal damage, and retrieve monsters you banish via Leviair the Sea Dragon. But the Rank 4 angle could be stronger, and the Photon Thrashers seem kind of awkward. In addition, a lot of the Archfiend cards can bog down your draws and create inconsistency.

We need to refocus this deck by slimming down the combo cards without costing the deck its big moves, and we need to add some more muscle. The good news?

This Won't Be A Huge Deck Fix!
If you were around for last week's vicious hatchet-fest, in which I cut twenty-four cards from the contributor's deck, rest assured this round of fixes will be far less murderous. First up, I want to tweak the Archfiend cards to minimize the risk of dead-drawing a lot of this stuff when you don't want to see it.

You never want to draw Archfiend Heiress. That card's here so you can send it to the graveyard with Armageddon Knight; the fact that you can Special Summon it with Tour Guide From the Underworld to keep more of your Tour Guides in deck and draw them later is a bonus. You want to do things with Heiress, but you'll never really want to draw the Heiress itself. That's an easy cut, and we'll knock it down to two copies. The same goes for Archfiend's Oath. You never want to draw that card, because without a Lavalval Chain it's useless. At the same time you can't run just one, because then if you drew it you wouldn't have anything else to search when you did hit your Summoner Monk into Armageddon Knight combo. Two is again the right number.

Why would Archfiend's Oath be your only searchable card with Archfiend Heiress? Because we're dropping Axe of Despair. Jansen played Axe of Despair because it's another search option – for those of you unfamiliar with bad Equip Spells from 2002, the Axe counts as an "Archfiend" card despite not being localized as an "Archfiend" in its English printing. But yeah – it's not good. The idea of strapping a monster with Axe of Despair only to lose both cards to Atlantean Heavy Infantry, Spellbook of Fate, Inzektor Hornet, or Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear is awful, and it's not the kind of risk you want to expose yourself to. Yes, you could search the Axe for free with your Monk+Knight+Heiress combo. But if you have that combo going, the Oath play's just better. Armageddon Knight for Heiress to get the Axe for free isn't shabby, but it's not great, and none of the possible benefits outweigh the very real risk of drawing Axe of Despair instead of a better card. I'm ditching both copies.

Photon Thrasher's solid here, creating opportunities for Rank 4 combos while being another Light monster for your graveyard. But if you control the game with a monster on the field you can't Summon it, and as you've noticed I'm not a big fan of drawing useless cards. We'll knock it down to two copies, and we'll compensate by playing several of a similar card we'll introduce later in the fix.

While this deck does win more when it opens with Summoner Monk, I need more deck space, so I have to give up the three Upstart Goblins. They're not bad here, but to make this into a more robust strategy I really need those card slots. Finally, I'm giving up the two Seven Tools of the Bandit in favor of more defense and monster removal. A bad case of "turn too late syndrome" can lose you games, and Jansen's already running triple Mystical Space Typhoon. Seven Tools seems like overkill, though you're welcome to test it for your metagame.

That's Ten Cards Down
So let's build this deck back up! I want to strengthen this strategy's ability to make Rank 4's, and since we're already running plenty of Light and Dark monsters it's a prime opportunity to run White Dragon Wyverburster and Black Dragon Collapserpent. We've got more Darks than Lights, and thanks to Armageddon Knight and Tour Guide From the Underworld it's vastly easier to get Darks in the graveyard than Light monsters. So, I'm going to add two copies of Black Dragon Collapserpent, and a full three White Dragon Wyverburster (since this deck stacks Dark monsters to the graveyard quicker than it stacks Lights). The mini-Chaos Dragons are much easier to Summon than Photon Thrasher, which means more combos, more consistency, and more speed across the long term.

Fiendish Chain negates effects and blocks attacks, keeping Lavalval Chain on the field a little longer; that same priority also led me to run double Mirror Force. Finally, one Call Of The Haunted combos with a properly Special Summoned Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning, and lets you reuse Honest thanks to its bounce effect. Super-convenient.


That's it for the Main Deck! But over in the Extra Deck we need to make some changes. Wind-Up Zenmaines and Number 17: Leviathan Dragon don't seem hugely important, so they're gone. The same goes for Armory Arm, which this deck would only make off an awkward Effect Veiler play. Black Rose Dragon, Stardust Dragon, and Mist Wurm all seem tough to make, while Tour Guide From the Underworld allows easy Rank 3's and Rank 4's are now so much more accessible.

With that in mind I want to add Mechquipped Angineer to protect your Life Points, your Dark Armed Dragon and Luster Soldier, and to serve as a Light for your Special Summons. Ghostrick Alucard blows away face-down cards, and the new Downerd Magician powers trades up your Rank 3's if you're just Summoning them for their effects. It helps you keep your field presence strong, instead of just throwing away a Leviair or Alucard. On the Rank 4 side of things I want Maestroke the Symphony Djinn for protection and general problem-solving; Diamond Dire Wolf to blow away particularly devious cards; and the new Evilswarm Exciton Knight to level off any bad situations when you need to make a comeback.

And that's it! The fairly short list of changes looks like this…

-1 Photon Thrasher
-3 Upstart Goblin
-1 Archfiend Heiress
-1 Archfiend's Oath
-2 Axe of Despair
-2 Seven Tools of the Bandit

+3 White Dragon Wyverburster
+2 Black Dragon Collapserpent
+2 Fiendish Chain
+2 Mirror Force
+1 Call Of The Haunted

-1 Wind-Up Zenmaines
-1 Number 17: Leviathan Dragon
-1 Armory Arm
-1 Black Rose Dragon
-1 Stardust Dragon
-1 Mist Wurm
+1 Mechquipped Angineer
+1 Ghostrick Alucard
+1 Downerd Magician
+1 Evilswarm Exciton Knight
+1 Diamond Dire Wolf
+1 Maestroke the Symphony Djinn

Here's the final revised build!

DECKID=99518I'm totally jazzed about this deck concept. It's really cool that you can run two Summoner Monks, two or three Armageddon Knights, two Archfiend Heiress and two Archfiend's Oath, and have an eight-card suite to search literally any monster card in the game. You could take this core idea in a lot of different directions: I liked Tour Guide From the Underworld here, but you could replace those three cards with almost anything and change the way the strategy plays. Beyond this Chaos version, I could see the eight-card search suite working really well to grab big, game-defining monsters like Light and Darkness Dragon and Archlord Kristya, or smaller monsters that serve as the center of entire strategies; stuff like Bountiful Artemis.

There are definitely some challenges here, so I'd largely consider this a deck for locals or just a proof-of-concept. Effect Veiler's hugely popular right now, and it can shut down your Summoner Monk combo by chaining to your initial discard; that could lead to a devastating 2-for-1 you might never fight back from. With two big boss monsters you'll often play back-to-back, a two-card pairing as simple as Bottomless Trap Hole and Solemn Warning could leave you relying on a stream of Rank 4's and nothing else, too; not hopeless, but certainly not a good situation.

That said, this deck's a ton of fun and goes a long way towards demonstrating a very cool idea. The combos at the center of this strategy are something I'll be revisiting for years to come as new, largely unsearchable monsters are released, and to me that's the real lesson here. Is Jansen's deck solid? Sure! But the real takeaway should be the techniques that make it so deadly. You can apply that to your deck building from this point forward.

Big thanks to Jansen for sending me his deck list, and big thanks to everybody who amazes me on a daily basis with things I didn't know, and couldn't have even imagined on my own! Articles like these are all about exchanging information, so when I get to learn some cool stuff in return it really feels like a two-way street.

See you next week!

-Jason Grabher-Meyer







Want a deck fix from yours truly, and see your strategy featured in a "What The Fix?" here on TCGPlayer? Just send the following to fixmydeckjason (at) gmail (dot) com to be considered:

-Your Main and Extra Deck list. (No Side Deck needed, but please send a written deck list, not a screencap.) Remember, your deck should be TCG legal!

-Your name and city.

-Remember - please use full card names! Abbreviations and mis-spellings make Jason's life sad.

-A paragraph or two describing your deck: what it does, why you're playing it, and its strengths and weaknesses.

And don't forget, the cooler your deck is the more I'll want to fix it, so don't be afraid to get creative! New stuff takes priority, because I'm not bored of it yet! -JDG