Oh, sweet Mecha Phantom Beasts; we hardly knew ye.

Maybe my perspective is tainted this afternoon by the fact that I've been listening to a playlist consisting entirely of different versions of the Les Mis classic, "I Dreamed A Dream." But I'm sitting down to write this article about a Mecha Phantom Beast variant, and I can't help but feel that it was a deck tragically cut down just as it reached its prime.

Derek Peasley shocked the Yugiverse last November when he took a stunning Top 8 finish at the Colorado Springs Regional Qualifier, running a Mecha Phantom Beast build that defied the axioms of its time; Peasley's success was largely owed to his use of Mecha Phantom Beast Kalgriffin, a card virtually no one was running at the time. In conjunction with with triple Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms and triple Sacred Sword of Seven Stars, Kalgriffin let made the deck an efficient Rank 7 strategy.

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Since Peasley could search Kalgriffin with Mecha Phantom Beast Megaraptor, Sacred Sword was never dead; the mix of Kalgriffin, Tempest, and self-boosting Level 4 Mecha Phantom Beasts created a ton of Rank 7 Xyz plays; and triple Scapegoat let Peasley make the most of the majority of his token-centric effects. Remember, cards like Mecha Phantom Beast Tetherwolf and Megaraptor can Tribute any token for their effects, not just Mecha Phantom Beast Tokens, and Phantom Beasts can't be destroyed when you control any token monster.

It was an awesome deck with just as many big moves as it had little tricks. For a while it seemed like Mecha Phantom Beasts had finally arrived, and we all sat and waited to see when the next Mecha Phantom Beast Top 8 would happen!... But alas, it never did. And then the January 1st Forbidden & Limited List crushed both Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms and Sacred Sword of Seven Stars, killing the core cards that made Peasley's build possible.

And no one said anything else about poor Mecha Phantom Beasts; life had killed the dream I dreamed. Until now.


Dear Jason,

Ever since the release of Mecha Phantom Beasts, I've been fascinated with their unique playstyle (not to mention the sweet artwork.) Unfortunately, the planes by themselves are haunted by a very linear strategy which can easily be disrupted. While some decks can survive having their plays stopped cold, MPB's are dead in the water if you have a bad first turn. So I looked to a different engine that could provide easy 4's, 7's, and even 10's, the Red-Eyes family!

The deck's fun to play and can churn out multiple Level 7 monsters per turn with the right hands. The meeting points between these two archetypes are Dark Simorgh and Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storm; both are Level 7, which makes for some cool synergies. Unfortunately, if the right cards don't appear together, the deck falls flat on its face. I included a pretty hefty spell and trap line-up to try and counter that, but sometimes I end up with two dead Red-Eyes and no option but to scoop. Please fix my deck!

~Tom from Trumbull

Tom's got some really cool ideas here, as he tries to use both Dark Simorgh and Red-Eyes monsters to fill the gap left by the Limiting of Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms. I'm not actually sure if he saw Derek Peasley's seminal build, but Tom's struck upon the real challenge in making Mecha Phantom Beasts viable today: compensating for the lack of Tempest and Sacred Sword of Seven Stars. To be fair, that doesn't seem like an insurmountable problem: we just need more Level 7 Xyz Material, more speed, and more consistency.

One of Tom's innovations achieves those goals, but the other seems to cost the deck a lot of its synergy by creating rough draws. Check out the deck list and see if you can figure out which addition I liked, and which one I found problematic. Then, see if you can spot what's missing entirely!

DECKID=99806Let it be knowm that I'll always choose "too many ideas" over "not enough ideas," or the dreaded "these ideas are bad." Right now, Tom's build suffers from the former: Dark Simorgh's risky in the early game because it can be a dead draw without the right cards in your graveyard. It offers a lot of potential Rank 7 power, but it can also clog your hand and do nothing, which is assumedly why Tom's running just one Simorgh.

Meanwhile Tom's got this Dragon suite with Red-Eyes B. Dragon which can easily be a dead draw; Red-Eyes Wyvern, which he can Normal Summon, but often interferes with your Mecha Phantom Beast Megaraptor and Tetherwolf plays; and Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon, which again does nothing without a combo. Dragon Shrine can dump those cards from your deck to your graveyard, which is really cool with Wyvern and Red-Eyes Darkness Metal, but everything conflicts. The Dragons don't synergize very well with your Mecha Phantom Beasts, and since they take up nine card slots Tom had to give up some very important Phantom Beast cards to make room.

The answer here seems simple to me: we need to cut all the Dragon cards, focus more on Dark Simorgh, and bring back a bunch of the on-theme staples that Tom had to abandon. The Dark Simorgh concept's pretty cool: you can load the graveyard really easily with a pair of Darks thanks to Tour Guide From the Underworld, or in a pinch you can Synchro or Xyz Summon a Dark monster. It only takes up a handful of card slots, and while Dark Simorgh has issues of utility, Tour Guide From the Underworld's always live and unlocks a ton of powerful plays. Let's get started with the fix!

Dragons On The Chopping Block
I love me some Red-Eyes, but those cards just don't mix with a complete and card-heavy theme like Mecha Phantom Beasts. Red-Eyes B. Dragon, Red-Eyes Wyvern, and Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon are all gone. With the Dragons out of the way there's no need for Dragon Shrine, and without Dragon Shrine there's no need for Galaxy Serpent either. That's nine cards gone right there.

Next up, I want to shift Mecha Phantom Beast Blackfalcon to the Side Deck. Blackfalcon's a useful card, but it's only valuable when you know you can keep tokens on the field, and it's best in matchups that present only one attacker at a time: your opponent can play around it really easily if they're running a rush deck like Mermails or Hieratic Rulers, but it's nice against say, some forms of Fire Fist where it can turn a lone attacker to defense position and resist the destructive ability of Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear. That's cool, but the matchup dependency means it's not cool enough for a spot in the Main Deck.

We need room, and in my opinion there are too many cards right now that can play through Mirror Force for it to be viable. Number 101: Silent Honor ARK, Bujingi Hare, Bujintei Kagutsuchi, opposing Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossacks, Maestroke the Symphony Djinn, and many more are all immune to simple destruction effects, making it really tough to glean a +1 off of Mirror Force by destroying more than one monster at a time. If you're not blowing away two cards for one you might as well be playing Dimensional Prison, but there are other cards I'd rather be running in those two spots. I'm dropping both Mirror Forces, as well as both copies of Call Of The Haunted.

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Call's great right now, but this deck needs proactive cards that get the game going, much more than slower Special Summon tricks that work best in the mid-game. There will be some dead draws here, but with that in mind it's important to prioritize fast, high utility cards wherever possible. Call's not worth the risks it presents in this particular strategy.

And that's it! Just like that, we've got fourteen card slots to work with.

Where The Heck Is Kalgriffin?!?
That! That's the card that was missing, which I hinted at earlier. The entire secret to unlocking Mecha Phantom Beasts' potential, the code Derek Peasley cracked, was Mecha Phantom Beast Kalgriffin! Your best plays involve doing stuff like Normal Summoning Mecha Phantom Beast Megaraptor one turn, Summoning Mecha Phantom Beast Tetherwolf the next turn, and Special Summoning two tokens as a result. From there you Tribute a Token to get Kalgriffin with Megaraptor's ability, drop both on-field monsters to Level 7, overlay for Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack, and then use the two Tokens it Summons to put Kalgriffin on the field. Add a Tempest or Dark Simorgh to the mix to make a second Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack, and you can go to town with two destruction effects and two attacks.

But you can't do that without Kalgriffin! To make matters even trickier, Tom's running Sacred Sword of Seven Stars but no Kalgriffin to search with Megaraptor; it's that search option that makes Sacred Sword reliable.

I want those plays, Tom. I want to make Rank 7's and I don't want to cut Sacred Sword. So yeah, I'm adding three copies of Mecha Phantom Beast Kalgriffin.

I also want another Dark Simorgh so I can see it reliably and have more options when I go for a Rank 7. This deck can struggle sometimes to yard a Dark monster, so make sure to play your Xyz and Synchros carefully to mitigate that. That said, Simorgh's got a lot going for it right now: while 2700 ATK was often small in previous formats, it's really big right now, running down a ton of popular Xyz and anything your opponent might be Normal Summoning.

More than that, Simorgh's ability to stop your opponent from setting cards can be absolutely brutal, since most decks rely on big backrows and even the ones that don't still play stuff like Abyss-sphere and Hieratic Seal From the Ashes. If you're a long-time reader you know I've been really bearish about Dark Simorgh for over a year, but this is a great time to run it. I want two copies here to capitalize on Tom's idea and fill the empty space left by the two Tempest you can't run anymore. To fuel them, we'll play a third Tour Guide From the Underworld.

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Mecha Phantom Beast Hamstrat isn't supremely powerful in the early game, but it's solid, and it really ramps up in the mid-game. Its two token effect can help you make the most of stuff like Megaraptor and Aerial Recharge, and its token-Tributing ability lets you reuse a fallen Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack for an instant attack or removal effect. It's a simple card that creates big moves, so it's worth running one copy of it.

Onto the spells! I want two more Mystical Space Typhoon, because Fire Formation – Tenki, Abyss-sphere, and Fiendish Chain exist. When I'm looking make a double Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack play I want to know that it's going to stick, and the ability to clear your opponent's backrow and then drop Dark Simorgh so they can't set any more cards is awesome. Triple Mystical Space Typhoon is really important for virtually any strategy right now, but it's especially good here.

A third Scapegoat will fuel all the token effects and provide more defense. To take advantage of all those tokens Enemy Controller's a killer one-of as well. It steals games, and if you're just playing one copy your opponent can't anticipate it and play around it. I want Book of Moon too, to stop Xyz Summons, Synchro Summons, Ignition Effects, Continuous Effects, and attacks. This deck loves making a Normal Summon and keeping that monster on the field to create two-turn set-ups, so Book's really valuable here.

Fiendish Chain? I want a third. Torrential Tribute and Solemn Warning? They're both awesome cards that virtually every deck should be running, cutting off your opponent's biggest plays.

Over in the Extra Deck we need to make some changes, since the deck no longer runs Tuners beyond Mecha Phantom Beast Warbluran. It's also got a greater capacity to make Rank 3 and Rank 7 Xyz, so we need to accommodate that as well. With only one Tuner left it's easy to drop Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon, Colossal Fighter, and HTS Psyhemuth. Queen Dragun Djinn's not useful without the Dragons cut earlier; Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger's not ideal when you need room for other cards; and Skypalace Gangaridai was far-fetched to begin with. Now it's even tougher to Summon without Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon.

Since you'll generally be playing Warbluran as a Level 1, there are three common scenarios for Synchro Summons: you can Tune it with a Level 4 to make a Level 5 Synchro; combine it with two Mecha Phantom Beast Tokens for a Level 7; or Tune it to a boosted Level 4 Mecha Phantom Beast or one of your Level 7 Special Summons for a Level 8. I want one strong Synchro option at each Level, and while Tom was already running Ally of Justice Catastor at Level 5 and Scrap Dragon at Level 8, I want to add Black Rose Dragon at Level 7. Flipping Mecha Phantom Beast Hamstrat to Special Summon two Mecha Phantom Beast Tokens, then Tributing to bring back Warbluran and clear the field with Black Rose for one card is awesome. Note too that Ally of Justice Catastor is a convenient Dark when you can't hit Tour Guide and need to unleash Dark Simorgh.

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Finally, with the third Tour Guide in place I want Ghostrick Alucard to hate on face-downs, Mechquipped Angineer to stall and protect, and Leviair the Sea Dragon to make combos with Dark Simorgh and Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms. Downerd Magician rounds out the lineup, strengthening your Tour Guide plays and putting another Dark in your graveyard.

And that's it! Those simple additions bring this deck into peak fighting form, and the total list of tweaks is as follows:

-1 Mecha Phantom Beast Blackfalcon
-1 Sacred Sword of Seven Stars
-2 Red-Eyes B. Dragon
-2 Red-Eyes Wyvern
-2 Galaxy Serpent
-2 Dragon Shrine
-1 Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
-2 Mirror Force
-1 Call Of The Haunted

+1 Mecha Phantom Beast Hamstrat
+3 Mecha Phantom Beast Kalgriffin
+1 Tour Guide From the Underworld
+1 Dark Simorgh
+2 Mystical Space Typhoon
+1 Book of Moon
+1 Scapegoat
+1 Enemy Controller
+1 Fiendish Chain
+1 Torrential Tribute
+1 Solemn Warning

-1 Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon
-1 Colossal Fighter
-1 HTS Psyhemuth
-1 Queen Dragun Djinn
-1 Skypalace Gangaridai
-1 Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger
+1 Ghostrick Alucard
+1 Mechquipped Angineer
+1 Leviair the Sea Dragon
+1 Downerd Magician
+1 Black Rose Dragon
+1 Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack

Here's the final version of the deck...

DECKID=99807This deck still doesn't quite reach the smoothness and synergetic flow of last year's build, but in return you get the added power of Dark Simorgh in a format where it's really a very strong card. Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack's hugely powerful right now since so many decks rely on one-shot effects to clear away problem-monsters: Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear does it in Fire Fists; Atlantean Heavy Infantry does it in Mermails; and Bujingi Crane turns Bujin Yamato into a road-clearing piledriver. But none of those options are easy answers to Dracossack, and in fact many opponents will have a terribly tough time destroying your lesser Mecha Phantom Beasts as well, thanks to their protection abilities.

With fewer Constellar builds running around to bounce your big Xyz with Constellar Pleiades, and fewer Evilswarm Ophions in the mix keeping your Level 7's off the field, there are some rich opportunities nowadays for Mecha Phantom Beasts. This strategy's a ton of fun, and it fits nicely into competitive scenes right now thanks to a convergence of trends. We may never see another Mecha Phantom Beast deck Top 8 a Regional, but a build like this might get you your invite with some practice and the right Side Deck.

Big thanks to Tom for submitting his idea and his deck list, and big thanks to you for reading about it! I'm reeeeeally hoping Mecha Phantom Beasts might benefit from the new F&L List next month.

-Jason Grabher-Meyer

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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