Welcome to the first instalment of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Episode Decks series, where Samuel Frew helps you recreate iconic moments from the Yu-Gi-Oh anime! Each deck's designed to capture the feel of a specific duel, and we recommend playing Episode Decks against each other for exciting new What If? matchups. Stay tuned for more!

Before he became the first King of Games, Yugi had to compete in Duelist Kingdom.

He didn't just have to worry about the other entrants in the tournament. A total of 40 duelists were invited to compete, each with two Star Chips to their name. That meant there were 80 Star Chips on the island – but there could only be four finalists, and duelists only needed ten Star Chips to make it to the finals. What would happen to the other 40?

That's where the Eliminators came into play: the Paradox brothers, the ghost of Seto Kaiba's evil side, and the big bad, PaniK - a massive brute who delighted in bullying weaker Duelists and taking all their Star Chips.

PaniK was a full-on psycho: depending on whether we're talking about the anime or the manga, he either threatened Yugi with literal flamethrowers, or trapped him with a garotte to force him to play. But even with all that pressure, Yugi kept his cool and wound up defeating Panik…In what's now recognized as one of the most iconic, and most ridiculous scenes in classic Yu-Gi-Oh.

Thanks to Swords of Revealing Light, Yugi was able to buy time and assemble a winning strategy: if he could call out a monster powerful enough, he could use Catapult Turtle to launch that monster at PaniK's Castle of Dark Illusions and destroy it, robbing PaniK of his biggest advantage. The monster Yugi chose to launch was Gaia the Dragon Champion.

In the real game, Catapult Turtle shoots monsters straight at your opponent's Life Points, even if they have a floating castle in the way. Today's deck recreates Yugi's classic move: it beats your opponent down with Gaia Knight monsters, and launches them off with the Catapult Turtle for game!

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Deck - Yugi’s Modern Gaia Catapult Deck by Samuel Frew

'Yugi’s Modern Gaia Catapult Deck' - constructed deck list and prices for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Samuel Frew

Event:

Rank:

Advanced

Market Price: $160.65

Cards

Catapult Turtle

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/32972_200w.jpg

You can Tribute 1 monster to inflict damage to your opponent equal to half of its ATK.

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Curse of Dragon, the Cursed Dragon

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/249135_200w.jpg

If this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can add 1 Spell/Trap from your Deck to your hand, that specifically lists the card "Gaia the Dragon Champion" in its text. If this card is sent to the GY: You can target 1 "Gaia the Dragon Champion" in your Monster Zone; negate the effects of face-up monsters your opponent currently controls with ATK less than or equal to it until the end of this turn. You can only use each effect of "Curse of Dragon, the Cursed Dragon" once per turn.

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Artillery Catapult Turtle

Market Price: $0.40

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/249137_200w.jpg

You can Tribute 1 monster; Special Summon 1 "Gaia The Fierce Knight" monster, or 1 Level 5 Dragon monster, from your hand or Deck. You can only use this effect of "Artillery Catapult Turtle" once per turn.

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Galloping Gaia

Market Price: $0.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218945_200w.jpg

Your opponent cannot activate cards or effects during the Battle Phase while "Gaia the Dragon Champion" is in your Monster Zone. You can activate 1 of the following effects.

• You can reveal 1 "Gaia The Fierce Knight" monster in your hand; add 1 Level 5 Dragon monster from your Deck to your hand.
• You can reveal 1 Level 5 Dragon monster in your hand; add 1 "Gaia The Fierce Knight" monster from your Deck to your hand.
You can only use this effect of "Galloping Gaia" once per turn.

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Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon

Market Price: $100.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/220554_200w.jpg

"Dark Magician" + "Red-Eyes Black Dragon" or 1 Dragon Effect Monster

Cannot be destroyed by card effects. Neither player can target this card with card effects. During your Main Phase: You can destroy 1 monster your opponent controls, and if you do, inflict damage to your opponent equal to that monster's original ATK. You can use this effect a number of times per turn up to the number of Normal Monsters used as Fusion Material for this card. Once per turn, when a card or effect is activated (Quick Effect): You can discard 1 card; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that card, and if you do that, this card gains 1000 ATK.

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Curse of Dragonfire

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215429_200w.jpg

If this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can target 1 Field Spell on the field; destroy it. Once per turn: You can Fusion Summon 1 Fusion Monster from your Extra Deck, using monsters you control as Fusion Materials, including this card.

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Fusion Conscription

Market Price: $0.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/127848_200w.jpg

Reveal 1 Fusion Monster in your Extra Deck and add 1 of the Fusion Materials whose name is specifically listed on that card from your Deck or Graveyard to your hand, , and if you do, for the rest of this turn after this card resolves, you cannot Normal Summon/Set or Special Summon monsters with the added monster's name, also your monsters with that name cannot activate their effects. You can only activate 1 "Fusion Conscription" per turn.

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Dark Magician

Market Price: $0.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/77787_200w.jpg

This promotional card is printed in Japanese.

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Mirror Force

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/217878_200w.jpg

When an opponent's monster declares an attack: Destroy all your opponent's Attack Position monsters.

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Gaia the Dragon Champion

Market Price: $0.37

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/214009_200w.jpg

"Gaia The Fierce Knight" + "Curse of Dragon"

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Fusion Deployment

Market Price: $0.56

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/250383_200w.jpg

Reveal 1 Fusion Monster in your Extra Deck and Special Summon, from your hand or Deck, 1 of the Fusion Materials whose name is specifically listed on that card, also you cannot Special Summon monsters from the Extra Deck, except Fusion Monsters, the turn you activate this card. You can only activate 1 "Fusion Deployment" per turn.

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Mystical Space Typhoon

Market Price: $0.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/25475_200w.jpg

Destroy 1 Spell or Trap Card on the field.

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Spiritual Swords of Revealing Light

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/120933_200w.jpg

Once per attack, when an opponent's monster declares an attack: You can pay 1000 LP; negate that attack. During your opponent's turn: You can banish this card from your Graveyard; this turn, your opponent's monsters cannot attack directly.

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Spiral Spear Strike

Market Price: $0.68

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/116991_200w.jpg

When a "Gaia The Fierce Knight", "Swift Gaia the Fierce Knight" or "Gaia the Dragon Champion" you control attacks a Defense Position monster, if the ATK of that card is higher than the DEF of the Defense Position monster, inflict the difference as Battle Damage to your opponent. If "Gaia the Dragon Champion" inflicts Battle Damage with this effect, draw 2 cards and discard 1 card.

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Spiral Fusion

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218946_200w.jpg

Fusion Summon 1 Dragon Fusion Monster from your Extra Deck, using monsters from your hand or field as Fusion Material. If you Special Summoned "Gaia the Dragon Champion" by this effect, it gains 2600 ATK, also it can make up to 2 attacks on monsters during each Battle Phase.

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Sky Galloping Gaia the Dragon Champion

Market Price: $11.47

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/116958_200w.jpg

1 "Gaia The Fierce Knight" monster + 1 Dragon-Type monster

This card's name becomes "Gaia the Dragon Champion" while it is on the field. If this card is Special Summoned: You can add 1 "Spiral Spear Strike" from your Deck or Graveyard to your hand. When this card declares an attack on an opponent's monster: You can change the battle position of that opponent's monster.

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Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger

Market Price: $2.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/136854_200w.jpg

2 Level 7 monsters

You can also Xyz Summon this card by using a Rank 5 or 6 Xyz Monster you control as material. (Transfer its materials to this card.) If this card attacks a Defense Position monster, inflict piercing battle damage.

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Swords of Revealing Light

Market Price: $0.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/241936_200w.jpg

After this card's activation, it remains on the field, but you must destroy it during the End Phase of your opponent's 3rd turn. When this card is activated: If your opponent controls a face-down monster, flip all monsters they control face-up. While this card is face-up on the field, your opponent's monsters cannot declare an attack.

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Sangan

Market Price: $0.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215409_200w.jpg

If this card is sent from the field to the GY: Add 1 monster with 1500 or less ATK from your Deck to your hand, but you cannot activate cards, or the effects of cards, with that name for the rest of this turn. You can only use this effect of "Sangan" once per turn.

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Dark Cavalry

Market Price: $4.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/186890_200w.jpg

"Dark Magician" + 1 Warrior monster

Gains 100 ATK for each Spell/Trap on the field and in the GYs. If this card attacks a Defense Position monster, inflict piercing battle damage. When a card or effect is activated that targets a card on the field (Quick Effect): You can discard 1 card; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy it.

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Seven Tools of the Bandit

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/23031_200w.jpg

When a Trap Card is activated: Pay 1000 Life Points; negate the activation and destroy it.

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Gaia the Magical Knight of Dragons

Market Price: $0.49

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218913_200w.jpg

1 "Gaia the Fierce Knight" monster + 1 Level 5 Dragon monster

This card's name becomes "Gaia the Dragon Champion" while on the field. You can only use each of the following effects of "Gaia the Magical Knight of Dragons" once per turn. During the Main Phase (Quick Effect): You can target 1 other card on the field; this card loses exactly 2600 ATK, and if it does, destroy that card. When this card destroys an opponent's monster by battle: You can make this card gain 2600 ATK.

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Magic Cylinder

Market Price: $0.50

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/69086_200w.jpg

When an opponent's monster declares an attack: Target the attacking monster; negate the attack, and if you do, inflict damage to your opponent equal to its ATK.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/69086/yugioh-super-starter-v-for-victory-powerup-pack-magic-cylinder

Spellbinding Circle

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/32992_200w.jpg

Select 1 monster your opponent controls. It cannot attack or change its battle position. When that monster is destroyed, destroy this card.

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Gateway to Chaos

Market Price: $1.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/173544_200w.jpg

When this card is activated: Add 1 "Black Luster Soldier" Ritual Monster or 1 "Gaia The Fierce Knight" monster from your Deck to your hand. Each time a Monster Card(s) is sent from the hand or field to the Graveyard, place 1 Spell Counter on this card for each of those cards (max. 6). Once per turn: You can remove 3 Spell Counters from this card; add 1 Ritual Spell Card from your Deck to your hand. You can only activate 1 "Gateway to Chaos" per turn.

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Polymerization

Market Price: $0.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196842_200w.jpg

Fusion Summon 1 Fusion Monster from your Extra Deck, using monsters from your hand or field as Fusion Material.

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Lord Gaia the Fierce Knight

Market Price: $0.47

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/120952_200w.jpg

If your opponent controls a monster and you control no monsters, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand). Once per turn, if a monster(s) with ATK higher than this card is Special Summoned to your opponent's field (except during the Damage Step): You can make this card gain 700 ATK until the end of this turn.

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Gaia the Magical Knight

Market Price: $0.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/249134_200w.jpg

(This card is also always treated as a "Gaia The Fierce Knight" card.)

If you control no monsters, or your opponent controls a monster with 2300 or more ATK, you can Normal Summon this card without Tributing. If this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can Special Summon 1 Level 5 Dragon monster from your hand or GY in Defense Position. You can only use this effect of "Gaia the Magical Knight" once per turn.

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Spiral Reborn

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218967_200w.jpg

Target 1 Level 7 or lower Dragon monster in your GY; Special Summon it. If you Special Summoned a "Gaia the Dragon Champion" by this effect, your opponent cannot target it with card effects, and it cannot be destroyed by their card effects. You can only activate 1 "Spiral Reborn" per turn.

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Curse of Dragon

Market Price: $0.46

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/213953_200w.jpg

A wicked dragon that taps into dark forces to execute a powerful attack.

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Gaia Saber, the Lightning Shadow

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/169484_200w.jpg

2+ monsters

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Gaia The Fierce Knight

Market Price: $0.36

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/25216_200w.jpg

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Summoning your heavy-hitters isn't difficult, but only Gaia the Magical Knight of Dragons and Lord Gaia the Fierce Knight really do anything to slow your opponent down on their turn. To get around that, we'll take another page out of Yugi's playbook and run some of his best defensive cards: Swords of Revealing Light, Spellbinding Circle, and his classic Mirror Force. Spiritual Swords of Revealing Light provides more defence, and Magic Cylinder can help soften up your opponent's Life Points before you launch Gaia.

Your first step is to bring out a Dragon Champion monster. You want to Fusion Summon Gaia the Magical Knight of Dragons with Spiral Fusion, powering it up to 5200 ATK, and then destroy at least one monster with it to boost its ATK to 7800. Thanks to Spiral Fusion, your [Magical Knight] (Gaia the Magical Knight of Dragons) can attack two monsters each turn. Spiral Spear Strike helps if your opponent tries to play monsters in defense mode, and you can search it out with Curse of Dragon, the Cursed Dragon or Sky Galloping Gaia the Dragon Champion.

Your six Field Spells can all search monsters, and thanks to Gaia the Dragon Champion, Fusion Deployment and Fusion Conscription can pick out an extra Gaia The Fierce Knight or Curse of Dragon. Curse of Dragon, the Cursed Dragon is particularly good here; you'll want to summon it with either Gaia the Magical Knight or by tributing Lord Gaia the Fierce Knight. Once it's out, search for Spiral Fusion or Spiral Spear Strike, unless you have the resources to go for both Gaia the Magical Knight of Dragons and Sky Galloping Gaia the Dragon Champion in the same turn.

You can also Fusion Summon the super-powerful Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon! You can spring Dark Magician from the deck using Fusion Deployment or Fusion Conscription, since it's listed as a material Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon. You can even fuse Dark Magician with any Warrior monster for Dark Cavalry: it's got a powerful negation effect and a high ATK that gets stronger over time.

Bringing out Catapult Turtle is more difficult, since you only have three copies and it's big enough to need a Tribute Summon. Lord Gaia the Fierce Knight – the upgrade to Gaia that Yugi played in the Dark Side of Dimensions movie – is perfect tribute for Catapult Turtle. Your defensive cards will help protect your tributes too, and you can fish it out with a single Sangan. (Fun fact? Yugi used Sangan, too! You can see the poor little guy getting blown away by Saggi the Dark Clown when Yugi duels Kaiba in Yu-Gi-Oh! Episode 1 – The Heart of the Cards!)

Once you have Catapult Turtle out, wait until you've finished attacking for the turn. Gaia the Magical Knight of Dragons needs to battle to show its true strength, and your other effects should stop your opponent from countering your attacks. Whittle down your opponent's Life Points, and you can launch Gaia the Magical Knight of Dragons with Catapult Turtle to finish them off, just like the King of Games!

This deck turned out to be a lot more entertaining that I expected: turns out, nothing beats shooting a dragon-riding knight from a catapult attached to a mechanical turtle! But there's more support for this deck on the horizon, with Curse of Dragon, the Magical Knight Dragon. It's a Level 5 Fusion that can help you make more Fusion Summons. There's no telling when we'll get it in English, but it's an exciting cards to look forward to! For now I hope you have as much fun as I have when you're shooting your opponent with a Dragon Champion.