Just last week, I visited the local FoW community at Ongkeco’s Hobby Shop (OHS) in Taft Avenue. I met around six people throughout the afternoon, and after playing, exchanging ideas, and having a lot of excitement involving a couple of boxes of Vingolf, I went home in high spirits – it’s great to see the local community steadily growing.
I’ve promised two of the players, Lenard and Fran, a deck that the latter would enjoy. Lenard has a grasp for the game and is experienced – just behind a bit on cards, while Fran is new to the game. After seeing her play an aggressive pre-Alice cluster Bahamut deck, it occurred to me how aggressive decks in FoW does a lot of stuff and it might be intimidating to newer players to remember them all and play optimally, not to mention that with the shortage of supply of the Melgis and Faria duel decks, upgrading to a better aggro deck might not be the best solution at the moment.
An idea came to me as I was perusing Lenard’s binder and came across Yamata-no-Orochi. The Nightmare/Dragon Resonator has been a centerpiece of most combo decks because it can OTK (One Turn Kill) the opponent from nowhere using reanimation (when you put a resonator from the graveyard directly into play, bypassing its actual cost) shenanigans. I remember Cesar, one of the prominent players in our local community, piloting a version which used Book of Eibon and Genesis Creation a couple of weeks before, and it did well. However, his list contained some hard-to-find cards like Guinevere, but I’m convinced that there might be a way to build it cheaper without compromising its power too much.
A couple of days later, I made this list:
Ruler: Blazer Gill Rabus (Php500)
4 Prowler of Niflheim (Php40)
2 Shantak (Php20)
4 Forty Thieves (Php40)
4 Card Soldier “Club” (Php40)
2 Arthur, the Dead Lord of Vengeance (Php150)
4 Yog-Sothoth, the Dark Myth (Php200)
4 Yamata-no-Orochi, the Eight Disasters (Php200)
4 Necromancy of the Undead Lord (Php40)
4 Book of Eibon (Php80)
4 Genesis Creation (Php200)
2 Realm of Pure Spirits (Php40)
2 Niflheim, the Realm of the Dead (Php50)
4 Magic Stone of Heaven’s Rift (Php600)
5 Darkness Magic Stone
1 Light Magic Stone
Total: Php2200 (or roughly $50)
So here’s a deck with a linear game plan, cheap, and can potentially be faster than any aggressive deck at the moment. Barring an initial learning curve involving the reanimation shenanigans (which will be explained in simplified fashion below), the deck is easy to pick up for the enthusiastic newbie. But before we move on, let us take a look at the cards in the deck and what they do:
Ruler: Blazer Gill Rabus
Blazer is our Ruler of choice primarily because of his ability to produce Fire Will out of any Magic Stone. This saves us a bit of money since we don’t have to invest in a set of Magic Stone of Scorched Bales (the Fire/Darkness one). More importantly, it lets us cast Forty Thieves, a key part of the deck’s engine, without any problem. A nice benefit of having Blazer as a ruler is that the opponent won’t be able to guess our deck’s game plan – a Blazer deck is mostly aggro or control, and it might lead to a slight advantage. They’ll also be more cautious when J-Activating.
Monsters: Yamata-no-Orochi, Yog-Sothoth, the Dark Myth, Arthur, the Dead Lord of Vengeance
These three are the big hitters and are the main targets of reanimation spells. Yamata is the centerpiece of the deck, and allows as early as turn 3 kills. Yog is our other big toy to reanimate, with the added bonus of being able to come down early via the Incarnation mechanic. With lots of 1 and 2-cost Resonators in the deck, it should be easy to Incarnate Yog and stop early pressure. Note that his [Enter] effect won’t work when he enters play from the graveyard. Arthur, while having poor synergy with Yamata, is great with the rest of the deck should we find ourselves going for Plan B – which is good ol’-fashioned beatdown.
Enablers: Shantak, Prowler of Niflheim, Forty Thieves, and Card Soldier “Club”
These four cards make up half of the deck’s engine, as they put cards into your graveyard for reanimation later on. Forty Thieves is best used when we have the big monsters in your hand and need to discard them and/or we have to find our reanimation spells. Card Soldier best used when we already have reanimation spells in our hand, but lack targets in the graveyard. Learning when to use these two properly is one of the tricky, yet rewarding aspects of the deck, and requires a bit of intuition and luck.
As for Prowler, it’s almost always a good idea to cast him on turn 1. In the later turns, treat him the same way as Card Soldier when weighing your options. Finally, Shantak is a great early blocker, Incarnation fuel, and another way to discard any big monster that gets stuck in your hand.
Reanimators: Book of Eibon, and Genesis Creation
Book of Eibon is probably the best reanimation spell in the game so far. It only costs 3, and with the current metagame being light on Addition-hate, it’s unlikely that the opponent will be ready for it. Take note that it’s an Addition:Field, meaning that we can target it with Genesis Creation, and it’ll reanimate another Resonator in the graveyard when it enters the field (e.g. if we have Yog, Yamata, and Book of Eibon in our graveyard and play Genesis Creation, we can reanimate Yamata and Book. Book then enters play and reanimates Yog).
Genesis Creation is our other reanimation spell and can be used as described above, though ideally, its main targets are Yamata and Realm of Pure Spirits.
Others: Necromancy of the Undead Lord, Niflheim, the Realm of the Dead, and Realm of Pure Spirits
Despite only granting minor stat buffs, Necromancy of the Undead Lord is one of the best cards in the deck since it never truly dies (hence no loss in card advantage), and latches itself for free to the Resonators that we play or reanimate. Just a couple of these on a Yamata is enough damage to close the game. As an added bonus, it turns the Resonator that it’s attached to into a Zombie, so it gets the bonus of Niflheim as well.
When there are little to no Zombies on our field, Niflheim can be treated as Card Soldier 5 and 6 – it’s an enabler that puts stuff into our graveyard, and can be brought back by Genesis Creation later if needed. Otherwise it’s a nice global buff to your Zombies (or anyone with a Necromancy attached to them).
Finally, a couple of Realm of Pure Spirits makes Yamata nearly untouchable since he doesn’t need to rest to attack, hence always “inside” the Realm’s protection.
Here are some general rules to remember when playing the deck:
1) Always keep the important enablers (Prowler, Thieves, Club).
2) Always keep at least one reanimation spell. Two is fine, if the other cards in your hand are enablers.
3) Always keep Necromancy of the Undead Lord, but not more than one. You may keep multiples if you have ways to discard it from your hand like Shantak or Forty Thieves.
4) You’re better off seeing the big monsters in the graveyard than in your hand. HOWEVER, do keep a big monster if your initial hand can allow reanimating it on turn 3 or 4.
5) Keep a Yogg against aggro, but only if your hand can support casting it via Incarnation.
The deck’s main plan is to hold off until it can pull the Yamata combo and kill the opponent in one go. How often this happens and at what turn can vary, but should the stars align, we can kill as early as turn 3. When we’re not raising eight-headed dragons from the dead, the deck’s plan B depends on the matchup.
Against aggro decks, we have to stall until we can pull out a big monster from our graveyard to defend with. Keep in mind that sometimes, clearing the field is better than going for face. Be sure to count damage before committing to a play.
Against control decks, we can be proactive with our enablers and use them to constantly pressure the opponent. Control decks tend to have solid removal spells, so relying on Yamata might not be the best option. However, do take advantage of any opening that comes up. Arthur might be the best among the big monsters in this matchup, since he’s a recurring threat that buffs our other attackers.
Despite having a plan B, most of the deck’s wins rely on an unanswered Yamata combo, and in some games it just doesn’t happen. Such is the nature of a combo deck that relies on the quality of cards in the graveyard – there will be times when it’ll be inconsistent, or we draw the wrong cards, or things don’t simply mesh together – and that variance is something we’ll have to accept in exchange for potentially winning regardless of any game state.
Just think of it as high-risk, high reward.
In terms of match-ups, I think the deck can go toe-to-toe with most decks. However, it has two nightmare matchups – Pricia (or anything that has Horn of Sacred Beasts) decks, and control decks. The former is almost unwinnable given how good Horn of the Sacred Beast is in ruining our main game plan, while the latter can reach a point where it can Cancel most of our plays if we don’t apply pressure fast enough. Blazer, the Eater of Dimensions, could potentially be bad for our deck as well, but he’s not a popular choice in the metagame at the moment.
Sideboard and Moving Forward
The sideboard is where we can get flexible with our card choices, and for this I suggest that we do a transformative sideboard instead to fight against the control matchups, and keep our opponent guessing regarding which strategy we’ll use.
1 Rezzard, the Undead Lord / Rezzard, the Desecrating Vampire
4 Death Scythe, the Life Reaper
4 Underground Dragger
3 Scion of Ancient Lore
3 Seth, the Arbiter
Death Scythe is a natural complement to Blazer’s J-Activate abilities, and those two combined can easily scare the opponent into holding back on their J-Activation. Since we’re using the Darkness Regalia, we might as well take full advantage of it by using Rezzard as our alternatre Ruler against heavy control decks. The Undead Lord adds a lot of pressure because he can come out early before control decks can truly stabilize, and is often huge enough that he can’t be taken down easily. With Death Scythe in play, he can easily dominate the field by stealing opposing Resonators.
The rest of the sideboard is dedicated to this Rezzard beatdown strategy. Underground Dragger serves as a natural Rezzard buff when in the standby area, and removal when triggered. Scion is really good beater for his cost, and is another great reanimation target.
Finally, we have Seth. He’s a secondary engine that allows us to retrieve cards from the graveyard whenever we kill opposing Resonators, and is still good even if we don’t have discard effects. There are a lot more tricks involving him, which will be covered at a future Rezzard article.
As for the cards to remove when siding in the Rezzard suite, we’ll want to take the combo pieces out entirely, but still leave the reanimation spells in. So we go:
-2 Realm of Pure Spirits
-4 Forty Thieves
So that’s it for our deck. If you want to try something risky yet fun, give it a shot! It’s quite easy to play and build, and won’t cost you an arm and leg to acquire the pieces. It can be frustrating at times, but when everything comes together, there’s no greater satisfaction than bringing the opponent from 4000 to 0 in one play.
A disaster indeed.
Card images are from db.fowtcg.us