Sunday, April 24, 2011

Deck Essay #12: Kuraz-Blade Turbo

While there are indeed a vast number of disparate cards, mechanics, and individual effects to be found in this great game, there also exists of course a surplus of possible combinations when integrating these single cards together. Some, needless to say, are more powerful than others, and are thus explored to a great extent; while some are distinctly the reverse – not very powerful and for the most part left alone. The deck (or rather, the combo) I will be investigating in this essay is in fact neither, or perhaps instead a combination of the two: it is very powerful, but inexplicably has not been explored with the great depth that it deserves. Now, my personal view on this curious occurrence is that the idea was lost amidst metagame shifts due to both additions to the Forbidden and Limited Lists and the release of new, highly viable deck-types. However, the deck is lost no more! for I have retrieved and studied the little amount of information I could find in order to reconstruct this remarkable strategy for the modern Traditional Format. I am talking about the deck known simply (if known at all) as Kuraz-Blade Turbo.

When thinking to oneself about the large quantity of complicated strategies that can be constructed in Yu-Gi-Oh!, Kuraz-Blade Turbo is undoubtedly as intricate and bewildering as they come; however, through rigorous testing and rebuilding over the course of approximately two months, I have finally discovered the appropriate architecture. The win condition, though, from merely staring at the following decklist, will not be obvious, I fear, so I shall explain it now: through a plethora of effects to send cards to the Graveyard, whether by discard or mill, copies of Kuraz the Light Monarch and Divine Sword – Phoenix Blade are loaded into the discard pile; Kuraz the Light Monarch is then Removed from Play (along with other Warrior-Type Monsters) through the retrieval effect of Divine Sword – Phoenix Blade; the Removed copies of Kuraz the Light Monarch are then Special Summoned using D.D.R. – Different Dimension Reincarnation, with the Monarch then using its effect to target itself and the Spell Card for destruction to draw two cards; eventually, the huge amount of card drawing and Removing Monsters from Play sets up a turn in which the activation of Dimension Fusion will create a game-ending swarm of Monsters.

Now, as with any exceptionally complicated deck I present, I must implore those people less skilled with in-game decision making to exercise caution; a thorough understanding of not only the possible combos herein, but also the possible long-term outcomes of said combos, is essential to piloting this deck correctly. One incorrect judgment can and will spell doom. This is a skill which takes years of painstaking practice to develop, so people who would make the choice to play this deck must not do so lightly.

The Monsters: 13

3 Kuraz the Light Monarch
3 Wulf, Lightsworn Beast
2 Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior
2 Card Trooper
1 Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning
1 Destiny Hero – Disk Commander
1 Dark Magician of Chaos

It is generally accepted that Monster line-ups in the Traditional Format are relatively short (barring some special cases), in order to facilitate room for the abundance of powerful Spell Cards; however, this deck takes the premise even further, playing a grand total of only thirteen. Very little is needed in the way of Monster Cards for the strategy to function properly, and, as is the case in the Traditional Format, efficiency is the primary focus; cards unnecessary for the central win condition are omitted.

First and foremost, I have based the deck around an engine of Lightsworn. It was the most obvious engine to my mind, for not only would it allow the draw and discarding power needed to carry out the appropriate task, it would also do so while sending more cards to the Graveyard through the theme’s inherent mill effect and, most importantly, would accomplish such while maintaining hand presence. This latter facet is important to note, for many players I think would be inclined to utilize an engine centred on Hand Destruction and the like (and is indeed something I tested in preliminary builds of this deck). While the Lightsworn engine would, on the occasion, create dead hands in which one draws Solar Recharge without a discard target or Lightsworn Monsters with which there is nought to do, I feel the decision is well justified by not only the incredible momentum the engine allows when given a decent hand, but also the consistency with which this happens. Dead hands, in short, are statistically rare.

Now to discuss the individual decisions regarding the engine, although I will admit that there is indeed little to talk about! for I have included only two different Lightsworn Monsters: the first, Wulf, Lightsworn Beast, included at a full three copies, and the other, Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior, included at two, together totalling five. The inclusion of Wulf, Lightsworn Beast was, to be completely honest, a simple choice: it finds itself being Special Summoned for free very often due to three copies of both Solar Recharge and Hidden Armory and one each of Charge of the Light Brigade, Painful Choice, Reasoning and Monster Gate, and this provides the deck with excellent early game momentum and an offensive power should the engine unfortunately stall (for I would not be stupid enough to declare that this never happens, although I will stress again that it is rare). Some people might say that playing the card in triplicate would create dead draws, but this is, to refer again to my previous argument, statistically unlikely.

A little more difficult was the decision to include Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior. The number of copies, I will say before I go any further, was an easy choice, for there quite simply was no more room to be found, and another would have been unneeded in any way. These two slots hither were set to be filled by any of the three Lightsworn Warrior-type Monsters, in order to add extra Removal targets for ones copies of Divine Sword – Phoenix Blade, and Garoth, to my mind, was the suitable one: Ehren, Lightsworn Monk would be useless due to not only its low ATK, but also because any Set Monsters utilized in Traditional are Flip-Effect Monsters, which Ehren is completely unable to influence; and the fluctuating ATK of Jain, Lightsworn Paladin seemed detrimental when Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior boasted a steady body that was already larger. Ultimately however, it matters little which Monster Card is chosen, for it would rarely be Summoned, although in the interest of constructing the deck with as much accuracy as was feasible for the purposes of this essay, I spent much time considering my options.

In order to aid the central engine in sending needed cards to the Graveyard, I have drawn inspiration from the Shonen Jump Championship winning Diamond Dude Turbo build piloted by Marc Glass at Columbus in the year 2007, including the allowed two copies of Card Trooper. This adds, if at all possible, an extra layer of speed to the deck, allowing the copies of Kuraz the Light Monarch, Divine Sword – Phoenix Blade and other combo-oriented cards to be set up as fast as possible. The draw effect also adds extra combo potential, for one can target Card Trooper with the effect of Kuraz the Light Monarch in order to draw three cards instead of merely two; although this effect is good any deck Card Trooper is played in, it is an especially nice touch here.

Thence, I have made the somewhat questionable decision to include Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning. However, I assure the reader that I can justify this incongruity, and my reasons are three-fold: firstly, with the vast amount of drawing and milling the deck accomplishes, it is by no means too problematic to load one of the two DARK Attribute Monsters into the Graveyard for the Summon of the Soldier; secondly (and in direct relation to the first point), Summoning Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning allows for another way to send a copy of Kuraz the Light Monarch to the Removed from Play Pile for later revival; and thirdly, the Monster is of the needed Warrior-type itself, meaning it adds yet another possible card to facilitate the retrieval of Divine Sword – Phoenix Blade, thus making it far easier again to Remove the copies of Kuraz the Light Monarch for later revival. At first glance, it looks to be a bizarre addition, but the synergy it presents is only veiled rather shallowly.

Finally, I have made two obvious inclusions, and ones which therefore require little justification: Destiny Hero – Disk Commander and Dark Magician of Chaos are here to help draw more cards and retrieve a lost combo piece from the Graveyard, respectively. One will have almost no trouble whatsoever in sending these cards to the Graveyard for revival, and such is made even more achievable by the fact that one of the revival cards, namely Premature Burial, can be searched via Hidden Armory if needed. Dark Magician of Chaos can even be revived through a copy of D.D.R. – Different Dimension Reincarnation, another card searchable through Hidden Armory, adding an extra layer of versatility to the arsenal of the strategy.

The Spells: 26

3 Solar Recharge
3 Hidden Armory
2 Magical Stone Excavation
2 Divine Sword – Phoenix Blade
2 D.D.R. – Different Dimension Reincarnation
1 Pot of Greed
1 Graceful Charity
1 Card Destruction
1 Painful Choice
1 Charge of the Light Brigade
1 Reinforcement of the Army
1 Monster Reborn
1 Premature Burial
1 Reasoning
1 Monster Gate
1 Dimension Fusion
1 Snatch Steal
1 Harpie’s Feather Duster
1 Raigeki

Much of the strategy-specific Spell Cards have already had their uses expounded upon above, for it was simply not possible to explain many of the intricacies of the Monster line-up without revealing the remaining contents of the deck. Firstly, the Spell Card list is centred on a key engine of Equip Spells. A full three copies of Hidden Armory allow the player to search for any needed Equip Spell at any given time, either from the deck or from the Graveyard: two copies of D.D.R. – Different Dimension Reincarnation stand out as the chief search targets, reviving a Removed Kuraz the Light Monarch in order to draw two cards, or revive the copy of Dark Magician of Chaos to retrieve a combo piece; Premature Burial also brings combo potential to this strategy, for not only can it revive the Dark Magician of Chaos or the Destiny Hero – Disk Commander as normal, but it can also be used to Special Summon a copy of Kuraz the Light Monarch, which will, as with the previous Spell Card, target itself and its reviver to draw two cards; Snatch Steal is included as a way to remove a threat and create one at the same time, as it does in other decks; and lastly, Divine Sword – Phoenix Blade is included to facilitate the Removal of Monsters from the Graveyard to set up the draw engine and win condition of the deck, as well as provide retrieval discard fodder for other cards.

From there, the Lightsworn engine is rounded out by the inclusion of three copies of Solar Recharge and the single allowed copy of Charge of the Light Brigade. There would be some people, no doubt, who would be afraid of running a target-specific draw card with only five actual targets, but I have found, through rigorous testing, that this number is sufficient. One must also remember that Charge of the Light Brigade, when drawn, can essentially be counted as a discard target for Solar Recharge, bringing the total number of Lightsworn up to six. Barring some special cases (First-Turn-Knockout decks, for example, which contain enough draw acceleration to be able to play less targets), a ratio of two targets for every one draw card (expressed as the figure 2:1) is quite sufficient for adequate consistency. However, for the interests of producing as much consistency as is possible, I have also made the addition of the single allowed copy of Reinforcement of the Army, which permits the extra search of a copy of Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior for later discarding.

Next, Pot of Greed, Graceful Charity, Card Destruction, Painful Choice, Reasoning and Monster Gate have all been included for the abilities they possess to power the deck along: the first three draw more cards and, in the case of the latter two, also place needed cards into the Graveyard; while the last three allow the pilot to place combo pieces directly into the Graveyard from the deck. Painful Choice clearly boasts the most power in this instance, but Reasoning and Monster Gate are both exceptionally potent for this purpose. Also with the inclusion of Reasoning and Monster Gate comes the partnership of two copies of Magical Stone Excavation, again taking inspiration from Diamond Dude Turbo; not only do these cards allow the retrieval of needed combo pieces from the Graveyard that were either sent thither by milling or used already, they also allow the discarding of other combo pieces to the Graveyard, accomplishing, as many cards in the deck do, multiple purposes.

Finally, the remaining list of Spell Cards are all clearly justified by assisting the game winning turn, either by Special Summoning Monster Cards or by clearing the opponent’s field in order to attack for victory: Dimension Fusion, the chief win condition, and Monster Reborn, another way to Special Summon a Monster from the Graveyard, both fulfil the former requirement; while Raigeki, to destroy the opponent’s front row, and Harpie’s Feather Duster, to destroy the opponent’s back row, both fulfil the latter.

The Traps: 1

1 Sixth Sense

While I see little need to explain the reasons for including Sixth Sense here, I will admit that having the single Trap Card constitute the entirety of the Trap line-up requires at the very least some justification: with the deck already packed solidly, I had very little room for Trap Cards, although in truth anything of this nature would work out to be far too slow to be of any real use. One could argue, and one could do so quite convincingly I feel, that some form of defensive card could be included in this place (Imperial Order or Ring of Destruction, for example, come to mind instantly); however, the possibilities that Sixth Sense offer to the strategy was simply too tantalizing to ignore, for not only can it allow the drawing of even more cards, the downside to the card (or what is commonly accepted as a downside), that of milling cards from the top of the deck, is by no means the usual detriment here. Of course, the card should be rotated out during any tournaments that disallow the use of OCG cards.

In the world of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game, there is a nigh endless list of possibilities to be explored, but quite often the majority of players will rest upon that which has already been deemed an acceptable strategy to play. I feel I must implore such players to rethink their outlook, for the brilliance of this great game is truly manifest in the intricacies found when unlocking new potential, or, as in this particular case, continuing in a previously short line of study. The deck I have presented here, Kuraz-Blade Turbo, is but one example of an incredibly powerful, fast and consistent strategy known but little by the average player due to its lack of sufficient investigation and documentation by skilled architects; there are many more of such to be found. And the results are indeed exciting, as one can clearly see in the decklist above: through the use of two seemingly random yet interlocking, synergistic engines, one of Lightsworn and the other of Equip Spells, it is possible to claim victory as early as the first turn the pilot is able to attack, and unless other people take up the challenge of not only studying Yu-Gi-Oh! but also documenting it as well, many important strategies will be lost. A single person cannot possibly discover them all.


  1. I think this deck has tons of potential, can you please do a follow write up on it to see how strong the deck can be if made into a First Turn Kill varient? Having to use your combat phase to win games is annoying in Traditional when you can just play Dark Strike Fighter and blow your board up in their face on the very first turn.

    I would say just add a Glow-Up Bulb, but I don't think it does a deck like this justice and it needs to be thourough when making changes.

  2. But the deck is so good anyways it can repeatedly do it's gameplan over and over, and most of my games I usually go through a ton of my deck anyways.. maybe something that reshuffles the graveyard like Exchange of Spirit or something would be good here. It's Traditional right? Theres always some sort of answer to put in the decks.

    I think some newer cards or something to use the Extra deck could be nice. Somehow use Magical Scientist since the deck does not need a extra deck?

    1. I suppose it could be possible to tweak the build in order to play it out as an FTK; the addition of Glow-up Bulb could work, in order to Synchro with Kuraz for Dark Strike Fighter, and would open up some other combos, but this (as everything else) boils down to consistency. The deck is amazingly consistent as it stands, and I think that any changes would, as you said, need to be thoroughly tested.