6/7/2012 2:00:00 PM
The Six Samurai have been on the minds of a lot of players in recent years, making notable splashes in the tournament upper-crust in many a recent meta, and catching the eyes of more casual players across the world; they've been my favorite deck since they were released. It seems that most people believe that only one or two builds of Samurai can be competitive at any given time, if they're competitive in a given meta at all. I'm here to tell you, that's definitely not the case, and that The Six Samurai is arguably one of the most versatile archetypes in the game
, when you get beyond their need to work together and separate them into smaller groups.
In a world where most competitive metagames revolve around Dino Rabbit and Chaos Dragons, and no one's shy about putting Effect Veiler
in the Main Deck, Six Samurai can have a rocky time breaking onto the scene. But that doesn't mean it's impossible, nor that it shouldn't be attempted. In my time with them, there have been a lot of Samurai strategies, ranging from the expected to the downright staggering. Today I'm going to be talking about two of the ways I've run the deck recently. One is more accessible on a budget, and the other much more flashy and consistent in practice. First we're going to talk about one that I've fallen in love with as a concept and am still trying to improve: Shooting Quasar Dragon
Hand-Loop X-Saber Samurai!
It sounds, and looks, beyond ludicrous, but this deck's absolute stance on silly draw power can lead to summoning all but one of the monsters in your Extra Deck on Turn 1 and take the entirety of your opponent's five card opening away from them before they even get a turn! While it isn't the most consistent bag of tricks that the Samurai can equip themselves with, it's certainly the most entertaining, and the one most full of showmanship. Nothing says I'm being serious right now like summoning fifty-thousand times in a turn.
There's a lot of things happening here that need to be addressed to understand the big picture, but here we go. Firstly, your goal is going to be setting up infinite Bushido Counters on Gateway of the Six
, which can be done with Mizuho or Shinai plus any other follow-up Special Summon while it's already face-up on the field, granted you hold another card with the ability to get Bushido Counters. More often than not, you're going to be using Shien's Dojo
to that end, but Six Samurai United
works just as well, and you can actually win without Dojo just on attack power alone. You can have Kizan, Grandmaster or the opposite complementary Samurai to the one you're holding first; or, with Mizuho, using Asceticism of the Six Samurai
into Hand of the Six Samurai
Once the field is established with two Bushido Counter cards, and Mizuho or Shinai with another Samurai beside it, search with Gateway for another copy each of Mizuho and Shinai and summon them both. Activating Mizuho's effect by tributing Shinai, target herself for destruction - you'll be getting her back in a second anyway. When she resolves, you grab her back with the effect of Shinai in the Graveyard and put her back on the field. Search for Shinai by removing two from Gateway and two from your other card, and put him back, then loop until a satisfactorily high number of counters is achieved. I like mine to be around 1.5^10 in scientific notation.
Use the Mizuho effects to simplify the field down to a single Mizuho, Gateway and Dojo or United, and send Dojo away to bring Shien's Squire
to the field. If you're using United instead, search for all of the Six Samurai monsters from your deck to thin it out and draw two with United, then try to roll into the Squire with your other absurd draw power. With fifteen draw-spells and three Dojo, plus Foolish Burial
, One for One
, Thunder Dragon
s, Smoke Signal and Reinforcement of the Army
, you'll likely have no problem hitting your mark. The real problem is getting Gateway, but that went successfully for me around seventeen games for every twenty I played.
With Squire out and Kizans in your hand and ready to go, make T.G. Hyper Librarian
and Brionac with Squire and Grandmaster both garnered again from Gateway's excessive plus-plays. Bring Squire back and use a Kizan to make Shi En, drawing a card from Librarian. Because of Brionac's ability and the fact that we can continuously discard and Return
our Samurai to our hand, we can actually bounce and re-summon Shi En until we draw our entire deck.
Well, most of it. Stop when you hit Level Eater
, or a card to put Level Eater
into the Graveyard. Bouncing Shi En once more to clear space, and reviving Level Eater
from the Graveyard by reducing Brionac's level, we can use it to make Formula Synchron
with Squire and then Shooting Quasar Dragon
with Brionac and Librarian.
The next step in our campaign for glory is to make use of our X-Saber comrades to cripple the opponent's options. With Squire and Kizan we can make Wayne, and Squire with two Kizan churns out XX-Saber Gottoms
. Making a Gottoms and a Wayne, we can tribute him to discard a card from the opponent's hand. Shooting Quasar Dragon
hitting the field first is relevant here, because it determines what we're going to do for the rest of the turn. If you hit a Dark World monster or a card that would indicate your opponent is using Dark Worlds against you, only discard until you trigger the first effect, which you can negate with Quasar's ability. You have three Wayne and two Gottoms, so you can take up to five shots at the opponent's hand, but you may only need to take one or two to determine how it plays out from there, which is Fine
. If the first discard seems safe, make another Wayne and fire again. If not, feel free to keep Gottoms out, and don't feel pressured to tribute him away to make room on the field.
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Shi En can now make a commanding Return
to the table, and Shinai should be beside him. We have all five Monster Zones full now, but using Mizuho to tribute Shinai and destroy herself, we can clear enough field space to do a couple more Synchro Summons. Squire and Grandmaster can make Gaia Knight, the Force of Earth
and he can buddy up with Squire to go into Landoise. With a field of Naturia Landoise
, Quasar and Shi En, there's virtually no card around that can pose a threat to you, except a wall monster like Spirit Reaper
. Since you have a single zone empty, when you discard at the end of the turn for hand size, keep five Spells for Landoise and Hand of the Six Samurai
to shoot out any set cards before your next Battle Phase.
At this point, you have ALL the negation! You can stop five monster effects; a single Spell or Trap per turn; and another additional effect of any kind, plus you're set up for clearing away any stall monsters you couldn't have gotten over from an opponent's good draw. In terms of irrefutable dominance, there is no deck more suited to sit on the field and say No, I'm pretty sure I got this.
The deck does have problems answering an opponent's Turn 1 Laggia, or Turn 1 Solemn Warning
/Judgment, but Heavy Storm
can help to mitigate the hurt from that. Unfortunately, the only way to get over a Laggia is to throw out a Samurai, hope they negate your summon and attempt to take it next turn. Dealing with Chaos Dragons isn't awful, due to a lack of cards in the deck that stop summons outside of Warnings, and even Effect Veiler
isn't a huge or pressing issue. Because Veiler can't stop the summoning of your Mizuho and Shinai pairs, if they Veiler one Mizuho attempting the loop, you can snag back the tributed Shinai and try again with your second Mizuho. Assuming your opponent has two Veilers they can stop you, but even in regards to a normal Samurai match-up... Well, they had two Veilers. I guess that's Yu-Gi-Oh sometimes.
Should the Bushido Counter loop go off though, even if your opponent has Veiler, Brionac, Librarian, Gottoms... You can still clear a hole in the field with Mizuho and poke for 1500+(Infinite/2*500) damage. Gorz won't be an issue since it's an instant shot for game. Maxx C can't stop you either, since you can loop Mizuho and Shinai summons until they draw the deck and lose. Since they have to take the time to draw Veilers, you should have enough Bushido to keep the ball rolling afterward anyway, and then that's no longer an issue.
The problems you could face outside of a Turn 1 answer to your summons are essentially just drawing extra Thunder Dragon
s, or if Gateway is the bottom card of your deck. If that's the case, there really isn't a lot you could do. Alternatively, because the cards used to trigger the summon aren't too off for a Samurai build of a more standard variety (excluding the fact that it would have to be based on Mizuho and Shinai), you could opt to play a more normal Samurai deck and have your Extra Deck be the entire source of your playability, winning with the loop only sometimes and trying to take games through more run-of-the-mill Samurai tricks. While it would leave you unable to put that kind of field out on Turn 1 as regularly, it would be far less vulnerable to things like Solemn Warning
and Dino Rabbit.
The safer of the two strategies in Question
today is still a little less practical than what you've likely seen from other players trying to take advantage of Samurais, but I think you'll still find yourself liking it. It's an out-of-the-box idea that's been kicking around in my head for a while, and a peculiar variant of it even made a recent showing at the 5th Shinjuku Cup tournament in the OCG.
This deck also has some rather witty loop shenanigans that'll leave you tickled with your own performance when they happen to shoot off. The fact that it involves Chamberlain of the Six Samurai
and not a lot of protection in the backrow might be concerning to you, but rest assured that everything is well in check when this strategy gets its footing. Thanks to Instant Fusion
and Spell Striker
, you have lots of ways to start your Wind-Up tricks if you draw into Hunter. Foolish Burial
is an extra chance to get Hunter into useful position in the Graveyard without having to draw into it, too. Running Burial is just like running a second copy of Hunter, for most intents and purposes.
Chamberlain's purpose is to Supply
Kageki with an Asceticism target that will allow for the Xyz Summoning of Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity
. It leads into a lot of tricky plays with Invoker and Leviair. Chamberlain also lets you tap into the defensive power of Zenmaines at a more ready pace, as well as the strength of Acid Golem against things like Chaos Dragons, where 2900 ATK can be the benchmark for staying alive.
Asceticism is really an all-star in this deck, leading into not just the Rank 3 plays, but also the ability to play Kizan and Zanji to take out stalling problems like Gellenduo
or Reaper, and make Number 39: Utopia
and Gem-Knight Pearl
to get over things. You can even use it to put a hard-stop on Chaos Dragons by Xyz Summoning Steelswarm Roach
. I ended up dropping Utopia and Roach altogether after some Gateway and Invoker tricks, and my opponent seriously couldn't do anything against me, since he'd already burned his Dark Hole
. If you feel like everyone in your area is Main Decking Dark Hole
, excessive Torrential Tribute
s or other mass destruction, you may want to find room for Starlight Road
and Stardust Dragon in the Extra Deck, or try The Huge Revolution is Over
Unlike most Wind-Up decks that use the hand loop and then have a rough Time Seal
ing the deal in a timely fashion, this deck can answer the following turn with Shi En or an Acid Golem. Shi En can even come out on the same turn on which you make your Hunter loop, thanks to Shien's Dojo
. Since the Hunter loop can finish on Invoker to get Kizan, and then Squire from the Dojo, Shi En's a very real possibility. If there's a better hand loop than one that leaves you immune to a top-decked Dark Hole
, I'm not sure what it would be.
The deck has a fair time dealing with big monsters, since Acid Golem and Zenmaines are easy to bring out, and can't be stopped with Veiler. It can even call out Veiler itself by telegraphing a Kageki play. When you summon it, even if the only thing in your hand to summon is a Kizan you'd have brought out anyway, go ahead and activate Kageki's ability. Kizan is coming out either way, and your opponent might think he's stopping your Wind-Up play, or keeping a Shi En off the field. Instead you get a free card from their hand, plus that Veiler's taken offline. I don't know how many times I've pushed through a successful play off of that trick.
A note of caution similar to the previous deck: like all decks that use monsters to get things done, Solemn Warning
and Laggia are again going to be a thorn in your side. But, since you're not necessarily devoting yourself to an all-or-nothing strategy and can formulate a flexible mid-game, that's not going to be the biggest issue for you. It's also a lot easier to create a Side Deck for this build; you can drop the Wind-Ups and bring in something more traditional, or put in answers to common threats, playing stuff like Summon Limit
, Macro Cosmos
, Veiler, and so on. I personally find that Veiler and Summon Limit
are my two main defenses against Dino Rabbit, at least as far as my Side Deck is concerned.
Keep in mind that there's a ton of neat-o stuff you can do with the Six Samurai like this, that breaks away from the expected and ventures somewhere a little more brave. Taking the Wind-Ups and a couple of the support Spells for that strategy out, and putting in Rescue Rabbit
s and a set of Sabersaurus
could lead to an interesting Dino-Samurai version that locks with Dolkka and Shi En. You could fit in Ninja Grandmaster Hanzo
and Ninjitsu Art of Super-Transformation
with a target or two, and play the surprise game... The sky's the limit, outside of your own originality!
With the Samurai Warlords
structure deck just on the horizon, and a new format only two months away, the time for innovation is upon us. It's really anyone's guess how the Samurai archetype could develop in the wake of new cards from the Structure. Since there's no right or wrong way to play the theme right now, get as creative and bold as you can. With an upcoming format full of new and exciting potential, it may very well be one of you breaking into the winner's circle in the future!