What The Fix?! PENGUINS!!

Jason Grabher-Meyer

3/29/2013 11:29:00 AM

I can safely say that this is the best Penguin deck I've ever built.


So, some What The Fix?! articles have me fixing up alternate versions of already-successful strategies, like last week's Watt Hunder deck. Others draw attention to competitive ideas sent in by brilliant readers like yourself, and I gently nudge them towards competitive success. But sometimes...? Sometimes the deck isn't really the kind of thing I'd recommend for tournament play, but it's just so much fun that I can't resist fixing it up and writing about it. In that case success won't be as common against the big decks, but the sheer joy you feel when those wins do happen makes it all worthwhile.

 The Great Emperor Penguin
The Great Emperor Penguin48056
Set Generation Force
Number GENF-EN037
Level 5
Type Effect Monster
Monster Aqua
Attribute WATER 
A / D 1800 / 1500
Rarity Common
Card Text

You can Tribute this card to Special Summon up to 2 Penguin monsters (except Big Emperor Penguin) from your Deck.

Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
Kirwan's Game Store Unlimited - Near Mint 6 $0.13
Kirwan's Game Store 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $0.14
Gators Unlimited - Moderately Played 2 $0.22
KD'S TCG Extras 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $0.22
Rolemasters Emporium 1st Edition - Near Mint 2 $0.22
Amazing Games TCG 1st Edition - Near Mint 3 $0.22
Amazing Games TCG Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $0.23
KD'S TCG Extras Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $0.23
Rolemasters Emporium Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $0.23
IDeal808 1st Edition - Near Mint 9 $0.23

Ripping into an obscure card to claim victory; seeing your craziest combos come together; and the look on your opponent's face when they realize their YCS-winning netdeck just got beaten by hilarious jank...it's just one of the most entertaining ways to approach the game, and it's a great way to take a break from hardcore competition. No matter how competitive you are, at the end of the day we're all in this for the same reason: to have fun. And playing a purely casual deck delivers that, while also making you "think different" as you build, refine, and then manage a set of strategies and tactics that are wildly unfamiliar. It makes you a better player.

So today we build one of those decks. Today, good sirs and ladies, we build Penguins. I'll let our contributor tell you about his strategy...

Hey, so I enjoy reading your stuff! You're a much better writer than I, so if you will, put down that I said nice things about you if this gets posted! (No deal, sir - JDG)

The heart of this deck is the off-the-wall Penguin engine. No one knows what to do. Bouncing is great against my opponent's Extra Deck monsters. Tour Guide, Rabbit and The Great Emperor Penguin all thin the deck and make for some fun Xyz. I tend to make Abyss Dweller at 2200 ATK and get out more Nightmares to have everybody boosted nicely, and beat people down when they cant get past the traps. Give it a look over, super easy to play and fun, so enjoy and if you have time, let me know how it goes.


-Darren Mullins

So basically, the Penguin theme has one thing going for it: The Great Emperor Penguin. Every time Emperor hits the field undisturbed you can Tribute it off to Special Summon two more Penguins from your deck, and while they can't come out face-down to let you abuse Flip Effects, they do allow instant Xyz Summons. Nightmare Penguin and Flying Penguin are Level 4's; Penguin Knight's a Level 3; Penguin Soldier's Level 2; and Puny Penguin is Level 1.

That's kind of a narrow strategy: it hinges on one play, and eventually you do run out of Penguins to fuel it. Darren's supplemented the deck with Tour Guide From the Underworld and Rescue Rabbit to try and give it some more oomph, but that brings some complications of its own. Here's the deck list he submitted...

    PENGUINS!! Ver 1.0 Darren Mullins    
Main Deck
Side Deck
1 Aqua Spirit
3 Flying Penguin
1 Night Assailant
3 Nightmare Penguin
3 Penguin Knight
3 Penguin Soldier
3 Puny Penguin
1 Rescue Rabbit
3 The Great Emperor Penguin
2 Tour Guide From the Underworld
Monsters [23]
1 Book of Moon
2 Creature Swap
1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn
2 Salvage
Spells [7]
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
1 Compulsory Evacuation Device
2 Mirror Force
1 Solemn Judgment
1 Solemn Warning
2 Torrential Tribute
2 Waboku
Traps [11]
Deck Total [41]


2 Abyss Dweller
1 Bahamut Shark
1 Black Ray Lancer
1 Gachi Gachi Gantetsu
2 Leviair the Sea Dragon
1 Maestroke the Symphony Djinn
1 Number 16: Shock Master
1 Number 17: Leviathan Dragon
1 Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction
1 Number 32: Shark Drake (UTR)
1 Number 39: Utopia
1 Snowdust Giant
1 Wind-Up Zenmaines
Extra Deck [15]

That's alot of penguins!

So we've got two different things going on here. First we've got the Penguin engine, totaling eighteen cards.. The four Penguins ranging from Level 2 to Level 4 are all fodder for The Great Emperor Penguin's ability; Nightmare Penguin and Penguin Soldier have decent effects that can ruin Xyz Monsters; and Puny Penguin can Special Summon back Emperor Penguin so you can reuse it.

That's key: this deck really has one trick, and being able to do it repeatedly and quickly is key to our success. While the Penguin cards have some solid effects, they all require you to set the Penguins and have them wait around a while to work, which is a problem in a format dominated by Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Bear and Atlantean Marksman. Straight up, setting Penguins isn't a robust strategy for achieving wins. You need to use as many Emperor Penguins as quickly as possible to make Xyz and take your opponent off guard.

Darren's tried to speed things up with Rescue Rabbit, Tour Guide, and Aqua Spirit, but it's kind of half a plan at best. Aqua Spirit just isn't a very good card right now, packing low stats and an effect that's largely irrelevant. One copy doesn't make much of a difference, though it could help in Tribute Summoning a Great Emperor. Darren's only playing one Rescue Rabbit because he only has three compatible Normal Monsters, and since you generally want to Special Summon them as your first pull with a Great Emperor, Rabbit can be a dead card. Tour Guides are great, and they make a big impact for minimal deck space, but I feel like they're distracting from the core strategy. That's what we really need to focus on.

You Never Go Full Penguin
That's really the solution that's going to take this deck to its full potential in my mind: we need to go "full penguin" here. We need to penguin really hard. Possibly with extreme penguin prejudice. It turns out this deck can actually beat the top strategies sometimes if it resolves enough Great Emperors and you play carefully, so my goal with this fix is to make that happen. I want to get Great Emperor into the game as fast as possible; I want to do it several times; and I want to make the most of that when it happens. I'm going to cut the tertiary monsters, add more theme support, and refine the spell and trap lineup. Let's do it!

First up, Rescue Rabbit, Tour Guide, and Night Assailant are gone. Rescue Rabbit is more tempting in the OCG, where the Level 3 Normal Monster Bolt Penguin exists, but here in the TCG it just isn't justifiable. We need those card slots for other stuff.

Aqua Spirit doesn't do much here. Like I mentioned, its main function is going to be Tribute fodder for an in-hand Emperor Penguin, but that's a pretty specialized role for a card that's difficult to play otherwise. We're going to take a different approach to this strategy that will leave us with fewer Great Emperor draws anyways, so this just isn't the right time or the right place for this card. We need that sweet, sweet card slot.

Speaking of deck space, Penguin Knight gets cuts because its effect is irrelevant, and Rank 3's aren't as good as Rank 4's in this strategy. It kills me to cut Penguins from this deck, but we need to get Darren's 41 card total down to 40, and we need to overhaul this list by adding alot of missing parts. I'm even going to cut one copy of Flying Penguin just to get the size down and make room.

This deck can play Salvage, but it can't really do much with the cards it retrieves. We want to unleash a MASSIVE FLOOD of Penguins as early as possible, and Salvage is a mid-game card that doesn't help us do that. It's a great card, but this isn't the right strategy for it; the pacing and the purpose aren't right.

I understand what Darren's going for with Waboku, trying to protect Nightmare Penguins and Penguin Soldiers so they can use their effects and then be played for Tribute and Xyz Summons (or even just set again in the case of Soldier). But with the sheer amount of monster removal in popular decks right now, Waboku doesn't really accomplish that. It's also a harsh -1 that leaves you a card behind without advancing our aggressive agenda, so we need that deck space for cards that are going to do more to create wins, instead of just delaying defeat.

Lastly, I'm trimming away Book of Moon, Compulsory Evacuation Device, and Mirror Force for different defensive cards. Mirror Force was a difficult cut to make, but it really worked out after a bit of testing.

Seventeen Down, Sixteen To Go!
So with seventeen cards cut, we have room for sixteen new additions while keeping the deck to the 40-card minimum. We made alot of cuts, but we really had to: we're changing how this deck goes about its business on a fundamental level. Darren's strategy revolved around trying to Tribute Summon Emperor Penguin, which meant he had to deal with three problems. First, he'd have to try and draw Emperor Penguin, which isn't easy. Second, he'd have to find Tribute fodder with which to Summon Great Emperor, which is difficult when your deck consists chiefly of pint-sized Penguin monsters. Third, the strategy wasn't repeatable when it went off: you'd Summon an Emperor Penguin, Tribute it to make an Xyz play, and then... well, that was kind of it. You had to hope that your one Xyz Monster would survive - basically impossible in this format - and from there you'd just hope to draw into a Tour Guide or another Emperor Penguin play.

Not the best plan.

So we're switching things up! While it is possible to Tribute Summon The Great Emperor Penguin and I've done it many times, we need more ways to get that guy into play. I'm going to build this strategy around the notion of sending Emperor Penguin from the deck to the graveyard, and then Special Summoning it back with Call Of The Haunted, Monster Reborn, and Puny Penguin. We can keep the Tribute Summoning concept in the picture, that's fine. But by adding a second option we make it far easier to get that fist Emperor Penguin going. We also make the second and third Emperor plays much more approachable, because all you have to do is flip Reborn or Call to get it done.

This strategy may or may not take on a different shape next month, once Lavalval Chain is released in Hidden Arsenal 7: Knight of Stars. You could use other Rank 4 tricks to make Chain, then activate its effect to kick Emperor Penguin to the yard. I'm not sure what tricks you'd use, but there are plenty of solid options out there. However, we're building this strategy now, not three weeks from now, so we're going to have to rely on a familiar on-theme face to pull this plan together.

"Hi! I'm Genex Undine! You may remember me from plays like, 'Send Dragoons To The Graveyard, Get Abyssmegalo,' and 'That Time I Ruined Your Life With Moulinglacia'!"

Thanks to Genex Undine, Water decks like this one happen to be really good at loading the graveyard. Three copies of Undine backed by two Genex Controller gives us three ways to prep Emperor Penguin, plus access to Rank 3 plays and Synchro Summons. Undine addresses one of the two things we need to do to make this strategy successful, while also thinning the deck, absorbing damage, and setting up some nice moves all on its own if your opponent can't knock it off the field. The Extra Deck here is pretty tight, but I'm going to find room for four Synchro Monsters: Ally of Justice Catastor takes down opposing monsters and brickwalls attacks; Dewloren, Tiger King of the Ice Barrier lets us reuse Call Of The Haunted and another Continuous Trap we'll be adding; Orient Dragon takes out opposing Catastors; and Black Rose Dragon blows everything sky-high to level out the field.

The addition of Undine also means we can run something this deck direly needs: a boss monster with more than 1800 ATK. See, between Undine and The Great Emperor Penguin, this deck can place five Water monsters into the graveyard quite easily. We really want to take advantage of that, and adding two copies of Moulinglacia the Elemental Lord is the perfect way to do it. Barring Pot of Avarice, you'll only really get two aggressive Xyz Summons off of Emperor Penguin: you can make two Rank 4's, but once you do you're out of Penguins. You could Emperor into two Penguin Soldiers for Gachi Gachi Gantetsu, but that doesn't really win games on its own. Moulinglacia's surprisingly easy to play even without Salvage, and I've found it a great fit here. It's not even expensive anymore since Mermails have largely gravitated away from it.

 Moulinglacia the Elemental Lord
Moulinglacia the Elemental Lord67228
Set Abyss Rising
Number ABYR-EN035
Level 8
Type Effect Monster
Monster Sea Serpent
Attribute WATER 
A / D 2800 / 2200
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

Cannot be Normal Summoned/Set. Must be Special Summoned (from your hand) by having exactly 5 WATER monsters in your Graveyard, and cannot be Special Summoned by other ways. When this card is Special Summoned: Discard 2 random cards from your opponent's hand (or their entire hand, if less than 2). You can only use the effect of "Moulinglacia the Elemental Lord" once per turn. If this card leaves the field, skip the Battle Phase of your next turn.

Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
Tcg guise Unlimited - Lightly Played 1 $18.00
Self selling 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $19.00
rryugiohhouse Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $20.00
ISD Gaming 1st Edition - Lightly Played 1 $20.90
Card Rush Unlimited - Near Mint 2 $20.95
Gsantsm 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $20.99
Cardhype Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $21.00
TeamGuyaneseGamer 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $21.00
Pro-PlayGames 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $21.92
Mystic Gaming 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $21.92

Speaking of Pot of Avarice, it needs to be here! The same moves that set up Moulinglacia also benefit Avarice, and the ability to Recycle Level 4's back into the deck is invaluable. Free cards are good as well, that's always true, but the worth of doubling your Great Emperor plays really needs to be stated.

Heavy Storm and two Mystical Space Typhoons are a must here. I generally consider triple Typhoon a staple for anything I plan to take against Mermails or Fire Fists, because Abyss-sphere and Fire Formation - Tenki are huge cards that win games. Sadly, this is a casual strategy that needs alot of specific cards, and we just don't have room for the third Typhoon. Still, one Storm and two Typhoons will go a long way toward securing this deck's key combos, not to mention outplaying Macro Cosmos and Dimensional Fissure.

Double Fiendish Chain buys time against all the powerful monster effects in this format, while blocking attacks and letting you keep a monster on the field for Tribute, Xyz, or Synchro Summons. Fiendish Chain just keeps getting better and better results right now: it was a huge pick at YCS Austin, with some members of the Top 32 going so far as to Main Deck three. It's a gret choice here, especially when you can use it to make a Dewloren, and then bounce Chain back to your hand with Dewloren's effect.

Finally, three Call Of The Haunted draw our new gameplan together. Here's a look at the complete list of changes:

-1 Rescue Rabbit
-1 Flying Penguins
-2 Tour Guide From the Underworld
-1 Night Assailant
-3 Penguin Knight
-1 Aqua Spirit
-2 Salvage
-1 Book of Moon
-2 Waboku
-1 Compulsory Evacuation Device
-2 Mirror Force

+3 Genex Undine
+2 Genex Controller
+2 Moulinglacia the Elemental Lord
+1 Heavy Storm
+1 Pot of Avarice
+2 Mystical Space Typhoon
+3 Call Of The Haunted
+2 Fiendish Chain

Behold! The future of Penguin dueling technology!

    PENGUINS!! Ver 2.0 Jason Grabher-Meyer    
Main Deck
Side Deck
2 Flying Penguin
2 Genex Controller
3 Genex Undine
2 Moulinglacia the Elemental Lord
3 Nightmare Penguin
3 Penguin Soldier
3 Puny Penguin
3 The Great Emperor Penguin
Monsters [21]
2 Creature Swap
1 Dark Hole
1 Heavy Storm
1 Monster Reborn
2 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Pot of Avarice
Spells [8]
3 Call of the Haunted
2 Fiendish Chain
2 Mirror Force
1 Solemn Judgment
1 Solemn Warning
2 Torrential Tribute
Traps [11]
Deck Total [40]


2 Abyss Dweller
1 Ally of Justice Catastor
1 Bahamut Shark
1 Black Rose Dragon (UTR)
1 Dewloren, Tiger King of the Ice Barrier
1 Gachi Gachi Gantetsu
1 Leviair the Sea Dragon
2 Maestroke the Symphony Djinn
1 Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction
1 Number 39: Utopia
1 Orient Dragon
1 Submersible Carrier Aero Shark
1 Wind-Up Zenmaines
Extra Deck [15]

So now we've got a few different ways to win. You can huck The Great Emperor Penguin to the graveyard and bring it back with Call Of The Haunted, Puny Penguin, or Monster Reborn to unleash Xyz Monsters. You can Tribute Summon Great Emperor and do the same. You can make Xyz and Synchro plays with the Genex monsters, and you've got Moulinglacia the Elemental Lord to devastate hands and dominate the field. The deck's central strategy is faster and more reliable, and it can repeat those Great Emperor plays with greater ease. But it's also got alternative threats now, and the sweet part is that all those plans work together to support each other.

I've had a blast with this thing. There's nothing like seeing your opponent go first, drop Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En with other Samurai monsters plus some backrow cards, and then using all your wit, guile, and Penguins to turn the tables. You really earn every win you get with this deck, and that's an awesome feeling. Your opponent's reaction will either be sheer respect or utter rage whenever that happens, but it's usually the former and rarely the latter. This isn't a competitive deck and I'm not going to tell you to take it to a tournament if your goal is to win, but it's a ton of fun.

...Though if your goal is to win with Penguins...!

There's even some room for customization and interpretation here. For instance, despite Penguin Soldier's superior effect, it's very possible that Penguin Knight may suit you and your metagame better. It's a terrible topdeck, but a Rank 3 Summon off a Great Emperor play is usually better than a Gachi Gachi. The Creature Swaps are pretty flexible, too. I like them myself, and I kept them here to preserve as much of Darren's strategy as possible, but those could easily become trap cards, Book of Moon, another Mystical Space Typhoon, or even Moray of Greed.

My advice? Play with it. There's a unique sense of happiness that I get from piloting stuff like this every now and then, and I don't think I'm alone. I spend most of my time running competitively popular decks, or strategies designed to beat them, and sometimes I just want to take a vacation to Cute Town. And believe me, Puny Penguin friggin' runs that place. I'm pretty sure he's the mayor.

I don't know what we're doing next week, but I can guarantee it'll be something completely different! See you next Friday here on TCGPlayer, and if you'll be at YCS San Diego, I'll see you there in person!

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

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