10th Place Qliphort Regional Report

Kelly Locke

11/11/2014 11:03:00 AM

Last weekend I scored an invite to the 2015 World Championship Qualifier at the Garden City Michigan Regional, and to be quite honest: it's about time. I placed 10th at the event, just shy of the Top 8, but finally received my first ever invite. I've come close, but I typically play incredibly sub-par decks at Regionals that often leave me at a severe disadvantage. It's a bad habit of mine and I'll often end up with a lackluster 5-4 record by the end of the day. This time, however, the deck I wanted to play also happened to be one of the best picks for the event: Qliphort.

I've wanted to build Qliphort since their initial reveal in the OCG. I'm a huge fan of Pendulum Monsters and an entire theme of them was too much to resist. I started collecting the cards I'd need to build the deck almost immediately: Summoner's Art, Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon, and more recently, Madolche Nights. Investing in those cards at their lowest really paid off; Summoner's Art is well above the $20 mark now, and Odd-Eyes is at least six or seven dollars more than its low back in September.

Still, I knew grabbing all of the Qli cards once they were released in The New Challengers was going to present an entirely new challenge. Luckily, I was able to borrow nearly the entire deck from a friend who bought a case of the set and had plenty of extras to loan out.

By Friday night I was playing a version of Qliphort without Qliphort Disk, but by the time the tournament started I was able to pick up two copies thanks to another friend's incredible entry pack pull and a last-minute trade. Once I'd essentially completed the deck, it was time to run it through the Regional gauntlet.

The Deck: Qliphort Scout Can (Not) Resolve

The build I settled upon wasn't anything fancy. Most of the line-up is already locked in place: Qliphort Scout, Carrier, Saqlifice, and Summoner's Art were musts at three copies each, and I also maxed out Qliphort Helix, Upstart Goblin, Mystical Space Typhoon, and Vanity's Emptiness. I didn't have much room for tech choices, but I did manage to squeeze in a few interesting cards.

    Qliphorts Kelly Locke    
  Location:  Regional - 2014-11-8 Garden City Michigan - 9th - 16th Place
Main Deck
Side Deck
1 Apoqliphort Towers
2 Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon
1 Performapal Trampolynx
3 Qliphort Carrier
2 Qliphort Disk
3 Qliphort Helix
3 Qliphort Scout
2 Qliphort Shell
Monsters [17]
1 Dark Hole
1 Forbidden Chalice
1 Limiter Removal
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Raigeki
3 Saqlifice
3 Summoner's Art
3 Upstart Goblin
Spells [16]
1 Bottomless Trap Hole
1 Compulsory Evacuation Device
3 Vanity's Emptiness
2 Wiretap
Traps [7]
Deck Total [40]
2 And the Band Played On
1 Dimensional Fissure
2 Light-Imprisoning Mirror
1 Madolche Nights
2 Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror
2 Skill Drain
1 Soul Drain
1 Spell Shattering Arrow
1 Stygian Dirge
1 Wiretap
1 Xyz Universe
Side Deck [15]



Deciding not to Main Deck Skill Drain was, in my opinion, the right choice. Forbidden Chalice was a better Game 1 card for most match-ups, and Skill Drain could easily be sided for anything that either Imprisoning Mirror couldn't cover. A Tribute Summoned Qliphort Disk or Shell is worth much more to me with its effect intact. Still, I think Skill Drain will remain a must for the vast majority of Qliphort players.

The typical opening play is to search Qliphort Scout with Summoner's Art, activate it in a Pendulum Zone, then search either Saqlifice, or Qliphort Carrier or Helix. After that, you can Normal Summon your Qliphort monster, equip it with Helix, and set your defensive cards. With a typical opening I could generally ensure that I'd get at least one more search next turn via Scout or Saqlifice, and I'd have the tribute fodder necessary to Summon a Disk or Shell. In the meantime, whatever monster I controlled would sit on the field at 2100 ATK and couldn't be destroyed by battle. After that, it was a matter of resolving Scout enough times to finish the duel.

Speaking of resolving Scout: going second with Qliphort is an uphill battle. I have chronic ‘always lose the dice roll' syndrome, so it's rare that I'll actually start Game 1. Shaddoll Artifact builds with Double Cyclone and Artifact Ignition could easily take out two Scouts the moment I played them, which meant I'd often have to play other cards to my Pendulum Zone to slowly work my way through my opponent's outs. Like Dragon Ravine, I'd try to bait away removal by setting cards and implying that I hadn't drawn Scout. I'd also aim to make it seem as though I only had one copy of Scout by searching a second Scout with Summoner's Art first.

 Qliphort Scout
Qliphort Scout94537
Set The New Challengers
Number NECH-EN021
Level 5
Type Pendulum/Effect Monster
Monster Machine
Attribute EARTH 
A / D 1000 / 2800
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

Pendulum Effect You cannot Special Summon monsters, except "Qli" monsters. This effect cannot be negated. Once per turn: You can pay 800 LP; add 1 "Qli" card from your Deck to your hand, except "Qliphort Scout".
Monster Effect Booting in Replica Mode… An error has occurred when executing C:\sophia\zefra.exe Unknown publisher. Allow C:\tierra\qliphort.exe ? …[Y] Booting in Autonomy Mode…

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I wouldn't have been nearly as successful on Saturday had Qliphort been released a week earlier. Most of my opponent's weren't prepared for the match-up, and frequently made Mistakes regarding my card's effects. While they were aware that Saqlifice gave my monster 300 ATK, they were surprised to discover that they were also impervious to battle. I won two games because my opponents Xyz Summoned a monster that didn't affect my cards. In one case it was a Number 101: Silent Honor ARK that was trying to absorb a Tribute Summoned Qliphort Disk, and in another case a Number 61: Volcasaurus attempted to destroy a Qliphort Shell.

The Tournament
My first round opponent was playing an unexpected strategy: Qliphort! We were the only two players in our row who were playing something other than Satellarknights, Burning Abyss, or Shaddolls, and were somehow paired against each other. I steeled myself for a potentially grueling mirror match, only to quickly discover that my opponent opened really poorly – far worse than I did. I destroyed his Qliphort Scout with Mystical Space Typhoon early in the duel, and resolved my own to begin building momentum.

Shortly after that I had a second realization: I was noticeably more familiar with how to play the deck. At one point he tributed a Qliphort Shell to Summon another Qliphort monster, then began to scan Shell's text to see if it activated when tributed like Qliphort Helix or Carrier. I sided in Spell Shattering Arrow for Game 2, resolved it early in the duel to break his Pendulum Scale, and proceeded to win from there.

With the mirror match already out of the way, I entered Round 2 wondering how many Qliphorts I'd end up playing against. As it turns out the answer was just one, but I did play against four Shaddoll decks. The first one was in Round 2, where my opponent started by Summoning Mathematician and sending Felice, Lightsworn Archer to the graveyard. He used both monsters to Synchro Summon...Yazi, Evil of the Yang Zing. I was both surprised and very curious as to what my opponent was actually playing. I half-expected him to Summon a Yang Zing on his following turn, but instead he Summoned Shaddoll Dragon and made a quick attack with Yazi over my Saqlifice-equipped Qliphort. Yazi is a great opening Synchro against Burning Abyss since it can't be targeted by opposing card effects, and I suspect my opponent thought I was playing that instead of Qliphort. While I couldn't return it to the hand with Carrier, I could just as easily Tribute Summon Qliphort Shell and destroy it in battle.

Each of the Shaddoll match-ups went roughly the same: I'd use Qliphort Carrier to return Fusion Monsters back to the Extra Deck and prevent my opponent from recycling their spells. In the meantime, I'd avoid keeping monsters I'd Pendulum Summoned on the field by tributing them immediately. A Normal Summoned Disk or Shell is unaffected by both Main Deck Shaddoll and Artifact effects, as well as the majority of Xyz Monsters. I didn't see El Shaddoll Grysta all day, which is probably the most effective counter to Qliphorts. El Shaddoll Shekhinaga's effect negation and massive defense can present some problems, and I actually ran into one after a Super Polymerization absorbed one of my monsters. Apoqliphort Towers came in handy by offering a way to get it to the graveyard while presenting an insurmountable obstacle for Shaddoll players.

Satellarknights were my hardest match-up. My first match against that deck was extremely close, and I narrowly won thanks to Wiretap, a Mistakenly-Summoned Silent Honor ARK, and an improperly activated Cursed Seal of the Forbidden Spell. Stellarnova Alpha can negate Pendulum activations, and taking minuses to build your Pendulum Scale plays perfectly into the Satellarknight strategy. My final opponent of the day was playing a burn-heavy version of the deck, and quickly burned out my Life Points with Battleguard Howling, Magic Cyclinder, and Satellarknight Alsahm. Of all my opponents, he was the most prepared to deal with the Qliphort match-up and won our match quickly after I Gambled – and lost – on a blind Mystical Space Typhoon.

 Qliphort Disk
Qliphort Disk94540
Set The New Challengers
Number NECH-EN024
Level 7
Type Pendulum/Effect Monster
Monster Machine
Attribute EARTH 
A / D 2800 / 1000
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

Pendulum Effect You cannot Special Summon monsters, except "Qli" monsters. This effect cannot be negated. All "Qli" monsters you control gain 300 ATK.
Monster Effect You can Normal Summon this card without Tributing. If this card is Normal Summoned without Tributing or is Special Summoned, its Level becomes 4 and its original ATK becomes 1800. If this card is Normal Summoned/Set, it is unaffected by activated effects from any monster whose original Level/Rank is lower than this card's current Level. When this card is Tribute Summoned by Tributing a "Qli" monster(s): You can Special Summon 2 "Qli" monsters from your Deck, but destroy them during the End Phase.

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Other than Shaddoll, Qliphort, and Satellarknights, I also played one match against Burning Abyss. Our game came down to one final attack: with less than 2000 Life Points remaining I controlled Towers, and his field was just a Mathematician. I also had a set Stygian Dirge, which I planned to use to stop his next play and prevent him from Summoning Number 47: Nightmare Shark. Unfortunately I decided to attack Mathematician, and during my opponent's Draw Phase he drew a Mystical Space Typhoon – destroying my only out to Shark. Had I not attacked I would have won on the following turn.

Rebuild Of Qliphort
I'm most content with how the deck played. In the future I'd probably avoid playing Towers, or at least reserve it to Side Deck it in for specific match-ups. It was a dead draw a couple of times, and it doesn't offer much extra utility. It felt like a ‘win-more' card, and even when I did Summon it – which was surprisingly often – I rarely used its last effect for fear of triggering a Shaddoll or Burning Abyss monster's ability. Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon was a big letdown too; I overestimated how often I'd be Special Summoning and decided not to play Pot of Duality. That was a Mistake. Duality's easily one of the best consistency cards for Qliphorts, and I wouldn't play the deck without it now. In fact, I'd almost consider dropping Odd-Eyes altogether.

There were some great techs in Qliphort decks during the same weekend at the ARG Circuit Series in Raleigh. Emergency Teleport and Re-Cover let you Summon Naturia Beast, but what about playing Esper Girl or Psychic Commander to Summon Naturia Barkion and Naturia Landoise? Madolche Nights can be sided for various match-ups, so why not take that a step further and add Madolche Puddingcess into the mix? There's still a lot of ground to cover, despite the rigidity of the Qliphort engine.

Finishing up this report, I'd like to give a shout-out to Lamel, Troy, and Kevin for helping me put this deck together right before the tournament. I couldn't have done it without you guys.

Until next time then

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