Everything You Need To Know About Performages

Doug Zeeff

9/14/2015 11:00:00 AM
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Clash of Rebellions brought five Performage monsters to the dueling scene and they've been ripping up the competitive circuit in a bunch of different ways. Here on TCGplayer we've talked about them a few times. Pasquale included a copy of Performage Trick Clown in his latest Ritual Beast article, Mike discussed new Nekroz complications with the addition of Performages in his most recent article, and last week I showed off a Gem-Knight deck with a full suite of Performages. Clearly this theme's worth analyzing, and I don't think that will change anytime soon.

The Performage engine is so powerful because it's extremely versatile, both in execution and in the actual number of cards you play. I'll talk a bit more about ratios later on, but I'll start by looking at what play patterns the three best Performages open up.

Performage Damage Juggler, Performage Hat Tricker, and Performage Trick Clown are really the only Performages played, even at a casual level. Performage Flame Eater's adorable but its effect is nothing unique, and Performage Stilts Launcher is pretty much straight garbage. Both monsters have effects that restrict your Special Summons to nothing but Performages for the rest of the turn, and in most cases that puts a damper on the combos you want to be making in the first place.

Circus Freaks
Performage Trick Clown's the simplest of the bunch and the most well-known. When it's sent to the graveyard you can target any Performage monster and Special Summon it with 0 ATK and DEF, and then you take 1000 damage. You can only use it once per turn, but the cool part is that you can bring it back with its own effect… even if you don't have another Performage in your graveyard. Trick Clown works no matter what, as long as it's sent to the graveyard. You can detach it as Xyz Material, Fuse it, or even Tribute it for something like Enemy Controller. It's an “If…you can” effect too, so you'll never miss the chance to activate it.

Note that you don't pay Life Points to revive Trick clown; you take damage after it's Special Summoned. While that's not supremely important, it means if your opponent chains Vanity's Emptiness you won't take 1000 damage for nothing. That also means you can still get the Special Summon even if you absorb the damage, perhaps through the effect of Performage Hat Tricker, the next monster I wanted to talk about. Hat Tricker's on-field effect prevents effect damage to you, and then it gets a counter. If it manages to get three counters it bumps up to an astounding 3300 ATK and DEF, though that'll probably never happen.

 Performage Hat Tricker
$1.20
$0.23
$0.05
Performage Hat Tricker102431
Set Clash of Rebellions
Number CORE-EN017
Level 4
Type Effect Monster
Monster Spellcaster
Attribute EARTH 
A / D 1100 / 1100
Rarity Common
Card Text

If 2 or more monsters are on the field, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand). During either player's turn, when a card or effect is activated that would inflict damage to you: You can place 1 Performage Counter on this card (max. 3), then make that effect damage to you 0. When the 3rd Performage Counter is placed on this card, it's ATK and DEF become 3300.


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The real reason Hat Tricker sees plays is that you can Special Summon it from your hand if there's two monsters on either side of the field, combined. That's not a once per turn effect, so if you have three Hat Trickers in your hand you can Summon all of them. Performage Hat Tricker might be the least flexible of the bunch, but it's important because unlike Trick Clown you can Special Summon Hat Tricker with no outside interaction. You don't need to send it to the graveyard to get an extra monster on the field, you just Special Summon it directly.

Performage Damage Juggler supports both. I think everyone thinks of Damage Juggler as the best Performage at this point, which is interesting since all the hype was focused on Performage Trick Clown heading into the Clash of Rebellions release. Regardless, Damage Juggler has three killer effects that slow down the game for your opponent and speed it up for you.

Its first two effects juggle damage away from you. If a card or effect is activated that would inflict damage to you, you can discard Damage Juggler to negate and destroy that card. That's really useful because you can even stop effects that burn you as a sidenote, like Wavering Eyes or Blackwing - Nothung the Starlight. Damage Juggler's second ability lets you discard it and stop the next hit of battle damage you would take that turn; useful since it can't be played around like Nekroz of Valkyrus. You can always activate it in your own Battle Phase too, just to get it into the graveyard for its third effect.

Once per turn you can banish a Performage Damage Juggler from your graveyard to search out another Performage. That's what really brings the engine together, adding either Hat Tricker or Trick Clown to your hand. Damage Juggler's hugely efficient because it supplies three monsters off of just one card. You can use it for an effect or as Summoning material, grab a Trick Clown to do the same, and then it'll bring itself back for another use. It reminds me a lot of Reborn Tengu in its prime, except it won't consume your Normal Summon and you don't care if you draw multiple copies of the cards involved.

Shifting to the Extra Deck, Performage Trapeze Magician is an incredibly strong, but misleading card. I think a lot of people are confused by its many effects, so let's break them down one by one.

First, you never take damage if the total would be less than Trapeze Magician's ATK, which means you can revive Trick Clown for free. Next, you can detach a material from Trapeze Magician in your Main Phase 1 to allow a different monster to attack twice that Battle Phase, losing it at the end of that phase. I saw a ton of people at YCS Toronto try to use that effect on Trapeze Magician itself to do 5000 damage, but you actually have to play it on another monster; make sure you don't accidently make any illegal plays. Lastly, if Performage Trapeze Magician's destroyed and sent to your graveyard by battle or card effect you can Special Summon a Performage from your deck. Just like Trick Clown it can't miss timing, so if you make Trapeze Magician with Hat Tricker and Trick Clown and it gets destroyed, you can revive the Trick Clown and get another Performage from your deck.

The main boost that Performages offer is free material for your Special Summons, and especially an increased consistency in Rank 4 combos. Some decks struggle to put more than one Level 4 on the field at a time, but the Performages change that. In a world where Number 104: Masquerade ends games out of nowhere it's worth considering Performages in any deck where you can afford the space.

But How Many Should You Play?
While these cards are obviously great, how many of each you decide to run is up to you, and those ratios can vary wildly from deck to deck. In my opinion there are four basic Performage engines, and I'm going to break down each of them so we can look at their pros and cons. First up is the tightest engine of the bunch:

1 or 2 Performage Trick Clown

Pasquale did this in his Ritual Beast deck, and it's a good pick for decks that run a lot of on-theme cards or a big driving engine. By just playing one or two Performage Trick Clowns you lower the risk of drawing dead copies. Multiple Performages can become liabilities if your strategy doesn't have a way to get them out of your hand, so playing just one or two Trick Clowns eases the pressure that might exist otherwise. You want to use Trick Clown's effect only when it's truly valuable, not just because you drew into several and are forced to make a play.

Strategies that run Trick Clown alone should also play a few ways to get it to the graveyard from the deck – cards like Mathematician, Foolish Burial, or Brilliant Fusion.

 Mathematician
$14.00
$2.14
$0.98
Mathematician82581
Set Dragons of Legend
Number DRLG-EN023
Level 3
Type Effect Monster
Monster Spellcaster
Attribute EARTH 
A / D 1500 / 500
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

When this card is Normal Summoned: You can send 1 Level 4 or lower monster from your Deck to the Graveyard. When this card is destroyed by battle and sent to the Graveyard: You can draw 1 card.


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2 Performage Damage Juggler
2 Performage Hat Tricker

On the flip side of things, a variety of Nekroz players have opted to just run two of each of the other Performages. Damage Juggler protects their Life Points, and then they can banish it to get Hat Tricker. I've been seeing the Damage Juggler for Nekroz Cycle combo a lot, which lets you bring back Nekroz of Unicore, and then Normal Summon Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands, search a card, and get Hat Tricker with Damage Juggler. With two monsters on the board you can Special Summon Hat Tricker, and from there you can overlay into Number 104: Masquerade.

That was a common move all throughout YCS Toronto, and that's made the above ratios been increasingly popular in many Regional Qualifier Top 8 lists from the past couple weeks. Both monsters are generally better by themselves than Trick Clown would be, so you lower your chance of bricking a ton of Performages in the early game by just playing four total.

2 or 3 Performage Damage Juggler
2 Performage Trick Clown
2 Performage Hat Tricker

This lineup's arguably the standard Performage engine today, with most Nekroz players using six Performages and most Shaddoll duelists using six or seven. Both strategies have tons of ways to use extra Summoning materials, whether it be through Xyz Summons, Ritual Summons, or Fusion Summons.

Right now I'm not sure if there's a strategy that can take advantage of the Performages better than Nekroz and Shaddolls, and this is definitely the lineup you're most likely to run into. The difference between those two themes and everything else is that Nekroz and Shaddolls don't mind drawing a ton of Performages – they can immediately put them to good use.

3 Performage Damage Juggler
3 Performage Trick Clown
1 or 2 Performage Hat Tricker

This last suite is pretty much the heaviest you could go with a Performage engine, and the majority of duelists aren't taking this route. However, the few that are playing seven or eight Performages are known for consistently topping or winning championships, so it's worth looking into. Players like Chris LeBlanc, Desmond Johnson, and Ben Leverette swear by these numbers because they consider the Performage monsters to be extremely powerful; maybe even the best cards out of Clash of Rebellions. They're all playing suites like this in Nekroz because the theme's so inherently consistent that it can reliably play out of hands where you draw three, maybe even four Performages at once.

Regardless of how many Performages you play (if any), one thing's for sure: these monsters are going to be a big driving force at competitive events for at least the next few months. They only get better when Elder Entity Norden drops this Friday, and it'll be interesting to see how ratios develop over the coming months. Not only that, but duelists are going to be forced to find counters to this engine, and that's proving to be difficult.

What's your opinion on the Performages? Are they amazing, or do you think they're overrated? Let me know!

-Doug Zeeff


Doug Zeeff hails from Michigan and is currently an English major in college. When he's not found emailing Konami about why there's not a single walrus card in all of Yu-Gi-Oh! you can find him regularly posting unorthodox, unfiltered semi-Yu-Gi-Oh! related content on his Youtube channel, Dzeeff. In his spare time he enjoys eating cheese, crying over homework, and, of course, playing Yu-Gi-Oh.


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