Ahead of the Curve: Hieratic Burning Abyss

Doug Zeeff

5/23/2016 11:00:00 AM

There was a solid month a while back where literally the only deck I seriously tested was Hieratic Burning Abyss.

It was right around the time that Pasquale posted his Chaos Dragon Burning Abyss deck, but I felt like he was missing out on some great combos without the Hieratics. I eventually set the deck down because it struggled against Burning Phantom Knights, but now that that strategy's fallen out of favor it might be time for Hieratic Burning Abyss to shine.

Not only does the deck have a potential angle to work in current competition, it's also one of the many themes that can take advantage of Pre-Preparation of Rites, which I'm always excited to play.

HieraticÖ Burning Abyss?
Thus strategy's grounded in its ability to churn out Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal by using two Level 6 monsters. That lets you activate Beatrice's effect the turn you summon her, something you can't do when you use Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss to Rank-Up. This deck runs a lot of cards you can immediately send to the graveyard to extend your opening plays, so Beatrice becomes an aggressive and defensive powerhouse, even moreso than she would be in a standard Burning Abyss deck.

Hieratic Dragon of Tefnuit sits at the center of all your main combos. When you control no monsters and your opponent controls at least one, you can Special Summon it from your hand. Then, like all of the good Hieratic monsters, you can Special Summon a Normal Dragon from your deck when Tefnuit's tributed, changing its ATK and DEF to 0. Hieratic Dragon of Su's the perfect complement to Tefnuit, because you can Special Summon it from your hand by tributing a Hieratic monster. That triggers Tefnuit's ability, which throws one of two monsters on board: Wattaildragon to make a Rank 6, or Galaxy Serpent for a Level 8 Synchro.

Hieratic Dragon of Su is cool too, because you can tribute a Hieratic monster from your hand or field to blow up a backrow. That helps you play out of Hieratic-heavy hands and clears traps before you Summon Beatrice. With Hieratic Seal of Convocation in the mix, you're almost guaranteed a first turn Beatrice as a -1, but you'll get tons of value off of her to make up for that initial loss of card economy.

 Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal
Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal115805
Set Premium Gold: Infinite Gold
Number PGL3-EN021
Level 6
Type Xyz/Effect Monster
Monster Fairy
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 2500 / 2800
Rarity Gold Secret Rare
Card Text

2 Level 6 monsters
You can also Xyz Summon this card by sending 1 "Burning Abyss" monster from your hand to the Graveyard, then using 1 "Dante" monster you control as the Xyz Material. (Xyz Materials attached to that monster also become Xyz Materials on this card.) If Summoned this way, the following effect cannot be activated this turn. Once per turn, during either player's turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; send 1 card from your Deck to the Graveyard. If this card in your possession is destroyed by your opponent's card (by battle or card effect) and sent to your Graveyard: You can Special Summon 1 "Burning Abyss" monster from your Extra Deck, ignoring its Summoning conditions.

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The best example is using Beatrice to yard Destiny Hero - Malicious. Once a competitive staple years ago, Malicious is still a fantastic card that fills your field with Level 6 monsters for Synchro or Xyz fodder. It's also pretty great even if you draw it, namely because of Beatrice. If you start the game with Destiny Hero - Malicious and Hieratic Dragon of Tefnuit you can actually end with a Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal and PSY-Framelord Omega - a very threatening first turn.

To do that you summon Tefnuit and tribute it for Malicious. That brings out Wattaildragon from your deck and you overlay both monsters for Beatrice. Then you detach the Malicious to send Plaguespreader Zombie to the graveyard. From there you banish Malicious for another one and stack a card to revive Plaguespreader, which makes PSY-Framelord Omega.

Once again, that's technically a -1 in card economy, but you end with a great field and another Malicious in grave. If you also happen to have a Su on hand you can make a Beelze of the Diabolic Dragons, too.

But What About Burning Abyss?
Realistically, the Burning Abyss monsters take a backseat in Hieratic Burning Abyss. You'll get the most usage out of Farfa, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss and Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, but the rest are kind of just avenues to those cards.

Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss and Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss are particularly bad in this kind of deck because you really want to keep all your Burning Abyss monsters in deck. This build only plays two Scarm because the only good choice to search with it is Tour Guide From the Underworld. It might be taboo, but spend a couple hours playing with Hieratic Burning Abyss and you'll quickly find that don't miss the third Scarm at all.

With Pre-Preparation of Rites, Malacoda, Netherlord of the Burning Abyss becomes a viable option. Tributing the Hieratics for Ritual Spells triggers their Special Summon effect, so opening with any Hieratic and Pre-Preparation of Rites is basically the same as drawing Tefnuit and Su. Malacoda's effect is marginal at best: you're largely using it just because it's a Level 6.

I've tested builds with Saffira, Queen of Dragons, but at the end of the day it's more important to have a better Ritual Spell than a better monster. Good & Evil in the Burning Abyss gets you value by cycling through your Burning Abyss monsters, which just makes your Ritual Summons more worthwhile. It's not great going out of your way to use Scarm, but by playing a few extra Burning Abyss monsters you can deck thin with Good & Evil to reach your better, non-Burning Abyss cards.

I know it might not seem like there's a difference between Scarm and Good & Evil, but it matters that Good & Evil isn't just a searcher Ė it's a card that triggers Hieratics.

I think this strategy's a good choice right now because a ton of players are using Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries to banish Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss. Luckily for you, you'll rarely bring out Dante anyways, so your opponent winds up taking a -1 for nothing. Obviously a smart opponent that's playing another Burning Abyss variant will reveal their Beatrice to banish yours, but most non-Burning Abyss duelists are only playing one Dante and won't have the Beatrice for that play. And that makes sense, because the regular Burning Abyss decks don't have the option to make Beatrice without Dante, so the Ghost Reaper effectively blanks six cards in the Extra Deck.

There are a few more specific tech choices that are worth discussing, but let's take a look at the build first.

    Hieratic Burning Abyss Doug Zeeff    
Main Deck
Side Deck
1 Alich, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
1 Barbar, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
1 Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning
1 Calcab, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
2 Chaos Sorcerer
2 Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
3 Destiny HERO - Malicious
3 Farfa, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
1 Galaxy Serpent
1 Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
3 Hieratic Dragon of Su
3 Hieratic Dragon of Tefnuit
1 Lightpulsar Dragon
1 Malacoda, Netherlord of the Burning Abyss
1 Plaguespreader Zombie
1 Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
2 Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
1 Wattaildragon
Monsters [29]
1 Foolish Burial
3 Good & Evil in the Burning Abyss
3 Hieratic Seal of Convocation
3 Pre-Preparation of Rites
1 Soul Charge
Spells [11]
Deck Total [40]


3 Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal
1 Beelze of the Diabolic Dragons
1 Constellar Ptolemy M7
1 Dante, Pilgrim of the Burning Abyss
2 Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss
1 Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger
1 Hieratic Dragon King of Atum
1 Number 39: Utopia Beyond
1 Number F0: Utopic Future
1 Photon Strike Bounzer
1 PSY-Framelord Omega
1 Virgil, Rock Star of the Burning Abyss
Extra Deck [15]

I had to cut a lot of the Chaos monsters to make room for the Ritual engine. The first build had three Lightpulsar Dragon, three Chaos Sorcerer, and Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning. All of those monsters apply pressure without using the Extra Deck, which is great against Monarchs. Chaos Sorcerer and Black Luster Soldier can even banish a Tribute Summoned monster to get around Domain of the True Monarchs, so you don't have to Main Deck Twin Twisters or A Wingbeat of Giant Dragon.

Lightpulsar Dragon's important too, because you can constantly revive it by discarding a Light and Dark from your hand. That dumps dead Hieratics, Malicious, and Burning Abyss monsters. Just like most of the deck, Lightpulsar Dragon's also a Level 6 monster, so it works with all of your normal combos. If you draw Plaguespreader Zombie with the hand that uses it to combo, sending Lightpulsar to the graveyard with Beatrice is crucial because it gets the Malicious out of your hand without having to Normal Summon it.

I know someone will ask why I'm not playing Labradorite Dragon, so I'll answer that common question now: there's virtually no reason you should play Labradorite over Wattaildragon outside of pure Hieratics when you want to make Ultimaya Tzolkin, and there's absolutely no room for it in the Extra Deck of this particular build. Drawing Wattaildragon's better, too, because you can tribute Tefnuit to bring out Galaxy Serpent for a Level 8 Synchro. If you're using Labradorite you're stuck with two Tuners instead. I suppose you could just play all three, but I'd rather avoid so many dead draws.

Even after playing this strategy for a month I can honestly say I never missed Labradorite Dragon.

Hieratic Burning Abyss abuses Beatrice in more ways than any regular Burning Abyss deck, and that's why I love it. Your plays are unexpected and yield crazy results, there's awesome Side Deck options specific to your strategy, and most people don't know how to play against Hieratics. Pre-Preparation of Rites adds an entire dimension to the strategy and I had a blast picking up this deck again!

-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, walking around parks, and, of course, playing Yu-Gi-Oh. Click here to follow him and his adventures on Facebook!

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