Competitive Corner: Mason Broadway’s Hero Phantom Knights

Doug Zeeff

10/3/2016 11:02:00 AM

I'm a sucker for one-hit wonders, I really am.

If you've been playing Yu-Gi-Oh! long enough you've probably seen some really, really weird decks top Regional Qualifiers and then disappear forever. There's a number of factors and variables that go into making the Top Cut at a Regional Qualifier, and because of that there's often stuff that tops that'll make you think to yourself “how in the world…?”

One deck that did this to me was Aaron Coker's Hero Phantom Knights from this past May. Jason wrote a great article on it over on CoreTCG, so go check it out. Featuring Marauding Captain, Transmodify, and Elemental HERO Shadow Mist, this one-hit wonder stunned the dueling community for an entire week. Many people dismissed it as a fluke or that Coker got lucky, but others saw potential. It took some major risks and made some crazy tech choices, but an entirely new breed of Phantom Knights was created out of thin air, and that's awesome.

Mason Broadway was apparently one of the people that saw potential in that idea, because a few weeks ago he made Top 8 at the Shreveport, Louisiana Regional Qualifier with a similar deck. I absolutely never thought I'd see this strategy top anything other than that one Regional, but I was super excited to see it score another success. What makes Broadway's Phantom Knight variant so special, and how does it win? Let's take a look:

    Hero Phantom Knights Mason Broadway    
  Location:  Regional 2016-09-11 Shreveport Louisiana - 5th - 8th Place
Main Deck
Side Deck
2 Elemental HERO Shadow Mist
2 Marauding Captain
2 Speedroid Taketomborg
3 Speedroid Terrortop
3 The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak
3 The Phantom Knights of Ragged Gloves
3 The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots
Monsters [18]
3 Allure of Darkness
1 Foolish Burial
1 Mask Change
3 Mask Change II
2 Pot of Desires
1 Reinforcement of the Army
2 Transmodify
2 Twin Twisters
Spells [15]
3 Phantom Knights' Fog Blade
2 Phantom Knights' Wing
2 Solemn Strike
1 Solemn Warning
Traps [8]
Deck Total [41]
2 Full House
2 Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju
2 Maxx "C"
2 Mirror of the Ice Barrier
2 Pendulum Hole
1 Raigeki
2 Royal Decree
2 Swords of Concealing Light
Side Deck [15]


1 Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss
1 Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon
3 Leviair the Sea Dragon
2 Masked HERO Dark Law
1 Masked HERO Dian
1 Masked HERO Divine Wind
1 Mechquipped Angineer
1 Number 47: Nightmare Shark
1 Number F0: Utopic Future
1 Super Quantal Mech Beast Grampulse
2 The Phantom Knights of Break Sword
Extra Deck [15]

By now you probably know the basic goal of Phantom Knights. All of the main three monsters have an effect where you banish them from the graveyard to thin your deck. The Phantom Knights of Ragged Gloves sends a Phantom Knights card to the graveyard; The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak adds one of the monsters to your hand; and The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots adds one of the traps to your hand. The main go-to trap is Phantom Knights' Fog Blade, a pseudo-Fiendish Chain that blocks attacks as well. You'll also notice that Broadway played two copies of The Phantom Knights' Wing, which boosts the ATK of a monster by 500 while also saving it from destruction a single time.

The basic game plan is to churn out Rank 3's, which is easily accomplished by The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots Special Summoning itself to the field when you control a Phantom Knight. That leverages you into stuff like Leviair the Sea Dragon, Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss, and The Phantom Knights of Break Sword. The trap cards also have extra utility in the graveyard because you can banish them to Special Summon a fallen Phantom Knight. There's a ton of recursion and aggression going on, and it's a strategy that's been difficult to deal with ever since its release months ago.

But… Marauding Captain?
While it might be old news, Marauding Captain is definitely abnormal. If you didn't play Yu-Gi-Oh! back in “the good ol' days” you might not recognize Captain, but it's actually really cool. When you Normal Summon it you can Special Summon a Level 4 or lower Warrior from your hand, and also your opponent can't attack Warrior-type monsters besides itself. The first effect combos nicely with the Phantom Knights because it puts two Level 3's on the field for a Rank 3.

But it also combos with Silent Boots because you can throw a Phantom Knight down with Captain, and things get really silly when you add Speedroid Terrortop into the mix. Just as a general statement, Marauding Captain might have more merit in Phantom Knights than players have given it credit for.

In this particular build it sets up one of your biggest plays with Transmodify, which lets you send any of the Phantom Knights to the graveyard to Special Summon Elemental HERO Shadow Mist from your deck. A hand of Marauding Captain, a Phantom Knight, Silent Boots, and Transmodify leaves you with a ton of options.

Set Judgment of the Light
Number JOTL-EN067
Type Normal Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

Send 1 face-up monster you control to the Graveyard; Special Summon from your Deck, 1 monster with the same Type and Attribute as that monster in the Graveyard, but 1 level higher. You can only activate 1 "Transmodify" per turn.

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By using your Normal Summon on Marauding Captain you can Special Summon the random Phantom Knight from your hand, and then Silent Boots. From there, you can Transmodify Silent Boots to Special Summon Shadow Mist and search Mask Change. Silent Boots then gets banished to add Phantom Knights' Fog Blade to your hand. Next, you can overlay Captain and the other Phantom Knight for whatever Rank 3 you want: Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss or Mechquipped Angineer are two of the better options. Then you can use Mask Change to bring out Masked HERO Dark Law, and set Fog Blade to protect it.

Alternatively, Shadow Mist can search Mask Change II, which can be used on any of your Phantom Knight monsters. There's some really cool stuff going on here, that's for sure.

Technically speaking you don't come out ahead on card advantage, trading your four cards for three, but the field you end with is pretty darn good against the current competitive favorites. Dark Law is insane, stopping both Blue-Eyes and any Burning Abyss deck in their tracks, but it's also a threat against virtually any fringe strategy in the format right now. A lot of themes need access to search effects or their graveyard, and Dark Law screws that all up. Outside of using a Kaiju, most duelists are going to have to waste a lot of cards to get rid of Dark Law, and that's not even considering the backup from Fog Blade and Mechquipped Angineer!

Consistency and Power
Compared to Coker's original version, Broadway had a lot more options that could boost his consistency. Triple Allure of Darkness and double Pot of Desires dug him to the combo pieces he wanted to see as soon as possible - something Coker just didn't have at the time. A lineup of three of all the Phantom Knights plus Speedroid Terrortop meant that almost any hand he opened would give him access to Rank 3's or more. And then his secondary engine was packed with two-ofs, to make sure he saw them without seeing multiples. Two Marauding Captain, Transmodify, and Shadow Mist make the strategy less cloggy than Coker's original build.

I also liked the choice of two Solemn Strikes, a decision Coker didn't make. The two formats are obviously quite different from each other, but I think Strike is a perfect decision right now, especially for this deck. Your main goal is to stun your opponent for one turn with Dark Law and backrow, and then OTK them on the next turn. Strike is also an awesome counter to Pendulum decks, something that Broadway clearly wanted to focus on because they're his worst matchup. Besides the two Solemn Strike and one Solemn Warning in his main deck, he also played two Pendulum Holes in his Side Deck. He knew his weaknesses and prepared accordingly.

Mirror of the Ice Barrier was another cool pick for his Side Deck, and it's one of my favorite cards from this past summer. The main idea is that you can use Mirror of the Ice Barrier to counter a first turn Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal sending Farfa, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss to the graveyard. Since any smart Burning Abyss player would choose to go first against him it seems natural to run a card that works going second to blow open fields.

Could we possibly see more from this deck? I think so. It's proven itself in two formats in the hands of two different duelists, and that's more than anyone really expected. I can't wait to see this version of Phantom Knights expand over the coming weeks, and I think the strategy is only just beginning!

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

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