Low Key: Koa’ki Meirus

Doug Zeeff

10/10/2016 11:00:00 AM

Koa'ki Meirus have always reminded me of Ice Barriers because there's not a ton of great cards in the theme, but the ones that are good are really good. For Ice Barriers, this falls almost entirely on their Synchro Monsters. Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier has been Forbidden for years; Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier was has only been Limited for a year now; and Dewloren, Tiger King of the Ice Barrier causes so many infinite loops that it's also been Limited for a while now. Even Gungnir, Dragon of the Ice Barrier's fairly high impact in the right strategy, albeit not as historically game-breaking as the other three.

As you might be aware, most of the Koa'ki Meirus have an End Phase maintenance cost that requires you to reveal a card in your hand, send an Iron Core of the Koa'ki Meiru to the grave, or blow up. That's tough, because none of the end results are particularly appealing. Nobody wants to give their opponent free knowledge, so revealing cards in your hand just to keep your monsters around is frustrating; and discarding Iron Core is a short-term solution, one that's usually not worth it.

Keep in mind that Iron Core of the Koa'ki Meiru's essentially a blank card: it does absolutely nothing in your hand other than provide fodder for Koa'ki Meiru effects. That's tough, but luckily the Koa'ki Meirus that we're going to be using will compensate for those requirements. Namely, Koa'ki Meiru Urnight, which can Special Summon a Koa'ki Meiru from your deck by revealing Iron Core in your hand. It packs a gigantic 2000 ATK and it's a Beast-Warrior, providing synergy not only with Fire Formation - Tenki but also the card you're likely to Special Summon, Koa'ki Meiru Crusader.

 Koa'ki Meiru Urnight
Koa'ki Meiru Urnight34528
Set Absolute Powerforce
Number ABPF-EN025
Level 4
Type Effect Monster
Monster Beast-Warrior
Attribute EARTH 
A / D 2000 / 1500
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

During each of your End Phases, destroy this card unless you send 1 Iron Core of Koa'ki Meiru from your hand to the Graveyard or reveal 1 Beast-Warrior-Type monster in your hand. Once per turn, you can reveal 1 Iron Core of Koa'ki Meiru in your hand to Sp

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Crusader clocks in at a respectable 1900 ATK and an effect that grants you instant card advantage: whenever it runs something over by battle you can add a Koa'ki Meiru card from your grave to your hand. That's awesome, and it turns a single Urnight into a threatening momentum swing. You can reveal Iron Core to Special Summon Crusader as a free +1, run something over in battle for another +1, and then add a card from your grave back to your hand for a third +1. Not only that, but they're both Beast-Warriors, so you can reveal extra copies of themselves for their own End Phase maintenance cost!

From Iron To… Diamond?
That's all fine and dandy, but the real kicker is Diamond Core of the Koa'ki Meiru. It's a searcher spell for any Koa'ki Meiru card, which can get you to either Iron Core or Urnight - whichever you're lacking. Using the aforementioned combo after a Diamond Core sets you up for yet another search on your following turn, truly solidifying your grasp of the duel. Maybe even more important, though, is that you can banish Diamond Core to prevent your Koa'ki Meiru monsters from being destroyed by card effects for the rest of the turn.

On the surface level, that means you'll dodge things like Solemn Strike, Torrential Tribute, Mirror Force, Kozmo Dark Destroyer, and Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit. But the best use for that effect is avoiding the maintenance costs for all of your Koa'ki Meirus, giving you a free turn to keep them around. It's not super helpful for Urnight and Crusader because you'll usually have something to reveal anyway, but it's awesome if you want to tech in other Koa'ki Meirus that you'd have a harder time revealing cards for, like Koa'ki Meiru Drago.

Koa'ki Meiru Drago fluctuates in popularity, so you've probably seen it from time to time if you've been playing Yu-Gi-Oh! long enough. Like the rest of the good Koa'ki Meirus, Drago packs 1900 ATK. Its effect is killer, too: while it's face-up, neither player can Special Summon Light or Dark monsters. That effectively floodgates almost half of the current competition. Decks like Blue-Eyes and Burning Abyss have an extremely difficult time getting over it, and it basically forces them to set monsters and pass until they draw an out. But Drago works against plenty of other strategies, such as Dark Synchro, D/D/D's, and the looming ABC's in the near future.

 Koa'ki Meiru Drago
Koa'ki Meiru Drago31867
Set Raging Battle
Number RGBT-EN024
Level 4
Type Effect Monster
Monster Dragon
Attribute Wind 
A / D 1900 / 1600
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

During each of your End Phases, destroy this card unless you send 1 Iron Core of Koa'ki Meiru from your hand to the Graveyard or reveal 1 Dragon-Type monster in your hand. LIGHT and DARK monsters cannot be Special Summoned.

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However, Drago needs to reveal another Dragon to stay alive in the End Phase, which can be difficult because there honestly aren't a lot of standalone Dragons worth running. Generally speaking, if you're keeping Drago alive, you're revealing another copy. Diamond Core of the Koa'ki Meiru prevents you from having to worry about that for a single turn, which is just long enough to matter. The main goal of this Koa'ki Meiru deck is to field Urnight and Drago first turn, and then OTK the next.

That's incredibly easy because of how much damage Koa'ki Meirus can throw on the board for free. Just one Urnight can throw two 1900 ATK monsters on the field by Turn 2, putting your opponent down to just 2200 Life Points. At that point all you'd need to finish them off is any other Normal Summon plus Gagaga Cowboy, or a combination of those with Fire Formation ATK boosts.

In other words, what makes Koa'ki Meirus one of my favorite anti-meta decks right now is that they can actually kill your opponent. The biggest problem with almost every single anti-meta strategy over the years is that they didn't have a win condition outside of stopping the opponent from playing. That's just not going to cut it in this format, so the damage output of Koa'ki Meirus is key. I truly feel that Koa'ki Meirus can shine in any slower format that's dominated by Light and Dark monsters, so the stars have aligned to make this possible.

Let's take a look at what I've been testing.

    Koa'ki Meirus Doug Zeeff    
Main Deck
Side Deck
1 Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Bear
2 Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju
3 Koa'ki Meiru Crusader
3 Koa'ki Meiru Drago
3 Koa'ki Meiru Urnight
1 Speedroid Taketomborg
3 Speedroid Terrortop
Monsters [16]
3 Diamond Core of Koa'ki Meiru
3 Fire Formation - Tenki
2 Fire Formation - Tensu
2 Iron Core of Koa'ki Meiru
3 Pot of Desires
1 Raigeki
Spells [14]
3 Anti-Spell Fragrance
2 Call of the Haunted
1 Mirror Force
3 Solemn Strike
1 Vanity's Emptiness
Traps [10]
Deck Total [40]


2 Abyss Dweller
2 Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Tiger King
1 Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer
1 Daigusto Emeral
1 Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon
1 Diamond Dire Wolf
1 Gagaga Cowboy
1 M-X-Saber Invoker
1 Mechquipped Angineer
1 Number 106: Giant Hand
1 Number 39: Utopia
1 Number S39: Utopia the Lightning
1 Totem Bird
Extra Deck [15]

I haven't played a deck this streamlined in a while, but it's a nice change of pace from months of complicated combo decks. The goal of every single hand is pretty similar: get to Urnight to get to Drago, and then lock your opponent out of the game. Sure, there are small nuances that will come up if that plan doesn't work, but for the most part that's what you're trying to do on every first turn.

That idea's supported by how many three-of's and searches I'm playing. Triple Urnight, triple Fire Formation - Tenki, triple Diamond Core, and triple Speedroid Terrortop can get you to Urnight, so it's nearly impossible to not open with it. All of those are then avenues to Drago as long as you have Iron Core of the Koa'ki Meiru, so you can imagine the overall consistency of that simple interaction.

Most competitive players are running Pot of Desires in virtually every deck that runs three-of's, and that's no different here. You're fairly likely to get to Urnight without Desires, but the cool part is that after your goal setup you actually don't care what you banish. The draws are likely going to solidify your field in a couple ways: digging for a Dragon or Beast-Warrior prevents you from having to banish Diamond Core to keep Urnight and Drago on the field; getting to Anti-Spell Fragrance or Solemn Strike gives you more resilience against Pendulums; drawing any Level 4 monster lets you break that 5800 damage cap from two Urnight effects, sealing the game.

When Drago Isn't The Answer
The problem with Koa'ki Meirus is a core challenge that's plagued anti-meta decks for ages: if you don't play against the competitive, popular decks you prepare against, you're in for a bad time. Luckily Koa'ki Meirus are so aggressive that they can hold their own against a variety of rogue strategies, so that's less of an issue.

As I've mentioned before, the true hardest matchup is Pendulums. While most of the Pendulum strategies right now do play some Lights and Darks, they can usually just overpower you with card advantage, especially with the right hand. Because of that, I felt it was necessary to Main Deck three Solemn Strike and three Anti-Spell Fragrances.

The latter might seem like an awkward fit considering how many spells there are in this deck, but it has the same mindset as Drago does. You turbo through your hand on Turn 1 to make a big board backed by Anti-Spell Fragrance, and then flip it against a Pendulum player to blank their turn. Then, just like against Blue-Eyes and Burning Abyss, you OTK with a bunch of high ATK monsters.

Overall, I really like Koa'ki Meirus in competition right now. Over 30 unique decks have topped major events in the past month and a half, and with the right player behind them I could see Koa'ki Meirus added to that list. With ABC-Dragon Buster coming out and likely being very popular going forward through November, Koa'ki Meiru Drago could end up being even better. I have high hopes for the long forgotten rogue deck that's been known to steal wins against unsuspecting metagames!

-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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