Ahead of the Curve: Requiem Phantom Knights

Doug Zeeff

11/7/2016 11:02:00 AM
 Comments

If you haven't noticed, I've been obsessed with Phantom Knights ever since they were released. I can distinctly remember buying three copies of The Phantom Knight of Break Sword for $17 each, the weekend that Jeff Jones topped the UDS Invitational with them last year, right before they spiked to 45 bucks.

The strategy's gone through a lot of iterations over the past year. The standard build used to play three of each of the Phantom Knight trap cards: Phantom Knights' Fog Blade, Phantom Knights' Wing, and Phantom Knights' Sword. That was to take full advantage of each of their graveyard effects that let you Special Summon a Phantom Knight, but the split created an awkward dichotomy. Your mills with Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss were insane because you'd consistently send three Phantom Knight cards to the graveyard, but you could get some pretty awkward hands full of useless traps as well.

Then, when Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal came out, players combined a small Phantom Knight engine with Burning Abyss to make one of the deadliest decks we'd see for several months. That strategy's still successful today, but there's also been some pure Phantom Knights popping up in a few Regional Qualifier Top 8's as well. I actually finally made it to a Regional this season a few weeks ago and managed to go 7-2, narrowly missing a Top 8 finish. All things considered, while Phantom Knights might not be the most aggressive, consistent, or disruptive strategy out there, they're well-rounded enough to be good in all those categories.

That means the new support from Invasion: Vengeance has the potential to be a huge difference-maker. I threw down with a bunch of ABC-Buster Dragon decks without much trouble at my Regional Qualifier, but Toadally Awesome and the new Metalfoes cards amp up the competition. Luckily, Phantom Knights got one piece of direct support in INOV, and another piece of indirect support. With smart deck building focused on those new cards, Phantom Knights definitely have potential even in this crazy environment. Take a look at what I've been testing for the Invasion: Vengeance format.

    Requiem Phantom Knights Doug Zeeff    
 
Main Deck
Side Deck
3 Blackwing - Gofu the Vague Shadow
2 Maxx "C"
2 Radian, the Multidimensional Kaiju
1 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 [20]
3 Allure of Darkness
2 D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation
1 Foolish Burial
3 Mask Change II
3 Pot of Desires
1 Reinforcement of the Army
1 Soul Charge
2 The Phantom Knights' Rank-Up-Magic Launch
Spells [16]
3 Phantom Knights' Fog Blade
3 Solemn Strike
1 Vanity's Emptiness
Traps [7]
Deck Total [43]

EXTRA DECK

2 Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss
1 Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon
1 Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon
1 Evilswarm Ophion
3 Leviair the Sea Dragon
1 Masked HERO Dark Law
1 Number F0: Utopic Future
2 PSY-Framelord Omega
3 The Phantom Knights of Break Sword
Extra Deck [15]
Notes:


The standard three Phantom Knights are all here. The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak searches your combo pieces, The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots pushes out Xyz Monsters, and the Phantom Knight of Ragged Gloves increases your Dark Xyz Monster's ATK by 1000 to deal lethal damage. Phantom Knights' Fog Blade also shows up in triplicate because effect negation's huge right now: stopping key early game plays in the ABC-Dragon Buster matchup's usually enough to win the duel if you can back it up with aggressive OTK's.

Blackwing - Gofu the Vague Shadow and Mask Change II have become the norm for Burning Abyss-less Phantom Knight builds. The goal is to pair Gofu with any Phantom Knight to nab a quick PSY-Framelord Omega. Then, you can banish whatever non-Tuner you used for its own effect, giving you something to put back with Omega in the next Standby Phase. Gofu's Tokens can block damage, you can pop them with The Phantom Knights of Break Sword, or even use them for Mask Change II to bring out Masked HERO Dark Law!

Ranking Up: Now Better Than Ever
Phantom Knights' Rank-Up-Magic Launch is the big difference between this version of Phantom Knights and previous builds. It's a mouthful, and there's a ton going on in the actual effects, too. Launch is a Quick-Play Spell, but you're restricted to using the first effect during either player's Main Phase, and the second can only be used in your Main Phase.

The first effect does what any normal Rank-Up-Magic card should do: you select a Dark Xyz Monster with no Xyz Material and bring out a Dark Xyz Monster one Rank higher. You then attach not only the original Dark Xyz Monster, but also Rank-Up-Magic Launch to the new monster as Xyz Material.

The second effect banishes Launch from the graveyard to attach a Phantom Knight in your hand to a Dark Xyz Monster as Xyz Material. Obviously not as impactful, but still worthwhile.

So what can you do with that? If you've ever played Phantom Knights you've probably Special Summoned a fallen Break Sword from your graveyard by banishing Phantom Knights' Fog Blade or Phantom Knights' Wing. In most cases, that happens just to block damage or do 2000 more to your opponent. Now you can use that Break Sword to bring out a better monster, opening up a lot of options.

Obviously you can overlay for Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon, which you're probably playing already. But you can also cheat the system and make stuff you normally couldn't, namely Evilswarm Ophion. Stopping Level 5 or high monsters from being Special Summoned is huge right now. ABC-Dragon Buster, half the good Metalfoes, and all the big Blue-Eyes monsters are over Level 5. In virtually any midgame scenario, you can revive Break Sword in the Standby Phase of your opponent's turn, and then use Rank-Up-Magic Launch during the Main Phase to bring out Evilswarm Ophion and stop your opponent's best plays.

 Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon
$19.00
$4.16
$2.29
Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon124747
Set Invasion: Vengeance
Number INOV-EN049
Level 5
Type Xyz/Effect Monster
Monster Dragon
Attribute DARK 
A / D 3000 / 2500
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

3 Level 5 monsters
If this card has "Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon" as Xyz Material, it gains these effects.
- Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card, then target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; change its ATK to 0, and if you do, this card gains ATK equal to that monster's original ATK.
- During either player's turn, when your opponent activates a monster effect: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that card, then you can Special Summon 1 Xyz Monster from your Graveyard.


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But the true use of Rank-Up-Magic Launch – or so I'm told – is to upgrade Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon into Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon. It clocks in at 3000 ATK, and gains two crazy effects if it has Dark Rebellion as Xyz Material. First, you can detach a material to drop a monster to 0 ATK, and then you gain ATK based on that monster's original ATK. That can be used in tandem with Dark Rebellion to put two different monsters into killable range, or to severely overkill one monster - it's up to you.

Additionally, you can detach a material to negate the effect of an opponent's monster, destroy it, and then Special Summon an Xyz from your graveyard for free. The most likely candidate is the Dark Rebellion that you probably detached in the first place, but Leviair the Sea Dragon and The Phantom Knights' of Break Sword are both viable options when you consider Phantom Knights' Rank-Up-Magic Launch's second effect (attaching another Xyz Material).

One less obvious benefit is that you can search Launch with The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak and The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots. While most players just assume that Ancient Clock only fetches monsters, you can actually grab anything with “The Phantom Knights” in its name. Up until this point all the non-monster options were straight garbage so that distinction didn't matter, but it definitely makes a difference here. Having to decide whether or not you wanted to forgo a Fog Blade to search Rank-Up-Magic Launch would have been tough, but now you can grab both in the same turn!

Do Phantom Knights still have a competitive shot against the top decks? I'm leaning towards yes, even if they need to play Maxx “C” and some Kaijus to deal with the arguably stronger Turn 1's they're likely to face. But at this point all Phantom Knights really need to win is resolve a single Break Sword uninterrupted with access to Rank-Up-Magic Launch, because that opens up a slew of damage that will easily take down an opponent in one turn.

I'm excited to see how players use Phantom Knights going forward with new additions to their arsenal, and I can't wait to see what combinations I'll come up with in the coming weeks.

-Doug Zeeff


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