Rerouting: Tomb Keepers

Loukas Peterson

11/23/2016 11:02:00 AM

I rarely like to write about a deck more than once unless I have something new to show for it. When I first wrote about Gravekeepers, it was to highlight their new support from Legacy of the Valiant. I really liked writing about them here, but the drop to just one meager Stormforth of the Monarchs makes that build unplayable.

Gravekeepers are in a weird limbo state right now, but they do have some things going for them - at least today's contributor, Austin T. from Austin, Texas thinks so. (Yes, you read that right.)

I'm sort of newer to Yu-Gi-Oh. The first time I ever played the game was with the new Gravekeeper's support in 2014. I have to say, the deck's a lot worse than I thought it was going to be. I'd heard of Infernity Barrier, and you'd think that a deck with three of them would be unbeatable. Gravekeeper's Spy is definitely my favorite card, but I'm not sure how best to use it to my advantage. I had The Shallow Grave in here as well as Burst Rebirth because my Necrovalley kept dying, but that seems bad.

I'm really open to anything. Maybe the deck can turn into a Chaos variant? You could add Performage Trick Clown and focus the deck on Rank 4's! I didn't include an Extra Deck because I had no good idea how to capitalize on the Main Deck.

Please don't beat me up.

-Austin T. ~ Austin, Texas

I could do that, but I'm not in a hurry to see how fast I can lose duels! So, no, we're not going to make Gravekeepers a Rank 4 speedy deck. In one of those links up there I did play Instant Fusion and a few other Special Summon tricks, but that was to fuel a very niche set of power plays. Since The Monarchs Stormforth is Limited, Tribute monsters aren't on the table and the Special Summon cards that complement those monsters are gone.

Oops, you probably want to see Austin's deck.

    Tomb Keepers Ver 1.0 Austin    
Main Deck
Side Deck
1 Gravekeeper's Assailant
3 Gravekeeper's Commandant
3 Gravekeeper's Descendant
2 Gravekeeper's Heretic
3 Gravekeeper's Recruiter
3 Gravekeeper's Spy
Monsters [15]
3 Card of Demise
2 Hidden Temples of Necrovalley
3 Necrovalley
1 Raigeki
3 Wonder Wand
Spells [12]
1 Bottomless Trap Hole
3 Drowning Mirror Force
2 Imperial Tombs of Necrovalley
3 Quaking Mirror Force
3 Solemn Strike
1 Solemn Warning
Traps [13]
Deck Total [40]



Since you don't see Nobleman of Crossout running around all the time, I think it's safe to keep Gravekeeper's Spy at the forefront of our monster onslaught. So as the kids say, “Let's Re-Route this deck!”

I have a hate-hate relationship with Flip Effects. They're painfully slow and that's been a problem. You may say Shaddolls were a great Flip Effect deck, but even the amazing Shaddolls weren't that good on their own; their success was the product of their incredible support.

I think there are three valid ways to approach Gravekeepers. First, you could try to play a combo version; something outlandish that would produce a big field really consistently. Second, you could make a Gravekeeper's Heretic deck with stuff like Hidden Temples of the Necrovalley, but if that fails, it leaves you with the third option I'll be exploring today.

Currently Austin's deck is… well, it's a mix of all those approaches. Wonder Wand eats your monsters to cut through your deck, Imperial Tombs of Necrovalley advocates for a face-up Gravekeeper strategy, and three Gravekeeper's Commandant ensures you'll see Necrovalley frequently. To spoil the end for you, I'm definitely going to be taking the deck in a slower direction.

To be blunt, it's Gravekeeper's Spy or bust. Unless you have the bee's knees of set-ups with Gravekeeper's Heretic, I don't think the card has much merit given how it interacts with the rest of the theme. Going second's often a death sentence for Heretic builds, and that's just not a risk you can take.

While Austin mentioned Performage Trick Clown, which feeds into the concept of a fast, combo-oriented deck, Wonder Wand's out of place here and in most Gravekeeper variants we might try to establish. It's not a bad card when you're playing Vylon Cube, but now is not the right format to try and figure out how to play Vylon Cube in a deck like Gravekeepers.

In choosing which direction our Gravekeepers will go, we'll have to cut a lot of cards that require face-up Gravekeepers to work. So Heretic, Hidden Valley and Imperial Tombs all have to go. It's way better to run draw power in place of those cards.

Something Something Pot of Desires
Again, play it if you have it, but as we inch closer to a new Forbidden & Limited List I don't want everyone to run out and buy three copies of Pot of Desires just to play this deck. After all, Gravekeeper's have Pot of Duality, Card of Demise, Upstart Goblin, and Allure of Darkness already. Adding in all that draw power mandates fewer copies of Gravekeeper's Commandant and creates an overall smoother flow of cards. Hopefully, you'll get to Gravekeeper's Spy and be on your merry way!

Since the deck runs Royal Tribute and Card of Demise, I found Rite of Spirit to be surprisingly useful. I always think it's the best and worst card Gravekeepers have, but it's especially good here, and it should probably be played in Heretic versions, too! (Just saying!) You need balance and utility in both your monsters and your graveyard retrieval cards; the lineup of Gravekeepers can sometimes clash with Gravekeeper's Stele if you're not running the right number of monsters and non-monsters.

Rite lets you play fewer monsters overall, and can even revive Gravekeeper's Shaman! Eventually, you'll run out of good cards to search with Gravekeeper's Recruiter, but that's kind of just the nature of the speedier Gravekeeper build.

 Dimensional Barrier
Dimensional Barrier124795
Set Invasion: Vengeance
Number INOV-EN078
Type Normal Trap Card
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

Declare 1 monster card type (Ritual, Fusion, Synchro, Xyz, or Pendulum); for the rest of this turn, neither player can Special Summon monsters of the declared type, also negate the effects of all monsters of that type while they are on the field. You can only activate 1 "Dimensional Barrier" per turn.

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I want to make a few changes to the support cards as well, just to tighten things up. Dimensional Barrier's a good counter to virtually everything right now, and it'll cover your bases against most threats. But I think Royal Tribute's too good not to play. Furthermore, Austin's running a shocking number of reactive trap cards… I can foresee a lot of unfortunate hands with too many monsters or too many Mirror Force cards.

With all the draw power, it's easier to justify niche one-ofs since you'll be able to dig for them more frequently. With all the Counter Traps I felt a little better about adding Guiding Ariadne. You won't fill up your Spell and Trap Zone when you're trying to empty your hand for Card of Demise, and it'll save you thousands of Life Points over the course of each match. Archfiend Eccentrick and D generic Pendulums you could play are Archfiend Eccentrick or Dragonox, the Empowered Warrior, but I think you see why I chose Ariadne.

I Laugh In The Face Of Bad Matchups
Sadly, my laughing won't save me from losing very often until I wink and smile just right at my opponent (this has yet to work, but I won't stop trying!). Obviously, I was jazzed about playing this deck against decks like ABC's because going first puts you in a great position to lock down your opponent. Then I lost a die roll, went second, and things did not go so great.

Since it's so strong and so easy to build, ABC's are very popular on the local, Regional, and Championship levels. There are lots of ways to counter ABC-Dragon Buster and Friends, but most of them require you to go first. A lot of the remaining options clash with Gravekeepers in very cutting ways. Temporarily stopping effects as a Gravekeeper player means you'll just have to deal with them later since your strategy will be more passive.

While it's not ideal, your best option is Main Deck System Down. It sounds a bit ridiculous, but it's better than Ghost Reaper and Winter Cherries. Say your opponent goes first and makes ABC-Dragon Buster while you have nothing useful in your hand. For your Draw Phase, what do you draw? A Ghost Reaper and Winter Cherries? What do you do then? Cry? If it was System Down you'd clear their field for a meager 1000 Life Points and then play your Necrovalley.

Since the deck digs for cards in a reactionary way, it's not really worthwhile to play a bunch hand traps. Instead of Effect Veiler or Ghost Ogre and Snow Rabbit, there's a good chance you'll have an Allure of Darkness or Pot of Duality that'll get you to your anti-ABC card. Sure, I'd like to always start with something like Ghost Ogre every duel, but if I only have hand traps to out the big bads, how else will I defeat them? You may argue that Raigeki and Dark Hole are better, but both of those spells are just as bad or worse against Blue-Eyes, Majespecters, Kozmos, and several other decks.

Sure, I just wrote four paragraphs on System Down, but in other news I once witnessed Doug “Bring Back Cinnamelts” Zeeff pick his dead phone out of his pocket, look at the sad, dark screen, repocket it, and do the process over and over for 15 minutes. Here are the changes.

-2 Gravekeeper's Heretic
-1 Gravekeeper's Assailant
-1 Gravekeeper's Descendant
-1 Gravekeeper's Recruiter
-1 Gravekeeper's Commandant
-1 Necrovalley
-3 Wonder Wand
-1 Raigeki
-2 Hidden Temples of Necrovalley
-2 Imperial Tombs of Necrovalley
-1 Bottomless Trap Hole
-3 Drowning Mirror Force
-3 Quaking Mirror Force

+1 Gravekeeper's Shaman
+1 Guiding Ariadne
+3 Pot of Duality
+3 Allure of Darkness
+2 System Down
+1 Upstart Goblin
+1 Royal Tribute
+1 Gravekeeper's Stele
+1 Mystical Space Typhoon
+1 Rite of Spirit
+1 Chaos Trap Hole
+2 Dimensional Barrier
+2 Storming Mirror Force
+1 Vanity's Emptiness
+1 Cursed Seal of the Forbidden Spell

+1 Abyss Dweller
+1 Alchemic Magician
+1 Downerd Magician
+1 Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer
+1 Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon
+1 Diamond Dire Wolf
+1 Gagaga Cowboy
+1 Gem-Knight Pearl
+1 Number 103: Ragnazero
+1 Number 39: Utopia
+1 Number 52: Diamond Crab King
+1 Number 66: Master Key Beetle
+1 Performage Trapeze Magician
+1 Number 82: Heartlandraco
+1 Number S39: Utopia the Lightning

I know it's a bit controversial to run just two Gravekeeper's Recruiter and no Gravekeeper's Disciple, but Gravekeeper's Spy is your priority. With three copies of Allure of Darkness, Pot of Duality, and Card of Demise, you don't want to see multiples of superfluous cards like Necrovalley and Gravekeeper's Recruiter. It's like you're playing with a 30 card deck, and that number goes down further if you can add Pot of Desires.

    Tomb Keepers Ver 2.0 Loukas Peterson    
Main Deck
Side Deck
2 Gravekeeper's Commandant
2 Gravekeeper's Descendant
2 Gravekeeper's Recruiter
1 Gravekeeper's Shaman
3 Gravekeeper's Spy
1 Guiding Ariadne
Monsters [11]
3 Allure of Darkness
3 Card of Demise
1 Gravekeeper's Stele
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
2 Necrovalley
3 Pot of Duality
1 Royal Tribute
2 System Down
1 Upstart Goblin
Spells [17]
1 Chaos Trap Hole
1 Cursed Seal of the Forbidden Spell
2 Dimensional Barrier
1 Rite of Spirit
3 Solemn Strike
1 Solemn Warning
2 Storming Mirror Force
1 Vanity's Emptiness
Traps [12]
Deck Total [40]


1 Abyss Dweller
1 Alchemic Magician
1 Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer
1 Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon
1 Diamond Dire Wolf
1 Downerd Magician
1 Gagaga Cowboy
1 Gem-Knight Pearl
1 Number 103: Ragnazero
1 Number 39: Utopia
1 Number 52: Diamond Crab King
1 Number 66: Master Key Beetle
1 Number 82: Heartlandraco
1 Number S39: Utopia the Lightning
1 Performage Trapeze Magician
Extra Deck [15]

You rarely dip into your Extra Deck, so I included cards for extremely rare situations that yes, I have run into before. Performage Trapeze Magician hurts burn decks, Alchemic Magician's effectively an answer to strategies like Exodia, and Number 82: Heartlandraco can end the duel out of nowhere. Feel free to change it up if you want.

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you!

-Loukas Peterson

Loukas “I Guess I Was Wrong About The Cubs” Peterson lives in Madison, Wisconsin where he's earned the honor of Employee of the Century at his basket-weaving job. When he's not getting lost walking to the grocery store, his days are spent shaking his fist in the direction of Konami's North American headquarters demanding Fabled support or an archetype based around rainbow flags. In his spare time, Loukas dresses up as various road signs around his neighborhood, intentionally spelling things wrong to confuse drivers.

Do you love winning with unconventional strategies? Do you love creating mash-ups? Does your deck need an injection of crazy? Send the following to to have your deck featured in the “Re-Routing” deck fix column!

-Your Main and Extra Deck list. (No Side Deck needed, but please send a written deck list, not a screencap; screencapped deck lists will be filed and then burned in the furnace accordingly… and your deck should be TCG legal).

-Your name and city.

-Remember, please use full card names! Abbrevs and mis-sipllngs make Loukas' life sad. Try your darndest to get the TCG name on there.

-A paragraph or two describing your deck: what it does, why you're playing it, and its strengths and weaknesses. “Winning” is not a strategy per se, and neither is “beating your opponents before they beat you.”

-Your favorite card from the build and why – make me fall in love with the deck! The cooler your strategy the more I'll want to fix it, and if you throw in funny jokes, that'll surely get my attention too; be warned, unfunny jokes will push your deck to the back of the stack. Don't be afraid to get creative! New stuff takes priority, because I'm not bored of it yet! –LJP

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