Regional Material: Shinobird Spirits

Doug Zeeff

2/27/2017 11:00:00 AM

Back in 2014, I topped my first ever Regional Qualifier with Spirits, and I was instantly hooked after that. I ended up running the deck for roughly nine months straight, the longest I've ever played a single strategy.

So to say that I was excited when I heard about the boatload of Spirit monsters in Raging Tempest would be an understatement. Heck, even when only four cards were leaked I made a video about it expressing my thoughts, and then before I knew it more and more cards were revealed.

In terms of design, the new Shinobird cards couldn't be more tailored to my preferences. They're Spirits, so I love them. They work with Pre-Preparation of Rites, so I love them. The even work with Brilliant Fusion!

But my own personal fixations aside, the deck's surprisingly powerful. It's one of those strategies that's hard to stop once it gets going, and it's pretty well-positioned in current metagames. Spirits are great at demolishing established fields, and Dimensional Barrier rarely gets full value against them because you're Ritual Summoning on your opponent's turn. More on that later. Like a lot of decks today they're less consistent than Zoodiac variants, but on a Regional Qualifier level I believe the right build of Shinobird Spirits could be a fun way to earn your invite.

 Shinobaroness Peacock
Shinobaroness Peacock127291
Set Raging Tempest
Number RATE-EN037
Level 8
Type Ritual/ Spirit/ Effect Monster
Monster Winged Beast
Attribute WIND 
A / D 2500 / 3000
Rarity Rare
Card Text

You can Ritual Summon this card with "Shinobird's Calling". Must be Ritual Summoned, and cannot be Special Summoned by other ways. If this card is Ritual Summoned: You can shuffle up to 3 Spell/Trap Cards your opponent controls into the Deck, then you can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower Spirit monster from your Deck, ignoring its Summoning conditions. Once per turn, during the End Phase, if this card was Special Summoned this turn: Return it to the hand, and if you do, Special Summon 2 "Shinobird Tokens" (Winged Beast-Type/WIND/Level 4/ATK 1500/DEF 1500).

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Aratama and Nikitama were a mainstay of the original Spirit deck I played, and they're still going to be automatic staple three-of's in the newer version. Aratama nabs a Spirit when you Normal Summon it or flip it face-up, while Nikitama gives you another Normal Summon, as well as free draws if it's sent to the graveyard while you control a Spirit monster. These two monsters are the bread and butter of virtually every Spirit deck, and this deck is no different.

If you're unfamiliar with Spirits they're a type of monster that can't be Special Summoned and bounce back to the hand during the turn they're Normal Summoned or flipped face-up. That might sound like a downside at first, but it's great for getting repeated uses out of strong effects like Aratama's search.

The major Shinobird Spirits are Shinobaron Peacock and Shinobaroness Peacock. As I mentioned in Part 2 of the Raging Tempest Set Review, these cards break a lot of records. They're both the first Wind, Winged-Beast, and Spirit Ritual Monsters! Sure, they do return to the hand in the End Phase of the turn they're Ritual Summoned, but they make up for it in a few ways. On a basic level, they replace themselves with two tokens that have the same stats as Shinobird Crane, another one of the new Spirits.

Beyond that, they both have powerful effects that disrupt your opponent, too. Baron returns up to three opposing monsters to the hand without targeting, and then can Special Summon a Level 4 or lower Spirit from your hand, ignoring its summoning condition. Baroness is more deadly, but affects the backrow. She returns three backrow cards to your opponent's deck without targeting, and then can bring out a Spirit from your deck. Those are immediate swings in card advantage that make up for the initial cost of the Ritual Summon, and it gets better from there.

Shinobird's Calling is a great Ritual Spell that lets you use Spirit monsters in your graveyard for the Ritual Summon if you need to. That means you can summon Baron or Baroness for a simple -1 of card economy, which you can balance with a search from Aratama, or a draw from Nikitama, or by using Pre-Preparation of Rites beforehand. Shinobird Crane can also nab you draws once per turn when you summon another Spirit monster, giving you cards in cases that Nikitama couldn't have.

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

    Regional Material Shinobirds Doug Zeeff    
Main Deck
Side Deck
3 Aratama
2 Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju
1 Gem-Knight Garnet
1 Izanami
3 Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands
3 Nikitama
3 Shinobaron Peacock
2 Shinobaroness Peacock
2 Shinobird Crane
Monsters [20]
3 Brilliant Fusion
3 Pre-Preparation of Rites
1 Shinobird Power Spot
3 Shinobird's Calling
2 Twin Twisters
Spells [12]
3 Drowning Mirror Force
2 Icarus Attack
3 Urgent Ritual Art
Traps [8]
Deck Total [40]


1 Abyss Dweller
1 Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer
1 Daigusto Emeral
1 Diamond Dire Wolf
1 Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand
1 Fairy Cheer Girl
1 Gagaga Cowboy
1 Gem-Knight Seraphinite
1 Lightning Chidori
1 Number 101: Silent Honor ARK
1 Number 106: Giant Hand
2 Number 39: Utopia
2 Number S39: Utopia the Lightning
Extra Deck [15]

The absolute linchpin of this strategy is Urgent Ritual Art. I know people played around with the idea of using it in Nekroz, but by the time it arrived in the TCG it wasn't enough to keep Nekroz relevant. It's perfect in this deck.

One of the issues with this theme is that there's no reliable way to get the Ritual Spell back to your hand. That means you'll only get three Ritual Summons per duel. With Urgent Ritual Art you can get up to six, which is more than enough to deal lethal damage.

More importantly, Urgent Ritual Art enables OTK's with the Tokens you're summoning from Shinobaron and Shinobaroness. Let's say you go first and Ritual Summon Shinobaron Peacock using cards in your hand, and then you set Urgent Ritual Art before ending your turn. During the End Phase you'll get two 1500 ATK Tokens. Then you can Urgent Ritual Art to bring out Shinobaron Peacock by banishing Shinobird's Calling from your grave when your opponent tries to make a play, returning all their monsters to their hand. In the End Phase, you'll get two more 1500 ATK Tokens.

From there you've already got 6000 damage on the field, not counting any other cards you had at your disposal. At that point you're just a summon or two away from defeating your opponent, an easy task when they don't have a board.

Drowning Mirror Force and Icarus Attack are the other two traps I opted to play, and they both create an important defensive backrow to let you survive another turn. Icarus Attack is useful because you can tribute the Shinobird Tokens to pop two cards, but Drowning Mirror Force is arguably more versatile because there will be some times when you're unable to Ritual Summon on your first turn.

How Many Normal Summons?
At first glance, Brilliant Fusion might seem like a weird card here since Gem-Knight Seraphinite and Nikitama don't stack to give you three Normal Summons in one turn. But Brilliant Fusion is an incredible deck-thinning option that can net you a bunch of cards. One of the best opening plays in this deck is Aratama and Brilliant Fusion with Pre-Preparation of Rites. You can Normal Summon Aratama to search a Nikitama, and then use Brilliant Fusion to send Nikitama and Gem-Knight Garnet. That gets you a draw, and you can then Ritual Summon using the graveyard Nikitama and the in-hand one, getting you a second draw.

Simply put, while Nikitama was once an important Normal Summon to accelerate Rank 4's to the field, in this deck you'd rather use your Normal Summon on Aratama or Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands. I'd include Shinobird Crane on that list, but realistically you want to Special Summon Shinobird Crane, not Normal Summon it. That's because when a Spirit monster is Special Summon through either of your Ritual Monsters they'll actually stay on the field during the End Phase, so Crane can trigger on your opponent's turn when you use Urgent Ritual Art.

 Brilliant Fusion
Brilliant Fusion122379
Set 2016 Mega-Tins Mega Pack
Number MP16-EN082
Type Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

When this card is activated: Fusion Summon 1 "Gem-Knight" Fusion Monster from your Extra Deck, using monsters from your Deck as Fusion Materials, but change its ATK and DEF to 0. If this card leaves the field, destroy that monster. Once per turn: You can discard 1 Spell Card; the monster Special Summoned by this card's effect gains ATK and DEF equal to its original ATK and DEF, until the end of your opponent's turn. You can only activate 1 "Brilliant Fusion" per turn.

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The last tech choice that I wanted to mention was Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju. Similarly to how Metalfoes have used Kaiju monsters in the past, you can use Gameciel to get rid of a problem monster and then return it to your hand with Shinobaron Peacock for the following turn. That's a powerful cycle that's difficult to deal with, forcing the opponent to summon multiple threats in a single turn to not lose to a Kaiju.

Shinobirds add a totally new dynamic to the Spirit lineup, and I truly believe that this list is competitive enough to tackle a Regional Qualifier. There's still some room to grow with this build and Spirit monsters to experiment with, but I've found this to be a great starting point. I haven't been this excited for legacy support in a long time, and I'm so happy to receive Spirits that aren't as disappointing as Amaterasu!

-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 Yu-Gi-Oh! 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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