Rerouting: Ultra Athletes

Loukas Peterson

3/8/2017 11:00:00 AM

I loved U.A. back in the day. Actually, by “back in the day” I mean now and by “loved” I mean love currently.

Yeah, I still really like U.A.

I always wish they'd could be just a wee more powerful, but the deck really missed its chance during the height of the Shaddoll and Nekroz formats. While they could easily OTK or set-up an unbreakable field, Burning Abyss and all its traps just laughed in theme's face. What good is a U.A. Perfect Ace when it would die before your opponent's turn even starts?

I haven't given the U.A.'s much thought lately because (insert generic excuse here that totally doesn't mean I've been creatively lazy). It always helps me get my creative mojo flowing when something comes into my inbox that looks crazy enough to work, but isn't quite reaching its potential.

So today's contributor writes...

There's never been a time when sports haven't been the best part of my life. When U.A. Midfielder came out, I joked that I was a Yu-Gi-Oh! card since I love soccer, and my hair is like that. They should release more U.A. stuff as soon as possible - any sign of more World Premier cards coming to the TCG? Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal counts as Legacy Support for B.A., right?

I wanted my U.A. deck to crank out some Rank 5 Monsters. Artifact Durendal has always been my favorite Xyz, and Droll & Lock Bird's the cherry on top. Just wait for your opponent to add a card to their hand and then punish their face with the bird and artifact combo. U.A. is the best part of the deck, but any love for Droll & Lock Bird?

-Javier G, The Midfielder ~ San Antonio Texas

If only we got more U.A. support! Problem is, even if I was in control of what the next U.A. card would do, I wouldn't know where to begin! Let's check out Javier's submission.

    Ultra Athletes Ver 1.0 Javier the Midfielder    
Main Deck
Side Deck
3 Droll & Lock Bird
2 Gem-Knight Garnet
2 Mithra the Thunder Vassal
3 Solar Wind Jammer
1 U.A. Blockbacker
2 U.A. Dreadnought Dunker
1 U.A. Goalkeeper
3 U.A. Midfielder
2 U.A. Mighty Slugger
3 U.A. Perfect Ace
1 U.A. Playmaker
2 U.A. Rival Rebounder
Monsters [25]
3 Brilliant Fusion
1 Reinforcement of the Army
2 Soul Exchange
3 Terraforming
3 Twin Twisters
2 U.A. Powered Jersey
3 U.A. Signing Deal
3 U.A. Stadium
Spells [20]
3 U.A. Penalty Box
Traps [3]
Deck Total [48]


1 Abyss Dweller
3 Artifact Durendal
2 Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger
1 Gauntlet Launcher
2 Gem-Knight Seraphinite
1 Heroic Champion - Excalibur
1 Number 61: Volcasaurus
1 Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk
1 Photon Strike Bounzer
1 Tiras, Keeper of Genesis
1 Wind-Up Arsenal Zenmaioh
Extra Deck [15]

U.A. cards have almost always been splashed with something else to make a complete deck. Hardly any U.A. builds I've ever seen – or piloted myself – have ever been “pure” U.A. though this one is one of the “purest” I've seen. If you've read this column before, I shouldn't have to warn you that it won't stay that way for long!

Javiar's unique flair is really the Rank 5 spin he's put on the strategy, which is totally cool and everything, but the result's not exactly consistent. It's a one-trick pony that surprises your opponent once, but after that you may struggle to leverage Droll & Lock Bird's potential. The combo Javiar mentioned involves waiting for your opponent to search for a card, and then playing both Droll & Lock Bird on top of Artifact Durendal, stripping your opponent of all their in-hand cards.

While that's nifty, Droll & Lock Bird's a Spellcaster instead of a searchable Winged-Beast, and I'll personally fight anyone that tries to refute my reasons for exclusion if they say “Well, Spellbook Star Hall and Magical Abductor can search it!” By that Reasoning, let's just play Left Arm Offering in every deck and call it a day. Instead, I'm taking out the Rank 5 stuff – partially because I'm mean, but more importantly because I have something more interesting planned.

Rank 5 monsters are ok, but aside from Constellar Pleiades and Cyber Dragon Nova, you're not getting anywhere by starting the game with a Rank 5. On your first turn, U.A. already have built-in control monsters providing disruption like U.A. Perfect Ace and U.A. Goalkeeper. U.A. decks already have problems with consistency and card economy, so hemorrhaging cards to make a mediocre Rank 5 seems less than ideal.

 Constellar Pleiades
Constellar Pleiades68054
Set Hidden Arsenal 7: Knight of Stars
Number HA07-EN022
Level 5
Type Xyz/Effect Monster
Monster Warrior
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 2500 / 1500
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

2 Level 5 LIGHT monsters // Once per turn, during either player's turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card to target 1 card on the field; return that target to the hand.

Our Best Prices: [View ALL Prices]
Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
KCs Card Corner 1st Edition - Moderately Played 1 $0.75
XtremeGames 1st Edition - Heavily Played 1 $0.87
The Next Level Games 1st Edition - Moderately Played 3 $0.96
Davis Cards & Games 1st Edition - Moderately Played 1 $1.00
XtremeGames 1st Edition - Lightly Played 2 $1.13
cheapsingletcg 1st Edition - Near Mint 5 $1.25 allows you to buy cards from any of our vendors, all at the same time, in a simple checkout experience. Shop, Compare & Save with! - [Store FAQ]

Even worse, U.A. decks can brick hard - like a real brick [Loukas' note: I actually laughed out loud at my own terrible joke]. The extra Normal Summon you get with Brilliant Fusion and Gem-Knight Seraphinite could advance your position in the early game a great deal, but a three-card combo of U.A. Stadium, Brilliant Fusion, and any Level 6 or lower U.A. monster still doesn't help you out that much.

That ideal combo gets you, what, an on-field U.A. Perfect Ace and a U.A. Goalkeeper? What about all the times you draw a Gem-Knight Garnet or mid-game Brilliant Fusion? My point is, even when all the stars align in your favor, your end prize wins up being pretty “meh.” The risks outweigh the reward.

That's how I feel about a lot of the “ideal” U.A. opening hands. Sure you can start with Mithril the Thunder Vassal or Solar Wind Jammer to guarantee a start with a U.A. Perfect Ace, but dedicating deck space to a bucket of mediocre cards just so you can boost your percentage chance to open with an easily mutilated “combo” isn't the way to go.

*Insert Inspirational Sports-Themed Quote Or Pun*
First of all, I can't see any reason not to play Foolish Burial Goods. U.A. Penalty Box searches any U.A. Spell from your deck, meaning it's either more Terraformings or a strong argument for running only one copy of cards like U.A. Turnover Tactics and U.A. Powered Jersey. U.A. Penalty Box has a pretty decent on-field effect, but the search element is a lot better.

So whenever I draw Penalty Box I always feel a mix of joy and anger. It's a Continuous Trap, so unless it's destroyed by an errant Mystical Space Typhoon or something, it'll stay on the field. Instead of getting it to the yard with MST or Magic Planter, why not just discard it straight away? Upstart Golden Ninja seems like an offside pick, but keep in mind that I'm retooling the entire deck here. Of course, I'll be adding more traps to feed Golden Ninja, like Solemn Strike and Breakthrough Skill, but the Ninja's not the only Level 4 I'll be adding.

While Summoner Monk cuts off your Normal Summon, it's another way to field Upstart Golden Ninja or U.A. Midfielder. Not that it's inherently amazing, but one inadvertent problem that Summoner Monk helps is the surplus of spells. You need U.A. Stadium for a U.A. deck to function, but running three copies of it plus triplicates of Terraforming often means you have way too many useless spells in your hand. The better way of phrasing it is calling them superfluous cards, but it's upsetting either way.

As you can tell given the additions I've made, I'm increasing the size of the deck. A larger deck is typically less consistent, but in this case a bigger deck size mitigates the necessity of all the search effects you need to see U.A. Stadium. Besides that, we need more traps to fuel Upstart Golden Ninja, and if we devolved the deck into a linear strategy that only does one thing, well, you've probably can imagine how a deck will fare when its “best” opening turn is a U.A. Perfect Ace.

How About More Rank Four(s)?
See what happens when I try to be clever? I should just stick with *insert something here* every time I think I'm a wordsmith. Nevertheless, an emphasis on Rank 4 monsters is a much-needed gulp of fresh air for this strategy and invites Elder Entity Norden into the deck. I know I've ragged on U.A. Perfect Ace's downfalls and the general weaknesses of the U.A. deck, but only because they're so evident and damaging. It's important to expand your options when your optimal first turn ends with an easily broken board.

I think it's worth it to add some “comeback” cards. Call Of The Haunted is food for Upstart Golden Ninja, and you yard a lot of U.A. cards by virtue of the strategy. Call Of The Haunted combined with Rival Rebounder can make up for a lot of lost ground, too. U.A. Stadium fetches monsters from the deck, but often all the searching in the world can't make up for a barren field.

U.A. decks are one of those strategies that wouldn't necessarily be in that much better of a position if you started with ten cards instead of five on your first turn. Sure, you'll almost be mathematically guaranteed to start with U.A. Midfielder and U.A. Stadium, but… then what? Start with twenty cards for all I care; things may not be that much better.

 Foolish Burial Goods
Foolish Burial Goods127320
Set Raging Tempest
Number RATE-EN065
Type Normal Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

Send 1 Spell/Trap Card from your Deck to the Graveyard. You can only activate 1 "Foolish Burial Goods" per turn.

Our Best Prices: [View ALL Prices]
Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
Extramint 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $5.71
SyndicateGamesTCG 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $5.73
Norms Store 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $5.85
Stackeree Gaming 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $5.90
The End Games 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $5.93
Amazing Discoveries 1st Edition - Moderately Played 1 $6.02 allows you to buy cards from any of our vendors, all at the same time, in a simple checkout experience. Shop, Compare & Save with! - [Store FAQ]

That's the mentality I had when I was swapping up Javiar's deck. U.A. Stadium will keep my roster full, but wouldn't it be nice to, I don't know, have something else in your hand besides 719 copies of U.A. Midfielder?

Check out the changes.

-1 U.A. Dreadnought Dunker
-1 U.A. Perfect Ace
-1 U.A. Playmaker
-3 Droll & Lock Bird
-2 Mithra the Thunder Vassal
-2 Gem-Knight Garnet
-3 Solar Wind Jammer
-1 U.A. Powered Jersey
-2 Soul Exchange
-3 Brilliant Fusion
-3 Twin Twisters

-2 Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger
-1 Wind-Up Arsenal Zenmaioh
-3 Artifact Durendal
-1 Gauntlet Launcher
-1 Photon Strike Bounzer
-1 Number 61: Volcasaurus
-2 Gem-Knight Seraphinite

+3 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit
+3 Upstart Golden Ninja
+2 Summoner Monk
+1 Genex Ally Birdman
+1 U.A. Turnover Tactics
+3 Foolish Burial Goods
+3 Instant Fusion
+2 Breakthrough Skill
+2 Call Of The Haunted
+2 Solemn Strike
+1 Bottomless Trap Hole
+1 Rise to Full Height

+1 Elder Entity Norden
+1 Number 39: Utopia
+1 Number S39: Utopia the Lightning
+1 Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer
+1 Bujintei Tsukuyomi
+1 Traptrix Rafflesia
+1 Daigusto Emeral
+2 PSY-Framelord Omega
+1 Number 103: Ragnazero
+1 Karbonala Warrior

The Extra Deck needed some major work. Transitioning away from Rank 5 monsters opened up a lot of space in the Extra Deck; outside of some standard Rank 4 Xyz it's really wide open. It may seem like I've made a hefty list of changes to the Extra Deck, but it's really not that much of a difference since the Extra Deck is often nearly irrelevant. The Main Deck is really what drives the Extra Deck anyways.

    Ultra Athletes Ver 2.0 Loukas Peterson    
Main Deck
Side Deck
1 Genex Ally Birdman
3 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit
2 Summoner Monk
1 U.A. Blockbacker
1 U.A. Dreadnought Dunker
1 U.A. Goalkeeper
3 U.A. Midfielder
2 U.A. Mighty Slugger
2 U.A. Perfect Ace
2 U.A. Rival Rebounder
3 Upstart Golden Ninja
Monsters [21]
3 Foolish Burial Goods
3 Instant Fusion
1 Reinforcement of the Army
3 Terraforming
1 U.A. Powered Jersey
3 U.A. Signing Deal
3 U.A. Stadium
1 U.A. Turnover Tactics
Spells [18]
1 Bottomless Trap Hole
2 Breakthrough Skill
2 Call of the Haunted
1 Rise to Full Height
2 Solemn Strike
3 U.A. Penalty Box
Traps [11]
Deck Total [50]


1 Abyss Dweller
1 Bujintei Tsukuyomi
1 Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer
1 Daigusto Emeral
1 Elder Entity Norden
1 Heroic Champion - Excalibur
1 Karbonala Warrior
1 Number 103: Ragnazero
1 Number 39: Utopia
1 Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk
1 Number S39: Utopia the Lightning
2 PSY-Framelord Omega
1 Tiras, Keeper of Genesis
1 Traptrix Rafflesia
Extra Deck [15]

The deck looks very different now that the dust has settled, and I went a little crazy with some of the ideas. But the more I tested this thing as a joke, the more I liked it. Thanks to cards like U.A. Mighty Slugger and U.A. Dreadnaught Dunker, this deck proved to be just as gifted on the attack as it is on the defensive. If you have the Rise to Full Height plus PSY-Framelord Omega combo in full swing, who even needs to play defense?

Genex-Ally Birdman may seem like a strange pick, but with Summoner Monk and Upstart Golden Ninja, it can refresh your hand and set up the PSY-Framelord Omega combo really easily! Sure, the deck may seem a bit bulky, but we've both balanced the ratios of some important cards, and nerfed the power of That Grass Looks Greener.

Food for thought… or… grass clippings for thought? *insert something that makes sense here*

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you!

-Loukas Peterson

Loukas Peterson lives in Madison, Wisconsin where he enjoys freezing in the cold only slightly less than his job as a software engineer. When he's not playing cards, you can find him on his kayak reading a book and playing the ukulele or at his painting desk, probably on his 30th cup of coffee for the day. Hailed on the only one capable of cooking Minute Rice is 57 seconds, Loukas is always looking for another creative outlet.

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

Join our Newsletters

Subscribe to get the latest information on your favorite games.


All original content herein is Copyright 2016 Ascension Gaming Network, Inc. TCGplayer® and MaxPoint® are trademarks of Ascension Gaming Network, Inc.
No portion of this web site may be used without expressed written consent. All rights reserved.
Magic the Gathering and its respective properties are copyright Wizards of the Coast
Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service