Siding For: Artifact Invoked Windwitch

Kelly Locke

4/10/2017 11:00:00 AM

Over the last month Artifact Invoked Windwitches have been going toe-to-toe with the best decks in the game. They've had the advantage of relative obscurity the deck isn't performing as well as Zoodiacs or Paleozoics, but it's definitely topping and winning events.

You couldn't ask for better positioning as a Windwitch player: most of your opponents aren't siding for the match-up, and many of them don't know how the deck works beyond a cursory knowledge of the cards involved. It's surprisingly well-turned for longer games, and can easily win the grind game against Zoodiacs provided it makes it that far.

Recently I spoke to local players returning from Regionals who lost matches against Windwitches. Each of them reported being unprepared for the match-up, and a couple of them approached me directly asking for Side Deck advice. Consider this article my response.

A Spiritual Successor To HAT
Remember the Hand Artifact Traptrix strategy from 2014? Artifact Invoked Windwitches are essentially the 2017 incarnation of that deck. It's a high-synergy blend of three distinct engines that prioritize negation bodies and limiting your opponent's plays. Each theme is focused on Summoning one particular monster that justifies the entire engine. Artifact Scythe, Invoked Mechaba, and Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon are the stars of the strategy, but each engine is flexible enough to respond effectively to nearly any situation.

Artifacts are already being played to cut off Extra Deck access and deter blind backrow removal. Artifact Sanctum's played as if it were another three copies of Dimensional Barrier, and any deck with six traps that can stop your Xyz, Synchro, Fusion, and some Pendulum Summons is worth your time to investigate. Artifact Scythe gives the strategy plenty of stopping power and one-turn floodgates. In fact, activating Artifact Sanctum to Summon Scythe is actually better than Dimensional Barrier in terms of card economy.

Sanctum can also Special Summon Artifact Moralltach and Artifact Lancea, so banish-heavy strategies are just as vulnerable to the Artifact engine as Synchro, Fusion, and Xyz themes. While Moralltach and Scythe are easily negated with Forbidden Chalice and Breakthrough Skill it's much harder to counter Artifact Lancea, which can tribute itself and hit the graveyard long before you'll have a chance to target it.

 Artifact Sanctum
Artifact Sanctum82687
Set Primal Origin
Number PRIO-EN072
Type Trap
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

Special Summon 1 "Artifact" monster from your Deck. You can only activate 1 "Artifact Sanctum" per turn. You cannot conduct your Battle Phase the turn you activate this card. If this card in its owner's possession is destroyed by an opponent's card: You can target 1 card on the field; destroy that target.

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The Artifact engine offers defense, temporary floodgates, and other deterrents. Meanwhile the Windwitch engine provides both offense and defense. It's a relatively simple engine that does one thing really well: Synchro Summoning a destruction effect-immune Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon with just one card. Drawing into Windwitch - Ice Bell is enough to put a Crystal Wing into play. It's a great move at any point in the duel, and it meshes perfectly with the Artifact and Invoked engines.

If your Windwitch play is stopped at some point you might be left dealing with a few restrictions. First, Ice Bell will only let you Special Summon Level 5 or higher Wind monsters from your Extra Deck. Second, Windwitch - Glass Bell locks out non-Wind Special Summons for the remainder of the turn. It's a big deal for decks with only a few Wind monsters, and at first glance Artifact Invoked Windwitches are noticeably short on Winds. But Artifacts are only ever Special Summoned during your opponent's turn, and Invoked Raidjin's still accessible despite the Windwitch restrictions.

Finally, the Invoked engine itself takes advantage of the deck's Light and Wind monsters by turning them into Invoked Mechaba and Invoked Raidjin. Mechaba's a powerful negation monster with a cost that leverages dead Artifacts and Windwitches. Drawing into useless monsters with no way to Summon them is one of this deck's biggest challenges, but Invocation and Mechaba help mitigate that problem.

Artifact Invoked Windwitches have an extremely low number of Normal Summons. That keeps the deck's consistency high and reduces its vulnerability to Summon negation. Aleister the Invoker's infinitely recyclable so long as it's banished for Invocation. You can expect a fresh Aleister to hit the field every turn, and a Fusion Summon soon after. While the overall volume of Summons isn't high, the deck can keep up constant pressure turn after turn while other strategies might struggle to maintain the same level of aggression.

Draw power from Wonder Wand, play-stopping traps, plenty of room for hand traps, and a strong monster line-up keeps this deck in the game as Crystal Wind Synchro Dragon, Mechaba, and Raidjin lead the way to victory. Fusions, Synchros, and solid Effect Monsters let you play around Dimensional Barrier, and recycling Aleister the Invoker minimizes the impact of Solemn Warning and Solemn Strike. It's an impressive strategy, but it's not without fault. Let's talk about the deck's vulnerabilities and how we can exploit them.

Answering The Deck's Biggest Threats
There's no one-size-fits-all Side Deck strategy for this match-up. What you side will largely depend on the biggest threats to your deck. In general there are at least two cards everyone should have an answer to: Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon and Invoked Mechaba. Both monsters have excellent negation effects, and Crystal Wing is even more dangerous than usual. Destroying Crystal Wing with a card effect is out of the question, and most decks have trouble Summoning an Xyz to take it down by battle.

Kaijus are the best counter to each of those Extra Deck monsters. It's not at all surprising that the best monster removal in the game is hugely successful against a strategy that relies heavily on negation bodies for the bulk of its field presence. A single Kaiju is enough to dispatch a Crystal Wing or Mechaba without being negated, but Interrupted Kaiju Slumber's out of the question. It's easily negated by Mechaba and shrugged off by the destruction-immune Crystal Wing.

A key advantage that Kaijus have over other options is that your opponent's nearly powerless to stop you. The Artifact engine can't protect their monsters and none of their traps block Special Summons outright. The loss of Vanity's Emptiness has made the Kaiju engine among the best Side Deck cards in the game. But in longer duels they're unlikely to win you the game. Giving your opponent a Kaiju is a temporary solution. Aleister the Invoker will be back on the field next turn, although Kaijus do help disrupt Windwitch - Ice Bell.

 Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon
Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon117941
Set Shining Victories
Number SHVI-EN049
Level 8
Type Synchro/Effect Monster
Monster Dragon
Attribute WIND 
A / D 3000 / 2500
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner Synchro Monsters
Once per turn, during either player's turn, when another monster's effect is activated: You can negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that monster, and if you do that, this card gains ATK equal to the destroyed monster's original ATK until the end of this turn. If this card battles a Level 5 or higher monster your opponent controls, during damage calculation: This card gains ATK equal to the current ATK of the opponent's monster it is battling during that damage calculation only.

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Call of the Haunted might make your Kaiju Summon irrelevant. Combining Kaijus and Cosmic Cyclone is one way to minimize the weakness of the Kaiju engine by itself. Cosmic Cyclone knocks out Call Of The Haunted, Magical Meltdown, Wonder Wand, and preemptively banishes Artifact Sanctum with zero repercussions. I'd personally recommend Cosmic Cyclone here, but you could play any face-up spell and trap removal. The main advantage of Cosmic Cyclone is the ability to target face-downs on the turn they're set to neutralize Sanctum early, but if it's not a major concern you could play Twin Twisters instead.

Disabling banish effects with Imperial Iron Wall, Artifact Lancea, or Chaos Hunter will slow down the Invoked engine and limit your opponent's Fusion Summon options. You can chain Lancea to Invocation and potentially rob your opponent of their Fusion Summon, but they can still use monsters in their hand and on their field. However, doing so will land Aleister in their graveyard rather than their Banish Zone, and that breaks your opponent's chain of unlimited Aleister Summons and Invocation recycles.

You could also take the opposite route of preventing your opponent's ability to banish cards by simply banishing all copies of Aleister. Chain Disappearance will banish Aleister on Summon, then banish every other copy in the deck. If your opponent loses every copy to Chain Disappearance they'll need to find another way to get Invocation to the graveyard to start recycling their copies. Taking a quick glance at Artifact Invoked Windwitch builds reveals that most players don't have ways to load Invocation into the graveyard.

Keep in mind that Magical Meltdown protects key Invoked plays. While the Field Spell's active you can't negate cards that would Fusion Summon a monster, and you can't respond to a successful Fusion Summon. Imperial Order can still work its magic because it negates Meltdown as well, but attempting to Solemn Warning Invocation will get you exactly nowhere. That limits your options to either negating the Fusion Summoned monster's effects later with Solemn Strike, or somehow preventing your opponent from using Aleister.

Since Solemn Strike can't destroy Crystal Wing in this match-up it's better to prioritize ways of keeping Aleister off the field. Chain Disappearance does exactly that, and it also hits the Windwitch engine by banishing Windwitch - Ice Bell. There aren't many better card to side for this match-up while going first, but it can be admittedly lacking while going second. In that case Kaijus become your ideal Side Deck picks. Finally, Forbidden Chalice is a great solution to Crystal Wing and Artifacts, and you're likely already siding it if Artifact Scythe is a threat to your deck. All of these cards have massive match-up utility this format and help you save space while covering both the decks to beat and rogue match-ups.

Until next time then


Kelly​​ ​​Locke​​ ​​is​​ ​​a​​ ​​West​​ ​​Michigan​​ ​​gamer,​​ ​​writer,​​ ​​and​​ ​​college​​ ​​student.​​ ​​​​ ​​In​​ ​​addition​​ ​​to​​ ​​writing​​ ​​on TCGplayer,​​ ​​Kelly​​ ​​writes​​ ​​​​personal​​ ​​blog​​​​ ​​covering​​ ​​Yugioh,​​ ​​Destiny,​​ ​​and​​ ​​other​​ ​​hobbies.​​ ​​You​​ ​​can follow​​ ​​him​​ ​​on​​ ​​​​Twitter​​​​ ​​and​​ ​​check​​ ​​out​​ ​​his​​ ​​​​Youtube​​ ​​channel​​.​​ ​​​​ ​​He​​ ​​is​​ ​​currently​​ ​​studying​​ ​​marketing​​ ​​at Western​​ ​​Michigan​​ ​​University,​​ ​​and​​ ​​hopes​​ ​​to​​ ​​graduate​​ ​​before​​ ​​​​Dragon​​ ​​Ravine​​​​ ​​is​​ ​​Unlimited.

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