Low Key: Phantom Knight Paleozoics

Doug Zeeff

9/26/2017 11:00:00 AM

At this point you've seen me splash Phantom Knights into what seems like a hundred different deck lists.

What can I say? I love the theme to death. The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots can pair with any other Phantom Knight monster to make a Rank 3, and as long as you detach Silent Boots for the Xyz Monster's effect you can instantly grab a trap card, usually Phantom Knights' Fog Blade. Beyond that, the entire theme's incredibly value-focused, constantly applying pressure through graveyard effects turn after turn.

So when I saw the new Forbidden & Limited List I was very excited for Phantom Knights. Zoodiacs and full power True Dracos were way too fast for the strategy, but now that's virtually a non-factor. Even though True Dracos saw some success at the recent UDS in Orlando, they're weaker to hand traps than ever before.

Within minutes of the F&L List dropping, Bobby Kenny shot me a message asking if I'd be willing to try out Beginning of Heaven and Earth. To be completely honest I'd never heard of that card, but I was pretty amazed when I first read it. Basically, it's a trap card that lets you reveal one Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning and two Phantom Knights from your deck.

Your opponent randomly picks one, and if it's the Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning it gets added to your hand. No matter what they pick, though, the Phantom Knights are going to the graveyard. So you have the really good result where you get a huge boss monster and load your graveyard with two Phantom Knights, or the “bad” result of just getting two Phantom Knights in the graveyard.

It's sort of like a mini-Painful Choice.

I loved the idea of Beginning of Heaven and Earth, but speed was still a factor. Phantom Knights are already a fairly slow strategy in the early game, so playing a trap card that worked on a one-turn delay could be risky. After some testing, my solution to that issue wasn't what I was expecting: Paleozoics. Using Beginning of Heaven and Earth netted you a free Palezoic trap from your graveyard, and the Paleozoics added a new control element to the theme that had the potential to make insane boards.

One card I quickly became a fan of was Foolish Burial Goods. Not only could you send a Phantom Knight trap card to the graveyard for some revival, but you could jumpstart your Paleozoic summons, too. Paleozoic Leanchoilia's another bridge between the archetypes, returning banished Paleozoics and Phantom Knights.

Keeping those overlaps in mind, let's take a look at the deck list:

    Low Key PK Paleozoics Doug Zeeff    
Main Deck
Side Deck
2 Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring
2 Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning
1 Maxx "C"
3 The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak
3 The Phantom Knights of Ragged Gloves
3 The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots
Monsters [14]
2 Allure of Darkness
2 Burial from a Different Dimension
1 Foolish Burial
2 Foolish Burial Goods
1 Raigeki
1 Reinforcement of the Army
1 Soul Charge
Spells [10]
3 Beginning of Heaven and Earth
2 Paleozoic Canadia
2 Paleozoic Dinomischus
2 Paleozoic Leanchoilia
1 Paleozoic Marrella
2 Paleozoic Olenoides
3 Phantom Knights' Fog Blade
1 Phantom Knights' Wing
Traps [16]
Deck Total [40]


1 Daigusto Phoenix
2 Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss
1 Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon
1 Decode Talker
1 Leviair the Sea Dragon
1 Mistar Boy
2 Paleozoic Opabinia
1 Proxy Dragon
1 Sky Cavalry Centaurea
1 Super Quantal Mech Beast Grampulse
2 The Phantom Knights of Break Sword
1 Toadally Awesome
Extra Deck [15]

Paleozoics aren't known for being the fastest deck out there, but they are known for being able to out-grind most other strategies. Not only do you get value with their on-field effects as trap cards, but they keep summoning themselves from the graveyard, too.

In some ways the Phantom Knights are similar. The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots has a great effect for quick Rank 3 summons, but its graveyard effect adds another layer of protection to your board.

When you combine both themes into one deck, you'll find it's very difficult to run out of cards. Every trap in this deck besides Beginning of Heaven and Earth do something on the field and in the graveyard, which is great for whittling down your opponent to zero cards. Furthermore, the newly Semi-Limited Burial from a Different Dimension resets three Phantom Knights, giving you even more longevity.

The Tricky Parts
While a lot of your plays might seem straightforward in the early game, the mid to late game interactions get pretty complicated. There are a lot of card effect to manage, as well as a lot of potential to mess up or end with an awkward field.

One thing that's definitely worth pointing out before you pick up the deck is that there are no Light monsters in the Main Deck. For Rank 3's, you have Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss, and for Rank 2's, you have Sky Calvary Centaura. Overall I believe it's fine to forgo Lights in the main deck, but it means that Dante's almost always going to be your Turn 1 play, especially if you also have Beginning of Heaven and Earth.

If you really wanted to play Light monsters you do have a couple options. Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit's a fine choice, although I wouldn't be comfortable cutting the two copies of Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring for them. I also went back and forth with Galaxy Worm, but eventually couldn't deal with it because it has the bad sides of both Speedroid Terrortop and Predaplant Ophrys Scorpio with the most mediocre of upsides. I'm sure it's possible to make it work, but it was regularly the worst Normal Summon in my hand.

 Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring
Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring131153
Set Maximum Crisis
Number MACR-EN036
Level 3
Type Tuner/Effect Monster
Monster Zombie
Attribute FIRE 
A / D 0 / 1800
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

During either player's turn, when a card or effect is activated that includes any of these effects: You can discard this card; negate that effect.
- Add a card from the Deck to the hand.
- Special Summon from the Deck.
- Send a card from the Deck to the Graveyard.
You can only use this effect of "Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring" once per turn.

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Another factor that's crucial is how Paleozoic Opabinia's much better than Toadally Awesome. While negating something with Toadally Awesome's nice, you don't play any Frogs to Special Summon from the deck with its effect. Part of the reason that Toadally Awesome's so powerful is because it brings out Dupe Frog in the Standby Phase to Block Attacks, but there wasn't any room – or need, for that matter – in this deck for the Frog engine.

Opabinia, on the other hand, is a total powerhouse by itself. Grabbing any Paleozoic trap is absurd, especially combined with a build-in protection ability against other monster effects. Often when you can make an unanswered Opabinia you can immediately spiral into Toadally Awesome as well, if you don't happen to OTK your opponent with Daigusto Phoenix first.

Lastly, careful management of your Life Points in the early game is critical to your success – and your survival. There aren't a lot of “broken” Turn 1 fields; the best possible opening is basically Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss and a bunch of backrow. The strength of Phantom Knight Paleozoics increases with each passing turn. As the game goes on it gets easier to win, which means blocking early damage is a top priority. Don't be afraid to lose some card advantage on your first turn if it means saving your Life Points, because you'll beat most decks in the late game.

Overall, this is a fun deck that takes advantage of the new F&L List in many ways. Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning being Semi-Limited adds a truly unique aspect with Beginning of Heaven and Earth, a card I never thought I'd play in a million years. From a rogue standpoint, I could see this deck being a decent choice for a Regional Qualifier, especially considering the wide variety of decks that you'd probably duel against at those smaller events!

-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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