The Ancient Warriors are a nice colorful archetype that debuted in Ignition Assault. Being a great adaptation of the ROTK novel in card form, the deck has seen some strong support cards as of recent.
Notably both the link monster in Rise of the Duelist and the upcoming main deck monster are in Blazing Vortex.
Players are currently trying to splash this deck as an engine in strategies that can fit them in. Let’s take a look and see the inner workings of this engine!
Table of Contents
The Quintessential Quartet
To start things off, we’ll be checking out the four major monsters that comprise the compact Ancient Warriors package. These cards are quite important for the strategy to function in the first place.
Terrific Tenki Target
Ancient Warriors – Masterful Sun Mou is what allows this engine to thrive, being quite a powerful Normal Summon. It is a Level 4 Beast-Warrior monster, making it a perfect target for Fire Formation – Tenki! That adds up to six copies of Sun Mou total in your Deck, giving you a good shot at seeing him.
Sun Mou’s protection effect rarely comes up but is a nice bonus to have. The real main ones to check out are the two activated effects. By simply sending any one card from the hand or field to the GY, you’re able to search for an Ancient Warrior monster!
At first glance, the send effect seems rather costly as you do have to trade a resource, but that’s often not the case at all! More often than not, you’re sending a card that wants to be in the GY in the first place. The Fire Formation makes it free too, to an extent.
Decks that you splash this engine into will appreciate the strong setup it provides. A great and relevant example would be in Eldlich, letting you dump either Eldlixirs, Golden Lands, Eldland, or even the Golden Lord himself. In the case of Tri-Brigade, you can pitch cards like Nervall or Kitt to reap great benefits! After that, you’ll usually have a couple of targets to search with it. The most important ones are Ingenious Zhuge Kong, and post-BLVO, Rebellious Lu Feng.
Sun’s other effect is also certainly nice for going second, as in conjunction with your other AW monsters, you’re able to trigger it to good effect! This forces some amount of interruption for your opponent, and even pairs nicely with Kaijus.
A Zhuge Lad
Zhuge Kong is the second piece that holds it all together, even though you normally don’t want to see him in your opener. When he’s added by an Ancient Warrior’s card or effect, you’re able to Special Summon him from your hand! His attribute and SS effect are the things to note here, as it’s perfect for making Ancient Warriors Oath – Double Dragon Lords.
General consensus with Zhuge is that he’s a 2-of. If you draw one, the Sun Mou package doesn’t completely fall flat in its face. Its negation effects are also decent if you splash a Liu Xuan or play a heavier AW engine with cards like Ancient Warriors Saga – Three Visits, although it doesn’t come up often outside of pure builds.
Double Dragon Lords is one of the best payoff cards for the AW engine! Sun Mou is a one card enabler when paired with Zhuge Kong. This nifty Link-2 provides strong versatile disruption in the form of a Quick Effect bounce, for a fairly small cost. DDL gives your board an extra layer of threat and emergency removal both at the same time.
Upon being Link Summoned, you get to add an Ancient Warriors card! Pre Blazing Vortex, the usual thing to grab was a second Sun Mou for follow-up. Once the next expansion releases, however, you get to add something far more powerful.
A few more things to note: you can use any of the Tri-brigade monsters to summon it out, which gives it natural synergy there. You can hard make it as well if needed, should you get to Sun Mou in AW Tri. Aside from that, on later turns you can even Link summon it using itself as the material and another AW, for even more toolbox potential.
Wrath of the Betrayer
Arguably one of the best Ancient Warriors monsters ever printed, Lu Feng graces us with his presence as a brutally powerful monster that’s plenty accessible within the AW engine! Packing a non-targeting destruction effect to boot, this one doesn’t mess around.
Thanks to its easy summoning condition, even worst-case hands such as drawing Zhuge Kong can let him hit the field without a sweat.
Sun Mou can grab him from your deck, Double Dragon Lords adds him for free, and even cards like Visits, Tenki, or Liu Xuan (into Sun Mou) are able to help pivot into this beast.
While the card does have some small downsides such as locking you out of non-AW monster effects if you use his pop, or the flavorful but mostly irrelevant control shift effect, there’s no reason not to play Lu Feng! The upsides are simply too big to ignore. Likewise, the decks that do splash him have easy workarounds to the effect lock in the first place!
Playing two works, since the second one gives comeback plays if you can get to DDL or Sun Mou again. The card is fine to see in the opener as well, as all the other Ancient Warriors work with it well.
While the main four cards of the engine are set in stone, there are other options to explore. These are all by player preference!
Liu Xuan is a crazy going second enabler, getting Sun Mou from the deck and can give a draw!
Zhang De is also another option if you want to mess with swarming.
Guan Yun is an okay choice as it acts as a pseudo-Pankratops you can use under Stormwinds. It also doesn’t have to sacrifice itself, but can only hit monsters.
Three Visits is a flexible card that lets you do some nifty things. For example in Tribrigade, you can get to your engine by using a Trib’s effect to bust out DDL, quite the win-win! It also lets you get extra disruption with the Link monster, dropping Sun Mou to the field on their turn to pair with your Lu Feng. In Eldlich, it adds a bit more consistency and gives some nice Spell / Trap negation with Zhuge Kong.
Zhang Yuan is an interesting surprise card that can swing the tempo of the game, especially as people aren’t too familiar with how the Ancient Warriors play out.
Sequencing and Strategies
Depending on the type of Deck you splash the AWs into, here are a few things to keep in mind. (Make sure to play 3 Tenki too!)
Sun Mou plus pitch results in Ancient Warriors Oath – Double Dragon Lords and Rebellious Lu Feng. A lot of value and threats for minimal effort and the Normal Summon. If your opener has Sun Mou access with other starters, it’ll depend on what you value more to resolve. In that case, you may either lead with Sun to bait out HTs for your playmakers, or vice versa.
More importantly, this is doable in four summons, to prevent the likes of Nibiru from ruining the day.
Another conservative approach is with Sun Mou + Lu Feng, busting out two disruptions in just two summons! This is nice if you really need to play around certain cards, say your opponent packing Ice Dragon’s Prison.
Going second, you can lead with the AWs as they can force interactions from the opponent. Sun Mou into Zhuge Kong for a bounce, DDL for another bounce, and so on.
In case of emergencies, Sun Mou is an easy way to get to a Rank 4, so that’s even more versatility. Abyss Dweller and Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Tiger King come to mind as spicy options. Trib can also turn them into Ferrijit, while banishing them in the GY to bust out high powered Tri-type Links.
Lu Feng’s effect lock is quite hefty but is not impossible to work around with. Tribrigade can end on Statue/Simorgh and the AW Duo, only missing out on the EP summon from the Link.
Eldlich also doesn’t care about the restriction, as its power lies in the backrow.
Sample List: AW Eldlich
Here’s a nice sample list that combines both the powers of Eldlich and Ancient Warriors to great effect! Three Visits is a flex card that can be replaced but is a nifty one-of.
The rest of the card choices are fairly self-explanatory, though the main and side can change depending on the state of the meta.
Ash can be a conflict but only at a handful of times and is way too good to not use. Sun Mou is also good at pitching away Golden Lords that you draw, and maxing out helps you not lose to cards like IDP, DD Crow, Cycle Reader, Ariel, and so on.
You can also go the distance and try out 5 pots, adding Extravagance to the mix alongside Disparity. Since Three Visits is a flex slot, it can be dropped for some experimentation!
Called by the Grave can also find itself into the main, as Droll can be annoying at times. Pot of Prosperity while expensive, gives an unprecedented amount of consistency. Extravagance and adjusted ED ratios are serviceable though.
That wraps up our look into the Ancient Warriors engine! While seemingly xenophobic, there’s a lot of potential to work with and other decks may also be able to capitalize off their strengths. After all, Eldlich and Tribrigade are just the tip of the iceberg! In any case, the deck itself also works okay pure.
Keep calm and shred lives with Lu Feng, he’s always on the winning side after all. Until next time!