Darkwing Blast is only a few months away, slated to hit store shelves in October over in the TCG! It's certainly a strong set and follows Power of the Elements in terms of design and power. Whether this is for better or for worse is up for debate, if we're being honest. Not only does DABL have crazy generics that will change the game, it even supports two Tier 1 decks in both Spright and Tearlaments.
In this two-part special for August, we'll be taking a look at two archetypes from our lore series that are underway. The Fallen of Albaz and Visas Starfrost lores, of course! Part 1 will focus on introducing Kshatri-La. These crab-like invaders are a unique bunch that might just shake up the meta.
Special thanks to OzoneTCG and the r/Yugioh Discord server! Without further ado, let's dive in and check them out.
Cut Them Down
Kshatri-La Fenrir is one of the most popular cards in the OCG right now post Darkwing Blast, seeing widespread use everywhere. Specifically, it can be found in the Main Deck, often maxed out at 3 copies. Its strength and ease of use have cemented it as one of the strongest staples printed in recent times. So what does Fenrir do? You can compare this monster to something like a power crept version of Eater of Millions, effect and all.
Fenrir is able to Special Summon itself for free if you control no monsters without activating! This behemoth benevolently brings big benefits to the table. Its fairly good 2400 ATK allows it to contest most common endboard pieces while not being easy to run over itself. Its condition to Special Summon itself is not once per turn either, so if it gets removed you can seamlessly drop another and keep the pressure going.
Additionally, it has a pretty sick trigger to sweeten the deal. Whenever Fenrir attacks or when your opponent uses a monster effect, it's able to target 1 face-up card the opponent controls and banish it face-down! This type of removal is excellent, as it often means the opponent can't recover that card. It's not limited to monsters either, so you can clear Field Spells or floodgates that might be in your way. Fenrir can be quite the troublesome monster to deal with, especially when it's supporting a board.
There's very little risk to dropping it onto the board and forcing your opponent to deal with Fenrir. Oftentimes you can even go 2 for 1, as you attack over a monster and then banish one of their cards to boot. But wait, it gets even better! Fenrir can add any Kshatri-La monster from Deck to your hand, including itself. Most searchers tend to exclude themselves, but this Wolf is an exception. Even if you get wiped out, Fenrir can easily get you back into the game as long as you didn't get OTK'd!
Now, there's nothing wrong with playing just 3 Fenrir and calling it a day, as it is currently the standard over there in the OCG and has proven itself to be one of the best cards out of DABL. However, the other Kshatri-La cards are quite strong as well.
Here we have two cards that have been ignored by the OCG, Kshatri-La Unicorn and Kshatri-La Berth! Make no mistake though, their usage doesn't mean they should be taken lightly. As the format develops, we may see more people making use of it alongside Fenrir. So what makes these two any good?
Similar to Fenrir, Unicorn can drop itself onto an empty field for free. Instead of searching for monsters, it fetches Kshatri-La Spells. At the time of this article's writing, there's only one Spell which is Berth. You can't gauge how good Uni is without this Continuous Spell, as the two form a nasty combo that goes hand in hand.
Berth has three solid effects, all of which are useful. The first effect allows you to Normal Summon a Level 7 monster without Tributing, which matters for Pure Kshatri-La builds or if you see too many of them in your hand. It's good but nothing to write home about. The second effect is more important, however. Once per turn, Berth can revive a Kshatri-La monster who is banished or in the GY!
A free revive every turn is one thing, but this also means Unicorn is free Synchro and Link fodder with no downside! Use it as material and then revive it afterward! To round it all up, if your opponent activates a Spell card or effect while you control a Kshatri-La monster, you can banish three cards in their GY face-down! While a lot more situational, it can prove to be tricky to deal with.
Back to Unicorn, its trigger/on attack effect is deceptively powerful. You are able to look at your opponent's Extra Deck and banish 1 monster from it face-down. This effect is hard to come by due to how strong it is, and Uni is more than capable of resolving it multiple times. For reference, Silverrokket Dragon was the last good monster who had it.
Going first, you can summon it, grab the spell and then continue with your other plays. If you ever get hand trapped by the opponent, Uni heavily punishes them for doing so. If they try to play on the next turn, there's the second banish!
This can make or break games, as you can rip key ED pieces your opponent needs in order to play. A card that might out your field? Gone. Their boss monster? Banished. A monster that bridges everything together? Exiled. When paired with hand traps, it can even be useful going second! Negate cards such as Gigantic Spright or Tearlaments Kitkallos, punch it with Unicorn and banish their second one! Most people are only playing 2 copies due to the tight ED space.
Strategies such as Adventurer Synchro GS, Speedroid, Spright, and Invoked would love to have this duo in their hands.
The Rest of the Troops
The remaining Kshatri-La cards are of varying quality, but some of them have their merits in certain builds as 1-ofs. Kshatri-La Ogre is the least used out of the main monsters, falling short compared to both Fenrir and Unicorn.
Despite that, it does have some cool upsides to talk about. Ogre's ATK stat being at 2800 is a nice benchmark to hit these days, as it's able to run over threats such as all the other Kshatri-La monsters and Tearlaments Kitkalos while being boosted by their Field Spell, Primeval Planet Perlereino! The disruption effect it has can also cripple duelists who may need 1-of engine pieces to stay in their decks. If none of the banishes seem that great, it could still turn their next draw into a dead one.
Kshatri-La Prepare is okay as it allows you to easily get all of the Level 7s onto the field. Notably, Prepare gives you another way to unclog Kshatri-Las that may be stuck in your hand off Fenrir searches. Its trigger effect is quite strong, but needing your opponent to use a Trap card in order to make use of it means it's not as reliable as one would like.
Kshatri-La Shangri-La is a card that people are divided on. Others claim it's great while some would argue not. It's a middling card that could get you to Fenrir or Unicorn with Level 7 extenders, but it's also a massive resource sink, to begin with. If you already have access to the Kshatri-La monsters, it's much better just to leave them on the field to get better mileage out of them. Its gimmick to lock zones takes too long to get going, which the deck cannot afford. I suppose it doesn't hurt to run 1 copy in a pinch.
Sample Deck: Invoking the Crabs
Kshatri-La Invoked is a proof of concept that actually works surprisingly well! Now, I'm not claiming that this is optimal, but it should serve as a fine blueprint for people who want to mess with the strategy. Since this deck does rely heavily on the Kshatri-La's themselves for firepower, it runs a heavy package that also includes Ogre and Prepare.
Similar to Kshatri-La, Invoked is a pretty self-sufficient engine that recycles back its main monster and Spell, Invocation!
Ending on Mechaba + Fenrir with free fodder to save Aleister the Invoker in hand is solid, and tough for some decks to deal with. Since both recur resources, you're fairly tough to outgrind. This sounds all well and good, but Fenrir's not the main star of the show this time. That spot's reserved for none other than Kshatri-La Unicorn!
Unicorn + Aleister is your bread and butter two-card combo. Start by Special Summoning Uni and adding Berth to your hand. Normal Summon the Invoker and grab Invocation. Link him off to make Artemis, the Magistus Moon Maiden. So far so good, right? This is where things get funky. Uni and Artemis just so happen to be the perfect materials to make this long-forgotten monster. Link Summon Aleister the Invoker of Madness!
Use Invocation and summon out Invoked Mechaba, banishing Aleister and Artemis. Discard any card except Berth and grab a second fusion Spell off Madness' effect. After that activate Invo's GY effect, recycling Aleister to your hand. Because Madness treats himself as the OG monster, use the second Invocation to fuse it and Uni for Invoked Raidjin.
Finish the combo by using Berth to revive the Unicorn you just banished. You get Mechaba's negate and banish, Raidjin's powerful Book of Moon effect, Unicorn's ED rip, and Berth's GY banish for all your troubles. The combo can change a bit depending if you open certain cards. For example, seeing Fenrir alongside the two pieces lets you end on it instead of Uni + a search off Fenrir. Uni can also punish hand trap attempts at Aleister, by peeking at their Extra Deck and removing a key piece. You can also pull off similar routes if you draw Ogre.
There are some other small synergies that are nice to have. Mechaba likes having Spells and Traps to pitch, so having extra Berths or a Prepare that Kshatri-La's search is useful. In cases where you don't draw any Invoked pieces, Kshatri-La monsters play nice with duplicate Tuner Hand Traps. For example, let's say Fenrir + Effect Veiler.
SS Fenrir, grab Unicorn. If your search gets stopped, it's much better to hold the Veiler instead. If not, NS the Veiler and then make PSY-Framelord Omega! Use his effect to clear your own field and rip a card out of their hand. Now that the field is empty, Uni can summon itself, and grab Berth which revives Fenrir! That's pretty solid off of two cards.
All in all, the deck has okay consistency when paired with Pot of Prosperity plus it has plenty of space for Hand Traps due to how compact both engines are. From the looks of things, it seems that Mekk-Knight Invoked has found its successor.
And thus ends our article on Kshatri-La! I hope you enjoyed this intro and found it useful, as it's definitely a promising engine. They're bound to get more support in Photon Hypernova, so best to keep an eye out for these cards! Until next time folks, keep calm and start banishing cards face-down. This is Renren, signing out.