YCS & Regional Rogue Spotlight: TCG PHNI Metagame Report As the FIRE format continues to rage on post-Phantom Nightmare, let's look at some of the rogue choices that slipped past the inferno!

Hello everybody, Renren here! We're back to look at some rogue decks that managed to sneak into topping placements. YCS Sydney alongside a large influx of regionals just concluded this past weekend, so there's a lot of data to go by. Let's get suited up and blaze right in! Special thanks to the Infernoble Knight Discord server for their assistance in the article.



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[PHNI] Phantom Nightmare - February 8th 2024

YCS Sydney - March 8-10th 2024

Various Regionals - March 9th and 10th 2024




The metagame has mostly remained the same, with Pure Snake-Eye and Snake-Eye Fire King ruling the roost. Some adaptations in lines have been considered, such as making Accesscode Talker while leaving Snake-Eyes Flamberge Dragon on the board to play around Nibiru, the Primal Being when attempting the OTK. Voiceless Voice, Kashtira, Floowandereeze, and Branded Despia remain the most solid of the non-FIRE decks and continue to perform decently well across Regionals and YCSes, with Sydney concluding this past weekend.

Regarding the other FIRE decks, Rescue-ACE has made a minor comeback in smaller Regionals as they also stand to benefit from the new tools Snake-Eye received in PHNI. Salamangreat is also a beneficiary of Promethean Princess, Bestower of Flames, and has had some success because of the card. Infernoble Knight is something we'll be looking at shortly.


Deck Highlights


Salvation Horus / Stun Horus



Stun has seen a surprising amount of play and success this current format, much to the chagrin of the playerbase. However, this list isn't quite like the others where you run the smaller Stun monsters and protect them with Decisive Battle of Golgonda, nothing of the sort. Introducing Salvation Horus, brewed by Kirk Clarke who reached an impressive Top 4 finish at the Portsmouth WCQ Regional!  Let's see what he's cooking.

The Horus quartet can be troublesome to deal with when they get to set up alongside King's Sarcophagus, but they usually aren't a deck's primary game plan. Because of how they work, the archetype has mostly been relegated as an engine to help supplement other decks. This may be the closest we'll see to a pure Horus strategy where they are the deck's focus. Walls of the Imperial Tomb is their newest support card from Phantom Nightmare which grants them extra consistency, having more ways to get to Imsety, Glory of Horus, and being able to tuck away cards you didn't want to see back into the deck. Because Imperial Tomb is also treated as the Sarcophagus on the field, you can freely summon out your Horus monsters!

While they are strong yes, how are we impeding the opponent's game plan? I'm glad you asked, as that's where the lockdown aspect of the deck comes into play! Horus is compatible with a lot of floodgates to slow or even downright prevent the opponent from making progress. Unlike the traditional stun decks as well, your opponent has a lot less time to draw their outs with the Horus monsters able to aggressively push to end the game. Depending on the type of floodgate, they are also able to protect themselves from the likes of S:P Little Knight, Knightmare Phoenix, and Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder which are commonly used to deal with such cards. Stun's issue of going second or losing the die roll while not fully alleviated, at least fares better than normal builds due to the strength of Horus + R8NK monsters.

Kirk opted to run both Continuous Traps and beefy tribute monsters such as both Vanity's Fiend and Vanity's Ruler as they are easily summonable by tributing away the Horus cards, or with Mausoleum of the Emperor, which goes hand in hand with the Rainbow Bridge of Salvation package. Bridge fetches you either Walls or Mausoleum and gives you great discard fodder for the Sarcophagus, either itself and/or the cards it added. Vanity's Ruler has the additional upside of being a one-sided floodgate, so you can freely revive your Horus monsters.



Diabellstar Battlin' Boxer Infernoble Knight



A deck long thought to be dead with the passing of Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights in the January 1st Forbidden and Limited list, Rudy Torres managed to do the unthinkable and top with Infernoble Knight in 2024! He managed to get a respectable Top 8 finish at the Stone Mountain WCQ Regional, equipped with all the new tools the deck uses post-Isolde. Let's check it out!

Move over Neo Space Connector, it's time for the Battlin' Boxers to enter the ring! Battlin' Boxer Uppercutter has become the strongest starter of the deck and can perform some knockout-inducing combos in conjunction with his training buddy, Battlin' Boxer Sparrer! The deck has multiple ways to get to Uppercutter, including Noble Arms Museum to get "Infernoble Arms - Durendal" and all of the adjacent searchers. He's quite important as you can access Battlin' Boxer King Dempsey to get to your Infernoble Knight cards, notably Infernoble Knight - Renaud.

Sparrer's free Special Summon isn't once per turn, and the deck is capable of looping it multiple times by recurring it from the GY with the likes of the aforementioned Renaud, "Infernoble Arms - Joyeuse" and Promethean Princess. Uppercutter's usefulness extends into the grind game, as you can use Promethean's GY effect to target Angelica, which then triggers her effect to send another Uppercutter. Cutter's GY effect triggers and revives Dempsey which lets you search another level 4 or lower FIRE Warrior. Pretty good stuff!  

Ib the World Chalice Justiciar is a recent unban that the deck is also using for some crazy value and extensions. You can access World Legacy Succession into Power Tool Braver Dragon to get your equips going, and she floats into Beckoned by the World Chalice with her second effect. The Diabellstar engine in this deck isn't as ridiculously powerful compared to Snake-Eyes and Fire King, but she's still quite good for accessing Infernoble Knight Ricciardetto off Original Sinful Spoils - Snake-Eye. This is also why the deck makes use of Infernal Flame Banshee and Snake-Eyes Poplar to get to the ever-important Level 1 Fire Warrior.

Last but not least, Mini Roland works in tandem with Angelica's Angelic Ring to help secure going first games post-side, as the powerful Spell-based negate that Ring provides can clutch duels into your favor. All in all, it's great to see Infernoble Knight again! 




Joak Dom certainly brought the most stylish deck to the table, and at a very important event too! He finished Top 32 at YCS Sydney with Sharks! This deck has long since been a fan-favorite casual strategy, slowly but surely getting good WATER Xyz support over the years. AGOV's Armored Xyz cards are big boosts to the deck overall. Now it's still not a metagame destroyer by any means, but it's great to see. 

Shark aims to set up multiple WATER boss monsters from the Extra Deck, such as Number 4: Stealth Kragen, Toadally Awesome, and Abyss Dweller. The main deck Shark monsters do help facilitate summoning them, and they're supplemented by various extenders such as  Tenyi Spirit - Shthana and Silent Sea Nettle. White Mirror is a pretty strong spell for the deck, letting you revive a Fish and add a second copy of it to your hand. Buzzsaw Shark is your best opener, netting you an instant Rank 4 to go into Bahamut Shark. Not only does he give you a free Toad, but you can also turn it into Xyz Armor Fortress!

Fortress gets you both Armored Xyz and Full-Armored Xyz, setting you up for a turn 3 OTK, and lets you go into Full Armored Dark Knight Lancer on the opponent's turn which is non-targeting removal in conjunction with the Trap card. As much as possible you don't want to draw either Armored card as they complicate things, but it's not the end of the world. Foolish Burial Goods with Ice Barrier lets you access Abyss Shark, which can go into Kragen and search for a Fish. It can also get Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju to out troublesome cards. Kragen and its spawns can still put in major work cutting off opponents' plays by turning the whole field into WATER monsters and goes hand in hand with the limited Gozen Match.

It's an interesting deck for sure and the deck is relatively inexpensive, but does suffer from consistency issues due to the lack of powerful starters aside from Buzzsaw Shark. Players who want to try the deck might want to consider Ready Fusion or Instant Fusion as ways to get to additional Level 4 WATER monsters, a second Dark Lancer, or Xyz Armor Torpedo which can help in some lines such as if you drew an Armor card. 




This wraps up our look at some of the Rogue decks that did well last weekend! Which one of these is your favorite? We'll be looking at more regionals and events in the future! Until next time folks, Renren is out! 


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