|Deck Type:||Non-Meta Decks|
|Deck Master:||Orcust Knightmare|
|Submission Date:||January 29th 2019|
|YGOPRODeck File Download|
Orcust is a deck I've covered before, including a prospective look at using Savage Strike's new release of Orcust Knightmare. However, a lot has changed since that article - I've learned new combos and techs, I've had time to refine the deck with real playtesting, and a new banlist has quite recently dropped that leads to a few small changes. In this article I'll be starting over, so this can stand on its own, and explain just how my brew of Orcust ticks. I'll also shamelessly be cribbing MonoBlueTron's Ten Minute Testing format, because honestly it's just a really good way to break down a deck. So that means I'll be giving some background on the archetype, outlining how my deck works, give a card-by-card breakdown justifying usage and ratios, show an example of how the deck plays, then finish with a summary of the deck's pros and cons and other options.
Introduction to Orcust
Orcust, as a theme, is an army of malevolent musical machines introduced in Soul Fusion, created by Ningirsu after losing his sister while he was busy fighting sent him mad with grief. In gameplay, they're DARK Machine monsters that banish themselves from the graveyard to Special Summon others from the hand, Deck or graveyard - with their latest support complementing this by sending others from the Deck to the graveyard - at the cost of being locked to DARK monsters for the turn. Meanwhile, their Link monsters shuffle them back from banishment into the deck to power their effects while only needing a single Orcust as Link material. With a Field Spell that makes them all Quick Effects, they're a strategy with high potential for disruption, and if I had to pick one attribute to be locked into, DARK is quite possibly the best for maintaining access to powerful generic Extra Deck monsters.
The Deck's Goals
After some fantastic new support in Dark Neostorm, the latest set in the OCG, the deck got some serious competitive attention, which is both a blessing and a curse. It's lead to a lot more optimisation and combo development than one dork going X-2 at locals can manage, but the star of these new combos is the highly-demanded Knightmare Corruptor Iblee, and since everyone knows about it already, finding and affording 3 copies of a card that Extra Link decks only ever needed 1 of is almost impossible for a casual budget player - the kind Orcust was most attractive to in the past.
However, there's a silver lining to this cloud, and I don't mean Iblee's Secret Rare foiling. All Iblee actually does for Orcust is grant access to Knightmare Mermaid, since Orcust Knightmare's name does indeed include that second word. There are plenty of affordable ways to make a Link 2 Knightmare monster, and they work as material for Mermaid just as well as they always have in other decks. They're not DARK, but that doesn't matter if we summon them before using any Orcust effect - which we do. Orcust has other tech options I'll discuss a bit later, but this particular build aims for a laser-like focus on consistently achieving this Knightmare starter, leading into the combo I'll lay out later.
Harp Horror and Knightmare are the deck's main playmakers, and effectively the same card since they can summon/send the other and converge from there. We want them at 3 because they can keep things going during the grind game, and if we start the game with one we can go straight into our combo and save a Link Knightmare for later. Cymbal Skeleton and World Wand are at 2 because having spares can be useful in the grind, and we don't hate drawing them, but we do still want another in our deck for the combo in that case. Brass Bombard on the other hand is only there for the aforementioned case of opening a 3-of, in which case it's sent straight from the deck to the grave - after that, the chance of having something in hand to summon is miniscule.
Babel, despite being the absolute lynchpin of the deck, is so definitely accessible and self-recurrable that we only need the one, since drawing multiples is dreadful and it makes space for combo starters. We do have another in the Side Deck for situations we expect that it might be banished, though. To contrast, the reason Einsatz is at 1 is because it's not crucial at all - it really helps keep up in the grind game, but being dependent on the opponent bars it from any potential use in combos. (Besides, if you're like me you'll always forget to activate it anyway). You can cut it if you want, really. Return being at 3 is admittedly something I could be talked out of - I did just complain that you don't have Orcusts in hand enough for Brass Bombard. However, being able to open it is pretty nice, and you can always just send from the field the Galatea that set it.
Galatea is a crucially important card, fetching Babel directly from the Deck - finally, a part of the combo not crucially vulnerable to Ash Blossom! - and helping get Orcust monsters into the graveyard for their effects. Longirsu is substantially less useful, but being able to remove a Thunder Dragon Colossus and other protected cards without having to go all in on Orcustrion's negation is too useful to miss, plus its 2500 ATK is helpful for a cute little surprise I'll explain later. Finally, Orcustrion's complete destruction immunity and potential for mass negation can apply a massive amount of pressure in the grind game and help close things out.
While some Orcust builds aim for a full-on hybrid with Phantom Knights to help Link Summon, here I'm playing a rather small package as a part of the combo. The 2 Silent Boots are a similar situation to Cymbal Skeleton and World Wand, and everything but Shade Brigandine can be part of the main combo depending on the situation. As for Shade Brigandine, it overlaps with the next category, so let's take a look.
All of these cards, bar Rosenix, are a 1-card Link 2, which will be Phoenix or Cerberus, to make Mermaid and start the combo. Phantom Skyblaster summons a Token, even if you only control itself. Scrap Recycler will send Crystron Rosenix to the graveyard for a Token, and Armageddon Knight or Grepher, searched by RotA, will send a Phantom Knight monster to search Shade Brigandine. Mathematician can send either option, and all of these mill cards can instead send an Orcust monster, either Bombard because you opened one of the 3-ofs, or whatever you need in the grind game.
Foolish Burial and Monster Reborn are the most flexible slots by far. You can cut them for a cheap hand trap - Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring is getting that common print soon! - or as two of the spaces for Iblee if you can in fact afford it. Called by the Grave is pretty necessary, since just about everything we can do is stopped in its tracks immediately by the Forehead Zombie.
Topologic Bomber Dragon and Summon Sorceress are the remaining core components of the primary combo - lucky for us that Sorc survived the banlist for another format. Trisbaena is an alternate option against backrow decks, which seem like they'll comprise the majority of the upcoming meta, as well as - sigh - eking victory after time in the round. Be careful of banishing Babel, though. Wee Witch's Apprentice and Borreload Savage Dragon are your other flexible slots - Wee Witch can turn Skyblaster Tokens into an Effect Monster, and has one particular use I'll explain shortly, but otherwise doesn't have much going for her when you could summon Galatea, and Savage Dragon is a fearsome threat, especially when equipping a bigger Link, but difficult to summon in practice, requiring Bombard and either Knightmare or both a Level 3 and 4 - not the most efficient use of resources.
Now, obviously a Side Deck is incredibly dependent on what you, personally, expect to face, and may as well not exist online, but this is what I have as of writing. My apologies to Punkrocklee, it has not been built with this excellent article in mind, and you should probably read that instead of just copying this, but I'll explain what I have nonetheless.
That's a lotta backrow hate, huh? In my experience at locals the Altergeist and Sky Striker matchups are significantly tougher than Thunder Dragon, which might be on the decline anyway - not that we're ignoring it with that D Barrier, which also takes care of the pesky locals Cyber Dragon player who loves to turn Orcustrion into a Chimeratech Fortress Dragon. I honestly never faced DARK Warrior very much, but that was slaughtered by the banlist so hopefully we don't have to worry about it.
Pankratops is just a good, cheap card that should be useful against the variety of rogue strategies you might face without specifically preparing for. Cosmic Cyclone and Imperial Order are generic backrow hate - Order is probably not actually good, considering Babel is a card we use, but Sky Striker tears are just too tasty to ignore. Speaking of Babel, as mentioned before, that second copy helps out if we expect to get our Main Deck one banished - either by our opponent, or our own Trisbaena. Core is another Orcust card which… exists? It's not good enough to run but it's not bad enough for me to throw in the bin like Orcustrated Attack or Release, so it's here as an honourable mention. It chain blocks Thunder Dragon Titan like 3 times, that's fun.
Last but not least, Eradicator Epidemic Virus is a delicious little toy the latest banlist traded us for Grepher, and it's a trade I'm very happy to make. Longirsu (and Orcustrion in a pinch) is a valid Tribute for it that can be easily revived, but this is also where Wee Witch's Apprentice comes in handy - it pushes Rusty Bardiche over the threshold, allowing us to integrate it into our opening combo - which I think it's finally time for me to explain!
Playing the Deck
As a reminder, the following cards are our openers: Phantom Skyblaster, summoning a Token; Armageddon Knight, Dark Grepher and Reinforcement of the Army, sending either Phantom Knight to search and activate Shade Brigandine; and Mathematician or Scrap Recycler, sending Crystron Rosenix to summon a Token. You can also bypass the Knightmare step if you open Orcust Harp Horror or Orcust Knightmare along with any of said mill cards, just send Brass Bombard and summon it to make Galatea.
Once you have a Link 2 Knightmare, Link it away for Mermaid and summon Orcust Knightmare, use those two monsters to Link Summon Galatea, then use the latter Knightmare's effect to send Harp Horror to the graveyard. This is where the path converges with the Bombard opening. Use Harp Horror to summon Cymbal Skeleton and Link it with Galatea for Summon Sorceress, then revive Galatea with Cymbal and shuffle a card back for Orcustrated Babel - which card you shuffle depends on whether you're going first or second, though Knightmare is always an option. From there, Summon Sorceress can target Galatea for World Wand, and those two can be Linked away for The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche.
Here, things diverge on the dice roll. Going first, Galatea can't shuffle Harp Horror because you'll now use World Wand to summon it and Link Summon Topologic Bomber Dragon with Summon Sorc. Use Bardiche's effect to send a Silent Boots to set 1 Fog Blade, then search another with said Boots. This means you'll be sending Ancient Cloak to get Brigandine at the start, if you did. During your opponent's turn you can trigger Bomber at least twice, first with Harp for Cymbal, then that same Cymbal for Galatea, who can Chain to Bomber to grab Einsatz or Return from your Deck. If you're siding in Epidemic Virus, you'll summon Wee Witch's Apprentice instead of Bomber Dragon (in the most efficient use of Link Material since Firewall Pass), allowing you tribute Bardiche for the Virus in your opponent's Draw Phase.
Going second, you summon Cymbal with World Wand, send Ancient Cloak with Bardiche (and Silent Boots for Brigandine if necessary), and search the other Silent Boots, which you can summon and then overlay with the Cymbal for a Break Sword in a Bardiche points to, destroying 2 cards - 1 with each Phantom Knight. It's not quite the non-targeting send of Sheorcust Dingirsu, but it will do for now.
Later in the game, you can use your variety of mill cards to send Orcusts, either spare or shuffled back, to the graveyard and try to reach your leftover power cards like Longirsu, Orcustrion or Borrel Savage to close out the game. For example, you should already have a Galatea in grave from the first turn, so you can just Normal Summon any miller, send a Harp, summon Cymbal, and between linking away those two and reviving the Galatea you have a Link 4 worth of materials. The constant recursion and, if established, powerful disruption should help keep the pressure on your opponent in the grind game.
This deck has a lot going for it - it's fairly cheap, it has access to a fairly powerful opener and some devastating techs, and it's quite consistent which I'll analyse in a moment. However, it's incredibly vulnerable to disruption at the moment, losing to Ash Blossom, Artifact Lancea, Called by the Grave, or any way to negate your Normal Summoned mill card. Also, at the end of the day it's still fundamentally the same Topologic Bomber Turbo strategy that I don't blame people for being a bit bored of - things don't really get more interesting until Dark Neostorm. We also don't really have the element of surprise we used to when people were sleeping on the deck, now that it's getting more attention.
As for that consistency analysis, yugioh.party is regrettably offline at the time of writing, so I've made do with https://stattrek.com/online-calculator/hypergeometric.aspx - shout-out to TreeTopDuelist for this article on using it. This build has 12 starters in a 40 card deck, and with a 5-card hand we have an 85% chance of opening 1 or more - and that's not taking into account the chance of drawing through your deck with Return, or alternate more janky options like Foolish Burial + any Normal Summon. If you can afford your Iblees, even just adding it to a now 43-card deck increases the odds to 89%, and if you cut 3 cards (I recommend Monster Reborn, Foolish Burial, and maybe Einsatz or 1 Return) it rises to almost 92%.
Now, this deck is both budget and focused on one particular gameplan to the exclusion of almost all else, but that doesn't mean it's all Orcust can do. If you can afford them, Borrel Link monsters and Knightmare Unicorn - conveniently DARK - fit right in, and of course it would be nice to find some room for hand traps. The Sky Striker engine is also another way to start the combo, making a Knightmare with Kagari and a Hornet Drones Token. For alternative techs, World Wand, Brass Bombard and Orcust Knightmare are all valid targets for Machine Duplication, and with Knightmare especially you can make Number 11: Big Eye. You can also leverage the Level 4s and Phantom Knight access to make something like the new Time Thief Redoer and Rank-Up into Outer Entity Azathot using The Phantom Knights' Rank-Up-Magic Launch. There are other builds entirely that I don't have much experience with, such as going all-in on World Legacy cards like World Crown and Succession in order to mill with Survivor, or sending Destrudo to make Yazi, Evil of the Yang Zing, summoning Mare Mare. You can also now play 3 Limiter Removal for a disgusting chance of opening more than 1 and just going straight to Orcustrion or even Longirsu to end the game immediately.
If it's not already obvious from the fact I've written like 2000 words about them for the third time, I really love Orcust. Their artwork and aesthetics, their gameplay as a deck, their role in the ongoing lore storyline, just everything about them inspires me to play them, and make them as good as I can, even if I can't have every card I'd like to play. Maybe this article will inspire you to play them, and take them to a level I can't afford to. Regardless, thanks for getting to the end of this wall of text, and enjoy any Orcust-related endeavours you undertake.