Scouring Reddit for interesting deck ideas one day, a thread caught my eye: Irbricksceo’s regional top with Noble Knights. Reading his tournament report was quite enlightening, and they seemed to really know their way around the deck. Curious, I asked to interview them and they have politely given their time to answer some questions!
Table of Contents
Mapleblade: First I’d like to ask a question about you. How long have you played Yugioh, both casually and competitively?
Irbricksceo: I played Yugioh on and off on a very casual basis for a while, playing it a bit in high school back in 2010, then again casually in 2012ish, but never really got involved. Shortly after BOSH released (early 2016), I started improving my deck that I’d had to play with my brother for a while, then started seriously buying cards, and finally took my Harpies to Locals. That first step was something I was very nervous to do. At the time I was 20 and thought that I’d be far older than most, how wrong I was, plus I’m very shy. I’m glad I did, because I’ve attended every regional in the area since, 2 YCS’s, and have been at locals almost weekly.
Noble Knight Reasoning and Goals
Mapleblade: Wow, that’s impressive! Now, last regional tournament you brought Noble Knights. Could you tell me why you decided to choose it? And would you mind telling me about some of the deck’s goals?
Irbricksceo: Of my many decks (and they are many, I have 26 at the moment), Noble Knights are one of my more powerful decks. I do have some more “meta” choices, like Altergeists and Striker-Mekk-Invoked, but NK are strong. The unexpected also carries its own advantages, since few know what they do and how to counter them (though that’s a double-edged sword, when everybody has to read every card, you go into time… a lot…). I was also spurred on by my strong performance at YCS Atlanta, where I went undefeated (though I was at lower tables a lot which helped, since it was the team YCS and my team wasn’t doing as well).
Finally, and most importantly, I like playing the decks I love. That’s what I enjoy. A person at my locals asked me why I don’t play more meta, and the simple answer is I don’t want to. I’ve loved knights for a long time. It and harpies are my two favorite decks, so I play them the most. Knights are the stronger of the two, so that’s what I felt had a shot at performing well. I play to have fun, and I enjoy playing decks that others don’t know about. I love that people still remember me as the Harpie player from regionals and when people are shocked at rogue decks can do well. It brings me so much joy.
As far as what the deck does (or did, it’s changed a bit with Summon Sorceress’s ban), the two main goals turn 1 are to use Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights to get arms in grave and start plays, and to resolve Noble Knight Borz to dump the noble knight trap (Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again) to grave. Generally you Borz 2 Until Noble Arms Are Needed Once Again and 1 Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms. The trap sets up your grind, the arms in grave are your tools. NK are a turn one setup turn two kill kind of deck, but have an excellent grind game thanks to the trap and NK Brothers.
From there, it depends on what you have, and what disrupts you have to deal with. You try to have at least a king, and the optimal board, at least in my build (there are tons of variants we cook up on the NK discord), was Topologic Bomber pointing to a king protected by Gwen and destiny, since you can trigger bomber with the trap or shade brigadine. I didn’t hit that board all that often.
Impact of Summon Sorceress Ban
Mapleblade: Haha, you definitely have put a lot of thought into this deck. I can see how much you love it! And I’m glad you mentioned the banning of Summon Sorceress. What exactly does this change with the deck?
Irbricksceo: Here’s the thing… the pure build don’t change too much in what they do and how they look. Though there’s always innovation and tweaks happening. If you look at my list you will notice 6 NK extenders and 12 generic extenders (dai, shade, deal, IF). That’s because making Isolde is still a big goal. Before, Isolde alone was a r5 king since you could summon Eachter, go to sorc, revive Eachter, and SS lance. Now you can’t, so access to the rank 5 king is trickier, and all of our bigger plays are harder. what required 2 monsters needs 3. What needed 3 needs 4. Our link 4 plays like bomber and the upcoming Apolloursa builds we were playing with (Apolloursa can be protected in battle by Drystain making her a negate we can use easily), are much less frequent.
This drop in consistency for power plays has driven several NK players towards the variant builds. At the moment, Orcust NK is the most popular, but there are more, such as Mystic Mine and Phantom Knight. The core plays remain the same, resolve Isolde, resolve Borz. Just a lot tougher to deal with disrupts and move into bigger boards turn 1 without sorc.
Mapleblade: Ah, that’s unfortunate! But it’s exciting to hear that there’s already work on the deck. How did you feel about the meta match-ups going into that regional?
Irbricksceo: Not too bad. Striker was at the time far and away our worst matchup of the three big decks, their resource management is great and their grind unparalleled. Widow Anchor is a card that wrecks us. It CAN be beaten, but it’s not easy, and is very uphill. Salamangreat is pretty middle of the road. If they open really well going 1st we’re in bad shape, but we have a better grind and the matchup isn’t TOO bad, just tricky. Just a matter of playing smart. Thunder Dragons is generally in our favor. It’s not a free win, but it’s as close as a meta deck comes. King Custennin is a complete and total out to anything they have.
Honestly, and I feel this is important to emphasize, the big thing isn’t the matchup vs knights, not really. Knights live and die by the PLAYER. I genuinely feel that playing knights has made me a better player because it FORCES you to learn how to play into, and around, any situation. because the deck can do so much and has so many variations, it really depends on how you as a pilot feel and how well you know your matchups.
At least to a point, there’s obviously going to be situations where you just weren’t winning. I’ve half-jokingly said that you know you have learned true knights when you open Medraut + arms, and choose NOT to do it because you know it’s too risky and have a safer play
Mapleblade: How inspiring! It’s interesting how a rogue deck can have surprising tools that can catch meta decks. And one last question: I’ve seen talk about 40 and 60 card variants, and you’ve elected to go for 60. Why is that?
Irbricksceo: I’ve played knights in 40, 45, 50, and 60, and 60 is what I’ve found to be the best. There’s a few reasons why. The first is that it lets us fit more extenders in. Since the goal generally involves getting 2 warriors on board for Isolde, but you don’t really care WHICH two, you aren’t too worried about seeing specific starters at maximum frequency. The bigger issue though is hiding the bricks. You run 10 equips (9 arms and Gwen), plus 2 lv5s, all of which are cards you don’t want in your hand.
Add in the garnets from the U.A. and, to a lesser extent, Dai engines and that’s a lot of cards you don’t want in high counts in hand. At 60, the rate of seeing multiple arms in your hand drops notably from 40. You want to see exactly 1 arm/hand, any more and it’s a problem, so that’s why I like 60.
Mapleblade: Oh, that’s a neat way to deck build! I’m not sure if I’ve seen a deck built to hide its bricks like that before. I’d like to thank you so much for answering all my questions and in such great detail! Is there anything you’d like to add?
Irbricksceo: Just that to people who want to play their rogue deck, but are afraid to, I say go for it. You can have a lot of fun playing the deck you love instead of a copy of the best deck of the day. At least IMO.
Irbricksceo’s tournament report can be found here! Please give it a look as well – Irbricksceo’s mastery of unique decks are evident!