Lair remains one of Yu-Gi-Oh’s most interesting decks to play out there. Thanks to its unique playstyle and versatile arsenal, the deck has a loyal fanbase that continues to support it. The deck even made small waves by topping a few Remote Duel events here and there.
However, cards from both Burst of Destiny and Battle of Chaos have certainly breathed new life into the strategy! Alongside some refined techs and theory, there’s a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to this deck.
For veteran duelists who wish to update their Lair decks, or newcomers wanting to pick it up, you don’t wanna miss out on this one!
Let’s take a look as we finally revisit Diabolos’ home, the Lair of Darkness! Special thanks to the Lair of Discord for their collaboration with the article.
Table of Contents
Entering the Lair
The best way to get acquainted with the deck is by understanding the Field Spell. Lair is the namesake of the deck and is what the strategy is built upon! Due to its wide variety of effects, there’s a fair bit to unpack here.
Firstly, it turns every monster on the field to DARK. While its impact on the opponent’s strategy isn’t often game-winning, the deck itself has plenty of ways to take advantage of this. For example, using Gozen Match or Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror can lock them out of the game. Super Polymerization is another card that loves being paired up with the Field Spell.
The second effect is the real kicker of the deck, none other than its ability to tribute 1 DARK monster your opponent controls, even if it isn’t on your side of the field! This ties strongly into Lair’s identity and remains a central part of the strategy roughly 3 years later. Duelists had several options on how they wished to go about tributing! From iconic faces like Ahrima and Lilith to Trap cards such as Ballista Squad, there was a lot of variety to be had.
Lastly, the effect to summon Tokens is nice as the deck can make use of it with some unique Link options. Beat Cop is a potent one that even lets you make use of Lair’s effect, removing their monsters to place a Patrol Counter on a card you control. This can be used to protect Lair or Beat Cop herself.
Definitely play 3 Lair of Darkness, as it is the heart and soul of the deck. The other extra copies to fetch Lair will tend to vary between builds and player preferences though. Cards like Terraforming and Metaverse come to mind. It’s also worth noting that Ahrima gets you to Lair as well.
Renovating the Lair
After a few years, the deck has received a good deal of support. Two of them stand out, changing the way the deck works forever! Let’s start with BODE’s blessing to the deck, the one and only Lord of the Heavenly Prison!
This celestial stone provides a staggering amount of benefits to the deck. Due to this, it has become an auto-include in most builds. Lair by most accounts is a backrow strategy, and even though the field itself won’t be protected the rest of your Spells and Traps enjoy some much-needed breathing room. Feather Duster and Lightning Storm no longer become nightmares if you have the rock by your side.
Not only that, but during your opponent’s turn you get to drop this massive body onto the field and can access any Spell or Trap you might need at the time. Prison’s incredible tool boxing ability gives Lair nice access to anything it needs at the time. While this also applies to any deck using Prison, it works especially well here.
Pot of Extravagance lets you refill your resources, essentially a PoG for the deck as you don’t care about the Extra Deck too much. Terraforming alongside Metaverse helps get you to Lair in a pinch.
The virus cards used to be gimmicky options for Lair, but thanks to Prison, not only does it search these powerful blowouts, it often fulfills the Tribute cost too! Eradicator Epidemic Virus is the most popular choice. EEV helps shore up backrow matchups. This card is a powerhouse in its own right, being able to steal games on the spot and give a lot of critical info.
Lastly, Prison gives you some much-needed field presence so you aren’t as pressured in the Battle Phase, which is a nice bonus. Speaking of which, you can use it as Link Material for the next monster we’ll be talking about.
Dharc the Dark Charmer, Umbral brings a lot to the table, and it’s quite easy to see why. The ability to revive DARK monsters from the opponent’s GY is absurd when it’s the most common attribute around. This means you can steal a lot of high-value targets without a sweat (Aleister, DPE, and Shuraig come to mind). Due to this, it’s the best Link-2 to go into with your tokens. Not only that, the floating effect lets you search for some nice targets such as Lillith. Lastly, it gives Lair some nice cleanup potential as Dharc + a revive threatens the opponent with Selene into 5300 ATK Accesscode that can pop twice! Shadowpriestess of Ohm and Effect Veiler are great targets to revive and link climb with. If playing Extravagance, you definitely want to max out on this Charmer.
A New Landlady?
That’s not all though. BACH has brought us a new Lady of Lament in the form of Alice! She’s an incredible extender, consistency booster, and follow-up rolled into one neat little package.
The first thing that comes to mind is her ability to freely Special Summon herself by banishing a Trap from your hand or GY. This helps pair well with going second cards such as Impermanence and Evenly Matched. You can also banish from hand in tough spots, should the situation call for it. This also means Malice can recycle that Trap, which is a mainstay in Ties variants. Thanks to both Lair and Alice herself, tributing 2 monsters for Malice’s effect is no longer as backbreaking to pull off.
Her level is quite relevant here, as it fits Ties and 3-Axis builds with Tour Guide. Should TGU or your revival traps like Back to the Front get stopped, you can still push through with a possible Link or Xyz play! Possible choices include Rank 3 Zeus enablers, Cherubini, Dharc, and so on.
Alice can also perform a search when she’s Tributed or destroyed. More often than not, you can crash her into the opponent’s field to avoid an Ash in Damage Step. From there, you can easily grab Lilith to kickstart your Trap engine.
Last but not least, Ahrima can also search this Lady of Lament as a flexible extender option.
Thanks to her ease of access and useful variety of effects, Alice is now a mainstay in builds that heavily lean into Ladies of Lament. 2 copies work just fine, as 3 can clog certain hands.
Today we have two separate decklists courtesy of the Lair Discord server. Due to the nature of the decks, a lot of the choices depend on user preference and can be replaced. However, these lists should serve as a nice introduction to either variant.
Lair of Amazement?
Amazement Lair is a fun variant that makes use of the power of Arlekino and the Attractions to great effect!
Both Ahrima and Lilith get you to the Admin with relative ease, who can then control the game state thanks to its useful array of effects! Arlekino is also a huge threat in its own right, able to disrupt monsters and clear the opponent’s field come to your turn!
Not only that, but thanks to Sky Prison and Lilith, your S/T are a lot more accessible. The list only plays 1 Super Polymerization, as it can be grabbed by the former two and Predaplant Chimerafflesia if needed. The list is rounded out with both 1-of copies of Ballista Squad and Eradicator Epidemic Virus. This helps bump up your Tribute card count by a fair bit, as you rarely get to use that effect on their turn aside from Lilith.
Due to space reasons, cards like Alice and more classic Lair choices aren’t present. However, we do have another list to cater to that style of play!
This version is a lot more specialized and uses a lot of strange but highly effective tech cards. Special thanks to Master Dinnerflax for providing this list. You can see it in action here!
Lilith, Alice, and Malice all work well together, synergizing with themselves and Ties. This means you don’t necessarily have to run Tribute traps to make use of Lair as they have it covered.
Both Compulsory and Mind Crush pack some neat uses against Extra Deck threats as well as monsters that activate in the hand or search effects. The former can help get rid of DPE if you are able to time it correctly.
Extended is odd, but Flax mentions that it pushes for big damage and closes out the game off Dharc alone. Dragvirion is accessible by Sangan searching a Ghost Girl HT and then synchroing for it. It’s highly optional but gives free Tribute fodder.
“Judge Call Turbo” is a variant of Lair that aims to tribute the opponent’s monsters with Hieratic Seal of the Heavenly Spheres. It’s unclear whether or not it works with Lair and that’s where the name comes from. If aiming to play this variant in a tournament, do ask your Head Judge first.
Lair Infernoid still exists, albeit to a lesser degree as the theory remains mostly the same.
As for choosing which Pot to play, both Prosperity and Extravagance are fine choices. it all depends on what you value more for the deck. Duality finds itself in slower variants as it conflicts with neither pot.
Diabolos has been mostly absent in the more competitive versions of the deck, but some do still like to run 1 copy as it can pull some weight every now and again.
And that wraps up our look into revisiting the Lair of Darkness! All in all, it’s a pretty quirky control deck that has a lot of neat tricks up its sleeve. Hopefully, this information has helped in fixing up your Lair strategy for modern play! Until next time folks, Renren out!