Orcust was, and still is, a fan-favorite from the Eternal Format (TOSS). Cool artwork, lore, and a great run in the highest levels of competition. The deck definitely had its time in the limelight. Today we take a look back at what it was, where it’s currently at, and its potential evolution in the future.
Table of Contents
Orcust is an archetype that is closely related to World Legacy and has a deep-rooted lore – but we won’t get into that. That’s an entire novel of its own. The archetype debuted in Soul Fusion way back in October of 2018. It was completely underwhelming out of the box, only having 3 main deck monsters to go with 3 extra deck monsters. They just… didn’t do anything.
Savage Strike came and gave the deck a couple of new cards, but only Orcust Knightmare was useful from the set – and even then, didn’t really solve the deck’s problem. It still wasn’t doing anything at all. It wasn’t until Dark Neostorm that Orcust received the boost that it heavily needed: a boss monster and a searchable, omni-negating counter-trap. These additions would later on prove to be the spring to throw them into competitiveness.
Orcust Harp Horror (Soul Fusion) was one of the most pivotal cards in the deck. It was, since it is currently banned. It’s always good to be able to summon a monster from the deck. In Orcust, specifically, it was essential as a way to start plays, and act as an extender at the same time.
Orcust Cymbal Skeleton (Soul Fusion) is another key main deck monster for the deck. Reviving Orcust monsters from the grave sounds like it’s only going to net you one extension, but it does much more than that. This will make much more sense later.
Orcust Brass Bombard (Soul Fusion) was less of a pivotal piece, needing more setup in the sense that you needed to have an Orcust monster in hand to even be able to use its effect. That being said, Bombard wasn’t completely useless, as it can get bricky monsters out of your hand. After all, you do want your monsters in the grave.
Orcust Knightmare (Savage Strike) was a very welcome addition in 2019. We had a monster that summoned from deck, from grave, and from hand. Now this monster allowed you to SEND a dark machine from deck to grave! This opened up a lot of plays that ultimately ended up benefitting the deck (Hint: World Legacy – “World Wand” and Gizmek Orochi).
Girsu, the Orcust Mekk-Knight (Eternity Code) was the latest addition to the archetype. There was a lot of hype upon the announcement of this card. I wasn’t part of it. Don’t get me wrong, it appears extremely good. However, I was wary of the potential hit and was worried that the card wasn’t going to be enough to keep the deck afloat post-banlist – and I was right.
The Orcust Links
Well, we have to start with the waifu of the deck, don’t we? Galatea, the Orcust Automaton (Soul Fusion) is the glue that holds the deck together. Being able to recur resources from the banished zone while also essentially searching any Orcust spell or trap? Sign. Me. Up.
The lore had Longirsu, the Orcust Orchestrator (Soul Fusion) as the protector of Galatea. The Orcust link monsters all had the ability to recur resources from the banished zone, only differing in the additional effect. Longirsu’s was to SEND any linked monster an opponent controls to the graveyard. Yep, that’s right – a non-targeting removal that doesn’t destroy. It was something that was pretty unique to the deck during the early days. During the height of the deck’s popularity, the correct zone to summon to was left-most MMZ to play around Longirsu’s send.
Orcustrion (Soul Fusion) didn’t see as much play, needing to target 3 banished machine monsters and only negating linked monsters seemed a bit meh. It felt like there were cards that were better suited to doing that.
S E N D
Finally, Dingirsu, the Orcust of the Evening Star (Dark Neostorm) – the boss monster mentioned earlier. It felt like it needed a category of its own. This guy is what gave the deck that extra oomph – that additional punching power. Being able to SEND any card on the field (non-targeting) was a much-needed utility to get the deck over the hump. Oh, and if you didn’t want to send, you could also attach any banished machine monster to Dingirsu for even more recursion.
On top of that, it also had an effect which allowed you to protect any card(s) that would be destroyed by card effects, simply by detaching 1 material from it! It doesn’t activate either, so it’s not something that you can chain Solemn Strike or Psy-Framegear Gamma to. You don’t even need two level 8’s to summon Dingirsu. You can simply overlay this card on top of an Orcust link monster. Pretty neat, right?
Spells and Traps
Orcustrated Return (Soul Fusion) says “Draw 2.” I could literally stop there and this card would be amazing. It does have a cost, though – you need to send 1 Orcust or World Legacy card to the grave. So… is it even a cost, then? You want your Orcust and World Legacy cards in the grave anyways. It either baits out Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring or sets up your grave AND gives you 2 additional cards.
If Galatea was the glue that held the deck together, Orcustrated Babel (Soul Fusion) was the armored container with spikes where the deck was in. Remember the graveyard effects that summon and dump? The Galatea search and Longirsu send? They become quick-effects. This is absolutely essential to the deck as it’s not like Pendulum of yore, that put up ten thousand interruptions. At best, it’s a Longirsu and Dingirsu send, maybe an additional Crescendo at times. Having Babel made it so that the deck can recur resources and generate advantage each turn – even your opponent’s. Babel gave the deck a solid interruption on your opponent’s turn and a way to almost never run out of resources.
Orcust Crescendo (Dark Neostorm) was one of the late additions to the deck – but an extremely good one. It being an omni-negate for both monster effects and spell/traps that BANISHES was unheard of. In the form of a counter trap, no less! And if that wasn’t good enough, a turn after being sent to the grave, you can banish itself to add any dark machine monster from your deck to your hand!
Orcustrated Attack, Orcustrated Core, Orcustrated Release and Orcustrated Einsatz. These are the other available spell/traps from the archetype. I won’t be discussing them as they are all pretty underwhelming, hence they never really saw competitive play.
The Orcustrated Victims
Although free now, The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche was once banned – and for good reason. Rusty, along with the card below, enabled a combo that only needed ANY 2 monsters that could end on Borreload Savage Dragon, Bardiche (with a pop when Dingirsu is summoned), 2 Phantom Knights Fog Blade, and the full Orcust utility.
If you have a pen, and you have a pineapple – what do you have? Full Orcust Combo! That’s what Knightmare Mermaid enabled. Being able to use any 2 monsters to go into any Knightmare link monster allowed combo decks to utilize Orcust as an engine to finish up their combos. Mermaid allowed Orcust as a splashable engine, adding a Dingirsu send / protect or an omni-negate in Crescendo to an already established board.
Masquerading Orcust to the Top
You’re probably wondering how Orcust made it to the peak of competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! even after the bans to Rusty and Mermaid. Well, I:P Masquerena would be the answer. The Deck was already good prior to Chaos Impact, but when I:P got released, it pushed the deck over the top. Orcust had a wide array of starters to choose from. Mathematician, Armageddon Knight – Dark Grepher – ROTA package, Scrap Recycler, etc. All the deck needed was to dump Harp to the grave to get its engine going. Orcust only needed 1 singular card to combo off. This left room for the option to run a myriad of hand traps to make sure that you can combo off going first, but not auto-lose going second.
With a single starter, Orcust was able to end 100% on I:P Masquerena + Babel, which, by itself already translates to 2 interruptions. Those being the Dingirsu send and I:P into Knightmare Unicorn. This was extremely good at the time since Ding and I:P were two of the few interruptions that didn’t destroy or target – and that they were both able to activate at any point in the opponent’s turn. Then, you have to factor in the fact that the Orcust player would still have 4 other cards in hand, some of which will be hand traps.
With I:P Masquerena in the fray, several previously unheard options became available. Topologic Link monsters were a part of them. The release of I:P made making AND triggering them a whole lot easier. A 1-card starter guaranteed a full graveyard set-up with a possible link 3 off of I:P, which basically made Topologic Trisbaena a 1-card combo to pull off. What’s even better is the fact that you could use Knightmare to send Gizmek Orochi to trigger Trisbaena without banishing an Orcust monster! It also comes up that Orochi itself is quick-effect (in the event that Babel gets outed).
So the deck had a perfect answer to control / trap decks going first, by just having the option to banish their entire backrow and inflict some damage too. Topologic Bomber Dragon used to be an option (along with Topologic Zeroboros). One starter and 1 extender and you’d be able to go into and trigger Bomber to blow up the board with no sweat.
What sent Orcust to the GY?
Looks good from here, right? A few options to make the deck really good. More interruptions for the deck to interact with opponents. Is it ban-worthy, though? Nope. So what really happened that led to Orcust getting neutered? What degeneracy put the nail in the coffin? That would be the Sky Striker Orcust variant. We will discuss that, the eventual Harp Horror hit, and how the deck has evolved post-Eternal Format-massacre in the next article!
- Orcust: A Fan Favorite in the Graveyard (Part 2) - April 12, 2021
- A Virtual World Without VFD: Can VW Still Dominate? - April 7, 2021
- New Thumps and Rarity Bumps: Is GFTP Worth it? - April 5, 2021