Orcust 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 examine the ultimate variant that saw the metagame turn on its head.
Table of Contents
Sky Striker Orcust: The Dawn of a New Age
Above is a sample list from the 2019 Sky Striker Orcust era. The deck prioritized getting to Engage in as many games as possible. Hence, the usage of Allure of Darkness, Upstart Goblin, and two (sometimes three) Orcustrated Return.
Engage was such a broken card because you could make a link 2-monster for free (without needing a normal summon), and/or get to search disruptions in the form of Widow Anchor and Shark Cannon. Oh wait, did I forget to mention the free draw one’s that had absolutely no business being in the effect? Yeah, Engage does that, too. Missing a once per turn clause really made the card invaluable, and with Hornet Drones, it was insanely versatile, powerful, and extremely splashable engine.
So we’ve established that the “Sky Striker engine” was really good. Now, what went wrong? When it got incorporated in an already good deck. Orcust was pretty darn good, what with it having a 1-card combo that ends on 2 interruptions (one of which is a non-targeting, non-destruction removal). What took the meta by storm was when you were able to put quick-play spells that negate (and maybe take), and banish an opponent’s monster AND potentially draw you anywhere from 1 to 4 extra cards on top of that.
Was it Orcust or Engage’s fault?
This is a controversial one. Oh, and I know that I’m gonna ruffle some feathers and get some hate for this (especially from salty Striker players) – but it was Engage’s. Hands down, no cap, one hundred percent – Engage’s fault.
Let’s look at the two cards that got banned from both archetypes.
Orcust Harp Horror
- NEEDS to be in grave (unless being used as fodder for Return)
- Summons a monster from DECK (which is extremely good)
- Monster summoned usually would be Cymbal Skeleton or Orcust Knightmare – both of which translates to an Orcust name on board (for Galatea), and can float to another free body once used as a link material.
- HARD once per turn
- Locks you into Darks
Sky Striker Mobilize – Engage!
- Can be activated straight away (just needs for there to be no MMZ monster)
- Fetches Hornet Drones, which kind of works the same as summoning a monster from deck when you think about it
- Leads to Kagari to fetch engage from the grave
- NOT once per turn
- No Restrictions whatsoever
- Can literally get what you need. Need to negate (and/or take) monsters on the field? Get Widow! Up against Salamangreat or something grave-reliant? Get Shark Cannon! Need to kill Inspector Boarder? Get Afterburners! Oh, who am I kidding, you probably get 2 to 3 of these in a turn anyways.
- Draws 1 free card PER activation when you have 3 or more spells in grave because Konami R&D said so
I think it should be pretty clear which card does more and which one is more resilient to interruption. And if it isn’t clear, then… I implore you to read again.
Let’s dial it back a little bit and look at whether or not the Harp hit was warranted. Spoiler alert – it probably was.
It might sound contradictory because I claim to be an “Orcustrated Duelist” and I should be on the side of the noisy musical archetype. But we have to give credit where credit is due. This deck was already really good and consistent (in the sense that you only needed 1 card to combo off). Before the TCG-Eternal-Format-Massacre-Banlist was dropped, Girsu, the Orcust Mekk-Knight was already announced in the OCG. Now, looking at it WITH Harp, you would think I’d view it as amazing right? WRONG. I thought it was trash the moment I saw it. Why? Because I had a bad feeling about the looming forbidden and limited list.
Girsu, the Orcust Mekk-Knight
Girsu, in a vacuum, is an amazing card for Orcust. A normal summon starter that could also net you an extender? Sign me up! However, that is also exactly the reason why I thought it was going to be trash. It was ANOTHER normal summon starter. It did nothing different than bring another body on-board and I was scared that it was not going to be enough for the eventual hit. Babel, Galatea, Harp, whatever it was that got hit, I thought Girsu wouldn’t be able to save the deck. Sadly enough – I was right.
So was Konami correct in hitting Harp? Yes. Probably. Girsu, in the OCG, pushed to and KEPT Orcust Tier 0-1 for a couple of lists. Being a 1-card combo that could end on the full Orcust setup PLUS Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon or El Shaddoll Winda was incredible. In addition to that, being able to summon Girsu off of Harp (in the opponent’s turns) makes it so that you have literally infinite follow-up if you get to pop off. So in hindsight, it was “necessary,” but only since Orcust has already been dominating the TCG scene for several formats. And people were just tired of it, especially the Sky Striker variant, because it was the most absurd one.
Can Orcust Have Harp Back?
Yes. Oh, GOD yes. Okay, I might sound a little biased, but still yes. Having Harp at 1 will enable 1-card combos again, and will open up access to a few more interruptions. I:P + Dingirsu + potential Trisbaena / Zeroboros? That’s what, a consistent three-interruption board that dies to a singular hand trap? Current decks to better than that, and with more resilience!
Okay, okay, for those who were thinking “bUt rUsTy iS fReE nOw!”, you got me. That’ll add another 3 interruptions on top of it, potentially (2 fog blades and the Rusty pop on opponent’s turn). But the point still stands that it’s still going to be one of the most fragile decks! Also, Bardiche is only going to be a 1-card combo for Girsu alone. You’d need one extender along with starters such as Mathematician, Armageddon Knight, etc. to have Bardiche and full Orcust setup.
So can Orcust have Harp back? Most definitely. I sincerely doubt that having 1 Harp Horror is going to warp the meta completely. But will Orcust have Harp back? Unfortunately, I don’t think so. The World Legacy lore has come to an end, the archetype had already spent a decent amount of time in the spotlight. Konami just does not have a reason to give it anything back, as of the moment. If they do something similar to Phantom Knights getting Bardiche (for Torn Scales) or Shaddolls getting back El Shaddoll Construct (for the structure deck), then we’d have our chance! One can certainly hope.
I don’t want to spend too much time on this since the deck hasn’t really seen competitive play in forever, but for those interested to play the deck, here are some ideas!
Orcust has always been mostly normal-summon reliant, so having the option to potentially get to your engine without it is a very welcome addition to the deck.
Quick Launch gets you access to Rokket Tracer which can then float to Striker Dragon to get Boot Sector Launch. Striker can then add the Tracer back to hand so you can summon it off of Boot and be able to pop Boot to tutor out Rokket Recharger from deck. This gives you Synchro 8 access, which means you can get to Chaos Ruler, which can mill 5, add 1 (potentially a starter) and get pieces in the grave! This gives the deck a tiny boost in consistency and a much needed upward tick in resiliency.
Some builds also incorporate Chaos Space, which is one hell of a card, that gets you to Collapserpent and Wyverburster. I personally don’t like this, however, since you’d really need to add Absorouter, Romulus, and Dragon Ravine to make full use of it.
Trap Orcust / Mekk-Knight Orcust
This is a more control-oriented variant that could utilize traps such as Torrential Tribute and Solemn Strike. This variant came from inception that was due in part to the hand trap-riddled meta that we’ve had in the past couple of formats. Several decks pushed most of the players to play a myriad of hand traps. Orcust, unfortunately, is just extremely fragile, so with that in mind, the idea of control Orcust was born.
If you are able to combo off, you get your interruptions, right? What if you don’t? That’s what this variant “solves.” Having real traps can let you see a turn 3 if you get interrupted in your first. The goal is to slow the game down and eventually be able to “pop off” and get the engine going, in an attempt to grind and whittle down the opponent’s resources. And to go with the slow-game approach, World Legacy’s Memory comes into play, being able to summon out Girsu during the end phase, if you didn’t have access to it (which Mekk-Knight Purple Nightfall and Mekk-Knight Blue Sky should be able to help with)!
Apollousa – Bardiche – 2 Fog Blades – I:P / Dragoon – Full Orcust Graveyard. Ooooh boy, who WOULDN’T love these juicy full-board setups? That’s what Scrap Orcust can offer. Having access to Scrap Golem (which isn’t OPT), Scrap Wyvern, searchable World Legacy Succession grants you a pathway to an almost impenetrable board.
The trade-off? Fragility. It’s always been the backfire from this variant. One properly-placed hand trap just ends your turn. Oh, and did I mention bricks? Yeah, the deck bricks. You run the fridge, for crying out loud. Having Jet Synchron banned doesn’t help either, as you can’t easily discard Scrap Golem if, and when it appears (as it always does) in your hand.
Bonus: You can run Machina Redeployment, along with Metalcruncher, Irradiator, Megaform, and maybe Machina Citadel / Machina Fortress for another 3 copies of Recycler. But then again, you’d be running more bricks. Scrap Raptor (to be released in Lightning Overdrive) will help with the brick issue! But unfortunately not with the resiliency.
I’m sure there are other variants out there such as the Dark Warrior, 60-card-pure-gas-lists, Isolde turbo, Sacred Beast-Orcust, etc. I just don’t think that these are significantly better than the ones above – and that’s just subjective and is purely a personal preference.
Orcust is still in the grave, at the moment – waiting for a Cymbal Skeleton of some form to revive it. Several variants are available to use casually, or at a lower level of competitive play. There are good matchups out there, after all! Dingirsu’s protection is nothing to scoff at, and being able to send anything at any given point in time still hurts a lot of decks to this day (looking at you Zoodiac players).
That being said, the deck was never really able to fully recover from the loss of Harp Horror. It couldn’t hold on to the tier 1 status. But that’s just the way Yu-Gi-Oh! goes. Will Orcust ever be back to the top? Maybe. Hopefully. But if there’s one thing for certain – it’s that MY Orcust deck will always be with me. And I hope the same for yours, too. Have a nice day, fellow Orcustrated Duelists.
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