A long time ago now, I wrote an overview of the Crusadia archetype and how it functions in a deck. While its offensive power is explosive and potentially devastating, it carries its own set of weaknesses. Fortunately, these brave warriors don’t have to fight alone. In the past, many duelists have supplemented these fearsome fighters with various different engines, from a small, compact package to one or even two additional archetypes. In this article, I’ll go over the different engines that have been used with Crusadia, some old and some new, before giving my final recommendation.
Table of Contents
The Cyberse Core
Crusadia do not have a hard time getting started or extending its plays, but this duo takes it to the next level. Formud Skipper can take on the name of any of your Link Monster; if you pick any Crusadia Link, except Crusadia Magius, you can use Skipper to make Magius. When you do so, Formud can use its second effect to search a Level 5 or higher Cyberse. The one you’ll want is Parallel eXceed, which can summon itself when you Link Summon and bring out a copy from deck. This is a fantastic extending play; not only can you use Exceed as Link Fodder, but you can also add a Rank 4 to your board.
There are a couple good choices for this play. Traptrix Rafflesia can insulate your combo from hand traps, especially if made before five summons. If it remains unused during your turn, it’s still a potent threat on your opponent’s turn. So is Abyss Dweller, whose graveyard-locking effect makes it a neat turn 1 summon in an otherwise pure-offense combo. These are the two most popular choices, but there are others; Rank 4 has so many options, after all. If you really hate backrow, consider Tornado Dragon; if your opponent plays combo, but isn’t Link-heavy, consider Number 41: Bagooska, the Terribly Tired Tapir (which will not conflict with Crusadia Equimax, should you have it).
The Crusadia OTK often relies on the opponent having at least one, if not several monsters on the field, to make full use of Equimax’s Link arrows and Crusadia Revival. However, this won’t always happen. Sometimes, the opponent plays a deck that doesn’t summon much, if at all – usually a backrow deck. Other times, the opponent will try to play around you in game 2 or 3 by not giving you any targets. These are the scenarios in which Black Garden can thrive. With it on the field, every time you summon, your opponent gets a Rose Token – crucially, in Attack position. And with all the Link climbing Crusadia does, you’ll be summoning a lot, giving your opponent up to five tokens. These small monsters are the perfect punching bags for Equimax. Just replace Garden with Crusadia Revival (grabbed with Crusadia Regulex) before making Equimax, and swing away. If five attacks somehow isn’t game, use Crusadia Maximus for, well, maximum damage.
Crusadia Leonis is a Level 3 Beast, which mean’s it’s searchable with Rescue Cat. Cat can bring out two Beasts, but instead of just summoning two copies of Leonis, consider using a Level 2 Earth Beast Tuner. Elephun and Valerifawn, Mythical Beast of the Forest fit the bill. If you then go through the normal combo line, using Leonis to make Magius while leaving the Tuner, you can end up with Equimax, Leonis, and the Tuner on the board. You can then turn Leonis and the Tuner into Naturia Beast, and constantly negate your opponent’s spell cards. Just make sure to put down another monster for Equimax to tribute. Even a Crusadia Krawler searched by Regulex will do, especially since this is a going-first situation.
Kaijus do a lot to facilitate the Crusadia OTK. The opponent’s boss monsters, usually with some kind of disruption, suddenly find themselves replaced. And when you use a Kaiju, you can choose the zone they occupy – meaning you can drop them right in the zone that Equimax would point to. This will make Equimax’s attack skyrocket. Because of this, Crusadia-Kaiju players tend to favor the high-ATK Kaijus in the face of conventional wisdom, because all that ATK will just go to Equimax.
Most decks that pop monsters with Kaijus tend to use Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju. It’s the lowest-ATK Kaiju, which lets them beat over it more easily. While Crusadia doesn’t have to worry about that, they do use Gameciel for a different reason. Ironically, while most decks use Gameciel to break boards going second, Crusadia can use use it going first. With all the Link climbing Crusadia does, the monsters hitting the graveyard fuels counters for Kyoutou Waterfront. Waterfront then can search Gameciel, which can be summoned by Saryuja Skull Dread. And while on the field, Gameciel can burn two counters to negate a card. It’s not once per turn nor once per chain, and it banishes the negated card. What’s more, if more cards hit the grave, the number of counters on Waterfront only grows. It’s a bit difficult to find Waterfront early enough, but if managed, Gameciel makes for an extremely powerful first-turn summon for Crusadia.
The Mekk-Knights don’t only share a lore story with Crusadia; they complement the deck as well. For one thing, they both excel at going second. Mekk-Knights taking advantage of the opponent’s cards’ positions to swarm the field, break the opposing board, and build a board of their own. Their built-in summoning conditions let them extend the Crusadia combo line. This can help make the Equimax board, but it can also make other things, especially if the normal line is disrupted. For example, Mekk-Knight Spectrum Supreme is the Mekk-Knight’s boss monster. It’s nice to sit on, being indestructible and untargetable, and it can steal games by attacking directly. Another option is using Mekk-Knight of the Morning Star to search World Legacy’s Secret, which can disrupt the opponent’s plays by negating monster effects.
Crusadia Draco is a Level 4 Dragon, which flows directly into the Guardragon Elpy and the rest of the Guardragons. Elpy needs two Link arrows pointing the same way, though, and the Crusadia Link combo doesn’t really create that – except Crusadia Spatha. Spatha can move a monster summoned to its Linked zone to a different zone. The play is to summon Spatha, summon Draco, use Draco to summon Elpy, and then use Spatha to move shift Elpy one zone to the right. That will have Elpy and Spatha’s Link arrows pointing to the same zone, and the Dragon combos flow from there. In the past, the Guardragon combo, worked to easily bring out powerful bosses such as Hot Red Dragon Archfiend Abyss. However, with the errata of Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon and the banning of Guardragon Agarpain, that combo has been hindered to a great extent. Still, at its peak, the Dragon engine gave Crusadia a lot more confidence going first.
Although this article is about engines being added to Crusadia, when combined with Dragons it’s more often that Crusadia takes a backseat instead. Equimax is still a focal point for closing matches, but with Dragons having so many cards and being so powerful, especially going first, it may feel more like a Dragon deck nonetheless.
This is a bit of an odd one. What help can a Link climbing deck expect from an archetype that locks the player out of the Extra Deck? As it turns out, quite a lot. Again, like many of the other engines, the Dogmatika monsters are actually great extenders. Dogmatika Ecclesia, the Virtuous and Dogmatika Fleurdelis, the Knighted can both special summon themselves if an Extra Deck monster is on the field. That means they will be live the moment Magius hits the field, and by summoning to Magius zone, the combo goes off. Even Dogmatika Maximus can summon itself by banishing an Extra Deck monster from the graveyard, like a used Crusadia Link.
But here we come back to the original problem. If Ecclesia uses her effect to search, or if Maximus uses its effect to send cards to the grave, you can’t use the Extra deck anymore. So you could refrain, and just use them as extenders; but that seems like missed potential. The solution, of course, is to hold the Dogmatikas until the end of the combo, or until after it’s been disrupted to a halt. Then play the Ecclesia, the Maximus, or the Nadir Servant, and go into a standard Dogmatika setup. Maximus produces Shaddoll Schism and El Shaddoll Winda, with a Fleurdelis in hand and maybe a set Dogmatika Punishment. Not only does this let the two archetypes dovetail their effects, but it also allows Dogmatika to give Crusadia at least two or three more amazing going-first points. Conflicts do still arise between the Link climbing and the Extra Deck restrictions, particularly with Punishment’s limit lasting two turns. But if efficiently managed, these two archetypes can work together to great effect.
Mix ‘n Match
Just as each of these different engines can be splashed into Crusadia, they can also be combined together for even more synergy. For example, when Kaijus clear the opponent’s field, they can also set up double-card columns for Mekk-Knights. The Guardragon combo often set up not only Dragon bosses, but Saryuja into Gameciel as well. Using multiple engines in tandem can produce more results than just one.
Cream of the Crusadia Crop
Out of all the different ways to play Crusadia, which is the most optimal? Which variant produces the best results?
Crusadia hasn’t seen the most meta play, especially recently – but it’s gotten up there. In 2018, players gravitated toward full offense, using Kaijus to clear the board for Equimax to finish. The next year, however, they switched to a Crusadia Guardragon build that could go first or second. This has culminated in the most recent installment. This past April, a deck placed top 8 in the UK/IR Remote Duel Extravaganza. It incorporated the Crusadia archetype into the larger Dragon deck now referred to as Dragon Link. While it may seem more Dragon than Crusadia, the Crusadia package is still quite sizable. Maximus, Draco, and Arboria are all played at three, and Formud and eXceed are also featured at three. However, no Equimax was played – though space could be stretched for it for a more “genuine” Crusadia experience.
Still, the OTK variant still pops up frequently in local-level competition. For those looking for a more explosive playstyle, try bringing Crusadia Kaiju to your shop, with some Cyberse sprinkled in. But at the highest level, you’ll need a healthy dose of dragons and a strong meta knowledge to make it to the top tables.
- Reinforcements of the Crusade! Crusadia Guide Part 2 - June 4, 2021
- Ritual Revolution: The Rise of the 2020 Tier 1 Blues - January 28, 2021
- Archetype Guide: Crusadia - August 18, 2020