It’s finally here after what seems like an eternity of waiting! The Invoked Link Monster, Aleister the Invoker of Madness, will be released on August 17, 2018 in Shadows in Valhalla. The card offer a lot of benefits to the Invoked deck which I’ve previously discussed in this old article.
Waiting for the Invoked Link Monster has caused Invoked one-trickers in the TCG like myself to be resourceful. We’ve made due with a number of other cards to keep the deck relevant and hanging around the top tables. These cards probably weren’t intended to support Invoked. But their synergy with Aleister the Invoker and his fusions make the Invoked archetype the perfect place to showcase their effects. And these effects are powerful enough to allow Invoked decks a niche in every metagame since their release 18 months ago. Each of these cards in some way unlocked greater potential in Invoked. Each seemingly arrived at the perfect time to keep the deck relevant.
This article will profile what I think the four most important pieces of support were for Invoked while we waited for Aleister the Invoker of Madness’s arrival. These cards should take priority when looking into building an Invoked deck.
Table of Contents
- Underclock Taker
- The Mekk-Knights
- Knightmare Phoenix
- Borrelsword Dragon
How It Joined Invoked
Underclock Taker was certainly a sleeper hit. It gained popularity after Ryan Levine’s Regional Top 8 performance in February 2018. Levine used it to great effect against a field of Pendulum decks to take down their big monsters and deal more damage. Players quickly saw the potential of the card.
How It Helps Invoked
Reducing attack is hardly ever an effect worth bragging about in modern Yu-Gi-Oh! Still, the ease of summoning Underclock as a generic Link-2 and the OTK nature of the new Invoked deck made this card an all-star. Invoked was very good at two things: putting big monsters on board and hitting for a lot of damage. Underclock took advantage of the first to turn the second up a notch.
Invoked Purgatrio has a tendency to get very, very big. Giving him a zero attack point monster to eat could result in your opponent losing over half their life points in one swing. Suddenly, OTKs that might at one time be just out of reach were easy to accomplish. That made Invoked a deck that was scary to everyone whose strategy involved committing lots of resources to the board. Underclock also aided Mechaba in taking down larger monsters. This allowed you to save your Aleister in hand for the next turn instead of using him for an attack point boost. Using Aleister for Link material each turn was a no-brainer. The generic requirements of Underclock made that option golden. The same generic requirements also made him an ideal monster to summon after stealing an opponent’s monster with Mind Control, a staple in Invoked variants at the time.
Its Use Today
Underclock’s usefulness in Invoked has faded a bit. Targeting immunity has re-emerged. More impactful OTK-enablers like Borrelsword Dragon and Aleister the Invoker of Madness have arrived and other useful Link-2s like Knightmare Goblin and Knightmare Phoenix have been released. Still, Underclock Taker should have a spot in every Invoked Extra Deck as a potent Link toolbox option.
Cheating a bit here: this is not one card, but rather a whole archetype that had an astounding amount of synergy with Invoked. Mekk-Knight Blue Sky, Mekk-Knight Purple Nightfall, and Mekk-Knight Indigo Eclipse, at the very least, have proven themselves worthy of the title of “honorary Invoked.”
How They Joined Invoked
I confess: despite my early article saying that the Mekk-Knights were not to be slept on, when they arrived in the TCG, I slept on them. I am on the record saying that running Mekk-Knights in Invoked was a “waste of time” without the Invoked Link Monster, but boy was I wrong. In my defense, until YCS Atlanta in late February 2018, the consensus in the TCG was with me. After Levine’s Regional Top 8, Handtrap Invoked gained popularity as an anti-meta option to counter Pendulum Magicians. The deck took multiple spots in the top 32 at YCS Atlanta. Prior to this event, the Mekk-Knights were nowhere to be seen.
However, a few skilled players like Levine, Jeff Jones, and Alexander Juneja built their Invoked decks to include the Mekk-Knights and performed extremely well at Atlanta. None of them made the top cut, but their presence at the top tables all weekend was noted. The word was out. It wasn’t until Mekk-Knight Invoked starting topping and winning regional events in the following weeks that everyone got on board. By the end of March 2018, it was clear that this was the way forward for the deck. Mekk-Knight Invoked continued to take tops at most events until Gouki started dominating. Gouki was a much harder matchup than Magicians had been thanks to the Knightmare’s protection effects. Even then, the deck was represented at multiple World Championship Qualifier events, including placing in the Top 32 at the NAWCQ.
How They Help Invoked
The Mekk-Knights synergize incredibly well with Invoked: they are LIGHT-attribute so they help make Invoked Mechaba. They are easy to summon so they enable Link plays. They have powerful, advantage-generating effects that make them excellent baits for negations. Finally, they’re also BIG, meaning they help with the general OTK strategy of the deck. The format at the time was full of Magicians and Trickstars. Magicians had to use their negates wisely to prevent Purgatrio from breaking their board through battle. Trickstar had problems dealing with big monsters. Because of their roles in these matchups, the Mekk-Knights were everything Invoked needed.
Their Use Today
Today, the Mekk-Knights have been outclassed. The Sky Striker engine also adds OTK power, negation-bating, Link material, and toolboxing to Invoked. The engine also increases the consistency of the deck to a degree that the Mekk-Knights never could. Still, many Invoked players, including myself, continue to run the Mekk-Knight cards as a small engine (2 Blue 2 Purple 1 Indigo). They still help the deck accomplish its goal: control the board, overwhelm the opponent, and swing for game.
How it Joined Invoked
I think that Knightmare Phoenix might be the best piece of Invoked support released since Fusion Enforcers. Even better than Aleister the Invoker of Madness, in fact. The why is simple: it’s a FIRE-attribute monster that baits Scapegoat. And Scapegoat is one of the most powerful, meta-defining cards in Yu-Gi-Oh! at the moment. Knightmare Phoenix has been a no-brainer in Invoked since Flames of Destruction dropped.
How it Helps Invoked
To this day, an End Phase Scapegoat is one of the most devastating plays in the game. It often ends the duel the following turn through sheer advantage. Preventing that play should be a goal of any deck. Invoked has a particular advantage against Scapegoat, though: Invoked Purgatrio. A Scapegoat flipped before the Battle Phase against Invoked is a recipe for disaster. It allows Purgatrio a guaranteed 11,200 damage. So, how do I make my opponent flip their Scapegoat before the Battle Phase?
Many Invoked players used to use Cosmic Cyclone and Twin Twisters to bait Scapegoat. The more elegant solution arrived in the generic Link-2 Phoenix, who not only targeted down suspicious backrow but was a FIRE monster. Even if Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring had not showed its face in the duel yet, there was still a FIRE material available for a Purgatrio summon. The opponent faces a difficult choice: do I chain Scapegoat, hoping my opponent doesn’t have the Invocation ready to kill me? Or do I lose the card that will probably win me the game if the tokens survive to my next turn? With the ability to toolbox a powerful FIRE monster from the Extra Deck, Purgatrio was not a possibility but an inevitability.
If it sounds like I’m overhyping this interaction, note that the Trickstar matchup and Invoked mirror matches were often decided at this moment. In my own games, I have a tendency to extend even further and summon Knightmare Unicorn to further pressure the opponent’s backrow if I missed Scapegoat with Phoenix. If they flip Scapegoat, I win every time. If they don’t, I probably still win because they won’t have an impactful enough play to rebound next turn. Presenting opponent’s with this dilemma is always a great Yu-Gi-Oh! moment.
Its Use Today
I rank Knightmare Phoenix highly primarily because of this Scapegoat interaction. However, generic Spell and Trap destruction generally plays a very important role in Invoked. Like many decks, Invoked is shut down by floodgates like Anti-Spell Fragrance and Imperial Order. Phoenix deals with these easily. A Dimensional Barrier flipped in response to Invocation can be devastating, too, so forcing its activation early can pay off. All in all, Invoked decks needed a reliable way to destroy Spells and Traps. The fact that it came loaded on a FIRE body just makes it all the more useful.
How it Joined Invoked
The final card on this list only arrived three weeks before Aleister the Invoker of Madness, but it has already become a huge player in the Invoked strategy. Since Ed Acepcion’s YCS Dallas Top 32 performance with the Invoked deck in October 2017, the deck’s focus has been shifting towards Purgatrio and his OTK ability. Previously, you needed your opponent to have multiple monsters for Purgatrio to deal max damage. In Invoked today, the Sky Striker engine provides the ability to spam the field with other attackers. Purgatrio is no longer necessary as an OTK finisher. He now clears the way for other attackers to finish off the opponent’s Life Points.
Sky Strikers are the tune-up that Invoked needed to improve the OTK strategy. Borrelsword Dragon is the nitrous oxide that sends the whole deck flying down the track on its back two tires.
How it Helps Invoked
This card is absolutely frightening, able to do 6,000 damage on his own. This plus any Invoked Fusion Monster attacking into an open field is game over. Purgatrio can act as an equalizer, reducing the opponent’s defenses to nothing and clearing the way for a pair of finishing blows from the big dragon.
- Activate Sky Striker Mecha – Hornet Drones. Summon Token.
- Use Token as material to summon Sky Striker Ace – Kagari. Use Kagari’s effect to add Hornet Drones back to hand.
- Activate Hornet Drones again, summoning another Token.
- Normal Summon Aleister and use his effect search Invocation.
- Use Kagari as material to summon Sky Striker Ace – Hayate in the Extra Monster Zone on the right.
- Use Aleister and the Token to summon Knightmare Goblin linked to Hayate. Activate Goblin’s effect to gain additional Normal Summon.
- Fuse Aleister and Kagari in the Graveyard for Invoked Purgatrio.
- Invocation’s effect in the GY shuffles itself back into the deck and add Aleister to hand.
- Use your extra Normal Summon to summon Aleister linked to Goblin. Use Aleister’s effect to add Invocation.
- Link summon Borrelsword Dragon using Goblin, Hayate, and Aleister.
- Fuse Aleister and Hayate/Goblin in the GY for Invoked Raidjin.
Ending field: Borrelsword Dragon, Invoked Purgatrio, Invoked Raidjin.
This combo essentially guarantees 8,200 damage. You can add to that whatever damage Purgatrio does while clearing the way for Raidjin and Borrelsword. Many OTK decks rely on the opponent having fewer monsters so that direct attacks are easier to obtain. This OTK combo is different in that it does more damage with each monster the opponent has on the field when it begins.
Its Use Today
Borrelsword increases the OTK ability of a deck already known for its OTK ability to scary new levels. No monster is too big for him to kill and he is always good for 6,000 damage on his own. Borrelsword Dragon should be renamed, because he is the true Invoked Link Monster.
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Many of the archetypes who had to wait to receive their Link VRAINS Pack support have been lost without it. But Invoked has been able to incorporate the generic support found in the last few booster sets and thrive. It’s bittersweet really. Bitter knowing the deck’s potential with Aleister the Invoker of Madness and being unable to reach that until now. Sweet using some truly awesome cards that unlock a different kind of potential and help the deck reach new heights.
Now that we are getting our proper Link Monster, the deck’s prospects have never looked better. We still have these terrific generic options available, plus a new toy that makes even more Fusion shenanigans possible. It’s been 18 months of continued relevance as we’ve adapted our decklists and evolved our strategies, and the future looks bright.
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