Trinity: A Guide to Playing (and Slaying) Orcust Bardiche

For those of you who haven’t yet heard the good word about Trinity Format, where have you been?

Trinity Format is an alternate Yu-Gi-Oh format with a slightly modified ruleset and a highlander rule for deckbuilding. If you’re interested in learning about the format, check out the introductory article above or a short video here. If you like what you see, feel free to join our December Cup Tournament, sign-ups for which end tomorrow.

All this aside, I am not here to proselytize about Trinity Format. I am here to proselytize about a DECK in Trinity Format.

That deck is Orcust Bardiche.

What is Orcust Bardiche?

Thanks for asking, hypothetical heading goblin!

Orcust is a deck of wild, fantastic monsters with some of the best lore and in-game flavor of any archetype released in the past half-decade. Their playstyle is unique, intriguing, flexible, and powerful. The archetypal link monsters facilitate board setups which allow you to combo off no matter whose turn it is. Each individual archetype piece allows for recursion from almost any game zone, making them almost impossible to kill.

Of course, that’s only on paper. In the TCG, they’re used to make and repeatedly trigger Topologic Bomber Dragon until your opponent dies of boredom.

One of the upsides of a slower format is that midrange archetypes like Orcust with amazing potential can compete. There are a couple of rules specific to Trinity Format that allow this archetype to flourish. Because of these, I am of the opinion that there is no deck more fun nor more powerful to play in the upcoming December Cup than this one.

What does an Orcust Bardiche Deck Look Like?

Here’s my first place list from the CYHO Trinity Championship Tournament, with trinities of Magical Scientist/Scapegoats and Phantom Knights’ Fog Blade. Championships is our equivalent to nationals, if nationals happened every three months and only had twelve people in it. It’s close to card-perfect, though I would cut a card from the maindeck to play Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring – probably Danger! Thunderbird!

The Monsters

The first four cards are the Orcusts. Orcust Harp Horror, Orcust Cymbal Skeleton, and Orcust Brass Bombard are non-negotiable. World Legacy – “World Wand” is a little more debatable, but is an amazing piece of insurance should something go wrong over the course of your setups.

After that are the Dangers!, which are mostly used as additional material for Galatea, the Orcust Automaton. Following that are the Armageddon-Lites, used for the same reason: binning Orcust Harp Horror to facilitate turn one setups.

The remainder of the monsters are three-star setup tools. We’re playing all the good Phantom Knights for The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche, and a Tour Guide From the Underworld package of Sangan and Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss for extra Armageddon Knight bins, should we find everything we need in our opener.

Finally, we’ve got a Phantom Skyblaster, because he’s broken, and a Magical Scientist, because he’s on-theme.

The Spells

We’re playing every good spell in the format, but the important ones are Orcustrated Return, Orcustrated Einsatz, and Orcustrated Babel, which we’re tutoring in that order.

I could spend more time talking about why Foolish Burial and Premature Burial are good cards, but I think everything else speaks for itself.

The Traps

We’re playing as many targets for The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche as possible, because we want to be able to activate his effect as often as possible and don’t want to run out of targets for The Phantom Knights of Ragged Gloves.

We’re also playing the “big five” of broken Trinity trap cards – Infinite Impermanence, Heavy Storm Duster, Torrential Tribute, Lost Wind, and Solemn Warning.

What Makes This Deck So Strong?

Similarly to how the best decks in the TCG aim to take advantage of the rules or redefine them to benefit themselves, this deck takes advantage of Trinity’s ruleset.

Cheating the Advantage Game

Trinity is an advantage-oriented format. Two-for-ones are often game-endingly powerful, and this deck routinely generates unreal amounts of advantage for next to no investment.

With an active Orcustrated Einsatz, you can ensure you’ll have a play for your next turn as long as your opponent is summoning monsters. Sending Orcust Cymbal Skeleton to revive Galatea, the Orcust Automaton every turn means you’ll net a monster and a spell from every summon your opponent performs.

The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche is an advantage powerhouse as well. By sending The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots to the GY, you can set a copy of Phantom Knights’ Fog Blade alongside one of the protective Phantom Knights traps in the same turn. Since it’s likely Bardiche will survive until your next turn, you can activate his effect again next main phase. This allows you to search another protection trap, send The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak to the GY, and search any stragglers of the Phantom Knights engine.

Finally, extra copies of the Armageddon-Lites have advantage uses as well. In the midgame, you can use them to send Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss to the GY in order to search Tour Guide from the Underworld and Sangan to your hand. While most decks rely on this engine for setup, you’re able to use it to search handtraps or additional extenders.

Cheating the Summon Limit

The real place this deck shines, however, is the way in which it cheats the summon limit.

Trinity enforces a hard limit of three effect monster summons per turn. This makes usual boss monsters like Borrelsword Dragon extremely hard to assemble. Orcust Bardiche can “cheat” this limit by performing additional summons on its opponent’s turn. This ability caps out at a whopping six summons over the course of one turn cycle. This means you’ll be winning more games on the back of Borrelsword Dragon than arguably any other deck in the format, and because of its lack of use, people will largely be unprepared for it.

This is accomplished in two ways: firstly, by using the GY effects of the Phantom Knights’ trap cards, and secondly, by using Orcustrated Babel. If done properly, it is likely you will be able to resurrect two monsters from your GY every turn, one with Orcust Cymbal Skeleton and one with a Phantom Knights’ trap. In the lategame, it is even possible to hit the summon limit both on your opponent’s turn AND on your turn by using the GY effect of Orcust Harp Horror or multiple Phantom Knights’ traps.

This also conveniently avoids the restriction of the Orcust monsters, which lock you into DARK monsters the turn they’re activated.

How Do I Play This Deck?

It’s no secret that this is one of the more challenging decks available in Trinity. You’ve got to be constantly getting the most out of every individual card while simultaneously juggling summoning restrictions and evaluating the top card of your deck.

Early Turns

On your first turn, your aim is to summon Galatea, the Orcust Automaton. Ideally, you’ll start with an Armageddon-Lite. Use it to send Orcust Harp Horror to the GY, then banish Harp to special summon Orcust Cymbal Skeleton from your deck. Link summon Galatea, the Orcust Automaton, then activate her effect, shuffling Orcust Harp Horror into the deck to set Orcustrated Return. Fire it off, set as much as you can and pass it back.

On your next turn, you can use the GY effect of Orcust Cymbal Skeleton to return Galatea, the Orcust Automaton to your side of the field, then use her effect to shuffle Orcust Cymbal Skeleton back into the deck to set Orcustrated Einsatz. From here you should have consistent access to Galatea by way of repeated Cymbal Skeleton activations. Link summon The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche with 1 additional monster and start setting.

Keep in mind this is a 1-card setup. Any disruption traps or extenders you’ve got at this point are just icing on the cake.

Mid and Late Game

From here, focus on beating the summon limit as much as possible and overwhelming your opponent with the power plays your deck enables. The advantage gained from summoning The Phantom Knights of Break Sword, triggering The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche’s effect, and then popping an additional card are usually insurmountable.

Don’t be afraid to get aggressive with Sangan either – searching an early Magical Scientist or Phantom Skyblaster is extremely powerful. Keep an eye on LP totals, and don’t hesitate to make some Knightmares to push for lethal or summon Borrelsword Dragon. The Orcust loop ensures you’ll always be ahead on advantage, and Number 47: Nightmare Shark ensures you can close games out.

Finally, really, don’t go into Longirsu, the Orcust Orchestrator. He’s a trap of epic proportions.

How Do I Beat This Deck?

Good question.

While Orcust Bardiche is an incredible midrange deck, it is not without its weaknesses. There are a few critical points at which disruption can win you the game.

Beating Galatea, the Orcust Automaton

A common misconception is that you should aim to prevent Galatea, the Orcust Automaton from hitting the field. It is extremely unlikely that you’ll be able to do this. The deck is simply too redundant for this to be a sustainable point of counterplay.

Instead, focus on cards that remove Galatea from the field in meaningful ways. Paleozoic Dinomischus and Called by the Grave can seal her into the banished zone, stopping the loop. She can be returned with World Legacy – “World Wand,” but stopping one effect is much easier than stopping one effect every turn for the rest of the game.

An even more effective way to deal with Frankenstein’s Clarinet is negating her summon. Chaos Trap Hole and Solemn Warning have the added benefit of locking her in a zone for good, since she wasn’t properly summoned. This makes Orcust Cymbal Skeleton’s usually unbeatable recursion completely meaningless.

Beating The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche

Don’t think just because you banished some Orcusts that the game’s over yet. The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche is more than capable of winning games on his own.

Thankfully, this card’s a lot easier to beat. Destroy it on your opponent’s turn before it activated its effect, if at all possible. That’s a big “if,” so if not, aim to board non-destruction removal to beat Phantom Knights’ Wing and its friends.

If you are unable to interrupt The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche, you may be able to play through it. All of the Phantom Knights’ trap cards banish the monster after resurrection. Just kill the Big Bad Bard twice and you’ll be good to go.

Beating Backrow

Because of the low investment this strategy demands, the remainder of the deck is stuffed to the gills with the most powerful disruption cards in the format. Therefore, if you don’t have the answers to their monster lineup, spell and trap destruction isn’t out of place.

Aim to destroy the payoff spells Galatea, the Orcust Automaton searches. If Orcustrated Einsatz is removed from the field, there is no way to establish the loop for the Orcust player. Be warned that you’ll still likely have to deal with Galatea, the Orcust Automaton, as additional copies of Armageddon-Lites allow for individual activations of Orcust Cymbal Skeleton’s effect.


It seems obvious, but attack your opponent to beat them.

Orcust Bardiche takes full advantage of Trinity’s much slower pace of gameplay by using their first turn to set up the GY and draw cards with Orcustrated Return, insulating Galatea, the Orcust Automaton from removal spells. On their second turn, they aim to summon exactly one monster, The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche.

OTK decks, or decks with OTK abilities, can take advantage of this. Pendulum, Cyber Dragon, and decks that play Elemental HERO Honesty Neos can easily steal wins while the shields are down. Aim to put in damage early, and something as innocent as an extra attack position Tour Guide from the Underworld can become an OTK possibility.


That’s not really a question, but all the other headings have been questions. I want to keep up the gimmick.

Orcust Bardiche is arguably the best deck in Trinity Format. While it can often be puzzling to the pilot, it is consistent, explosive, and unfair. Unlike its TCG counterpart, it does something unique and interesting, instead of serving a completely unrelated and underwhelming boss monster. I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to see Orcust as intended, rather than as a Topologic Bomber Dragon cheese deck.

I urge you to play it in the next Trinity tournament.

And would you look at that! Signups for the December Trinity Cup are ongoing (until end of day Thursday, December 13th)!

I would be honored if you netdecked me, and hope to see you cleaning house. I’ll just leave this link below the cut.



Pacifis, the Phantasm City stan, YugiTuber, and the least valuable third of the Meta Snapshot Team. Follow me on twitter at @MonoBlueTron and please validate my existence on

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