Why are Orcusts Still Topping?


The July 2019 banlist hit a multitude of cards, shifting the game to a healthier state. Some notable hits included the limitations of the chaos dragons and Sky Striker Mecha Modules – Multirole. The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche, however, received the banhammer. What did banning Rusty really do for Orcust decks? The deck is still topping events consistently, with the only real losers from the banlist were the few loyal Phantom Knight players. We’ll go over the main reasons why Orcust has continued to be a top contender for the late 2019 season.

Knightmare Mermaid

Knightmare Mermaid surviving in the TCG is likely the biggest factor for why Orcust has continued to thrive. The fact that any 2 monsters with different names creates the Orcust combo is all due to easy accessibility to Mermaid. It has been a powerful card for many formats now: from summoning Knightmare Iblee for Gouki combos to summoning Orcust Knightmare for Orcust combos. Orcusts are even playing Iblee too for various benefits. For one, it prevents Nibiru, the Primal Being and restricts the opponent’s options. Second, it prevents Ash Blossom from negating Mermaid due to SEGOC. Third, in very rare instances, it can be summoned off Mermaid by discarding a Knightmare Orcust if a player has opened all their copies of it, but the line of play from there becomes awkward since you cannot make Galatea with Mermaid and Iblee.

Whether Mermaid is a healthy card or not is debatable, but it does help keep Orcust’s consistency.

New Strategies + Deckbuilding

Orcusts have gone a long way in adapting their strategies over the course of their existence. However, most of them revolved around Rusty Bardiche, including Rank-Up strategies and the Babel/Dingirsu 2 card removal combo. Orcusts now follow a simpler path for their turn 1 boards. Typically it is just a live Orcust Crescendo and a Dingirsu for protection. However, Instant Fusion + Dingirsu increases the board’s potential immensely. El Shaddoll Winda locks many decks out from playing or Thousand-Eyes Restrict can prevent attacks.

Banning Rusty Bardiche obviously hurt, but in some ways, it ironically helped Orcust decks. The removal of Rusty Bardiche meant that decks no longer run the somewhat bricky PK engine in the Main Deck. Many players have groaned seeing The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak in their starting hand, but that no longer happens. Banning Rusty Bardiche also changed the first turn gameplan. The new board of Dingirsu + live Crescendo meant that it didn’t lose to common cards that were very disruptive in the past format. Pankratops, Twin Twisters, and Called by the Grave were all very potent against the Babel/Dingirsu strategy, but now they are noticeably less effective. On the other hand, Cyber Dragon is a much bigger threat to Orcust boards because of Chimeratech Fortress Dragon.

A lot of Orcust decks have decided that going 2nd is a viable option as well. With Rising Rampage’s release, Gizmek Orochi and the Tenyi engine have allowed Orcust decks to break boards with ease. Gizmek is a fantastic card that puts in immense work. It is a Dark Machine, beneficial to discard, provides removal with its effect and high stats, and is even level 8 for Dingirsu.

Almost Zoodiac Tier Splashibility

As mentioned before, any 2 different monsters can become an Orcust combo. Almost any deck can add an Orcust package for various reasons. For example, it can be a backup plan with Dingirsu’s protection and Crescendo’s negate. Or it can provide easy removal with Dingirsu’s effect when going 2nd. This is particularly useful against Thunder Dragon Colossus because Orcusts hardly searches and Dingirsu does not destroy.

If you really look at most Orcust decks, they are either an engine to improve a deck’s ceiling or a conglomerate of generally good cards that allow easy access to the combo.


The Orcust strategy is still alive for various reasons. Its leniency in restrictions allows it to be used everywhere. Not only is it splashable, but it is also very strong as well. An easy way to end on protection and a negate means that it is an option many players should consider when building their decks. Finally, Rusty Bardiche’s ban and Mermaid’s survival shifted the Orcust playstyle, while not sacrificing consistency.



YGOPRODeck Writer and YuGiOh Enthusiast. Lives in Southern California as an active player and judge. Favorite Color: Blue

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