September 2017 has been a pretty big month for Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG. Currently, we’re in what is known as a “power vacuum” meta. All the top decks have been recently hit by the banlist and so the top decks of the format have yet to be determined. Everyone is vying for what they believe is going to be the next best deck and prices fluctuate quite a bit. There’s always a deck that creeps by each banlist nearly untouched. It does fairly well competitively and is budget to boot. Along with the fact that it recently won Worlds this is a deck that is on the back of everyone’s minds. You probably knew that this was going to be an article at some point. Might as well bite the bullet now. Let’s talk about Chain Burn.
Burn Decks as a whole have the focus on bringing down the opponent’s life points from 8000 to 0 almost solely by effect damage (as opposed to standard battle damage). It’s called Burn due to FIRE monsters mainly having had these burn effects attributed to them. It’s rare to burn all 8000 life points down in a single turn due to consistency. (If it were fairly easy this would lead to FTK decks every day). Since this is rare occasion, a lot of Burn decks have a natural element of stalling throughout the game to burn over time. Since the cards played in burn are “one-shots” (do not have a field presence and all cards have a rather immediate effect) there must be an element of Drawing to refill the Burn player with resources. There are many different types of Burn decks but the one with the most notability (and recently topped Dragon Duel Worlds) is the Chain Burn variant.
Chain Burn is the variant of Burn that is arguably the best mix of consistency and speed. Other types of burn require key cards which the deck revolves around (like Nurse Burn). This means going second it is hard to set up properly since your opponent will already have a board set up. Some have an intricate set-up and will have to slowly grind away the other player. Others aim to burn within a single turn as a “First Turn Kill” but as a result, they are prone to bricking quite a bit. We’ll be going over the 3 main components of the deck: Burn, Draw, Stall.
Table of Contents
The Burn Component of deck normally utilizes waiting until the opportune moment of chaining all of your cards for burst damage and having your opponent take damage depending on the appropriate hazards. Waiting for a large board is the ideal moment to strike. Especially when they are just about to go into their Extra Deck for any sort of negation (Dealing damage as the materials are on the field).
- Chain Strike – Literally what is used for every thumbnail for any Chain Burn video ever. To be fair this is pretty much the most prominent card in the deck as it encourages the player to properly link their cards in a chain for maximum efficiency. It’s really nothing special since, for the most part, you would activate this card last in the chain link. It should be noted that 2 copies of this card can be activated in the same chain. The wording states that you cannot activate multiple cards/effects with the same name however at the time of activating the 2nd Chain Strike there would be only 1 Chain Strike name currently in that chain link allowing the player to legally activate the 2nd Chain Strike.
- Just Desserts – It’s quite rare to see any cards from the original Yugi-Kaiba deck to still be used in competitive circulation other than staples, at which point is pretty much just Dark Hole as Mystical Space Typhoon has essentially been power crept. Just Desserts deals a hefty 500 points of damage to every monster on your opponent’s field. Thanks to the new link zones this card alone can deal up to 3500 points of damage. When playing against Chain Burn a smart opponent would sit on a single monster and poke with that to prevent overextending and taking too much damage.
- Secret Blast – A form of burn with 300 points of damage but extends to all cards your opponent controls including their Spells/Traps. This is another card which acts as a deterrent to your opponent spamming and placing cards on the field. This has another effect of upon being destroyed by your opponent’s card effect that it will deal 1000 points of damage. It’s usually not a good idea to blind pop a Chain Burn player’s back row but with this card as a potential threat even more so. Additionally, if this card were ever targeted for destruction you can chain its activation to resolve both of its effects and deal 300x Burn and on top of 1000.
- Secret Barrel – A form of burn with 200 points of damage but it extends even further from Secret Blast and includes cards in your opponent’s hand. This means that along with hesitating from playing cards it means that any form of hand advantage could be lethal.
- Ojama Trio – This card does not directly deal burn damage but it is combo’d well with the above cards. If the aforementioned burn cards are activated you can chain Ojama Trio at the end of that so that it will resolve first providing 3 additional monsters to burn on the resolution of the other cards. Keep in mind that the other cards need to be legally activated (so there must be a monster on the field (for Just Desserts) before you can chain Ojama Trio. Alternatively, you can activate Ojama Trio and then in a separate chain all of the other cards but this weakens your overall chain links (if you want to maximize Chain Strike). Ojama Trio has a pseudo-burn in the fact that if the 3 tokens are destroyed they deal 300 points of damage each.
- Ring of Destruction – Even with a bunch of errata’s and being limited this card is still quite good. It’s not nearly as versatile as it was in older times however it alone can be used as a finisher if you target a creature with equal attack or less attack than your opponent’s life points but in resolution of the chain it will be lethal.
- Ceasefire – Ceasefire counts effect monsters on both sides of the field. Keep in mind that Ojama Trio tokens aren’t effect monsters, making this card subpar.
- Fairy Wind – You can destroy face up Spell/Trap cards at the end of a chain destroying all the previous Spell/Trap cards for damage but they will still be able to resolve successfully.
- Chain Detonation – A recylable Hinotama in the form of a trap.
- Poison of the Old Man/Ookazi/Tremendous Fire/Wave-Motion Cannon/Meteor of Destruction/… – Static-number burn cards.
- Lazion, the Timelord – We play very few monsters and we can afford to play Lazion. He deters drawing by dealing 1000 points of damage to your opponent when they do and being indestructible by battle or card effects (and you don’t take any battle damage from it). He’s pretty hard to remove.
- Mecha-Dog Marron – When destroyed deal 1000 points of damage.
- Dice Jar – High risk high reward card, if you manage to inflict 6000 points of damage then your victory is essentially secured but if you are to lose it puts you at a large disadvantage. Talk about do or die.
Drawing is pretty self-explanatory as we would like to draw into the Burn cards to finish off our opponent. There aren’t any specific combo pieces so its more of a way to draw into our best burn cards. Since a lot of these card draws have restrictions be wise about how to order them.
- Into the Void – A literal draw 1 card that isn’t even limited to once per turn. You have to discard your hand at the end phase but you’re looking to set 5 anyways.
- Pot of Duality – Discover 3 cards and choose one to add one back to your hand. The limitation is that you cannot Special Summon the same turn that you play this card which only hinders Lava Golem/Kaijus.
- Card of Demise – Potentially drawing up to 3 cards. It has the limitation of discarding your hand and preventing Special Summons like from Into the Void and Duality with the additional hindrance your opponent taking no damage this turn.
- Pot of Desires – Banish 10 cards and Draw 2. There isn’t a lot of specific “combo pieces” that we really want since everything is at 3 and it’s pretty much only wanting to grab Ojama Trio and Chain Strike maybe. The game shouldn’t last long either which is why if we deck out we were probably going to lose anyway.
- Cardcar D – This card that shows your opponent that you don’t play monsters and that you’re pretty much playing all backrow. It nets us 2 draws (albeit at the end phase).
- Mystic Piper – Similar to Cardcar D in that it tributes itself to draw cards but Piper only draws 1 (unless you draw a Lv. 1) and doesn’t immediately end your turn.
- Balance of Judgment – A table flipping card that you learn to love and hate. After burning your opponent you can utilize this card to draw the surplus of cards between you and your opponent for some great resource gaining.
- Accumulated Fortune – Has to be played on CL4 or higher but allows us to draw 2.
- Reckless Greed – Draw 2 but skip your next 2 draw phases. Best if multiple are used in the same turn.
- Legacy of Yata-Garasu/Jar of Greed – Draw 1 card.
- One Day of Peace – Both you and your opponent draw 1 but it prevents damage from being taken.
- Cyber Valley – Draw and stall.
- Absolute King Back Jack – Not direct drawing but it allows you to fix your topdecks and can get you a free set trap.
- Magician of Faith – Recycles Spell cards which are largely your draw cards.
- Mask of Darkness – Recycles Trap cards for Burn or Draw.
There are various ways of stalling. The stall cards vary in usefulness on whether they can help deal additional burn damage, on how chainable they are, and on their utility.
- Spiritual Swords of Revealing Light – Useful GY effect which means we can dump it with Into the Void and Cards of Demise
- Waboku – Prevents battle damage and can highly chainable.
- Threatening Roar – Can only be activated on your opponent’s turn so not as chainable as Waboku but has its strengths in that it prevents monsters who get their effects after having battled.
- Thunder of Ruler – Prevents your opponent from attacking but only activatable during your opponent’s Standby Phase lessening the window of chaining even more
- Dimension Wall/Magic Cylinder – Deals damage and stalls an attack. Magic Cylinder is a lesser and cheaper version of Dimension Wall.
- Blazing Mirror Force – Able to potentially clear all of your opponent’s Atk position monsters and inflict damage.
- Electromagnetic Turtle – Has a GY effect to end the Battle Phase pairing well with Into the Void and Cards of Demise but is once per duel.
- Tasuke Knight – Similar to Turtle, however, it requires no cards in hand while this is in the GY. Despite this Tasuke Knight has 1700 ATK making it a great out to Denko Sekka.
- Swift Scarecrow – Ends the Battle Phase after a direct attack declaration.
- Battle Fader – Similar to Scarecrow, however, it can be stopped if you negate its summon.
- Book of Eclipse – Can stop an attack by flipping everything face down and then can be combo’d with Secret Barrel after your opponent draws. Flexible in that it can be used to out Denko Sekka and Jinzo.
An advantage of Chain Burn is that many people will not normally expect this match up. A large disadvantage is how easy it can be to side against. Here are some useful aspects things to keep in mind when looking at Main Deck techs or building a strong sideboard.
You’ll likely be made to go second if your opponent is able to choose. To prepare for the inevitable counters look for these cards.
- Lava Golem – 2 card spot removal and will burn your opponent. The 3000 attack is negligible when you have ways to stall out of it.
- Kaiju/Slumber – Additional spot removal and allows for a board clear engine/searchable Kaiju if you dump it in GY.
- Dark Hole – Cheap Classic Board Wipe that can follow up on Ojama Trio
- Raigeki – More Expensive Board Wipe that can follow up on Ojama Trio
- Zaphion, the Timelord – Heavy Backrow removal and hard to remove. In the case that your opponent does remove it, you get to draw a card.
- Cosmic Cyclone/Mystical Space Typhoon – Backrow removal and primary out to floodgates such as Royal Decree.
- Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries – With no real way to utilize the Extra Deck, I’d recommend having it built with key Meta Cards and using Cherries to cripple your opponent.
Snow GY Engine
This is more of a dedicated engine build if you’d like to capitalize on Snow in your GY.
- Fairy Tail – Snow – Snow is looking to be a very useful card tech choice. It has a fairly high 1850 ATK beating over Denko Sekka. Additionally, after chaining all of your Trap cards you can then banish them as cost to Special Summon Snow from your GY and the effects will all still resolve similar to Fairy Wind. Snow doesn’t mind being in the GY through Into the Void and Card of Demise. The potential to Quick Effect Summon Snow for an additional push of damage on your turn or to Book of Moon a problem monster.
- Fairy Tail – Luna – Searches out Snow and has a useful Quick Effect. It consumes your Normal Summon but when under cards like Into the Void and Cards of Demise you’ll be able to send Snow to the GY easily.
- Foolish Burial – To be able to choose which cards can be sent to your GY.
- Mathematician – Another way to send Snow to your GY.
- Peropero Cerperus – An interesting tech card that can be spot removal banish after taking battle damage. This card is more flexible than Snow as it can target oppressive backrow.
It’s unlikely but in the event that it does occur be glad that you had a side deck prepare for it.
- Des Wombat – Essentially making all of the Burn effects useless and can beat your opponent with 1600 Atk.
- D/D/D Rebel King Leonidas – Similar to Des Wombat except that it can be Special Summoned when taking Effect Damage (you’ll heal the damage back) and it has a useful Pendulum effect (so that you don’t have to discard it in End Phase for Into the Void or Cards of Demise).
- Jinzo – Stops all Traps and is useful when paired with…
- Psychic Shockwave – Use to Special Summon Jinzo from Deck
- Aegis of Gaia – A bit petty but jumps you 3000 Life Points. Meant to be used in Time.
Countering Chain Burn
Aside from the obvious cards that directly hinder effect damage or shut down backrow the only real card you might have at your disposal is Denko Sekka. You definitely want to add cards that prevent drawing like Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring and Droll & Lock Bird. If you don’t have these then don’t worry you can still play around the deck. The way to play against Chain Burn is to be very careful in what you place on the field. Place one monster with a fair amount of attack (1000-2000 atk) and slowly poke the Chain Burn Player. Don’t dare to put a second in fear of getting Lava Golem’d. And if they Kaiju you that’s fine as long as you’re not in range of lethal by Ring of Destruction/Dimension Wall/Magic Cylinder. You can try and clear backrow the turn the CB player sets them but be wary if it is a Secret Blast.
Example Deck List
|Deck List – Download|
|Monsters||Mystic Piper x1
Lazion, the Timelord x1
Absolute King Back Jack x2
Peropero Cerperus x1
Maxx “C” x1
|Spells||Chain Strike x2
Into the Void x3
Pot of Duality x3
Card of Demise x3
Pot of Desires x2
Book of Eclipse x1
|Traps||Ojama Trio x2
Secret Blast x3
Secret Barrel x3
Just Desserts x3
Ring of Destruction x1
Balance of Judgment x1
Spiritual Swords of Revealing Light x1
Threatening Roar x2
Dimension Wall x1
|Side||Lava Golem x2
Dark Hole x1
Zaphion, the Timelord x1
Cosmic Cyclone x2
Fairy Tail – Snow x1
Fairy Tail – Luna x1
Foolish Burial x1
Peropero Cerperus x1
D/D/D Rebel King Leonidas x1
Des Wombat x1
Aegis of Gaia x2
Chain Burn is a bit of a nasty deck and has gained an infamous reputation amongst the community and players. Its popularity stems from the hate and dislike of players playing against it than actually piloting the deck itself. Even then I think that it’s important to showcase this deck in an article because of its significance. In terms of budget decks, Chain Burn will always be on that list because of its overall low cost. In addition to its affordability, it is because of its uninteractivity with the opponent that it is a fairly solid pick. It doesn’t need to adjust too much to the meta. At a time now with a punishing banlist to top decks, a roughly defined meta and the release of a core set coming soon it might not be a bad time to put together a Chain Burn deck.