An Uphill Battle

Necloths—an archetype that has single-handedly sent the Yu-Gi-Oh community into an uproar with its insane consistency, absurd scarcity, and soaring price tag. Duelists everywhere have been doing whatever it takes to get their hands on the boys in blue, including selling kidneys, spending entire tax refunds, and even pawning engagement rings. If you were lucky enough to pick it up before things got out of hand, then congratulations to you on becoming a self-made millionaire; if not, then I suggest you stock up on ramen noodles and Easy Mac, because that’s all you’ll be eating if you want to afford it. However, for those duelists out there who have no intention of picking up the deck, but still wish to remain competitive, I have a few suggestions that might help you out. Remember, though, I said I was a magician, not a miracle worker. For that, you’ll need to seek the help of a higher power. The hype is real.

Not too long ago, Burning Abyss was the reigning champion of several premier events. The deck was absolutely broken when compared to everything else because of its consistent openings and the ability to dish out lethal damage at breakneck speeds. You were able to accomplish this by using an entire theme that replaced itself, regardless of how you abused its resources. You would think that such a deck wouldn’t be able to become completely inferior without the help of a banlist, but unfortunately that isn’t the case—introduce Necloths. There’s just something too broken about having a deck that can search every card with every other card. On top of this, Necloths do perfectly fine with going either first or second. On turn one, they can set up the Djinn lock pretty easily, and on the following turn, you will simply die if you cannot put up a legitimate defense. You will not get several turns to correct the gamestate. When Necloths are going second, be prepared for Trishula, because it’s bound to happen.

It is for these reasons that the three Dantes have been pushed aside for Brionacs, and Virgil has been swapped for Trish. If you still insist on playing Burning Abyss, you need to think retroactively here. In its latest form, the deck played either zero traps, or very few traps. You can really only get away with that when you’re the biggest aggressor in the format. History has proven this when we look back at decks like E-Dragons, Mermails, and Shaddolls with triple Super Poly. Needless to say, Necloths are now the biggest aggressor in the format. Now that we’ve established that Burning Abyss is no longer the biggest aggressor, we can move on to adapting.

Necloths are a combo deck, and like any other combo deck, it needs to maintain card advantage to perform at its best. The deck does not do well in simplified gamestates, except when top decking cards like Preparation of Rites of course. This makes mass destruction incredibly effective against it. Coincidentally, Konami moved Dark Hole to two per deck, and even before that, they brought Raigeki back. Now I know what some of you may be thinking: Well, can’t they just use Gungnir to save their monster (most likely the Djinn’d monster)? And the answer to that would be yes, except for the fact that they only play one copy of it, and it usually happens to be the monster that gets summoned with the Djinn. If anything, there will be a Trishula in their hand that’s waiting for you to target something (usually to prevent Farfa), or to follow up on their ridiculous first turn play. Either way, cards like Dark Hole and Raigeki do not care. Now, we can’t forget that the ritual spells can be activated from the graveyard when they have a clear field, so be mindful of that. To help with this issue, I recommend maxing out on one of the best cards to come out for Burning Abyss – Mask Change II.

Mask Change II into Dark Law is everything you need it to be against Necloths.

  • You can chain it to their search, which will automatically banish one card from their hand at random as soon as their effect resolves. This has the potential to be absolutely ruinous to them for obvious reasons. You may end up taking their only Ritual Spell, or even the card that they just searched.
  • The discard portion of the effect is negligible since your BA cards benefit from it.
  • You will want to continuously search Tour Guide on the end phase—as you normally would—to keep the pressure on while you protect Dark Law.
  • He banishes those annoying Ritual Spells when they’re played, so you won’t have to worry about them using the graveyard effect later on to search another one.
  • The Ritual Monsters will get banished when they use their in-hand effects, so Necloth Mirror will be less effective later on.
  • Herald of Arc Light will not get its graveyard effect to search for any Ritual Spell or Monster.
  • Dark Law’s 2400 attack allows it to beat over The Necloth of Unicore.

Once you establish a Dark Law, cards like Raigeki become even more absurd. Speaking of which, I think that Mirror Force has some serious potential as well. Necloth players will want to have a field of monsters attack you and then tribute them for the effect of The Necloth of Valkyrus, but Mirror Force just says “no.” And let’s be real, no one puts their monsters in defense position these days, so it’s sure to catch entire fields. And not only is Mirror Force unexpected, but it will also prevent you from dying. After getting caught by it once, your opponent will start to make unorthodox plays to maneuver around it. Anything that takes them out of their comfort zone is a benefit to you in the long run. If you have even one backrow, he/she will always assume that it’s Mirror Force again. Remember, mind games win matches.

Another card that helps against Necloths is Farfa. It’s pretty huge in this matchup, because it gives you the ability to escape the Djinn lock and bring out a Dante to get things started. This is part of the reason that I recommend adding back the discard traps that have recently been forgotten. Phoenix Wing Wind Blast and Karma Cut can be a godsend when that first turn Lavalval Chain hits the field. Even if your opponent has a Trishula to stop the discard trap, Farfa can be there to pick up the slack. Honestly, once you get past the initial Djinn lock, you can start to apply some serious pressure.

If you recall in a recent article, I spoke a bit about how good Mind Crush has become, and now it’s even better. Despite the fact that the Necloth player will not have to reveal which ritual monster he/she is summoning, you can still tell exactly what they’re going for by paying attention. Also, they will search something every turn regardless, so it’s always live. Just remember to keep at least one card in your hand before setting it. At the right time, it can be downright crippling. It’s even more absurd when they get caught with doubles of cards in their hands, which is always too much to come back from. And if you think about it, it’s not too unlikely considering that the deck maxes out on several cards. On top of that, if you ever open with double Mind Crush you will have a shoe in to winning that game. Remember, Necloth players love to go second, so a card like Mind Crush can be a great tech choice right now.

As for Side Deck choices, I recommend Vanity’s Fiend and Spell Canceller. They work well with the Burning Abyss engine, and you can side The Monarchs Storm Forth or Puppet Plant to supplement. You will find that it is incredibly hard for them to deal with a first turn Spell Canceller since the deck is comprised of mostly spells—even after siding. Also, you can actually use Tour Guide while Spell Canceller is out, unlike with Vanity’s Fiend. The other card that people have been talking about, Shared Ride, is pretty mediocre because you can’t guarantee a kill even when they stop their searching. The Necloth of Valkyrus will guarantee that your opponent sees another turn. If anything, you might as well be playing Maxx “C” over that because you can at least use Maxx “C” should they choose to go first, and the same result will happen (they will allow you to draw 1 card and say go). Personally, I do not recommend Maxx “C” either, but it’s at least better than Shared Ride in this instance.

I don’t think I have to say much about Qliphorts vs. Necloths since everyone has already figured it out. Maxing out on Skill Drain and Vanity’s Emptiness is the key to winning that matchup. The rest of the game is just beatdown, hoping that they never draw an out. As far as other tech choices go, I’m sure there are plenty that have yet to be discovered and will continue to be discovered as the format progresses. I doubt that anything severe will happen to the deck on the next banlist, so it’s best to learn as much about it now.

Until next time, duelists! Remember, Play Hard or Go Home!

-Frazier Smith

-The Dark Magician

Frazier Smith

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