Gem-Knight Shaddoll

Hey everyone! This past weekend was exciting weekend in the dueling world. We had both YCS Toronto and YCS Rimini take place. While Burning Abyss took top honors in Toronto, a Performage Nekroz deck similar to the one I talked about last week won in Italy. While my Toronto experience didn’t go as planned, I played a radically different build of Shaddolls that utilized Gem-Knight cards that I feel is worth talking about today. Due to school starting back, I didn’t have much time to refine the build before playing it at the YCS, but I believe the concept was strong and there is a lot of room to build on this idea. Let’s start out by taking a look at the decklist:


Monsters: 19

2 Gem-Knight Garnet

3 Shaddoll Squamata

2 Shaddoll Beast

2 Shaddoll Falco

1 Shaddoll Dragon

1 Shaddoll Hedgehog

1 Elemental Hero Blazeman

1 Photon Thrasher

1 Armageddon Knight

1 Jigabyte

1 Performage Damage Juggler

2 Performaged Trick Clown

1 Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning


Spells: 17

3 Shaddoll Fusion

3 El Shaddoll Fusion

3 Upstart Goblin

3 Brilliant Fusion

2 Reinforcement of the Army

1 Polymerization

1 Foolish Burial

1 Soul Charge


Traps: 4

3 Solemn Scolding

1 Shaddoll Core


Extra Deck: 15

3 El Shaddoll Construct

2 El Shaddoll Anoytylis

1 El Shaddoll Shekinagha

1 El Shaddoll Winda

2 Gem-Knight Seraphinite

1 Evilswarm Exciton Knight

1 Diagusto Emeral

1 Bujintei Tsukuyomi

1 Castel the Skyblaster Musketeer

1 King of the Feral Imps

1 Arcanite Magician


mistakeThe first question that I think should be asked and most logical starting point is “Why not Nekroz?” Their engine is more powerful than every other engine so there would need to be a pretty good reason to not play them.


The first and biggest reason is that they can be floodgated so easily. Realistically, the statement “their engine is more powerful than every other engine” is incomplete. They are more powerful than every other engine, but only when they can play. They will beat other engines in head-to-head bouts, but cards like Mistake or Vanity’s Emptiness make it so that you can’t always go head-to-head with other engines and come out on top. With the same decks at the top since February, the game has largely become stale and people have perfected their Anti-Nekroz strategies.


book of eclipseShaddolls capitalize on this by having a floodgate against Nekroz built into their engine with the water fusion. Djinn previously being in the meta weakened Shaddolls comparatively. Not only did they not have a good out to Djinn itself, every card that the opponents were already using to out Djinn already was an out to the water fusion. Since people cut cards like Book of Eclipse from their Nekroz decks when Djinn was banned, Shaddoll’s ability to utilize the water fusion got a lot stronger. I used King of the Feral Imps to search Jigabyte so that I did not have to rely on straight drawing a water monster when I played against Shaddolls. The reason for Scolding was so that the water fusion could be protected.


I always talk about how all plus 1s are not created equal. What I mean is that I would generally rather give myself an extra card than have my opponent lose an extra card. Where Nekroz only have Diagusto Emeral in the extra deck that really allows them to give themselves an extra card, Shaddolls have multiple extra deck options to give themselves an extra card. Construct, Emeral, Tsukuyomi, and King of the Feral Imps all do this.


reinforcement of the armyThe next problem was the fusion problem. You can’t play until you get one fusion, but you don’t want to keep having them after you draw the first and if you add too many, then you risk having clogged hands I tried to fix this by adding Blazeman, Polymerization, and two Reinforcement of the Army to the deck. The idea was that these cards all served as the first fusion card in addition to the regular six fusion spells. Then once you already had a fusion card, Reinforcement could do something other than be a fusion. These uses were getting Armageddon Knight to trigger a Shaddoll effect and getting Photon Thrasher. Photon Thrasher was a very high utility card in that it gave you a light to fuse with off of Reinforcement, it opened up XYZ plays, and it gave you access to Bujintei Tsukuyomi that could trigger Shaddoll effects and get you deeper into your deck.


When I first read Brilliant Fusion I realized how amazing of a card it was. It has the ability to fuse from deck, like Shaddoll Fusion, without your opponent actually needing an extra deck monster on the field. You could simply activate the card and fuse directly from deck. I immediately started out by reading all the Gem-Knight cards searching for a potential way to abuse this. Most of the Gem-Knight fusions didn’t really have a way to abuse this. They were all Gem-Knight + Gem-Knight, specific Gem-Knight + generic Gem-Knight, or Gem-Knight + off brand type like Aqua or Pyro. While I was briefly considering the synergy between the Pyro one and Volcanic Shell, I came across Gem-Knight Seraphinite.


eclipse wyvernWhere all the other Gem-Knight fusions had required other Gem-Knights or subpar types, this fusion took a Gem-Knight and a Light monster to make. I got really excited and began pondering the possibilities. My new favorite monsters, the Performages immediately came to my mind, but so did other light monsters like White-Stone of Legend and Eclipse Wyvern.


Seraphinite also had 2300 attack, which meant that I could discard a spell card to make him have his original attack. Nekroz of Unicore was one of the biggest problems for Shaddolls. By activating Brilliant Fusion and discarding a spell to give him back his original attack, I could break even with Unicore without losing advantage because I would be able to send a Performage. This allowed me to make plays after dealing with the Unicore, whereas it would be typically much more subpar to have to make a Construct that couldn’t use his effect to attack over Unicore. Since Seraphinite was enough, I could still make Construct main phase 2 and get the effect.


I then turned to what Gem-Knights I could actually use in my main deck now that I had a fusion to pair with it. Some of them had decent effects like adding a Gem-Knight normal back to my hand, a Lonefire-like effect for Gem-Knight normals, or a Kalut effect for Gem-Knights. The problem with all of these cards is they required a more dedicated Gem-Knight engine with more Gem-Knight cards to make them good. I was looking for a way to splash what I could tell was a broken card, Brilliant Fusion, into another deck that had a powerful engine in its own right. I wasn’t looking to play a full-on Gem-Knight deck. Gem-Knight Garnet was the best option I came up with for a standalone monster. As a 1900 beater, level 4 monster that I could make XYZ plays, and an earth to fuse with, he was the least terrible Gem-Knight.


I realized that having multiple clowns in hand wasn’t necessarily a good thing and that I could replace additional copies of Performages with copies of Brilliant Fusion. This would allow me to still have a light monster whenever I drew Brilliant Fusion instead of it being a Performage, because I could simply send a Performage to fuse from my deck. This served to raise the ceiling of the deck by expanding Performage plays, making bigger fields, providing me an extra normal summon, giving me XYZ plays, and outing problem cards such as Unicore.


Stellarknight Constellar DiamondWhile I didn’t do the best with the deck, I think there is a lot to this concept and I don’t plan to give up on the idea. I hope that someone is able to improve on this concept and really take it to the next level. Some of the constraints of the deck included having an incredibly tight extra deck as well as me undervaluing the impact of Constellar Satellarknight Diamond. I would start by addressing these issues when attempting to improve on this concept. This deck certainly has an excellent Nekroz matchup and a lot of potential. Let me know what you think about the deck in the comments down below and feel free to leave any suggestions you might have for ways to make the deck better. Until next time, play hard or go home!

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

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