A few weeks ago Jeff messaged me and told me about a new series of cards that he thought were being overlooked. Much to my own surprise Jeff was talking about the Phantom Knight cards that were being released in the new Wing Raiders set. Jeff began working on the deck on his own because I wasn’t sold immediately and knew that he would probably come up with something better than my own creation anyways. Two weeks ago I visited Jeff and was ready to see his own Phantom Knight deck in action against my Burning Abyss deck. In my head I thought, “How on earth is this deck going to kill me through multiple Dantes with materials?” Low and behold I got otk’d through multiple Dantes on repeat, which definitely peaked my interest in wanting to pick up all of the cards. After completing the deck I began to theorize along with Jeff until he felt like he was ready for the UDS. The day before the UDS Jeff was still immensely nervous because he didn’t know if his deck was going to be good enough, despite several days of extensive testing. The UDS came and went and he finished 9-1 in swiss and lost in top 4 to some unreal circumstances. Overnight the Phantom Knight cards rose in price as the general public’s interest was grabbed. So this begs the question,
“What are Phantom Knights and exactly why did Jeff do so well with them?”
All of the Phantom Knight monsters that Jeff used are level three, which brings about a small resemblance to Graff, Cir, and Scarm when they were first released. This is not to say that these Phantom Knight monsters have identical effects to the infamous Malebranches, but they are all quite good. Each Phantom Knight monster has two effects tailored to them, one grave effect and one effect that can be used from hand or the field. The first Phantom Knight monster I’ll discuss is the Phantom Knight Silent Boots. Boots is like the Geargiacelerator of the deck because he can be special summoned (only once per turn from this effect) from your hand if you control another Phantom Knight monster (including himself). His second effect allows him to banish himself to search for any of the Phantom Knight spell or trap cards, which I’ll get into later.
The next monster I’d like to go over is The Phantom Knights Ragged Gloves, which is my second favorite among the trio. Ragged Gloves has the on field effect of when it is used as an XYZ material for a dark monster you can choose to give that monster an extra 1000 attack points. The graveyard effect is why I think Ragged Gloves is such an awesome card; you can banish him from your graveyard to send any of the Phantom Knight cards to the graveyard. I haven’t gotten to this yet, but the traps can be removed from the graveyard to special summon back any of the Phantom Knights monsters. This makes Ragged Gloves a pseudo Cir because he can just foolish any trap and reborn another Phantom Knight. Ragged Gloves also makes
cards like Mathematician and Foolish Burial great ways to toolbox for any monster or Spell/Trap you might need in your game.
The final Phantom Knight monster among the trio in Jeff’s deck is Ancient Cloak. Cloak is my favorite of the three because you can banish him from your graveyard to search for any of the Phantom Knight monsters. Alternatively you can switch him to defense mode to boost any dark monster’s attack by 800 until the end of your opponent’s next turn. The Phantom Knight XYZ monster is a generic rank 3, but his effect shines in a deck that utilizes the Phantom Knight monsters. For those that may not know, the Phantom Knight XYZ, Break Sword, can detach a material to target a card on both sides of the field and destroy them (Scrap Dragon). When he dies he can special summon two Phantom Knight monsters from the graveyard and increase their levels by one. However after using this effect you can only special summon dark monsters for the rest of the turn. Break Sword’s effect allows you to make powerful dark xyz monsters like Evilswarm Nightmare, Evilswarm Thanatos, Master Key Beetle and Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon. The best part of Break Sword’s effect is that if he brings back Ragged Gloves and you use it to overlay into any of these Dark xyz monsters they will gain 1000 attack points. The ability to summon Evilswarm Nightmare at 1900 or Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon at 3500 is quite the advantage.
There are only three Phantom Knight trap cards that you want to use in the deck because they’re the only ones that allow you to special summon the Phantom Knight monsters back from the graveyard. It’s important to note that you can use both effects of the each trap per turn, which means you can use one to boost a monster’s stats and then banish it to summon another monster. The first and most important trap in the deck is Fog Blade. Fog Blade is a fiendish chain that prevents the targeted monster from attacking and being attacked, which is extremely advantageous when trying to prevent cards like Ignister, Abyss Dweller, Rafflesia and Evilswarm Nightmare from resolving their powerful effects.
The other two traps that you play, Knight’s Wing and Knight’s Sword, are both attack modifiers that are permanent. Along with their attack modification they protect the corresponding monster from dying once (by battle or card effect) during that turn. A common argument that was presented against playing 9 copies of the Phantom Knight traps was, “Well with 9 traps wouldn’t the chances of you drawing unplayable increase?” While this is a very valid accusation, the traps are far too important to not maximize. Since the majority of resources are acquired in the graveyard, there’s a huge emphasis on milling in this deck. This begs the question, how many good cards are there to mill? With nine Phantom Knight traps, and another nine Phantom Knight monsters that equates to 18 cards out of your 40 that you want to mill. At this rate forty-five percent of your deck is a valid “mill target”. Obviously there are extraneous variables to account for like the possibility of a thirty-seven-card deck, and drawing your opening five/six cards. The key idea here is that you’re sacrificing a minimal amount of consistency for a large amount of power by playing nine Phantom Knight traps.
Now that we’ve established an understanding of what all the Phantom Knight cards do, lets talk about the rest of the cards that are used in the deck and how they interact with these new Phantom Knight cards. Earlier in the article I talked about how Jeff and I were using Card Trooper in the first build we had, and that we eventually cut it. Card Trooper was an extra normal summon that we replaced with various special summons. These special summons came in the form of a new engine involving Emergency Teleport and Super Quantum Blue Layer. For those that are not aware of what Blue Layer does he is a level three Psychic monster that puts himself back into the deck whenever he’s sent to the graveyard (Once per turn). This means that you can use Teleport to bring out Blue Layer from your hand or deck and make a rank three with one of your Phantom Knight monsters. Secondly, when you detach or mill Blue Layer you can just return him back to your deck, which makes your Teleport engine only 4 cards.
As previously stated we wanted to take the Phantom Knight deck away from a normal summon dynamic, which lead us to use the Speedroid cards. Jeff included three copies of Speedroid Terrortop in his deck because it’s an instant rank three that doesn’t even consume a normal summon. Whenever Terrortop is summoned it can add a Speedroid monster (except itself) from deck to hand, which prompted us to use Takemtoborg and Tri-Eyed Dice as search targets. Takemtoborg can be special summoned from your hand whenever you control a Wind monster, which is any of the other Speedroids and conveniently Leviair the Sea Dragon. Tri-Eyed Dice is literally just a Necro Gardna and also a level three tuner, which sometimes allowed us to make Trishula.
Phantom Knights are difficult to classify in terms of play style because they’re very controlling (via Fog Blade primarily), yet quite aggressive once they have their graveyard setup. Like most decks there are stages to which Phantom Knights progress throughout a game. Similar to Dragon Rulers without the babies, the early game is all about trying to get as many different resources to grave as quickly as possible. You want to see cards like Emergency Teleport and Terrortop to accelerate your deck’s progression away from the early game via Dante’s milling effect. After you’ve left the early game you’ll be playing the majority of the match in the mid game because this deck is very difficult to stop once it gets rolling. Once the grave is set you can typically summon two Leviair the Sea Dragons and two other Xyzs to help clear your opponent’s field. Similar to Burning Abyss, this deck utilizes F0 to help clear monsters like Dark Destroyer, Dark Eclipser, and Fore Runner among other annoying cards. The reason why I said this deck spends the majority of the game in the mid-game is because once you’ve gone off into all your Xyzs you should have won. With very little way to recoup resources this deck has a hard time in the late game, which is why you need to conserve you big push until you know you can win.
While I’ve been quite busy with my education, I still plan to attend some of the upcoming ARGs/YCSs and continue to write for all of you. I strongly encourage you to try Phantom Knights because they’re a very interesting deck with a super cool set of cards to use. Until next time, Play Hard or Go Home!