Qliphorts Are The Monsters Under Your Bed and in Your Closet


Hello everyone! I’m back this week following the conclusion of ARGCS St. Louis with a topic that hits very close to home. Ever since they were released, Qliphorts have revolutionized the game and utilized the powerful Pendulum game mechanic, which has proved to be quite the successful strategy for them. Qliphorts also have the ability to play some of the best floodgates in the game and these floods hardly hinder the Qliphort strategy. Cards like Skill Drain, Vanity’s Emptiness, Lose One Turn, and Reqliate have all allowed Qliphort to “autowin” a vast majority of their matches. In addition, all of the Qliphort monsters never really go away, because you can just Pendulum summon them all back from your extra deck. At the Circuit Series this past weekend I lost to my good friend Paul Cooper twice at the event, once in swiss, and the other was in Top 16. I played Nekroz at the event because I know the deck the best out of anything, but while I was building my main and side deck I didn’t commit enough cards to the Qliphort match-up. Lets take a closer look at this well-oiled machine known as Qliphort and examine just what should be done to beat this monstrosity.

In order to provide a standard Qliphort template I’m going to use my friend Brad Larmie’s deck list from the top cut of ARG St. Louis.

I’m going to omit the Side and Extra Decks because I just want to provide a main deck


Main Deck:
2 Qliphort Scout
2 Qliphort Monolith
3 Maxx "C"
3 Qliphort Carrier
3 Qliphort Helix
3 Qliphort Stealth
1 Qliphort Disk
1 Qliphort Shell
1 Qliphort Cephalopod
1 Book of Moon
2 Pot of Duality
1 Saqlifice
3 Summoner's Art
3 Upstart Goblin
3 Fiendish Chain
3 Lose 1 Turn
1 Vanity's Emptiness
1 Reqliate
1 Skill Drain
2 Mirror Force

What Makes Qliphort So Terrifying?

The thing that scares me the most about this deck is the fact that it can grab any of its combo pieces with Qliphort Scout. Scout allows your opponent to give up 800 of their life points to search for any combo piece in their entire deck. Qliphort Scout is also searchable off of Summoner’s Art and the Qliphort equip spell Saqlifice. With an overabundance of search cards it’s very difficult for a Qliphort player to be without their Scout. Brad’s list (Along with Paul Cooper’s) played Pot of Duality, which is just another way to dig for that Qliphort Scout. If a Qliphort player can Scout search three times, they can end the game very quickly. Since the deck is being thinned every turn the chances that a Qliphort player draws into one of their many floodgates increases exponentially.

Following Qliphort Scout there’s the problem of Qliphort Monolith, which is a Super Rejuvenation for the Qliphort deck! Searchable off of Scout and Summoner’s Art Monolith pairs perfectly with Qliphort Scout, which creates an insane amount of free card advantage. Monolith can also be utilized as a powerful attacking monster too! If you tribute summon a Qliphort Disk and use its effect to bring out a Qliphort Carrier and a Qliphort Monolith that’s already 7000 points of damage, which means you just have to summon any other Qliphort monster and you have game.

The tribute fodder of the deck comes in the form of Qliphort Carrier and Qliphort Helix; these two monsters are the most ideal Qliphort monsters to tribute for the more powerful Qliphort monsters. When you tribute Carrier you get to bounce any monster on the field to the owner’s hand, which allows Qliphort to easily clear a path to their opponent’s life points. Alternatively, Qliphort Helix destroys Spells and Traps when it is tributed, which allows a Qliphort player to decimate their opponent’s backrow.

While Brad’s list omitted Qliphort Towers, this huge monster is still a problem for almost every other deck. Towers is unaffected by Spells, Traps, and any monster who has a lower level than it. Earlier in the year players pondered what cards to play to out Qliphort Towers, and in the current metagame it appears that players have all but given up on playing outs to Towers because of the decline in Towers in most Qliphort deck lists.


Qliphort Stealth is another major problem that the Qliphort deck creates. Any card that says, “your opponent cannot respond” has always made a major impact in the metagame (SUPER POLYMERIZATION), which is what makes Stealth such a powerful threat in the Qliphort deck. Both Paul Cooper and Brad Larmie used three copies of Stealth in their decks because the card puts them very far ahead. Stealth’s effect can even be used on your own cards, which means you can reset cards like Fiendish Chain, Lose One Turn, and Reqliate.


Aside from Qliphort Stealth, there exists Shell, Disk, and Cephalopod which all contribute to the Qliphort deck’s power. Qliphort Shell can attack twice and has piercing, which means it can potentially deal 5600 points of damage alone! A lot of Qliphort players have not been using Shell because it doesn’t do anything upon summon, but Shell is one of the Qliphort monsters that I fear the most! Qliphort Disk allows you to thin your deck and push for massive amounts of damage because it lets you special summon two Qliphort monsters from your deck! Lastly, a Qliphort monster that has been rising in popularity is Qliphort Cephalopod. For those who might not be as familiar with Qliphort Cephalopod, here’s the card text:

“Pendulum Effect: You can only Special Summon ‘Qli’ monsters. This effect cannot be negated. All monsters your opponent controls lose 300 ATK.


Monster Effect: You can Normal Summon this card without Tributing. If this card is Normal Summoned without Tributing, or is Special Summoned, its Level becomes 4 and its original ATK becomes 1800. If this card is Normal Summoned/Set, it is unaffected by activated effects from any monster whose original Level/Rank is lower than this card’s current Level. When this card is Tribute Summoned by Tributing a ‘Qli’ monster(s): You can activate this effect; if your opponent has more monsters in their Graveyard than you do, you can gain LP equal to the difference x 300, and if you do, inflict the same amount of damage to your opponent”

Qliphort Cephalopod is used primarily for time against Nekroz because most of the time a Nekroz player will have a larger sum of monsters in their graveyard compared to a Qliphort player’s graveyard. I spoke with Brad about why he used Cephalopod and he told me that he liked it against Burning Abyss as well. Brad said that he wanted a way to regain life and stall after getting Fire Lake’d. Since Fire Lake cuts out a Qliphort player’s resources, Brad said that Cephalopod gave him time to try and find a way back to Qliphort Scout.


One of the biggest reasons why I dislike Qliphort is the deck makes it difficult to main for a Nekroz mirror match, because all of the hand traps that you want to main deck are completely ineffective against Qliphort. What are you going to do, preemptively discard a Maxx “C” to potentially take an even off of a pendulum summon? That isn’t very good is it? It’s all about trying to find a perfect harmony and finding cards that will be good against your mirror and a deck like Qliphort. That was one of the main reasons why I elected to use Shared Ride in my main deck over Maxx “C.” Shared Ride was amazing against the Nekroz mirror match and almost always a guaranteed even in game one against Qliphort.

Solutions to Qliphort

Qliphort isn’t perfect by any means, it’s actually quite weak to side deck cards; lets take a look at some of the potential solutions to Qliphort!


Mystical Space Typhoon is the most common solution to Qliphort because every deck can use it effectively in a game one scenario. It’s almost always better to hold your MST for a floodgate because a Qliphort player can almost always regain access to their Scout if you shotgun your MST when they first play their Scout. Along with MST you can play cards like Twister, Typhoon, and even Dust Tornado to clear a Scout or a floodgate.

Mind Crush is another card that is great in a mirror match and a solid solution to Qliphort. If you happen to catch a Qliphort player with a Scout in their hand and you used Mind Crush on them, the Scout will go to the graveyard, which makes it almost impossible for the Qli player to retrieve it.

Fairy Wind has been regaining favor in most players’ side decks as a solution to Qliphort because of the amount of Floodgates they play. Fairy Wind is also a perfect solution to Scout because it inflicts burn damage to your opponent as well.

Fire and Ice hand are also terrific solutions to Qliphort because they can deal with the floodgates and the monster floodgates if a Qliphort player happens to side in a Spell Canceller or a Vanity’s Fiend! The hands are also great because they can prevent you from getting OTK’d and they tutor Exciton, which is one of the most effective ways to take down Qliphort.

Royal Decree is one of my favorite cards and my security blanket against trap heavy decks. Naturally I find it to be a solid solution to the infinite amounts of traps that Qliphort use. However I don’t like Decree as much against Qliphort because they can simply use Helix’s effect on it and free their backrow from Decree’s clutches. As a Nekroz player, if I’m using Royal Decree to lock my opponent out of their backrows, I should be trying to win the turn I resolve Decree to prevent Helix from even entering the equation.

Ghost Ogre and Snow Rabbit is a brand new card from the Crossed Souls set and I think it has high potential to be one of the best solutions to Qliphort. Since it’s a hand trap you can conceal it in your hand and trigger its effect whenever need be. Anytime you would be using something like MST you can simply use Ghost Ogre and Snow Rabbit. Since Lose One Turn activates to turn the monster it negates to defense mode, you can chain Ghost Ogre on it and clear it. Ghost Ogre can also be used on your opponent’s turn one, which means you can disrupt their first Scout if you happen to have multiple solutions to their backrow.

Qliphort is one of best decks of this format and a very strong contender heading into nationals. I hope that you won’t forget to commit side and main deck cards to this deck because it is a much bigger problem than some decks give it credit for. I won’t be at the Circuit Series in Edison this weekend, but I hope to participate at the Circuit in Syracuse next weekend! Until next time duelists, Play Hard or Go Home!

Maximillian Reynolds
Maximillian Reynolds

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