The Light Knight Rises

If you tuned in to YCS Charleston earlier this month, you will know that Satellarknights had a stronger showing than Shaddolls in the Top32. The last time the light-based warrior deck was considered “top tier” was at ARG Atlantic City, which is when it first came out. Ever since then, it has struggled with a meta consisting of triple Super Polymerization, and then the absurdities of Burning Abyss shortly after. However, a few duelists were able to take full advantage of Secrets of Eternity and the release of Satellarknight Constellar Diamond. One such duelist was Stephen Dabreo, who took his Satellarknight deck all the way to a 9-1 finish, placing him at 4th place before the playoffs. Let’s take a look at his list:

Monsters: 15

3 Satellarknight Deneb

3 Satellarknight Altair

3 Satellarknight Unukhalai

2 Satellarknight Vega

2 Maxx “C"

2 Honest

Spells: 9

3 Mystical Space Typhoon

3 Reinforcement of the Army

1 Raigeki

1 Snatch Steal

1 Book of Moon

Traps: 16

3 Stellarnova Alpha

3 Call of the Haunted

3 Mind Crush

2 Oasis of Dragon Souls

2 Dust Tornado

1 Compulsory Evacuation Device

1 Solemn Warning

1 Bottomless Trap Hole

Side Deck: 15

3 Xyz Universe

3 Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror

3 Fairy Wind

2 De-Fusion

1 Maxx “C”

1 Satellarknight Alsham

1 Mirror Force

1 Soul Drain

Extra Deck: 15

2 Satellarknight Triverr

2 Satellarknight Constellar Diamond

1 Satellarknight Delteros

1 Number 106: Giant Hand

1 Constellar Ptolemy M7

1 Heroic Champion Excalibur

1 Downerd Magician

1 Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer

1 Evilswarm Exciton Knight

1 Number 103: Ragnazero

1 Daigusto Emeral

1 Cairngorgon, Antiluminescent Knight

1 Gagaga Cowboy

Dabreo’s list meets a lot of the standard qualifications for a Satellarknight deck, but it also deviates a bit in some departments. We have the typical low-monster-high-trap ratio to give it that stun-esque feel, and a few anti-meta choices to assist in combatting the stale meta. Technically, there are only sixteen active monsters in the deck, since Maxx “C” would only be used as a monster when you’re getting absolutely scraped, or when an additional 500 damage means you win the match. I count Honest as an active monster because it can be used to make Rank 4s, which is exactly what you’d want to be doing, and I always count cards like Reinforcement of the Army as monsters since that’s the only thing you’ll be using them for.

He chose to play two copies of Maxx “C” specifically because the most played deck, Burning Abyss, is highly susceptible to it. Not only can it halt their plays on the first turn, preventing them from spamming the board before you can make a move, but it also gives you an auto-win when they are forced to keep going because you have an established field. Since Satellarknights play a grind game, it certainly doesn’t hurt to get a few +1s from it whenever your opponent is feeling generous or just in a bad spot. On a very small level, it can help you to see key cards like Deneb or a backrow. In your other matchups—Shaddolls and Qliphorts—it will be nothing more than a slower Upstart Goblin. I guess it’s also worth mentioning that more players are starting to use Satellarknights, so you can Maxx “C” their opposing Altair/Vega plays to get a quick +1 should they choose to continue.

What I really love about his list is that it contains three copies of Mind Crush. Other high level players have had success in the past by maxing out on this tech card at the right time, including Jeff Jones, who won an ARG event with it. For the uninitiated, Mind Crush is always one of the best cards once the format becomes predictable. You don’t have to guess what your opponent has in his or her hand because everything is obvious in a format like this one. On the rare occasion when you do have to infer, you can just call the one card that you really don’t want to see. There is an art to this, though. You want to establish a field that is virtually unbreakable, and then call “Raigeki” for example.

To be more specific, let’s say you were playing against Shaddolls with Burning Abyss and you had double Dante on the field from the extra deck. The only card you don’t want to see at that point is Shaddoll Fusion. You already know that their win condition is to resolve Shaddoll Fusion while you have an extra deck monster on the field. At that point, why not just proactively call Shaddoll Fusion and make everything else your opponent has in his hand irrelevant? You could do the same thing in a Satellarknight mirror match by calling Altair right before your opponent gets to play it. If you were up against Burning Abyss, you could wait until your opponent tries to special summon one of them from the hand and then use Mind Crush to discard it. Since he already activated one of its effects, it won’t get its graveyard effect. This is especially good against Cir, Graff, and Scarm when they are being special summoned from the hand.

The next interesting things to take a look at are the two copies of Dust Tornado. It’s safe to say that these were solely meant for the Qliphort matchup. We saw the winner of ARGCS Orlando overcome several Qliphort players by having a stream of backrow destruction at all times. Double MST, or anything like it, can be absolutely devastating to that deck in the early game. If they can’t get started in the first two turns, it’s over. By the time they finally resolve a Scout, their lifepoints would be too low, or you will have too much control on the game. Let’s not forget that Qliphorts can only normal summon once per turn under normal circumstances, so until they build a legitimate extra deck of pendulum monsters, you can focus on stopping their one monster per turn. If the Qliphort player tries to wall up with Saqlifice, you will want to use Castel to return the Equip card back to his deck and then beat over the monster. If things get too out of hand, you can summon Evilswarm Exciton Knight to clear the field and reestablish control of the game.

Dabreo chose to play a total of five traps that bring monsters back from the grave because the deck is highly dependent on seeing that first copy of Deneb. This means that Unukhalai and any of the five will give you access to the most important part of your deck. After you see the first Deneb, you will continuously bring back Altair on your opponent’s end phase so that you can reuse his effect on your own turn. This is also how you get out Delteros, Triverr, and finally Diamond. Since Satellarknights can only normal summon once per turn, these graveyard recursion cards are great for keeping up with the special summon capabilities of the other decks. Also, since Call of the Haunted and Oasis of Dragon Souls will stay on the field if you overlay with the monster that was summoned by their effect, you can combo with Triverr to return all face up copies to the hand and reuse them. The same thing can be said for Fiendish Chain, which a lot of players are picking up on now.

I think it’s worth mentioning that Dabreo decided to play the two available copies of Honest. I say this because many players have opted against it. There are good arguments for and against playing it. On one hand, it does not advance your gamestate at all if you are in a bad spot, and by that, I mean when you do not have a Deneb. It actually makes your bad hands worse, just like Call of the Haunted and Oasis of Dragon Souls. This is due to the insane speed of the game right now. You don’t have time to correct your bad hands like you would in 2011 and years prior to it. On the other hand, Honest becomes a win condition in the late game. Once your opponent has taken too much damage, he or she has to live in fear that attacking any light monster could be the end of the game. They may start to make awkward plays like putting monsters in defense position that would normally get summoned in attack. Honest can also be a great top deck in a game where all you need is a little push to win. I’m sure it shines a lot in the Qliphort matchup since they go deep in the lifepoint tank to advance their gamestate.

In the extra deck we have Triverr and Diamond, two amazing additions to the Satellarknight strategy that are great for disrupting or locking down your opponent’s deck. For starters, Triverr happens to combo perfectly with Mind Crush. Since he comes out and returns all cards on the field to the hand, you can just call the card you don’t want to see again. If there was a Denko Sekka locking down your backrows, you could summon Triverr to bounce her and the rest of the field to the hand and then Mind Crush her away. This will ensure that your three to four traps get to go unopposed. Triverr is also great against those obnoxious Burning Abyss fields of double or triple Dante that have become a staple in today’s meta. If your opponent has yet to turn them into Downerd Magicians, Triverr will work wonders by returning them to the extra deck. After successfully resolving that effect, you can proceed to use Triverr’s other effect to discard a card from your opponent’s hand and then turn him into Satellarknight Constellar Diamond.

Diamond is the reason that Satellarknights are back on the map right now. His effect is so absurdly relevant in Yu-Gi-Oh that he couldn’t be ignored. He is exactly what the deck needed to combat such a Dark-based, graveyard dependent meta. Diamond makes Shaddolls run back to the shadows and makes Burning Abyss travel back to the rivers and the lakes that they’re used to. The scary thing is, Satellarknights are not the only deck that utilizes the card. You see, Xyz Universe happens to be splashable in any side deck, and the common field of Double Dante is perfect fodder for Diamond’s summon. What’s cool about summoning Diamond off of Xyz Universe is that the two Dantes used to make him will not get to use their effects unless they want those cards to get banished. That’s right, his continuous effect immediately applies, so Dante’s effect to add a BA card to the hand will be rendered completely useless. You also can’t use Dante’s effect to mill because Diamond says neither player can send cards from the deck to the graveyard. He’s just an all-around nuisance.

If I had to change anything about Stephen’s deck, it would be adding three copies of Upstart Goblin. This deck is far too dependent on opening with Deneb for me to forego that card. I would cut Bottomless Trap Hole, one Dust Tornado, and one Oasis of Dragon Souls to fit them in. Bottomless and Dust could move to the Side Deck if needed because they’re only good for the Qliphort matchup. Other than that, the list is pretty solid. What do you think about the return of Satellarknights? Let us know in the comments section below.

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

-Frazier Smith

-The Dark Magician

Frazier Smith

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