Bad Religion: Priestessless Prophecy

frazier smithHey, duelists! It’s that time again! We’re in one of the most exciting parts of the year when WCQs are taking place around the globe. If you’ve been following the coverage brought to you by ARG’s Facebook page or Cordero’s Facebook and Youtube, then you’ll have noticed that Dragons are dominating almost everything right now. Prophecy is a close second, of course, and speaking of “seconds,” I wanted to discuss the deck that got 2nd place at the WCQ in Italy this past weekend—Priestessless Prophecy. Not only did the player who used the deck get second, but he actually went undefeated up until the finals, managing to go 14-0. Here’s his list:
Monsters: 7
3 [ccProd]Spellbook Magician of Prophecy[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer[/ccProd] 1 [ccProd]Jowgen the Spiritualist[/ccProd]

Spells: 29
3 [ccProd]Spellbook Library of the Crescent[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Spellbook of Fate[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Spellbook of Judgment[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Spellbook of Power[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Spellbook of Secrets[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Upstart Goblin[/ccProd] 2 [ccProd]Spellbook of the Master[/ccProd] 2 [ccProd]Spellbook of Wisdom[/ccProd] 2 [ccProd]The Grand Spellbook Tower[/ccProd] 1 [ccProd]Spellbook of Life[/ccProd] 1 [ccProd]Spellbook of Eternity[/ccProd] 1 [ccProd]Spellbook Star Hall[/ccProd] 1 [ccProd]Book of Moon[/ccProd] 1 [ccProd]Heavy Storm[/ccProd]

Traps: 4
2 [ccProd]Phoenix Wing Wind Blast[/ccProd] 1 [ccProd]Solemn Warning[/ccProd] 1 [ccProd]Solemn Judgment[/ccProd]

Side Deck: 15
3 Droll & Lock Bird
3 [ccProd]Mind Crush[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Summon Limit[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Mystical Space Typhoon[/ccProd] 2 [ccProd]Old Vindictive Magician[/ccProd] 1 [ccProd]Apprentice Magician[/ccProd]

HighPriestessofProphecy-REDU-EN-ScR-1EThe first thing I want to say is that this decklist is very impressive to me for so many reasons. First and foremost is the fact that it doesn’t use the standard boss monster, [ccProd]High Priestess of Prophecy[/ccProd], so let me explain the logic behind that.

At YCS New Jersey, I used Prophecy along with several other members of ARG. All of us played only two copies of High Priestess because she created clunky hands and consistency issues. Drawing more than one of her too early would often lead to a swift defeat. Drawing her in the late game would also often lead to a swift defeat, especially when you aren’t close to her three Spellbook requirement (believe me, it happens quite often). What I realized only after using the deck was something that a good friend of mine and fellow SJC Champion, Stephen Silverman, brought to my attention: Prophecy doesn’t want to draw any of its cards in multiples.

Almost every card in the deck says it can only be used once per turn. This means that any cards you draw more than one of will usually be dead cards for at least one turn. The deck is very dependent on getting set up on the first turn with [ccProd]The Grand Spellbook Tower[/ccProd], [ccProd]Spellbook of Fate[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Spellbook Magician of Prophecy[/ccProd] (or any Spellcaster). Outside of [ccProd]Justice of Prophecy[/ccProd], that will always be your best opening, regardless of how you get to it. Now we have [ccProd]Spellbook of Judgment[/ccProd] which most players have opted to main a full playset—once again, another card that you do not want to draw multiples of in your opening hand. Now while [ccProd]Spellbook of Judgment[/ccProd] is undoubtedly one of the most powerful cards in the game and a huge boost to the consistency of the Prophecy deck, it is still contingent on your ability to string together a couple spells after its resolution. Any hand where you draw too many monsters—around 3 to 4—will be a rough game. I lost a few games where I drew High Priestess while I only had two Spellbooks in my hand. I would’ve taken any other card but her. The deck wants to draw infinite spells because the monsters are searchable when necessary. It also doesn’t want cards like [ccProd]Spellbook of Life[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Spellbook of Eternity[/ccProd] in the opening unless your hand can support itself. Going first, you might not want to see [ccProd]Spellbook of Power[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Spellbook of Wisdom[/ccProd], either, since those cards are contingent on your opponent having cards on the field. There are chances for [ccProd]Spellbook of the Master[/ccProd] to be dead, too, since it requires a Spellcaster and a Spellbook that you actually want to copy. You will draw it with nothing good in the grave, and it will suck, but it happens. These factors do not make the deck bad by any means, but they are just the things that make it not tier 0.

Spellbook of SecretsSo we have three conditions that are bad for Prophecy:
The First- Drawing too many of the same card, creating clunky hands.
The Second- Drawing too many monsters. I can tell you from personal experience that opening with two High Priestess is not fun unless your hand contains [ccProd]Spellbook of Secrets[/ccProd] and at least two other Spellbook cards.
The Third- Drawing cards that do not help you to get started early on (Life, Wisdom, Eternity).

The crazy thing is, most of the issues with Prophecy can be solved by merely opening with [ccProd]Spellbook Magician of Prophecy[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Spellbook of Secrets[/ccProd]. It’s those games where you don’t have either that things get tricky. But we want to talk about why Priestess was cut, right? Well, she adds to the deck’s inconsistencies, as I’ve aforementioned, but she also isn’t necessary for you to win. I would argue that Priestess now only makes the deck win faster, but she isn’t necessarily a don’t-draw-don’t-win type of card. The deck is meant to grind away the opponent’s cards and beat on him while he tries to recover. The Spellbooks do the grinding, and anything can do the beating. Before we even had [ccProd]Spellbook of Judgment[/ccProd], there were games at YCS New Jersey where I would beat my opponent from 8000 with two Spellbook Magicians one turn at a time. They wouldn’t scoop when I had +8 and I’m not the type of person to tell someone to quit, even though it’s in their best interest for time’s sake.

Without High Priestess, the deck relies heavily on the lockdown ability of [ccProd]Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer[/ccProd]. Not only is he 1800, which beats just about anything in the format when pumped by one of three copies of [ccProd]Spellbook of Power[/ccProd], but he also acts as a Spellcaster for the sake of Master, Tower, and Fate. It’s also worthy to note that the deck does not use any monster in the main or side that is not a Spellcaster. The engine is tightly bound together; everything must contribute to its consistency and resourcefulness. Being able to search anything short of your trap cards is unheard of. Then, the most obvious use of him is in the Elemental Dragon matchup to prevent the summoning of the adults by removing two cards in the grave, though they can do it from the hand, too. When he deals damage, you’ll want to remove everything but the adult Dragons--since they would trigger if you did—and that way, if Kycoo ever leaves the field, their graveyard won’t consist of anything but once per turn effects. Kycoo also helps in the mirror match where [ccProd]Spellbook of Fate[/ccProd] is the end-all, be-all. He locks out the opponent’s ability to remove their in-grave Spellbooks for the cost of Fate, rendering the card literally unplayable.

Spellbook Library of the CrescentAnother update to the Prophecy deck is the use of three copies of [ccProd]Spellbook Library of the Crescent[/ccProd]. It says:

If you have no "Spellbook" Spell Cards in your Graveyard: Reveal 3 "Spellbook" Spell Cards with different names from your Deck, your opponent randomly adds 1 of them to your hand, and shuffle the rest back into your Deck. You can only activate 1 "[ccProd]Spellbook Library of the Crescent[/ccProd]" per turn. You cannot activate any Spell Cards the turn you activate this card, except "Spellbook" Spell Cards.

This card has seen little play in the past—mostly as a 1-of that had the chance to act as another way to search Secrets. Its major drawback is the fact that you can’t have any other Spellbook spells in the grave, which may sound rough to you, but remember that [ccProd]The Grand Spellbook Tower[/ccProd] can get your graveyard back down to zero, though it is doubtful now with [ccProd]Spellbook of Judgment[/ccProd] accelerating the deck. You also can’t play Spell cards if they aren’t Spellbook Spell cards. This means no [ccProd]Heavy Storm[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Book of Moon[/ccProd]. That really isn’t too much of a drawback considering that those cards won’t need to be played during the time when you’ll be activating Library of the Crescent. The card is meant to be activated as the first thing you do on your first turn. Playing three of it ensures that you open up with a copy. It really just adds consistency to the deck. It’s another card that adds to that first turn setup.

The last thing I want to briefly express in this article is that Prophecy’s win condition was never really High Priestess. The deck has always won by shear card advantage. Many players seem to think that the game isn’t over until your lifepoints hit zero, which is false, and will only send you into time/end of round procedure more often than you should. I’m not about to continue a game where my opponent has +7 and I’m shuffling 4 cards total between my hand and field. Scoop it up, go to game two, and pray for Eradicator. Realize when you can no longer win the game.

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

-Frazier Smith
-The Dark Magician

Frazier Smith

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