Exposed: Karakuri


Oh hello Yu-Gi-Oh world! I’m Frazier Smith, YCS Atlanta Winner, and the newest member of the Alter Reality Games crew. Today I’ll be starting a new column called “Exposed” where I’ll be discussing deck archetypes that are receiving lots of popularity and are also highly competitive. In this particular article I will talk about the new outbreak machine deck known as “Karakuri.” The September 1st banlist has caused some decks to be more viable than they once were because of certain restrictions like royal oppression and new additions like heavy storm. In the first YCS of this format we saw that Karakuri took 2 spots of the top 32, piloting by former SJC Winners Anthony Alvarado and Dale Bellido. In YCS Ohio, fellow writer, star player, and member of ARG, Jeff Jones, took Karakuri to a top16 finish. You can find a deck profile of Jeff’s deck in the following link:

Main Phase 2 Tricks

Karakuri have many complicated implications that you MUST remember in order to play it correctly. The first thing that you will notice about the monsters is that they must attack each turn if possible, except the Synchros. This can be problematic if the opponent has a bigger monster on the field because then your Karakuri monster will have to attack into it. However, if you use the Yu-Gi-Oh game mechanics to your advantage you can avoid this. You can enter your battle phase even if you do not control a monster which means that if I wanted to summon a “Karakuri Merchant” for example, I could first enter my battle phase and then enter main phase 2, which will allow me to summon him, search for another Karakuri card, and avoid attacking into something bigger. Another interesting fact to note about Karakuri monsters is that if they are in defense position when you enter the battle phase they will not have to attack that turn because it is not possible. A common misconception is that you must turn them to attack mode and attack with them every turn which isn’t true.

Position Changes

Karakuri monsters have another line of text that is a norm on all of them except the Synchros, which is that when they are selected as an attack target they must change their battle position. This can be very tricky if you don’t pay close attention to each individual Karakuri monster’s text because not all of them will change if they are in defense position. “Karakuri Strategist” will only change his battle position if he is selected as an attack target while he is in face-up attack position. This means that you can leave him in defense position and nothing problematic will happen.

Karakuri Strategist: This card must attack if able. When this face-up Attack Position card is selected as an attack target, change it to Defense Position. When this card is Normal or Special Summoned, select 1 monster on the field and change its battle position. 500atk 1600def

On the other hand, there are Karakuri monsters such as “Ninishi” that change battle positions when attacked regardless of position. This means that it will be better to keep it in attack mode if you want to avoid taking unnecessary damage each turn because it will automatically turn itself into defense position. Also, since “Ninishi” has 1900 defense you shouldn’t have to worry too much about it getting destroyed in battle.

Karakuri Ninishi: This card must attack if able. When this face-up card on the field is selected as an attack target, change its battle position. While this card is face-up on the field, once per turn during your Main Phase, you can Normal Summon a "Karakuri" monster in addition to your Normal Summon or Set. (You can only gain this effect once per turn.) 0atk 1900def

Karakuri players must watch out for fields that have more than 1 monster because a smart opponent can use the first monster to attack and put the Karakuri in defense position and have the other monster attack to put the Karakuri in attack position where they are most vulnerable.

X-Saber Comparisons

You might’ve noticed that Karakuri(s) are all earth and have very similar effects to that of X-Saber monsters. I actually write out all of my decks on Microsoft Word and put little parenthesis next to each monster’s name because it helps to remember what they are. Here is what I mean:

Karakuri Komachi mdl 224 "Ninishi" (boggart knight)

Karakuri Soldier mdl 236 "Nisamu" (emmersblade)

Karakuri Ninja mdl 919 "Kuick" (fulhelm knight)

Karakuri Merchant mdl 177 "Inashichi" (stratos)

Karakuri Strategist mdl 248 "Nishipachi" (enemy controller)

Karakuri Watchdog mdl 313 "Saizan" (4star tuner)

Although the text on each Karakuri is not exactly the same as that of the code names next to them it still helps me remember which card it is because they are extremely similar. The fact that they are all earth has more implications that you may realize at first glance. First and foremost is that you can make all the naturia Synchros which require earth monsters and have game changing effects. Naturia Beast has a good chance of coming out on the first turn and since he negates your opponent’s spell cards you can set all of your backrows without fear of heavy storm or mystical space typhoon. It also gives him a bit of built in protection from cards like dark hole, mind control, and enemy controller. The ability to make Naturia Beast is actually one of the reasons why the deck is so good. It literally shuts down the entire Darkworld deck because it relies so heavily on spell cards as an outlet to discarding and getting the deck started. The deck has some other cool X-Saberish plays like ramming the Karakuri soldier into a monster to trigger his effect to summon a Karakuri monster from the deck, bringing out Karakuri Kuick, attacking over a monster and triggering his effect to summon a Karakuri monster from the grave in defense position. This is similar to ramming emmersblade into a monster and bringing out fulhelm knight to attack over a defense position monster to get its effect.

Unlimited Side Deck Options

Nothing lures me to playing a deck more than its ability to adapt to different matchups at large events. Karakuri have the ability to side so many cards because of their typing, attribute, and extra deck. They can utilize both rivalry of the warlords and gozen match because they are all earth and all machines. As you may already know, plants get ruined by both of these cards because the deck plays so many different types and attributes that it’s questionable to even consider it a “plant” deck anymore. Karakuri can also side shadow imprisoning mirror and light imprisoning mirror because they will have no effect on the deck whatsoever. These cards help to beat the agent matchup and the darkworld matchup. Against Gravekeepers, Karakuri players can side closed forest which can also aid in the darkworld matchup even further. Cards like D.D. Crow and Maxx “C” are also good options in the Karakuri side deck since the deck is so customizable and they won’t take away from the deck’s ability to combo. Leeching the light is great with Karakuri too since they can summon massive amounts of monsters in one turn using cyber dragon, “Ninishi,” and the Synchros which bring out Karakuri monsters from the deck upon summoning them.

Busted Synchros

The level 7 and level 8 Synchros in Karakuri are absolutely insane cards. I will start with the level 8 because he is my favorite and he outright wins the game if he stays on the field for more than 1 turn. He reads:

Karakuri Steel Shogun mdl 00X "Bureido"

1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner Machine-Type monsters

When this card is Synchro Summoned, you can Special Summon 1 "Karakuri" monster from your Deck. Once per turn, when the battle position of a face-up "Karakuri" monster you control is changed, draw 1 card. 2800atk 1700def

This guy is HUGE! His attack is higher than Grapha’s and he gives you an extra monster just for summoning him. On top of that he draws cards once per turn whenever a Karakuri switches position which combos perfectly with “Karakuri strategist” since it changes position whenever it is special summoned or normal summoned. Also, Karakuri have the ability to change positions when they are attacked so “Bureido” will draw a card on the opponent’s turn if they attack into a Karakuri monster. This will create massive swings in card advantage. The 7 star Synchro is also really good, he reads:

Karakuri Shogun mdl 00 "Burei"

1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner Machine-Type monsters

When this card is Synchro Summoned, you can Special Summon 1 "Karakuri" monster from your Deck. Once per turn, you can select 1 monster on the field, and change its battle position. 2600atk 1900def
This guy, just like “Bureido,” will summon a Karakuri monster from the deck upon summoning him. Then he can switch the battle position of any monster on the field once per turn. This means he can change face down defense position monsters into face-up attack position where they are more vulnerable. It also helps in destroying other powerful monsters such as Black Luster Soldier- Envoy of the Beginning, Scrap Dragon, and Trishula because their defense is lower than “Burei’s” 2600 attack power. He will only get better too with the popularity of plant decks because they create tokens that have 0 attack and can be switched to attack position with his effect.

Bread & Butter

For the last piece of this article I am going to go through a couple of the basic Karakuri plays. First is utilizing “Ninishi” which has the ability to normal summon an extra Karakuri monster once each turn. This means you can summon “Ninishi,” summon Karakuri merchant to search the deck for any Karakuri card, then Synchro into Naturia Beast to set all your backrows with protection. This can be done on the first turn! Another play is to summon “Ninishi,” summon Karakuri Kuick or soldier, Synchro into the 7 star Synchro “Burei,” use his effect to summon a Karakuri from the deck (usually Kuick) and then swing over their monsters. If “Kuick” swings over a monster and sends it to the graveyard you can then activate his effect to summon a Karakuri from the graveyard to the field in face-up defense position. By doing this you can bring back “Ninishi” and Synchro into another 7 star. Cyber dragon being a 5 star machine monster can help to summon the 8 star Karakuri Synchro because there are so many 3 star tuners in the deck. Once you establish the 8 star onto the field you can proceed to draw an extra card each turn with his effect. Also, if you don’t have another Karakuri monster on the field to trigger his effect you can just switch his own position and draw a card. The deck can also summon Trishula pretty easily by using Ninishi (3star tuner) + merchant (2star non-tuner) + Kuick/soldier (4star non-tuner). If you have a merchant in the grave you could summon “Ninishi” and bring out Kuick from the hand and then swing over a monster to bring back the merchant and make Trishula. I also aforementioned another play that involves ramming Karakuri soldier into a stronger monster, bringing out “Kuick” from the deck, attacking over a weaker monster with “Kuick,” and then special summoning the soldier from the grave or any other level 4 or lower Karakuri monster. These plays will help to string together small combos that limit the opponent’s options and eventually win you the game.

This is Frazier Smith reporting out, until next time Yu-Gi-Oh! world. Play hard or go home!

Frazier Smith

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