Reviving an Archetype: Gravekeeper’s

Hi everyone, my name is Zach Schork. I've been playing this game ever since it came out but didn't really start playing competitively until December 2010. The deck I started out with was Gravekeeper's and I actually played them since I started until the September 2011 Ban List was announced. Everyone thought I was just some scrub who wasted all my money on Pot of Dualitys and Solemn Warnings, but I proved them wrong as I took learning the game very seriously and quickly began topping at our locals weekly and earning my Nationals invite at several regionals.

I have been playing Tour Guide Plants for the majority of this format, but decided that having three copies of the card was bad if I have an empty wallet to go along with it. After selling my Tour Guides, I was searching for a cheaper deck option. After testing several meta decks without Tour Guide, I decided that my choices were mostly narrowed down to some sort of anti-meta variant. I was tossing around ideas such as Blackwings, Worms (which is surprisingly a really solid, but overlooked deck), or just straight up Anti-Meta Stun. Then I thought, “Why not play a deck that I love and am already comfortable with?” I decided that, if built properly, Gravekeeper's could be an answer to this crazy meta that we are currently in. This is the build that I came up with:

Monsters: 15

3 Gravekeeper's Spy

3 Gravekeeper's Commandant

3 Gravekeeper's Descendant

3 Gravekeeper's Recruiter

2 Gravekeeper's Guard

1 Gravekeeper's Assailant

Spells: 14

3 Necrovalley

3 Pot of Duality

2 Mystical Space Typhoon

2 Royal Tribute

2 Gravekeeper's Stele

1 Book of Moon

1 Dark Hole

Traps: 11

2 Rivalry of Warlords

2 Dimensional Prison

2 Starlight Road

2 Solemn Warning

1 Solemn Judgment

1 Mirror Force

1 Trap Dustshoot

Let's start off with the fairly standard monster lineup. Obviously the first thing that pops out at you is the two copies of Gravekeeper's Guard. The reason why I chose to run Guard was because this deck has a huge problem with Wind-Up Zenmaines. Without Guard, there are literally no answers in the deck to a turn one Zenmaines which could definitely allow my opponent to win the game. I know what a lot of you are thinking, “Why not just run Compulsory Evacuation Device?” With Mystical Space Typhoon at three, I wanted to ensure that Zenmaines is removed from the board without my Compulsory getting “end phase MST'ed”. Guard is also an answer to beefy synchros including Stardust Dragon (which Gravekeeper's have always struggled against).

Moving onto the spells, the lineup is pretty standard as well, minus the two copies of Mystical Space Typhoon. Even with last format being very backrow heavy, Gravekeeper's didn't main deck Mystical Space Typhoon, but sided it instead. If the build wasn't maining Mystical Space Typhoon then my Spy's would get Solemn Warning'ed every time (as literally every meta deck is maining two copies). The whole point of the deck is to control my opponent. I figured giving a plant player the opportunity to give me a taste of my own medicine, even just for a second, is a very bad thing. Getting Solemn Warning out of the way allows my Spy's to go off, and as a result allows my Descendants to go on a killing spree with ease. On a side note, I decided to main deck Royal Tribute because while Dark Worlds exist, they're not relevant enough in the meta for me to stop main decking a card that can be extremely clutch and game winning in almost every other match up.

Let's take a look at the trap lineup, arguably the most important part of an anti-meta deck. Let's start off with the two copies of Rivalry of Warlords main decked. This is sort of my ace-in-the-hole against plants, and was the main concept that inspired me to build the deck in the first place. Obviously it doesn't hurt me at all as I'm running all Spellcaster type monsters, and it can be absolutely game breaking against Plants if they can't get rid of it in time. I decided to main deck Dimensional Prison and side deck Bottomless Trap Hole. I am already playing two Solemn Warnings and the Dimensional Prisons add more versatility to the trap lineup. I also decided to run Mirror Force over Torrential Tribute. It's really only profitable with Recruiter on the field, and my two main decked copies of Rivalry of Warlords is going to prevent my opponent from going off in the first place. One card that I did consider main decking was Deck Devastation Virus. This card can be a huge plus against plants, but in the end I simply didn't have the space in the main deck to run it.

One pretty cool tech card I was considering was Shard of Greed. In theory, this card is great in a slow deck like Gravekeeper's. For starters, it will be protected by Starlight Road long enough for it to be useful. Second, it baits out my opponent's Mystical Space Typhoon which protects my Necrovalley or any important backrow I could have set at the time. In the end I decided against running this card for a couple of reasons. First off, it was impossible for me to find space for it. One thing that Gravekeeper's have always struggled with is finding room for tech, as every card is there for a reason. The Gravekeeper deck is like a car, if you remove one part, the engine won't start. Secondly, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. What I mean by that is, cards like Wonder Wand and Shard of Greed add unnecessary tempo to a deck that can function perfectly well without it. Gravekeeper's can already plus through the Spy-Descendant-Recruiter combo, as well as Gravekeeper's Stele and Royal Tribute. In the end, I'd much rather be playing more backrow than Shard of Greed or Wonder Wand.

Next up is the Side Deck. I decided not to post a full side deck, but rather to discuss possible side deck options. One matchup that this deck immensely struggles with is Dark Worlds. While they are not as prominent in the meta right now, there's still the chance that I'll run into them and most likely lose if I'm not prepared in the side decking department. Side decking against Dark Worlds can be tricky while playing any deck, let alone Gravekeeper's where Shadow Imprisoning Mirror is not an option. I considered siding Gravekeeper's Watcher because he's searchable by Recruiter. I decided against it because not only would it allow my opponent to know I have it, giving them the opportunity to play around it, but also it would simply be a waste of a Recruiter search. Gemini Imps is a much better choice because it does the same thing as Watcher, but also nets you a plus one. One thing I've learned about Dark Worlds is if they don't draw their discard outlets, they lose. This makes cards such as Dark Bribe and even Magic Drain possible side deck choices in this matchup because it prevents their discard spells from going off.

This is the first article I've written and I hope you found it entertaining and informative. If you have any questions or comments about anything you read, please leave them down below. Also be sure to check out my youtube channel at for more Yugioh content from me including deck profiles, box openings, and card discussions. I'd like to thank Alter Reality Games for giving me the opportunity to post this on their site along side their amazing writing staff. Until next time, this is Zach Schork signing out.

Cincinnati, OH

The Illuminaudi Cards

Zach Schork

Latest posts by Zach Schork (see all)