The Problem with Monarchs

The monarch structure deck was highly anticipated, but failed to deliver when it was time for YCS Atlanta. We can attribute this to many factors, whether it be a lack of consistency, a mechanic too ancient to keep up, or the relatively “fair” plays when viewed side-by-side with full power Pepe. In this article, I am going to go over what I feel are the main issues with Monarchs and what the future holds for the deck.

upstartBrick by boring brick

This is nothing unknown to the world. The deck draws unplayable a lot. Like, a lot a lot. I used to jokingly say that it bricks one out of every three games, which is about 33.3%, assuming you make it to game three, but after testing against it for a bit I realized that it was more like 50%. Literally, you can sit down and draw ten hands, and five of them will get you killed on turn one. Personally, I could not understand why anyone would want to play something that has a coin flip ratio for consistency when another option exists that opens absurd almost every game. Strangely enough, most of the builds that I have seen were not utilizing any cards to help with this problem.

It is for that very reason that I think Upstart Goblin should be mandatory in Monarchs. The deck has to draw a perfect curve of monarchs and Monarch support in order to win. If you draw a hand of all Monarchs, you will lose. If you draw a hand without a Monarch/tribute summon monster, you will lose. Therefore, any cards that can help to increase the odds of drawing that perfect curve should be played. Instead, players have opted to max out on cards like Return of the Monarchs which does not help the problem. When you think about it, that card is extremely subpar considering that you need to have already successfully tribute summoned a monster. It does not help you to get there. This can also be said for a lot of the other cards available to the deck, such as The Monarchs Erupt, March of the Monarchs, and Escalation of the Monarchs.

Playing non-support cards in this deck is a mistake, too. Yes, Solemn Strike is broken and can outright win games, but it sucks when your deck has not established its own field yet. It is for this reason that I think you should forego all hopes of being defensive and just emphasize your engine. The deck does not need to be teched out; it should be streamlined.

EffectVeiler-ORCS-EN-SR-LEGlass cannon

The other gaping problem with Monarchs is fragility. Even when you have a consistent build and draw a perfect curve of Monarchs and Monarch support, you can still be easily stopped by cards like Effect Veiler, Solemn Strike, Solemn Warning, Chaos Trap Hole, Forbidden Chalice, and any other effect negation that prevents Edea or Eidos from going off. I noticed that when you do anything to the normal summon, the game ends immediately. You cannot really pass with an open board in this format. Pepe, Water, and Kozmo all consistently kill you in one turn when given the opportunity.

Playing towards floodgates is also a fragile gameplan because of Twin Twister and pendulum summons. If monarchs go first and attempt to set up some combination of the field spell and a backrow, it only takes one card to break that board and win the game. Even Majesty’s Fiend rarely holds up because it does not prevent a bigger monster from coming out, so your opponent can make Trapeze Magician or anything with 2450+ attack to beat over it. Monarchs do not have defensive cards, so a simple attack almost always goes through. On top of this, Majesty’s Fiend prevents you from progressing your gamestate as well. The match becomes strictly beatdown, but it takes several turns to actually win like that since it’s only 2400 damage.

The die roll conundrum

Decks typically want to go first so that they can get set up and win on the following turn. This is not a problem when consistency is not an issue. However, in the case of Monarchs, drawing five cards is probably not what you want to do when bricking with six comes so easily. At the same time, you also do not want to go second and play through any amount of effect/summon negation. In my recent articles, I have been stressing the importance of building your deck to go either first or second, but not trying to do both. You have to pick one. The basic idea is that if everyone is trying to go first, it would be wise to build your deck to go second and vice versa. As it stands, there are very few cards that are good when going both first and second. You have to ask yourself if going first makes sense with what the deck can do. Pepe could set up ridiculous fields on turn one, gain massive card advantage, and have enough to recover if things went wrong. Needless to say, not every deck can do something like that—especially not Monarchs.

Fixing the problem

I am sure that by now you know about the cards coming in the Wing Raiders booster pack this week. In the OCG, two of them are being used to boost the consistency of the Monarch deck: Super Quantum Red Layer and Super Quantum Blue Layer.

Super Quantum Red Layer

Fire/Warrior/Effect/Level 5

ATK 2000 / DEF 800

If you control no monsters, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand). You can only use each of these effects of "Super Quantum Red Layer" once per turn.

  • When this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can target 1 "Super Quant" card in your Graveyard; add it to your hand.
  • If this card is sent to the Graveyard: You can target 1 "Super Quant" monster in your Graveyard, except "Super Quantum Red Layer"; Special Summon it, but it cannot activate its effects.

Super Quantum Blue Layer

Water/Psychic/Effect/Level 3

ATK 1200 / DEF 2000

When this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can add 1 "Super Quant" card from your Deck to your hand, except "Super Quantum Blue Layer". If this card is sent to the Graveyard: You can target up to 3 "Super Quant" cards in your Graveyard; shuffle them into the Deck. You can only use each effect of "Super Quantum Blue Layer" once per turn.

Emergency TeleportEmergency Teleport actually solves a lot of the problems with the Monarch deck because of these new cards. You can bring out Blue Layer to search for Red Layer and tribute summon it. This means a hand with Teleport and Return of the Monarchs will be broken, and it is only a two card investment. You also get free discard fodder for Twin Twister from this play because Red Layer can add Blue Layer from your grave to your hand when it is summoned. When Red Layer goes to the grave, it will summon Blue Layer back assuming you have one in there. And last but not least, you never have to worry about running out of the Super Quantum engine because Blue Layer’s last effect allows you to shuffle up to three “Super Quant” cards back into your deck when it is sent to the graveyard. The OCG typically plays two Red and one Blue because of this.

With the new advanced forbidden/limited list in effect, things will slow down quite a bit so Monarchs may become a real contender in the TCG. Who knows, maybe someone will be able to create a build that minimizes the decks inherent flaws.

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

-Frazier Smith

-The Dark Magician

Frazier Smith

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