Double Regional Top 8 Profile: Brethren Majespecters

Ties of the Brethren arrived last week in Legendary Decks II, and it didn’t just debut as the number-one bestselling card in the set – it also had an immediate tournament impact. While you can play Brethren in a wide variety of decks, both mainstream and niche, it was an immediate point of innovation for astute Majespecter players. It carried at least three Majespecter decks to Regional Top 8 showings its first weekend out.

Though Majespecters got off to a bit of a slow start in the current format, they were making an impression by the second week of Regional competition, and have only continued to see more and more play – and more success – every weekend. We’ve seen a lot of different twists on the theme, and right now there’s no consensus on what the best approach is: we’ve seen Odd-Eyes and Draco Pal and Magician engines all played to successful Top Cuts, and one of the biggest fine-point debates of the format revolves around the superiority or folly of Card of Demise in Majespecters.

If you’re a Majespecter fan yourself, your range of options has been so wide open lately it’s almost been confusing. There’s no wrong answer so far, despite what the critics may say, but there hasn’t been a defined right answer either.

Until perhaps now. Ties of the Brethren takes a powerful control and swarm-oriented strategy and brings a new element the deck never really had before: an explosive opening play, that effectively turns two cards into six, thins five cards from your deck, and sets you up with multiple spells and traps that defend your board and threaten to clear the field for a killer follow-up on Turn 2.

tiesofthebrethren-ldk2-en-ur-1eIf you’re not familiar with Brethren yourself, it’s conveniently located directly to the right of this sentence. Majespecters use it with Majespecter Toad – Ogama, Majespecter Fox – Kyubi, and Majespecter Crow – Yata: if you have any one of those cards you can Normal Summon one of them, then activate Ties to Special Summon the other two straight from your deck. All three Majespecters have effects that search your deck to deliver a free +1 when they’re Normal or Special Summoned: Toad will set a theme-stamped spell or trap from your deck to your backrow; Fox will grab you a Majespecter trap, adding it to your hand; and Crow will search a Majespecter Spell.

To recap, that’s a two-card combo that gives you an instant +4, and places 3800 ATK on the field. The cost is that you have to run Majespecter Crow to pull it off. Traditionally players have avoided Crow due to its subpar stats and its effect to search a Majespecter spell, generally less useful than a Majespecter trap. But it’s a small price to pay for an effect that gives you massive card advantage, an instant controlling set-up, and a threatening amount of damage in one go.

Better yet, the two-card combo’s super easy to hit because you only need to open with Brethren and any one compatible Level 4 Majespecter. You can run up to nine of those monsters, effectively giving you a 23% chance to see the combo before you factor in stuff like Pot of Desires and Upstart Goblin. Better yet, the Field Spell Majesty’s Pegasus turns any of your Majespecters into a Level 4 anyways, so suddenly Majespecter Raccoon – Bunbuku and Majespecter Cat – Nekomata are fair game too. Ties of the Brethren won’t stop you Special Summoning until it resolves; up until then you can do all the Summoning you want.

If you assume that you’ll see at least one of your 15 or so Majespecters on Turn 1 every game, you’re suddenly looking for one of three copies of Ties of the Brethren, and then any one of your nine Level 4’s or let’s say two Majesty’s Pegasus. But you can search Majesty’s Pegasus as well, so if you’re running a 2/2 split of Pegasus and Terraforming, suddenly your combo’s a 1-of-3 plus a 1-of-13. Factor in Upstart and suddenly you’ve got a 29% chance to hit this insane opening, in a deck that was already a top contender without it.

If that’s not a decisive direction for Majespecters moving forward, I don’t know what it is.

The combo’s nearly a foolproof opening, since Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries does nothing to stop it, and Maxx “C” becomes a 1-for-1 you just play through. Meanwhile Effect Veiler and Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit are nonfactors, since you can’t target Majespecters to begin with.

If your opponent can go first and block you with something like Solemn Warning, cool, but it won’t help them Turn 1 and the odds are usually against them having such an answer. Anti-Spell Fragrance and Vanity’s Emptiness can still be a blowout, but we’re talking Pendulums, so when is that not the case. Besides, the deck can run answers that don’t interfere with the combo. We’re gonna look at two different builds of Brethren Majespecters today, and they both have contingency plans to deal with that possibility.

Let’s look at the first example, played to a Top 8 finish at the San Antonio Regional Qualifier by Luis Rufino. Built for consistency, it’s packed with three-ofs and makes an excellent start to this discussion.

Luis Rufinos’ Top 8 Brethren Majespecters – 41 Cards
San Antonio Regional, October 2016

Monsters: 20

MajespecterRaccoonBunbuku-DOCS-EN-UR-1E3 Archfiend Eccentrick
1 Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer
3 Majespecter Cat – Nekomata
3 Majespecter Crow – Yata
3 Majespecter Fox – Kyubi
3 Majespecter Raccoon – Bunbuku
3 Majespecter Toad – Ogama
1 Majespecter Unicorn – Kirin

Spells: 13
1 Majespecter Cyclone
2 Majesty’s Pegasus
3 Pot of Desires
1 Secret Village of the Spellcasters
2 Terraforming
3 Ties of the Brethren
1 Upstart Goblin

Traps: 8
2 Majespecter Tempest
3 Majespecter Tornado
2 Storming Mirror Force
1 Vanity’s Emptiness

StormingMirrorForce-CORE-EN-ScR-1EExtra Deck: 15
1 Abyss Dweller
1 Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer
1 Diamond Dire Wolf
1 Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer
1 Lightning Chidori
1 Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction
1 Number 39: Utopia
1 Number 47: Nightmare Shark
1 Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk
1 Number S39: Utopia Prime
1 Number S39: Utopia the Lightning
1 Performage Trapeze Magician
1 Super Quantal Mech Beast Grampulse
1 The Phantom Knights of Break Sword
1 Totem Bird

Side Deck: 15
3 Ally of Justice Quarantine
1 Cosmic Cyclone
3 Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju
2 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit
2 Maxx “C”
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Raigeki

Rufino’s build really lays down the baseline for how this kind of strategy works. He’s maxed out on Majespecter Fox – Kyubi, Majespecter Toad – Ogama, and Majespecter Crow – Yata to make sure he has a Level 4 when he opens with Ties of the Brethren. Beyond that he’s packing double Majesty’s Pegasus and double Terraforming, giving him more redundancy as well as the option to make even bigger openings on slim odds: he can Majespecter Raccoon – Bunbuku into Majespecter Unicorn – Kirin, Majesty’s Pegasus Bunbuku away to get a Level 4, and then go off with his Ties combo.

That’s a three-card play, but it sets Rufino up with an even more incredible Turn 2 than the regular Brethren opening. And while you probably won’t see it more than one in twenty games, it’s just such a hilarious blowout, and it’s basically free – it’s just a throw-in on top of cards Rufino was already running for sake of boosting the deck’s core consistency.

Archfiend Eccentrick is huge here. It’s always good in Majespecters because on top of its status as a Level 3 for Xyz Summons and its general utility as generic removal, it’s a Pendulum Scale of 7 that lets you Pendulum Summon Majespecter Unicorn – Kirin. It’s especially awesome in this version of the deck because its Pendulum Effect helps ward off a lot of the trap cards that might actually stop Brethren. It’s a fast solution to face-downs that might be Solemn Warning, Vanity’s Emptiness, Solemn Strike or Floodgate Trap Hole, and played as a Scale it can even fend off Anti-Spell Fragrance if it shows up a turn too late.

300px-SecretVillageoftheSpellcasters-DL14-EN-R-UE-BlueSecret Village of the Spellcasters is especially amazing in combination with the Brethren opening, since you wind up with three protective effects, two of which you can use to protect your one final Majespecter to keep your opponent off their spell cards. Secret Village has seen more play as a Side Deck pick in Majespecters than the Main Deck, but Rufino mained one copy and could get to it with his two Terraformings. There’s a sliding scale there: if he could open with his Brethren combo right off the bat and still had a Terraforming, he wouldn’t necessarily need Majesty’s Pegasus… but he could get Secret Village of the Spellcasters instead, and make his Turn 1 even stronger. We’ll revisit that idea when we look at our next build.

Some of Rufino’s choices warrant a quick nod. He played Upstart Goblin in a 41-card deck, likely to make Side Decking easier and perhaps to cushion the impact of his triple Pot of Desires. This deck thins a lot of cards between Desires, its regular search routine, and the Brethren combo upping the stakes. He ran the monster destroying Majespecter Cyclone over the shuffle-away effect of Majespecter Storm, since Cyclone’s more flexible as a Quick-Play Spell. And he ran double Storming Mirror Force in addition to his five Majespecter trap cards to have more ways to clear the field, and more ways to win early with a push from his smaller monsters.

For my dueling dollar, this is the template for the new Brethren Majespecters deck. It hits all the marks with strong numbers and a ton of consistency. But if you want to see another version that does things a bit differently, check out Fletcher Thomas’ Top 8 build from the Regional Qualifier in Fargo, North Dakota.

Fletcher Thomas’ Top 8 Brethren Majespecters – 40 Cards
Faro Regional, October 2016

Monsters: 21

MagicalAbductor-CORE-EN-R-1E1 Archfiend Eccentrick
1 Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer
3 Magical Abductor
2 Majespecter Cat – Nekomata
2 Majespecter Crow – Yata
3 Majespecter Fox – Kyubi
3 Majespecter Raccoon – Bunbuku
2 Majespecter Toad – Ogama
1 Majespecter Unicorn – Kirin
2 Odd-Eyes Mirage Dragon
1 Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon

Spells: 14
1 Majespecter Sonics
1 Majesty’s Pegasus
3 Pot of Desires
1 Secret Village of the Spellcasters
1 Sky Iris
3 Terraforming
3 Ties of the Brethren
1 Upstart Goblin

Traps: 5
2 Majespecter Tempest
3 Majespecter Tornado

Extra Deck: 15
MajespecterTornado-DOCS-EN-UR-1E1 Abyss Dweller
1 Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer
1 Dinoster Power, the Mighty Dracoslayer
1 Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer
1 Lightning Chidori
1 Majester Paladin, the Ascending Dracoslayer
1 Number 39: Utopia
1 Number S39: Utopia Prime
1 Number S39: Utopia the Lightning
1 Odd-Eyes Meteorburst Dragon
1 Odd-Eyes Rebellion Dragon
1 Odd-Eyes Vortex Dragon
1 Performage Trapeze Magician
1 The Phantom Knights of Break Sword
1 Totem Bird

Side Deck: 15
1 Archfiend Eccentrick
2 Cosmic Cyclone
3 Lullaby of Obedience
1 Majespecter Cyclone
1 Majespecter Storm
1 Majespecter Tempest
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Odd-Eyes Fusion
2 Typhoon

Thomas’ build features the same combo with Ties of the Brethren, and takes a similar approach to combos with Majesty’s Pegasus. He also makes use of Archfiend Eccentrick as a problem-solver to push his plays through, and he ran triple Pot of Desires and Upstart Goblin to similar effect. But he made some concessions and a did a few things differently along the way.

First and most notable, Thomas ran fewer copies of his Level 4 Majespecters: he ran three of the choice Majespecter Fox – Kyubi, but played just two Toad and two Crow. That places his odds of nailing the combo Turn 1 a few percentage points lower than Rufinos’ build. In return he won himself more deck space: Thomas ran a 40-card build and had room for some stuff Rufinos didn’t play.

In combination with the decision to run just one copy of Archfiend Eccentrick, Thomas could play triple Magical Abductor, allowing him to search Eccentrick as needed, as well as key Majespecters. It worked nicely with his Field Spell suite since Abductor’s always great with Terraforming. Thomas’ selection of Field Spells was a bit different, playing triple Terraforming with one Majesty’s Pegasus instead of two of each. It feels like an objectively better decision in a lot of ways: Thomas mained a Secret Village of the Spellcasters just like Rufino, but he’d have four chances to draw it thanks to his extra Terraforming.

He also ran Sky Iris, backing two Odd-Eyes Mirage Dragon and Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon, giving him access to a low-sSale or a much-needed high-Scale for Majespecter Unicorn – Kirin. Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon gives another point of access to Archfiend Eccentrick and specific Majespecters. While most decks splashing Odd-Eyes would Main Deck Odd-Eyes Fusion, Thomas kept his in the Side Deck due to his slim support lineup, and could bring it in solely when he knew it would be useful in a given match-up. Note the difference between Extra Decks as well: while Rufinos played a smattering of Rank 3’s, Thomas ran the Odd-Eyes cards and a full Utopia engine.

These two decks spring from the same core concept, but while one focuses on blunt consistency the other does a little more fancy footwork and takes a few more risks to present a more varied range of options. They’re both valid, but I think Rufinos’ build establishes the baseline, while Thomas’ deck demonstrates how the concept can be successfully interpreted.

Expect to see decks like these all over your local tournaments and Regionals, and at YCS Minneapolis. I can’t imagine any Majespecter player seeing what Ties of the Brethren can do, and passing on the opportunity it offers. Be ready with answers to this tough-to-tackle strategy, or get ready to get run over.

-Jason Grabher-Meyer

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