With Hidden Arsenal 7: Knight of Stars releasing next week, and the Sneak Peek for Lord of the Tachyon Galaxy just four weeks away, now is a great time to look to the future of the game! We’re going to spend some time over the next few weeks talking about the big decks being played right now in Asia’s OCG, so when those cards are released here in the TCG you’ll have a jump on the competition. We don’t know what OCG promos may make the cut for our version of Tachyon Galaxy; some of these cards might not be available as soon as Tachyon drops. Plus there’s always a chance that new World Premiere cards could change everything. But regardless, we can still learn from duelists overseas, and many of the strategies we’ll discuss can be adapted if they’re missing one or two cards.
Tomorrow Robbie’s going to talk about Evilswarms, a deck that you’ll be able to make when Hidden Arsenal 7 drops next week! We’ll also delve into stuff like Elemental Dragons, as well as the new Prophecy deck and how you can beat it. But for today I want to set the stage by talking about the future of one of my favorite archetypes: Fire Fists.
Lucky Number Three
The Fire Fist decks we’ve seen here in the TCG have all revolved around Level 4 Fire Fist monsters: Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear is the most important card in the deck, with Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Gorilla playing a supporting role. Some builds run Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Dragon as well, and the Fire Fist core is supported by stuff like Rescue Rabbit to make Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Tiger King; Sabersaurus for a dash of Evolzar Laggia; and Reborn Tengu to crash through your opponent’s defenses and press over Bears in the mirror match. While Tour Guide from the Underworld sometimes joins the cast, the deck’s largely focused on Level 4’s.
In Japan, the hot build of Fire Fists is totally different. It’s called “3-Axis Fire Fist” because it’s focused on Level 3’s, hinging on Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Spirit combos that involve a few cards we don’t have yet. Before we get to the deck list let’s talk about the four new cards that define the 3-Axis Main Deck.
Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Panther
Level 3 / FIRE / Beast-Warrior
0 ATK / 200 DEF
During your Main Phase, if this card was Normal or Special Summoned this turn: You can Tribute 1 “Fire Fist” monster; Set 1 “Fire Formation” Spell/Trap Card directly from your Deck. You can only use the effect of “Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Panther” once per turn.
We’ll get Panther in Lord of the Tachyon Galaxy, and it’s a cool card for two basic reasons. First, it gets your strategy going by searching out whatever Fire Formation you need. If you didn’t draw Fire Formation – Tenki Panther gets it, setting you up with a search for whatever Fire Fist you might want. If you have a combo you can get Fire Formation – Tensu instead and launch a bigger play. We’ll explore Tensu more a little later on, because it’s an important part of the strategy.
The other clutch thing about Panther? It’s a Level 3 with 200 DEF. That means it works with Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Spirit: you can Summon Panther and Tribute it to search for a Fire Formation. That move puts Panther in the graveyard so you can revive it with Spirit later. Since Spirit’s a Level 3 Tuner, Summoning Panther with Spirit opens up Level 6 Synchro and Rank 3 Xyz plays. Those plays are the heart of the 3-Axis strategy.
Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Chicken
Level 3 / Fire / Beast-Warrior
1500 ATK / 100 DEF
When this card is Special Summoned by the effect of a “Fire Fist” monster: You can add 1 “Fire Fist” monster from your Deck to your hand. You can only use this effect of “Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Chicken” once per turn. Once per turn: You can send 1 face-up “Fire Formation” Spell/Trap Card you control to the Graveyard; Set 1 “Fire Formation” Spell/Trap Card directly from your Deck.
Chicken’s kind of crazy. When you Special Summon it with Spirit, you can grab any Fire Fist from your deck for free. Then whether it’s Special Summoned or not, it cycles a used Fire Formation to the graveyard to set a fresh one. You can do stuff like trade a used Tenki for a new Tenki to get another search; grab Fire Formation – Tensen to beef up your monsters; or make combos with Fire Formation – Tensu’s extra Normal Summon.
If you Special Summon Chicken with a Fire Fist effect you’re usually doing it for free, scoring a +1 of card economy. Then Chicken searches your deck for a free monster – another +1 – and then it lets you get a new Fire Formation. Plays that Special Summon Chicken often wind up being an immediate +3. Better yet, the pluses are all searches, so you can get whatever cards you need to control the game. 3-Axis is all about problem-solving and outmaneuvering your opponent.
Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Chicken was released in the OCG and in the V JUMP Edition 8 Limited Edition pack. Edition 8 was a five-card booster that released last December; it released cards like Enthusiastic Beast Wolfberk and Fire King Avatar Yaksha. Right now we don’t know if Chicken will be in our Tachyon Galaxy as an OCG import, or if it might be a promo some time soon. Hopefully we see it released ASAP. It would make alot of sense to include Chicken in Tachyon, but since it was a manga promo it’s owned by the publishing company – not Konami. Those kinds of cards are always a tossup.
Fire Formation – Gyokko
When this card is activated: Target 1 face-down Spell/Trap Card your opponent controls; it cannot be activated while this card is face-up on the field. Your opponent cannot activate the targeted card in response to this card’s activation. All Beast-Warrior-Type monsters you control gain 100 ATK.
Back on the Tachyon side of things, we know for sure that we’ll get the new Fire Formation spell since it’s part of the core set. Gyokko’s pretty amazing. It’s a cross between Mystical Space Typhoon and Night Beam, but it’s searchable with Bear, Panther, and Chicken. When you want to make a big play but you need to lock down your opponent’s backrow first, Gyokko will often get the job done for free; it’s really easy to plus into. It gives the same +100 ATK bonus of other Fire Formation spells, as well, so it helps protect your plays while making them even bigger.
The last new card that’s important for the 3-Axis Main Deck is another gem that we’re definitely going to see in Tachyon. Amanda’s talked about the Elemental Dragons a bit already, but here’s a quick refresher:
Blaster, Elemental Dragon of Calderas
Level 7 / Fire / Dragon
2800 ATK / 1800 DEF
You can banish 2 Dragon-Type and/or FIRE monsters from your hand or Graveyard, except this card; Special Summon this card from your hand or Graveyard. During your opponent’s End Phase, if this card was Special Summoned: Return it to the hand. You can discard this card and 1 other FIRE monster to the Graveyard to target 1 card on the field; destroy that target. If this card is banished: You can add 1 FIRE Dragon-Type monster from your Deck to your hand. You can only use 1 “Blaster, Elemental Dragon of Calderas” effect per turn, and only once that turn.
Blaster does a few different things for this strategy. First and foremost, its destruction effect is a powerful, flexible answer to almost any threat; pitch Blaster and another Fire monster and you can blow away any one card on the field. That gets you through big boss monsters and stuff like Evilswarm Ophion, or it can clear your opponent’s backrow. While discarding two monsters to destroy one card is a -1, you can use that effect to put a Level 3 in the graveyard and bring it back with Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Spirit. It can actually work out in your favor if you don’t open with Panther to load your graveyard early.
This strategy piles Fire monsters into the yard really quickly once it gets going, and you can banish them two at a time to revive Blaster. That’s important, because this deck doesn’t pop out monsters with 2500+ ATK all that often. Easy access to a 2800 ATK beater is really useful to get over big monsters, and just throwing 2800 damage on the field can help you make the most of all your monster removal. Blaster breaks up problems, and helps you put pressure on your opponent. If it’s Special Summoned it returns to your hand in your opponent’s end phase, but that just lets you use its destruction effect again.
There are some important banishing tricks too. You can also banish Level 3 and Level 4 Fire Fists to bring Blaster out, then use Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Spirit to Xyz Summon Leviair the Sea Dragon and Special Summon whatever you banished. Learning to make the most of Blaster’s wide range of abilities has huge payoffs.
Now you’re getting to know the basics. The 3-Axis Fire Fist deck is a really precise strategy packed with removal effects, and it hinges on free Rank 3 and Level 6 Synchro plays with Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Spirit. We’ll talk about those Rank 3’s and Synchros in a moment, but for now, let’s look at the complete deck list!
3-Axis Fire Fists – 40 Cards
2 Blaster, Elemental Dragon of Calderas (Lord of the Tachyon Galaxy)
2 Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear
3 Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Chicken (V JUMP Edition 8 Limited Edition Pack)
3 Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Spirit
3 Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Panther (Lord of the Tachyon Galaxy)
3 Effect Veiler
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
3 Fire Formation – Tensu
3 Fire Formation – Tenki
2 Fire Formation – Gyokko
1 Heavy Storm
1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn
2 Mind Crush
2 Torrential Tribute
1 Fire Formation – Tensen
1 Solemn Warning
1 Solemn Judgment
Extra Deck: 15
2 Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Horse Prince
1 Sirius the Blue Dog Star (V JUMP )
1 Beastlord Volcan (Jump Festa 2013 – Special Card Pack and Promotion Pack 3: Part A)
1 Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Lion Emperor
1 Wind-Up Zenmaines
1 Leviair the Sea Dragon
1 Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction
1 Number 17: Leviathan Dragon
1 Gagaga Cowboy
1 Diamond Dire Wolf
1 Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Tiger King
1 Photon Strike Bounzer
1 Constellar Ptolemy M7 (Hidden Arsenal 7)
1 Hazy Flame Basiltrice
This deck is closely based off lists that were played in some of the 2013 Asia Championship Qualifiers. The Extra Deck is key, and there are some cards there that aren’t released in the TCG yet. There are also a few cards that we do have, but that see little to no play. The most important of those is Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Horse Prince.
One of the most important plays in 3-Axis Fire Fist goes like this:
-Normal Summon Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Spirit.
-Use its effect to Special Summon a Level 3.
-Tune them together to Synchro Summon Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Horse Prince.
-Use Horse Prince’s ability to Special Summon Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Chicken from your Deck.
-Grab a Fire Fist monster from your deck with Chicken’s first effect.
-Then use its second effect to cycle a Fire Formation.
If you start with nothing but Fire Formation – Tenki to get Spirit, your one card becomes four: you begin the sequence with Tenki, and finish with a field of Horse Prince, Chicken, and a new Fire Formation, plus you’ll have a Fire Fist monster of your choice in hand. It’s an impressive play, though it needs a Level 3 in your graveyard for Spirit’s Special Summon.
What if your graveyard’s empty because the game just started? Well, if you have Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Panther and Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Spirit, you’re in business anyways.
-Normal Summon Panther and Tribute it to get Fire Formation – Tensu.
-Use Tensu to Summon Spirit, bringing back Panther.
-Make Horse Prince, grab Chicken, and get a bunch of cards for free.
That’s a two-card combo that ends with you controlling Horse Prince, Chicken, a new Fire Formation, and at least five cards in hand. Chicken searches you a Fire Fist, and you can Tenki another one for free, so it’s really easy to get to Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear and another Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Spirit so you can do it all again next turn. Brutal.
Is That All You Got?
Far from it! Two more Level 6 Synchro Monsters anchor this strategy, starting with Beastlord Volcan. Printed twice across two separate promo packs in Japan, Volcan is a generic Level 6 Synchro that first appeared in the Jump Festa 2013 – Special Card Pack in December of last year, offered to Jump Festa attendees. It was reprinted two months later in Promotion Pack 3: Part A. It’s unclear when we’ll see Volcan in the TCG, but here’s what it does:
Level 6 / Fire / Beast-Warrior / Synchro
2000 ATK / 1600 DEF
1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner monsters
When this card is Synchro Summoned: Target 1 face-up card on each side of the field; return those targets to the hand, but you cannot activate the effects of those cards or cards with the same name for the rest of this turn. You can only use the effect of “Beastlord Volcan” once per turn.
Volcan fits this deck’s penchant for reactive problem-solving: it bounces away cards that are causing you trouble, while letting you reuse stuff like Fire Formation – Tenki. Like Compulsory Evacuation Device, it’s especially good at handling Xyz and Synchro Monsters, kicking them straight back to the Extra Deck.
It’s also an important card because it’s a Level 6 Fire monster that isn’t Horse Prince. The Prince is an amazing card, but it restricts you from Summoning any more Level 5 or higher monsters once it hits the field. If you’re in the position to make two Level 6’s in one turn, you can bring out Volcan first to clear the way, then unleash Horse Prince for your Chicken tricks. Then you can overlay them for a Rank 6 like Photon Strike Bounzer, or the new Constellar Ptolemy from Hidden Arsenal 7. Since both Materials are Fire monsters you can even Xyz Summon Hazy Flame Basiltrice, AKA “Giant Chaos Sorcerer Bird That Can Still Attack After It Banishes Something.”
Last up, a promo card from V JUMP Magazine brings a surprising tech option…
Sirius the Blue Dog Star
Level 6 / Dark / Beast-Warrior / Synchro
2400 ATK / 1500 DEF
1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner monsters
When this card is destroyed and sent from the field to the Graveyard: You can target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; that target loses 2400 ATK.
Sirius’ effect isn’t exactly glamorous, but it’s got higher ATK than Horse Prince and Volcan. More importantly than that, it’s a 2400 ATK Dark that gets a boost from your Fire Formations. With any one Fire Formation on the field Sirius climbs to 2500 ATK, which makes it big enough that you can Tribute it for Eradicator Epidemic Virus.
The two big, dominant decks in Japan right now are Elemental Dragons and Prophecy. There are several different answers to the Prophecy threat: Rob’s going to be talking about them next week, but for now, suffice to say that Eradicator Epidemic Virus is one of the best. Remember that “Tribute Panther, get Tensu, bring back Panther with Spirit” combo we talked about? You can use that play sequence to first-turn Sirius to the field if you open with Eradicator Epidemic Virus. It’s practically an auto-win against Prophecy. The deck list above doesn’t main Eradicator, but you could side as many as three copies.
Melting It All Together
The Fire Fist strategies we’re familiar with here in the TCG are fairly linear: they’re powerful, but all they really do is grind for card advantage with Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear, occasionally beating out opposing effects with Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Tiger King. The addition of Sabersaurus and the Evolzar Rank 4’s is an effort to expand a pretty narrow range of options. But hey, even if it’s a little predictable, Fire Fists just took second place at YCS San Diego. It’s a really competitive strategy right now, despite its limitations.
So think about that for a moment, and then realize that 3-Axis Fire Fist has all the plays of our current Fire Fist decks, plus many more. Instead of playing a starring role, Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear is just one element of a much bigger, more balanced game plan. The ability to make easy Rank 3’s and Level 6 Synchros with Spirit, Panther, and Chicken adds tremendous depth to the Fire Fist repertoire, and since Panther and Chicken give you so much search power, it’s way easier to get to Bear when you want it. The added removal power of Blaster, Elemental Dragon of Calderas, plus the searchable lockdown of Fire Formation – Gyokko makes it way easier to score direct attacks with Bear too, so you get to search more free Fire Formations.
While Fire Fists are currently overshadowed by Prophecy and Elemental Dragons in Japan, we don’t know how those decks will do in the TCG – especially since Elemental Dragons might be missing key promo cards for a while. The Fire Fist deck has a great match-up with Evilswarms, and it’s really good at handling rogue strategies since it’s all about flexible problem solving. While it may not be dominating overseas right now, it could be a sleeper hit depending on how things come together here in the TCG.
If we get Chicken in Lord of the Tachyon Galaxy, it’s on.
***Need some singles to finish your deck? Enter code FIREFIST22 at checkout here on CoreTCG this week, and you’ll get 10% back in store credit on any order containing only single cards, one code per order! ***