Regional Top 8: Rafael Marques’ Invoked Blue-Eyes

AleistertheInvoker-FUEN-EN-SR-1EThe Invoked were pretty hyped up in the weeks leading to their release in Fusion Enforcers.

Aleister the Invoker can do a lot of different things for a one-card investment, which matters a lot right now in a format with Zoodiac Ratpier and That Grass Looks Greener. A single Aleister will search Invocation so you can start Fusion Summoning, and then you can shuffle the Invocation back from your graveyard to get back the banished Aleister you used as a Fusion Material.

That gives you a powerful Normal Summon every turn, which is fantastic for any strategy that doesn’t need its Normal Summon to make its most routine plays. Invocation doesn’t just produce a threat, either; it also disrupts your opponent’s graveyard, which can be really strong in a format filled with 60-Card strategies trying to abuse the grave.

Even with all of the hype surrounding the theme, it basically fell flat. The only strategy to breakthrough into the Top Cut of a big event was an Invoked Windwitch variant, but many had expected Invoked Zoodiacs to show up in huge numbers. I think the biggest issue with the Invoked engine is that it’s so dependent on your Normal Summon, because you need to summon Aleister basically every turn to get full value.

I hadn’t seen an Invoked deck that really excited me until I saw a couple Blue-Eyes variants make it into the Top Cut of two different Regional Qualifiers. Blue-Eyes decks don’t need their Normal Summon every turn, and you only really Normal Summon Sage with Eyes of Blue unless you desperately need to Synchro Summon.

Let’s take a look at a build that made the Top 8 of a recent Regional Qualifier in Brazil:

Rafael Marques’s Invoked Blue-Eyes
Brazil Regional Qualifier, March 18th 2017

BlueEyesAlternativeWhiteDragon-MVP1-EN-UR-1EMonsters: 19

3 Aleister the Invoker
3 Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon
3 Blue-Eyes White Dragon
2 Dragon Spirit of White
1 Effect Veiler
2 Maxx “C”
3 Sage with Eyes of Blue
2 The White Stone of Ancients

Spells: 20
1 Invocation
1 Magical Meltdown
1 Mausoleum of White
3 Return of the Dragon Lords
1 Soul Charge
3 Terraforming
3 The Melody of Awakening Dragon
3 Trade-In
2 Twin Twisters
2 Wonder Wand

Traps: 1
1 Vanity’s Emptiness

SagewithEyesofBlue-SHVI-EN-UR-1EExtra Deck: 15
1 Ancient Fairy Dragon
1 Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon
1 Black Rose Moonlight Dragon
2 Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon
1 Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon
1 Galaxy-Eyes Cipher Dragon
1 Galaxy-Eyes Full Armor Photon Dragon
1 Invoked Magellanica
2 Invoked Mechaba
1 Invoked Raidjin
1 Number 38: Hope Harbinger Dragon Titanic Galaxy
1 Number 62: Galaxy-Eyes Prime Photon Dragon
1 Stardust Spark Dragon

Side Deck: 15
3 D.D. Crow
1 Dark Hole
3 Forbidden Chalice
3 Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju
1 Raigeki
3 Skull Invitation
1 Twin Twisters

I think the Invoked engine’s perfect for Blue-Eyes for a bunch of reasons. First, it really helps your worst hands. When Blue-Eyes was a big player in the competitive landscape, it was viewed as a high-risk high-reward strategy; when it bricked you couldn’t play at all. Having a bunch of huge Level 8 Dragons in your hand might be okay in Duelist Kingdom, but it doesn’t cut it here in the real world, and in a long tournament that’s bound to happen.

But drawing an Aleister means you can suddenly do something with that hand. It gets you an Invoked Mechaba at the very least, and can enable Return of the Dragon Lords or The White Stone of Ancients. In builds that run The White Stone of Legend it can trigger that too, so you can search a Blue-Eyes White Dragon for a Trade-In that might be dead otherwise.

Another huge reason is that Blue-Eyes uses one of the stronger Attributes of Invoked monsters. One of the reasons the Invoked engine is so good with Windwitches is that Invoked Raidjin’s a Wind; a threat that can proactively and reactively disrupt your opponent’s field is huge, especially when it can push key effects through opposing negation. Similarly, Blue-Eyes gets Invoked Mechaba. While it’s not as proactive, Invoked Mechaba’s just insane played reactively.

InvokedMechaba-FUEN-EN-ScR-1EBlue-Eyes is known for building great fields, and backing that field up with Invoked Mechaba’s an easy way to seal the deal. Blue-Eyes decks are usually heavy on both monsters and spells, so you should always have access to whatever you need to make relevant negations. Having just one more threat means that Kaiju get much worse against you as well, which is always upside.

Less important but still noteworthy is that Blue-Eyes is good at filling its graveyard, meaning you don’t have to pay the full cost for an Invocation. Because you have cards like Trade-In and The Melody of Awakening Dragon to put stuff in your graveyard, you can easily get a Fusion Material in your grave to banish for Invocation. The biggest issue with Fusion Summoning has always been the expenditure of a Fusion Spell and Fusion Materials, but as we’ve seen in the past with cards like Shaddoll Fusion and Miracle Fusion, mitigating the cost of a Fusion Summon’s always great.

Wonder Wand also works very well with both sides of the deck, which is pretty interesting. Playing Wonder Wand with Aleister the Invoker is bonkers because you’d rather have the materials for Invocation in your graveyard anyways, as I just mentioned. Starting with Wonder Wand and Aleister will net you two draws and Invocation, with those two draws probably getting you to a good start with The Melody of Awakening Dragon or Trade-In. The fact that you can Wonder Wand your Sage with Eyes of Blue as well means you have another way to recover a potentially bricked hand, and another way to use Sage if you’re not looking to Synchro Summon with it.

Last but not least, a strategy that already wants to use Terraforming makes the Invoked engine substantially better. Magical Meltdown’s basically just another way to find Aleister the Invoker, because the protection effects don’t really line up well against Dimensional Barrier, which is the way your opponent will probably look to disrupt Invocation. Regardless, adding a single copy of Magical Meltdown to a strategy that uses Terraforming means you get four more copies of Aleister! The best part about it is that those extra copies don’t suffer diminishing returns; once you have your first Aleister you can just Terraforming for your other Field Spell.

But wait, since when does Blue-Eyes want to be using a Field Spell? We saw Secret Village of the Spellcasters make its way into a couple Blue-Eyes decks in the past to combat Pendulum strategies, but other than that fringe use, Blue-Eyes isn’t really known for Field Spells. The coolest part about Marques’ list – and the thing that really sold me – was his use of a full set of Terraformings along with one Magical Meltdown and one Mausoleum of White.

Mausoleum of White gives you another Normal Summon for Level 1 Light Tuners, so it can help you get multiple Tuners into play really quickly. It also lets you summon a Sage with Eyes of Blue even when you’re using your regular Normal Summon on Aleister, which is huge. Beyond that it can help you unbrick hands because it also dumps Dragons into your graveyard. You can target any monster you control and send a Normal Monster from your deck to the grave to boost its stats and level too.

MausoleumofWhite-LDK2-EN-C-1ENeither of those effects are tremendous on their own, but the stat boost is good enough to be the difference between attacking over a particular threat, and just killing your opponent outright. You really want anything that can help you fight consistency problems in this deck , and having two great cards to search with Terraforming definitely helps.

Other than that, Marques’ Main Deck is pretty standard. He chose not to play any copies of The White Stone of Legend, which I find interesting because searching it to get a Blue-Eyes for Trade-In or something could be really valuable. But given the Forbidden & Limited List changes that happened after the Regional Qualifier Marques topped, you do have a couple slots to play with.

The last thing I want to draw your attention to is something from the Side Deck: Skull Invitation.

We’ve seen players create lot of different game plans to counter That Grass Looks Greener. Different Dimension Ground seems to be the most popular option by far, but some duelists have also just bumped up their deck count to try to make That Grass Looks Greener useless. After seeing both the results from YCS Prague and the F&L List, you can definitely expect 60-Card strategies to be a big contender at high level events.

While Different Dimension Ground can usually put you in a winning situation on its own if you flip it in response to That Grass Looks Greener, Skull Invitation might literally win you the game. If your opponent’s sending 20 cards to the graveyard, that’s 6000 damage that they can’t stop unless they have a quick-play answer. If you have more than one Skull Invitation, all you need is a 14 card mill.

Skull Invitation inflicts damage for every card sent to the graveyard, including those that hit the grave in other ways, so even if you don’t burn your opponent straight out of the game on their first go, Skull Invitation will stick around and probably finish them off later. It rewards aggression, and you already want to be aggressive in the 60-Card matchups; you can just flip a Skull Invitation and ride the incremental damage to victory.

There’s no question that the Invoked engine is powerful, but finding the right home for it is the biggest challenge. Blue-Eyes could be that home, and we already know just how powerful spamming the field with huge Dragons can be.

-Robert Boyajian

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