Rogue Report: Zombie Mayakashi
The Zombie type in Yugioh has been historically one of its most cohesive, between the various generic ways to put Zombie monsters into the Graveyard, as well as even more to bring them back out, risen from beyond. However, because of this fact, more often than not, modern Zombie archetypes pay a kind of ‘tax’ for their typing. As was seen in Vendread, Shiranui, and today’s focus, Mayakashi, Zombies had a rough string of releases around the Arc-V/Vrains era, only bolstered once Eldlich saved the typing. That said, with some new support in Magnificent Mavens, out now, Mayakashi might just have the chops to compete with the metagame… given it goes first.
MAMA (Which is perhaps one of the best set codes of all time) introduces a pair of cards to Mayakashi’s arsenal, and each of them helps the archetype in its own unique way. As a bit of background, Mayakashi centers around a single gimmick: Synchro Laddering. By using any Level 1 monster, and Dakki, the Graceful Mayakashi, these Zombies can chain together their Synchro Monsters from Levels 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11, before pivoting to their Links, being 2 and 4. As you can see, though, there’s a spot missing between the Link-2 & Link-4, which often forced Mayakashi to either play as an agonizingly slow control deck, or an FTK by way of Soul-Absorbing Bone Tower. Despite this, because their good effects only triggered when Summoned from the GY, all this laddering tended not to matter, in the end, resigning Mayakashi to below even the Rogue Tier. That is, until now.
The two cards added are Yuki-Onna, the Icicle Mayakashi and Ghost Meets Girl - A Masterful Mayakashi Shiranui Saga, with that last one being quite a mouthful. These cards do two important things for Mayakashi: Yuki provides that crucial step between Link-2 and Link-4, and Masterful Saga gives the deck a frankly obscene win condition. To put it bluntly, the Deck now ends on their Link-4, Yuki-Onna, the Absolute Zero Mayakashi, and Masterful Saga’s floodgate effect. To put into perspective how backbreaking Masterful Saga is, Artifact Scythe was nearly a bannable card, and we see similar effects like Royal Oppression already on the banlist. After Masterful Saga resolves, the only places Special Summons can occur from are the GY, and banished. Luckily, the new Link-3 Yuki assists in that issue, as well: By banishing herself from the GY, she can Summon one of your Mayakashi Synchros from, conveniently, either of the two allowed zones under Masterful Saga.
Putting it bluntly, these are some of the most obviously turn-ending cards printed into the modern game, being essentially an archetypal version of one of the game’s most hated Continuous Trap, Royal Oppression. The pseudo-lock you put your opponent under is essentially impossible to break, even by the current Tier 0 threat of Ishizu Tearlament, but there’s a catch: You have to go first. Despite being consistently available, this combo is explicitly one that prevents set-up, not a reactive way to deal with existing boards. For that reason, it’s unlikely Mayakashi will see a genuine meta share. What we can do, however, is design a version of the deck which consistently baits Handtraps going first, resolving its lock, before pivoting into enough Going-Second equalizers when on the draw, in order to hamper rebuilding of boards.
For our secondary engine of choice, I’ve chosen a Magicians’ Souls package alongside Where Arf Thou? to filter through our key Level 1s, and extraneous copies of our Spell/Traps. Because this version runs a whole host of game-locking Traps, having more than one can be a hindrance, so we’re fine tossing them away for more options. In addition, our Level 1 targets are superb in this deck, with Hajun, the Winged Mayakashi being a 1-card starter, and Yuki-Musume, the Ice Mayakashi being a stellar extender. We only need a single Level 1 (plus Dakki) for our main line, though, so a single copy of Effect Veiler rounds out our Where Arf Thou? suite. With that, and a small generic Zombie package that’s accessible via Yuki-Musume, the Maindeck for your going-first build is quite simple and consistent. However it’s important to say here that, while I don’t cover side decks, this is a strategy that’s going to live or die based on how it plans to go second (its worst nightmare), so let’s talk about options for such scenarios.
Going second with this deck is going to require you attempt to equalize against an opponent’s board, so when they try to rebuild, you can force the lock on them to close out the game. Because of this, cards like Dark Ruler No More and Triple Tactics Talent don’t slot in here, given those are best in extension-heavy, self-reliant strategies like we might see in Spright. Instead, we’re looking to remove cards, so Forbidden Droplet + Evenly Matched could be a stellar pairing, given you already have so many cards you’d prefer in the GY. Conversely, much like the Eldlich of years past, you could try a going-second Trap build, given we’re already playing Trap Trick. For this, huge board nukes like Torrential Tribute are key, alongside Dogmatika Punishment, if you can find space to splash beneficial Extra Deck slots for that. Regardless, the deck essentially plays itself going first, so much of the deckbuilding consideration lies in its going-second plans. That’s for you to decide, of course, depending on the metagame.
Here, we can see how you’d build for going first in Mayakashi, with as many ways to find a lock piece as possible, between Masterful Saga and Give and Take, which is an Extra Deck lock when you give your opponent a Hajun (not unlike Iblee locks we’re seeing in the meta, currently). This is a strategy confined by its need to play a ton of Extra Deck slots, so there’s not too much wiggle room outside of the Main Deck, whose best tools are held within the extremely flexible Zombie starters, and the locking Traps the Deck will surely be known for. There’s already several tops listed at Local Levels for Mayakashi, and while it’s nebulous as to whether it might see play at the highest level, especially given we’re in a true Tier 0 format, perhaps after the dust has settled, these Zombies could rise from the ashes.
Mayakashi are one of the rare breeds of deck where nothing they’ve ever done has been “fair”, in common terms. Whether they’re FTKing the opponent off of Bone Tower, filling the Graveyard for mass reborn plays, or even just the fact that they use half of their Extra Deck off of a single card starter, Mayakashi aren’t keen to play by traditional rules. This new lock they can perform feels indicative of that fact, and given its severity, it’s understandable to almost think of it as too mean, in a casual setting. That said, given these articles take a more competitive look at a Rogue Strategy’s viability, it certainly gets my seal of approval.
So that’s that! Thank you so much for reading my guide to playing Mayakashi after the release of their support in Magnificent Mavens! Do you think Konami’s gone too far in giving “bad” decks overly pushed cards? Are locks like Masterful Saga bad for the game, or a necessary evil for simplistic decks? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!