Yu-Gi-Oh! Deck Debut: Rescue-ACE

Carter Kachmarik
December 21, 2022


With 2022 coming to a close, all told, this has been an absolutely fantastic year for Yugioh.  We’ve seen powerful engines come and go, the advent of another Tier 0 format in the past few months, but more than anything, the design ethos that Konami has been pursuing is far beyond years prior.  The first product in 2023, Amazing Defenders, keeps up with that trend via Rescue-ACE, a toolbox-oriented deck that prompts its pilots to go second.  While the Tearlament-focused metagame isn’t the most favorable for it now, I feel that once the top decks see some changes on the banlist, several of the archetypes debuting in Amazing Defenders have a good shot at rogue contention!

Rescue-ACE combines two of the most heavily-represented types in Yugioh, being Warrior & Machine, leaning into the generic strengths those types provide.  The archetype is unique, however, in how it approaches board-building: Instead of setting up resources on your turn and interrupting the opponent on theirs, Rescue-ACE does the inverse and begins its resource loop as soon as the opponent begins to play.  Their best card, Rescue-ACE Impulse, is a Lonefire-Blossom-style effect from the hand, with a superb target to summon in Rescue-ACE Turbulence.  If Turbulence makes it to your turn, it immediately has the opportunity to go plus four, so securing its safety is paramount.  Due to all of this, it’s my belief that Rescue-ACE does best as a going-second deck, especially by utilizing recent releases like the Bystials to prop up their suite of interaction.

Aside from Impulse, the only other way to summon a Rescue-ACE from deck is Fire Engine, who also ports himself out when another is summoned. While that can often be on your opponent’s turn, sidedeck options like Kaijus or The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Mode are superb cards which need to be mentioned, if the Bystials are no longer in vogue.  On the topic of outside cards, I also feel Gizmek Naganaki, the Sunrise Signaler is almost a requirement, being able to turn itself into your level one playstarter, or filter either big machine (In Turbulence or Fire Engine) into other tools.  On your opponent’s turn, you want to be using their effect activations & summons as ways to filter through resources, but on your turn, what is the deck meant to do?

Central to the deck is the only monster you really want to be using your normal summon on in Rescue-ACE Hydrant.  This level-1 monster can grab any of your other monsters (Though Turbulence and Impulse are of special mention), and also allows your normally-slow Traps to be used the turn they’re set, making them far less empty resources in practice.  Due to the fact that much of your gameplan centers around building your board during the opponent’s turn, especially given each of your warrior-type Rescue-ACE monsters in some way plusses, it’s only natural to default to Forbidden Droplet as the equalizer of choice here.  Traditional answers like Lightning Storm and Evenly Matched are far less synergistic, given we often control cards on our first turn, and Dark Ruler No More is useless on your opponent’s turn, being less protective of our reactive plays.

The actual spells & traps utilized by Rescue-ACE aren’t the best, unfortunately, but try to make up for it in how accessible & ‘free’ they are; the collective 4 that you’d play are balanced around the fact that you’re setting 4 from deck off of Turbulence.  Unfortunately every way to access these cards is locked behind grabbing them from deck, so without ways to shuffle them back, you’d be limited in the amount of times in a match each can come up.  The Rescue-ACE field spell, Rescue-ACE Headquarters, theoretically provides this shuffle, but does nothing else for the deck, so we deign to play a copy.  Prior variants I worked with actually used the Ishizu cards, which are also fantastic going-second tools that provide a shuffle effect, but the limitation of Herald of the Orange Light made those builds far less appetizing.

The actual core of a Rescue-ACE deck is interesting, cohesive, and powerful, but lacks repeatability and ways to play in formats where activating effects on the field is less common.  Due to that, until we see a way for supplementary engines to again provide the tools necessary for the strategy to run fewer of its spell/traps, I think it’s unlikely we’ll see it reach higher than rogue, if that; it’s a rare problem for modern deck design to have the primarily balancing mechanism be held within a deck’s density of mediocre must-haves, though anyone familiar with Crystal Beasts should know that feeling.  Nevertheless, what I’ve built has gone toe-to-toe with recent rogue tops like Madolche & Earth Machine, so long as the game doesn’t go on for too long.

While I don’t feel Rescue-ACE yet have the tools to match wits with the current meta, essentially no other deck has emerged to challenge Tearlament’s reign regardless; if we go off of the precedent that the OCG has set in Japan, the next banlist is sure to be a slaughter.  If we get that same powering-down of existing decks here, there’s a chance the ceilings of strategies may be low enough for archetypes like Rescue-ACE to contend, especially if its naturally good matchup in Spright becomes popular, once again.  One especially novel option for the deck is Bahalutiya, the Grand Radiance, a forgotten pseudo-handtrap which Rescue-ACE can make unique use of; while I only play the single copy to search off of Bystial Magnamhut, if it proves successful into the meta, more copies might be warranted!  The strategy has no locks, so splashes and new tech are always available to these fire-fighting underdogs.

Rescue-ACE is going to be a strategy that’s in the back of players’ minds for a while, as more and more tools are announced for going-second decks, and few archetypes are as generically competent as the ACEs, outmatched by perhaps only the Bystials.  Given Yugioh never rotates, they’ll act as a piece of the puzzle that is our beloved game, appearing when their specific breed of interaction windows are needed.

I hope this was an engaging dive into the strengths & weaknesses of the new Rescue-ACE archetype, coming out in Amazing Defenders!  Do you think any current build might have staying power in a weakened metagame?  What might the deck need to see greater stints of play, in some capacity?  Let me know in the comments below!Deck Debut: Rescue-ACE