Yu-Gi-Oh! Deck Debut: Tistina

Carter Kachmarik
July 19, 2023


The history of TCG-Exclusive archetypes in Yugioh is a storied one, from the blazing success of Burning Abyss & Kozmo, to the lackluster shrugs of U.A. & War Rock.  In Duelist Nexus, we’re getting another chapter in that story in the form of Tistina, but whether it’s going to sink or swim is anyone’s guess at the moment.  I’ve never seen a more mixed perception from the playerbase on a newly-revealed archetype, with some calling it a going-second miracle, to others writing it off, even with potential new support in Age of Overlord.  I stand somewhere in the middle, as I see its potential, but quite a lot of it hinges on the second wave.  Until then though, there’s a strong notion that Tistina pairs perfectly with a fast-forgotten meta threat: Tearlament.  Presenting the magnificent debut of: Tistina.

Tistina is a bit of an oddball archetype, although one thing is extraordinarily clear: It wants to go second, at all costs.  Many of its cards center on your opponent controlling either face-up or face-down cards, and the majority of the archetype’s power comes from its ability to crack boards, and punish midrange decks.  In theory, all of this very clearly tailors the deck to beat exactly Kashtira, which in this meta is quite the welcome ethos.  Between Crystal God Tistina & Demigod of the Tistina, you have a plethora of Destructive Daruma Karma Cannon-style effects, flipping everything down, then sending what’s left to the GY, so stray Links & face-up Spell/Traps get caught in the crossfire.  That said, the two strongest cards in the archetype are the Spells, which turn on Demigod’s effect, and are easily found by way of the archetype’s favored Normal Summon, Sentinel of the Tistina.

If you’re going second, both Divine Domain Baatistina and Breath of the Tistina are absolutely incredible cards, but if you’re going first, they’re…less so.  I think part of the reason the wider playerbase is mixed on the strategy comes down to the fact that hard-second decks rarely come up, and are even more rarely competitive.  That said, the internal loop Tistina provides, especially if your opponent has already set up, is immense.  Simply going from Sentinel into Demigod, into Breath, sets up a Book of Moon effect that searches (potentially searching Crystal God Tistina, or Hound of the Tistina, for extension).  In a strategy where you want to be Link Summoning, you can use your Extra Normal on Hound, link Hound & Sentinel off, then resummon both because you control Demigod, going into a potential Link-4.  That’s right, Normal Summon Sentinel is a 1.5-card Link-4 with Demigod onboard and a Book effect; similarly, Baatistina is the nearly the exact same line + Crystal God Tistina because you can send Sentinel with its effect, losing out only on the 4th Link Material, but retaining an extra Normal Summon.

Due to the fact that Tistina has no locks, it’s very difficult to figure out what to pair it with; This article began as a review of my initial Nemleria Tistina build, although once I did some more testing, another strategy came into view.  It was pointed out to me that popping a set Tearlaments spell with Sentinel not only make it a net +1 on your main line, but also got your engine started, given you had a plethora of Aquas around.  This build also originally contained Therions, but those were later cut for a small Kashtira package.  Finally, bringing it all into a cohesive whole was an Ancient Fairy Dragon engine, helping to port between various potent field spells, and unbrick our hands.  This version of the deck has the obvious link-climbing of Tistina’s core package, but also plays on the opponent’s turn with things like Tearlaments Sulliek and Kashtira Fenrir, which can search either itself or a copy of Tearlaments Kashtira.

This list takes a ton of cues from ABC Therion, a strategy which also uses AFD lines to port between its core Field Spells, although in this strategy it’s more of a pivot, than an advantage engine.  Because Divine Domain Baatistina is only really good going second, we can swap it for a copy of Primeval Planet Perlereino or Pressured Planet Wraitsoth to play going first, or crack boards if we already have all necessary pieces.  Moreover, either of those fields can also find our copy of Visas Starfrost, which can turn on our Tearlament effects, or make a quick Baronne de Fleur with any Level 4 (such as Hound of the Tistina).  The exact ratios on the Tearlament Spell/Traps in my build is perhaps a bit off (I never played Tear during its heyday, so I’m not an expert on that half of the deck) but the Tistina line is worth considering in any deck that doesn’t need its Normal Summon, and wants a going-second blowout at its fingertips.

It remains to be seen whether Tear is the best version of this strategy, but I feel that’s a strong starting point!  Tearlament hasn’t seen much play since the mass-limiting and banning of the list which followed its dominance, so getting it back into the meta has been a hope for many of its devoted pilots.  As for siding in this deck, you could likely toss in more Fenrirs, Dark Ruler No More, or Kaijus like Gameciel, or handtraps which don’t hurt the strategy itself all that much, like Droll & Lock Bird.  You could even choose the nuclear option and side in Necrovalley, given you have so many ways to find Field Spells, although this of course greatly hampers your own strategy.

If you open something like Dragon Ravine + Sentinel of the Tistina + Any settable S/T, your main line might be something like: NS Sentinel, set S/T, pop it for Demigod, Demigod for Breath, Ravine, discard another card, send Destrudo, pay half, Destrudo+Sentinel for AFD, Swap to Perlereino & search a relevant Tear, like Reinoheart, Breath set AFD, search Hound, Scheiren send Hound summon self, ss Hound + Sentinel, and from there you have 3 Link Material and a Tear in hand.  There’s some clunkiness now that Kitkallos is gone, but so many of your individual pieces combo with other pieces in a way that naturally synergizes.

I don’t necessarily know what the best build of Tistina is, right now, and it’s okay for me to admit that!  Between gaining advantage on pops, making a ton of Link Material, and wanting to go second, it’s very tough to figure out exactly what the deck wants to pair with, although I’m sure we’ll find out as professional players tinker with it.  There’s truly something here, I believe, and I think it’s worth looking at a bit closer than most of the playerbase is, currently.

There’s a puzzling end to my coverage on Tistina!  What sort of builds would you consider for the Deck?  What might I have missed?  Let me know in the comments below!