Yu-Gi-Oh! Rogue Report: Fire King ft. Trap Tracks
Structure Decks are the epitome of a hit-or-miss product, being a coinflip between a meta-defining way for budget players to enter the game, or forgettable bulk that’s doomed to be sold at-cost by game stores. Thankfully, Structure Deck: Fire Kings, releasing on December 7th-8th, is very much the former. Fire Kings were originally bundled with Atlanteans during the Zexal era, receiving a modest initial wave that recalled the play patterns of old-school Nepthys control. This time, however, they’ve received the tools to punch up like no other modern strategy, holding 8-23% of the OCG’s meta share since their debut. What makes this deck tick comes down to the same features boasted by Unchained, a current top 3 deck in the TCG: Repeatable midrange gameplay, bolstered by effects which punish the opponent for normal interaction.
Today, we’re pushing that to 11, and providing a unique spin on the strategy that makes use of a slept-on card often seen only in fringe Trap decks. Without further ado, this is Fire King ft. Trap Tracks.
It’s important to touch on what a Fire King deck is looking to include before discussing why I’ve chosen to go with Trap Tracks as a notable non-engine inclusion. Fire King revolves around the resolution of its core starter, Legendary Fire King Ponix — this Level 1 monster is a free Summon, like its Level 4 counterparts, when a specific monster is destroyed, but crucially also searches a Fire King Spell/Trap when it hits the field. 99% of the time, this is going to be Fire King Sanctuary, which itself gets Fire King Island. Island then pops Ponix (which adds itself back next Standby Phase) to get another name, and from there you’re playing a nonlinear midrange strategy at its finest.
Fire King is at its best when it’s merely doing the job of a midrange core, answering threats, putting up modest non-negation boards, but otherwise relying on non-engine to do its most potent swings. That’s where Trap Tracks comes in.
I’ve spoken about the potential behind Trap Tracks before, in my Dinomorphia article, but here it serves a purpose as copies 3-5 of Triple Tactics Thrust, finding crucial ‘silver bullet’ Normal Traps to deal with specific endboards. The power of Thrust is evident at this point, seeing play in nearly every top list, and Tracks isn’t that far off; although it is slower, and requires a monster pop, Fire King is absolutely fine with those conditions so long as the payoff is powerful enough. In our case, it absolutely is — Not only can we grab preemptive negation via Dimensional Barrier, this also allows us to readily flex into answers like Destructive Daruma Karma Cannon, or even Evenly Matched.
Beyond that, it makes accessible a card many other builds of Fire King have since cut, Fire King Combined Strike. While this card is hyperspecific, having no less than 10 ways to find it makes this extender all the more reasonable as an inclusion.
Moreover, I believe this build to be perhaps the only Fire King list that can competently run both the original Fire King High Avatar Garunix and the Diabellstar engine. Tracks gives us even more ways to both find the big chicken, via Combined Strike, and ways to pop it for follow-up. This list leans heavily into a slower gameplan than its peers, meaning you’re far more likely to accrue value via Garunix than in streamlined, no-flex variants.
On the topic of the Diabellstar engine, budget notwithstanding, it is a mandatory inclusion for the strategy. Not only does it provide use for our dead-on-board Sanctuary(s), it’s an easy way to access Ponix via Original Sinful Spoils - Snake-Eye. Given you want to use the little bird’s effect twice per turn cycle (once on your turn, once on your opponents’), that makes it mission critical to see a copy through removal. While we’re lighter on targets than other builds, reserving Fire King Sky Burn for the Sidedeck, losing out on the grind & consistency Diabellstar provides would greatly hamper any Fire King pilot’s play.
While every new card we’ve talked about is noteworthy, perhaps the most quietly powerful card in this new support wave is Fire King High Avatar Kirin. This pseudo-handtrap lets you trigger your key effects on the opponent’s first turn, setting up for swing plays during your Standby before you’ve even entered your first Main Phase. Moreover, if you manage to do so while Sacred Fire King Garunix is in your hand, you can consequently pop Kirin, leading to disruption and a massive threat while the opponent’s setting up. Fire King manages to play through interaction going first or second, letting Trap Tracks do the heavy lifting when it comes to more specific answers.
For the Sidedeck, as stated Fire King Sky Burn is an obvious inclusion, as well as various other singleton Normal Traps for Tracks & Thrust. If you found flex slots in your Extra Deck, Tri-Brigade Revolt isn’t a bad option as a way to summon Shuraig on the opponent’s turn, or even the classic Torrential Tribute. Nibiru is also a current staple, and while it can hamper your plays, Droll & Lock Bird is in a comfortable meta position at the moment as well.
Aside from these options, I’ve seen some reasonable takes on running a suite of Gen/Ken in the side for Fire King, enabling your Tactics and putting a body on the opponent’s board, though this is likely better something to fully commit on.
Lastly, Dogmatika Punishment is a current darling for Fire King, sending previously mentioned Tri-Brigade Shuraig, the Ominous Omen to pop an opposing monster, and search a copy of Ponix. All told, you should be developing your Sidedeck for whichever meta threat exists in your environment, as Fire King can readily slot in adaptable answers to shifting threats.
Given my list is on both a suite of soft garnets, in our Normal Traps, as well as a 2:2 ratio of Sanctuary to Island, going over 40 isn’t really a concern here. You’ll notice that the number of Level 4 Fire Kings has been radically shaved down compared to competing options, as I feel they’re less relevant unless you intend to lean heavier into the combo aspects of the strategy. Fire King in my experience does best when the opponent is actually allowed to interact, and trade down or equally into your boards, given how much recursion exists within the strategy.
The Extra Deck is also quite standard, boasting 2 copies of Garunix Eternity, Hyang of the Fire Kings for the grindier matchups. Tenki also exists to find extra names for our Level 4s, as I feel that 3 Tenki works better than, say, 3 Arvata, as multiple copies are dead, and face-up Spells are perfect cost coverage for our Diabellstar engine.
With that, we reach the end of my take on Fire King, post-Structure Deck! As new cards are released, such as more Snake-Eyes in Phantom Nightmare, or Bonfire next January, this archetype is sure to develop! What are your spicy takes on this exciting new strategy? What might I have missed in my coverage of Thrust/Tracks targets? Let me know in the comments below!