Yu-Gi-Oh! Rogue Report: Libromancer Mikanko

Carter Kachmarik
January 05, 2023


Part of what makes Yugioh so compelling as a TCG is its whole-cloth lack of rotation; cards remain in the format forever once they’re printed, and only leave the game when taken out-to-pasture via the Forbidden & Limited list.  While sometimes this means tech cards from decades-past, such as Appointer of the Red Lotus, see occasional play, my personal favorite aspect of this game comes from incidental synergies that few people had seen coming during pre-release.  Case in point: Mikanko, the second of the Amazing Defenders archetypes I’ll be looking at in my articles, which might just be the best suite of cards in the entire pack, after being slept-upon since their reveal.  What might have pumped these priestesses up to potential viability?  Let’s take a look.



Mikanko are a strange case, when it comes to archetypes: While they were initially written off for their gimmick of ‘damage reflection’ (where they can battle opponents’ monsters and reverse the battle damage), their true strength has slowly been unraveled as we’ve had time to explore builds.  That said, the aforementioned gimmick has essentially been ignored now, in favor of the other aspects of the strategy that were taken for granted early on. In fact, not too long ago an OCG Regional-Level event was won by a Libromancer Mikanko list which became the basis for the decklist featured in this article!  Libromancers are a natural choice of pairing, sharing the identity of a value-focused Ritual deck that wants to grind out games with a low-ceiling gameplay loop of cycling resources.  While this is a fantastic showing for the biggest sleeper out of Amazing Defenders, further iteration by TCG players have defined a line for Mikanko which truly pushes the deck over the edge.  That edge comes from the level, attribute, and type of the only Mikanko monster which the winning list didn’t bother to run: Hare the Sword Mikanko.



Hare is an innocuous monster at first glance, having only a battle effect (essentially ignored in current builds, as stated) and a search effect which only goes off when another resource, an Equip Spell, is used on her.  Her strength lies, however, in everything but those middling effects: Hare is a Level 3 Fire Warrior, the perfect complement to a now-unplayed tool in combo decks, Infernoble Knight - Renaud.  To understand how this deck operates going forward, I want to quickly illustrate the general line this build attempts to pursue every game, because it’s something every pilot needs to know by heart.


The line begins by summoning Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights, who searches from your Deck a copy of either Libromancer Agent or Immortal Phoenix Gearfried (who are tools for the following turn, not this particular line).  You then activate Isolde, sending Arabesque of the Mikanko, and summoning a Level 1 Warrior, being Infernoble Knight - Renaud.  Renaud then adds back Arabesque from your graveyard, and you equip it to the face-up Renaud.  Arabesque then activates its effect, summoning Hare the Sword Mikanko from Deck, putting Renaud in hand, and triggering Hare’s effect, to search whichever Mikanko Spell you need that turn (usually Blazing Dance of the Mikanko).  Renaud now has the ability to summon himself as a Tuner (due to Hare being a Fire Warrior), and from there, you can Synchro Summon Herald of the Arc Light, who can either be an endboard piece, or a means of extension (going into your Magicians’ Souls line, or Libromancer plays by linking it and Isolde into Cross-Sheep).



While that line seems rather tame, it sets up every single piece for branching lines later in the turn.  You can search The Great Mikanko of Legend off of Hare, go into Ohime the Manifested Mikanko, and send Purifying Dance for a bounce, or extend into Baronne de Fleur or Infernoble Knight Emperor Charles via Diviner of the Herald and a resummoned Hare.  While the deck has many disparate pieces, it forms a shockingly cohesive whole once in action, but the question stands: How are you making Isolde?  Given she’s the best starter by a country mile, accessing her easily is paramount, and for that, we have Libromancer Agent and, I kid you not, Ferocious Flame Swordsman.  Via these two, Agent + any 2 monsters leads into Isolde, and Libromancer (alongside Souls) has a comically easy time putting bodies on the board.  Geek Boy, Fire, and Agent all cycle into one another, so if you have any 1 of those, and a Ritual in hand, you have Isolde.



The going-first gameplan of the deck should be clear by this point, usually ending on a negate via Synchro, I:P Masquerena into Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess, and Libromancer Intervention, but the frightening truth of Mikanko comes from the tools it has for going second.  The easily-accessible Inviting Rondo of the Mikanko is essentially a Snatch Steal, and via Ohime, you can even use it twice in a single turn, by equipping it, sending it off of something like Magicians’ Souls, and re-equipping, but the real follow-up comes from Mikanko Kagura.  While we’re not often Ritual Summoning Ohime, when we do, it’s a blowout.  Kagura translates our Equip Spells in GY, of which we have 4, into non-targeting pops that chunk-out the opponent’s LP, leading to consistent OTKs, especially if you decide to fit Accesscode Talker into your build.



Despite everything I’ve said, I do want to state that much like any other current deck that isn’t Tearlament, this strategy is still going to struggle into Ishizu Tearlament.  It loses hard to the shuffling of GY pieces, given it wants to see as many cards as it can, though luckily it’s seeming as though the Kashtira matchup, following the release of Photon Hypernova, is very winnable.  The reason I recommend people either pick this deck up, or at the very least learn its core lines, is because every set in 2023 following Amazing Defenders provides a tool for Libromancer Mikanko.  Whether it’s Bystials like Bystial Baldrake (Level 6 for Ohime & Libromancer fodder) in PHHY, or incredible extenders in the form of Dance of the Mikanko - Fascinating Bird & Libromancer Origin (so new there’s not a good English render), if you want to get a boost in power every time new cards hit the shelves, this is the perfect strategy for that sort of growth.

Here’s a sample build for Libromancer Mikanko, being what I would consider ‘boilerplate’ for the general build; you can certainly deviate from this, but starting with the above list is recommended.  For the current meta, I would slot in Bystials over Triple Tactics Talent, and you could likewise add in more copies of The Great Mikanko of Legend if you wanted to open it as opposed to search it.  Similarly, you could cut the Magicians’ Souls package altogether and play a greater density of handtraps, or go to 40 cards (this list has 45 cards to reduce the rate at which we draw hard & soft garnets), or even add in Ghost Ogre as a secondary E-Tele target that’s also a Tuner.  In general, you want to have 5-7 Ritual Monsters in your list, so you’re able to go through Libromancer lines, but overdoing it can get cloggy.  There’s a lot of 1-ofs, but because much of your deck accesses itself, you can readily open 1-2 soft garnets and get away with full combo anyway, due to playing enough search targets; the only thing you can’t do with the deck is draw Renaud in your starting hand (which essentially kills your core line, forcing you to send 3 Equip Spells off of Isolde to get Hare, and summon Renaud to get Arabesque back, porting into Nini).  More than nearly every deck I’ve covered in Rogue Report, I’ve played this list enthusiastically, because it’s genuinely fun to pilot, and learn the deeper lines.



Mikanko are a beautiful example of a strategy which only feels as though it will grow, as time goes on.  Not only does it have the necessary types & attributes to slot into numerous strategies (the new, unreleased monster is a Level 3 Psychic, and we already play Emergency Teleport), but it has also rebuffed expectations following its reveal, serving to be arguably the best thing you can do with Isolde, currently.  While none of the archetypes in Amazing Defenders are outright meta hits, ala Eldlich or Drytron, there’s a sense that each has the ability to one day reach those heights.  One last thing, due to these cards not having official TCG reveals yet, the names of these cards are subject to change, especially given they’re based on a Japanese pun in the first place!

That’s the conclusion to our first look at Mikanko’s viability!  Do you think this build might find success in the TCG?  Are there other archetypes you’re planning to utilize the Isolde-Hare line in (I’m already looking at Infernoble as a contender)?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!