Yu-Gi-Oh! Rogue Report: Marincess
In the wake of the Italian Nationals results, two slots in the Top 16 were taken by a surprising strategy, among a field of relatively concrete meta performers. Which deck was able to stand among the likes of Swordsoul, Therion piles, and Floowandereeze? Surprisingly, it was the red-haired stepchild of the Vrains era, Marincess! Utilizing cards from the new Legendary Duelist pack, this upstart Water strategy is already making waves, so it’s worth a close look to see if Marincess has what it takes to stick around in the meta.
As a little background, Marincess began their life as a Link Ladder archetype from Rising Rampage, focused on looping Marincess Sea Horse multiple times and ending on their first true boss, Marincess Marbled Rock. While the deck saw experimentation in various tournaments, due to its incredible consistency, the low power ceiling prevented it from contending with meta threats of the time. That remained true, even after the archetype got more support in later sets, continually one step behind other strategies, including its sister archetype, Salamangreat, which was a powerful, cheap deck for over a year of competitive play.
That all changed, however, with the addition of two incredible new support cards from Legendary Duelists: Duels from the Deep, being Marincess Dive, and Marincess Coral Triangle. While neither of these cards impact the power ceiling of the strategy, they each assist in what Marincess does best: Consistent Link Laddering. The idea of laddering involves the use of only a single card, or two dependent on hand, in order to go from a deck’s smaller boss monster, to its biggest boss monster. Marincess Coral Triangle acts as another Link-3 to go into on your way to their endpoint, which adds the deck’s best card to its hand. Marincess Dive provides a frankly obscene amount of extension, if your opponent attempts to stop even your simplest play. The interactions between these two cards allows Marincess Sea Horse to represent more than just easy access to a low-power boss monster; now, she provides both flexibility, and interaction, as you climb.
If Marincess is allowed to find a copy of Sea Horse, suddenly, they can cycle through Marincess Blue Slug, Marincess Sea Angel, Marincess Coral Anemone, Marincess Coral Triangle, and finally, their new endgoal, Marincess Aqua Argonaut. Along the way, as our Italian duelists showed, the addition of Argonaut’s negation, and Marincess Wave’s dual purpose negation-and-protection was enough to take tops, alongside a bevy of handtraps. As you might expect, much like Evil★Twins, the low investment of Marincess’ main line allows for upwards of 10 handtraps!
Despite these new support cards, and a newfound position as a streamlined rogue contender, Marincess thrives in the fact that its identity hasn’t really changed since it was released. You can still do the Link Laddering the deck is known for, play using resources from hand, field, and grave, and end on an unaffected boss monster sporting their equipped comrades; now, you simply do those things alongside free access to 2 negation pieces, woven into your core gameplan. There’s no catch or new lines-of-play to remember, it’s simply part of how the new version of Marincess operates.
Marincess is an interesting choice for the current meta landscape, not because it does something profoundly powerful, or game-ending, but because it is brutally consistent in its march towards victory; the numerous extenders Water has access to, as an Attribute, alongside the native extension in Marincess, means that you’re never at a loss for ways to play around opposing negation. While this has always been true for Marincess, the payoff is uniquely hard to work around. Removing their Marincess Aqua Argonaut means both Marincess Coral Anemone and Marincess Coral Triangle provide advantage, but even then, that requires the destruction of an unaffected boss monster, with an ATK in the 4000s. Going first into Marincess, the only real way to stop them is to have more negations than they have extension, and even then, they’re able to pack handtraps to stop plays before they happen!
Here is one of the lists used by the Top 16 placing Italian finalists, Marcelo, including his side deck for the current meta. As we can see, however, this is a strong contender for a streamlined Marincess deck: There’s nothing that doesn’t need to be there, with answers in the form of the format’s best handtraps, adequate ratios of your Marincess monsters, and the Twin Twisters in the main deck, for those tricky Mystic Mine matchups. Finally, Marincess has a clean divide between its starters, extenders, and disruption, which makes learning their lines a breeze! In one particular meta call for the Nationals, the player chose to use the new card Abyss Shark as part of his extension package, given it represents two Level 4 Water monsters, allowing for a quick Toadally Awesome by way of Bahamut Shark, or simply more bodies for Marincess plays. This clearly proved itself as a clear choice for Marincess, over cards like Silent Sea Nettle, which is a common alternate choice.
In the future, I feel as though Marincess may take one of two paths: Like its sister, Salamangreat, it may become a reasonable rogue option for years to come, as it finds a niche and gets refined, or, with the incoming concern of Splight, we’ll see it forgotten until the meta shifts to a point where it becomes favorable. The fate of Marincess resembles that of Tri-Brigade, as a consistent deck with a reasonable ceiling, and plenty of extension, and we’ve seen Tri-Brigade fall in and out of relevance since its release. Time will tell, for these aquatic acrobats, although I’m optimistic, given their performance only 2 days into their TCG debut!
I hope you learned something about the history & future of Marincess as a rogue option, and hopefully, these tops will only be their first of many! What do you think about the power of Duels from the Deep: Will the set flounder, or flourish? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!