As much as I think this format is skillful and diverse, I’m tired of it. There are a hundred different decks, all with viable variants. None of the good decks are mindless. I think I’m tired of this format because none of the decks are fun to play, nor are they as powerful as previous format’s best decks. Just on a straight power level comparison, I’d say that none of the current decks are stronger than Nekroz, Dragon Rulers or even Cold Wave and Oppression Glads from 2008. So even though this format is diverse and skillful, I want to take a look at why Burning Abyss is still popular and still good. At ARG Providence (August 13/14) and the ARG 25k (July 30/31) Burning Abyss decks made up 25% and 41% of top cut, respectively. Burning Abyss is not 80% of top cut like Nekroz and Performages and Pals were, but a lot of people are still playing it. What makes it good?
If you didn’t know, the first Burning Abyss cards came out in DUEA in August of 2014. The deck consisted of three Tour Guide, three Graff, three Cir, three Scarm, a couple regular Monarchs and some discard traps. The deck has changed a lot, but the only time it wasn’t in contention for top spots at tournaments was when Monarchs just came out and Performages and Pals couldn’t be stopped. So how does Burning Abyss win games? A combination of fire and card advantage. Some might call this tempo, but I don’t really think tempo exists in a game where you’re not limited to a couple plays a turn.
So we know by now that Dante, Cir, Graff, Beatrice and all of the Burning Abyss things do things when they die. The deck is capable of putting out a large amount of Rank 3s, this is something that’s well known, but if you haven’t actually played the deck, it will surprise you just how many Level 3s you can actually put on the field. Terrortop and the Phantom Knights have added a lot of longevity to the deck. I know the Terrortop train set sail long ago and everyone is on the bandwagon, but it’s not really a bandwagon if it’s actually good. If you take a look around, Terrortop is in everything from Monarchs to Burning Abyss. Even in Monarch/Burning Abyss.
What does Terrortop do for you? This is Yugioh. You’re not doing anything for Terrortop, Terrortop does all the hard work. Terrortop provides two Level 3s along with Taketomborg perfectly if you don’t have any monsters. Mostly, though, it’s just Dante without a Normal Summon. There are niche uses of the two pieces, like Special Summon Terrortop then Normal Summon a Phantom Knight to make a Rank 3. Taketomborg isn’t awful if you play Leviair, but you never want to draw Taketomborg. Any more than one is too many.
The real reason PK Fire is topping and you aren’t seeing many pure Burning Abyss is because of how good the Phantom Knights are. Yes, Rhino Warrior is good, but it doesn’t do things in all places during every point of the game. Silent Boots does everything you want, but not more. It summons itself, it searches Fog Blade, it’s Level 3, you can Normal Summon it. It doesn’t stop your Malebranches from dying like Rhino does. They just give the deck so much longevity, which is why people run Monarchs and Burning Abyss together.
I know the format is nearing the end, but if you haven’t yet, you should try out PK Fire. It’s good and not as auto pilot as summon Terrortop make Dante. Okay, that play is, but the rest of the deck isn’t super linear. Play the deck, try it out. I don’t think Dante will be limited, so you can pick some up now if you don’t have any. If you want to help support me, you can on Patreon. Even $1 a month is more than any advertising makes. If you want more content, I need to be able to pay for webhosting and food. Patreon is one way to do that.
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