Phantom Knights got third place at the recent UDS! What do you think of Jeff Jones’ list? Is Break Sword worth $40 right now?
How did Jeff Jones recently get third place at the UDS with Phantom Knights? There were two main reasons why. One, the event was only about 80 or so people, and two, no one there knew what Phantom Knights did. Of course, he COULD have cheated, but I have no proof of this and don’t want to accuse someone of something I don’t even have a reason to suspect them of. Keep in mind that I do not personally know Jeff Jones, nor am I saying he is a bad player, quite the opposite. But this happens almost every format. Someone plays a deck that people don’t know how to play against, does well at an event, then never touches the deck again because they’re playing a better deck. Jeff Jones has done this before, and most people will probably remember the Psychic deck he piloted to second place at YCS Toronto at the beginning of the September 2013 format. Anyways, this time, it’s Phantom Knights that are the mediocre deck that people will copy and do poorly with now. Let’s get into his list before I discuss it further.
3 The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak
3 The Phantom Knights of Ragged Gloves
3 The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots
3 Speedroid Terrortop
1 Speedroid Taketomborg
1 Speedroid Tri-Eyed Dice
1 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit
1 Super Quantum Blue Layer
EXTRA DECK: 15 (14 Xyz, 1 Synchro)
3 The Phantom Knights of Break Sword
2 Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss
2 Leviair the Sea Dragon
1 Number 47: Nightmare Shark
1 Tri-Edge Levia
1 Downerd Magician
1 Evilswarm Nightmare
1 Evilswarm Thanatos
1 Number 66: Master Key Beetle
1 Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon
1 Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
All right, so now that we know what cards he used, let’s look at what they do. Let’s go over the Phantom Knights first. There are five, but Jeff only used the three Level 3 ones, which are all DARK Warrior monsters. Each of the Phantom Knights has two effects, one that banishes itself from the Graveyard to do a thing, and another effect. Each effect can only be used once per turn.
Ancient Cloak can banish itself from the grave to search another The Phantom Knights card, except itself. This searching effect excludes the traps because they aren’t The Phantom Knights cards, just Phantom Knights cards. While in Attack Position, it can shift itself to Defense Position to have a DARK monster on the field gain 800 ATK and DEF until the end of your opponent’s turn.
Ragged Gloves is arguably the worst Phantom Knights, but it’s still a necessary piece. If it’s used as Xyz Material for a DARK Xyz Monster it gains 1000 ATK. This gives the Xyz an effect that starts a chain. This means it can get Ghost Ogre’d or Veiler’d. No bueno, jefe. Additionally, since it’s a mandatory effect that can only be used once per turn, if you go into Break Sword to destroy itself and bring back Ragged Gloves as a Level 4, your Rank 4 won’t gain 1000 ATK. It’s a good effect, but has a lot of drawbacks. But it’s effect to banish itself from the Graveyard makes up for it. You can banish it from your Graveyard; send 1 Phantom Knights card from your deck to the Graveyard. This includes the Phantom Knights traps.
Silent Boots is probably the best Phantom Knights, with the exception of Break Sword. If you control a The Phantom Knights monster, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand). This effect doesn’t use the chain, so your opponent can’t chain Maxx “C” or Emptiness to it, but they can respond to the summon with those cards. And unfortunately, you can only Special Summon Silent Boots this way once per turn. But it is pretty amazing because it includes Break Sword. If you have Break Sword, you can summon another Level 3, Special Summon Silent Boots, then make another Rank 3. Silent Boots’ other effect lets it banish itself from your Graveyard; add 1 Phantom Knights Spell/Trap from your Deck to your hand. What do those Phantom Knights Spells and Traps do? Let’s take a look.
Phantom Knights’ Spear is bad, so we’re skipping it. Three of the four Phantom Knights’ traps, Fog Blade, Wing, and Sword, can banish themselves from the Graveyard to Special Summon a The Phantom Knights monster from your Graveyard, but banish it when it leaves the field. That banish it part doesn’t usually matter because you’re overlaying with it, but don’t forget that you can summon on your opponent’s turn. Do this during the Battle Phase to avoid taking damage.
Let’s look at their other effects. Phantom Knights’ Fog Blade is similar to Fiendish Chain in that it’s a continuous trap that negates the effects of its target, and its target cannot attack. But additionally, its target cannot be attacked either. Also, this is searchable by Silent Boots. You can also target your own monsters to prevent your opponent from attacking it or if you have no other monsters, attacking at all.
Phantom Knights’ Wing gives any monster on the field 500 ATK and the same protection Stardust Spark offers, the first time it would be destroyed by battle or card effect, it is not. This is simple but effective. It stops Dark Destroyer from ruining your day. It gives the monster 500 ATK forever. It can be activated in the damage step. Overall, very good. Don’t forget it summons a The Phantom Knight back to use as Xyz Material.
Phantom Knights’ Sword is similar to Wing but is continuous. Sword’s target gains 800 ATK instead of 500, but only while Sword is face-up. And if that target would be destroyed, you can destroy it instead.
Altogether, Fog Blade, Wing, and Sword make a nice trio of searchable protection for your field. The Phantom Knights of Shadow Veil IS a The Phantom Knights card, which means it can be searched by Ancient Cloak, but it only gives a monster 300 ATK and DEF and summons itself from grave as a Level 4 when your opponent attacks directly. All in all, not very good. Neat, but in a Rank 3 focused build, it is just garbage. Almost as bad as Phantom Knights’ Spear.
Now that you know what the Phantom Knights cards do, let’s go over his other card choices. The small Speedroid engine is there to let you make Dante first turn. Dante still mills 3, and is still generic. Yes, you can make Break Sword, but what is the point if your opponent doesn’t have any cards to destroy? E-Teleports, Ghost Ogre and Blue Layer are here for more easy Level 3s to make your Rank 3s. While testing this list, I’ve found Mathematician is pretty sub par, but you can still Normal Summon it after doing Speedroid things or E-Teleport into another Level 3. But unlike the other DARK Level 3 Archetype, Mathematician doesn’t kill all of your other guys. And a playset of Fog Blade, Wing and Sword provide most of the protection needed and facilitate more Xyz plays.
Break Sword, Dante, Leviair and Nightmare Shark were the only two material Rank 3s Jeff Jones played, but while I was testing his list, I found I never really wanted anything else. Double Dante effectively is infinite Dante as they put each other back in the Extra Deck. Leviair extends plays, and if you happen to draw Taketomborg, Leviair is a WIND, so you can Special Summon Taketomborg. I very rarely even used Nightmare Shark, but you want it in your Extra Deck should the situation arise. Tri-Edge Levia is the other Rank 3 he played, but it takes 3 materials. I think for its 1800 ATK 3 materials isn’t worth the investment, but it does have some power and can negate monster effects. Trishula is also in here should the situation arise that you have two Level 3s and E-Teleport or a way to get the Dice on field. Dice is also like Necro Gardna but is a tuner for Trishula.
As far as Rank 4s go, Jeff Jones didn’t play much more than was needed. Evilswarm Nightmare and Thanatos both benefit from the 1000 ATK boost, otherwise aren’t exactly worth summoning. Downerd plays a similar role to the one in Burning Abyss, when Dante is shooting blanks, she sits on his face. Key Beetle I think is only here for the Emptiness lock, but is much more threatening when Key Beetle is 3500 instead of 2500. And Dark Rebellion can get extra huge when it’s summoned at 3500. I did, however, sometimes wish I had a second Downerd, or F0: Utopic Future.
The side deck is pretty generic now, except for Magic Deflector which stops the Monarch Field Spell on your own turn so you can continue to Special Summon from the Extra Deck. It also negates March, Return, and Stormforth if they have any of those. I was waiting for Magic Deflector to get good in 2012, but it never did and I since forgot about it.
Overall Jeff Jones’ list is pretty generic and not too innovative, but it did surprise people who didn’t know what The Phantom Knights did. I feel like Dinomist or Deskbots could have achieved similar results despite being worse than Phantom Knights. It was the surprise factor of Phantom Knights that served Jeff Jones well. This has happened before. Everyone is going to hop on that ghostly train and ride on Jeff Jones’s spirit tracks and not see the same success. Yes, you can do well at smaller events, like locals or even a regional, but Phantom Knights are not top tier. Break Sword is. In something like Burning Abyss.