Deck Profile: Artifact Monarchs

I just can’t resist running Artifacts in any deck it’s functional in!

And it couldn’t be more true for this deck. More exceptionally I have not seen a deck utilize Artifacts than Artifact Monarchs. After testing just because I cannot resist running Artifacts and because I had heard it worked, I quickly became surprised and enamored with this build. It boasts impressive control during both players’ turns (potentially boring and irritating opponent’s because you activate so many effects on both players’ turns) and is also extremely versatile and difficult to side against, a trademark of Artifacts. The build I’ve been using is something of an anomaly, running a full Extra Deck as opposed to the standard no-Extra Deck Monarch decks and even a fairly strange Artifact engine. The reasoning behind the Extra Deck being that with the fall of Pepe, the majority of meta decks either don’t utilize the Extra Deck or simply don’t need it to function making the power of Domain of the True Monarchs irrelevant in a majority of matches (such as the mirror match, Kozmos or Atlanteans), but even against the decks that do use the Extra Deck, you’re maining Artifacts and the effect of Scythe can absolutely crush Extra Deck reliant decks. You trade the Extra Deck lock of Domain for the use of your own Extra Deck and a different Extra Deck lock, which I think only adds to the deck’s versatility.

Here’s my current build. I went undefeated at my locals with it, or at least a very similar version which I updated for this article, but my locals isn’t all that large so take that with a grain of salt. Admittedly it’s quite strange at a glance, it doesn’t run Artifacts in the standard way and I have very strict opinions about the Monarch half of the deck, but I’ll attempt to explain my choices:

Monsters: (17)

  • 3 Erebus the Underworld Monarch
  • 3 Ehther the Heavenly Monarch
  • 2 Kuraz the Light Monarch
  • 2 Artifact Scythe
  • 1 Artifact Moralltach
  • 1 Artifact Beagalltach
  • 2 Eidos the Underworld Squire
  • 3 Edea the Heavenly Squire

Spells: (16)

  • 1 One for One
  • 3 Pantheism of the Monarchs
  • 3 Tenacity of the Monarchs
  • 3 Artifact Ignition
  • 3 The Monarchs Stormforth
  • 1 Return of the Monarchs
  • 2 Domain of the True Monarchs

Traps: (7)

  • 3 The Prime Monarch
  • 3 Call of the Haunted
  • 1 Solemn Warning

Extra Deck: (15)

  • 1 Galaxy-Eyes Full Armor Photon Dragon
  • 1 Number 107: Galaxy-Eyes Tachyon Dragon
  • 1 Hieratic Sun Dragon Overlord of Heliopolis
  • 1 Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand
  • 1 Alsei, the Sylvan High Protector
  • 1 Number 23: Lancelot, Ghost Knight of the Underworld
  • 1 Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger
  • 1 Number 29: Utopia Beyond
  • 1 Inzektor Exa-Beetle
  • 1 Wind-Up Arsenal Zenmaioh
  • 1 Number 14: Greedy Sarameya
  • 1 Constellar Pleiades
  • 1 Number 61: Volcasaurus
  • 1 Artifact Durendal
  • 1 Shark Fortress

Side Deck: (15)

  • 2 Majesty’s Fiend
  • 2 Artifact Lancea
  • 2 Maxx “C”
  • 2 Battle Fader
  • 2 Double Cyclone
  • 3 Artifact Sanctum
  • 2 Chaos Trap Hole

 

How and Why Artifacts:

I’m sure I’ve stated before in a previous article, but Artifacts are great because they basically solve all siding problems with just main decked cards. What I mean by that is that almost anything that someone could side, floodgates and the like, during game 2 and 3 that may negatively affect your deck can be answered with Artifacts, in most instances, by cards you’re main decking in the Artifact Engine. This is due to Moralltach and Ignition providing extremely versatile removal. For example, with Monarchs, the big anti-Monarch side deck card is Mask of Restrict. In a standard Monarch build, your best option is during game 2 and 3 to hope you draw into sided Twin Twister or Royal Decree or whatever spell and trap removal you may have sided. In the case of Artifacts, not only can they remove the Mask of Restrict from the field but they’re completely unaffected by it so you can just do willy nilly Artifact plays making the Mask of Restrict appear completely ineffective. With this, Artifacts create a balance within the deck where the cards that stop Artifacts are not good against Monarchs and the cards that are good against Monarchs are not good against Artifacts.

Now, the nagging question, why am I not main decking Artifact Sanctum? And noted, it is in my side deck, but there aren’t even a whole lot of match-ups that I would side it for in the long run anyways. This is mostly a foreign decision because in the past, when implementing Artifacts, the card that was the force behind the engine was Artifact Sanctum, it was the reason why you ran Artifacts. My best response is that that literally is not the case for Monarchs. Instead, the key player for Monarchs is Artifact Ignition. I’ve always loved Ignition and I don’t run Artifacts without it because I think it’s so good. Unlike simple spell and trap removal (such as Mystical Space Typhoon or Twin Twister) Artifact Ignition brings forward momentum to your deck. Twin Twister, the common choice of the current meta, literally is the same as opening with 1 less card in your hand to implement any combos (2 if you don’t have viable discard fodder). Artifact Ignition has forward motion because it sets and Artifact from the deck and also because it can be used to great effect by destroying your own cards. Ignition also combos with itself, so where two Twin Twisters would be dead, two Ignition is a threatening combo.

With the set Artifacts you really gain your advantage. Every time you summon an Ehther during the opponent’s turn, while you have any Artifacts set, you’re given the extra option of summon Kuraz the Light Monarch to destroy those Artifacts. This activates those Artifacts to summon them from the graveyard, giving you a plus for each Artifact you hit with this effect, meaning max plus 2, then potentially plus 3 if you summon Moralltach and destroy an opponent’s card. You also potentially gained advantage using The Monarchs Stormforth to tribute the opponent’s monster, more advantage depending on which of your own monsters you tributed, advantage from additional plus of gaining a Kuraz, maybe even a search off of Return, and even graveyard setup for Call of the Haunted as well as the probable plus 1 you dumped in the form of Pantheism. Basically, you get an absurd amount of advantage for an otherwise standard Monarch play as long as you set an Artifact from hand or by using an Ignition earlier in the duel.

Artifacts also have some less than obvious applications for the deck. For example, because Artifacts are level 5 you can tribute summon them. This is advantageous because you can use this to kick start your engine when given a band hand in combination with Return of the Monarchs. Tribute summon and Artifact then search an Ehther off of Return, and then during the opponent’s turn you can tribute the Artifact for the entire tribute summon of Ehther and start the main engine of the deck. Because Artifacts are tribute summon-able, this also means they can take advantage of The Monarchs Stormforth as well. Another advantage of them being level 5 is that they have synergy with The Prime Monarch. The Prime Monarch is also a level 5 LIGHT Fairy-type, just like all the Artifact monsters, meaning you can perform XYZ summons with 1 Artifact and Prime. You can even make some of the best XYZ monsters like Constellar Pleiades who can provide general control over the opponent and bounce you own Call of the Haunted and Monarch monsters for re-use. Then of course, Artifacts summon themselves, meaning you can use them as tribute fodder in a pinch.

Call of the Haunted:

Call of the Haunted is incredible in this deck. At first I was running it in place of Artifact Sanctum because I only had 2 in real life so I was running a 2-2 Sanctum-Call line-up. I tested a lot and all I can say is that Call of the Haunted is significantly better than Artifact Sanctum in this deck. The simple reason is that Call of the Haunted is more versatile because it can special summon more than just Artifact monsters.

There are 4 basic things to reive with Call of the Haunted: Artifacts, Squires, Kuraz, and big Monarchs. Reviving Artifacts is pretty obvious; revive them during the opponent’s turn to get their effects, recycle Moralltach for control and removal, make Rank 5 XYZ, bounce Call with Pleiades, the standard Artifact drill.

You can also Call the Squires. You can revive Edea to get his effect and summon an Eidos from the deck, this re-uses his effect to access banished Monarch spells and traps as well as gives you 2 normal summons that turn due to Eidos. This is slightly redundant with Eidos revival effect so it doesn’t come up as often though. More often than not if you revive a Squire it will be an Eidos because you have a bad hand, which also nets you the extra normal summon, or reviving an Edea after you’ve exhausted Eidos either for just the single extra tribute fodder or because your opponent attempted to destroy your face-down Call so you chain to revive Edea in order to recur a spell or trap with Edea’s effect to prevent a loss of advantage.

Reviving Kuraz is the optimal play in most instances because it provides the most possibilities. It’s very easy to setup a graveyard Kuraz because more often than not Kuraz destroys himself upon summoning, putting him in the graveyard for Call of the Haunted. Kuraz can of course, pop your Artifacts during the opponent’s turn to gain tons of advantage. You can also just simple revive Kuraz to pop himself and Call of the Haunted for a Pot of Greed of sorts when you just some more cards. You can also revive Kuraz and pop the opponent’s cards, though I always try to hold off on doing this as long as possible. In the mirror match it can also be important to summon Kuraz and pop all of your monsters, including Kuraz, in order to prevent the opponent from using their The Monarchs Stormforth. Here’s an example of that:

  • You go first and summon an Ehther.
  • Ehther summons a Kuraz from the deck and dumps some cards for setup.
  • Kuraz pops himself and potentially some other card for some draws.
  • You draw into a Call of the Haunted or already had it and set it.
    • Nothing all too peculiar or unlikely here.
  • During the opponent’s turn they activate The Monarchs Stormforth.
  • After Stormforth resolves you activate Call to revive Kuraz.
  • Kuraz destroys himself and Ehther and you draw 2 more cards.

You really don’t lost any cards because of the potentially 4 cards you drew and you neg the opponent at least the one Stormforth and potentially halt their hand if it’s not capable of otherwise tribute summoning a monster, which can be detrimental in the mirror.

Running an Extra Deck:

With Pepe taking up a significantly smaller portion of the metagame, Extra Deck usage for all decks has decidedly fallen. This means the lock effect of Domain is irrelevant against a lot of decks, for example against Kozmos, Atlanteans, or the mirror match, which makes up the bulk of the decks in my region. The only decks that still require the Extra Deck are Performapals, Burning Abyss and rogue decks. With an Extra Deck of your own, Domain does not provide the lock effect, but against the Extra Deck reliant decks you can still hurt them significantly because of Artifact Scythe which is effectively the same thing as Domain was in the non-Extra Deck variants. Having an Extra Deck also gives you a big leg up in the mirror because you inherently have more options than an Extra Deck-less opponent running the same deck.

So, because you don’t need the Domain lock, you might as well increase the deck’s versatility by adding an Extra Deck especially because the deck so easily goes into very threatening monsters like rank 8 XYZ and Rank 5 XYZ. Here’s the purpose and way to summon each:

  • Rank 8 XYZ: Toolbox:
    • All of the Rank 8 XYZ are self explanatory in their use and provide a toolbox for that rank. In order to summon a Rank 8 XYZ the easiest method is by summoning Ehther and using his effect to summon either another Ehther or an Erebus from the deck giving you two level 8’s. It’s not always optimal to combine your monsters in this way, but having the extra option is what is most important because it increases the versatility of the deck for almost no cost.
  • Rank 6 XYZ: Utopia Beyond & Exa-Beetle:
    • Rank 6 XYZ are pretty rare to summon, but it can be done. You can either unlikely summon two Kuraz or the more easy method, if you lower the level of Ehther with Domain to 6 and summon it with 1 tribute you can summon it and use his effect to summon a Kuraz from the deck giving you two level 6 monsters. Utopia Beyond is just a general answer to things, for example Dark Destroyer if need be. Exa-Beetle provides removal as well as is a really cute way to re-use Edea’s effect. When Exa-Beetle is summoned you can equip an Edea from your grave to it and then send it to the graveyard with Exa-Beetle’s effect to send an opponent’s card to the graveyard. You can then follow up with the obligatory Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger.
  • Wind-Up Arsenal Zenmaioh:
    • General removal and potential deck setup when you have a bad hand by popping set Pantheism or The Prime Monarch.
  • Number 14: Greedy Sarameya:
    • For rogue burn decks. You have the Extra Deck space, so it’s kind of in the “why not?” category. This card is an auto-win against burn decks unless they draw a Kaiju or Volcanic Queen.
  • Constellar Pleiades:
    • The go to Rank 5 for the deck. We all know that this card is one of the best XYZ monsters in the game by now.
  • Number 61: Volcasaurus & Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger:
    • Probably the XYZ I’ve used the second most to Pleiades. In the mirror match this card absolutely wrecks. Pop-the opponent’s Monarch for a quick 2800 damage then attack directly for 2600 damage. That’s 5400 damage. Plus your own Ehther or Erebus you can attack for game.
  • Artifact Durendal:
    • Fairly obligatory in Artifact decks. Typically I only summon Durendal when I want to seal the game. For example I attack and bring the opponent to low lifepoints and summon Durendal to prevent them from countering my push and attack for game the next turn.
  • Shark Fortress:
    • This card is pretty laughable, but good. Shark Fortress plus Ehther or Erebus is exactly 8000 damage: 2800 + 2800 + 2400 = 8000.

Side Deck:

As is always the case whenever I post a Side Deck, the Side Deck is fairly fluid, meaning likely to warp and change. As I gain more experience and understand the value of each main decked card versus each viable deck and the amount of cards I need and what’s best against each deck, my Side Deck will inevitably change. For now this is what I have and my reasoning:

  • Majesty’s Fiend:
    • Absolutely mandatory Side Deck choice in my opinion. It has the Monarch stats to it supports all the Monarch cards, ex. Tenacity and searchable via Return. Majesty’s Fiend completely destroys Atlanteans and Kozmo bar Dark Hole and Raigeki, which they should be running because of this. It’s also very good against Burning Abyss. Not nearly as relevant against Pepe or the mirror so not main-deck-able.
  • Artifact Lancea:
    • I also consider this a mandatory Side Deck choice, at least for the Artifact builds, but it’s still good in standard Monarchs as well. Lancea is almost always good against any deck that Scythe is not. Specifically I side it for Kozmos and Infernoids. Activating a Lancea during a Kozmo players turn almost always prevents them from OTKing you, which is the only real threat the deck has on you, because other than that Monarchs completely wreck Kozmos. Chaining Lancea to Emergency Teleport is particularly good because they’ll summon a pilot from their deck and not be able to banish is for its effect and it will go to the graveyard during the End Phase because it cannot be banished, which is ideal. Infernoids is pretty obvious, Lancea literally doesn’t allow them to play. I have a lot of experience infuriating Infernoid players back when I used Shaddoll Artifacts, so I can guarantee how good it is there.
  • Maxx “C” & Battle Fader:
    • I generally side these in tandem against Atlanteans. Atlanteans really just make one big push and run out of steam. If you stop their one push they have trouble combatting you doing something as simple as summoning an Erebus. Maxx “C” is also good against decks like Burning Abyss and rogue decks.
  • Double Cyclone:
    • Initially I sided Twin Twister, but I honestly didn’t like it in this deck. I did this same siding option back in Shaddoll Artifacts and felt it was significantly better. With Ignition in the main deck, it’s rarely relevant that I’ll side Double Cyclone or Twin Twister, but against the decks that just run infinite floodgates I figured I wanted to be siding at least one additional spell and trap removal option and I figured Double Cyclone was best. At the worst you can use it to destroy your own Pantheism or Prime for setup purposes.
  • Artifact Sanctum:
    • I decided this card was better off in the Side Deck, but if I find something better I may drop it altogether. My theory behind it is that I would side it only against decks where I really want to see Lancea or Scythe, the two example match-ups would be Pepe and Infernoids. Against Pepe, if I was running Ignition, 2 Scythe, Sanctum and Call of the Haunted, I have a hard time believing they’ll be able to effectively play the game. The same goes for Infernoids except with Lancea instead of Scythe.
  • Chaos Trap Hole:
    • For the mirror match and for rogue decks. Don’t side this for Kozmos, it’s just not worth it. In the mirror match negating a normal summon is absolutely bonkers. Before I was testing the Artifact build I was running a Super Quantum build that used 3 Solemn Scolding, and I cannot stress enough how good Scolding is in this deck. Scolding doesn’t work with Artifacts though because you almost always have at least 1 Artifact set, so instead I main the 1 Solemn Warning (the current best trap of the format) and side the 2 Chaos Trap Hole. In addition to negating the summon Chaos Trap Hole also banishes which is nice when negating Erebus because they can’t recur it from the graveyard anymore.

 

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below!

Written by: Kyle Oliver