Qliphorts, the New Challenger

On October 9, 2014 by Kyle Schrader


Disclaimer: Unreleased card names subject to change. Article is written notwithstanding potential World Premiere cards.

Magical Scientist FTK, Gladiator Beat, Tele-DAD, and Dino Rabbit – what do these decks have in common? They were the first to masterfully exploit a new game mechanic stemming from the Extra Deck. Enter Qliphort. This deck is to Pendulum Summoning what the aforementioned were to Fusion, Contact Fusion, Synchro, and Xyz Summoning, respectively. If you’re unfamiliar with the new game mechanic, you should watch this video before continuing.

Qliphorts are EARTH Machine Pendulum Monsters. To be honest, they look like the Yu-Gi-Oh! equivalent of the Angels of Neon Genesis Evangelion, hence the graphic. We will begin by taking a look at the new cards introduced in the next set The New Challengers, then we will look at an example decklist. Each card contains a lot of text, which can be really intimidating, I know. Don’t worry, I too remember crying while reading Dragon Rulers for the first time and I’m here to help. Much like Dragon Rulers, each Qliphort have very similar effects.

The Qliphort Pendulum Monsters are Scout, Shell, Disk, Carrier, and Helix.

Scout is a Level 5 Normal Monster (1000 ATK/2800 DEF). Its card lore spouts off something about Windows 10. Shell, Disk, Carrier, and Helix are all Effect Monsters. Levels 8, 7, 6 and 6 respectively.

Shell and Disk (Both 2800 ATK/1000 DEF) get effects when they are Tribute SUMMONED, using Qliphort Monsters. Carrier and Helix (Both 2400 ATK/100 0DEF) activate when they are TRIBUTED for the Tribute Summon of any Monster. If and only if the aforementioned condition is met: Shell can attack twice plus inflict piercing damage while Disk can Special Summon two more Qliphort Monsters to the field when Summoned; those two monsters are destroyed in the End Phase. Likewise, Carrier can bounce 1 monster in play, while Helix can pop 1 Spell or Trap.

In addition, they all carry the following effects, “You can Normal Summon this card without Tributing. If this card is Normal Summoned without Tributing or is Special Summoned, its Level becomes 4 and its original ATK becomes 1800. If this card is Normal Summoned/Set, it is unaffected by activated effects from any monster whose original Level/Rank is lower than this card’s current Level.”

This is why Skill Drain is appreciated in this deck; you can Normal Summon huge monsters.

Apoqliphort Towers is a good old regular Effect Monster, not one of these fancy new Pendulum Monsters. It is also ridiculously powerful. It is so powerful that it can actually be a hindrance to the deck, as it is not necessarily needed. If you have the resources to summon it, you should have already won.

Cannot be Special Summoned. Requires 3 “Qli” monsters to Normal Summon/Set. If this card is Normal Summoned/Set, it is unaffected by Spell/Trap effects and by activated effects from any monster whose original Level/Rank is lower than this card’s current Level. All Special Summoned monsters lose 500 ATK and DEF. Once per turn: You can make your opponent send 1 monster from their hand or their side of the field to the Graveyard (their choice).

All Qliphorts have the Spell Effect “You cannot Special Summon any monsters, except “Qli” Monsters (this cannot be negated).” Shell and Helix also reduce opposing monsters ATK by 300, while Carrier and Disk increase your Qliphorts by 300 ATK. Scout, on the other hand, has a real effect, “Once per turn: You can pay 800 LP; add 1 “Qli” card from your Deck to your hand, except “Qliphort Scout”.”

Saqlifice is an Equip Spell that acts as four cards in one (Machine Conversion Factory, Safe Zone, Cost Down, and Reinforcement of the Army).

Equip only to a “Qli” monster. It gains 300 ATK, also it cannot be destroyed by battle. The equipped monster can be treated as 2 Tributes for the Tribute Summon of a “Qli” monster. If this card is sent from the field to the Graveyard: You can add 1 “Qli” monster from your Deck to your hand.

Lastly, Laser Qlip is the deck’s Field Spell. It allows you a second Normal Summon and also lets you avoid cards like Bottomless Trap Hole.

Qlimate Change allows you to add up to three Pendulum Monsters from your Extra Deck to your hand, which can be useful in the mid-late game when your short on Scouts. Qlipper Launch is a watered-down-yet-searchable Skill Drain.

Pendulum Scales
Scout, Shell, and Helix have Pendulum Scales of 9, while Disk and Carrier have Pendulum Scales of 1. Our Support Monsters, Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon and Performpal Trampolynx, both have Scales of 4. This is of no consequence, because the all the monsters we want to Pendulum Summon are Levels 5 to 8 or Levels 8 to 5.

Support Cards
The two Support Monsters are Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon and Performpal Trampolynx.

Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon

DARK/Dragon/Pendulum/Effect/Lv. 7/PS. 4/2500ATK/2000DEF
Pendulum Effect: You can reduce the battle damage you take from a battle involving a Pendulum Monster you control to 0. During your End Phase: You can destroy this card, and if you do, add 1 Pendulum Monster with 1500 or less ATK from your Deck to your hand. You can only use each Pendulum Effect of “Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon” once per turn.
Monster Effect: If this card battles an opponent’s monster, any battle damage this card inflicts to your opponent is doubled.

Pendulum Dragon fetches Trampolynx and Scout, it also can keep it a Pendulum zone if you don’t want to risk your Trampolynx’ early and still want to Pendulum Summon. Much like Gorz the Emissary of Darkness, Lavalval Chain and Daigusto Emeral, Odd-Eyes can do other stuff too. Those other things should not be overlooked, because it can come up in uncommon situations as the difference maker.

Performpal Trampolynx

EARTH/Beast/Pendulum/Effect/Lv. 2/PS. 4/300ATK/300DEF
Pendulum Effect: When you Pendulum Summon a monster(s): You can target 1 card in a Pendulum Zone; return that target to the hand. You can only use this effect of “Performapal Trampolynx” once per turn.
Monster Effect: When this card is Normal Summoned: You can target 1 card in a Pendulum Zone; return that target to the hand.

Trampolynx allows you to Xyz Summon, resolve Soul Charge, and use Scout’s effect twice per turn. You may also find yourself in an awkward situation where you have two Scoutss up in your Pendulum Zones. Moreover, you may have a less desirable card in your Pendulum Zones, like Disk, Helix or Carrier. Trampolynx can be Normal Summoned to bounce whatever is in the RED/BLUE to your hand.

Now that we have an idea what the new cards do, let’s bring it altogether.

Monsters: 17
3 Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon
3 Qliphort Scout
3 Qliphort Shell
2 Qliphort Carrier
2 Qliphort Helix
2 Qliphort Disk
2 Performpal Trampolynx

Spells: 12
3 Upstart Goblin
3 Summoner’s Art
2 Trade-In
2 Saqlifice
1 Soul Charge
1 Laser Qlip

Traps: 11
3 Vanity’s Emptiness
3 Reckless Greed
3 Trap Stun
2 Skill Drain

Extra Deck: 15
1 Evilswarm Exciton Knight
1 Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer
1 Number 106: Giant Hand
1 Diamond Dire Wolf
1 Abyss Dweller
1 Number 103: Ragnazero
1 Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk
1 Steelswarm Roach
1 Cairngorgon, Antiluminescent Knight
1 Number 61: Volcasaurus
1 Artifact Durendal
1 Shark Fortress
1 Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger
1 Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand
1 Superdreadnought Rail Cannon Gustav Max

Side Deck: 15
3 Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror
3 Threatening Roar
3 Spell Shattering Arrow
3 Maxx “C”
2 Puppet Plant
1 Apoqliphort Towers

If you want to understand it better, I suggest you load up the list of DN or DevPro and have at it. The deck is a lot like Chaos Dragons in that it is a combo deck with huge monsters that come out of nowhere and keep coming back. Instead of Future Fusion, the clock starts ticking once your scales are up.

Ideally, you get Trampolynx and Scout in the RED and BLUE and then you literally just start throwing your cards at the table. If your opponent breaks your field, you just Pendulum Summon everything back next turn. If they break your scales, you just use the insane advantage gained from Scout, Saqlifice, and Reckless to put them back and get the engine going again. Trampolynx helps here as well, by keeping Scout off the table. In the worst case, you fall back and start making Xyz Monsters and/or resolve an unbreakable board with Soul Charge.

If you cannot end the game in one push, you will want to Xyz to avoid getting blown out by cards like System Down, Spell Shattering Arrow, and Fairy Wind. Alternatively, the emergence of Qliphort may bring back such Anti-Chaos Dragon cards as Level Limit – Area B, Burden of the Mighty, Gravity Bind, and Messenger of Peace. Xyz plays will assist against those cards as well.

Deviations from the Norm
If you follow the decklists from frequent five person locals in Japan on Shriek OCG, you’ll probably notice a lot of differences from variants that are popping up in the East. The big differences are -3 Reckless, -3 Upstart, -2 Trade-In, -2 Shell, +1 Saqlifice, maybe +1 play Towers. Some even don’t play Trampolynx and the Extra Decks are unfocused. The lack of Trap Stun I can understand, they have Heavy Storm and they don’t have Burning Abyss. The presence of the former changes the very way decks are built.

My goal with above list is to accomplish two things I did not feel the OCG lists do not: (1) Streamline the Deck and (2) Abuse Soul Charge.

Sehabi Kheireddine qualified for and later won the 2014 World Championship with a streamlined Infernity deck. Rather than focus on being disruptive, he minimized his Traps and focused his deck on solely accomplishing its goal. This is the same principle we employ here with Qliphorts.

Upstart Goblin is simple, because math. The potential to run 40-37 cards is leaps and bounds better than your static >40. Qliphort can also put insane damage on board, so if you’re worried about Upstarts alleged drawback, please stop. Next we have Reckless Greed, which is always appreciated in combo decks. The more cards in hand, the more you can throw at the table. Resolving 2 is as it always has been, a blowout. Trade-In makes your bad hands better and opens up Soul Charge plays. It is always live because if you don’t have one, you can tutor Shell through Scout at anytime for a small fee. Finally, Trap Stun allows you to accomplish your goal of reducing their LP to 0. Moreover, it shuts down those ~20 Trap decks that are and will be all the rage.

Soul Charge
Soul Charge is one of the strongest cards in the game and should be maximized in every deck. This is not so difficult now, because it is limited to one copy.

However, you may be asking yourself why you would want Soul Charge in a deck that rarely sees cards go to the graveyard. Well, in your normal Qliphort deck that may be true. Although, as I mentioned, those decks are easily beaten by System Down, Spell Shattering Arrow, even Anti-Spell Fragrance or United We Stand.

Charge becomes viable in this version because Pendulum Monsters detached as Xyz Material or discarded via Trade-In are sent to the graveyard instead of the Extra Deck. Soul Charge ensures that those monsters will keep going back to the Extra Deck. Moreover, as it always has, Soul Charge is another win condition and allows you to make unbreakable boards with Rank 4s and beyond like Artifact Durendal or simply end the game with Number 61: Volcasaurus.

Kyle Schrader was a member of United Gosus from 2010 to 2015, serving as the immediate Past-President and Past-Chairman.