Skull Servant's flavor text says that it can mean trouble in large numbers, but we didn't actually see it causing trouble until the King of the Skull Servants was released in The Lost Millennium, which coincidentally was the first set of the GX era. The King has a simple effect: gaining 1,000 ATK points for every other Skull Servant in the graveyard (which includes other copies of itself seeing as the card's name becomes just that in the graveyard) and whenever it is destroyed by battle, you can banish another Skull Servant to bring it back out, yet slightly weaker.
If you're a Speed Duel player that's all the Skull Servant cards you need to know about, but the King's story continues in the 5D's timeline (or just before that, but stick with my narrative) with the release of The Lady in Wight. This card also becomes a Skull Servant in the graveyard, and while it is on the field it protects your skulls from spells, traps, and battle.
Near the end of the 5D's era, only a few sets before the ZeXal era we see the release of Wightmare, which is where the ball really gets rolling. Due to it also being a Skull Servant in the graveyard, that's a total of twelve monsters that share this feature. Its other effects aren't too shabby either. By discarding it from your hand you can put a banished Skull Servant or another copy of Wightmare back in the graveyard, or revive a fallen King or Lady.
Duelist Alliance, the start of the Arc-V era, is where Skull Servants meet one of their strongest allies yet: the King's son, Wightprince! Of course, this card's name counts as Skull Servant in the graveyard. And whenever it is sent there, you can send the vanilla Skull Servant and a Lady from your deck to follow it. If you use Foolish Burial to send Wightprince, that's three members of the King's family lined up in the graveyard! Additionally, you can banish the Prince along with two other Skull Servants to special summon a King from your deck.
Before the start of the Vrains story arc, Prince became a big brother to Wightprincess. When she is summoned, she sends her brother to the graveyard like any good sister does. She can send herself from the hand or the graveyard to make all monsters lose ATK and DEF equal to their own level/rank x 300 for a turn.
All that OTK'ing with a group of eighteen allies makes a king tired and hungry, so of course he'd go on a bit of a holiday to barbecue. The newest Skull Servant is Wightbaking, and it's cooking up something real good! First, you can discard it to protect any level three or lower zombie from battle or card effects. When it hits the graveyard, you can add two of the archetype's cards to your hand and then discard one of them. The attentive reader notices that the latter does in fact trigger Wightprince!
That's true, but maxing out on all of our skulls is a very cost-efficient way of filling up our 40-card main deck. I don't think there's any member of the family that you'd want to completely omit. Maybe you'd run a few of them only in duplicates, but I definitely think all of them suit the strategy well enough to warrant full playsets. Speaking of budget, the total cost of picking up these 21 cards is, according to the Shopping Wizard, only €2! (Excluding shipping, sadly.)
Since this is a zombie deck, we are legally required to play a full set of Uni-Zombie. It's not only amazing for sending cards to the graveyard from the deck, but also for ditching potentially dead (or undead) cards from our hand. The fact that it's a tuner monster gives us access to synchro monsters and Crystron Halqifibrax as well. The rest of the monster lineup is going to capitalize on that line of play too. We're playing doubles of Mezuki and Plaguespreader Zombie. Plaguespreader is particularly interesting, since Wightprince requires you to send both Skull Servant and Lady in Wight from your deck to the graveyard, so if you draw your last copy of one of these, you can put it right back on the top of your deck.
Rounding out the monsters, we're playing single copies of the limited Danger monsters: Nessie, Jackalope, and Tsuchinoko. These will provide you with some extra fodder for your synchro and link plays, as well as getting dead cards from your hand into the graveyard.
Speaking of dead cards in your hand, we're going pretty crazy with an underrated spell card, namely a full playset of Performapal Popperup. This is basically a one-sided Card Destruction with a backlash that could burn you if you're not careful. But exchanging three cards that reach their highest potential while in the graveyard is too good to pass up on. Besides, taking 4,000 damage isn't too bad when your opponent takes 8,000 damage two minutes later.
The spells that fill up the deck are pretty much to be expected: Foolish Burial and One for One, two copies of Allure of Darkness, and the sneaky Burial from a Different Dimension. The latter can easily surprise your opponent, pushing your King's ATK points up by a mighty 3,000! Not only that, but being able to use banished resources like Mezuki or Plaguespreader a second time can really get you back into the game.
That's our main deck. Since almost everything comes in common, the cost for the cards is still well under €20.
Most of the cards here should be self-explanatory. I'm including the zombie-specific link 2 monsters Avendread Savior and Vampire Sucker. Savior can send even more zombies from your deck to the graveyard, and Sucker will reward you for reviving zombies. Because of Uni-Zombie, we can even fit in a few synchro monsters. Level 8 should be relatively easy to access, thanks to its level modulation effect. Chaos Ruler, the Chaotic Magical Dragon has been seeing a lot of play in Chaos Dragon decks and will surely do fine in our monster mash deck.
A final inclusion that I want to mention briefly is Topologic Zeroboros. Thanks to Linkuriboh it might come up that you'll be able to trigger it on the opponent's turn, promptly ending it. On your turn you'll be able to attack into an empty board with both Zeroboros and a massive King!
|Budget Skull Servants|
|Main Deck||Extra Deck|
This deck is different from the one in my previous budget article, since Skull Servant as a theme does not have expensive cards anyway, as opposed to the Dark Magician strategy. The main advantage here is that this makes the deck a nice pickup for when you do already have cards like Forbidden Droplet that you would normally include, but I think the list will do fine without them. After all, the final value of the cards in this list came to about €82. If you own a lot of meta-relevant cards, you might even have to spend way less to purchase the deck.
Due to the deck's heavy emphasis on going second and simply attacking for 8,000 damage with a single hit, you'll find it hard to play through the oppressive negation effects that are currently dominating the format. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, Skull Servants is more of a casual strategy that you can bring to locals or just play among friends. I'm sure you will have a great time—I can feel it in my bones!
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