Exorcizing the Competition with Exosister

Halfmiss

Power of the Elements is here, and this set brings us a plethora of powerful and meta-relevant strategies. Players are already well aware of Spright and Tearlament, two decks that have been dominating the OCG, but a third powerful deck is also lurking in their shadow: So let's talk about Exosister!


Exosister Martha

Exosister is a deck originally released in The Grand Creators (GRCR), the same set that launched the Adventurer and P.U.N.K. archetypes. The archetype focuses on punishing your opponent for using their graveyard, an action that almost every modern deck must perform. Every main deck monster has an effect that triggers when your opponent moves a card from either graveyard and allows them to xyz summon an "Exosister" xyz monster, using only themselves as material. Those who played during the 2017 RATE and MACR formats might remember just how strong the concept of a one-card xyz summon is.

In addition, every rank four xyz monster has two effects: one that triggers on the turn they are summoned, and one that requires them to detach a material. For example, Exosister Mikailis has a quick effect to banish a card that your opponent controls or is in their graveyard the turn you summon Mikailis, and a second effect that detaches an xyz material to search an "Exosister" spell or trap. There was a huge amount of excitement in the community for the deck, and even an initial expectation for the deck to be meta viable.


exosister elis exosister mikailis

Unfortunately, despite such a powerful design philosophy, Exosister was the black sheep of the three GRCR archetypes. Adventurer formed a strong engine that still sees widespread meta use, and P.U.N.K. saw niche play in the meta before exploding in popularity and viability with the release of Noh-P.U.N.K. Deer Note in Dimension Force. Exosister never saw quite the same success. Even with the release of Exosisters Magnifica, an incredibly powerful boss monster, it simply did not have the tools to compete with the meta. A mixture of a lack of reliable starters and relying too heavily on the opponent's actions left them in the dust. With the release of Power of the Elements, however, this might change.

The New Arrivals

Exosister receives two new cards in Power of the Elements. The most important of these by far is their newest main-deck monster, Exosister Martha.


Exosister Martha

Martha is a highly efficient starter for the deck and represents immediate access to any of the Exosister xyz monsters. In addition to this, Martha also has an important distinction compared to the other main-deck monsters. While other Exosister monsters such as Exosister Elis require your opponent to move a card from the graveyard to trigger their effect to xyz summon, Martha will trigger regardless of who moves the card. This means using cards like D.D. Crow and Ice Dragon's Prison are great ways to make easy and powerful plays with Martha. The only downside is that the card locks you into special summoning Exosister monsters the turn you activate it, meaning running generic extenders is almost impossible. Still, for such a powerful effect, that's a fair price to pay.

The second new and exciting Exosister card from Power of the Elements is Exosister Returnia.


Exosister Returnia

Returnia is a powerful disruption trap that synergizes with both the main-deck Exosister monsters' and Exosisters Magnifica's xyz summon effects. With Magnifica tagging out into Exosister Mikailis and a set Returnia, you can banish up to four cards your opponent controls in one turn. This forms a simple but threatening endboard that many decks will struggle to beat.

It is worth noting that while the deck receives a massive boost from these two new cards, they are not the only plays the deck has available. While an Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring on Martha hurts, Exosister Elis and Exosister Stella mean you will often be able to still make a rank four play.

Exosister Vadis is an amazing trap that acts as strong disruption and a solid backup plan. By chaining Vadis to an opponent's effect that would move a card from the graveyard(s), you can summon and then immediately use the effects of two Exosister monsters. This translates to not only two pieces of disruption and/or floodgate effects, but to a followup as well if the xyz monsters live. Exosister Arment also contributes to this; not only does it help set up disruption through hand traps and Dark Ruler No More, it is a powerful tool going second to summon xyz monsters more easily.

Meta Impact

While these new cards are undoubtedly powerful, an important question remains: Will these cards allow Exosister to break into meta contention? While it's impossible to answer that question with absolute certainty, there is promise. Exosister has seen continued success as the third or fourth best deck in the OCG through the relentless onslaught of Spright and Tearlament. There are two primary reasons for this. First, the deck has a large amount of free space due to how compact the engine is thanks to Exosister Martha being a one-card starter. This means they can pack a large amount of hate for Sprights to ensure a better matchup.

Second, Tearlament has a very hard time playing into a board of Exosisters. Not only does Exosister have a multitude of ways to floodgate Tearlaments, but the Tearlaments monsters will also trigger the main-deck Exosisters monsters' effect to xyz summon. In addition, Exosister has the ability to main deck Dimension Shifter, an incredibly powerful hand trap that will often force Tearlament to skip their turn. With the space for generic hate for Spright and an engine that matches up well against Tearlament, the deck has all the tools to become a strong anti-meta contender.

Not everything is in Exosister's favor, however. Factors that exist in the TCG but not the OCG could lead to Exosister not seeing the same success here. A more powerful existing meta composed of Swordsoul, P.U.N.K., and Despia may mean that the environment is more varied than the two-deck format the OCG experienced. This would damage Exosister's chances as an anti-meta strategy, as they could not play as much targeted hate for Spright. In addition, the more fast-paced deck building caused by the lack of Maxx "C" in the format means Exosister might not even be able to keep up with Spright and Tearlament. Finally, other control decks like Floowandereeze are more popular here and fill a similar niche to Exosister, which could lead to more direct competition in the meta.

Decklist

Here is a sample list to help you start playing the deck.


While this list is a good baseline, keep in mind that Exosister is ultimately an anti-meta deck. It will be built to beat whatever becomes dominant in the TCG, and as a result, the staples and side deck will change with the format.

There are some other considerations for the core of the deck too. Zoroa, the Magistus of Flame can easily access a rank four while also searching for a second copy of itself by equipping Artemis, the Magistus Moon Maiden. The Dinomorphia engine has also seen some success in the OCG. Dinomorphia Rexterm is an incredibly powerful boss monster, and because it is summoned by a trap card on the opponent's turn, Exosister Martha's restriction will not conflict. Feel free to experiment with other staples and engines as you learn the deck, and be open-minded to adjusting ratios to fit the format at large.

Conclusion

Exosister has a lot going for it, and the deck shows immense promise in the upcoming format. A powerful new starter and disruption tool may be the push the deck needed to break into tiered play. Still, the faster-paced and possibly more varied meta of the TCG may leave Exosister continuing to struggle here. Only time and a lot of testing will tell whether Exosister can conquer their demons or be left in the dark recesses of rogue viability.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, not of Cardmarket.



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