While the deck has seen some tops from time to time, it has not been dominating by any means. However, Phantom Knights is a deck that is not only underrated but also unexpected. With the release of The Phantom Knights of Torn Scales in Phantom Rage, which is both starter and extender, the deck gained yet another boost. Not many players are familiar with the deck's play style, and if you decide to pilot the deck, you can use that to your advantage. So let's get to what makes the strategy good and what are its drawbacks.
When you play Phantom Knights, you will rarely see an unplayable hand. The deck has it all when it comes to consistency: various searchers and access to almost every single card you need to start the combo. There's also synergy with other engines outside of the archetype, which increases the consistency even more. The main monsters are all dark warriors, arguably the most supported attribute and type in the history of the game.
While hand traps like Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring and Nibiru, the Primal Being can slow the deck down, most of the time they cannot fully stop it. You can either set up protection through Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess or Number 75: Bamboozling Gossip Shadow or let the Nibiru resolve and simply play through it.
One of the strongest points in favor of this deck is a card named Phantom Knights' Fog Blade. You can search it with The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots and The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche, and what this card does for the deck is much more than a simple negate. The existence of this card means that Phantom Knights might be one of the only combo decks, if not the only one, that does not automatically lose to Dark Ruler No More.
The level three monster card pool may be one of the best niches in the game. The Phantom Knights can use cards like Psychic Wheeleder, Psychic Tracker, or Tour Guide From the Underworld, which you can chain block with Kagemucha Knight and the Burning Abyss engine. The amount of resources you gain through these cards as well as the synergy provided by them definitely contribute to the consistency of the deck.
Strategies that utilize the graveyard in Yu-Gi-Oh! follow pretty linear play patterns. The Phantom Knights are no different in that regard. The deck needs to banish from the graveyard to activate effects, which means a card like Artifact Lancea can flat out end your turn.
This is by no means what players would consider an autopilot strategy. The amount of decision making required to play Phantom Knights is higher than for other decks. You need to decide the end board and most importantly how you will get there as well as considering how you will outplay your opponent's interactions, mainly hand traps. While some players prefer this type of decision-heavy play style, it is also risky as one misplay can cost you the game.
The deck can put out a higher number of negates. But they are only monster negates, meaning one Raigeki and the whole board is gone and you are left with one set Phantom Knights' Fog Blade. The only omni-negate this deck can put is Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon, which is arguably the most powerful card in today's game, but that also means the deck can be outplayed by strategies that do not rely on monster effects.
We mentioned before in this article how this deck can gather resources fast, but it can also run through said resources just as fast. The only way you have to recycle resources is through Leviair the Sea Dragon, and that's not only slow but also not enough. If you are playing Phantom Knights, you need to win the game quickly, otherwise your opponent can easily take the game in its later stages.
The Phantom Knights is an incredibly strong strategy that is fun to play and somewhat safe from the ban list. The deck has not had nearly enough representation to be considered overpowered, and it does have its fair share of drawbacks, as listed above. The only card at risk of being hit by a ban is arguably Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon.
The deck is relatively inexpensive too if you do not consider Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon, and bear in mind that it is very much playable even without it. You can find most of the cards in lower rarities, and the main card of the deck, The Phantom Knights of Torn Scales, is not expensive either.
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