The Return of the Pranksters
- Sherif Lewis
Sometimes, it doesn't take much to turn a deck from bad to good, or from has-been to relevant again. Phantom Rage offers players a way to rekindle their interest in Prank-Kids with the release of just one card. But this card is all that the deck needs to jump back into the competitive scene.
The date was December 9, 2018. The event was YCS Milan. Dinh-Kha Bui took the dueling world by storm when he won the event with his Prank-Kids, a deck that was previously overlooked by the community. Since then, the deck went through many iterations and innovations, such as adding a small HERO engine to end on a Masked HERO Dark Law or playing Aleister the Invoker and Magical Meltdown to gain easy access to Invocation as an additional fusion spell.
A Crash Course in Prank-Kids
If you are unfamiliar with the deck, the basic rundown is that there are four main-deck monsters with different attributes, types and levels. If used for the fusion or link summon of a Prank-Kids monster, they activate in the graveyard, each with a unique effect. Prank-Kids Fansies is a Foolish Burial for any Prank-Kids card, while Prank-Kids Rocksies allows you to banish a card from hand to draw one card in its place. As for Prank-Kids Dropsies and Prank-Kids Lampsies, they respectively make you gain 1,000 life points and burn your opponent for 500 life points. All four monsters then have the same optional effect to special summon another Prank-Kids from the deck but with a different name.
There are three fusion monsters. Prank-Kids Rocket Ride can tribute itself during the controller's turn to special summon two non-fusion Prank-Kids from the graveyard, allowing it to summon either the effect monsters or the link monsters. On summon, Rocket Ride can also reduce its attack by 1,000 points in order to attack directly. The second fusion monster is Prank-Kids Weather Washer. During the opponent's turn, it can tribute itself to summon two non-fusion Prank-Kids from the graveyard while making them unable to be destroyed by battle during that turn. Also, it has another effect that makes the opponent unable to activate any cards or effects until the end of the damage step if a Prank-Kids monster attacks.
The last fusion monster is currently the most important one, and I will get to why in a bit. Prank-Kids Battle Butler is a 3,000-attack monster that is also a Raigeki during either player's turn. Additionally, if your opponent sends it to the graveyard in any way other than by battle, it can replace itself with a non-fusion Prank-Kids monster from the graveyard.
There are four link monsters and all of them have long tongue-twisting names, as if Konami is trying to prank us by daring us to say their names quickly if we could. The first one is Prank-Kids Dodo-Doodle-Doo. It can search for any Prank-Kids spell/trap card on summon and can tribute itself — albeit only during the controller's turn — to add two Prank-Kids cards from the graveyard to hand. The second monster is Prank-Kids Bow-Wow-Bark. Any Prank-Kids monster it points to gains 1,000 attack. It can also tribute itself during the opponent's turn to add two Prank-Kids cards from the graveyard to hand. At the same time, activating this effect gives all your Prank-Kids monsters protection from destruction by card effects. Prank-Kids Rip-Roarin-Roaster is your Harpie's Feather Duster during either player's turn. If sent to the graveyard by the opponent other than by battle, it can add a Prank-Kids card from there back to hand. I will talk about the new link monster a bit later.
As for the spell and trap support, we have the field spell Prank-Kids Place, which searches for a Prank-Kids monster on activation and can either boost your monsters and/or reduce the attack of your opponent's monsters depending on what kind of Prank-Kids summon you perform. Prank-Kids Pandemonium is your quickplay fusion spell; however, it locks you into Prank-Kids monsters for the rest of the turn. The last spell card is Prank-Kids Pranks. At the cost of discarding a Prank-Kids card, you can summon a token to the field. Also, during the end phase you can shuffle three Prank-Kids cards from graveyard back to the deck to draw a card. As for the lone trap card, Prank-Kids Plan lets you link summon on the opponent's turn and can be banished from the graveyard to reduce the attack of an opponent's monster that declares an attack by 100 points multiplied by the number of Prank-Kids card you shuffle back to the deck from the graveyard.
The basic idea is to set up interruptions and monsters that can activate during your opponent's turn, with the aim of returning to your turn with more resources on the field and in hand — as well as more life points for you and less for your opponent. From there you can go into cards such as Borrelsword Dragon or Accesscode Talker to prank your opponents out of their remaining life points. Alternatively, you can even summon something like Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess during your turn.
So, What's New?
The deck is not an easy deck to pilot, and the limitation of Instant Fusion somewhat hurt the deck as you need to have a way to summon two Prank-Kids monsters to the field (or two in hand in addition to a fusion spell) to go off. Prank-Kids Pranks definitely helped, but it doesn't give you the same advantage as having one of the Prank-Kids effect monsters that resolve in the graveyard to give you additional resources. The deck was prone to opening with suboptimal hands from time to time, which steered some players away from it. Opening only one Prank-Kids monster with no way to summon another meant that the deck would end at best on a set monster and maybe a hand trap or two.
Fast forward to November 2020 and the recent introduction of Phantom Rage, and the deck is suddenly more consistent, can play more interruptions, and can end on strong boards using less complicated opening sequences. All of this is thanks to Prank-Kids Meow-Meow-Mu. The introduction of this link one monster has fixed the deck's main issue, consistency. Even if it would have been a non-effect monster, that would still have been great for the deck. Basically, you can easily end on a Bow-Wow-Bark and possibly a Toadally Awesome while having the ability to fusion and/or link summon during your opponent's turn from just a single normal summon.
This new addition to the deck is a huge deal as it now doesn't need to rely anymore on Pot of Desires or other niche cards to draw into the combo pieces. Furthermore, with the new free space in the deck, you can play up to twelve or fifteen hand traps without really harming the consistency of the deck. A lot of players say that this will be one of the tier-one decks of the upcoming format.
Apart from the fact that it is a link one monster, Meow-Meow-Mu also has an interesting little effect. Once per turn, if a Prank-Kids monster you control would tribute itself to activate its effect during your opponent's turn, you can banish this card you control or from your graveyard instead. I said a bit earlier that Battle Butler is now a very important card. How does it feel to be able to use its Raigeki-like effect twice, even during the same turn? Since our new friend banishes itself to replace the tributing cost of Battle Butler, the latter can resolve twice as its effect is not a once-per-turn effect.
Apart from that, Battle Butler and Fansies are both Thunder monsters. That means that Thunder Dragon Fusion is very much playable in this deck. Not only does it allow you to summon Battle Butler, but it also recycles the little monsters from the graveyard back to the deck to be summoned again later, thus allowing the deck to grind in case it is not possible to finish the game quickly. And who says you can't play more than one Butler? Combined, Plan, Pranks, and Thunder Dragon Fusion let you to recycle almost your entire deck to use yet again while your opponents consume their resources.
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It is really up to you if you want to use Thunder Dragon Fusion or not, or even reduce it to one or two copies, as it is not mandatory. Whatever you do, make sure to have fun with the deck. It is a bit complicated but very rewarding when you play your cards right. Just remember to prank your opponents before they prank you!
Do you have any tech you think would work well in this deck? Share your thoughts below!
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