Home > 2010/09 - San Jose, CA, Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series > Deck Profile: Yuki Zainovich’s Phoenixian Skill Drain Deck

Deck Profile: Yuki Zainovich’s Phoenixian Skill Drain Deck

September 25th, 2010

The new format has sent alot of Duelists back to the drawing board, and the strength of Decks like X-Sabers and Gladiator Beasts has Skill Drain a top choice for some. Earlier, we showed you Chris Bowling’s Eatos Beatdown Deck with Skill Drain. That Deck stops Gladiators and X-Sabers with Skill Drain, and then hammers through for victory with big attackers like Thunder King Rai-Oh and Beast King Barbaros. Fourteen year-old Yuki Zainovich is taking the same basic concept in a totally different direction, looking to dominate the field not with simple 1900 ATK monsters, but with the 2200 ATK Phoenixian Cluster Amaryllis.

You might not be familiar with Phoenixian Cluster Amaryllis, so here’s a recap: a Level 8 Plant-Type monster, Amaryllis has 2200 ATK. It can’t be Special Summoned with anything but its own effect, or the effect of the companion monster Phoenixian Seed. When it attacks, it’s destroyed after Damage Calculation, and if it’s ever destroyed and sent to the Graveyard (even by its own effect), your opponent takes 800 damage. In your End Phase you can remove a Plant-Type monster from your Graveyard to Special Summon Amaryllis in Defense Position. It has 0 DEF, but if your opponent attacks and destroys it, you can just Special Summon it again by removing another Plant in your next End Phase. That 0 DEF also makes it searchable with Botanical Girl.

There are 2 tricks to winning with Amaryllis. First, you need to get it to the Graveyard as quickly as possible. Then, you need to make sure that you always have Plants to remove from your Graveyard. This lets you repeatedly bring back Amaryllis. If Zaninovich’s opponents can’t bring out a monster with more than 2200 ATK, they’ll have to use effects to destroy Amaryllis, and if you have more Plants than the opponent has destruction effects, Amaryllis dominates the field. Get to Amaryllis, get it in the Graveyard, and then keep Special Summoning it. Here’s how Zaninovich is making it happen:

Yuki Zaninovich’s Phoenixian Skill Drain Deck


3 Cherry Inmato

2 Inmato

2 Botanical Girl

1 Sangan

2 Lonefire Blossom

1 Tyttanial Princess of Camellias

1 Debris Dragon

1 Mystic Tomato

3 Phoenixian Cluster Amaryllis

2 Dandylion



2 Black Garden

3 Trade in

2 Book of Moon

1 Monster Reborn

1 Foolish Burial

1 Dark Hole

1 Pot of Duality

1 Allure of Darkness



2 Skill Drain

2 Bottomless Trap Hole

1 Mirror Force

1 Call of the Haunted

1 Torrential Tribute

1 Solemn Judgment

1 Solemn Warning

1 Raigeki Break

Its very simple,” explained Zaninovich. “Try to get Amaryllis to the graveyard ASAP with Foolish Burial or Trade-In.” While Foolish Burial can definitely get Amaryllis where it needs to be, Trade-In is really the best play. By activating Trade-In and discarding Amaryllis, Zaninovich draws 2 more cards while also setting up his Special Summon from his Graveyard. He plays Botanical Girl so that he can reliably search out Amaryllis. That makes the Deck’s main strategy consistent, while also helping ensure that Zaninovich always has a Level 8 monster to discard for Trade-In.

So Zaninovich can get Amaryllis into the Graveyard – that’s Step 1. Botanical Girl helps to fuel the Special Summon ability as well, but the real star of the show is Cherry Inmato. “Aside from getting Amaryllis into the Graveyard on turn 1, you really want to set Cherry. If it’s attacked, you can get another Cherry Inmato and a regular Inmato from the Deck. There are a few ways to take advantage of that.” Not only does Cherry Inmato help fuel the Graveyard, Zaninovich explained a range of combos that he can perform when he controls an Inmato plus Cherry Inmato. Cherry is a Tuner, while Inmato isn’t, so together they make 5 Levels for a Synchro Summon. Zaninovich can follow up by Summoning Sangan, Botanical Girl, or Dandylion (all Level 3 monsters), tune everything together, and Synchro Summon a Level 8 Synchro Monster like Stardust Dragon And if he does that, he’ll activate Sangan, Botanical Girl, or Dandylion’s effect in the process.

That easy access to Stardust Dragon is important, because it’s a big help in the Gladiator Beast matchup. With Skill Drain and Stardust negating the destruction effects of Gladiator Beast Gyzarus and Gladiator Beast Murmillo, Zaninovich can create very big fields very early on, and not have to worry about losing lots of cards all at once to a big Gladiator combo. Playing that matchup carefully is tremendously important, otherwise the Defense Position Amaryllis could make an easy target for Gladiator Beast attacks and tag-outs.

“I can also summon Lonefire Blossom and Tribute the Inmatos to Special Summon monsters like Tytannial, Princess of Camellias or Dandylion. Or I can use both monsters to Tribute Summon an Amaryllis.” Zaninovich plays alot of defensive Spells and Traps, just to make sure that if he Summons an Amaryllis early on, he can defend it when it’s vulnerable in Defense Position.

“Amaryllis is a great card,” continued Zaninovich. “It’s basically a gigantic Treeborn Frog that can be brought back in the End Phase every time it’s destroyed. I like the fact that it’s checkmate when my opponent drops to 800 Life Points, too.” That effect damage really adds up over the course of a Duel: while Phoenixian Cluster Amaryllis has 2200 ATK, the extra 800 damage means it can strip your opponent of 3000 Life Points in a single turn when it attacks. Special Summon it back, and if your opponent attacks it, they’ll be down almost 4000 Life Points. “The only way to get rid of it is Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, Caius the Shadow Monarch, or Chaos Sorcerer,” noted Zaninovich, “and Skill Drain stops all of that.”

Phoenixian Cluster Amaryllis is an ambitious choice in a field where Gladiator Beasts may be dominant, but if Zaninovich’s strategy comes together, he’ll be able to throw a big monkey wrench into the plans of almost any Deck he Duels against. We’ll see how it works out as the day progresses.

Yuki Zaninovich - Deck Profile