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Flames of Destruction: Unending Knightmare

April 25th, 2018

One of the coolest feats in Yu-Gi-Oh! today is also one of the toughest to achieve: Extra Link.

If you’re not familiar with the Extra Link technique, there’s a great explanation in a previous article here.  But the gist is that it’s a special rule that lets you do something otherwise impossible: occupy both of the Extra Monster Zones.  If you can create a series of co-linked Link Monsters that connects a Link Monster in one Extra Monster Zone to a Link Monster in the other Extra Monster Zone, all the co-linked monsters are considered to be “Extra Linked”.  And while you normally can’t Special Summon to a second Extra Monster Zone, you can if Link Summoning to that second zone would create a series of Extra Linked Link Monsters.

Do that, and suddenly your opponent has no Extra Monster Zone left.

Why are we revisiting this now?  Because a new theme from Flames of Destruction is going to make it easier to achieve that Extra Linked state.  Meet the Knightmares.

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The “Knightmare” theme is made up almost entirely of Link Monsters, and the only requirement for Link Summoning them is that you have to use differently named monsters as Link Materials.  And while each of the Knightmares have a variety of effects, their abilities follow a similar pattern.

-Each “Knightmare” monster has one optional ability you can activate when they’re Link Summoned: that ability requires a discard from your hand, produces an effect, and then lets you draw a card to balance the card you lost, if the Knightmare was co-linked.

-Each Knightmare also has a unique effect that rewards you for controlling co-linked monsters.

The Link-2 Knightmare Cerberus lets you discard a card when it’s Link Summoned, targets a Special Summoned monster in your opponent’s Main Monster Zone, and destroys it.  Then you draw a card if Knightmare Cerberus was co-linked.  In addition, it has a Continuous Effect that keeps your co-linked monsters from being destroyed by card effects.

Knightmare Phoenix is the second Link-2: its discard ability targets and destroys an opposing Spell or Trap Card, then nets you a draw if it was co-linked.  It protects your co-linked monsters from destruction by battle.

Knightmare Goblin’s a Link-2 as well, but it’s slightly different: you can discard for its effect when you Link Summon it, and then if Knightmare Goblin’s co-linked, you can draw a card and get an extra Normal Summon to the zone the Goblin points to, in your Main Phase.  Knightmare Goblin also stops players from targeting your co-linked monsters with card effects.

Those three Link Monsters help secure the giant fields you’ll be building, but the Link-3 Knightmare Unicorn is more about capitalizing on it.  When you Link Summon Unicorn, you can discard to target a card on the field, return that card to the Deck, and then if Unicorn was co-linked you get a draw.  That’s some brutal removal, but it gets better: Knightmare Unicorn’s second ability lets you draw a card in place of your normal draw in the Draw Phase, for every co-linked Knightmare monster on the field with a unique name.

So if say, Knightmare Cerberus, Knightmare Goblin, and Knightmare Unicorn are all co-linked, you’ll draw three cards a turn with that effect instead of just your one normal draw.  That’s the kind of raw power that can get you enough cards to build an Extra Link.

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If that’s not enough, Knightmare Gryphon is the Link-4 boss monster for the “Knightmare” theme.  When you Link Summon it, you can discard a card to Set a Spell or Trap Card from your Graveyard.  You can’t activate that card on the same turn you Set it, but like the rest of the Knightmares, Gryphon gets you a free draw if it was co-linked.  In addition, Knightmare Gryphon stops all players from activating monster effects unless the monster you want to use is linked.  If your opponent doesn’t play Link Monsters they’re totally out of luck.

Finally, Knightmare Corruptor Iblee is a regular Effect Monster that helps you assemble your Link Summons, and protects them from some of the biggest threats in the game.  When you Normal Summon Iblee you can target a Link Monster in your Graveyard and Special Summon it so it points to Iblee; you change that revived monster’s ATK to 0 and negate its effects, but it still becomes Link Material, or another step in your series of co-linked monsters.

It gets better.  Whomever controls Knightmare Corruptor Iblee can’t Special Summon monsters except for Link Monsters.  And if Iblee’s sent to the Graveyard while under your control, you can Special Summon it to your opponent’s field in Defense Position.  You’ll usually force your opponent to make a suboptimal Link Summon with Iblee before they can make any of their regular Special Summons.  It also means they can’t Special Summon monsters like Kumongous, the Sticky String Kaiju or Lava Golem to break your co-linked setup.

The Link-1 Knightmare Mermaid’s discard effect can Special Summon Knightmare Corruptor Iblee from your Deck, getting you instant Link Material and setting you up to clog your opponent’s field.  It also reduces the ATK and DEF of all monsters on the field, except co-linked monsters.

Since you can use almost any uniquely-named monsters as Link Material for Knightmares, the big question is what to play them with.  Goukis are going to be a popular choice because they have lots of Special Summon effects to build Link Summons, and whenever a Gouki’s sent from the field to the Graveyard you get to search another one.

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Gouki Suprex, Gouki Headbatt, and Gouki Twistcobra all fit the mold, but the new Gouki Octostretch and Gouki Bearhug from Flames of Destruction are going to be an important part of the strategy as well.  Since the Goukis are all Warrior-Types you can play them with Isolde, Two Tales of the Knoble Knights for even more searches and Special Summons.

Until now, the Extra Link technique has been the stuff of legend and myth.  But once the Knightmares arrive, Extra Linked fields are going to become a real possibility in competitive Dueling.  Watch out for that in your tournaments, and watch out for the Knightmares at your Flames of Destruction Sneak Peek this weekend.