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Jun 142015


 June 14, 2015
 Posted by at 5:39 pm Trading Card Games, Yu-gi-oh! Tagged with: , , , ,  Add comments

Burning Abyss Header

Yo! It’s been a while but here I am with another deck breakdown – Burning Abyss! A TCG-exclusive archetype that right after the release of “The New Challengers” became a tier 1 deck while having only 6 effect monsters, an xyz, a synchro and 2 traps. Their reign lasted till Konami realized that the deck must be nerfed and what better way to do it than by limiting Tour Guide? Many players switched to other decks right after, leaving BA on the bench, so I decided to see for myself how are BA in the current format.

Update to this article can be found here:

  1. Introduction
  2. Single card explanation and deck
  3. Extra / Side deck:
  4. Cards worth mentioning / you might want to consider
  5. How to counter
  6. Change log


“Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita

mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,

ché la diritta via era smarrita “

Divine Comedy, first 3 rows

,Ah I remember it… My first time… A friend of mine said he has built a new deck and he was looking for someone to test it. “Sure, why not, I love seeing new decks.” – I was thinking before we started playing. And those were my thoughts after our first game:

1) Ok, he is obviously cheating, no f*ing way a deck with such a mechanic can exist, I mean srsly, those monster trigger their effect whenever they hit the grave? Even when you detach them? Pfffff, no way.

2) Dante is insane, you can summon him so easily and his effects are just too good.

3) It’s confusing how similar those effect monsters are, I can’t really tell which one does what even though I saw them more than once.

Yeah, I was quite impressed by this deck, it seemed so… “unfair”, compared to all the other. And I have to say – I hate everything “unfair” / “unbalanced” / “overpowered”, so during that time my side deck was built to counter BA in the best possible way ( Shadow-Imprisoning x3, Vanity’s still at 3, Macro, Fissure, Soul Drain, Ojama Trio x2 ).

When they finally limited Tour Guide / Skill Drain – I couldn’t be happier. As a non-BA player I felt like the deck was finally becoming balanced and was quite surprised when a lot of people completely stopped playing it, saying “it is dead now”. Occasionally you could still see some BA decks in tournaments but its popularity decreased drastically after the april 1st. I started wondering – is it really this bad as everyone says? I’ve been testing this archetype for some time on ygopro, so let me share with you my experience.

What are Burning Abyss / how do you play them? All BA effect monsters are Level 3 dark fiend-type, have 2 effects (except for Rubic) which are:

“If you control no Spell/Trap Cards: You can Special Summon this card from your hand.”

and this continuous effect:

“If you control a monster that is not a “Burning Abyss” monster, destroy this card.”

A set monster is considered as a non BA monster, so keep that in mind.

Just like Shaddolls, each BA effect monster may activate only one of its effects per turn, meaning that you either ss them from your hand, or activate their second effect. Such an easy special summoning lets you to bring out your boss Xyz-Dante, in most cases, on your very first turn as long as you have 2 BA monsters in your hand.

Single card explanations / Deck

Before we look into the deck itself, I’d say it’s a good idea to get familiar with BA monsters and their effects to understand how you suppose to play them.

Similar to tellarknights, BA have 3 “mvp” effect monsters:

Card Name Optional effect from the graveyard Run
Graff Special summon one Burning Abyss monster from your deck x3
Scarm Add 1 Level 3 dark fiend-Type monster from your Deck to your hand x3
Cir Special summon one Burning Abyss monster from your graveyard x3

Scarm is our searcher, what’s insane about this card, is that it doesn’t specify “1 Level 3 Burning Abyss monster”, but rather any level 3 dark fiend-Type. The obvious target is Tour Guide From the Underworld, which is basically an insta Xyz-Dante. If only Sangan wasn’t banned… ^_^’

Cir is walking “Monster Reborn”, he is amazing thanks to his ability to bring back Virgil / Xyz-Dante and pretty decent ATK.

Graff is… just Graff, lets you to summon any BA monster you might need from your deck, very good.

Next, there are those “ok” monsters, which you usually run at 1 or 2 because of their utility:

Card Name Optional effect from the graveyard Run
Farfa Target 1 monster on the field; banish it until the End Phase 1-2
Rubic Doesn’t have the effect but he is our tuner 1-2
Libic Special Summon 1 Level 3 DARK Fiend-Type monster from your hand but its effects are negated 1
Barbar Banish up to 3 BA cards from your graveyard and inflict 300 damage to your opponent for each 0-1

Farfa is actually very good, I was thinking of placing him / her in the first table, but in the end decided not to. Farfa can get you out of the djinn lock, clear the field for the direct attack or you can just use “it” to defend thanks to 1900 DEF. I usually run 1 of these, but if you like you may try 2 .

Rubic is the only BA monster so far that doesn’t has a second effect, but he is a lvl 3 tuner and the best way to summon Virgil. He is easily recycled with Xyz-Dante / Cir, can be searched / summoned in 3 different ways, so IMO, there is no reason to run more than 1. The problem might arise in the second / third game when your opponent might side something like Macro Cosmos / Dimensional Fissure and as thus, remove your Rubic from the game, so you might want to add an additional copy of him for these situations.

Libic is run mostly because of Mathematician: summon Math, drop Libic, summon any BA monster from your hand which won’t be destroyed because it’s effect is negated and xyz-summon Dante.

Barbar is ok, you might inflict some damage during late game with his effect, I started running him recently.

In the end, there are monsters that are pretty useless, unless you are running some particular build, in which case you might want to consider them.

Card Name Optional effect from the graveyard Run
Alich Negate 1 monster effect untill the end phase 0
Cagna Send 1 “Burning Abyss” Spell/Trap Card from your Deck to the Graveyard 0
Calcab Target 1 Set Spell/Trap Card on the field; return that target to the hand 0
Draghig Choose 1 “Burning Abyss” card from your Deck and place it on top of your Deck 0

Alich is just bad, we got Breakthrough Skill which is several times better.

Same for Calcab, his effect is crap.

Cagna and Draghig might be useful if you are playing Ritual / Fusion based decks, but in case you are not, they are pretty useless.

The main difference between pure builds is the type of the “boss” BA monster, other than Xyz-Dante, you wish to play: Virgil, Dante-Pilgrim or Malacoda. All of them share 2 effects: “discard a burning abyss – do something” and “when this card goes to the graveyard – do something”. Let’s try to figure which monster between those 3 is the best one.

Virgil, Rock Star of the Burning Abyss


VirgilRockStaroftheBurningAbyss-NECH-EN-ScR-1E+ Can be brought back with Cir

+ Easiest to summon: Rubik + any other lvl 3 monster, (which almost always will be a BA monster, because, unless you negate Rubiks effect, it will get destroyed) no spell needed

+ Strongest discard effect: return a card from your opponents field / graveyard to his deck

+ Some of you might disagree, but I consider his “when this card goes to the graveyard” effect to be the best one out of 3 as well. Why? Because drawing a card will always benefit you, while Pilgrims effect may not be activated if your opponent has no cards in his hand and Malacodas if he doesn’t has cards on his fields, which are rare situations, but still it may happen.


– Has lowest ATK and DEF compared to the other two, but still 2500 / 1000 is pretty decent.

Malacoda, Netherlord of the Burning Abyss

Pros: MalacodaNetherlordoftheBurningAbyss-SECE-EN-ScR-1E

+… Uuuugh…..It’s….. Hers… Can’t think of any, soz.


– The monster is a dead card in your hand without the spell

– Weakest “discard one card” effect, because you have to discard a monster, and not any BA card, and the effect itself is weak – it doesn’t remove the card from the field as Virgil does.

– Requires you to use 4 cards to summon this card – Malacoda, Good & Evil in the Burning Abyss, and 2 burning abyss monsters. Dante, Pilgrim also requires you to use a total of 4 cards, a spell and 3 monsters, but at least Pilgrim is summoned from your extra deck so it won’t be a useless card in your hand till you draw a spell to summon it, like Malacoda.

– It’s a dark monster, meaning that you can’t remove it for Black Luster Soldier.

Said that, I think that the reason for Malacoda being bad is because it was released during the period when BA dominated almost every tournament and they weren’t touched by January 2015 ban list, releasing another strong boss card like Dante wasn’t possible, so we were given “this”.

Dante, Pilgrim of the Burning Abyss


+ Strongest monster out of 3 in terms of stats.DantePilgrimoftheBurningAbyss-CROS-EN-ScR-1E

+ Decent effects.


– Very similar to Malacoda, can’t be brought back with Cir, somewhat hard to summon.

After the horrible Malacoda, Konami tried to give us a better alternative to it. Still, why would you want to run Pilgrim if you have Virgil?…

In either case, you will always have 3 copies of Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss which is just too good.

Sooooooooooooooo I give you my deck:

Deck v3

Now, as always let’s look into each single card:

Mathematician x2: this card is not as important in this deck as it is in Shaddolls, so I run only 2 copies of him. Main problem that you are going to face, is that you can’t really use him much late game because of your BA effect monsters restriction that destroys them if you control a non-BA monster. With Math, you have several options:

– if you have another BA monster in your hand: drop Libic to the grave, summon that BA and go for Dante.

– drop Scarm and add Tour Guide at the end of your turn.

– if you have Crane Crane in your hand, you might drop Rubik, to summon Virgil next turn.

– have Virgil / Xyz-Dante in your grave and want to summon them? Drop Cir.

and other, like dropping Back Jack / Farfa, which are situational uses.

Tour Guide From the Underworld: this card got limited in order to weaken BA, I suppose I don’t have to say how good it is. Summon it, summon BA monster you need from you deck, go for lvl 3 xyz, detach BA material – standard procedure.

Crane Crane x2: instant Virgil if you have Rubik in your graveyard or any lvl 3 xyz. Good, you might play as many copies of him as you like, I prefer 2.

Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning: even though there aren’t any light monster in the main deck, both Dante and Virgil are light-arrtibute, meaning we can run BLS.

Absolute King Back Jack x2: card I’ve started running recently, and I have to say I’m still not sure whether it’s worth running and how many copies I should run. Being dark fiend-type it fits into the deck pretty nicely, its effects activate in the grave, hell, it’s almost a BA monster. He speeds up your deck, lets you to choose which card you are going to draw, in sum, a solid card.

Mask Change II + Dark Law: I’ve already explained how good is Dark Law in my Shaddoll article, so I won’t be repeating myself. BA are very similar to Shaddolls, all those dark monsters that benefit from going to the graveyard, why not run Dark Law?

Raigeki / Book of Moon / Bottomless Trap Hole / Compulsory Evacuation Device, Solemn Warning, Vanity’s Emptiness – my favourite staples.

Dark Hole x2 / Torrential Tribute: those are staples, but they are especially good in this deck because of your monster effects that trigger in the graveyard.

Breakthrough skill x3: very strong card that synchronizes well with Dante’s milling ability.

Fiend Griefing x2: oh boy, don’t you just love those useful little commons? It messes with your opponent’s grave and you get to dump a fiend to your grave, just awesome. Like with Back Jack, I’m still not sure how many copies of this card you suppose to play, right now I’m testing it at 2. “You are about to summon that Clausolas using Djinn from you grave? Guess again”.

Phoenix Wing Wind Blast x3: when I was building the deck for the first time, I was struggling to choose a “discard a card, do something” trap card, between PWWB, Karma Cut and Raigeki Break. I’ve tried all of them, one at a time, and after the first round of tests, I decided that Karma Cut is the weakest because it can’t target spell / trap cards. Now I had to choose between the ability to destroy any card on the field or to return any card on the top of my opponent’s deck. Considering a tendency of modern decks to benefit from sending their cards to the graveyard, I decided to pick PWWB over Raigeki Break. Now, surely you may run both of these if you’d like, it’s just that I already run Mask Change II, so I already have 6 cards that make me discard a card to activate their effects, which is a lot. In case you are not a fan of Dark Law – feel free to add Raigeki Break (if you wish to).

Extra deck:

Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss x3: yeaaaaaaaaah, our MVP of the deck. You will summon him in 9/10 games because he is so easy to summon and in the same time so strong. The only problem is, once he is out of xyz-materials, he is pretty useless… or is he?

Downerd Magician x2: when your don’t need your rank 3 xyz monsters for some reason – summon her. She has a nice ATK and inflicts piercing dmg. I run 2 copies of her because I never needed to summon her more than twice per game.

Virgil, Rock Star of the Burning Abyss x3: explained already, like to have 3 copies of him in my extra even though I can’t recall the last time I summoned him more than twice from my extra deck… So maybe I will cut 1 copy for something else.

Dark Law x3: explained already, 3 copies of Mask Change II and 3 Dark Laws.

Number 47: Nightmare Shark: I like the ability to inflict 2000 of direct damage to my opponent, so I run this card as some sort of Gagaga Cowboy.

Ghostrick Alucard x2: I like Alucard, considering that we are not running any MSTs in our main deck.

Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction: skill drain got limited, so we can’t really abuse this card anymore, but still one copy is nice to have.

Side deck:

Galaxy Cyclone x3: usually I either run or side MSTs, but in this deck Cyclone is much more better. Not only it can destroy 2 cards, but you can activate from your graveyard, if you happen to mill him wih Dante’s effect. I always add them to my deck after the first game to remove cards like Macro Cosmos / Dimensional Fissure / Shadow-imprisoning Mirror.

Imperial Iron Wall x3: obvious, you can’t let your cards to be removed from the game.

Ojama trio x2: for mirror match.

Mind Crush x3: don’t like to main it, just my own preference.

Skill Drain: Qliphort are popular once again, that’s why I prefer not to main Skill Drain, but vs all the other it’s pretty neat.

Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare x3: I believe that this card is very strong in the current meta.

Cards worth mentiong / considering:

Fire Lake of the Burning Abyss: Ughm, not a big fan of this card… Guess it just doesn’t suit my play style. It’s actually a pretty good “trade” card – destroy 2 of your own and activate their effects to destroy up to 3 of your opponent’s cards, but not for me.

Rank-Up-Magic Astral Force: can be used with Dante to summon Constellar Pleiades.

Crush Card Virus: said it several time – I don’t like new CCV. But if you do – play it, it’s my own opinion anyway.

How to counter:

Those are the cards that come to mind instantly, I’m sure there are others, so if you can think of any feel free to write it in comments.

Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror: obvious, probably the best counter card unless you are playing dark deck yourself.

Macro Cosmos / Dimensional Fissure: as good as the above, unless you are relying heavily on your graveyard as well.

Vanity’s Emptiness: staple.

Soul Drain: weaker version Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror, blocks Dante and Virgil though.

Ojama Trio: tricky card, if played during the right moment can block your opponent for many turns.

Consecrated Light: Blocks the deck completely. At least we’ve got a lot of ways to deal with this card, and no one really siding it.

Maxx “C”: BA special summon a lot, so you might want to consider this card in your side deck.

Change log:

26 / 08

— A really small change to the deck: I felt like 3 Mask Change II was a bit too much, so I drop one and added another monster – Barbar. As some of you guys mentioned, he is ok, so I decided to give him a try. I’m actually thinking about dropping Mask Change II at all in order to go for a pure BA build, but sadly I don’t have much time for testing, so for the time being it’s just that little change.


Oh boy, I did it, I’ve finished it xD. Was a lot of work, hope you guys enjoy it, big thanks to Jack who asked for this deck breakdown – it actually made me finish it a lot faster than I was planning to ^_^. If there are other decks you’d like me to write about – just leave a comment, and I’ll gladly do it (Jack you too, don’t hesitate to ask more)!