Deck Analysis: Christian Rocher’s Xyz-Spirits

I don’t want to lie to you – when the first Decklists poured in after we published our very first “Show your Deck to the world” article that went live roughly 1 or 2 weeks prior to the event in question, I was a little skeptical. Quite a few of them were “established archetypes with 1 or 2 trickier cards”. Not exactly what I would call a creative Deck.

All that changed when a few more Decklists came in. Ever since, we’ve seen some very exotic builds that would have otherwise fallen through the cracks.
For this weekend’s event, one player – Christian Rocher – really went above and beyond. He wrote an entire article explaining his Deck and this article will quote heavily from that e-mail. So brace yourselves for one of the most detailed Deck Analysis of all time![nbsp]
[i]Check back after the event for the full Decklist.[/i]
[b]17 Monsters:[/b]

3 [aratama]
3 [nikitama]
2 [yaksha]
3 [pho trasher]
2 [kage2]
1 [masked cham]
1 [bls]
2 [veiler]

[b]13 Spells:[/b]

3 [upstart]
1 [pod]
1 [rota]
3 [mst]
3 [cs]
1 [bom]
1 [mind]

[b]10 Traps:[/b]

3 [legacy]
3 [fiendish]
1 [tt]
1 [warning]
1 [bth]
1 [ced]

[b]Extra Deck:[/b]

2 [kotfi]
2 [101]
1 [lchain]
1 [ddw]
1 [emeral]
1 [eek]
2 [dweller]
1 [cowboy]
1 [50]
1 [85]
1 [catastor]
1 [scrap d]

[b]Side Deck:[/b]

2 [maxx]
2 [trap stun]
2 [dna]
2 [horn]
2 [overworked]
1 [df]
2 [vane]
1 [macro]
1 [soul drain]

[b]Christian, can you give us a brief description of the key strategy of your Deck?[/b]
This is a Spirit deck. It relies, among other things, on the 2 Spirit monsters that were released in the 2 latest sets:

  • [aratama] – let’s call it [stratos]; it allows us to add another Spirit monster from the Deck to the hand whenever it is Normal Summoned or flipped face up. Since Spirit monsters return to your hand at the end of the turn they were Normal Summoned or flipped face up, [aratama] can – theoretically – generate infinite card advantage at the cost of a Normal Summon per turn.
  • [nikitama] – let’s call it [ev castor]: it allows us to
    1. get an additional Normal Summon of a Spirit monster the turn it is Normal Summoned, and
    2. to draw a card if it is sent to Graveyard, no matter how it ended up there, as long as you still control another Spirit monster on the field.

From there, the main purpose of the deck is to generate an overwhelming amount of advantage while not losing field advantage, and all of that with a great consistency![/quote]

[b]How can you make sure that your Deck will run like a well-oiled machine?[/b]
I improved its consistency with the following strategies:

  • reducing the number of Spirit monsters played to avoid holding on too many of them (I’m running just 8: 3 [aratama], 3 [nikitama] and 2 [yaksha] that return an opponent’s Spell/Trap Card to their hand the turn it is summoned)
  • playing 3 copies of [upstart] and [legacy] to reduce the number of cards in the deck to a virtual 34
  • including even more ways to summon at least 2 Level 4 monsters during a single turn. This then allows me to [xyz] Rank 4 monsters with searching effects

[b]That certainly sounds like you’ve put in quite some thought. How do you gain card advantage, though?[/b]
The Card Advantage is gained through interactions between:

  • Level 4 Spirit monsters: [aratama], [nikitama], [yaksha]
  • Level 4 monsters that can be Special Summoned: [kage2], [pho trasher]
  • Rank 4 Xyz Monsters that generate advantage: [kotfi], [lchain], [emeral]
  • [cs]
  • Other powerful monsters like [bls] and [masked cham] that also generate card advantage when they hit the field


Christian Rocher has been rather successful at Regionals with Spirits already, how will it go this weekend?!
Christian Rocher has been rather successful at Regionals with Spirits already, how will it go this weekend?!

[b]Alright, I have to admit, all of this sounds great in theory. But how does it turn out in practice, what are the combos that you rely on?[/b]
All I need is [aratama] cause I can then get [nikitama] from my Deck while [aratama] returns to my hand during the End Phase. The next turn, I [ns] [nikitama], [aratama] then follows thanks to the extra summon, this means I can search another Spirit from my Deck ([nikitama] or [yaksha]), I can then [xyz] [kotfi] and detach a Material to search [kage2] from the deck.

This will leave me with 2 additional cards with a powerful Xyz Monster on the field (that will be able to use it’s effect another time the following turn in case it hangs around) as well as 2 monsters in my hand that will allow me to repeat the whole process all over again come the following turn.[/quote]
[b]That’s not all, though, right?[/b]
We’re just getting started; with any Spirit and [pho trasher], I can also go for [kotfi], detach [pho trasher] to search my Deck for [masked cham]. Next turn, I can generate more advantage with the effect of [kotfi] and I can also summon yet another Xyz Monster or a Level 8 Synchro Monster thanks to [masked cham].

A Spirit and [cs] will also result in at least 1 additional card. With [aratama], it’s 2 and with [legacy] face-down, it will be 3 extra cards!

[aratama], [nikitama] and [kage2] or [pho trasher] (if you’re missing [nikitama], you can also summon [aratama] to get it from the Deck and have the combo ready for the next turn) can all be summoned in the same turn. This will then get me another [nikitama] from my Deck with [aratama]'[s] effect, I can then [xyz] a Rank 4 Monster with [nikitama] and the [ss]ed monster.

You can then detach [nikitama] to activate the effect of the Xyz Monster, which will allow me to draw a card since [nikitama] triggers in the Graveyard and I still have a Spirit on the field.

Now, I’ll get [aratama] back during the End Phase and I’ll also have the [nikitama] I searched for more shenanigans later on.[/quote]
[b]Where can you go from there exactly?[/b]
Depending on the Xyz Monster you choose, you can pull off different tricks:

  • [kotfi] allows you to search out [kage2]: It means you end your turn with the same combo in hand ready to start all over again come next turn. Also, you netted a free draw and a [kotfi] on the field.
  • [lchain] allows you to send [nikitama] from your Deck to the Graveyard; this will let you draw 2 cards (1 for the [nikitama] detached, 1 for the [nikitama] sent from the Deck to the Graveyard), which once again translates to 2 extra cards.
  • [lchain] can also be used to put a monster on top of your deck (most of the time [bls]) and you will draw it right away if you detached [nikitama]. This is the most powerful search effect in the game and much more versatile than [rota] or any other search effect.
  • [emeral] can also get you 2 draws and if you have the perfect set-up (with [aratama], [nikitama], [pho trasher] and Spell/Traps you can set), [bujin tsu] will even get you 4 draws! (2 for its effect, 1 for the detached [nikitama] and 1 for the [nikitama] you discarded from your hand)

All of those can also be done with any Spirit monster instead of [aratama], you will simply lose the extra card it provides you with.[/quote]

[b]Even when you explain it like that, the Deck sounds like a little too much for a player just getting started with the game. Am I right or am I right?[/b]
Well, you are right. The deck turned out to be rather tough to play since you need to constantly adapt your play to the situation on hand. Most of your hands will also allow you a large variety of possible plays, so you’ll need quite a bit of experience to make the most of it.

Even so, it seems to present an incredible combination of fun and competitiveness, and that’s why I chose to rely on it this weekend![/quote]
[b]You mentioned that parts of your strategy had already been introduced to a wider audience by Jeff Jones?[/b]
Yes indeed. I was a bit sad to see that he won a larger Regional in the US with it (which meant I’d lose a bit of “surprise factor” here in Paris). I had already done well twice with my Deck, winning a larger Regional in France with a perfect 9 – 0 record and ending up on third place in another one with a 7 – 1 record. Still, there are a few differences between our versions.[/quote]
[b]Tell us a little more about them.[/b]
He’s playing the Ghostrix Monsters as well while I don’t. He also runs [creeping], which basically means he’s running 5 copies of [aratama] in his Deck. I like the idea, but I still opted against it. I think that my version of the Deck is a little more versatile; I have more ways to make big plays thanks to cards like [cs], [pho trasher] and [rota].[/quote]
[b]Let’s talk about [pho trasher] some more. You said this card is a big difference maker in your Deck?[/b]
I think [pho trasher] adds a lot of stability to the Deck; you have even more ways to perform [xyz]s and it can also be useful on its own. It boasts solid stats, so even if I have a hand full of Traps and just [pho trasher], I’m not completely out of the game since it can put in some serious work in those scenarios.

Secondly, it allows me to play a copy of [masked cham] since [pho trasher] has 0 DEF. [masked cham] is almost like a [wolfbark] for my Deck, so it’s even easier to perform [xyz] after [xyz]! On top of that, it’s a Tuner, so in some situations, it’s really fortunate to have access to [scrap dragon] to make sure you can squeeze in the last few crucial points of damage!

Last but not least, I only need to run 2 copies of [kage2] since I have a third Reptile. I like that a lot since [kage2] is one of the cards that can leave you with a less useful hand, so I’m reducing the risk of a slow start.[/quote]
[b]Alright, last question: What are the match-ups like?[/b]
My Deck is a little worse against Mermails, but it’s really good against Geargia and Fire Fist.[/quote]
Thank you for this gigantic piece of insight into the inner workings of the Spirit Deck you put together. We’ve already seen you pull off some big plays in the Round 1 Feature Match, so let’s hope you can continue this little win streak!

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