Community Collab – Six Samurai Outlook
As the shogun rises, a new strategy is born.
Welcome to our First Community Collab:
I’d like to introduce Tinker, as this is our first official Community Collab article to be posted to the site. We are always looking to partner with new authors to generate content for YGOrg, so please reach out if you have interest in potentially writing future content for our site. Without further ado, I will turn it over to Tinker for the article on the Six Samurai!
Hi everyone – My name is Tinker, and this is a guest article featuring the new Six Samurai link due in the Chaos Impact Special Edition, specifically how it affects the strategy and combos. I’d like to thank the Org and Quincymccoy especially for letting me host this, as well as the people who helped me with both theorizing and building this deck. This has been my pet project for over a year: I’m extremely excited to finally be able to share the fruits of my labour, to help people who might want to build this deck, and to take further what was previously one of the most devastating combos in the game’s history. So let’s begin.
A Flowery Introduction to the Deck:
As the shogun rises, a new strategy is born. Commanding their armies with a practiced hand, building resources and preparing to wage war, spending months planning before finally storming forth to strike at the enemy. What title better fits the new link monster being released for Six Samurai in this December? Storming forth finally to the TCG, Battle Shogun of the Six Samurai revolutionizes Six Samurai to a level of raw power which it has never seen before. Being able to search out Six Samurai’s most powerful card, Shogun takes the existing stereotypes of “Six Spam” and takes it to a whole new level.
But, to understand Six Samurai, you need to be acquainted with the source of this strategy’s insanity. Gateway of the Six Samurai is a continuous spell, with the following effect:
Each time a “Six Samurai” monster(s) is Normal or Special Summoned, place 2 Bushido Counters on this card. You can remove Bushido Counters from your field to activate these effects.
2 Counters: Target 1 “Six Samurai” or “Shien” Effect Monster; that target gains 500 ATK until the end of this turn.
4 Counters: Add 1 “Six Samurai” monster from your Deck or GY to your hand.
6 Counters: Target 1 “Shien” Effect Monster in your GY; Special Summon that target.
To call this card a mistake in game design would be putting it lightly. This applies across the lack of once per turn restrictions to the fact that it can pull Bushido Counters from any card on the field capable of holding them. It’s a fitting name however, for this card quickly becomes the gateway to insanity from what the deck is capable of unleashing through it.
Gateway is a card which makes sense how it came about, by the history of the deck. But, as I figure that most would be uninterested about a slice of that, I’m going to slip it away into a spoiler for those who are curious.
Before we get into Six Samurai as a modern deck, we need to take a step back and inspect their history. Debuting in Strike of Neos, the initial eponymous Six Samurai were 6 warriors who gained effects when other Six Samurai were on the field, as well as being able to destroy another Samurai if they would be destroyed. To help them utilize their effects, Grandmaster of the Six Samurai was also released, a level 5 who special summoned himself when you controlled a Six Samurai.
The Six Samurai worked together to achieve victory, building numbers and swarming the field. To complete this early batch of support, Great Shogun Shien was their boss both figuratively and literally, a level 7 monster who summoned himself while you controlled 2 or more Six Samurai, and locked your opponent to only a single spell/trap activation per turn.
Over the years, Six Samurai have received a lot more support. From the new sub-archetype detailing the younger forms of Grandmaster and his allies in their prime, the “Legendary Six Samurai” (Which focused primarily on swarming the field), to the “Secret Six Samurai” who performed special operations for the samurai. (But ended up mostly flopping due to trying to tack on a banish focus to the deck.) This support was aimed primarily to help give the original Six Samurai the other monsters they needed on field, but a hilarious lack of foresight or any sort of future proofing with the Legendary Six led to a ticking time bomb until Gateway was released in the TCG and all hell broke loose.
As part of this support for the deck, to reward spamming the field, Konami gave Six Samurai “Bushido counters”, counters placed on continuous or field spells when Six Samurai were summoned, with some sort of beneficial effect for accumulating more. Meanwhile, other Spell/Trap support helped solidify Six Samurai’s playstyle as swarming the field with monsters, as well as nice little consistency pieces like their own search card for the lower level Six Samurai.
However, with the swarm power of the Legendary Six Samurai, and a certain loop formed by Gateway and two specific cards in the deck… -More on those two later- This new support ended up pushing the old Samurai into obscurity in favour of their legendary counterparts. In the end, Gateway got banned, and Six Samurai languished in obscurity once more until a surprise limiting of Gateway in 2018 saw a new rise of the deck utilizing M-X Saber Invoker, Summon Sorceress, and Number 86: Heroic Champion – Rhongomyniad along with select additions from the recent “Secret Six Samurai” support.
With those three cards banned in the TCG however, Six Samurai languished once more. Until, an announcement was made for CHIM SE. Six Samurai would be receiving an import of a card released in last year’s Link Vrains Pack 2. Battle Shogun of the Six Samurai, a card which only only generated counters, but could discard a card to search gateway. On December 5, 2019, the fourth era of Six Samurai will be born. The first where Six Samurai will be able to challenge Infernity as the deck with the highest raw power in the history of the game. After all, one can never be satisfied enough.
So, to pick up the pace a little, I’m going to share the main fruit of this labour: What I believe to be the base deck core. For those familiar with “third era” Six Sams (Number 86 turbo), several questions might be raised which I hope I can answer.
Main Deck Core:
3 Grandmaster of the Six Samurai (Special summons)
3 Legendary Six Samurai – Kageki (Special summons, hand trap bait)
3 Legendary Six Samurai – Kizan (Special summons)
2 Legendary Six Samurai – Mizuho (Half of infinite advantage loop)
1 Legendary Six Samurai – Shinai (Half of infinite advantage loop)
2 Shadow Six Samurai – Fuma (Isolde target)
1 Gateway of the Six Samurai (Core card of the deck, holds unlimited counters)
1 Upstart Goblin (Reduces deck count by 1)
3 Into the Void (Reduces Deck Count by 1)
1 Magical Mid-Breaker Field (Protects from Infinite Impermanence)
1 Moon Mirror Shield (Engine Requirement for Isolde)
1 Reinforcement of the Army (Additional copy of any desired warrior)
3 Shien’s Smoke Signal (Additional copy of Kageki for main combo)
3 Temple of the Six (Searchable, holds unlimited counters)
1 Terraforming (Extra copy of Temple of the Six)
3 Shien’s Dojo (Special summons, holds unlimited counters)
2 Battle Shogun of the Six Samurai (First is mandatory, second is for combos)
2 Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights (First is mandatory, second is for hand traps)
3 Saryuja Skull Dread (Summons Mizuho for Red/Blue loop, draws for tempest)
1 T.G. Hyper Librarian (Fodder for Tempest)
1 Tempest Magician (FTK Enabler)
As the base combo for the deck relies on 2 Six Samurai on field, and a Bushido Counter generator that can hold around 8 counters, the deck is built around getting to those winning requirements as fast as possible. As such, there are 13 different copies of cards which can get a second Six Samurai on field, but only sadly 8 copies of cards which can hold unlimited Bushido counters. As this is your main combo, it’s optimal to just slash deck size down by 4 cards with 3 Into the Void, and Upstart Goblin – ensuring as consistent access to your combo materials as possible.
With the rest of the core being combo pieces, I feel like it’s best to just simply showcase the opening combo now, as well as the main loop which make this deck so powerful.
Note: Tutor, in this instance, refers to the act of adding a card from deck to hand. Also, Shogun refers exclusively to the link.
- A1) Activate a card which can hold over 2 Bushido Counters.
- A2) Summon 2 Six Samurai.
- A3) Link summon Isolde with those two monsters.
- A4) Isolde mill an equip spell, preferably Phoenix Blade, Special Fuma.
- A5) Banish Isolde’s materials to add Phoenix Blade to hand.
- A6) Link summon Shogun, discard Phoenix Blade for Gateway tutor.
- A7) Gateway eff, search Kizan then Special in Shogun’s arrow .
- A8) Repeat A6
- A9) Link summon another Shogun in Shogun’s linked zone.
- A10) Gateway eff, search Kizan then Special in Shogun’s linked zone .
- A11) Gateway eff, search Grandmaster then Special.
- A12) Link Summon Saryuja with 3+ materials.
- A13) Gateway eff, search Mizuho then Special with Saryuja.
- A14) Gateway eff, search Shinai then Special.
- A15) Gateway eff, search Mizuho then Special.
The end result of this combo, is that you have Gateway on field, a card which can generate Bushido Counters, along with 2 Mizuho and Shinai. This, is the recipe for the infamous Red/Blue loop which originally got Gateway banned. A loop, that continues on from the previous combo as follows;
“Red/Blue Advantage Loop”
- B1) Mizuho activates her effect, tributing Shinai to destroy herself.
- B2) Shinai’s effect activates in GY, returning Mizuho to hand.
- B3) Gateway removes 4 counters to add Mizuho to hand.
- B4) Special summon Shinai as you control second Mizuho.
- B5) Special summon Mizuho as you control Shinai.
With any other card which can generate Bushido Counters, this becomes a net gain of counters every single repetition. This translates to infinite advantage, with the rest of the deck then becoming a game of trying to maximize your usage of such. The main limitation to this, is extra deck space, and a limited copies of cards. So, to adapt to this, I used to run 3 Saryuja Skull Dread to let me draw my entire deck (Now the additional 2 copies are optional), Daigusto Emeral for 3 more copies, and Knightmare Unicorn to return Emeral for even more.
Least, until I decided to fully exploit Gateway. While it’s star effect, is the search for Six Samurai, the last one became extremely tempting. After all, who can resist infinite copies of a L1 Earth Tuner like Shien’s Squire? This became the source of the last two major loops of Six Samurai, both of which I have been heavily pushing lately due to their importance in combos. One involves Mizuho being able to infinitely destroy cards, while the other is infinitely summoning Omega, destroying him with Mizuho, then using his effect in GY to recycle both himself and another card into deck.
To once again cut down these loops to their core basics, I introduce you to what I call the Ama-Shogun Loop, a reference to the title of Hōjō Masako who inspired Mizuho, which also pays heed to the fact that this is why you run the second Shogun.
“Ama-Shogun Destruction Loop”
- C1) Mizuho tribute Shinai, destroy card you want off field.
- C2) Float eff of Shinai is optional here.
- C3) Link for Shogun with recurred Shinai in first loop.
- C4) Gateway eff, add six sams in GY back to hand.
- C5) Special back Mizuho and Shinai, as you control a spare.
- C6) On repetition, tribute Shogun instead of Shinai.
This then feeds into the forth, and final, main loop for the deck. The ones that frankly, almost every single variant should be using. The name for this one, is just a pun on the fact that you’re adding in green (Omega) to a spin on the Red/Blue loop.
“RGB Resource Loop”
- D1) Get Shien’s Squire in GY, if you can use the eff of Shien’s Dojo, skip to D3.
- D2) Gateway eff, remove 6 counters to Special Shien’s Squire.
- D3) Get Kizan and Spare Shinai/Mizuho on field, synchro for Omega.
- D4) Use the prior loop, Ama-Shogun on Omega.
- D5) Effect of Omega to shuffle itself back into deck with desired card.
- D6) When repetition is desired, Special back Omega’s materials and repeat.
And, with that, we have all of our tools: infinite advantage, and infinite copies of any card. The deck is a monstrosity of mistakes in game design. It’s prime weakness however, is that it’s a colossal glass cannon. With how many risky gambles it has to take to achieve it’s loops, things can get tough if your opponent gets lucky with disruptions. Especially if they have Nibiru in hand.
To finish out the deckbuilding for Six Samurai and with 7 spaces open after including the core, you have some options. First, you probably would want to consider running at least Exchange and other anti-hand trap cards. I personally prefer Dragged Down by the Grave due to it’s ability to play around Nibiru and Infinite Impermenance, others prefer Called by the Grave for being a more safer option that is extremely versatile in the current format.
Six Samurai Victory Conditions
Now, we have the base loops which support the majority of the deck’s combos, the remaining challenge is just using them to assemble our victory condition. This, is where the variety of the deck, somewhat goes against us. As you win, by stopping the opponent from being able to play the game. As such, while the deck has a large variety of ways to do this, I’m going to be sorting them by how effectively these victory conditions remove the opponent’s ability to interact with you. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but rather just a list of suggestions on what might work well for you.
The easiest way to stop the opponent playing; Reducing their lifepoints to zero. This is why Six Samurai became seen as tied to Amazoness Archer in the OCG, as she was a warrior who can tribute both Red and Blue to deal damage, only for Blue to recur Red and Gateway to recur Blue. By the working definition, it is simply a variant on the Red/Blue loop. With Primathmech Alembertian being a card, setting up the FTK is actually child’s play. Amazoness Archer is quick, easy, and efficient. The only issue?
She’s a little dead in the opening hand.
So, moving on past this, we have two real options. One which removes the engine’s main deck investment entirely, while the other is focused on versatility. Personally, I believe that Tempest Magician is the best possible win con of the deck, due to being the most space effective method. Although, the RGB loop can be utilized in order to FTK with Gagaga Cowboy also. Frankly, I consider it a meta call. If I could see people running techs to stop FTK’s, like Ghost Sister & Spooky Dogwood, then I would run Cowboy so I can switch to another victory condition as a back-up. Otherwise, Tempest is the most optimal choice.
As for how to use Tempest; Draw until you have 16 cards in hand ready to be discarded. Then using Saryuja, summon Fuma as a material for T.G. Hyper Librarian along Kizan. Make another Saryuja, summon back Fuma, and use Librarian and Fuma for Tempest. Then just discard 16, remove those spell counters, and burn for 8,000 damage precisely.
This, I see as inherently more fragile than the burn FTK. It relies on looping Number 104: Masquerade with the RGB loop, in order to send all their deck to the GY. Ultimately, it’s main value lies in the fact that it doesn’t deal damage, letting it play through cards like Ghost Sister, but there is the possibility of cards being sent to the GY and activating that ruin your day, such as a stray Shaddoll Dragon destroying Gateway. As such, I recommend you use Herald of the Arc Light as well, which would ensuring that all their cards get banished instead of sent to GY. Additionally, this provides an omni-negate if necessary.
More of a complement to other strategies than it’s own victory condition. This is the looping of cards like Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier in order to remove every single card from your opponent’s opening hand. After all, a board of nearly a dozen negates, is much more oppressive when they only have a single card to play with.
Break my Board
A gimmick for amusement. Essentially, trying to create as strong a board of disruptions and floodgates as possible. Utilizing cards like Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess, Naturia Beast, Great Shogun Shien, and Number F0: Utopic Zexal along with whatever else strikes your fancy. Important to note for these builds, is that Gateway is able to summon Shien from the GY, and that you summon Zexal by making Number 71: Rebarian Shark, then linking for Saryuja, with Shark as chain link 2 to stack the top of the deck ready for when Saryuja draws at chain link 1.
Ultimately, the most versatile of the variants. But, it lacks the immediately game-ending power of the first two. Usually best paired up with the hand rip variant.
Break their Spirit
This, is downright an exercise in sadism. Mixing together a lot of the different main victory conditions of Six Samurai and more, with the result of creating a circumstance where the Six Samurai player is able force a gamestate where the only options for the player is either Surrendering, or losing to time. I hope to be able to explain this more in detail soon, but I am still working on perfecting this combo, and I fear it would take up even more space on an already long article. But, for those wanting a hint; Who needs a barrier, when you can strike forth with your trident?
Those that didn’t make the cut:
This section, is mostly explaining why I’ve moved on from old techs or staples which the deck no longer relies on, even becoming a detriment in some cases. In general, these are all things which I’ve tested with heavily, and which have left me with the general impression of “just not worth it”
United No More:
Six Samurai United, is a card which would seem a natural pick. It thins your deck, and it holds Bushido counters! Why would I run Into the Void over this? The answer lies, in the cap on the Bushido counters that United can hold. With combos needing far more than the paltry 2 counters it can support, United simply is too slow for digging after the opening combo pieces. It’s main use, became just digging for extenders or anti-disruptions, raising the question of why not just drop it, and cut out the middle man?
So Secret, they’re gone:
Secret Six Samurai – Hatsume, as well as Kizaru, were both signature parts of the previous era of Six Samurai. Kizaru searched Fuma for Summon Sorceress, while Hatsume gathered materials for Number 75: Bamboozling Gossip Shadow. However, with Gateway now being easily accessible, both have started to face several issues which leave them unsuited for the modern day:
Kizaru is unable to search Kizan or Grandmaster, meaning that he doesn’t help extend combos beyond removing the need for a single gateway search. His main use in modern Six Samurai, is helping save a single Gateway search. But, at the cost of having to run 4+ equips, the loss in consistency doesn’t compensate for something already unneeded. As for Hatsume. While she is a combo piece to keep in mind. Ultimately, she’s a tool which I don’t find much use for at the moment. Main combos don’t need her at the moment, leaving Hatsume as more just something to keep in mind when experimenting.
Ultimately, I’m explaining my reasoning for dropping these monsters to reinforce the point that people shouldn’t run Six Samurai exactly as they were before. In fact, this actually extends to every archetype – don’t repeat the past just because of past wisdom alone. If any card doesn’t offer benefits to your win condition, don’t feel pressure to consider them.
Bamboozled About the Lack of Swords?
This, is an engine which a lot of people see as innately tied to Six Samurai, due to it being a feature of previous builds. Sending Cursed Bamboo Sword off Isolde, to search either Golden Bamboo Sword or the original Broken Bamboo sword. To sum it up, my reasoning follows the same logic as United – Draws too slow, and messes with consistency even more. It’s a slower draw engine than United itself, so if I am not going to advocate for their themed draw spell, I won’t advocate for this engine.
In conclusion, Six Samurai are a deck with an incredible amount of potency. With access to infinite advantage, as well as infinite copies of cards in their deck, the main hampering point of the deck, is their fragility when it comes to playing second or popular hand traps like Nibiru. I feel personally like Six Samurai have potential for the competitive scene, especially as a regional level where they have the potential to blitz through them with their absurdly high ceiling. But ultimately, the deck is a glass cannon: Powerful when it goes off, but there’s always the risk of the empire shattering.
Once more, my name is Tinker, thanks once more to the YGOrg for letting me post this guest article. I hope that this will be able to help those wanting to explore this deck, as well as the myriad of possibilities it presents.
Interested in working on a future Community Collab?
If you feel as though your passion for a specific theme is enough to write an article about it – please let us know. Even if you just have a basic idea of what you want to write about, we can work with you to develop your ideas and come up with a finished product for the online community to see. I am currently the point of contact for these Collab articles, so please reach out to Quincymccoy on our Discord if you are interested.