Yu-Gi-Oh! Wiki pages sure don’t have what they used to (unless they plan to update the page later.) Here is the entirety of what they have to say about the Brandish archetype:
“’Sky Striker’, known as ‘Brandish’ (閃せん刀とう, Sentō) in the OCG, is an archetype set to debut in Deck Build Pack: Dark Savers. It includes the sub-archetype ‘Sky Striker Ace’. The ‘Sky Striker’ cards are made to look like suits of powered armor (in the case of the ‘Sky Striker Ace’ Link Monsters), or various gadgets equipped to said armor, as with the Normal and Quick-Play Spells within the archetype. The pronunciation ‘Sentō’, which means ‘Flash Blade’ using the archetype's Kanji, can also mean ‘Battle’ (戦闘).”
…and that’s it, most of it useless information for non-weebs. So, for a non-placeholder OP, an actually constructive one, we’ll have to start from scratch.
Excluding the Wind Link, which it is not likely we’ll have for nationals format, there are three Brandish monsters: Brandish Maiden rei, Brandish Maiden Kagari, and Brandish Maiden Shizuku. Let’s go in that order.
Brandish Maiden rei
“(Quick Effect): You can Tribute this card; Special Summon 1 ‘Brandish Maiden’ monster from your Extra Deck to the Extra Monster Zone. If a face-up ‘Brandish Maiden’ Link Monster you control is destroyed by battle, or leaves the field because of an opponent's card effect, while this card is in your GY: You can Special Summon this card. You can only use each effect of ‘Brandish Maiden rei’ once per turn.”
Brandish Maiden rei, usually just shortened to “rei,” is the only non-Extra Deck Brandish Monster (not counting the token from Hornet Bit.) Clearly, though, it’s a card that revolves around the Extra Deck. While you’re able to summon the Brandish Link Monsters without using rei’s effect, by just normally sacrificing her for a Link Summon, her tribute effect is relevant in two key situations: When you have Diabolos (the boss monster,) and when it’s on the field during your opponent’s turn.
The latter situation, that of it being on the field during the opponent’s turn, becomes the case due to its floating effect. Your opponent may force one of your Brandish Link Monsters to leave the field, especially on their turn, and this will allow rei to activate, bringing herself back and then allowing herself to summon another Brandish Link Monster to use even on your opponent’s turn.
As far as the actual structure of the deck goes, Brandish Maiden rei is one of three basic starter cards: Her, Start-Up Engage, and Hornet Bit (and Reinforcements of the Army to get her.) This gives you a total of 10 starter cards, assuming the next ban list doesn’t mess with RotA. This, combined with the ability to see more cards with your other Spells (Desires, Upstart, Metalfoes Fusion, the Field Spell,) makes for a pretty consistent deck. Since Brandish mirrors are a bit slower paced, it’s not the end of the world if you brick on the first turn either.
Brandish Maiden Kagari
“1 non-FIRE ‘Brandish Maiden’ monster
You can only Special Summon ‘Brandish Maiden Kagari(s)’ once per turn. If this card is Special Summoned: You can target 1 ‘Brandish’ Spell in your GY; add it to your hand. Gains 100 ATK for each Spell in your GY.”
Brandish Maiden Kagari, usually just shortened to “Red,” is the first of two Brandish Link Monsters we’ll be looking at. Notice that it takes a non-Fire “Brandish Maiden” monster to summon, and that its own attribute is Fire. All the Brandish Link Monsters have this clause for their own respective attributes, and all of the Brandish Link Monsters are different attributes. What this means effectively is that you cannot use Red for Red, or Blue for Blue as fodder.
The recursion of Brandish Spells in graveyard is relevant for several reasons. First, it can combo with Engage to use multiple of them in a turn. One common turn one play that is very strong is to Engage for Spellbook of Judgment, and then get back Engage with Red to get another Spell back for Spellbook of Judgment by activating it again. This then allows you to set back the Engage with Spellbook of Judgment in the End Phase, and then use Blue to search for another copy of Engage.
Second, this card’s effect activating on summon is important in contradistinction to Blue, which activates in End Phase. This is because if you’re floating with your rei on your opponents turn, they can’t completely cut you off from adding cards to your hand by just running over the Blue that rei would float into, because you can summon Red instead to get the add back.
Third, and finally, the add back effect allows you to reuse important utility cards. This lets you get away with playing less copies of them overall. Be careful though, you might not want to play too little copies of certain utility Spells, since you might banish them with Pot of Desires.
The attack gain on this card becomes relevant in the later game when you have a lot of Spells in the graveyard. It can help you get over bigger monsters, sometimes even mustering up enough attack to trade with a Diabolos (or Infernoid Onuncu.)
Lastly, notice the clause on this card that you may only summon it once per turn. All the Brandish Link Monsters have this clause, otherwise they’d be able to be summoned indefinitely and you would be able to indefinitely add back cards with Red. So, it’s good they put that clause there.
Brandish Maiden Shizuku
“1 non-WATER ‘Brandish Maiden’ monster
You can only Special Summon ‘Brandish Maiden Shizuku(s)’ once per turn. Monsters your opponent controls lose 100 ATK/DEF for each Spell in your GY. Once per turn, during the End Phase, if this card was Special Summoned this turn: You can add 1 ‘Brandish’ Spell from your Deck to your hand with a different name from every card in your GY.”
This is Brandish Maiden Shizuku, usually shortened to “Blue.” This card allows you to get the ball rolling if you didn’t open Engage, as it can search Engage in the End Phase. It also pairs well with the Spellbook of Judgment as mentioned, since the Spellbook of Judgment can set spells from the graveyard in the End Phase, allowing you to then search one of the same name with Blue.
Notice that the Attack and Defense loss is for all of your opponent’s monsters, which is important to help get over boards sometimes. Other than that, there isn’t a whole lot to talk about with this card. It’s just an obligatory part of the run-of-the-mill plays in this deck, where you summon Red and then tribute Red off for this card to search in the end phase, setting you up for the following turn.
One thing to note though, about the two Link Monsters, is where their arrows point. This means that if you summon them to your Extra Monster Zone, they point away from the field. This allows for a more slower game with less OTKs and the like, with an average turn dealing normally only some lower increment of 1500 damage.
Brandish Spell Cards
With rei, Red, and Blue all figured out, we can move on to the main magic of this deck, the Spell cards. This deck has some of the strongest archetypal Spell cards ever printed, and it is amplified by the fact that very few of them have anything even close to resembling a “once per turn” clause.
The Spell cards we’ll be looking at are Brandish Start-Up Engage, Brandish Mechanism Multi-Roll, Brandish Mecha Hornet Bit, Brandish Airspace Area Zero, Brandish Mecha Widow Anchor, Brandish Skill Afterburner, Brandish Skill Jamming Wave, Brandish Mecha Shark Cannon, Brandish Mechanoid Hercules Base, and Brandish Mecha Eagle Booster.
Brandish Start-Up Engage
“If you control no monsters in your Main Monster Zones: Add 1 ‘Brandish’ card from your Deck to your hand, except ‘Brandish Start-Up Engage’, then if you have 3 or more Spells in your GY, you can draw 1 card.”
Brandish Start-Up Engage, usually just called “Engage.” Yes, you read this card’s text correctly. And no, you did not read a once per turn clause. Because there isn’t one. Including adding it back with Red, you can potentially activate this card up to four times in a turn, getting the extra draw as many times as you do it with at least 3 Spell cards in graveyard.
As mentioned, and as indicated by this cards name, this is one of your starter cards. It’s not that bad if you don’t draw this because you can search it in the mirror, but if one player draws it going first and the other player doesn’t have it going second, they can start to fall a little bit behind because the player on first is able to resolve this card multiple times before the player on second was able to resolve it once.
Fortunately, with the Field Spell and draw Spells, you have a pretty good chance to see this card on turn one. What you ideally want to do in the first turns of the mirror is end with multiple copies of this card either in hand or field or between both, since it will make your follow-up quite strong. Don’t overly worry about getting three Spells in graveyard for the draw, that will naturally come in time and unless the Spells you put in graveyard are free (such as Foolish Burial Goods and Metalfoes Fusion,) it’s not worth building your deck around trying to get to three Spells in graveyard.
The draw effect on this card also obviously helps you to begin to come back while playing from behind. Be careful when deciding whether or not to Ash Blossom this card, since they can add it back with Red (as opposed to using it on something like, say, Pot of Desires.) Just something to be aware of.
Notice, finally, the clause on this card about only being able to activate it while you control no monsters in your Main Monster Zone. A lot of the Brandish Spells have this clause. Just like the arrows on the Brandish Link Monsters themselves, this helps slow down the pace of the game, since you don’t want to shut yourself out from your Spells just to do a little more damage usually.
Brandish Mechanism Multi Roll
“Once per turn: You can target 1 other card you control; send it to the GY, also your opponent cannot activate cards or effects in response to your Spell Card activations this turn. Once per turn, during the End Phase: You can Set ‘Brandish’ Spells with different names from your GY to your field, up to the number of ‘Brandish’ Spell Cards you activated this turn while this card was face-up on the field, but banish them when they leave the field.”
This is Brandish Mechanism Multi-Roll, which we call “Spellbook of Judgment” for obvious reasons. Yes, you read this card’s second effect correctly. A good mirror will often have this card face-up on both players field, resolving it as much as possible. And by as much as possible, I mean that using the Quick-Play Spells, you can use this card on your opponent’s turn too.
Just the existence of this card justifies using cards like Ghost Ogre, Twin Twister, Evenly Matched, Typhoon, and so on to hopefully not get blown out by a turn one Spellbook of Judgment. Or, if you don’t see these cards, you’re hopefully able to come back with your own Spellbook of Judgment such that you’re able to match the power that your opponent was able to generate.
The fact that it banishes the Spells that you bring back is important in late game grinds, so be careful. Worth noting as well is that it can set the Field Spell too. Finally, the first effect is worth keeping in mind, since it can help you get rid of a Metalfoes Fusion that you’ve hard drawn. Overall, this Spell is probably the strongest card in the deck.
Brandish Mecha Hornet Bit
“If you control no monsters in your Main Monster Zones: Special Summon 1 ‘Brandish Maiden Token’ (Warrior/DARK/Level 1/ATK 0/DEF 0) in Defense Position, but it cannot be Tributed. If you have 3 or more Spells in your GY, its ATK/DEF become 1500.”
Brandish Mecha Hornet Bit, usually just called “Hornet Bit.” This is another starter card, since you can immediately tribute the token summoned for a Red or Blue. It isn’t always clear whether or not you want to go with this card when you have the option between it and rei. This card is more vulnerable to Cherries, but you end with more cards if you add it back with Red and then use Blue. Arguably you don’t even want to waste a Red on adding this card back sometimes.
This card has different functions at different points in the game. Early game, it’s a starter card. Later game, it can help you go into toolbox Link Monsters, such as Troymare Phoenix. Further, in the worst-case scenario, you can set it to chump-block so you don’t die. It’s good to keep a copy of this card floating between your hand and field in most matches so that you have a follow-up if something goes wrong.
Overall, a pretty solid component of the deck.
Brandish Airspace Area Zero
“You can target 1 other card you control; excavate the top 3 cards of your Deck, you can add 1 excavated ‘Brandish’ card to your hand, also shuffle the rest back into the Deck, then if a ‘Brandish’ card(s) was excavated, send the targeted card to the GY. If this card is sent from the Field Zone to the GY by a card effect: You can Special Summon 1 ‘Brandish Maiden’ monster from your Deck. You can only use each effect of ‘Brandish Airspace Area Zero’ once per turn.”
This is Brandish Airspace Area Zero, normally just called “Field Spell.” Quite simply, this card turns your 5-card hands into 8-card hands, and your 6-card hands into 9-card hands. It also can clear monsters from your Main Monster Zone to allow you to activate your Brandish Spells. The best card to send with it is usually a hard drawn Metalfoes Fusion.
Carefully read it. Even if you don’t add a Brandish card, as long as you reveal one, you send the targeted card to the graveyard, so you just about always might as well add the Brandish card you reveal anyway. The best thing that this card does is help you brick even less. You already have 10 starter cards, and this card helps you get to 9 of them.
In fact, this card has quite a lot of functions. It turns dead draws into real cards and potentially gets another Spell in graveyard in the process. The second effect combos with Spellbook of Judgment’s first effect to unbrick your hand as well. You can even destroy this on your opponent’s turn using Twin Twister or Typhoon in order to float a rei against them.
Unfortunately, because of the once per turn clause on this card, seeing multiple Field Spells isn’t that good. Seeing one Field Spell and one Terraforming is fine though because you can just send the Terraforming with its first effect. Obviously you want to be using Terraforming for this card instead of hard drawing it because it gets a Spell in graveyard for free.
Brandish Mecha Widow Anchor
“If you control no monsters in your Main Monster Zones: Target 1 Effect Monster on the field; it has its effects negated (until the end of this turn), then if you have 3 or more Spells in your GY, you can take control of that monster until the End Phase.”
Brandish Mecha Widow Anchor, usually just called “Claw” for short. This card is essentially Snatch Steal, sometimes even a little better because you can give them back their (presumable) Link Monster in a Main Monster Zone to turn off their Brandish Spells on your turn, including their own copies of Claw.
Playing around this card is a key skill to have in the mirror. The most unfortunate timeline is banishing all of your copies (people normally play 2) of this card with Pot of Desires. In order to stop them from getting the monster back in the End Phase, you can Link it away.
If all else fails, going second, this card is also a starter card if you can get three Spells in the graveyard. This is because you can take their Red or Blue (usually Blue) and make your own Brandish Link Monsters with it.
Brandish Skill Afterburner & Brandish Skill Jamming Wave
“If you control no monsters in your Main Monster Zones: Target 1 face-up monster on the field; destroy it, then if you have 3 or more Spells in your GY, you can destroy 1 Spell/Trap on the field.”
“If you control no monsters in your Main Monster Zones: Target 1 Set Spell/Trap on the field; destroy it, then if you have 3 or more Spells in your GY, you can destroy 1 monster on the field.”
Brandish Skill Afterburner, usually called “Afterburner,” and Brandish Skill Jamming Wave, usually called “Wave.” I’ve put both of these together since they’re more or less the same card, just with reversed effects.
These are your ways of clearing your opponent’s board. An extremely relevant thing to point out is that the second effects on both of these cards don’t target. Especially in the case of Afterburner, this forces your opponent to flip up Spells/Traps on its activation if they don’t want to risk them getting destroyed and not being able to use them at all.
These cards are especially strong going second, so lists that are built to go second will traditionally play more of these. Other than that, these cards are pretty self-explanatory, they’re great utility cards and add more “counters” to Spellbook of Judgment.
Brandish Mecha Shark Cannon
“If you control no monsters in your Main Monster Zones: Target 1 monster in your opponent's GY; banish it, but if you have 3 or more Spells in your GY, you can Special Summon that monster to your field instead, but it cannot attack.”
Brandish Mecha Shark Cannon, normally called “Reborn” due to its 3-Spell effect, is a great utility card. It can help cut off their floating rei in the mirror. It is strong against the Infernoid build because you can banish one, add it back with Red, banish another, then use Spellbook of Judgment to set it, banishing a third.
It may be surprising at first, but the banish effect tends to come up more than the Monster Reborn effect. This is because not only does the card you Reborn take up your Main Monster Zone, but all you can normally do with them is Link them away after. This is with one crucial exception. Late game in the mirror, especially if your Red or Blue were Cherries’d, you can use it on your opponent’s Red/Blue to use their effects instead.
A pretty solid card.
Brandish Mechanoid Hercules Base
“Activate only if you control no monsters in your Main Monster Zone. The equipped monster cannot attack directly, but can make 2 attacks on monsters during each Battle Phase. If the equipped monster destroys a monster by battle and if you have 3 or more Spells in your GY: Draw 1 card. If this card is sent from the field to the GY by a card effect: You can target up to 3 ‘Brandish’ cards in your GY, except ‘Brandish Mechanoid Hercules Base’; shuffle them into the Deck.”
Brandish Mechanoid Hercules Base, usually called nothing for short because this card’s quite frankly awful. However, every once in a while, you’ll see this card played for the Daigusto effect, so that late game in the mirror you can replenish your Extra Deck with your Brandish Link Monsters. That’s about all there is to say about this card, I don’t recommend using it.
Brandish Mecha Eagle Booster
“If you control no monsters in your Main Monster Zones: Target 1 face-up monster on the field; this turn, that target is unaffected by card effects (except its own), also if you have 3 or more Spells in your GY, it cannot be destroyed by battle this turn.”
Brandish Mecha Eagle Booster, called “Booster” for short. I’ve only ever seen this card played in one list. Like Hercules Base, it’s pretty bad. Maybe a situation will come up where it’s good to play this on your opponent’s monster. Isn’t much else to say.
We’ll limit our scope here to pure Brandish lists. The cards that best compliment Brandish cards from an engine perspective will obviously be Spell cards that help you meet the 3 Spell threshold in your graveyard. On top of that, since pure Brandish is a control deck, Hand Traps and “real Traps” also tend to be played in this deck. Here is a non-exhaustive list of Main Deck cards to consider:
· Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring
· Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries
· Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit
· Darkest Diabolos, Lord of the Lair
· Toon Cyber Dragon
· Toon Cannon Soldier
· Pot of Desires
· Foolish Burial Goods
· Metalfoes Fusion
· Toon Table of Contents
· Upstart Goblin
· Reinforcements of the Army
· Foolish Burial
· Twin Twister
· Cosmic Cyclone
· Solemn Strike
· Solemn Judgment
· Evenly Matched
· Infinite Transience
Ratios of Brandish cards vary depending on several factors. The first factor they vary on is whether you want to go first or second. The second factor they vary on is the metagame, are people using Altergeist and the Infernoid Build? Or do you expect to see more of the pure Brandish mirror? A third thing they vary on is depending on how many other Brandish cards you’re playing. If you’re playing a list with less Brandish cards to hit off Field Spell, for example, Field Spell may not be as good. Here is a list of common ranges of quantities per card played:
· 3 Brandish Maiden rei
· 3 Brandish Start-Up Engage
· 1-2 Brandish Mechanism Multi-Roll
· 2-3 Brandish Mecha Hornet Bit
· 0-2 Brandish Airspace Area Zero
· 2-3 Brandish Mecha Widow Anchor
· 1-2 Brandish Skill Afterburner
· 1-2 Brandish Skill Jamming Wave
· 0-1 Brandish Mecha Shark Cannon
· 0-1 Brandish Mechanoid Hercules Base
· 0-1 Brandish Mecha Eagle Booster
· 3 Brandish Maiden Kagari
· 3 Brandish Maiden Shizuku
Other Card Ratios
The ratios of non-Brandish cards to play varies even more widely than the Brandish ratios themselves. I’ll just go over the potential quantities of cards commonly played from the “Non-Brandish Cards” section.
· 3 Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring
· 0-3 Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries
· 0-3 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit
· 0-2 Darkest Diabolos, Lord of the Lair
· 0-1 Toon Cyber Dragon
· 0-1 Toon Cannon Soldier
· 2-3 Pot of Desires
· 2-3 Foolish Burial Goods
· 1 Metalfoes Fusion
· 0-3 Toon Tables of Contents
· 1 Upstart Goblin
· 0-2 Terraforming
· 1 Reinforcements of the Army
· 0-1 Foolish Burial
· 0-3 Twin Twister
· 0-3 Cosmic Cyclone
· 0-2 Solemn Strike
· 0-1 Solemn Judgment
· 0-3 Evenly Matched
· 0-3 Typhoon
· 2-3 Infinite Transience
I’ll leave considerations of the Side Deck and Extra Deck, due to their relative subjectivity, for the discussions to be had in this thread. I’ll do the same for technical play because the deck is less streamlined in terms of proper maneuvering at the moment.
In any event, we’ve worked out the basics of what the Brandish deck is, what it does, and we have some basic ratios to play in our lists. Here’s to a hopefully great thread and a return to the types of discussion we’ve once had on these boards.