Quick Look: Insects


The new box [Secrets of the Ancients](/box-reviews/secrets-of-the-ancients/) gave a few new Insect support cards -- Lair Wire and Verdant Sanctuary especially -- that synergize nicely with some old Insect support we've had for a while. The main new interaction is using Lair Wire to banish Resonance Insect for a destruction effect, dump any Insect to the grave, and use Powerful Rebirth to bring it out to the field. This "pseudo-search" gives the deck a bit of flexibility that it didn't have before, although the deck likely remains non-competitive.
Duel Links Card: Lair%20Wire
Duel Links Card: Verdant%20Sanctuary

In this article I would like to share many of the combos available in the deck as well as a number of replays against meta-relevant decks. Strengths and weaknesses will be discussed, as well as various tech options.

Sample Deck

The Insect build that I landed on after testing is a slow, control-style deck. The general idea is to sit on Metamorphosed Insect Queen with protection, use Insect Uprising and Wall of Disruption to clog my opponent’s board and slow them down, then start cycling Fenghuang with the Insect Tokens to clear up the backrow and begin swinging in.

Resonance Insect is the ideal opener, searching Queen and synergizing nicely with Lair Wire. Although Pinch Hopper is the only way to get Queen out of your hand, I rarely felt as though Queen was getting stuck in my hand. Howling Insect is another versatility piece, floating into Resonance or Pinch (and even OTKing alongside Queen). The difference in their effect activations is very important, however:

  • Resonance Insect is the most versatile. Any way it gets into the grave is fine.
  • Pinch Hopper also gets its effect if destroyed by a card effect, but importantly can miss the timing if you tribute it with Fenghuang or Queen’s effect. Be careful about trying to trigger Pinch’s effect yourself; the best way is through battle.
  • Finally, Howling Insect must be destroyed by battle to get its effect, meaning Vampire Kingdom or Widespread Ruin both deal with it.

In the replays below you’ll see other tech options, like:

  • Swarm of Locusts: Searchable backrow removal, but slow and annoying to open with.
  • A HERO Emerges: Another way to get Queen out of your hand, but it often felt unncessary. A good option if you find yourself bricking a lot.
  • Verdant Sanctuary: I like the search effect of Verdant not being once per turn, but I felt like I wasn’t getting enough value out of this card to be worth running against top-tier decks.
  • Enemy Controller, Xing Zhen Hu, and Paleozoic Canadia: Good, generic backrow options that work well with the deck.

Brief Match-up Notes

  • Vampires: I would call this a favorable match-up. Queen’s protection against Vampire Kingdom and Vampire Vamp is very strong and Wall of Disruption is perhaps the best backrow counter to Vampires in the game. Spot removal in Lair Wire is also a nice way to disrupt a Vampire Grace play.

  • Blue-Eyes: Unless you can draw an early Wall of Disruption or get Insect Uprising off and clog their board, this is a pretty unfavorable match-up. Queen’s 2800 ATK simply isn’t enough against a steady stream of 3000 ATK monsters.

  • Masked Heroes: A fairly even match-up. Lair Wire is great against Masked HERO Anki (and Destiny HERO - Decider, which could otherwise stall out most of this deck), so the main concern against Heroes is Destiny HERO - Drilldark’s piercing damage. Careful play is very important here, moreso than in other match-ups.

  • Control: A favorable match-up. They’re not fast enough to really give you trouble before you set up, Queen’s protection effect is great against Wind-Up Juggler, and Insect Uprising clogs their board very quickly. D.D. Assailant is the best monster they have against Insects, but you will generally be faster at getting Queens out than they will be at drawing into Assailant. Warning: If the Control deck uses Junk Synchron with Armades, Keeper of Boundaries, the match-up gets much more difficult since Armades turns off every single one of your Insects’ float effects.

  • U.A.: Very unfavorable. For the same reason that you’d worry about Armades, U.A. Mighty Slugger causes huge issues for Insects. Little else in their deck is relevant if they get Slugger out before you can steal the game.

  • Spellbooks: Very unfavorable. Spellbook of Fate dismantles everything this deck attempts to do.

  • Gemini: I think this is a favorable match-up. Gemini decks are usually fairly slow and controlled, which Insects can thrive against. Queen’s protection from everything except Heavy Knight of the Flame is very strong, and Lair Wire can be used to pick off the Heavy Knights.

  • Fur Hires: Another fairly favorable match-up unless they can OTK you early. They like to sit on heavy backrow, so bleeding their monsters with Insect Uprising and waiting for Fenghuang is usually very effective.

Sample Replays

  • Replay #1: Yubel. This is a good introduction to the deck and the combos available to you. When Resonance gets destroyed we chain Lair Wire to its effect (so that Yubel misses the timing). Dumping Pinch Hopper and Rebirthing it makes the Insect Queens in our hand live. When Queen comes out we begin clogging the board with Tokens to protect from Yubel’s effect. When Phoenix comes out, Canadia deals with Yubel and then Phoenix itself is easy to deal with.

  • Replay #2: Control. We open fairly poorly and Control opens an annoying Breaker that prevents us from really defending ourselves. Luckily we top a Pinch Hopper on Turn 4, and at that point the duel is over. We play overly carefully around a Wall of Disruption since we can lock up the backrow with Xing whenever we like.

  • Replay #3: Tenkabito. Tenkabito is pretty scary because their ability to get over 2800 ATK makes it extremely hard to deal with them. Luckily our opponent goes into dual 2500 ATK monsters since he has no idea what he’s playing against, and greedily swings into a Howling Insect that lets me pull out a Swarm of Locusts. This burns through the Solemn Scolding and allows me to safely get out Queen. At this point I misplay: I should have used Rebirth early to tribute for Queen to get two attacks in and clear his whole board. Luckily we are not punished for this misplay and the duel ends quickly afterwards.

  • Replay #4: Masked Heroes. This was a really fun duel because we both opened extremely well. Verdant Sanctuary was great for keeping up with the Hero player’s card advantage and the final Lair Wire was a perfect safety net against another Mask Change.

  • Replay #5: Control. Another Control deck, another fairly straightforward win. I felt a delay when I set my card and therefore felt safe going aggressive to OTK since it was likely a Cosmic Cyclone or another Dust Tornado.

  • Replay #6: Vampires. Our first match-up with Vampires and we draw very well. I played unnecessarily around a bluff but felt safe sitting on a Wall of Disruption since I did not expect him to be able to get another Grace out quickly.

  • Replay #7: Vampires. A fun OTK with double Pinch Hopper. The lack of defensive cards in Vampires makes these kinds of plays possible and is part of the reason why this match-up is so favorable for Insects.

  • Replay #8: Geminis. I thought this was a real Gemini deck at first, so I made sure to not play into a Drowning Mirror Force or anything similar. It turned out to be a suboptimal build but he maintained the typical pressure of Gemini decks. Locust was very useful to eat a Gemini Spark and in the simplified game state, Queen finishes him off.

To conclude, here’s two more fun replays from the ladder that illustrate some minor interesting technical details:

  • Bonus Replay #1: Crystal Beasts: A cool OTK off Lair Wire stopping the Super Rush Recklessly (since that card has to be the one to destroy the monster in order to shuffle mine away) and setting up the OTK by searching the only Insect big enough to push for lethal damage after Rebirth.

  • Bonus Replay #2: Control: Verdant Sanctuary was actually huge in letting us search out a Resonance and combining it with Pinch Hopper’s effect let us get it out that turn as well. This would have been a great replay to show off a cool interaction if my opponent didn’t ruin it by trying to use Juggler to destroy an immune Queen, but reading isn’t for everyone.

Thumbnail designed and created by Jadehex.

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