Yeah, there’s the Legendary Fisherman II and III, but those are for another day...
The Old School Expert on YouTube built a 41 card deck based around The Legendary Fisherman and A Legendary Ocean. It’s based on an actual deck he played back in 2003 during the Legacy of Darkness Advanced format. While his list wasn’t really meant to be competitive, and more as a fun tribute to Mako Tsunami, it’s a deck that can hold its own.
Monster Cards (16)
3 The Legendary Fisherman
1 Amphibian Beast
3 7 Colored Fish
3 Aqua Spirit
2 Magician of Faith
2 Penguin Soldier
1 Sinister Serpent
1 Witch of the Black Forest
Spell Cards (Magic Cards) (15)
2 A Legendary Ocean
1 Change of Heart
1 Dark Hole
1 Delinquent Duo
2 Graceful Charity
1 Harpie's Feather Duster
1 Monster Reborn
2 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Painful Choice
1 Pot of Greed
1 Premature Burial
1 Snatch Steal
1 The Forceful Sentry
Trap Cards (9)
1 Call of the Haunted
1 Imperial Order
1 Mirror Force
2 Solemn Judgment
2 Tornado Wall
1 Torrential Tribute
Here’s The Old School Expert’s deck Legendary Fisherman profile video:
OK, that’s awfully niche. “Umi” isn’t all that exciting of a field spell. You may notice it’s not even in this deck list. That’s because A Legendary Ocean is an upgraded version of Umi. Not only does it count as “Umi” when it’s face-up on the field, but it reduces the level of all Water-type monsters in both player’s hands and on the field by one. It also gives all Water-attribute monsters 200 ATK and DEF. That means A Legendary Fisherman becomes a Level 4 monster, meaning you don’t have to Tribute Summon for him. Suddenly, he becomes a lot better.
The other big monster in the deck is a single copy of Amphibian Beast. While this 2400 ATK vanilla monster isn’t too exciting, he gets to be 2600 ATK with A Legendary Ocean or Umi on the field. That’s enough to beat just about any big monster at the time, including Summoned Skull and Jinzo. That’s why he’s here.
For the beatdown, there’s three copies of 7 Colored Fish. He’s 1800 ATK on his own, and 2000 ATK with A Legendary Ocean in play. He beats all of the beatsticks of the day with 2000 ATK.
Aqua Spirit is a card that’s continued to see play well into 2018 in Mermail decks. This level 4 monster has 1600 ATK, which isn’t bad. You can only Special Summon Aqua Spirit, with the cost being removing 1 Water monster from your graveyard from play (AKA banishing). That’s not bad. Heck, it’s still playable now! Ordinarily, you really would want only two copies of Aqua Spirit, but back in this time, there weren’t a ton of great Water monsters to play.
In fact, there are only three other Water monsters in this deck. Two of them are two copies of Penguin Soldier. One of the better monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh for a long time, this little flip effect monster was a Starter Deck Joey exclusive for years. His effect: You can return up to 2 Monster Cards from the field to the owner's hand. Talk about really messing up your opponent’s plans! He’s a sweet little tempo card that saw play even into the Synchro Monster and XYZ Monster eras of the game!
The last Water monster in the deck is one that was banned in tournament play for years: Sinister Serpent! It would later be unlimited after a very controversial errata that we’ll get to in a minute. Originally, the Serpent could be brought back to your hand on any Standby phase that it was in the graveyard. Basically, it was always a free discard or throw-away monster. This made it a little too good, and after being limited to a single copy for a long time, it was finally banned.
But with the release of Premium Gold: Return of the Bling, Konami decided to errata the Serpent, adding an important phrase:
“During your Standby Phase, if this card is in your Graveyard: You can add it to your hand, also banish 1 "Sinister Serpent" from your Graveyard during your opponent's next End Phase. You can only use this effect of "Sinister Serpent" once per turn.”
With the addition of that all-important phrase, Sinister Serpent was considered “fixed” and taken off the ban list. It actually became unlimited. But it means that his ability became far, far less useful. So, if you play by its current errata, keep this in mind.
Witch of the Black Forest was banned in Yu-Gi-Oh for years because it could seek out just about any monster, 1500 DEF or less, you’d want in your deck. She gets pretty much everything in the deck, except the Fisherman. But in 2018, Konami decided we can have three copies again. Hurray!
The Spell Cards besides A Legendary Ocean are all staples of the time. There’s 1 Change of Heart and 1 Snatch Steal for stealing opponent’s monsters. There’s 1 Dark Hole and 1 Raigeki for monster destruction, legal in 2018. The classic now-banned draw power of 1 Pot of Greed and 2 Graceful Charity would be reduced by 1 Graceful Charity in the not-so-distant future.
There’s also the hand control duo of Delinquent Duo and Forceful Sentry, often joined by Confiscation in many decks. These cards would be later banned for giving players too much information and providing too much of an advantage to whoever played them first. There’s the banned Harpie’s Feather Duster, that destroys just your opponent’s spell cards. There’s two copies of Mystical Space Typhoon, as important a card as ever in 2018. Then, Monster Reborn, legal in 2018, and Premature Burial (banned for quite some time) for monster recursion.
There’s also 1 Painful Choice, a card that was always too good in many decks. But it took awhile for this card to be banned, because you had to know how to play it correctly. With Painful Choice, you pick 5 cards from your deck. Your opponent chooses 1 to put in your hand, then the other 4 go to the graveyard. While this deck doesn’t take advantage of the benefits of filling your graveyard quite as much as others, even at the time, it’s still good in the deck. You can throw a big monster in the graveyard to Call of the Haunted, Monster Reborn, or Premature Burial or just thin out your deck with cards you don’t really need. Still, I don’t really like this card in this list, as is.
For the trap cards, there are several staples: 1 Call of the Haunted, 1 Imperial Order, 1 Mirror Force, 2 Solemn Judgment (was unlimited at the time), and 1 Torrential Tribute. In 2018, Solemn Judgment is at one copy and Imperial Order is banned, as it has been for years.
Imperial Order was a really dumb trap card that negated all Spell Cards and you could only stop it if you had a Mystical Space Typhoon to chain to its activation. While it had a drawback of having to pay LP during each standby phase, this was actually an advantage, as the player who controlled it could choose when they no longer needed it.
The last cards in the deck are 2 copies of Tornado Wall. It’s a stall card that’s only good with “Umi” - or “A Legendary Ocean” - on the field. It reduces the damage of all attacking monsters to your Life Points to 0. You can get away with a single copy, though, since it’s going to be a dead card so much of the time.
If I Were Building This Legendary Fisherman Deck…
Honestly, I think this deck is pretty good as it is, if you’re just playing for fun as it’s meant to be played. I would personally swap the Painful Choice for a third A Legendary Ocean. I’d also cut one Tornado Wall to bring the deck down to 40 cards. I may also opt instead for a third Penguin Soldier. While the deck doesn’t really need it badly, I like it for slowing your opponent down and it gives you another needed Water monster.
With the 2018 card pool, Xyz Monsters, and Link Monsters, and whatnot, there’s a sweet little rogue deck here. But this is an Old School deck meant to be played against old school decks. For what it is, it’s awesome!
Have you ever played with or against The Legendary Fisherman? I’d love to hear your stories about this card!