The "Malebranche of the Burning Abyss" are named after the Malebranche, the demons who guard the fifth Bolgia of Malebolge (the Eighth Circle of Hell), known for their ruthless cruelty and responsible for the punishment of corrupt politicians by holding them under a boiling lake of pitch. Their English names are truncations of the original Italian names of the Malebranche. Most of their Japanese names are the English names of the Malebranche used in Dorothy L. Sayers' translation of Inferno, although "Alich", "Barbar", and "Libic" use their original Italian names instead. They are all Level 3 DARK Fiend Effect Monsters.
"Malacoda, Netherlord of the Burning Abyss", as the leader of the "Malebranche", instead uses the title "Netherlord of the Burning Abyss" (he is still a member of the "Malebranche" in the source material). In English, unlike the "Malebranche of the Burning Abyss", "Malacoda's" name exactly matches its original Italian name. In Japanese, its name is Sayers' English name for the Malebranche as a whole, "Hellraker" (Sayers translates "Malacoda" as "Belzecue", which is not used in the card's name). It is a Level 6 DARK Fiend Ritual Monster.
|Burning Abyss||Origin||Unique effect|
|Alich||Alichino||Alichino||Negates the effects of a targeted face-up monster on the field until the end of the turn.|
|Barbar||Barbariccia||Barbariccia||Banishes up to 3 targeted "Burning Abyss" cards in the controller's Graveyard, except "Barbar", then inflicts 300 damage to the opponent for each banished card.|
|Cagna||Harrowhound||Cagnazzo||Sends a "Burning Abyss" Spell/Trap Card from the controller's Deck to the Graveyard.|
|Calcab||Hacklespur||Calcabrina||Returns a targeted Set Spell/Trap Card on the field to the hand.|
|Cir||Guttlehog||Ciriatto||Special Summons a targeted "Burning Abyss" monster in the controller's Graveyard, except "Cir".|
|Draghig||Dragonel||Draghignazzo||The controller chooses and places a "Burning Abyss" card from their Deck on top of the Deck.|
|Farfa||Farfarel||Farfarello||Banishes a targeted monster on the field until the End Phase.|
|Graff||Grabbersnitch||Graffiacane||Special Summons a "Burning Abyss" monster from the controller's Deck, except "Graff".|
|Libic||Libbiocco||Libicocco||The controller Special Summons 1 Level 3 DARK Fiend monster from their hand with its effects negated.|
|Malacoda||Hellraker||Malacoda||Sends 1 "Burning Abyss" monster from your hand to the Graveyard to decrease the ATK and DEF of an opponent's monster by that sent monster's. If sent from the field to the Graveyard, sends 1 card on the field to the Graveyard.|
|Scarm||Scaramallion||Scarmiglione||The controller adds a Level 3 DARK Fiend monster from their Deck to their hand during the End Phase of the turn "Scarm" was sent to the Graveyard.|
So far, all Main Deck "Burning Abyss" monsters, with the exception of the Level 6 Ritual Monster "Malacoda", are Level 3 DARK Fiend monsters, and share three effects: they are destroyed if the player controls a monster other than a "Burning Abyss" monster, can be Special Summoned from the hand if the player controls no Spell/Trap Cards, and have a unique effect that is activated when it is sent to the Graveyard (except "Rubic, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss", which instead is a Tuner monster).
Use "Tour Guide From the Underworld" to search out any "Burning Abyss" monster or use "Crane Crane" to Summon them from the Graveyard. Their effects will be negated so they won't be destroyed by their own effect. This ensures that you can overlay into Rank 3 monsters like "Dante".
Similar to "Lightsworns", this Deck type is all about getting monsters in the Graveyard for its effects, but its milling is far more controllable than with "Lightsworns". This actually makes it potent with "Rank-Up-Magic Astral Force" as you would mill it easily. With the constant hand advantage, losing a draw doesn't hurt and it gives you access to toolbox cards.
With the help of Libic, Tour Guide From the Underworld, and Fiendish Rhino Warrior you can set up Link summons, however this archetype has difficulty once you summon a non-Burning Abyss monster. As such, and due to the effectiveness of its in-archetype extra deck monsters, it is usually a good idea to refrain from using Links outside of finishers. Co-link dependent Link monsters, especially, should be avoided.
- Being an archetype of primarily DARK monsters, they are susceptible to "Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror".
- Since they all have effects that activate in the Graveyard, cards like "Macro Cosmos", "Abyss Dweller", "Dimensional Fissure", "Soul Drain", "Masked HERO Dark Law" and "Debunk" are potential threats.
- The Level 3 "Burning Abyss" monsters destroy themselves if their controller controls a non-"Burning Abyss" monster, so your opponent might disrupt you with cards/effects that give you monsters, such as "Ojama Trio", "Santa Claws", "Creature Swap", "Flying "C"", etc., although "Libic" and "Farfa" can help maneuver around such strategies.
- Since face-down monsters are not treated as "Burning Abyss" monsters, "Quaking Mirror Force" can make it very difficult for "Burning Abyss" Decks, since any "Malebranche of the Burning Abyss" Summoned while there is a face-down monster will destroy itself.
- Like all decks that function as rapid-fire Summon engines, the deck can be very specific in terms of content. As such, the archetype can have a steep learning curve. It is advisable to limit the number of non-archetype Monsters in the deck to the barest minimum - "Fiendish Rhino Warrior" and "Tour Guide From the Underworld" are generally regarded as the most acceptable options.