The original 10 "Qli" monsters
— Flavor text of "Qliphort Scout"
"Qli", known as "Qliphort" (クリフォート Kurifōto) in the OCG, is an archetype of EARTH Machine monsters introduced in The New Challengers that are designed to take advantage of the Pendulum Summon mechanic. This is reflected in the eye-shaped motifs visible in their appearances; these motifs are flanked by two crystals, one blue and another red, that are identical to the indicators of a Pendulum Scale.
In the TCG, "Qli" monsters all contain the term "Qliphort" in their names, despite card texts using the more general "Qli" name.
"Qliphort" is a portmanteau of Qliphoth (קְלִיפּוֹת, lit. "husks", the representation of evil or impure spiritual forces in Jewish mysticism) and "fort". The Japanese names of several Spell/Traps use the corresponding kanji of 機殻 (lit. "machine husk") for their readings of "Qliphort" (クリフォート Kurifōto), referencing the literal meaning of the word "qliphoth".
The Qliphoth is documented in some texts of Kabbalah, a set of teachings originating in Judaism. The ten emanations of the Qliphoth form the Kabbalistic Tree of Death, and each Qliphah is the polar opposite of a corresponding Sefirah on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life.
The majority of the names of the "Qli" monsters are related to computing. "Genome" (OCG name of "Qliphort Helix") refers to the genomes of biological organisms, as they bear resemblance with how computers store their data.
"Qlis" focus on Pendulum Summoning monsters to fuel Tribute Summons, with effects that activate when Tributed or when Summoned by Tributing members of the archetype.
- Pendulum Effect: You cannot Special Summon monsters, except "Qli" monsters. This effect cannot be negated.
- Monster Effect: You can Normal Summon this card without Tributing. If this card is Normal Summoned without Tributing, or is Special Summoned, its Level becomes 4 and its original ATK becomes 1800. If this card is Normal Summoned/Set, it is unaffected by activated effects from any monster whose original Level/Rank is lower than this card's current Level.
In addition, the "Qli" Effect Pendulum Monsters can manipulate the ATK of monsters on the field; those with a Pendulum Scale of 1 boost the ATK of your "Qli" monsters by 300, while those with a Scale of 9 reduce your opponent's monsters' ATK by 300.
Finally, each "Qli" Pendulum Monster is a unique combination of a Level from 5 to 8, and a Scale of 1 or 9, with the Level 5 ones being Normal Monsters with Pendulum Effects that provide card advantage for its owner, the Level 6 ones activating effects whenever they are Tributed and serving as spot removal, and the Level 7 and 8 triggering their effects when they are Tribute Summoned. The Level 9 and 10 are not Pendulum Monsters and each of them require 3 "Qli" monsters to be tributed for their Normal Summon.
|Level 5||Level 6||Level 7||Level 8||Level 9||Level 10|
The main strategy is to use "Qliphort Scout" to gain card advantage, allowing Pendulum Summoning a number of "Qli" monsters. The effects of "Qliphort Carrier" and "Qliphort Helix" trigger when being Tributed, so by using them to Tribute Summon "Qliphort Disk", "Qliphort Shell" or the aces of the archetype: "Apoqliphort Towers" and "Apoqliphort Skybase", which resist card effects of any kind (with the exception of Continuous Effects), can generate further Field Advantage.
"Qli" Decks support Tribute Summon, therefore they can put to use the "Monarch" series, which, depending on which Monarchs are used, can cripple the opponent in various ways. The Egyptian God Cards can also prove useful in this deck under certain situations, due to the tribute fodder provided. However, a Normal Summon can only be conducted once per turn. Hence to avoid potential Dead draws, "Monarch" monsters are rarely seen in decks for competitive plays. "Performapal Trampolynx" is a very good support for "Qliphort Scout". Its ability allows an extra search per turn and access to Special Summon non-"Qli" monsters like "Abyss Dweller" to grant extra powers against the opponent.
Spell Cards such as "Summoner's Art", "Saqlifice" and "Pot of Duality" contribute to searching the key card "Qliphort Scout". "Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon" is capable of searching either "Qliphort Scout" or "Performapal Trampolynx" with a drawback of one-turn delay. The defense line mainly consists Trap Cards that either wipe off opponents' monsters or prevent them from expanding. "Skill Drain" can dramatically increase the Damage output from "Qli" monsters and lockdown opponent's field monster effects. "Laser Qlip" is also worth including, as not only does it allow you to Normal Summon another "Qli" monster in addition to your regular Normal Summon each turn, it also prevents your opponent from negating the Normal Summons of your "Qli" monsters. Other powerful Trap Cards like "Vanity's Emptiness" and "Torrential Tribute" are suggested as well since "Qli" monsters have a fairly high ATK with the support of "Saqlifice" and returns to the Extra Deck when sent to the Graveyard, thus can be brought back to the field by Pendulum Summoning.
A useful two card combination in any Deck that can destroy it's own Pendulum Scales with effects like "Sky Iris", "Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer" or any of the "Metalfoes" Monster Scale-effects after using the search effect "Qliphort Scout" for "Qliphort Monolith" for defensive Wall or a Rank 5 Xyz Monster, usually "Cyber Dragon Nova" into "Cyber Dragon Infinity". Especially if running "Summoner's Art".
Due to the fact that "Qli" Decks rely heavily on "Qliphort Scout", a simple floodgate is to use cards with effects that can remove opponent's face-up Spell cards, such as "Mystical Space Typhoon", "Spell Shattering Arrow", "Fairy Wind", and in worse case scenario, "Cosmic Cyclone". These cards can also counter opponent's "Skill Drain" or "Vanity's Emptiness", which are common and can be fatal to certain decks if not dealt with.
Cards like "Prohibition", "Thunder King Rai-Oh", "Cursed Seal of the Forbidden Spell", and "Mask of Restrict" that prohibits either the use of "Qliphort Scout" or Tribute Summon are effective as well, but they become futile once the opponent has already set up a field.
"Dimensional Barrier" can prove problematic if it's activated at the correct time, can prevent you from Pendulum Summoning that turn or prevent you from using "Qli" monster effects for the turn, but it's no problem to your "Qli" Pendulum Monsters' ATK.
When playing a "Qli" Deck, be aware of threats such as "Mystical Space Typhoon" and "Bottomless Trap Hole". It is suggested that before extending, clear the opponent's backrow as many as possible by using cards like "Night Beam", which counters free-chain cards such as "Mystical Space Typhoon" and "Sinister Shadow Games". You could also use "Hey, Trunade!" to temporarily clear your opponent's face-down Spells and Traps."Qlimate Change" (can be searched by "Qliphort Scout") returns up to 3 face-up "Qli" monsters in the Extra Deck to hand and can be fairly effective when the opponent is focusing on destroying cards in Pendulum Zones.
While "Towers" and "Skybase" are the trump cards of this deck, owing to their immunity to almost all card effects, they are still vulnerable to Continuous Effects. Monsters such as "Destiny HERO - Plasma" can shut these cards down completely, as it not only negates opposing Monster Effects, it can also equip an opponent's monster to itself, providing it with an ample ATK boost. Link monsters can also bypass the immunity of the "Apoqliphort" monsters, such as "Firewall Dragon" by simply returning them to the hand. It is also interesting to note that usual Machine counters like "Chimeratech Fortress Dragon", while ineffective against most of the deck, can still be used against the "Apoqliphort" monsters because they are not Pendulum Monsters.
"Crimson Blader" is also a major threat, because when it destroys a monster, the opponent cannot Normal or Special Summon Level 5 or higher monsters that turn.
As per New Master Rules, this deck suffers from losing its Tribute fodder provided by Pendulum Summoning as only one Tribute (two with "Qliphort Genius") can be recovered from the Extra Deck at a time, and activating cards in the Pendulum Zones limits the use of Spell & Trap Zones. This can be mitigated somewhat with "Qlimate Change".
- "Names and Etymology EP1: Qliphoth and Qliphort". YGOrganization.com. September 4, 2014.