With my look at Galactic Overlord now finally finished it’s time to turn attention to the next central set, Return of the Duelist (REDU). The set introduces several new themes such as Heroics, Madolce and OOPArts, whilst also expanding old cards into coherent themes, as seen with the Geargia and Books of Spell cards. In addition several older themes like Gagaga and Earth/Rock receive new boosts alongside the generic cards you expect in every set. Up first I’m going to be looking at the Heroic cards, a brand new Warrior theme.
Heroic Challenger Spartas: Level 4 1600/1000 Earth Warrior
Once per turn, when your opponent’s monster declares an attack: You can target 1 other “Heroic” monster you control; this card gains ATK equal to the original ATK of that monster, until the End Phase.
Spartas relies on having another Heroic monster on the field to be effective, but once you manage this it can be quite hard to shift him, provided you summon a new Heroic monster every turn. With Spartas and another Heroic on the field, your opponent will have to avoid attacking Spartas whenever possible, since he could all too easily reach 3200 attack or above. This means they’ll be attacking your other Heroics first to avoid losing battle to Spartas. Even if they do this he can still use his effect to give himself a power boost, saving himself for the turn anyway.
Ideally you would want to get two copies of Spartas on the field at once, since this would essentially lock down the opponent from attacking you, given that most decks can’t break 3200 attack. This means they’ll probably have to resort to using removal to get rid of your 1600 attack guys. Unfortunately whilst this might make a useful defensive measure it doesn’t help much when on the offense, since you’ll be stuck unable to get over anything of a decent size, at least without the support we’ll see later.
Heroic Challenger War Hammer: Level 6 2100/1300 Earth Warrior
When this card destroys an opponent’s monster by battle and sends it to the Graveyard: You can equip that monster to this card. Only 1 monster can be equipped at a time by this effect. This card gains ATK equal to the ATK of the equipped monster.
War Hammer is the heavy hitter of the deck, since you’ll usually expect him to break 3000 attack, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him even reach the high 3000s. On occasion he might reach 4000, but without outside help 4100 is the highest this card will reach. As well as being a threatening card in terms of sheer attack power War Hammer can also help to mess up strategies that require certain monsters to be in the Graveyard. Since he steals them and equips them to himself it means the opponent won’t be able to revive the card, or use it in conjunction with any of their other cards.
You have to be a bit careful when using War Hammer though, since you’re only allowed to have 1 monster equipped to him at a time. This means you might be stuck with a choice between high attack power or stealing a monster which you don’t want the opponent to be able to use. If you do the former you might be able to win the game faster, but you could allow your opponent more options. If you do the latter you’ll cut down your opponent’s plays, but War Hammer will be easier to kill. Although to be fair once you break about 3000 his attack becomes largely irrelevant for that matter, since nothing will be killing him in battle anyway.
Heroic Challenger Sword Shield: Level 4 0/2000 Earth Warrior
During either player’s turn, if you control a “Heroic” monster: You can discard this card; during this turn, Battle Damage you receive becomes 0, and “Heroic” monsters you control cannot be destroyed by battle.
Sword Shield is the Heroic deck’s own version of Waboku, except it’s a Monster which can be used from your hand, making it more versatile and much more of a surprise. Being a monster also means that if you have to you can set him, and with 2000 defense he can fend off a fair amount of monsters. Sword Shield makes setting up plays with Spartas much easier, and just manages to keep you alive in general for longer. I would imagine he’s essential to a Heroic deck.
Heroic Challenger Double Lance: Level 4 1700/900 Earth Warrior
When this card is Normal Summoned: You can Special summon 1 “Heroic Challenger Double Lance” from your hand or Graveyard in face-up Defense Position. This card cannot be used as a Synchro Material Monster. If you use this card as an Xyz Material, it must be for a Warrior-Type Xyz Monster.
Double Lance allows you to make big plays my immediately giving you access to some Rank 4 Xyz monsters. Ideally you want to summon the second copy of this card from the Graveyard, since you won’t be losing any cards in the process, but sometimes the quick Xyz summon can be worth the cost. This will probably mostly be the case early in the game when you haven’t yet had a chance to get Double Lance in the Graveyard yet. If you want to end the game quickly you can summon Blade Armour Ninja. If you’re in a spot of bother and need to survive longer you can summon Utopia. If there’s a pesky defense position monster you can summon Photon Papilloperative. Finally if you want a heavy hitter you can summon Excalibur, the Xyz monster for the Heroic deck.
Heroic Champion Excalibur: Rank 4 2000/2000 Light Warrior
2 Level 4 Warrior-Type monsters
Once per turn: You can detach 2 Xyz Materials from this card; this card’s ATK becomes double its original ATK, until your opponent’s End Phase.
Excalibur can cause a lot of damage in one turn, and can defeat just about anything in battle. In addition since he’ll be staying at 4000 attack until your opponent ends their turn he’ll also be able to protect you from most monsters your opponent could throw at you. If they want to get rid of him straight away they’ll have to use up their removal, but if instead they wait a turn he’ll only be 2000 attack, which is much easier to deal with.
Outside of Heroics it might see use in HERO decks, for those times when you need a high attack score and Blade Armour Ninja just won’t do.
Heroic Chance: Normal Spell Card
Heroic Chance is a way for your Heroic monsters to overcome whatever threat they’re facing, and potentially push for game. When combined with Excalibur for example you can hit 8000 attack, whereas War Hammer could regularly sit in the 6000-7000 range. Even Spartas and Double Lance break 3000 meaning little can stand in their way. The card has several restrictions to prevent OTKs though. Firstly the monster cannot attack directly, this prevents you from hitting for 6000+ off a single monster, which can be a little unfair. In addition since you can only use one Heroic Chance per turn you are stopped from pumping monsters to ridiculous levels like 16000 or 32000 attack. Even with these restrictions this could still be a game ender. If you successfully get Excalibur to 8000 attack he won’t really care what monster is in his way, and will often cause between 5000 and 6000 damage, usually more than enough to end things at most points of the game.
This card could be combined with War Hammer to allow him to defeat big monsters like Grapha or REDMD, before equipping them to himself, becoming even stronger for the following turn.
Heroic Revenge Sword: Normal Trap Card
Target 1 “Heroic” monster you control; equip this card to that target. Battle Damage you receive from battles involving the equipped monster is inflicted to your opponent also. At the end of Damage Calculations in which the equipped monster battled a monster: Destroy that opponent’s monster.
The final Heroic card is a trap card which is useful for getting rid of threats and walls and could even cause a surprise end to a game. Late in the game when both of your lifepoints are low, provided you have just a bit more, this could lead the opponent into defeat, just when they though they were going to win. Whilst it is nice to turn the result of a duel on its head, I don’t expect this to happen very often. What is going to be much more useful though is the final effect of this card, which allows the battling monster to destroy whatever it was just battling.
If you’re on the losing end of a fight this means you’ll both end up taking damage and lose your monsters. This unfortunately results in a -1 overall, meaning you’d probably be better off with generic removal. Where it shines though is for breaking through defenses. You won’t care how big or small it is, your opponent’s monster is getting destroyed and the overall balance of lifepoints will remain the same.
Heroics offer some powerful new attacking monsters, and benefit from a wide variety of support already offered to Warriors. They’re also very straightforward, with not much going on beyond pure power. This should make them easy to play for beginners. I expect they might be capable of stealing some wins here and there from the top decks through sensible use of Heroic chance too. As a general theme I’m not sure they have enough going for them right now outside of just power, but I could see some of them like Double Lance getting used on their own to allow for easy Xyz summons.
Next time I’ll be looking at the OOPArts, a new theme coming to us from the anime.