Abyss Rising, as you might have guessed from the name, is a set full of new water cards. Some of these come in the form of the new Mermail cards, some are generic water cards and others just support the three ‘water types’ (Fish, Sea Serpent and Aqua). There are also new cards for recently introduced themes, like Madolche and Prophecy, and the startings of the Heraldic cards. As always there are also a slew of new generic cards.
Since the Mermail are the biggest and most hyped new cards in the set, this is where I’m going to start, alongside their Abyss support cards. I’ve relegated Abyss Warrior to the Water Themes (which will be the next article), since even though the Mermails and their support all contain the word Abyss, currently they only have cards which interact with Abyss Spell and Trap cards.
Something that will be important to understand with the Mermail is the difference between “If … you can” and “When … you can” optional effects, since both types of effect crop up on the Mermail cards. The former can never miss the timing, whilst the latter can. For more detail check out one of my older articles on this matter.
Mermail Abysslinde: Level 3 1500/1200 Water Aqua
If this card on the field is destroyed and sent to the Graveyard: You can Special Summon 1 “Mermail” monster from your Deck, except “Mermail – Abysslinde”. The effect of “Mermail – Abysslinde” can only be activated once per turn.
Up first we have Abysslinde, the oldest and most powerful of the three female Mermail, named after the Rhinemaiden Woglinde from The Ring of the Nibelung. She’s their recruiter, allowing you to summon other Mermail from your deck.
Unlike most recruiter monsters she doesn’t care how she gets destroyed on the field, just that she is destroyed. This means that much like most recruiters she could be killed in battle and replace herself with another Mermail. Alternatively if she gets destroyed by a card effect, such as Torrential Tribute or Mirror Force, she can still replace herself. This makes her useful both defensively, since she can block two attacks or mitigate a card like Dark Hole, and offensively, since she’ll either be free to attack, or will replace herself with something stronger. Remember that she has to be destroyed though, and that other actions such as tributing her, or using her for a Synchro summon will not trigger her effect.
Unlike a lot of recruiters she has no stat restriction when it comes to what monster she can summon, merely that it has to be a Mermail. This gives you a lot of freedom in what you’re allowed to summon. You could pick a smaller Mermail in order to set up some kind of combo play, or alternatively just go straight to the big guy, Abyssmegalo, with his 2400 attack. You’ll miss out his full effect, but at least you’ll get a powerful threat out of this.
Due to her strength, there are restrictions placed upon Abysslinde though. Firstly you cannot summon another copy of herself with her effect. This means you can’t just run through all your recruiters to thin your deck, whilst trying to wear down the opponent’s resources as with many other recruiters. You can also only activate her effect once per turn. This means you’ll have to be careful playing her, since if you ever summon more than one of her at a time, you risk losing one of them without effect. This would be a waste of a card and essentially make her nothing better than a vanilla 1500. This means you’ll just need to play sensibly and hold back extra copies of Abysslinde until they’re truly needed.
Mermail Abyssgunde: Level 3 1400/800 Water Aqua
If this card is discarded: You can Special Summon 1 “Mermail” monster from your Graveyard, except “Mermail – Abyssgunde”. The effect of “Mermail – Abyssgunde” can only be activated once per turn.
Up next we have Abyssgunde, the middle of the three female Mermail, named after the Rhinemaiden Wellgunde. She allows you to bring Mermail back to life, but the requirements for her effect could be a little harder to achieve than Abysslinde. Unless you’re facing something like Dark World, or some deck that focuses on wiping out your Hand, it’s unlikely that your opponent will make you discard her, thus activating her effect. As such it will usually be up to you to discard her, but fortunately help is at hand in the form of Abyssturge, Abysspike and Abyssmegalo, all of which require discarding Water monsters for their effects. If you want to make the most of her, you’ll want to save Abyssgunde until you get one of these cards, and resist the urge just to use her to protect your life points instead. In the case of Abysspike and Abyssturge she’ll turn what would have been even trade-offs into an extra card for you, whilst with Abyssmegalo instead of losing a card you’ll end up breaking even instead.
Abyssgunde’s power will grow as your Graveyard gradually fills with Mermail, being most useful later in the game. By this point you should be able to pick and choose what to revive to best suit the situation. Early on in the game she’ll be far less useful, since you’ll either have only a limited choice of other Mermails, or might not have any Mermail at all. This is because, much like Abysslinde she cannot use her effect on herself, requiring you to have at least once other Mermail in the Graveyard when she is discarded. One easy way around this would be to use her and a second Mermail in order to summon Abyssmegalo. You’ll get the second Mermail right back and can easily start swarming the field.
Mermail Abysshilde: Level 3 1300/400 Water Aqua
If this card is sent to the Graveyard: You can Special Summon 1 “Mermail” monster from your hand, except “Mermail – Abysshilde”. The effect of “Mermail – Abysshilde” can only be activated once per turn.
The last and youngest of the female Mermail is Abysshilde, named after the Rhinemaiden Flosshilde. She has the easiest to activate effect, since she just needs to be sent to the Graveyard and doesn’t care how, but she’s also the weakest. This means she could be destroyed by battle or card effects, discarded, tributed and so on and she would always get her effect. The downside of all this is that she has to have the weakest effect in order to balance out the ease of use.
Abysshilde can only summon cards from the Hand, meaning that unlike the older Mermail she doesn’t maintain your resources, merely redistributing them. In the long run you don’t want to be doing this too often, since it results in you losing cards, but it can help you speed towards a faster victory. She can easily be combined with the other Mermail to allow swarming of the field and gives you yet another way to summon Abyssmegalo.
If there’s an opening in your opponent’s defenses or you’ve drawn all the copies of the card you want to summon, then Abysshilde will be useful, but otherwise I think effect wise she’s outshone by both Abysslinde and Abyssgunde.
Mermail Abyssturge: Level 4 1700/1100 Water Fish
When this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can discard 1 WATER monster to target 1 Level 3 or lower WATER monster in your Graveyard; add it to your hand. The effect of “Mermail Abyssturge” can only be activated once per turn.
Now we have the first and biggest of the male Mermail, Abyssturge, named after the Sturgeon. Whereas the three female Mermail all work when they’ve been sacrificed for the greater good, the male Mermail all work on the field. Abyssturge is the biggest of the three (well 3 non-Xyz Mermail, unless you want to argue over the gender of Abyssmegalo) and allows you to cycle cards out of your graveyard when he’s Normal or Special Summoned. Be warned though, that since he can miss the timing, this has to be the last thing to happen. This means you can’t summon him mid-chain and expect to get his effect to work.
Under normal circumstances you’d merely use his effect to trade a less useful card in your hand for a more useful one from your Graveyard. So you could dump one you can’t currently summon, for one you can. However if you’ve managed to get ahold of Abyssgunde or Abysshilde you can use of their effects as well, letting you swarm the field in the process. It becomes very easy to string a chain of Mermails together in this fashion.
For example, you could start off by using Abysslinde to summon Abyssturge, who can then discard Abyssgunde, putting Abysslinde safely back in your hand, whilst Abyssgunde summons another Mermail from the Graveyard.
Unlike the female Mermail he’s also not restricted to Mermail cards, meaning he could find uses outside of this specific deck, or combined with other cards such as the Atlanteans.
Mermail Abysspike: Level 4 1600/800 Water Fish
When this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can discard 1 WATER monster; add 1 Level 3 WATER monster from your Deck to your hand. The effect of “Mermail – Abysspike” can only be activated once per turn.
The middle of the three male Mermail is Abysspike, named after the Pike. He has a very similar effect to Abyssturge, except for the fact he gets the Water monster from your deck, instead of the Graveyard. This makes him more useful during the early portions of the game, where your deck is full of useful cards, than late game when the Graveyard is instead full of them. Even when there are less useful cards in your deck you can still use his effect to thin the deck, speeding you towards your other powerful cards. Barring the slightly lower stats, this is really the only difference with Abyssturge, so most of what was said above can equally be applied here.
Mermail Abysslung: Level 4 1200/1800 Water Fish
While this card is face-up on the field, your opponent cannot target other face-up WATER monsters you control for attacks. While this card is face-up on the field, all WATER monsters you control gain 300 ATK.
The final of the male Mermail is Abysslung, named after the Lungfish, and he’s completely different from all the others. Whereas the others could make aggresive pushes and facilitate swarming the field, Abysslung plays a support role, protecting and empowering your other Mermail. With his 1800 defense he makes a decent wall, but what’s far more important is the fact he draws all your opponent’s attacks towards him. If your opponent cannot get over him, then all your other monsters will be saved. Unfortunately he falls a little short of the magic 1900 for monsters like Thunder King Rai-Oh, which can easily be summoned straight to the field. If you can get two Abysslung onto the field at once though, you’ll be able to completely lock the opponent down from attacking, allowing you to build the rest of your army up in relative peace.
Abysslung also has another effect, which can turn your other Mermail into a deadly threat. Normally they cap out at 1700, with Abyssturge, and drop off to 1400 with Abysshilde, ignoring Abysslung himself who won’t really be attacking. Thanks to Abysslung all of your Mermail (and any other Water monsters you happen to play) can gain 300 attack. This will allow the other male Mermail to pose a real threat to every other Level 4 monster commonly played, whilst it helps push Abysslinde into the region where the opponent really has to think hard about whether it’s worth saving their removal for later or not. If you manage to get two Abysslung at once, everyone else will get even stronger. This would allow the male Mermail to start picking off some Xyz monsters or higher Level monsters, whilst your opponent will be left with really no choice but to kill Abysslinde via removal.
Mermail Abyssmegalo: Level 7 2400/1900 Water Sea Serpent
During your Main Phase: You can discard 2 WATER monsters, except this card; Special Summon this card from your hand. When this card is Special Summoned by this effect: Add 1 “Abyss” Spell or Trap Card from your Deck to your hand. You can Tribute 1 other face-up Attack Position WATER monster you control; this turn, this card can attack twice during the Battle Phase.
The final Mermail before we get to the Xyz monsters is Abyssmegalo, based on the Megalodon, and is the only Mermail so far with a fish top half and human bottom half. There are a variety of ways to summon him thanks to the female Mermail, and his own effect, meaning you constantly have the possibility of putting a 2400 on the field for little effort. He comes with two effects, the first of which only works when he summons himself, the second of which can be used however he was summoned.
Since he requires you to discard two Water monsters from your hand in order to summon himself, his first effect goes part way to making up for this cost by adding an Abyss Spell or Trap from your deck to your hand. This currently gives you access to an equip card or one of three trap cards. If the theme ever gets expanded then he’ll of course become even more useful. As mentioned earlier if you also discard Abyssgunde when summoning him, it will allow you to break even on the summon. As such you’ll get the most out of these cards if you wait until you can pair them together.
His second effect allows you to end the game much sooner, by tributing another water monster (hopefully a weaker one), to allow Abyssmegalo to attack twice. An important thing to note is that it is not twice in a row, meaning you could split up the attacks if you wanted to. Often you’ll be using this effect to either push for game, or over several powerful monsters, so the loss of a card on your part won’t matter as much, but there are easy ways to mitigate this. Within the theme there is of course Abysshilde, who can help you push for even more damage, but there are also the new Atlantean monsters who can replace themselves or take down opponent’s cards in the process.
Mermail Abyssgaios: Rank 7 2800/1600 Water Aqua
2 Level 7 WATER monsters
While this card is face-up on the field with Xyz Material, Level 5 or higher monsters cannot attack. Once per turn, during either player’s turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; negate the effects of all monsters your opponent controls whose ATK is lower than this card’s ATK, until the End Phase.
The last of the Mermail is Abyssgaios, but I’d not sure what he’s based on, he appears to be their king though. He has a very powerful effect, that can certainly end or seal a game, but it may not always be worth the effort. Within the theme you’re obviously meant to summon him using two Abyssmegalo, which isn’t too hard to achieve. Simply by summoning one using Abyssgunde as a discard would allow you to revive another from the Graveyard, giving you instant access to Abyssgaios. Outside of the theme you might be a bit pushed to summon him, having to either resort to multiple Gungnir, or something involving Superancient Deepsea King Coelacanth.
Once you’ve successfully summoned Abyssgaios you can really start to lock the opponent down. The first effect will ensure larger monsters, such as those capable of killing Abyssgaios cannot attack, just be warned that Xyz monsters can still take him out. The second effect allows you to negate the effects of all your opponent’s monsters with lower attack than Abyssgaois, and with 2800 attack, this means nearly all of them. This will either aid you in your final push, by ridding the opponent of one of their lines of defense, or will prevent the opponent from making a comeback, by turning a large proportion of their deck into deadweight. You’ll still of course need to protect him from Spell and Trap cards though.
In most scenarios I think you’d be best off summoning Abyssgaios after you’ve made a big push that failed to win you the game, since you could cause much more damage just with two Abyssmegalo. He’ll help cement a victory and turn a bad situation dire for the opponent, but won’t usually pull you out of a pit any better than the Abyssmegalo would.
Abysscale – Kraken: Equip Spell Card
Equip only to a “Mermail” monster. It gains 400 ATK. Negate any monster effect that activates on your opponent’s side of the field, and if you do, send this card to the Graveyard.
The first Abyss Spell / Trap card is their suit of armour named after the Kraken, as you might be able to tell from the tentacles. Thematically it seems to be granting the power of Abyssgaios to the other Mermail, since it allows you to negate an opponent’s monster effect. Sometimes when using this card the most important thing will be the power boost, since it will allow the weaker Mermail (basically anything smaller than Abyssmegalo) to take on larger threats. Other times the effect negation will be more important. For example Abyssmegalo doesn’t really need the extra 400 attack, since it doesn’t narrow down what monsters can kill him by that much. It does however prevent your opponent from getting around him via monster effects, making it much easier for him to finish the opponent off.
Since this is the only Abyss Spell card at the moment, it means for some people it will be the go to search with Abyssmegalo, since you can play it straight away.
Abyssquall: Normal Trap Card
Target 3 “Mermail” monsters in your Graveyard; Special Summon those targets in face-up Defense Position. Their effects are negated, they cannot attack, and they are destroyed during the End Phase.
The first of the Abyss Trap cards in Abyssquall, a powerful revival card for the deck. The Mermails themselves can’t actually do anything on their own, except protect your lifepoints in a last ditch defense, but it does allow you to make big plays with relative ease. The most obvious use is for Xyz summons, since it pretty much gives you access to any Rank 3, 4 or 7 Xyz monster that doesn’t have specific requirements. This could give you their king Abyssgaios, or the very powerful Shockmaster, in addition to all the usual suspects like Utopia and Zenmaines. In some of these cases though the third Mermail would just go to waste.
The other main use for the card would be summoning monsters which require 3 Tributes, such as the Wicked cards, the God cards or Poseidra. Of these Poseidra is probably the easiest to fit into the deck, since it doesn’t conflict with the strategy of the rest of the deck.
You could of course just use this card with either Abysslinde or Abysshilde, since their effects should still work once they’ve left the field and escaped the influence of Abyssquall.
This is probably the strongest of the four Abyss cards, so I could see it being used in conjunction with Abyssmegalo quite a lot.
Abyssphere: Continuous Trap Card
Special Summon 1 “Mermail” monster from your Deck, but its effect(s) is negated. While this card is face-up on the field, you cannot activate Spell Cards. When this card leaves the field, destroy that monster. Destroy this card during your opponent’s next End Phase after activation.
Up next we’ve got a Trap card which allows you to summon any Mermail from your deck, but only temporarily, and it comes with heavy restrictions. I can see there being several uses for this card, depending on the state of the game.
If you’re on your last legs it can protect you from one final attack and give you can extra turn. If the situation is reversed it could allow you that game winning attack you need. Otherwise I think the card will mainly be used for setting up combos with other Mermail, most of which will involve Abyssmegalo. You could use it to summon a second copy of Abyssmegalo, allowing you to make Abyssgaios before it gets destroyed. Alternatively you can just summon any Mermail and then tribute it for the effect of Abyssmegalo. You could also just get Abysslinde and wait for her to get destroyed.
Of course the biggest downside of this card is that you cannot use Spells whilst Abyssphere is on the field, which could potentially lock you out of a decent chunk of your deck. One way around this would be to try and time it for when you don’t actually have any Spell cards. Another would be to find a way of destroying it early, allowing you to use your Spells again. This could possibly be done with the next card Abysstrom for example.
You might also notice, that the link between the monster and Abyssphere is different from other continuous traps which summon monsters. Whilst removing Abyssphere from the field will destroy the monster, getting rid of the monster won’t get rid of Abyssphere. This means that even if you get rid of the new Mermail you’ll still be locked out of your Spell cards until Abyssphere destroys itself. This could be devastating for you if you forget this fact.
Abyssphere allows for some extra plays in the Mermail deck if you use it sensibly, if you don’t it could lead you to your own watery grave.
Abysstrom: Normal Trap Card
Send “Umi” you control to the Graveyard; send all Spell/Trap Cards on the field to the Graveyard.
The final Abyss card is the only one not directly linked to the Mermail, instead being linked to Umi. Umi is an old field card from the dawn of the game, but there have since been several other card which can also count themselves as Umi, including “A Legendary Ocean”, “Forgotten Temple of the Deep” and the new “Lemuria, the Forgotten City”, which I’ll cover in a future article.
Thanks to the variety of ways to get Umi to the field it shouldn’t be too hard to activate Abysstrom, although you might want to play a deck dedicated to this strategy, rather than just trying to mix loosely into a Mermail deck.
Once activated you get a more powerful version of Heavy Storm, since it sends, not destroys all Spell / Trap cards. This allows you to get around cards protected from destruction, or cards like Stardust Dragon or Starlight Road which rely on destruction.
The Mermail offer a new powerful Water deck, with the potential to bolster its strength thanks to the Atlanteans as well. They do require some degree of thought on the part of the user though, since you’ll need to remember which ones you’ve already used this turn. Otherwise you might make plays that end up doing nothing other than wasting your own cards.
Next time I’ll be looking at the rest of the Water cards in the set alongside the new Fish, Sea Serpent and Aqua cards associated with them. Some of these like the new Elemental Lord will find a home in most Water decks, whilst others will have more specialised uses.