Since Abyss Rising is a Water based set, there are also lots of Water cards outside of the headline Mermail monsters, and the second part of my Preview will be focusing on these. Most of these are generic Water cards, whilst others are linked to the three main types associated with the attribute, Fish, Sea Serpent and Aqua. Finally we also have some new cards for niche themes such as Ice Counters.
Tripod Fish: Level 3 300/1300 Water Fish
When this card is Special Summoned from the Graveyard: You can target 1 face-up Fish, Sea Serpent, or Aqua-Type monster on the field; increase that target’s Level by 1.
Up first we have Tripod Fish, who supports decks based around Fish, Sea Serpents or Aqua Types. As a standalone card it can’t really do much, since it’s entirely reliant on being revived to be of some use. Aside from generic cards, like Monster Reborn or Call of the Haunted, it could also be revived with themed cards like Surface, meaning there should be plenty of ways to revive it should you choose to use it. Once summoned it opens up new possibilities in terms of Xyz summons or Synchro summons for the deck it’s played in, since you can increase the Level of a monster on the field.
Unfortunately it’s a bit unwieldy if you want to Xyz summon anything beyond Rank 4, since you’d either need two Tripod Fish, or a monster of the correct Level to start with. In addition with Rank 4s you’d often just be better with summoning a different Level 4 in the first place, since it can also be useful as a standalone card. The same can be said for Synchro summons, where starting with a Level 4 might be better anyway.
To me it seems like the best use of this card would be with Surface, since it would allow you to make a Rank 4 monster or higher Level Synchro monsters, something that can’t normally be done with Surface. Honestly though I think you might be better off not bothering with it.
Deep Sweeper: Level 4 1600/1300 Water Fish
You can Tribute this card to target 1 Spell/Trap Card on the field; destroy it.
Deep Sweeper is the long awaited Spell/Trap equivalent of Exiled Force, it just so happens to be a Water monster. However we already have plenty of targeted Spell/Trap removal, like Mystical Space Typhoon and Dust Tornado, so you have to consider whether it would be worth using up your Normal Summon for this.
The advantage Deep Sweeper has is that it of course has a body, meaning it can destroy smaller monsters and actually inflict damage to the opponent. It also has access to all the Water and Fish support out there, making it a much more versatile card. The disadvantage is that it takes up your Normal Summon, meaning you won’t be able to capitalise on the cleared defenses like you would with Mystical Space Typhoon.
I think Fish decks may welcome to new addition to the deck, but that for other decks they’d probably be best off sticking to their Spell and Trap cards for this job anyway.
Abyss Warrior: Level 4 1800/1300 Water Aqua
Once per turn: You can discard 1 WATER monster to target 1 monster in either player’s Graveyard; return that target to either the top or bottom of the Deck.
Much like Abyss Soldier from many years ago, Abyss Warrior is all about bouncing cards. However instead of bouncing them from the Field to the Hand, he can bounce monsters from the Graveyard to the top or bottom of the deck. Since Abyss Warrior can manipulate either players Graveyard it can be useful for both bolstering your plays and ruining your opponents.
When going after your opponent’s Graveyard there will be two main uses for Abyss Warrior. Firstly it can be used to mess up your opponent’s next draw, by forcing them to redraw a now useless card. Alternatively it can be used to get rid of a monster that wants to be in the Graveyard, such as Treeborn Frog or Grapha. By sending these cards to the bottom of the opponent’s deck it could be a while before they get access to them again, and could slow down their plays significantly if they were planning on using them next turn.
When manipulating your own Graveyard the main uses will be dependent on where in the deck you send the monster. If it’s a powerful monster that cannot be revived, you could send it to the top of your deck, allowing you to play it on the following turn. Alternatively you might have a monster that you don’t particularly want to draw, but might be useful as a search choice for another card. In this case you can send it back to the bottom of the deck, allowing you to call on it later.
Another use the card could have which equally applies to both players would be altering the number of a certain type of monster in the Graveyard. This could lock the opponent out of their powerful cards, or alternatively allow you to play yours. Unfortunately it won’t usually help you summon Moulinglacia (who we’ll see soon), since you’ll finish with the same number of Water monsters in the Graveyard as you started with.
The biggest problem you’ll have with this card though, is the fact that you inherently lose cards by playing it, unless combined with other cards like the Atlanteans or Abyssgunde. This means that if you want to play him, he’d probably be best suited to decks containing those cards, since you’ll be able to get the most out of him.
Snowman Creator: Level 4 1600/1000 Water Machine
When this card is Summoned: You can distribute a number of Ice Counters among face-up monsters your opponent controls equal to the number of face-up WATER monsters you control, then if you distributed 3 or more Ice Counters, you can destroy 1 card your opponent controls.
Snowman Creator is the first of the new Ice Counter cards, a very narrow theme that currently only has 1 other card in the TCG (although as you’ll see soon they get another one in this very set). I would assume there’s also the possibility we may see the final two cards included in the OCG imports as well. Within the theme Snowman Creator will be very useful, but it can also be used as a standalone card outside of the theme.
The ability to place Ice Counters on your opponent’s face up monsters will be very useful for Ice Master, since it would allow him to destroy all of your opponent’s monsters. It would also aid in summoning Snowdust Dragon (who we don’t currently have), since he requires the removal of 4 Ice Counters to Special Summon him. Snowdust Giant could also drain even more strength from your opponent’s monsters.
The added bonus is that when you have 2 or more other Water Type monsters, you’ll also get to destroy an opponent’s card in the process. Usually this would be a Spell or Trap card, or alternatively a powerful Monster that you didn’t place Ice Counters on, so as not to waste them. Water decks have many ways to swarm the field, from Frogs to Atlanteans to Mermail, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to meet this requirement. It also means you can add Snowman Creator in as extra removal in Water decks that don’t even use Ice Counters.
Some Water decks might like to try teching a copy, since it’s nice to have removal that can destroy anything, but his best use will probably be found in fun decks focused around Ice Counters.
Fishborg Planter: Level 2 200/200 Water Fish
Once, while this card is in the Graveyard: You can send the top card of your Deck to the Graveyard, and if that card was a WATER monster, Special Summon this card. The effect of “Fishborg Planter” can only be activated once per turn.
Fishborg Planter is one of the replacement cards for the now banned Fishborg Blaster. It is of course though much weaker than the original, not least because it’s no longer a tuner. Instead it’s used to summon Rank 2 monsters, which whilst still quite powerful is a much narrower category. Whereas Blaster could be repeatedly recycled, and you knew it was going to work every time, Planter will usually be reliant on luck, and can only come back once. I would assume the restrictions on how often it can come back is to prevent people looping it like they did with Blaster, leading to a huge number of powerful monsters.
There is a slight silver lining to Planter though, in that it can be useful even when you don’t have any Water monsters in your hand, and could be used to fuel your Graveyard. However I think the fact that it could just as easily lose you a powerful card for no reason is a big risk. If your deck is full of Water monsters though, the chances of this happening should be reduced.
Distant Sea Knight: Level 4 1400/1200 Water Warrior
Once per turn, when this face-up card on the field changes its Battle Position: You can send 1 WATER monster from your Deck to the Graveyard.
Distant Sea Knight is the Water version of Armageddon Knight and Dust Knight. He has a slightly harder to achieve condition for using his effect, but it is much easier to reuse than the others. Provided you can keep him alive, you’ll be able to fill your Graveyard with Water monsters, but you will need to sacrifice some of your ability to cause damage, since he won’t be attacking half the time. Once your Graveyard is filled you can then make use of the many tricks Water monsters have for returning from the Graveyard.
Some Water decks already have a far better card in the form of Swap Frog, but this is hugely restrictive in what it can send to the Graveyard. Instead Distant Sea Knight would find a place in all the general Water decks which would like to fill their Graveyards up.
Mechanical Sea Dragon – Plesion: Level 5 2300/1800 Water Machine
If you control a Sea Serpent-Type monster, you can Normal Summon this card without Tributing. Once per turn: You can Tribute 1 WATER monster you control to target 1 face-up card your opponent controls; destroy that target.
Plesion is a new Machine type monster who is best suited to a Sea Serpent deck, but can function nearly as well in decks just running Water monsters. For Sea Serpent decks even if you just ignore the removal effect, you can still have access to a 2300 Normal Summon. Whilst this isn’t as nice as a Special Summon, being able to easily drop a 2300 onto the field is nothing to scoff at, since it can pose a real threat to many monsters. In addition it could also be used to summon higher Level Synchro monsters, or aid you in summoning a Rank 5 Xyz monster.
His other effect turns all of your Water monsters into targetted removal for face-up cards, whether this be monsters or Spell / Trap cards. This can be a very useful effect, provided you can keep up a steady stream of monsters. With a monster like Treeborn Frog this would be trivial to achieve, and could put the opponent under real pressure to destroy Plesion. Of course the easiest way around Plesion is just to set cards that can destroy him, since he can’t really do anything about them.
Moulinglacia the Elemental Lord: Level 8 2800/2200 Water Sea Serpent
Cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. Must be Special Summoned(from your hand) by having exactly 5 WATER monsters in your Graveyard, and cannot be Special Summoned by other ways. When this card is Special Summoned: You can discard 2 random cards from your opponent’s hand. The effect of “Moulinglacia the Elemental Lord” can only be activated once per turn. If this card leaves the field, skip the Battle Phase of your next turn.
Our second Elemental Lord is Moulinglacia, who has many similar requirements to Grandsoil, albeit for Water monsters of course. It needs exactly 5 Water monsters to summon, and you lose the Battle Phase of your next turn when it leaves the field. This means you need to carefully manage your Graveyard in order to summon it, and you need to be careful when you have summoned it. Losing a Battle Phase can sometimes be enough time for the opponent to mount a counter attack, and turn a once favourable position against you.
Much like Grandsoil, Moulinglacia’s effect is basically a pumped up version of one of the Spiritual Art cards. Whereas the Water Art only discards a single card, Moulinglacia can discard two, however you don’t get to see your opponent’s Hand in the process. Getting rid of two cards just for summoning Moulinglacia can be a devastating play, and can be enough to seal the game if played late enough.
Unlike Grandsoil though, there is a once per turn restriction placed on Moulinglacia, otherwise its effect would just be ridiculous. At a basic level this prevents someone just playing multiple copies at once and stripping their opponent of all of their hand. Whenever this happens it’s never good for the game, so it’s nice that there’s a built in restriction to prevent plays like this. It would be even worse when combined with cards like Swap Frog, which would allow you to take away 4 or more cards with a single Moulinglacia in a single turn. Instead you’ll have to wait a turn to do this. It’ll still be a powerful play, but at least the opponent will get a chance to try and mount a new defense before you do it again.
Snowdust Giant: Rank 4 2200/800 Water Beast-Warrior
2 Level 4 WATER monsters
Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; reveal any number of WATER monsters in your hand, and if you do, distribute an equal number of Ice Counters among face-up monsters on the field. While this card is face-up on the field, monsters with an Attribute other than WATER lose 200 ATK for each Ice Counter on the field.
The final of the new monsters is Snowdust Giant, a Water specific Xyz monster that also happens to fit into the Ice Counter theme. On its own it’s still a useful way to weaken all of your opponent’s monsters, but as with Snowman Creator would shine when combined with other cards like Ice Master or Snowdust Dragon.
An important thing to consider when playing Snowdust Giant, is where to place all of the Ice Counters. If you place them on your opponent’s monsters you’ll be weakening the effect of Snowdust Giant every time you destroy one of them, or your opponent gets rid of one of them. However it would fuel Ice Master’s effect. If instead you place them on your monsters it would restrict you from making certain plays with them, since you don’t want them to leave the field.
If you distribute the Ice Counters over many monsters it will reduce the impact when one of them goes away, but places bigger restrictions on what future plays you can make. If you put them all on a single monster then, provided you can protect it, Snowdust Giant will continue to operate at full power. However the monster with the counters becomes a massive target for your opponent, who may dedicate their resources to killing it.
Snowdust Giant is relatively weak for a Rank 4, at only 2200, but thanks to his effect it should be easy enough to weaken all your opponent’s monsters to the point where nothing can kill him in battle. It also allows all your other monsters to easily pick off your opponent’s monsters as well. Be mindful of the fact your own non-Water monsters will get weaker as well, but hopefully your deck will consist nearly entirely of Water monsters.
Different Dimension Trench: Continuous Spell Card
When this card is activated: Banish 1 WATER monster from your hand, Graveyard, or side of the field. When this face-up card is destroyed: Special Summon the monster banished by this effect.
Different Dimension Trench is an interesting method for summoning a Water monster to the field, and could punish your opponent for blindly destroying your cards. It will be a useful card for summoning powerful monsters, but the potential lack of control over when this happens could be to its detriment. Since it relies on being destroyed, you’ll either be reliant on the opponent making certain plays, or you’ll need to do it yourself. It could make the opponent hold back on certain cards because they know they’ll have to face a powerful monster if they play them, for example Heavy Storm. If you want to destroy it yourself you’ll probably want to rely on global destruction cards like Heavy Storm or Black Rose Dragon, since it feels like a waste just destroying your own card.
Since Trench can banish cards from three different locations, it allows for different kinds of plays depending on which location is used.
Banishing from the field could protect your monster from the opponent’s removal, but it doesn’t seem worth it just to stop potential destruction.You also need to remember that since it Special summons the banished monster, rather than just returning it to the field, you cannot use it on monsters that cannot be Special summoned. It could let you re-trigger cards that need to be special summoned though.
Banishing from the Graveyard allows you to re-summon a powerful monster, and you won’t lose any resources in the process. You’ll trade off Trench for a new card from the Graveyard, whereas in the other two cases you’ll lose Trench simply so you can move one of your resources around.
Banishing from the Hand potentially allows you to quickly summon a monster that would otherwise require a big set-up, such as Superancient Deepsea King Coelacanth. It’s also the hardest to disrupt, since your opponent can’t really do much about your hand.
I think with Trench the issue is really with the fact it has to be destroyed to work properly, and this could be quite hard to achieve.
Lemuria, the Forgotten City: Field Spell Card
This card’s name is treated as “Umi”. All WATER monsters gain 200 ATK and DEF. Once per turn, during your Main Phase: While this card is face-up on the field, you can increase the Level of each WATER monster you control by the number of WATER monsters you control, until the End Phase.
Umi has gained yet another new version in the form of Lemuria. Just like A Legendary Ocean it provides all Water monsters will a small attack and defense boost, and modifies their Levels. Except where A Legendary Ocean reduced their Levels, Lemuria can be used to raise them. The attack boost is useful since it pushes your smaller Water monsters, like all the new Mermail, up to a more respectable level, but is hardly the key selling point of the card. The Level boosting is far more important due to the Xyz plays it opens up.
With just two Level 3 monsters on the field you now gain the option to go into a Rank 5 as well. Replace these with Level 4s and you can go into Rank 6s instead. Often this is all you’ll really need, since it’s far more common to have two monsters on the field at once than any larger numbers. However adding even more monsters will push you even higher up the Ranks of Xyz monsters. Let’s say you’ve just brought back 3 monsters with Abyssqual or Call of the Atlanteans. In the former case you could summon Abyssgaios without even needing to have Abyssmegalo in the Graveyard, and in the latter you can make powerful Rank 6 monsters like Photon Strike Bounzer without even needing to run any Level 6s. Increase the number of monsters or their original Levels and you might even be able to reach Rank 8 and above, but this is probably unlikely to happen.
Another alternative of course is the fact that it could be used to summon powerful Synchro monsters as well, since you can easily bump Deep Sea Diva’s Level up and start summoning Level 8 monsters.
Bubble Bringer: Continuous Trap Card
Level 4 or higher monsters cannot attack directly. During your turn: You can send this face-up card from the field to the Graveyard to target 2 Level 3 or lower WATER monsters with the same name in your Graveyard; Special Summon those targets, but their effects are negated.
The final of the new Water cards is yet another way to summon lots of little Water monsters from the Graveyard. In addition it can also save you from defeat by emulating Gravity Bind. Instead of blocking all Level 4 and above monsters from attacking, it blocks them from direct attacking. This means that you can’t protect your monsters with Bubble Bringer, but you can protect yourself, which is important in the last moments of a game. As with Gravity Bind you still need to be careful of the fact that Xyz monsters can bypass it, which means sometimes Bubble Bringer won’t be enough to save you.
The second effect allows you to revive two Level 3 or lower Water monsters, except their effects are negated. This is of course no issue if you just need them for attacking, Xyz summoning or other reasons unrelated to their effects. Between this and all the other many revival cards at the disposal of Water decks they should have no shortage of monsters and it will prove very difficult to keep some of them dead for long.
All of these new Water cards are of varying quality. Some are very powerful that any Water deck would love to use, like Moulinglacia, but others are a bit disappointing, like Tripod Fish. I have no doubt that at least some of these will be finding their way into powerful decks in the future.
Come back next time when I’ll be taking a look at the new Heroic cards on offer, bolstering the new theme introduced only a set ago.