The Heroic monsters, of both the Challenger and Champion variety, were introduced in the previous set. They were capable of putting huge monsters on the field, but that was about it. Now they’ve got a few new tricks up their sleeves thanks to 2 new Challengers, Champions and support traps.
Heroic Challenger – Extra Sword: Level 4 1000/1000 Earth Warrior
An Xyz Monster that was Summoned using this card as Xyz Material gains this effect.
● When it is Xyz Summoned: It gains 1000 ATK.
Extra Sword is one of the narrow class of monsters which grants an effect to the Xyz monster summoned using it. Since Extra Sword grants an effect to the new Xyz monster, rather than it being linked to him as a material, it means you can get rid of him and the monster won’t lose the effect.In this case the monster summoned will gain 1000 attack, which is a pretty hefty boost, and will probably make it so the summoned monster is too big to beat in battle. A 3300 attack Shockmaster for example is quite a scary prospect to face.
The problem of course is that Extra Sword on its own is very weak, and has no purpose at all except for summoning Xyz monsters. This means you’ll struggle to keep him on the field long enough to use for an Xyz summon, and that you’ll never want to see him during periods of the game where you can’t Xyz summon. I don’t think the reward is worth the risk of playing an often dead card.
Heroic Challenger Night-Attack Kantera: Level 4 1200/300 Earth Warrior
At the start of the Damage Step, if this card attacks a Defense Position monster: You can destroy that monster immediately (without damage calculation).
Night-Attack Kantera gives the Heroic deck a way to clear out defense position monsters, other than just overwhelming them with pure strength, but remember, Flip effects will still activate. Inevitably though, this monster will be compared to Drillroid, which does the same thing, but with 400 extra attack. For a general use deck it means there’s no reason to use Kantera over Drillroid, since Drillroid simply does the job better. Of course within a Warrior based deck Kantera has the advantage of increased searchability, being a valid material for monsters like Excalibur and Blade Armour Ninja and of course simply being a Heroic monster.
I doubt we’ll see much out of Kantera outside of dedicated Heroic builds.
Heroic Champion – Gandiva: Rank 4 2100/1800 Earth Warrior
2 Level 4 Warrior-Type monsters
Once per turn, when a Level 4 or lower monster(s) is Special Summoned to your opponent’s side of the field: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; destroy that monster(s).
The first of the new Heroic Champions is Gandiva, who basically puts an arrow through any smaller monsters your opponent Special Summons. This will prove especially useful against decks like Mermails or Atlanteans, who rely on lots of smaller monsters to make bigger monsters capable of overpowering the opponent. He is unfortunately not very useful against decks which summon powerful boss monsters, or those which don’t special summon much. In the former case he can’t stop their summoning and they’ll just run him over, it the latter case he’ll be incapable of touching them with his effect. but at least he’s probably bigger than them.
The usefulness of Gandiva will depend entirely on what deck you’re facing, potentially crippling some, barely scratching others. Because of this I think it will be a useful addition to the Extra Deck for Warrior based decks, such as Heroics, but only if you can find the space for him. Of course if your local area is heavy with decks he’s useful against, then you’ll make room for him without question.
Heroic Champion – Kusanagi: Rank 4 2500/2400 Earth Warrior
3 Level 4 Warrior-Type monsters
Once per turn, when a Trap Card is activated: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy it, then this card gains 500 ATK.
Kusanagi is similar in effect to Legendary Six Samurai Shi-En, except he can be used by a wider variety of decks. Unfortunately though he’s a bit harder to summon, and also has a weaker effect.
What makes Shi-En so deadly is the fact that he can stop both Spell and Trap cards, cutting down the opponent’s defensive and offensive options. Kusanagi on the other hand can only deals with traps, thus mainly cutting into their defensive options. If you need to push an attack through Kusanagi can still help with this, it’s just that afterwards the opponent will have an easier time dealing with him. Fortunately for you though, every time he stops a Trap he becomes even bigger, meaning destroying him in battle is soon not an option.
The biggest drawback though for Kusanagi is simply the process of summoning him, since it requires a big commitment of 3 Level 4 Warrior Types. The two decks probably most suited to this are Samurai, who could just make Shi-En instead anyway, and of course Heroics, since Heroic Challenger Double Lance can lend a hand by putting two warriors on the field in a single turn. This restriction does prevent decks that can swarm with Level 4s like Wind-Up or Mermail from gaining access to him though.
Kusanagi could help a Heroic deck seal victory, but I’d really hate to see 3 cards go to waste through a Solemn Warning or similar.
Heroic Gift: Normal Trap Card
If your opponent’s Life Points are 2000 or less: Your opponent’s Life Points become 8000, then draw 2 cards. You can only activate 1 “Heroic Gift” per turn.
Heroic Gift is a rather bizzare Trap card, in that it makes your opponent harder to kill, in exchange for free cards for you. I suppose this thematically fits into the Heroic deck quite well, since they’re meant to put massive monsters onto the field and kill the opponent quickly. What’s another 6-7000 damage to them if they can drop 8000+ to the field in a single turn. In general though, the fact that this is a dead card for the majority of the game, and that it gives your opponent a new lease on life, is just too heavy a drawback for one extra card.
I think it might be funny to side this in Exodia decks that rely on Hope for Escape. Sometimes the opponent will ruin their own lifepoints in order to stop your Hope for Escape, and this will turn things right back around, and give you an extra card in the process.
Heroic Advance: Normal Trap Card
When a “Heroic” monster you control is targeted for an attack: Target 1 other Level 4 or lower “Heroic” monster you control; double that target’s ATK until the end of the Battle Phase, switch the attack target to that monster, and conduct damage calculation. Neither monster is destroyed by this battle.
The final new Heroic card helps you keep weaker monsters on the field, whilst also dishing out potentially quite heavy damage to the opponent. I can only assume the Level restriction is in place so that your Xyz monsters and bigger Heroics can’t take out most of the opponent’s life points in one blow. The fact neither monster dies in battle is presumably to make it so that you don’t cause an unfair amount of damage to the opponent as a follow up, but it does mean that if you can’t overcome the monster on your next turn that it’ll just be free to hit you again. This could also work to your advantage sometimes, since you might have no hope of winning the battle, even with doubled attack, and instead just use Heroic Advance to save your monster from death.
However a clever opponent might be able to play around Heroic Advance by thinking carefully about what monsters to attack with and when. They might opt to attack your bigger monsters first, knowing that even with Heroic Advance, the smaller ones will be unable to win.
Next time I’ll be looking at the new Prophecy and Spellbook cards, which expand on their powers from the previous set, as well as allowing you to interact with Banished Spellbooks.