Abyss Rising Preview Part 4: Prophecy and Spellbook

29 Oct

The Prophecy monsters are a theme from Return of the Duelist based on Tarot cards, and empowered by Spellbooks, which turned ancient cards into a name based theme. Abyss Rising puts them a step closer to completing the set, but they’ve still got more Tarot cards to go. There have recently been revealed a few new TCG exclusive cards for the theme, but I’ll save those for later.

Hanged Man of Prophecy: Level 1 300/200 Water Spellcaster

When this card is sent to the Graveyard: Add 1 Level 3 “Prophecy” monster from your Deck to your hand.

Hanged Man of Prophecy is a new search card for the deck, which allows you to gather Level 3 Prophecy monsters to your hand. Currently this means there are 4 cards you can fetch with this effect, 2 from the old set, Amores and Temperance, and 2 from the current set, Hermit and Justice. Most of these can be useful for the deck, so anything to help you get them quickly can only be good.

The best thing about Hanged Man is that the activation requirements for his effect is merely being sent to the Graveyard and he doesn’t care how he gets there. This means he could be destroyed like a normal card, discarded from the Hand, tributed for a Tribute summon and so on, as long as he ends up in the Graveyard in the end. This makes it very easy to use Hanged Man. I can see him being included in a lot of Prophecy decks.

Hermit of Prophecy: Level 3 1200/700 Earth Spellcaster

Increase this card’s Level by 2 and ATK by 300 each time a “Spellbook” Spell Card is activated.

Hermit of Prophecy starts small, but could soon become a threat to be reckoned with. The whole point of the deck is to play Spellbooks, so you don’t need to go out of your way in order to power him up. Before playing any Spellbooks he won’t be a threat to your opponent at all, but after you manage to reach 3 he can start challenging a lot of easily summoned monsters.

However I don’t think that in the long run it would be sensible to rely on Hermit as an attacker in the deck, because it’s all too easy that he could be destroyed and you’d need to start all over again on a new copy. Instead Hermit can be used to aid in summoning higher Ranked Xyz monsters, such as Hierophant and Empress of Prophecy, without the need to summon two high Level monsters.

Justice of Prophecy: Level 3 1600/800 Earth Spellcaster

During the End Phase of your turn, if you activated a “Spellbook” Spell Card this turn: You can banish this face-up card; add 1 Level 5 or higher LIGHT or DARK Spellcaster-Type monster and 1 “Spellbook” Spell Card from your Deck to your hand. The effect of “Justice of Prophecy” can only be activated once per turn.

Justice is the last of the new smaller Prophecy monsters and offers an alternative from Temperance for getting access to your higher Level Spellcasters, but in addition she also gets you a Spellbook on top of that. They both have the same initial requirement of you needing to activate a Spellbook, but instead of tributing her, she has to be Banished instead. This happens at the end of your turn, rather than during it, meaning you can’t make use of the cards immediately, and instead have to think ahead to the next turn.

Adding the monster to your Hand isn’t quite as powerful an effect as summoning it to the field, but it does allow you some extra options that Temperance does not. For example you could add Chaos Sorcerer, in preparation for summoning it later. Whereas Temperance can’t make use of Sorcerer at all. Ideally you’ll want to use your early copies of Justice to fetch monsters that Temperance cannot summon, saving cards like Emperor or High Priestess for later when they’ve run out. It will be important to have enough higher Level cards in your deck, since without them you wouldn’t be able to search the Spellbook either.

The additional effect to search for a Spellbook Spell card means that you won’t need to worry about using up all of your Spellbooks at once, you’ll be able to keep at least one for the next turn. Since there is no restriction on what you can add, you can choose a Spellbook tailored to the current situation. However you do have to be careful that the game state can sometimes shift dramatically in the space of a turn, by which point your Spellbook may no longer be as useful as it once was.

Justice will add a bit more speed to the deck, and will complement Temperance well.

Emperor of Prophecy: Level 5 2300/2000 Dark Spellcaster

Once per turn: You can banish 1 “Spellbook” Spell Card from your Graveyard and 1 other face-up Spellcaster-Type monster you control to target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; take control of it until the End Phase. This card cannot attack the turn you activate this effect.

Emperor is the third high Level Prophecy monster, after High Priestess and Destroyer, and gives Temperance and Justice another option to think about. Emperor allows you to steal your opponent’s monsters, but it comes at a price, especially if you don’t make your plays carefully. There are two parts to the cost for this effect, firstly banishing a Spellbook Spell card in the Graveyard, and secondly banishing another face-up Spellcaster.

The former shouldn’t be too much of an issue to achieve, since you can easily get Spellbooks into the Graveyard over the course of the game. Chances are you’d summon him with Temperance anyway, which means you’d already have at least one Spellbook in there to start with. Banishing can also help you use Spellbook Library of the Crescent, by emptying your Graveyard of Spellbooks, but it could conflict with Prophecy Destroyer. Fortunately this set also contains a new Spellbook, Eternity, which allows you to recycle Banished Spellbooks, meaning they’ll never be gone for long.

The second part of the cost is a bit more troublesome to pay, since it requires you to have at least two monsters on the field, and it will result in you losing a card in the end. Getting two monsters on the field isn’t normally too problematic, but it does mean that Emperor can’t do anything when summoned on his own, aside from hitting smaller monsters. This could prove to be an issue when facing down larger monsters, which is exactly the time you want to be able to use his effect. The fact he depletes your resources, without necessarily taking anything from your opponent overall, means that if you don’t use him properly it could cost you the game in the long run.

It will be very important what you choose to do with the stolen monster, since you lose resources if you just hand it back. The simplest thing to do would be to try and kill a second monster with the stolen one, evening out the resource loss. However you need to consider the size of the monsters compared to Emperor. If he’s bigger than both of them, you’d be better off just attacking with Emperor, and if one’s bigger than Emperor it’s just going to kill Emperor next turn. This means you’ll want to try and do something with the stolen monster before handing it back. This will most likely be Xyz summoning, either with Emperor himself, or another monster ot tributing for one of your larger Prophecy monsters. On rarer occasions you might be able to summon C39 or Gaia Dragoon though.

Alternatively you could just steal a monster to allow for a game winning direct attack, probably with the stolen monster itself, by which point the loss of resources won’t matter. Sometimes you might also be able to steal a monster with a powerful effect, which you can use to either even out the resource loss, or swing it in your favour.

When facing Emperor you might want to watch out for players who conveniently ‘forget’ his full effect and try to attack with Emperor as well.

Empress of Prophecy: Rank 5 2000/1700 Light Spellcaster

2 Level 5 Spellcaster-Type monsters
This card gains 300 ATK for each Xyz Material attached to monsters you control. Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; shuffle your Deck, then reveal the top 5 cards of your Deck, and destroy monsters on the field up to the number of “Spellbook” cards revealed, then return those cards to the top of the Deck in any order.

Empress is the second of the Prophecy Xyz monsters, and is potentially a little easier to summon than Hierophant, since she only requires two Level 5s. This could be achieved via cards like Emperor or Hermit, but could also be aided by monsters from outside the theme, like The Tricky. Empress could have a very powerful effect being able to destroy up to 5 monsters, but much of this relies of luck, which is at least partly out of your control. However even when she destroys very few or no monsters, the fact you get to arrange your next 5 draws can be helpful.

The earlier in the game that you use this effect the more Spellbooks you’ll have in your deck, but also the more other cards. Late in the game you won’t have as many Spellbooks, but your deck will be smaller, however their Field card, which we’ll get to later, can help with this.

The fact you can arrange your top 5 cards can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand you’ll be able to prepare for your next 5 turns, but on the other, so will your opponent. There’s nothing worse than knowing that your next draw will be unable to help you. You could get around this though by shuffling your deck with Spellbook of Secrets, or Spellbook Magician of Prophecy. I would assume the fact Empress shuffles before using her effect is to stop you using her effect two turns in a row and hitting basically the same cards.

Her other effect gives her a slight power boost for every Xyz material attached to monsters you control. On her own, before using her effect, this will place her at 2600, but will slowly drop to 2000 as you use her effect. If you control other Xyz monsters she can get even bigger though. Her attack isn’t the most important thing about her, but it’s a nice bonus to go along with her effect, for when you need to kill the opponent or hold off their monsters.

Spellbook of Eternity: Normal Spell Card

Target 1 of your banished “Spellbook” Spell Cards, except “Spellbook of Eternity”; add that target to your hand. You can only activate 1 “Spellbook of Eternity” per turn.

Spellbook of Eternity allows you to recycle banished Spellbooks, allowing you to banish them with less concern than before. This makes cards like Prophecy Destroyer much more useful than they were before. In addition it also makes effects that require banishing Spellbooks much easier to use, since you basically get two more to banish (Eternity plus the one you return).

Spellbook of Fate: Quickplay Spell Card

You can only activate 1 “Spellbook of Fate” per turn. If you control a face-up Spellcaster-Type monster: Banish up to 3 “Spellbook” Spell Cards from your Graveyard; apply 1 of these effects depending on the number of cards that was banished for this card’s activation. ●1:Return 1 Set Spell/Trap Card to the hand. ●2: Change 1 monster on the field to either face-down Defense Position or face-up Attack Position. ●3: Banish 1 card your opponent controls.

Spellbook of Fate is a powerful new Quickplay Spell that gives you access to a variety of effects, in exchange for banishing your spent Spellbooks. The versatility the card provides is offset by the restrictions placed on its use, meaning you have to be careful when playing it. Since you need to control a face-up Spellcaster to activate Spellbook of Fate, you have to be careful to protect your monsters. If your opponent can get rid of them all, then Fate becomes useless. Hopefully though you’ll be able to use Fate to stop those kind of plays in the first place. Fate will be at its worst when you’re forced to rely on the top of your deck, since it will be a useless draw at that point. As such you’ll need to weigh up the risks of it being a dead card, versus the usefulness of the card in general. The restriction of once per turn, is presumably to stop repeated uses of the card clearing the opponent’s field completely in one go.

The first effect only requires banishing of a single Spellbook, meaning it should be possible to use this effect very early on in the game. Bouncing a single set Spell / Trap card is arguably the weakest of the three effects, since it only temporarily deals with a problem. In addition, since the opponent may chain the card, it might end up being completely wasted. To try and avoid these sorts of problems you might want to save Fate until you have a big play to make, or trying to go for game. If your opponent only has a single set Spell / Trap card between you and victory, it won’t matter that you’ll be a resource down, they’ll be dead. Just like with Mystical Space Typhoon you can also get around the chaining problem by using Fate during the End Phase, to bounce the card away before it can ever be used.

The second effect replicates the effects of both Book of Moon and Book of Taiyou at the same time, but comes at the cost of two Spellbooks. This is probably the most versatile effect of the three, since it can be used both offensively and defensively, and can be easily combined with other cards. Just as with Book of Moon, the ability to flip a monster to face-down defense has many uses from making powerful monsters easier to kill, to protecting your own monsters, to re-using effects. Shifting monsters to face-up attack position could be used to break through a strong wall or activate flip effects at unusual times, such as on the turn they’re set or before they can be destroyed by a card like Dark Hole. It could also be used to counter your opponent’s Book of Moon by putting a monster back to attack position.

The final effect allows you to banish any of your opponent’s cards, but requires you to banish 3 of your Spellbooks. This is a very powerful effect, but if you don’t use it carefully you could interfere with other cards that need Spellbooks in your Graveyard.

Being able to banish any of your opponent’s cards can either help you to victory, or mess up your opponent’s plans and give you a bit of extra time in the game. When on the offensive it could clear out your opponent’s final line of defense, whilst on the defensive it can take out your opponent’s biggest threat. It’s also very hard to stop, since most cards nowadays that can protect themselves, such as Gachi Gachi or Maestroke, only protect themselves from destruction. In addition once banished most decks cannot get the card back.

The Grand Spellbook Tower: Field Spell Card

Once per turn, during your Standby Phase, if you have 1 or more Spellcaster-Type monsters in your Graveyard or on your side of the field: You can return 1 “Spellbook” Spell Card from your Graveyard to the bottom of your Deck, except “The Grand Spellbook Tower”; draw 1 card. When this card is destroyed by your opponent’s card effect and sent to the Graveyard: You can Special Summon 1 Spellcaster-Type monster from your hand or Deck whose Level is less than or equal to the number of “Spellbook” Spell Cards in your Graveyard.

Like many decks nowadays, Prophecy now have their own Field Spell card, which could help power up the deck. The Grand Spellbook Tower can get you a free card every turn, in addition to replenishing your supply of Spellbooks. This allows you to search for those Spellbooks again and reuse them. However you need at least 1 Spellcaster between your field and Graveyard to use this effect, which should rarely be a problem, unless you end up facing something like a Macro Cosmos deck.

One problem Field cards have always had, is that they’re giant targets for your opponent’s removal, meaning that you usually need to go out of your way to protect them, lest your strategy falls apart. Fortunately though, the Tower has an effect to discourage this. When destroyed it will replace itself with a Spellcaster from your Hand or Deck, which could either be a very strong, or have a useful effect.

The problem though is that the two effects of the Tower contradict each other. By repeatedly using the first effect you’ll have depleted your Graveyard of Spellbooks, meaning you can only summon very small Spellcasters, or possibly nothing at all.

A clever opponent can get rid of the Tower without setting of its effect though, since it’s an optional “when … you can” effect. This means if the last to happen is not the Tower going to the Graveyard, it will miss the timing. One very annoying way to cause this would be to chain Mystical Space Typhoon to the activation of the Tower’s first effect. This means that not only will your opponent not get to draw a card but they also won’t get a monster out of the destroyed Tower.

Next time I’ll be looking at the new Madolche monsters, who get some powerful new cards, such as their Queen, Tiaramisu.

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