As well as all the themes getting large amounts of support in this set there are also many other themes getting new support in the form of one or two cards. On top of this we get the start of the new Heraldic theme, but since it only has 4 cards I’m grouping it in with all the other themed cards.
Heraldic Beast Aberconway: Level 4 1800/900 Wind Dragon
If this card is in your Graveyard: You can banish 1 “Heraldic Beast Aberconway” from your Graveyard, except this card, to target 1 “Heraldic Beast” monster in your Graveyard; add that target to the hand. The effect of “Heraldic Beast Aberconway” can only be activated once per turn.
Aberconway is the first Heraldic Beast, and allows you to recycle all your other Heraldic Beasts back to your hand. This will be a very useful card in the future, but for now the Heraldic theme is simply too small. The idea with Aberconway is to firstly use him as a beatstick, since 1800 is a pretty respectable score for a Level 4. Then once he dies he can sit in the Graveyard until a time comes where another Heraldic Beast is needed.
Once the theme expands I think Aberconway could be quite useful.
Heraldic Beast Bernard’s Falcon: Level 4 1000/1600 Wind Winged Beast
When this card is Summoned: You can have all face-up Level 5 or higher monsters you control become Level 4.
Our second Heraldic Beast is Bernard’s Falcon, who is designed to help you summon Rank 4 monsters. Often there are decks with random mixes of mismatched higher level cards and this allows you to turn them all into Level 4s. I do question how often you’ll want to trade off what will usually be bigger, more powerful cards for a Rank 4 though.
For now this doesn’t do anything for the Heraldic deck, since they don’t have any monsters it can actually be used on. This should change in the future though, since you’re pretty much just using him because he can be made into Number 8.
Number 8: Heraldic King Genom-Heritage: Rank 4 2400/1800 Light Psychic
2 Level 4 “Heraldic Beast” monsters
Once per turn: You can target 1 face-up Xyz Monster your opponent controls; until the End Phase, this card’s name and ATK become that target’s name and ATK, and it gains that target’s effects. Also, until the End Phase, that target’s ATK becomes 0, and its effect(s) is negated.
The current big boss of the Heraldics is Number 8: Heraldic King Genom-Heritage, who can turn the tables on your opponent’s powerful Xyz monsters by stealing their name, attack and effect. Rather than merely copying the effect like other cards, it also drains the strength from the other monster, reducing their attack to zero and negating their effects.
This will allow you to destroy your opponent’s Xyz monsters with ease, and could give your deck access to the sort of effects it could normally only dream of. However to get around powerful walls like Gachi Gachi or Zenmaines you’ll need an extra monster, since Number 8: Heraldic King Genom-Heritage on his own won’t be able to break their defense, even though they can no longer protect themselves.
The biggest issue with the card right now will be the difficulty of summoning him. With only a maximum of 6 Heraldic Beasts in your deck it could be quite difficult getting two on the field at the same time. Especially since one of them is more or less useless most of the time. This however should become easier over time as even more Heraldic Beasts are released. Their final card, Advanced Heraldry Art helps a lot in achieving this though.
Advanced Heraldry Art: Normal Spell Card
Target 2 “Heraldic Beast” monsters in your Graveyard; Special Summon those targets, then Xyz Summon 1 Xyz Monster using exactly those cards as Xyz Material.
Advanced Heraldry Art is a very powerful card, but is currently constrained by the number of Heraldic Beasts released. With only 6 possible monsters, 3 of which banish themselves, it won’t always be easy to get two into the Graveyard. However it allows you to summon most Rank 4 Xyz monsters with a single card, which most decks would love to have. It’s also the only likely way that you’ll be able to summon Number 8, since it’s the easiest way to put two Heraldic Beasts on the field at once.
If the theme expands it might be possible to summon other Ranks of monsters, but right now you’ll be stuck with 4.
Gagaga Caesar: Level 3 1800/600 Earth Warrior
If you do not control another face-up “Gagaga” monster, this card cannot attack. Once per turn: You can banish 1 monster from your Graveyard; the Levels of all face-up “Gagaga” monsters you currently control become the same as the banished monster’s Level. This card cannot be used as a Synchro Material Monster.
Every set seems to be expanding on the Gagaga theme, which makes sense, since I believe they’re a theme belonging to Yuma. As with all the others Gagaga Caesar aids you in summoning Xyz monsters of any rank you wish, provided you play at least one monster of the appropriate level.
For starters he’s a massive card for a Level 3 at 1800 attack, meaning he can even outmatch many Level 4s seeing play at the moment. However he can’t attack unless he’s accompanied by another Gagaga monster. This means that it’s actually unlikely he’ll be doing much attacking at all. Since Gagaga monsters love to Xyz summon, I find it much more likely that they’ll combine to an Xyz monster, instead of staying on the field to attack, unless they could cause more damage in that way.
In the past you’ve needed multiple Gagaga Magicians or a combination of Magician and Girl in order to summon your bigger, or smaller Xyz monsters, however you now only need Caesar and one other Gagaga, provided you’ve filled your Graveyard with the appropriate monsters. This means that Gardna for example can finally be used for monsters that aren’t Rank 4.
Caesar will certainly be useful if you want to summon some of the less commonly seen Xyz monsters, you’ll just have to work out which ones you want to play in your Extra Deck.
Gagaga Cowboy: Rank 4 1500/2400 Earth Warrior
2 Level 4 monsters
Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; apply 1 of these effects depending on this card’s battle position. ● Attack Position: This turn, during the Damage Step only, if this card attacks an opponent’s monster, it gains 1000 ATK, and the attack target loses 500 ATK. ● Defense Position: Inflict 800 damage to your opponent.
Gagaga Cowboy is the first Xyz monster for the theme, meaning that you could still make use of the Gagaga support once you’ve performed an Xyz summon. This is of course only relevant if you’re playing a full Gagaga deck. Otherwise if you’re just playing him as a Rank 4, since he does have generic requirements, you’ll be more worried about what he actually does.
Cowboy has two effects, which will be useful depending on the current situation. If your opponent has a powerful monster you can place Cowboy in attack position, and it’s very likely he’ll be able to defeat them. Since he boosts himself by 1000, whilst dropping the opponent by 500, it means he can take down anything with up to 3000 attack. This means he should be able to kill whatever he’s facing, unless your opponent has put something like Obelisk in your path. However afterwards it’s likely Cowboy will get destroyed, unless you protect him, since he’ll fall back to only a measly 1500 attack.
Alternatively if your opponent is playing a stall game, Cowboy can allow you to burn your way to victory by placing him in defense. He can also just be useful for dealing that final bit of game ending damage. We’ve all had games where we’re a couple of hundred short of winning, but have been unable to break through the opponent’s final defenses. Cowboy will allow you to deal that final blow, and cause a surprise for an opponent that’s tried to turn the game around.
Nimble Angler: Level 2 600/100 Water Fish
If this card is sent from your hand or Deck to the Graveyard: Special Summon up to 2 Level 3 or lower “Nimble” monsters from your Deck, except “Nimble Angler”.
Nimble has grown into its own theme in recent sets, and Nimble Angler finally unites them all by giving us our first card which explicitly states them to be a combined theme. He aids in quick swarming of the field, or alternatively can help you defend against a flurry of attacks, all the while probably drastically thinning your deck.
One of the easiest ways to use his effect would be to combine him with another Nimble monster, namely Sunfish. When Nimble Sunfish is destroyed by battle you can summon a 2nd copy whilst also sending Angler to the Graveyard. This will get you another two monsters who can defend you further, such as Nimble Momonga. After this the 2nd Sunfish could get you a 3rd copy, sending another Angler and filling your field even more. Although by this point you might be worrying about running out of Nimble monsters in your deck.
Another easy way to use him would be to combine him with the ever useful Swap Frog. By discarding Angler to summon Swap Frog you can instantly get two other monsters onto the field. This gives you instant access to Rank 2 monsters like Gachi Gachi or even Dark Mist. If you combine them with Level altering cards like Lemuria you can get access to a huge range of Xyz monsters.
Metallizing Parasite – Soltite: Level 7 1000/500 Water Aqua
Once per turn, you can either: Target 1 face-up monster you control;equip this card to that target, OR: Unequip this card and Special Summon it in face-up Attack Position. While equipped by this effect, the equipped monster cannot be targeted by, or destroyed by, the effects of your opponent’s monsters. (A monster can only be equipped with 1 Union Monster at a time. If the equipped monster would be destroyed, destroy this card instead.)
It’s been a long time since we’ve really seen any Unions around, or at least those used for the fact they’re Unions, as opposed to it just being a bonus effect, like with Gearframe. In Soltite we have a counterpart to Metallizing Parasite-Lunatite, a monster from years ago that many modern players won’t be aware exists. The only difference between these two is that whilst Lunatite protected from Spell cards, Soltite protects from Monster effects.
Since the game has shifted much more towards destroying monsters via monster effects, or at least making them easier to destroy, it could be argued that Soltite would provide more useful protection than his much older counterpart. Nowadays you only really need to worry about being destroyed by Dark Hole for example, and targeting usually comes in the form of something like Book of Moon.
The biggest issue of course with Soltite though, is how on earth do you summon him? There’s no way you’d want to tribute summon him just to try and protect one monster, it’s simply not worth the resources. The easiest and most effective way is going to be via Mother Grizzly. You can just loop through some Grizzlies until your opponent’s final attack and then summon Soltite off that. Then on your next turn you can summon a powerful monster and make it even harder to kill. Since there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to follow up after this, you’d probably be better summoning the big monster first, suiciding a Mother Grizzly, and then attaching the Soltite in Main Phase 2.
I wonder if they’ll eventually finish the trio with a Trap version, but I’m not entirely sure what they’d call it, possibly Terratite?
Small Penguin: Level 1 400/200 Water Aqua
After this card has been flipped face-up, when it is sent to the Graveyard: Target 1 “Penguin” monster in your Graveyard, except “Small Penguin”; Special Summon it in face-up Attack Position or face-down Defense Position.
Penguin cards have been around since the very early days of the TCG and many will remember causing or being on the receiving end of a Penguin Soldier loop. Even now he still occasionally becomes popular as a way to deal with powerful Extra deck cards. The rest of the Penguin cards are generally unremarkable though, as either vanillas or nearly useless effect monsters. Even their boss The Great Emperor Penguin isn’t all that useful due to the lack of cards he can interact with, and even then he summons them in the wrong position anyway. He can however be used for easy Xyz summons though.
Small Penguin gives the deck a bit more coherence, and can easily be combined with its two best assets, Soldier and Emperor. Firstly he could be used to defend yourself with Soldier, by clearing out two attacking monsters. Secondly he could revive Emperor for even more swarming of the field.
Probably the biggest play you could make with him would involve 2 copies of Emperor, one in your Graveyard, the other in your Hand. Firstly you’d need to keep Small Penguin alive for a turn, so that you can flip summon it manually yourself. After this, you can tribute him for one Emperor and then revive the second. You could just stop here for a Rank 5 monster, or you could instead turn those Emperors into 4 more monsters, opening up a range of Xyz options.
You might be able to mess around for fun with these guys, but until the theme is expanded I wouldn’t expect to do anything serious with them.
One-Shot Wand: Equip Spell Card
Equip only to a Spellcaster-Type monster. It gains 800 ATK. After damage calculation, if the equipped monster battled: You can destroy this card, and if you do, draw 1 card.
Spellcasters seem to be getting new Equip cards all the time, and this, much like Wonder Wand, helps you to draw extra cards. However unlike Wonder Wand the power boost is bigger, and the effect less costly, but it does of course mean you’ll be drawing less cards.
As the name suggests One-Shot Wand is meant to be a one use card. It will quickly give you a power boost to destroy an opponent’s card, before destroying itself in exchange for a draw. If you don’t need the draw you could just keep Wand around, but you run the ever present risk of losing two cards at once like all equip cards.
The nice thing about One-Shot Wand is that the monster battling doesn’t even need to survive the battle in order for you to get the draw, since it activates before it is destroyed by game mechanics.
Gravity Blaster: Equip Spell Card
Equip only to a Machine-Type monster. Once per turn: You can have the equipped monster gain 400 ATK. If the equipped monster battles an opponent’s monster, the opponent’s monster’s effect(s) on the field is negated during the Battle Phase only.
The final cards that I’ve decided deserves to be included among the remaining themes is Gravity Blaster a new Equip card for Machine type monsters. As well as providing a power boost it will also allow you to turn off the opposing monster’s effect. This can be useful for clearing out annoying walls like Spirit Reaper, but can also stop Flip effects like Ryko.
An interesting thing about the attack boost is that it’s a separate entity from the equip card itself. This means that even if the equip card is later destroyed, the monster will still retain the extra attack. This means you don’t need to worry about the monster suddenly being robbed of its boosted stats.
For the next part of my preview I’m going to be looking at all the Xyz related cards in the set, whether they support summoning Xyz monsters, work against them, or are simply Xyz monsters I didn’t cover in any of the other articles.