Abyss Rising Overview Part 9: World Exclusives

The World Exclusive cards in Abyss Rising provide new support for several themes, such as Ninjas, Spellbooks and Noble Knights, as well as new cards referencing one of the most famous scenes from the original anime.

Ignoble Knight of Black Laundsallyn: Level 5 2000/800 Dark Warrior

You can send 1 face-up LIGHT Normal Monster you control to the Graveyard; Special Summon this card from your hand or Graveyard. You can Tribute 1 “Noble Knight” monster; add 1 “Noble Arms” card from your Deck to your hand. You can only use this effect of “Ignoble Knight of Black Laundsallyn” once per turn. You can control only 1 face-up “Ignoble Knight of Black Laundsallyn”.

The latest addition to the Noble Knights theme breaks from previous traditions and gives us a Dark Warrior, instead of a Light one, which makes sense given that he’s actually an Ignoble Knight. As with the rest of the Noble cards his true strength won’t really be known until we have the complete set of Knights and Arms. Whilst it might also be possible to fit him into decks that run other Light Normal monsters, it doesn’t really make sense to use him there, since you won’t be able to benefit from the rest of his effect.

Ideally you’re meant to use Artorigus to Special summon Laundsallyn, since he’s part of the theme, in additon to being a Normal Light monster. After this by tributing another Noble Knight you get to search your deck for a Noble Arms card, allowing you to empower your other Knights. If you don’t control any other Knights you could even use Laundsallyn himself, but I would question the effort you’ve gone through merely to get an equip card.

Laundsallyn of course has competition from Hidden Armory, which can also search Equip cards, and is much easier to use, considering it’s a standalone card. However the fact you forfeit your Normal Summon / Set could be quite a drawback to its use in this deck. Given we’re nowhere near the full set of Knights yet, this is a little hard to tell though.

Laundsallyn can also be a useful way to move around your Noble Arms on the field by getting rid of a monster that one is currently equipped to.

Mermail Abyssmander: Level 4 100/2000 Water Fish

You can banish this card from your Graveyard to activate 1 of these effects.
• Increase the Level of all “Mermail” monsters you currently control by 1.
• Increase the Level of all “Mermail” monsters you currently control by 2.

Abyssmander is a World Exclusive Mermail, but seems a bit out of place compared to the rest of the theme. Instead of working when it goes to the Graveyard, or helping to send cards to the Graveyard, he instead waits in the Graveyard until he becomes useful. Until then he merely serves as a wall. This means you’ll either have to dump him to the Graveyard first, or merely use him as a blocker until he’s destroyed by your opponent.

Once in the Graveyard he opens up more Xyz options for the Mermail deck, by allowing you to increase their Levels by either 1 or 2. This would allow you to summon Rank 5 or 6 monsters with the smaller Mermails, and Rank 8 or 9 monsters with Abyssmegalo.

However I find it unlikely that most Mermail decks would go to the effort to include him. I imagine for most of them the Extra Deck space is already fairly tight, and there wouldn’t be enough space to fully make use of these options. In addition you’d usually be better served dumping the Atlanteans to the Graveyard with Undine, rather than spending your time on Abyssmander.

Red Dragon Ninja: Level 6 2400/1200 Fire Winged Beast

When this card is Summoned: You can banish 1 “Ninja” or “Ninjitsu Art” card from your Graveyard to target 1 Set card your opponent controls; reveal that Set card, then return it to either the top or bottom of the Deck. Your opponent cannot activate the targeted card in response to this effect’s activation. You can only use the effect of “Red Dragon Ninja” once per turn.

Red Dragon Ninja is the latest in the line of Ninja cards we seem to be getting in the exclusives each set. However instead of being used alongside the newer Ninjitsu Art of Super Transformation, Red Dragon Ninja is instead for the original Ninjitsu Art of Transformation. This provides you more options when using the original card, without having to compromise on the Ninja theme.

Red Dragon Ninja itself is a useful card for clearing out your opponent’s defenses, since it’s a mix of Night Beam and Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, but with a body. Since you get to see the set card, you can make an informed decision about where to send it. If it’s a card your opponent could immediately use again, and is a threat to you, you can send it to the bottom of their deck. This makes it unlikely that they’ll see it again this game. If you see that it’s a useless card you can instead return it to the top of the deck, stopping your opponent from making useful plays next turn.

The fact your opponent cannot chain the set card to this effect’s activation makes it much more likely that you can get rid of the card, but as with Night Beam, extra cards could be chained to allow the targeted card to be used. This effect might also prove handy in keeping Red Dragon Ninja alive, because if you select something like Bottomless Trap Hole or Torrential Tribute, you can prevent the opponent from instantly killing Red Dragon Ninja.

The effect does have a few restrictions on it though. Firstly you need to banish a Ninja or Ninjitsu Art card from your Graveyard to activate his effect. This will be no problem at all if you just used the Transformation Art, since you’ll have a Ninja ready and waiting to get banished. During the normal course of play I also expect that it shouldn’t be too difficult to get one of these cards into the Graveyard prior to summoning Red Dragon Ninja. The other restriction on the card is that you can only use this effect once per turn, which is I suppose to stop a scenario where you can lock the opponent out of useful draws for several turns.

Slushy: Level 2 0/0 Water Aqua

When this card is Normal Summoned: You can send 1 “Slushy” from your Deck to the Graveyard. If you have 3 copies of “Slushy” total, either banished and/or in your Graveyard (combined): You can banish this card from your Graveyard to target 1 Level 5 or higher Sea Serpent-Type monster in your Graveyard; Special Summon that target. You can only use the Special Summoning effect of “Slushy” once per turn.

Slushy gives high Level Sea Serpents a new lease on life by making it easier to summon them than ever before. He could be used on his own merely as extra support in a Sea Serpent deck, but he also combines well with other powerful Water monsters like Swap Frog and Sea Lancer.

When using Slushy on his own it’s easy to get 2 copies into the Graveyard, since the first copy will dump the second, before very quickly being killed or used for some other purpose. The issue then becomes how to get the 3rd copy in there, which will either rely on using another card in the deck to send him to the Graveyard, or just simply setting the 3rd copy when you draw it. When combined with Swap Frog though, this becomes much easier, since not only can you discard Slushy to summon Swap Frog, but Swap Frog can also use its effect to send Slushy to the Graveyard. You’ll very quickly get all 3 Slushy in the right place, ready to start reviving your Sea Serpents.

Once Slushy is set up you can start bringing powerful Sea Serpents such as Daedalus and Poseidra back to life, and this can be repeated up to 3 times. Even if you just end up using these monsters for beatdown you’ll find that lots of decks can struggle when suddenly faced by huge monsters like them. Especially since they know the monsters will be right back next turn.

This can be extended when combined with Sea Lancer, who can recycle used copies of Slushy, allowing you to summon your powerful Sea Serpents even more often.

Abyss Dweller: Rank 4 1700/1400 Water Sea Serpent

2 Level 4 monsters
While this card has an Xyz Material attached that was originally WATER, all WATER monsters you control gain 500 ATK. Once per turn, during either player’s turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; any card effects that activate in your opponent’s Graveyard cannot be activated this turn.

Abyss Dweller is a useful Xyz monster for shutting down decks like Mermail which rely on cards activating in the Graveyard. As an added bonus it also gives Water decks a boost, meaning it will be a useful tool for Mermails as well as against them. Since it’s a generic Xyz it can still be played in other decks as well though.

To get the full potential out of Abyss Dweller you’ll need to use a deck with Level 4 water monsters, so that its power boosting effect will work. This is of course easiest to achieve in a Water based deck like Mermails, but decks which just happen to feature Water monsters, such as Wind-Ups (with Shark) can also manage. In the former case this can make all of your monsters more powerful, aiding you to a speedier victory. In the latter case it will probably just result in a more powerful Abyss Dweller, but this will still be useful, since a 2200 is considerably harder to get rid of than a 1700.

The most important part about Abyss Dweller though is its second effect, which thankfully works regardless of what materials it has. For a turn it can cause a one sided Soul Drain, locking your opponent out of Graveyard effects, potentially shutting down a lot of their plays. However just as with Soul Drain you need to be very careful when using this card. It does not negate anything, it merely prevents activations. This means if you chain Abyss Dweller to an opponent’s effect it won’t do anything. This will mean you may have to pre-emptively use its effect in order to stop your opponent. This may sometimes result in you wasting the effect though. It could however be useful against cards like Abyssmegalo or Genex Undine, who sent cards to the Graveyard as a cost for their effects. If you chain Abyss Dweller to those cards instead, the monsters used as Costs will never get a chance to activate.

Giant Soldier of Steel: Rank 3 1300/2000 Earth Rock

2 Level 3 Rock-Type monsters
This card is unaffected by other monsters’ effects. Once per turn, during either player’s turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; it gains 1000 DEF until the End Phase, and if it does, you take no effect damage from your opponent’s card effects this turn.

Giant Soldier of Steel is our first card which harks back to an older age of Yu-Gi-Oh! and upgrades a classic monster. It creates a fairly large wall, but can also be a useful tool against burn damage.

The normal defense on Giant Soldier of Steel isn’t too impressive at only 2000, but it does at least allow him to fend off most Level 4 or below cards. If the opponent does summon something larger he can then boost himself to 3000 defense, which should be enough to defend against nearly everything that commonly sees play at the moment. However you only get two chances at this, so you’ll need to find a way to actually fight back before he is defeated.

Immunity to other monster’s effects also helps make Giant Soldier of Steel a tough wall to break through, especially once the summon is successful. Apart from Dark Hole, most Spell and Traps that act as monster removal are reactive. This means that cards like Dimensional Prison or Mirror Force will be useless against him, and he’s too small to get caught by Bottomless Trap Hole. The Solemn Trio and Torrential can still hit him, but it might be better to save those for threats, rather than walls. This would normally leave you with two options, summon something bigger, which he can still usually block, or use one of your monster effects to destroy him, which he also blocks. This means that Giant Soldier of Steel can often buy you at leas two extra turns, in which you can try to rally the rest of your resources.

The big issue though is with how to actually summon him, without massively disrupting the rest of your deck. One deck that could handle this easily is Chronomaly who can simply add him to the Extra Deck and continue as normal. Another possibility would be to incorporate Rescue Rabbit and normal monsters, such as the original Giant Soldier of Stone, into your deck to allow instant summoning. Most other choices just end up being poorer versions of this, require you to use cards that wouldn’t fit the deck, or might be better off not used for the Xyz summon anyway.

Noble Arms – Arfeudutyr: Equip Spell Card

You can only control 1 face-up “Noble Arms – Arfeudutyr”. Equip only to a Warrior-Type monster. Once per turn: You can target 1 Set card your opponent controls; the equipped monster permanently loses 500 ATK, and if it does, destroy that target. (The ATK loss remains even if this card leaves the field or the monster becomes unaffected by card effects.) If this face-up card on the field is destroyed and sent to the Graveyard: You can target 1 face-up Warrior-Type “Noble Knight” monster you control; equip this card to that target. You can only use this effect of “Noble Arms – Arfeudutyr” once per turn.

Our latest Noble Arms card is Arfeudutyr, which allows you to clear out your opponent’s defenses in exchange for the strength of your monsters. What’s especially useful is the fact that it can destroy any set card, meaning it can take out both Spell / Trap cards and Monsters. This will allow you to pick and choose based on the scenario. The fact the monster loses attack each time will limit how many times you’ll get a chance to use this effect, because eventually it will become weak enough for your opponent to launch a counterattack against the monster.

A novel use for the card could be to equip it to an opponent’s Warrior, since it will allow you to destroy one of their cards in addition to weakening their monster, hopefully allowing your monsters to defeat it.

Arfeudutyr also has what I assume is the defining characteristic of the Noble Arms, which is the ability to be reused once destroyed. This prevents your opponent from using cards like Mystical Space Typhoon on it, and allows you to more easily use effects which require you to destroy one of your own cards. It also means the Equip will usually stay around as long as you can keep other Noble Knights on the field.

Spellbook Library of the Heliosphere: Normal Spell Card

If you have 5 or more “Spellbook” Spell Cards in your Graveyard: Reveal the top 2 cards of your Deck; add any revealed “Spellbook” Spell Cards to your hand, and shuffle any remaining cards into the Deck. You can only activate 1 “Spellbook Library of the Heliosphere” per turn. You cannot activate any Spell Cards the turn you activate this card, except “Spellbook” Spell Cards.

Heliosphere is a powerful Spellbook, but has quite strict activation requirements. Since you need 5 or more Spellbook Spells in your Graveyard before you can activate it, you may well find it useless during the first few turns of the game. It may also conflict with cards like Spellbook of Fate, which banishes your Spellbooks, and The Grand Spellbook Tower, which adds them back into your deck. Due to cards like these you may well find it difficult to keep 5 or more Spellbooks in the Graveyard, and thus make Heliosphere playable. I would assume that once the complete set of Spellbooks has been released, this card will become better, since it should be easier to fill the Graveyard with Spellbooks.

It also has two other restrictions. Firstly that you can only use 1 per turn, which prevents you gaining too much advantage in a single turn. Secondly you can only activate Spellbook Spell cards during the turn you activate it, potentially locking you out of cards like Monster Reborn, Heavy Storm and Dark Hole. Fortunately though the majority of the Spell cards in your deck will be Spellbooks.

The effect itself has an element of luck to it, since it could give you between 0 and 2 new cards. Your deck will be loaded full of Spellbooks though, so I would expect you to be able to get at least 1 card out of this most of the time. When it works to its full extent it’s essentially a Pot of Greed for the deck, which combined with the Tower could lead to a lot of extra resources for you.

I imagine we won’t see the full power of Heliosphere until the theme is complete though.

Spellbook Star Hall: Continuous Spell Card

Each time a “Spellbook” Spell Card is activated, place 1 Spell Counter on this card. All Spellcaster-Type monsters you control gain 100 ATK for each Spell Counter on this card. When this card with Spell Counter(s) is destroyed and sent to the Graveyard: You can add 1 Spellcaster-Type monster from your Deck to your hand, whose Level is less than or equal to the number of Spell Counters that were on this card.

Spellbook Star Hall is the second World Exclusive Spellbook in the set and it provides a power boost to your Prophecy monsters, as well as any other Spellcasters you happen to play. This can help you reduce your opponent’s Life Points faster, and get over pesky monsters in battle that you would otherwise have to use a Spellbook on. It also has a deterrent against being destroyed, since it can replace itself with a Spellcaster. Early on this could simply be fetching Spellbook Magician of Prophecy, but later in the game it might even allow you to get the High Priestess.

The power of Star Hall will grow the longer it remains on the field, so the earlier you draw it the better. At first it’s likely the small attack boosts will make little difference to the outcome of most battles, however eventually most of your monsters will turn into deadly threats. Eventually your opponent will be forced into a tough situation where whether they destroy Star Hall or not they’ll be in trouble.

The biggest problem this card has, is that it doesn’t do anything on its own, and relies on your other cards to be useful. This makes it a terrible card to draw when you’re in trouble.

Attack the Moon!: Continuous Spell Card

Once per turn, when the battle position of a Rock-Type monster you control is changed: You can target 1 Spell/Trap Card your opponent controls; destroy that target.

Our final World Exclusive card draws inspiration from one of the most famous scenes from Duelist Kingdom, where Yugi used his Giant Soldier of Stone to attack the moon and help defeat Mako. In a similar fashion, this card allows you to use your Rock monsters to destroy your opponent’s Spell and Trap cards. This could be a very useful effect, because it allows you to destroy a card per turn for free. Your opponent might even refuse to set cards, in order to save their resources until they can find a way around Attack the Moon!. Alternatively they might set multiple cards hoping you’ll hit the bluffs, allowing them to keep their defenses.

Attack the Moon! is not without its problems though. As with all continuous Spell cards it can make defending yourself a gamble. You’ll need to set extra cards to protect against your opponent’s plays, but by doing so you leave yourself open to losing lots of resources from cards like Heavy Storm. Since the card is built around position changes it might also prove difficult to capitalise on the openings offered by this card. For example by switching a monster to defense, you might clear out the opponent’s defenses, but you can’t then attack on that turn. The fact that monsters also often specialise in one stat means that your opponent may well kill your monster on the following turn, once you switch it to the weaker position.

Another problem is that Attack the Moon! can be a little slow. Unless you add on even more cards into the combo, you will have to wait until the turn after you summon any monsters to be able to use its effect. Sometimes you’ll never get this chance, because the monsters will be destroyed within a turn, making Attack the Moon! a deadweight. You could get around this problem though with cards like Stumbling, or Zero Gravity, which allow for extra position changes, allowing you to immediately destroy your opponent’s cards. They can also help with slowing your opponent’s plays down and protecting your monsters, thus allowing you to use Attack the Moon! for longer. This does leave you even more open to Heavy Storm than before.

For the final part of my look at Abyss Rising I’m going to be examining the OCG imports that were added to the set.

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Abyss Rising Overview Part 8: The Rest

As with every set there are cards which can be a bit hard to categorise, or otherwise fall into very narrow categories. So as usual I’m going to fill an article with all of these leftover cards. The include removal cards, negation card and several new ways to steal your opponent’s monsters.

Bull Blader: Level 4 1600/1200 Earth Warrior

When an attack is declared involving this card and an opponent’s monster: You can activate this effect; during this battle involving this monster, neither player takes any battle damage, also destroy the opponent’s monster after damage calculation.

Bull Blader is a useful new warrior card that will usually at least force an even trade off with the opponent. Bull Blader will be an excellent card for cutting through defenses, but can also deal with bigger monsters as well. Anything in defense position will be an easy kill for him, allowing you to breach huge defenses, battle immune monsters like Spirit Reaper, and stop Battle Recruiters getting their search effects. When the opponent does go on the offensive he’ll at least take a card down with him though, and he can similarly be used to suicide with an opponent’s powerful monster.

The fact he prevents battle damage to either player with this effect will usually work to your advantage, since often only you would have taken damage anway, for example from monsters with high defense or higher attack. It would probably be rare to stop you causing more than a couple of hundred damage to the opponent anyway.

Achacha Chanbara: Level 3 1400/400 Fire Warrior

During either player’s turn, when a card or effect is activated that will inflict damage when it resolves: You can Special Summon this card from your hand, and if you do, inflict 400 damage to your opponent.

Achacha Chanbara is similar to Damage Mage and Eco from last set, except instead of responding to your opponent’s burn effects he can be used in combination with any burn effect. Following this he can also be used to try and inflict a little battle damage to the opponent as well.

Unfortunately in terms of counteracting your opponent’s cards, then Eco would still be better (not accounting for the many other better ways of stopping burn). If you want to use it in combination with your own burn cards, then you’d simply be better off playing another burn card instead. The damage he causes is minimal, and it’s doubtful he’d be able to cause any battle damage with only 1400 attack.

Mogmole: Level 2 800/800 Earth Beast

When this card on the field is destroyed and sent to the Graveyard: You can Special Summon it from your Graveyard in face-up Defense Position. You can only use the effect of “Mogmole” once per Duel.

Mogmole is yet another way to maintain a little bit of field presence, which can then be used for Tribute summons or Xyz summons. In terms of uses for tribute summons, there already exist plenty of cards that will fill this role better though. For Xyz summons he could be used to summon Rank 2s more easily, but most decks that can regularly make Rank 2s (like Agents or Frogs) will not need the extra help.

At a very basic level he could also be used to simply block an extra attack.

Planet Pathfinder: Level 4 1000/1000 Earth Machine

You can Tribute this card; add 1 Field Spell Card from your Deck to your hand.

Planet Pathfinder is a monster version of Terraforming, but in most scenarios Terraforming or the theme specific Field card searchers would be better. Terraforming has the advantage of being faster, and not needing to use up your normal summon. Whereas Planet Pathfinder is a monster, meaning it can be used as a defender in desperate situations, or used for an Xyz summon, which is something Terraforming cannot do. This means it’s not completely useless when you run out of Field cards.

I still think the older cards will usually be better though.

House Duston: Level 1 0/1000 Light Fiend

When this face-up card on the field is destroyed by your opponent’s card (either by battle, and it was face-up at the start of the Battle Step, or by card effect) and sent to the Graveyard: You can Special Summon any “Duston” monsters of your choice from you hand and/or Deck to anywhere on the field, but you must Special Summon an equal number on each side.

House Duston is an interesting monster, the full power of which we won’t be seeing for a long time. Right now all it can do is give you an extra blocker, whilst unfortunately also giving your opponent an extra monster. As it stands there is very little reason to use House Duston, but this will change with future sets. It seems like Konami has plans to release the individual Duston, and seem like they’ll be used to clog the opponent’s field with useless cards.

Missing Force: Level 4 1500/1000 Dark Warrior

If you control no other monsters: You can Tribute this card to target 1 monster your opponent controls; take control of it until the End Phase. You cannot Special Summon or conduct your Battle Phase the turn you activate this effect.

Missing Force is another retrained Exiled Force, except this time instead of killing another monster it steals them instead. However there are some severe restrictions on this that damages the playability of the card.

Since you cannot Special summon during the turn you use this effect, you can’t turn the stolen monster into an Xyz before the end of the turn.  You also can’t conduct your battle phase, so you’ll be unable to deal damage or take out any of your opponent’s other monsters. It also uses up your Normal summon for the turn, so you will be unable to use the stolen monster for a Tribute summon. This basically means that the vast majority of the time you’ll just end up handing the monster back.

Unless you manage to steal something like Dark Armed Dragon you really won’t be able to do much with the monster, and won’t actually be able to get rid of it.

The only real way around this would be to use a card like Mystic Tomato or Call of the Haunted to summon them during the opponent’s turn, and then use the stolen monster for a Tribute summon on your turn. This may well be more effort than it’s worth though.

Forbidden Dress: Quickplay Spell Card

Target 1 face-up monster on the field; until the End Phase, that target loses 600 ATK, but it cannot be targeted or destroyed by other card effects.

Forbidden Dress is the latest of the ‘Forbidden’ items alongside the Chalice and Lance. Like all the others it modifies a monster’s attack, whilst also applying a bonus effect. In this case it grants immunity to targeting and destruction.

Immunity to targeting might seem useful on the surface, but when you realise it won’t stop effects that have already targeted the monster, you realise that this part of the effect will rarely do anything useful. To actually stop targeting you’ll have to use it preemptively, guessing what your opponent may have. This could often end up being wasted if this is your plan.

Immunity to destruction is the far more useful part though, since it can protect your monster and help maintain your field presence. However compared to Forbidden Lance which can protect from all Spell and Trap cards the only extra protection this gives is from Monsters. The problem there is that there’s a reasonable chance that if you’ve used Forbidden Dress to stop a monster from destroying yours with their effect, they’ll now be able to kill your monster in battle.

In most scenarios you will probably be better off sticking to Forbidden Lance instead.

Mind Pollutant: Normal Spell Card

Discard 1 monster to target 1 monster of that Level your opponent controls; take control of that target until the End Phase.

Mind Pollutant is a newer version of cards like Brain Control and Change of Heart, except it comes with a higher cost and more restrictions than those much older banned cards. Mind Pollutant requires you to have a monster in your hand, and not just that, but one that matches a monster on your opponent’s side of the field. In most cases this will probably mean you’ll be stealing  a Level 4 monster. Sometimes it will mean there’s a complete mismatch of cards and you’ll be unable to use it though.

Fortunately though once you’ve stolen the monster there are no restrictions on what you can do with it, so you’ll be able to turn it against its old owner.

The Humble Sentry: Normal Spell Card

Reveal your hand, choose 1 card from it, and shuffle it into the Deck.

This is clearly a joke card and a reverse Forceful Sentry. There’s no reason to use this unless you’re intent on taunting your opponent.

Battle Break: Normal Trap Card

When an opponent’s monster declares an attack: Your opponent can reveal 1 monster in their hand to negate this card’s effect, otherwise destroy the attacking monster, then end the Battle Phase.

Battle Break is the latest in a long line of traps which are capable of ending the Battle Phase, but offers both advantages and disadvantages compared to the other versions. The main advantage it offers is that it actually gets rid of the attacking monster, something cards like Threatening Roar cannot do. This means you can deal with threats immediately, rather than delay it for a turn, whilst also protecting yourself from follow up attacks. However you’ll still have to deal with those other cards afterwards.

On the other hand this card has disadvantages when compared to some of the other cards which end or skip the Battle Phase. For one, it’s not chainable, meaning you can’t use it to draw out your opponent’s Spell / Trap removal, whilst still keeping yourself protected. The biggest problem with this card though, is the drawback attached to the fact you’re getting a more powerful effect. Your opponent can simply reveal a monster in their hand to stop this card.

As a result, this card is wildly inconsistent and likely to fail more often than not. If you play a stall deck, your opponent’s hand will likely be clogged with monsters, making it useless. If you play a normal deck, the best time to use Battle Break would be when you’re both running out of resources, since it’s less likely to be stopped. However even then, the only time you could guarantee it working would be when your opponent has no hand.

In general you’d be better off sticking to cards which destroy / banish monsters, like Mirror Force or Dimensional Prison, or simply end / skip the battle phase, such as Threatening Road or Thunder of Ruler, rather than mixing them in Battle Break.

Memory of an Adversary: Normal Trap Card

When an opponent’s monster declares an attack: You take damage equal to the attacking monster’s ATK, and if you do, banish that monster. During the End Phase of your opponent’s next turn, Special Summon that monster to your side of the field.

Memory of an Adversary is a potentially useful Trap card that allows you to steal one of your opponent’s monsters, and permanently too. However it has restrictive activation requirements, and could hurt you quite a lot. Unlike other cards which allow you to steal cards from your opponent when you want to, this has to wait for your opponent to attack. Usually this shouldn’t be too hard, but it does mean you can’t touch a monster your opponent refuses to attack with. On top of this you’ll also take damage equal to the monster’s attack, meaning that after a certain point this card becomes useless. It also doesn’t offer much in the way of immediate protection. You will also need to wait an entire turn before you get their monster. In the intervening time it might become irrelevant or you could lose in that time. You will definitely need a plan for how you’ll survive that extra turn, because this card certainly cannot be used as last ditch protection.

However once you do steal the monster you get to keep it and do whatever you want with it. There are also a few advantages offered by this card over conventional methods of stealing monsters. Firstly it doesn’t target, allowing you to get around cards with immunity to that. It also Special summons your opponent’s monster back to the field, potentially allowing you to reuse some effects. This does however leave the monster open to cards like Bottomless Trap Hole or Torrential Tribute though.

Magic Deflector: Normal Trap Card

For the rest of this turn, negate all Equip, Field, Continuous and Quick-Play Spell Card effects on the field.

Magic Deflector is a similar card to Trap Stun, except of course for Spell cards, but it isn’t quite as far reaching. Rather than stopping all Spell cards for the turn, it excludes normal and Ritual Spell cards from its influence, not that many people use the latter. This means it can’t be used as an easy one turn answer to Spell cards, and will instead be relegated to helping defeat more specific decks. This is because for most standard decks its power won’t often extend beyond stopping Mystical Space Typhoon.

Magic Deflector would could be used to slow down decks that rely on Continuous / Field cards, like Samurai or Gravekeepers. Or alternatively break through cards like Level Limit Area B that are slowing you down.

I don’t think this card is likely to be anything more than a potential Side Deck card, and even then this would be entirely dependent on what decks are popular at the time.

That Wacky Alchemy!: Normal Trap Card

If a face-up Spell Card(s) in your opponent’s Spell & Trap Card Zones is sent to the Graveyard: You can Target 1 face-up monster on the field; destroy that target.

That Wacky Alchemy! is an interesting Trap card, offering targettd removal against your opponent’s monsters, or if you’re desperate your own. Compared to other targeted removal, it trades off a cost or later drawback in favour of a restrictive activation requirement. Fortunately though, this isn’t as hard to achieve as you might initially think.

At first glance you might wonder how you’d ever be able to use this card against the majority of decks, since they don’t play Equip, Field or Continuous Spell cards, making it quite difficult for a face up Spell card to make it to the graveyard. What you may not realise, is that any Spell card that your opponent plays will be face up on the field when they activate it. This means that any time they activate a normal or Quick-Play Spell card, once it’s resolved, you’ll be able to use That Wacky Alchemy!.

However, since this card will rely on what your opponent, you may find it too restrictive. Sometimes it will be a deadly surprise for the opponent. Other times you’ll end up stuck with it for ages waiting to do something with it, only for it to be destroyed by Mystical Space Typhoon. I suspect that for a fair few decks, only about a quarter of it will set this card off. The deck that this will probably work best against is Prophecy, which will be making use of a lot of Spell Cards.

Cash Back: Counter Trap Card

When your opponent activates a Spell/Trap Card, or monster effect, by paying their Life Points: Negate the activation, and if you do, return it to the Deck.

Cash Back is a Counter Trap that can ruin cards with a Life Point cost, which are usually very powerful effects. What’s more it sends them back to the deck, which is both a blessing and a curse. It will allow your opponent to reuse the card, should they draw it, which is not usually something you can do with Spell / Trap cards. However it does prevent them from immediately reviving a monster, which is a bonus. There’s no guarantee they’ll ever see the card again that game, but you’ll probably be a bit annoyed if you stop their power card, but see it again in a few turns.

The problem though is finding cards to use this on. The most common would of course be one of the Solemn Trio, but even these aren’t used by every deck. Outside of these it’s fairly rare to see cards with Life Points costs used, but you will find them in a few themed decks, such as Venus in Agents and Judgment Dragon in Lightsworn.

Unification: Continuous Trap Card

Once per turn, during each player’s Standby Phase: The turn player declares a Level from among the face-up monster they control, then sends all face-up monsters they control with a different Level to the Graveyard.

Unification is similar to Gozen Match and Rivalry of Warlords except for Levels, however it imposes much looser restrictions on the game. Instead of restricting what Levels you can have on the field at a time, it repeatedly gets rid of those which don’t match. This can potentially get rid of cards much faster, but doesn’t slow down the pace of the game, and mess up your opponent’s plans as much as the older cards.

Since you can still play cards of whatever Level you like during your turn, you will still be able to conduct your turns as normal, something you are usually unable to do under Rivalry or Gozen. On the one hand it means you’ll have to adjust your strategies less to accommodate this card, but on the other it means you won’t be able to shut down your opponent’s most powerful plays. Another matter to consider is that because it only affects Levels, meaning Xyz monsters are free from it’s influence, which, as with the rest of the card, is both a blessing and a curse.

The timing for this effect is also not particularly convenient, activating during the Standby Phase. This is probably the least effective time it could activate, since it’s likely to be when a player’s field is least powerful, having just taken hits from the opponent’s attacking force, and it allows for the field to be rebuilt each turn, preventing the other player from taking full advantage of any gaps this card creates.

Compared to its older relatives I don’t think Unification offers a great enough degree of disruption to the flow of the game. In addition, since most decks now focus on Xyz summoning, it wouldn’t be uncommon for this card to do nothing for several turns, either due to the presence of Xyz monsters, or just monsters with matching Levels.

Retort: Counter Trap Card

What did I do wrong? Why's everyone unhappy with me?

When your opponent activates a Spell/Trap Card with the same name as one in your Graveyard: Negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that card. Then you can add 1 card with that name from your Graveyard to your hand.

The final card from the original set is Retort, a powerful Counter Trap that would probably find most use in mirror matches. When used successfully Retort could turn the tide of the game, but how often this will happen is another matter.

In general there are some cards that most decks will play. In terms of Spells this usually consists of Monster Reborn, Dark Hole, Heavy Storm and probably Mystical Space Typhoon. For Traps this may include the Solemn Trio, Torrential Tribute, Bottomless Trap Hole and Mirror Force. These are all powerful cards and the ability to stop them whilst returning your own copy to your hand is undeniably a useful effect. Not only could this ruin your opponent’s plans, but it could also give yours a sudden boost. However this is only a handful of cards, and you can’t guarantee you’ll be able to use Retort when they are played. During the early parts of the game it’s also likely that Retort will be dead, because you won’t have drawn and used these cards for yourself.

As mentioned above, Retort would find its best uses in mirror matches, where in addition to all the regular shared Spell and Trap cards, you’ll also both be running theme specific cards as well. So for example with HERO decks you can add on cards like E-Emergency Call, Miracle Fusion and Hero Blast. Whether to Side Deck this card then comes down to how often you think you’d be facing the mirror match, and whether your deck actually has enough additional Spell / Trap cards to justify using Retort. If the deck only runs 1 or 2 extra cards it’ll not really be worth using Retort. Likewise if you reckon you’ll face very small numbers of mirror matches, it won’t be worth running just on the off chance you’ll meet the same deck. The space would instead be better suited to a card that could handle problem decks instead.

Now that we’re finally finished with the card from the original Abyss Rising set, it’s time to look at the World Exclusives and the OCG imports.

Abyss Rising Overview Part 7: Xyz cards

As with all sets since they were introduced, Abyss Rising contains new cards to help with Xyz summons and new Xyz monsters to summon.

Grandram: Level 4 0/1400 Earth Rock

If your opponent controls a face-up Xyz Monster, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand) in face-up Attack Position.

Grandram is the Xyz version of Guldfaxe, in that he allows you to set up your own quick Xyz summon to counter your opponent’s, much like how Guldfaxe allows with Synchros. Unfortunately though, Grandram has much weaker stats, meaning he’s not going to be much use for anything but Xyz summons. Whereas Guldfaxe can at least hit things. I suppose this might be because any deck can run Xyz monsters, so it’s much more likely you’ll be facing them, whatever deck your opponent plays, compared to Synchros when Guldfaxe was created. Honestly I think there are probably better options out there for quick Rank 4 monsters.

Solar Wind Jammer: Level 5 800/2400 Light Machine

If you control no monsters, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand), but its original ATK and DEF become halved. During each of your Standby Phases: Increase the Level of this card by 1. There can only be 1 face-up “Solar Wind Jammer” on the field.

Solar Wind Jammer is another way to aid in Xyz summons, except this time for higher ranked monsters. It’s probably more likely he’ll be used to help make Rank 5 cards, because if you special summon him, his stats will be too weak to last until the next turn. If you want to use Solar Wind Jammer to create higher Ranked monsters, you’ll probably need to rely on tribute setting him and having the opponent attack him instead. You’ll then just have to sit behind him and hope your opponent can’t kill him before he reaches the desired level.

One issue with Solar Wind Jammer is that the level increase happens every single turn. This could mean that if you don’t draw the correct cards in time that he’ll become useless for Xyz summons, since his level will become too large to match with any of your other monsters.

As such I think you’ll probably end of up using Solar Wind Jammer for Rank 5s most of the time, or when desperate for Tribute summons. Due to its low attack power you might also use it in conjunction with Tannhäuser Gate, which as you’ll see later features this card in the artwork.

Number C32: Shark Drake Veiss: Rank 4 2800/2100 Water Sea Serpent

4 Level 4 WATER monsters
You can also Xyz Summon this card by using a “Number 32: Shark Drake” you control as the Xyz Material. (Xyz Materials attached to that monster also become Xyz Materials on this card.) During either player’s turn, if your Life Points are 1000 or less: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card and banish 1 monster from your Graveyard to target 1 face-up monster on the field; that target’s ATK and DEF become 0 until the End Phase.

C32 is our second Chaos Number, and has one of the most difficult to achieve summoning requirements in the game. Getting 4 monsters on the field can be a struggle for some decks, let alone ones of the same level, that also happen to all be water. However I find it unlikely that you’ll play a deck where you only plan on summoning the Chaos Number version of Shark Drake. In this case you can easily just upgrade the normal version of Shark Drake instead, which only requires 3 Level 4s and the attribute does’t matter.

Once summoned C32 only becomes useful once you get below 1000 Life Points, otherwise he’s just a beatstick, and at only 2800 you’d be better off just keeping all of the Level 4s instead. Once you do get below 1000 though, it means you can start punching holes in your opponent’s field. During your turn you can weaken any wall or boss monster your opponent has, allowing C32 or another of your monsters to cause a huge amount of damage, whilst also dodging Gorz. Under the right circumstances you might even be able to kill your opponent in one fell swoop, by dropping all of their monsters to 0 and running them all over. I do question how often you’ll be able to pull this off though, considering you’ll have already put 3 monsters into C32.

Since the effect can also be used in your opponent’s turn it means you can protect C32 and your other monsters from attacks, by stopping any threat coming after them. This will be especially important for you, since at less than 1000 Life Points you need to do whatever you can to protect yourself from taking damage.

One potential use you could have for C32 is using him as a way to upgrade your opponent’s Shark Drake, instead of giving it back to them. Unfortunately, unlike with C39 I don’t really see this happening, since very few people run the original anyway.

One-Eyed Skill Gainer: Level 4 2500/2600 Light Warrior

3 Level 4 monsters
You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card to target 1 face-up Xyz Monster your opponent controls; this card’s name and original effect become the same as that monster. This effect can only be used once while this card is face-up on the field.

Our next new Xyz monster also requires a big investement of 3 Level 4 monsters, which means he has to compete for extra deck space against game changing cards like Shock Master. As you might have guessed from his name, this card is all about gaining other Xyz monster’s effects. This unfortunately means that One-Eyed Skill Gainer will only ever be as strong as the best Xyz your opponent has to offer at the time. This means you can’t always guarantee he’ll have anything to steal when you want to make him.

There are two general scenarios under which you might summon One-Eyed Skill Gainer, and that’s assuming you don’t choose a different Xyz monster instead. In the first scenario the opponent has an Xyz monster smaller than One-Eyed Skill Gainer. This means you’ll be summoning him in order to steal an effect, rather than to aid in defeating the monster. This could be quite useful when facing monsters like Gachi Gachi Gantetsu or Wind-Up Zenmaines, since their protection effects become even deadlier when attached to a monster with 2500 attack.

In the second scenario the opponent has a monster that is more powerful than One-Eyed Skill Gainer. In which case you’ll be summoning him in order to turn their own effect against themselves. For example you could copy Number 11: Big Eye, and then steal the monster itself. A play like this could lead to a massive shift in momentum, but it would usually be questionable how you’d manage to get 3 Level 4s onto the field when staring down some of your opponent’s most powerful monsters.

A potential other use for One-Eyed Skill Gainer is to act as a deterrent against your opponent summoning certain monsters. If they cannot deal with One-Eyed Skill Gainer they may refrain from summoning certain monsters that might normally prolong the game, since they know the effect will just be turned against them. However I’d be wary of investing 3 cards into a monster based solely on this, especially since there will be plenty of other ways to deal with him.

Number 9: Dyson Sphere: Rank 9 2800/3000 Light Machine

It was a surprise when Dyson announced their expansion into the orbital weapons business

2 Level 9 monsters
Once per Battle Step, during your opponent’s turn, if this card with Xyz Material is attacked: Negate the attack (this is a Quick Effect). When this card is targeted for an attack, while it has no Xyz Materials: You can target 2 monsters in your Graveyard; attach those targets to this card as Xyz Materials. During your Main Phase 1: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; this card can attack your opponent directly this turn. Your opponent must control a monster with higher ATK than this card for you to activate and to resolve this effect.

Dyson Sphere is a very annoying monster to face, but is thankfully fairly difficult to summon outside of decks designed for that specific purpose.

To summon Dyson Sphere you need two Level 9 monsters, which is one of the least used Levels in the game. Thankfully though there are cards which allow you to get around this problem. Cards like Tannhauser Gate, which we’ll see later, or Lemuria, which we saw in a previous article, can be used to increase the Levels of your monsters to higher than normal, meaning you don’t actually need to play any Level 9s. If you do however play a Level 9 and manage to summon it, then Galaxy Queen’s Light can be used to turn all your other monsters into Level 9s, giving you instant access to Dyson Sphere.

Once summoned Dyson Sphere can be quite a handful to deal with. Not only are its attack and defense more than most decks can handle, if they do manage to summon something larger, or otherwise threatening, Dyson Sphere can just negate the attack. On top of this, once the opponent musters a monster more powerful than Dyson Sphere, it then gains the ability to attack directly, meaning Dyson Sphere will be able finish the opponent off even faster than before.

What’s more, Dyson Sphere can keep on resupplying itself with materials every time it gets attacked once it runs out. They don’t even have to be the same materials, so you could reuse cards that get their effects when sent to the Graveyard. This could leave the opponent with a quandry. By sticking to smaller monsters, Dyson Sphere can keep on picking them off. By summoning something larger, they still can’t stop Dyson Sphere and they’ll be taking direct hits instead. However if you refuse to attack Dyson Sphere, it will eventually run out of materials, and you’ll be forced into a standoff until one of you draws some removal. The user of Dyson Spere could try using cards like Battle Mania though to get around this, forcing the opponent’s monsters to attack.

The easiest way around Dyson Sphere for most decks would be to simply get rid of it via removal like Dark Hole or Torrential Tribute, just as you would with any large monster. If you were building around Dyson Sphere though, you would probably be using countermeasures to cards like this. Another strategy for decks which can summons cards larger than Dyson Sphere, would be to try and incorporate Macro Cosmos somehow. Eventually it would run out of materials and go down in battle.

Gagagigo the Risen: Rank 4 2950/2800 Water Reptile

3 Level 4 monsters

Gagagigo the Risen is a continuation of the Gagagigo storyline, showing his redemption from his crazed cyborg form in Gogiga Gagagigo. (Check name). He’s simply a massive vanilla Xyz monster, so there’s not too much that can be said about him. If you desperately need a monster with 2950 attack you might opt to summon him, but usually you’d be better off keeping the 3 monsters, or making something with an actual effect instead.

Tannhauser Gate: Normal Spell Card

Target 2 monsters you control of the same Type with 1000 or less ATK; both monsters’ Levels become the combined Level of those 2 monsters.

Tannhauser gate is a new Spell card that aids in summoning powerful Xyz monsters that decks wouldn’t normally have access to. Due to the restrictions on using the card, you can’t just fit it into any old deck. You need monsters that are the same type, and have less than 1000 attack, which immediately locks out decks that mix Types and rely on big monsters. I would assume this is meant as a balancing mechanism for the card, since otherwise it would allow decks already capable of summoning powerful Xyz to summon even more powerful ones.

Decks which mainly focus on small monsters can often be locked out of  Xyz monsters of Rank 4 and above, and this could give them access to those monsters. It will also be useful when levels are mismatched, since it allows you to Xyz summon by combining monsters that normally could never join forces. So for example you could combine low and high level cards to make an even higher Ranked Xyz monster, as depicted on the card itself. As the card shows, you could combine Planet Pathfinder (Level 4) with Solar Wind Jammer (Level 5) you could make a Rank 9 such as Dyson Sphere. Given the whole space theme going on, I can only assume that this is more or less what a character in the Anime did.

Tannhauser Gate will also find uses with cards that revive another card upon being summoned, such as Debris Dragon or Black Salvo. This will at least partly make up for the fact that using Tannhauser Gate for an Xyz summon is inherently more costly than just performing an Xyz summon on its own.

Final Gesture: Normal Spell Card

Target 1 face-up Level 3 monster you control; Special Summon 1 monster with the same name as that monster from your hand or Graveyard. Its effects are negated. During the End Phase of this turn, destroy the face-up monster that was targeted by this card.

Final gesture is yet another card intended to aid in summoning Rank 3 Xyz monsters, but requires quite a lot more commitment compared to far easier options, like Tour Guide from the Underworld. I suppose it could also be useful for summoning monsters which require 2 tributes, but once again there are much better options for this. It could also be combined with Proto Cyber Dragon to aid in fusion summoning the larger Cyber cards.

Since the summoned card has its effects negated, and you lose the original copy at the end of the turn, you’ll essentially be left with deadweight afterwards unless you perform one of the above actions, since Level 3s aren’t exactly known for their astounding stats. Although something like Photon Sabre Tiger may benefit from this.

Xyz Xtreme !!: Normal Trap Card

When an Xyz Monster you control is destroyed by battle: Pay 1000 Life Points; you reveal 1 Xyz Monster from the Extra Deck with a Rank less than or equal to that destroyed monster’s, and so can your opponent (simultaneously). The player who revealed the monster with lower ATK takes damage equal to the difference between the the revealed monsters’ ATK’s. If the opponent doesn’t reveal a monster, inflict damage to your opponent equal to the ATK of your revealed monster.

The final Xyz related card is Xyz Xtreme !!, which punishes the opponent for destroying your Xyz monsters in battle, whilst also giving both of you informartion about each others Extra decks. However this extra information is probably largely unimportant, since most of the time you’ll be able to make a reasonable guess about what each other is using.

For many ordinary decks this card won’t be much good, since the opponent will probably just be able to reveal their own copy of the same card. For example for Rank 4 and 3s you’ll both probably be reaching for Acid Golem. If you make use of smaller Rank 1 or 2 monsters, your opponent often won’t, so you could get some damage in this way, although to be honest it’s not worth it compared to just running a burn card instead. You’ll only leave yourself 100 better off with Rank 1s and 600 better off with Rank 2s.

If you use a deck with higher ranked monsters you could get access to monsters your opponent can’t possibly match, there’s just the slight problem of how the origianl Xyz monster is going to die in battle, considering your opponent usually won’t have anything bigger than it. If we just assume that you need to beat the baseline of Acid Golem, then add on the 1000 Life Points it cost to use the card, you’ll need to reveal something with over 4000 attack just to break even. Even Superdimensional Robot Galaxy Destroyer will only leave you 1000 better off, and if your opponent just killed another copy of that card, or Gustav Max, in battle you’re probably about to lose anyway. Honestly it’s just far easier to use cards like Just Desserts or Secret Barrel to cause burn damage.

I’ll be back next time looking at the remaining cards from the original set, before looking at the World Exclusives and the OCG imports.

Abyss Rising Preview Part 6: Heraldic & Remaining themes

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

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

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

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.

Union

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?

Penguin

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.

Spellcaster

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.

Machine

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.

Abyss Rising Preview Part 5: Madolche

Madolche were another theme introduced last set, with the aim to bring more girls into the game through their cute cards. They also have an interesting deck mechanic and several powerful cards, and only get stronger with the introduction of their Queen and other new cards.

Madolche Croiwanssant: Level 3 1500/1200 Earth Beast

When this card you control is destroyed by your opponent’s card (either by battle or by effect) and sent to your Graveyard: Shuffle this card into your Deck. Once per turn: You can target 1 other face-up “Madolche” card you control; return that target to the hand, and if you do, increase this card’s Level by 1 and ATK by 300.

Up first is Croiwanssant, a new Beast monster for the deck. He provides a new attacking force for the deck, as well as allowing you to reuse some of your cards. Being a Beast means he can be used alongside Messengelato, who we’ll see later. Cards that you may want to recycle with this card include Chateau in order to empty your Graveyard, or Magileine, in order to search for more free cards.

Normally Croiwanssant only has 1500 attack, but with Chateau this will reach a pretty strong 2000. If you start adding on his effect he can be 1800(2300) and can keep on growing every turn he lives for. After a turn or two he’ll be big enough that the opponent will be forced to use removal to get rid of him, which will just deplete their resources if you have Chateau around.

He can also be used to aid in Xyz summons, since he can continually increase his Level. You’ll probably end up using this effect to aid in summoning Tiaramisu though.

Madolche Marmamaid: Level 4 800/2000 Earth Spellcaster

When this card you control is destroyed by your opponent’s card (either by battle or by effect) and sent to your Graveyard: Shuffle this card into your Deck. When this card is flipped face-up: You can target 1 “Madolche” Spell/Trap Card in your Graveyard; add that target to your hand.

Marmamaid is another wall for the deck, in addition to allowing you to retrieve a Spell / Trap card from your Graveyard. This will help you to recycle used or destroyed cards, and just builds up your resources. Unfortunately, currently most of the Madolche cards you want to use are either Field or Continuous Spell cards, meaning that there’s a good chance they’ll stay on the field for a long time. It does make it easier to recover after your opponent uses a card like Heavy Storm on you though.

If we ever got more useful normal Spell cards for the deck she could get much more powerful. However for now she’ll probably be used to help make sure you’re never without their Chateau.

Madolche Messengelato: Level 4 1600/1000 Earth Warrior

When this card you control is destroyed by your opponent’s card (either by battle or by effect) and sent to your Graveyard: Shuffle this card into your Deck. When this card is Special Summoned, if you control a Beast-Type “Madolche” monster: You can add 1 “Madolche” Spell/Trap Card from your Deck to your hand.

Messengelato is the last of the new Madolche effect monsters, and gives the deck a powerful searching effect. Whilst his effect is more powerful than Butlerusk, it is also a little bit more restrictive. Instead of just searching for Chateau, he can get any Madolche Spell / Trap from your deck. Whilst this will often be Chateau anyway, you can also get Madolche Ticket, which we’ll get to soon enough. If you choose to run any other Madolche Spell / Trap cards you could also get those, but these are likely to be the two most common.

However whereas Bulterusk get his effect when normal summoned alongside a Madolche, Messengelato only gets his when special summoned alongside a Beast type Madolche. This essentially means that under most circumstances you’ll only be able to get this effect via summoning him with Mewfeuille. If he somehow ends up in the Graveyard then Monster Reborn could be used. In very rare instances you might be able to combine him with Madolche Ticket, but it’s probably unlikely you’ll have both a Fairy and a Beast on the field at the same time.

Queen Madolche Tiaramisu: Rank 4 2200/2100 Earth Fairy

2 Level 4 “Madolche” monsters
Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card to target up to 2 “Madolche” cards in your Graveyard; shuffle those targets into the Deck, then shuffle cards your opponent controls into the Deck up to the number of cards returned.

The final new Madolche monster is their Queen, and she’s a very powerful Xyz monster. Her summoning requirements could be a little tricky, but once she’s out she can start to destroy your opponent’s resources.

Since she requires two Level 4 Madolche, you can’t for example just instantly summon her via Mewfeuille. Unless you have a card like Ultimate Offering or Double Summon, you’ll usually need to wait two turns before summoning Tiaramisu. In addition, since most of your Madolche are small without Chateau you may struggle to keep them on the field long enough, if you’ve yet to draw Chateau. Once you do though it should become much easier to keep them alive long enough.

Once you successfully summon Tiaramisu though, your opponent will be in for a whole load of trouble. On her own she can get rid of up to two cards per turn, and what’s more she sends them to the deck. By sending them to the deck it can dodge protection effects, and it also means the opponent can’t resummon them immediately like they could when they go to the Graveyard or become banished. Often it can be very hard to get cards straight out of the deck, especially for Spell / Trap cards which tend to have fewer ways of searching them. Often once a card goes back into the deck your opponent will never see it again. However you do have to be aware that due to the inherent randomness of the deck, your opponent could just end up drawing one of the cards you got rid of straight away.

One of the issues with her effect is the fact that you need Madolche in your Graveyard to be able to use her effect fully, and the deck is designed to avoid this happening. This could mean you end up having to discard Madolche cards or find some other way to get them into the graveyard for Tiaramisu to work. Although, since she returns Madolche cards, rather than Monsters, you could also returned destroyed or used Spell / Trap cards, easing up on this requirement slightly. However once you’ve used Tiaramisu once you’ll be able to use her a second time, since you’ll be guaranteed at least 1 Madolche in the Graveyard.

Tiaramisu gets even deadlier when combined with other cards in the theme. For example with Chateau you’ll get to add the Madolche monsters to your Hand, instead of the Deck. This could mean that in addition to getting rid of two of your opponent’s cards, you’ll also get two extra cards of your own. Combine it with the next card in the preview and as you’ll soon see you can get even more free cards out of this.

Madolche Ticket: Continuous Spell Card

When a “Madolche” card is returned from your side of the field or Graveyard to your hand or Deck by a card effect: Add 1 “Madolche” monster from your Deck to your hand. If you control a face-up Fairy-Type “Madolche” monster, you can Special Summon it in face-up Attack Position instead. The effect of “Madolche Ticket” can only be used once per turn.

Madolche Ticket is a new continuous Spell card for the deck that allows you to search for your Madolche monsters from your deck. Whenever a Madolche is returned to your deck or hand via a card effect, which is usually whenever one is destroyed, you’ll get a new Madolche. Without Chateau around this means you’ll be able to replace the defeated Madolche, whilst with Chateau you’ll actually end up with more resources than you started off with.

If you have a Fairy type Madolche around, which is currently only Puddingcess or Tiaramisu, you’ll get to summon the monster instead of just adding it to your Hand. This could cause lots of problems when your opponent is trying to stop your assaults. This will be most deadly when combined with Tiaramisu and Chateau, since you could get rid of two of your opponent’s cards, get back two of your own, and to top it all off summon a new monster to your field. After this it should be very easy to deal a lot of damage to your opponent.

As a way of balancing the card, Ticket’s effect can only be used once per turn. This means you can’t play multiple copies and search or summon lots of cards and you also can’t repeatedly use the same single copy.

Madolche Happy Festa: Normal Trap Card

Special Summon any number of “Madolche” monsters from your hand. During the End Phase, all monsters that were Special Summoned by this effect are shuffled into the Deck(s).

Finally we have Madolche Happy Festa, which allows you to swarm the field in one go and end the game quickly. However if you don’t use it sensibly you could end up losing a huge number of your own cards in one swoop.

Ideally you’ll want to end the game on the turn you play this, by swarming with the Madolche gathered in your hand. However if you don’t you’ll want to use the monsters for something else before they end up back in the deck. The most obvious use for this is to summon Xyz monsters, most notably of course Tiaramisu. Sometimes you might also want to summon Tiaramisu before you start your assault, and this will give you possibly the easiest way to achieve that.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed the look at the latest sweet cards from the Madolche kingdom, hopefully we’ll see some more in the future.

Come back next time when I’ll be looking at the remaining themed cards in the set, including the new Heraldic cards.

Abyss Rising Preview Part 4: Prophecy and Spellbook

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.

Abyss Rising Preview Part 3: Heroic

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.