Old Meets New – My First Take on a Pendulum Deck!

Well, dear readers, Konami is ushering in a new ear of Yu-Gi-Oh! with the introduction of Pendulum Monsters and Pendulum Summoning. For once I want to “jump” the bandwagon and be “in with the crowd”, after having defied the Synchro and XYZ-craze thoroughly when it was oh-so hot and just build a Pendulum Deck – but not an ordinary one, one, with my personal touch. I will give you my work-in-progress decklist, which tries to mix old and new, right away and will provide my extensive commentary afterwards! So here comes…

 Normal Pendulum:

Monsters…21

3 x Radiant/Flash Knight (Pendulum Monster)

3 x Focault’s (Spellstone) Cannon (Pendulum Monster)

3 x Tune Warrior

3 x Curse of Dragon

3 x Parrot Dragon

3 x Millenium Shield

3 x Blue Dragon Summoner

Spells…14

3 x Summoner’s Art

3 x Dark Factory of Mass Production

3 x White Elephant’s Gift

3 x Heart of the Underdog

2 x Reinforcement of the Army

Traps…5

3 x Call of the Haunted

1 x Mirror Force

1 x Skill Drain

Extra…15

3 x Adreus, Keeper of Armageddon

3 x Number 61: Volcasaurus

2 x Gem-Knight Pearl

2 x Daigusto Emeral

1 x Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction

2 x Number 17: Leviathan Dragon

2 x Stardust Dragon

About the Deck:

When brainstorming Pendulum Summoning deck ideas, I saw myself faced with two problems, or rather challenges as I see it. First off, the biggest problem would be to get your two different Pendulum Monsters into your hand and set up on the field both fast and reliably. The other problem or challenge would be to create a constant influx of Monsters to be Pendulum Summoned. It did not take too long until it dawned upon me that a NORMAL MONSTER Deck would provide great solutions to both problems, as there are pretty nice searchers for Normal Monsters AND Normal Monster Decks have amazing draw power, especially through one card: The amazing Heart of the Underdog:

So thank the gods of gaming that Konami also made proper Normal Pendulum Monsters. The two I am using are perfect for the deck I had in mind. Have a look:

At the lower spectrum we have Focault’s Cannon with a Level of 5 and a Scale of 2:

… and at the high end of the scale we have the Level 4 Normal Warrior Radiant Knight (Flash Knight) with a scale of 7:

These two Pendulum Monsters will give us a scale “spectrum” ranging from Levels 3 to 6! This meant for me that I was going to include Monsters from those Levels in the deck, with the ultimate goal of XYZ-ing them into some nasty things. For this purpose, I focused on Level / Rank 5 Monsters, as there are quite some powerful XYZs I like at this particular Rank, such as Adreus, Keeper of Armageddoon and Number 61: Vulcasaurus. So this deck had to do the following things:

  • Seek out and set up the Pendulum Scale formed by Focault’s Cannon and Radiant Knight early and reliably
  • Provide a constant influx of new Monsters to be Pendulum Summoned in order to…
  • …XYZ-Summon (or to a lesser extent Synchro-Summon) nasty things!

Here are my card choices with which I tried to achieve these three goals:

You can easily search out the missing “Pendulum parts” by means of some Spells. The as of the latest ban-list semi-restricted Reinforcement of the Army fetches Radiant Knight, whereas Summoner’s Art fetches Level 5 Focault’s Cannon instantly, as well as any of your Level 5 Normal Monsters, whatever you need most. Your universal searcher however is Blue Dragon Summoner. Included in the Super Starter Space-Time Showdown, as seen on my previous post, Blue Dragon Summoner lets you add ANY 1 Normal Spellcaster, Dragon or Warrior from deck to hand. And yes, that would include EITHER of your Pendulum Parts, one being a Warrior and one a Spellcaster and both counting as Normal Monsters.

Ample amounts of Monsters will be drawn through Heart of the Underdog, as shown above, which will also trigger when you draw one of your Pendulum Monsters, which do count as Normal Monsters as well, and White Elephant’s Gift. The latter lets you tribute one Normal Monster to draw 2 cards. Imagine you got 5 Normal Monsters Pendulum Summoned. You can overlay 4 of them for 2 XYZ and can then sac the remaining one to draw 2 cards… how convenient! Dark Factory of Mass Production lets you retrieve any 2 Normal Monsters from your graveyard so you have ample backup for future Pendulum action! Call of the Haunted reanimates any Monster as well so you can XYZ again and again.

The actual XYZ-materials are mostly Level 5 Monsters, all of them pretty old-school and considered more or less unplayable. Curse of Dragon and the lesser known Parrot Dragon are both Lv 5 Normal Dragon Monsters with a lackluster 2000 ATK and Millenium Shield is a Lv 5 Warrior with a respectable 3000 DEF (and only 0 ATK). All three can be fetched by Summoner’s Art and via the effect of Blue Dragon Summoner. All three make for exquisite XYZ options such as Adreus, Keeper of Armageddon…

… as well as the well-known Number 61: Volcasaurus and possibly more. Note that Focault’s Cannon is Level 5 as well and excess copies can be used in Pendulum Summons leading to XYZ-Summons subsequently.

There’s also the possibility to Synchro Summon into a Stardust Dragon using Lv 3 Tune Warrior and any of your many Lv 5 Monsters. Obviously the inclusion of Synchros in the Lv 3 – 6 Pendulum range would be a good thing, as you can Pendulum Summon Monsters with a Level straight from your Extra Deck, which would include Synchro Monsters!

Well obviously, and I state it clearly once again, this deck is a work-in-progress and highly experimental. Thank goodness there exist such things as the YGOPRO App for Android, where you’ll always find opponents to test decks with, and if not, there is also an AI mode to boot! I will further refine this first Pendulum Summoning deck idea of mine and look into the subject of other possible Pendulum builds in the future and promise to keep you updated on my “findings”!

So thank you for reading and let us welcome the new era of Pendulum Monsters with great furore!!

Game on!!

Yours,

Andi

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YGO: Super Starter Spacetime Showdown Unboxing & Review

Dear readers and friends of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG!

It is Yu-Gi-Oh! Starter time once again and this time, the “Super Starter Space-Time Showdown”

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…is ushering in a whole new era in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Collectibel Card Game with the introduction of Pendulum Monsters. Will it bring good times or bad? You won’t know even after reading this article, as only time will tell. What you will know after reading this unboxing and review article will be the contents of the new Starter Pack and some of my thoughts on it. That is all I can offer for now. Also I will try to explain how the new Pendulum Monsters actually work. So let us dive right into the action!

What you get in the pack:

I got my copy of the new Space-Time Showdown Super Starter for about 9 Euros (around $13 USD or so) off the internet and was mighty pleased with the contents of it:

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So what you get besides a rules booklet and a paper playmat (with the new Pendulum Zones – more on those later) is two packs of cards. One is the actual deck of 40 cards and the other a nice extra 10 cards to improve the starter deck. The deck contains two of the actual Pendulum Monsters, Stargazer Magican and Timegazer Magician…

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… as Holos as well as an assortment of 38 Common Monsters, Spells and Traps. Some of the Common Monsters are really great in my opinion and I will highlight them later on. The 10 extra cards contain one copy of Odd Eyes Dragon in holo foil as well as another foil card (mine was a Dark Hole – yay!) and 8 other non-foil Monsters, Spells and Traps.

Now to the question we have all been asking ourselves: How do the actual Pendulum Monsters work? I will explain it briefly:

Each Pendulum Monster as seen in the above photo is half Spell and half Monster (Normal or Effect) card and can be played as a Monster regularly. However you can activate it as you would do with a Spell. In the latter case, you have to put it in either of the two new Pendulum Zones which are located in to the left and to the right of the Monster and Spell/Trap card zones. Having one Pendulum Zone occupied by a Pendulum Monster will do nothing at all. However, once both Pendulum Zones are occupied by Pendulum Monsters, you get to Pendulum Summon once during your turn, during either Main Phase. Now here’s where the new “scale” stat comes in. Each Pendulum Monster has a scale, which is a value displayed to the middle left and middle right of the card, under the blue and red crystals if you look at the photo example above. When you Pendulum Summon you can Special Summon as many Monsters as you want or can from hand or Extra Deck whose Levels are in between the scale values of your two active Pendulum Monsters. If you had a Timegazer and Stargazer Magician in place, you could Summon Monsters with Levels between 2 and 7 for instance. And yes that would include Synchro Monsters from your Extra Deck. One more thing to note: When a Pendulum Monster dies it goes face-up on top of your Extra Deck, from where it can be Pendulum Summoned as a Monster again and again.

And that is how Pendulum Monsters and Pendulum Summoning works. Whether if the introduction of the same is a bad or a good thing has to be seen. Time will tell and I must admit that I cannot yet fathom all the consequences all this will have on the gameplay, flow of the game and in-game balance. Will Pendulum Monsters turn the world of dueling upside down? Probably, but only time will tell. What is certain is that the new mechanics make summoning Synchros from your Extra Deck very easy and a lot of XYZ-action is obvious with the mass-summoning potential entailed. Matter of fact I am in the process of figuring out some working Pendulum Summoning builds as I write these lines – one deck that is working preeetty well already but is still undergoing testing will be showcased in a follow-up article.

For now though, let me share some notable cards from the Super Starter Space-Time Showdown with you:

First off I would like to showcase two dragons:

Aether, the Empowering Dragon is the only card in this deck that has an Effect directly related and activated by Pendulum Summoning…

…whereas odd-eyes Dragon, whom you get in holo foil with every Super Starter Space-Time Showdown…

…has somewhat decent stats and a nice effect, however is not the best card I have seen yet overall.

What really caught my eye was a series of Monsters that interact with Normal Monsters and/or Spellcaster/Dragon/Warrior types. Those are the “Empowered Warrior” and “Summoner” Monsters.

Vendtra, the Empowered Warrior is a LV 5 Monster with 2000 ATK that can attack your opponent direclty. This is pretty mean in and off itself but when he dies, no matter how, you can add a Normal Spellcaster, Dragon or Warrior from your Graveyard to your hand. Arnis, the Empowered Warrior (LV 4) on the other hand lets you Special Summon a Spellcaster with 1500 ATK or less from your deck if she is destroyed in battle. Terratiger, the Empowered Warrior lets you Special Summon a Level 4 or lower Normal Monster when summoned, which is obviously great for some instant XYZ-action!

Next up the “Summoner” Monsters:

White Tiger Summoner does pretty much the same as Terratiger and gives all your Monsters +100 ATK and DEF which is kinda nice. Red Sparrow Summoner on the other hand lets you Special Summon a Warrior with 1500 or less ATK from your Deck when it is destroyed by battle and, my favorite, Blue Dragon Summoner lets you add ANY Normal Dragon, Spellcaster or Warrior from your Deck to your hand when sent from field to graveyard, which gives him a special spot in the next article on Pendulum Decks and in fact in my heart:

Overall I must say I find the new Pendulum Summoning concept highly intriguing and am looking forward to see what will come off it and how it will change the way we duel. As for the Super Starter Space-Time Showdown, I can only heartily recommend it as I think it is a great deal, has some interesting, new Monsters as showcased above and is a good way to explore, to some extent, then new Pendulum Monsters and Pendulum Summoning concept. Just don’t despair if you never ever get to Pendulum Summon when playing with just one Starter. The odds of drawing both your Pendulum Monsters at the right time are low and maybe you’d want to invest in a second or even a third copy of the starter if you would like to build an at least semi-serious attempt at a Pendulum Summoning deck!

All that remains for me to say is that I will follow-up shortly with my own Pendulum-musings in the form of my very first attempt at a serious Pendulum Summoning deck. Until then, I wish you all a

Happy Gaming!!

Yours,

Andi

 

YGO: Revisiting Normal Monsters – An XYZ-Perspective

Dear readers!

I hope you are able to keep up with my fast and furious postings these days. I have many ideas on my mind, both on games of my own and decks and strategy for my favorite “real” or rahter other card games. Thus I have the urge to post about Yu-Gi-Oh decks and strategy once again. Please be patient if you aren’t one of the Yu-Gi-Oh! lot at all – posts on different topics, such as on my latest game idea “The Magical 66”, will follow shortly. For now it is Yu-Gi-Oh strategy and deckbuilding once again. And yes, this is how I choose to spend my spare time on such a lush and nice Sunday afternoon like this one! 😀

So if you have been following my recent Yu-Gi-Oh related articles, you will already know that I have discovered, at long last and just at the time when a brand new Monster Type is making an appearance (I am talking about “Pendulum” Monsters which shall be dealt with once I have my new Space Time Showdown Starter Pack for a thorough review), my fondness for XYZ-Monstes and cards that enable easy Summoning of these black-bordered beasts.

When I went through my extensive YGO cards collection consisting mostly of random Common card lots I had bought on the cheap off of ebay, two common cards in particular caught my attention, one of which I included in my Star Seraph XYZ Budget Deck which I shared with you on here in a previous article a few days ago:

XYZ Reception is pretty awesome IF you focus on XYZ-Summoning Monsters of the same Rank, such as Rank 4 Number 39: Utopia in the aforementioned Star Seraph Deck. If you have a deck full of Level 4 Monsters, it becomes incredibly easy to put XYZ Reception to good use as you will in most cases have a Monster of the same Level in hand and another on the field, setting up instant XYZ-capabilities without much difficulty. The other card that caught my eye will be very useful in a deck like the one which I came up with just now and will be showing to you shortly:

Galaxy Queen’s Light is rather useful for facilitating high-Level XYZ-Summons. My favorite Monster Level happens to be Level 8, not because the Monsters at that Level are so exuberantly huge stats-wise, but rather for the reason that there is just so much great support for Level 8 Monsters such as Trade-In or the many support cards available for good-old Blue-Eyes White Dragon. The latter has a special place in my “duelist heart” as he has for many others no doubt and on top of that, there are a ton of great XYZ Monsters at Rank 8, one of which…

…requires you to overlay two Level 8 (there we go again!) Normal Monsters – emphasis on Normal.

Those who have been following my YGO-related posts may already know that I am VERY fond of Normal Monster Decks as I think they got some massive support going on and a Normal Monster Deck can be quite powerful and enjoyable if done right. So that leads me directly to the deck I have come up with, which is a Normal High Level XYZ Deck as I would call it – maybe it could be even called Normal XYZ Dragons for the fact that it runs mostly Dragon Creatures – not for the sake of their Dragon Type, but rather for the sake of their Level and Normal Monster Status! Besides 3 copies of the classic BEWD I am running tripple Rabidragon and tripple Hieratic Seal of the Sun Dragon Overlord, totalling in at 9 (!) Level 8 Normal Monsters to play around with. The latter two are a bit and considerably weaker than BEWD respectively – Seal has 0 ATK and 0 DEF even – but all that doesn’t matter in the age of XYZ.

So before I go more into detail, let me share my proposed decklist:

Rank 8 Dragon XYZ Extravaganza:

Monsters…15

3 x Flamvell Guard

3 x Alexandrite Dragon

3 x Hieratic Seal of the Sun Dragon Overlord

3 x Rabidragon

3 x Blue-Eyes White Dragon

Spells…21

3 x Ancient Rules

3 x Summoner’s Art

3 x XYZ Reception

3 x Galaxy Queen’s Light

3 x Swing of Memories

3 x Trade-In

3 x Heart of the Underdog

Traps…4

2 x Champion’s Vigilance

2 x Call of the Haunted

Extra Deck…9

3 x Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon

2 x Thunder-End Dragon

2 x Number 46: Dragluon

2 x Hieratic Sun Dragon Overlord of Heliopolis

About the Deck:

Well, there’s not much to be said about the Monsters in the Deck, as for the most part, their stats are irrelevant (though a 3000 ATK Blue-Eyes first turn and for free through Ancient Rules is nice as well) and their effects do not exist since they are all Normal Monsters, and pretty much all that counts is their (high) Level. As I pointed out above I have 9 out of a total of 15 Monsters that are Level 8, with the oddballs Alexandrite Dragon (Level 4) and Flamvell Guard (Level 1). The former is just in for his awesome 2000 ATK and can be “tuned up” to a Level 8 by means of Galaxy Queen’s Light whereas you can do the same with the latter, but the main reason that Flamvell Guard made the cut is the fact that he is a Level 1 TUNER, so you can Synchro into an Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon if you want to take that route. It has to be noted that there are precious few Monsters in this deck overall. However there are tons of quality Spells that should make up for that deficiency – if it even is one.

First off, the fact that this is a Normal Monsters only deck lets me run what I think is one of the most potent draw engines in existance in the YGO TCG so far, if only you run enough Normal Monsters: Heart of the Underdog. This Continuous Spell lets you draw another card whenever you draw a Normal Monster during your Draw-Phase. And another if it was a Normal Monster again and another and another and another… Heart of the Underdog ensures your supply of Normal Monsters needed direly to swarm the field with XYZs will not run dry and also interacts greatly with one of my big-bad XYZ-behemoths, which will be detailed later on.

Making up for the overall lack of Monsters, I am running 3 Summoner’s Art which let you add any of your high-Level Normal Monsters to your hand from the deck. This card could in theory be counted as a Monster as well as it will fetch you any of your Level 8s instantly. Furthermore it makes a great duo with Ancient Rules, which lets you Summon a Level 5 or higher Normal Monster from your hand straight away, which is great overall for setting up for some massive Rank 8 XYZ action!

XYZ Reception serves the same purpose pretty much as it lets you Special Summon a Monster with the same Level as one that is already in play on your side of the field right away. Imagine you Special Summon any Level 8 Monster with Ancient Rules and then a second one from hand with XYZ Reception. You would be able to go for any of your (Rank 8) XYZs straight away.

Also very useful in facilitating even multiple XYZ-Summons is Galaxy Queen’s Light. Basically what it does in this deck is this:  If you managed to put one of your Level 8 Monsters into play (and there are a TON of ways to achieve that in this particular build) and got some of your lower Level Monsters out (Alexandrite Dragon or Flamvell Guard) they’ll all be turned into Level 8s and you can go ahead and Special Summon some massive Monsters from among your XYZs in your Extra Deck.

As if the raw draw-power of Heart of the Underdog would not be enough, the deck also features 3 copies of Trade-In, which let you discard one of your many Level 8 Monsters to draw you two new cards. This is great in and off itself but you can also do something akin to an one-two punch, by sending one of said Monsters to the graveyard by means of Trade-In, drawing 2 cards and then reanimating the discarded Monster right away with one of your three Swing of Memories or one of the two Call of the Haunted.

The former, Swing of Memories is really great as it Special Summons any Normal Monster from the Graveyard for one turn. It would be destroyed at end of turn, but that “drawback”, if I should even call it that, is actually irrelevant if you Summoned the Monster with XYZ on your mind!

To round out the deck I included 4 Traps – 2 of the aforementioned Call of the Haunted and one less standard Trap Card: Champion’s Vigilance. This is a Solemn Verdict that comes at no Life Points cost at all. So it negates the Summoning of a Monster or activation of a Spell or Trap (which are destroyed) when you activate it. The only requirment is that you have to control a Level 7 or higher Normal Monster to activate it – no problemo in a deck like this I would say!!

Coming to the Extra Deck, I am running 3 Synchro Monsters, namely three copies of Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon…

…which can be handy as none of your Dragons can be targeted or be destroyed by card effects until the end of the next turn after this one was Special Summoned AND as Azure-Eyes revives any Normal Monster in your Graveyard during each of your Standby-Phases. This begs to be used for furhter XYZ-Summons and if you manage to get two Azure-Eyes out you will be able to re-use two of your Level 8s from your graveyard to XYZ-Summon on each of your turns. Pretty amazing!

Thunder-End Dragon is your emergency button so to say! He has an impressive 3000 ATK and you can detach one XYZ Material during your turn to destroy ALL other Monsters on the field. Quite brutal if you ask me!

Number 46: Dragluon has 3000 ATK as well and three Dragon-related effects, whereby the first is most important in the context of this particular deck: Simply detach an XYZ-Material to Special Summon any Dragon from your hand. That will inevitably give you even more material for further XYZ-action!

Lastly, Hieratic Sun Dragon Overlord of Heliopolis is yet another 3000 ATK dragonic behemoth with an amazing effect as well:

As you can read for youself, you can once per turn detach an XYZ Material from him to discard or tribute from your side of the field a number of Monsters to destroy the same number of cards on the field – any type, any position. This is really powerful if you think of how many Monsters the previously discussed Heart of the Underdog will draw you!

Well, overall I think I will really enjoy playing this deck – I own all the cards listed so why not give it a try. What I do not know is if it would stand a chance in a competitive environment at all. I do however like all the possible interactions and the fact that this is yet another take on the Normal Monsters kind of decks I am so fond of!

I hope you enjoyed this deck and strategy article and all that remains for me to say is…

Game on!

Yours,

Andi

YGO: Showing Some Love For Equip Spells!

Dear friends of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG!

Ever since I laid eyes on this card…

… I felt the urge to build Equip-Spell centered decks that made use of the awesome draw potential slumbering in Sunlight Unicorn. In this two part article I will showcase two totally different approaches on Equip-Spell-themed decks, the first of which does not even run Sunlight Unicorn but does run a good number of Equip cards as a central part of its strategy. Let me get started with…

Abyss-Equip Control:

Monsters…24

3 x Vylon Ohm

3 x Abyss Soldier

3 x Mermail Abysshilde

3 x Mermail Abyssturge

3 x Mermail Abysspike

3 x Mermail Abyssnose

3 x Atlantean Heavy Infantry

3 x Atlantean Marksman

Spells…12

3 x Abyss-Scale of Cetus

3 x Abyss-Scale of the Kraken

3 x Abyss-Scale of Mizuchi

2 x Moray of Greed

1 x Dark Hole

Traps…4

3 x Fish Depth Charge

1 x Torrential Tribute

About the Deck:

This is a heavy-field control deck using Abyssoldier and various Mermail Monsters to discard cards for beneficial effects such as those of the Atlantean Monsters, that destroy set or face-up cards when discarded for the effect of a Water Monster, all supported by 3 of each of the Abyss-Scale Equipments. As there are relatively few (only a quarter of the deck) Equip-Spells, I did decide against Sunlight Unicorn, which will however be prominently featured in the second deck to be showcased in this very article. The only odd non-Water Monster I insited on running was Vylon Ohm, as the Abyss-Scales will get destroyed – for potentially great and disruptive effects as I think – and Vylon Ohm lets you return an Equip-Spell from your graveyard to your hand, which is a nice thing and not found so easily in the YGO TCG as a whole. I have to note that this is a very unusual Mermail-build as most of those focus on quickly XYZ-ing or Synchro Summoning through the swarming capabilities of the Mermail Monsters. I passed on all of that – not least cause this is intended for casual play only and is not aiming to be competitive.

Let us look at some of the Monsters. Here is your basic Abyss Soldier:

Abyss Soldier has quite an amazing, terribly disruptive effect as you can return ANY card on the field to its owner’s hand, no matter if Spell/Trap or Monster or if face-up/face-down etc. Now it gets even worse for your opponent if you combine Abyss-Soldier or some of your Mermails discard effects with cards like Atlantean Marksman and Atlantean Heavy Infantry. When discarded for the effect of a Water Monster like Abyss Soldier, Marksman will let you destroy any 1 set card on the field whereas Heavy Infantry will let you destroy any 1 face-up card. Both is pretty amazing combined with Abyss Soldier, as you’ll get rid of 2 cards at the price of one.

On to the Mermails, asides from serving as targets for the Abyss-Scale Equips (we will come to those in due time) those have great effects as well. Abysshilde lets you Special Summon a Mermail Monster from hand when she is discarded (let’s say for the effect of Abyss Soldier or your other Mermails). Abyssturge lets you discard a Water Monster (once again the Atlanteans come to mind) when Normal Summoned to return a Level 3 or lower Water Monster from graveyard to hand. You can use that effect not only  to activate Atlantean Marksman or Heavy Infantry, but also to receive one of the two to use them once again. Your Abyss Soldiers won’t run out of ammo any time soon in this deck, that’s for sure! Abysspike does a similar thing as you can once again discard a Water Monster when he is Normal Summoned which lets you then search your deck for a Level 3 Water Monster and put it into your and. Of course the Atlanteans would be good targets for to fetch. Lastly, Abyssnose lets you discard a Water Monster when it destroys an opponent Monster to Special Summon a Mermail Monster straight from the Deck.

Now about the actual Equip-Spells: I am running 3 of every of the 3 different Abyss-Scales in existance. All of them can only be equipped to Mermail Monsters and Abyss-scale of Mizuchi gives 800 ATK to the Monster it equips and is destroyed when a Spell’s effect is activated on your opponent’s side of the field. It negates that effect. Similarly. Abyss-scale of Cetus negates an opponent Trap effect as well as giving an 800 ATK boost. Abyss-scale of the Kraken lastly gives a 400 ATK boost and negates a Monster effect and is sent to the graveyard if it does. So with all these negation effects you will only further interrupt your opponent and for the fact that the Abyss-scales are sent to the graveyard by that, Vylon Ohm was added to retrieve some of them so you can re-use their effects.

One last card I wanted to Note is Fish Depth Charge. It is a Trap you can activate to Tribute one of your Fish Type Monsters to destroy any card on the field and then draw a card. Nice to have this one in reaction to one of your Mermails getting destroyed anyways!

Gemini Equip (Unicorn-Powered):

Monsters…16

3 x Sunlight Unicorn

3 x Vylon Ohm

2 x Armed Samurai Ben Kei

3 x Iron Blacksmith Kotetsu

3 x Evocator Chevalier

2 x Phoenix Gearfried

Equip Spells…19

3 x Supervise

3 x Fusion Sword Murasame Blade

3 x Mage Power

3 x United We Stand

3 x Axe of Despair

2 x Big Bang Shot

2 x Symbols of Duty

Other Spells…4

2 x Trade-In

1 x Foolish Burial

1 x Reinforcements of the Army

Traps…1

1 x Call of the Haunted

About the Deck:

This is a Gemini-Equip Deck that is built in a way so as to max-out on Sunlight Unicorn as a potent draw engine. Almost half of the deck (19 cards out of 40) are Equip Spells so this means that statistically, one out of two times, you WILL get an extra card from Unicorn and that for free basically. Since it lets you take a reaveled (“excavated”) Equip-Spell from the top of your deck into your hand, your supply of said Equip-Spells will get restocked again and again. That is much needed actually due to the very nature of Equip-Spells, which are very vulnerable, not only to Spell removal like the classic Mystical Space Typhoon, but also due to the fact that they live and die so to say with the Monsters they are equipped to. And Monsters will die – a lot! There are just so many easy ways to get rid of pretty much any Monster so your Equip Spells will not stay all that long in most match-ups. Another card to remedy the situation to some extent is Vylon Ohm, which we have already seen in the first deck discussed previoulsy in this article. When Vylon Ohm is Normal Summoned you can banish an Equip-Spell from your graveyard and take it into your hand during your next Standby-Phase, which is a nice way to recover lost Equipment.

Before I come to the Equip-half of the deck, let me introduce you to the rest of the Monsters first:

I run only two different Gemini Monsters actually, so the deck name “Gemini-Equip” could be seen as a bit misleading – I shall discuss the two Geminis shortly, but first a few words on two of the other, non-Gemini Monsters I am running in this deck. First off, we got 3 copies of Iron Blacksmith Kotetsu. He is really neat in getting you any or rather THE Equip-Spell that you need most at any point in a game, as he can be flipped to add any 1 Equip-Spell from your deck to your hand. Secondly there are two odd copies of potentially highly dangerous Armed Samurai – Ben Kei in the deck:

I once built a deck focussed solely on a Ben Kei OTK (one-turn-kill) but disassembled it as it either won on turn 1 (if the opponent went first) or it did not work at all. I run two odd copies of Ben Kei in this deck as a potentially very powerful side-strategy. As you can see the Armed Samurai is quite weak at 500/800 but his effect rocks in a deck consisting of 50% Equip Spells. Once you equip him a few times, the small guy becomes a force to be reckoned with. For each card equipped to Ben Kei he will get one additional attack during each Battle Phase. This means if you attach just two Axe of Despair, he will be a 2500 ATK beast that can attack thrice. That alone can whipe out whole opponent armies in one Battle-Phase.

Now coming to the actual Geminis, I run two of them: The Level 4 Evocator Chevalier as well as Level 12 Phonix Gearfried. Both of them have quite amazing and useful effects related to Equipment, once they have been summoned again to activate their Gemini effects.

Evocator Chevalier…

… has a decent ATK of 1900 and when you summoned him for the second time he will get the amazing effect of sending any Equip-Card to the graveyard in order to destroy ANY 1 card your opponent controls. With 19 Equipments in total in the deck you should have ample ammo for the Chevalier and you can always use Vylon Ohm to retrieve an Equipment that was sacrificed if you really need it back.

Phoenix Gearfried…

…lets you Special Summon a Gemini from your Graveyard whenever an opponent activates a Spell card AND when a Spell or Trap card is activated during either player’s turn, you can just conveniently send one of your Equip cards to the graveyard to negate the effect and destroy the activated Spell or Trap card – very powerful card effect as well. And he swings in at 2800 ATK at the very least – if not boosted by a ton of Equipment that is!

Before I get to the contents of my diverse and numerous “weaponry” a few words about the non-Equip Spells. Trade-In is just great to drop a Phoenix Gearfried into the graveyard, from where he can be reanimated by means of some of my Equip-Spells (more on those shortly) or by the single Call of the Haunted I am running, which will draw you two extra cards in the process. I am really a huge fan of Trade-In and find myself running this handy Spell alongside many Level 8 Monsters in many a deck! Also I included a Foolish Burial for similar reasons, dropping Gearfried into the Graveyard to set everything up for Special Summoning him from there, as well as one Reinforcements of the Army, which will “tutor” for either Ben Kei or Evocator Chevalier, whichever you need most at that point.

Now to the other half of the deck, the actual Equip-Spells:

  • Supervise is central to this deck, although I run precious few actual Gemini Monsters (5 to be precise). It lets me turn a Gemini Monster into an Effect Monster with the effects as stated on the Monster card and, and this is crucial, when Supervise is sent to the Graveyard from the filed, it lets me Special Summon a Normal Monster from the Graveyard. Well first of all you can destroy it at will through the awesome effects of Evocator Chevalier or Phoenix Gearfried and then it can reanimate any Gemini Monster, preferably another Phoenix Gearfried, since those count as Normal Monsters while in the Graveyard. This is arguable the best Equip card you have in this deck, although it doesn’t give any stats boosts by itself and is useless if you don’t have a Gemini Monster around to equip it to.
  • Fusion Sword Murasama Blade is simply great as well, although you need a Warrior to equip it to. Ben Kei, Evocator Chevalier and Gearfried would be your targets. Not only does it give a somewhat lackluster 400 ATK boost to the Monster it equips, but also said Monster cannot be destroyed by card effects! This is simply amazing as all your key creatures (well save for your main draw engine, the Sunlight Unicorn) are of the Warrior Type and the Fusion Sword makes them more or less invincible to any Monster removal, be it pinpoint like a common Fissure or mass removal of the likes of Dark Hole etc…
  • Mage Power gives the equipped Monster +500 ATK for every Spell and Trap card on your side of the field. So at the very least it will grant a 500 ATK boost for itself and in a deck full of Equip Spells it can be far more dangerous in theory.
  • United We Stand even gives a 800 ATK AND DEF Boost for each face-up Monster you control.
  • Axe of Despair just gives a hefty 1000 ATK to the Monster it equips – fair and square!
  • Big Bang Shot gives +400 ATK and the Monster it is attached to will deal piercing battle damage which is great to get through opponent defenses easily.
  • Symbols of Duty is Special in that it lets you send one of your face-up Normal Monsters (think of your Geminis) to the graveyard to Special Summon any Monste from ANY graveyard. This can be handy for reanimating Phoenix Gearfried or for stealing any opponent Monster from their graveyard, which I find pretty neat!

 

New Game – Old Art: Going “Back to the Roots” With A New Game Idea!

Introducing TM66

Dear readers, fellow gamers and game designers!

I am ever so restless when it comes to new game ideas and one just recently came to me when I had two ideas at the same time pretty much or rather one leading immediately to the other:

Firstly, it dawned upon me that I had amassed a huge collection of highest quality game art over the past couple of years or so, mostly for Elemental Clash but also for other (fantasy-themed) games. Alone for Elemental Clash I must be owning over 250 pieces of stunning fantasy games art. Since this is a huge resource I realized that I should not “let it go to waste” and rather use some of the existing art for anohter game. I mean I own all these artworks and while I will not give up on Elemental Clash anytime soon, I see no reason why I should not “recycle” my old games art for a totally new game, so as to satisfy my urge for designing new, kickass looking games. I would think the few people actually owning Elemental Clash wouldn’t mind.

Secondly, immediately after the “art recycling” idea came to me, I set out to look for a new and unique game system in which I could put my hundreds of fantasy game artworks to good use. It didn’t take too long when I had a pretty neat idea. I thought why not go “back to the roots” and take a very popular game system and modify and build upon that for the new game to be? And what I thought of was nothing short of THE traditional and most popular Austrian 2 player card game: Schnapsen, also known as “66” in Germany I think. Schnapsen is played in taverns or homes alike all over Austria and has a long tradition over here. It is a trick taking card game using a deck similar to Poker cards and the goal of the game is to score 66 points by taking tricks. So the idea of “Fantasy Schnapsen” was born. Basically what I am trying to do is take the basic game system of this most popular card game in Austria as my starting point and inspiration and build a 2 player, strategic fantasy customizable card game based on that. Of course I will not just call it “Fantasy Schnapsen” but rather “The Magical 66” as the goal of my new game to be would be to score 66 points before any opponent can do so, so reaching that “magical number” is the aim of the game, just as in regular Schnapsen!

Well let me tell you a bit about what I got so far for the game:

The first thing I had to change from the original Schnapsen game was that each player would have their own decks, which can be customized to your hearts content, choosing cards from an extensive pool of different cards. The original Schnapsen uses only one deck of Poker-like cards for both players. To make this a real CCG I simply had to change that to one deck per player.

There are two rules for deck building basically: Firstly, your deck needs a minimum of 30 cards (you can have more than 30) and secondly, the total points value of any deck cannot be more than 100 points. Each card has a points value, which determines the worth of a card during the game and is also used in deckbuilding so as to keep the power levels of the decks you can build in check and in balance. So the total points value of all the cards you run in a 30+ cards deck cannot exceed 100.

As I said, the goal of the game will be to collect 66 points by means of trick taking. However, The Magical 66 (TM66 in short) is played in rounds of several games, just like Schnapsen. If you score 66 points and your opponent has a score of 0, you may note 3 Victory Points. If your opponent had more than 0 but less than 33 points, you will note 2 Victory Points and lastly, if your opponent made it to 33 or more points, you will only note 1 Victory Point. Games are played until one player collected 5 Victory Points.

Furthermore, I wanted to keep key elements of the classic Schnapsen gameplay. That includes the trick taking as the defining driving force within the game as well as the four suits. Speaking of the suits, I chose to go with the classic four elements of European-medival mysticism, just as I had done in Elemental Clash. But rest assured, that is the only parallel between EC and TM66!

So in TM66 players would draw 5 cards from their respective decks at the start of the game and fill up their hand back to 5 on each start of their turn and play a card that the opponent tries to beat or trump with a higher value card from their hand. That is just like in Schnapsen or any trick taking card game. However in TM66, after the opponent reacted by playing a card from their hand, you would be able to lay down another card that may influence the outcome of what is called a battle in the game. And your opponent could react by playing a card from their hand after that, after which you can play another card and so on until a player’s hand runs out or both players chose to pass. So the two players would be taking turns within one battle playing one card at a time from their hand in order to win a battle. The winner is the player with the highest Power among their Creatures when the battle ends. That player will add all cards involved in the battle to their “Treasure Chest” (their trick pile). Cards in the Treasure Chest add up to form the player’s score.

In TM66 you got basically two card types: Creatures and Spells. The former are the main driving force in combat and the latter support your Creatures or weaken the opponent’s.

I came up with quite some interesting mechanics I think:

First of all, most of the cards will have so-called “Chest Effects”, effects that is that activate when the card is in either players Treasure Chest of effects that can be activated from there by purging, removing the card from play. I will show you some sample cards below but for example, if you have a certain card in your Chest, it would for instance increase your Creatures’ overall Power or let you draw additional cards each turn. Other Chest Effects could be one-shot deals that can be activated once by purging the card from your Chest, such as giving a temporary Power boost to a Creature or weakening an opponent Creature etc. So it is great to have some cards in your Treasure Chest, and the more cards you collect over the course of the game, the more effects and bonuses you will gain from your cards. The element of purging cards from your Chest for a temporary benefit adds a bit of wagering to the game, since purged cards will not count towards the 66 points needed to win, but by purging them to gain said benefits you may be getting more points in return for the points you “sacrificed”. Also, I think the Chest Effects should benefit your opponent as well. So if they take one of your cards into their Chest, they will get the Chest Effect for themselves.

Furthermore, I will have some sort of rudimentary resource system which is needed for playing SOME cards or which activates additional effects and bonuses. I don’t want to make it all too central but it would basically work like this: You could purge cards from your Treasure Chest to add a number of “Mana” (I will call it that for now for lack of a better term!) to your “Mana Pool”. This can be spent to pay for certain cards and additional effects and would empty at each end of turn. So again, there would be this element of wagering which in theroy, I do very much enjoy. You would always face tough decisions in purging some cards from your Chest and hence giving up some points in order to gain an effect or play a card that MIGHT get you more points in return than you invested. This could be quite exciting in my opinion – if done right!

OK  so that are my basic ideas for TM66 so far. Let me end this early introductory post by showing you some actual card samples I made.

Here’s a card with explanations as to what is what in the layout:

TM66 Card Layout Explanation

 

From top to bottom we got the card artwork with the card name on top. Then in the top right corner we have the Mana Symbol with an X, which would be the amount of Mana needed to play the card from hand. In the top left corner we would see the element of the card, in this case Air. With an arrow pointing downwards to it, there is the secondary elemental symbol. This means when you play this card you may switch to the denoted element.

In TM66 you commit to an Element during one battle defined by the first card you play in a battle. You can only play cards of that element in one battle UNLESS you got a card with the two element symbols and the arrow in between, which would let you choose to switch the current element. In the above example, this card could switch the “elemental focus” in a battle from Air to Fire. This system makes for clever and engaging gameplay choices and card combinations, if you decide to play with a multi-element deck.

Below the elemental symbols we got a swords and shield icon. This is the cards Power to be seen where the Y stands in the above depiction. The Power determines the outcome of a battle as detailed before. The golden box spanning across the card right under the artwork is where you can see the element, card type and subtype of a card in written form. You can tell all that, except the Subtype from the layout as well but I decided to add it in writing as well just to make things clearer. Below that we got the main text box with card text and flavor text. Nothing special. And below that at the bottom of the card we have in green the Chest Effect, which is only relevant when the card is in either player’s Treasure Chest. Lastly, the golden Coin with the Z is where the card value would be indicated. As said before, the value is what you will score towards the “magical 66” when you have this card in your Treasure Chest during the game and is also the determining factor for building decks. As you may remember, the cards in one deck may not exceed 100 points in total value. I would suggest to keep your Chest cards in a column rather than a pile in a slightly overlapping manner so you can just see the bottom with the points value and the Chest Effect box for easier reference. I expect it to get quite crowded in your Chest over the course of a game!

Lastly, have a look at some of the actual cards. These are just samples mind you, and the effects and stats etc provided on them are by far not anything near to final. They are just supposed to be visual examples to show off what the TM66 game could look like in the end!

Creature Samples of all 4 Elements:

Creature Samples

Some Spell Card Samples (Note: The Axe is Neutral and hence has no Element Symbols at all!)

Spells Samples

Well, dear readers, I am happy to have yet another project to knock myself out creatively so to say, and a project, in which I need not invest a ton of money for to make it look good! I am quite happy with both my “art recycling” idea and the “going back to the roots” by taking the most popular Austrian traditional card game and building upon and expanding it into a fantasy trick-taking CCG!

I promise to keep you updated on this one!

Game on!

Yours,

Andi

 

 

 

 

YGO: Two Creative Decks Built On A Budget

Dear readers and friends of the fine Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG!

Well believe it or not, but I had a revelation – one of a rather stupid and (to many) rather obvious kind. So I had bought together various Yu-Gi-Oh card lots consisting mostly of Common cards of off ebay on the cheap over the course of the last 1,5 to 2 years or so. Previously, I discarded the most part of those as utter “cardboard junk” and did not pay much attention to the bulk of the cards I own from purchasing these cheap-ass lots in the past. What I just recently realized is the pretty much obvious fact, that many of the newer cards, that is since XYZs had been introduced, only make sense when you look at the card LEVELS and NOT their stats. Konami has been boosting and supporting the XYZ-Summoning thing a lot in recent years and made many, many cards that are great for XYZ-Summoning and make only little or no “sense” otherwise. So these cards are relevant and “good” because of their Level rather than their stats and often have ways to easily special summon themselves or other similar cards. Take this Common for example:

If you just see it as a 1800 ATK one-Tribute Monster this would really suck. But if you see it as a 5 Star XYZ Material that can be Special Summoned easily in the right deck (a Chronomaly Deck in this case), the card can be really, really awesome for XYZ-ing into anything Rank 5!

Well I know it is mighty late for me to realize to look at recent cards from an “XYZ perspective” but suddenly, a whole new dimension opened up in  front of me when looking through my extensive, mostly Common card collection. So just recently I build an almost all Level 3 Gorgonic Rock Deck focussing heavily on summoning loads of Rank 3 XYZs. Then today I looked through a bunch of my cards one more time and the result of my “research” or “exploration” were two decks which consist pretty much exclusively of Common cards or cards that I own and are all easily to come by as they are included in many more or less recent Starter and Structure Decks.

Let me share with you the two decks I came up with. I think they are making quite creative use of many cards that are either Common or obtained easily in said Structure and Starter Decks. The two decks are rather different from each other, the first focussing on XYZ-ing into Number 39: Utopia and other Rank 4 XYZs and the latter is what I call a “Twilightsworn” type of deck, which only features one quite costly card which I happen to own and runs tons of Lightsworn cards, which are all to be obtaine easily and cheaply since the release of the Realm of Light Structure Deck, which I reviewed on here earlier as well as a heavy focus on Synchros! Let us get started with the XYZ Deck – and yeah I admit to the fact that I am really becoming somewhat of an “XYZ Pimp” myself here, but I try to keep it in check by pursuing budget friendly XYZ-adventures! 😀

Star Seraph Utopia:

Monsters…24

3 x Star Seraph Scout

3 x Star Seraph Sword

3 x Star Seraph Sage

3 x Nova Summoner

2 x ZW – Sleipnir Mail

2 x Vylon Prism

2 x Honest

3 x Goblindbergh

2 x Express Train Trolley Olley

1 x Kagetokage

Spells…11

3 x Photon Lead

3 x XYZ Reception

2 x Celestial Transformation

2 x Valhalla, Hall of the Fallen

1 x Dark Hole

Traps…5

3 x Lumenize

1 x Mirror Force

1 x Call of the Haunted

Extra…15

3 x Number 39: Utopia

1 x Number C39: Utopia Ray

3 x Gem-Knight Pearl

2 x Number 10: Illumiknight

1 x Fairy Cheer Girl

1 x Gagaga Cowboy

1 x Starliege Paladynamo

3 x Stardust Dragon

About the Deck:

First of all I have to say that I find myself building Light-Attribute-centered YGO decks time and time again  and this must be the 6th or 7th of all the Light decks I have come up with and actually assembled so far (other examples would be my Fairies and Blue-Eyes Synchro Decks etc). This is largely due to the fact that the Light Attribute not only has an amazing array of Monsters to offer, but also a ton of GREAT support cards such as the awesome Honest or the Commons Lumenize or Photon Lead. All three of these cards are featured in the above deck as you saw in the decklist.

The idea for this deck came to me when I pretty much stumpled upon three Common Monsters all called “Star Seraph”. All of these are Level 4 Light Attribute Fairy Type Monsters, two of which can Special Summon additional Star Serphas rather easily. So the idea of a Fairy-focused Light XYZ Deck aiming for XYZ-ing into Rank 4 Monsters was born. I found many great cards to go along with that. First a bit about the Star Seraphs. Here’s a sample:

So Star Seraph Sage lets you easily Special Summon another Star Seraph from Hand OR Graveyard by discarding a Spell Card. Star Seraph Scout lets you Special Summon another Star Seraph from hand even easier: When it is Normal Summoned, you can just Special Summon another Star Seraph from hand. Lastly, Star Seraph Sword has no such effect but you can once during your turn discard another Star Seraph from Hand to give it an ATK boost of the original ATK of the discarded card. This would make its ATK anything between 2600 and 3000 depending on which Star Seraph you discard.

Nova Summoner is great in that it lets you search for either Star Seraph Sword or Scout when it dies in battle, which can be useful to facilitate some easy XYZ-Summons. Besides Nova Summoner and the Seraphs, which are all Fairy Types, I am running a number of support non-Fairy Light Monsters. ZW – Sleipnir Mail can be attached to one of your Utopias from hand or from play to give it a permanent and mighty 1000 ATK boost, turning your 2500 ATK Utopias into 3500 ATK behemoths. Furhtermore when the equipped Utopia dies, you can Special Summon an Utopia from your Graveyard. Vylon Prism is a Thunder Type Level 4 Tuner that can be equipped to a Monster when it leaves the Monster Card Zone to give it 1000 ATK during damage calculation only. You could use it to Synchro Summon Stardust Dragon and give the Dragon that ATK boost right away, making it a 3500 ATK Monster. Or you could boost an Utopia in a similar way by just detaching the Vylon Prism XYZ-Material from said Utopia. The last Light Attribute Support Monster is the obvious Honest, which can be a real life saver in a deck with mostly Light Monsters. If you still don’t know what it does, please look it up on the yugioh wikia!

Lastly, I am running a number of non-Light Monsters that go well with the overall (XYZ) theme of the deck. Goblindbergh is a staple in many decks and that for good reason. When he is Normal Summoned you can switch him into Defense Position to Special Summon another Level 4 or lower Monster from hand. This can facilitate some XYZ-Summons very easily. One good target would be the ridiculously named Express Train Trolley Olley. Summon Goblindbergh and then the Express Train from hand and XYZ into anything Rank 4, and the XYZ Monster will get a permanent +800 ATK boost from Trolley Olley, which is quite nice as it will give you a 3300 ATK Utopia or a 3400 ATK Gem-Knight Pearl etc. Lastly I run one odd copy of Kagetokage (since I own just one) which can be Special Summoned from hand whenever you Normal Summon a Level 4 Monster, once again setting up some instant XYZ-action!

Coming to the Spells: I have tons of ways of Special Summoning Fairy and/or Light Type Monsters. First off, Photon Lead Special Summons any Level 4 or lower Light Monster from your hand, which means you can Special Summon any Monster in the deck except 6 (your Goblindberghs, Trolley Olleys and the sole Kagetokage). XYZ-Reception lets you target one Monster you control with a Level and lets you then Special Summon a Monster with the same Level from your hand. The Monster’s ATK and DEF become 0 and its effects are negated, but all that does not matter cause you need it for quickly XYZ-Summoning some Monster from your Extra Deck anyways. I find XYZ-Reception an exceptionally great and useful card, especially for a common which I can imagine to be just SO useful in many XYZ-focused builds. Also, I am running two Celestial Transformations that serve the same purpose: They Special Summon a Fairy Type Monster from your hand. Its ATK is halved and it is destroyed at End-Phase, however, once again, you won’t need the Monster any longer than you can say “XYZ!”. Lastly, Valhalla, Hall of the Fallen does a similar job in that it lets you Special Summon a Fairy from hand if you control no Monsters currently. Also one copy of Dark Hole was added – just because it is a staple!

As for the Traps, I run tripple Lumenize which I think is an exceptional Common card which just works so well in any deck running at least some Light Monsters. Basically it lets you negate an attack and gives one of your Light Monsters an ATK-boost equal to the ATK of the Monster whose attack you negated until your next End-Phase. To round out the Traps part of the deck I am running one Mirror Force and one Call of the Haunted – pretty much standard…

As all my Extra Decks, this one is quite raw and is far from final. Besides Number 39: Utopia I put in just some more or less random Rank 4 Monsters which I happen to own. I just lack the knowledge of existing XYZs to come up with a more focused, better Extra Deck as I have to admit. Still I think the Monsters I have in the Extra Deck currently are not that bad of a mix, and I even found a home for my Illumiknights which require 3 Level 4 Monsters to be XYZ-Summoned. With so many ways to Special Summon Monsters as in the above deck, I think meeting these requirements will not be too hard and indeed very realistic!

Budget Graveyard-Trix Twilightsworn Synchro:

Monsters…25

1 x A/D – Changer

1 x Vylon Tetra

2 x Plaguespreader Zombie

3 x Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter

3 x Necro Gardna

1 x Minerva, Lightsworn Maiden

1 x Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner

1 x Raiden, Hand of the Lightsworn

1 x Ehren, Lightsworn Monk

1 x Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress

1 x Wulf, Lightsworn Beast

1 x Blackwing – Zephyros the Elite

2 x Vylon Prisma

1 x Celestia, Lightsworn Angel

1 x Gragonith, Lightsworn Dragon

2 x Chaos Sorcerer

1 x Judgment Dragon

1 x Black Luster Soldier, Envoy of the Beginning

Spells…8

3 x Solar Recharge

3 x Monster Reincarnation

1 x Charge of the Light Brigade

1 x Dark Hole

Traps…7

3 x Skill Inheritance

3 x Breakthrough Skill

1 x Torrential Tribute

Extra…9

3 x Michael the Arc-Lightsworn

3 x Scrap Archfiend

3 x Stardust Dragon

About the Deck:

This deck has a rather long name, granted… Let us analyze it: First off it is a Budget Deck, as for the most part the cards are Common or easy to acquire, especially since most of the cards are to be found in the latest of the Structure Deck series (please read my review also to be found on this blog!). The only quite expensive card I can think of is Black Luster Soldier: Envoy of the Beginning, whom I was lucky enough to find in a random booster. Secondly, I called the Deck “Graveyard-Trix” because it includes lots of cards with which nasty tricks can be pulled off – from the graveyard. I am running the well-known Necro Gardna and Plaguespreader Zombie as well as lesser known and used cards such as Skill Inheritance and Breakthrough Skill. Also, the Deck is called “Twilightsworn” since I chose a Lightsworn build as a solution for getting my “Graveyard-Trix” cards into the graveyard in the first place. And “Twilight” because I am not only running Light Monsters but also a good number of Dark ones so as to make Chaos Sorcerer and Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning a possiblity. Lastly the “Synchro” in the title indicates that Synchro-Summoning is an integral part of the deck.

As the main “engine” of the deck I run 11 Lightsworn Monsters (+ Michale the Arch-Lightsworn in the Extra Deck), most of them as one-ofs only. That allows me to play Judgment Dragon for instance and also lets me send a substantial number of my own cards from Deck to Graveyard. And that is where many of them become useful.

First off, some of my “killer” Monsters require you to banish one Light and one Dark Monster from the Graveyard to Special Summon them. These are Chaos Sorcerer and immensely powerful Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning. Bask in his glory for a moment:

Then I have some Monsters AND Traps that are most useful when in your Graveyard. Plaguespreader Zombie is a Level 2 Tuner that can be Special Summoned from the Graveyard easily by its own effect and can be combined with a Level 4 Lightsworn for instance to Synchro into a Michael, the Arch-Lightsworn. Blackwing – Zephyros the Elite is a Level 4 non-Tuner that can be Special Summone from the Graveyard as well if needed. Then I got 3 Necro Gardnas which can be banished from the Graveyard to negate any one attack. Also I included one A/D – Changer which has an effect that may seem negligible and situational, however I think it MAY be useful at times: You can banish him from the Graveyard to change the battle position of any 1 Monster on the field. Then I got 3 copies of 2 different Trap cards that have effects that can be activated from the Graveyard. Skill Inheritance lets you give a Monster an  800 ATK Boost for a turn if banished from the Graveyard and Breakthrough Skill negates the Effects of a Monster for one turn if removed from the Graveyard.

Also the deck features lots of Tuners from Levels 2 – 4 that allow for many combinations in order to Synchro Summon Michael, the Arch-Lightsworn (Lv. 6) to Stardust Dragon (Lv. 8). Vylon Prism is especially nice. We dealt with that one in the first deck description already. It is a Lv. 4 Tuner that can boost one of your Monster’s ATK during combat by 1000.

As for the Spells, I am running the best draw a Lightsworn deck can have with tripple Solar Recharge as well as what makes a depleted deck and a full graveyard a diverse and efficient toolbox: Monster Reincarnation, three of them. It lets you discard a card to take any one Monster from your Graveyard into your hand. This means you can just dump your Ace-Monsters like Judgment Dragon and Black Luster Soldier: Envoy of the Beginning into your Graveyard to conveniently retrieve them through Monster Reincarnation!

MtG: Theros Block Follow-Up – Centaurs Tribal & Heroic Menace

Dear readers!

Following up my previous Magic: the Gathering article about two Theros Block inspired Modern Format decks, here two more decks which are more or less losely based on Theros Block cards and mechanics.

The first will be another “installment” of my “Obscure Creature Type” decks series, this time dealing with the much overlooked Centaur “Tribe” or Creature Type and in the second part of this two-part article, my old friend and by far favorite “crap rare” Corpsejack Menace will make a dreadful return, this time harnessing the powers of the Theros Block Heroic mechanic with which we alread dealt in the previous article! Be prepared for a Centaur Tribal 101 and some serious counter doubling action brought to you by none other than “The Menace” himself! So let’s get started with the Centaurs. As always I will show you a sample deck list and follow-up with some thoughts on how the game is supposed to play!

Tribal Centaurs (Modern Format):

Creatures…22

4 x Birds of Paradise G

2 x Elvish Mystic G

4 x Burning-Tree Shaman 1RW

4 x Fanatic of Xenagos 1RW

4 x Pheres Band Warchief 3G

4 x Centaur Battlemaster 3GG

Enchantments…4

4 x Rancor G

Instants…10

4 x Mutagenic Growth G

2  Giant Growth G

4 x Lightning Bolt R

Sorceries…2

2 x Soul’s Majesty 4G

Lands…22

4 x Karplusan Forest

4 x Rootbound Crag

8 x Forest

6 x Mountain

About the Deck:

This could be called a classic Red-Green Beatdown deck, but what makes it special is the fact that it is strongly focused on the Centaur Creature Type. All Creatures save for the Birds (of Paradise) and Elvish Mystics, which were added for much needed mana acceleration, are Centaurs. Centaurs seem to have amazingly powerful stats compared to their costs, but very little “Tribal Support”. In fact the only directly Centaur-Creature type relevant card is Pheres Band Warchief. But what a great card this is to have in an almost all-Centaurs deck. Just have a look at what it does:

The +1/+1 boost is good but the Warchief will make your Centaur army unstoppable through giving all of them Trample as well as a defensive force as well by giving them all Vigilance. What a great, great card in a deck like this indeed!!

As I said before, most of the Centaurs have great stats for what the cost, even without Warchief to boost them. Burning-Tree Shaman is a 3/4 for 1RG that deals 1 damage to a player for each time they use an activated ability (except mana abilities – so you’ll get no damage from him in this particular deck). Fanatic of Xenagos costs the same (1RG) and pretty much lets your opponent choose whether he’ll be a 4/4 permanently or a 3/3 which gets +1/+1 and Haste for the turn it enters play. Pretty tough choice there! And lastly, Centaur Battlemaster we have seen in the previous article already. He is a 3/3 for a steep 3GG that gets no less than three +1/+1 counters each time you target him with a Spell.

This is why I am running cards like Rancor, Mutagenic Growth and Giant Growth, which are great on ANY of your Creatures but just insane when used on your “Heroic” Centaur Battlemaster. Heck, you could even shoot your own Centaur Battlemaster with a 1-cost Lightning Bolt to give it a permanent +3/+3 boost!

Heroic Menace:

Creatures…24

4 x Birds of Paradise G

4 x Sakura-Tribe Elder 1G

4 x Mistcutter Hydra XG

4 x Setessan Oathsworn 1GG

4 x Corpsejack Menace 2BG

4 x Centaur Battlemaster 3GG

Instants…14

4 x Bioshift U/G

2 x Mutagenic Growth G

4 x Solidarity of Heroes 1G

4 x Harrow 2G

Lands…22

4 x Yavimaya Coast

4 x Llanowar Wastes

7 x Forest

7 x Island

About the Deck:

Without kidding, I think I currently own 3 different decks abusing the crapraretastic +1/+1 counter doubling powers of Corpsejack Menace…

…and I am VERY tempted to build yet another one, this time combining the Theros Block Heroic Ability with “The Menace”!

Well if you are not familiar with the Heroic ability (you should be after reading the previously posted article on here), it usually involves putting +1/+1 counters on a creature when it is targeted by one of your Spells. Centaur Battlemaster for instance will get no less than 3 such counters whenever targeted by one of your Spells. Now, you should have guessed after looking at the above card, Corpsejack Menace doubles the number of all counters placed. So if you pay 1 green mana or 2 life in the case of Mutagenic Growth, your Centaur Battlemaster will gain 6 (!!) +1/+1 counters for just 1 mana or 2 life if Corpsejack is in play! That is f’ing amazing if you ask me. Setassan Oathsworn is pretty nice as well as he will gain no less than 4 +1/+1 counters through Menace whenever targeted by one of your Spells.

There are so many interactions going on in the deck, which I really, really like:

First of all, Solidarity of Heroes and Bioflux really shine with Corpsejack around. Solidarity will double the counters on a Creature twice. If you target a Centaur Battlemaster with no counters, he will get 6 (3 from his Heroic ability times two through Menace) and then these will be doubled by Solidarity and by Corpsejack, resulting in 12 x 2 = 24 +1/+1 counters in total!! That just blows my mind. And then comes Bioflux into the game. It lets you move all +1/+1 counters from one Creature to another. Just move them from a blocked Creature, maybe your 24-counters-bearing Centaur, to your hard-to-block Birds of Paradise or any unblocked Creature and Menace will double the counters once again while being moved. That will result in 48 points worth of damage straight into your opponent’s face.

Mistcutter Hydra is kinda your backup solution/finisher. It has haste, cannot be countered and protection from blue on top of all that, costs XG and comes into pla with X +1/+1 counters. So yeah, you guessed it, Corpsejack Menace will double these counters as well, giving you a Hydra double the size than you paid for. If you play the X = 5 + G, so 6 mana in total, you will get a hasty, non-counterable behemoth of 10/10. Now if you play Solidarity of Heroes on it with Corpsejack out, you will get a 30/30 Hydra  for an additionla investment of 2 mana (!!) aaand if you Bioflux her counters to your Birds or an unblocked attacker you’ll get through a massive 60/60 damage – enough to kill your opponent thrice! Gotta love that Corpsejack! 😀

Q.E.D.

MtG: Two Theros Block Inspired Decks

Dear readers!

For variety’s sake, this article will be about Magic: the Gathering Decks, specifically Modern Format Decks that are “inspired” by the recent, Greek mythology themed Theros Block. When I say “inspired” I mean that  the two decks I am going to showcase shortly will consist mostly of cards found in the Theros sets and their core mechanics are to be found in the very same block as well. As always, I will be providing a decklist followed by my thoughts on how the decks are supposed to work and the strategy involved in each. So let’s get started with

Monogreen Heroic Rampage:

Creatures…20

4 x Hero of Leina Tower G

4 x Elvish Mystic G

4 x Setessan Oathsworn 1GG

4 x Centaur Battlemaster 3GG

4 x Pheres-Band Thunderhoof 4G

Enchantments…4

4 x Rancor G

Instants…14

4 x Mutagenic Growth G

4 x Giant Growth G

4 x Solidarity of Heroes 1G

2 x Mortal’s Resolve 1G

Lands…22

22 x Forest

About the Deck:

Well, I already own and enjoy a White Green Heroic Deck with mostly cards from the Theros Block, wherein White provides the Heroic creatures and Green provides the targeted Spells that boosts the Heroics’ stats. For those who are not familiar with the native Theros Block “Heroic” ability / mechanic: Heroic is a creature ability that has certain effects trigger when the Heroic creature is targeted by a Spell you control. Most commonly, a +1/+1 counter is placed on the creature with Heroic when it is the target of one of your Spells. One +1/+1 counter on a creature is fine, but I have thoroughly overlooked what the green Heroics can do. So have a look at this one!

Sure, his 5 mana cost is a bit steep, but you read that right, whenever Centaur Battlemaster is the target of one of your Spells, he will get not one but THREE +1/+1 counters, boosting his otherwise lackluster stats permanently and considerably. Just imagine what the classic Giant Growth…

…could do for the Battlemaster! Just attack with your 3/3 Battlemaster and cast Giant Growth (or two!?) for just 1 green mana and you will be attacking with an impressive 9/9 that will remain a respectable 6/6 afterwards with the realistic potential of growing even larger in the future.

Well, basically, one half of the deck more or less consists of creatures with Heroic, save for the four Elvish Mystics which provide some much needed mana acceleration so you can drop your Centaur Battlemaster and other higher cost creatures one turn earlier, and the other half of the deck are targeted support spells, most of which give a stats boost to a creature, thus triggering their Heroic abilities in addition to the mostly temporary boosts of said spells.

Hero of Leina Tower is cheap at 1 green mana and whenever it is target of one of your spells you can pay X to put X +1/+1 counters on her, which is great for spending spare mana. While weak at 1/1 for 1GG, Setessan Oathsworn will  grow huge through Heroic as he receives two +1/+1 counters through Heroic and is a great second turn play made possible through Elvish Mystic. We have already seen how powerful Centaur Battlemaster can be and the last Creature I am running is somewhat of a weaker version of Battlemaster. Pheres-Band Thunderhoof costs 4G and is a 3/4 which gets two +1/+1 counters through Heroic, so not as great as Battlemaster but it is great to have alternatives, even though they are somewhat inferior.

As for the support, I am running 4 Enchantments and a bunch of Instants that give power boosts to your Creatures, thus triggering their Heroic abilities. The Instants are 4 Rancor, which I chose over Ordeal of Nylea, which I included in the first draft of this deck. The reason is simply that Rancor gives Trample to the Creature it enchants as well, which was THE thing I found the deck was lacking. Plus you get it back into your hand when the enchanted creature leaves play so you can re-cast it and give another creature a boost and at the same time triggering Heroic one more time. I must say that I am not exactly sure, but I would interpret the wording of the cards in a way so that and Aura (formerly known as “Enchant Creature”) would target the Creature it is about to enchant and thus trigger Heroic (once). If I am totally off the track here please do correct me in a comment or so, but either way I think that Rancor is a decent addition to the deck, for the sake of making one of your heavy hitters a trampler!

Regarding instants I am running 4 of the classic Giant Growths as shown above, but I must say that I find Mutagenic Growth…

…even better in the context of this deck, for the fact that you can pay two life rather than its cost of 1 green (brought to you by awesome “Phyrexian Mana”!). So if you are totally tapped out you can still give your Centaur Battlemaster a temporary boost of 5/5, whereby the +3/+3 will remain as it comes in the form of counters! That is pretty wicked in my opinion! Another great, great card which I use in sooo many decks involving +1/+1 counters is Solidarity of Heroes:

This is simply awesome with the double or tripple counter Heroics in this deck, as, if we look at Centaur Battlemaster once again, you will target him with Solidarity of Heroes (or even multiple Creatures through paying for the affordable Strive cost) which will place three +1/+1 counters on him through his Heroic ability and THEN you will double these counters, giving the Centaur  a permanent boost of +6/+6 for just 2 mana (1G) and that at instant speed! Just imagine what this would do if there were already a bunch of counters on the battlewise Centaur!!

Lastly, I run two odd copies of Mortal’s Resolve which gives a mediocre +1/+1 for the rest of the turn but, and this is crucial, makes the Creature it targets indestructible until end of turn, which is great if your Creature would die in battle, or to some pinpoint destruction like Doomblade or even saves him from mass removal like Day of Judgment, Wrath of God etc…

Enchanted Twilight:

Creatures…22

4 x Hopeful Eidolon W

2 x Nyxfleece Ram 1W

4 x Brain Maggot 1B

4 x Underworld Coinsmith WB

4 x Grim Guardian 2B

4 x Mesa Enchantress 1WW

Enchantments…16

4 x Hindering Rays W

4 x Ethereal Armor W

4 x Journey to Nowhere 1W

4 x Banishing Light 2W

Lands…22

4 x Evolving Wilds

4 x Orzhov Guildgate

8 x Plains

6 x Swamp

About the Deck:

This is a real low-buget deck not trying to be competitive but rather fun-to-play in a casual enviroment, making heavy use of enchantments – in fact only 4 cards (Mesa Enchantress – your über-powerful draw engine, but more on that later!) aren’t enchantments besides the lands. Theros was and is an Enchantment-Block, introducing awesome things such as Enchantment Creatures (similar to Artifact Creatures) and Enchantment Artifacts, which count both as Enchantments and Creatures or Enchantments and Artifacts respectively, as well as introducing many Enchantment-related abilties and mechanics such as Bestow or Constellation.

So this deck consits almost entirely of Enchantments and Lands (too bad they did for whatever reason decide against making Enchantment Lands as they made Artifact Lands in the first Mirrodin Block). Besides 4 non-Enchantment Mesa Enchantresses, the deck runs a grand total of no less than 34 Enchantments – lots and lots of Enchantment Creatures as well as regular Enchantments and Auras. This means half of your deck consists of Enchantments.

And here Mesa Enchantress comes into play as your overly powerful (potentially – if you manage to keep her alive!) draw engine! Bask in her crap-rare-tastic (nowadays a playset of 4 can be obtained for an Euro I guess) glory:

Yeah that’s right, she’ll draw you a card whenever you play an Enchantment Spell, no matter what type, Aura, Enchantment Creature, regular Enchantment – you name it! And with a deck where quite literally every other card is a (relatively low-cost) Enchantment, ou are going to draw… a lot! Provided you can manage to keep her alive for a few turns at the very least. In fact the Enchantress is the main reason why I didn’t make this deck Theros Block only. The only minor difficulty could be the double white mana required to cast her, but what am I running the Orzhov Guildgates and land-fetching Evolving Wilds for anyways?

The overal strategy and playing style of this deck is defensive. While experience tells that defensive builds are generelly less viable or even competitive if you will than aggressive ones, I think this one might just work like a charm. You got good defenders and tons of ways to gain a little life at once but regularly, and some cards even do both such as Nyxfleece Ram, which is an Enchantment Creature, so it will draw you a card if you have an Enchantress handy, with 0/5 that will net you 1 life during each of your Upkeeps, and that all for just 2 mana (1W). Each of those things by itself isn’t exactly great but in combination I think it is worth including at least twice in this deck. Also, Underworld Coinsmith…

…and Grim Guardian both have the Constellation mechanic from Theros, which will trigger whenever they come into play or another Enchantment comes into play. Coinsmith gains you 1 life when this happens while Guardian causes your opponent(s) to lose 1 life whenever an enchantment enters play. Furthermore, Coinsmith has the nice ability, if you ever got some mana to spare, to pay WB and 1 life in order to have each opponent lose 1 life. This deck really incorporates the concept of winning “slowly but steadily”. Many white Enchantments that effectively neutralize any targetable Creature or even any non-land permanent in the case of Banishing Light should be able to stop an opponent assault short in like no time. I am running Hindering Rays, which is especially useful in the early game, at a cost of 1 mana, Journey to Nowhere, which banishes any Creature that can be targeted at 2 mana and Banishing Light which can exile any troublesome non-Land permanent even at the 3 mana level. I would like to emphasize once again that these are all relatively low-cost Enchantments which WILL trigger Enchantress and draw you a replacement card for each of them when played, so you might be drawing into more Creature/Permanent neutralizers as you play them, thus shutting down your opponents offense effectively and thoroughly while you keep gaining some life and in turn causing your opponent(s) to lose life – slowly but steadily!

So while this deck is largely defensive in playing style and causes your opponent to lose life, once again, slowly but steadily, keeping your opponent’s Creatures at bay with various Creature neutralizers, the deck can well go on the offense and deal a finishing blow rather quickly in fact. What you would do would be taking the battlefield throughly under your enchantments’ tight grip and when the way is clear for an attacker of your own, just enchant one of your Creatures with this…

… and maybe Bestow Lifelinking Hopeful Eidolon on it for additional life gain and go on the offense, hopefully dealing the finishing blow to a defenseless, paralyzed, life-drained opponent.

I think this deck has potential and I am really looking forward to try this one out in the casual, “friendly” environment of my home!

Well I just hope THIS won’t happen to me:

😀

YGO: Three Decks I want to build: Photon Ritual, Gorgonic Rock & Evol!

Dear readers of this here my blog!

Well I got the deckbuilding itch once more, when it comes to Magic: the Gathering as well as to the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, so here’s a three-part deck article about three YGO decks I am in the process of building and assembling. So in the following articel I will share with you three deck profiles, three deck lists as well as my thoughts on them and on the strategies involved in said decks.

Before I want to dive into the decks, I just wanted to note that two of the three decks are heavily based on XYZ-Summoning (whereas one deck doesn’t even have an Extra Deck – as of now!) which is kinda odd, kinda curious because I really, really disliked the “XYZ-craze” going on at local tournaments. I even played mostly decks without Extra Decks and of the Anti-Meta kind at said tournaments, such as my Rock-Stun and Monarchs decks. But since I tried Hieratic Dragons and liked the XYZ action, it seems I changed my mind once again and am now in the middle of building XYZ-centered decks, two of which I am going to showcase in this article. So let’s have at it by starting with the one deck devoid of Extra Deck cards:

Ritual of the Photon Dragon:

Monsters…21

2 x Cyber Valley

3 x Kaiser Seahorse

3 x Manju of the The Thousand Hands

3 x Alexandrite Dragon

3 x Paladin of Photon Dragon

2 x Honest

2 x Cyber Dragon

3 x Galaxy Eyes Photon Dragon

Spells…10

3 x Photon Lead

3 x Photon Sanctuary

3 x Luminous Dragon Ritual

1 x One for One

Traps…9

3 x Lumenize

2 x Ritual Buster

2 x Beckoning Light

2 x Dimensional Prison

About the Deck:

Yes, what you are looking at is a Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon Deck – well, my take on such a deck! Here is the main guy of the show for you to marvel at:

As you can barely read above, Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon has quite a lot to offer and boasts a mighty 3000 ATK just like “Ol’ Blue-Eyes. The deck is built around getting GEPD out reliably and early on, and even multiple copies of it! One main road to summoning Photon Dragon easily involves Ritual Summoning this guy:

This Level 4 Light Attribute Ritual Monster is a pretty good deal in and off itself, as it has a respectable 1900 ATK AND draws you a card whenever it destroys a Monster in battle – card draw is hard to come by in YGO and I really like effects like that. The main reason why this guy is in the deck however is  the fact that you can tribute him in order to Special Summon a Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon from your hand or Deck. This is really great and mimics the powers of Paladin of White Dragon that let you Special Summon Blue-Eyes White Dragon in a similar fashion. Now what is really cool is that you can use the Ritual Spell used to summon Paladin, Luminous Dragon Ritual, a second time, from your graveyard, which lets you get out two Paladins and hence two Dragons quite easily.

This is a Light Attribute-only deck when it comes to the Monsters and I added some nice ones to support the overall strategy of the deck:

Kaiser Seahorse is amazing as counts as two Tributes for Tribute Summoning your Photon Dragon the old-school way. Cyber Dragon is in there for pretty much the same reason: Special Summon him when you control no monsters and your opponent does and use him as Tribute fodder.

Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands is extremely useful to find missing pieces for your Ritual Summoning of Paladin of Photon Dragon, as it searches your deck for either a Ritual Monster or Ritual Spell card and puts it into your hand.

Cyber Valley is in for stalling and card draw, as it had 3 quite useful effects, one of which lets you negate an Attack and draw a card and another drawing you two cards by banishing itself and another Light Monster from your side of the field.

Honest is just an amazing card in any deck with a substantial number of Light Monsters as it can be discarded from your hand at no cost when one of your Monsters battles and will boost the ATK of your Monster by the ATK of the Monster it battles with for one turn. This way you can push through a lot of damage and, maybe even more crucial in this deck, you can make weak Monsters survive an opponent attack so you can use them as Tribute material for Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon later on.

Alexandrite Dragon is a nice beater at an outstanding 2000 ATK (for a no-Tribute Monster) and goes well with the Light theme of the deck, benefitting from Honest etc. But what is really cool is when your opponent goes first and playes a Monster and you happen to have Alexandrite Dragon, Cyber Dragon and Photon Dragon in hand. You’d Special Summon Cyber Dragon followed by Normal Summoning Alexandrite Dragon which woud then allow you to Special Summon Photon Dragon from hand – on your first turn! It won’t happen all too often but the possibility is there!

Coming to the Spells, we have 3 Luminous Dragon Rituals for summoning your Paladins, one copy of One for One which lets you Special Summon a Cyber Valley which can be used as Tribute Fodder and one very powerful card, namely Photon Lead. Photon Lead lets you Special Summon any Lv 4 or lower Light Monster from hand, thus providing additional Tribute fodder for Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon. At best you can Special Summon Kaiser Seahorse which will act as two Tributes for Galaxy-Eyes, which would once again make a first turn Photon Dragon very much possible! Photon Sanctuary is yet another, quite easy, way to Special Summon a Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon from hand, as it produces two Photon Tokens with 2000 ATK / 0 DEF that cannot be used as Synchro Material and cannot attack. Just use them to meet the Special Summoning conditions of Photon-Dragon. The drawback that you cannot summon any Monsters except Light ones on the turn you activate Photon Sanctuary is irrelevant in an all-Light Monsters deck like this!

As for the traps, we got 3 Lumenize, which lets you negate an Attack and grants a Light Monster of your as much ATK as the Monster which ATK was negated had, thus mimicing the effect of Honest in a way and giving you an additional option how to protect your Tribute fodder Monsters as well as a considerable ATK boost for one of your Monsters. Then I am running 2 Beckoning Light which lets you restock your hand with Light Attribute Monsters, 2 Ritual Busters which is really great as it prevents your opponent from activating Traps and Spells or their effects when you Ritual Summon, until the next Standby-Phase. This allows you to Ritual Summon Paladin and then Special Summon Photon Dragon and then attack with it unhindered and without the danger of running into nasty Traps or Spells. Two copies of Dimensional Prison are in for additional control and protection.

Gorgonic Rock:

Monsters…19

3 x Gorgonic Cerberus

3 x Gorgonic Ghoul

3 x Gorgonic Gargoyle

3 x Gorgonic Golem

3 x Chronomaly Crystal Skull

3 x Chronomaly Crystal Bones

1 x Neo-Spacian Grand Mole

Spells…8

3 x Catapult Zone

2 x XYZ-Override

1 x Dark Hole

1 x Terraforming

1 x Mystical Space Typhoon

Traps…13

3 x Fiendish Chain

3 x Call of the Haunted

2 x Mirror Force

2 x Dimensional Prison

1 x Solemn Warning

1 x Compulsory Evacuation Device

1 x Bottomless Trap Hole

Extra…13

3 x Gorgonic Guardian

3 x Grenosaurus

3 x Number 17: Leviathan Dragon

2 x Number 20: Gigabrilliant

1 x Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction

1 x Number 34: Terrorbyte

About the Deck:

This is a heavily XYZ-centered Rock-Type Deck which I “discovered” when I recently bought some Legacy of the Valiant boosters and came across the so called “Gorgonic” Monsters. These are mostly Level 3 Rock-Type, Dark Attribute Monsters that are simply made for some serious XYZ-action and it seems that I too, finally, am buying into the “XYZ-craze” I had dreaded for so long. The good thing about this is that all the Gorgonic Monsters so far are commons, including their XYZ-boss Monster card Gorgonic Guardian:

Besides Gorgonic Guardian seen above, there are 4 different Gorgonic Monsters. All 4 have weak stats but useful effects. Let us look at all of them real quick:

  • Gorgonic Golem (Lv 3) makes the Monster that destroyed it in battle 0 ATK, permanently. Also you can banish Golem from your graveyard to prevent your opponent from activating a set Spell or Trap card for one turn which can be handy at times.
  • Gorgonic Gargoyle (Lv 3) can be Special Summoned from hand if you Normal Summon a Rock Type Monster, which makes for awesome XYZ-Summoning Options.
  • Gorgonic Cerberus (Lv 3) can turn all Rock Type Monsters you control Lv 3 when Normal Summoned which again goes very well with XYZ-Summoning various Rank 3 XYZs like Gorgonic Guardian among others.
  • Gorgonic Ghoul (Lv 1) is the only Gorgonic with a Level other than 3. You can Special Summon Ghoul from hand if you control another Ghoul, by paying 300 Life Points.

To support my Gorgonics I am running 2 Chronomaly Monsters:

Cronomaly Crystal Bones

and Chronomaly Crystal Skull:

Crystal Bones and Crystal Skull are Rock-Types as well and go hand in hand with each other, making for great XYZ-Summons as well!

Neo-Spacian Grand  Mole is a great disruption card so I added one copy to this All-Rock deck.

Besides a lot of staples in Rock-Stun and Anti-Meta builds such as Fiendish Chain, Compulsory Evacution Device, Solemn Warning, Dimensional Prison etc etc, I am running a number of Field Spells – two different ones to be precise:

Catapult Zone is great in any deck with a lot of Rock Monsters, as you can prevent one Monster from being destroyed in battle once per turn, by sending any Rock-Type Monster from deck to graveyard. This is really great since I am running tripple Call of the Haunted as well, so great reanimation is bound to happen! The second Field Spell is XYZ-Override, which lets you use your XYZs effects requiring to detach a Material without detaching one. It could be problematic to run two different kinds of Field Spells but my plan is to use Catapult Zone first to make my weak Rock Monsters survive battle and filling the graveyard with Monsters early on, then, once I got my XYZs out switching to XYZ-Override, to max out on its capabilities.

The Extra Deck consists of a bunch of Rank 3 Monsters obviously, such as staples like Number 17: Leviathan Dragon and Grenosaurus as well as the Gorgonic XYZ-Monster Gorgonic Guardian which I showed you above. For additional fun and variety I am running Acid Golem of Destruction, Terrorbyte and Gigabrilliant as well. I have to note that the Extra-Deck is still raw and incomplete as I have to admit that my knowledge of existing XYZs is still quite limited and far from encyclopedic. So if you know any great Rank 3 XYZs that I didn’t add to the list yet, please do suggest them to me so I can complete my Extra Deck on this one!  Thanks!!

Evo-Deck:

Creatures…23

3 x Evoltile Najasho

3 x Evoltile Westlo

3 x Evoltile Casinero

3 x Evoltile Lagosuchus

3 x Evolsaur Vulcano

3 x Evolsaur Cerato

3 x Evolsaur Pelta

2 x Evolsaur Elias

Spells…8

3 x Evo-Force

3 x Evo-Diversity

2 x Evo Miracle

1 x Foolish Burial

Traps…9

3 x Offering to the Snake Deity

3 x Evo-Instant

3 x Call of the Haunted

Extra…7

3 x Evolzar Dolkka

3 x Evolzar Laggia

1 x Evolzar Solda

About the Deck:

I love Dinosaurs and I love the theory of evolution, so building an Evol-Archetype deck sooner or later was only natural. I have to note that I find the way Konami handles combos and card synergies a bit stupid and less attractive than how that is handled in Magic: the Gathering for instance. In YGO you have certain very clearly defined sets of cards interacting and comboing with each other, in a very much predefined way – you can usually tell by the card name if certain cards have these predefined combos and synergies. Evol is such an “archetype” for example. I find this general concept Konami has adopted in YGO quite limiting as opposed to the more general card interactions to be found in MtG for instance, as you will always need certain other cards to make a deck centered around one such archetype. Anyways as I am slowly but steadily buying into the new XYZs I am also more and more willing to build some decks centered around said predefined archtypes – of which Evol is one!

Evol decks follow the general concept of using the effects of certain Reptile Monsters, all called “Evoltile”, to easily Special Summon into so called “Evolsaur” Dinosaur Type Monsters, most of which are Level 4, which can then be used to XYZ into Evolzar Dragon Type Monsters, which represent the last stage of the “evolutionary line” from Reptiles over Dinosaurs to Dragons! I like that concept a lot!

As for the Reptile Type Evoltiles, I am running 4 different ones, all having effects that will set you up for Special Summoning your Evolsaurs: In general, the weak stats of the Evoltiles shouln’t worry you in the least, as they are only used for getting out your Evolsaurs. Evoltile Najasho Special Summons an Evolsaur straight from your deck when tributed, Evoltile Westlo does the same when flipped, Special Summoning an Evolsaur from the deck that is, Evoltile Casinero  Special Summons you 2 Level 6 Fire Dinosaurs from your Deck when it destroys a Monster in battle – you would be chosing Evolsaur Elias and use it to XYZ into Evolzar Solda right away! Lastly, Evoltile Lagosuchus does two things: When Normal Summoned, you can send an Evolsaur from deck to graveyard, from where it can be conveniently reanimated by various means for additional XYZ-action and when it is flipped you can Special Summon any Evoltile Monster from your deck, whichever you need most at that point…

Moving on to the Dinosaur-Type Evolsaurs, I am running four different ones – 3 different Level 4s and 1 Level 6. Evolsaur Vulcano is Lv 4 and has the awesome effect of Special Summoning an Evolsaur from the graveyard when summoned by the effect of an Evoltile Monster. Just send some Evolsaurs to your graveyard with aforementioned Lagosuchus or with Foolish Burial to reanimate them with Vulcano which will give you some instant XYZ-options right away! Evolsaur Cerato (Lv 4) will gain 200 ATK when summoned through the effect of an Evoltile, making it a respectable 2100 beater and if you summoned it this way, you will get to add an Evoltile from deck to hand whenever Cerato destroys a Monster in battle. Evolsaur Pelta (Lv 4) will have a DEF of 2500 when Special Summoned by the effect of an Evoltile Monster and will add such a Monster from deck to hand when destroyed in battle. Evolsaur Elias is your only Lv 6 Evolsaur and is mostly used to XYZ Summon Evolzar Solda. Also, if you happen to have another Fire Type Dinosaur Monster in hand when Elias is Special Summoned through the effects of an Evoltile Monster, you can Special Summon it, which leads to even more XYZ-Summoning possibilities.

Lastly, as the final stage of reptilian evolution, I have 3 different kinds of Evolzar Dragons in my Extra Deck. I best show you the cards instead of just listing their effects here:

Evolzar Laggia:

Evolzar Dolkka:

Evolzar Solda:

 

Besides Monsters, the Evol-archetype has lots of powerful Spell and Trap support to offer! Here is what I included:

  • Evo-Force lets you tribute any Evoltile Monster to Special Summon an Evolsaur Monster from your deck.
  • Evo-Diversity adds one Evoltile or Evolsaur Monster of your choice from your deck to your hand – how convenient!
  • Evo Miracle prevents the destruction of a Monster that was summoned be the effect of an Evoltile Monster.
  • Offering to the Snake Deity is a Trap that lets you destroy a Reptile you control to destroy two opponent cards.
  • Evo-Instant is a Trap that lets you Tribute a Reptile Monster to Special Summon an Evolsaur from your deck.

I also added three classis Call of the Haunted to be able to re-use Monsters from the graveyard for various XYZ-Summons.

AWE: Faction Deck Profiles

Dear gamers and friends & fans of AWE and CCGs in general!

While the AWE-Kickstarter has been more or less stagnant for days now, I am far from throwing in the towel and instead will give it my all until the (bitter?) end! So as some have asked for it I am going to bring to you today a rahter lengthy article about the four AWE faction decks, four Deck Profiles taking a detailed look at the different strategies involved in all four. So let’s get started right  away!

Atlantean Deck Header

What sets the Atlantean apart from the others is the fact that it contains cards of all four resource types, so Barracks and Factory as well as Wilderness and Mage’s Guild cards. The Atlanteans are masterful builders and expert architects so they have lots of cards that let you put additional buildings into play, that let you search your deck for a certain resource to be added to your Building Row and that manipulate your Buildings (resources) in various ways. So in order to get all the resource types you need, in order for a four resource types deck to work, the Atlanteans have cards that let you search for specific resource cards and on the other hand, the Atlantean faction has a ton of ways to draw additional cards as well as to manipulate the deck, so that you will draw into just the right resources and other cards you need in order to win! For instance, have a look at Hermes Trismegistos, the God of the Atlanteans. His ongoing effect (Godly Power) lets you draw an additional card each turn, which is pretty powerful and if you use his one-time flip effect (Divine Intervention) you get to draw a fresh hand of 7 cards right away. All you need to do is keep an eye on  the excessive card draw so as to not die to “decking”, as you’ll lose once  your deck runs out of cards and you can’t draw anymore. So the Atlaneans are somewhat “Jacks of all Kinds” and are very flexible and versatile in what their cards do. The massive card draw the wise Atlantean scholars provide is great for cycling throuh the deck quickly to find just the resources, events or units you need in any situation during a game of AWE. Besides builders, sages and scholars, the Atlanteans possess a tightly organized military, from Infantry like Lancers and Archers, over swift cavarly on their bird mounts to heavy artillery units attacking at long range. Furthermore, the Atlanteans have the behemoths of the deeps at their command and can summon Kraken, Sea Serpents and Leviathans to either attack the opponent in unit form or to unleash mighty events like Tidal Waves that can wipe out whole opponent armies. Overall the Altantean Deck may not be the easiest to pilote among the four preconstructed decks coming in your AWE base pack, as you really need to pay attention to how you play your resources to support all four building types and must always be careful not to run yourself out of cards but it can be very rewarding to play being very versatile and flexible doing all kinds of awesome/nasty things!

Muan Deck Header

The Muans are a tribal civilization dwelling on the island realm of Mu in the Pacific Ocean, that is covered by a dense tropical forest inhabited by the great lizards and other prehistoric beasts. The Muan Deck consists of Wilderness and Mage’s Guild cards, so as compared to the Atlantean deck which has four, you have to manage just two different resource types, which means the deck is somewhat easier to handle and more consistant resource-wise. The Muan tribal society is rather cruel and celebrates death and decay as parts of the natural order of things. Muans have sinister powers like necromancy and raising the dead from their graves. This is reflected by the effects of many of the cards in the Muan Deck. You will find Necromancers like the Muan Deathcaller who has the power to reanimate a fallen unit from the graveyard, as well as many other graveyard-based effects and abilities. For instance the Muan Gravedigger lets you put cards direclty from your deck to the graveyard so as to set up for summoning those as zombified units from there. There are also an array of terrible dinosaur warbeasts with the ability to resurrect from the grave like the Resurrecting Razormaw in the above card samples. The Muans are fearsome tribal warriors which is reflected in their worship of Oro, the Immortal Warrior. Oro reduces the costs of all Wilderness units in your hand by 1 and gives a Power boost to all your wounded Wilderness untis and when you flip him, he will become the “Avatar of War” and incarnate on the battlefield in the form of one of your fallen units to wreak havoc there. The array of different, fantastic units in the Muan army is dazzling: Besides fearsome Spiritwarriors and Raptor Riders, the Muans send terrible great lizard warbeasts into battle while pterodactyl-riding Muan Skyharriers rule the clouds. If you want powerful units that grow stronger when wounded or resurrect from the grave to terrorize your opponents or want to harness the sinister powers of black magic to manipulate your graveyard and such, then the Muan Deck may just be right for you!

Lemurian Deck Header

 

Quite unlike the Muans, who abhor technology and rather embrace magic and shamanism, the Lemurian civilization located in today’s Indian Ocean are technolgoically highly advanced and have harnessed the nowadays forgotten powers of Vril to construct a huge fleet of advanced Vimana aircraft of various types and sizes. The Lemurian preconstructed deck features three “colors” or resource types: Factories produce the various types of Viamana aircraft as well as other machinery such as equally advanced war walkers for instance. At the Barracks the Lemurian Infantry Units as well as commanders and generals are recruited, such as the Lemurian Sky Captain seen above. Among the most feared Lemurian infantry units are the elite Thunderrod-Wielders, who are equipped with staves able to unleash bursts of lightning on their terrified foes. At Mage’s Guilds, various priests, wisemen and scientists are trained, who even meddle with the very fabric of space and time, giving you effects that gain you extra turns among man other things. The God of the Lemurians is Krisha, the Heavenly Prince who boosts the power of all your Aeriel Units, and there are a ton of those in the Lemurian Deck, for as long as he remains face up on the field. However Krishna can be flipped to unleash the Brahamastra mentioned in ancient and sacred Hindu texts that allows you to flexibly choose to either destroy a whole Building Stack, a unit or a guardian of your choice in the blink of an eye. So the Lemurian Deck contains a huge airforce of Viamana craft of various sizes and types, from small Sky Chariots as seen above over swift Vimana Warhawks up to heavy bomber type craft that are able to destroy opponent buildings. Futhermore the deck features lots of engineers and technicians as well as commanders and generals and other ground untis that support your Vimana Fleet with various abilities that grant them boosts in power and/or additional useful abilities. This deck can be a bit tricky to play as well because many of your units will be aerial, and as per the rules aerial untis can destroy guardians but cannot dethrone a god themselves. So this means you need to cleverly plan your strategy so as to blast open a path for your ground-type infantry and other units with your Vimana airfleet, for only your non-flying units can deal the final blow to your opponents’ gods!

Hyperborean Deck Header

The Hyperborean society is built on gunpowder and steam, and this is of course reflected in the Hyperborean Deck coming in the AWE base game box. This Deck has only two resource types among its cards, namely Wilderness and Factory. The Hyperboreans dwell on the snow-covered, volcanic island continent of Hyperborea far to the north of Iceland, which acts as a Hyperborean outpost, and their army consists of a huge variety of different unti types, from tamed Ice Age megafauna beasts such as War Mammoths and Rhinos, over various warriors and infantry units such as the feared Steamgunner Squads, wielding steam-powered MGs similar to Gattling Guns up to also steam-driven iron carriages and juggernauts. The weakness of the armed-to-the-teeth Hyperborean fighting forces is their aerial units. There is only one of that type, however that single airborne unti type is pretty powerful: The Hyperborean Dragonrider – tamed firebreathing dragons that have their native homes in the volcanic wastelands of Hyperborea. The Hyperborean God is Heimdall, the Guardian of Asgaard. Heimdall supports the wondrous Hyperborean war machinery by reducing the costs of all your Factory units by 1 for as long as he is face-up  on the field. You may flip him anytime to bring the “Götterdämmerung”, the terrible Ragnarök, upon which will wipe out all Units on the filed, yours and your opponents’. The Hyperborean Deck features many powerful units, many of which love to go berserk when wounded, lots of machinery and support cards for that as well as resource destruction and effects that deal damage to units directly, reflecting the fiery environment of their volcanic island home Hyperborea. If you want a powerful unit rush deck with plenty of ways to destroy your opponents units by flame as well as to annoy the heck out of them by decimating their resources, you will surely enjoy playing the Hyperborean Deck!

 

So there you have it, the Deck Profiles of the four preconstructed Faction Decks coming in your basic pack of AWE, which you can pre-order by pledging on the ongoing AWE Kickstarter! Please note that you can easily upgrade your AWE experience to a fully customizable one with plenty of options for tweaking the pre-built decks or knocking yourselves out with buidling lots and lots of differnet decks from scratch by pledging for the AWE-Champion deal. Please do check it out on Kickstarter!

Thank you for being a reader and

GAME ON!!

Yours,

Andi