Archetype Analysis: Aesir/Nordic

Last updated: 27.02.2021

Archetypes are an ever changing structure: Some might be struck down by power creep or having the necessary cards banned, others might live through a revival by game mechanics changing or gaining fresh wind due to new support cards. And then there are archetypes like “Nordic”, an anime adaptation with a sizeable number of cards but absolutely no brain being applied into making them a functioning archetype in the real-life cardboard game. Even when they came out there were some issues with the overall “defend the castle”-idea of summoning one big boss monster and hoping that it would carry you to victory, but over time the strategy got worse, the cards are further outscaled and the places for “Nordics” in the modern game of Yugioh is pretty much questionable. Nonetheless, this article will take a closer look at the Yugioh adaptation of Norse mythology and search for whether or not there is still a spark of brilliance in an ocean of mediocrity.

Disclaimer: None of the information given by me is set in stone. Having an open mind in deck building and including creative ideas is always helpful, if only to further understand the playstyle and strategy of the deck you are about to build. There are probably choices that I list which can be labled as debatable, but no platform I know of gives a broad overview over both the archetypes and all the card choices, so I aimed to do just that. I will try to keep this page (as well as the other ones, once they are made) up-to-date, so if any reader feels like I skipped some amazing tech choice or a crucial card, just drop me a note and I will add the missing information if necessary. Furthermore, I use a number of sources for ideas and information, so a list with links that I deem useful is attached to the end of the page and credit is given whenever I can point to a source to do so.

The basic structure of the archetype already shows that there is something completely wrong with “Nordics”. When people are talking about “Nordics” as an archetype, they are in reality referring to the following subarchetypes as one group:
– The “Nordic Alfar”, which are Dark and Light Spellcaster monsters (with the exception of one Earth Warrior monster) that are the group related to “Loki, Lord of the Aesir“.
– The “Nordic Beasts”, which are Dark/Earth/Light Beast-type monsters that belong to “Thor, Lord of the Aesir” (who is a Beast-Warrior, not a Beast by the way).
– The “Nordic Ascendants”, which is a group of Dark and Light Fairy monsters that work for “Odin, Father of the Aesir“.
– The single “Nordic Champion” card in form of “Tyr of the Nordic Champions“.
– The high-level monsters in form of “Fenrir the Nordic Wolf” and “Jormungardr the Nordic Serpent“.
– The “Aesir” monster consisting of the Synchro monsters “Loki, Lord of the Aesir“, “Thor, Lord of the Aesir” and “Odin, Father of the Aesir“.
– The “Nordic Relic” Spell/Traps that are building a sub-archetype in the backrow support for no good reason since there are also related Spells and Traps without this moniker and one card in form of “Divine Relic Mjollnir” where they flatout refused to make the intelligent move and add it to the “Nordic Relic” sub-archetype.

As you can see, we have quite a few things to talk about. So, without any further ado, here is the “Nordic” group meeting:

Archetype:

File:AlvissoftheNordicAlfar-MP19-EN-C-1E.png

Name: “Alviss of the Nordic Alfar”
Level/Rank: 4
ATK/DEF: 1500/1000
Attribute/Type: Dark Spellcaster

We start our journey through the “Nordic” archetype with the “Nordic Alfar” sub-archetype and in this case with “Alviss of the Nordic Alfar”. It is a Level 4 Dark Spellcaster monster with 1500/1000 and is together with their Link monster them newest member the “Nordic” archetype got. “Alviss” is pretty helpful effect-wise: If only “Alviss” is banished by the effect of a “Nordic” Link monster, you can send one “Nordic” monster you control and two “Nordic” monsters from your deck to the graveyard which together have a level of 10 and then Special Summon one “Aesir” monster from your Extra Deck. Furthermore, if an “Aesir” monster in your possession is sent to the graveyard by an opposing card, you can banish “Alviss” from the graveyard and then Special Summon one “Aesir” monster from your Extra Deck with a different name then any cards in your graveyard. The last effect of “Alviss” can only be used once per duel. The fact that “Alviss” got released together with the only “Nordic” Link monster in existence and then has an effect that refers to that very card shows that Konami really just made some support for the heck of it because they did not want to be asked for it constantly or something. But nonetheless “Alviss” is not that bad: You can Special Summon the Link monster in form of “Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant” with any Level 5 or lower “Nordic” monster, so pretty much all the time, and if you have “Alviss” in your hand you can activate its first effect by paying the cost of the Link monsters effect and then simply ditch the monsters from your deck to the graveyard for the “Aesir” summon.

“Alviss of the Nordic Alfar” is a solid support card and should be run at two to three copies in my opinion.

File:DvergoftheNordicAlfar-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

Name: “Dverg of the Nordic Alfar”
Level/Rank: 1
ATK/DEF: 100/1000
Attribute/Type: Earth Warrior

Next up is “Dverg of the Nordic Alfar”, a Level 1 Earth Warrior monster with 100/1000. “Dverg” allows you to Normal Summon another “Nordic” monster during the turn it was Normal Summoned, but you can gain that effect only once during that turn which disallows some “Dverg” summon chains. Furthermore, if “Dverg” while face-up on the field is sent to the graveyard, target one “Nordic Relic” card in your graveyard and add the targeted card to the hand. “Dverg” has some issues, but with Link monsters being a thing you can at least access Link-2 monsters in “Nordic” with some consistency. It also helps that “Dverg” can be searched with “Reinforcement of the Army” since you can technically run up to four copies of it that way and give at least some swarming to a deck that barely has any.

“Dverg of the Nordic Alfar” is clearly a candidate for the preferance treatment. The card is completely fine but is held back by the archetype it has to support.

File:LjosalfoftheNordicAlfar-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

Name: “Ljosalf of the Nordic Alfar”
Level/Rank: 4
ATK/DEF: 1400/1200
Attribute/Type: Light Spellcaster

We continue with “Ljosalf of the Nordic Alfar”, a Level 4 Light Spellcaster with 1400/1200. Effect-wise, “Ljosalf” triggers when Normal Summoned and allows the player to target one face-up they control, except for “Ljosalf of the Nordic Alfar” and then Special Summon one “Nordic” monster from the hand with a level less than or equal to the level of the targeted monster. The good thing is that most of the important “Nordic” monsters are Level 4 or lower anyway, but this is severely outweighed by the fact that you would need to Normal Summon “Ljosalf” while another “Nordic” monster magically appeared on the field, which is hard to believe since “Nordics” are pretty abysmal in producing field presence without losing an arm an both legs of the player. You could use the previously mentioned “Dverg of the Nordic Alfar” to Normal Summon “Ljosalf” and then summon a Level 1 “Nordic” monster from your hand, but since only “Dverg” is Level 1 in the entire archetype this sounds like a really complicated way to summon a Link-3 monster.

“Ljosalf of the Nordic Alfar” is supposed to be a swarming tool, but pales in comparision to the tools other archetypes have available. Run zero.

File:MaraoftheNordicAlfar-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

Name: “Mara of the Nordic Alfar”
Level/Rank: 2
ATK/DEF: 1000/500
Attribute/Type: Dark Spellcaster

The first “Nordic Alfar” Tuner monster comes in form of “Mara of the Nordic Alfar”. “Mara” is a Level 2 Dark Spellcaster monster with 1000/500 and when “Mara” is used as material for a Synchro Summon, the other materials must be two “Nordic” monsters in your hand. There are a few facts that I need to get straight here: The “Nordic” archetype has three sub-archetypes of sorts, as already mentioned, and the corresponding “Aesir” monsters all require Tuners from their sub-archetype to be summoned. This obviously also means that you can only summon “Loki, Lord of the Aesir” using “Mara” and none of the other two, which already limits the usefulness quite substantially. On top of that, you can only Synchro Summon monsters that allow you to use exactly three monsters and you have to provide those levels exactly as with all Synchro Summons, making “Mara” more and more situational even though it can technically Synchro Summon an “Aesir” monster by just being Normal Summoned. Since “Loki” is also the weakest and least-used “Aesir”, it would really need a very specialized deck strategy to make this card both useful and consistent.

“Mara of the Nordic Alfar” has an interesting Synchro Summoning mechanic, but chances are you will not use it due to being fairly restrictive and not giving you the optimal cards even when being used to its full potential. Run zero.

File:SvartalfoftheNordicAlfar-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

Name: “Svartalf of the Nordic Alfar”
Level/Rank: 5
ATK/DEF: 1400/1600
Attribute/Type: Dark Spellcaster

The last “Nordic Alfar” monster is “Svartalf of the Nordic Alfar”, a Level 5 Dark Spellcaster monster with 1400/1600 which also happens to be a Tuner monster. “Svartalf” is pretty simple effect-wise, since it only allows you to target one “Nordic” monster in your graveyard and add the targeted monster to your hand. That would not be that bad but the fact that you need a tribute to even summon “Svartalf” normally means that you will have to play “Dverg” as your first Normal Summon during the turn and use it immediately to Tribute Summon “Svartalf” only to get “Dverg” back onto your hand for another summon during your next turn. That is simply not enough to make “Svartalf” even close to playable and is also the reason why you should not bother with it.

“Svartalf of the Nordic Alfar” is a weak tribute monster that you can only really summon consistently in its own archetype with the help of “Dverg“, but the effort does not pay off. Simply skip this card.

File:GarmroftheNordicBeasts-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

Name: “Garmr of the Nordic Beasts”
Level/Rank: 4
ATK/DEF: 800/1900
Attribute/Type: Dark Beast

The first of “Thor’s” Nordic Beasts to introduce is “Garmr of the Nordic Beasts”. It is a Level 4 Dark Beast monster with 800/1900 and is pretty straightforward in terms of effect text: If this card battle a Level 4 or lower monster, you can return that monster to the hand after damage calculation. The important part of this effect is “after damage calculation”, which means that “Garmr” needs to survive the encounter to even trigger the bounce. This unfortunately means that there is a number of scenarios in which “Garmr” has no effect whatsoever, mainly when fighting Link monsters, Xyz monster, any monster above Level 4 or any attack position monster with more than 800 ATK since “Garmr” would die in battle. You can technically put “Garmr” in face-down defense position to use its DEF stat for the battle, but that is an awful idea since that would pretty much end your turn without doing anything worthwhile. Also, the listed monsters are an awful lot of things “Garmr” cannot trigger its effect against and basically the reason why it has no business being in any deck.

“Garmr of the Nordic Beasts” is a confused card design-wise and should be played at zero copies.

File:GuldfaxeoftheNordicBeasts-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

Name: “Guldfaxe of the Nordic Beasts”
Level/Rank: 4
ATK/DEF:1600/1000
Attribute/Type: Light Beast

Next up is “Guldfaxe of the Nordic Beasts”, which is a Level 4 Light Beast monster with 1600/1000 and paradoxically probably the best Tuner monster in the entire archetype. “Guldfaxe” really does not do that much but with an ATK stat of 1600 it is actually way more capable of kicking something over than the rest of its archetypal brethren and its effect basically makes it a “Cyber Dragon” but the opponent has to control a Synchro monster specifically and not just any monster. Due to the lack of better cards, potential Beast support that can interact with it, and an overall solid level with decent ATK “Guldfaxe” is one of the members of “Nordic” you should have in mind when building a “Nordic” deck.

“Guldfaxe of the Nordic Beasts” is not particularly good in any sense when compared to many other cards in the game, but in “Nordic” it provides quite a few helpful things and can be run at up to three copies.

File:TanngnjostroftheNordicBeasts-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

Name: “Tanngnjostr of the Nordic Beasts”
Level/Rank: 3
ATK/DEF: 800/1100
Attribute/Type: Earth Beast

Then we have “Tanngnjostr of the Nordic Beasts” as part one of the actual swarming team; seems like “Thor” got the better end of the cards overall. “Tanngnjostr” is a Level 3 Earth Beast monster with 800/1100 and comes with two helpful effects: First off, when a monster you control is destroyed by battle and sent to the graveyard, you can Special Summon “Tanngnjostr” from your hand. Secondly, when “Tanngnjostr” is changed from defense position to attack position, you can Special Summon one “Nordic Beast” monster from your deck in defense position, except for “Tanngnjostr of the Nordic Beasts”. This is a surprisingly good set of effects for “Nordic”: Even if your start is setting “Tanngnjostr” face-down and passing with some backrow, you might be able to make something with it due to effect number two. And if something you control is destroyed in battle you not only gain an additional body on the field, but also can setup for your next turn if the attacking monster was the last one able to do so since you can summon “Tanngnjostr” in defense position, then change it into attack position during your turn which will trigger the Special Summon effect. Lastly, “Tanngnjostr” and its partner are both Level 3 monsters, which makes them a perfect match for a Level 10 Synchro Summon if “Guldfaxe of the Nordic Beasts” is involved. Overall, this is a card that does not need to hide even though some of the effect are outdated due to only triggering in cases of battle destruction.

“Tanngnjostr of the Nordic Beasts” is as close to the power ceiling as you will get in “Nordic”, but the card still has its uses and does help with both swarming the field for summons and keeping a field after the opposing advances. Play it by preferance, but this one really can do some work at three copies.

File:TanngrisniroftheNordicBeasts-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

Name: “Tanngrisnir of the Nordic Beasts”
Level/Rank: 3
ATK/DEF: 1200/800
Attribute/Type: Earth Beast

Number two of the swarming team is “Tanngrisnir of the Nordic Beasts”. “Tanngrisnir” is a Level 3 Earth Beast monster with 1200/800 and simply summons two “Nordic Beast Tokens” (Level 3 Earth Beast with 0/0) when destroyed in battle and sent to the graveyard. This one is very straightforward, since it produces more bodies to summon stuff with. Summoning Link monsters with tokens is absolutely fine and could be one way to use “Tanngrisnir”, but another option is ramming it into an opposing monster yourself and effectively doubling the amount of goats on your field; which is all the more useful if you still have a Normal Summon for “Guldfaxe of the Nordic Beasts” since that will summon “Thor” then and there. Also “Tanngrisnir” is easily summonable via “Tanngnjostr” and can easily summon it when being destroyed so the two work well together to keep the monster count high.

“Tanngrisnir of the Nordic Beasts” is a somewhat dated but still fairly useful defense option that can also be used to swarm in certain situations. Run this one by preference.

File:MimiroftheNordicAscendant-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

Name: “Mimir of the Nordic Ascendant”
Level/Rank: 2
ATK/DEF: 600/0
Attribute/Type: Dark Fairy

The first “Nordic Ascendant” is “Mimir of the Nordic Ascendant”, a Level 2 Dark Fairy monster with 600/0 and the following effect: Once per turn, at the start of your Standby Phase, if you control a “Nordic” monster and “Mimir” is in your graveyard, you can send one Spell card from your hand to the graveyard to Special Summon “Mimir of the Nordic Ascendant”. So, you cannot summon “Mimir” turn one since you will not control a “Nordic” monster, meaning you have to wait a whole rotation giving the opponent time and opportunity to destroy the necessary “Nordic” monster on the field, while the entire summoning strategy does not work anyway if the opponent has cards like “Dimensional Fissure” or “Macro Cosmos” on the field. And even if all the stars align giving you to opportunity to summon “Mimir”, you still go even at best since you need to discard a Spell from your hand. You still might be playing a copy to fetch via the effect of “Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant” since “Mimir’s” Level of 2 is exactly what is missing to an “Aesir” monster when summoning two Level 4 monsters.

“Mimir of the Nordic Ascendant” is supposed to give you more resources to work with, but fails miserably in that regard. Play one copy if necessary as Synchro fodder via “Gullveig“.

File:ValkyrieoftheNordicAscendant-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

Name: “Valkyrie of the Nordic Ascendant”
Level/Rank: 2
ATK/DEF: 400/800
Attribute/Type: Light Fairy

Moving on, we have “Valkyrie of the Nordic Ascendant”. “Valkyrie” is a Level 2 Light Fairy monster with 400/800 and the first of the “Nordic Ascendant” Tuner monsters. Her effects start with a clarification that states that “Valkyrie of the Nordic Ascendant” does not count as a “Valkyrie” due to her name, so no weird “Valkyrie”/”Nordic” builds are allowed (you can still do them, but Konami seems to dislike the idea of using additional Tuners in “Valkyries”). Other than that, when “Valkyrie” is Normal summoned while your opponent controls a monster and you control no other cards, you can banish two “Nordic” monsters from your hand to Special Summon two “Einherjar Tokens” (Level 4 Earth Warrior monster with 1000/1000) in defense position. This effect is obviously supposed to give you exactly the right number and levels to Synchro Summon one “Aesir” monster from your Extra Deck, although nothing would be stopping you from summoning Link monsters instead. The major problem with “Valkyrie” is that she is fairly restrictive since you have to have an empty field and only “Nordic” monsters qualify for her effect, not “Nordic” Spells or Traps.

“Valkyrie of the Nordic Ascendant” seems good in concept, but her various restrictions cause her to be pretty inconsistent; and there are better way to summon an “Aesir” monster nowadays. Play zero.

File:VanadisoftheNordicAscendant-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

Name: Vanadis of the Nordic Ascendant
Level/Rank: 4
ATK/DEF: 1200/400
Attribute/Type: Dark Fairy

The second Tuner and also the last monster we have in the “Nordic Ascendant” sub-archetype in the Main Deck is “Vanadis of the Nordic Ascendant”. “Vanadis” is a Level 4 Dark Fairy with 1200/400 and comes with the following effects: First off, you can use “Vanadis” as a substitute for any “Nordic” Tuner, which means that you can also summon “Loki” and “Thor” using “Vanadis” as the Tuner; however, if “Vanadis” is used as a Synchro material, all the other monsters have to be “Nordic” monsters. Lastly, once per turn, you can send one “Nordic” monster from your deck to the graveyard to change the level of “Vanadis” to the level of whatever you sent to the graveyard via this effect until the end of that turn. This card is fairly helpful in getting “Aesir” monsters on the field, since she counts for anything, she has a Level of 4 which is solid if you decide to run some Xyz options in your Extra Deck and she can even setup your graveyard by ditching other “Aesir” monsters Tuners to give them to possibility of reviving themselves by banishing the Tuner in question, an effect that all the gods share. She does restrict the summons to “Nordic” monsters, but the other available options also force you down that road so that is not something that should come as a surprise to “Nordic” players.

“Vanadis of the Nordic Ascendant” is a good card with potential for a few solid plays and extentions. I would suggest running her by preference since her usefulness depends on the overall build and how often you will simply go for “Alviss” and “Gullveig“.

File:TyroftheNordicChampions-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

Name: “Tyr of the Nordic Champions”
Level/Rank: 4
ATK/DEF: 2000/2000
Attribute/Type: Light Warrior

Starting with the group of “Nordic” monsters that do not have any allegiance with any of the “Aesir” monsters, we have “Tyr of the Nordic Champions”. “Tyr” is a Level 4 Light Warrior monster with 2000/2000 and has the effect that the opponent cannot choose any “Nordic” monsters as attack target except for “Tyr of the Nordic Champions”. This would be perfectly serviceable and make “Tyr” a solid beater with added protection that would really only do its job while blowing away nobody. However, you cannot have a 2000 ATK monster from that time period that does not have a drawback attached to it, so “Tyr” automatically destroys itself if you have no other “Nordic” monsters on the field. Swarming is something that “Nordics” are really bad at so the chance of you playing a “Nordic” monster that needs to be protected and “Tyr” in the same turn and leaving them both on the field and not accessing the Extra Deck is pretty much zero.

“Tyr of the Nordic Champions” is a beatstick with a silly drawback and should be run at zero copies.

File:FenrirtheNordicWolf-LC05-EN-UR-LE.png

Name: “Fenrir the Nordic Wolf”
Level/Rank: 10
ATK/DEF: 4000/4000
Attribute/Type: Dark Beast

The next monster without an allegiance is “Fenrir the Nordic Wolf”. “Fenrir” is a Level 10 Dark Beast monster with 4000/4000 and comes with the following set of effects: It cannot be Normal Summoned or Set, but during your Main Phase 2 if an “Aesir” monster is present on the field you can Special Summon “Fenrir” to the opposing side of the field in defense position. If no “Aesir” monster is on the field “Fenrir” is destroyed. Lastly, at the start of your Battle Phase you have to change all defense position monsters you control into face-up attack position and both players take battle damage that involved this card. So, “Fenrir” is pretty terrible: You gift your opponent a beater that is bigger than two of your boss monsters and on par with the last one, and since you can only summon “Fenrir” during Main Phase 2 you cannot make any use of it being fought right away and dealing significant damage to both players by running into its 4000 DEF with a small monster. Furthermore, if your opponent cannot see anything useful they can do with “Fenrir” on their field, they can simply link it away during Main Phase 1 and therefore simply ignore the entire issue.

“Fenrir the Nordic Wolf” is huge beatstick that you gift to your opponent to impose not enough drawbacks onto them. Skip this card entirely.

File:JormungardrtheNordicSerpent-LC05-EN-UR-LE.png

Name: “Jormungardr the Nordic Serpent”
Level/Rank: 8
ATK/DEF: 3000/3000
Attribute/Type: Dark Dragon

The last of the “Nordic” monster that runs under no flag is “Jormungardr the Nordic Serpent”. “Jormungardr” is a Level 8 Dark Dragon monster with 3000/3000 and similar to “Fenrir” cannot be Normal Summoned or Set and can be Special Summoned to the opposing side of the field when an “Aesir” monster is present; however, “Jormungardr” can also be summoned during Main Phase 1. However, another effect that is completely the same as with “Fenrir” is the fact that “Jormungardr” destroys itself when no “Aesir” monster is on the field. The last part of the effect triggers when “Jormungardr” is switched from face-up defense position into face-up attack position, in which case it will deal 3000 damage to its controller, but this effect can only trigger once while “Jormungardr” is face-up on the field. So, the mighty combo is summoning an “Aesir”, then putting both “Fenrir” and “Jormungardr” on the opposing side of the field, pass the turn, hope that the opponent has no Link monsters that can use them both or are able to tribute them or use them as summoning material in some other way, then hoping that the opponent enters their Battle Phase which will trigger “Fenrir’s” position changing effect which in turn will cause them to take 3000 damage since “Jormungardr” changes position. I really do not think that I have to say any more to show the “quality” of this effect combo.

“Jormungardr the Nordic Serpent” is equally as silly as “Fenrir the Nordic Wolf” and should also be played at zero copies.

File:LokiLordoftheAesir-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

Name: “Loki, Lord of the Aesir”
Level/Rank: 10
ATK/DEF: 3300/3000
Attribute/Type: Dark Spellcaster

The first actual boss monster the “Aesir”/”Nordic” archetype group has to offer is “Loki, Lord of the Aesir”. “Loki” is a Level 10 Dark Spellcaster Synchro monster with 3300/3000 and needs specifically one “Nordic Alfar” Tuner monster and two or more additional non-Tuner monsters to be summoned. Effect-wise, “Loki” can offer the following: As a Quick Effect, once per turn, when the opponent activates a Spell/Trap card during the Battle Phase, you can negate the activation of that card and destroy it. Furthermore, once per turn during the End Phase, if your face-up “Loki” under your control is destroyed by an opposing card and sent to the graveyard, you can banish one “Nordic Alfar” Tuner monster from your graveyard to Special Summon “Loki” again; also, if “Loki” is summoned this way, you can target one Trap card in your graveyard and add it to your hand. As suspected, the entire archetype works towards getting the boss monsters on the field and those are actually not even that bad. The first effect is rather meh, but works in either Battle Phase so you can protect your advances from the odd battle Trap while also stopping any Spell- or Trap-based stat increases, stat decreases, effect negations or whatever else the opponent tries to pull of from happening once. There is a myriad of ways to work around the revival effect of “Loki” (and the other gods, since they share this effect line) since you can bounce or banish them to avoid destruction and therefore disallowing the effect to trigger, but it is a nice bonus that you can use if you actually play “Nordic Alfar” Tuner monsters in form of “Mara” or “Svartalf“. “Loki” is the weakest god, both in effect and stats, though, so you will rarely see this card on the field to be honest.

“Loki, Lord of the Aesir” is an okayish card to play in “Nordic”, can recycle Traps which is useful depending on your build and is relatively easy to access by using “Alviss“. I would recommend running one copy if you have the Extra Deck space.

File:ThorLordoftheAesir-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

Name: “Thor, Lord of the Aesir”
Level/Rank: 10
ATK/DEF: 3500/2800
Attribute/Type: Earth Beast-Warrior

Boss monster number two comes in form of “Thor, Lord of the Aesir”. “Thor” is a Level 10 Earth Beast-Warrior Synchro monster with 3500/2800 and specifically asks for a “Nordic Beast” Tuner monster, which is better known as “Guldfaxe” if you cannot use other ways to summon “Thor” since there are no other “Nordic Beast” Tuners, and also need two or more non-Tuner monster to be summoned. “Thor’s” first effect allows you to once per turn negate the effects of all face-up monsters the opponent controls, which is pretty good, while also able to, once per turn during the End Phase, revive himself from the graveyard if he was destroyed by an opposing card during that turn and sent to the graveyard if you banish one “Nordic Beast” Tuner monster from your graveyard. Additionally, if “Thor” is Special Summoned by his effect, you also inflict 800 direct damage to the opponent. “Thor” is the number two in more ways than one: He is the “Aesir” boss monster you will summon more often than “Loki“, but less often than “Odin” and also comes with the second-best ATK stat which sadly makes OTK scenarios with him at much more difficult. Still, the effect negation is nice, he can be summoned via “Alviss” if you lose another “Aesir” monster and with “Guldfaxe” in the graveyard you can even revive him while ignoring the measly 800 burn damage.

“Thor, Lord of the Aesir” is a solid option to run in “Aesir”/”Nordic”. I would suggest running two to three copies.

File:OdinFatheroftheAesir-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

Name: “Odin, Father of the Aesir”
Level/Rank: 10
ATK/DEF: 4000/3500
Attribute/Type: Light Fairy

Behold, the actual game-changer has arrived… well, he can potentially change games: It is “Odin, Father of the Aesir”. “Odin” is a Level 10 Light Fairy Synchro monster with 4000/3500 as his stats and specifically asks for a “Nordic Ascendant” Tuner monster in addition to two or more non-Tuner monsters to be summoned. “Odin” is, as far as “Aesir”/”Nordic” standards go, a fairly solid package: “Nordic Ascendant” Tuners include “Valkyrie“, which is costly but can technically summon “Odin” on her own, and “Vanadis” the universal Tuner monster and therefore a main stay in lots of “Nordic” decks. Effect-wise, “Odin” can once per turn make himself unaffected by Spell/Trap cards until the end of that turn, and once per turn during the End Phase if “Odin” was destroyed by an opposing card and sent to the graveyard, you can banish a “Nordic Ascendant” Tuner monster from your graveyard and Special Summon “Odin” again, and if you do you can also draw a card. “Odin” is hands-down the best “Aesir” boss monster available to any “Nordic” player. He cannot be stopped by battle Traps and the like since you can simply make him immune against the effects of such cards, but you can also opt to play “Divine Relic Mjollnir” or “Nordic Relic Megingjord” to actually pose a threat to the opposing life points. Add to that that “Odin” is also summonable via “Alviss” and you should know what “Aesir” monster you want to go into; the only thing keeping you from winning the game is the opposing board and/or any hand traps immediately stopping you from getting him on the field, so business as usual.

“Odin, Father of the Aesir” combines solid ATK with pretty useful effects. Play this one at either two or three copies.

File:GullveigoftheNordicAscendant-LEHD-EN-UR-1E.png

Name: “Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant”
Level/Rank: Link-1
ATK/DEF: 800
Attribute/Type: Light Fairy

The second of the two cards that make up the newer support for “Aesir”/”Nordic” is “Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant”. “Gullveig” is a Link-1 Light Fairy monster with 800 ATK and can be summoned by using one Level 5 or lower “Nordic” monster, which means basically anything aside from “Fenrir” and “Jormungardr” can be used to summon her. The effects, while frantically made so you can summon the “Aesirs” as quickly as possible, are actually not that bad: When “Gullveig” is Link Summoned, you can banish up to three cards from either your hand or your side of the field to Special Summon “Nordic” monsters from your deck in defense position up to the number of cards you banished for the effect; also, you cannot Special Summon, Normal Summon or Set monsters for the rest of the turn, except for “Aesir” monsters and this effect of “Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant” can only be used once per turn. Lastly, while “Gullveig” points to an “Aesir” monster, that “Aesir” monster can not be targeted with card effect and monster your opponent controls cannot target “Gullveig” with attacks. So, the idea is blatantly simple: Normal Summon any “Nordic” monster, Link Summon “Gullveig”, then banish three cards to set yourself up for an “Aesir” summon, which she protects from card effects while said “Aesir” protects her from being overrun due to only having 800 ATK. Alternatively, you can only banish one copy of “Alviss” and summon an “Aesir” while being less damaging to your resources. “Gullveig” is undoubtably the best way to summon “Loki“, “Thor” or “Odin“, since she provides all that is necessary, but only playing with her as your playstarter and main bottleneck of the strategy will leave you completely open to hand traps or other shenanigans your opponent has in store. “Gullveig” is both the greatest strength “Nordic” can muster as well as the greatest weakness if the opponent knows that she is the one to strike down.

“Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant” is the main play enabler for “Aesir” and “Nordic” and should be run at two to three copies.

File:Gotterdammerung-LC5D-EN-C-1E.png

The first card will are going to take a look at in the “Nordic”/”Aesir” Spell line-up is “Gotterdammerung”. As a German native I can tell you that it is supposed to be called “Götterdämmerung”, with “Götter” as the plural of “god” and “Dämmerung” meaning “dawn”; but that is just some trivia on the side. The actual card has the following effect: Target one “Aesir” monster you control, give control of it to the opponent and during your opponent’s next End Phase that “Aesir” monster is destroyed and if that happens you banish all cards the opponent controls. Banishing the entire opposing field is pretty solid since it sets you up for an OTK, but at what cost? You need to have an “Aesir” monster, so you need to use at least three of your cards to even get the “Aesir” Synchro on the field (in most cases, sometimes you might need less cards to summon an “Aesir” monster), which you then gift to your opponent who can not only use it as tribute, Link material or in rare case for Xyz summons of something like “Trains” to smack you senseless, but who still gets a free swing with whatever “Aesir” you gave them since the effect triggers in the End Phase. The chances of this card ever resolving in any scenario are close to zero which makes the card unplayable in my opinion.

“Gotterdammerung” is a field nuke, but one with such high costs that it is not worth using. Play zero.

File:MarchTowardsRagnarok-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

The next Spell card to greet us in the “Aesir”/”Nordic” conglomate is “March towards Ragnarok”. It is a Quick Spell card that allows you to target one “Aesir” monster you control to make it unaffected by Spells and Traps for the rest of the round (except for the effect of “March towards Ragnarok”), but negate its effects until the end of the turn. I have no idea what was going on when the design team made this archetype, but “Odin” already has this exact effect for your own turn, while “Loki” can negate Spell/Trap cards that are activated during the Battle Phase, which makes this card only really useful in the opposing turn. Other than that, it can obviously only target “Aesir” monsters, because protecting “Nordic” monsters would be silly for some reason and due to its naming it is completely unsearchable, making this a pretty awful option to run.

“March towards Ragnarok” is a subpar protection card that should be run at zero copies. If you want to play this card because you desperately need some protection against Spell/Trap cards, do yourself a favor and use “Forbidden Dress” instead.

File:NordicRelicDraupnir-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

Some hope for the backrow comes in form of “Nordic Relic Draupnir”. This Equip Spell card can be equipped to either an “Aesir” or a “Nordic” monster, gives the equipped monster a bonus 800 ATK and if “Nordic Relic Draupnir” is destroyed because of a card effect, you can add one “Nordic Relic” card from your deck to your hand. “Draupnir” is obviously not blowing anything away either, but being able to equip the entire archetype does help a little, the card is searchable by “Dverg” and can search further copies of itself or a solid amount of the Traps in the archetype by being destroyed. The destruction can even be caused by either player, which allows you to use cards like “Twin Twisters” for a search or combo the card with “Rod of Silence – Kay’est” to trigger the search right upon equipping while also filling the deck with various Equip cards that could be used by “Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights“.

“Nordic Relic Draupnir” brings an okayish ATK boost with an added search effect. I would say that playing this card is up to preference.

Of course an archetype with so many competing themes has to have a Field Spell to bash it all together. Said Field Spell in the “Nordic”/”Aesir” conglomate is “Nordic Lights”. It gives your entire monster line-up immunity against battle destruction, which is rather nice. Unfortunately, this effect comes with a major drawback, like pretty much everything in “Nordic”: If “Nordic Lights” is destroyed in whatever way imaginable, you have to destroy all face-up “Nordic” monsters. Paradoxically, the effect destroys monsters on both sides of the field, actually making “Nordic Lights” a solid counter in the mirror match, but jokes aside, this drawback is massive and means that your entire monster line-up dies against backrow removal like “Twin Twisters” or “Heavy Storm Duster“.

While “Nordic Lights” has decent positive effect, losing your entire board to backrow removal is not worth playing it; therefore I would suggest playing zero copies.

File:DivineRelicMjollnir-LC5D-EN-R-1E.png

“Divine Relic Mjollnir” is the first Trap card to take a look at. It is a Normal Trap that allows you to target one “Aesir” monster you control, which can then attack twice during each Battle Phase that turn. As far as “Aesir”/”Nordic” Spell/Trap support goes, this is pretty solid. The card is nowhere near consistent, but allowing “Odin” to OTK the opponent is not the worst thing imaginable. What really baffles me is that they made a Spell/Trap sub-archetype in form of “Nordic Relic” to interact with the “Nordic”/”Aesir” archetype and then get the absolutely ridiculous idea to make “Mjollnir” unsearchable by naming it “Divine Relic” and not “Nordic Relic”; but that just goes to show that something went completely wrong in terms of quality control when they made this archetype.

“Divine Relic Mjollnir” is a nice addition to the deck that can give your “Aesir” monsters some extra punch. Run this card by preference but be aware of the fact that it is quite often bricky and will therefore harm the deck’s consistency even further

File:GleipnirtheFettersofFenrir-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

In the ranks of weird Trap support, we find “Gleipnir, the Fetters of Fenrir”. This Normal Trap card has only one sentence stating that you can add one “Nordic” monster from your deck to the hand when activated. “Gleipnir” is a searcher, yes, but why exactly was there any need to make it a Trap card? The newer support cards really worked around the issue of having specific monster cards in your hand, so searching a “Nordic” monster with a delay is not even that good anymore; I mean, anything can be made into a “Gullveig” nowadays.

“Gleipnir, the Fetters of Fenrir” was a passable card in older formats of the game, despite the delay on the search. Nowadays, I would say you can still run the card, but I personally decide against it in my deckbuilding adventures with “Nordic”.

File:NordicRelicBrisingamen-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

The first actual “Nordic Relic” in the Trap section is “Nordic Relic Brisingamen”. This Normal Trap card allows you to target one face-up monster you control and one face-up monster your opponent controls and then change the ATK of the first target (the one you control) equal to the original ATK of the opposing target until the end of the turn. “Brisingamen” basically allows your “Nordic” monsters to trade against anything the opponent controls if they have not buffed the ATK of said monster or even allows you to run monsters over if you are actively using cards such as “Nordic Relic Draupnir” since your monster’s ATK will be higher. The important question to ask yourself is whether or not that is worth playing “Brisingamen” for, and I for one would say no.

“Nordic Relic Brisingamen” is one of several Trap tools the “Nordic” archetype has to offer, but the streamlined and unflexible effect does not really make it worth playing a card that will actively put you into a card economy minus in most cases; and since the card only copies the original ATK there will be various situations in which you will still lose the monster that is fighting for you. Run zero.

File:NordicRelicGungnir-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

Next up is “Nordic Relic Gungnir”. This Normal Trap card allows you to banish one “Aesir” or “Nordic” monster you control, then target one card on the field that you can then destroy, also the banished monster returns to the field in attack position during your second End Phase after the activation of this card. “Gungnir” is not completely catastrophic since it can destroy both monsters and backrow and allows you to safe a monster from certain demise in form of “Raigeki” or being stolen by the opponent via “Mind Control” to name only two possible examples.

“Nordic Relic Gungnir” is one of the better “Nordic Relics” in existence and can be run by preference.

File:NordicRelicLaevateinn-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

We continue our tour through the arsenal with “Nordic Relic Laevateinn”. This Normal Trap card can only target a face-up monster on the field that destroyed a monster in battle during the turn of activation to destroy the monster in question, also no cards and/or effects can be activated in response to the activation of “Laevateinn”. I will be honest, this card is hot garbage. They treid to make something out of the fact that most of your monsters will be run over with relative ease, because anything aside from the “Aesir” monster does not pose a threat to the opponent due to being incredibly weak, but this is not the solution since you will have a hard time targeting the necessary monsters to get rid off and will be completely stuck if the opponent decides not to attack at all for whatever reason.

“Nordic Relic Laevateinn” is one of the worst destruction options I have come across so far. Play zero.

File:NordicRelicMegingjord-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

One of the useable “Nordic Relic” cards comes in form of “Nordic Relic Megingjord”. “Megingjord” is a Normal Trap card that thankfully can target both “Aesir” and “Nordic” monsters, makes the stats of the targeted monster double the original ATK and DEF it would normally have until the end of the turn, but that monster cannot attack the opponent directly during that turn. This is pretty much the less useful version of the “Utopia Double” engine, since you can buff an “Odin” on your side of the field up to 8000 ATK; but thankfully, you can also just surprise the opponent with sudden boosts of power when fighting with your other “Nordic” monsters, which makes “Megingjord” probably the best “Nordic Relic” card in existence.

“Nordic Relic Megingjord” can serve as a nasty surprise for your opponent when they leave a small monster unprotected or try to overwhelm your board by attacking. I would recommend playing this card by preference though, since not all decklists have the need or the space to play the card.

File:OdinsEye-LC5D-EN-C-1E.png

More silly support comes in form of “Odin’s Eye”. This Continuous Trap card allows you, once per turn during either player’s Standby Phase, to target one “Aesir” monster you control, negate its effects and then look at all face-down cards your opponent controls and all cards in the opponent’s hand, while your opponent cannot react to this via cards or effects. Yes, information is absolutely relevant and seeing what the opponent might have in store is helpful to plan ahead, but the need of having an “Aesir” monster on the field automatically means that this card is completely useless if I either cannot go into an “Aesir” Synchro Summon or if the opponent gets rid of it and negating the effect of your boss monsters is a completely silly drawback to add on top.

“Odin’s Eye” is a weird support card that screams of anime adaptation horseshit, so running zero copies is the way to go.

File:SolemnAuthority-LEHD-EN-C-1E.png

The last card is the archetype is “Solemn Authority”, another Continuous Trap and sadly another card that is simply not worth running. But I am getting ahead of myself: “Solemn Authority” can be activated by targeting one “Aesir” monster you control, that monster cannot be targeted by any other card effect while “Solemn Authority” is on the field, but “Solemn Authority” automatically destroys itself during the second Standby Phase after activating the card. I could say a lot of things about “Solemn Authority”, but the fact that “Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant” has exactly this effect as an added bonus to everything else she does makes this card completely irrelevant.

“Solemn Authority” is more unnecessary support and should therefore be skipped when deckbuilding.

Recommended Engines:

“Metaphys”:
One of your most important cards in form of “Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant” banishes cards like crazy. There are way to work around the steep costs she is asking for, but with “Metaphys” you are able to make something out banishing most of your hand. “Metaphys Decoy Dragon” is one of the main play enablers since it can Special Summon the banished “Metaphys” monsters and therefore trigger their effects regardless of whether it being played as a monster card or is pur in the backrow as a scale. “Metaphys Horus” can also be summoned with relative ease, since “Metaphys Decoy Dragon” combined with either “Guldfaxe” or “Vanadis” gives you exactly the right amount of levels and therefore a 2300 ATK monster that can negate one effect on the field while also stealing a monster from your opponent for further shenanigans. “Metaphys Nephthys” gives you a search with delay, but therefore buffers the card minus for “Gullveig” a little bit while “Metaphys Tyrant Dragon” could be a nasty surprise that can dish out sizeable amounts of damage. Lastly, “Metaphys Ascension” might not seem that impressive on the field, but when banished it fetches any “Metaphys” card right away and therefore further cushions the resource loss caused by “Gullveig“.

Further useful cards:

Main Deck monsters:

Performapal Hip Hippo“:
A card that is necessary for “Super Hippo Carnival” to function. “Hip Hippo” can help with Tribute Summoning monsters when Normal Summoned, but in combination with “Super Hippo Carnival” it is just another body on the field that can be used for Synchro or Link summoning.

Rescue Cat“:
“Rescue Cat” is one solid starter if you need some more monsters on your field to go into Synchro Summons with. Normal Summon it, then search your deck for two copies of “Tanngnjostr” and/or “Tanngrisnir” to have one more monster than you started with while also gaining two “Nordic” monsters which can be important for the effects of “Alviss” or “Gullveig“.

Super-Nimble Mega Hamster“:
One of the older choices that was run back in the day. Placing “Super-Nimble Mega Hamster” face-down during your first turn did allow you to summon either “Tanngnjostr” or “Tanngrisnir” depending on what would be more helpful in the given situation and kept you alive against a number of attacking monsters or set you up for your next turn. It is not as good anymore, because any destruction effect that can kill it face-down will leave you defenseless, but it is still any option that can net you one of the goats and is therefore viable in low-tier battles.

Spell cards:

Hippo Carnival“:
The more cost-effective way to get an “Aesir” on the field with help from “Gullveig“. Normal Summon a “Nordic” monster, Link Summon “Gullveig“, her effect goes on chain because you play “Hippo Carnival” on reaction, gain three tokens which you immediately use for “Gullveig’s” effect to fetch three “Nordic” monsters and then summon the desired “Aesir”, only costing you one card in hand that is now in the graveyard and not three that are banished. The effect of the tokens that block Special Summoning does not even matter, since they leave before any Special Summon could be blocked by it.

Mound of the Bound Creator“:
Gives targeting immunity and card destruction protection to your Level 10 monsters and therefore to all “Aesir” monster, while also burning the opponent for 1000 damage whenever they destroy monsters in battle. Not super necessary since “Gullveig” already provides the targeting protection, but the bonuses make the card playable and it can be searched via “Terraforming“, “Metaverse” or “Demise of the Land“.

Super Hippo Carnival“:
Like “Hippo Carnival“, this card can get you some tokens to use for “Gullveig’s” effect. Unlike “Hippo Carnival“, you need some more setup to make it work: If you just Normal Summon a Nordic monster, Link Summon “Gullveig” and then chain “Super Hippo Carnival”, you will end up “Performapal Hip Hippo” and four tokens that block Special Summons and cannot go into the “Aesir” monster since one token will remain. To make this work, you either need to summon two monsters before activating the effect, which means using “Dverg“, Special Summoning “Guldfaxe” due to its own effect or Normal Summoning “Rescue Cat” and activating her effect to get two copies of “Tanngnjostr“/”Tanngrisnir“, and then proceed to summon “Gullveig” and do the rest of the combo.

Trap cards:

Trap Trick“:
Searches Normal Trap cards for a boost in consistency and surprise attack boost against the opposing monster in the case of “Nordics”. “Trap Trick” is probably the best thing that could happen to the “Nordic Relic” cards and with some other Traps for some spice, you can play a versatile toolbox in just one card in your backrow.

Extra Deck monsters:

Beelze of the Diabolic Dragons“:
You can only go into Level 8 Synchros with what the board has in store for you? That does not need to be bad necessarily since “Beelze” is easily summonable with “Vanadis” and does not only come with destruction immunity but also has a chance of becoming a massive beatstick. Not the best option available in modern Yugioh, but still one that I would deem playable and one that even counters some decks rather effectively.

Coral Dragon“:
“Coral Dragon” is not half bad since it gives the deck a removal effect that you can use for a higher level Synchro Summon afterwards. It is sadly not possible to summon an “Aesir” monster with it since it cannot provide the necessary Tuner for any of them, but it allows various levels from Level 7 with just one copy of “Dverg” to Level 10 with a card like “Alviss“.

Crystron Quariongandrax“:
Not the first thing to go for in “Nordic”, but if you are running bigger numbers of the Tuner monsters including cards like “Valkyrie“, you can summon this one with relative ease if no other Synchro monster would be summonable with the available cards. Banishing monsters the opponent controls is pretty solid and being able to return banished cards to your side of the field can also be good when “Gullveig” is involved.

F.A. Dawn Dragster“:
Summonable with a combination like “Guldfaxe“/”Vanadis” plus “Tanngnjostr“/”Tanngrisnir“, you can get yourself helpful Spell/Trap negation that potentially can still attack with 2100 and piercing damage. Solid control option against certain decks.

Playstyle:

“Nordics”, sadly enough, are fairly linear in their playstyle nowadays: Normal Summon a “Nordic” monster, Link Summon “Gullveig” and then use her effect to fetch three monsters from your deck ready to be used as material for the Synchro Summon of an “Aesir” monster. And that is it. You might object and list combos using various archetypes, and I do encourage and applaud you for your creativity and fervor, but the only question that matters in a modern “Nordic” deck is how cost-efficient you can summon an “Aesir”. I am not a fan of that playstyle, but I cannot deny that “Gullveig” is the easiest way to gain access to your Level 10 Synchro monsters. Every single route the “Nordics” can take from a playstyle-standpoint leads down to summoning an “Aesir” and with “Kaijus” being available as easily as they are and the overall amount of removal having increased noticeably over the course of the last ten years summoning a boss monster and hoping that it wins you the game is not the best idea.

It is, however, what “Nordics” are working with, so let us try to make the best out of it. The “Gullveig“/”Aesir” combo has some in-built protection that can prove helpful and the “Aesir” monsters can revive themselves if you provide Tuners for them to banish. Some of the Trap cards have a beatdown-focussed plan with the “Aesirs” in mind and putting “Mjollnir” and/or “Megingjord” onto one of the gods can cause a substantial amount of damage. “Trap Trick” can fetch all of the interesting relics except for “Draupnir” and can increase both your consistency as well as your damage output. Both “Hippo Carnival” and “Super Hippo Carnival” can lower the cost for summoning the big ones, while “Rescue Cat” potentially sets up an “Aesir” summon without the need for “Gullveig“. However, the plan always remains building a board with one big beater and trying to win the game from there. If that is a strategy that appeals to you, go ahead and experiment with what other cards “Nordics” could need. Otherwise, you might be better off playing a different deck.

Weaknesses/Counters:

There is a long list of issues with the “Aesirs” and the “Nordics”. Aside from about half the archetype being steaming garbage that was not even played when the cards came out back in the day and a very linear strategy that makes countering them at the bottlenecks of the combo very easy once you got familiar with the effects, they do have a number of other counters stacked against them and problems they have to deal with.

Since the strategy overall works with bringing out big Synchro monsters, anything that will counter Synchro Summoning is deadly for the strategy overall. “Discord” of “Tuner’s Scheme” are very specific counters, but they work against the deck. Way less specific are the Anti-Special Summoning cards that can do quite some harm against various archetypes in the game: “Archlord Kristya“, “Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo“, “Jowgen the Spiritualist“, “Vanity’s Fiend” and many other options work wonders against “Nordics” since they are not only unable to get the monsters out that they rely on, but the deck also struggles to get rid of those cards due to a lack of solid in-built removal options. Effect negation on a card like “Gullveig” is also extremely lethal.

Since I already mentioned those bottlenecks in combos: Any player that knows what “Nordics” are trying to achieve will keep any counters from “Solemn Judgment” to “Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring” in waiting until the right moment has arrived. And even if the “Gullveig” plus “Aesir” monster combo goes through, it is pretty easy to get around it: Any non-targeting protection will still be able to get rid of the “Aesir” even when “Gullveig” is pointing towards it, so enjoy being outplayed by a random “Gokipole” in the opposing deck being milled or various other cards being able to counter your win option. “Gullveig” only gains protection against attacks, but is still easily removable by pretty much any effect under the sun which will leave the “Aesir” monster open unless you clog up your deck with cards to protect the “Aesir” even further at the cost of further crippling the deck’s consistency.

Another problem that “Nordic” has is an overall reliance on the graveyard. While they do not really make that much out of graveyard setup, they still need to interact with it on a regular basis. “Dverg” and “Tanngrisnir” are only two examples of “Nordic” monsters that cease to function if “Macro Cosmos” or “Dimensional Fissure” are live and the “Aesirs” cannot revive themselves since they neither have Tuners to banish nor do they hit the graveyard to trigger such an effect. But there are other effects that can also cause the entire strategy to go up in flames: Bouncing the Extra Deck monsters will leave the “Nordic” player with a massive resource minus while taking the control of an “Aesir” monster is adding insult to injury since you are now beaten to death with the very thing that cost some much to make.

Links:

Videos:

RANK10YGO’s “Legacy of the Worthless: Nordic” (May 2016):
Another video from the legendary “Legacy of the Worthless” series from Rata. The video is almost five years old at the point of writing, but while the new support in form of “Alviss” and “Gullveig” did help a little bit with the archetype’s playability overall, most of what Rata is mentioning in this video is still correct, making it a solid watch if you have the time and are interested in the archetype.

Articles:

Reddit thread “Can someone help with a Nordic Deck?” (October 2018):
A reddit thread in which the users are throwing around some ideas regarding the deckbuilding process in “Nordic”. The idea to list “Metaphys” as an engine for “Nordic” comes from the use Casketbase77 in this thread, but there are also various other cards listed that potentially can bring “Nordic” to a somewhat playable state.

Yugiohblog “The Nordic Advantage: Efficiency and Forced Plays” (March 2011):
The post Konami published back in the day to basically justify why “Nordics” were so lackluster … by basically saying that people are playing them wrong. There is little to get out of this article aside from a chuckle or two since there are quite a lot of facts in there that I would agree with only for them to omit the parts that either make the described scenarios too slow or otherwise unfeasible.

“The Nordic Lights” Discord group:
If you search for people to talk about “Nordics” and search for some crazy deckideas, why not join the “Nordic” server?

Yugipedia “Aesir” article:
The Yugipedia article for the “Aesir”/”Nordic” archetype group. The article briefly lists all the cards and has a good overview for all the weaknesses and counters the “Nordics” might have, which I used to write the corresponding part of my article here.

Sample Decklist (February 2021):

This is as pure a “Nordic” deck as I would dare to run. The deck uses the normal way via “Gullveig” to summon “Aesir” monsters while also having the option to surprise the opponent with “Divine Relic Mjollnir” and/or “Nordic Relic Megingjord“. I am not entirely happy with the list as there are probably better options to run than “Storming Mirror Force” (since Battle Traps can be bricky and/or be outplayed) or “Pot of Extravagance” (due to being very expensive money-wise). But if you are looking for a starting point for your “Nordic”, feel fre to take the list above as an inspiration.

The Videogame Corner: Doom

Videogames have been around for some time. With every game that gets released onto the market, the variety grows and gone are the times when one had to play “Pong” because there was little else available; not that there is anything wrong with “Pong” mind you.

I have been around since the early 90s and videogames were as fascinating to me back in the day as they were to various other kids my age back in the day. Over time my taste in videogames got more selective, both to find out what I actually like in the vast amounts of videogames available to me, but also as a natural process to experience things while growing up. However, at some point in my life as I played more and more games to broaden my horizon I found myself wondering what games really did have significant changes on videogame history, the “must-plays” of all times so to say. Which, after a lot of dwabbling, brings me to the subject of this article: “Doom”.

Right away, I have to make a confession: I am not a shooter player. I do not mind the games or people playing them, but I never got into them. The reason is two-fold: I find shooting things/people quite boring when exposed to it for longer periods of time (which is odd because I play grind-heavy games quite often and extensively) and the probably more pressing issue is that I have better chances of hitting the opponent by throwing my weapon at them rather than shooting lead in their general direction. Nevertheless, “Doom” was on sale on Steam and I took that as the opportunity to take a look at one of the most iconic games of videogame history.

The Story:

Let’s be honest: It’s “Doom”. You have an arsenal of weapons at your disposal and the entire population of hell to shoot; and that’s it. John Carmack did not seem to give story-telling that much priority, and to be honest the game works fine without it because that is not what the players are looking for in “Doom”. At the start of development “Doom” was even supposed to be a game adaptation to the “Alien” film series, but they scratched that at some point and made it its own unique thing. The base idea of a marine fighting against sci-fi horror monsters remained though and builds the skeleton of everything that happens during the game.

E2M2: Containment Area starts off rather slowly in this storage place full of boxes, but the pace will drastically increase as you progress the level.

Other than that, most of the “story” is told by the levels themselves. You start in your shooting spree in rather normal buildings, a research facility on planet Mars to be more accurate, and descend into hell itself at the end of your journey. Enemies get progressively more dangerous, the satanic imagery is used more excessively in later levels and dull browns and greys have to take a step aside for glowing shades of red. This underlines that “Doom” is not known for deep story telling but instead for its atmosphere and gameplay.

The Graphics:

Well… the game is from 1993, you know? For the time the game came out the graphics are absolutely fine and they do not really damage the game’s flow in any way, but I would say that they are the one thing that probably shapes to be the toughest pill to swallow for someone trying the original “Doom” in 2021. The backgrounds are obviously also part of what makes the atmosphere of “Doom” so unique and for some they are probably a cult classic, but what some call iconic others might perceive as outdated at best and irritating at worst.

DE Spider Mastermind in-body 2
Krang does not want to be carried around anymore and is going ballistic instead!
(Source: https://slayersclub.bethesda.net/de/article/4ehedyzTmuwARBJJII9VGI/doomorabilia-real-life-spider-mastermind)

That does not mean that the developers did take any shortcuts making the graphics for the game though. Some extensive work went into making “Doom” as good-looking as possible. The picture above is the model they made to give the last boss of the game the highest possible attention to detail. They could have simply made a pixelated monster on the computer screen, but instead they decided to make a rough draft of how the monster should look and then modeled the thing to then scan it from various angles and pixelate it afterwards for the best result. That is the amount of detail that went into the game and shows that the developers at id Software were commited to go the extra mile if it improves the game by any margin. Conclusively, the graphics of the game might seem outdated for some people, but the work that went into making them is still admirable.

The end result for the Spider Mastermind in the game. The gun in front slightly changed but other than that it is pretty much a spitting image of the real-life model.

The Soundtrack:

It simply has to be said: The soundtrack of “Doom” is absolutely iconic. Inspired by the music of the various metal bands the id software team listened to during worktime they managed to create perfectly atmospheric music for the game they were creating. Every single track gives the action-driven gameplay more substance and serves as one of the major puzzle pieces to why “Doom” is still played over 20 years after its release date.

The Gameplay:

“Doom” marks the starting point of what we know as a First Person Shooter nowadays. In the off-chance that you are like me and have never played “Doom” before: The Developer id Software basically started with the idea of designing games in which you shoot enemies from a first person view. They tried and perfected the idea with games such as Hovertank 3D, Catacomb 3D and Wolfenstein 3D and then released “Doom” with the knowledge accrued over their journey as game developers.

If you think that a game from the 90s cannot possibly be a fast and action-paced one, you might want to find a cheap copy and try the game for yourself like I did. I am by no means a shooter player as I mentioned before and saying that I had fun playing “Doom” would be an overstatement, but I have to admit that I can see where the appeal for so many people comes from. Unlike various shooters nowadays in which you run from cover to cover, “Doom” offers no such protection and instead demands that you keep yourself alive by acting aggressively. With some knowledge of the game and its levels, you can breeze through both the game’s rooms and the opposition and experience a stream of constant action-filled gameplay.

The game supports that notion wherever possible: Ammunition can be found everywhere in the levels and small collectables that increase either your armor or your health give another reason to run around more. The weapons feel pretty good for a game of that age: The pistol is your standard firearm and can take care of smaller enemies. The shotgun is a very satisfying way to keep yourself alive by deposing of monsters while giving solid auditive and visual feedback. The minigun is basically your handgun on crack, firing bucketloads of lead into your prey and even staggering whatever you drew your bead on. The plasma gun is my personal favorite, spewing countless blue-glowing projectiles into the unfortunate opposition. The rocket launcher works exactly as one would assume and solves issues by making them explode. And lastly, the BFG can launch the most destructive projectile of them all onto the hellish minions; and would normally stay unused whenever I had access to it.

This is E2M9: Fortress of Mystery, which is actually anything but mysterious. You can try fighting those demons in front of you like you did in all the other levels, but even on the lowest difficulty those guys absolutely tear you to shreds. Instead, you are better off simply running for the exit.

The game gets progressively harder without you even noticing it at first. Rooms get filled with more devious combinations of monsters, traps become more deadly, secret doors are more often required to get the good loot. But “Doom” does an excellent job of telling you simply showing you what to do by giving clues. That does not mean that I always found my way through the game without any problems: During one of the later levels, you are required to use a secret door that is marked by a candle and can be easily missed by the less observant; or by me. After searching for the exit for about ten minutes and getting more frustrated after around three of them, I searched for a video guide through the level on Youtube. In another example I spawned in E2M9 fully loaded and equipped to be overwhelmed by a silly number of powerful demons only to learn that you are not supposed to fight them but instead can take an exit rightaway if you know the correct route. That is certainly not ideal but could come down to me as a player more than it does to bad game design from the developers.

And if you are missing something from the original “Doom” chances are that it exists as a mod. id Software released the entire code for the game over twenty years ago and allowed the community to tinker with its files as much as they desire; and I do not think that I am wrong in saying that there are so many custom-made scenarios, weapons, maps, enemies and many more things that I could start writing about them from now until the end of the year without taking any pauses and I would still not be close to finishing a broad overview over all the content that exists for the game. The “Doom” community loves this old pearl and its successor in form of “Doom 2” and will still work on improving and customizing it in the years to come.

The Conclusion:

Is “Doom” a game for me? No, absolutely not. At the time of writing I have played about five hours and I do not see myself coming back for more. But unlike games like “Dungeon Siege” that I found flawed at its very core, “Doom” is simply not my style of game; but it is by no means a bad one.

E4M2: Perfect Hatred was where my journey through Doom 1, and probably the series as a whole, found an abrupt end.

I would have liked to finish the entire game before I started writing this article, but the fourth episode proved to be too much for me. Still, my idea was to see a part of videogame history and “Doom” certainly delivered on that part. There are countless hours of video material about the game online, but if you want an in-depth documentary-style video talking about the game, its development and its legacy I would suggest watching the video down below from the Youtuber Ahoy. Ahoy makes fantastic content about videogame-related content and puts many hours into creating the best possible end product; not unlike id Software back in the day.

This was my dive into the world of old-school shooter “Doom”. If you have never heard of the game or haven’t played it so far, I would urge you to give it a go just to see what was possible back in the day. If you already know the game, you probably got nothing new from this article, but thanks for reading it anyway. I will return with other video games since there are still various titles that I want to talk about. Until then though stay safe during those hard times and thank you for reading.

Archetype Analysis: Predaplant

Last updated: 13.02.2021

Welcome to round two of “I let my friends decide what archetypes I should review”. Three archetypes were named, the dice were rolled, and then we got the next candidate to look at: “Predaplant”. I was only really familiar with “Chimerafflesia” before going into this article since I run it in my “Naturia” deck (although for very different reasons than most “Predaplant” decks are using the card for) and I had some faint idea of a “Predaplant” engine existing that helps all sorts of Fusion-based decks become more consistent; but other than that, I had a blank slate. Now that I am writing the introduction (tip for anyone who writes essays and the like: always write the introduction last) I have a solid stock of information and a grasp of what “Predaplants” can do, which is quite a lot by the way, and are going to tell you all about them if you want to join me on the journey through this article.

The usual disclaimer: None of the information given by me is set in stone. Having an open mind in deck building and including creative ideas is always helpful, if only to further understand the playstyle and strategy of the deck you are about to build. There are probably choices that I list which can be labled as debatable, but no platform I know of gives a broad overview over both the archetypes and all the card choices, so I aimed to do just that. I will try to keep this page (as well as the other ones, once they are made) up-to-date, so if any reader feels like I skipped some amazing tech choice or a crucial card, just drop me a note and I will add the missing information if necessary. Furthermore, I use a number of sources for ideas and information, so a list with links that I deem useful is attached to the end of the page and credit is given whenever I can point to a source to do so.

“Predaplant” is an archetype that features only Dark Plant monsters of various levels but also has a few Dark Dragon Fusion monsters that kind of belong to the archetype and fit well into the overall playstyle. The boss monster line-up entirely consists out of Fusion monsters, which is the reason why so many of the “Predaplant” monsters have effects regaring this summon method. They also underline their aggressive Fusion-oriented playstyle by spreading so-called Predator counters, which not only reduce the level of the monsters with such counters but also open up various interactions in the archetype, from being able to tribute those monsters up to negating their effects or straightup destroying them. But let us go into further detail by looking at the actual cards in question:

Archetype:

PredaplantCordyceps-MACR-EN-C-1E.png

We start our journey into the “Predaplant” archetype with “Predaplant Cordyceps”. This Level 1 Dark Plant monster with 0 in both ATK and DEF is a first taste of what can be expected of the deck overall. Its effect goes as follows: During your Standby Phase, you can banish “Predaplant Cordyceps” from your graveyard to target two Level 4 or lower “Predaplant” monsters in your graveyard and Special Summon them, but for the rest of that turn you cannot Normal Summon, Special Summon or Set monsters with the exception of Fusion Summoning them. So, the upside is that you gain two “Predaplant” monsters up to Level 4 and they both still have their effect, which, if foreshadowing is allowed, gives you a search for a “Fusion” Spell card or a “Polymerization” Spell card when using “Predaplant Darlingtonia Cobra” or allows you to distributes Predator counters using “Predaplant Flytrap” or “Predaplant Spinodionaea“, which will immediately give you all that is necessary to go into a big Fusion monster from your Extra Deck while also allowing it to make use of the distributed counter. The drawback is obviously the need for graveyard setup, not being able to do the entire effect chain during turn one or two, and disallowing yourself from doing anything else than Fusion Summoning which could bite you in the back immediately if the opponent can react with removal effects or negates the Fusion Summon. One ray of hope for this effect was shown to me by the “Archetype Analysis: Predaplant” video from TCG guide, who absolutely correctly stated that the card not only allows the summoning of Fusion monster from the Extra Deck but also allows reviving them from the graveyard via cards like “Predapruning” or “Monster Reborn“, which means that you can still get quite a solid board together when using “Cordyceps”, despite the restriction. I am really sitting on the fence regarding “Cordyceps” since it does result in one, or potentially even multiple, Fusion monster(s) with the effect of basically only one card and can save you if you are otherwise starved of resources, but whether you want to rely on the card or rather pass this one is up to everyone individually.

“Predaplant Cordyceps” is a card that I feel conflicted about since it combines good effects with potentially damaging damaging drawbacks. I would recommend deciding for yourself whether or not you deem “Cordyceps” runable and would mark it as a preference card; however, we are probably talking about a choice between running zero and running one copy at the current time.

PredaplantSarraceniant-FUEN-EN-SR-1E.png

Next up it “Predaplant Sarraceniant”, a Level 1 Dark Plant monster with 100/600 as its stats. Effect-wise, “Sarraceniant” can be Special Summoned from your hand if the opponent declares a direct attack, destroys an opposing monster it battled against at the end of the damage calculation, and if “Sarraceniant” is destroyed by battle or if it is sent to the graveyard due to a card effect, you can add one “Predap” card from your deck to your hand, except for another copy of “Predaplant Sarraceniant”; this last effect of “Sarraceniant” is a “once per turn”-effect. Quite a package and another member that makes foreshadowing onto other cards of the archetype a must. Gaining another body on the field when being attacked directly can only be classified as “cute” at best, but the fact that you might force your opponent into losing one monster in order to run over something with stats that low is not that terrible. But it gets better: “Predaplast“, a Quick Spell card from the “Predaplant” Spell/Trap support can be banished from the graveyard when one of your “Predaplant” monsters would be destroyed to keep it intact. You can therefore not only search for almost your entire archetype if “Sarraceniant” is destroyed by battle or card effect (including your own card effects, by the way) but you can also decide to further sour the opponent’s day by forcing them to run into “Sarraceniant” in the full knowledge that they will lose the attacking monster only to trigger the effect of “Predaplast” in the graveyard to keep “Sarraceniant” on the field and therefore changing the opposing board position further to the worse while not losing anything on your side. And it goes even further: Since Fusion Summoning triggers its effect since it is sent to the graveyard due to a card effect, you can use it as a Fusion material and still net one search for the entire archetype. “Sarraceniant” can be fetched by one of the multiple searchers in your archetype and/or cards like “Lonefire Blossom” and “One for One“, so getting “Sarraceniant” into your hand or onto the field to do some mind games/havoc is almost facile. Granted, there are multiple ways for your opponent to avoid this weed, but for what it can do overall I have to admit it works rather well.

“Predaplant Sarraceniant” is another preference card. I would also play one or some copies due to liking the card and seeing its potential, but the actual ratio comes down to the player and/or the list in question.

PredaplantSpiderOrchid-DUPO-EN-UR-1E.png

The last Level 1 monster card to take a look at in “Predaplant” is “Predaplant Spider Orchid”. This disturbing looking flower is a Level 1 Dark Plant Pendulum monster with 0/0 and a Pendulum Scale of 8. The Pendulum effect is that you can, during your Main Phase, target and destroy one other face-up card in the Spell/Trap zone, but only if “Spider Orchid” was activated during that turn and only once per turn. The monster effect part activates during the End Phase, if “Spider Orchid” was Normal or Special Summon during that turn, and allows you to discard one Plant-type monster to add one Level 4 or lower Plant-type monster from your deck to your hand, also this effect has a hard “once per turn”. The Pendulum effect is basically “Mystical Space Typhoon“, but not at Quick-Spell speed since it is only usable during your Main Phase. Backrow removal is nice, do not get me wrong and it allows you to pop your own “Predaplasts“, “Predaplanets” or even “Predaplannings” in a pinch, which is a small bonus. The real meat of the effect in my opinion is the search, since you can technically setup the graveyard with a monster that would rather want to be there (if you play and want to summon “Predaplant Drosophyllum Hydra” for example) to search any Plant-type monster. The caveat of that effect: You can only search during your End Phase, meaning you have to wait one entire rotation before you can use the searched monster while still being stuck with the 0/0 in form of “Spider Orchid” on your side of the field. Add to that that “Spider Orchid” is the only Pendulum monster in “Predaplant” and that the nearest thing to resemble a counter part to “Spider Orchid” is “Starving Venemy Lethal Dose Dragon” (which is nigh impossible to summon without Pendulum monsters by the way) and you are either forced to include other archetypal or even generic Pendulum monsters to ever use the scale or simply skip the idea of summoning monsters that way.

“Predaplant Spider Orchid” does a lot of things, but in my opinion without focus and none correctly. I am sure that the card is playable in certain builds, but if you want to run a pure and thematic “Predaplant” deck, you are probably better off running other “Predaplant” monsters and zero copies of this one.

PredaplantChlamydosundew-LED5-EN-C-1E.png

Moving on to Level 2 monsters, we are greeted by a frilled lizard combined with a sundew plant, the latin names of both being combined into the tongue twister that is “Predaplant Chlamydosundew”. As mentioned already it is Level 2, a Dark Plant monster as the rest of the archetype so far and sports 600/200 as its tiny stat line. However, stats are not all as we know, so the effects are of importance which go as follows: Monsters with a Predator Counter that you use as Fusion materials are counters as being Dark monsters. This might seem confusing at first, but I can tell you that “Predaplant” Fusion monsters like asking for Dark monsters specifically and since we are going to use the opponent’s monsters for our Fusion summons on a regular basis we have to make sure that they fit the necessary criteria. The effect goes on saying that you can, during the Main Phase, Fusion Summon one Dark Fusion monster from your Extra Deck using “Chlamydosundew” and further monsters from your hand, your field and even the opposing field as long as the monsters in question do have Predator Counters on them; also the Fusion effect is a hard “once per turn”-effect. “Chlamydosundew” is therefore a Fusion Summon enabler without the actual Spell card like “Fluffal Owl” or similar monsters. It does need some help from other cards since it cannot distribute any Predator counters on its own to make use of the opposing field, but the effect is not bad and allows you to dodge popular Spell card counters like “Imperial Order” since the trigger is a monster effect.

“Predaplant Chlamydosundew” is another preference card. The card is solid but it is ultimatively your choice whether or how many deck slots you see fit for it.

PredaplantFlytrap-MP17-EN-R-1E.png

Next up is “Predaplant Flytrap”, a Level 2 Dark Plant monster with 400/800. Its effect goes as follows: Once per turn, you can target one face-up monster your opponent controls and place one Predator counter on it, also if it is Level 2 or higher it becomes Level 1 for as long as the monster has a Predator counter on it. Furthermore, if “Flytrap” battles a monster with an equal or lower level than itself, you can destroy the opposing monster at the start of the Damage Step and then increase the level of “Flytrap” by the original level of the destroyed monster. So, here we have the first card to actual distribute the so-called Predator counters, but while that is certainly helpful it does not exactly blow me away; with any of the effects in fact. The distribution is nice, but on a monster that will simply used as filler for Fusion summons, the Level lowering is nice against a number of cards but featured on every Predator counter-distributor, the automatic battle destruction is cute but I do not see that much reason in keeping “Flytrap” around until your Battle Phase and the level gain is completely unrelated to anything since the only card that has something to do with high-level monsters needs the monster to have an original level of 8 or higher, not a modified one making “Flytrap’s” last effect unrelated to anything else the archetype does.

“Predaplant Flytrap” can spread Predator counters, but there are better cards for that while the rest of the effects does not make the card solid in any particular scenario. Run zero.

PredaplantSquidDrosera-MP17-EN-C-1E.png

Our last entry for the Level 2 monster is “Predaplant Squid Drosera”. “Squid Drosera” is, as mentioned, a Level 2 monster with the Dark Attribute and is a Plant-type and enters the fray with 800 ATK and 400 DEF. As always, we have to take a look at the effect to get a better idea of what the monster is about, so here is the effect text: You can send “Squid Drosera” from your hand to the graveyard, then target on face-up monster that you control which then is able to attack each monster with a Predator counter once each for the rest of the turn. Furthermore, if a face-up “Squid Drosera” leaves the field (meaning you can also just use it as Link or Fusion material and still trigger the effect), you can place one Predator counter on every Special Summoned monster the opponent controls and all of the monster that gain a counter that way will have their levels reduced to 1 if it was previously 2 or higher for as long as they have the Predator counter on them. “Squid Drosera” seems really interesting if you know what other cards are available. For example, should you manage to get “Predaplant Triphyoverutum” on the field (which is not that complicated to be honest) you can use either effect of “Squid Drosera” for devastating results in the beatdown department since it will either grow enormously in the stat department if it did not have the Predator counter setup before, or you can ditch it to allow “Triphyoverutum” to kick everything to shreds, albeit while also losing ATK points in the process. But other boss monsters are also thankful for the boosts “Squid Drosera” can offer since “Predaplant Chimerafflesia” has no “once per turn”-restriction on the ATK drain effect while “Predaplant Dragostapelia” can serve as a walking “Skill Drain” against the opposing board once “Squid Drosera” distributed its counters.

“Predaplant Squid Drosera” is yet another candidate for the preferencial treatment. The card does not produce any card advantage and while its effects are absolutely solid for the aggresive playstyle the “Predaplants” are aiming for, it is oftentimes just a win more card. But still, if you want some extra power for established boards and run an OTK-focussed build “Squid Drosera” is a fantastic choice to run.

PredaplantDarlingtoniaCobra-MACR-EN-C-1E.png

We reached Level 3 and therefore a candidate that should be well-known to anyone who ever heard of the “Predaplant” engine. “Predaplant Darlingtonia Cobra” is a Level 3 Dark Plant monster with 1000/1500 and comes with the following effect: If this card is Special Summoned by the effect of a “Predaplant” monster, you can add either one “Polymerization” Spell card or one “Fusion” Spell card from your deck to your hand, but this effect can only be used once per duel. So far none of the “Predaplant” monsters we looked at had an effect that Special Summoned a “Predaplant” monster other than the cards themselves, except for “Cordyceps“. This is going to change in a short while, but just keep in mind that “Darlingtonia Cobra” can search for Spell cards with that naming part, not just for a card with that name. Let me clarify: “Darlingtonia Cobra” can search “Polymerization” since that is a “Polymerization” Spell card, but it can also fetch “Super Polymerization” due to its wording which is extremely helpful. Also, the ability to search various Fusion cards like the in-archetypal “Predaprime Fusion” is also nothing to scoff at. This card is definitely a helpful addition to any “Predaplant” deck.

“Predaplant Darlingtonia Cobra” has a very useful effect but is only needed at one copy since you can search it from the deck via the next entry in our list.

PredaplantOphrysScorpio-DUPO-EN-UR-1E.png

Card number two of the “Predaplant” engine is “Predaplant Ophrys Scorpio”. This Level 3 Dark Plant monster with 1200/800 is the perfect addition to “Darlingtonia Cobra” (and actually a helpful card even beyond that) in that it has the following effect: If “Ophrys Scorpio” is Normal or Special Summoned, you can send one monster from your hand to the graveyard to Special Summon one “Predaplant” monster from your deck, except for “Predaplant Ophrys Scorpio”; also, the effect of “Ophrys Scorpio” has a hard “once per turn”-clause. Why is that combo so effective? Well, if you start with one copy of “Predaplant Ophrys Scorpio”, you can ditch any monster (which is graveyard setup for cards like “Cordyceps“) to then Special Summon any “Predaplant”, but when summoning “Darlingtonia Cobra” you can immediately afterwards search your deck for a Fusion Spell and then go straight into Fusion Summoning some boss monster of yours. “Ophrys Scorpio” is a solid boost in consistency since it is a guaranteed Fusion monster unless your opponent intervenes, but the card is also really good in fetching other monsters you would like to have on the field which can be anything from a “Squid Drosera” you want to trigger to a “Spinodionaea” for more controlled Predator counter spread and further Special Summons to work with as additional attackers in the Battle Phase or for further shenanigans in preparation for the opposing turn in Main Phase 2.

“Predaplant Ophrys Scorpio” is a powerhouse of a play-enabler and is performing during every part of the duel. I would recommend running three copies of it.

PredaplantPterapenthes-FUEN-EN-SR-1E.png

After this ray of sunshine we are sadly dropping to new lows with “Predaplant Pterapenthes”. This Level 3 Dark Plant monster has 300/2100 as its stats and comes with the following effects: When “Pterapenthes” inflicts battle damage to the opponen, you can target one face-up monster the opponent controls and place one Predator counter on it, also that monster’s level drops to 1 if it was previously 2 or higher and remains at 1 for as long as it has the Predator counter. Additionally, once per turn you can target one monster the opponent controls with a level less than or equal to “Pterapenthes” and take control of it until the End Phase of that turn. I will start by saying that taking control of the opposing monsters is not necessarily a bad effect; in fact, you can simply get rid of whatever you are stealing from your opponent by using it as Link material for “Predaplant Verte Anaconda” or other Link monsters. However, the idea of “Pterapenthes” only having 300 ATK while it also needs to deal battle damage to the opponent while at least one of their monsters is still alive in an archetype that has absolutely no business with direct attacking is so completely bonkers in the worst possible way that I can only wonder what the deal was here. Sure, you can distribute Predator counters beforehand by using other cards and then play “Pterapenthes” and snatch the monsters from your opponent, but there are already various plays available in the “Predaplant” archetype that basically do the same thing just with Fusion Summoning that I do not consider “Pterapenthes” being worth it at all.

“Predaplant Pterapenthes” is an example for confused card design that I can only explain with either lack of awareness while making the card for the real-life cardboard version of the game or really just it being a shoddy anime adaptation of a card with only one very specific use in one scene during the anime. Nonetheless, this one is a card to skip in its entirety.

PredaplantMorayNepenthes-MP17-EN-C-1E.png

Let us go one level higher, shall we? “Predaplant Moray Nepenthes” is a Level 4 Dark Plant monster with 1600/1000 and this time the stats might even become important. The effect goes like this: “Moray Nepenthes” gains 200 ATK for each Predator counter on the field, meaning that there need to be two or more of those counters on the field for it to become better than average. Furthermore, when it destroys a monster in battle you can equip that monster to “Moray Nepenthes” and once per turn you can target one monster card that is currently equipped to it by its own effect, destroy the targeted monster and gain LP equal to the original ATK of the destroyed monster. “Moray Nepenthes” therefore screams oddball support almost as loudly as “Pterapenthes”: The ATK values are rarely interesting since you often have access to Fusion Summons from your Extra Deck which will make “Moray Nepenthes” pale in comparision and the life gain effect is cute and potentially synergetic when combined with “Aromaseraphy Jasmine” and her search ability, but nothing that I would create space in the deck for.

“Moray Nepethes” does not really shine in anything while being severely outclassed in usefulness by quite a lot of cards in the archetype. As such, I would recommend playing zero copies of it.

PredaplantSpinodionaea-FUEN-EN-ScR-1E.png

To safe the face of Level 4 monsters in the “Predaplant” archetype, “Predaplant Spinodionaea” is stepping into the ring. This Level 4 Dark Plant monster with 1800/0 is actually a really solid monster to run in the deck, as you will see in a second: When “Spinodionaea” is Normal or Special Summon, you can target one face-up monster your opponent controls, place one Predator counter on the targeted monster and the level drops to 1 if it was 2 or higher before, also the level stays at 1 for as long as the Predator counter remains on the monster in question. “Spinodionaea” also has another effect: After damage calculation, if “Spinodionaea” battled a monster of either an equal or a lower level, you can Special Summon one “Predaplant” monster from your deck, except for another copy of “Predaplant Spinodionaea”. All this makes “Spinodionaea” a really good monster overall: It can be searched via “Ophrys Scorpio” and still place one Predator counter for further interaction, with its level of 4 it might be able to fight monsters of a lower level without even resorting to its counter placing effect, it starts with a solid ATK stat of 1800 and whatever the case it can normally even summon another member of the archetype regardless of the level of the search target, meaning even the high-level monsters like “Banksiogre” or “Heliamphorhynchus” can be summoned if you play them. This monster basically feels like “Flytrap” on speed and should definitely find its way into “Predaplant” decks for its various applications.

“Predaplant Spinodionaea” is another great pick for the “Predaplant” Main Deck and is giving you further mileage in a lot of situations. This is another preference pick, but two to three copies are definitely not a bad choice.

PredaplantDrosophyllumHydra-LED5-EN-C-1E.png

Leaving the realms of Normal summonable monsters that do not require a tribute, we have “Predaplant Drosophyllum Hydra” as the Level 5 pick. Aside from being Level 5, it is a Dark Plant monster with 800/2300 that can be Special Summon from either your hand or the graveyard by tributing one monster on either player’s field with a Predator counter; but it can only be summoned once per turn using this effect. Furthermore, if “Drosophyllum Hydra” is either on the field or in the graveyard, you can, as a Quick Effect but with a hard “once per turn”-clause, banish one other “Predaplant” monster from your graveyard and target one face-up monster on the field which loses 500 ATK. Of the high-level “Predaplant” Main Deck monsters “Drosophyllum Hydra” is the only one that can also act out of the graveyard, which is a nice bonus … and sadly probably the only good thing I have to say about the card. Other than that tributing opposing monsters with Predator counters is not that bad but this monster is completely outclassed in usefulness by the next member in line in form of “Predaplant Banksiogre“, which can also be summoned from the hand by tributing opposing monsters and the ATK decrease is nice but only being allowed to use it once per turn makes the effect pretty insignificant.

“Predaplant Drosophyllum Hydra” is has probably the best summoning conditions of the high-level Main Deck monsters, but unfortunately pairs that with the worst effects of them all. I would suggest skipping this one when deckbuilding.

PredaplantBanksiogre-COTD-EN-C-1E.png

Since I already mentioned it twice now, let us get straight into it. “Predaplant Banksiogre” is a Level 6 Dark Plant monster with 2000/100 and also happens to be a Tuner in an archetype without any Synchro monsters; but I am not complaining. Effect-wise, “Banksiogre” can be Special Summoned from the hand by tributing one of the opposing monsters with a Predator counter on it and when “Banksiogre” is sent from the field to the graveyard, it places one Predator counter on each face-up monster your opponent controls and all of those monsters have their level reduced to 1 if it was previously 2 or higher and the level of those monsters will remain at 1 for as long as they have a Predator counter on them. Granted, the tributing effect is worse than that of “Drosophyllum Hydra“, but by using “Banksiogre” for pretty much anything the entire opposing board gets Predator counters, which is pretty insane when going straight into some of the Extra Deck options afterwards like for example “Predaplant Triphyoverutum” or “Predaplant Dragostapelia“. And as weird as it might be that “Banksiogre” is also a Tuner monster, it is not hindering any of the plays while opening up the opportunity of playing a Level 7 – 10 Synchro toolbox, and there are definitely worse options to have in your arsenal, especially since “Ophrys Scorpio” can summon “Banksiogre” with absolutely no issue.

“Predaplant Banksiogre” is the main monster to go for when you want to distribute Predator counters and also happens to be fairly useful aside from that. Run two copies.

PredaplantHeliamphorhynchus-LED5-EN-SR-1E.png

Finally, we got to the last Main Deck monster in the “Predaplant” archetype: “Predaplant Heliamphorhynchus”. This Level 7 Dark Plant monster with 1200/2400 can also be Special Summoned from the hand, but instead of tributing one of the opposing monsters with a Predator counter, it simply checks whether or not there is one with a Predator counter and can Special Summon itself with tributing anything in case it finds one on the opposing side. Furthermore, if “Heliamphorhynchus” in your possession is destroyed by an opposing card effect, you can target one Dark Dragon monster or one Dark Plant monster in your graveyard and Special Summon it; but this effect has a hard “once per turn”-clause. Overall, “Heliamphorhynchus” seems really underwhelming: Yes, it is nice that it leaves the Predator counter on the opposing side of the field intact for further interaction, but being able to tribute the opposing resources also has the benefit of the opponent no longer having them. Also, while the summon effect for Dark Dragon and Plant monsters can technically revive whatever Fusion boss monster lingers in your graveyard, it only triggers upon card effect destruction, meaning that battling the card to death, bouncing it, banishing it or shuffling it back into the deck are all solid option to get rid of it without triggering the summoning and therefore rendering its entire existence null and void.

“Predaplant Heliamphorhynchus” simply does not do enough to be worth running. Play zero.

GreedyVenomFusionDragon-FUEN-EN-ScR-1E.png

After everything kind of built up to this point, we finally got to the Fusion monsters. Buckle up, because there are quite some powerhouses to take a look at here. First we have “Greedy Venom Fusion Dragon”, a Level 10 Dark Dragon Fusion monster with 3300/2500 that needs one “Predaplant” monster and one Dark monster whose original level is 8 or higher. Reading this you might think that the “Predaplant” part is easy and the Dark monster part might be tricky, but due to “Predaplants” being able to change the Attribute of opposing monsters to Dark you can potentially use the opposing monster for this summon; but there is also some mileage in using your own big monsters as you will see. This dragon offers quite a bit once you get it out: “Greedy Venom Fusion Dragon” must first be Fusion Summoned, but can once per turn target a face-up monster on the field, negate the effects of that monster and make its ATK stat become 0 until the end of that turn. Furthermore, if “Greedy Venom Fusion Dragon” is destroyed and sent to the graveyard, it destroys as many monsters on the field as possible, then you can banish one Level 8 or higher Dark monster from your graveyard and Special Summon it. So, if you used the opposing monster to summon it, you get the immediate benefit of getting rid of one thing standing in your way, while using your own Level 8 or higher Dark monster allows you to gain one big monster to work with after “Greedy Venom Fusion Dragon” emptied the field. Both summoning methods do have merits, but it cannot be denied that the monster has potential to turn the game in your favor.

“Greedy Venom Fusion Dragon” is a solid Fusion boss monster that helps with kicking face and clearing boards. It is worth playing, however I do not see a reason to run more than one copy.

PredaplantChimerafflesia-FUEN-EN-ScR-1E.png

For a less costly but also very useful Fusion monster, we have “Predaplant Chimerafflesia”. This Level 7 Dark Plant Fusion monster with 2500/2000 just needs one “Predaplant” monster and one Dark monster as Fusion material to be summoned, making it a cheap and cost-effective Fusion monster to go into that can be summoned with two of your monsters as well as with one of your “Predaplants” and one opposing monster. The effects are also really good: First off all, once per turn, you can target one monster on the field with a level less than or equal to the level of “Chimerafflesia” and banish the targeted monster, which obviously works with the Predator counters but can often be triggered just as well without them by targeting monsters below Level 8. Furthermore, when an attack is declared that results in a battle involving “Chimerafflesia” and a face-up monster your opponent controls, you can make the opposing monster lose 1000 ATK until the end of that turn, and if you use this attack decrease “Chimerafflesia” gains 1000 ATK. Basically any battle that is done between an opposing face-up monster and “Chimerafflesia” is always done with 2000 ATK difference on top of any other stat changes, meaning in theory that “Chimerafflesia” can trade with a 4500 ATK monster and automatically wins the battle against anything below that value unless other effects are involved. And finally, once per turn when “Chimerafflesia” was sent to the graveyard, you can search your deck for a “Polymerization” Spell card or a “Fusion” Spell card and add it to your hand during your next Standby Phase, meaning that this monster has the effect of “Darlingtonia Cobra” with a delay when being sent to the graveyard for any reason. You can use it for the Fusion Summon of “Predaplant Dragostapelia” and still search and even sending it directly from the Extra Deck to the graveyard via the effects of “Dogmatika” cards and the like will fetch you a Spell card. “Chimerafflesia” does have its drawbacks, mainly having no protection effect, no disruption at all, needing Predator counters in some situation while also encountering various matchups in which it will be unable to banish at all due to Xyz and Link monsters being the only available targets, while having a heavy emphasis on battle; but overall this card is well-designed and a good choice for the archetype it is part off.

“Predaplant Chimerafflesia” is a treat of a Fusion monster in my opinion and there are various archetypes in the game that would love to have such a card in their Extra Deck. Run up to three, with exact numbers coming down to how much Extra Deck space you have overall.

PredaplantDragostapelia-LED5-EN-C-1E.png

Next up, we have the previously mentioned “Predaplant Dragostapelia”. It is a Level 8 Dark Plant Fusion monster with 2700/1900 and it needs one Fusion monster and one Dark monster as Fusion material. The Dark monster part should be nothing out of the ordinary by now, but asking for a Fusion monster in order to gain a Fusion monster sounds like “Frightfur Sabre-Tooth“-esque costs, and while the “Frightfur” monster gives you the Fusion material back right after the summon, there is no such effect on “Dragostapelia”. Instead, it does the following: Once per turn, as a Quick Effect, you can target one face-up monster your opponent controls and place one Predator counter on it, also the level of the monster goes down to 1 if it was 2 or higher before and stays at 1 as long as the Predator counter remains on that monster. Furthermore, and most importantly, the activated effects of any monster that your opponent controls with a Predator counter are negated, which can turn “Dragostapelia” into the hybrid of “Effect Veiler” and “Skill Drain” depending on how frequently you can distribute the Predator counters. Monster effect negation is all the rage in modern Yugioh since a lot of decks are build on the premise of chaining various effects and monster summons together to achieve a solid board, so “Dragostapelia” might be straightforward but is not necessarily a bad choice to play. You can even lower to cost of Fusion Summoning a little bit by using “Instant Fusion” to get something like “Thousand-Eyes Restrict“, getting rid of an opposing monster that might prove difficult to handle or annoying due to potential effects and then using the “Thousand-Eyes Restrict” with the opposing monster attached as material for the summoning of “Dragostapelia” and working around the otherwise difficult part of the summon.

“Predaplant Dragostapelia” is a solid Fusion monster and, depending on the match-up, can be absolutely vital for destroying any opposing board-building dreams. I would suggest running one, but feel free to go for more.

PredaplantTriphyoverutum-LED5-EN-SR-1E.png

We come to the bossiest of the “Predaplant” Fusion boss monsters: “Predaplant Triphyoverutum”. This Level 9 Dark Plant Fusion monster with 3000/3000 needs three Dark monsters on the field as its Fusion material, meaning no Fusion material from the hand, but both “Super Polymerization” and “Predaprime Fusion” are cards that can make summoning this less costly and it is well worth it since “Triphyoverutum” is an absolute beast. “Triphyoverutum” gains the ATK value of any monsters with Predator counters on top of its 3000 ATK, which means that it has the potential to spiral completely out of control stat-wise when using “Squid Drosera“, “Banksiogre” or “Predaplast” to distribute those counters generously. But the effect does not end there: Once per turn, if your opponent Special Summons a monster (or multiple at the same time) from the Extra Deck while you control a “Triphyoverutum” that was Fusion Summoned, you can, as a Quick Effect, negate the summon of the/those monsters and destroy it/them. Lastly, once per turn, if the opponent controls a monster with a Predator counter on it while “Triphyoverutum” is in your graveyard, you can Special Summon it in defense position. All this together makes “Triphyoverutum” a dangerous threat when Fusion Summoned since it even has disruption against your opponent trying to access the Extra Deck, but even getting rid of it is not necessarily the end of it since it will potentially repeatedly re-emerge from the graveyard and always have a sizeable ATK stat which threatens to run over opposing monsters and can even end the game with one swift attack if the opponent is unattentive or unable to stop the charge.

“Predaplant Tryphyoverutum” does the aggresive playstyle of “Predaplant” justice. The summon negate is very helpful, but it constantly allows the player to push with sizeable ATK numbers. I would suggest running two copies of this card.

StarvingVenomFusionDragon-LED5-EN-R-1E.png

Lastly in the Fusion monster section, we have “Starving Venom Fusion Dragon”. Now, I am perfectly aware that this card is not part of “Predaplant” per se, nor does it ask for materials with “Predaplant” in their names or mention them in its effect. But it is part of the theme and you run it anyway so does it really matter? Anyway, this Level 8 Dark Dragon Fusion monster with 2800/200 needs two Dark monsters on the field, except for Tokens and comes with the following effects: If “Starving Venom Fusion Dragon” is Fusion Summoned: You can make it gain ATK equal to the ATK value of one Special Summoned monster your opponent controls. Furthermore, once per turn, you can target one Level 5 or higher monster your opponent controls and until the End Phase of that turn, the name of “Starving Venom Fusion Dragon” becomes the name of the targeted card and this effect becomes the effects of the targeted monster. Lastly, if this Fusion Summoned card is destroyed by any means, you can destroy all the opponent’s Special Summoned monsters. In my opinion, this is one of the craziest monsters to summon on a regular basis in this deck: The costs are really low and the card was even seen in quite a few other decks when “Super Polymerization” was first made legal again; the combination of an ATK boost against pretty much everything in the game, on top of the effect copying that can be used against high-level decks and archetypes in addition to numerous Ritual, Fusion and Synchro decks is very helpful, and even the occasional field nuke does help more than it hurts.

“Starving Venom Fusion Dragon” works well as another tool to have access to in “Predaplant” and allows for both aggressive plays as well as creative strategies using the effect copying. One copy should definitely find its way into your Extra Deck.

PredaplantVerteAnaconda-DUOV-EN-UR-1E.png

If you have seen at least a little bit of what happened to some decklists over the course of the last few months, you probably saw this one coming. “Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon” was the monster to go into, but the one to make the entire thing somewhat consistent was “Predaplant Verte Anaconda”. This Link-2 Dark Plant monster with 500 ATK needs two effect monsters as Link material to be summoned and then does the following: First off all, once per turn you can target one face-up monster on the field and make it become Dark Attribute until the end of the turn. The crazier part of this effect text is that you can pay 2000 LP and send one “Fusion” or “Polymerization” Normal or Quick Spell card from your deck to the graveyard and then this effect of “Verte Anaconda” becomes the ditched Spell’s effect when activated, but you cannot Special Summon any monster for the rest of the turn and you can only this effect of “Verte Anaconda” once per turn. Ignoring any “Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon” use and abuse this card might have seen, it is a design that fits the overall theme of the archetype: Being able to fire the effect of the original “Polymerization“, “Predaprime Fusion” or “Super Polymerization” through “Verte Anaconda” by simply using two of your monsters is absolutely worth running it and being able to even change monster Attributes of opposing monsters to get rid of them aswell when using the second effect is all the better.

“Predaplant Verte Anaconda” has seen its fair share of play in all manner of decks and it also does its job brilliantly in the one archetype it was actually designed for. Play up to three copies if you can afford to do so.

Predaplast-LED5-EN-C-1E.png

The first Spell card the “Predaplants” have to offer also shows us why some cards are searching for the more odd “Predap” moniker: Because the wordplays would not work otherwise. Regardless of that though, we have “Predaplast”, a Quick Spell card that I already mentioned when I talked about “Predaplant Sarraceniant“, just to name an example. “Predaplast” allows you to reveal any number of “Predap” cards in your hand (meaning both monsters and Spell/Trap are counting for the effect), then target the same number of face-up monsters the opponent controls and place one Predator counter on each of them. The placing of Predator counters also triggers the usual effect of lowering the level of the monsters to 1 if it was 2 or higher before and it also stays on 1 for as long as the Predator counters remains on those monsters. Finally, if your “Predaplant” monster would be destroyed in battle, you can banish “Predaplast” from your graveyard instead. The various application for using Predator counters should be known by now, but in short they not only lower the level of the monster but also triggers the effects of some Main Deck monsters, allows you to tribute them for the summons of higher level monsters, makes them usable as Fusion material and also fuels beatdown effects via cards like “Squid Drosera” and “Triphyoverutum“; basically there is a lot going on with those counters, so distributing them is actually never a bad idea. The second effect that allows you to keep monsters alive was especially interesting in combination with “Sarraceniant“, but you can obviously keep any monster from being destroyed by battle if you wish so and have “Predaplast” in your graveyard. The card is not super flashy, but it does support the “Predaplant” archetype well enough to be worth running.

“Predaplast” is a clear preference card. The copy count really comes down to whether you think the card is worth running: If you like keeping your monsters alive after battle and find distributing counters via “Predaplast” solid, then run a few, if you rather spread counters per “Banksiogre” or other cards then choose to run less or none.

Predaponics-LED5-EN-C-1E.png

Next up is “Predaponics”. This Continuous Spell card allows you to, once per turn, Special Summon one Level 4 or lower “Predaplant” monster from your hand or your graveyard, but negate the effects of the summoned monster even when “Predaponics” is not on the field anymore. Also, as upkeep cost you have to pay 800 LP during each Standby Phase or “Predaponics” gets destroyed. I can get behind having more monsters to work with and summoning from either hand or graveyard is pretty nice, but having the effects of those monsters negated and then still having to pay 800 LP to keep this card alive, which is more than I would have to pay for “Imperial Order“, is pretty bad in my book.

“Predaponics” gives you more Fusion and Link material to work with, but I do not see the card as relevant in a deck that can also simply start putting big monsters on board by using material from the hand or even uses the opposing board as material. Play zero.

Predapractice-LED5-EN-UR-1E.png

Let me introduce you to one of your main play-enablers: “Predapractice”. This Normal Spell card allows you to Special Summon one “Predaplant” monster from your hand and then allows you to search your deck for a “Predap” card to add to your hand except for another copy of “Predapractice”. The drawback is that you cannot Special Summon monsters from the Extra Deck for the rest of the turn, except Fusion monsters, and you can only activate one “Predapractice” per turn. The card is pretty straightforward, it is an extra summon that triggers monster effects like that of “Ophrys Scorpio” and “Spinodionaea” and you get one search for pretty much any card in the entire archetype afterwards. That is actually a card certain archetypes would kill for.

“Predapractice” comes pretty close effectwise to the combination of “Double Summon” with a “Medallion of the Ice Barrier” for “Predaplants” added for good measure. There is nothing wrong with the card, just run it at max copy count.

PredaprimeFusion-LED5-EN-R-1E.png

The next Quick Spell card is “Predaprime Fusion”, the in-archetypal Fusion Spell. It goes as follows: If a “Predaplant” monster (or multiple) is on the field, you can activate this card to Fusion Summon one Dark Fusion monster from your Extra Deck using monster from either side of the field as material, but including two or more Dark monsters you control, and “Predaprime Fusion” can only be activated once per turn. This is basically the more restrictive version of “Super Polymerization“, but with the upside of not asking you to discard a card. To use a monster from the opposing side of the field, you will have to summon a Fusion monster that needs at least three materials, so you are normally going to summon “Triphyoverutum” using this card. The card is less powerful than “Super Polymerization” overall, but keep in mind that you can also search it by using cards that search for “Predap” cards, which you could not do with “Super Polymerization“.

“Predaprime Fusion” is pretty much an alternate “Super Polymerization” for the deck. Due to being more restrictive but also better searchable, I would recommend running one copy.

Predapruning-FUEN-EN-SR-1E.png

The last Spell card in the “Predaplant” archetype is “Predapruning”. This Equip Spell card allows you to target one “Predaplant” monster in your graveyard, Special Summon it and equip it with “Predapruning”; also, when “Predapruning” leaves the field, destroy the equipped monster. This is basically a “Premature Burial” for “Predaplants” and therefore a better option to get monsters onto the field than “Predaponics“, but still a tiny bit worse than “Monster Reborn” since it cannot revive “Starving Venom Fusion Dragon” or “Greedy Venom Fusion Dragon“.

“Predapruning” is yet another preference card. Running this one simply comes down to how often you need/want to revive monsters from your graveyard. If would run the card without a question, but the decision of whether you run one, two or three copies is yours to make.

Predaplanet-FUEN-EN-SR-1E.png

Moving on to the end of the card analysis part, we find ourselves at the Trap card “Predaplanet”. It is a Continuous Trap card that allows you to search for a “Predap” card once per turn if a monster with a Predator counter leaves the field, and furthermore, you can banish “Predaplanet” from your graveyard to Fusion Summon one Fusion monster from your Extra Deck using monster in your hand or on your field as Fusion materials, but only “Predaplant” monsters can be used as materials for this effect. The search is certainly helpful and everyone who played a Fusion-based deck before will have encountered the scenario of having enough monsters but nothing to fuse them with, so having an option in the graveyard can be a massive help. The problems with this card are pretty noticeable though: If you cannot distribute any Predator counters this is a completely dead card on the field and without a way to put your backrow cards into the graveyard either via removal or by using “Foolish Burial Goods“, a cunning opponent will not give you anything to work with and simply ignore the card. I see the potential, but I fear that it will be useless more often than useful in any “Predaplant” decks I could imagine.

“Predaplanet” is a utility Trap that can help the deck, but would need a different build to be fully functional than the one you would normally encounter/play in “Predaplant”. Feel free to run the card, but I would rather skip it and run things with more immediate pay-off.

Predaplanning-LED5-EN-R-1E.png

As the last card in the archetype we have “Predaplanning”. This Normal Trap card allows you to send one “Predaplant” monster from your deck to the graveyard, then place a Predator counter on each face-up monster on the field and any of those monsters that were Level 2 or higher before are dropped to Level 1 and will remain at that level for as long as they have a Predator counter. Another effect of “Predaplanning” is that you can banish the card from your graveyard when Fusion Summoning a Dark monster to target one card on the field and destroy it. Each effect of “Predaplanning” can only be used once per turn. Having a “Foolish Burial” available in your own archetype is pretty neat, even though you have to wait for a turn to even use it, but the real deal here is the Predator counter spread: Notice here that this is a card that puts Predator counters on absolutely anything that is face-up on the field, meaning that this could screw your Xyz summons (if you even have any available) but guarantees that your monsters will always trigger their effect comparing the levels of your monster and the opposing one since they are all Level 1 and, furthermore, this will make “Triphyoverutum” an absolute beast stat-wise because it gains the ATK of any other monster with a Predator counter. Oh, and if you are worried that “Dragostapelia” is going to shut your entire board down, just do not worry since the “Skill Drain” effect only works against opposing monsters, leaving your side of the board intact and unscathed. The banish effect when summoning a Dark Fusion monster is also helpful since it has many opportunities to trigger and destroys both monsters and backrow depending on what is better in the given situation. It is unfortunate that this is a Trap card in a deck that mainly runs without any, but if you decide to run “Predaplanning” there are certainly scenarios in which it will pay off.

“Predaplanning” is setup, counter spread and removal tool in one card with the drawback of you having to wait first before you can activate it. I would say that this one is yet another preference card, but there are definitely builds and scenarios in which this card can be used to its full potential.

Recommended Engines:

“Edge Imp”/”Frightfur”:
One engine that I have seen quite a few times is an “Edge Imp” inclusion into the deck that allows you to fetch some cards for more consistency. The idea is as follows: “Edge Imp Chain” is either discarded for effects or used as material for Fusion Summon since it is a Dark monster right from the start. By it being put into the graveyard, it triggers its search effect which allows you to search your deck for “Frightfur Patchwork” which you can then activate to search your deck for a copy of “Polymerization” and “Edge Imp Sabres“, therefore giving you another Fusion Spell and another Dark Attribute monster for another Fusion Summon.

Further useful cards:

Main Deck monsters:

Lonefire Blossom“:
Technically provides six cards in the deck that are “Predaplant Ophrys Scorpio” since you can tribute “Lonefire Blossom” for its own effect to summon “Ophrys Scorpio“, but is also a useful tool to go into various other monsters the “Predaplant” archetype has to offer.

Spell cards:

Allure of Darkness“:
Since your entire archetype is Dark Attribute, why not run one of the best draw Spells in the game? “Allure of Darkness” is by no means necessary as “Predaplant” does have quite a few searches to make the deck consistent enough, but then again it is a solid option that you have access to which is why I list it.

Dragon’s Mirror“:
“Dragon’s Mirror” can be a solid tool to work with in “Predaplant” if you running low on resources. Simply banish the resources for “Starving Venom Fusion Dragon” or “Greedy Venom Fusion Dragon” from your graveyard and try to turn the game with those two powerhouses.

Fusion Recovery“:
If you Fusion Summoned a monster using “Polymerization” earlier, this is basically a +1 in card economy and can allows you to summon another Fusion monster with relative ease and/or serve as the stepping stone into “Dragostapelia“. Whether or not this card will be good for your deck depends on your build, but it is not the worst option to consider.

Instant Fusion“:
“Instant Fusion” can summon either “Thousand-Eyes Restrict” or “Millennium-Eyes Restrict” depending on what you need. “Millennium-Eyes Restrict” is more counter-oriented because it can stop hand traps and therefore is a solid choice to go into going turn one, while “Thousand-Eyes Restrict” simply snatches an opposing monster and therefore either evens the odds or gives you a resource advantage. Also, as mentioned before, both of the monsters you can summon using “Instant Fusion” in this deck are solid starters for “Predaplant Dragostapelia“.

Monster Reborn“:
Reviving monsters from your graveyard is almost never a bad choice since it gives you further resources to work with. Cards like “Ophrys Scorpio” and “Spinodionaea” trigger their summon effects while cards like “Dragostapelia” or “Chimerafflesia” get another spin at destroying the opposing field and lowering their live points. Definitely a staple you should run.

One for One“:
Serves as graveyard setup for cards like “Predaplant Cordyceps” or “Predaplant Drosophyllum Hydra” while also summoning the fairly useful search option in “Predaplant Sarraceniant“.

Polymerization“:
The good old Fusion Spell. “Polymerization” is searchable by the “Predaplant” archetype, but also has interactions with engines and generic support, making it the most boring Fusion Spell from an effect standpoint, but probably also the most consistent to get your hands on.

Re-Fusion“:
Due to “Dragostapelia” asking for a Fusion monster as material which will put potential targets into the graveyard and your Fusion monsters being fairly useful when revived, “Re-Fusion” is a solid option to work with. “Chimerafflesia” does not lose any effect when summoned this way and can still banish and kick over target just fine, “Dragostapelia” can distribute Predator counters right away again and will block the effects of opposing monster, and even though “Triphyoverutum” has its own revive effect you can still target it when no Predator counters are available. Also “Re-Fusion” is searchable by a few cards in the archetype like “Darlingtonia Cobra” since it is a “Fusion” Spell card.

Super Polymerization“:
“Super Polymerization” allows you to use the opposing monsters for Fusion Summons on a regular basis and therefore tips the board presence in your favor. You have to discard an extra card, yes, but since it is highly searchable, can be fired via “Verte Anaconda” and works with multiple monsters in the archetype there is really no good reason to decide against running it.

Ultra Polymerization“:
“Ultra Polymerization” is not quite reaching the echelons of “Super Polymerization“, but it does have merits off its own. The fact that the card cannot be negated can be helpful for certain matchups or against certain cards and being able to resummon the Fusion material for another go is also nothing to scoff at. Since you can search it in the archetype, it works well as a one-off.

Trap cards:

None currently.

Extra Deck monsters:

Millennium-Eyes Restrict“:
Can be summoned via “Instant Fusion” to snatch either an effect monster on the field or in the graveyard as a Quick Effect, which allows it to both remove monsters that could pose a threat to you as well as blocking hand traps from resolving. Also works well as a Fusion material for “Dragostapelia“.

Mudragon of the Swamp“:
“Mudragon” give targeting protection to pretty much your entire board since it can change its Attribute to Dark as a Quick Effect, but the more important fact is that it is another “Super Polymerization” target that can use opposing monsters that are not Dark Attribute.

Thousand-Eyes Restrict“:
Can be summoned via “Instant Fusion“. Unlike “Millennium-Eyes Restrict“, it cannot snatch monsters as a Quick Effect and cannot pick monsters from the graveyard, but it does have the ability to choose Normal monsters in addition to Effect monsters for its effect. Works equally well as “Millennium-Eyes Restrict” as a Fusion material for “Dragostapelia“.

Wee Witch’s Apprentice“:
The Dark Attribute booster. If you have the monsters available and you need an extra injection of ATK boosts/fighting power, just go into “Wee Witch’s Apprentice” and she will do the job for you. The floating effect is also nice and can get you some “Ophrys Scorpio” or another monster back into your hand to work with.

Playstyle:

Since you are playing a Fusion deck, the normal goal is to acquire the three parts that are necessary to make a Fusion summon: Fusion material number one, Fusion material number two and the Fusion Spell. Fortunately, the “Predaplant” archetype has a few tools that makes accruing/summoning the necessary tools fairly easy:

The two best starters in “Predaplant” are “Lonefire Blossom” and “Predaplant Ophrys Scorpio“. The effect of “Ophrys Scorpio” to Special Summon a “Predaplant” monster directly from the deck always means that it can give you the necessary number of monsters for a Fusion Summon on its own. Combining that with “Darlingtonia Cobra” is basically a Fusion Summon with just one card as a starter, which is why the card is normally always played at three copies. And while “Lonefire Blossom” can technically search and summon any Main Deck “Predaplant” monster you might want on the field, it also functions as three (!!!) additional copies of “Ophrys Scorpio” during your first turn in the game, which increases the overall consistency by a huge margin. Further consistency is given by cards like “Predaplant Sarraceniant“, “Predaplant Spinodionaea” and “Predapractice“, which all search and/or summon additional monsters or cards to work with, while the “Frightfur”/”Edge Imp” combo can give yet more cards to work with at almost no cost. With such consistency, it is made really easy to summon your first Fusion monsters.

And summoning Fusion monsters is exactly what you want to do. Choosing the right monsters to put on the field really comes down to what Fusion Spells you have in your starting hand, what Spells you can search for or what other ways to Fusion Summon you also have access to. This is also the point where Predator counters first become important, since you are not only able to use your own resources but you should always be aware of the opposing cards and what resources you can simple use on their board or what can be made available to you via Attribute change and/or Predator counter spread. When it comes to Predator counter distribution, try to target monsters that might end up as Ritual tributes or Synchro/Xyz materials, since you bar the opponent from using them due to lacking the correct level. The main rule, regardless of what the turn might look like in the end, is that your deck normally performing better going second than going first, since the opponent has a much easier time blowing your established board to smithereens rather than countering all of your Fusions and effects since both “Super Polymerization” and “Ultra Polymerization” cannot be reacted to and “Predaplanet“, “Predaplant Chlamydosundew” and “Predaplant Verte Anaconda” being able to engage Fusion Summons without using Spell cards.

The end game will always include you putting multiple Fusion monsters on board and trying to overwhelm the opponent by sheer force. “Chimerafflesia” clears the way by both banishing monsters and attacking over them, “Dragostapelia” can stop the opponent from going crazy with monster effects since it negates the effect of monsters with Predator counters and it is able to place those as a Quick effect, and “Triphyoverutum” will stop Extra Deck sillyness while also growing extensively large in the ATK department by distributing Predator counters. Another honorable mention is “Starving Venom Fusion Dragon“, which can end games by itself pretty effectively. Whatever you might be playing in the end, the idea is to use the opposing resources against them, build big Fusion monsters and then swing for game while being supported by various control-esque mechanics.

Weaknesses/Counters:

However, the “Predaplant” archetype does have its weaknesses. Like the rest of the game basically they rely on Special Summoning to get thing going, which means that they can be countered by options such as “Vanity’s Fiend“, “Archlord Kristya“, “Jowgen the Spiritualist“, “Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo“, and so on. They also dislike their effects being negated, which can makes hand traps such as “Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring” equally as dangerous to the strategy as cards like “Effect Veiler“. The same applies to Counter Traps, like those of the “Solemn” variety, but that is a threat that will not occur during turn one unlike the other examples.

Certain decks might also be quite challenging due to working around the various effects without even intending to do so. Predator counters can only be put onto face-up monsters and to use the opposing monsters as Fusion material they also need to be face-up in order to check if they are eligible for a Fusion Summon. This makes decks like “Shaddoll”, “Subterror” or “Krawler” gain a natural advantage against many of the options “Predaplants” have available. Another problem that might arise is not having any opposing monsters to work with at all and the opponent instead relying on Traps or other effects to keep themselves alive during turns when they can be attacked. This is basically the case with decks like “Yosenju” or “Spirits”, the latter one with a focus on “Shinobird”, which simply leave the field after they have done their duty and therefore leave nothing to interact with.

Lastly, the Predator counter mechanic, while a helpful control tool against many card types, can also be near to useless depending on what you have to play against. Both Xyz monsters and Link monsters cannot get any level decrease applied to them since they do not have a level to begin with. That is not necessarily bad since “Triphyoverutum” can still gain their stats, “Dragostapelia” can still negate their effects and various others cards in the archetype can still interact with them, but they will put an immediate stop to any level comparision effect on your main deck monsters and Link monsters are especially bad since they can simply climb higher and therefore get rid of any counters while also not caring about the reduced level of any Effect monsters they use as material most of the time.

Links:

Videos:

Dark Armed Duelist’s “Predaplant Deck Profile” (December 2020):
This decklist not only features the “Frightfur”/”Edge Imp” engine, but also included a few “Phantom Knights” cards to have access to both “Phantom Knights’ Fog Blade” and “The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche“. I do not agree with all the choices in the deck, but that only shows that “Predaplant” is a rather flexible archetype to a certain degree and running various engines or cards at different ratios only gives more room to experiment with.

El Exordio del Duelista’s “Predaplant Deck + Deck Analysis” (March 2020):
As always, El Exordio del Duelista delivers a functional deck list with various game watch and get inspired by. The deck uses the “Frightfur”/”Edge Imp” engine, I was just wondering about only one thing, which is the engine becoming dead immediately when drawing the copy of “Polymerization” due to no search targets for “Frightfur Patchwork“. But other than that this seems to be a solid list, just a bit outdated since “Instant Fusion” is at one, “Called by the Grave” is at one and “Glow-Up Bulb” is banned.

Articles:

Yugipedia “Predaplant” article:
The Yugipedia article for “Predaplant” features a list with all the archetypal members, which is quite helpful since typing out all the names was going to drive me insane at some point in time, so I appretiated simply clicking links to get to the necessary pages. The article itself is sadly not only short but fairly outdated since it mentions various banned cards and lists the Master Rule 4 changes as bad for the archetype in total, which it true but we are not playing in that Master Rule format anymore.

Sample Decklist (February 2021):

This is my take at a “Predaplant” decklist. As always, I am sure that there is room for improvement, but it features all the cards I would deem important at the necessary ratios of three. The deck basically does the same as any other “Predaplant” deck, which means playing either “Lonefire Blossom” or “Ophrys Scorpio” as the preferred starter going into various Fusion monsters to stop the opposing plays and overwhelm the other side of the field with effects and superior attacking power.

Trash for Treasure: Fifth Dawn – Where Suns Emerge

As you might have noticed when reading my articles regarding Magic the Gathering, I am not exactly happy with the reprint- and price policy Wizards of the Coast is applying to the game. Now, WotC really could not care less about what I have to say about that issue, but that does not mean that I cannot give deckbuilding options to people who want to play the game but cannot afford to spent ridiculous amounts of money on sixty pieces of cardboard. I already published some deck ideas before, but I wanted to give more options to budget players. So without further ado, here is my new article series “Trash for Treasure”.

Magic the Gathering has a huge number of cards and while a lot of them are completely out of grasp money-wise for some people, other options could easily be picked up if players knew about them. So, the idea is as follows: Down below is a list of all the cards in the set that I decided to feature with a simple color code. Red card names show that the card in question is worth more than 0,10€ on Cardmarket at the time of writing, while any green card name should be obtainable in a playset for at most 0,10€ per card. That does not mean that the slightly more expensive cards are unplayable, but I wanted to focus on the lesser known and cheaper cards and had to set a value.

The first set I want to talk about is Fifth Dawn. Fifth Dawn is the third set of the Mirrodin block and marked the end of the first block after the card redesign. The set was released in mid 2004 and I have some fond memories of it from back in the day. It also is incredibly polarizing in card design because it has some incredibly powerful cards alongside some of the worst things WotC ever printed. The set also brought us two new keywords back in the day, one being Scry (specifically Scry 2) with was reused later one in the Theros block and features on various values for it, and Sunburst as an ill-fated mechanic that has not seen a real revisit since. What you can expect here is that I will go through all the cards of Fifth Dawn in this article, give a very brief analysis to every card in-budget and a summary at the end that lists the best-of cards that one could obtain when building a budget Magic toolbox. In the future, I will also build decks with the cards that I have reviewed in the “Trash for Treasure” series to give some ideas of how the discussed cards could be used in the actual game. Let us begin:

White:

Abuna's Chant (5DN)

#001: Abuna’s Chant:
Either healing five life points or preventing five damage for four mana is pretty bad; and paying to more for the Entwine to gain both effects is not that much better. In case you really need a similar effect in your deck, consider running “Healing Salve” which does prevent/heal less but also provides its effect for only one mana.

Armed Response (5DN)

#002: Armed Response:
For three mana you would need an awful lot of Equipments to make this card worthwhile. Also, for almost the same mana cost, you could play “Devouring Light” which does the job better in my opinion.

#003: Auriok Champion

Auriok Salvagers (5DN)

#004: Auriok Salvagers:
If I could think of an artifact for little money that you could recycle using a somewhat decent combo “Auriok Salvagers” would not be that bad. However, there is little use for the card and the cost of the ability prohibits using it repeatedly during your turn which further hampers the potential of a possible combo.

#005: Auriok Windwalker

#006: Beacon of Immortality

#007: Bringer of the White Dawn

Circle of Protection: Artifacts (5DN)

#008: Circle of Protection: Artifacts:
An addition to the Circle series with color protection from far back in Magic the Gathering history, reprinted in Fifth Dawn due to the artifact theme. The card is decent at best against an Artifact-based strategy since not all of those decks even run cards that deal damage via burn or attack and with the number of colored decks that this card will be completely useless against, it is easy to see why this card pretty much never sees play.

Leonin Squire (5DN)

#009: Leonin Squire:
Unlike “Auriok Salvagers” further up in this article I can actually see potential uses for “Leonin Squire“. For two mana you pretty much get a decent creature which triggers the salvage effect of “Auriok Salvagers” once, which does not seem that interesting unless you are willing to invest into the decently priced “Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle“. If you have “Teshar“, cheap sacrificeable Artifacts and something to sacrifice creatures into you can repeat playing the Artifacts to loop “Leonin Squire“. Not the best combo ever imagined by humankind, but very cheap and the potential start for a White Weenie-esque Artifact deck.

Loxodon Anchorite (5DN)

#010: Loxodon Anchorite:
Fifth Dawn has a weird fascination regarding expensive Creatures with Tap-effects and “Loxodon Anchorite” is the first card to list with this issue. Four mana for a 2/3 creature that can only prevent 2 damage while also making itself unavailable as a blocker is pretty silly and therefore a card that should be skipped entirely.

Loxodon Stalwart (5DN)

#011: Loxodon Stalwart:
Another creature that makes perfectly clear why it only costs a pittance to obtain. Five mana for a 3/3 Vigilance creature that can buff its toughness is pretty useless overall. Sure, there were Equipments available in the block this card came out in, but “Loxodon Stalwart” is still much weaker than it should be for its asking price in mana.

#012: Raksha Golden Cub

#013: Retaliate

#014: Roar of Reclamation

Skyhunter Prowler (5DN)

#015: Skyhunter Prowler:
Skyhunter Prowler” was not even that bad back in the day. Having a creature that was able to deal its damage unimpeded due to Flying while also serving as a blocker during the opposing turn was pretty solid, especially when equipped. Unfortunately, there is at least one better option available in form of “Segovian Angel” for two less mana in trade for only 2 toughness, therefore outclassing a lot of the old white flyers when ran with anything that buffs stats.

Skyhunter Skirmisher (5DN)

#016: Skyhunter Skirmisher:
Skyhunter Skirmisher” is yet another creature that profits from being equipped, but this one can really bring some pain. The obvious drawback is the 1/1 stat line on a three mana creature, but if “Skyhunter Skirmisher” survives the round and gains some stat-boosts via cards like “Bonesplitter” it can really sway the game in your favor.

Stand Firm (5DN)

#017: Stand Firm:
Stand Firm” is really more interesting for its Scry 2 effect than the stat-boost, since that allows you to get rid of land cards you potentially do not want to draw into. However, since it has the stat-boosting you can obviously use it to increase the damage output of one creature or turn the result of one battle into a more favorable position. Certainly not the best card to work with but it gives some options.

Stasis Cocoon (5DN)

#018: Stasis Cocoon:
Stasis Cocoon” is basically “Arrest” for one less mana but with the caviat of only being able to target artifacts instead of the more commonly available creatures. The card is not necessarily bad against artifact-based decks but it puts us into a similar position as “Circle of Protection: Artifacts“, since there will be numerous games in which “Stasis Cocoon” is a dead card in your hand.

#019: Steelshaper’s Gift

Vanquish (5DN)

#020: Vanquish:
Destroying specifically blocking creatures only really seems useful when attacking with small creatures and then forcing the opponent to get rid of some of the weenies you are attacking with. Unfortunately “Devouring Light” does still exist and is way better while also being in price-range, making “Vanquish” rather useless.

Blue:

#021: Acquire

Advanced Hoverguard (5DN)

#022: Advanced Hoverguard:
We continue with over-priced creatures by taking a look at “Advanced Hoverguard“. Four mana for a 2/2 flyer is not that good and the option to pay one more blue mana to give it Shroud until the End of Turn is not that helpful either.

#023: Artificer’s Intuition

#024: Beacon of Tomorrows

#025: Blinkmoth Infusion

#026: Bringer of the Blue Dawn

Condescend (5DN)

#027: Condescend:
Condescend” is a counter spell that has to compete with “Mana Leak” in terms of usefulness; however, the fact that you could still stop a card for two mana if the opponent uses all their resources and then gain Scry 2 on top of that is the reason that I do not to completely disregard this option. “Condescend” even got various reprints and an increase in rarity in some cases, so at least WotC sees some use in spreading more copies of this card.

Disruption Aura (5DN)

#028: Disruption Aura:
Disruption Aura” is another Artifact counter and quite honestly not even a good one. Three mana is rather pricey for the effect, a large number of artifacts is cheap enough to be worth paying for and there are various better options available even in the Mirrodin block to get rid of artifacts to not rely on this piece of cardboard.

Early Frost (5DN)

#029: Early Frost:
After a lot of bad to decent cards, we finally have a candidate for a good one; at least in my opinion. “Early Frost” allows you to screw the opposing mana base temporarily by tapping three lands. Whether you use this card to basically skip the opposing turn three or disallow them from playing the big guns later in the game, there is room to work with when using this card. Imprinting this card into an “Isochron Scepter” while also running various mana-producing artifacts will never not be fun in my opinion; unfortunately the price for the Imprint option skyrocketed as much as 80% of the cards in this game. But still, “Early Frost” can be played in decks that can afford to run it and want to control the opposing turn as much as possible.

Eyes of the Watcher (5DN)

#030: Eyes of the Watcher:
An okay-ish Enchantment that can enhance any Instant and/or Sorcery spell you are playing. Whether or not your deck can profit from running “Eyes of the Watcher” really depends on the overall build, but cards with Miracle could be a possible usage for more interaction.

Fold into Aether (5DN)

#031: Fold into Aether:
Here we have a prime example for some Fifth Dawn sillyness: “Fold into Aether” is simply a “Counterspell” but for four mana instead of two which allows the controller of the countered spell to play a creature from their hand right away. This effect actually makes more sense if you countered your own spell to play a hugely expensive creature for less mana than it would normally cost, but I have yet to encounter a scenario in which this card performs somewhat decently for the cost and drawback it features.

Hoverguard Sweepers (5DN)

#032: Hoverguard Sweepers:
The first Rare in price-range. The “Hoverguard Sweepers” are rather expensive mana-wise, but they can clear the way for an attack and have a decent statline for a flyer. Could be useful if you need the removal and can afford to play the card mana-wise.

Into Thin Air (5DN)

#033: Into Thin Air:
Artifact-specific counter cards, as always, have the problem of doing nothing without the opponent playing the necessary artifacts to be countered. Fortunately, you can use “Into Thin Air” to bounce your own artifacts to reuse them in some way; unfortunately, I cannot think of a combo that would make running the card a good choice.

Plasma Elemental (5DN)

#034: Plasma Elemental:
Plasma Elemental” was not an option back in the day since using a better unblockable creature was the easiest thing since “Phantom Warrior” existed for quite a while, and it gets worse with every blue option that can do the same more efficiently.

Qumulox (5DN)

#035: Qumulox:
The smaller brother of “Broodstar“, “Qumulox” might be less impressive stat-wise if everything goes correctly, but it comes with the security of still being a somewhat solid body when some or even all of your artifacts get destroyed and can technically be played while you control none. A solid option for a cheap Artifact Affinity-deck.

#036: Serum Visions

#037: Spectral Shift

Thought Courier (5DN)

#038: Thought Courier:
Thought Courier” is pretty straightforward, since he just trades a card in hand for one from the deck. However, if you have options with Madness, Threshold or Flashback, you can make some more out of his effect and there make “Thought Courier” a potential option in a number of decks.

Trinket Mage (5DN)

#039: Trinket Mage:
Trinket Mage” is similar to “Leonin Squire“, but can be used for different things. Searching you deck for artifact cards that cost one or zero mana is not that bad since he can at the very least give you some more mana options, while also being able to search cards like the “Spellbomb” series or even something like “Sol Ring“. In the right deck “Trinket Mage” is a useful and versatile creature cart to run.

Vedalken Mastermind (5DN)

#040: Vedalken Mastermind:
Vedalken Mastermind” can work in a similar fashion than “Into Thin Air“, since it allows you to bounce your own cards to reuse effects that trigger when the card in question enters the battlefield. The need to tap “Vedalken Mastermind” while still needing to pay mana does severely hinder the combo potential though.

Black:

#041: Beacon of Unrest

Blind Creeper (5DN)

#042: Blind Creeper:
Fifth Dawn had a weird fascination with creatures dying in various ways and “Blind Creeper” plays right into that notion. If your opponent is capable of playing three cards in one turn they destroy “Blind Creeper” for free, but playing just one card during your turn will make it a subpar creature nonetheless. The card is bad, there is sadly nothing that can be done about it.

#043: Bringer of the Black Dawn

Cackling Imp (5DN)

#044: Cackling Imp:
Joining “Loxodon Anchorite” in the “expensive creatures with weak Tap-effects” section, we have “Cackling Imp“. The problem is clear to see: It can either attack for two damage or be tapped for one life loss; both being weak options for four mana. “Cackling Imp” is therefore not worth running in my opinion.

#045: Desecration Elemental

Devour in Shadow (5DN)

#046: Devour in Shadow:
Devour in Shadow” is pretty much a worse “Doom Blade” against anything non-black. You can run the card though if you run a strategy that depends on you losing life with something like “Death’s Shadow” (even though that card is rather expensive).

Dross Crocodile (5DN)

#047: Dross Crocodile:
Dross Crocodile“, the 5/1 flavor text monster with no redeeming feature whatsoever. There are countless better options to run, so forget that this thing even exists.

Ebon Drake (5DN)

#048: Ebon Drake:
Similar to “Devour in Shadow” you can use “Ebon Drake” to lower your life points for strategies that work that way. Unlike “Devour in Shadow” you cannot do that in a controlled manner, meaning that the opponent can straightup kill you if they can accrue enough spells.

#049: Endless Whispers

Fill with Fright (5DN)

#050: Fill with Fright:
Discarding two cards normally costs three mana and adding Scry to that is worth the mana cost “Fill with Fright” asks for. Whether the card is good and playable is a completely different issue and I would say that you can run various other cards before this one comes even close to being an option.

Fleshgrafter (5DN)

#051: Fleshgrafter:
If there was an option to make artifact cards in your graveyard become a decent or even useful resource “Fleshgrafter” would actually be playable. However, I cannot think of anything you would need to ditch in order to gain more than the +2/+2 stat boost for “Fleshgrafter“, which makes it a rather unnecessary card in my opinion.

Lose Hope (5DN)

#052: Lose Hope:
Lose Hope” functions as the polar opposite of “Stand Firm“. The usage is limited since most creatures will survive being targeted by the card and it can only be used to manipulate one battle, but the Scry part can be helpful when needed.

#053: Mephidross Vampire

#054: Moriok Rigger

#055: Night’s Whisper

Nim Grotesque (5DN)

#056: Nim Grotesque:
The idea of making the most out of having a lot of artifacts is not that bad and will even be featured on a really good card down in the artifact section. Unfortunately, “Nim Grotesque” is so incredibly expensive that even pushing it beyond the 10 power mark is not worth it in most cases, since it can be easily chump-blocked due to the lack of Trample.

#057: Plunge into Darkness

#058: Relentless Rats

Shattered Dreams (5DN)

#059: Shattered Dreams:
Another anti-artifact card that has little to no use in matchups with the needed card type. The problem is still the same as with all the specific counter cards: If the opponent has no artifact cards in their deck the card is useless and with only a few you are probably not able to get rid of really significant parts of the opposing strategy.

Vicious Betrayal (5DN)

#060: Vicious Betrayal:
Vicious Betrayal” stayed in my mind as one of the most resource-intensive cards in existence. For five mana alone you do not even get any effect; in addition, you still have to sacrifice any number of creatures to boost one creature by +2/+2 per sacrificed creature. Regardless of what you sacrifice for this effect, it is too expensive and leaves you either in a worse position than before or does something a different card would have done better.

Red:

#061: Beacon of Destruction

#062: Bringer of the Red Dawn

#063: Cosmic Larva

Feedback Bolt (5DN)

#064: Feedback Bolt:
In a low budget artifact deck this could be an actual way to finish the game. For five mana you need to have quite a few artifacts to make “Feedback Bolt” worth it, but there are a lot of cheap options to produce mana and spam the field which could turn this card into an actual powerhouse. It also comes with instant speed, which is nice to have but mostly irrelevant since you can only shoot the player anyway.

Furnace Whelp (5DN)

#065: Furnace Whelp:
Furnace Whelp” is a decent Dragon if you have enough red mana to fuel its effect. 2/2 Flying for four mana is not blowing me away and there are other somewhat decent options, for example “Rakdos Pit Dragon“, for the same cost, but it is probably the cheapest Dragon creature that money can buy in this game.

Goblin Brawler (5DN)

#066: Goblin Brawler:
This creature is too expensive in my opinion to have less power and toughness than the number of mana paid for it while still having a drawback. If you really need a Goblin with First Strike for small amounts of money and mana why not go with “Boros Recruit“?

#067: Granulate

#068: Ion Storm

Iron-Barb Hellion (5DN)

#069: Iron-Barb Hellion:
More confusing Fifth Dawn card design. I get that “Iron-Barb Hellion” can attack for five immediately, but was it really necessary to make it a six mana card that can also not block in the off-chance that that could be helpful? You have to be really desperate for big attackers to run this one and I would suggest using other cards instead.

Krark-Clan Engineers (5DN)

#070: Krark-Clan Engineers:
This is another option for the garbage bag. Four mana for a 2/2 is questionable, the costs are insane and without artifacts on the opposing side of the field they could also not have an effect for all that I care. The fact that “Krark-Clan Engineers” is an uncommon is just the cherry on top. Avoid playing this card at all costs.

Krark-Clan Ogre (5DN)

#071: Krark-Clan Ogre:
Another member of the “too expensive”-category. 3/3 for five mana is not a good start and the need to pay more mana and sacrifice artifacts in order to make one creature unable to block is rarely important enough to make the entire package worth paying for.

Magma Giant (5DN)

#072: Magma Giant:
Magma Giant” is another Rare for pennies, but it is easier to see why the card is so cheap: Seven mana for a 5/5 that imitates a “Pyroclasm” (plus damage to the players aswell) when entering the field is not exactly breathtaking, but feel free to run the card if you see use for it.

Magma Jet (5DN)

#073: Magma Jet:
Magma Jet” is an absolutely sound card mana-wise. Two mana for a “Shock” with Scry 2 is reasonable, but running it really comes down to how useful you deem the Scry part to be.

#074: Magnetic Theft

Mana Geyser (5DN)

#075: Mana Geyser:
At first glance, this card seems pretty abysmal. “Seething Song” is a thing and will often create more mana for less costs while also not relying on the opponent to work. However, “Mana Geyser” becomes quite a strong tool in multiplayer scenarios. In “Free-for-alls” you can gain ridiculous amounts of mana using this card and red does have enough options to make sure that no opponent see the end of that turn alive.

Rain of Rust (5DN)

#076: Rain of Rust:
Artifact destruction and land destruction in one card with instant speed; and you can have both effects if you have the mana too. Unfortunately “Rain of Rust” is incredibly expensive and therefore not really worth playing at all.

#077: Reversal of Fortune

Screaming Fury (5DN)

#078: Screaming Fury:
Screaming Fury” is rather expensive and only has sorcery speed, but I honestly still like the card when playing with low budget builds. The thing is that this card will still surprise the opponent on a regular basis by making previously harmless creatures with solid stats but summoning sickness a real threat to the opposing life points. This is one of the options that should be bad but can work since the opponent will often not think about the scenario it creates which makes it a solid pick in my book.

Spark Elemental (5DN)

#079: Spark Elemental:
One of the classic creature components in burn decks from yesteryear. Dropping a “Spark Elemental” turn one means dealing three damage to the opponent; not as impressive nowadays, but keep in mind that there were times when “Lightning Bolt” was both hard to get and relatively expensive. “Spark Elemental” can still serve a purpose in red low-mana aggro decks and becomes quite dangerous if you can also buff it with cards like “Brute Force“.

Vulshok Sorcerer (5DN)

#080: Vulshok Sorcerer:
The original version of “Vithian Stinger“. “Vulshok Sorcerer” might seem a bit expensive but she can work rather well if the opponent has no easily available pings to get rid of her. The double red mana cost only makes her an option in mono-red decks most of the time since providing colored mana might pose a problem in low budget decks, but this card might prove worthwhile in some builds.

Green:

#081: All Suns’ Dawn

#082: Beacon of Creation

#083: Bringer of the Green Dawn

Channel the Suns (5DN)

#084: Channel the Suns:
A somewhat different mana spell. For four mana you immediately get WUBRG, which means that you get one mana more than you started with, but obviously also have exactly enough colored mana to pay for certain effects or have the option to summon a Sunburst creature at full power. The card is decent and can help with certain mana issues, but most of the time you will try to solve the colored mana issue in another way, for example playing cards like “Joiner Adept“.

Dawn's Reflection (5DN)

#085: Dawn’s Reflection:
This card basically transforms one land into two “City of Brass” without any drawbacks aside from the rather high mana cost while still allowing it to make its normal mana aswell. This makes “Dawn’s Reflection” the cheap and way less powerful version of “Utopia Sprawl“, but there is lot’s of potential here in my opinion for certain ramp decks.

#086: Eternal Witness

Fangren Pathcutter (5DN)

#087: Fangren Pathcutter:
Fangren Pathcutter” seems rather so-so at first glance, but if I think about how often the opponent is able to simply chump block creatures without the fear of getting damaged, I could see myself putting this card into a deck as a one- or two-off and run the opponent over.

Ferocious Charge (5DN)

#088: Ferocious Charge:
Ferocious Charge” is another card that uses an existing card, adds Scry 2 to it and ups the mana cost by one. Again, nothing wrong with doing that, the question is simply whether or not you need the Scry part or if you are better off simply using the cheaper version.

#089: Joiner Adept

Ouphe Vandals (5DN)

#090: Ouphe Vandals:
As far as artifact counter cards go, “Ouphe Vandals” are especially bad. They already cost three mana to gain a 2/2 creature without any further keywords and since they need to be sacrificed they can only do their trick once. The fact that they cannot even stop cards like “Sol Ring” makes them a dead pick in my book.

#091: Rite of Passage

#092: Rude Awakening

Sylvok Explorer (5DN)

#093: Sylvok Explorer:
I am kind of sitting on the fence with “Sylvok Explorer“: On one hand, he costs two mana and is therefore inferior in tempo in comparision to “Llanowar Elves” or “Birds of Paradise“, but he does allow you to use the opposing mana colors and even any mana if the opponent runs lands with such an effect which is rather nice.

Tangle Asp (5DN)

#094: Tangle Asp:
Not the worst card really. Trading a two mana creature against pretty much anything the opponent can send your way is pretty solid, since “Tangle Asp” basically has Deathtouch. Also, just to give an idea of what you can do with this card, play this alongside “Valor Made Real” to block the entire all-in attack your opponent is trying to pull off only to see the entire creature line-up wiped by one Snake in a three-mana combo.

Tel-Jilad Justice (5DN)

#095: Tel-Jilad Justice:
Basically “Oxidize” with the Scry 2 effect line added. The card is absolutely fine for the job it is supposed to do and if you need artifact removal with a little extra then feel free to go with this one.

Tel-Jilad Lifebreather (5DN)

#096: Tel-Jilad Lifebreather:
If you really thought that we are through with effects that are too expensive on creatures that ask for too much mana to be played, well I am going to disappoint you. “Tel-Jilad Lifebreather” is only 3/2 for five mana and needs to sacrifice a “Forest” in order to regenerate one creature. Oh, and did I mention that you need to tap “Tel-Jilad Lifebreather” aswell since this effect was not expensive enough otherwise? Not worth running this Troll in my opinion.

#097: Tornado Elemental

Tyrranax (5DN)

#098: Tyrranax:
Oh WotC, why did you print so many cards that are obviously of no use to anyone in Fifth Dawn? “Tyrranax” starts out as a 5/4 creature for six mana, and that is as good as it is gonna get since every further investment of two mana will only put you further down in resources without anything to show for it. Highly unlikely that “Tyrranax” will turn the tide of the battle with six more mana to spend, so do yourself a favor and play something like “Imperiosaur“.

Viridian Lorebearers (5DN)

#099: Viridian Lorebearers:
In my opinion, this is the worst artifact-specific card this set has produced. “Viridian Lorebearers” might be able to give +10/+10 to a creature if the opponent is actually playing an artifact deck, but keep in mind that you are already eight mana deep at that point at which point you could have probably played a card that does the same without the artifact focus. And that only works if the opposing field is rammed with artifacts; if the opponent does not fancy playing the colorless machines you can now stare at your four mana creature without any further use for your deck.

Viridian Scout (5DN)

#100: Viridian Scout:
Waaaay to expensive anti-flyer card. For seven mana and sacrificing “Viridian Scout” you only deal two damage to a flying creature, which does way more damage to your resources then it could ever do to the opponent’s plans.

Artifact:

Anodet Lurker (5DN)

#101: Anodet Lurker:
“Anodet Lurker” is yet another odd card to include in the Mirrodin block since “Bottle Gnomes” was already featured in Mirrodin and does almost the same for less mana. Sure, you cannot sacrifice “Bottle Gnomes” for another effect and still gain life points which is the only thing “Anodet Lurker” has going for itself but that is such a small upside that it does not really make it worth running the thing.

Arachnoid (5DN)

#102: Arachnoid:
Yet another subpar creature card. 2/6 Reach for six mana was definitely not worth playing back in the day and there are way better options to get rid of flyers nowadays, some even allowing the player to use no colored mana. Skip this one.

Arcbound Wanderer (5DN)

#103: Arcbound Wanderer:
This creature is a concept that I would have liked to see more of: Combining Sunburst with various other mechanics and keywords. “Arcbound Wanderer” can enter the field as a 5/5 for six mana, but can also give its counters to another artifact creature upon dying. Not the best tool in the shed and certainly not a card that will often see play even in decks specifically working with Sunburst, but the concept was definitely heading in the right direction here.

Avarice Totem (5DN)

#104: Avarice Totem:
This is really more of a troll card, but you can technically make it work by exchanging it with something valuable from your opponent and then bouncing “Avarice Totem” to make them unable to switch the control back. That obviously asks for quite some mana and the color blue to be included into the deck, but there is some casual deck potential here.

Baton of Courage (5DN)

#105: Baton of Courage:
Playable as an instant for three, gains three charge counters and then you can remove them for a +1/+1 boost per counter. You know what else does what this card does if you pay three differently colored mana? “Giant Growth“, but only for one green mana. Fairly odd, huh? Simply skip this card, there is little room to use it from the start and even with a steady source of charge counters to use it is not going to become a good card.

Battered Golem (5DN)

#106: Battered Golem:
In the optimal scenario, you attack with “Battered Golem” and then untap it afterwards to have a blocker during your next turn. However, it might also stay on the field tapped for the longest time, making “Battered Golem” a rather bad option to run.

#107: Blasting Station

Chimeric Coils (5DN)

#108: Chimeric Coils:
Chimeric Coils” is basically a creature with no effects but for two more mana than it has stats that destroys itself during the End Phase. Need I say more?

#109: Clearwater Goblet

Clock of Omens (5DN)

#110: Clock of Omens:
I cannot tell you why, but I am sure that there are uses for “Clock of Omens“. Tapping two artifacts to untap one seems like a bad deal, but the fact that there are no additional costs involved into it makes me wonder if there is some sillyness that can either reuse or produce enough artifacts to make a silly combo out of this card.

Composite Golem (5DN)

#111: Composite Golem:
Oh look, “Channel the Suns” as an artifact creature. I guess the card is fine, just a little confused about what it actually wants to achieve. If it dies in battle or to a destruction effect you can still sacrifice it on reaction only to be stuck with five mana that most definitely fade into nothingness at the end of that turn. You can still use it for the effect of producing WUBRG without thinking about the creature part, but unlike “Channel the Suns” you go out of that with one mana minus instead of gaining one more than before.

Conjurer's Bauble (5DN)

#112: Conjurer’s Bauble:
A cheap artifact with that can destroy itself for some deck refreshing and card draw. The fact that “Conjurer’s Bauble” is fairly cheap at one mana and therefore a target to interact with “Leonin Squire” and “Trinket Mage” already makes it a solid card, but since it asks for no further costs you can actually loop it in other ways aswell. Certainly a solid card to work with.

Cranial Plating (5DN)

#113: Cranial Plating:
Probably the best cheap card from Fifth Dawn is also one that wrecked havoc back in the day: “Cranial Plating” is the black-themed equipment of the Fifth Dawn equipment series and gives the equipped creature +1/+0 for each artifact you control. Given the fact that pure artifact decks are not only possible but also can be made to run incredibly well, you have now got a win option to put onto anything you want. Even an “Ornithopter” becomes a deadly force with this thing equipped. And even better yet, you can give this bonus to anything that might need it at instant speed for the reasonable price of two black mana. This card is still pretty insane and absolutely worth buying four copies of.

#114: Crucible of Worlds

#115: Door to Nothingness

#116: Doubling Cube

Energy Chamber (5DN)

#117: Energy Chamber:
Energy Chamber” is actually a pretty solid enabler for a number of artifact decks. Whether your deck actually works with Modular or Sunburst, wants to stack up charge counters for an instant win via “Darksteel Reactor” or simply enjoys having a few more resources to work with, this card can provide a decent bonus to various playstyles and is definitely worth picking up if you plan to build a deck around the counters it distributes.

#118: Engineered Explosives

Ensouled Scimitar (5DN)

#119: Ensouled Scimitar:
Ensouled Scimitar” is another card that is somewhat interesting design-wise, but fails to deliver due to being overpriced in the mana department. For three mana an equip bonus of +1/+5 is not that bad, but I would rather go with “Slagwurm Armor” if I need more toughness on a creature. Pay another three to make this thing become a 1/5 creature and weep upon it transforming back again since you now need to pay two mana again to equip it to something. The overall package seems just too pricey to work smoothly.

#120: Eon Hub

Etched Oracle (5DN)

#121: Etched Oracle:
Etched Oracle” is probably the best Sunburst card in existence. If you are able to provide it with enough +1/+1 counters to use, you have yourself a very potent draw engine in colors like green that can produce that counters with relative ease and enjoy drawing more cards due to the lack of options in the color itself.

Ferropede (5DN)

#122: Ferropede:
Oh look, a better unblockable creature than “Plasma Elemental“. “Ferropede” is still not the best option available, but it certainly helps that any deck can play it if they want due to the colorless man requirement and while the counter removal is not always that important you can really drive someone running a deck that tries to get to the final ability of a planeswalker crazy with it while chipping away life points in the process.

#123: Fist of Suns

Gemstone Array (5DN)

#124: Gemstone Array:
Gemstone Array” is basically a very expensive mana storage unit. Four mana to play and two mana to get a charge counter onto it which can then be transformed into one mana of any color. I think I rather pass this one.

Goblin Cannon (5DN)

#125: Goblin Cannon:
Goblin Cannon” only exists to be comically bad, otherwise I cannot understand what brought the design studio to create this piece of crap. Basically you deal one damage to any target once for six mana which actually forces Magic players to redefine the idea of a bad card to its very core. Absolutely avoid this card.

#126: Grafted Wargear

#127: Grinding Station

Guardian Idol (5DN)

#128: Guardian Idol:
Guardian Idol” would have been a perfectly solid card if it wasn’t for the part that states that it comes into play tapped. Why was that necessary exactly? Anyway, run the card if you want to, but I would stick to the series of reanimateable artifact cards from Time Spiral if I’m honest.

Healer's Headdress (5DN)

#129: Healer’s Headdress:
Healer’s Headdress” is the white-themed part of the equipment series from Fifth Dawn and it is certainly not the worst one. The damage prevention is cute, but being able to keep creatures alive by shoving an equipment onto them on reaction can be fairly helpful and would allow you to dodge burn spells that target your creatures rather efficiently.

Heliophial (5DN)

#130: Heliophial:
Ever wanted to shoot five damage at maximum for the low cost of seven mana in total? Well, look no further since “Heliophial” can do exactly that and nothing more. Silly card and further shows that they did not care about making Sunburst an interesting keyword in the slightest.

#131: Helm of Kaldra

Horned Helm (5DN)

#132: Horned Helm:
Horned Helm” is basically a worse version of “Rancor“, but I do love the card because a friend of mine built an absolutely silly deck featuring six copies (yes, six, she said she was drunk during the time she built the thing) of “Horned Helm” to be equipped to some Lorwyn block Elves for so many horns that the thing is probably illegal somewhere. Nonetheless, “Horned Helm” does provide some stat boosts and Trample for decent cost and can be passed around at instant speed, so running it in certain decks that can use the Trample is not the worst idea.

Infused Arrows (5DN)

#133: Infused Arrows:
Infused Arrows” is another Sunburst card and therefore gains a maximum of four charge counters when played for its cost of four mana, which then allow you to lower the stats of a creature by the amount of charge counters paid for the effect. I will be honest: -4/-4 for four mana is not exactly good and you still have the hazzle of spending as much differently colored mana as possible on it, so I would recommend playing something else.

#134: Krark-Clan Ironworks

#135: Lantern of Insight

Lunar Avenger (5DN)

#136: Lunar Avenger:
Lunar Avenger” continues the trend of Sunburst being the necessary mechanic to even push the featured creature to passable stat lines. A 7/7 for seven mana is okay, but asking for WUBRG to even get there is somewhat problematic. For the cost of its +1/+1 counters you can give “Lunar Avenger” further keywords for a turn, which makes it a passable Sunburst creature.

#137: Mycosynth Golem

Myr Quadropod (5DN)

#138: Myr Quadropod:
Another oddball creature. “Myr Quadropod” can switch its stats from a defensively-minded creature with 1/4 that costs too much for four mana into a offensively-minded creature with 4/1 that costs way too for total of seven mana. Regardless of stat-boosts this thing is not worth it.

Myr Servitor (5DN)

#139: Myr Servitor:
Myr Servitor” screams tribute fodder but is sadly painfully slow and has the problem of neither having a clause that allows you to run more than four copies of it in a deck which would be very helpful nor does it provide any decent setup for its own effect and using graveyard setup in Magic if rather expensive money-wise and has way better uses by simply reviving big beaters with cards like “Exhume“.

Neurok Stealthsuit (5DN)

#140: Neurok Stealthsuit:
Neurok Stealthsuit” might seem a tad expensive but can prove to be a decent option if you need to give your creatures Shroud on reaction since you can use double blue mana to attach it at instant speed. Granted, the deck running this needs to have enough blue mana to be able to use this ability regularly, but I would say that this is one of the better equipments from Fifth Dawn.

Opaline Bracers (5DN)

#141: Opaline Bracers:
More Sunburst support. This one can make an equipped creature gain anything from +0/+0 to +4/+4, but in all fairness to the card you can put more charge counter onto it to increase the stat gain. There are various other and better Equipment cards to run though.

#142: Paradise Mantle

Pentad Prism (5DN)

#143: Pentad Prism:
A mana storage option for two mana is what I would describe “Pentad Prism” as. It can technically transform two colored mana into mana of any color and will continue to produce mana if you can fuel it with charge counters making it a decent option to run if you have anything that will make it resource-positive like a card that allows you to draw cards when you play artifact spells like “Vedalken Archmage“.

#144: Possessed Portal

Razorgrass Screen (5DN)

#145: Razorgrass Screen:
A rather odd but in my opinion pretty interesting card design-wise comes with “Razorgrass Screen“. A Wall that needs to block aggressively did not exist before and even though the card has little use in-game I do think that this is a creative idea. Not really worth playing though since any 1/1 can force it to block and trade with it.

#146: Razormane Masticore

Relic Barrier (5DN)

#147: Relic Barrier:
The cheaper anti-artifact version of “Icy Manipulator“. Simply pay two and then tap some opposing artifacts. The reason why I dislike running this card is exactly the same as with any other artifact counter, since they do nothing if the card type in question is not played in at least decent numbers. If you want such an effect with more versatility, I would go for the aforementioned “Icy Manipulator” and simply ignore “Relic Barrier“.

#148: Salvaging Station

Sawtooth Thresher (5DN)

#149: Sawtooth Thresher:
More Sunburst. “Sawtooth Thresher” ends up being 6/6 with all five colors invested into it, but it can permanently lower its stats for short bursts of power. This could allow you to get a 10/10 creature for one turn which shrinks down to 2/2 afterwards for six mana which is quite frankly pretty awful. Goes to show that WotC was either really careful with the potential of Sunburst or simply did not bother to give the mechanic meaningful support.

#150: Silent Arbiter

Skullcage (5DN)

#151: Skullcage:
For the longest time there was a gap between “The Rack” and “Black Vise” in which the opponent could keep their hand cards without any fear of getting their life points damaged. That changed with Fifth Dawn when WotC printed “Skullcage“, a four mana artifact that deals two damage to any opponent foolish enough to keep exactly three or four cards in their hand. Jokes aside, “Skullcage” is a silly idea and costs too much for the potential of two damage per round.

Skyreach Manta (5DN)

#152: Skyreach Manta:
This card is the bane of any Fifth Dawn-only Draft since there are not that many options to keep a 5/5 flyer under control with the given card pool. However, in a normal environment it is just a 5/5 flyer at best while only being 1/1 or even instantly dying in the worst case scenario, making it a subpar option for deckbuilding.

#153: Solarion

Sparring Collar (5DN)

#154: Sparring Collar:
Giving a creature First Strike is not that terrible and like all of the cards in this color-themed equipment series you can either equip with sorcery speed during your turn or switch “Sparring Collar” around with instant speed for double colored mana. Just like “Neurok Stealthsuit” this is a card that actually profits from being equipable during the opposing turn, but whether or not you think that First Strike without any stat bonus matters enough to be run in a deck is up to personal preference.

Spinal Parasite (5DN)

#155: Spinal Parasite:
Spinal Parasite” is probably one of the weirdest cards in existence with its -1/-1 stat line. With maximum Sunburst it ends up being a 4/4, but the effect is really expensive and probably kills “Spinal Parasite” in the process, so opt to run something better.

#156: Staff of Domination

#157: Summoner’s Egg

#158: Summoning Station

Suncrusher (5DN)

#159: Suncrusher:
Another Rare that is not that expensive due to being rather lackluster and being part of a constructed deck back in the day. “Suncrusher” starts as a 3/3 for nine mana, but can grow to 8/8 due to Sunburst, can tap itself for four mana and the additional cost of one +1/+1 counter to destroy a creature and can bounce itself for two mana and a +1/+1 counter. I honestly think that the Tap symbol is unnecessary since the destruction effect is already expensive enough and also finite due to the need of removing counters, but other than that “Suncrusher” could be a solid addition to a Sunburst deck.

Suntouched Myr (5DN)

#160: Suntouched Myr:
Suntouched Myr” is sadly the worst the Sunburst mechanic has to offer: In the best case scenario it becomes a 3/3 without any effects, in the worst case scenario it dies as soon as it hits the field. Avoid this one.

Synod Centurion (5DN)

#161: Synod Centurion:
Another creature that has costs equal to its stats but has nothing else to offer. Why they printed this as an Uncommon is beyond me, but there is sadly also no good reason to play this guy since there are various better options.

Thermal Navigator (5DN)

#162: Thermal Navigator:
The last card that is in an affordable range is “Thermal Navigator“, which is pretty underwhelming to be honest. A 3/3 creature with Flying would have been okay-ish, but the fact that it is only 2/2 and even asks for an Artifact to be sacrificed to push it aloft is pretty stupid.

#163: Vedalken Orrery

#164: Vedalken Shackles

#165: Wayfarer’s Bauble

Conclusion:

Fifth Dawn is an odd set and a lot of the cards are so immensely underwhelming that I am not sure whether WotC ran out of ideas or simply did not want to bother with the Mirrodin block anymore. However, there are still some good cards in midst of a lot of bad ones. Depending on the deck build, the following cards might be of interest for a budget-savvy player:

And that is it pretty much from me. Like I said, I will submit some deck ideas in the coming weeks to show how some of those cards could be used in a budget-friendly deck. If you have something the add to the analysis, have ideas for cards I did not include into the list or want to correct some mistakes, feel free to comment. See you next time and stay creative.

The Videogame Corner: Blood Card

You might have noticed that I like card games, since almost every article on this blog features them in some way or another. This is also true for cards in videogames: I like experimenting with games that use cards as their main mechanic and will happily learn a completely different system if I find it engaging enough. From “Faeria” to “Slay the Spire”, there are various games to talk about that use cardboard in a digital environment as their main gameplay feature.

The first card-based game I want to talk about though is less well-known than the examples I just mentioned: “Blood Card”. While the game is clearly inspired by the widely popular “Slay the Spire” and is therefore also a game of the card battler/rogue-like genres, it is unique enough to stand out and is very playable in its own right. There are some flaws that I will mention over the course of this article and it is inevitable that I am going to mention its inspiration in form of “Slay the Spire” since certain aspects are clearly taking their inspiration from there, but I also want to try to convey some of the fun I had with this game (which will be mostly listed in the gameplay section).

The Story:

“Blood Card” does not have that much of a story really; or pretty much none at all. For some reason you have to fight against hordes of monsters to escape some sort of dungeon, all while death itself follows you and tries to kill you in the process. There is no bigger plot, just the enemies in front of you, the cards on your screen and your ever-present demise in form of the Grim Reaper looming over you.

The game’s title screen. I wasn’t lying when I said that the Grim Reaper is watching every step you take in “Blood Card”…

You really have two choices of how to end your quest (unless you count dying as a valid option in which case you have three): You either defeat all the enemies on your path and manage to defeat the last boss at the end of chapter three or you kill death itself to instantly end your struggle then and there. If you look for deep story telling in games “Blood Card” is not for you. But then we are talking about a rogue-like and those often skip character development and grand tales in favor of game mechanics, so we will see what is in store for us.

The Graphics:

The first level in “Blood Card”. Gravestones, gallows and seas of blood give a decent idea of what you can expect if you fail on your journey.

If you compare “Blood Card” to its competitor “Slay the Spire” you will probably end up saying that it looks rather ugly. And I felt the same way: When the game appeared in my recommendations back in the day I was rather sceptic since it looked more gritty but also kind of unpolished in comparision to the smooth “Slay the Spire” art style. But once I got over my first prejudices I grew rather fond of the graphics. The visuals in “Blood Card” are still miles away from my favorite, but the art style does fit the overall theme and the first level especially delivers a grim and dreadful atmosphere and really serves as a solid entry to your escape. That is also the only reason why I think that the escape theme works rather well: The only thing told to you at the start by death itself is that escaping is pointless, but after the abyss in level one, you manage to arrive in a less hellish scenery in level two and a forested area in level three after which the game ends and your escape succeeded; or so I think. Overall, the graphics do work for the game they are featured in.

The Soundtrack:

The soundtrack is sadly nothing special. It does what it is supposed to do, but it does not achieve much more than that and I normally turn the music down to listen to videos or other music in the background. The boss theme is rather nice, but there were multiple occasions when the music did not loop as intended and I either had some seconds of silence inbetween tracks or, in some rare cases, it stopped completely. I could not even find a video or link to the OST to give you a listen, but you are not missing much in my opinion since the sounds and music are definitely the weakest aspect of “Blood Card”.

The Gameplay:

This is the part where “Blood Card” absolutely needs to shine since it banks on its gameplay to be interesting enough for you to invest many hours into it. And quite honesty, I would say that the developers nailed the gameplay. Sure, you will find quite a lot of cards that you might already have seen in “Slay the Spire”, but I will give “Blood Card” the benefit of the doubt and say that this is due to the developers simply having similar ideas instead of straightup stealing cards from other games. But even if they got a lot of design elements from other card-based rogue-likes, they still managed to have their own unique quirks and made their game interesting that way.

One of those unique quirks is that “Blood Card” features a unique system in which the cards in your deck are also your life points. This basically means that you have one resource for all the things going on in the game as playing lots of cards means that you will slowly kill yourself. And the enemies you will encounter during your runs are more than willing to assist you in that endeavor. But to make things a little easier your character gets healed completely before every new encounter, which means every enemy can be fought on level footing rather than being completely wasted by them due to various previous encounters like you might be in “Slay the Spire”. Whether or not that hands-off approach to resource management is a blessing or a curse in your eyes is up to personal opinion.

This also makes deckbuilding in general a little bit different. Card reward screens after the battle will always show six cards of which three are common, two are uncommon and one is a rare. But the rare is not always the best option to go for, since you will automatically gain three copies of any common card you have chosen or two in case of uncommon; but only one copy of the card if it is a rare so you do also pay with some potential maximum health whenever you decide to pick the card at the far-right. This also makes common cards much more appealing since constantly picking them will give you the most health overall. The balance act between decent amounts of health while still keeping the deck functioning and consistent was (and still is) a fresh concept in my opinion.

If you are done with normal mode, you can play various other characters like the Scientist to experiment with.

Character-wise, there are only two options to take when playing the game normally: The Blackblood is the fighter class, who has the passive ability of gaining points of which he can use three to put one card from the discard pile back into his hand, and the Bloodwitch as a more rogue/mage-like approach, who does not gain any energy at the start of the turn but is able to discard cards for energy and can regularly shuffle cards she sacrificed that way back into the deck to draw three cards. Both characters feature very different playstyles and can use varied strategies to reach the goal. Furthermore, in custom mode you can play four more characters with various other quirks, skills and drawbacks which can liven up the experience once you got tired of the first two. Those characters can also be played in daily challenges in which you can compete with other players to reach the highest possible score.

Combo-wise, I found “Blood Card” to be much more open than “Slay the Spire”: There is only one big set of cards that is used by all the available characters, but there is a sizeable number of interactions and a lot of cool cards to work with. I finished the max difficulty run with a Curse-based build in which I had multiple copies of a card that could turn any damage I would normally suffer during that turn into an equal number of Curses that are shuffled into my deck (aka “Patience”). Since my deck is my health pool, my enemies therefore were actively healing me for the cost of me drawing useful cards less consistently. Combine this with an Attack card that deals 2 damage for every Curse in your deck (aka “Cursed Bullet”) and you have yourself a combo that can push out hundreds of damage without much effort.

And there is more: Whether you use “Meditation” to transform your entire hand into your favorite card and go crazy with that, use “Staff of Chaos” to kill the entire encounter by simply being attacked by the enemies or go crazy with some energy generation/card draw build with “Ring of Infinity”, there are lots of possibilities. You will find some ridiculous combo with relative ease and can then tinker with your deck to perfect the consistency and effects with every encounter. Granted, on the higher difficulties certain combinations might not work out anymore and there are some encounters that will absolutely wreck you if you play certain combos, but this can happen in any game of this genre. Try, for example, fighting the elite encounter with the two cyclops monsters on floor two with a deck that deals many small increments of damage and you will be clobbered for four-digit numbers relatively quickly since they double their attack power whenever they take damage. Or using a heal/stall deck against the skeleton mage that automatically shreds any card that enters the draw pile. This, however, is in the nature of the game and overcoming those encounters is part of what makes “Blood Card” fun.

The Card Library gives you the option to look through all the cards that you might find in-game. The effects of those cards range from okay-ish to absolutely busted, but they all invite for creative deckbuilding and experimentation.

There are some cards though that are clearly to strong: “Time Stop” does exactly what it says by preventing any action from opposing parties for one turn and is clearly too strong at only one energy cost. Combine that with “Holy Grail” which will prevent “Time Stop” from destroying itself and you can skip turns like nobody’s business. “Staff of Order” is, while I have a lot of fun playing with that card equipped, pretty busted since that thing alone can stack so much block that no opposing party can ever hope to damage you again if you have a card like “Flash Heal” in your deck. “Wind Feather” gives a 15% dodge chance against everything so stacking seven copies of them makes you immune against any encounter that the game could throw at you; and it is a common for 1, so not only could you potentially play three in one round with the Blackblood but you will also gain three whenever you choose the card in the reward screen since it is a common.

But overall I can forgive a lot of the flaws since the gameplay itself is fun and engaging. I rather have it that way than playing some eye candy with no substance. The game seems to peter out at around 30 ~ 40 hours of gameplay for most people if you want to experience the entire game and do the all of the achievement hunting. I got all achievements except two currently, of which one is defeating death on the highest difficulty using the Bloodwitch and therefore the character I do not really have fun playing, and one requires me defeating death on the first floor which is possible but needs certain setups and way too many restarts for me to try it. But other than that I got my fair share of fun out of the game, which is why I write about it on my blog.

The Conclusion:

“Blood Card” is definitely a nice game to play if you like deck building and rogue-likes. The game goes for 12,49€ on Steam, which seems rather pricey, but it is a solid buy when on sale. It does what it sets out to do, but I would be lying if I said that you can get more gametime out of “Blood Card” than “Slay the Spire”. Nevertheless, if you like to play a card battler that is less focussed on resource management and allows for more open but stupidly overpowered combos, give the game a go.

Budget Deckbuilding: WB Life Drain

Back in the day when the first Ravnica block was new and Guildpact was about to be released, I got stuck with the white and black guild, better known as the Orzhov Syndicate. I really am a sucker for religious themes in pop culture, so a church that supposedly helps the people, but in reality is a profit-driven and evil cooperation seemed really appealing to me. It also played with a Tribal that I really liked: Spirits. Unlike pretty much all of the player base, I really liked Kamigawa and will go out of my way in deckbuilding to see if there is any useful card from the block that I can include into my decks.

Back to Orzhov: The marketing material I got my hands on had relatively straightforward themes for the three newly introduced guilds: Izzet was a league of science freaks and geniuses, so they worked with Sorceries and Instants that could spiral out of control due to the Replicate keyword. Gruul was a tribe of shamans and berserkers who strive for a return to nature and would force it in any way they could, hence the aggressive playstyle in form of their keyword Bloodthirst. And then there was Orzhov, which had Haunt as their keyword in the first instance they were released; but the more interesting mechanic that was also the one that got way more screentime was bleeding the opponent out. Having effects that caused tiny amounts of life loss for the opponent that could spiral out of control just as easily if the field had multiples of them.

Jumping more than fifteen years into the present time, my roomie showed interest in selling his old Magic cards, but wanted to keep a deck or two in case someone would still like to play a round for old times’ sake. I made a mono-green deck for him, but a build that he started with back in the day featured a lot of Vampires in an attempt to build a life drain deck similar to what I have seen in the Orzhov articles back in the day. He showed interest in getting that deck running aswell, since he really liked the idea and here I am talking about building that deck at a reasonably low and budget-friendly price.

Since there were already quite a few cards I could make use of I did not need to start at zero in terms of a card pool. “Oppressive Rays“, “Sign in Blood“, “Vampire’s Bite” and various creatures were already available, I just needed to find a few options that are cheap and cheerful and could transform this deck into a well-oiled machine; at least well-oiled enough so one could use it in a casual environment.

So, WB Life Drain. The deck might take its sweet time, but when using both your life points and the opponent’s, getting damaged does not seem that relevant anymore. But to get to a point were we can even start to heal against the opposing advances, we have to assemble our troops. Thankfully, all of our two-drops are helpful in that regard with “Tithe Drinker” being a solid investment for additional mana in later turns, “Cruel Celebrant” making the best out of losing friends prematurely and “Blood Seeker” just throwing the entire healing aspect out of the window, but being that much better at damaging the opponent. You do not want to stack tokens when “Blood Seeker” is around, since chances are rather high that he will straightup kill you while doing so.

The deck does not stop at two mana though. With three mana, you have access to the bane of many existences back during times when I visited my local hobbystore on a regular basis, “Vampire Nighthawk“. For three mana, you get a Flying, Lifelink, First Strike creature that is still 2/3 and can be easily buffed by “Vampire’s Bite“? Yes, please. This Vampire is still amazing after all this time, but got reprinted enough times so you can pick him up for a pittance. Joining the crusade of draining the opponent of all their life juices is “Drana’s Emissary“. While not as impressive as “Vampire Nighthawk“, she can still fly over most creatures for two damage while also steadily draining life points every upkeep. Since we do run options to keep opposing creatures in check, you can afford to take some time.

One of the cards that stuck with me for all those years in terms of usefulness in exactly such a build is “Souls of the Faultless“. Attacking while this creature is around is certainly a bad move, since it will drain for the battle damage inflicted to them. True, you can just throw removal at the card and that is the end of it, but remember that this will still keep other more immediate threats on the board alive to drain you. Should the opponent not have any removal available, they cannot attack with walkers with less than four power since the “Souls of the Faultless” will simply take the hit and drain for up to three life points, and attacking with really huge monsters can be a death sentence when this defender is involved. Overall, a solid card to include.

The deck starts to become really efficient as soon as “Cliffhaven Vampire” gets involved. For four mana, he is one of the pricier options to go into mana-wise, but he is totally worth it since he will cause the opponent to lose one life whenever you gain life. Since we do not run single cards that heal for huge amounts but instead ping for lots of small increments, this effect will trigger an awful lot. Aside from “Cruel Celebrant” triggering it when something dies, “Tithe Drinker” triggering it when you pay extra mana, “Vampire Nighthawk” activating it for every attack and “Drana’s Emissary” giving the opponent additional hurt in every upkeep, there are plenty of other cards than can trigger “Cliffhaven Vampire“, some of which I will talk about in more detail but all of which are included in this list at the end.

The end of the mana curve is at five mana and is made up by two creatures. The two copies of “Malakir Bloodwitch” combine a solid 4/4 Flyer with another life drain effect that might even become pretty good if you managed to accrue enough Vampires on your board; the protection from white is also rather nice and keeps them safe from any “Path to Exile” or other white removals that might be thrown in their direction. The other one is “Blood Baron of Vizkopa“, who also 4/4 andcomes with a protection effect, this one being against white and black, but instead of flying for the opposing life points can heal you with his Lifelink ability, while also transforming into a sizeable 10/10 Flyer that keeps all of the other keywords when you really manage to get ahead.

The rest of the deck really just helps supporting the life drain strategy while sometimes providing other bonuses. “Orzhov Guildmage” can give you an option to waste mana into if you really have nothing better to do with it, “Sign in Blood” is your draw option but can also turn into an offensive option since you can target any player with the effect, and “Pillory of the Sleepless” is a slightly more costly version of “Pacifism” but also drains the opponent. “Oppressive Rays” was already in the previous build and I do like the card as a cheap way to put creatures on ice, while “Ultimate Price” was available in the card pool for no further money cost while being a pretty solid “Terror“-like removal option. Lastly, “Bontu’s Monument” is an absolutely crazy support card and only in the deck at two copies due to being the most expensive card to buy in the deck. Which by the way looks like this:

Creatures (26):

1x Orzhov Guildmage (W/B W/B)
2x Blood Seeker (1B)
4x Cruel Celebrant (WB)
4x Tithe Drinker (WB)
4x Vampire Nighthawk (1BB)
2x Drana’s Emissary (1WB)
2x Souls of the Faultless (WBB)
4x Cliffhaven Vampire (2WB)
2x Malakir Bloodwitch (3BB)
1x Blood Baron of Vizkopa (3WB)

Spells (16):

4x Vampire’s Bite (B)
2x Oppressive Rays (W)
2x Ultimate Price (1B)
2x Sign in Blood (BB)
2x Bontu’s Monument (3)
4x Pillory of the Sleepless (1WB)

Lands (18):

6x Plains
6x Swamp
4x Evolving Wilds
2x Scoured Barrens

The “money” cards, if you want to call them that, are definitely “Bontu’s Monument” and to a certain extent both “Blood Baron of Vizkopa” and “Malakir Bloodwitch“. The rest is absolutely affordable though with almost no other card realistically needing more than 0,10€ to buy. But the deck can be scaled up rather well if you have money to burn: “Bloodchief Ascension” fills the missing one-mana slot nicely and cranks everything the deck does up to eleven once it is live. Then Wizards of the Coast had the brilliant idea of making “Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose” a card, which still baffles me but for about 4€ per copy you can get you own copy to work with. But I honestly already wondered who in the right mind got the idea of letting both “Sanguine Bond” and “Exquisite Blood” exist in one universe, so who am I to ask? Anyway, there are also various other Vampires you can run that can help the out immensely: “Kalastria Highborn” is the more expensive combination of “Cruel Celebrant” and “Tithe Drinker“, “Guul Draz Vampire” provides a one-drop that can actually kind off scale into later stages of the game and “Bloodghast” provides more pressure while constantly returning as an active threat. And there are obviously various other options you can include into the list to turn it into pretty much any version you might like; both Aggro and Control versions of this deck are fairly easy to build and both do solid work. But that is it for this deck. If you like the idea of slowly bleeding the opponent out, feel free to use the list above as a starting point or build an entirely new version on your own. Until next time and stay creative.

Archetype Analysis: Nekroz

Last updated: 16.01.2021

Welcome to part three of me letting my friends decide what archetypes I should review. We already had “Adamancipator” and “Gladiator Beast”, both functional and solid archetypes in their own right. This time I had quite a lot of work to do, but not because the archetype in question has so many cards in their arsenal but because I needed to list all of the interactions and possibilities they have avaiable to themselves. The title says it all: We are talking about “Nekroz”, Konami’s idea of making Rituals great again from 2015. There is quite a lot of explaining to do, so let us get right into it.

The usual disclaimer: None of the information given by me is set in stone. Having an open mind in deck building and including creative ideas is always helpful, if only to further understand the playstyle and strategy of the deck you are about to build. There are probably choices that I list which can be labled as debatable, but no platform I know of gives a broad overview over both the archetypes and all the card choices, so I aimed to do just that. I will try to keep this page (as well as the other ones, once they are made) up-to-date, so if any reader feels like I skipped some amazing tech choice or a crucial card, just drop me a note and I will add the missing information if necessary. Furthermore, I use a number of sources for ideas and information, so a list with links that I deem useful is attached to the end of the page and credit is given whenever I can point to a source to do so.

“Nekroz” is a Ritual archetype that really just works with three groups of cards: Main Deck Effect monsters that provide helpful effects and often trigger searches when used as tribute for card effect (such as Ritual Summons), Ritual monsters which all have one effect that allows them to be discarded from hand for some benefit and one effect on the field, and Ritual Spell cards that allow for the summons of the mentioned Ritual monsters and all have a search effect when in the graveyard. Overall, the “Nekroz” archetype is probably one of the archetypes with the most searches in the game and is well-know in the community for exactly that quality; aside from drifting between meta and rogue status for most of its lifespan and only recently getting all their cards back from the banlist. “Nekroz” can also make use of some other archetypes or generic cards to cover some of their shortcomings, making them are seriously powerful archetype to work with. But before I go into further detail, let us first check out what exactly their cards can do:

Archetype:

File:NekrozCycle-BLHR-EN-ScR-1E.png

Since we are talking about a Ritual-based archetype, I found it helpful to start with the Ritual Spells because there is a lot going on regarding them and various cards will only fully make sense if we are up to scratch with what our green play-enablers can even enable. “Nekroz Cycle” is the first “Nekroz” Ritual Spell to talk about and we immediately see what is different in “Nekroz” in comparasion to many other Ritual Spells in the game. You can use “Nekroz Cycle” to summon any “Nekroz” Ritual monster by tributing monsters with exactly the same level total as the monster you want to summon from the field or your hand and then Ritual summoning one “Nekroz” Ritual monster from either your hand or the graveyard. So, get this: You can pretty much use “Nekroz Cycle” like a “Polymerization” when it comes to card costs since you are uniquely allowed to tribute from your hand while “Nekroz Cycle” can also take the summoned monster from the graveyard. Note here that all of the “Nekroz” Ritual monsters do have a discard effect that gives various helpful effects, so getting “Nekroz” Rituals to summon via “Nekroz Cycle” into the graveyard is almost facile and makes the drawback of only being able to use “Nekroz Cycle” once per turn absolutely laughable. And that is not all: The second effect of “Nekroz Cycle” can be triggered if you control no monsters, in which case you can banish “Nekroz Cycle” and one “Nekroz” monster from your graveyard to search your deck for a “Nekroz” Spell cards and add it to your hand. There are only three “Nekroz” Spells, all of which are Ritual Spells, but this can kickstart your hand again if you find yourself in an awkward spot.

“Nekroz Cycle” is a pretty amazing card if you compare it to other Ritual Spells in the game and is definitely both useable and needed in “Nekroz”. I would say run this card by preference, but the ratios I have seen across some builds seem to run one to two copies.

File:NekrozMirror-DUPO-EN-UR-1E.png

We continue with Ritual Spell number two, “Nekroz Mirror”. Again, this Ritual Spell can be used to summon any “Nekroz” Ritual monsters, but this time you can tribute monster from the hand and the field, and additionally banish “Nekroz” monsters from your graveyard to meet the required level; however, this bonus comes with the drawback of “Nekroz Mirror” only working like a normal Ritual Spell and therefore only taking “Nekroz” Ritual monsters from the hand into account. Also, you still have to match the level of the monster you want to summon exactly and you can only use this effect of “Nekroz Mirror” once per turn. But again, that is not all, since “Nekroz Mirror” also allows you to search your deck for a “Nekroz” Spell card if you control no monster and banish both “Nekroz Mirror” and a “Nekroz” monster from the graveyard. “Nekroz Mirror” is similarly versatile as “Nekroz Cycle“, since it might not be able to revive Ritual monster, but allows you to clear your graveyard for cost instead which can make use of cards that you would not have any other use for in the graveyard anyway while also skipping the card minus you would normally need to go into.

“Nekroz Mirror” is a fine Ritual Spell for its archetype. Again, run this card by preference with one to two copies being the ratio most players seem content with.

File:NekrozKaleidoscope-DUPO-EN-UR-1E.png

The last card of the Ritual Spell trio is “Nekroz Kaleidoscope”. It also can be used to Ritual Summon any number of “Nekroz” Ritual monsters. Wait, let me repeat that so you can see the subtle difference in text: It does not say any, but instead any number of “Nekroz” Ritual monsters. You can tribute exactly one monster from your field or your hand, but you can also send one monster from your Extra Deck to the graveyard and then summon as many “Nekroz” Ritual monsters as you want/can from your hand that together match the level of whatever monster you decided to go with as tribute. If you have ever seen a “Nekroz” deck list with various Synchro monsters that the deck has no reason to run since they cannot summon them, well here is the reason. “Star Eater” with its level of 11 can fetch a number of combinations like a Level 3 (“Nekroz of Clausolas“) and a Level 8 (“Nekroz of Valkyrus“), or a Level 4 (“Nekroz of Unicore“) and a Level 7 (“Nekroz of Gungnir“); and that is only one option, you can run whatever you deem useful in the deck and go hogwild. Also, of course “Nekroz Kaleidoscope” has the ability to search a “Nekros” Spell by banishing itself and a “Nekroz” monster from your graveyard if you control no monsters, giving you the same resource gathering/comeback ability the other two Ritual Spells have.

“Nekroz Kaleidoscope” is another solid Ritual Spell that is better or worse than the other two depending on the given situation. It is still worth running by preference and again seems to be preferred at one to two copies.

File:ArielPriestessoftheNekroz-MP18-EN-R-1E.png

The first non-Ritual Main Deck monster we will take a look at is “Ariel, Priestess of the Nekroz”. She is a Level 4 Water Psychic with 1000/1800 as her stats and comes with two effects: You can, once per turn, reveal any number of “Nekroz” cards from your hand to your opponent to increase or reduce “Ariel’s” level by the amount of cards shown. This is supposed to be a handy way of changing levels to match any “Nekroz” Ritual monster you might have in hand since they need tributes with matching levels, but it comes with the drawback of giving the opponent information that mught cause them to keep some Hand Trap for plays further down the line. “Ariel’s” second effect triggers if she is tributed by a card effect, which obviously happens when you use a Ritual Spell and therefore is relatively easy to trigger, in which case you can search your deck for a non-Ritual “Nekroz” monster and add it to your hand. This effect can also only trigger once per turn. The fact that “Ariel” is part of a Ritual-based archetype and still has a clause that prohibits searching Ritual monsters is kind of baffling to me. I do not know if getting rid of that restriction would have made her unbearably powerful, but the way she works right now means that she will need your Normal Summon slot, for which you have various other and more powerful options in form of generic or other archetypal cards, then tells the opponent what you have in hand and then only probably searches “Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz“, who we will talk about further down the line. Thankfully, you can still tribute from the hand via the Ritual Spells, so “Ariel” can just be run as a “Shurit” searcher, but I am still not convinced that there aren’t better choices to run.

“Ariel, Priestess of the Nekroz” is solid archetype support design-wise, but “Nekroz” does have many more powerful option to use at its disposal. Play her at one if you want a tribute-able way to search “Shurit” from your deck, but I would recommend playing zero copies of “Ariel”.

File:DancePrincessoftheNekroz-MP15-EN-R-1E.png

We continue with “Dance Princess of the Nekroz”, a Level 4 Water Spellcaster monster with 1600/800. Similar to “Ariel“, she comes with effects that are active while on the field and one triggering when she is tributed. The first effect disallows the opponent from activating cards and effects in response to the activation of a “Nekroz” Ritual Spell, which mostly means that your “Nekroz” Ritual Summons cannot be negated. Furthermore, your “Nekroz” Ritual monsters cannot be targeted by opposing card effects while “Dance Princess of the Nekroz” is around. And lastly, when “Dance Princess of the Nekroz” is tributed by a card effect, you can target one of your banished “Nekroz” monsters (except “Dance Princess of the Nekroz”) and add that monster to your hand; this last effect is also only useable once per turn. This is especially useful in combination with “Nekroz Mirror“, since you can use the Ritual Summon via “Mirror” as setup to get a card back into your hand when “Dance Princess” is used as tribute further down the line. Overall, “Dance Princess of the Nekroz” serves as a protection against certain counters the opponent could use specifically against this deck, which makes her more of a Side Deck card than something that you would run in the Main Deck at any point in time.

“Dance Princess of the Nekroz” can be helpful if you are aware of your opponent running specific counters against “Nekroz”. I would say that you should run zero in the Main Deck, but you can opt to run her by preference when it comes to building a Side Deck.

File:ExaEnforceroftheNekroz-THSF-EN-SR-1E.png

Next up is “Exa, Enforcer of the Nekroz”. He is a Level 5 Water Dragon monster with 2000/1000 and comes with the following effects: If “Exa” is tributed by a card effect, you can search your deck for a Dragon-Type “Nekroz” Ritual monster and add it to your hand. Furthermore, if “Exa” is banished in any way, you can target one of your banished “Nekroz” monsters, except “Exa, Enforcer of the Nekroz”, and Special Summon that monster. You can only use one of the effects of “Exa” per turn, which means that you cannot tribute him and then Special Summon a banished monster if “Macro Cosmos” is on the field. If you ask yourself why he specifically mentions Dragon-Type “Nekroz” Ritual monster that is because he is featured in them, one being “Nekroz of Catastor” and the other being “Nekroz of Decisive Armor“, neither of which sees an awful lot of play. It helps that “Nekroz” Ritual Spells allow you to tribute from the hand or otherwise “Exa” would be completely irrelevant, but at this point in time he really cannot compete with other options that are available to “Nekroz” which makes him a rather bad choice to run.

“Exa, Enforcer of the Nekroz” is certainly playable, but takes deck space that could be used for better cards while searching options that probably are not played in most decks either. Run zero.

File:GreatSorcereroftheNekroz-THSF-EN-SR-1E.png

Let us take a look at the next monster on offer which is “Great Sorcerer of the Nekroz”. This one is a Level 4 Water Spellcaster monster with 1500/800 and has the following effects: If “Great Sorcerer of the Nekroz” is tributed by a card effect, you can add one Spellcaster-Type “Nekroz” Ritual monster from your deck to your hand. And there is more: If “Great Sorcerer of the Nekroz” is banished, you can send one “Nekroz” monster from your deck to the graveyard, except a copy of “Great Sorcerer of the Nekroz”. Keep in mind that “Great Sorcerer” has a “once per turn” clause on his entire effect text, meaning that you cannot activate both effects in one turn, just like the effect of “Exa, Enforcer of the Nekroz“. But that is a small price to pay: The search pool for this effect is not bad with targets such as “Nekroz of Unicore“, “Nekroz of Gungnir“, “Nekroz of Valkyrus” and “Nekroz of Sophia” all being searchable by “Great Sorcerer of the Nekroz” and while a “Foolish Burial” for “Nekroz” monsters might not be that impressive, you can still ditch something for the usage of “Nekroz Mirror” or setup the search effects of all the Ritual Spells. Running “Great Sorcerer” therefore really depends on the deck, but with engines such as “Dogmatika” and “Impcantation” seeing play in “Nekroz” even the old man of the archetype has a hard time finding vacant deck spaces.

“Great Sorcerer of the Nekroz” is another searcher when tributed and offers some setup alongside it. I would recommend treating him like “Ariel, Priestess of the Nekroz” in running a copy if you desperately want to, but otherwise leaving him out of the deck and playing some better options.

File:ShuritStrategistoftheNekroz-DUPO-EN-UR-1E.png

After some monsters that were fine at the time of their release but happened to become less relevant of time, we have an all-time favorite in any “Nekroz” deck next: “Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz”. He is a Level 3 Water Warrior monster with 300/1800, but let me tell you that the stats are completely irrelevant this time, since “Shurit” comes with two very powerful effect. First off, if you Ritual Summon exactly one “Nekroz” Ritual monster (meaning you cannot use this to summon more than one monster with “Nekroz Kaleidoscope“) “Shurit” can be used as the entire requirement tribute-wise. You want to summon a Level 10 Ritual monster but you do not have enough monsters available to make the necessary level? Well, “Shurit” is all you need. In addition to that effect, if “Shurit” is tributed by a card effect, you can search your deck for a Warrior-Type “Nekroz” Ritual monster and add it to your hand. If this effect sounds familiar to you, that is because “Exa, Enforcer of the Nekroz” and “Great Sorcerer of the Nekroz” have the same effect that searches Ritual monsters of their type. In case of “Shurit” though, you can use both parts of the effect in one turn, with the only restriction being that the second effect is a “once per turn”-effect, and the monsters he can search for are “Nekroz of Clausolas“, “Nekroz of Brionac“, “Nekroz of Trishula” and “Nekroz of Areadbhair“, all of which are important to the deck’s strategy and are pretty much run at multiple copies in any “Nekroz” deck you can find. There was a reason to why “Shurit” hopped around the banlist on multiple occasions and now that he is unleashed at three copies again there is no good reason not to run him.

“Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz” is of paramount importance to any “Nekroz” deck. You can run up to three and even fit “Reinforcement of the Army” to have a fourth copy of sorts, but most builds I have seen seem content with two copies of “Shurit”.

File:ZefrasaberSwordmasteroftheNekroz-CROS-EN-C-1E.png

And then “Nekroz” got Pendulum support. I mean, they did not really get support since the two “Nekroz” Pendulum monsters also happen to be part of the “Zefra” archetype, but for lore reasons they are still “Nekroz” monsters in name, their Pendulum Scale specifically mention “Nekroz” and they have effects that interact with “Nekroz” cards. So, we start with “Zefrasaber, Swordmaster of the Nekroz”, a Level 4 Water Spellcaster monster with 1500/800 as his stats and a Pendulum Scale of 1. His Pendulum effect is more of a restriction than an actual effect, simply saying that you cannot Pendulum summon monsters, except for “Zefra” and “Nekroz” monsters, while also stating that this effect cannot be negated to keep players from still using the Scale for other cards. As a monster, once per turn “Zefrasaber” can tribute himself from either the hand or the field, then asks for further tributes from either hand or field, and finally does a Ritual Summon of a “Nekroz” Ritual monster without the need of a Ritual Spell, but you have to match the level of the Ritual monster you want to summon with the total levels of “Zefrasaber” and any other tributed monsters. There are some issues with “Zefrasaber”: Not all decks can use Pendulum summoning to gain massive advantages and “Nekroz” is definitely not capable of building something that is better with Pendulums than without. You cannot Pendulum summon any Ritual monsters, so a sizeable amount of the deck is not even capable of entering the field this way and since “Nekroz” does a lot of searching for Ritual monsters and Ritual Spells your hand will often contain multiple cards that are irrelevant to “Zefrasaber”. The second effect is playable but “Nekroz” Ritual Spells are really good and relatively easy to come by in the deck with makes a card that is less searchable and techincally more expensive resource-wise a somewhat odd choice.

“Zefrasaber, Swordmaster of the Nekroz” is something that happened in Yugioh lore. In the actual cardboard game, I feel like he does not provide anything that would be necessary to “Nekroz” as a whole and is therefore a candidate for zero copies.

File:ZefraxaFlameBeastoftheNekroz-CROS-EN-SR-LE.png

Zefrasaber’s” Pendulum counterpart is “Zefraxa, Flame Beast of the Nekroz”. This monster is a Level 5 Fire Dragon with 2000/1000 and has a Pendulum Scale of 7, which means that “Zefraxa” and “Zefrasaber” can Pendulum Summon monster from Level 2 to Level 6 with their scales; which includes any non-Ritual Main Deck monster “Nekroz” has to offer. As a Pendulum “Zefraxa” has the same restriction of only allowing “Nekroz” and “Zefra” cards to be Pendulum summoned, which is exactly the same effect “Zefrasaber” has. However, the monster is different: While “Zefraxa” is in your hand or graveyard, once per turn, if a face-up “Nekroz” or “Zefra” card (except for “Zefraxa, Flame Beast of the Nekroz”) is destroyed by battle or card effect while said card was in either your Monster Zone or your Pendulum Zone, you can Special Summon “Zefraxa”. That is a lot of text to say that “Zefraxa” can enter the field via Special Summon. The problems, however, are still the same: “Nekroz” does not need Pendulum summoning as the archetype has less cards that can summoned via this mechanic while also having access to better cards and engines to summon multiple monsters. The Special Summon effect is cute but ultimatively pointless since it will only net you a Level 5 monster with 2000 ATK during the opposing turn and therefore during the worst time to consider tributing him for the process of Ritual summoning.

“Zefraxa, Flame Beast of the Nekroz” joins his pal “Zefrasaber” in the ranks of obscurity and gets zero deck spaces.

File:NekrozofClausolas-DUPO-EN-UR-1E.png

The first actual Ritual monster we are going to take a look at is “Nekroz of Clausolas”, who takes after “Mist Bird Clasuolas” and is a Level 3 Water Warrior monster with 1200/2300. Since “Nekroz of Clausolas” is a Ritual monster, he first describes how to get him onto the field, which in this case requires any “Nekroz” Ritual Spell, but forces you to summon him via Ritual Summon so any “Monster Reborns” or similar effects are out the window. Aside from that, he has one discard effect and one effect on the field, as does every “Nekroz” Ritual monster: When discarded via his own effect, you can search your deck for a “Nekroz” Spell or Trap card and add it to your hand, effectively trading “Nekroz of Clausolas” against a Ritual Spell card. Weirdly, “Nekroz of Clausolas” mentions being able to search for Trap cards, but there is no legal target for that effect since there is no “Nekroz” Trap card; might be future proofing though. Should you decide to summon “Nekroz of Clausolas”, you can activate his second effect which allows you as a Quick Effect to target one face-up monster on the field that was Special Summoned from the Extra Deck to negate that monster’s effects and set its stats to 0 until the end of the turn. This is the first Ritual monster, but there is already a lot of good things here. Being able to discard “Nekroz of Clausolas” for a search of any “Nekroz” Ritual Spell means that anything that can search for a Ritual monster can now also be upgraded into searching a Ritual Spell instead. “Reinforcement of the Army” can search any Level 4 or lower Warrior-Type monster, which includes “Nekroz of Clausolas” which in turn means having a “Reinforcement of the Army” in your starting hand is equal to a Ritual Spell searcher, unless your opponent negates one of the searches. The same is true for “Preparation of Rites” and is technically only one of many uses for that card in “Nekroz”. Add to that that you are still able to summon “Nekroz of Clausolas” to stop certain Extra Deck summons from doing something or catch an inattentive opponent off-guard by lowering an attacking Extra Deck monster to 0 ATK and therefore running into certain doom and you have a small package of wonder in the Level 3 entry of the “Nekroz” Ritual monsters.

“Nekroz of Clausolas” is part of the backbone of the “Nekroz” archetype and is one of the key cards that allows “Nekroz” to simply search itself out of problematic hands. You should definitely play “Nekroz of Clausolas”, but due to being searchable himself you can get away with running two copies.

File:NekrozofUnicore-DUPO-EN-UR-1E.png

The Level 4 member of the Ritual ranks of “Nekroz” is taken by “Nekroz of Unicore”, who stems from “The Fabled Unicore” as the chosen Synchro monster. He is a Water Spellcaster with 2300 ATK and 1000 DEF and if you think we are going to lose any momentum with him, I have to disappoint you. “Nekroz of Unicore” can be Ritual summoned with any “Nekroz” Ritual Spell and must be Ritual Summoned to enter the field, so standard stuff so far. As his discard effect, you can target one “Nekroz” card in your graveyard, except “Nekroz of Unicore”, and add that target to your hand; also, this effect comes with a “once per turn”-clause. So, some recovery allowing you to get any “Nekroz” back regardless of being Spell or monster, but the really solid effect is number two: Negat the effect of face-up monster on the field that were Special Summoned from the Extra Deck. This is a one-sided “Skill Drain“, since your deck should come out of this completely unharmed due to running Rituals, while the opponent has a good chance of not getting any more work done depending on what deck they are running. I could name countless examples to why this effect is so spowerful, but just keep in mind that “Skill Drain” is at one in the TCG for a good reason while “Nekroz of Unicore” is relatively easy to summon in “Nekroz” and does not even turn your board off like “Skill Drain” would. Granted, there are some more factors at play here, but nonetheless the combination of fetching cards when necessary while providing an anti-Extra Deck “Skill Drain” is exactly the reason why it took “Nekroz of Unicore” so long to come back from the banlist. As a side note, if you decide to summon “Nekroz of Unicore” with “Nekroz Kaleidoscope“, you can ditch “Herald of the Arc Light” as the complete tribute cost directly from the Extra Deck since they are both Level 4 while getting another search for either a Ritual monster or a Ritual Spell due to the “Herald” hitting the graveyard.

“Nekroz of Unicore” is of paramount importance against a variety of decks and should be run at three copies.

File:NekrozofCatastor-THSF-EN-ScR-1E.png

For Level 5, we have “Nekroz of Catastor” the combination of “Exa, Enforcer of the Nekroz” with “Ally of Justice Catastor“. He is a Water Dragon monster with 2200/1200 and can be Ritual summoned using any “Nekroz” Ritual Spell, but cannot be Special Summoned in any other way, also you cannot use another copy of “Nekroz of Catastor” has tribute to summon this card. His first effect allows you to discard him to target a “Nekroz” monster in your graveyard and Special Summon it; this effect can be used once per turn. On the field “Nekroz of Catastor” gives all “Nekroz” monsters you control the ability to automatically destroy any Extra Deck they fight against at the start of the Damage Step. “Nekroz of Catastor” is technically not a bad card, but the circumstances in the archetype he is part of do not make his life any easier. For starters, he cannot revive any “Nekroz” Ritual monsters with his effect, which means that you have to choose a “Nekroz” non-Ritual monster as the target; and as you might remember modern “Nekroz” deck do not really run that many aside from “Shurit“. And while the second effect allows your smaller “Nekroz” monsters to take care of whatever it is your opponent summoned from the Extra Deck, there are more efficient ways to take care of Extra Deck threats in “Nekroz”, for example by using the previously analyzed “Nekroz of Unicore” or simply prohibiting Special Summon altogether via “Archlord Kristya” or “Vanity’s Ruler“.

“Nekroz of Catastor” is outmatched by other options the “Nekroz” do have access to. As such, he is normally skipped when deckbuilding.

File:NekrozofBrionac-DUPO-EN-UR-1E.png

The Level 6 entry uses “Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier” as his apparel: “Nekroz of Brionac” is a Water Warrior monster with 2300/1400, can be Ritual Summoned using any “Nekroz” Ritual Spell, but has to be Ritual Summoned to enter the field and for his summon you cannot use other copies of “Nekroz of Brionac”. With that out of the way, let us take a look at the effects this one has in store: Effect number one allows you to discard “Nekroz of Brionac” to search your deck for a “Nekroz” monster, except for another copy of “Nekroz of Brionac”, and add it to your hand. On the field you can use effect number two which allows you to target up to two face-up monsters on the field that were Special Summoned from the Extra Deck and shuffle them both back into the deck. Again, another Ritual monster that is absolutely amazing: With “Nekroz of Clausolas” the “Nekroz” archetype had a way to search for Ritual Spells by discarding a Ritual monster, now “Nekroz of Brionac” comes with the ability to switch himself against another “Nekroz” monster. Since the effect does not restrict what you can search for you can not only search for other “Nekroz” Ritual monsters, but also can decide to search a non-Ritual monster like “Shurit” to use him for another Ritual Summon. In such a case “Shurit’s” effect will trigger and allow you to search for another Warrior-Type “Nekroz” Ritual monster, which “Nekroz of Brionac” just so happens to be and would technically allow you to end up with some cards played and monsters summoned while still ending up with the card that started that chain in hand again. Also, since you can search any “Nekroz” monster with the effect of “Nekroz of Brionac”, you can also search the aforementioned “Nekroz of Clausolas” and discard him for the Spell search effect, meaning that “Nekroz of Brionac” technically becomes an omni-searcher. And that is only the search effect. The effect on the field mimics “Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier” rather well, but unlike the original you do not need to discard anything in order to use the effect so get rid of a rather substancial amount of the opposing board. All of this makes “Nekroz of Brionac” another “Nekroz” main stay and keep in mind when building your board.

“Nekroz of Brionac” is another Ritual monster that combines pretty amazing effect into itself. As such, I would recommend running three copies.

File:NekrozofGungnir-MP15-EN-ScR-1E.png

Moving on, we have “Nekroz of Gungnir”, who used “Gungnir, Dragon of the Ice Barrier” for her set of armor. She is a Level 7 Water Spellcaster monster with 2500/1700, can be Ritual Summoned using “Nekroz” Ritual Spell, has to be Ritual Summoned but specifically without using Level 7 monster as tribute and cannot be Special Summoned in other way. So, that is fairly restrictive, but thankfully one “Shurit” will still make her easily summonable. Effect-wise, she can be discarded as a Quick Effect to target one “Nekroz” monster you control and that monster cannot be destroyed by battle or card effect for the remainder of the turn. On the field “Nekroz of Gungnir” has a Quick Effect that allows you to discard a “Nekroz” card to target a card on the field to destroy. “Nekroz of Gungnir” is not a bad, but she is rather lacking. Giving a “Nekroz” monster you control destruction protection is nice but not nearly as necessary as you might think and while the second effect sounds like “Zoodiac Drident” all over again “Nekroz of Gungnir” asks for a lot more resources rightaway due to needing both a tribute and a Ritual Spell, is somewhat picky what can be used so no sending Level 7 Extra Deck monsters to the graveyard via “Nekroz Kaleidoscope” and potentially comes at the cost of not being able to summon other “Nekroz” Ritual monsters during that turn.

“Nekroz of Gungnir” can be run as a one-off if you want to, but it is equally as reasonable to simply choose other available options over her.

File:NekrozofValkyrus-DUPO-EN-UR-1E.png

In the Level 8 segment, we are greeted by “Nekroz of Valkyrus” taking “Fabled Valkyrus” as his inspiration. As usual, he can be Ritual Summoned by any “Nekroz” Ritual Spell and must be Ritual Summoned without using Level 8 monsters. “Nekroz of Valkyrus” can be discarded´while also banishing a “Nekroz” card from the graveyard when an opposing monster declares an attack to negate the attack and end the Battle Phase. Also, while “Nekroz of Valkyrus” is on the field, during you Main Phase you can tribute up to two monsters from your hand and/or your field and then draw cards equal to the number of monsters you tributed for this effect. Both effects of “Nekroz of Valkyrus” are once per turn effects. The discard effect is basically “Swift Scarecrow“, which is not a bad thing per se, but I am not sure how often you will keep “Nekros of Valkyrus” in hand to brace yourself against a field nuke plus added OTK-sized damage; but it is nice to have the effect available nonetheless. What is obviously the real meat of the effect text is the card draw effect, which in combination with various non-Ritual “Nekroz” like “Ariel, Priestess of the Nekroz“, “Great Sorcerer of the Nekroz” or “Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz” could lead to serious pluses card economy-wise. But even without the Main Deck options you can use “Nekroz of Valkyrus” as a way to plus with cards that you could not use otherwise, for example if the opponent manages to negate the effects of summoned “Impcantation” monsters, which would otherwise potentially linger on the field without further use.

“Nekroz of Valkyrus” is a solid option to run in any “Nekroz” build and can be run by preference.

File:NekrozofTrishula-DUPO-EN-UR-1E.png

Of course, the one and only favorite “Ice Barrier” boss monster and 101 video meme material “Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier” also makes an appearance in form of “Nekroz of Trishula”, a Level 9 Water Warrior monster with 2700/2000. We start with the usual Ritual Summoning stuff, can be summoned by any “Nekroz” Ritual, must be Ritual Summoned, do not use Level 9 monster for the summon, yada yada. The interesting part, as always, starts with the actual effects and “Nekroz of Trishula” comes with quite a package: You can discard “Nekroz of Trishula” when an effect that targets a “Nekroz” monster you control is activated to negate the activation of that effect. Furthermore, when “Nekroz of Trishula” is Ritual Summon, you can banish one card in the graveyard, one card on the field and one card randomly from the opposing hand. Both effects of “Nekroz of Trishula” are once per turn effects. Again, another monster with a lot going on: The negate is fairly situational but nice to have as it might screw up the opposing plays. The “Trishula” part of the effect is obviously as nice as the effect of the original monster, you just have to be aware of the fact that the opponent can avoid the entire effect if one of the zones the effect tries to banish cards from is empty. Summoning “Nekroz of Trishula” is actually fairly easy since you have “Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz” at your disposal as well as probably running quite a lot of copies of “Nekroz of Clausolas” and “Nekroz of Brionac“, who not only end up giving you the required level but also can both be discarded for search effects and then be used for the summon of “Nekroz of Trishula” from the graveyard via “Nekroz Mirror“.

“Nekroz of Trishula” is yet another fine addition to run, since he comes as a sizeable beater that can screw with the opposing resources quite easily. I would recommend running one to two copies.

File:NekrozofDecisiveArmor-THSF-EN-ScR-1E.png

One of the most badass designs in “Nekroz” in my humble opinion is “Nekroz of Decisive Armor”, which is “Exa” who tore “Ally of Justice Decisive Armor” apart by the looks of it. Summoning-wise, we are in known territory: Summonable via any “Nekroz” Ritual Spell, must be Ritual Summoned without using any Level 10 monsters as tribute for the summon and can not be Special Summoned in any other way. The discard effect of “Nekroz of Decisive Armor” is a Quick Effect that allows you to target a “Nekroz” monster you control and give it a bonus 1000 ATK and DEF until the end of the turn. On the field “Nekroz of Decisive Armor” can target a Set card your opponent control, destroy it and banish it instead of sending it to the graveyard. But however much I might like the card design-wise, I do have to admit that it is not even close to being a good option to run. The stat buff is nice but mostly irrelevant while targeting Set cards rules a sizeable number of cards out from the start that you could handle choosing other options you have available. What even further hurts the usefulness of “Nekroz of Decisive Armor” is the fact that “Nekroz” got a new monster in form of “Nekroz of Areadbhair” who makes the Level 10 slot the only one with two choices. We will talk about the new addition to the archetype in a second, but this means that “Nekroz of Decisive Armor” is not only underwhelming in comparision to the archetype in its entirety, but is even outclassed in its own level segment.

“Nekroz of Decisive Armor” is a rather underwhelming choice in “Nekroz” and is normally skipped in deckbuilding; however, you can run it at one in the Side Deck if you want to have the stat boost option available to you.

NekrozofAreadbhair-SLT1-JP-UR.png

As already mentioned, we have two Level 10 monsters to work with in “Nekroz, with “Nekroz of Areadbhair” taking inspiration from “Dragunity Knight – Areadbhair“. Here we have a Water Warrior with a sizeable 3300/3200, which can be Ritual Summoned using any “Nekroz” Ritual Spell and must be Ritual Summoned without using a Level 10 monster. You can discard “Nekroz of Areadbhair” to tribute up to two monsters from your hand or field in order to send the same amount of “Nekroz” cards from the deck to the graveyard. Furthermore, on the field “Nekroz of Areadbhair” has the effect of being able to tribute one monster from your hand or your field to negate a monster effect and banish the monster that activated it. Overall, “Nekroz of Areadbhair” is an expensive but still useful package. As with “Nekroz of Valkyrus” tributing “Nekroz” monsters might benefit you by getting more searches via cards like “Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz” and sending up to two monsters from your deck to the graveyard does fuel any “Nekroz Mirror” you might want to play, while sending a “Nekroz” Ritual Spell and a “Nekroz” monster will allow you to activate the banish effect to search another “Nekroz” Ritual Spell. The second effect is obviously very useful for your completed board as monster effect negation is all the hype now for being universally strong against many different decks. The negation effect does require tributes though, which in the best case scenario means that you can search off negating monster effect and in the worst case means that you can only activate it by tributing “Nekroz of Areadbhair” himself. That is just nitpicking though, “Nekroz of Areadbhair” is a solid monster to work with and will certainly find his way into “Nekroz” decks as soon as he is released in the TCG.

“Nekroz of Areadbhair” is another tool in the “Nekroz” toolbox and having monster effect negation available is always a strong showing. I would suggest running one to two copies of him.

File:NekrozofSophia-CROS-EN-ScR-1E.png

And finally we reached Level 11 and therefore the pinnacle of what “Nekroz” has to offer (at least level-wise). Here we find “Nekroz of Sophia” who was inspired by “Sophia, Goddess of Rebirth” an incredibly resource-heavy reset button, so let us see if the “Nekroz” version is equally destructive. “Nekroz of Sophia” is a Level Water Spellcaster monster with 3600/3400 and, just like any other “Nekroz” Ritual monster, can use any “Nekroz” Ritual Spell to be Ritual Summoned. However, she must be Ritual Summoned from the hand using three monsters with different Types that you control on the field, so there is no way to cheat yourself out of using the required materials via “Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz“, and she cannot be Special Summoned in any other way. For that, you can discard “Nekroz of Sophia” together with one “Nekroz” Spell card during either player’s Main Phase 1 to disallow the opponent from Special Summoning monsters from the Extra Deck during that phase. Furthermore, if “Nekroz of Sophia” is Ritual Summoned, you can banish all other cards on the field and in the graveyards, but you cannot Normal Summon, Set monsters pr Special Summon other monsters aside from “Nekroz of Sophia” during the turn you activated this effect. So, that is “Nekroz of Sophia”, a huge investment resource-wise with potential pay-off after being summoned. The discard effect really shines during the first turn, since you can stop your opponent from using the Extra Deck in Main Phase 1 and they cannot enter the Battle Phase which disallows them from getting a Main Phase 2 to simply summon the monsters in. However, over the course of the game this effect becomes almost irrelevant, so it really only shines when opened in the starting hand. The summon effect resets the game state equally as well as it does when using the original “Sophia, Goddess of Rebirth“, the only problem is that you will fuel some deck by banishing that many cards and after triggering the effect the game basically becomes a lesson in top-decking, which could turn out rather bad for you if the opponent draws and easy out or a playstarter to work with during their next turn, which makes “Nekroz of Sophia” only reliable as a game-ender. But the biggest problem is summoning her first of all, which is possible with by Normal Summoning “Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands” to search missing card, then going into “Nekroz Kaleidoscope” and summoning any Warrior/Spellcaster combo to have all three necessary Types assembled on the board, but this requires a lot of resources and is oftentimes only a win-more card since you could probably do fine with whatever monsters you Ritual Summoned using “Nekroz Kaleidoscope” in the first place.

“Nekroz of Sophia” does her job of being a boss monster rather well, the only question is whether or not she is really necessary. You can run her, but most people opt to not run her at all due to the aforementioned high cost and the fact of often being a “win-more” card and therefore skip her entirely.

Recommended Engines:

“Dogmatika”:
Using a “Dogmatika” engine can allow you to ditch Extra Deck monsters much more efficiently than “Nekroz Kaleidoscope” could ever do. “Dogmatika Maximus” can Special Summon himself by banishing one Extra Deck monster from your graveyard and can then send two monsters from the Extra Deck to the graveyard while also forcing the opponent to do so. This gives you major setup by sending “Elder Entity N’tss“, “Herald of the Arc Light” or “Toadally Awesome“, all cards that are further described in the “Further useful cards” section but they all provide some sort of card economy advantage. “Dogmatika Ecclesia, the Virtuous” can be easily Special Summoned and acts as the “Dogmatika” searcher when summoned giving further consistency to the deck overall. Talking about searchers, “Nadir Servant” fetches either “Dogmatika Maximus” or “Dogmatika Ecclesia” when the monster you send to the graveyard has more than 1500 ATK and is therefore yet another searcher that can trigger more searches in “Nekroz”. Another search even comes from the Extra Deck in form of “Titaniklad the Ash Dragon” which searches at the end of the turn if it is sent to the graveyard from the Extra Deck. Lastly, “Dogmatika Punishment” can provide removal that also triggers searches or further destruction effects if needed depending on what monster are sent from the Extra Deck to the graveyard.

“Drytron”:
The new and hot archetype to run in competitive Yugioh. “Drytron” uses Ritual Summoning and therefore shares that notion with “Nekroz”. But there is more: “Drytron Nova” allows you to summon the “Drytron” monsters directly from your deck while prohibiting the Special Summon of any more monsters except if they cannot be Normal Summoned/Set. Obviously, this still allows you to summon Ritual monsters to your hearts content and the monsters you can get out of “Drytron Nova” are not exactly bad either: “Drytron Alpha Thuban” and “Drytron Zeta Aldhibah” both are Level 1 Machine monsters that can tribute “Drytron” or Ritual monsters to be summoned from either the hand or the graveyard and search for Ritual monster or Ritual Spells respectively. Together with a fairly useful and recyclable Ritual Spell in “Meteonis Drytron“, a searcher and level manipulation tool in “Drytron Fafnir” and sizeable beaters with additional effects such as “Drytron Meteonis Quadrantids” “Drytron” has some things to offer as an engine in a “Nekroz” deck.

“Impcantation”:
Buckle up, this engine description is going to be wordy. The Ritual support archetype in form of “Impcantation” was an easy fit for “Nekroz” to include and provides yet more searching and Special Summon monsters to work with. The ratios I have seen so far pretty much always included up to two to three copies of “Impcantation Chalislime” which has various uses for the deck: The second effect is normally completely irrelevant, but being able to send a card from your hand to the graveyard sets up any of the “Nekroz” Ritual Spells, which can as mentioned before be banished together with a “Nekroz” monster in order to search another “Nekroz” Ritual Spell. More commonly though is sending “Impcantation Inception” to the graveyard, which first of all is capable of summoning any Ritual monster and therefore allows the inclusion of non-“Nekroz” Ritual monsters that do not require specific Ritual Spells, but more imporantly will can be used from the graveyard to Special Summon “Impcantation” monsters. This brings us back to “Impcantation Chalislime“, which is also summon “Impcantation” monsters from the deck for the very cost I just described. You can therefore reveal “Impcantation Chalislime” in you hand, ditch “Impcantation Inception” from your hand to the graveyard, summon an “Impcantation” monster straight from the deck due to “Chalislime’s” effect, then use the effect of “Impcantation Inception” in the graveyard to discard “Impcantation Chalislime” to Special Summon a second “Impcantation” monster from your deck and returning “Impcantation Inception” back to your hand. Not only do you now have two monsters on the field to work with, you also only lost “Impcantation Chalislime” to the graveyard, which is not that tragic since you can still easily use it as tribute for “Nekroz” Ritual monsters by using “Nekroz Mirror” and the two “Impcantation” monsters both have effects that fetch your more Ritual Spell and/or Ritual monsters, meaning further searches and further pluses in card economy terms.

The effects you will trigger due to the monsters you summoned from the deck obviously depend on what “Impcantation” monsters you went for. “Impcantation Talismandra” searches Ritual monsters from the deck, “Impcantation Candoll” searches Ritual Spells from the deck, “Impcantation Pencilplume” recovers Ritual monsters from the graveyard (so you could even get the “Chalislime” in the graveyard back into your hand), and lastly “Impcantation Bookstone” fetches Ritual Spells from the graveyard for further usage. The ratios are normally two copies of “Talismandra“, two copies of “Candoll“, zero to two copies of “Pencilplume” and zero to two copies of “Bookstone“. This might seem a lot, but since all of the “Impcantation” monsters can also Special Summon themselves from your hand while also bringing a friend from the deck along, they are normally a solid choice to run at a certain density. Also, keep in mind that the Special Summoning them from the hand and then gaining another one from the deck will also trigger the search effect of the second monster you summoned, again giving you a plus for doing virtually nothing while also still keeping your Normal Summon intact. The summoned “Impcantation” monsters can be used in the intended way to summon Ritual monsters, but “Nekroz” decks also often include tribute monster options like “Vanity’s Ruler” or “Zaborg the Mega Monarch“, which I will describe further in the section below, but which are seriously helpful to the strategy as a whole.

Further useful cards:

Main Deck monsters:

Archlord Kristya“:
“Archlord Kristya” is an actual option that you can run in “Nekroz” due to various schenanigans. Both “Senju of the Thousand Hands” and “Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands” are Fairy-Type, “Cyber Angel Benten” is a Fairy and the highly ditchable “Herald of the Arc Light” in your Extra Deck also happens to be a Fairy. Using “Zaborg the Mega Monarch“, you can ditch three copies of “Herald of the Arc Light” rightaway, while searching for “Cyber Angel Benten” and then tributing her from the hand in order to summon “Nekroz of Brionac” will net you exactly the four Fairy monsters you need to Special Summon “Archlord Kristya”. And this is only one option you can use: By cycling through some “Manju’s” and using “Nekroz Kaleidoscope” to ditch “Herald of the Arc Light“, you will still be able to reach the necessary number of Fairy-Types in your graveyard.

Cyber Angel Benten“:
Yep, a “Cyber Angel” monster, and you do not even use her for the effect on the field. “Benten” allows you to search a Light Fairy monster when tributed and since you can tribute cards from the hand in “Nekroz”, you can use any of the “Nekroz” Ritual Spells, tribute “Benten” to summon “Nekroz of Brionac” and then search for a Fairy monster with options being “Archlord Kristya“, “Vanity’s Ruler” or even just “Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands” if necessary.

Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands“:
Since you will often not even need your Normal Summon, why not make the best of it and add another searcher? “Manju” can search both Ritual Spells and Ritual monsters when Normal Summoned, is searchable himself by “Cyber Angel Benten” if wanted and adds to the Fairy count in the graveyard to make summoning “Archlord Kristya” possible. All around a very useful card.

Senju of the Thousand Hands“:
The little brother of “Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands“. They have the same Typing, Attribute, Level and stats but “Senju” can only search for Ritual monster cards while “Manju” can also search for Ritual Spells. There is really no reason to run “Senju” over “Manju“, but if your deck for some reasons needs more copies of “Manju” while you already run three, then this is the monster to go for.

Vanity’s Ruler“:
Stops only your opponent from Special Summoning. There really is not that much more to say, you can summon “Vanity’s Ruler” pretty consistently since you get a sizeable amount of monsters onto the field without touching your Normal Summon and those monsters can be used as tributes for a Tribute Summon; it is as simple as that.

Zaborg the Mega Monarch“:
This “Monarch” can be summoned by using two “Impcantation” monsters as tribute as they can easily summon themselves with actually asking for the Normal Summon. You can then summon “Zaborg the Mega Monarch” and tribute himself for his own effect straightaway to send eight cards from both Extra Decks to the graveyard. Since you used a Light monster for his effect, you can decide what is sent to the graveyards for both your Extra Deck and the opposing one, giving you the option of picking all the playmakers your opponent would like to summon and make them unrevivable since they were not correctly summoned in the first place. For your Extra Deck, you choose to send “Herald of the Arc Light” for Ritual Spell and Ritual monster searches, “Elder Entity N’tss” for spot removal and “Toadally Awesome” to recover some “Nekroz” Ritual monsters from your graveyard. Granted, if the opponent can stop the effect of “Zaborg the Mega Monarch”, you just wasted a lot of resources; however, if it works you plus like crazy while also severely hampering any play the opponent can make during their turn.

Spell cards:

Preparation of Rites“:
THE Ritual Deck searcher. If you have a Ritual Spell in the graveyard, you go +1 by using this card in any deck, but in “Nekroz” you have especially many options to go into: Ditching Ritual Spells beforehand to return to your hand is really easy if you have “Impcantation Chalislime” in hand and can activate its effect to Special Summon an “Impcantation” monster from your deck. But “Preparation of Rites” can also search for “Impcantation Chalislime” if you wish to do so and can make use of it. In “Nekroz” terms, it can search for “Nekroz of Clausolas” and therefore potentially allow you to fetch a Ritual Spell with its effect, “Nekroz of Unicore” as a retrieval option, main card to go into to lock the opponent down and even search enabler with the “Nekroz Kaleidoscope“/”Herald of the Arc Light” combo, “Nekroz of Brionac” to field clearance and potentially a search of Ritual monsters with a higher level than 7, and lastly “Nekroz of Gungnir” if you need the Quick Effect destruction. “Preparation of Rites” therefore can search any Ritual monster and Ritual Spell the “Nekroz” archetype has to offer with the help of the searched Ritual monsters and should be at three copies in any deck even remotely working with “Nekroz”.

Reinforcement of the Army“:
A searcher for both “Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz” and “Nekroz of Clausolas“, which can help you with either Ritual Summoning anything in your hand for the cost of one Level 3 Warrior monster that searches another Warrior-Type “Nekroz” Ritual monster when tributed, or simply a Ritual Spell searcher if “Shurit” is not an option to search. Regardless of which you pick, “Reinforcement of the Army” helps the deck’s consistency.

Super Polymerization“:
Another option that you can run in “Nekroz”, even though this is pretty match-up dependant and therefore more of a Side Deck card. Put a copy of “Starving Venom Fusion Dragon” into your Extra Deck, then use your opponent’s Dark monsters to summon it leaving you with an additional monster that you summoned with your opponent’s resources. If your opponent has only one Dark monster available, you can still opt to go this route since any “Impcantation Talismandra“, “Impcantation Bookstone” or “Impcantation Chalislime” you might run happily fill the second requirement slot for you.

Trap cards:

None currently.

Extra Deck monsters:

Abyss Dweller“:
One of the regulars in any deck that has access to the Rank 4 Xyz toolbox. “Abyss Dweller” straightup kills certain decks on the spot and can be made relatively easy by combinations like Normal Summoning “Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands” and then Ritual Summoning “Nekroz of Unicore“.

Daigusto Emeral“:
This is the late-game option for when you need to refresh your options since you cannot work with them from the graveyard. “Daigusto Emeral” shuffles three monsters back into the deck, which makes those monsters more accessable to you again since they can be easily searched in “Nekroz” and even draws you a card as an added bonus.

Elder Entity N’tss“:
Sending “N’tss” to the graveyard via “Zaborg the Mega Monarch” or “Nekroz Kaleidoscope” gives you a handy destruction as an added bonus, which is why at least one copy of her is a solid choice to include into your Extra Deck.

Herald of the Arc Light“:
“Herald of the Arc Light” is a very versatile tool to run in “Nekroz”. With “Zaborg the Mega Monarch“, you can ditch all three copies straight to the graveyard for three Ritual Spell and/or Ritual monster searches, “Nekroz Kaleidoscope” allows you to summon “Nekroz of Unicore” using this card while netting a search, it is a Fairy monster so it allows you to run “Archlord Kristya” in certain scenarios. If you run the combo version of “Nekroz” with the “Deskbot” engine, you can even summon it for a mini-“Macro Cosmos” on the field with an added negation effect against whatever the opponent tries to get on the field while also triggering the search while doing so.

Mistar Boy“:
Not exactly an option you will go into that often, but “Mistar Boy” can use “Impcantations” are linger on the field and that cannot be used for Ritual Summons, Tribute Summons or for the effect of “Nekroz of Valkyrus” while certainly being able to buff your field in the direction of an OTK.

Nephthys, the Sacred Flame“:
This is an option that you will probably not go into that often, but it does not hurt your Extra Deck to run one copy and if you get it of in the right scenario you pretty win the game then and there. Summoning three Ritual monsters is not as hard for “Nekroz” as you might think, which will make “Nephthys, the Sacred Flame” a pretty untouchable monster with 4800 ATK.

Number 60: Dugares the Timeless“:
Summonable with the “Nekroz of Unicore“/”Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands” combination, “Dugares” has a lot to offer in various situations. The draw effect is pretty nice, getting “Shurit” back on the field from the graveyard can give you another search plus an easy “Nekroz” Ritual monster summon and the ATK-doubling effect might take some opponents by surprise while giving you another option to check high ATK monsters. All of his effects do have drawbacks, but that does normally not cause that many problems since you can oftentimes just win after using whatever is necessary.

Shooting Quasar Dragon“:
“Shooting Quasar Dragon” is not summonable in “Nekroz”, but that does not matter since you can use it for “Nekroz Kaleidoscope” to summon any combination of levels to get to Level 12, so if you want to “Nekroz of Unicore” and “Nekroz of Valkyrus” at the same time, you can.

Shooting Star Dragon“:
Also not summonable in “Nekroz”, but again useful for “Nekroz Kaleidoscope” to summon a Level 10 Ritual monster combo such as “Nekroz of Brionac” and “Nekroz of Unicore“.

Star Eater“:
“Star Eater”, like “Shooting Quasar Dragon” or “Shooting Star Dragon“, cannot be summoned in “Nekroz” since you have no Tuners at your disposal, but you can use it as a Level 11 monster for “Nekroz Kaleidoscope” to summon the “Nekroz of Clausolas“/”Nekroz of Valkyrus” or the “Nekroz of Unicore“/”Nekroz of Gungnir” combo.

Toadally Awesome“:
Yes, that blasted toad even haunts us in this deck; but not to be summoned most of the time. Did you know that “Toadally Awesome” allows you to return a Water monster from your graveyard to the hand when it is sent to the graveyard in any way? I sure did not, but this allows you to send it via “Zaborg the Mega Monarch” to fetch a previously discard “Nekroz” Ritual monster. Sure, the application is niche since you cannot even send it for “Nekroz Kaleidoscope“, but it is nice to know that the option exists.

Playstyle:

While the playstyle of the “Nekroz” core does not change that much in the deck’s variants, the additional card can change the playstyle quite drastically. But let us start with the basics:

The “Nekroz” core consists of various searchers, so the first and most important step is to analyze your starting hand and plan your actions beforehand …at least to a certain extent. Having “Prepatation of Rites” in the hand means you get at least one Level 7 or lower Ritual monster, which can fetch you “Nekroz of Brionac“, “Nekroz of Clausolas” or “Cyber Angel Benten” for more Ritual-based searches, “Nekroz of “Unicore” for graveyard recycling or “Impcantation Chalislime” for Special Summons. You can also obviously search for any Ritual monsters below Level 8 to just summon them aswell. “Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz” makes summoning the Ritual monsters easier while also searching for “Nekroz” Ritual monsters with a Warrior-Typing, which therefore allows you to search more searchers. “Reinforcement of the Army” can search “Shurit” for another way to switch cards against another. Switching cards in your hand for cards in your deck to improve your position in-game is absolutely normal and crucial for “Nekroz” and you will often hear that “Nekroz” can use their deck as an extended sort of hand in terms of resources.

The “Impcantation” variant can use “Chalislime” to fetch monsters, while the monsters themselves can be Special Summoned from the hand, bring friends along and search for Ritual-centered cards. The “Impcantation” monsters, assuming you are not able to use them for some Ritual Summoning, can be used to Tribute Summon “Zaborg the Mega Monarch” or “Vanity’s Ruler“; the prior one is unsearchable but really flashy if you get him off, while the latter option can be searched via “Cyber Angel Benten” and offers a solid option to “Nekroz” when going first. You can also summon those options in the other builds, but “Impcantation” is destined to do so since you often end up with monsters that serve no real purpose on your field.

The idea of “Zaborg the Mega Monarch” is simply taken by the “Dogmatika” archetype, which provides Special Summons to use however you see fit while also sending Extra Deck monsters to the graveyard, triggering effects such as “Herald of the Arc Light” for yet more searching while also often taking resources and options away from the opponent. “Drytron” gives yet another spin to the Ritual Summoning in “Nekroz” and can add backrow removal and solid statlines, but things that a “Nekroz” deck might struggle with.

The key is therefore to stop the opponent from even accessing their Extra Deck and limiting their options to then overwhelm them with the finished board. “Nekroz” is an Aggro deck after all and while there are certainly more aggressive archetypes around and higher stat numbers to reach, they do a solid job of accruing the necessary resources and then stomping the opponent with 4+ monsters. The key to playing this deck is mostly experience since there are so many options to consider when the entire deck is at your disposal.

Weaknesses/Counters:

First and foremost, the absolutely hardest counter against a “Nekroz” deck is search prevention. The entire archetype, strategy and any decks work excessively with the ability to pretty much play their deck as an extended hand and many “Nekroz” players run specific card with that knowledge in mind such as just single copies of “Archlord Kristya” or “Vanity’s Ruler“, since they know how easy those cards are searchable in the deck. Well, all of that changes as soon as you introduce cards like “Thunder King Rai-Oh” or “Mistake” to the playing field, since those will prevent a huge amount of cards the “Nekroz” player will try to use. All of the “Nekroz” Ritual Spells cannot activate their second effect in the graveyard, monsters like “Ariel“, “Great Sorcerer“, “Exa” and “Shurit” are not allowed to search for cards when tributed, “Nekroz of Clausolas“, “Nekroz of “Brionac” cannot search via discard anymore, “Reinforcement of the Army“, “Cyber Angel Benten“, “Preparation of Rites“, “Herald of the Arc Light“, all of those cards and potentially many more “Nekroz” can run lose their ability to search for anything, which is a lethal hit to their overall consistency.

But there are also some other options you have available against the blue army. “Shared Ride” also interacts with the opponent searching cards, but you simply draw a card whenever the opponent searches from the deck or adds cards to their hand from the graveyard. This will allow you to keep up resource-wise and might even let you draw into some Hand Traps in your deck to disrupt plays you would not have been able to answer otherwise. Talking about Hand Traps, those can stop certain plays in “Nekroz” as well as they do in any other deck really, so putting some “Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring” to good use is pretty much a no-brainer.

“Nekroz” Special Summons an awful lot of cards, so you can use some of their options against them. The entire idea of running “Vanity’s Ruler” or “Archlord Kristya” in a “Nekroz” deck is to prevent your opponent from going absolutely insane play-wise and summoning a board that you potentially cannot handle; so, why not stop that from the start by banning Special Summons. Long story short, by playing cards like “Archlord Kristya“, “Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo” or “Jowgen the Spiritualist” yourself, you can prevent them from summoning a lot of monsters as much as they want to do that to you.

Options that banish cards that would otherwise hit the graveyard can be fairly harmful to “Nekroz”. In order of severity there is “Dimensional Fissure“, which will only banish all monsters that hit the graveyard and therefore makes “Nekroz Mirror” unable to banish monsters from the graveyard as tribute, disallows retrieving cards with option like the discard effect of “Nekroz of Unicore” and hinders Special Summoning “Archlord Kristya“. Then we have “Macro Cosmos“, which does all that was mentioned for “Dimensional Fissure” but also banishes your Ritual Spells which makes the usage of the second effect of any “Nekroz” Ritual Spell impossible and automatically destroys much of the usefulness of “Impcantation Inception“. Lastly, “Masked HERO Dark Law” does all the other two cards do with the added bonus of being able to banish a card from the opposing hand when they search, which triggers all the time in “Nekroz”.

Cards that stop Spell cards are obviously very useful against “Nekroz”. Since most of their monster line-up needs to be summoned by using Ritual Spell cards you can stop a lot of plays on the “Nekroz” board by just disallowing them. Options to do so are “Spell Canceller“, “Horus the Black Flame Dragon LV8“, “Naturia Beast” or “Imperial Order“. “Nekroz” also dislikes losing their effects, so making use of the usual “Effect Veiler” or “Skill Drain” play might help against certain monsters the “Nekroz” player puts on the field.

There are also counters against certain cards and stategies in the deck. “Mind Drain” and “Debunk” both prohibit or at least temporarely stop the usage of the discard effects of the “Nekroz” Ritual monsters. The direct opposite to the “Macro Cosmos” idea in form of “Imperial Iron Wall” also helps against “Nekroz Mirror“, but I would label that as a very small niche indeed.

Links:

Videos:

AlphaTradingCardGames’ “Drytron Nekroz Deck Profile” video (December 2020):
This is a take at a “Nekroz” deck using the “Drytron” engine. I would say that they do a solid job of explaining the deck, but since I have not tried the list and are not the best person to rate competitively-minded decks, you should build your own opinion regarding this deck list. Nonetheless, “Drytron” in a “Nekroz” deck seems to be a useable and useful option.

Duel Evolution’s “Deck Dogmatika Nekroz” video (July 2020):
Here we have a “Nekroz” build with a “Dogmatika” engine included. The strategy is listed in the “Recommended Engines” section, but basically “Dogmatika” puts more monsters from the Extra Deck into the graveyard which in turn triggers various of the Extra Deck monsters effect, causing the deck to plus of effects that are already not that bad. “Dogmatika” also further improves the consistency of the deck by adding more searchers, while the “Nekroz” part pretty much does what it does best.

El Exordio del Duelista’s “Nekroz Deck + Analysis” video (June 2020):
This is a “Nekroz” build that uses “Impcantations” and “Zaborg the Mega Monarch” for massive card advantage if everything works out correctly. Since a solid amount of your skill with “Nekroz” comes down to knowing what options you have available, watching games with them can be as helpful as playing them yourself, so feel free to give this video a watch.

Articles:

Lightning’s “Revival of the Nekroz – A Beginner’s Guide” article (July 2020):
An absolute beast of a guide. The YGOPROdeck user Lightning made a huge round-up of all things “Nekroz”, which is a good read with various tips regarding “Nekroz” gameplay, what strategies to aim for when going first or second, various card choices with ratios and a deck list to boot. I used various parts of their analysis in my article including easier applications such as obviously being able to use “Nekroz of Brionac” to search for “Nekroz of Clausolas” which in turn searches for the “Nekroz” Ritual Spells (I do not know why I did not get that idea myself…) or the usage of a Rank 4 Xyz toolbox including “Diagusto Emeral” or “Number 41: Bagooska the Terribly Tired Tapir“. I left a like at their article and can only urge you to give it a read if you are interested in starting with “Nekroz”.

PlacetMihi’s “Archetype Review: Nekroz” article (July 2020):
Another guide that can be helpful to read. Just like Lightning’s guide it starts with the baseline information of what “Nekroz” does and how to use them and goes into match-up specifics and tech options at the end of the article.

Yugipedia “Nekroz” article:
As always, the card pictures that I have used in this article came from Yugipedia. In addition to that, the Yugipedia Discord has a rulings channel which was very helpful for some of the ruling question I had regarding some “Nekroz” cards. Also, the weaknesses section of the article was extremely helpful overall.

Sample Decklist (January 2021):

This is my take at a “Nekroz” deck. I chose to run the bare-bones “Impcantation” build, so I am very much aware that this list will become outdated as fast as milk becomes rancid at room temperature. Still, if you would like to play “Nekroz” on a more non-competitive level and search for a list to start and tinker with, this could be a good point to start at. The list features pretty much all the ratios I named over the course of the article: Three “Preparation of Rites” as really insane search tools, two copies of every Ritual Spell except for “Nekroz Mirror“, three “Nekroz of Brionac” as search tools and field clearing, two copies of “Nekroz of Clausolas” for Ritual Spell search that can easily be fetched by other cards, three “Nekroz of Unicore” for Extra Deck effect negation, recycling and Rank 4 Xyz plays and so on with the inclusion of the “Cyber Angel Benten“/”Vanity’s Ruler” combo as well as a standard “Impcantation” engine.