As someone who followed Subterrors religiously since their initialannouncement, I know a thing or two about being disappointed by WorldExclusive themes.

In hindsight it might seem silly to get so invested in such a lacklusterstrategy, but all the pieces were there: the past two years brought BurningAbyss and Kozmos to the forefront of competition, two higher raritypowerhouses that towered over their corresponding World Exclusive themes,U.A. and Kaiju.

Subterrors were way higher rarity than SPYRALs, and all four of theoriginal cards were, in their own right, pretty good. I stuck by thestrategy through two really, really bad waves of support, and it wasn'tuntil the release of Subterror Fiendess and Subterror Final Battle did Isee a glimmer of what I first saw in the strategy, but by then it was toolate.

Obviously SPYRALs were the better archetype overall, as evident by theirrecent hits on the F&L List, but it's hard to predict a great LinkSummoning strategy before Link Summoning has been invented.

So… Vendreads
To say I was skeptical about this year's wave of World Exclusives would bean understatement. I was burned before by a deck that showed a lot ofpromise. But Vendreads seemed to fit the bill for the next big exclusivetheme.As I talked about in my first review of them, they had strong design for future releases as well as a ton of Zombiesupport to smooth out the edges until they received more cards.

The greatest source of my faith in Vendreads was Revendread Origin, theirfirst Ritual Spell. It was incredibly well-designed, with all the benefitsof generic Ritual Spells that could summon multiple monstersand still searchable by Pre-Preparation of Rites.It did this by cleverly mentioning Revendread Slayer by name in its text,relating to a graveyard protection effect. Since Pre-Preparation of Ritesdoesn't care about where it mentions a RitualMonster by name, adding it to your hand was fair game.

Even though Revendread Slayer wasn't anything to write home about, Istarted to see what the theme could become: four unique Ritual Monsters andRitual Spells that could all be searched by Pre-Preparation of Rites, butalso used for any of the Ritual Monsters. As long as the new RitualMonsters did something more than Revendread Slayer's non-impactful 300 ATKgain effect, I figured the deck would be playable, at the very least. Thatwas because Vendread Houndhorde and Vendread Revenants both gave slickbonuses to the monsters that they were used as on-field Ritual Summontributes for.

#####CARDID= 22634 #####

The deck I built around the first set of cardswas essentially just a Shiranui Zombie deck that could abuse RevendreadOrigin to summon a 2400 ATK beater. That might not sound that great, butRevendread Origin as a 1-for-1 into a 2400 ATK Ritual Monster is actuallypretty impressive. It's basically a Nekroz Cycle and Nekroz Mirror in onecard, it just needed better things to summon than Revendread Slayer.

Circuit Break Disappointment
As Yu-Gi-Oh! cards sometimes do, the Circuit Break Vendreads wereleaked earlier than I thought. The first card I got to read was VendreadNights, and boy was I excited.

Vendread Nights was a once per turn search for any Vendread monster at thecost of a discard. The discard cost was borderline irrelevant because youcan pitch stuff like Mezuki, which made Vendread Nights very appealing. Italso packed a Double Attack effect that while not super important was stilla welcome add-on to an already decent card. Things were looking up already,and I couldn't wait to read the next Ritual Spell in the Vendread arsenal.

Except... there wasn't a new Ritual Spell. That's where things went wrong,and they only continued to get worse as I read the Ritual Monster, VendreadChimera. If we're thinking back to my first reactions, one of the reasonsthat I was excited for Vendreads was the likelihood that they'd get oneRitual Monster and one Ritual Spell every set, which would have made them adiverse Ritual Summoning deck. The problem with getting Vendread Chimerawithout a Ritual Spell means that there's a good chance it won't get aunique Ritual Spell in the future, and that the next set will just have anew Ritual Monster and complimentary spell for it. Or, even worse, next setcould just have a Ritual Spell for Chimera and not a new monster, which isan issue because Vendread Chimera just isn't that good.

I do have to give Vendread Chimera some credit. In a vacuum, it's superiorto Revendread Chimera in almost every way. Instead of a useless ATK boost,Chimera has a negation effect that lets you trade 'yarded Zombie monstersfor your opponent's destruction effects. That's a counter to cards likeRaigeki and Dark Hole, and perhaps would have had more relevancy againstZoodiac Drident. It also has another effect when you use it for a RitualSummon that reduces all your opponent's monsters by 500 ATK/DEF. Like thesecond effect of Vendread Nights, it's not going to win you any games, butit's not a drawback, either.

The problem is that once again, Chimera doesn't have its own Ritual Spell.There are ways to search it, sure: Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands,Vendread Nights, or Revendread Slayer's destruction search effect. ButPre-Preparation of Rites is not on that list, and that holds the deck backquite a lot.

What ends up happening is that post-Circuit Break Vendread lists are allbut forced to run two or three copies of Vendread Slayer and only oneChimera, just because you can't grab it with Pre-Preparation of Rites.That's a real shame, because Chimera's clearly the stronger monster once ithits the field.

#####CARDID= 19813 #####

Vendread Striges has an arguably better revival effect than VendreadHoundhorde. Whenever it's sent to the graveyard all you have to do isreveal a Vendread card in your hand to bring it back. It's banished when itleaves the field much like Houndhorde, too. The bonus effect that it givesthe Ritual Monster that you summon using it is underwhelming. If themonster battles, you can draw a card and then discard a card. I don't see areason they couldn't just keep it at "draw 1 card," and instead make sureit was a simple 1-for-1. Both Houndhorde and Revanants' bonus effects are+1's, and I would have liked to see Striges continue the pattern.

Everything is "brought together" by Vendread Reunion. It has a lot of text,but it's basically an Urgent Ritual Art using banished monsters asmaterial. The key part here is that you're bringing back the banishedmonsters to the field before the Ritual Summon, so you'll gain the bonuseffects of them. I think the line that Konami wants you to take is as such:Ritual Summon a Vendread using monsters on the field, gaining the bonuseffect. Using Revendread Origin, banish those monsters from the graveyard.Then finally use Vendread Reunion to bring back the banished monsters andsummon Slayer or Chimera, gaining two bonus effects in the process.

That's way too slow for modern competition with the current Vendread cards,but I'll cautiously say that Vendread Reunion does have some potential forthe future. Summoning a 2400 ATK beater that can banish an opponent'smonster for free on their turn seems like a pretty sweet deal to me. Still,Vendreads are giving me the same vibes that I retrospectively should havehad about Subterrors, and it'll be difficult pretending that they'll getbetter support with each release.

We're halfway through the Vendread run at this point, and the only reasonthey're better off than Subterrors or SPYRALs were one year ago is becausethe generic Zombie support is so good. I don't know what Vendreads will getin the future, but I hope Konami cares enough to fix this strategy.

-Doug Zeeff

Doug Zeeff hails from Michigan and is currently an English major incollege. When he's not found emailing Konami about why there's not asingle walrus card in all of Yu-Gi-Oh! you can find him regularlyposting unorthodox, unfiltered Yu-Gi-Oh! content on his Youtubechannel, Dzeeff. In his spare time he enjoys eating cheese, Overwatch,and, of course, playing Yu-Gi-Oh.
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