You can't ask for a more nostalgic theme than Dark Magicians, but as we've learned over the years it takes more than nostalgia to win duels.
That hasn't stopped Konami from trying to change the competitive outlook ofDark Magicians, Blue-Eyes, or Red-Eyes by giving them a modern makeover.It's been a while since the last batch of Dark Magician support inThe Dark Illusion, so the new additions to the theme inLegendary Duelists: Magical Hero are a welcome sight.
Luckily the cards in this set happen to be fantastic for dedicated DarkMagician decks, and a few of them are shockingly playable in other themes with Spellcasters!
Magicians' Souls is an incredible piece of support for a theme that desperately needs the help. Dark Magicians have always fallen just shy of being a serious competitive theme, and a solid early game starter has been a crucial missing piece of the puzzle.
Magicians' Souls solves a handful of problems for the Dark Magician deck without compromising the strategy's consistency. Instead, Magicians' Soulsenhances the deck's capabilities by effortlessly Summoning a Dark Magician to the field on the first turn of the duel. That's not all: Magicians'Souls has two more effects that can put in serious work depending on the state of the duel and the deck that's being played.
The draw effect of Magicians' Souls converts spells and traps in your hand or on the field into fresh draws. Think of it like a Magic Planter on legs, but with significantly more utility. Discarding spells and traps isn't terribly effective in Dark Magicians - you'd much rather send uselessContinuous Spells or Traps.
That said, Witchcrafters can heavily abuse Souls' discard by parting withuseless Witchcrafter spells. Those spells can be added right back to your hand during the End Phase anyways, so why not trade them out for cards that are useful immediately? In SPYRALs you can send SPYRAL MISSION - Rescue tothe graveyard with Souls' effect, then banish Rescue to Special Summon aSPYRAL from the graveyard.
Magicians' Souls has a built-in Special Summon effect that accomplishes two things: it loads the graveyard with a high-Level Spellcaster monster, and then either Special Summons a Dark Magician or Dark Magician Girl from the graveyard, or Special Summons itself. Souls always resolves at a break even in terms of card advantage regardless of which Special Summon option you select.
Dark Magician players are obviously most interested in Summoning a themed monster immediately by discarding Souls, but other strategies can simplySummon Souls to use towards a Link Summon. SPYRAL players can send SPYRALMaster Plan to the graveyard, Summon Souls, and then activate Where ArfThou? to search SPYRAL Quik-Fix or SPYRAL GEAR - Drone. It's effectively aFoolish Burial for high-Level Spellcasters with virtually no drawbacks, and you can use its draw effect on the same turn. It's no surprise thatMagicians' Souls is already the most valuable card inLegendary Duelists: Magical Hero.
Need a way to search Magicians' Souls? Try Soul Servant: the newkinda-sorta search effect for Dark Magician builds. Soul Servant won't adda card directly to your hand, and instead stacks a card with "DarkMagician" or "Dark Magician Girl" in its text on top of your deck. Sending otherwise-searchable spells and traps to the top of the deck isn't especially useful since Magician's Rod can already grab the theme's support cards, so the novelty of Soul Servant is its ability to stack monsters.That's something the theme's been looking for since its inception inThe Dark Illusion, but again, Soul Servant doesn't actually add the card to your hand. It's the first piece of a larger puzzle that DarkMagician players will have to figure out when these new cards hit the TCG.
The most obvious way to use Soul Servant's stack effect is to simply activate Servant's second effect after it hits the graveyard. The draw effect replaces Soul Servant and delivers the card you just loaded on the top of the deck, but you'll need to have enough themed monsters on the field or in the graveyard to make it worthwhile. That's not a hard condition to meet thanks to Magicians' Souls, but it does mean that SoulServant probably won't be unbricking your worst hands. It's at its best when you're already capable of filling up your field and graveyard. Beyond that, Soul Servant's utility towards searching Magicians' Souls orApprentice Illusion Magician is often wasted because you typically need one of those monsters to net the draw effect of Soul Servant anyways.
That said, you can draw the card you targeted with Soul Servant usingUpstart Goblin, Allure of Darkness, Pot of Extravagance, Spellbook ofKnowledge or Dark Magical Circle. Doing so lets you save Soul Servant's draw effect for a little later in the turn, or next turn if you're playingPot of Extravagance, so while you're taking a hit in card economy up front you'll ultimately recover the lost card by your next turn. Additionally,Soul Servant can net you a handful of draws at once if you build around it, but I suspect most players won't load up on Palladium monsters just to resolve Soul Servant for two, three, or four draws consistently.
The Dark Magicians is a new Fusion Monster that responds to spell and trap activations and effects, but doesn't negate or interrupt them in any way.It's a strange addition in an era where virtually every boss monster has some kind of negation effect, although The Dark Magicians is so easy toSummon that a true negation effect might have been a bit too strong.
Your Fusion Spell of choice is The Eye of Timaeus, which lets Dark Magician fulfill the entire material requirement for any Fusion Monster that requires it. Just Summon Dark Magician or Magician of Dark Illusion and immediately upgrade it to The Dark Magicians, or eventuallyDragun of Red-Eyes. There's a problem, though: you can't search Eye of Timaeus with any of the Dark Magician themed search effects.
Legendary Duelists: Magical Herointroduces a solution to the unsearchable Eye of Timae us problem. The deck's new Fusion Spell, Secrets of Dark Magic, is a Quick-Play that can use monsters from the hand and field to conduct Fusion Summons. As a bonus, it also acts as a Ritual Spell and enables easy access to Magician of Chaosshould you choose to play a copy.
Secrets is easily played as a 1-of in the deck thanks to the theme's many search effects, but it does come with serious costs of consistency. Whetherp layers actually leverage Secrets of Dark Magic in the near future is debatable. The Dark Magicians and Magician of Chaos are solid cards, but they're not exactly bulletproof or game-enders on their own. It's worth noting that Magician of Chaos picks up the Dark Magician name in the graveyard, so you can Special Summon it with Eternal Soul after it's been successfully Ritual Summoned.
The last new card for Dark Magicians inLegendary Duelists: Magical Hero is the Continuous Trap Magicians'Combination. Its negation effect covers all card type activations, but it'll take a little set-up before you can activate its effect.
Essentially, Magicians' Combination requires a copy of Dark Magician andDark Magician Girl between your field and either your hand or graveyard– you'll need to be able to trade the one on the field out for its partner in either of the other areas. Each time you activate Combination you'll tribute your one-field Magician to Summon the other one from the hand or graveyard. It's a little tricky to set up, but like most of the new cards in this set it benefits massively from Magicians' Souls' FoolishBurial-like effect.
There are two really cool illusions you can pull off with Magicians'Combination: first, you can send the trap from the field to the graveyard with Magicians' Souls to draw cards anddestroy a card on the field. Second, Magicians' Combination has a once per turn clause attached to its first effect, so if you have two or three copies you can activate each one once during the turn. Two negations is probably unrealistic enough, but there's some justification to playing multiple copies despite how difficult Combination is to set up in the first place.
New cards aside, Legendary Duelists: Magical Herobrings with it three excellent reprints that make the pre-LED6 version of Dark Magicians incredibly budget friendly. Apprentice Illusion Magician, Dark MagicalCircle, and Magician Navigation saw reprints inLegendary Dragon Decks, but the steep buy-in for the sealed product ended up inflating the price of the set's singles.
LED6 versions of all three cards are already available for pre-order at a fraction of the cost, with Apprentice Illusion Magician sitting at around$3 at the time of writing. It's arguably the most flexible of the three cards and will almost certainly continue to see action in SPYRAL builds going forward. It's an astonishingly strong extender even outside of DarkMagicians.
The inexpensive line-up of Dark Magician cards is offset by the massive pre-order price attached to Magicians' Soul. I wouldn't be surprised to see it peak over $100 soon, which would make it one of the most expensive new releases in the last few years. Only Prismatic Rares from recent sets managed to top it in 2019. There's a ton of value inLegendary Duelists: Magical Hero, so picking up a box could be very worth your while if you're interested in both Dark Magicians and the new Elemental HERO support in the set.
Until next time then
Kelly Locke is a West Michigangamer and writer. You can follow him on Twitter for more updates and check out his Youtube channel. He also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.