Right now is a difficult time for Yu-Gi-Oh! writers. Dragons of Legend brought us a ton of generic and theme-stamped support that breathes life into a lot of old and new decks alike, but Primal Origin is quickly approaching. There are just so many strategies I want to get out there before metagames shift again, and it's for that reason you might see a few extra deck profiles from me the next couple weeks.

If you like reading my stuff this is good news. If you don't then joke's on you, because I don't care.

Crystalize Me, Captain!
For whatever reason I've grown quite accustomed to trying to rework Crystal Beasts every time new support arrives. Most of this support is indirect, as Konami has long since forgotten about the Crystal Beast theme, lost in the sea of crappy archetypes from the GX series on forward. Will Crystal Beasts ever get more name-stamped support? Maybe. Probably not in my lifetime, though. Regardless, they did happen to get a ton of indirect help from Dragons of Legend.

So what are Crystal Beasts, anyway? I figure it's important to recap the basics before we talk about the new stuff, so let's jump right in. All of the Crystal Beast monsters get crystallized when they're destroyed, transforming them into Continuous Spell Cards instead of being sent to the graveyard. They don't have any effects while crystalized, but you can take advantage of them with some extremely powerful spell cards – they serve as activation thresholds for powerful effects. Seriously, their spell cards are insane: Crystal Promise Special Summons any Crystal Beast that's crystalized; Crystal Beacon Special Summons one straight from your deck; and Ancient City - Rainbow Ruins has five different effects to push the game in your favor.

…So why aren't Crystal Beasts more popular? Well, to be completely honest, all but one of their monsters kind of suck. I say that with as much love as possible, really I do. It's the sort of thing you'd say to your kid that's really bad at a sport: you want them to improve, but you can't help but be horribly disappointed. Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus is the only really good Crystal Beast. It has useful typing, a perfect attribute, decent ATK, and a beautiful effect. If the other six Crystal Beasts were even half as good as Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus than this deck might be really competitive.

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Actually, Crystal Beasts are highly comparable to Volcanics: there's a really good searcher monster, a low-Leveled monster with a good effect, and then everything else is terrible. The key difference is that the Crystal Beast suite has a way better spell lineup and the monsters are still more playable. Relatively speaking.

Outside of Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus, even someone inexperienced with Crystal Beasts may recognize Crystal Beast Ruby Carbuncle. Whenever Carbuncle's Special Summoned you can Special Summon all of your crystalized monsters. Neat. Carbuncle is blessed with an outstanding ability but it's terrible in literally every other way possible. After playing many games with Crystal Beasts I've developed an unbreakable hatred towards Crystal Beast Ruby Carbuncle. It's arguably worse to draw than Tour Bus from the Underworld, Geargiano, every Final Countdown after the first copy, and Genex Controller combined.

Stupid Ruby Carbuncle.

The other two Crystal Beast monsters we'll be playing are Crystal Beast Cobalt Eagle and Crystal Beast Topaz Tiger. Both have irrelevant effects most of the time, but Cobalt Eagle's a Wind Level 4 for Lightning Chidori, while Topaz Tiger is a Beast for the new spell card this build focuses on: Ayers Rock Sunrise. Realistically you're only going to be using these two Crystal Beasts for Xyz fodder, and there really isn't any way around that. Luckily for us, and I've mentioned this already, there are several powerful theme-stamped spells to support your Crystal Beasts. What's really important is the new stuff from Dragons of Legend.

Oodles of Support
Right off the bat, everyone's favorite Rekindling wannabe, Soul Charge, really shines in Crystal Beasts. Naturally any deck that wants to push out mass Xyz Summons is going to love Soul Charge, but it fits really well here for another reason, too: you don't have to revive a bunch of a monsters and take a huge hit to your Life Points to make the most of it, because you can just revive a single Ruby Carbuncle instead. That saves you Life Points but still offers the same outcome of Special Summoning a bunch of monsters.

We're also going to be playing Fire Hand and Ice Hand. You'll probably see a lot of people splash these two amazing cards in many decks in the coming weeks. If you're using a Level 4 strategy and you have four to six free slots in your monster lineup it makes perfect sense. The Hand Duo effectively deals with back row and monsters in a timely fashion, and they're really difficult to overcome. They're also going to open up the use of Pot of Dichotomy. That's great, because with Dichotomy's recycling power you only have to play a single copy of the dreaded Ruby Carbuncle. No more drawing two Rubies and auto-losing for us!

The last piece of Dragons of Legend support is probably the most beneficial. I'm pretty sure that when people read Ayers Rock Sunrise the one deck on everyone's mind was Raccoons. Naturally that'd be the popular choice because it's newer and has a dedicated following. When I read the card, though, I immediately looked towards Crystal Beasts. It's a free Monster Reborn for Sapphire Pegasus and also lowers your opponent's ATK. I'm not a dictionary but I'm 90% sure that that's the definition of 'swell.' If you're playing Ayers Rock Sunrise you're going to have to play Topaz Tiger, a monster I've largely excluded from my Crystal Beast lineups over the past six months. Here's what I came up with:

DECKID=100223I know what you're thinking: where's Crystal Abundance? Isn't it, like, the best card?

To be honest, not really. Abundance is only good when you're already in a winning position, and it's usually underwhelming in any other situation. Sure, there'll be random times every once in a while where the game is optimal for a prime Abundance play, but running it just for those random instance when you'll actually take losses far more often because it's a dead draw? That just seems silly.

Silly business has no place in Crystal Beasts.

Another card that non-Crystal Beast players think is amazing in Crystal Beasts is Diamond Dire Wolf. This is totally plausible because on paper you're getting free +1's. The obvious comparison is Fire Kings, where destroying Fire King Avatar Barong nets you a search. The difference? Destroying Barong with Diamond Dire advances your game position, adding an important card to your hand like Onslaught of the Fire Kings or Circle of the Fire Kings. Destroying a Crystal Beast, however, only really benefits you in that it doesn't count as a minus of card economy in the strictest sense. I guess that's okay, but it's not enough to warrant multiple Diamond Dire Wolfs in the Extra Deck.

Spelling Out Victory
This deck lives and dies by its spells. Crystal Beacon and Crystal Promise are your main combo enablers, but Soul Charge, Pot of Dichotomy, Ancient City - Rainbow Ruins, and Crystal Tree are all great at pushing you towards the win. I'm sure Crystal Beacon seems better than Crystal Promise, but if this article's taught you anything it's that everything you thought you knew about Crystal Beasts was a lie. Beacon's really only good if you don't draw Ruby Carbuncle, and if you have my luck you're going to be drawing your one copy more frequently than you'll see any of your Sapphire Pegasi. Crystal Promise, on the other hand, is good during the early, mid, and late game. It's a heck of a lot easier to re-crystalize a Ruby Carbuncle from the graveyard for Crystal Promise than it is to avoid drawing it for Crystal Beacon.

Long time Doug-enthusiasts might recall that I've never included Crystal Tree in any of my previous versions of the strategy. You might be confused - even a little hurt - that I'd just sneak in a new spell card without telling you why. Never fear! For a long time I used Crystal Release, which for most intents and purposes is a lower risk, lower reward version of Crystal Tree. There are two reasons why I've opted out of Release this time. First of all, Release shined most when Heavy Storm was legal, helping ensure you didn't just lose after it resolved. Secondly, Release works much better in builds that play trap cards because you can set it as a bluff. We're not playing traps, and last time I checked Heavy Storm is Forbidden, so there's no longer a need for Crystal Release.

Crystal Tree's totally welcome, though. An opening of Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus and Crystal Tree results in at least two crystalized monsters but potentially as many as four. Under normal circumstances you'd have to resolve a Sapphire Pegasus, let it be destroyed, and then activate Crystal Beacon on your next turn. Crystal Tree speeds this process up one turn, letting you instantly have two crystalized monsters on Turn 1. Should you have an Ancient City - Rainbow Ruins up on the field you might want to wait and just get as many crystalized monsters as possible, in which case it's totally acceptable to let Sapphire Pegasus die, then tribute Crystal Tree off for two more monsters.

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Speaking of, Ancient City - Rainbow Ruins is one of the best of the old-timey Field Spells. It has five different effects, most of which really advance your strategy. With one crystalized monster it can't be destroyed by card effects. Bump that up to two, and you can halve one chunk of damage you take every turn. Three nets you free negation of spells and traps, four lets you draw a free card, and five is arguably the best, allowing you to Special Summon one of your crystalized beasts. Most of the time you'll be going for Ruby Carbuncle, Special Summoning the other four Crystal Beasts from your backrow.

The last card on the agenda is Ayers Rock Sunrise. This spell's essentially a Monster Reborn for Sapphire Pegasus and Topaz Tiger with the added plus of lowering the ATK of opposing monsters. But that second part isn't the main focus. Ayers Rock Sunrise not only builds up Xyz Material on the field but it also places more crystalized monsters by triggering Pegasus' effect. Opening hands filled with Soul Charge, Ayers Rock Sunrise, and Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus are infinitely better than any previous opening you could have with Crystal Beasts. Making upwards of +3 on your first turn depending on your draws is insane, and it's something Crystal Beasts were never capable of before.

What do you think of Crystal Beasts? How about Ayers Rock Sunrise? Let me know in the Comment section below!

-Doug Zeeff

Article Aftermath #49