Phantom Rage is almost here, and it's bringing with it an insane new Rank 12 Xyz that can clear the entire board with a Quick Effect.

Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder is the most absurd Xyz Monster to hit the TCG in years, and I don't think it's too much to say that it'll have a big impact on tournament play. Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder offers seriously impressive stats, an easily-met summoning condition, and flexibility as an aggressive or defensive card. It has huge potential for going-second strategies, but there's a big difference between playing Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder skillfully versus simply tossing it into play and hoping for the best.

Luckily it's not hard to pick the right Xyz Monsters for the job of summoning Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder in the first place.

It All Starts With An Attack

Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder obviously a powerful card: its Quick Effect field wipe has virtually no drawbacks, and you can even replace its materials over time to reload its effect.

Summoning Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder with two Level 12 monsters is technically an option, but that's only possible in a select few strategies. Meanwhile nearly every deck in the game can summon Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder using its ability, placing it on top of an Xyz once an Xyz Monster has already attacked that turn. You can either attack directly or attack a monster to meet the conditions.

It's all very straightforward: you'll usually just declare an attack with an Xyz Monster and summon Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder during the Main Phase 2 if your monster survives. You don't need to destroy a monster, deal damage, or trigger any of the usual conditions that are attached to other similar cards. Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder like a weird Extra Deck Gladiator Beast that can tag in for any of your other Xyz Monsters to either deliver a final blow to your opponent's field, or set up a last-resort defensive board wipe for the next turn.

That board-clearing effect notably isn't once-per-turn, or even once-per-chain. You can activate it as many times as you like in a single chain provided you have enough materials to detach. That lets Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder beat not just Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess, but also entire boards full of negation bodies. If it's Spell Speed 2 then it's probably going to lose to Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder unrestricted activations, which means stacking up Xyz materials might make the difference between breaking a board or coming up short.

Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder can still be solid mass removal even if you summon it with just two or three materials. It's an excellent follow-up to Dark Ruler No More in decks that lack easy removal. Of course, just having an extra bomb to toss on the field from time to time isn't bad either. Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder adds a lot of flexibility to decks that are already summoning Xyz, or those decks that could afford to summon an Xyz instead of a Synchro or Link.

Unfortunately Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder isn't much use to the player going first – at least not on the first turn. Despite being a solid defensive card there really isn't a reliable way to summon it without a Battle Phase. It's an excellently well designed card that's capable of denying your opponent field presence, without being accessible to the player going first, and it's a pretty clear evolution of what Evilswarm Exciton Knight was trying to accomplish back in 2014, which in turn was an evolution beyond 2008's Black Rose Dragon.

Picking The Right Xyz

Scoring an attack and surviving until the Main Phase 2 isn't something you can take for granted against a developed field. Choosing the right Xyz to fill Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder needs is a huge part in playing it correctly, even if it's not entirely necessary for every strategy.

Xyz choice isn't as much of a concern if you're already playing Xyz constantly already–you'll naturally meet the conditions for Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder just by playing your deck as normal. However, you'll want to take a closer look at your Xyz options if you're teching Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder as a serious avenue to clearing your opponent's board.

Xyz that can attack directly or can't be destroyed by battle are excellent triggers for Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder conditions. They effortlessly set the stage for Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder by bypassing the ATK values of your opponent's monsters. Ideally you won't use an effect to enable a direct attack–Number 47: Nightmare Shark is just asking to be negated–so cards like Number 28: Titanic Moth or Slacker Magician are preferable here.

Monsters with anti-destruction replacement effects are also useful to force through an attack. Gachi Gachi Gantetsu one of the oldest Xyz in the game, but it can resist destruction without starting a chain. Wind-Up Zenmaines is another solid option for pushing through destruction-based removal effects.

Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder itself can push through negations by simply triggering its own effect multiple times in the same chain. If you're sure your attack will succeed you can instead choose an Xyz that takes more than two materials, or one that can add extra materials to itself. Number 27: Dreadnought Dreadnoid checks a lot of boxes for us, and it can even summon Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder via its own effect. You can Xyz Summon Number 27: Dreadnought Dreadnoid with more than two Level 4 monsters and it has a built-in replacement ability to resist destruction.

Again, I can't imagine a situation where you'd rather use Number 27: Dreadnought Dreadnoid effect to summon Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder, but you could run another Rank 10 or higher Machine Xyz in your Extra Deck for those times you end up not wanting to make Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder.

Sky Thunder Makes Zoo Insane

Most going-second strategies, or virtually any deck that's playing Xyz Monsters regularly, will wind up considering Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder for their Extra Deck.

Zoodiacs are a full head above the rest when it comes to making the most of Sky Thunder's effects, and I expect to see a lot more Zoodiacs in action when Phantom Rage arrives next month. Zoodiacs have it all: instant access to an array of monsters that are all willing platforms for Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder summon, direct-attacking Xyz, and excellent material stacking. The Zoodiac engine's a finely-tuned machine as-is, but it's about to get even better with a huge 3000 ATK Extra Deck monster that can wipe the field multiple times in a turn.

Even the Main Deck Zoodiacs compliment Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder removal effect. Zoodiac Whiptail lets your attacking Xyz banish a monster that wasn't destroyed by battle, keeping it from hitting the graveyard when Zoodiac Drident or Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder are deployed. It's a great way to deal with those annoying monsters that never seem to stay dead, and the constant threat of Zoodiac Whiptail can turn every Zoodiac Xyz into a threat. Of course, every attacking Zoodiac Xyz is already a threat if it survives the end of the Battle Phase. Any one of them could potentially become Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder in Main Phase 2, and that fact might force your opponent to waste resources blocking your attacks.

There are a few more interesting combinations you can pull off using generic Xyz monsters like Abyss Dweller. You can use Abyss Dweller effect, attack with it, then upgrade it to Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder and send your opponent's cards to the graveyard where their effects can't be activated. Cyber Dragon Infinity isn't necessarily 'generic', but you can summon it in a handful of non-Cyber Dragon decks and its monster-stealing ability is super helpful for building up materials for Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder. Is it always the right move to swap out Cyber Dragon Infinity for Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder? No, not always, but it can definitely come up from time to time.

Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder represents a major advancement for Xyz-heavy decks and going-second strategies. There's an extra consideration for decks that are defending their Turn 1 set-ups, and now any Xyz that declares an attack should always be suspect. Virtually all Xyz have the potential to become field-wiping boss monsters in Main Phase 2, so you'll want to consider how you can handle attacking monsters and how you'll counter an established Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder on your turn. Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder currently sees widespread play as a one-of in OCG decks that play Xyz monsters, and I'm sure that'll be the case here in the TCG too.

I get the impression that Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder will end up being a near-staple of the Extra Deck, or even a Side Deck pick when Extra Deck space is especially tight. There aren't a lot of ways to stop a stacked Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder outside of Counter Traps, Forbidden Droplet, or Super Polymerization, but those are still real cards that could also see a rise in play as players look for more ways to defend their set-ups. I highly recommend picking up a copy–Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder is one of those rare evergreen cards that will always be playable as long as Xyz are worth summoning.

Until next time then