We're only a few weeks into the format and we already have to deal with our first game-bending factor: Legacy of the Valiant hits the TCG tomorrow. LVAL's going to be super-relevant in the next couple of months, with support for many decks that are already popular without it; the overall power level of the set's really high. Last week I mentioned some of the themes that would become stronger with the new set while I talked about Light-Imprisoning Mirror and Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror, which you can check out right here if you missed it.
Outside of support for established decks,LVAL offers a ton of new strategies. The World Premiere cards were a little hit and miss, ranging from 'okay' to 'outstanding,' and most of them warrant lengthy discussion. Gravekeeper's Heretic and The First Monarch are both ludicrous, and even the non-World Premiere Gravekeeper support has some nutty points to discuss.
This week though, I want to take the focus off of established theme support. There's one World Premiere card that really caught my attention, having stupid amounts of potential and plenty going for it, but next to no hype: Obedience Schooled.Crash Course
First of all, it's absolutely free. You just straight-up get to +2 and take three cards out of your deck. For literally nothing. In exchange, the three monsters have their effects negated, they get destroyed at the end of the turn, and they have to be Beasts. You also can't Special Summon anything but Beasts for the rest of the turn after you activate it, and you need to control no monsters. That's pretty restrictive. But more importantly than what it prevents you from doing is what Obedience Schooled doesn't prevent. You still have full access to your Normal Summon for the turn, and you can Special Summon as many Beasts as you like from wherever you want.
There's kind of a short list of monsters that you can Special Summon with Obedience Schooled – the list actually matches what you can get with Baby Raccoon Ponpoko and Baby Raccoon Tantan. I talked about those cards some time ago when I covered Number 64: Ronin Raccoon Sandayu, but here's the SparkNotes version of the Beasts worth considering:Baby Raccoon Ponpoko
Keeping in mind that you can still Special Summon Beasts, it's important to note that there are five Tuners on that list. Key Mouse and four of The Fabled can lead to instant Synchro Summons.
There aren't many Beast Synchro Monsters that are worth talking about, but Naturia Beast's at the top of the list for sure. Naturia Beast alone makes Obedience Schooled a 1-card negate-all-spells on legs with 2200 ATK. That by itself is totally absurd. Even if you don't Special Summon any Tuners, Ronin Raccoon Sandayu's a solid Xyz Monster that you can bring out for free. It turns Obedience Schooled into a +1 with a potentially-beefy token and some built-in defense. It can't even be destroyed when you Xyz Summon it, since you'll still have another Beast out. Number 56: Gold Rat's an option, too, but I try not to discuss that card very much.3 Beast 5 Your Opponent
One of the more interesting ramifications of that is the potential for Granmarg the Mega Monarch to do something more interesting than collect dust in the back of your trade binder. An efficient, easy way to put Granmarg onto the field and trigger its secondary effect is basically all that was needed to make it playable. Along with the rest of the recent Monarch support, this could be worth looking into as a step toward the future of Monarchs. If you run Tree Otter, you even have a Water to Tribute for Mobius the Mega Monarch.
Having an extra monster left over from Obedience Schooled at the end of the turn means it's going to get destroyed, so you have to play to a use-it-or-lose-it style when you're building around this card. The obvious choice is to use the extra monster for something like Creature Swap or Enemy Controller, but you can just as easily Tribute all three for a Summon. Obelisk the Tormentor and Slifer the Sky Dragon are monsters I regrettably only get to bring up so often, but this is one of the best times.
Committing so heavily to a single monster is terrifying in an environment where monster removal is in every deck. Between Mirror Force, Dark Hole and Black Rose Dragon, mass destruction's not exactly in short supply, so that's not doing Obelisk any favors either. But only committing two cards to Obelisk's Normal Summon almost seems too easy. You're dumping only one card into getting all the Tributes ready, and you can't possibly lose out to Solemn Warning, Torrential Tribute or other Summon-stops once your opponent's let Obedience Schooled through. If those Beasts make it to the field, that's the end of the story; Obelisk is hitting the table and that's all there is to it.
Slifer has the same issues, requiring heavy resources sans Obedience Schooled, but suffers even worse from it. With Obelisk, you dump your resources into a mostly-bulletproof tank. When it comes to Slifer, you're left with a no-protection monster and probably not many traps to back it up. On Turn 1, setting Slifer up with Obedience Schooled would leave you with an extra four cards in your hand to do whatever you want with. Having all those extra cards means you have a better chance of setting traps that can keep Slifer alive, and Slifer already handles most of the monsters that your opponent's going to Summon. Other than Slifer and Obelisk, you could be that guy and just Tribute three monsters for Beast King Barbaros and watch the field turn to ashes.
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You don't have to use the Beasts you bring out with Obedience Schooled as Summon fodder either; you can effectively turn Obedience Schooled into a double-Reinforcement of the Army and play to the resource game if you feel like it. Behemoth the King of All Animals is an old monster from Flaming Eternity that's never really seen much play. It takes two Tributes, but gives you the option to only Tribute 1 monster instead at the cost of reducing its ATK. After that, you can add Beasts from your graveyard to your hand equal to the number of monsters you Tributed for its Summon. You can +2 from Obedience Schooled, followed by a -2 to Tribute Summon Behemoth and then +2 again by adding two Beasts to your hand. You don't even have to retrieve the cards you Tributed; Behemoth can recycle any Beasts you want.
Sometimes it's unavoidable that one of the Beasts you Special Summoned with Obedience Schooled ends up being destroyed in the end phase, but even that can work in your favor. Beast monsters being destroyed outside of the damage step just happens to be Green Baboon, Defender of the Forest's favorite thing. Or least favorite, depending on perspective. Tribute or Xyz away two of your Beasts, let the third one go, and get a 2700 ATK beater for your trouble. Sounds awfully similar to a strategy with Ronin Raccoon that I was talking about in another article, but way more fast-paced and generally better. For your one Obedience Schooled, you come away with a free Xyz that can't be destroyed, a free Green Baboon and a token.
Playing the control game with Obedience Schooled already seems pretty plausible since you can use virtually no resources to bring out Naturia Beast, but you can go further with that idea. If you Normal Summon The Earth - Hex-Sealed Fusion, you can make that Naturia Beast into Naturia Exterio and shut down all of your opponent's spells and traps indefinitely. Short of Solemn Warning, there's nothing that can interrupt Exterio's Special Summon; nothing that can respond to its Summon being successful; and nothing that can stop it from pushing in some solid damage during the battle phase.
Like the Slifer play, using the other four cards in your hand to keep Exterio alive can be a quick way to shut out a game. As soon as it looks like Exterio's in trouble, flip Safe Zone and watch the tears start. Mystical Space Typhoon won't be a problem, and that's about the extent of your worries at that point.Get Schooled
Everything about Obedience Schooled goes against my column's general theme of totally generic cards that everyone can use, but it's just so flexible and fun that there's no way to pass up this discussion. Shifting your thinking process to deck building and trying to think your way through a new hypothetical strategy is a great exercise that grows your skills as a duelist, and if you end up building, testing with and playing that strategy because you loved it, you're certainly no worse off. Expect to see Obedience Schooled around on some small scale, if it's not in your own hands.
Hopefully it's in your own hands, though.