One of the biggest swerves in last weekend's Regional Top 8 finishes were the number of Top Cut Ritual Beast decks. Ritual Beast Tamer Zeframpilica helps extend the reach of your combos by giving you another Ritual Beast Tamer to use for Special Summons. But as powerful as that is, the real spotlight's on the theme's new boss monster: Ritual Beast Ulti-Gaiapelio.

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Clocking in at a whopping 3200 ATK, Ritual Beast Ulti-Gaiapelio lets you banish Ritual Beast cards from your hand to negate the activation of a spell, trap, or monster effect and then destroy the source card. It's like a Gladiator Beast Heraklinos on steroids; Herk could only destroy negate spells and traps while Ulti-Gaiapelio shuts down monsters too. Since it's so easy to build card advantage with key combos in the Ritual Beast arsenal, it's shockingly easy to lock your opponent out of the game. And since Ritual Beast Ulti-Gaiapelio is so strong and works with Ritual Beast's Bond for fast damage, it doesn't take long to end the Duel.

And yet that power comes with some subtle advantages too. Since Ritual Beast Ulti-Gaiapelio's a Psychic monster, you can banish it with Ritual Beast Rampengu to send a Ritual Beast Tamer to your graveyard and set up combos. Since the previous Ritual Beast Fusions were Pyros, Thunders, and Aqua monsters, this is the first time Rampengu's had that ability. It makes you less reliant on Spiritual Beast Cannahawk to set up big plays.

It's a Ritual Beast renaissance, and Ritual Beast Ulti-Gaiapelio leads the charge!

-Jason Grabher-Meyer