If you've been playing Yu-Gi-Oh! long enough you might remember a time whenNordics were scouted as a low-key answer to a format dominated by SixSamurais.

Storm of Ragnarok prominently featured Odin, Father of the Aesir, but Nordics were almostentirely overlooked in favor of the game's new top contender: Legendary SixSamurai. With three copies of Gateway of the Six the deck totally overrantournaments at every level of competition, and it took a Forbidden &Limited List to bring the deck into line with other strategies of the time.

Nordics had no meaningful win to point to in early 2011 and as a result thetheme was painted as a causal strategy. Even Dragunity had short-livedsuccess about a month after Storm of Ragnarok at YCS Charlotte,and at the time Blackwings, Gravekeepers, and X-Sabers were still findingtheir way into YCS Top 32s consistently.

Nordics lacked any real cohesion outside of a somewhat-competitive comboinvolving Super-Nimble Mega Hamster, Tanngnjostr of the Nordic Beasts, andGuldfaxe of the Nordic Beasts. Hamster would Summon Tanngnjostr face-down,and by flipping it you could Summon Guldfaxe for a quick Level 7 or 8Synchro Summon. At the time our own Jason Meyer was presenting this comboas a means to pump out Black Rose Dragon and Ancient Sacred Wyvern, andJeff Jones took the strategy to YCS Charlotte 2011.

All of this history culminates in the new Nordic support in this week'sLegendary Hero Decks release, but before we leave memory lanethere's one more stop we need to make:Dave Trépanier's Top 32 Nordics from YCS Toronto 2011. Trépanier's build was totally different from Jones' Aesir-focusedstrategy, but Trépanier had the advantage of pulling cards fromExtreme Victory and Generation Force.

With Tanngnjostr still a focus, he supported his Synchro Summoning effortswith new monsters like Reborn Tengu and Tour Guide From the Underworld.Thor, Lord of the Aesir was the only Nordic Synchro in his Extra Deck for areason: this deck was essentially Plant Synchro with Plants traded forNordic Beats.

There's some degree of competitive spirit lying in wait within theNordic/Aesir theme. Is the new Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant the key toawakening the Synchro Summoning power of Nordics?

'One Card' Aesir Summoning
Legendary Hero Decks includes a pre-built Nordic/Aesir deck complete with the new Link MonsterGullveig of the Nordic Ascendant. While the theme never really needed a newLink Monster, Gullveig does much more than opening the option ofcontrolling multiple Aesir.

Its first effect Special Summons up to three Nordic monsters from the deckfor every card you banish on your field or in your hand. You can Summon amaximum of three monsters with that effect, which is conveniently theperfect number of Synchro Materials for an Aesir. You'll want to plan outyour Summons with an Aesir in mind anyways: Gullveig's effect stop you fromSpecial Summoning anything other than an Aesir for the remainder of theturn and it turns off your Normal Summon. If you've already NormalSummoned that turn it's not much of a restriction, but being railroadedinto an Aesir play does hurt Gullveig's viability.

There are three Aesir Synchros to choose from: Odin, Father of the Aesir,Thor, Lord of the Aesir, and Loki, Lord of the Aesir. Each one requires aspecific sub-theme Tuner which further complicates deck building, butluckily Gullveig can meet each monster's Summoning requirements bybanishing three cards. It's a 'one-card' Aesir Synchro Summon that beginswith almost any Nordic Monster and costs three cards of any kind. Gullveighas turned three complicated Synchro Summons into a one-stop shop, and solong as you have a single Nordic at your disposal and enough cards tobanish you're set to Summon an Aesir.

So let's talk about the monster line-up. At a minimum Gullveig needs fourNordic monsters in the deck to function at any level, but for the sake ofconsistency we'll want to support it with enough Nordics to consistentlynet its effect even when we draw into several Nordic cards.

I like to think of Gullveig in the same vein as Rescue Rabbit, so stockingup the deck with compatible cards for its ability is important if you wantto keep it live after the first resolution (or in those cases where yourcompanion cards somehow end up in your hand). Alternatively you could playit as a one-shot Summon and trim the Nordic line-up even more. Either wayyou'll want to tailor your line-up for the best possible selection ofNordic monsters.

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Vanadis of the Nordic Ascendant's the Tuner monster of choice here becauseit can substitute for any Nordic Tuner requirement. It's essentially aNordic Beast, an Ascendant, and an Alfar all in one, and that means you canuse it to Synchro Summon all three Aesir monsters. Vanadis is a must-playif you're looking for flexibility, and the option to choose between Odinand Thor is a nice bonus. It's not mandatory by any means, and if you'reonly looking to Synchro Summon Thor you could stick to Guldfaxe and dropVanadis entirely.

Your non-Tuner selection can go one of two routes: you can play NordicAscendants and Alfars to make a Level 4 + 4 + 2 Synchro Summon, or run theNordic Beast engine for a 4 + 3 + 3 combination. I'm partial to the NordicBeast engine for various reasons, chief among them the fact that bothTanngnjostr of the Nordic Beasts and Tanngrisnir of the Nordic Beasts workwith Rescue Cat. The +1 in card advantage from Rescue Cat's effect is superrelevant to Gullveig's own effect; if you're Summoning an extra monsterwith Rescue Cat you'll only need to Summon two more with Gullveig.

Almost An Arm And A Leg
While Rescue Cat reduces the cost of Gullveig you're still going to losecards Summoning an Aesir. Taking a loss in card economy's acceptable if thepayoff is worthwhile, but the Aesir Synchros act more like Blockers andbait for removal effects than game-winning boss monsters. Pure "GullveigTurbo" probably won't be winning events anytime soon, but mixing a Nordicengine with cards that can benefit from Gullveig's steep activation costcould add a new element to existing strategies.

There's a short list of themes that want to see their cardsbanished, and they basically amount to Shiranui, Metaphys, and the upcomingThunder Dragons in Soul Fusion. Shiranui aren't the best choice topair with Gullveig's Special Summon lockout, so both the Shiranui andNordic engines would clash more often than not. The potential's probablythere, but it's going to be harder to make that work than other hybrids.Metaphys are much more promising, and even Thunder Dragons look likethey'll offer a more viable option once they're released.

A Metaphys variant has a number of unique advantages over pure GullveigTurbo and it may even improve on other Metaphys builds. Banishing cards inthe hand merely advances your strategy playing Metaphys, and unbricks handsalong the way. You can trigger three Metaphys effects with just a singleNordic monster. Asymmetaphys is played specifically to help unload 'stuck'high-Level monsters and to quickly trigger Metaphys Ascension, and Gullveigplays a supporting role as yet another outlet to banish key cards.Asymmetaphys can actually trigger the effect of Tanngnjostr on youropponent's turn, and Rescue Cat can lead into Leviair the Sea Dragon toSpecial Summon a banished Metaphys Ragnarok Dragon.

Called by the Grave is practically mandatory in any deck running Gullveig,yet a Semi-Limited counter isn't enough to compensate for Gullveig's insanerisk. Metaphys can swing more hand trap hate with Dimensional Fissure andMacro Cosmos, and for now it's the only deck where I feel safe enough toactivate Gullveig.

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Gullveig's reminiscent of Jiaotu, Darkness of the Yang Zing in some of theworst ways possible. Jiaotu was a glass cannon even before Ghost Ogre &Snow Rabbit debuted, and it's now utterly unplayable with so many handtraps in the game. Final boards following combos led by Jiaotu were muchbetter than what Gullveig's capable of alone, and that will probably beenough for players seeking a consistent competitive edge to pass up the newNordic engine.

There's still another piece of the Nordic engine we haven't discussed: anupcoming monster namedAlviss of the Nordic Alfar. It's a common in Soul Fusion and a World Premiere card, but mostimportantly it has a fantastic pair of effects that work well with the newNordic strategy Gullveig's leading. Its first effect Special Summons anAesir if only Alviss is banished by a Gullveig and provided you haveanother Nordic on the field to send to the graveyard. Its second effectreplaces an Aesir with another from the Extra Deck once per duel to keepthe pressure on your opponent.

Doubling up on Aesir Summons puts way more pressure on your opponent, andAlviss even has you covered if your opponent tries to use mass removal toclear out your monsters. Dropping three Aesir Synchros over thecourse of two or three turns can win you the duel by sheer aggressivepower, and one of those monsters can even Special Summon itself from thegraveyard through its own effect if destroyed. That interaction'sworth chasing and demands careful consideration before tossing it into the'casual' pile.

The new Nordic deck isn't playable out of the box – you'll want to pick upAlviss of the Nordic Alfar in Soul Fusion to complete your build.But Gullveig's definitely a step in the right direction. Mixing the themewith another set of banish-friendly effects is probably the way to go fornow, and I'm a fan of both Metaphys and Thunder Dragon variants for theirflashy approach to high-Level Synchro Summoning.

The Nordic/Aesir strategy's a cool theme with outdated boss monsters, butrepeatedly Summoning monsters more than 3000 ATK has competitive potential,and more than enough firepower to surprise opponent's at Regionals. Justwatch out for Ash Blossom.

Until next time then

-Kelly


Kelly​​​ ​​​Locke​​​ ​​​is​​​ ​​​a​​​ ​​​West​​​ ​​​Michigan​​​​​​gamer and writer. In​​​ ​​​addition​​​ ​​​to​​​ ​​​writing​​​ ​​​onTCGplayer,​​​ ​​​Kelly​​​ ​​​writes​​​ a ​​​​​​personal​​​ ​​​blog​​​​​​ ​​​covering​​​ ​​​Yu-Gi-Oh!,​​​ ​​​Destiny,​​​ ​​​and​​​​​​other​​​ ​​​hobbies. You​​​ ​​​can follow​​​ ​​​him​​​ ​​​on​​​​​​​​​Twitter​​​​​​ ​​​and​​​ ​​​check​​​ ​​​out​​​ ​​​his​​​ ​​​​​​Youtube​​​ ​​​channel​​​. He​​​ ​​​also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.