I'm not saying I forgot about the Egyptian God Cards, but the Sacred Beasts are still fresh on my mind. I wasn't expecting Structure Deck: Sacred Beasts to be as good as it was. A few weeks ago I wrote on three different Sacred Beast builds, and Doug discussed them just a few days ago as Sacred Beast support starts to appear in mainstream competitive decks. The Sacred Beasts are a surprisingly big part of Yu-Gi-Oh in 2020.
But the world moves fast, and jumping from GX's God Card inspired Sacred Beasts to the Egyptian originals feels like a lateral shift that lands you on a different plane of existence. Legendary Duelists: Rage of Ra drops Friday with new support for Jinzo and the Meklords, but more importantly The Winged Dragon of Ra.
Basically it's the same, and yet completely different.
I was skeptical of the new Ra support at first, but when you have cards that make summoning an Egyptian God Card objectively easy, I'd say you have something serious on your hands. That said, focus too much on Ra and you'll miss out on a bunch of great cards from the set, so buckle in for a jam-packed Top 10.
#10 The Reprints
Look, it's not a cop out if I make the rules.
There are lots of cards in Yu-Gi-Oh that are extremely pricy for no reason. I don't remember why I was looking at them, but I recently glanced at the prices for Left Arm Offering and Psychic Shockwave and audibly said "Wait, why?"
Have those cards been used in competitive strategies recently? No. Has Psychic Shockwave ever been a "must-have" card? Absolutely not. The announcement of Jinzo support a few months ago aggravated the price, but it's always a weird feeling when you find old, irrelevant cards you suddenly wouldn't mind owning, and the price doesn't reflect what you'd pay.
The same goes for Jinzo - Returner and the recent upgrades of Monster Reborn. You won't always have access to cards printed before you started the game, or shiny versions of cards you wanted to play, so I'm really thankful for the reprints in Rage of Ra. It's not sending you scrambling for must-have cards.
Unlike core quarterly booster sets, Rage of Ra actually gives you the cards you need for the support the set introduces. Don't have any copies of Jinzo but want to play the new Jinzo support cards? Good thing this set has both!
And yes, I'm counting the new artwork for The Winged Dragon of Ra as a huge bonus as well. While booster sets are typically remembered for the new cards they introduce, the supporting cast is definitely the reprints, and this pack has what you need.
#9 Meklord Astro the Eradicator
Rejoice, Meklord players - you now have cards that actually work together!
There's a bunch of new Meklord support in this releases, but most of it is quite Meklord-specific. I'm totally fine with a forgotten theme like this one getting exclusive support. After all, the deck desperately needed something like Meklord Assembly to function as a standalone strategy.
I'd also be remiss in my duties if I were to pass up this chance to note how Meklord Assembly and Meklord Nucleus Infinity Core could work in a Fabled deck. Come on, I have to shout out my favorite deck at least once; I'm still riding high from the news of new Fabled support .
While I don't think Meklords will be the new deck-to-beat on the competitive scene, it's refreshing to see this underappreciated strategy get some impressive cards, namely the trap I've edged into the Top 10. Very few cards have frustrated me more than Call of the Atlanteans had for being almost amazing, but falling flat in practice. So I feel mollified that Meklord Astro the Eradicator effectively a better version of that card.
While you have to wait a turn to use Meklord Astro the Eradicator, the card's rife with potential. Summoning three monsters from your graveyard or getting them back to your hand is great, and popping a Synchro Monster on your opponent's side of the field later on is a big bonus. A comeback card that gives you options is refreshing in a deck that needs all the love it can get.
So while Meklord Astro the Eradicator a bit slow and has some restrictions, it's worth it as a revenge card. Some things don't have to be perfect to be satisfying.
#8 Sun God Unification
When I first saw Sun God Unification, I felt really dumb explaining the card to myself. "What am I going to do with this? Give The Winged Dragon of Ra all the ATK I can muster, attack with it, then tribute it off so I get my Life Points back?"
And yeah, actually. That's the point.
The Winged Dragon of Ra doesn't get an ATK boost when it's Special Summoned, but Sun God Unification circumvents that downside while also saving your Life Points for a rainy day. It's a very straightforward card, but it's something that will no doubt see play in The Winged Dragon of Ra decks. The fact that you can play it the turn you set it really helps, too. Traps can be marvelously underwhelming at times, but this one's actually a big help in the long run.
Being a continuous trap, it lets you recycle The Winged Dragon of Ra as much as you're able and borrows from your Life Points to give The Winged Dragon of Ra attack points. It's simple, yes, but this thing really doesn't need to be complicated. Sun God Unification does one thing, and it does that one thing really well.
#7 Law of the Cosmos
While traps do exist in competitive metagames - just look at Altergeists and Eldlich - not every deck has a free-flowing supply of cards to set when you play Law of the Cosmos. If they do, you get to Special Summon Jinzo from your deck for free. If your opponent doesn't have any traps, then you'll get to search Jinzo for free, or one of its many support monsters.
It's a win-win if you play your cards right.
Searchable with Psychic Bounder, Law of the Cosmos makes the fan favorite Jinzo deck consistent. When your titular boss monster's a weird Level 6 from 2002 that does nothing but stop trap cards, the theme has to get some drastic updates in order to survive. This isn't the good old days of Pharaoh's Servant where Jinzo was an all-powerful card!
You're probably wondering "Hey, isn't it bad I'm giving my opponent a trap?" Well, considering you get to summon a Jinzo if that happens, the guy who stops traps, it's not exactly a bad thing. Think about how many times you've seen Red Reboot in action. That card's Limited for a reason. Someone's getting a free trap, sure, but they're probably going to lose that turn anyways, long before they ever get a chance to play it.
Life's tough. I didn't make the rules.
#6 Reactor Slime
Reactor Slime is… well it's a card that pigeonholes you into a very, very specific series of plays. What I like it about it is that you're technically not forced to play The Winged Dragon of Ra with it.
It's very much like Ra's Disciple. Both cards field a total of three monsters for whichever Egyption God you feel like summoning, but Reactor Slime also delivers a partial lock against your opponent when you have nothing else to do.
Tribute Reactor Slime in the Battle Phase, set Metal Reflect Slime, and you can activate it right away thanks to Reactor Slime. When you tribute off your Metal Reflect Slime you'll Special Summon Egyptian God Slime, which, hey, I'm not going to turn down a big beater.
Though both effects can't be used in tandem, it's worthwhile to note that Reactor Slime lets a Ra deck do something besides summon The Winged Dragon of Ra. It's impossible to guarantee that The Winged Dragon of Ra will make it to the field every turn, and I'm a fan of options.
#5 Meklord Emperor Wisel - Synchro Absorption
It might be surprising to see this so high on the list, but Meklord Emperor Wisel - Synchro Absorption is basically a searchable hand trap for Meklord decks. Yes, it's rather picky in its summoning requirements, but giving a severely underrepresented deck a de facto hand trap is no laughing matter.
For the low cost of a Meklord monster, Meklord Emperor Wisel - Synchro Absorption has two effects in one: it stops a monster from attacking and stops whatever destruction effect your opponent has coming your way.
Meklords, even with this bounty of new support, will still be a fragile deck that will need help to compete. But Meklord Emperor Wisel - Synchro Absorption a must-have card if you're playing Meklords in any capacity.
If the Meklords ever do get more support, I have no doubt that Meklord Emperor Wisel - Synchro Absorption and Meklord Assembly will be cards you'll want to have picked up early. Meklord Emperor Wisel - Synchro Absorption won't break the bank right now, but we've seen countless cards shoot up in price once a related deck becomes more competitive, especially cards in side set releases like the Legendary Duelists line.
#4 Blaze Cannon
While it's incredibly good, Blaze Cannon isn't as high on the list as other Ra cards because it generally plays second fiddle to consistency driving picks. Don't get me wrong - all three effects are extremely powerful and together they make a pretty great card, but does Blaze Cannon translate to summoning The Winged Dragon of Ra?
It doesn't, and that's ok. It's not realistic to expect every piece of support to focus on searching and summoning. After all, some cards actually have to, ya know, do things. As the saying goes, for every Cynet Mining there's a Salamangreat Sunlight Wolf.
…Or something like that.
So back to Blaze Cannon's three effects. it's effectively a Swiss army knife for whatever The Winged Dragon of Ra-centered position you find yourself in. Obviously The Winged Dragon of Ra can gain ATK by itself and deal with monsters in battle and by card effect, but it can't do everything all on its own.
What if you need to boost The Winged of Dragon Ra ATK because you ran out of Life Points? Blaze Cannon got you covered. Need to make sure your attck goes through for a serendipitous OTK? Use Blaze Cannon first effect, and you'll protect The Winged Dragon of Ra instead of boosting its ATK.
Or if an OTK isn't on the horizon, Blaze Cannon third effect sends all the monsters The Winged Dragon of Ra didn't destroy to the graveyard. It's a triple threat that keeps you in the game, and it's searchable to boot.
#3 Jinzo the Machine Menace
While Jinzo the Machine Menace isn't a free body to Special Summon 100% of the time, it's an excuse to play traps again, or at least incidental support for trap decks. If Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights taught us anything, cards that might serve virtually no other purpose can come in handy when your supporting Link is powerful enough.
Without putting further restrictions on the card, you'll field a Level 6 Dark Machine for free as long as traps were used at some point in the duel. With The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche now back in sanctioned play, access to The Phantom Knights of Shade Brigandine is easy with minimal effort: that means Jinzo the Machine Menace surprisingly accessible and generic.
In Jinzo-specific decks and other strategies, tributing Jinzo the Machine Menace to field a Jinzo and blowing up all the traps is an added bonus to whatever you're trying to do. But you don't have to summon Jinzo to use Jinzo the Machine Menace. I'd say the card earns points for being one of the easier Level 6 monsters to put out, even if you ignore the fact that it can blow up traps during either Main Phase.
Is Jinzo the Machine Menace a staple for Jinzo decks? I don't see why not. Is it a new tool for decks that either run traps or use The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche? Definitely. If something has immediate applications for both competitive and casual decks, it's safe to say the card will turn some heads.
#2 Ancient Chant (…And Guardian Slime... And Egyptian God Slime)
Blaze Cannon effectively a "choose your own adventure" game for Ra decks, but it's not used to summon The Winged Dragon of Ra itself. Ancient Chant on the other hand isn't hiding what it was supposed to do.
Card effects are often more flexible and less restricted to their printed themes than they might appear; many theme-stamped cards work for a wide range of decks. But nope, Ancient Chant is the exact opposite. It's about as niche as Anti Raigeki, but it's different in the sense that it actually works. Ancient Chant might be simple, but it's incredibly good at helping byou summon The Winged Dragon of Ra, so much so that it couldn't really be better unless it was something crazy like, "Summon The Winged Dragon of Ra for free; your opponent forfeits the duel."
Adding The Winged Dragon of Ra from your deck or your graveyard to save on card space in conjunction with a built-in Double Summon and a way to boost The Winged of Dragon Ra ATK without paying Life Points? That's awesome. And on a serious note, I'm almost surprised that it doesn't summon three Tokens or something.
While I'm not confident it's the best route, technically Ancient Chant works with other cards for a 1-card The Winged Dragon of Ra as well. If you can field Guardian Slime, you can tribute it for Egyptian God Slime and search Ancient Chant for free. Use Egyption God Slime as three tributes, search The Winged Dragon of Ra from your deck and suddenly The Winged of Dragon Ra never been so easy to unleash. Since they all work in this extremely specific combo, it's hard to put much daylight between them.
Regardless if you go the Guardian Slime route or not – the higher price tag disqualifies it for some Ra players – Ancient Chant is a must-run at three in any The Winged Dragon of Ra deck. And if you just want to play a version of Double Summon that nets a card for future discard fodder, technically Ancient Chant is generic. Do I recommend that?
Of course I do.
#1 The Winged Dragon of Ra, Ghost Rare
I mean, come on, it's Ghost Rare! The Rage of Ra chase card won't be quite as expensive as Ten Thousand Dragon, but it'll definitely be up there in terms of price. Heck, I'm not normally the type of player that needs specific rarities, but even I want a copy of this thing.
And with Ancient Chant fetching The Winged Dragon of Ra from hand or graveyard, you can effectively destroy your opponent on a budget! I mean, if your budget includes a card that's half a grand on the secondary market. I think the Ghost Rare version of The Winged Dragon of Ra (Ghost Rare) belongs in a binder somewhere safe, because the card's only going to climb in value.
As if it isn't high enough right now.
Just wait until you lose to someone playing three Ghost Rare copies of this card. It's not quite like getting stomped on by a prize card, but you get to lose and feel poor at the same time. I'm not saying I know anyone who will most definitely do that, but if you're out there, please win a Yu-Gi-Oh Championship Series that way.
Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.