Most of the new cards are from the OCG Link VRAINS Pack 2 which launchedlast November. We already picked up a few of those cards in Duel Power, butmost of the remainder will become available next week in Hero's Revenge.
Black Luster Soldier - Soldier of Chaos is a solid Link-3 with a trio ofdifferent effects that activate in the Battle Phase; decks with high-Levelmonsters can tap into its full potential.
A Link 3 with 3000 ATK is great, and while it's not the only monster of itskind to reach those heights it's noticeably easier to Summon. Soldier ofChaos requires three monsters with different names as its Link Materials,but you'll get the most out of it if you use at least one monster that'sLevel 7 or higher. That makes it a bit stronger in Pendulum strategies orany theme that can Special Summon high-Level monsters with little effort.
Unfortunately only one of Soldier of Chaos' Battle Phase effects are worthactivating. The 1500 ATK boost is a marginal improvement that doesn'tradically alter its ability to tackle opposing monsters, and the secondattack is only for your next Battle Phase. In the overwhelming majority ofsituations you'll be activating Soldier of Chaos to banish a card on thefield, and that's just fine for this Link-3. Paired with immunity totargeting and destruction it's a handy aggressive Link Monster that can beconverted into a Link-4 in your Main Phase 2, and it's a reasonable budgetalternative to Borreload Dragon, Mekk-Knight Crusadia Avramax, orBorrelsword Dragon.
Salamangreat Almiraj is also surprisingly playable outside ofSalamangreats. In fact, it's arguably better in non-Salamangreatstrategies. You can trade out weak Normal Summoned monsters like Sangan orAleister the Invoker, and in the OCG it's a staple in Orcust builds. It'sbasically a quick way to load a monster into the graveyard if you'remissing a discard outlet, and you get a Link-1 with a favorable Link Arrowas a bonus.
Almiraj's both an economical choice and a great way to start up Orcustcombos by searching The Phantom Knights of Shade Brigandine after sending aPhantom Knight to the graveyard.
Harpies are by far the oldest theme getting a Link monster in this set.Unfortunately Harpie Conductor is a Little Disappointing for Harpieenthusiasts – and we all know one of those guys.
Conductor's continuous effect gives it the ever-useful "Harpie Lady" nameso that it works with most of the new Harpie Lady support. Harpie's FeatherRoosting can recycle copies from the graveyard, and you can Special Summonit with Hysteric Party. The synergy's nice but the real prize might be theLink Arrows it offers. Harpies have plenty of Extra Deck Summoning powerand a unique pool of Xyz Monsters to tap into. A dedicated Link Monster isdefinitely appreciated even if its effects leave something to be desired.
You can use Harpie Conductor to protect your Harpies from being destroyedby battle and simultaneously pop your own copies of Hysteric Sign orAlluring Mirror Shield. You can trigger that effect simply attacking astronger monster with Conductor if you're desperate for a search effect,but unfortunately there aren't any other Harpie monsters worth protecting.
Conductor's second effect is built around Harpie Dancer and can bereasonably useful against Extra Deck monsters. But Dancer typically doesn'tcontribute to typical Harpie combos unless Divine Wind of Mist Valley's onthe field. It's often an outlier in Harpie builds, but it's also the onlyway to consistently activate Conductor's second effect. I think HarpieConductor's more of a proactive way to destroy Hysteric Sign than a reasonto build around Harpie Dancer per se.
Traptrix are also getting a new Link in BLHR and it's a fantastic additionto the theme. Traptrix Sera is a Link 1 that simply trades out a Traptrixmonster, and it comes with an excellent downward arrow and two greateffects.
First, if you activate a Trap Card you can Special Summon a Traptrix fromyour deck, and second, if another Traptrix monster effect activates itseffect you can set a "Hole" Normal Trap directly from your deck. Becauseyou can activate both effects in the same turn you'll end up triggering thesecond effect as a result of the first. The Special Summoned Traptrix willactivate its effect, and afterwards you'll get to set a card from the TrapHole family.
Traptrix Sera can generate big swings in card economy and it makes aTraptrix Myrmeleo Summon much more valuable. You can Normal Summon Myrmeleoto search a Trap, Link Summon Sera, then activate that searched trap duringthe next turn and also Special Summon Traptrix Dionaea or another Myrmeleo.From there Dionaea can pull the first Trap from the graveyard to set it toyour field – although you'll need to activate it before you next End Phaseor bounce it to your hand with Traptrix Mantis – or Myrmeleo can destroy aspell or trap. After that Sera will activate again and set another trapfrom your deck. That's a four card gain off a single Myrmeleo Summon, andit's definitely worth investigating even if the Traptrix engine itself is abit dated.
I'm a big fan of Traptrix Sera and PSY-Framelord Lambda because theytotally change the way their themes play out. Lambda is an excitingaddition to PSY-Frames because it changes the theme's playstyle by allowingyou to activate PSY-Framegear effects even while you control monsters.Gamma's already a powerhouse, and you can overlook the deck's ability tocontrol its opponent's hand at your own peril.
In its current state the deck is almost as annoying to play as it is toplay against, since it forces you into a purely reactive playstyle. Lambdalets you switch gears and play much more aggressively. It also opens up newtech choices now that you're not dedicating every moment to micromanagingyour field presence.
Avendread Savior delivers a Link Monster for the Vendread theme thatrecycles Vendread cards and sets up the graveyard during the Battle Phase.It's a bit niche, but its relatively easy Summoning conditions make it asolid pick for Vendread Extra Decks. Gimmick Puppet Chimera Doll isarriving before a fresh wave of Gimmick Puppet support makes its way fromthe OCG to the TCG. The new cards are great, but Chimera Doll will remainthe theme's only Link Monster. You'll definitely want to pick up yourcopies now before the Duelist Pack debuts in the TCG either later this yearor early next year.
We keep seeing more and more excellent tech choices for Trains/Rank 10 Xyzstrategies, and Double Headed Anger Knuckle is easily one of the bestadditions. It's both a discard outlet and a means of Special SummoningLevel 10 Machines from the graveyard. Its Link Arrows aren't particularlyhelpful until you Special Summon it back from the graveyard. After itreturns to the field you'll have access to at least two zones for XyzSummons, and Anger Knuckle pays for itself if you can keep it on the fieldfor a turn. Unfortunately you can't activate both effects in the same turn,so protecting Anger Knuckle might become a build priority for Trainplayers.
Hi-Speedroid Rubber Band Shooter is an insane Link Monster forSynchro-based Wind strategies. The trouble is there are basically only asmall handful of decks that fit that description.
Speedroids still get insane value out of this Link by picking up an extraNormal Summon and gaining a somewhat-random search effect. Its requirementsare easy to meet, and there's even a new Speedroid Synchro in this set toplay along with it: Hi-Speedroid Kitedrake. Speedroids are shaping up intoa much stronger strategy with – dare I say it – serious competitivepotential. Of course, you could also slot Rubber Band Shooter into aDragunity Extra Deck in a desperate attempt to relive a nearly decade-oldstrategy, but I can't imagine who would do such a thing...
Finally, Magical Musketeer Max solves the ever-present problem with MagicalMusketeers as a theme: their inability to play second in a duel. Max'seffects are more valuable based on the number of cards your opponentcontrols. If they loaded their field with monsters then Max can add as manyas six Magical Musket spells and traps, and if you're playing against abackrow heavy strategy you can choose instead to Special Summon a handfulof Magical Musket monsters instead. Max can potentially generate a +6 iscard economy, but the odds of resolving it go down significantly against anestablished field. That said it's a great play starter that at least givesMagical Musketeers a better Turn 1 play when going second.
From retro support to fresh generic techs, Battles of Legend: Hero'sRevenge has an amazing line-up of new Link Monsters to chase. It's a greatway to round out a set that's largely dedicated to reprinting some of thecompetitive season's most popular cards. It's great to see that OCG LinkMonsters are being imported at a faster rate than last year, and betweenthis set and Duel Power we've significantly closed the gap between the TCGand OCG. It's a great way to close out the first half of 2019.
Until next time then
Kelly Locke is a West Michigangamer and writer. You can follow him on Twitter for more updates and check out his Youtube channel. He also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.