Welcome to our biggest Giant Set Review ever!

From the moment Konami started showing off early reveals of unexpected additions to the set, Breakers of Shadow was clearly going to be something special. They had our curiosity with Traptrix Rafflesia and Cyber Dragon Infinity. They got our attention with the announcement of the new foil-in-every-pack collation. And then a series of leaks that revealed new Kozmo cards and Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer, plus an early reveal of the entire set over the holidays, just had the Yugiverse frothing even more.

Now that the set's been released and tournament legal for about a week, its true richness and depth is becoming clear. Yes, it has amazing cards for established strategies – the general fear surrounding new cards that push Pendulum variants even further toward the top of competition aren't unfounded. But it also packs plenty of support for other themes, keeping current strategies relevant and revitalizing old ones. New themes hit the ground running, with card design that seems to acknowledge the level of consistency and speed needed to compete. And a wealth of splashable cards are proving to be more relevant than most anticipated.

Breakers of Shadow marks a turning point for the game, and will be remembered alongside landmark releases like Invasion of Chaos, Phantom Darkness, and The Duelist Genesis. There just aren't many weak points here, and the overall average card quality is very high. There aren't many misses, and one weekend into the set's run, early results seem to indicate a varied set of competitive trends emerging from the new card pool.

So let's get on with it. Today and tomorrow we'll look at the effect monsters in the core release, as it was presented in the original Asian printing. From there we'll look at the Ritual, Fusion, Synchro, and Xyz Monsters in Part 3 on Tuesday, and the spells and traps on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday we'll examine the tail end of the set, looking at the tremendous World Premieres and OCG imports respectively – the cards that were added to our version of the set, and that weren't include in Japan. Get ready, because we're going deep in this, the Breakers of Shadow Giant Set Review!

#####CARDID= 19372#####

Tuning Magician's an appealing little card with a lot of utility. While the Magician ranks already offer Nobledragon Magician as a Tuner at Level 3, and tend to be played with Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer at Level 4, a Level 1 Tuner can find a lot of niches in current Pendulum variants. It works well with Level 6 and Level 7 Pendulum monsters like Oafdragon Magician, Dragonpit Magician, and the Odd-Eyes cards to make Level 7's and Level 8's, and the ability to recur it – basically for free – lends a lot of smart card economy to the equation.

While it's not a Pendulum monster and can't be searched with Performapal Skullcrobat Joker or Pendulum Call, you can grab Tuning Magician with Magical Abductor, making the flagging Abductor engine a bit more useful. It's a natural fit with Dragonpit to make the new Enlightenment Paladin, and it's a nice combo with PSY-Framelord Omega: if you Special Summon it to make Omega and banish Tuning Magician in the process, you can Omega the Tuning Magician back to your graveyard on your opponent's next turn, setting up to abuse it again.

The value of Tuning Magician in your Pendulum variant of choice may be a tough call, but it lends a lot of value to cards a lot of players are already running. That gives it significant potential in competition. The main challenge is measuring it against other options, and measuring the worth of the Magician engine against similar card suites entirely.

#####CARDID= 19373#####

Timebreaker Magician's not terrible, but its abilities only have a certain level of value right now. It's tremendously searchable, so getting to it's not a problem. But neither of its effects really seem to warrant use right now.

As a Pendulum Spell it can protect your Pendulum Monsters from destruction effects, but simple monster destruction isn't wildly popular right now anyways, and Pendulum Monsters were just going to go back to your Extra Deck in most cases anyways. Furthermore, they don't tend to sit on the field very long; most Pendulum Monsters are quickly cashed in for Synchros and Xyz. Majespecter Unicorn – Kirin's an exception, but it already carries a blanket immunity to destruction effects, and it probably won't be seeing as much play post-BOSH.

On the other hand, fielding Timebreaker Magician with a Pendulum Summon from your hand to double its ATK or use it as a temporary 1-for-1 banishing effect isn't great either. It's essentially just two different kinds of inferior monster removal. There are a lot of different things you can do with this card, but none of them seem to fit the shape of the game at present. That said, the list of possible uses is long, so it's worth keeping an eye on.

#####CARDID= 19374#####

Three cards in and we hit the first game-changer of our Giant Set Review! Easily searched with Performapal Skullcrobat Joker and Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer, Performapal Monkeyboard is a Stratos of a different sort: instead of netting you a theme-wide search when you Summon it, you get a free card when you play it as the low side of your Pendulum Scale. Sitting at Scale 1 so long as you control another Performapal Pendulum Spell, it's perfect in that role.

Running three copies each of Skullcrobat Joker, Pendulum Sorcerer, and Monkeyboard itself, you'll almost never have to resort to Wavering Eyes or Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon to see it reliably. But those are options, should you need them.

As established Performapal picks go, there's not much you'd want to search that doesn't fall into Performapal Monkeyboard's Level 4 or lower range. It won't hit a few fringe cards like Performapal Splashmammoth or Performapal Elephammer, and there are some very niche reasons to want those cards in a handful of rogue strategies. But it can get you to what usually counts, including Skullcrobat Joker, Lizardraw, and Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer, just barely missing out on the Level 5 Performapal Partnaga. The way these cards all reinforce each other is the real attraction here, creating a consistent early game that blazes past competition.

If you want a Performapal Secondonkey, it can get you that. If you're playing Performapal Silverclaw, Monkeyboard can make it happen. It's also custom built as a natural combo for the new Performapal Guitartle, so why don't we go ahead and take a look at that.

#####CARDID= 19375#####

Magicians were largely the favored Pendulum engine since the Master of Pendulum Structure Deck hit, but the theme-heavy synergy between Monkeyboard and Guitartle gives the Magicians a run for their money. Since Monkeyboard's so easy to search, Guitartle's equally easy to see, completing your Pendulum Scale and drawing you a card on every successive activation of a Performapal Pendulum Spell from that point forward, once per turn.

Activating Monkeyboard to search Guitartle builds your Pendulum Scale for one card, and adding Performapal Skullcrobat Joker to that sequence, either as your search with Monkeyboard or to get Monkeyboard in the first place, means you thin a second card while turning the free search from Joker into an entirely free Scale. If you already have Joker and Monkeyboard, you'll Joker for Guitartle, activate it, then play Monkeyboard for a search and draw with Guitartle for an optimal +3.

Guitartle's Pendulum Scale of 6 is a bit more limiting than Dragonpit Magician's Scale 8, even a Performapal Performage build that eschews Magicians can rely on stuff like Performapal Skullcrobat Joker to fill that need, should you care to build your deck that way. Many will find it unimportant anyways, and for everyone else, the Performapals simply offer a more aggressive lower Level strategy that relinquishes Odd-Eyes synergy and higher Ranked Xyz plays for better access to Rank 4's and a smoother, less conflicted engine. Combined with the incredible search power and card cycling of Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer, it's more than a viable plan – it may very well be the best strategy in the game.

Note that while Performapal Monkeyboard's monster effect is going to be largely negligible, Guitartle's ability is likely to go unused but can still help breach the gap between Performapals and other strategies in a pinch. The ability to buff something up a Scale can be a difference maker in common strategies. Taking a Scale 7 or Scale 8 to Rank 9 or Scale 10 can get very crazy, very fast, creating some enticing opportunities for creative duelists looking to turn some heads.

Performapal Monkeyboard, Performapal Guitartle, and Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer are just nuts when you start examining how they work together. We'll discuss this at length later on, when we look at the Sorcerer in depth.

#####CARDID= 19376#####

Performapal Bit Bite Turtle's an alright card that just doesn't make the cut compared to the insane stuff Performapals have otherwise. Searchable by all the regular Performapal and Pendulum means, you can also grab it with King of the Feral Imps, but there aren't many instances where you'd really want to do so. In a tight 40-card strategy there just isn't room for this card.

That said, it's still better than half the stuff Performapals got in their early releases anyways. For the record.

#####CARDID= 19377#####

Performapal Rain Goat is not good in a competitive sense, but it's a pretty sweet pun, and it's a very searchable card in a very playable deck that keeps Chain Burn from ever rearing its head again. So I'm going to call it a win anyways.

Good job, Rain Goat. You awful disappointment.

#####CARDID= 19378#####

Sort of a spiritual successor to the former TCGplayer favorite Performapal Trump Witch, Performapal Trump Girl works much the way I would've liked Performapal Splashmammoth to function – it's two thirds of your Fusion Summon when you want to make Rune-Eyes Pendulum Dragon or Odd-Eyes Vortex Dragon, pairing with Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon and bringing its own Polymerization to the party.

As a quick addition to any Pendulum deck already playing Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon, Trump Girl's a powerful addition. Odd-Eyes Vortex Dragon already sees play for its powerful control effect, and Summoning Rune-Eyes with Trump Girl can field a Double Attacker that can smack two monsters for 3000 ATK each, and does so unaffected by opposing card effects. Trump Girl itself is tremendously searchable, and while her Level and Scale were essentially designed to be awkward on purpose, the fact that it's a Pendulum Monster means it hits the Extra Deck every time you Fuse with it, effectively making it free.

Combined with Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon and a Pendulum Scale of 1 and 8, that can mean a free Odd-Eyes Fusion every turn with an ideal set-up; likely just Dragonpit Magician and Dragonpulse Magician. All the new Odd-Eyes support in Breakers of Shadow seems to be built with card economy in mind, and Trump Girl's no exception.

#####CARDID= 19381#####

I don't know if we've ever seen a boss monster rebuilt so repeatedly in such a short span of time. Superheavy Samurai Big Benkei introduced the Superheavy Samurai concept of big wall-monsters that swing using their DEF, but even with several sets of support, Big Benkei's still pretty difficult to Summon. Superheavy Samurai Warlord Susanowo was a step up, leveraging the Special Summon effects printed on other monsters in the theme to give you a bigger body and a free +1 effect that helps protect your field. Neither card was particularly good right when they were released, but further support continues to make them both easier to Summon, and buffs them into potential OTK's.

Superheavy Samurai General Jade continues that trend, boasting the lowest DEF – and thus the lowest attack potential – of any of the Superheavy Samurai bosses. The upside is that it packs its own effect that makes it easier to Summon: instead of relying on Tribute or Synchro tricks like Superheavy Samurai Big Waraji, Superheavy Samurai Thief, or perhaps most importantly Superheavy Samurai Flutist, you can Tribute off literally any Superheavy Samurai to Summon General Jade.

That boosts its utility through the roof, and by giving you easier access to a win-con level attacker it raises the utility of all your DEF buffs as well: cards like Superheavy Samurai Soulhorns and Superheavy Samurai Soulbuster Gauntlet, which make OTK's about as easily with General Jade as they would with Big Benkei or Warlord Susanowo. A lot of the design work that's gone into making Superheavy Samurais better revolved around improving the utility of older cards in the theme. And in that respect, there's a big comparison to draw between say, Superheavy Samurai Battleball and the utility it gained with Shutendoji' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Superheavy Samurai Ogre Shutendoji">Superheavy Samurai Ogre Shutendoji, and General Jade's relationship with your OTK enablers. General Jade improves so many cards at once, it's actually kind of ridiculous.

It's also great with Superheavy Samurai Soulpiercer to trigger its search effect, and since your Tribute Summon of General Jade's still eating your Normal Summon, it works nicely with any of your Superheavy Samurai that happen to have inherent Special Summon abilities – cards you were likely playing, but just weren't as consistent. General Jade improves the vast majority of your cards without asking you to really do anything to earn it. The fact that it brings viable Pendulum Summoning to the deck for at least your mid-Level monsters, and can tweak Levels for Synchro Summons, makes it even more remarkable.

#####CARDID= 19382#####

Sitting at Pendulum Scale 8, Superheavy Samurai General Coral's the complement to General Jade at Scale 1. With useless stats and a Level that conflicts with Pendulum Summoning, it's not going to be making much aggression on its own, but it brings the Superheavy Samurai something they've direly needed: more draw power. Summon it to a bare field and it cycles itself for a draw; not terrible in and of itself. But add a second Superheavy Samurai to the mix and you can Tribute both for two draws, once per turn.

Suddenly anything with a Special Summon effect – Big Waraji, Samurai Thief, Samurai Transporter, and the new Superheavy Samurai Prepped Defense – all become vastly more useful, since you can Special Summon them and feed them to General Coral to dig deeper into your deck. That's hugely valuable when you don't have the right combo or board positioning to make the most of certain cards. General Coral enhances the utility of those monsters and makes the deck more consistent, while potentially bringing stuff like Grandsoil the Elemental Lord back into the picture.

The Superheavy Samurai that get you free cards in the course of their Summoning naturally shine with General Coral as well – again, that's usually going to be Superheavy Samurai Scales and Superheavy Samurai Soulpiercer. Capitalizing on Superheavy Samurai that can sit on the field and slow down the game, it may make Superheavy Samurai Blowtorch and Superheavy Samurai Drum better too.

Superheavy Samurai General Coral's Pendulum Effect can help you make your OTK when your opponent's blocking you with a monster, or even deal more damage when the blocking monster's in attack mode. And the ability to Pendulum Summon lots of Superheavy Samurai in one go to make Synchro Summons and abuse Superheavy Samurai Flutist and Scales is pretty attractive. Remember, you'll get Samurai Scales' effect even when you Pendulum Summon it, and with General Coral's draw ability filling your graveyard, Scales gets more value.

The only rough detail is that it's largely a one-shot card: when you Tribute General Coral for its draw ability it generally goes to your Extra Deck instead of your graveyard, meaning no recursive abuse for plus plays with Samurai Scales. So it's not insane, but it is quite good.

#####CARDID= 19379#####

Superheavy Samurai Magnet's effectively an over-extension machine, but that's not always a bad thing. It can be a quick and desperate Rank 4, a fast Shutendoji' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Superheavy Samurai Ogre Shutendoji">Superheavy Samurai Ogre Shutendoji with one of your Level 2 Tuners, or a two-card cycle at the cost of your Normal Summon when played with Superheavy Samurai General Coral.

Magnet's saving grace may be that it makes Gear Gigant X so much easier to run, giving you more hand fixing on top of General Coral's ability; throw down Samurai Magnet with any other Level 4 in the deck and you can search another monster to get your plays going, making a 2-for-2 trade. There's nothing in the new Superheavy Samurai cards that feels truly game-breaking, but the deck gets so much more consistent in so many ways, which is really what it needed.

"Make all these cards better." And they kind of did.

#####CARDID= 19380#####

Superheavy Samurai Prepped Defense is probably the one new Samurai that won't wind up seeing play. Chump blocking for a turn can definitely be useful, but it's a Level 3 instead of a Level 4 and it's effectively a vanilla wall unless you're taking beats to the face.

I don't think the Superheavy Samurai deck is slow enough these days to necessitate this card. There's a wealth of strong options for your 40 card slots, and while I could see a stabilizer being useful against the mega-aggro strategies that are so common right now, I'm not sure Prepped Defense stems the bleeding. I'd rather prefer to not bleed in the first place.

That said, it's effectively a field-building Special Summon for the Tribute of General Jade much like Big Waraji and its ilk, but with the bonus of shielding you from damage. It could wind up being stronger than those cards in the right metagame. But frankly, I think the deck's safer just playing a more proactive set of cards.

It's not bad, but it's probably not right for this moment in competition.

#####CARDID= 19383#####

The fact that Solo the Melodious Songstress even exists is just testament to how good Breakers of Shadow is. The Melodious monsters aren't marquee cards in Yu-Gi-Oh, and they're not showcased highlights in this set – there are easily dozens of more important cards in the release. And yet, this is still the best Melodious support we've ever seen, and it instantly boosts key cards so much that the deck's suddenly worth another look.

As a recruiter for literally any other Melodious monster you want to pull from your deck regardless of Level or attack strength, Solo makes it much easier to use your big high-Leveled boss monsters, and gives you better access to the smaller Melodious monsters that all have niche effects. Support monsters that weren't worth running before due to low consistency are suddenly viable; big monsters you couldn't Summon reliably now sit at the forefront of the strategy; and anything that was already worth playing, is now easier to find and Summon.

Any discussion of Solo the Melodious Songstress might as well start at the top, with Mozarta the Melodious Maestra. Summon Solo, crash her into an opposing monster, and you can trade her in for a 2600 ATK Level 8 that can Special Summon another Light Fairy of any size from your hand, once per turn. If you have Archlord Kristya in hand, Mozarta fields it for free and that two-card combo then blocks all opposing Special Summons. They also present 5400 ATK. It's a simple combo Melodious players always wanted to run, but it just wasn't consistent enough when it was so difficult to field Mozarta. Now that she's free and searchable it's suddenly a huge part of the strategy.

Shopina the Melodious Maestra's awesome at the price of "free" as well, netting you a Light Fairy from your graveyard every turn. Crash Solo, Special Summon Shopina, and you can just take back Solo in Main Phase 2 for a free +1. If Shopina ran something over with her 2300 ATK that's a potential plus as well, for a quick +2 that threatens mounting card advantage on every successive turn. The ability to field those two big monsters makes it much easier to justify a plan that involves keeping up the pressure with Call Of The Haunted, since you know worthwhile monsters will always hit the graveyard early on. In a pinch, you can even just revive Solo for another suicide mission.

A single Elegy the Melodious Diva is suddenly attractive, in my opinion for the first time ever. It's searchable as needed, and protects the big fields you now make. The "when Special Summoned" effects of Aria the Melodious Diva, Tamtam the Melodious Diva, and Serenade the Melodious Diva are suddenly easier to play. And while 1st Movement Solo was previously limited to monsters Level 4 and under, the ability to Special Summon Solo basically removes that limit. With three copies of 1st Movement, you have six shots at an early game Solo play instead of just three.

It's really good, and as a Kristya fan seeing an opportunity in the era of Pendulum Summoning, I'm eager to explore this theme again. The typical gauntlet of problem-cards like Solemn Strike certainly apply, but the idea's still deeply enticing.

#####CARDID= 19384#####

While we're at it, sure! Why not give the Melodious family a better Honest. While Honest works better as a chump Blocker, Score the Melodious Diva reduces both ATK and DEF, so in the rare instance you see a big Blocker you can punt it off the field with your slimmest attacker. And since the ATK and DEF change lasts until the end of the turn, it also means more damage against anything that can't be destroyed by battle if your opponent leaves it in attack mode – especially notable with Fiendish Rhino Warrior seeing play in Burning Abyss.

This card's not a tremendous new add like Solo the Melodious Songstress, since Honest was already an option. The difference in activation timing doesn't make a huge difference, though it put's Score at a slight advantage. That all said, it works nicely with Shopina, and it's certainly not bad. It's just a shame it overlaps so closely with a card the deck already played.

#####CARDID= 19385#####

I'm fairly certain every play with Blackwing – Harmattan the Dust involves over-extending into an Xyz or Synchro Summon. And while more options is always good to some degree, I don't think Harmattan really justifies a slot in any current Blackwing deck I could dream up.

If I'm wrong, please let me know in the Comments! As it stands, this thing seems like a miss to me. Not an egregious crime against cardstock, but just not very useful in the grand scheme of the universe.

#####CARDID= 19386#####

Ninjas took a big hit with the Limiting of Reinforcement of the Army, and while the theme was always entertaining, it never approached a mainstream success.

Twilight Ninja Shingetsu looks to compensate for that a bit, with an effect that can search you Ninja Grandmaster Hanzo or another Ninja of your choice when it's destroyed and hits the graveyard. To ensure that happens, Shingetsu packs two additional effects that funnel attacks and targeted effects away from your other ninjas. Those effects have questionable value in a deck where you'll often trade in your other Ninjas for Xyz Summons, or use them for Ninjitsu Arts that Summon non-Ninjas.

With 1500 ATK Shingetsu works with Mystic Tomato, but it feels like it's just too slow to be really viable right now. Its biggest strength might be its compatibility with Ninja Grandmaster Hanzo's Special Summon trigger, which searches any Ninja other than Hanzo from your deck. That effect becomes more relevant with the new Ninja boss monster.

#####CARDID= 19388#####

That new boss is Twilight Ninja Getsuga, the Shogun, and it's very solid. You Tribute Summon it by giving up any one Ninja, and while that can mean defending a Ninja on the field for one turn, doing so lets you revive the Ninja you Tributed plus another Ninja just by turning Getsuga to defense mode. With 3000 DEF the Shogun's no slouch, and there's nothing that would stop you from turning it back to attack mode and activating its effect again next turn.

If you Normal Summon Ninja Grandmaster Hanzo to search Ninjitsu Art of Super-Transformation as a +1, set it, and your opponent refuses to play a monster into it, then dropping Getsuga next turn to call back Hanzo gets you another search, this time grabbing a Ninja from your deck. Combined with another free Ninja from your graveyard that play's an easy +2 or better depending on what else you revive. You're then left with way more fodder for Super-Transformation, or a likely Rank 4 play. Throw in Ninjitsu Art of Duplication – perhaps playable for the first time ever – and the free monsters keep on coming.

That strategy's a bit slow, but it does help address the age-old problem of controlling a set Super-Transformation with just one Ninja on board to fuel it, and it gives the Ninja strategy some recurring Special Summon power it never had before. Previously, the deck's only real strategy was to play Hanzo, hope to Summon something with Ninjitsu Art of Super-Transformation, and then win from there. It was a reactive game plan that couldn't put much pressure on your opponent, save with over-invested plays involving Upstart Golden Ninja. Twilight Ninja Getsuga's a tad clunky, but gives the deck a lot more forward thrust

#####CARDID= 19387#####

Twilight Ninja Nichirin, the Chunin is pretty underwhelming for a Level 6. You get the impression it was designed for use with Getsuga, but wound up being rebalanced so as to not be overpowered when you're reviving it for free. Unfortunately the result is a card that's not worth Tribute Summoning in the first place.

With 2300 ATK it's underpowered for a Tribute monster, and while its effects are solid and chainable, every playable deck these days has alternative removal that can play around Chunin's ban on Card Destruction, and better card economy that would make 1-for-1's work more in your opponent's favor anyways. The 1000 ATK buff could have some potential if you're raking in free Ninjas by reviving Hanzos, but it doesn't stack and seems largely conditional.

Discarding Ninjas to load your graveyard for Getsuga would be useful in the early game, but since Chunin demands a Tribute to hit the field from your hand it doesn't really move quickly enough to be useful in that role. It would've been more worthwhile with scaled back effects and ATK at Level 4.

#####CARDID= 19389#####

Black Luster Soldier got a heavily supported rebuild in Dimension of Chaos, and now it's Buster Blader's turn. The Buster Blader of old re-emerges as this card, Buster Blader, the Destruction Swordmaster. While its destruction effect may come in handy from time to time, the real value here is its ability to count as Buster Blader in the graveyard, and the resulting synergy with another new release – Buster Dragon. Buster Dragon can sit on the field reviving Buster Blader or this new version turn after turn for free, and can re-equip it with a fallen "Destruction Sword" monster, which grant effects that happen to neatly counter some of the big strategies in tournaments today.

Let's move onto those so you can see where this is going…

#####CARDID= 19391#####

You can equip Dragon Buster Destruction Sword to Buster Blader the Old or Buster Blader the New, from your hand or field, to stop your opponent from Special Summoning from their Extra Deck.

It's clearly intended to give you an edge against Pendulum variants, but it's also notable for being a Tuner, helping facilitate Buster Dragon. Note that since Buster Dragon can equip one of your Buster Bladers for free from the graveyard, Dragon Buster Destruction Sword's essentially free as Synchro Material if you play it carefully.

#####CARDID= 19392#####

Wizard Buster Destruction Sword isn't a Tuner, but it packs some more useful stats at Level 3 with 1200 ATK. Like Dragon Buster Destruction Sword, you can equip it to a Buster Blader from your hand or field to claim an effect: in this case, one that demolishes the graveyard triggers so common in Kozmos and Atlanteans.

It also has an effect that lets you yard it when it's equipped, to get back another Destruction Sword monster from your graveyard. That gives it some more utility retrieving more useful cards if you're stuck with it in your Main Deck for Game 1 of a match-up where it's not actually useful. It's a nice little bit of utility, of a type that we don't normally see.

#####CARDID= 19393#####

Robot Buster Destruction Sword works just the same, equipping from your hand or field and in this case stopping the activated effects of face-up spell and trap cards. It's likely the most niche of the Destruction Sword abilities, but you can cash it in for a 1000 ATK bonus until the end of the turn in a worst-case scenario, and its viability will definitely fluctuate over time.

#####CARDID= 19390#####

Buster Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman is another Level 1 Tuner, and as a Stratos for Destruction Swords it's an obvious must-run. Replacing itself with a free search and then helping you make Buster Dragon, it's a core piece of the strategy. Once it's one the field you can Tribute it for the easy Special Summon of a Buster Blader, and when you control a Buster Blader you can get Buster Whelp back, pitching another Destruction Sword to revive it.

The option to ditch a useless Destruction Sword to get back a monster that then places a 2600 ATK beater on the field is huge; it makes the Destruction Swords playable, while at the same time building momentum and giving you easy access to what serves as your primary win condition. You'll Summon Buster Whelp to search Buster Blader, the Destruction Swordsman, then Tribute Buster Whelp off to Special Summon it.

If it survives, then next turn you'll pitch a Destruction Sword to revive Buster Whelp, Tune it to Buster Blader to Synchro Summon Buster Dragon in defense mode, and then revive Buster Blader for free. On your opponent's turn you can then equip the Destruction Sword you discarded thanks to Buster Dragon's effect. You can even equip the effect-free Buster Whelp just to use it as a Dragon for Buster Blader, the Destruction Swordsman's effect; Buster Dragon turns all your opponent's monsters into Dragon-types, so you can yard Buster Whelp to destroy them all.

Note that while Buster Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman is absolutely key to this strategy and you must see it in the early game, you can search it with Where Arf Thou? or Draconnection, since Dragon Buster Destruction Sword's a matching Level 1 Dragon. Both monsters are also fodder for Cards of Consonance, offering draw power to make things a little more consistent. We'll talk more about this strategy when we look at the related Extra Deck monsters and support cards.

That's it for today, but join us again tomorrow when we look at the rest of the effect monsters in the Breakers of Shadow core release. Dracos, Dinomists, and the new Shiranui theme are joined by a wealth of awesome legacy monsters, tomorrow in Part 2 of our BOSH Giant Set Review!

-Jason Grabher-Meyer