That'll round out our look at the effect monsters from the core set, paving the way for an in-depth review of the Ritual, Fusion, Xyz, and Synchro monsters in Part 3. Let's get started with a definite hit; a new monster that's already making big waves in serious competition.
Master Pendulum, the Dracoslayer is nothing world-shaping, but it's a powerful, consistent addition to the under-served Draco theme and it's already making an impact in tournaments. It's hugely important for the new Draco Face-Off, and it's another Dracoslayer that works in tandem with Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer.
As a Scale 3 it overlaps neatly with Vector Pendulum, the Dracoverlord, and its Pendulum Effect is often free disruption to help you harass your opponent's infrastructure. We'll discuss Master Pendulum later in the Giant Set Review when we talk about Draco Face-Off. For now, know that it's a likely one-of that really rounds out the new Draco Pendulum suite, elevating Dracoverlords and Dracoslayers toward the level of Magicians, Performapals, and Performages.
The Dinomists are currently a six-monster tribe; half are Level 4, and half are Level 5. They're all Pendulum Monsters at Scale 3 or Scale 6, so there's nothing in the Dinomist roster you can't Pendulum Summon.
Which is important, because the Dinomists are all about swarming the field to take quick wins, leveraging Pendulum Summons and inherent Special Summons. There are two different Pendulum Effects across the six monsters, both of which protect your Dinomist cards – hopefully long enough for you to claim victory. Their monster effects are all centered on Special Summoning or battle; there's not a single Ignition Effect amongst them. Let's start by looking at the three Level 4 Dinomists.
Dinomist Pteran has the highest ATK of the three Level 4's, and when it wins a battle you get a free search effect. The Dinomist theme has multiple search abilities to bring your gameplan together quickly, and Pteran's a strong early or mid-game play to help you set up your Scales and get the right monsters into action. All the Scale 3 Dinomists have the same Pendulum Effect: you can destroy them to protect Dinomist cards from destruction. Since the Dinomist Spell you destroy just goes to your Extra Deck when that happens, that effect offers efficient protection from defensive traps, and it can ensure that your field remains clogged with Dinomists if your opponent's trying to clear the way for damage.
Dinomist Stegosaur is smaller at 1600 ATK, but shares the same Scale of 3 and the same Pendulum Effect preventing the destruction of your Dinomists. As a monster, it can help your other Dinomists swing through bigger threats or eliminate Blockers that can't be destroyed by battle.
Dinomist Plesios falls between Stegosaur and Pteran with 1700 ATK, and it's the one Level 4 Dinomist that's Scale 6. That means it has a different Pendulum Effect: instead of destroying it to shield other cards from destruction, you can destroy it to negate an effect that was targeting any of your other Dinomists. Again, it helps press through attacks and keep a strong field that can block damage when your opponent would otherwise soften your defenses.
When you control Plesios, it reduces the ATK and DEF of your opponent's monsters incrementally for each Dinomist card you control – including your Dinomist Pendulum Spells. That's a powerful effect when you're swarming the field and control as many as seven Dinomists; it's especially great if you have multiple copies of Plesios going at once. It helps you eliminate problem monsters and lets you push for more damage.
Moving along to the Level 5 Dinomists, they're all easy to Pendulum Summon and two have inherent Special Summon effects as well. Dinomist Rex is the odd one out having no Special Summon ability, but instead packing a trigger effect that goes off whenever it attacks. It lets you Tribute another Dinomist to make a second attack on a monster, with piercing damage; or Tribute to shuffle a card from your opponent's hand or field back into their deck, giving Dinomist Rex a 100 ATK boost.
The extra attack can help create OTK's and game-winning presses, while the hand disruption wards off removal effects and opposing combos. Both abilities are pretty awesome since they're virtually guaranteed pluses; whatever you Tribute just goes to your Extra Deck anyways, and can be returned to the field as early as the same turn.
At Scale 6, Dinomist Rex has the anti-targeting ability of Dinomist Plesios. It also has the most ATK of any of the current Dinomists; an impressive 2400 attack points that grows over time thanks to that shuffle effect.
Dinomist Brachion's a Scale 6 as well, and the smallest Level 5 Dinomist at just 2000 ATK. Its inherent Special Summon effect lets you Summon it for free when your opponent's in control of the field, sort of like a Cyber Dragon that you can still Special Summon when you control monsters. It's great for making Rank 5 Xyz Summons to out something bigger, lending itself to something like Number 61: Volcasaurus or Constellar Pleiades.
While the Dinomist's are so easy to Pendulum Summon, the inherent Special Summon options let you press through mass removal traps sequentially, giving you a better way to approach stuff like Grand Horn of Heaven, Horn of Heaven, and Bottomless Trap Hole. That bit of flexibility can mean the difference between losing all your momentum or raking in free card advantage, so make sure you consider how best to use it.
Dinomist Ceratops is the lone Scale 3 Dinomist at Level 5, slightly larger than Brachion at 2100 ATK. It has a similar Special Summon ability, but it's easier to use since it's not dependent on your opponent's field whatsoever. As long as you control at least one Dinomist, you can throw Ceratops on the field like a reverse Cyber Dragon.
The Dinomist spell and trap cards are integral to the strategy and two of their three support cards have powerful search effects to keep things consistent. Stay tuned for those later in the Giant Set Review.
Majespecter Toad – Ogama plays like a mash-up of Majespecter Fox – Kyubi and Majespecter Crow – Yata. While Kyubi searches your deck for a Majespecter trap card and adds it to your hand, and Yata searches a Majespecter spell in the same fashion, Ogama can search either – it gets a spell or a trap. The catch is that whatever you search is set immediately, and can't be activated that turn.
For a trap card that's no big deal, since they can't be activated the turn you set them anyways. For spells, it means a one turn delay comparable to Majespecter Cat – Nekomata. With 1300 ATK it's a much better attacker than Nekomata and Yata, and offers a lot of flexibility.
It's not a tremendous game changer, but it's definitely a useful card. You're trading some level of speed for versatility, but I think it's a worthwhile compromise.
The Shiranui are a new Zombie theme that builds off old banish-for-a-sweet-effect cards like Mezuki and Plaguespreader Zombie. Bouncing cards in and out of the removed zone has always been a Zombie hallmark, but the Shiranui take the concept to new levels: most of them have an effect that triggers when they're banished, and the few that don't can banish the other Shiranuis as enablers.
Shiranui Samurai's the simplest of the bunch and often the best banishing candidate – it's the lynchpin of the strategy with a powerful recursion effect that returns any other Shiranui from your graveyard to your hand.
Meanwhile the Samurai has 1800 ATK and an effect that lets you banish any Zombie from your graveyard – Shiranui or otherwise – to boost Shiranui Samurai by 600 ATK for the rest of the turn. That comes with a bonus, too: if the Samurai successfully gains that ATK, you'll banish any monster it battles with after damage calculation.
Adding a free +1 recursion trick to a lot of your effects that require you to banish a Shiranui from your graveyard can quickly snowball into big card advantage, and Shiranui Samurai's especially good with one of the Shiranui support cards we'll look at in Part 4. It's an efficient beatstick that recycles some of your best cards, creates combos, and eliminates problem monsters.
Shiranui Spiritmaster's a sort of Gishki Beast or Crane Crane for Shiranuis: when you Normal Summon it you can go into an Xyz or Synchro Summon for free, by reviving another Shiranui from your graveyard. If you need to play aggressively in the early game it can also Special Summon from your hand, and when the Special Summoned monster's sent to the graveyard it's banished instead. That's normally a drawback, but here it can play to your benefit, banishing to trigger effects. Since the Shiranui Tuner's Level 2 and one of their key Synchros is Level 6, the plays here largely write themselves.
Spiritmaster's arguably the second best banish trigger next to Shiranui Samurai, destroying a face-up card with its effect. That can eliminate floodgates, Pendulum Spells, or clear monsters to allow for big damaging attacks, and it combos really well with the signature Shiranui trap card to make it much more powerful than it looks. The card's pretty simple, but it's hugely versatile and built on strong fundamentals. It allows for adaptive play sequences that your opponents might not anticipate if they aren't ready for the match-up.
Shiranui Smith is the last Level 4 Shiranui in Breakers of Shadow, searching you a Shiranui card from your deck whenever you use it as Synchro Material. It effectively makes your Synchro Summons into 1-for-1's and helps advance your strategy by getting you whatever you want, including on-theme spells and traps. Both Shiranui Style Swallow's Slash and Shiranui Style Synthesis are tremendously important to the strategy, so having an easy way to search them out is tremendous.
When you banish the Smith, it protects all of your Zombies from battle for the turn. There are lots of ways to trigger that effect on your opponent's turn, but the most common are going to be Swallow's Slash and the simple ATK boost of Shiranui Samurai. Since the Shiranui deck usually wins through a two-turn plan of attack at best, that effect can be more valuable in this format than one might assume.
Note that all of the Shiranui with banish effects can be returned to your graveyard with PSY-Framelord Omega; handy in a deck that can make Level 8 Synchro Summons with relative ease.
Speaking of, you'll make those Synchro plays with this thing: Shiranui Spectralsword. On one hand it's just a Level 2 Tuner – you can play it in a fairly uncomplicated fashion when you need to. But you can also banish it from your graveyard along with a non-Tuner Zombie to Special Summon a Zombie Synchro from your Extra Deck with matching Levels. Since the Shiranui offer Zombie-types at Level 6 and Level 8, it's easy to banish a Level 4 plus Spectralsword to make the Level 6, or banish the Level 6 for the Level 8. Since you're paying entirely in cards from your graveyard, your Special Summon's basically free.
…Or better! Since if you banish Shiranui Samurai you recur a free card from your graveyard, and removing Shiranui Spiritmaster means you get to destroy something. Shiranui Smith's search effect won't apply since you're making a Special Summon and not a Synchro Summon, but if you're faux-tuning with Samurai or Spiritmaster you're effectively getting a free +2. Each of the Shiranui Synchros has another banishing effect that can trigger Samurai or Spiritmaster for another +1 as well. Follow that up with say, a successful attack, and you're generating a ton of momentum for zero effort.
You can't banish Spectralsword for its effect the same turn it hits the graveyard, and that's a big reason why the theme has a one-two punch sort of pacing. But man, what a couple of punches. While nothing here is quite as free as Pendulum Summoning, there was clearly some effort to create something that could compete on a similar level. With the right full-stop defense there could be some potential here, and one of the Shiranui support cards is a big removal effect that helps send the strategy in that direction. It's cool stuff, it just doesn't have quite the level of early game consistency of say, Performapals.
Not that anything does, but yeah.
Dark Doriado's a fascinating card, since it can essentially search out any monster in a similar fashion to the now-Forbidden Lavalval Chain, placing it on top of your deck so you can nab it with a draw effect (or just by waiting around). To play it, you need to run a strategy with all four of the key attributes – Fire, Water, Wind, and Earth – which is no small feat, but in no way impossible.
Doriado itself is a solid 1800 ATK beatstick that you can play aggressively and then Pendulum Summon back later, and while its Pendulum Effect isn't much to write home about, throwing it to the Extra Deck when your opponent runs it over is definitely better than sending it to the graveyard, and it makes good Xyz Material. While Doriado's ability will conflict with poorly timed search effects that might disrupt the cards you stack, it still feels really unique and potentially very useful for combo decks that wouldn't exist otherwise.
I don't think there's a killer app for this card yet, but it's a combo player's dream and it's definitely going to do something in the future. There's some discussion of playing it in Sylvans, since they excavate and have key monsters at all four Attributes: Sylvan Sagequoia and Sylvan Peaskeeper are Wind; Sylvan Marshalleaf's Water; Sylvan Hermitree's a Fire, as is Sylvan Komushroomo; and many of their enablers are Earths. There's some potential there, but I'm more interested in what this card can do to draw together cards that wouldn't fit in a single theme and might not be so accessible otherwise. There's a lot to think about here.
Want to watch my eyes glaze over as I fade out of the real world and into my own personal Happy Place? Just say the words "Guiding Ariadne" and watch me float away on a socially awkward cloud…
So, things to know about Guiding Ariadne: it makes Solemn Warning and Solemn Strike free, and it searches them whenever it's destroyed. The card works a lot like Performage Plushfire, in that its monster effect triggers whenever it's destroyed as a monster, or as a Pendulum Spell. That means if you pop it with Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer, you get a free Counter Trap. If you hit it with Wavering Eyes, or your opponent does so, you get a free Counter Trap. If you Pendulum Summon it after sending it to your Extra Deck with Luster Pendulum, and you leave it on the field as a 1700 ATK beatstick and your opponent runs it over, you get a free Counter Trap.
The tricky bit is that to use Ariadne repeatedly, you need to run enough Counter Traps to keep the love going. If you don't have three Counter Traps left in your deck, you don't get anything. The importance of that fact is sort of limited by how long you expect a game to go, tempered by the irony of the fact that every Counter Trap you get for free is likely to shorten the game in your favor anyways. So take that with a grain of salt when you're deciding how many Counter Traps you think you need, and then test carefully; I'd expect to see a lot of people only expecting to use that effect twice anyways, and thus playing triple Solemn Strike and one Solemn Warning.
But, remember that doing so means a 49.3% chance of opening with one Counter Trap in your hand right off the bat, limiting you to just one Ariadne resolution, as well as a 10% chance of opening with two and never getting to play that effect at all. This is probably a six card suite at the slimmest – two Ariadne and four trap cards – and can benefit from more card slots beyond that, so expect it to compete with other Pendulum variant suites, namely Dracos. It can easily limit your use of Traptrix Rafflesia too. It's very tough to find room for Ariadnes, Counter Traps, and at least two "Trap Hole" cards for Rafflesia.
So yeah, you're going to see Ariadne in a wide variety of Pendulum Variants moving forward, and it's going to have an impact on major competition. But it also revitalizes the long-shelved Counter Fairy strategy at the same time, finally giving the deck a clear way to get a leg up in the early game before it gets going with Bountiful Artemis. The two age-old problems challenging the Counter Fairy strategy were always forward thrust – it often didn't have enough raw attack to close out games – and the challenge of matching the right Counter Traps to the right situations. A lot of Counter Traps like Divine Wrath, Wiretap, and Magic Jammer are only useful to stop one particular action, and it was common for a Counter Fairy duelist to find themselves with two or even three cards set, and absolutely no way to use any of them.
Guiding Ariadne solves those problems, offering an aggressive Pendulum Monster that can hit the field again and again, played aggressively to more than double the damage of Bountiful Artemis alone. And when it comes time to actually match your Counter Traps to your opponent's threats, Ariadne offers some element of selection while as well as just sheer numbers. It's the nature of the beast: the more Counter Traps you have, the better your chance to have the right one at the right time. Add the flexibility of Ultimate Providence when it's played without cost thanks to a Pendulum Zoned Ariadne, and suddenly everything old is new again.
It's an awesome card, that manages to be both relevant to immediate competition and a great addition for an old-timey fan favorite deck that hasn't seen play in years. It doesn't get better than that.
Al-Lumi'raj continues the Wyrm-typed mechanic of screwing with monster stats, accomplishing that goal in a more straightforward fashion than we're perhaps used to compared to cards like Night Dragolich and Lindbloom, and replacing their complicated design with a name that's wildly complicated to remember instead. Al-Lumi'raj will stunt itself down to 1300 ATK, so it doesn't become a one-shot answer to most high-Level monsters seeing play these days, but it's also a Level 3 Tuner to compensate for its general awkwardness.
If there's a really great use for this card, I certainly haven't figured it out yet. But being a Level 3 Tuner you can Special Summon with Unmasked Dragon means it's worth a nod in this Set Review anyways.
Toon Buster Blader's another Toon that won't implode the moment Toon World leaves the field, so that's… good? Its effect is also virtually irrelevant, it needs two Tributes to hit the field, and you can't search it with Buster Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman. You can Special Summon it with Buster Whelp, and having a fourth Buster Blader could be useful, but you already had a fourth Buster Blader.
You know: Buster Blader.
I guess you can search this Buster Blader with Toon Table of Contents, but since it can't attack the turn it hits play that trade-off just doesn't seem worthwhile. With Red-Eyes Toon Dragon still waiting in the wings there's definitely more exciting stuff on the Toon horizon.
Deskbot 007 continues the relatively new trend of Deskbot Pendulum monsters, doubling over Deskbot 005 at Scale 10. While 005 offered a powerful Special Summon effect when destroyed, becoming the basis of some truly nutty combos, Deskbot 007's more of a finisher, gaining power from your graveyard in a way we haven't seen in previous Deskbot releases.
While that might seem a bit narrow, 007's protection effect can direct your opponent's attacks and help you build a field over the course of one or two turns in slower match-ups, and since it bumps back to your Extra Deck every time it's destroyed it can be a recurring pest to hamper your opponent's aggression. As a Level 7 it also allows for more Deskbot Jet plays, too.
Deskbot 008 is similar, doubling over Deskbot 006 at Scale 1 and sharing Deskbot 007's affinity for the graveyard. Directing targeted effects to itself, it can help push OTK's through a limited number of trap cards in a similar fashion to Deskbot 007, but also fends off Effect Veiler. That said, the real value may be just the sheer redundancy: Pendulum Summoning's pretty huge for Deskbots, and the ability to have a few more Pendulum Scale cards may prove valuable all on its own.
Neither card seems as revolutionary as Deskbot 005 and Deskbot 006 were, but maybe Pasquale can prove me wrong on that?
I know you're reading this, Crociata! DON'T ACT LIKE YOU CAN'T SEE ME.
Engraver of the Mark: for when you really, really don't want to get hit with Mind Crush. Or Psi-Blocker. Or Prohibition. Or Archfiend's Oath?
Basically it's a strong frontrunner for the title of Worst Hand Trap Ever.
But, it's got 1800 ATK, it's Level 4, and that slow removal effect is still technically a free +1? Don't get me wrong, this thing is bad, both for competition and for limiting design on anything that declares card names moving forward, but it's at least bad with decent stats. There are so few out-and-out tragic cards in this set.
"Finally! Just what My Ground Collapse deck needed!" Said no one. Ever.
This card has one purpose, which is to be an example of how Short Prints actually work in Yu-Gi-Oh. Zany Zebra didn't appear on the printing sheet one less time than other Commons because it's a mega-powerful card that someone just doesn't want you to have. The truth is in fact the precise opposite: virtually every core set Short Print is selected for being overly complicated and usually underpowered.
Even Ojama King's like, "Dude, just go home."
And that's it! Those are all the effect monsters in Breakers of Shadow's initial 80 cards, which means that tomorrow in Part 3 we'll turn our focus to the Ritual, Fusion, Xyz, and Synchro Monsters that occupy the center portion of the set. From there we'll look at the spells and traps in Part 4, the World Premieres in Part 5, and the amazingly choice OCG Imports in Part 6 to close everything out. We've almost reached the halfway point in our Giant Set Review, so join us tomorrow as we continue.