There is a term used in modern naval warfare denoting the number of support and escort vessels that accompanies an aircraft carrier when it’s out on a mission: a “Carrier Battle Group” (CBG). The CBG is very important since its presence not only protects the aircraft carrier, but also enhances its battlefield performance as well. I’ve decided to borrow this term and modify it in order to discuss a number of cards in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG that act as a “Card Battle Group,” whose functions can also protect and enhance the battlefield effectiveness of the card I would like to talk about today: Elemental Hero Neos.
While it’s true that Elemental Hero Neos by itself is not an effect monster, that fact should not discount it from seeing actual play. I’m sure that some of you might be a little dismayed that, as a level 7 monster, it requires two tributes in order to normal summon it. That cost is pretty big, but Elemental Hero Neos is more than just a simple vanilla beatstick. Let’s all acknowledge one fundamental rule about playing this game: the player who gets a bigger monster on to the field usually dictates the tempo of the duel. When staring down an opposing monster with a scary ATK score, we must more than likely delve into our hand for some sort of trick that can neutralize that threat (with spells or traps, or a monster’s effect). Elemental Hero Neos has an ATK of 2500. That’s 100 points more than the popular choices of Jinzo or the Monarchs that you might encounter in other player’s decks. By virtue of its ATK strength (effect monster or no effect monster), Elemental Hero Neos may first elicit a look of scorn from your opponent when you play it, but that look will rapidly vanish as he or she starts looking for an answer to the threat you’ve placed on the board.
So what’s the most efficient way of getting Elemental Hero Neos out there to start doing damage to your opponent’s life points? Since it requires two tributes, you could do it the old-fashioned way and actually tribute two monsters to bring it out. This could be accomplished through the staying power of Spirit Reaper in conjunction with the continuous recursion of Treeborn Frog. You could also use Brain Control with one of the aforementioned monsters and bring it out that way, depriving your opponent of a monster as well. Kaiser Sea Horse, with its special ability to count as two monsters when tributing for a Light monster and its respectable ATK strength, gives you another, faster option to bring out Elemental Hero Neos. There is also the field spell card, Mausoleum of the Emperor, which allows you to pay life points as tribute in place of sacrificing any field presence you may have already established. Just as a friendly reminder, make sure you don’t have this field spell out if you are depending on Treeborn Frog for tribute fodder—you don’t want to wind up with a Frog stuck in your graveyard. Then you have Elemental Hero Necroshade, which allows us to normal summon an Elemental Hero from our hand if Necroshade is in the graveyard. Is it just me, or does anyone else think this card is perfect discard material for Graceful Charity? Discard Necroshade and use it to bring out Elemental Hero Neos and its 2500 ATK points.
So far, I’ve only mentioned ways to normal summon Elemental Hero Neos; I’ll now talk about the ways we can circumvent that entire normal summoning business and get to the fun that ensues when we special summon it instead.
The special summoning properties of cards like Premature Burial and Call of the Haunted are powerful, potentially game-winning effects. That’s why they are each limited to one per deck. Well, with Elemental Hero Neos, you have more than just those two cards to special summon it out of the graveyard. First up is O - Oversoul, a recursion card that seems tailor-made for Elemental Hero Neos. Play it, and your 2500 ATK attacker leaps out of the graveyard, ready to go. Soul Resurrection is a Call of the Haunted that only works with normal monsters, but is not limited to one per deck. Take care when timing the use of Soul Resurrection, since the monster you special summon that turn is placed in defense position. The key here is to apply pressure to the opponent with Elemental Hero Neos’s high ATK, so you want to attack with it as much as possible. The ideal move is to activate this trap during your opponent’s end phase, so you can switch your Elemental Hero Neos to attack position on your turn.
There are times when defense is not a bad position to employ, however, and Elemental Hero Neos’s DEF of 2000—in combination with Soul Resurrection—can protect you from some of your opponent’s monsters when they attack! Again, the combo with Graceful Charity is painfully obvious, and should definitely be used when given the opportunity. Aside from Graceful Charity, you can easily move Elemental Hero Neos from your hand to your graveyard in a number of ways. You could discard it to power the destructive effects of Lightning Vortex (now no longer limited!) or Raigeki Break. You could also employ the hand-cycling tricks of Morphing Jar or Card Destruction to simultaneously send Neos to your graveyard and disrupt any strategy your opponent may have been planning with the cards he or she had in hand. You could use E - Emergency Call to guarantee that Elemental Hero Neos is in your hand before you try one of the aforementioned tricks. Your opponent will be reeling when you not only hit him or her with one of those cards, but also special summon a 2500 ATK monster in the process.
So you’ve got your Elemental Hero Neos out and ready for battle. How can we use it to really put the pressure on our opponents? I’ll go old school first, and mention Non-Spellcasting Area. With this continuous spell card out, your Elemental Hero Neos (being a normal monster) is totally unaffected by spell cards. Period. You’ve thus cut down your opponent’s possible answers to the Elemental Hero Neos you have on the field. Cards like Brain Control, Smashing Ground, and Book of Moon are all useless against Neos in this situation. Your opponent now has to rely on a trap or monster effect in order to take it out, or else deal with Non-Spellcasting Area first. Of course, with all the recursion effects I mentioned before, even if Elemental Hero Neos hits the graveyard via an opponent’s Ring of Destruction or Exiled Force, that doesn’t mean it will be staying there for very long.
Now, your opponent will most likely start turning his or her monsters that are already out to defense position, or setting monsters from hand, until he or she draws an answer to the sheer brute power your Elemental Hero Neos represents. You can still do some nasty damage by activating H - Heated Heart (though make sure you don’t have Non-Spellcasting Area out). Not only will its ATK increase to an overall total of 3000, but Neos also will do piercing damage to any defense position monster it attacks during that turn. Your opponent’s life points will still be open to hits from it, applying pressure to him or her. To clear the opponent’s spell or trap zone for your Elemental Hero Neos’s attack run, aside from using Heavy Storm or Mystical Space Typhoon, you could also try R - Righteous Justice. In fact, Justice lets you leverage even more power from Neos’ field presence. The sheer size of Neos allows it to stick around longer than many of its compatriots and that can mean big things for Righteous Justice.
Since I’ve mentioned all the HERO support cards, I should mention that if you have all four of them in your graveyard, you can utilize the effect of HERO Flash!! to special summon another Elemental Hero Neos straight from your deck. Remember, if you have one copy of Elemental Hero Neos out when HERO Flash!! resolves, that Neos can attack your opponent’s life points directly.
When Elemental Hero Neos is in your hand, try activating the spell card Fake Hero and play Creature Swap. It’s a cool trick: hopefully, you’ll take a useful monster from your opponent, and then have your Neos return to your hand in the end phase. You could also let Neos protect your other monsters from your opponent’s monsters by activating the trap Hero Barrier. Weaker monsters like Don Zaloog or Breaker the Magical Warrior will at least be protected from one attack for a turn. Finally, you can use the spell card Metamorphosis and tribute your Elemental Hero Neos to special summon big monsters like St. Joan and Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon from your fusion deck, or you can summon The Last Warrior from Another Planet if you want to hamper your opponent’s options in summoning monsters.
Well, I sincerely hope I’ve shown this card’s playability from an open and fresh perspective. Trying out new cards and combos is what makes playing Yu-Gi-Oh! so exciting, and it’s my belief that you can never truly lose when you try out new ideas and strategies. As always, feel free to contact me at email@example.com if you have any comments or questions. Thanks again for reading, and I hope all of your duels are fun ones!