I give in! I tap! I wave a tattered white flag of resignation and defeat to indicate my surrender!
They’re making me preview two cards again. I am chagrinned and vexed to announce that I have already moved through the first five phases of grief right into “acceptance.”
So! If one is to truly accept one’s fate as wholly and as healthily as I (this is an important healing process, after all), such an individual should approach the task to which he or she has conceded his or her free will with exuberance and enthusiasm. Delicate alabaster chin up, I suppose.
Onward, students! Gaze upon today’s first of two new glimpses into Force of the Breaker!
Crystal Beast Amber Mammoth
Beast / Effect EARTH Level 4 1700 ATK / 1600 DEF
When a face-up “Crystal Beast” monster on your side of the field is attacked, you can change it so this card is being attacked instead. If this card is destroyed while it is a monster, instead of sending it to the Graveyard you can move it to your Spell & Trap Card Zone face up as a Continuous Spell Card.
Like all of Jesse Anderson’s Crystal Beasts, this one can be crystallized into a continuous spell when it would otherwise be destroyed and sent to the graveyard. Its primary effect isn’t as obviously powerful as that of Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus’s (hopefully you attended my lecture on that little gem last week), but it has its uses. Several Crystal Beasts with lower stats—such as Crystal Beast Amethyst Cat and Crystal Beast Cobalt Eagle—have effects that become more valuable the more you use them. Thus, keeping those monsters on the field carries a certain tactical weight, and due to Amber Mammoth’s superior size, he can shield them from mid-level attackers that would otherwise disrupt the intricate plans of the Crystal Beast duelist.
In truth, though, the phrase “superior size” reveals this monster’s true strength. With Sapphire Pegasus sitting at the top of the group’s offensive heap at 1800 ATK, Crystal Beast Amber Mammoth is the second-strongest member of the team when it comes to unboosted attack power. One other Crystal Beast has comparable ATK (you’ll have to go to your local Sneak Preview and put in some effort to see that one, slackers!), but you’ll probably want to run copies of all three simply because Crystal Beast decks need so many Crystal Beast monsters to fuel their effects consistently. Expect three copies of Sapphire Pegasus, three of the Crystal Beast I refuse to reveal (always slacking!), and three copies of Amber Mammoth to be very common, simply because Amber Mammoth’s 1700 ATK frame gives him a high utility that makes him safe to run in multiples.
Continuing with my deftly fluid segues and building off my previous statement, Crystal Beasts are fascinating because they solve one of the challenges facing every heavily-themed deck in existence: the need to run a large number of theme-specific cards. Sometimes a theme falls by the wayside and then slips right out of the competitive dueling scene simply because it necessitates the use of so many specific cards. That forces a duelist to forego powerful mainstream cards like Sakuretsu Armor and Mystical Space Typhoon, creating problems of utility that result in dead draws and an overall result that’s sadly less impressive than a simpler, un-themed deck. Indeed, more than half of a Crystal Beast build will often consist of completely specialized cards that no other deck could use, but in this case, the deck can support such a thing! The reason? Many of the Crystal Beast support cards happen to perform the same functions as high-utility cards you see splashed into many more basic decks, but as a reward for your dedication to a focused cause, they’re simply better. Here is an example . . .
Crystal Raigeki Trap
Choose 1 “Crystal Beast” card in your Spell & Trap Card Zone and send it to the Graveyard. Destroy 1 of your opponent’s cards on the field.
Did you get your Mystical Space Typhoon in my Sakuretsu Armor? Did I get my Sakuretsu in your Space Typhoon?! Who knows?! Crystal Raigeki is effectively both, and in the hands of a skilled duelist capable of proficiently managing his or her supply of spell-form Crystal Beasts, as many as three copies of Crystal Raigeki will be played over Typhoon and Sakuretsu. Once a single Crystal Beast is placed in your spell and trap zone, Crystal Raigeki is simply far more versatile than Typhoon or Sakuretsu could ever hope to be!
The improvement over Sakuretsu is perhaps the most noticeable. While Mystical Space Typhoon can be chained to a petulant opponent’s removal in order to make an advantageous and damaging trade, Sakuretsu Armor is all too often a sitting duck when targeted for destruction. Crystal Raigeki allows more options than its mundane parallels, and with proper skill and wit, those options translate into devastatingly superior performance. Game wins tend to follow.
Crystal Raigeki’s versatility fits the aggressive Crystal Beast deck’s pacing perfectly too, since it will address any problem that is keeping you from making effective attacks. Is there a Monarch blocking your way? Crystal Raigeki will clear it right out! Ready to take a few opposing monsters in battle, but fearing the delay and shift in momentum that Mirror Force might create? Raigeki will blow away whatever’s troubling you in your opponent’s spell and trap zone, leaving you free to enjoy the ruthless aggression that Crystal Beasts wield.
In fact, even when things go wrong and you lose multiple Crystal Beasts to your spell and trap zone due to an incorrect read or just an errant Lightning Vortex, Crystal Raigeki can cover for your misstep by destroying whatever your opponent’s biggest threat may be. The ability to turn your own losses into the solution to your biggest problem on the fly cannot be understated, and just as Crystal Raigeki can be an enabling card on offense, it is also an extremely potent defensive force when things aren’t going your way.
The Crystal Beasts require an incredible amount of dedication in order to be run competitively, but the rewards are simply unprecedented! Never before has it been so viable to run so many themed cards in one deck, and the results have never been better. Stay with us here at Metagame.com, because later this week, the lovely Julia Hedberg will be giving you one more glance at a deadly duo of Crystal Beast cards, and the best is most certainly yet to come!
—The Spiritually Broken Professor Crellian Vowler, PhD