Okay, last week I dealt with a card designed for Six Samurai decks, and I had a thing or two to say about the recent trends in combo-driven deckbuilding. This week, I’m back with a new pair of combo-oriented cards for a brand new deck type that I can’t wait to see in action. I’ve often felt that there is a dearth of really cute monsters in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG. (And I don’t want to hear any comments about that being “girly.” Guys get super mushy over that Winged Kuriboh plush too, you know. And I’ve been very up-front about my love for the Dinosaurs, none of which are particularly “aaaaw”–inspiring.) Anyway, most of the monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh! are of the large, muscular, scale-and-armor-clad variety, so it’s nice to get a break from that now and then—and Force of the Breaker will oblige us with the Crystal Beasts! These are an interesting breed of monster, and have attracted a lot of attention due to their unusual effects—instead of allowing them to be sent to the graveyard when destroyed, you can move them to your spell or trap zone instead, where they will await future orders. They come in varying degrees of cuddle-ability, but few can surpass the unbridled adorableness that is Crystal Beast Ruby Carbuncle.
And she’s not just cute—she’s pretty useful too. So if you’re even mildly interested in building a Crystal Beast deck, you’ll be scouting for copies. This is a Fairy-type monster, with a Light attribute (right away, you figure she has to be cute). She’s also a lightweight kind of monster—Level 3 and only 300 ATK and DEF—but the effect is what really makes you want to pick her up and squeeze her. When she’s special summoned, you may special summon as many Crystal Beast monsters as you can from your spell and trap zone. If you’ve been benching them for a few turns, here’s your chance to get them all back out on the field of battle.
Even if Ruby Carbuncle wasn’t so gosh-darn cute, any player working on a Crystal Beast deck will want to playtest with her, if not make her an auto-in. She works especially well when you use her alongside another upcoming card:
Crystal Promise! This is a spell card that lets you choose one Crystal Beast in your spell or trap zone and special summon it. It’s like these cards were just made for each other, isn’t it? If you really want to have fun, you can get that pretty, pretty pony we saw earlier—Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus—and throw it into the mix as well! Just summon Pegasus, use its effect to pop another Crystal Beast into your spell or trap zone (Ruby is a good candidate, or even another Pegasus if you’ve already got a Ruby), use Crystal Promise to special summon Ruby, and tell Ruby to invite all her friends! That’s not a bad way to end a game.
The absolutely great thing about Ruby’s effect is that once those Crystal Beasts are all special summoned by Ruby, there aren’t any strings attached. Unlike Dimension Fusion, Ruby won’t special summon monsters for your opponent. Unlike Return from the Different Dimension, your special summoned Crystal Beasts stay on the field until they’re destroyed again (and remember, they can go back to the spell or trap zone no matter how many times they are destroyed while they’re monsters! Do you see how incredibly aggravating these things can be for your opponent?). Ruby doesn’t have a cost, either—you don’t discard anything, you don’t pay any life points, all you have to do is special summon her! That low ATK and DEF can be a liability if she’s ever in attack position, but since Crystal Promise can special summon her in defense, you’ve still got a way around those low stats. Besides, you want her to be destroyed so you can move her to the spell and trap zone!
It’s fairly easy to get Ruby when you need her—she can be searched from the deck with Sangan, Nova Summoner, or Shining Angel—and the latter two cards will also trigger her effect. Premature Burial and Call of the Haunted will work as long as they are link 1 on the chain (you can’t use Call of the Haunted in response to say, Heavy Storm, and then expect to get Ruby’s effect, because it is optional and will miss the timing).
There was a time when many a player scoffed aloud at combo-oriented decks. “Combo decks are too conditional—full of potential dead draws—and if you don’t draw the right hand, you’ll lose,” they said, while clutching their Chaos and Monarch decks tightly to their chests. However, if you look over the decklists for the last few Shonen Jumps, you’ll see plenty of combo-fueled decks that performed fantastically. As a result, players are more willing to experiment with decks they wouldn’t otherwise touch, with the occasional startling result! The Crystal Beast monsters can make for a lot of interesting tricks, and we need some enterprising players to discover even more. You’ll probably pull at least a few of these guys at your Sneak Preview—sure, put together something devastating to win that event, but then take it a step further and see what you can do for an Advanced format deck. You might just hit upon something really amazing!