It’s become an annual tradition for Yu-Gi-Oh players to expect some kind of grand collection when the end of the year starts to creep up on us. 2016 is no exception, following last year’s trend of releasing a series of theme decks all in one box. Sharing the spotlight with Joey and Kaiba this time around, Yugi and his two Battle City rivals return with decks blending new and old cards, many of which have become much harder to find through other means.
Starting with Joey, who had his own Joey’s World collection a few years ago, his deck naturally focuses on his Red Eyes Black Dragon. His featured cards include The Black Stone of Legend, a card that can be tributed to special summon a powerful Red Eyes monster from the deck. When in the Graveyard, it allows a Red-Eyes in the Graveyard to be shuffled back into the deck while the Stone itself goes back into your hand. Creating an easy way to continuously cycle Red-Eyes monsters in and out of your deck, it’s handy to have both in and out of the grave! Thesecond card, Return of the Red Eyes, is a continuous Trap Card that allows you to Special Summon a Normal Monster in your Graveyard while on the field. When destroyed, you can Special Summon a Red-Eyes monster from your Graveyard to the Field, providing a second way to filter in powerful monsters constantly. Lastly, Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragon is an Xyz Monster from the Clash of Rebellions set that can’t be destroyed by card effects AND inflicts 500 damage every time your opponent activates a card or effect after it resolves as long as it has Xyz material attached. When material is removed, you can Special Summon one Normal Red-Eyes monster from the grave, making sure it always has backup in a fight.
The rest of Joey’s deck features many of the classic cards he used throughout the original series, including common variant favorites of Jinzo, Scapegoats, Baby Dragon and Kunai with Chain. Top that off with some powerful staple support cards such as Torrential Tribute and Mystical Space Typhoon, and you have a ready made Red-Eyes deck that can become even more powerful once cards from other booster sets are mixed in.
Next up is Kaiba, who’s trademark Blue-Eyes cards had a resurgence this year thanks to a plethora of new support cards, many of which are represented here. Maiden with Eyes of Blue kicks things off, with the popular card from the Saga of Blue-Eyes White Dragon structure deck bringing its tricks into this package. Don’t let its 0 attack and 0 defense fool you, because it’s used to bait players into attacking it in order to easily summon the powerful Blue-Eyes instantly. When attacked, the move is negated, leading to one of the dragons being Special Summoned from the Hand, Deck or Graveyard. When targeted by a card effect, the same effect comes into play, minus the negation. This can take place once per turn during either player’s turn, so one cycle can have the maximum of three Blue-Eyes White Dragon cards on the field at once! If your opponent isn’t taking your bait, you can always target your own Maiden too! The Melody of Awakening Dragons provides a second option to get your dragons out of your deck, allowing you to add up to two Dragon-Type monsters with 3000 or more attack and 2500 or less defense. This is a perfect set up for Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon, the classic fusion monster that’s become a staple of Kaiba’s offense focused strategy. At 4500 attack and 3800 defense, good luck taking it down without a spell handy.
Like Joey, Kaiba’s deck is rounded out by new and old favorites, including the Synchro Monster, Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon, Protector with Eyes of Blue, Master with Eyes of Blue, Beacon of White, La-Jinn- Mystical Genie of the Lamp, Battle Ox, Burst Stream of Destruction and Enemy Controller to name a few. Naturally, it’s also packed with three Blue-Eyes White Dragon cards, each of which are common variants of the first three art styles used for the iconic monster.
But as always, Yugi is the star of the show, which is why he gets six featured cards, three of which are exclusive to this set! The first three are a trio most should be familiar with by now, with the classic designs for Slifer the Sky Dragon, Obelisk the Tormentor and The Winged Dragon of Ra sitting on top of the deck with their Ultra Rare variants. His exclusive cards revolve around Exodia, the all powerful god / meme that Yugi famously defeated Kaiba with in the first episode of the Duel Monsters anime. The Legendary Exodia Incarnate allows you to summon the monster as its own creature rather than the instant win device it has become known for when all of its body parts have been assembled. With 0 defense and fluctuating attack strength, it gains 1000 attack points for every “Forbidden One” card in your Graveyard. At the end of its user’s turn, it asks them to add one “Forbidden One” card from the grave to their hand, making Exodia weaker in the process. While it can’t be affected by card effects, destroying it in battle lets its user draw a card for every “Forbidden One” card in their hand, allowing them to cycle through their deck faster for that precious instant win, all while bringing cards back from the grave that might have been lost otherwise. Ties of the Brethren is a Spell Card that Special Summons two cards of the same attribute and type with different names to the field at the cost of 2000 Life Points, obviously meant to set up two Exodia pieces. Finally, the Obliterate!!! Continuous Trap Card allows you to discard a “Forbidden One” card from your hand or deck to send a monster on the field back to its user’s hand. When destroyed, you can add one “Forbidden One” card from the gave to your hand, but only one of the two effects can be used per turn.
To be honest, I’m struggling with finding the usefulness of these exclusive cards, mainly because their effects don’t seem worth the cost of losing your Exodia pieces, especially when they seem counter productive to other cards in the deck like Exodia Necross, which is destroyed if all pieces aren’t in the Graveyard. It seems like many of the stall and draw decks that currently exist would work much better to accomplish what these cards seem to set up. Outside of Exodia: The Forbidden One and its four limbs, Yugi’s deck also comes with cards used by both his normal form and Atem, including the Dark Magician, Dark Magician Girl, the Silent Magician series, Swords of Revealing Light, Magic Cylinder and Mirror Force. These should give players plenty to work with when building custom decks, especially to compliment the new magician cards that came out earlier in the year.
The decks aren’t all that come packed with these legendary decks, since three promos and three tokens are included in each set exclusively. Consisting of two Spell Cards and one Trap Card that are meant to power up the Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl, Dark Burning Attack destroys all face up monsters your opponent controls if you control the female variant. If you control both, Dark Burning Magic can act as a quick play spell, letting you destroy all cards on your opponent’s field during either of your turns. Mimicking the magician’s eternal loyalty for the Pharoh in the anime and manga, the Eternal Soul continuous trap card makes sure you always have a Dark Magician at your side. While on the field, Dark Magician can’t be affected by card effects from your opponent, while allowing you to either Special Summon a Dark Magician from your hand or Graveyard, or add Thousand Knives or Dark Magic Attack spells from your deck to your hand. The only drawback is if the trap is destroyed, all monsters on your side of the field go with it. Outside of these cards, tokens featuring the three heroes this set is built on round out this jam packed set, which I’m sure comes in handy for someone like Joey, who would want to line up four Kaiba tokens to have them get taken down during one of his notorious Scapegoat plays.
Overall, this is an excellent set for people who are mostly familiar with the old cards, but want some new ones mixed in to help them get re-acquainted with the game. While the Yugi set is confusing in the way its set up, the other two have excellent synergy, and the three promo cards that support the magicians more than make up for any shortcomings the Yugi deck has. While it pains me to say this as a Blue-Eyes fan, the Red-Eyes deck is the all star this time around, with some fantastic cards that not only play well, but are much harder to get outside of this set
My biggest concern however, is that we might be going to the nostalgia well a bit too often with these sets. Last year’s Legendary Decks had three Yugi decks, and many of the cards here were already released back then. When you add in the previously mentioned Joey’s World, the many Battle City re-releases, the movie cards that offered some reprints of classic monsters, the Duelist Packs featuring Yugi and Kaiba, and the theme decks featuring these characters, it’s starting to feel like we’re buying the same cards over and over again rather than being introduced to new ones. Now I might be biased since I love Kaiba, but this year felt like the perfect time to give him his own set with all of the brand new Blue-Eyes support that has released. Maybe next year?
Nonetheless, you can’t got wrong with over 150 cards of Yu-Gi-Oh goodness. At the retail price of $29.99, you’re getting more than what you paid for considering some of the rare cards that are in this set. What are your favorite cards from the box, and what do you want to see in the future? Let us know in the comments!