Hello everyone, welcome back to another installment of my Casual Deck Strategy articles! This time, instead of focusing on an underused archetype, why don’t we spend some time on some unusual applications of the brand new Mask Change Second and the new Masked HEROs recently released in the new Structure Deck in the OCG! Let’s suit up and jump right into the action! What is so Special about Mask Change Second?
While this may just seem like a stupid version of Mask Change for HERO decks, because it requires a discard, this one Quick-Play Spell actually opens the Masked HERO group to a much larger pool of archetypes. Each Masked HERO packs a powerful effect; from Acid’s S/T wipe to Dark Law’s one-sided Banisher of the Radiance; from Kamikaze’s battle restrictions to Koga’s ATK boosts. Sure, the EARTH, FIRE and LIGHT Masked HEROs might be a tad less useful outside of HERO decks, but after all, the WATER, DARK and WIND is where it is at in terms of power options for a few older archetypes. Let’s jump into a few examples as I try to teach you the power of this awesome tech! Masked HERO Kamikaze:
So what’s so special about a 2700 Level 8 monster? First off, your opponent must resort to effects to get around it which is nothing new, but it also grants you an extra card each time it destroys an opposing monster by battle.The easiest comparison is to the other Fusion Elemental HERO with a similar effect: Nova Master. Except with Kamikaze, you’re trading a discard and a WIND monster for an additional 2 effects AND 100 extra ATK. But let’s check out a few archetypes that benefit the most from this, most notably Gusto!
The Gusto is a Duel Terminal archetype that focuses around Synchro Summoning and effects when its members are destroyed by battle or sent to the Graveyard by a card effect. But the most powerful monster the Gusto keep in their arsenal is Gusto Griffin, a Level 2 non-Tuner that Special Summons a Gusto monster from your Deck when it is sent from the hand to the Graveyard. So best case scenario, you have Gusto Griffin and Mask Change Second in hand with a face-up Gusto Gulldo. Activate Second, discarding Griffin and targeting your face-up Gulldo. The spell resolves, summoning Kamikaze, then Griffin activates. In resolution it lets you Special Summon Pilica, Descendant of Gusto with Griffin. Pilica then activates, special summoning back Gulldo from the Graveyard. This leads into the obvious Sphreez Synchro play, adding Gulldo back to hand. If you haven’t Normal Summoned yet, and your opponent has a monster with 2800 ATK, that’s an OTK Sphreez Loop, not counting a potential attack from your newly summoned Kamikaze. And anyone running a Sphreez OTK Gusto variant knows to run Lava Golem for the ATK restriction.
The point is, Gusto now have another way to trigger Griffin that can let them gain even more advantage, and a way to exert even more pressure on the opponent, with the release of a HERO support card! And Kamikaze gives the Gusto more speed to draw into its other combos. As much as I hate to say it, you cannot win with “destroyed by battle” effects alone. Or maybe you’re not on the Gusto hypetrain just yet, but there is another WIND archetype that can gain a lot of power off of Mask Change Second and Kamikaze… Harpies. Before you give me that look, Harpies just got a way to get a 2400 monster out without Xyz Summoning. In addition, Second can trigger another important card, Hysteric Sign. Harpie decks never had had much draw power, and they have the innate backrow control that Kamikaze requires to attack safely during your turn. Don’t forget Mecha Phantom Beasts as well, as you can trigger O-Lion off of the discard! Just be wary not to try and send a MPB with too high of a Level!
Masked HERO Dark Law:
So what is so special about Dark Law? Well first off, he is a one-sided Banisher of the Radiance. While that seems powerful to start, don’t forget that he also counters heavy searching or drawing decks with the second ability. But the most powerful part of his effect has to be his ability to be summoned using one of the most versatile attributes, DARK. Dark Law really has no equivalent Elemental HERO to be compared to, because Escuridao really isn’t useful for anything outside of HERO decks. (At least Nova Master still gives you a draw.) As before, let’s talk about where Dark Law can truly shine, and that is in Shaddolls!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the impending doom soon to enter the TCG in the next pack, DUEA, the Shaddoll is a fusion-based archetype where all of its Main Deck monsters have an effect when flipped face-up and an effect when sent to the Graveyard by a card effect. So if you’re sending a Shaddoll you control to the Graveyard for Mask Change Second… the Shaddoll’s effect will make up for that part of the cost. But what’s more important for this Masked HERO is that he can be Special Summoned on Chain Link 2, since Second is a Quick-Play spell! Chain Mask Change Second to something like Dragon Shrine, automatically forcing your opponent to banish one of their dragons. Chain Second to Bujin Yamato‘s effect, forcing them to banish a card from the hand instead of loading the Graveyard with a Turtle or Hare. And then due to Dark Law’s second effect, Bujins have to banish yet another card from the hand. Chain Second to an Artifact Movement targeting their own card, and your opponent will begin crying. Sure, Dark Law works great with the Shaddoll due to triggering them, but its effects are powerful enough as just a chainable option for any deck running a healthy number of DARK monsters that can support the discard.
Another archetype that fits the bill would be Archfiends. Archfiend Hieress loves to be sent to the Graveyard by a card effect, so why not just send her with Second? Or perhaps you prefer to use a Tour Guide that has already used her ability to tutor a monster from the deck? This strategy may work in Archfiends, but it also fits in perfectly with the Dark World. Gravekeeper’s just got another controlling option, this time controlling what goes to the Graveyard and having a harsh punishment for searching. Adding to the horror of the other control based DARK archetype, Evilswarm just locked you down that much more. Infernity get a way to discard and gain control of the duel when needed. And don’t forget Blackwings, especially if you run Vayu who loves to be sent to the Graveyard.
Masked HERO Acid: Acid may not be the Masked HERO with the greatest ATK, but it certainly boasts the highest number of intimidate pluses in card advantage. You successfully summon this guy, and you just wiped your opponents backrow. Sure, I’ll be the first to say that you may not be happy when your opponent has a backrow of Artifacts, but against just about any other deck, Acid loves to put in work for the rest of your deck. So let’s see, what archetype will I bring out of my hat as playing this guy so much more successfully? Hmm… Let’s see… Sharks! Yes, you heard me right. Sharks in the OCG may have been an archetype designed for the anime, but they boast a variety of powerful effects, especially Mermaid Shark. While the main purpose to date for Mermaid was its ability to add a Fish-Type to the hand while being fodder for Fish Depth Charge, Sharks have a ton of cards they want to get into the Graveyard. Cards such as Fishborg Archer, Gazer Shark, Friller Racba… And Sharks are only going to get better with the release of Fishborg Doctor, Silent Angler, and Doublefin Shark, all of which remain OCG-Exclusive for the time being. With Acid, they now have a way to clear the path for large Xyz combo plays or simply add to the advantage thats swinging in their favor.
But perhaps you’re less of an anime-player, so let’s focus on another deck where this shines. Yes, of course Acid shines in Mermail. With the perfect discards of Tidal and Gunde or the less than perfect Mermail you don’t quite need at the moment, you can wipe your opponent’s backrow DURING their turn. That’s extremely potent for Mermail, who typically are known for using Atlanteans during their turn to eliminate threats. Acid is just another combo option waiting on the table. But what if you don’t like any of the WATER archetypes listed so far? Mask Change Second also fits like a glove in Frogs with their recurring monsters, such as Treeborn Frog or Ronintoadin. Penguins just love to put Nopenguin to use after Summoning him back! Ice Barrier get to turn that Strategist of the Ice Barrier into a monster that destroys opponents cards instead of simply preventing destruction of their own.
Multiple Masked HEROs:
So why bring up the power of how Masked HERO’s don’t have to be used in mono-attribute decks? Because Masked Change Second makes that possible, giving them a new lease on life by giving them a toolbox of options from the Extra Deck when needed. Decks that have fallen out of favor such as Zombies can benefit from discarding Mezuki‘s and Plaguespreaders to have the option of summoning out Dark Law or Koga. Plant Synchro variants can employ Masked HEROS from any attribute, so long as they are running a wide base of Main Deck monsters. And it goes without saying, the absolute best deck to support multiple Attributes of Masked HEROs has to be the Elemental HEROs themselves. Yeah, I went there. Mask Charge, shown below, is effectively the next Miracle Fusion that lets HEROs get even more advantage out of their Graveyarded cards.
I could definitely see a Mask Change driven HERO toolbox deck coming into popularity as soon as these HERO support cards hit the TCG. With cards such as Kuribandit and Mathematician to exploit Elemental HERO Shadow Mist, with access to a usable Masked HERO Dian, we could be looking at a deck with tons of potential. HERO decks in the past relied upon advantage to snowball their way to victory, now they will just have more options to do so. Another multi-attribute Archtype that can really make use of the Masked HERO is the Duston. Yes, I did say Duston. While it is true you cannot use one as a Fusion, Synchro, or Xyz Material for a Summon or tribute it while it is face-up, Mask Change Second doesn’t do any of these things. You effectively have an amazing way to summon whichever Masked HERO you need. And with a Duston deck, you almost always have dead Duston in hand that you wouldn’t have a problem with discarding if it came down to it. While Starduston certainly breathes new life as another win condition for the deck, Mask Change Second could give it the versatility to survive in this sort of crazy metagame.
So I hope I managed to convince you that Mask Change Second isn’t necessarily as bland of an archetype support card as you may think. Even more archetypes I didn’t mention can benefit from this: Chaos Dragon, exploiting Second’s synergy with Eclipse Wyvern, Collapserpent and Wyverburstar; Koa’ki Mieru, with its myriad of attributes in play; Spirits that can benefit from the discard and the summon of a boss monster; and there are even more than that. Try to keep an open mind, and you may see a few more connections you might have overlooked the first time you encountered this amazing quickplay spell. I am sure that it will leave a lasting mark on the game, for better or for worse when the next banlist rolls around!