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Posted: Nov 17 2005, 05:02 AM
† 闇黑魔神 †
Group: Tyrant of the Comet
Member No.: 3
Joined: 13-November 05
With the release of the latest set, Elemental Energy (EEN), we are introduced to a new archetype, the Dark Realm decks. Like any new cards, the Dark Realm cards have caused a lot of hype and have since become the newest sensation after the famed Chaos monsters. But one question remains: Are they really tournament worthy or are they just another passing fad?
In the OCG meta, 2 parties have been formed. One claims that Dark Realm decks will become the new cookie-cutter and dethrone the Chaos decks, while the other says that it is over-hyped, overrated and not tournament-worthy. I’m among the very few who actually thinks that Dark Realm decks lie somewhere in the middle. They are a very powerful archetype but isn’t as potent as what is portrayed by the fanatics. The funny thing is, I got flamed for my opinions (by both sides) when I voiced them at a typical OCG message board. Oh well, let’s forget about that. Let’s start with a brief overview of the Dark Realm cards.
Knight of Dark Realm - Zulu
Just a normal beatstick. Other than being searchable by [Scar], this has absolutely no play-value in a Dark Realm deck.
Advanced Guard of Dark Realm - Beige
When this card is discard into Graveyard from your hand by effect of another card, special summon this card onto the field.
[Beige] is useful if you’re trying to swarm your opponent but it has very poor stats. Only use this in a hardcore Dark Realm deck. Avoid it otherwise.
Hunter of Dark Realm - Blue
When this card is discard into Graveyard from your hand by effect of another card, draw a card from your deck. When this card is discard by opponent's card effect, draw one card additionally.
Even though [Blue] can’t be special summoned by discarding, it helps a great deal in hand management. Discarding this with [Card Destruction] is not going to hurt your card advantage; using it with [Transaction of Darkness] is even better!
Berserk King of Dark Realm - Brown
When this card does Battle Damage to your opponent, you may choose a card in your hand and discard it to Graveyard.
[Brown] has a decent attack strength but is vulnerable to a [Tsukuyomi] attack. However, it is invaluable as an additional discard mechanism since [Royal Oppression] cannot stop it.
Army God of Dark Realm - Silver
When this card is discard into Graveyard from your hand by effect of another card, special summon this card to the field. When this card is discarded by effect of opponent's card, your opponent also choose 2 cards in his/her hand and put them onto the bottom of opponent's deck in any order.
Together with [Gold], [Silver] is the main source of power in Dark Realm decks. The second effect (although it is treated as a single effect together with the first) is only some sort of bonus. You’ll be special summoning it using your own cards 95% of the time.
Military God of Dark Realm - Gold
When this card is discard into Graveyard from your hand by effect of another card, special summon this card to the field. When this card is discarded by effect of opponent's card, also choose 2 cards on opponent's field and destroy them.
Nothing much to say here since it’s similar to [Silver]. They are used mainly for their special summoning ability, not for their bonus effects.
Scout of Dark Realm - Scar
When this card is destroy as a result of battle and sent to Graveyard, choose a monster with [Dark Realm] in its name with level 4 or less from your deck and adds it into your hand.
Able to search for [Blue], [Beige], [Brown], [Zulu] and itself. However, there is no real need for a search engine since it can’t search for the most important pieces: [Gold] and [Silver]. Unless you’re going to run [Deck Destruction Virus of Death], I don’t highly recommend playing it.
Thunder of Dark Realm
Magic - Normal
Destroy a face-down card on the field. Afterward, discard a card from your hand into Graveyard.
A very useful discard mechanism. It can kill unchainable traps as well as face-down monsters so it’s more versatile than your average [Nobleman of Crossout]. Can be used to activate [Forced Requisition] too.
Barrier Passage Continuing to Dark Realm
Magic - Quickplay
During the turn this card is activate, you cannot Summon, Reverse Summon, or Special Summon. Choose a monster with [Dark Realm] in your Graveyard and special summon it.
A revival card exclusive to the Dark Realm family. Being a quick-play makes this extremely useful.
Troops of Darkness
Trap - Normal
Choose 2 monster with [Dark Realm] in your Graveyard and add it onto your hand.
Although this allows you to get back two Dark Realm monsters for a second chance to discard them from your hand, I still feel that [Barrier Passage] is more useful than this. (I’ll be able to explain this later on.)
Transaction of Darkness
Trap - Normal
This card can only be activated by paying 1000 lifepoints when your opponent activate a Normal Magic card. The effect of that Magic card becomes "Discard 1 card randomly from your opponent's hand".
The only thing that can trigger the “bonus effects” of [Blue], [Silver] and [Gold] on a regular basis. The major downfall is the LP payment and the inconsistency. (You’re not guaranteed to discard what you want) Can be used to activate [Forced Requisition] too.
The Anti-Dark Realm Brigade
I’ll list a bunch of stuff that can counter Dark Realm decks. (There are other stuff that can hinder Dark Realm decks but I’ll only list those that I think are worth mentioning.)
- End of Anubis
- Banisher of Light
- Spirit Reaper/Marshmallon (Most Dark Realm decks lack reliable removal)
- Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning (Dark Realm decks usually have max 2300 attack. “Broken cheese” still owns them.)
- D.D. Designator (Remove [Gold] or [Silver] from the game)
- Royal Oppression (It will stop the “bonus effects” as well if the special summoning gets negated)
- Deck Destruction Virus of Death (It “destroys” not “discard”.)
- Torrential Tribute
Teching the Dark Realm Deck
Some tech cards you can consider:
- Dark Magician of Chaos
- Night Assailant (Additional hand management)
- Brainwash – Brain Control (Supports your tributes and act as additional “removal”)
- Book of Moon (Reuse your flips and stop [End of Anubis]/[Banisher of Light])
- United We Stand (If you swarm, this can add a great deal of damage. Also helps when opponent has bigger monsters than you.)
- Giant Trunade (Stops [Royal Oppression] and useful when swarming)
- Card of Safe Return (Extremely abusable in Dark Realm decks. This is the tech that makes [Barrier Passage] so much better than [Troops of Darkness].)
- Mind Crush (Can either act as an additional discard mechanism or control element.)
- Forced Requisition (Control element. This is still difficult to play and not highly recommended.)
- Rigorous Reaper (Simple ownage. Nuff said. Props to dawnyoshi for pioneering the use.)
Playing the Deck
Many people perceive Dark Realm decks as bad hand management. This is not true. For example, if you discard your hand using [Card Destruction], you may be able to special summon a few [Gold] and/or [Silver] as well as getting replacement cards for them. This yields positive card advantage and it can be more than a +1 card advantage!! And there’s still [Graceful Charity] and [Morphing Jar] waiting to be abused... add [Card of Safe Return] to the mix... you get the idea. In terms of getting card advantage, Dark Realm decks can be considered extremely broken!! Those who think Dark Realm decks are not powerful enough have absolutely no idea what they are talking about...
There are basically two main approaches you can take when playing a Dark Realm deck. You can either go for Swarm or Control.
Swarming gives you an explosive burst of power, enabling you to kill your opponents in a single turn if you draw the right cards. However, this makes it a type of “God-Draw” deck which depends significantly on luck.
The control version revolves around destroying your opponent’s hand and controlling the field with Dark Realm monsters at the same time. Although slightly more stable than the swarm version, this is much more difficult to play and is less powerful.
I recommend using the Swarm version of Dark Realm decks since it’s better. Let me show you a sample deck:
Total Cards: 41 (18/16/7)
War God of Dark Realm – Gold x2
Military God of Dark Realm – Silver x3
Berserk King of Dark Realm – Brown x3
Hunter of Dark Realm – Blue x2
Night Assailant x2
Magician of Faith x2
Breaker the Magical Warrior
Tribe Infecting Virus
Pot of Greed
Mystical Space Typhoon
Card of Safe Return x2
Thunder of Dark Realm x2
Book of Moon x2
Barrier Passage Continuing to Dark Realm
Ring of Destruction
Call of the Haunted
Troops from Darkness
Transaction of Darkness x2
I believe the deck should be pretty self-explanatory. [Book of Moon] is one of the most versatile cards in the game. As I explained briefly earlier, you can use it to reuse [Morphing Jar] and [Magician of Faith] to help speed-draw through the deck. It can also stop [End of Anubis] or [Banisher of Light] from screwing up your plans. When you’re desperate, you may also find yourself comboing it with [Thunder of Dark Realm].
I don’t claim this to be the best Dark Realm deck you’ll ever see so don’t netdeck this blindly. Use it as a reference.
Before I conclude this article, let us compare [Gold] and [Silver] to their “Chaos counterpart”. Don’t worry, I’m not going to make a stupid comparison with [BLS] since it’s unfair comparing a broken card with anything else.
+ Easy to special summon
+ Decent attack strength
+ Fairly useful “bonus effect”
+ Fits into standard cookie-cutters easily
- Not game-breaking
[Gold] & [Silver]
+ Easy to special summon
+ Decent attack strength
+ Game-breaking (Swarm potential)
- “Bonus effect” difficult to trigger
- Can only be played in its own deck
- Bad topdeck
This little comparison is of no major importance. (I’m just trying to hint at something)
As you can see, Dark Realm decks have great potential. They can be very powerful if played right but they are not the best deck there is. They are luck-dependent, yet they are not as unstable as other “god-draw” decks.
Well, we’ll still have to wait for the next restriction list to see if Dark Realm decks can retain their strength. If [Graceful Charity], [Morphing Jar] and/or [Card Destruction] gets banned somehow, it will be almost a critical blow to Dark Realm decks as they will be weakened considerably. In the worst case scenario, we may even see some of the Dark Realm cards getting restricted or semi-restricted. Who knows? Anything can happen... LOL
In the meantime, have fun. B)