Behind the Cards - Earthbound Immortals Inca(n’t) Stop

Franco Ferrara

12/18/2013 11:00:00 AM
 Comments

Today I'll be answering one of the most popular questions that you guys have sent in to me. This one's a long one and spans two entire archetypes, so I'll try and streamline everything and not keep you reading the same thing over and over. To begin this article, we have a question from Theodore Freeman about some relatively older cards!

Theodore writes:

I'm interested in knowing the roots for Fire Ant Ascator, Supay, Oracle of the Sun, Sun Dragon Inti, Moon Dragon Quila and the Earthbound Immortals.

Well, that's a tall order but I will do my best!

Red Cups...
Beginning with the only monster who doesn't actually fit into the Incan theme is the little insect, Fire Ant Ascator. The being this monster is based upon, Azcatl, isn't even Incan but Aztec, so what's an Aztec entity doing in an Incan theme? Good question, but there's no solid answer. Many people confuse the Incan, Mayan and Aztec cultures, so perhaps this monster was an example of that common Mistake.

According to the mythology, Azcatl was present during the creation of mankind when Quetzalcoatl had no food to feed his starving human creations. Mysteriously, a little red ant named Azcatl made its way past Quetzalcoatl carrying with it a large, delicious looking kernel of corn. Quetzalcoatl pressured and bullied Azcatl into telling him where he found the corn and finally, the red ant led Quetzalcoatl to a Mountain.

 Fire Ant Ascator
$1.23
$0.24
$0.07
Fire Ant Ascator34523
Set Absolute Powerforce
Number ABPF-EN020
Level 3
Type Tuner Monster
Monster Insect
Attribute EARTH 
A / D 700 / 1300
Rarity Common
Card Text

When this card is destroyed by battle and sent to the Graveyard, you can select 1 Level 5 monster in your Graveyard and Special Summon it. Its effect(s) are negated, and it is sent to the Graveyard during the End Phase of that turn.


Our Best Prices: [View ALL Prices]
Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
Wizards Quest Gaming 1st Edition - Lightly Played 6 $0.07
AP Relinqushed 1st Edition - Lightly Played 3 $0.07
Epic Gaming 1st Edition - Damaged 1 $0.08
IDeal808 Unlimited - Near Mint 8 $0.08
Kirwan's Game Store 1st Edition - Lightly Played 3 $0.09
GameTimeCC Unlimited - Near Mint 30 $0.09

Store.TCGplayer.com allows you to buy cards from any of our vendors, all at the same time, in a simple checkout experience. Shop, Compare & Save with TCGplayer.com! - [Store FAQ]

There was a small crack in the Mountain that Azcatl stated Quetzalcoatl would have to enter; to fit, Quetzalcoatl transformed into a black ant. Lo and behold, inside the Mountain was vast quantity of seeds and grains which Quetzalcoatl could use to feed his numerous human creations.

This monster's effect could symbolize Azcatl's role in the story, leading a ‘god' from your graveyard to the field. I mean, this monster can ACTUALLY revive a fallen Sun Dragon Inti or Moon Dragon Quilla - even after playing this deck for years, I never really noticed that aspect of the effect before! He brings the god out, but from there, the god is on its own and has to figure out their situation for themselves, just like Quetzalcoatl.

Sweaty Bodies Everywhere...
Supay is the Aztec god of death. While this ‘mask' monster may not seem intimidating in the slightest, the mythology actually presents it as one of the most terrifying fiends you could ever meet. The real Supay is of course synonymous with the Christian devil, and its only goal in life is to watch humans suffer. It possesses the body of its human victims and makes one convulse with seizures. Faced with very real afflictions like epilepsy, ancient peoples might not have been able to explain such conditions and may have thus attributed legitimate health problems to Supay's influence.

Legends state that Supay's form came naturally, taking pieces of everything one could fear and combining them into one horrific form. If that's not enough, it was believed that Supay could change its shape at will as well, able to assume the form of its victims friends and foes alike. The mask used in real-life ceremonies in years past looks similar to the ‘wooden' mask we see in the card art of Supay's TCG form, albeit perhaps even more terrifying. Associated with mining, Supay had the ability to turn gold into pyrite. People would invoke the spirit of Supay and beg for it not to harm them; for a real fright, just go ahead and google the term "Supay mask" and get ready to be terrified.

This monster's effect symbolizes possession, likely inspired by Supay's reputation for possessing the innocent - in this case, possessing a priest-like figure - Oracle of the Sun - straight from your deck, empowering it and bouncing it to your hand afterwards. Or it could symbolize Supay's ability to take on the form of another being and then slip back into the shadows.

If You're Not Ready To Go Home...
Two of the less talked-about cards in the Incan archetype include Call of the Reaper and the Weeping Idol. These two cards generally aren't played unless someone wants to build a very television-accurate deck.

To round out our discussion of the Incan and Aztec Tuners we come to the forgotten Trap card Call of the Reaper, which makes an interesting pastiche of the infamous Call Of The Haunted. Similar in art style to Call Of The Haunted, we see that Fire Ant Ascators have erupted from the ground and the terrifying face of Supay has made its way out of the land of the dead to return to the realm of the living. Why do I say that the purple entity pictured is Supay and not some other nameless figure? Supay may be the terrifying mask we see in the artwork for the monster version of Supay, but the thing we see in the art is just that - a mask and not necessarily the ‘true' god of the dead. Seeing as how this card makes a direct reference to the god of the dead itself and we see the Ascators rising, we can draw conclusions that perhaps Supay's monster card art is merely an avatar, or a ceremonial representation in the realm of Duel Monsters.

 Call of the Reaper
$1.22
$0.25
$0.05
Call of the Reaper34573
Set Absolute Powerforce
Number ABPF-EN070
Type Trap Card
Monster Trap
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Common
Card Text

Activate only when a monster(s) is Special Summoned from your Graveyard. Select and Special Summon 1 Supay or Fire Ant Ascator in your Graveyard.


Our Best Prices: [View ALL Prices]
Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
The Wizards Duel 1st Edition - Lightly Played 1 $0.05
OmnomaxTradersLLC 1st Edition - Moderately Played 1 $0.05
IDeal808 1st Edition - Near Mint 28 $0.06
IDeal808 Unlimited - Near Mint 14 $0.06
The End Zone 1st Edition - Near Mint 6 $0.08
The End Zone Unlimited - Near Mint 4 $0.08

Store.TCGplayer.com allows you to buy cards from any of our vendors, all at the same time, in a simple checkout experience. Shop, Compare & Save with TCGplayer.com! - [Store FAQ]

This monster's based upon the Weeping Idols traditionally placed above door fixture in Incan architecture. The god Wiraqocha actually looks identical to this statue. The figure holds thunderbolts in both of its hands, its headdress represents the rays of the sun, and from its eyes come the rains. That probably explains the whole ‘weeping' aspect of this monster. The symbol was also seen around burial sites as well, which may have been the inspiration for this card's banishing a dead Tuner from the graveyard.

Gonna Go All Night...
Next we come to the Mother and Father Dragons, Sun Dragon Inti and Moon Dragon Quilla! With effects that represent the rising and setting of the sun and moon, these two Dragons represent the great deities of Incan mythology, the sun god Inti and the moon goddess Mama Quilla. Much like many other ancient cultures, the mythology here involves the symbolic incestuous relationship of brother and sister, much like the relationships we discussed in the Spirit and Hieratic articles. This is a recurring theme in many ancient creation stories, along with familiar pan-cultural hallmarks like the world being covered in water, and the symbolism of staves as creation tools.

Mama Killa (that's not like, a Wu-Tang name; it's the goddess' actual name in the myths) is represented in the art of Moon Dragon Quilla not as the dragon, but as the moon face in the center of the art! Her face shows both a destroyed half and a perfect half, symbolizing the phases of the moon as well as just how old this deity truly is. Her eyes are shown both wide open and Half Shut (eclipsing), and in the legends she was said to cry tears of silver.

Her face was said to have been the moon itself, and the rainbow we see surrounding her face in the card art makes reference to her association with Cuycha, the aspect of the rainbow and attendant to Mama Quilla. Her effect makes reference to her nurturing nature and serves to mirror Sun Dragon Inti's damaging effect. It's a Dark attribute monster, referencing her both as the nightly figure and the ‘Dark Synchro' monster in the television series. Note that Quilla faces in the opposite direction Sun Dragon Inti faces. Her four dragon ‘arms' represent the four heavens, just like Sun Dragon Inti.

Till We See The Sunlight Alright...
Sun Dragon Inti on the other hand, symbolizes the sun god Inti; much like Quilla, his face was said to be the sun itself. The golden disk you see representing Inti in the center of the Dragon's body is perhaps the actual lost golden disk of Inti - an artifact of legend.

 Sun Dragon Inti
$3.90
$1.50
$0.99
Sun Dragon Inti34545
Set Absolute Powerforce
Number ABPF-EN042
Level 8
Type Synchro/Effect Monster
Monster Dragon
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 3000 / 2800
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

Fire Ant Ascator + 1 or more non-Tuner monsters // When this card is destroyed by battle and sent to the Graveyard, destroy the monster that destroyed this card, and inflict damage to your opponent equal to half that monster's ATK. If this card on the fie


Our Best Prices: [View ALL Prices]
Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
Prime Time Cards Unlimited - Heavily Played 1 $0.45
PShop Unlimited - Moderately Played 1 $0.50
Cardmonstergamez Unlimited - Moderately Played 1 $0.50
Pastimes 1st Edition - Damaged 1 $0.50
XFMSports Unlimited - Moderately Played 1 $0.50
Pulp Central gaming Unlimited - Moderately Played 2 $0.50

Store.TCGplayer.com allows you to buy cards from any of our vendors, all at the same time, in a simple checkout experience. Shop, Compare & Save with TCGplayer.com! - [Store FAQ]

Interestingly, some forms of Inti do portray him with lions and serpents emanating from his form. His damage-dealing effect in Yu-Gi-Oh, along with his high attack power all represent Inti as the most powerful of all the gods in the pantheon. Unlike his sister wife, Sun Dragon Quilla, this monster delays its complementary Special Summoning by an extra Standby Phase, possibly symbolizing the twilight hours. Historically speaking, the kings of the Incans were believed to have been direct descendants of Inti himself.

Oracle of the Sun could be a reference to the Willaq Umu, who was the high priest of the sun god Inti found in Cuzco, a city in Peru. Each of the Willaq Umu were the highest of all the priests in the land, with the powers to perform rites and sacrifices, and perhaps most notable of all the ability to speak with Inti himself. They were installed by the Incan Kings, to whom they were close relatives. That said, the Incan kings could usurp the Willaq Umu and place themselves in charge.

This Is Our House, This Is Our Rules...
The ancient monsters we've discussed so far were also released in Yu-Gi-Oh along with more Incan gods, in the forms of the Earthbound Immortal monsters, based upon the Nazcan lines. These monsters all share the same crippling effect; they all need an active Field Spell Card to survive. The reason why these monsters need a Field Spell is pretty obvious: no ground in which to create the lines equals no Earthbound Immortal and no Nazcan lines. They need the ground as an anchor; without it, you literally have no trace of their existence.

The Nazcan lines are an anomaly that can be seen from space, found in Peru between Nazca and Palpa. They were created artificially, by removing the first layer of red pebbles native to the area and leaving distinct figures drawn by the white ground revealed beneath them. The lime in the white layer of earth has hardened over time, creating a protective layer that shields the lines from the elements.

To this day, scholars and scientists have no explanation as to what they were used for, although the most common thought is for religious significance and demarcation of calendars. The idea of using them in cosmogony as well as in the tracking of celestial bodies has been proposed as well. Some have speculated that they were used as runways for alien crafts, who humans had Mistaken for gods. The lines have remained generally untouched from their ancient installation, though with recent weather and the modern age, some of the lines have become damaged, including the famous Lizard geoglyph.

In order to Summon the deities in the animated series, many lives would be sacrificed to bring the god into our world. Sacrifices are one of the first things that come to mind when most think of the Incan people, and sacrifices were how one fed the gods. Through the giving of flesh and blood, the gods could feed; without it, they would wither away and die. In fact, a few of the Earthbound Immortal support cards bolster this theory of sacrifice.

We see in the art of Earthbound Revival the heart of one of the Earthbound Immortals, being enriched by the souls of other sacrifices (the little orbs absorbed into the heart). Earthbound Line Walker could symbolize either a priest or a sacrifice willing to use their bodies to help channel the Immortal, and keep it secure on our plane of existence. The artwork of Offering to the Immortals shows us the heart of the Earthbound once again, though this time, offerings have been provided for the god to ingest.

It's all about the sacrifices! The more blood, the happier the god.

And Everyone In Line...
Many of the Earthbound Immortal monsters follow a consistent naming pattern, but it's restricted to the monsters that have just two words in their name. The names are all written and pronounced in Quechua - a family of native South American languages. I'll show you by breaking it down.

You'll see the parts of their names in brackets and in bold, to demonstrate where the name got its origins from. Note that the suffix "-hua" is pronounced as "wha," and any double consonants are meant to begin with a soft consonant followed immediately by the sound of a hard consonant. For instance, Earthbound Immortal Ccapac Apu would be spoken as, "Sick-Ka-Pack A-Pew."

 Earthbound Immortal Ccapac Apu
$6.57
$4.84
$2.73
Earthbound Immortal Ccapac Apu31863
Set Raging Battle
Number RGBT-EN020
Level 10
Type Effect Monster
Monster Fiend
Attribute Dark 
A / D 3000 / 2500
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

There can only be 1 face-up Earthbound Immortal monster on the Field. If there is no face-up Field Spell Card on the Field, destroy this card. Your opponent cannot select this card as an attack target. This card can attack your opponent Directly. If this


Our Best Prices: [View ALL Prices]
Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
DNA Comics and Games Unlimited - Heavily Played 1 $2.05
DNA Comics and Games 1st Edition - Moderately Played 1 $2.47
MkohlGames 1st Edition - Damaged 1 $2.48
The Wizards Duel Unlimited - Lightly Played 1 $2.50
The Wizards Duel 1st Edition - Lightly Played 1 $2.73
Cardmonstergamez 1st Edition - Lightly Played 1 $2.98

Store.TCGplayer.com allows you to buy cards from any of our vendors, all at the same time, in a simple checkout experience. Shop, Compare & Save with TCGplayer.com! - [Store FAQ]

Earthbound Immortal Chacu Challhua, the Fish Goddess:
Earthbound Immortal Chacu Challhua is named for the Incan deity Urpihua Chac (the root for the card's first name portion, Chacu), which was the god of fish and fishery in the Incan pantheon. She was said to own nearly the entire world's supply of fish, and she had some very beautiful daughters.

Legend has it that Viracocha became enamored with her daughters and tried everything in his power to take them for himself. To escape the unwanted advances of Wiraqocha, the daughters turned themselves into doves and flew away. In the Quechua language, the word "Challwaqhatu" means "fish" (the source of the second portion of the name, Challhua).

Earthbound Immortal Ccapac Apu, the Emperor:
Manco Capac (Ccapac) was either the son of Inti or Viraqocha, depending on the legend. He was the envoy of the deities and was sent to Earth to become the first king of the Incans.

Praised for his valor, Manco Capac taught people how to grow plants, share resources, create weapons, and how to properly worship the gods. The word "Apu" (Apu) is the Quechua word for "Lord" or a high dignitary.

Earthbound Immortal Aslla Piscu, the Vestal Virgin:
Accla (Aslla) were the virgins specifically chosen by Inti to tend to the sacred fires. In actuality, they were chosen by either the king, priests or dignitaries. These sacred virgins were girls selected from the villages at age 8-10, who were then shut away for several years. They would weave clothing for costumes and as gifts for the king, cook food, and maintain the sacred fire. Some would become concubines for the king, and some were sacrificed to the gods themselves. Some texts state that they would gladly throw themselves into the fire to keep the flames burning, and with no second thoughts about it either. YIKES, it would suck to be an Accla...The word Pisqu (Piscu) translates into bird.

The next three Earthbound immortals are Earthbound Immortal Cusillu (K'usillu), Earthbound Immmortal Ccarayhua (Qaraywa), and Earthbound Immortal Uru (Oru) are not steeped in the ancient gods' pantheon; they're just Quechua words for the animals they represent: the monkey, the lizard and the spider respectively.

Earthbound Immortal Wiraqocha Rasca, The Creator Condor
Named for the progenitor creator god himself, this monster serves as a mirror of The Winged Dragon of Ra, both of which sit at the top of their pantheon. In the animated series this monster's effect was totally different: it was severely altered when it was made into an actual card for the OCG, with its original anime effect lowering the opponent's Life Points to 1. The Winged Dragon of Ra reduces its owners Life Points to increase its own attack points.

Dem Creator gods.

This monster's a condor, because apparently condors were sacred and they have a very interesting feature, a ring of white feathers around their neck. This card is no different and features the same distinct markings. These feathers are historically important because of a certain debate regarding the first landing of the Spanish conquistadors.

Wiraqocha was said to have white or light colored skin, and would wear a feathered beard to cover his terrifying form. With the arrival of a race of people unknown to the Incans, the sight of the lighter skinned Spanish with their similar beards elevated them, venerating them in the eyes of the Incans. This raises an interesting question: was the white-colored Wiraqocha established before the arrival of the Spanish, or after?

And We Can't Stop...
I hope you all enjoyed today's article on the Incan and Earthbound Immortal archetypes. Even with all the support in the world, these two themes will always face some hardships in the competitive scene, much like now the ancient civilizations that inspired them struggle to stand against the test of time. The good news? Right this moment, I'm concocting some very interesting deck ideas for Sun Dragon Inti and Moon Dragon Quilla, and who knows, maybe the Earthbound Immortals will receive some good, indirect support some day?

Join me again next time when we'll shed the light on some more questions and the rest of the strange, but artistically and historically interesting world of Yu-Gi-Oh!

-Franco Ferrara

As a reminder to you all, don't forget to message me your questions pertaining to the art, history, symbolism and lore of cards you're curious about! Send it to me at francotcg@hotmail.com and I'll collect and record all of your questions for use in a future article! Thank you for reading!


Join our Newsletters

Subscribe to get the latest information on your favorite games.

Subscribe

All original content herein is Copyright 2016 Ascension Gaming Network, Inc. TCGplayer® and MaxPoint® are trademarks of Ascension Gaming Network, Inc.
No portion of this web site may be used without expressed written consent. All rights reserved.
Magic the Gathering and its respective properties are copyright Wizards of the Coast
Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service