Subterrors Part 1: The Basics

Doug Zeeff

8/17/2016 11:02:00 AM

World Premiere cards have been all over the place over the past few years. If you've been in the game long enough, you might remember receiving individually powerful cards that boosted already good decks, like Infernities and X-Sabers. Then, Konami tried something new by slowly releasing Noble Knights in each set to eventually form a coherent strategy. But for the past two years, there've been two new World Premiere themes per annum, and one of them was always clearly the favorite.

Two years ago we were getting five Burning Abyss cards for every three U.A. cards, so naturally Burning Abyss became a top contender. This past year Kozmos got five pieces of support while Kaijus only got three. Admittedly, Kaijus made a much higher competitive impact than U.A.'s ever did (sorry Pasquale), so it was a step in the right direction.

But The Dark Illusions got a fresh approach to this formula: both new themes debuted with four cards, and both of them have the potential to be playable. As I'm going to explain in the next couple articles, I truly feel Subterrors are better than some people are giving them credit for, but SPYRALs really have the roots of a competitive strategy.

Still, in terms of present status in a variety of decks, Subterrors are the definitive better theme, and I've been having a blast with them over the past couple weeks.

Rolling In The Deep
Right now we have two Subterror Behemoths and one Subterror Nemesis. Subterror Behemoth Stalagmo and Subterror Behemoth Umastryx are huge monsters that share a couple effects. Both are Flip Effect monsters, both can place themselves face-down once per turn, and both can be Special Summoned from the hand when a monster you control is flipped face-down while you control no face-up monsters.

Stalagmo is Level 10 and arguably has the better effect. When it's flipped up you can discard a Subterror to draw two cards, not only deck thinning but also setting up Subterror Nemesis Warrior, but we'll get to that in a second. Umastryx only has 2000 ATK compared to Stalagmo's 2800 ATK, but its effect packs actual disruption, banishing an opposing monster when it's flipped.

Right off the bat you can see that despite being higher Level monsters, both of the Subterror Behemoths have semi-reliable ways to get them onto the field. Once you get one of them out, you can simply flip it face-down to Special Summon the other from your hand. That immediately makes the strategy better than the likes of U.A. or Kaijus, which had difficulty fielding monsters.

 The Hidden City
The Hidden City121341
Set The Dark Illusion
Number TDIL-EN085
Type Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

When this card is activated: You can add 1 "Subterror" monster from your Deck to your hand. Once per turn: You can change 1 face-down Defense Position "Subterror" monster you control to face-up Attack or Defense Position. Once per turn, when an opponent's monster declares an attack: You can change 1 face-down Defense Position "Subterror" monster you control to face-up Attack or Defense Position, then you can negate the attack. You can only activate 1 "The Hidden City" per turn.

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Subterror Nemesis Warrior is a Level 4 that's probably the most important card in the deck right now. As a quick effect during either player's turn, you can send a Subterror from your deck to the graveyard, followed by Warrior itself and another monster that adds up to at least the total Levels of the sent Subterror to Special Summon that Subterror from your graveyard. It can come out in either face-up or face-down defense, opening up more options. Then, every time a Subterror Behemoth is flipped, you can Special Summon Subterror Nemesis Warrior right from your graveyard for free. That's insane, providing constant Rank 4 fodder and 1800 ATK.

In other words, Subterror Nemesis Warrior is great because it's the only way to Special Summon Subterrors from your deck, which will definitely become more useful as we get more and more different Subterrors.

The Hidden City is the Field Spell of Subterrors, and I think players are underestimating it. First off, it searches a Subterror when you activate it, getting you basically anything you need for free. Then, you can flip a face-down Subterror to attack or defense position once per turn, triggering their Flip Effects. Lastly, if your opponent attacks a monster you can negate that attack and flip up a Subterror, so you've got some defense.

What stinks is that you can only activate The Hidden City once per turn, so if you draw multiples you're in a bad spot. Still, I think it's important to play as a free +1 that sets up some of your bigger combos. What a lot of people are missing is that Subterrors have a ton of awesome ways to interact with their flip effects each turn, and that you want access to all your cards in the early stages of the game to bury your opponent in card advantage.

Is Four Cards Enough?
Now that you have a good idea about how the Subterrors operate, let's talk about some engines you could splash into your own Subterror variant. At the moment, even if you played three of all the Subterror cards and three Terraforming to search the field spell you'd still have a ton of space to play with, so deciding which engines follow you game plan is crucial to building your deck properly.

Right off the bat, Speedroid Terrortop and Speedroid Taketomborg seem like obvious inclusions. They can be used as tribute fodder for the Subterror Behemoths, but they can also make M-X-Saber Invoker, which can summon Subterror Nemesis Warrior from your deck. That's actually the start to many of the more ridiculous combos this theme has, so it's for sure something to consider.

Prediction Princess Tarotrei is another fairly well-known pairing for Subterrors. I've used it in a couple decks in the past, but basically it's a Level 9 Ritual with a bunch of great effects. In the End Phase you can Special Summon a Flip Effect monster from your hand or graveyard face-down, which works great after you tribute Subterror Behemoth Stalagmo for Prediction Princess Ritual. Furthermore, you can either flip a monster to attack position or face-down once per turn, during either player's turn. This lets you abuse the Subterror effects during either player's turn, as well as mess with the other player's plans to Xyz or Synchro Summon.

 Prediction Princess Tarotrei
Prediction Princess Tarotrei101077
Set Dragons of Legend 2
Number DRL2-EN035
Level 9
Type Ritual/Effect Monster
Monster Fairy
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 2700 / 1200
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

You can Ritual Summon this card with "Prediction Ritual". During your End Phase: You can Special Summon 1 Flip monster from your hand or Graveyard in face-down Defense Position. You can only use 1 of the following effects of "Prediction Princess Tarotrei" per turn, and only once that turn.
- During either player's turn: You can target 1 face-down monster on the field; change it to face-up Attack Position.
- During either player's turn: You can target 1 face-up monster on the field; change it to face-down Defense Position.

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If you're going to play Prediction Princess Tarotrei you can also try out Spirit of the Fall Wind, a searcher for Flip Effect Monsters. That digs you to your Subterrors, obviously, but it also opens up combos with Pot of The Forbidden, a great monster to combine with Tarotrei.

Of course, I'm always going to suggest Brilliant Fusion in everything, and I think it has a lot of merit in Subterrors. You can yard Performage Trick Clown and a Gem-Knight to bring out Gem-Knight Seraphinite, which loads up your field for a lot of cards. Extra Normal Summons of Spirit of the Fall Wind, Subterror Nemesis Warrior, and Manju of Ten Thousand Hands puts you super far ahead of your opponent. Alternatively, you can send a Gem-Knight and Pot of The Forbidden to bring out Gem-Knight Zirconia, who you can send to the grave with Subterror Nemesis Warrior to Special Summon Stalagmo. I know I try to argue Brilliant Fusion into a lot of decks, but it truly does have some awesome interactions in a Subterror list.

Another fun thing you can try out is playing cards that flip themselves face-down to get the Subterror Behemoths out of your hand. Flip Flop Frog's a neat monster that bounces cards without targeting; useful against Kozmo spaceships. Kelly Locke is a huge fan of Des Lacooda, too, which nets you free draws every turn. I've been testing out a small Geargia suite to some success, with Geargiarmor triggering Subterrors and pushing out Rank 4's at the same time. All of these options are work looking into because the theme is still in its infancy stage, and I don't think there's necessarily a right or wrong answer.

As a side note, I think Chaos Infinity could have some hilarious results, but it's still in the air whether or not it's actually viable. It does seem tempting to trigger both Subterror Behemoths and Pot of The Forbidden with a single card, though. W Nebula Meteorite accomplishes a similar result, and the Worms could provide some more disruption if you played a small engine.

But, like I said, there's not exactly a wrong way to play Subterrors right now. There's absolutely no standard, and there's a ton of crazy combos people are discovering every day with this theme. Hopefully I covered enough ground to give you some ideas, and I'll be back in the next part to show you one of my most successful builds!

-Doug Zeeff

Doug “Chainsaw” Zeeff hails from Michigan and is currently an English major in college. When he's not found emailing Konami about why there's not a single walrus card in all of Yu-Gi-Oh! you can find him regularly posting unorthodox, unfiltered semi-Yu-Gi-Oh! related content on his Youtube channel, Dzeeff. In his spare time he enjoys eating cheese, Zoolock support, and, of course, playing Yu-Gi-Oh. Click here to follow him and his adventures on Facebook!

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