Siding For: Cyber Angels

Kelly Locke

9/13/2016 11:00:00 AM

A long time ago, back in the dark ages of Blackwings and Lightsworn, I wrote a preview of Herald of Perfection ahead of its release in The Shining Darkness. I ended up building the deck myself after a lone Herald player made the Top 32 of a SHONEN JUMP Championship, and since then I've been on the lookout for new ways to make the deck playable again.

Finally, after years of unsuccessful attempts by hundreds of duelists, Konami has given us the tools to build a competitive Light Ritual strategy. It's all thanks to Pre-Preparation of Rites and Cyber Angels.

 Cyber Angel Benten
Cyber Angel Benten121465
Set Dragons of Legend: Unleashed
Number DRL3-EN012
Level 6
Type Ritual/Effect Monster
Monster Fairy
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 1800 / 1500
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

You can Ritual Summon this card with "Machine Angel Ritual". If this card destroys a monster by battle and sends it to the Graveyard: Inflict damage to your opponent equal to that monster's original DEF in the Graveyard. If this car

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The newly-named Cyber Angel strategy is nothing more than a mashup of Light Rituals, including Cyber Angel Benten, Herald of Perfection, and Saffira, Queen of Dragons. Doug has a great write-up on the deck already, so if you're not familiar with it yet you'll want to give that a read. There's also a recorded Regional top by Sean Schneiter. His build is a bit different than Doug's, and as always you should remember that the builds you run into in the wild can make your Side Deck picks useless.

You're Not Perfect
Herald of Perfection is the centerpiece of this strategy. Saffira, Queen of Dragons, Cyber Angel Benten, and Archlord Kristya are great cards, but they aren't strong enough to consistently win duels on their own. Herald's important for two big reasons: first, its negation effect might stop you from playing the game by negating all of your cards, and two, it burns through your resources and helps make your opponent's other monsters much more effective.

While Herald of Perfection is typically the card that ends games it's not very threatening on its own. Its effect costs your opponent a Fairy from their hand each time they try to negate something. The remainder of the deck essentially works to keep that hand stocked with Fairies. Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands and Star Seraph Scepter replace themselves with another Fairy, Saffira adds Fairies back to the hand, Kristya recovers a Fairy from the graveyard, and Benten also nabs a new card when it's tributed.

A field of Herald, Kristya, and Saffira is incredibly difficult to beat and your opponent will be trying to build that set-up as quickly as they can. So, in preparing a Side Deck for this match-up you want to prioritize cards that can either dismantle that field or prevent it from forming in the first place. Herald's still the biggest threat, so you also need direct answers to it that don't involve Special Summoning. Kristya makes Kaijus a risk, though to be fair it's not uncommon to see Herald on the field alone.

Exploiting Imperfections
Ritual themes have numerous vulnerabilities that you can exploit with Side Deck cards. We learned a lot during the reign of Nekroz, and there are a few obvious floodgates for this match-up: Anti-Spell Fragrance, Light-Imprisoning Mirror, and Mask of Restrict. Fragrance is already seeing widespread play in Burning Abyss, Blue-Eyes, and plenty of other strategies. There are so many spell-heavy decks running around that even maining Fragrance isn't out of the question.

It's clearly excellent here – effectively delaying your opponent back a turn. Stalling out the early game works in your favor by keeping Rituals off the field, but like nearly every other Side Deck option it'll simply be negated if Herald is already on the field.

 Anti-Spell Fragrance
Anti-Spell Fragrance66701
Set Turbo Pack: Booster Two
Number TU02-EN012
Type Trap Card
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Common
Card Text

Both players must Set Spell Cards before activating them, and cannot activate them until their next turn.

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Mask of Restrict goes further than simply delaying your opponent, blocking them outright from activating or resolving their Ritual Spells. Unless your opponent's playing some variant with Advanced Ritual Art you can expect to see exactly zero Ritual monsters hit the field. However, like Anti-Spell Fragrance you won't get much use from Mask of Restrict later on in the duel. You can still get blown out by Star Seraph Scepter and Stellarknight Delteros, or by any backrow removal.

Light-Imprisoning Mirror's slightly more useful against established boards. Its negation stops nearly every activated monster effect outside of hand traps like Honest, Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, and Effect Veiler. While it won't prevent Archlord Kristya from blocking your Special Summons, it will shut down Herald and expose their set-up to your card effects. Most importantly Light-Imprisoning Mirror is a bit more resilient to Star Seraph Scepter and its following Rank 4 plays. I say ‘a bit' because you can still lose your trap to Evilswarm Ouroboros if your opponent opens up with Scepter and two Star Seraph Soverignty.

Negating Herald of Perfection or Archlord Kristya, even temporarily, can give you options to break your opponent's set-up and get back in the game. Breakthrough Skill's a cost effective means of negating Herald or Kristya thanks to its graveyard effect. You can burn two cards out of your opponent's hand by attempting to negate Herald, or play it in the early game against Manju or Scepter. It's an ideal trap for dealing with floodgate monsters, and this deck is full of them.

I used to recommend siding Divine Wrath against Herald players, but thanks to Solemn Strike it's no longer necessary. Strike's vastly superior to Divine Wrath and accomplishes essentially the same goal: it negates and destroys Herald at Spell Speed 3. It's far from perfect, however. Machine Angel Ritual and Hymn of Light can protect a Ritual monster from being destroyed by Strike. Still, you can use Strike to guarantee a card effect, including one that might banish, spin, or bounce Herald off the field.

Blanket banishing effects like those of Banisher of the Radiance, Dimensional Fissure, and Macro Cosmos prevent Herald of Perfection from activating its effect. Sending a Fairy from the hand to the graveyard is the cost to negate a card activation, so if you're unable to send cards to the graveyard you also can't activate Herald. Banisher of the Radiance runs the risk of being hit by Effect Veiler, but since it doesn't activate it's totally safe from Herald's effect. Ideally you'd Normal Summon it, play a mass removal card like Raigeki or Book of Eclipse, then follow up with Special Summons later in the turn.

Any blanket banishing effect will keep your opponent's graveyard mostly empty. Banisher of the Radiance and Macro Cosmos banish all spells that would hit the graveyard, preventing Hymn of Light and Machine Angel Ritual from being used later. Ritual Sanctuary is also much less effective in that situation.

 Ritual Sanctuary
Ritual Sanctuary121469
Set Dragons of Legend: Unleashed
Number DRL3-EN016
Type Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

You can discard 1 Spell Card; add 1 LIGHT Ritual Monster or 1 Ritual Spell Card from your Deck to your hand. You can shuffle any number of Spell Cards from your Graveyard into the Deck, then target 1 LIGHT Fairy-Type monster in your Graveyard whose Level equals the number of cards you shuffled into the Deck; Special Summon it. You can only use each effect of "Ritual Sanctuary" once per turn.

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Thunder King Rai-Oh is actually great here! It used to be a popular side against Herald back in the day, and it'll still shut down all of the deck searching in the latest Cyber Angel variants. Pre-Preparation of Rites, Ritual Sanctuary, Manju, Scepter, and Benten can't be activated while Rai-Oh is on the field. It's really only worthwhile in the early game, so you'll want to side it when going first. The same goes for Koa'ki Meiru Drago. Drago blocks all of your opponent's Special Summons as long as they can't get two Level 4's on the field.

Crush Card Virus showed up in a few Regional Side Decks to answer Blue-Eyes and Cyber Angels. To be honest I hadn't considered it until then, but it's definitely a worthwhile choice. It combos well with effect negation and can empty most of your opponent's hand. Resolving Crush Card Virus give you information about your opponent's hand, such as how many Fairies they have at their disposal, what Ritual Spells they're still holding on to, and if they drew into any cards they sided.

Are Kaijus Still Useful?
Kaijus are seeing play in nearly every Regional-topping Side Deck, so for the sake of saving space I'd recommend sticking with them unless you have a truly awful Cyber Angel match-up or expect them to be heavily played. Kaijus are risky to play in this match-up, but every other card I've mentioned so far has some form of drawback anyways. Your opponent won't always be able to open the duel with Archlord Kristya and Herald of Perfection, and virtually every other set-up is relatively easy to break with a single Kaiju Summon.

I'm not totally sure yet if it's necessary to side additional cards for the Herald of Perfection match-up, but as we get a few more Regionals wrapped up we'll find out very quickly just how competitive this strategy is. Could it top a YCS? Go on to the WCQ? It's way too early to tell, though for now it still carries the same glass cannon-vibe that it had back in the days of The Shining Darkness.

Until next time then


Kelly Locke is a West Michigan gamer, writer, and college student with too much free time on his hands. Besides playing Yugioh, Kelly posts Let's Play videos of Minecraft on his Youtube channel and plays a possibly unhealthy amount of Destiny. He is currently studying marketing at Western Michigan University, and hopes to graduate before Dragon Ravine is Unlimited.

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