Behind the Cards: The Emancipation of the Darklords

Franco Ferrara

11/24/2016 11:00:00 AM
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It's been a very long time since we've seen the Darklord monsters; almost seven years in fact. The first time we saw the Darklords proper – not counting Marie the Fallen One and Nurse Reficule – was in the manga, where they were played by Midori Hibiki.

Midori used the Darklords against her rival, Reggie MacKenzie, in a bid to save her brother, Koyo. Even though Reggie was the villain, her monsters were Light Fairy-types while Midori – the good guy – focused on Dark Fairies. The two foils used monsters that were the opposite of their roles in the actual story.

I'm really glad that seven years later, the Darklords could be Salvaged and made into a real competitive strategy, because ever since I saw the duel between Reggie and Midori, I'd always wanted to build a Darklord deck.

Without it sucking.

The Darklord monsters are largely based on angelic and divine figures from a variety of religious traditions. But some, like those used by Midori in the manga, are rooted in things traditionally envisioned as human vices, and one is an actual straight-up demon.

The original Darklords used by Midori weren't particularly good or useful by our competitive standards. Her deck consisted of Darklord Asmodeus, Darklord Desire, Darklord Edeh Arae and Darklord Superbia. The latter's based on the sin of pride, in the pantheon of the Seven Deadly Sins. Oddly, Superbia has the ability to bring MORE monsters to the field when it's summoned. You'd think that being the personification of pride, it'd want to be the only one on the field, but apparently not. Maybe it's a show-off and its rationale is something like, “Look at what I can do”. Darklord Desire's probably based upon the sin of Lust as well, another of the Seven Deadly Sins.

The newer Darklord monsters each feature a red serrated halo-type shape above their head. That's noteworthy because very few monsters localized into the TCG actually keep their halos from their original OCG art. The red halo the new Darklords wear could be a nod to a flaming crown, a halo that's disrupted and pulsating, or something more.

 Darklord Asmodeus
$0.75
$0.15
$0.03
Darklord Asmodeus125294
Set Destiny Soldiers
Number DESO-EN038
Level 8
Type Effect Monster
Monster Fairy
Attribute DARK 
A / D 3000 / 2500
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

Cannot be Special Summoned from the Deck or Graveyard. Once per turn: You can send 1 Fairy-Type monster from your Deck to the Graveyard. If this card you control is destroyed and sent to your Graveyard: Special Summon 1 "Asmo Token" (Fairy-Type/DARK/Level 5/ATK 1800/DEF 1300) and 1 "Deus Token" (Fairy-Type/DARK/Level 3/ATK 1200/DEF 1200). "Asmo Token" cannot be destroyed by card effects. "Deus Token" cannot be destroyed by battle.


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Darklord Asmodeus is based on the demonic figure of the same name, Asmodeus. Mentioned in the Book of Tobit (Tobias), Asmodeus was said to have fallen in love with a woman by the name of Sarah. He pined so much for her that every time Sarah found herself married and about to consummate her union, Asmodeus would find his way into her bed and kill the man so she could lay with no other.

By the time the angel Raphael reached out to Tobit, Asmodeus had killed seven men. Tobit married Sarah and warded Asmodeus off, hastily fleeing to Egypt. There he was bound by the angel Raphael. When approached by King Solomon, Asmodeus admitted that his powers included the ability to steal the beauty that only virgins possess, withering away their “bloom”. His raison d'etre is to lead men astray from their lovers and through calamity, kill lovers of lovers.

Asmodeus is mentioned in the Testament of Solomon to have been born through a union between Shamdon and the woman Naamah, solidifying it as one of the “Watcher Angels”, which are angels bound to the earth. It's mentioned that Asmodeus can be fettered with iron. Mathers refers to Asmodeus as “Asmodee” and reports that he's one of the eight sub-princes ruling over all other demons. Asmodeus can create food and produce beautiful banquets from nothing, as well as transform people and animals at will.

Our Darklord Asmodeus has none of those powers. It CAN split itself into two Tokens when it leaves the field and send a Fairy-type monster from the deck to the graveyard...So that's something.

 Darklord Ixchel
$43.71
$31.16
$25.30
Darklord Ixchel125286
Set Destiny Soldiers
Number DESO-EN030
Level 10
Type Effect Monster
Monster Fairy
Attribute DARK 
A / D 2500 / 2900
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

You can discard this card and 1 "Darklord" card; draw 2 cards. During either player's turn: You can pay 1000 LP, then target 1 "Darklord" Spell/Trap Card in your Graveyard; apply that target's effect, then shuffle that target into the Deck. You can only use each effect of "Darklord Ixchel" once per turn. You can only Special Summon "Darklord Ixchel(s)" once per turn.


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Darklord Ixchel is very likely sourced from the Mayan Goddess Ixchel. She was the goddess of sexuality, weaving, healing, child birth and prophecy, although there are many tales of her relation with the moon, the earth, and even war. She's a very well rounded deity by the looks of things.

It was originally thought that this card would've been based on another Mayan Goddess, Ixtab, a goddess whose origins and existence are debated. Ixtab is thought to be a death goddess represented by the act of suicide through hanging, hence her nickname “the Rope Woman”.

Our understanding of Ixtab is limited,and her status as a deity is rather ambiguous because she's only seen in one instance. Knowing that this monster was meant to embody Ixchel, a goddess of sexuality and sensuality, makes more sense now when we see her appearance in Darklord Enchantment.

 Darklord Tezcatlipoca
$1.00
$0.47
$0.19
Darklord Tezcatlipoca125287
Set Destiny Soldiers
Number DESO-EN031
Level 9
Type Effect Monster
Monster Fairy
Attribute DARK 
A / D 2800 / 2100
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

If a "Darklord" monster(s) you control would be destroyed by battle or card effect, you can discard this card instead. During either player's turn: You can pay 1000 LP, then target 1 "Darklord" Spell/Trap Card in your Graveyard; apply that target's effect, then shuffle that target into the Deck. You can only use this effect of "Darklord Tezcatlipoca" once per turn. You can only Special Summon "Darklord Tezcatlipoca(s)" once per turn.


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The smoking Darklord Tezcatlipoca is based on the beliefs of the Aztecs and Toltecs. Tezcatlipoca, the divinity, is the son of the great god Ometeotl and his spouse Omecihuatl. He's also the Brother to Quezacoatl, Huitzilopochtli and Xipe Totec. With the birth of those three gods, death, birth as well as creation and destruction began their cosmic dance.

Legends state that the earth was established when Tezcatlipoca stretched his foot out to coax the great Earth Monster, Cipactli – a gigantic crocodile – out from the primordial waters. When Cipactli arose, she succeeded in biting off Tezcatlipoca's foot and he in turn ripped off her jaw leaving her unable to dive back down into the waters. Thus, humanity was established on Cipactli's back. Tezcatlipoca would replace his missing foot with an obsidian mirror, a very important tool.

Obsidian is a gemstone, a natural black glass created through volcanic extrusion. It's smoothed and polished into a flat disk which is often historically used for scrying, an attribute associated with Tezcatlipoca. Obsidian mirrors were used then, and are still used to this day, to divine the future. Tezcatlipoca's mirrored foot foretells the future to anyone who gazes within it and with it he can see the true nature of any mortal.

It's mentioned that Tezcatlipoca's considered an “imperfect” god and is often at odds with his righteous brother, Quezacoatl. Because he's imperfect it was said he couldn't return to the pole star and instead hops around the night sky. This could be the reference in the artwork of Darklord Contact: we see Darklord Tezcatlipoca standing atop an Aztec pyramid with a staircase of light reaching to the heavens. This could be a reference to his inability to return to the sky because of the real-life Tezcatlipoca's imperfect form.

Tezcatlipoca's represented by the colors yellow and black, which is probably why Darklord Tezcatlipoca is adorned in them. The “deformation” of Tezcatlipoca itself is illustrated in the artwork of Darklord Tezcatlipoca, through its mechanical and rebuilt appearance. In the card's illustration you can see black plumes spewing from his body referencing the fact that Tezcatlipoca is the God of darkness, and relating to his moniker of “Smoking Mirror”. The black skull with red-eyes and the headdress found on Darklord Tezcatlipoca are all ornamental and ceremonially found throughout art, figures, and religious iconography of Aztec culture.

 Darklord Morningstar
$2.35
$0.49
$0.20
Darklord Morningstar125285
Set Destiny Soldiers
Number DESO-EN029
Level 11
Type Effect Monster
Monster Fairy
Attribute DARK 
A / D 3000 / 3000
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

Cannot be Special Summoned. If this card is Tribute Summoned: You can Special Summon "Darklord" monsters from your hand and/or Deck, up to the number of Effect Monsters your opponent controls. While you control another "Darklord" monster, your opponent cannot target this card with card effects. Once per turn: You can send cards from the top of your Deck to the Graveyard, equal to the number of "Darklord" monsters on the field, and if you do, gain 500 LP for each "Darklord" card sent to the Graveyard by this effect.


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Darklord Morningstar is named after Lucifer, whose name can be translated into “light bringer” or “morning star”. Personally I like the name change because it doesn't sound so cliché; it sounds more glamorous. This monster represents the same “fallen angel” thought to be sitting in hell. I don't think I have to go into detail as to whom the Morningstar and Lucifer are; if you don't know at this point my article's not going to save you. No one can.

The artwork of Darklord Rebellion features a wonderful interpretation of the casting out of Lucifer from Heaven. Banishment of the Darklords demonstrates the fate of those who followed Lucifer's rebellion, swallowed up by the earth and confined by force to the mortal realm. It paints a very beautiful, albeit Yu-Gi-Oh-inspired picture of the great exodus from Heaven, and the severing of Gods from the angels who turned their backs on their creator.

Darklord Amdusc is the other Darklord monster to actually be based upon a familiar demon, Amduscias. As the demon Amduscias, it first appears in the guise of a unicorn, and in that form, it was said that music would play from invisible instruments with no players, and that trees would bend to its appearance. It's mentioned in Discoverie of Witchcraft that Amduscias rules over twenty-nine legions in hell. It can be bound by the angel Eiael and is one of the 72 demons found within the Goetia.

I hope you've enjoyed today's Behind the Cards! I'm interested to see if the revamped Darklord deck will make the top tables at Regionals consistently – in its first weekend out, it's certainly proven that it has potential. Let's hope the Darklord's don't overestimate their power. We know what happens when these angels get too big for their britches, falling farther than any other beings in eternity.

-Franco Ferrara


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