Behind The Cards: Crystron Gems

Franco Ferrara

11/30/2016 11:00:00 AM

Welcome back to another Behind the Cards. Today we'll be looking into another theme based on gemstones, as well as the sacred directions of Chinese astronomy: the Crystrons. As a gemmologist, I approve of this! What's more, Crystrons are kind of a strange combination of the Yang-Zing, Chinese constellations, and gemstones. They share the Yang Zing ability to quickly Synchro Summon on your opponent's turn, and coincidentally, the Yang Zing themselves drew Inspiration from the stars, making references to the Draco constellation.

In the Yu-Gi-Oh! storyline, the Crystrons seem to have immense powers, and they ward off big threats like the newly discovered “True King” monsters. The True Kings are almost like the Dragon Rulers of old, now Forbidden. But instead of Dragon-type monsters, they're all Wyrms. Each of the newer themes like the Metalfoes, the Crystrons and the newly announces Zodiac Beasts have their own foil in one of the True Kings. True King Bahrastos, the Fathomer appears in the Crystron card Crystron Impact, setting up its rivalry.

At some point in Raging Tempest, the next set releasing in January, the Crystron monsters shift from a focus on Chinese Astronomy and mysticism, towards a Nordic influence. Those Nordic references include the dragon Fafnir and the land serpent Jormungandr.

 Crystron Citree
Crystron Citree124714
Set Invasion: Vengeance
Number INOV-EN016
Level 2
Type Tuner/Effect Monster
Monster Machine
Attribute WATER 
A / D 500 / 500
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

During your opponent's Main Phase or Battle Phase: You can target 1 non-Tuner monster in your Graveyard; Special Summon it, but it has its effects negated (if any), and if you do, immediately after this effect resolves, Synchro Summon 1 Machine-Type Synchro Monster using only that monster and this card (this is a Quick Effect). These Synchro Materials are banished instead of being sent to the Graveyard. You can only use this effect of "Crystron Citree" once per turn.

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The Crystron strategy focuses on a single gemstone variety: quartz. The second most common mineral on our planet, it's a silica-based gemstone that's famously linked with mysticism in almost every culture. Quartz comes in a variety of colors and different varieties depending on its microstructure. Gemstones like onyx, jasper, and tiger's eye are all parts of the quartz family.

While some quartz varieties are very common and can be very inexpensive, some can be worth quite a bit of money because of their colors, especially “bi-colored” stones. Such stones are multicolored, like ametrine – a combination of yellow citrine and violet amethyst – and colorless or violet bi-color amethysts. There are even some quartz varieties that feature long golden or black rods scattered through their internal structure, known as “rutilated” specimens.

Those types of specimens can be carved into bangles and pendants as well as faceted into gorgeous jewelry quality gemstones. At one point in time, the cheaper varieties of quartz such as carnelian, onyx and amethyst were actually worth a fortune, and were culturally very important. Now, those stones have become much more common.

The Crystron theme is exclusively Water, and the word for “crystal” comes from the greek word “krystallos”, which translates to “ice”. Quartz were once thought to have been water frozen so cold that it couldn't thaw. Some believed it was water that had become trapped by the earth and had in turn solidified. Something along the lines of those former beliefs seems like the most reasonable cause for the Crystrons' Water-attribute. It's also worth noting that their enemy, True King Bahrastos, the Fathomer, is also a Water monster.

The Sacred Beasts and the Blessed Warriors
Each of the Crystron beasts are based on a legendary animal which is then contrasted with a Sacred Beast of the system of Chinese Constellations. Within that system, each of those four Sacred Beasts are associated with an element and a season. Each of the monsters are based on a naturally colored and naturally forming variety of quartz, which is important to remember when we look at the Synchro Monsters later on.

The White Tiger of the West, Bai Hu, is represented by Crystron Smiger, whose name is a composition of “smoky quartz” and “tiger.” The white tiger is associated with the element of metal and the season of Autumn.

 Crystron Thystvern
Crystron Thystvern124717
Set Invasion: Vengeance
Number INOV-EN019
Level 3
Type Effect Monster
Monster Machine
Attribute WATER 
A / D 1500 / 1500
Rarity Common
Card Text

You can target 1 face-up card you control; you cannot Special Summon monsters from the Extra Deck for the rest of this turn, except Machine-Type Synchro Monsters, also destroy that card, and if you do, Special Summon 1 "Crystron" Tuner from your Deck. You can banish this card from your Graveyard; add 1 "Crystron" monster from your Deck to your hand, except "Crystron Thystvern". You can only use 1 "Crystron Thystvern" effect per turn, and only once that turn.

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Crystron Thystvern's name is composed of “amethyst,” a violet variety of quartz, and “wyvern.” It represents the Azure Dragon of the North, Qing Long. The blue dragon is associated with the element of wood. The only reason I can see for this monster to be violet is that there's no natural “blue” variety of quartz. Blue quartz does exist, but its color is treated through the addition of a layer of microscopic metal that alters the hue we see, but not the actual internal structure of the stone.

Crystron Prasiortle is based on green quartz, known as “prasiolite”, and the turtle form is a reference to the Black Tortoise of the East, Xuan Wu. It's associated with the element of water and the season of winter.

Finally, Crystron Rosenix is based on rose quartz and the phoenix, referencing the Vermillion Bird of the South. This beast is associated with the element of fire and the season of summer. It's designated by the name Zhu Que.

A fifth Crystron “sacred beast” monster will be released next year in the set Raging Tempest, as Crystron Sulphafnir (OCG Fanlation). It's based on the the fifth sacred beast, the Yellow Dragon, which is the center of the four cardinal directions. This monster's based on quartz infused with sulfur.

The “humanoid” Crystron monsters are all Tuners. Each one of them has an effect that allows you to Synchro Summon with them on your opponents turn. Crystron Citree's drawn from the yellow variety of quartz, citrine, and Crystron Quan is based on your basic “white” or clear quartz. The Crystron Tuners “pilot” the mechanical beasts they form to create a larger robot, as represented by the Crystron Synchro Monsters. You can see that play out in the artwork for Crystron Entry, one of their two Trap Cards from Invasion: Vengeance.

Heat-Treated Union
As I mentioned above, it's important to remember that the “Sacred Beast” Crystron monsters are all sourced from naturally colored varieties of quartz that are created with no human intervention. On the flipside, all of the Crystron Synchros are based on treated quartz specimens; gems that are influenced by human hands to create a “new” gemstone by altering their colors. These unusually colored stones generally use a “surface treated” method to get their colors, which I'll describe below. This could be a reference to how the humanoid Crystron monsters merge with their Sacred Beast counterparts and improve upon them.

When the Crystron monsters come together and make a Synchro Summon, they become anthropomorphic; beast and human in one form. While in that form, the beasts become bipedal, changing their gemstone and their name to represent their new union.

 Crystron Ametrix
Crystron Ametrix124743
Set Invasion: Vengeance
Number INOV-EN045
Level 5
Type Synchro/Effect Monster
Monster Machine
Attribute WATER 
A / D 2500 / 1500
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner monsters
If this card is Synchro Summoned: You can change all face-up Special Summoned monsters your opponent controls to Defense Position. If this Synchro Summoned card is destroyed by battle or card effect: You can target 1 "Crystron" monster in your Graveyard, except a Synchro Monster; Special Summon it.

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Crystron Ametrix, now in piloted form, is named for Ametrine, a “bi-color” or multi-colored variety of quartz that's part amethyst and part citrine. Natural ametrine is harder to come by, but it's not uncommon to see ametrine on the market that's really ust heated amethyst. When heated, the gemstone will change from violet to yellow, and it's possible to heat a certain area of the stone so that it looks like an ametrine. The colors can be vivid or subdued.

Heat treated varieties can be detected by looking inside the stone for inclusions and patterns that are found only in amethyst, but they can be tough to ferret out when examining the stone. Speaking of heat treated amethysts, prasiolite is another stone that's often a heated form of amethyst. Some amethyst doesn't turn yellow from heating and instead become a leek-green color. Prasiolite's often sold under the pseudonym of “Green Amethyst”. The monster we mentioned above, Crystron Prasiortle, is of this variety.

Red quartz such as that featured in Crystron Phoenix does exist, but it's another example of a treated quartz specimen. Some specimens can be found in nature and are naturally dyed by chromium, giving it a distinct red color. The gemstone seen behind Crystron Phoenix is multicolored, which we could assume is a rainbow quartz specimen; those are produced by man, and don't occur naturally.

It's another example of a quartz that's surface treated, coated with a microscopically thin layer of metal. The process uses a vacuum and subjects the stone to heat to secure microscopic metal to its surface. It's also possible to use this method to create another treated variety of quartz known as “flame aura” which is probably what this monster is based on. Crystron Phoenix is definitely meant to represent the Vermillion Bird of the South.

 Crystron Phoenix
Crystron Phoenix124744
Set Invasion: Vengeance
Number INOV-EN046
Level 9
Type Synchro/Effect Monster
Monster Machine
Attribute WATER 
A / D 2800 / 2000
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

1 Tuner Synchro Monster + 1 or more non-Tuner Synchro Monsters
If this card is Synchro Summoned: You can banish all Spell and Trap Cards your opponent controls and in their Graveyard. If this Synchro Summoned card is destroyed by battle or card effect: You can target 1 other monster in your Graveyard; Special Summon it.

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Crystron Quandax is our last Synchro Monster in the theme. A level 4 Tuner Synchro's generally a very valuable thing to be, and Quandax can fit into any deck thanks to its lack of summoning restrictions. The form of this monster is based on the White Tiger Sacred Beast, as made evident by its tail, the fangs and the ears as well as the stripes on its body. It looks to be based on a treated blue quartz variety known as “aqua aura”. It's another gemstone that uses the surface treatment for its coloring. Many metals go into the production of the color, including gold.

Oddly there's no combination of Crystrons to make level 3 Synchros, so at least for the moment, there's no Synchro monster to represent Sacred Beast Genbu. Perhaps we'll see one further down the line.

I hope you enjoyed today's Behind the Cards! Gemstone-based decks are always some of my favorites, and I love learning about them. If you're playing Crystrons, I hope you've found a new enjoyment for them and I'd love to hear about your decks. Leave your ideas in the comments section below! Until next time,

-Franco Ferrara

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