The New Subterrors Part 1: The Final Battle

Doug Zeeff

5/1/2017 11:00:00 AM

Subterrors have had their share of ups and downs, that's for sure.

At first, many people thought Subterrors were clearly the better World Premiere archetype, largely because unlike SPYRALS they had a clear win condition. But as both themes received more support, SPYRALS came to have a competitive impact while Subterrors haven't really done anything.

That's frustrating to me since original four Subterrors were so good. Subterror Behemoth Stalagmo and Subterror Behemoth Umastryx have remained the best Subterror Behemoths through all the releases, and Subterror Nemesis Warrior remains the most versatile and consistent Subterror Nemesis. Unsurprisingly, The Hidden City has been a staple three-of in virtually every build, usually accompanied by a few copies of Terraforming to search it.

So what the heck happened?
I think one point we have to make is that Raging Tempest did very little for Subterrors. In fact, I actually never made a Part 2 article to compliment a Part 1 where I analyzed the four new cards! No, I didn't forget about Part 2, but whenever I'd try to use the new support I honestly couldn't find a good way to play it. Despite some fringe uses, all four of the RATE Subterror cards fell flat for me, and for a while I was discouraged from testing with them.

But Then…
Maybe you missed it, but a couple weeks ago there was a big blunder on a well-known Yu-Gi-Oh! facebook group, where a few players noticed that their OTS 4 packs had unreleased Maximum Crisis Super Rares instead of OTS 4 Supers. The first response from the community was something along the lines of “Yeah okay, those are definitely fake.” But then a new SPYRAL monster was pulled, and it seemed like nobody would go out of their way to create custom, on-thee artwork for a fake card. More Supers kept appearing, and then finally, the last card was revealed.

It was a Subterror, and it was really good.

Subterror Fiendess
Level 1 EARTH Spellcaster-Type Effect Monster
ATK 800 / DEF 500
During either player's turn, when your opponent activates a card or effect: You can send this card from your hand or field to the Graveyard, then target 1 “Subterror” monster you control; negate the activation, then change the targeted monster to face-down Defense Position. You can target 1 face-up monster you control; change it to face-down Defense Position, and if you do, Special Summon 1 “Subterror” monster from your hand or Graveyard, in face-up or face-down Defense Position. You can only use each effect of “Subterror Fiendess” once per turn.

When I first read Subterror Fiendess I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was almost too good to be true, and due to the nature of the leaks I was quite skeptical. We now know that all of the Maximum Crisis leaks from those OTS 4 packs were in fact real, but you can imagine why I was cautious about this card.

First of all, Subterror Fiendess can just negate anything as long as you have a face-up Subterror on the table. You just send it from your hand or field to the graveyard. While it's on the field, you can flip a monster you control face-down to Special Summon a Subterror from the hand or graveyard, either in face-up or face-down defense position.

 Subterror Behemoth Stalagmo
Subterror Behemoth Stalagmo121340
Set The Dark Illusion
Number TDIL-EN084
Level 10
Type Flip/Effect Monster
Monster Rock
Attribute EARTH 
A / D 2800 / 2100
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

FLIP: You can discard 1 "Subterror" monster, and if you do, draw 2 cards. You can only use this effect of "Subterror Behemoth Stalagmo" once per turn.
When a face-up monster you control is flipped face-down, if you control no face-up monsters: You can Special Summon this card from your hand in Defense Position. Once per turn: You can change this card to face-down Defense Position.

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Anyone can read a hand trap version of Infernity Barrier and realize that it's pretty decent. But when I saw this card -- and what I learned in testing -- was that the Special Summoning effect and the position manipulation were even more important. Don't get me wrong: negating anything is a big deal, especially when you do it for free. But one of the issues with Subterrors throughout the last three set releases was that they had zero recovery; a single Raigeki or Dark Hole would ruin your day. The other issue was that they didn't have a lot of one-card plays to get Subterror Behemoths onto the field.

Subterror Fiendess solves both of those problems. On your first turn, you can Normal Summon it to activate its effect, turning it face-down to Special Summon a bigger Subterror from your hand. If you've lost your field or want to recover one-of Subterrors that you're teching, you can use that same effect to get a quick revive for free. There are some more complicated scenarios where Fiendess makes a big impact as well, but I'll save those for the deck list article.

The Other Three Cards
The key thing about the OTS 4 leaks was that they only showed us Super Rares. Because the only Super Rare Subterror was Fiendess, players wouldn't learn about the other Subterrors until Konami revealed them. That came not too long after, and I actually filmed my live reaction to them on my Youtube channel.

When I've done these Subterror reviews in the past I've gone through the Behemoths first, but I think the sheer insanity of the trap card warrants a priority spot. Here's what it does:

Subterror Final Battle
Normal Trap Card
Activate 1 of these effects, also, after that, Set this card face-down instead of sending it to the Graveyard.
• Change 1 Set “Subterror” monster on the field to face-up Attack or Defense Position.
• Change 1 face-up “Subterror” monster on the field to face-down Defense Position.
• ATK and DEF of 1 “Subterror” monster on the field become equal to its combined original ATK and DEF until the end of this turn.
• This turn, activated effects of “Subterror” cards cannot be negated.

For a while now it seems like I've made the exact same comment at the end of every Subterror article: Subterrors just need a Ghostrick Scare, and then they'll be playable. You see, Subterrors are really good at flipping themselves face-down, but you've always had to go to outside options like Ghostrick Scare or Prediction Princess Tarotrei to flip them up on your opponent's turn.

Now everything's changed. I'll cover each effect individually, but first notice that when you activate Subterror Final Battle it sets itself instead of being sent to the graveyard. None of the effects are technically once per turn, although you'll have to wait one turn before using it a second time since it's a trap. That's important for two reasons.

First, it's simply smart card economy. As long as your opponent doesn't destroy Final Battle you'll get one of the four effects every single turn. Second, if you have multiple copies of Subterror Final Battle you can use all of them in the same turn, and you can repeat whichever effects you've used if you want.

The first effect is the one you'll use the most. All it does is flip a Subterror face-up. Maybe that doesn't sound amazing, but it fixes the biggest problem with Subterrors. The second effect is the opposite: it lets you flip a Subterror face-down. Not as useful, but still a nice option. The third effect is largely reserved for your turn, and I closed out games with it all the time: you can make a Subterror monster's ATK and DEF equal to its combined ATK and DEF. That's crazy, pushing most Subterror Behemoths into the range 4000-5000 attack. You can even use it in the damage step to cheese some wins with a 4700 DEF Subterror Behemoth Umastryx.

The last effect is arguably tied for the least useful, keeping your Subterror effects from being negated for the turn. While that's a neat counter against cards like Solemn Strike, I haven't found myself using it nearly as often as the first or third effect.

 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 Final Battle combos nicely with Subterror Fiendess. Let's say you open with The Hidden City, any Subterror Behemoth or Subterror Fiendess, and Final Battle. You'd start your turn by using The Hidden City to grab whichever Subterror you don't have. Then, you can set Fiendess to Special Summon a Subterror Behemoth, and follow with a set Final Battle. Finally, you can use The Hidden City to flip Fiendess face-up.

On your opponent's turn, you can now use Subterror Fiendess to negate a card, putting the Subterror Behemoth face-down. Then you can use Final Battle to flip that same Subterror Behemoth face-up, hopefully triggering a disruptive effect like Subterror Umastryx. The Final Battle sets itself for next turn, and you'll likely start out with the Subterror Behemoth still on your field.

That's a lot of momentum for a rogue deck. But what about the two Subterror Behemoths? Well…

Subterror Behemoth Phospheroglacier
Level 8 EARTH Aqua-type Effect Monster
ATK 2600 / DEF 2500
FLIP: You can send 1 card from your deck to the graveyard. You can only use this effect of “Subterror Behemoth Phospheroglacier” once per turn.
When a face-up monster you control is flipped face-down, if you control no face-up monsters: You can Special Summon this card from your hand in Defense Position. Once per turn: You can change this card to face-down defense position.

Subterror Behemoth Speleogeist
Level 11 EARTH Fiend-Type Effect Monster
ATK 3000 / DEF 1400
FLIP: You can target 1 monster on the field; change it to face-up Attack Position if it is in Defense Position, also change its ATK to 0. You can only use this effect of “Subterror Behemoth Speleogeist” once per turn.
When a face-up monster you control is flipped face-down, if you control no face-up monsters: You can Special Summon this card from your hand in Defense Position. Once per turn: You can change this card to face-down defense position.

I don't think I'm being unrealistic when I say that both these cards are, at best, just “okay.” Speleogeist feels like it has a combination of two decent effects, but it takes the worst parts of both. If it changed the monster to 0 ATK and negated its ability, it would be an excellent defensive card. If it didn't change the ATK and just flipped it face-up, it would be a good aggressive card for your own monsters. But dropping your opponent's monster to 0 ATK won't do anything, and changing your own Subterrors to ATK isn't good if they're reduced to no ATK.

Phospheroglacier is definitely better, although that's largely because it's hard for a Lavalval Chain to be bad. There are some cool interactions that pop up with Phospheroglacier sending stuff like Glow-Up Bulb, Subterror Nemesis Warrior, or Subterror Behemoth Burrowing to the graveyard, but for the most part it's an awkwardly placed monster in a deck that doesn't have much space for one-of's.

I've already spent a lot of time doing Live Streams testing Subterrors, and so far I've found a lot of surprising results that totally alter the course of Subterror deck lists from anything I've posted before. It's like playing a totally different strategy, in a very good way. I wish that this wave of support was Subterrors' second, not their fourth, but what can you do? Regardless, stay tuned for that update in the next couple weeks!

-Doug Zeeff

Doug 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 Yu-Gi-Oh! content on his Youtube channel, Dzeeff. In his spare time he enjoys eating cheese, Overwatch, and, of course, playing Yu-Gi-Oh. Click here to follow him and his adventures on Facebook!

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