Circuit Break Vendreads: Squandered Potential

Doug Zeeff

11/15/2017 11:00:00 AM

As someone who followed Subterrors religiously since their initial announcement, I know a thing or two about being disappointed by World Exclusive themes.

In hindsight it might seem silly to get so invested in such a lackluster strategy, but all the pieces were there: the past two years brought Burning Abyss and Kozmos to the forefront of competition, two higher rarity powerhouses that towered over their corresponding World Exclusive themes, U.A. and Kaiju.

Subterrors were way higher rarity than SPYRALs, and all four of the original cards were, in their own right, pretty good. I stuck by the strategy through two really, really bad waves of support, and it wasn't until the release of Subterror Fiendess and Subterror Final Battle did I see a glimmer of what I first saw in the strategy, but by then it was too late.

Obviously SPYRALs were the better archetype overall, as evident by their recent hits on the F&L List, but it's hard to predict a great Link Summoning strategy before Link Summoning has been invented.

So… Vendreads
To say I was skeptical about this year's wave of World Exclusives would be an understatement. I was burned before by a deck that showed a lot of promise. But Vendreads seemed to fit the bill for the next big exclusive theme. As I talked about in my first review of them , they had strong design for future releases as well as a ton of Zombie support to smooth out the edges until they received more cards.

The greatest source of my faith in Vendreads was Revendread Origin, their first Ritual Spell. It was incredibly well-designed, with all the benefits of generic Ritual Spells that could summon multiple monsters and still searchable by Pre-Preparation of Rites. It did this by cleverly mentioning Revendread Slayer by name in its text, relating to a graveyard protection effect. Since Pre-Preparation of Rites doesn't care about where it mentions a Ritual Monster by name, adding it to your hand was fair game.

Even though Revendread Slayer wasn't anything to write home about, I started to see what the theme could become: four unique Ritual Monsters and Ritual Spells that could all be searched by Pre-Preparation of Rites, but also used for any of the Ritual Monsters. As long as the new Ritual Monsters did something more than Revendread Slayer's non-impactful 300 ATK gain effect, I figured the deck would be playable, at the very least. That was because Vendread Houndhorde and Vendread Revenants both gave slick bonuses to the monsters that they were used as on-field Ritual Summon tributes for.

 Vendread Chimera
Vendread Chimera148384
Set Circuit Break
Number CIBR-EN082
Level 5
Type Ritual/Effect Monster
Monster Zombie
Attribute DARK 
A / D 2300 / 0
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

You can Ritual Summon this card with any "Vendread" Ritual Spell. When a card or effect is activated that would destroy a card on the field (Quick Effect): You can banish 1 Zombie monster from your GY; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that card. If this card is Tributed, or banished, for a Ritual Summon: All monsters your opponent controls lose 500 ATK/DEF. You can only use each effect of "Vendread Chimera" once per turn.

Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
Red Squad 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $2.00
felmare 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $2.00
Legit MTG 1st Edition - Near Mint 2 $2.49
realgoodeal 1st Edition - Near Mint 14 $2.56
Cardmonstergamez Unlimited - Lightly Played 1 $2.74
Common Shop 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $2.75
316 Collectibles Unlimited - Lightly Played 2 $2.83
SKYAThatOneGuy 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $2.84
MythicMTG 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $2.88
The Bat Cave 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $2.88

The deck I built around the first set of cards was essentially just a Shiranui Zombie deck that could abuse Revendread Origin to summon a 2400 ATK beater. That might not sound that great, but Revendread Origin as a 1-for-1 into a 2400 ATK Ritual Monster is actually pretty impressive. It's basically a Nekroz Cycle and Nekroz Mirror in one card, it just needed better things to summon than Revendread Slayer.

Circuit Break Disappointment
As Yu-Gi-Oh! cards sometimes do, the Circuit Break Vendreads were leaked earlier than I thought. The first card I got to read was Vendread Nights, and boy was I excited.

Vendread Nights was a once per turn search for any Vendread monster at the cost of a discard. The discard cost was borderline irrelevant because you can pitch stuff like Mezuki, which made Vendread Nights very appealing. It also packed a Double Attack effect that while not super important was still a welcome add-on to an already decent card. Things were looking up already, and I couldn't wait to read the next Ritual Spell in the Vendread arsenal.

Except... there wasn't a new Ritual Spell. That's where things went wrong, and they only continued to get worse as I read the Ritual Monster, Vendread Chimera. If we're thinking back to my first reactions, one of the reasons that I was excited for Vendreads was the likelihood that they'd get one Ritual Monster and one Ritual Spell every set, which would have made them a diverse Ritual Summoning deck. The problem with getting Vendread Chimera without a Ritual Spell means that there's a good chance it won't get a unique Ritual Spell in the future, and that the next set will just have a new Ritual Monster and complimentary spell for it. Or, even worse, next set could just have a Ritual Spell for Chimera and not a new monster, which is an issue because Vendread Chimera just isn't that good.

I do have to give Vendread Chimera some credit. In a vacuum, it's superior to Revendread Chimera in almost every way. Instead of a useless ATK boost, Chimera has a negation effect that lets you trade ‘yarded Zombie monsters for your opponent's destruction effects. That's a counter to cards like Raigeki and Dark Hole, and perhaps would have had more relevancy against Zoodiac Drident. It also has another effect when you use it for a Ritual Summon that reduces all your opponent's monsters by 500 ATK/DEF. Like the second effect of Vendread Nights, it's not going to win you any games, but it's not a drawback, either.

The problem is that once again, Chimera doesn't have its own Ritual Spell. There are ways to search it, sure: Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands, Vendread Nights, or Revendread Slayer's destruction search effect. But Pre-Preparation of Rites is not on that list, and that holds the deck back quite a lot.

What ends up happening is that post-Circuit Break Vendread lists are all but forced to run two or three copies of Vendread Slayer and only one Chimera, just because you can't grab it with Pre-Preparation of Rites. That's a real shame, because Chimera's clearly the stronger monster once it hits the field.

 Pre-Preparation of Rites
Pre-Preparation of Rites117952
Set Shining Victories
Number SHVI-EN065
Type Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

Add 1 Ritual Spell Card from your Deck to your hand, and add 1 Ritual Monster from your Deck or Graveyard to your hand whose name is listed on that Ritual Spell Card. You can only activate 1 "Pre-Preparation of Rites" per turn.

Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
SiliconGaming 1st Edition - Near Mint 2 $0.99
Gsantsm Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $1.29
ZANGOOSE CARDs Unlimited - Heavily Played 1 $1.40
Yatalock Unlimited - Near Mint 2 $1.49
OmegaGaming Unlimited - Near Mint 3 $1.49
MrDiamondCards Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $1.49
Collectible Corner Unlimited - Lightly Played 1 $1.58
Rivercitygamez Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $1.59
Card Guru Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $1.59
Element Gaming Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $1.60

Vendread Striges has an arguably better revival effect than Vendread Houndhorde. Whenever it's sent to the graveyard all you have to do is reveal a Vendread card in your hand to bring it back. It's banished when it leaves the field much like Houndhorde, too. The bonus effect that it gives the Ritual Monster that you summon using it is underwhelming. If the monster battles, you can draw a card and then discard a card. I don't see a reason they couldn't just keep it at “draw 1 card,” and instead make sure it was a simple 1-for-1. Both Houndhorde and Revanants' bonus effects are +1's, and I would have liked to see Striges continue the pattern.

Everything is “brought together” by Vendread Reunion. It has a lot of text, but it's basically an Urgent Ritual Art using banished monsters as material. The key part here is that you're bringing back the banished monsters to the field before the Ritual Summon, so you'll gain the bonus effects of them. I think the line that Konami wants you to take is as such: Ritual Summon a Vendread using monsters on the field, gaining the bonus effect. Using Revendread Origin, banish those monsters from the graveyard. Then finally use Vendread Reunion to bring back the banished monsters and summon Slayer or Chimera, gaining two bonus effects in the process.

That's way too slow for modern competition with the current Vendread cards, but I'll cautiously say that Vendread Reunion does have some potential for the future. Summoning a 2400 ATK beater that can banish an opponent's monster for free on their turn seems like a pretty sweet deal to me. Still, Vendreads are giving me the same vibes that I retrospectively should have had about Subterrors, and it'll be difficult pretending that they'll get better support with each release.

We're halfway through the Vendread run at this point, and the only reason they're better off than Subterrors or SPYRALs were one year ago is because the generic Zombie support is so good. I don't know what Vendreads will get in the future, but I hope Konami cares enough to fix this strategy.

-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.
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