Behind the Cards: Dread of the Altergeist

Franco Ferrara

12/1/2017 11:00:00 AM

As far as competitive dueling's concerned, Altergeists have been pushed off to the side. Three of their cards ate up Ultra Rare slots in Circuit Break and no one even batted an eye. Players turned their attention to SPYRAL Double Helix and to some degree even the Rokket theme instead, which is a shame because the Altergeists are capable of some interesting tricks.

The Altergeists are Spellcaster-type monsters that benefit from useful support like the Spellbook engine, most notably their ability to abuse Spellbook of Knowledge and plus you in the process. What the theme lacks in sheer power… a problem that will be rectified early next year… it makes up for in its ability to dominate and control your opponents actions. After testing the deck myself a bit, there are definitely monster and trap combinations that can lock your opponent out of important plays and really cause them some frustration - I'll talk about those later.

For now, what makes the theme even more interesting is that three of the Altergeist monsters have unique recursion effects. When they're sent from the field to the graveyard you can…

-Search your deck for any Altergeist monster and add it to your hand (Altergeist Meluseek)

-Return an Altergeist Trap card from your Graveyard to your hand (Altergeist Silquitos)

-Return an Altergeist card from your graveyard to your hand (Altergeist Primebanshee)

Each of the Altergeist monster names contain the name of a mythical female creature, and what one could surmise as some loose reference to computer commands. Their trap cards are all themed around appearing and disappearing like the phantasms they represent. Although their ATK is lacking, playing just a few games with the deck quickly demonstrates how fun they can be.

 Altergeist Kunquery
Altergeist Kunquery148296
Set Circuit Break
Number CIBR-EN015
Level 5
Type Effect Monster
Monster Spellcaster
Attribute EARTH 
A / D 0 / 2400
Rarity Common
Card Text

When an opponent's monster declares an attack, if you control an "Altergeist" card: You can Special Summon this card from your hand, and if you do, negate that attack. If this card is Special Summoned: You can target 1 face-up card your opponent controls; negate the effects of that card while it and this monster are face-up on the field.

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Altergeist Kunquery's name is derived from a corruption of the word “Kentauridae” (Centauridae) and “query language”, the programming language that retrieves information from a database. There's not much to be said about the Centaurides –feminine of Centaur – beyond depictions in art and tales of their beauty. Along with Altergeist Silquitos, it makes for a soft lock whenever your opponent attempts to attack, allowing for up to three attack negations per turn.

Altergeist Silquitos is named for the Siren and includes the word “quit” to continue the Altergeist name trend. Not all Sirens were sea dwelling creatures, as we often see them in pop culture. In fact, the Greek sirens were actually similar to harpies and sometimes even carried harps. They had the bodies of birds and the heads of women. Their songs would put their victims to sleep and then, they'd tear them apart devouring their prey.

Altergeist Marionetter's name is composed of “marionette” and “netter”, the latter a term for someone who uses the internet (yes, that word's a real thing). Altergeist Marionetter features a bunch of wires that could be the strings it uses to resurrect and puppeteer her accomplices. I'm sure the searching and summoning effects are some reference to being a “netter” as well.

Altergeist Marionetter's an all-around useful card because when she's Normal Summoned, she searches for any Altergeist trap card and sets it to the field for you. That mitigates the fear of cards reacting to you like Ash Blossom and Joyous Spring. Keep in mind, Marionetter's effect isn't once per turn, either.

The second ability is where the “marionette” part of its name begins to make sense. Once per turn, you can send ANY Altergeist card on the field – including itself and your trap cards – to the graveyard to Special Summon any Altergeist monster from your graveyard, Link Monsters included! Essentially it puppeteers your dead monsters for you, restringing them and bringing them back to the field, possessing them itself. Keep in mind that its effect is targeting, so you don't send the card on the field to the graveyard until resolution; that means if you have Altergeist Protocol face-up your, opponent can't negate this monster's ability. Marionetter's very powerful; it's definitely worth its Ultra Rare slot.

 Altergeist Meluseek
Altergeist Meluseek148295
Set Circuit Break
Number CIBR-EN014
Level 1
Type Effect Monster
Monster Spellcaster
Attribute WATER 
A / D 500 / 300
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

This card can attack directly. When this card inflicts battle damage to your opponent: You can target 1 card your opponent controls; send it to the GY. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: You can add 1 "Altergeist" monster from your Deck to your hand, except "Altergeist Meluseek". You can only use this effect of "Altergeist Meluseek" once per turn.

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Altergeist Meluseek's name is a combination of Melusine, the “animal bride” – a creature that's said to be a serpent and human hybrid featured worldwide in fables. And of course the tech term tagged onto that is the word “seek”. Animal brides are women who are actually animals in disguise.

Sadly, and perhaps predictably, most of the stories about them end in Tragedy.

Anyway, the tale of Melusine is simple: a young, beautiful woman who was courted by a gentleman, Raymond of Poitou, agrees to marry him under the condition that every Saturday he'd be unable to enter her chambers. Unfortunately his curiosity led him to break his promise; he spied on her one Saturday, and saw that the bottom half of his betrothed was in fact a serpent's tail.

After an argument, they forgave one another and life continued on until their next fight. Raymond made a snide remark about her being half serpent and in her rage she transformed completely into a beast, gave him two rings, and vanished. But her screams and cries can still be heard by those living in her old residence. Melusine's mother was also said to be a bestial dragon creature who shared a similar fate with her husband. Melusine isn't confined only to French or Irish mythology – her tale is actually found in Greco-Roman culture as well, with her name evolving depending on the timeframe and where her story was told.

Altergeist Primebanshee is named for the Banshee of Irish legend whose shrieks and moans are now globally famous. It's said that if you're ever unlucky enough to hear the keening of a banshee, death will be soon to follow, either for you or someone you knew. What's fascinating about this card is the art and how it portrays the banshee as the “animal bride” we discussed above, acting as an almost “evolved” version of Melusine from the myth. Altergeist Primebanshee's body is composed of serpents, from her face, to her arms, and even her lower torso.

 Altergeist Primebanshee
Altergeist Primebanshee148333
Set Circuit Break
Number CIBR-EN047
Type Link/Effect Monster
Monster Spellcaster
Attribute DARK 
A / D 2100 /
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

2+ "Altergeist" monsters
During the Main Phase (Quick Effect): You can Tribute 1 other "Altergeist" monster; Special Summon 1 "Altergeist" monster from your Deck to your zone this card points to. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: You can target 1 "Altergeist" card in your GY; add it to your hand. You can only use each effect of "Altergeist Primebanshee" once per turn.

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Although it won't be released until the next set, Extreme Force, Altergeist Hextia's really awesome . Not only because her ATK can become gigantic thanks to her effect – she gets up to 3600 with an Altergeist Primebanshee adjacent – she can also tribute other Altergeist monsters to negate spells and traps. Combined with all the recursion the Altergeists command and their ability to search, Hextia's undeniably useful.

She's also a Link 2 monster which is far easier to summon while still keeping some board presence. When Hextia finally goes to the graveyard, she searches the deck for ANY Altergeist card and adds it to your hand. This monster will definitely be a huge asset to the deck and I can't wait for Extreme Force to arrive.

Altergeist Hextia's named for Hestia, the Greek Goddess of the hearth, which explains the Fire attribute. Her name could also be a pun on the word “hex” as in to curse or bewitch. While the term “hex” likely refers to the hexadecimal number system, the monster itself is also hexamerous, meaning it has parts arranged in groups of six, specifically Hextia's legs.

One of the best cards that the Altergeist theme eventually gets is an on-theme Call Of The Haunted, Altergeist Materialization . A normal trap also headed our way in Extreme Force, it Special Summons an Altergeist monster from your graveyard and equips to it. When the trap goes to the graveyard, so does the equipped Altergeist.

Why is that good? You'll generally get a free search or an additional monster to your field for Altergeist Marionetter or Altergeist Silquitos to combo with. And you can also banish it to bring back any Altergeist Trap card from your graveyard to your hand. It can keep coming back, too, thanks to Altergeist Primebanshee and Altergeist Silquitos. It creates a lot of combos, it's actually kind if crazy. There's a certain spell card that I can think of too that'd make this theme even more fun.

I hope I won't be the only one running this group of powerful and tricky beasts. Acting as a foil to the Trickstar theme, these ogresses don't use charm to get the job done, but fear and cruelty instead, fading in and out of the field and graveyard.

-Franco Ferrara

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