Spotlight: Sea Monster of Theseus
Have you ever had a movie hyped up to you for weeks, maybe even months, and then when you finally watch it you realized it could never live up to the imaginary, impractical expectations that you set for it?
Because I think that's exactly what happened with Sea Monster of Theseus.
Don't get me wrong: I love Sea Monster of Theseus, and today I've decided to spend an entire article writing about why it's such a great card, but I do think it was severely overhyped by the Yu-Gi-Oh! community, not Konami.
I mean, sure, it was partly Konami's fault, but the vast majority of the blame is directed, in my opinion, at the Youtube community. When the original teaser article dropped, Sea Monster of Theseus was described as “one of the strongest monsters we'll release all year,” and that “this monster is a blank slate for you to create an infinite number of new Decks and strategies with, or just add previously impossible moves to the repertoire of the Decks you already know and love.”
In other words, we, as a community, created impossible standards for this card. When early ideas from players were guesses like a Normal Pendulum Monster with 3000 ATK that adds a card from your deck to your hand once per turn, obviously whatever gets released isn't going to be as powerful. But not only was Sea Monster of Theseus being compared to imaginary hyped effects, it's also being compared to Zoodiac Raptier, without a doubt one of the most influential cards of the 2016-2017 season.
So yeah, when the reveal article dropped on January 24th, people were angry. Really, really angry. Here's everything you need to know about its stats and abilities:
Sea Monster of Theseus
So what makes Sea Monster of Theseus so good? While it's not the first Level 5 Water Fusion, it is a Level 5 Zombie Fusion, and it's obviously the first Tuner Fusion too. The Water attribute honestly doesn't make that much of a difference, as most decks that want to summon Water monsters are going to use Rare Fish for Bahamut Shark instead. But Theseus' status as a Zombie Tuner that you can bring out instantly – no pun intended – is incredible for several tested strategies.But First, Let's Make One Thing Clear
One of the more popular reactions I saw to this card was that it's a worse Blackwing - Gofu the Vague Shadow. On the surface I can see the comparison: they're both Level 5 Tuners that can be summoned with relative ease. In Theseus' case you'd summon it with Instant Fusion, while in Gofu's case it's a self-Special Summon effect when you have no monsters. “Why does Theseus matter if we can already play Gofu” was a common question.
Why play this over Gofu? How about because you're already playing Instant Fusion?!
The biggest problem with Gofu – and the main reason that Metalfoes players have been dropping it from their Main Decks – is that it's only good when you don't have a board, and it's worthless when you have multiples. Outside of niche interactions in Dark Synchro decks, Gofu's biggest claim to fame is in Metalfoes, and yet you can't find it in most modern competitive lists. That's because while it's a fantastic opening play, it's a straight brick every single turn afterwards. Cards like those are awful for longer tournaments, so players have been dropping it from their lists entirely.
So while you could play three Gofu in some of the decks I'll be talking about in this article, it's much better to just find decks that were already playing three Instant Fusion and Norden, and then adding in one copy of Theseus. That's amplified when those decks are also playing Level 3 Monsters or Zombies like Mezuki, and unsurprisingly there's some overlap there.
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Examples? I'm probably biased, but my immediate reaction to Theseus was that it would be absolutely perfect in Zombie Phantom Knights, a deck I've come back to time and time again. The basic overview is that you're combining the consistency of Phantom Knights with Shiranui Solitaire, Mezuki, and Uni-Zombie to pump out PSY-Framelord Omega. Omega recycles the Mezuki as well as all of your Phantom Knights while creating some unstoppable first turn boards with a variety of undercosted effects at-the-ready in case your opponent manages to break your board.
Conveniently enough that deck already played Instant Fusion, and packs a bunch of Level 3's, and can benefit from making Level 8 Synchros, and has Mezuki to revive Zombies. If there was ever a strategy that could accidentally make use of every single piece of Sea Monster of Theseus it's Zombie Phantom Knights, and I couldn't be more excited to pick the deck up again (especially with the release of The Phantom Knights' Rank-Up-Magic Launch, too).
But your deck doesn't necessarily need to take advantage of all aspects of Theseus to play it competitively. I know that there's already a Zoodiac hand loop using Theseus to make XX-Saber Gottoms and rip three cards out of your opponent's hand on the first turn, and in that case the important thing is that it's a Level 5 Tuner you can bring out with Instant Fusion. I've also considered the impact of Theseus in decks like Frog Mermails, where you're playing Norden to make Bahamut Shark but sometimes have dead Instant Fusions. Konami's suggestion of using Theseus to make Coral Dragon with Neptabyss the Atlantean Prince or Raremetalfoes Bismugear is wholly unrealistic, but Synchro Summoning Black Rose Dragon with Swap Frog or PSY-Framelord Omega with Atlantean Marksman seems plausible in a pinch.
I also love Theseus in any Lightsworn variant, but especially the ones like Zachariah Butler's from December. In it, Butler used Uni-Zombie and Mezuki to boost the crazy number of plays that Lightsworns were already known for, and he was rewarded with a Top 8 Regional Qualifier finish. Instant Fusion has long been a staple of all Lightsworn variants, and Sea Monster of Theseus could easily add another layer of diversity to an already complex and successful strategy.
Outside of Level 8 Synchros, Theseus is great for making Ultimaya Tzolkin in anything that plays regular Level 5's and Instant Fusion already. Cyber Dragons, Artifact variants, anything playing Brilliant Fusion and Gem-Knight Seraphinite, and anything playing Galaxy Soldier are all prime candidates for playing Ultimaya Tzolkin, and I wouldn't be surprised to see those strategies reach new heights in the coming months or later this year.
Ultimaya Tzolkin has popped up several times on the competitive landscape, bringing out game-changing monsters like Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon, Void Ogre Dragon, and Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer. Theseus gives duelists a renewed interest in Tzolkin for sure, letting you play it in decks that Blackwing - Gofu the Vague Shadow never would have worked in.Looking Ahead
Sea Monster of Theseus might not be a one-card +4, and it might not ever find itself Forbidden, but Konami was absolutely correct when they said it makes previously impossible moves and strategies, well, possible. High Level Tuners have always been difficult to come by, but Sea Monster of Theseus is a solid Level 5 Tuner that you don't even need to waste a Normal Summon on.
I know that it might not seem like much with an alarming number of insane cards coming out in February, but mark my words: Theseus will eventually make a huge impact on Yu-Gi-Oh. It might not be broken yet, but it has so many things going just right for it that it's stupid to ignore how good it is in the right decks.
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 semi-Yu-Gi-Oh! related 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!