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The Seal of Orichalcos: Filling in the Blanks

September 21st, 2012

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Legendary Collection 3: Yugi’s World and The Seal of Orichalcos are fast approaching! Are you ready for the most famous Field Spell of all time? Probably not, because last time Kevin wrote about it he left you hanging with just this as its text:

All monsters you control gain 500 ATK.

____ ___ ____, ____ ____ ______ __ _________ __ ____ _______.
_____ ___ _______ _ __ ____ ____-__ ______ ________ ________, ____ ________ ______ ______ ____ _______(_) ____ ___ ______ ___ ___ __ ______.
When this card is activated: Destroy all Special Summoned monsters you control. You cannot Special Summon monsters from your Extra Deck.
___ ___ ____ ________ “___ ____ __ __________” ____ ___ ____.

Last I checked, the page on our official website for Legendary Collection 3: Yugi’s World promises that the Seal has three key powers, and so far all we’ve got filled in is the most memorable one, and the conditions we’ve put in place to both keep the card fair and represent the incompatibility between the Orichalcos and the Legendary Dragons.

Now it’s time to fill in the gaps!

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My Buddy as a Shield

The most recognized and well-known effect of The Seal of Orichalcos is that it gives every one of your monsters 500 extra Attack Points regardless of Attribute or Type. The original animated series went out of its way to emphasize this to the point of including a shot of each and every monster that was Summoned getting mean and powering up.

There’s nothing complicated about that. It’s a really simple effect with no room for debate. Not so simple, is the third effect of The Seal of Orichalcos revealed in Yugi’s Duel with Gurimo. On TV, the Duelist who played the Seal was allowed to control up to 10 monsters by using Spell & Trap Card Zones as if they were Monster Card Zones. In addition, the monsters in the Spell & Trap Card Zones were safe from attack while any monster existed in the Monster Card Zones. Oh, and they could also be moved around back and forth and all around at will. This is where we run into some problems.

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Problem #1: Putting monsters into places where they do not belong is a proven brain-burner.

Monsters go in the Monster Card Zones. Spells and Traps go in the Spell & Trap Card Zones. It’s simple. But every single time we print a card that breaks that simple rule, mass confusion is the result. Relinquished, Sword Hunter, Trap Monsters, Destiny Hero – Plasma, Dragunities, Inzektors, it’s been the same every single time. People write in all the time telling us about how they’re fighting with their friends over how these cards work.

Now imagine that The Seal of Orichalcos, the most desired previously TV-only card of all time, both A. put monsters where they don’t belong and B. did it in a way that is entirely unlike every other card in the game that puts monsters into Spell & Trap Card Zones. It would be chaos. Friendships would be destroyed. Duels would start to look a lot more like Joey VS Valon in all the wrong ways.

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Problem #2: There would be no room on the card for the rest of the Seal’s effects.

“All monsters you control gain +500 ATK” is easy. But if we wanted to 100% mimic the third effect of the Seal, exactly as seen on TV, with all of the nuances intact, we would need an entire text box just to write it all down. There would have been no room for the +500 ATK ability let alone the effect that keeps the Seal on the field in the face of Dust Tornado. And that simply wouldn’t do at all.

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Problem #3: Allowing Duelists to control 10 monsters obsoletes all other Field Spells and encourages “spam” for the sake of “spam”.

Hmmm, should I play with the Field Spell that’s specifically tailored to the Deck I want to play, or the one that lets me have 10 monsters and protect all my monsters from attack that’s incredibly hard to get rid of and gives me a massive ATK boost? Decisions, decisions. Here’s another one: Should I play a Deck that works towards Summoning 1 really cool monster and protecting it, or one that can Summon and attack with 7 souped-up monsters in the same turn that all get 500 extra Attack Points? It’s not a difficult choice, unless you’re a Gravekeeper Duelist.

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Problem #4: We’ve tried cards that care about their position on the field before. It was a disaster.

All the reasons the “Senet” cards were a disaster the first time around in Cyberdark Impact are still true today. The most pressing of these is that a huge majority of Duelists out there don’t even pay attention to where their cards go on the field. Monsters go in front, Spells and Traps go in back. Other than that, it’s the Wild Wild West out there.

Duelists move their cards around all the time to make room for new ones or to show more clearly which cards are equipped to which monsters or make room for their chips or their trade binder or to rescue their cards when somebody’s drink spills over, or whatever. Technically this is against the rules, and the only reason this is against the rules is because of the cards in Cyberdark Impact and Shifting Shadows.

Who cares about this? No one. Not one single solitary soul. Because 99.999999% of the time, the position of cards on the field does not matter. If we made where the cards are on the field matter for The Seal of Orichalcos and give it the ability to move cards from one place to another like Senet Switch, then the sheer popularity of the Seal would force us to enforce a little known rule that otherwise doesn’t matter.

When we have enforce a little known rule that otherwise doesn’t matter, judge calls go up. And when judge calls go up for the enforcement of a little known rule that otherwise doesn’t matter, then the ability of judges to get to where they need to be resolve situations that actually matter goes way down, and with it, so would the quality of our organized play events. We never want a situation where a judge (or player!) would legitimately describe their Regional or YCS experience in terms of what percentage of it was consumed with dealing with Seal of Orichalcos-related player management issues.

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Problem #5: What happens if the Seal is negated or destroyed and I have monsters in my Spell & Trap Card Zones?

“Oh that’s easy, just make it completely invulnerable to everything and irreplaceable like it is on TV!” is what I’d expect most people to suggest. Except that’s not what the card did on TV. Other Field Spells could be activated and did remove the Seal from the field. It’s just that the only person who ever did it was Dartz, and his other Field Spells shared the Seal’s power. Yugi tried to destroy it once and then never tried it again, trusting Gurimo (a noted criminal and crazy man under the influence of the Seal) at his word that it totally can’t be destroyed no way, no how, can’t leave the field, definitely-not-lying-I-swear.

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Fact VS Fiction

Hopefully by now you get the impression that the only way we were going to get this ability on a card is if we gave it a severe overhaul. The “control 10 monsters and 2 rows of monsters” thing just wasn’t going to work or fit on a card, so we put our focus on expressing why the ability exists, its purpose in being. With The Seal of Orichalcos, you can use your strong monsters to protect your weak monsters, just like Dartz, Gurimo, Rafael, and Yugi did.

While you control 2 or more face-up Attack Position monsters, your opponent cannot target your monster(s) with the lowest ATK for an attack.

The answer came to us at the same time Battle Pack: Epic Dawn was in development, where a Continuous Trap Card named Pixie Ring was causing fits in conjunction with Raging Flame Sprite. We were divvying up the cards into their respective slots in Battle Pack, when Kevin said to me “You know what? If you take out all of the theatrics, the third ability of The Seal of Orichalcos is basically the same thing as Pixie Ring.” [Editor’s note from Kevin: Not entirely true; I would NEVER use the word “theatrics.” Because it was my dad’s favorite word to use when we watched wrestling.] And so it was. It’s a very handy ability, and being able to have it on your side as part of a card that also gives you a power boost and keeps itself on the field really well is really good.

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Why Don’t You Stick Around?

Once per turn, this card cannot be destroyed by card effects.

Don’t listen to Gurimo. He’s a liar and a thief and even worse than that, he’s a jerk too. Yugi’s the only one who tries to destroy the Seal, and after it doesn’t work he never tries again. Neither does anyone else. But aside from the fact that we don’t know what would have happened if Yugi had a second Dust Tornado, consider this:

Magical Citadel of Endymion can be replaced, but it cannot be destroyed by card effects as long as there’s a Spell Counter on it to remove. Closed Forest cannot be replaced by a different Field Spell, but can be destroyed. What would happen if we made The Seal of Orichalcos do both of those things and remove all the costs or restrictions at the same time? We’d make it so there’s no reason to play any Field Spell other than the Seal, and that won’t fly.

With that, there’s only one line of text left to reveal. You’ve probably guessed it already, but here it is anyways: You can only activate “The Seal of Orichalcos” once per Duel.

This is straight-up from TV. Why? Because the servants of Dartz only get one copy of the Seal per mission. There are only two results: victory, in which case you return the Seal to Dartz and get a new one, and failure, in which case you aren’t going back at all. It’s a good way to represent the finality of activating The Seal of Orichalcos without having to get into Victory Dragon territory.

And that, is that. Here it is, in all its glory for the first time, The Seal of Orichalcos!

All monsters you control gain 500 ATK.

Once per turn, this card cannot be destroyed by card effects.

While you control 2 or more face-up Attack Position monsters, your opponent cannot target your monster(s) with the lowest ATK for an attack.

When this card is activated: Destroy all Special Summoned monsters you control.

You cannot Special Summon monsters from your Extra Deck.

You can only activate “The Seal of Orichalcos” once per Duel.

You can get yours, along with some sweet Mega-Packs on October 2nd!

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