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Breakers of Shadow: Throwing Strikes

January 14th, 2016

Solemn Strike is one of the most hotly-anticipated cards in Breakers of Shadow, and for good reason: it’s a spectacular Counter Trap that trumps some of the biggest cards in competition today, dominating Pendulums, Kozmos, and indeed, any monster that has an effect that activates.

When one or more monsters would be Special Summoned, or a monster effect’s activated, you can pay 1500 LP to activate Solemn Strike. When it resolves, Strike negates the Summon or activation, and if it does it destroys the would-be monsters or the one that activated its effect.

To fully appreciate Solemn Strike, you have to compare it to its predecessors: Solemn Warning and Solemn Scolding. All three cards can negate Special Summons that don’t start a Chain – that means Xyz Summons, Pendulum Summons, and Synchro Summons, as well as from-the-hand Summons like Cyber Dragon and Chaos Sorcerer. But Warning and Scolding can stop other kinds of Summons too, like Normal Summons and Flip Summons, and both can negate the activation of cards that can Special Summon a monster. Scolding can actually negate any Spell, Trap, or monster effect, but it costs 3000 Life Points and you can only activate it if it’s the only card in your Spell and Trap Card Zone. Warning costs 2000 LP.

On the surface, it might look like Solemn Strike’s a substantially weaker answer to Summons. It can stop big Xyz, Synchro, and Pendulum threats, plus things like Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning. But it won’t stop Summons resulting from Spells and Traps: Emergency Teleport, Call of the Haunted, Reasoning, and Brilliant Fusion still work.

The good news? There aren’t many cards like that in today’s strategies. Decks like Performage Pendulums and Magician Pendulums rely on monster effects, Pendulum Summons, Xyz Summons, and Synchro Summons to work, and Solemn Strike shuts them down every step of the way. As for the rest of the field…

Kozmos play Emergency Teleport and Reasoning, but they rely on monster effects to make their game-winning combos and keep monsters on the field. When your opponent banishes a Psychic-Type Kozmo like Kozmo Farmgirl or Kozmoll Wickedwitch to try and Special Summon a bigger monster from their hand, Solemn Strike negates that effect and nothing’s Special Summoned. If they banish a bigger Kozmo like Kozmo Dark Destroyer or Kozmo Sliprider to Special Summon a smaller Kozmo from their Deck, Solemn Strike can stop that too. In both cases, the banished monster stays banished.

While Tellarknight Duelists can resolve Call of the Haunted, Oasis of Dragon Souls, and Satellarknight Skybridge, anything they Special Summon triggers an effect as soon as it hits the table. Strike can negate that ability, and then destroys whatever they Special Summon. Atlanteans get a huge boost from the new Neptabyss, the Atlantean Prince, but that strategy relies almost exclusively on activating a ton of monster effects. Solemn Strike counters everything they’ve got and can even make them skip a Battle Phase entirely by negating the effect of Moulinglacia the Elemental Lord.

Infernoids, Heroes, Artifacts… Solemn Strike can even beat the new Cyber Dragon Infinity, one of the deadliest control cards we’ve ever seen. It’s a perfect fit for current competition, and if you compete in tournaments you’ll probably want three copies for almost any Deck you play. Expect it to be one of the hottest pulls when Breakers of Shadow launches this weekend.