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March of the Modern Day Monarchs

January 28th, 2016

Monarchs have been with us since 2004 when Zaborg the Thunder Monarch was released in Ancient Sanctuary. Sadly, Zaborg’s effect often played second fiddle to the fact that it was a Level 5 monster you could Tribute for Metamorphosis to swap it out for Dark Balter the Terrible, Reaper on the Nightmare, or Fiend Skull Dragon. While Zaborg’s lot in life was always to be replaced with or exchanged for other cards, the legacy of the Monarchs endures to this day. And tomorrow, two new Monarchs will grace the Dueling world with their presence as the headline cards in the Emperor of Darkness Structure Deck!


If there’s any Monarch that can truly understand what Zaborg has been through, it’s Ehther the Heavenly Monarch. When she’s Tribute Summoned, you can send 2 different “Monarch” Spell/Trap Cards from your hand or Deck to the Graveyard and Special Summon another monster with 2400 or more ATK and 1000 DEF from your Deck which returns to your hand during your End Phase. More often than not, that means Ehther is Summoning her own replacement. Messed up but true.

That also means that you can double your on-field ATK by Summoning another one of the Level 8 Monarchs, all of which can be Tribute Summoned by Tributing a Tribute Summoned monster. Incidentally, Ehther has that ability too, and another one that lets you banish a “Monarch” Spell/Trap Card in your Graveyard to Tribute Summon Ehther during your opponent’s Main Phase. That opens up a lot of interesting possibilities, the most notable of which is that there’s finally a way to reliably Summon Kuraz the Light Monarch during your opponent’s turn to mess with whatever they’re doing!

Incidentally, I highly recommend heading over to the Card Database and running a search for monsters with 2400 or more ATK and exactly 1000 DEF. To do that, you’ll put 2400 in the up-arrow box next to ATK and 1000 in both boxes next to DEF. There are actually a lot of cool things you can Summon with Ehther that aren’t Monarchs which could lead you to some fascinating new strategic possibilities! I think my favorite choice is Dark Simorgh, preventing your opponent from Setting any cards on their turn.

The other new Monarch in Emperor of Darkness most closely resembles the last of the original 6 Monarchs, Caius the Shadow Monarch. Caius was highly valued for the ability to target and eliminate any card on the field, usually permanently, by banishing it. There wasn’t a whole lot you could do about that without a Counter Trap, and this was long before Solemn Judgment started showing up in every Deck. Erebus the Underworld Monarch evolves “eliminate any card on the field” to its logical conclusion: “eliminate any card”.


Erebus the Underworld Monarch is Level 8, but like all the other Level 8 Monarchs you can Tribute Summon him by Tributing a Tribute Summoned Monster. If you Tribute Summon Erebus, you can send 2 different “Monarch” Spell/Trap Cards from your hand or Deck to the Graveyard to shuffle any card from your opponent’s hand, field, or Graveyard back into the Deck. If you go after their hand, you have to pick a random card, but you can take your pick of any card on their field or in their Graveyard – without targeting it!

Erebus is the modern-day Monarch you need to take on things like Kozmo Dark Destroyer, monsters that refuse to be defeated even if they’re destroyed or banished or both, monsters that can’t even be targeted by the effects of the old regime. Erebus does not care and will return those monsters to the place it’s hardest to escape from – the Deck. As the Underworld Monarch, Erebus can also help out from the Graveyard. During either player’s Main Phase while Erebus is in the Graveyard, you can discard a “Monarch” Spell/Trap Card to add a monster with 2400 or more ATK and 1000 DEF from your Graveyard to your hand. He can even target himself, so don’t feel bad about Tributing Erebus over and over again because he can always come back!

There’s just one thing left to talk about: In this day and age where the top Decks have unparalleled access to the Extra Deck and powerful themed Extra Deck monsters, how can Monarchs, a Deck with no Extra Deck monsters, keep up? We’ll have that answer tomorrow, when the Emperor of Darkness Structure Deck launches!