Where To Play The Seal of Orichalcos – Part 1

The new Legendary Collection 3: Yugi’s World released a few weeks ago, and for most duelists that’s meant a scramble for swanky foil upgrades! Cards like Secret Rare Mystical Space Typhoon and Compulsory Evacuation Device have players and collectors clamoring for all-new levels of shine, while newbies can get their hands on useful reprints like common Solemn Warning and Chain Disappearance. But let’s be honest: the biggest, most-hyped part of Yugi’s World was never the bling. For hardcore fans of the original Yu-Gi-Oh! TV series, it’s all about the release of what might be the most-requested TV card of all time: The Seal of Orichalcos!

Konami’s R&D went to great lengths to try and represent The Seal’s game-changing impact and range of abilities in a form that was realistic: they wanted to create something that wouldn’t be totally broken, but that would still be useful in competitive play. The result has drawn mixed reviews: fans are happy just to have a playable Seal, but competitive players don’t really seem to know what to do with it. Just to recap, here’s what the Seal does.

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.

The Seal of Orichalcos does six different things. It’s got two beneficial effects: an ATK pump and the capability to protect your smallest monsters. Keep those in mind, because it’s important to remember what this card offers. It’s got two major drawbacks, too: it blows up your Special Summons and then keeps you from your Extra Deck. You can only activate the Seal once per duel, making it a unique and tricky card, but at the same time it’s impervious to destruction once a turn.

Those six effects add up to one very different card: there’s nothing out there like The Seal of Orichalcos, and it’s tricky to figure out where to play it. In order to puzzle out where it’s worthwhile, we need to establish what The Seal really offers. For me, that comes down to one big fact.

Breaking The Seal Means Breaking Thresholds
The main attraction to The Seal of Orichalcos is that it’s a generic +500 ATK pump that’s really tough to destroy. That means two things: you can win games faster by dealing more damage, and you can attack opposing monsters with stuff that has a lower printed ATK.

Winning games faster is great, and sometimes The Seal will let you do that. But in general, spending card presence just to deal damage is frowned upon by experienced players: the damage you’re dealing has to be so high and so steady that it wins you the game consistently. If it doesn’t do that, you’re effectively just taking alot of -1’s. By giving up card economy with that type of play, you lose your range of options and your ability to control the field.

When you give up control of the game, you generally lose

Which isn’t to say that The Seal’s ATK pump won’t win duels for you. It just won’t do it consistently enough for you to play it for that reason alone. Think of the damage as a bonus. The real attraction to this card – for most strategies at least – is the fact that it can let your smaller monsters beat bigger ones.

There are a number of popular monsters right now that share the same ATK or DEF. The biggest “magic number” at the moment is probably 1900. Cards like Thunder King Rai-Oh and Elemental HERO Neos Alius have 1900 ATK, while Geargiarsenal often reaches that level with its effect. Geargiarmor and Snowman Eater both have 1900 DEF, too. Right below that threshold at the 1800 ATK mark there’s stuff like Machina Gearframe; Elemental HERO Stratos; Legendary Six Samurai – Kizan; Wind-Up Magician; or a three-card Tragoedia. Even Xyz Monsters like Maestroke the Symphony Djinn fall into the 1800-1900 range.

If you can beat the 1900 ATK/DEF threshold, you’ll have a distinct advantage in a variety of match-ups. It’s suddenly way easier to outplay some of the toughest, most frustrating monsters, and that’s where The Seal of Orichalcos comes in. If your deck runs a significant number of monsters that go from losing a 1900 ATK/DEF battle, to winning in those scenarios when you have a +500 ATK bonus, then The Seal could really benefit your strategy.

The 1900 ATK/DEF threshold is just one example, too. It’s the most obvious and the most clear-cut, but there are plenty of others. If you can beat the 2500 ATK mark, you get an advantage against Machinas and Six Samurai, because you can swing over Machina Fortress and Legendary Six Samurai – Shi En. Not to mention Number 39: Utopia, Lightpulsar Dragon, Stardust Dragon, or a Tour Guide from the Underworld played for Number 17: Leviathan Dragon. Beating 2300 ATK means having outs to everything from Chaos Sorcerer and Gear Gigant X, to Evolzar Dolkka and the all-terrifying Number 16: Shock Master.

Each increment of 100 ATK brings more advantages in different match-ups. An understanding of that fact – and what it means for the individual monsters in your deck – is the trick to unlocking the full power of The Seal. In general, you want to measure the Seal’s value in terms of how many of your monsters it helps that way. If a strategy depends on its Extra Deck, it probably can’t play The Seal. But if you don’t need your Extra Deck to win, you may be surprised at how many decks break a significant number of the ATK/DEF thresholds when The Seal is active! That’s what counts.

The random wins because you swung with four Sheep Tokens and scored an extra 2000 damage? That’s just a bonus.

One Seal, Or Two?
Once you’ve decided that your strategy may benefit from The Seal, you need to answer another tough question: how many copies you should play. Because you can only activate The Seal once, drawing extra copies after your first usually means drawing dead cards. That’s not as unique a situation as it seems: more copies of Field Spell cards are almost always dead when you already control one. There are some exceptions: you can play three copies of Ancient City – Rainbow Ruins all in the same turn, drawing a card with each one to get to more useful cards. But if you’ve ever stacked up two or three Necrovalleys at a time, you know that dead Field Spells are nothing new. It’s just more of a pronounced problem here.

The easiest way to deal with that is to just run one Seal. If you don’t draw it, your deck works just as it would normally; if you do draw it, then you go into butt-kicking mode and start stomping out big monsters. And that can work – it’s a perfectly acceptable way to play The Seal, and for some decks that’s going to be the right call. But there are other options.

For instance, if you happen to be running Terraforming for a Field Spell card anyways, you can one Seal and see it with far greater consistency. There aren’t alot of decks for which that’s relevant, but we’ll talk about a couple later in the discussion.

Beyond that, you can raise The Seal’s utility – its average usefulness – by playing discard-driven effects that give you something to do with extra copies. Options can range from simple discard-costed traps like Divine Wrath and Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, to my personal favorite: Summoner Monk. If a deck plays Monk and gains distinct benefits from The Seal, you can totally run multiple copies, because the extras are just going to feed your Special Summons. Some of those decks don’t really need their Extra Deck, too, so that’s worth considering.

With all that in mind, where would you play The Seal? Check back here in a couple days, because I’m going to give you ten answers to that question in Part 2. For now, take some time to think about what The Seal could offer your current decks; strategies you’ve run in the past; or decks you’ve been thinking about running. Tell us down in the Comments section: where could you see the Seal being useful? Then compare your answers to mine later this week.

Want to score a Legendary Collection 3 box of your own? Don’t miss your chance to get in on Core TCG’s Legendary Collection 3: Yugi’s World giveaway! You can find details over on the facebook feed, and there’s still time to enter!

See you later this week!

-Jason Grabher-Meyer



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