Greetings, rulers. Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the Ancient Nights booster set previews! We've only seen one of the three new J/ruelr cards the booster set has to offer, but that changes today! That's right, this article is going to feature a brand new J/ruler card. Which means a brand new archetype as well. Elves have been a staple of the game for quite some time, and we've even seen a few of them in the Reiya cluster already. What we haven't seen are their oppressed counterparts, the Dark Elves. That is what we'll be checking out today. Let's dive right in!
Of course we've got to start with our J/ruler card. This is Frayla. She's the defacto leader of the Dark Elves, if they truly have such a thing. Ever oppressed and exiled by the Elves, they're somewhat scattered across the world. Frayla seeks to rectify this however, by uniting them in arms to rebel against those who have done them wrong for so many years. She's a Darkness ruler with a Judgment cost of three, like all Reiya Cluster rulers we've seen thus far excepting Pandora. She's got Energize for her attribute, so going second will nab you a one time coin to be used to generate a darkness will whenever you need. She's only got one ability on her ruler side, but its quite interesting. Its an automatic ability that triggers at every one of your end of turn steps. Upon resolution you can choose to put any Dark Elf card from your graveyard into your hand, but if you do, you'll take 300 damage. Even with the 300 damage caveat, a built in once per your turn method of salvaging a Dark Elf can be extraordinarily useful. Especially when combined with cards that can put other cards into the graveyard for low costs like 《Planting Beans
Once we pay Frayla's Judgment cost of three she enters the field as the J-ruler Frayla, the Revolutionist. She's got 1000 ATK and 800 DEF. Not quite as high as some of the other J-rulers we've seen in the Reiya Cluster, but still not too bad for the price. Thankfully she's got plenty of abilities for use to use to make up for it. When she enters the field you'll be able to immediately put a Dark Elf from your graveyard into the field. So make sure you've got a really strong one in the grave first before playing Frayla's Judgment to get the most out of her entry ability. Her second automatic ability triggers whenever she attacks. When it resolves it will give another target Dark Elf you control an extra +400/+400 and Swiftness for the turn. So if you can manage to give Frayla Swiftness on the turn she enters the field, you can attack with her and then grant the Dark Elf you revived with her ability +400/+400 and Swiftness so it can also attack right away! Speaking of which, Frayla can gain Swiftness all on her own, all you have to do is pay one fire will. In a post Laevateinn world, this is immensely useful as it means we do not need to rely on the non-Laevateinn method of Swiftness,《Sprinting Flame Horse
》. It does mean that if you want Frayla to attack on her Judgment turn, you'll need to have four will total available and one of them is going to have to be a fire will, but that shouldn't be all that difficult. Her final ability costs one fire and one darkness, and will deal 100 damage multiplied by the number of Dark Elves you control to your opponent. You'll find this to be quite common among Dark Elf cards, they toss around a lot of direct damage.
Demonic Soulstone seems a rather unusual name for a stone of noble freedom fighters, doesn't it? Alas Frayla's tale is not entirely a happy one. To gain the necessary power to unite her people in rebellion, she had to make a deal with a rather unsavory creature (remember Kaim from a few days ago?). Anyway, the stone counts as a darkness magic stone, handy for things like Resonance and the like. Be cautious as this does not mean that it counts as a basic magic stone for effects that specifically refer to "basic magic stone" or "non-special magic stone." It can be rested to produce darkness will, the Dark Elves' primary attribute (it's even in their name!). By paying two void and resting the stone you can also have this card deal 100 damage multiplied by the number of Dark Elves you control to each player, including yourself! Even though the card deals damage to you, as long as you can stay ahead of your opponent in terms of life, it shouldn't matter too much. If the Dark Elves are going to win this war, they'll need to be ruthless.
Our first resonator is Dark Elf Spy. It's a total cost one resonator with 400 ATK and DEF. Quite good for its cost. What's more at the end of each of your turns it will deal 100 damage to each player. Not exactly monumental damage, but since you can play this card on your first turn, you can use this ability to start whittling down your opponent's life. Like Demonic Soulstone, this ability deals damage to you as well as your opponents. I promise there's a way to turn that into a strength though, just give it a little more time.
Next is another total cost one resonator called Shade Assassin. She enters the field with 200 ATK and DEF, considerably less than Dark Elf Spy, but this card makes up for it with its abilities. Whenever Shade Assassin deals damage to a resonator, that resonator is destroyed immediately via her automatic ability. That's a pretty helpful ability to have on a card that only costs one will, the problem is that we can't attack with her on the turn she's played, making her a somewhat unreliable assassin card. Until you check out her second ability. She gains Swiftness as long as you control another Dark Elf card. This makes her fantastic as a cheap way to destroy your opponent's powerful cards. As long as you have another Dark Elf (Frayla's a Dark Elf) she can be used as an early game source of rush damage and then sacrificed as a cheap form of removal against any powerful resonators your opponent may try to play.
Ah, and here are the two aces of Frayla's little army. Hilda and Saffina. Both are total cost two resonators with similar stats and abilities. Hilda enters the field with 400 ATK and 500 DEF. She also has an automatic ability that triggers on entry and let's you put a card named "Saffina, Frayla's RIght Hand" from your graveyard into your field as long as you don't already control a card with that name. This makes her a great choice for Frayla's own revival ability, essentially getting you two resonators for the price of one. Play Frayla's Judgment, revive Hilda from the grave, then use Hilda's ability to revive Saffina! Hilda's less than spectacular stats can also be augmented by her own abilities. She gains +300/+200 as long as your life is 2000 or less, making her a 700/700, which is above the curve for her total cost.
Similarly, Saffina is a 500/400 Dark Elf. When she enters the field you can search your deck for a card named "Hilda, Frayla's Left Hand" and put it into your hand as long as you don't already control a card with that name. Her ability won't let you play Hilda for free unfortunately, but thinning the deck is always good. Plus if we play Saffina, search out Hilda, and then Saffina is destroyed, we can play Hilda the next turn and just revive Saffina again for no extra cost! Like her counterpart, Saffina also rises up to be a 700/700 when your life is 2000 or lower, she gains an extra +200/+300 to her stats.
Here's an interesting chant for you. Tactics of the Dark Elves is a total cost three card that makes it so that two of your resonators can't be destroyed until the end of the turn and they gain the same assassination ability that Shade Assassin has until the end of the turn. Unfortunately the card does not have Quickcast, so you can only play this chant during your main phase, requiring you to do some forethought before casting this spell. Even so, attacking with impunity with two resonators and destroying whatever they hit or whatever your opponent blocks with is pretty useful. Essentially your either guaranteeing damage because your opponent doesn't want to block, or removing two threats from the field with a total cost three card, not too shabby.
Okay, okay. Here's the card that makes it so all of those 'deal x damage to all players' cards are actually hurting your opponent more than they hurt you. Dark Elf Sorcerer is a total cost three card that enters with 700 ATK and DEF. Far more interesting than her stats though, is her automatic ability. It triggers whenever a ruler or resonator you control deals damage to you. Upon resolution the effect deals that same amount of damage back at your opponent! It doesn't prevent the damage dealt to you of course but it means that Dark Elf Spy will essentially deal double the damage to your opponent (for example, Let's say Dark Elf Spy did 100 damage. That'd be 100 to your opponent, 100 to you, and then another 100 damage via Dark Elf Sorcerer's ability!) It even triggers off of Frayla's ruler ability. Now you'll be able to salvage a Dark Elf card while dealing 300 damage to your opponent! You'll still be taking damage too though, so keep an eye on your life. However, with this card on the field doubling the damage against your opponent for cards like Dark Elf Spy, even if you're taking damage, you should be able to stay ahead of your opponent.