Return of the Dragon Emperor ~ Preview 4 ~ Lapis' Dark Revolution

A joyous Thursday to you all, rulers! And welcome back to another preview article for Return of the Dragon Emperor. Ever since the J-ruler side of the new Lapis J/ruler was previewed a couple months back, players have been speculating as to how he'll work and what kind of cards he'll have for support. Last week we saw a promo of the Blazer resonator that will be in Return of the Dragon Emperor, and now it's time to really sink our teeth into some cards and see what Lapis is capable of.

Somewhat similarly to Millium, Gill Lapis, Conqueror of Attoractia has a fairly high Judgment cost. The total cost is eight, the highest in Return of the Dragon Emperor. However he's got a way for you to bring down that cost. Lapis' Judgment costs one void less for each card in your opponent's removed area. Now at first that sounds a little difficult. Unless your opponent is using Alisaris or Lumia, they likely won't be removing too many of their cards from the game, if any at all. So that's why we'll have to just remove some of our opponent's cards ourselves! As you'd expect, Lapis, as a fire/darkness attribute J/ruler, has an Energize ability that reflects that. So you'll gain a coin that can be banished to produce either fire or darkness will if you're the second turn player. Lapis and his support is all about manipulating your opponent's removed area. Lapis' ruler side itself actually has an ability to get you started. He's got an activated ability that costs zero, but you can only play it once per turn and only during your turn. If target non-magic stone card your opponent controls would be put into a graveyard this turn, the ability will remove that card from the game instead. Since the ability is only playable during your turn you'll likely have to be the source of the destruction of your opponent's card. Thankfully both fire and darkness have a good number of cards that can destroy or force banishment of your opponent's cards. Cards like Lightning Strike and Soulhunt can help you start building up the amount of cards in your opponent's removed area.

Once you play Lapis' Judgment process he takes to the field with 1000 ATK and DEF. Not bad, especially if you can reduce his cost down to a total of two or three. Once he's on the field it's time to start abusing all those cards in your opponent's removed area. Lapis' first ability is another free activated ability. This one, however, you can play as many times as you like on any turn. You'll need to put a non-magic stone card from your opponent's removed area to the bottom of their deck in order to pull it off though. If you do Lapis will gain either Swiftness, Precision, Flying, or First Strike until the end of the turn. Swiftness and Flying are likely going to be the two you want. And after the first turn, you'll likely only need Flying, but having access to Precision and First Strike if you need them is still helpful too. This ability, as long as you manage to remove a good number of your opponent's cards, essentially means you do not have to commit very much of your deck, barring maybe a Deathscythe or two that might even be resigned to the side board, to regalia. Which allows your deck to include some more useful spells and resonators, making it more versatile. If there happens to be a particularly enticing card in your opponent's removed area you can pay X to play that card without paying its cost as long as X is greater than or equal to the cost of the removed card. Manage to remove a powerful card of your opponent's like Captain Hook or one of the Chimeras? Why not turn your opponent's strength right back at them. Just be careful as you'll only be able to use this ability once per turn. Lapis final ability costs one fire and one darkness will and you'll need to put two non-magic stone cards from your opponent's removed area on the bottom of their deck. If you do you'll be able to destroy a target resonator. For a built in destruction ability, that's actually fairly cheap, the only real will cost is a total cost of two, lower than most destruction effects currently in New Frontiers.

Lapis isn't the only card that will remove your opponent's cards. Even his magic stone will help you out. Magic Stone of Ebon Home will enter rested unless Gill Lapis, Conqueror of Attoractia or Gill Lapis, Rebel of Darkest Fires or you can choose to pay 300 life. The stone counts as both a fire and darkness magic stone, which is always handy for any Resonance abilities you may have or if you choose to run cards like Riza and Melder. It can be rested to produce either fire or darkness will, Lapis' two key attributes. The signature ability of this stone, however is where it really gets useful. When Magic Stone of Ebon Home enters your field you'll be able to remove the top card of your opponent's deck from the game.That is exceedingly useful for Lapis of course, but it's also very handy for pretty much any other ruler. You have the chance of denying your opponent from drawing a key card. Of course there's no guarantee it will happen, but just the possibility that calling a magic stone could provide that much value for you is very impressive.

Ah, everyone's favorite body stealin' gal is still around. When it was revealed that Pricia was able to reclaim her own body people were speculating all over the place about what had happened to Valentina. Well if you fin folks remember back during the events of Battle for Attoractia, Valentina killed Shion and stored her body in a magic stone. Well after losing Pricia's body she's decided to make good use of Shion's body as her new host. Thankfully, unlike Pricia, Shion is already dead so there's no chance of that pesky original soul coming back and kicking her out. She's a total cost four resonator with 900 ATK and DEF, which isn't too bad. She's also full of abilities quite similar to Lapis himself so let's have a look at those. First up is a continuous replacement ability that states that any resonator dealt damage by Valentina, the Twilight Passion that would be put into a graveyard is removed from the game instead. So start picking off resonators with her to easily start building up your opponent's removed area. To make things even easier, when she enters the field you'll be able to remove a target resonator your opponent controls with total cost two or less from the game! So just by playing this card we even get a little extra removal to take out our opponent's will ramping cards like Sacred Elf or Melfee, or early game threats. Like Lapis she's got some abilities that have no will cost but require you to put cards from your opponent's removed area on the bottom of your opponent's deck. One will let you grant Valentina either Swiftness or Precision for the turn, allowing this card to attack exactly where you want it to right away. The other requires moving three removed cards, but it will power up Valentina by +500/+500 allowing her to deal some very heavy damage and easily swing for the game. Valentina is a great aggressor that supports Lapis' mechanics while also providing removal.

Valentina can't be our only resonator though so we'll be looking at two other ones that support the new Lapis J/ruler. The first is Cryptid of Tenacious Fire. This beast resonator enters with 600 ATK and 500 DEF. With 500 DEF it will be vulnerable to cards like Lightning Strike and Space-Time Anomaly so you'll want to watch your opponent's magic stones carefully. The card has First Strike, which is nice, helping it to take down threats of similar power level without you having to sacrifice it. Additionally whenever Cryptid of Tenacious Fire deals damage to your opponent you'll be able to remove the top card of their deck from the game, reducing Lapis' Judgment cost and providing fuel for the various effects he and his supporting cards employ.

Next is Searing Dead. The card enters as an 800/800 for a total cost of three which is pretty standard. The resonator only has a single automatic ability that will allow you to burn your opponent for 400 damage if you put a card from their removed area on the bottom of their deck. While some surprise burn damage can be helpful and indeed might end up winning you the game, sacrificing a card in your opponent's removed area means that you'll be giving up a decrease to Lapis' Judgment cost so be sure to way the situation carefully.

That's all the resonators we're looking at today, so how about some non-resonator cards? Black Hole of the Spirit World is a total cost four addition, quite high. However we quickly figure out why once we look at its effect. Whenever a resonator is put from our field into a graveyard this addition forces your opponent to banish a resonator. So essentially, any time they destroy one of our resonators they'll be forced to get rid of one of their own (which can then promptly be removed from game with Lapis' ruler side ability.) While this ability does most assuredly stack, you'll likely not want to run many copies of this addition do to it's cost. Valentina is the same cost and she provides a little more aggression which is what you'll likely want by the time you can produce four will.

Lastly we've got Swirlign Demon Dimension, a total cost three Quickcast chant that's pretty simple. It just removes a target resonator from the game. Great for Lapis and pretty much any deck running darkness and fire producing magic stones as it's just hard, non nonsense removal. The only deck you may not want to use it against is Alisaris and in that case you can simply sideboard swap it out with Endless Night or the like.

That's all for today, but the Return of the Dragon Emperor previews will continue every Monday and Thursday at 8PM EST/5PM PST for the next few weeks, so check back soon for more new cards! And don't forget to look for Return of the Dragon Emperor in stores, March 10th, 2017!

3rd Set「Return of the Dragon Emperor」