Echoes of the New World ~ Preview 6 ~ The Malefic Tree

We can run as hard as we can, but we can never outrun our mistakes. Welcome back to another Echoes of the New World preview article! Back when we revealed the full product information for the set, speculation abounded with why there was a gross looking tree on one of the plate inserts included in booster boxes. Many had guessed that it was Yggdrasil making a return in some fashion. To those who thought so, congratulations, you were absolutely right. Yggdrasil has indeed returned, though far more sinister than you may remember.

Ah yes, it's been a little while since we've gotten a ruler that has no Judgment and no J-ruler side. In fact, the last one was the previous Yggdrasil that first debuted well over a year ago! For those of you expecting a similar ruler though, prepare to be surprised. This is Yggdrasil, Malefic Verdant Tree a twisted version of the great world tree summoned by Lapis and his regalia version of Attoractia. Yggdrasil is sporting Energize [Wind] of course, allowing the player to go second to gain a one time use will coin to help them keep up with their opponent. Yggdrasil's first unique ability is the key to what makes this card so unique and so interesting. It's a continuous ability that sort of alters how damage works for you. Whenever damage would be dealt to you, you prevent it. For each 100 damage prevented that way you remove a card from the top of your deck from the game. So any time your opponent deals damage to you, you don't take that damage and instead remove cards from the top of your deck. Now, before you start thinking "I can make a 9999999999999 card deck and I'll never lose now!", hold your horses. In the next Comprehensive Rules update (coming before the release of Echoes of the New World) a main deck maximum will be set, restricting it to 60 cards at most. Additionally, remember that "paying life" and "losing life" are not "damage". As such this ability will not prevent those forms of life reduction. However this ability is still not to be underestimated. With a 60 card deck it means that popular one hit kill type strategies will fail to get a win against you unless they can deal over 4000 damage (depending on how many cards you've draw so far). To make things even better for Yggdrasil, having a bunch of cards removed actually helps the ruler, as we'll see in a moment. Yggdrasil has another continuous ability that prevents both players from gaining life. This isn't going to affect the Yggdrasil player all that much, as you're already immune to damage, but its a nice effec to keep your opponent from stalling things out with life gain. Yggdrasil's final ability is an activate one that works in tandem with its damage prevention ability. By paying one wind, one darkness, and resting the ruler you can choose a card named "Rezzard, King of the Damned", "Melgis, King of Black Flame", "Arla, Demonic Flying Ace", or "Machina, King of Accursed Machines" from your removed area into your field for free. As you might expect we'll look at those resonators in just a moment, but just realize for a moment that these resonators become accessible to you to call in to your field, even on your opponent's turn, just by your opponent dealing damage to you. This ability is a fantastic way to turn Yggdrasil's damage prevention from something defensive, to something offensive as it allows us to call in four different resonators depending on the situation.

Alright so what do these new Arla, Melgis, Rezzard, and Machina do exactly? Let's have a look right now! First on the list is Arla, Demonic Flying Ace. He's a total cost three resonator with Will of Despair. This makes him accessible in both Yggdrasil and Book of Dark decks. It's also worth noting that even if you're running him in a Yggdrasil deck, you can still use Tell a Dark Fairy Tale to try and dig him out, which is handy. He enters the field with 700 ATK and 800 DEF. Not stellar, but he's got Flying which really helps his utility. Additionally, Arla sports an ability quite reminiscent of his old regalia, Artemis. By paying 200 life you can have Arla deal 200 damage to an attacking or blocking resonator. Now remember, Yggdrasil doesn't prevent life payment. However, since all damage is prevented and changed to top deck removal via Yggdrasil, paying life is a lot less painful as you don't have to worry about losing via having 0 life unless your opponent busts out Adombrali or something similar that causes life loss. As such Arla is a great way for Yggdrasil decks and perhaps even Will of Despair decks to control the field. The only issue is that if you're trying to take down a Gwiber or Izanagi, you're really going to have to pay a lot of life, which may not be ideal. As such you might want to consider using Arla's ability to help set up a one-two destruction combo with Demonflame, or change the attacking/blocking resonator in question into a 400/400 via Charlotte's Water Transformation magic so you have an easier time getting it off the field.

Next up for our quartet of evil Seven Kings is Melgis, King of Black Flame. Smilar to Arla, he is also a total cost three resonator with Will of Despair. However he enters the field with 700 ATK and DEF as well as Swiftness. Beyond being a simple beatdown resonator he's got an activate ability with the price of 300 life. By paying it you can increase his ATK by +100 until end of turn and grant him First Strike. Certainly useful if your opponent tries to block with something strong enough to defeat Melgis but also weak enough to be defeated by him after a power boost. Beyond that the ability can actually be used as a win condition, though a somewhat inconsistent one. There's no limit to how many times you can play this ability in a single turn, so if your opponent doesn't block Melgis you can pay as much life as you can without dying, to boost his ATK up to incredible heights! The only problem is it costs 300 life to essentially do 100 damage to your opponent. That means you're going to want a pretty large life gap in your favor before you go trying this. However, with Yggdrasil, since you won't be losing life to your opponent's J/resonators, it is much more feasible. Just remember that this ability doesn't increase Melgis' DEF, so be sure to have a counter spell or the like to keep him safe in case your opponent tries to destroy or remove him!

Continuing in our trend of Seven Kings resonators we have Rezzard, King of the Damned. Unlike the other resonators today, he's actually a total cost two resonator. Like Arla and Melgis, Rezzard has Will of Despair making him searchable with Tell a Dark Fairy Tale and playable from the sideboard with Book of Dark. The resonator enters the field with 500 ATK and DEF, and without any keyword skills that may not seem all that enticing right off the bat. However, Rezzard gains an additional +100/+100 for each resonator in your removed area, and considering how many cards you can end up having in your removed area with Yggdrasil, this resonator can get very powerful for not a lot of will (and can even be played at instant speed thanks to Yggdrasil's ability!). Keeping the trend alive, Rezzard also has an activate ability that costs 200 life to play. Once paid the ability allows you to remove a target card in a graveyard from the game. Useful if your opponent ever tries to resurrect something in the graveyard to the field or pull a card back into their hand from the graveyard. However, that's not where the usefulness ends. Since this ability can target your own graveyard you can removed your own cards. If you remove resonators you'll be beefing up Rezzard's ATK and DEF. What's more, if you remove an Arla, Melgis, Rezzard, or Machina, it then becomes playable again with Yggdrasil! 

The last resonator for today is Machina, King of Accursed Machines. Like Arla and Machina he's a total cost three resonator, though unlike them he is not a Will of Despair card. That coupled with his cost being all void, means he is easily playable in any deck. And indeed many decks may want to consider the fallen king as he's got a particularly enticing ability. By paying 300 life you can produce one will of any attribute, a very helpful ability, though you can only use it once per turn. Even so, especially in the early turns of the game, this ability is invaluable, and the card's cost is easily paid with any attribute meaning you'll likely be able to get him into the field around turn two quite consistently. Since you don't have to rest Machina to use his ability, your opponent will always have to be wary of a Quickcast rebuttal on their turn, even if you played Machina's ability during yours! Just be wary of that life loss, if you make too liberal use of this card's will ability, you may find yourself running out of life faster than you realized! The resonator comes with one other ability, a continuous one that prevents cards named "Mariabella, the True Shot" you control from being destroyed. We actually haven't seen that card, but those of you who've seen an upcoming playmat should know what she looks like, and now you know her name so...that's nice. Alright, alright, I promise we'll look at her in a future preview article. 

Alright, that's enough resonators for one preview article. It's time to have a look at some non-resonator cards. Leaf of the Malefic Tree is a pretty simple addition card. With a total cost one and a bestow cost of one wind will and resting the addition, it is both easy to field and to bestow to a resonator. Once bestowed, it grants the bestowed resonator a new activate ability. By paying 200 life you can give the bestowed resonator an extra +100/+100 until the end of the turn. Similar to Melgis, this can be played any number of times during a single turn. So if you do your calculations right and are willing to take a bit of a risk, you can sacrifice a lot of life to power up any resonator you control to a point where it will deal enough damage to KO your opponent. What's more the life to damage ratio is even better with this card than with Melgis! 200 life per, versus 300 life per. The trouble is whether you want to have this additional card taking up space in your deck. You'll need to think about how your deck is going too look. If you need more space, it might be better to go with Melgis since it's the whole package for only one card, while Leaf of the Malefic Tree requires two (it and a resonator). But if you've got the room, Leaf of the Malefic Tree costs less life, so test and see what works for you!

Last for today is a chant card called Soul Debt. This is an interesting total cost two Quickcast card. It allows you to put a target resonator that was put into a field this turn back on the bottom of its owner's deck. This card provides an interesting alternative to, say, a counter spell. Especially post rotation when we lose Seal of Wind and Light in New Frontiers. For most decks putting a card on the bottom of the deck means that player isn't going to see that card for the rest of the game, barring a search card like Kaguya's Moonbeam Butterfly or Faria's Summon. That's why you're going to want to pick your targets wisely with Soul Debt. Make sure to go after the big threats taht your opponent is working hard to get onto the field like Gwiber, Valentina, the Crumbling Illusion, or Izanagi. Cards with high costs will be a lot harder to pull back with Kaguya's Moonbeam Butterfly, and even though Faria's Summon puts them back into the hand, their high costs will make it tough for your opponent to play them again without a strong hand.

That's all for today, but Echoes of the New World previews will be posted on every Monday and Thursday at 10PM EST/7PM PST, so check back soon for more new cards! And don't forget to look for Echoes of the New World in stores, June 23rd, 2017!

4th Set「Echoes of the New World」