Skip to main content

5 Reasons Swordsouls Are Overpowered in "Yu-Gi-Oh!"

  • Author:
  • Updated date:
Swordsoul of Mo Ye

Swordsoul of Mo Ye

What Are Swordsouls?

Even if you're not a tournament player, if you've been in the online game Master Duel, you've no doubt seen some Swordsoul action. These wyrm-type monsters quickly became one of the most competitive themes thanks to their search power, battle and effect damage, consistency, graveyard supports, and more.

But what exactly makes Swordsouls so broken? And are they actually overpowered, or little different than other meta themes? Well, here are five reasons you'll grow to hate the Swordsoul cards (unless you run them yourself, in which case they are a completely balanced and fair theme).

Swordsoul Grandmaster - Chixiao

Swordsoul Grandmaster - Chixiao

Baronne de Fleur

Baronne de Fleur

1. Swordsouls Are Too Consistent

Here's the true problem of Swordsouls: they pretty much always open the same. Once freely summoning any Tenyi in hand (more on them later), they either summon Mo Ye to begin their combo, or use Emergence or Incredible Ecclesia to play her; remember that Mo Ye triggers off both normal and special summons. By the way, these combo pieces are completely unlimited, and even in a truly bizarre opening hand that somehow lacks them, Pot of Desires can help find them.

Once Mo Ye is out, she summons a tuner token and together they synchro summon Grandmaster - Chixiao, who then searches a Swordsoul as Mo Ye draws through being used as synchro material. That's insane advantage considering Grandmaster also negates opposing monster effects at instant speed and bears massive 2800 ATK.

Usually, Chixiao searches Swordsoul Strategist Longyuan, who then summons himself and another tuner token by discarding a wyrm or Swordsoul, prepping a level 10 synchro summon and a Tenyi in one fell swoop.

This means most Swordsoul players end with at least two beefy negate monsters while replenishing their hand. Even if you luck out and manage to disrupt the combo, perhaps with Effect Veiler or Infinite Impermanence, Swordsoul players can still ruin your turn with the trap Swordsoul Blackout, which tributes any wyrm to destroy two opposing cards.

Incredible Ecclesia, the Virtuous

Incredible Ecclesia, the Virtuous

The Iris Swordsoul

The Iris Swordsoul

2. They Can Play Both First and Second

Some meta decks really only work when they achieve their preferred turn order, usually preferring to go first but occasionally second. Sadly, Swordsouls work fantastic at both. Going first, they have uninterrupted setup leading to big negates.

Going second, they utilize the free special summon effect of Incredible Ecclesia, and instead using their level 10 synchro for a negate, they can go for immediate-destruction via like Swordsoul Supreme Sovereign - Chengying or Baronne de Fleur. They also achieve an immediate battle phase, which we'll discuss in a second, but the point is, they're fantastic at both first and second, making an already-brutal deck even harder to outplay.

Swordsoul Supreme Sovereign - Chengying

Swordsoul Supreme Sovereign - Chengying

3. They're Great at Battle Damage

Between their negates and removal options, it's hard to build or maintain a field against Swordsouls, but if you trade 1-for-1 too much, you'll often find yourself losing any battles with whatever remains.

While Mo Ye is usually immediately synchroed with, she's a respectable 1700 ATK 1800 DEF low-level beatstick when needed. Much more dangerous are the synchro monsters, which have 2800-3000 ATK at base, and some of which (Chengying and Borreload Savage Dragon) can eclipse 5000.

This becomes especially problematic when you realize how little battle damage it takes to reduce your 8000 starting life points to zero thanks to…

Swordsoul Strategist Longyuan

Swordsoul Strategist Longyuan

Swordsoul Sinister Sovereign - Qixing Longyuan

Swordsoul Sinister Sovereign - Qixing Longyuan

4. They're Great at Effect Damage

As bad as Swordsouls are in battle, they're even worse with effect damage, and unlike battle, they can start piling it on even if playing first. Both forms of Longyuan are the culprits: Strategist Longyuan inflicts 1200 when used as synchro material, while Qixing Longyuan (which Strategist can synchro summon) inflicts 1200 once per turn on both a spell/trap activation and a special summon, and will banish the activating card!

Yikes.1200 free damage means Strategist outshines even the best damage-oriented spell cards, and Qixing can possibly inflict 2400 per turn while banishing opposing cards! If you're still not convinced, consider the tie-breaker rules in official play, which has a best-2-of-3 format. Let's say Swordsouls beat a Branded deck round one, then lose round two, so it's all down to the last game. Swordsouls choose to go first, then simply synchro summon using Longyuan to inflict 1200. But oops, the timer (usually around 45 minutes) is out, meaning the game ends based on who has more life points.

This makes Swordsoul cheat its way into tie-breaker victories (and without having to sideboard lifegain cards designed for this exploit) even when the other deck never got a chance to play.

5. They Synergize With Tenyis

The best theme to mix with Swordsouls are the Tenyi. These guys summon themselves from hand while you control no effect monsters, so they're great for opening up link combos or being used as fodder for Swordsoul Blackout or to discard with Strategist; they're wyrm-type, so they can be revealed to use the Swordsoul effects.

Even worse, they've got various graveyard abilities to further boost the deck's searching and removal; Adhara banishes itself to recover a different banished wyrm, Ashuna summons another Tenyi from deck, and Vishuda returns an opposing card to hand.

So, the side archetype uses the graveyard, but the main doesn't care too much, so even graveyard-hate cards like Dimensional Fissure or Virtual World Kyubi Shenshen save you against the theme.

Heck, it's a true catch-22; leave the graveyard unchecked and allow Tenyi shenanigans to run free, or start banishing cards at the price of empowering opposing Chengyings (who can banish cards from your field and graveyard). And don't forget Swordsouls can be revived with either Monster Reborn or Swordsoul Sacred Summit.

Archnemeses Protos

Archnemeses Protos

Swordsouls in Master Duel

Swordsouls are arguably even worse to face in online game Master Duel. Like any deck, there they can round out their build with the somehow not-banned Maxx C, and also have access to TCG-banned Archnemesis Protos. He's yet another brutal monster who banishes differing Swordsoul and Tenyi attributes to summon himself, then both destroy and prevent the summoning of one attribute until the end of the next turn!

Online players can also use up to three copies of Upstart Goblin (instead of the TCG's 1), which simply draws a card by giving your opponent life, effectively decreasing the deck size and making them even more consistent.

Should Swordsouls Be Banned?

I'd argue Swordsouls need some sort of check to limit their dominance. Whether they're wrecking house thanks to the added consistency and Protos plays in Master Duel, or exploiting damage-based tie-breaker in paper play, they're simultaneously too powerful yet somehow boring thanks to using the same plays over and over.

Other meta decks of the era, like Branded-Despia, are certainly strong but have more variety and are less focused on negation, making them beatable and more fun to challenge. Limiting more of the Swordsoul engine might keep them in line, but for now, I'd love to hear your thoughts on one of the game's best decks. Until then, I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh! countdown!

© 2022 Jeremy Gill