Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
The Qliphort Monsters
A pendulum monster archetype that rivals Performapal, Magician, and Odd-Eyes for the best pendulum series, the Qliphort monsters are a powerful group of earth-attributed extraterrestrial machine-type invaders. With fierce ATK scores alongside many immunities and an amazing boss monster, Qliphort cards dominated the meta environment so much upon their release that many ended up on the banned list.
While Qliphort (like other pendulum builds) have been slowed with the new extra deck limitation rules that accompanied link summoning, those changes allowed Konami to unban many of their best cards, allowing access to our favorite otherworldly robots once more. And with a healthy stream of new support, Qlis remain a viable and interesting lot to wield. But with several members and dozens of machine-support cards, which units reign supreme?
These are the top ten cards you absolutely need in your Qliphort Yu-Gi-Oh deck!
- Frontline Observer
- Cardcar D
- Qliphort Genius
- Qliphort Scout
- Qliphort Helix
- Qlife's End
- Apoqliphort Towers
10. Frontline Observer
He's not a member of the series, but Frontline Observe shares the Qli's machine type and earth attribute, fitting snugly into their build. When normal summoned, Observer lets you (at your end phase) add any earth pendulum monster from your deck to your hand, a great search that locates any Qli (or other earth pendulum monsters) besides your ultimate Apoqliphorts. Additionally, during the end phase of the next turn after Observer was normal summoned, you can tribute him to add any earth monster at all (not just pendulums) from your deck to your hand.
Basically, you can search out one and possibly two units with this helpful utility card, and (unlike pendulum monsters) he'll go to the graveyard after being destroyed or tributed, allowing you to use effects like that of Solidarity.
A lethal trap that boosts your own members while dampening opposing creatures, Re-qliate negates the effects of level 4 and under monsters until the end phase when they're normal or flip summoned. This not only shuts down many of your adversary's support cards, but it also lets your special summoned Qlis have their weakening effects negated and operate at full force. Additionally, all special summoned monsters of level 5 or higher also have their effects negated until the end phase, but they're also banished when they leave the field. Your pendulum summoned effect Qlis will all be level 4 or under, avoiding the negation, but many of your foe's strongest creatures will simultaneously lose their effects and be removed from play when beaten!
These are some terrific abilities, but Re-qliate admittedly has some downsides. If there are no other Qli cards on the field, it's automatically sent to the graveyard, but with pendulum scales and Qli monsters running rampant, this can be easily avoided. That said, its level-dependent dampeners won't work on xyz and link monsters, who lack levels, but even these guys depend on having materials with levels, so you should get significant use from the card no matter which deck you face. Finally, since Re-qliate carries the "Qli" name (buried in the middle), you can search for it with effects like that of Qliphort Scout.
If you have only one monster type in your graveyard, this continuous spell simply boosts the ATK of all monsters bearing that type on your field by 800. This sizable increase advances your Qlis from strong to almost-invincible in combat, and since they all bear the machine brand, there shouldn't be any risk of contaminating your graveyard with other types. If you're worried about pendulum monsters going to the extra deck (and not the graveyard) upon defeat, remember that negated monsters, xyz materials, discarded cards, and monsters like Frontline Observer all go to the graveyard, so it's not as tough as it seems for the Qlis to harvest the boost.
The only real drawback to Solidarity is that the Qli boss monster, Apoqliphort Towers, is immune to all spell/trap effects (even yours) and thus won't benefit from the increase. Luckily, if you manage to summon him, you're already well on the way to victory and shouldn't need the boost.
7. Cardcar D
One of the best draw engines in the game, Cardcar D works especially with Qlis since (like Observer) it shares their machine and earth qualities. You can't special summon it, but when normal summoned in the first main phase of your turn, you can send him to the graveyard, draw two cards, and immediately end the turn.
While this prevents you from attacking that turn since you'll skip your battle phase, it nets you with an extra two cards ready to be used on your next move, and it helpfully fills the graveyard with a machine for Solidarity. You can't special summon the turn you use the effect, but you're more than welcome to play or set spells and traps. Also, potent hand traps like Swift Scarecrow and Battle Fader can help protect you in the meantime; even if you don't get a chance to set your drawn cards since Cardcar immediately triggers the end phase, these can still defend you since they activate from your hand. Plus, Scarecrow is a machine, helping activate Solidarity, and Fader is banished upon leaving the field, so its fiend type shouldn't present a problem.
6. Qliphort Genius
While many pendulum monsters took a hit with the extra deck limitations that restrict their revivals, the Qlis received a useful link monster to help add additional extra monster zones to your field. Qliphort Genius needs any two machines as material (easy for the Qlis), and while it only wields a lukewarm 1800 ATK, it's unaffected by spells/traps as well as activated link monster effects, a sweet barrier that helps it survive.
Once per turn, you can target one monster on both sides of the field (other than Genius) and negate both their effects until the end of the turn. This weakens an opponent while strengthening your special summoned Qlis (whose ATK is lowered when special summoned). Remember, even though the effect negation lasts only until the end of the turn, the Qli ATK-lowering special summon activation only applies when they're initially summoned. In other words, even when the turn ends, they'll keep their original higher stats, making it especially beneficial to temporarily negate their effects. Finally, when two monsters are special summoned to the zones Genius points to, you can add a level 5 or higher machine from your deck to your hand, a useful search that can find absolutely any Qli.
5. Qliphort Scout
Once banned for its fierce powers, as of this writing, Qliphort Scout is limited, letting you place a single copy into your deck. As one of two (the other being Monolith) normal Qliphort monsters, Scout doesn't bear any effects as a monster, but its 2800 DEF offers an appreciated wall for the generally-offensive Qli series. Even better, when placed in the pendulum scale, Scout has a fierce scale of 9, though (like its brethren) it prevents you from special summoning non-Qli monsters.
However, you can (once per turn) pay 800 life points while Scout is in the pendulum zone to add any Qli card from your deck to your hand, a terrific search that can locate any member, even spells/traps, according to your duel's situation. And remember that Scout's status as a normal monster lets it (and Monolith) be searched with the spell Summoner's Art, an easy search for an easy search engine.
4. Qliphort Helix
The Qlis demonstrate so much power that it's tempting to fill this entire list with just its members and call it a day. We could argue back and forth about which individual units reign supreme, but the card you absolutely want no matter what is Qliphort Helix. In the pendulum scale, it prevents you from special summoning non-Qlis, but has a high scale of 9 and weakens all opposing monsters by 300 ATK.
Additionally, you can normal summon Helix without tributes as an 1800 ATK level 4 monster, or tribute summon it (or negate its effects) to access its base 2400 ATK. When normal summoned, Helix is immune to all monster effects of monsters with a lower level or rank than itself, potentially blocking all abilities from level/rank 5 and under opponents! Even better, when tributed, Helix lets you target and destroy any spell or trap on the field. Other Qli members like Re-qliate, Carrier, and Towers offer monster removal, but only Helix provides the much-needed spell/trap destruction. Unlike Scout, this scale 9 combatant is unrestricted, allowing you to place as many copies in your deck as desired.
3. Qlife's End
Like Re-qliate, Qlife's End (hilarious, Konami) bears the Qli name and can be searched for with corresponding effects. When special summoned, it becomes a level 4 machine monster with 1800 ATK and 1000 DEF, mimicking the lowered (but not atrocious) stats of weakened Qli monsters. And unlike many trap-to-monsters such as Metal Reflect Slime, once triggered, End doesn't count as a trap anymore, freeing its old zone and avoiding spell/trap removals.
When initially summoned, Qli spell/traps you control cannot be destroyed by card effects for the rest of the turn, a helpful defense for your pendulum scales and other Qli tricks, but best of all, End can be treated as three tributes from the summon of an Apoqliphort monster! Monsters that can count as two tributes are rare enough; finding one that serves as all three for one of the game's ultimate units propels Qlife's End to a must-have.
Another card once banned for its incredible powers, Saqlifice (nice pun there, Konami) is as of this writing unrestricted, so toss three copies into your build. It equips to a Qli monster you control and gives four benefits.
- The attached monster gains 300 ATK
- The attached monster cannot be destroyed by battle
- The attached monster can be treated as two tributes for the tribute summon of a Qli monster
- When sent to the graveyard from the field, Saqlifice lets you add any Qli monster from your deck to your hand
Wow. 300 extra ATK is a small but welcome increase, immunity to battle destruction keeps your unit alive and can stall opponents in defense position when needed, and serving as two tributes helps you play your best Qlis quickly. Plus, when Saqlifice heads to the graveyard, regardless of whether it was destroyed or whether you used the two-tribute effect, getting to search out any Qli monster adds icing to an already delicious cake. Put three duplicates into your deck and use them to quickly summon your ace monster. Speaking of which...
1. Apoqliphort Towers
While the alternative Apoqliphort available, Apoqliphort Skybase, is by no means bad, there's little reason to pick it when you have a legendary titan like Towers available. Once banned for it fierce powers, it's now only semi-limited, letting you place up to two in your deck. Needing three Qli tributes to normal summon, Towers wields a mighty 3000 ATK and decreases the ATK and DEF of all special summoned cards on the field, meaning even your enemies who may have been able to take it down will now have their ATK lowered to the point of losing in battle.
Even better, Towers can (once per turn) force your opponent to send a monster from their field or hand (they get to choose) to the graveyard, a brutal effect that punishes foes even if their field is already empty. But best of all, Towers is completely immune to all spells, traps, and effects of monsters whose level or rank is lower than it, meaning the only way to remove it is in battle (not easy with the ATK decrease) or with a level/rank 10 monster removal (which many decks don't even have). Never drop your guard in a duel, but if you can get a Towers out, odds are good you've won.
Apoqliphort Towers is not only the best Qliphort monster but among the best monsters of all time. He's also got "Qli" buried in his name, qualifying for the same effects as his minions, and I can't recommend him enough for Qli builds. Most importantly, he's surprisingly cheap, often costing less than a dollar!
Future of Qli Monsters
Despite their pendulum zone limitations of only being able to special summon Qlis, the Qliphort series has a surprising number of non-Qli supports available that can catch unsuspecting opponents off-guard. Considering how good the actual archetype members are, Qlis have transitioned surprisingly well into the age of restricted extra deck access, and I look forward to exploring more powerful support cards in the future.
But for now, as we eagerly await Konami's next expansion of machine-boosting entities, vote for your favorite card, and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill