Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
What Are the Shaddoll Monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh?
The Shaddoll archetype consists of dark-attributed spellcaster-type flip monsters who activate different effects when flipped and when sent to the graveyard. They also focus on casting and supporting their own fusion monsters, often needing monsters of other attributes to perform the summon.
Luckily, these crafty puppets employ a variety of tricks to alter the field to their advantage, and they prove that the flip mechanic still maintains a competitive edge. But with dozens of members and potential supports, which cards are worth your attention? These are the 10 best cards for your Shaddoll Yu-Gi-Oh deck!
10. Shaddoll Beast
Despite his Beast name, this card is as much a spellcaster as his kin, qualifying for the same support effects. Unlike most low-level main deck Shaddolls, Beast is a level 5 monster, and thus needs a tribute if you normal summon or set him.
To compensate for this disadvantage, he wields higher battle stats than other non-fusion Shaddolls, and when flipped, he lets you draw two cards, then discard one, simultaneously increasing your hand and potentially activating another Shaddoll's ability. When instead sent to the graveyard (whether from the hand, field, or deck), you can simply draw a card. Both are useful abilities that you'll want to activate in any duel, making Beast a must-have for maintaining card advantage.
9. Allure of Darkness
The ever-popular Allure of Darkness lets you draw two cards, but then you must banish a dark monster from your hand; if you can't, you send your entire hand to the graveyard. With Allure, your overall hand size doesn't change, but you get to cycle through your deck, keep what you need, and exile what you don't.
Since all main deck Shaddolls are dark, you should have easy access to at least one monster to banish. While it's unfortunate that you have to remove a card from play (rather than send to the graveyard, as Shaddolls prefer), Allure still offers one of the best ways to quickly riffle through your deck list and tweak your hand.
8. Prediction Princess Tarotrei
Admittedly, Shaddolls don't have much in the way of boosting ritual monsters, but players who make the effort to ritual summon Prediction Princess Tarotrei are rewarded with one of the best flip supports. This light-attributed fairy wields a fierce 2700 ATK, and can once per turn (during your end phase) special summon a flip monster from your hand or graveyard in face-down defense position, a superb way to revive Shaddolls or other flip units.
Additionally, once per turn (on both players' turns), Prediction Princess can change a face-up monster to face-down defense position or a face-down monster to face-up attack position. The former usefully resets your flip effects or blocks the effects of opposing monsters while the latter assists with prematurely flipping your Shaddolls to brandish their traits without needing having to wait to change their position or be attacked.
7. Subterror Behemoth Fiendess
The Shaddolls have access to their own link monster, Shaddoll Construct, but with Subterror Behemoth's increased ATK and diagonally-backwards arrows, it's usually the better choice. Subterror gains 100 ATK for each level of its Subterror materials, but even if simply use Shaddolls (it accepts any flip creatures as material), it'll still wield a decent 2000. During your main phase, you can send a flip monster from your deck to the graveyard, and if you do, special summon a monster from your hand in face-down defense position to a zone Behemoth points to, not only activating a graveyard Shaddoll effect but also filling your field and conserving your normal summon/set for the turn.
Additionally, when a monster this card points to is flipped face-up, you can add a flip monster from your deck or graveyard to your end. Both Behemoth's effects are once per turn, but provide awesome ways to stock your graveyard and hand while making good use of the "send to graveyard" Shaddoll abilities.
6. El Shaddoll Shekhinaga
There's an El Shaddoll fusion monster for each attribute, and due to light El Shaddoll Construct's current ban, earth Shekhinaga is often the best option. You'll need a Shaddoll and an earth monster as material, so either employ earth creatures like Glow-Up Bulb and Masked Chameleon, use attribute-altering effects like that of Nephe Shaddoll Fusion, or borrow your opponent's monsters with Curse of the Shadow Prison (more on that later).
Regardless of your method, machine-type Shekhinaga brandishes a nice 2600 ATK and great 3000 DEF, though it can only be fusion summoned (no Monster Reborn revivals here). When an opposing special summoned monster activates its effect on either turn, you can send a Shaddoll card (even a spell or trap) from your hand to the graveyard to negate the effect and destroy that monster, a great defense that also activates your Shaddoll's graveyard effect. Finally, if Shekhinaga is sent to the graveyard, you can add a Shaddoll spell/trap from your graveyard to hand, appreciatively recovering series-specific armaments.
Based on the classic Kuriboh card (though not a member of the Kuriboh archetype), Kuribandit is a fiend whose dark type helps ensure Allure of Darkness has a valid target. While its combat abilities are low, at the end phase of the turn you normal summoned Kuribandit, you can tribute him to excavate (reveal) the top five cards of your deck, then you may add a spell/trap from them to your hand while sending the remaining units to the graveyard.
Sure, this takes your normal summon for the turn and sacrifices your own monster, but you're pulling any spell/trap (not necessarily a Shaddoll one) and stocking your graveyard with several cards, potentially activating up to four Shaddoll effects at once! True, this effect is a bit random since you never quite know what's at the top of your deck, but you're virtually guaranteed at least one or two (if not more) Shaddoll activations.
4. Curse of the Shadow Prison
A field spell that creates the perfect arena for your malicious clan, Curse of the Shadow Prison acquires a "spellstone counter" whenever a Shaddoll monster is sent to the graveyard. Thankfully, if multiple are sent at once, Prison gains that many counters, rapidly strengthening its next effects.
During your opponent's turn only, opposing monsters lose 100 ATK for each counter on Prison; it's unfortunate this only applies on their move, but it's a great defense that can really slow their offensive and keep your monsters that would otherwise be destroyed alive. Additionally, when you fusion summon a Shaddoll fusion monster, you can spend three spellstone counters to use an appropriate face-up monster your opponent controls as one of the materials. This amazing ability mimics the long-banned Super Polymerization without the discard drawback, eliminates an enemy, and helps access attribute-demanding El Shaddolls using your opponent's attributes. An excellent field for the Shaddolls; just note that Prison doesn't actually carry the Shaddoll name and won't qualify for name-dependent effects.
3. Shaddoll Dragon
The Shaddolls offer several low-level flip monsters, my favorite easily being Shaddoll Dragon. Similarly to Beast, despite his name, he's spellcaster-type, not dragon. You can summon or set him without tributes, and he wields an impressive (for his level) ATK of 1900. When flipped, Dragon can bounce a card of any type back to your opponent's hand, especially useful against extra deck monsters or creatures immune to destruction. And when sent to the graveyard, Dragon may target and destroy a spell/trap on the field, offering some much-needed spell and trap destruction to the series. This can even annihilate your own spells/traps in the rare situations where you want to.
Additionally, while 0 DEF may seem like a disadvantage, especially on flip monsters, it qualifies Dragon for the revival effect of Masked Chameleon, whose tuner status and earth attribute respectively help with synchro summons and fusion summoning Shekhinaga. Versatile and easily harnessed, Shaddoll Dragon absolutely belongs in any Shaddoll build.
2. Future Fusion
Long forbidden for its fierce powers, Future Fusion is now legal but has an added errata. Instead of immediately sending materials for a fusion summon from your deck to the graveyard (as it used to do), you now wait until your next standby phase after activation. However, that's a small delay for the awesome benefit of accessing your deck, negating the regular hand-field reducing fusion drawback. Your fusion monster actually arrives at your second standby phase after activation, and when either that monster or this continuous spell is destroyed, the other is as well.
Having to wait two turns for your fusion monster is a long delay, but honestly the actual fusion summon is just an added benefit here. What you're really aiming for are the Shaddoll effects you can activate at the first standby phase (choose dark-attributed El Shaddoll Winda to let you send two Shaddolls at once). Getting those abilities without reducing your hand/field already justifies Future's minor delay, and if it lasts long enough to actually perform the fusion, well, you're just that much closer to victory. Future has long been one of the game's best fusion spells, but in this series, you may actually prefer a different card...
1. Shaddoll Fusion
At first, Shaddoll Fusion seems like a bare-bones Polymerization, offering the standard hand/field access of materials but only being able to summon Shaddoll fusion monsters. However, if your opponent controls at least one monster special summoned from their extra deck (including fusion, synchro, xyz, link, and revived pendulum cards), you can also use monsters from your deck as material! This tremendous effect keeps your hand and field stocked and pulls from your deck without the delay of Future Fusion.
Additionally, since this card actually bears the Shaddoll name, it qualifies for the numerous search/graveyard recovery effects of the Shaddoll, letting you recycle it easily with Shaddoll Core and the like. Shaddoll Fusion is simply the the biggest key to any Shaddoll victory, and I owe several victories to this magic. It's a bit pricier, often costing just above ten dollars, but that just speaks of its power (Yu-Gi-Oh cards are priced more by usefulness than rarity), and if you're building a serious Shaddoll deck, you definitely want this.
Future of Shaddoll Monsters
Although Shaddoll monsters were slowed with the extra deck limitation rules due to their focus on fusion summoning, several handy link monsters and unexpected support from the Prediction Princess series helps keep them relevant. Shaddolls also combo well with several other archetypes; the Lightsworn series quickly sends them to the graveyard (and activates their effects) with its own deck destruction, while the Dark Magician archetype shares several supports thanks to their mutual spellcaster type and dark attribute.
Or, you can simply opt for a pure-Shaddoll blend; whichever route you choose, the Shaddolls will prove a fun and formidable force in the hands of a skilled duelist. As we eagerly await Konami's next expansion of Shaddoll support, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill