Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
Steelswarm and Evilswarm Decks
While bearing different names, Steelswarm and Evilswarm monsters essentially operate as the same archetype since many of their support cards function with"lswarm" monsters, which both names qualify for.
Why did Konami do this? I guess they really wanted to emphasize how some of these fiends are evil while others are just metal, indeed a crucial distinction we couldn't have lived without. But regardless of the odd titling, Steelswarm and Evilswarm decks involve swarming the field (shocker) with dark-attributed creatures and tribute summoning their ace warriors. Many also wield 0 DEF, accessing some interesting support tactics that we'll soon see. But with dozens of dark denizens to distinguish between, which demons reign supreme?
These are ten cards you need in your Steelswarm/Evilswarm Yu-Gi-Oh deck!
- Infestation Tool
- Steelswarm Scout
- Secret Sect Druid Dru
- Infestation Terminus
- Masked Chameleon
- Evilswarm Ophion
- Steelswarm Girastag
- Evilswarm Bahamut
- Evilswarm Kerykeion
- Steelswarm Hercules
10. Infestation Tool
Infestation Tool offers two simple benefits. First, you increase the ATK of any Steelswarm (but not Evilswarm) monster you control by 800 until the end phase. Second, you send a Steelswarm monster from your deck to your graveyard, ready to be recycled with other effects.
Use the first ability to triumph in a battle your opponent expected to win with a surprise increase and the second to prepare graveyard-activating creatures like Steelsworm Scout.
9. Steelswarm Scout
Like his Steelswarm brethren, Steelswaym Scout possesses 0 DEF, and his 200 ATK certainly isn't going to win many battles. However, he acts similarly to the classic Treeborn Frog, letting you special summon him from your graveyard at the start of your first main phase if you control no spells or traps.
However, the turn you do this, you cannot special summon other monsters. Additionally, you can only tribute Scout for the tribute summon of a Steelswarm monster, and he can't be used as synchro material. Thankfully, these disadvantages hardly stifle a card that grants easy access to tribute material, something Steelswarm combatants heavily rely on. Be sure to quickly send him into your deck with Infestation Tool to prepare your fodder and ensure you can play your best monsters.
8. Secret Sect Druid Dru
While belonging to neither the Evilswarm nor the Steelswarm family, Secret Sect Druid Dru works surprisingly well alongside them. When normal summoned, this spellcaster lets you special summon a level 4 dark-attributed monster with either 0 ATK or 0 DEF from your graveyard, except another Secret Sect. The revived unit is summoned into defense position and has its effects negated, but this easily fields two level 4 monsters, granting quick access to some potent rank 4 xyz monsters.
What else can I say? Secret Sect quickly revives your fallen warriors and melds with them into stronger extra deck monsters. Plus, if for some reason you opt to hold off on the transformation, Sect's (don't say that out loud) 1800 ATK overcomes most foes of his level.
7. Infestation Terminus
Like most traps, Infestation Terminus can be activated on any phase of either player's turn, letting you respond to an opponent's effect with it. You banish an lswarm monster (remember, this means either an Evilswarm or a Steelswarm) you control to return two cards your opponent controls to the hand.
While it's unfortunate that you're exiling your monster, making it difficult to revive them, the ability to return two opposing cards of any type (monster, spell, or trap) at instant-speed can really dampen your opponent's plays and works particularly well against extra deck enemies.
6. Masked Chameleon
Masked Chameleon operates similarly to Secret Sect, though it doesn't share the 0 DEF of the Steelswarms. You can't normal summon it if you control a level 5 or higher monster, but when you do normal summon Chameleon, you can special summon a monster with 0 DEF in your graveyard. That monster is placed into a defense position with its effects negated.
Again, the effect negation is unfortunate, but this is another great way to prepare an xyz summon since it can easily field two level 4 monsters. However, note the rejuvenated monster can be of any level, and since Masked Chameleon also bears the tuner status, you can use it in tangent with its reborn ally to synchro summon, providing access to two kinds of extra deck monsters in a single potent package. One limitation—you cannot special summon monsters (except from the extra deck) the turn you activate this effect, so be careful when reviving Scout if you plan to use Chameleon.
5. Evilswarm Ophion
While you're welcome to use generic rank 4 behemoths, like Dark Rebellion XYZ Dragon or Number 101: Silent Honor ARK, Evilswarm Ophion works perfectly with our two archetypes. It accepts any two level 4 lswarm monsters as material and wields an impressive 2550 ATK, eclipsing the vast majority of other rank 4 units. Additionally, while Ophion has xyz material, neither player can special summon level 5 or higher monsters, a sweet way to block high-level fusion, synchro, ritual, and pendulum summons.
Finally, you can (once per turn) detach a material to add one Infestation spell or trap from your deck to your hand. A useful search, high ATK, and handy lockdown make this a heck of a monster, but admittedly Ophion's ability hasn't aged perfectly considering link monsters lack levels and can circumvent its shutdown. Still, a worthy dragon for your arsenal.
4. Steelswarm Girastag
As a level 7 monster, Steelswarm Girastag would usually require two tributes to normal summon, but his first effect lets you spend a single Steelswarm monster (Scout works well) instead. And when tribute summoned by tributing at least one Steelswarm, Girastag lets you target a card your opponent controls, send it to the graveyard, and gain 1000 life points.
Not only is this a rare life-point gaining ability (most Steelswarms pay life points for their effects), it's also a sweet removal that can impact all types of cards. And since the target is sent and not destroyed, even adversaries immune to effect destruction (like Code Talker) can be eliminated. Finally, Girastag's impressive 2600 ATK helps him overwhelm many a monster in battle.
3. Evilswarm Bahamut
Another formidable xyz dragon who accepts any two level 4 lswarms as material, Evilswarm Bahamut wields a solid 2350 ATK and an awesome effect: once per turn, you can detach an xyz unit and discard an lswarm monster to target a face-up opposing monster and permanently take control of it.
Unlike many monster-stealing effects, Bahamut grants you the rare trait of indefinitely taking possession of its victim, not just for the turn, and it can still attack the turn it uses the effect. Keep Bahamut alive for at least two turns to have two opposing champions betray their master and fight for your squad instead.
2. Evilswarm Kerykeion
Evilswarm Kerykeion's first effect lets you (once per turn) target any lswarm monster in your graveyard to add another lswarm in your graveyard to your hand, a great way to maintain hand advantage and put your defeated titans to good use. The turn you use this effect, you can also normal summon a lswarm monster in addition to your regular normal summon/set, an uncommon yet valued trait that ensures you can employ your strongest tribute monsters.
Finally, during the turn Kerykeion is sent to the graveyard, you can normal summon a lswarm monster with one less tribute than required. With a plethora of crafty effects, Kerykeion greatly increased the Steelswarms' tribute summoning capabilities, a fantastic way to swiftly play their boss monster, Steelswarm Hercules. Speaking of which...
1. Steelswarm Hercules
Like the infamous Egyptian god cards, Steelswarm is one of the game's rare three-tribute monsters. He takes three Steelswarm monsters to be normal summoned, and can't be special summoned or set, but Hercules compensates with two awesome boons. First, he simply wields a colossal 3200 ATK, overpowering just about any creature he combats. Even better, you can (once per turn) pay half your life points to destroy all other cards on the field.
While this means your other cards will be destroyed as well as your opponent's, since Steelswarms decks often don't field many spells/traps (considering Scout's powers) and you'll have just sacrificed three monsters to summon Hercules, your opponent should be losing far more than you with this devastating field-wipe. You'll be left with a 3200 monster ready to make a direct attack and quite possibly earn you the win and since the effect doesn't target, even shrouded foes like Obelisk the Tormentor can be beaten.
The ultimate monster of the archetype, most Steelswarm decks try to amass the tributes for Hercules then use him to seize the victory, and he's a staple of any lswarm deck I construct. Yet despite his prowess, Hercules costs less than a dollar to buy, making this a sweet structure theme for the duelist on a budget.
Future of Steelswarm and Evilswarm Cards
Admittedly, Steel and Evilswarm monsters took a hit to their xyz summoning with the extra deck-limitation rules that debuted alongside link summoning. Luckily, the archetypes retain enough tribute summon potential to help stay viable, and they're an interesting clan with a surprising number of synergies.
Although they may not dominate every tournament, the right Steel-Evil blends can hold their own against just about any build, especially considering the vast number of dark support cards that exist (like the Virus Control trap series). But for now, as we eagerly await future Steel-Evil expansion sets, vote for your favorite monster and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
Questions & Answers
Question: Would you recommend using cards like Double Summon and Card Advance to allow faster tributing while playing with a Yu-Gi-Oh deck?
Answer: Sure, but often it helps to use the archetype's built-in tribute support (since archetype members qualify for additional searches and such). But yes, those spells could definitely come in handy.
© 2018 Jeremy Gill