Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
What Are the Yosenju Monsters?
Also referred to as the "Spirit Samurai" thanks to their hand-returning effects, Yosenju creatures operate similarly to spirit monsters but have their own archetype with a bit of pendulum prowess thrown in.
However, since they don't heavily rely on the extra deck like most pendulum series, Yosenju transitioned surprisingly well through the extra deck limitation rules that debuted alongside link monsters. With many field-swarming and card-returning tricks up their sleeves, these beast-warrior-typed and wind-attributed monsters remain one of the game's most viable archetypes. But with dozens of cards to choose from, which entries reign supreme? These are the ten most crucial cards for your Yosenju Yu-Gi-Oh deck!
10. Yosenju Kama 3
Like his two brethren, the third of the Yosenju Kama clan lets you normal summon another Yosenju (besides another Kama 3) after you normal summon him, letting you rapidly flock your field with level 4 champions. Additionally, once per turn while he's out, when another Yosenju you control inflicts battle damage to your opponent, you can add a Yosenju card from your deck to your hand (again, other than Kama 3). This helpful search triggers with either direct attacks or from shave damage when you attack a weaker attack position monster, making it easy to harness.
Finally, like his comrades, Kama 3 returns to your hand during the end phase if he was normal summoned. This may seem like a disadvantage, and it is in some regards, but it nestles your creatures safely in your hand until the next turn, guarding them against any nasty effects your opponent would otherwise employ. And if you want your monsters to stay fielded, you have the option to pendulum summon them with cards we'll soon cover.
9. Yosenju Kama 2
Like Kama 3, Kama 2 lets you immediately normal summon another different Yosenju from your hand when normal summoned, and he can attack your opponent directly even while they control monsters (a useful way to trigger Kama 3's effect). However, when attacking directly using this effect, the battle damage you inflict is halved, but better some than none.
Beyond his direct attack capabilities, Kama 2 is simply the strongest of the three musKamateers (I'll stop), bearing a hearty 1800 ATK. Like his siblings, he'll return to your hand at the end of the turn if normal summoned, but this bouncing can help trigger effects like that of "Divine Wind of Mist Valley."
8. Yosenju Kama 1
Like his two other renditions, Kama 1 allows you to normal summon a non-Kama 1 Yosenju monster from your hand when normal summoned. In terms of ATK, Kama 1 falls in the middle of the trio with a lukewarm 1600, but he bears the best effect: once (and only once), while you control another Yosenju monster, you can target an opponent's card and return it to their hand.
This can handily remove spells, traps, or monsters, and works particularly well on extra deck creatures like fusion, synchro, xzy, and link units. Because you can only trigger this once while he's out, it's especially important to normal (not special) summon Kama 1, letting you bounce him back to your hand at the end of your turn and reapply his effect on future moves.
7. Yosenju Misak
With his higher level of 6, Misak demands a tribute for his normal summon. However, he wields a sweet 2300 ATK and is almost invincible in battle. You see, whenever battling any monster attribute besides wind, Misak can destroy that monster at the start of the damage step. Since wind is the rarest of all regular attributes (excluding divine), few foes can defend against the effect, and those that can rarely possess enough ATK to overcome Misak. Also note that this ability doesn't need to target, bypassing even shrouded foes like Obelisk the Tormentor.
Additionally, when Misak is pendulum summoned, you can target and destroy one opposing card, a great entrance removal that eliminates any opposing card type. Unlike our prior Yosenju, Misak bounces back to the hand at the end phase when special (not normal) summoned. Sometimes you'll want to keep him fielded since he's a tough guardian to break through, but returning him to the hand lets you reactivate his entrance destruction event; match your summoning method to your duel's situation to make the most of this versatile monster.
6. Spring of Rebirth
One of the best life point-regaining cards in the game for bounce-heavy decks, Spring of Rebirth simply increases your life points by 500 when one or more monsters return to a player's hand.
Not only does this continuous spell make great use of the constant swarming and returning of the Kama cards, but it also triggers when your opponent's creatures return to their hand. Luckily, Kama 1 and our upcoming Daibak card can exploit this skill and grant you a whopping reservoir of health (in addition to the Kama bouncers) to fall back on if needed.
5. Yosenju Shinchu R
Yosenju Shinchu R is a bit different than our previous level 4 Yosenju. He doesn't bounce back to the hand when normal summoned, doesn't let you summon again when normal summoned, and bears the rock type rather than beast-warrior. Additionally, he's a pendulum monster, heading to the extra deck rather than the graveyard when defeated.
Luckily, Shinchu R offers a great benefit in both the monster and pendulum zones. As a monster, Shinchu prevents your foe from targeting other Yosenju you control for attacks, and when normal summoned, he changes to defense position, letting you make good use of his 2100 DEF and avoid his 0 ATK. And in the pendulum zone, Shinchu R can increase his scale from 5 to a daunting 11 if you have another Yosenju card in your other pendulum zone. Increasing this value prevents you from special summoning non-Yosenju monsters for the rest of the turn, but raises your scale enough to summon high-level creatures like Daibak (more on him soon).
4. Drowning Mirror Force
We've seen how almost all Yosenju may return to your hand at the end step, which nestles them away for future summons but leaves your life points undefended. This makes a good defense especially important to this series.
Enter Drowning Mirror Force, a trap useful for any deck but deadly with the Yosenju. You can only activate it on a direct attack; luckily, with all the hand-returning the Yosenju do, you shouldn't have to wait long before its criteria is met. Once your opponent strikes at your core, activate Drowning to shuffle all attack position monsters they control into their deck. This deadly removal eliminates all opposing cards without filling your opponent's graveyard, and it even circumvents monsters immune to targeting and destruction. Finally, since link monsters don't have DEF scores and must remain in attack position, Drowning has aged well since few monsters are able to hide from it.
3. Yosen Training Grounds
Because Yosenju frequently bounce back to your hand, the common draw engine Supply Squad doesn't work well with them since they're rarely destroyed. Luckily, the archetype contains Yosen Training Grounds, a force that contributes to both draw power and attack strength.
With this continuous spell out, whenever you summon a Yosenju monster, you place a "Yosen Counter" on Training Grounds. Once per turn, you can remove a counter to boost the ATK of all Yosenju you currently control by 300, or you can remove three counters to add a Yosenju from your deck or graveyard to your hand. Ground beautifully adds counters both when you pendulum summon and normal summon (often repeatedly in a single turn), and can pull from both your deck and your graveyard to either search your deck or revive defeated units.
2. Mayosenju Daibak
The ace of the series, Mayosenju Daibak does indeed count as a Yosenju (it's in the first part of his name) for all related effects. As a level 10, you'll either need to tribute summon him with two sacrifices or use Shinchu R's scale-alteration to get your scales high enough to pendulum summon, and Daibak cannot be special summoned other than pendulum. Luckily, whether normal or special summoned, Daibak can target and return up to two cards on the field to the hand. This eliminates multiple enemies, but can also bounce your own cards if you ever need.
Additionally, Daibak's pendulum summon cannot be negated, it returns to the hand at the end step after being pendulum summoned, it boosts your attacking Yosenju's ATK by 300 in the pendulum zone, and it matches a Blue-Eyes White Dragon in power with a daunting 3000 ATK. If this card has a flaw, it's that (unlike its beast-warrior brethren), it belongs to the beast monster type, excluding it from some of the type-dependent combos that work well with the series. Speaking of which...
1. Fire Formation - Tenki
While not all Yosenju are beast-warriors, most entries bear the type, especially the Kama mainstays. "Fire Formation - Tenki" lets you search your deck and add any beast-warrior to your hand, helping ensure you draw enough Yosenju to put their multiple normal summons to good use. The ability to choose which you receive definitely helps since it can be tricky to field multiple copies of the same card (remember, you have to normal summon a different monster with their effects).
Beyond its search, Tenki stays on the field and grants your beast-warriors an extra 100 ATK. While a minute boost, this little bit can make all the difference, and when combined with the power increases from Training Grounds, Daibek's scale effect, and other beast-warrior tricks (like Fire Formation - Tensen), each of your Yosenju can land a stunning amount of damage in a single blow.
Future of Yosenju
Yosenju made a big splash when they first debuted under Sylvio Sawatari's control in the Arc-V anime, and thanks to their normal summoning prowess, they've remained competitive despite the limitations pendulum decks now face. Yosenju have even entered the series' lore, stating they train so much they create storms and "people recognize their power as a natural phenomenon that transcends human understanding."
Only time will tell how the Yosenju fare down the road, but so far, they've maintained a significant presence with their unique playstyle. But for now, as we eagerly await Konami's future Yosenju expansion sets, vote for your favorite card, and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
Questions & Answers
Question: When using Spring of Rebirth in my Yu-Gi-Oh card deck, do you get 500 LP for each Yosenju returning to your hand?
Answer: Yes, it activates once for each.
© 2018 Jeremy Gill