What Are Sacred Beasts in Yu-Gi-Oh?
Not quite as famous as their Egyptian God counterparts, the Sacred Beasts nonetheless are a memorable set of four intimidating monsters who require hefty sacrifices but compensate with powerful abilities. Unlike the Egyptian Gods, they lack the divine attribute and divine-beast type, opting for more traditional stats, but their colors, summon conditions, and powers clearly reference their inspirations.
As older cards, the Sacred Beasts may not show up in modern competitive arenas, but they're still a fun group worth exploring in casual matches.
So, which of these monstrous fiends reigns supreme?
Here's a complete ranking of the Sacred Beast cards in Yu-Gi-Oh!
6. Armityle the Chaos Phantom
ATK: 0 (10,000 during your turn)
The only fusion monster of the set, Armityle resides in your extra deck rather than your main deck. Unlike most fusion monsters, you don't need a fusion spell to play him, but you need to banish all three of the other Sacred Beasts from your field.
If you manage to summon him, Armityle bulldozes through monsters as he gains 10,000 ATK during your turn only. Thus, a single direct hit (or a strike on a monster with 2000 or less ATK) will immediately win you the game! However, Armityle's difficult summon and poor defenses (he's immune to battle destruction but will suffer loads of shave damage) render him the weakest overall Sacred Beast, though we'll see a support later that makes him much more playable in tangent.
5. Uria, Lord of Searing Flames
Based on Yugi's red "Slifer the Sky Dragon," Uria can't be normal summoned or set; you special summon him by sacrificing three of your face-up continuous trap cards. Losing three traps at once is a big entrance fee, and remember that traps need to be set for a turn before you can activate them, meaning Uria can be tricky to cast.
However, when he arrives, this fire-attributed pyro monster gains 1000 ATK for each continuous trap in your graveyard; considering his entrance conditions, he'll likely have 3000 power, if not more. Additionally, once per turn, you can target and destroy a set (face-down) spell or trap your opponent controls, and neither player can trigger spells or traps in response, preventing them from activating the unit before it's destroyed.
4. Raviel, Lord of Phantasms
Instead of sacrificing traps, you must tribute three fiend-type monsters to special summon Raviel (based on Kaiba's "Obelisk the Tormentor") from your hand. He wields a fixed 4000 ATK and DEF, meaning he's not vulnerable to graveyard-banishing effects like Uria. Additionally, whenever your opponent normal summons a monster, you create a 1000 ATK/DEF "Phantasm Token." These tokens can't declare attacks, but they're useful fodder for tribute or link summons.
You can also use them with Raviel's last effect, which lets him (once per turn) sacrifice a monster on your side of the field and add its original ATK to his own until the end of the turn. For his constant battle stats and more-abundant dark attribute, Raviel steals the edge over his crimson counterpart.
3. Hamon, Lord of Striking Thunder
As we discovered in our Egyptian God countdown, "The Winged Dragon of Ra" is surprisingly weak despite his renown; thankfully, his golden Sacred Beast counterpart picks up the slack. Special summoning Hamon requires you to sacrifice three face-up continuous spells you control. Thankfully, unlike traps, you don't have to wait a turn before activating them, and you can also sacrifice pendulum scales, making Hamon the easiest Beast to field.
Hamon also wields a fixed 4000 ATK and DEF, and when he destroys an opponent's monster in battle, he deals 1000 damage to them, quickly ravaging their life points. You'll normally want Hamon in attack position to utilize this brutal trait, but if you shift him to defense position, he prevents your opponent from attacking monsters other than himself, adeptly shielding your weaker troops.
For his handy effects and comparatively easy summon, Hamon remains my favorite of the original Sacred Beasts.
2. Raviel, Lord of Phantasms - Shimmering Scraper
For whatever reason, only among the main deck Beasts does Raviel have an alternate form. Special summoning him requires you tribute three monsters, and like before, he wields formidable 4000 ATK/DEF.
But really, this Raviel is better used as a support; you can discard him from hand to instantly double your original Raviel's stats for the turn and let him attack all opposing monsters once each. You can also tribute a monster to return Raviel from graveyard to hand, a great way to expend tokens or other weak units.
1. Armityle the Chaos Phantasm - Phantom of Fury
This version of Armityle's stats are constantly zero, and like before, he requires all three main Beasts as fusion material. However, he changes his name to match original Armityle while fielded, and you can give control of him to your opponent during your main phase.
You definitely want to do this, as Armityle will then banish all his controller's fielded cards (including himself) as the end phase, making him a brutal nuke, while his owner (you) gets to summon the original Armityle for free from your extra deck.
How to Build a Sacred Beast Deck in Yu-Gi-Oh
Since the Sacred Beasts vary in type and attribute, it's often best to devote to a single member and build around its unique powers, but cards like "Dark Summoning Beast" can support all three and lessen the difficulty of summoning Armityle. Whatever strategy you opt for, don't underestimate the importance of accessibility; a Sacred Beast can only help if you're actually able to play it.
Konami's god trios are always some of their coolest, and the Sacred Beasts have received several more modernly-competitive supports dedicated to supporting their ranks. But for now, as we eagerly await their next batch of legendary monsters, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill