Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
How to Tribute Summon Monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh
Each turn in Yu-Gi-Oh, players have one "normal summon" to help cast monsters. Monsters of level four or less (count the stars in a card's upper-right corner) can be normal summoned without tribute, but cards of higher level require you to sacrifice other monsters.
Levels 5-6 require one tribute, levels 7 and up need two, and some special cards (like the Egyptian Gods) need three tributes. Tribute summoning requires you to forfeit other monsters but rewards you with bulky creatures with imposing effects—how can you best employ the mechanic? Here are ten great generic tribute supports in Yu-Gi-Oh!
10. Tribute Burial
Activating Burial prevents you from special summoning for the rest of the turn, so if you have any extra deck creatures to summon, cast them beforehand. But after you use Burial, you can summon a two-tribute monster without sacrificing by banishing a monster from each graveyard.
This still counts as a tribute summon, activates any relevant abilities, and lets you play a bulky creature even from an empty field.
9. Battle Fader
A support/defense mix, you can special summon Battle Fader from your hand when your opponent declares a direct attack. You also end the battle phase, not only saving you from damage, but leaving your field with a monster to sacrifice on your next turn. Fader is banished when it leaves the field, but it's still a great way to protect yourself and prepare a tribute.
8. March of the Monarchs
Like many of the best tribute supports, this spell belongs to the Monarch archetype, but any deck can utilize it. March's downside is that you can't summon from your extra deck while it's out, but to compensate, it prevents your tributed monsters from being targeted or destroyed by card effects.
Losing access to your extra deck is admittedly a big penalty, but for tribute decks that don't heavily rely on it, those defenses may very well be worth it.
7. Precious Cards from Beyond
This continuous spell helps restock your hand after summoning; whenever you play a monster using two or more tributes, Beyond gives you two draws. That's a lot of potential card advantage, just remember that single-tribute monsters won't trigger the effect.
6. Advance Zone
Advance Zone offers a more-versatile Beyond, rewarding you with effects based on the number of monsters used to tribute summon that turn. With one tribute, you can destroy any opposing set card, with two, you draw a card, and with three, you return a monster from your graveyard to your hand.
These effects stack, so you'll get all if you cast a three-tribute behemoth. That said, the abilities don't trigger until your end phase, so you'll have to wait until your next turn to utilize your new cards.
5. Legion the Fiend Jester
Admittedly, Legion only works with spellcasters, but they're a common type with several competitive archetypes. During your main phase, Legion gives you an extra tribute summon of a spellcaster in addition to your regular normal summon.
And if Legion is sent from the field to the graveyard, you can add a spellcaster-type normal monster from your deck or graveyard to your hand. This means you can normal summon Legion, then forfeit him for an immediate tribute summon that'll search a spellcaster from your deck (try finding "Dark Magician" or normal pendulum cards like "Dragonpit Magician").
4. Keeper of the Shrine
Like Legion, Keeper empowers a common monster type: dragon. Keeper has strong DEF and can be treated as two tributes for a dragon's tribute summon.
Plus, when a face-up dragon on the field (even an opponent's) is sent to the graveyard from an effect or battle, you can special summon Keeper from your hand or graveyard. And if that monster was a normal monster, you can also return a dragon normal monster from your graveyard to your hand.
Basically, Keeper continuously reenters the field to provide dragon tribute fodder, and he works especially well with decks utilizing normal cards (like "Blue-Eyes White Dragon").
3. Escalation of the Monarchs
Here's the best legal alternative you'll find to the long-banned "Ultimate Offering". Once per turn, during your opponent's main phase or battle phase, Escalation lets you tribute summon a monster. Yep, you can interrupt an opponent's turn to play a card, a great response to a removal that would have removed your tribute anyway.
And since Escalation is a continuous trap, it'll stay fielded until removed, providing ongoing tribute summons.
2. Soul Exchange
Soul Exchange forfeits your turn's battle phase, so you can't attack the turn you play it. That's a sizable trade-off, but in exchange, it lets you tribute summon once that turn using an opposing monster as tribute!
You only get to tribute one enemy (two-tribute monsters still require a sacrifice on your side of the field), but this helps spare your own servants while eliminating threats from your opponent's field. Use Exchange to get rid of pesky cards that are immune to effect or battle destruction, or employ its alternative...
1. The Monarchs Stormforth
As part of the Monarch archetype, Stormforth has additional synergy within its theme, but it's a tempting option for any tribute deck. As a quick-play spell, you can cast it on either player's turn, and like Soul Exchange, you get to tribute summon using an opposing monster that turn.
You can't play cards from your extra deck the turn you utilize Stormforth, but now you don't have to sacrifice your turn's battle phase. Plus, unlike Exchange, Stormforth doesn't target, giving a wider range of monsters it can sacrifice.
A competitive card even outside Monarch decks, Stormforth won't break the bank, costing less than a single dollar!
Banned Tribute Supports in Yu-Gi-Oh
In addition to today's units, keep an eye on the ban list to see if "Dandylion", "Ultimate Offering", and "Level Eater" ever become unbanned, all of which provide easy sacrifices for tribute summons. And be sure to examine your selected archetype for tribute supports unique to your theme.
Whether you're building a tribute-focused deck or mixing them in elsewhere, high-level monsters provide powerful beatsticks that don't hog your limited extra deck zones. But for now, as we await Konami's next set of tribute supports, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill