Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
The Yang Zing Archetype in Yu-Gi-Oh
The Yang Zing creatures hold the honor of being the first set designed around the then-new wyrm type. These units resemble dragons, but with more mystical designs and different synergies. Yang Zings revolve around swarming the field and tuning into synchro monsters; many of your troops offer extra abilities to your synchro aces when used as material.
With effects that easily replace a destroyed unit, Yang Zings can be tricky to annihilate, as they simply summon allies from the deck when toppled. So, how can you best optimize this classic structure? Here are the 10 best Yang Zing cards available!
10. Denglong, First of the Yang Zing
Denglong's an awesome card that would rank much higher in the list—except it's (as of this writing) banned unless you're playing the Asian OCG, where it's only limited (one copy allowed per deck).
But, in either casual play or OCG matches, Denglong's one of the strongest level 5 synchros in the game, and he accepts even non-Yang Zings as material. He wields a stellar 2800 DEF, adds a Yang Zing card from deck to hand when summoned, can mill a wyrm from your deck to your graveyard and match its level, and special summons a Yang Zing from your deck when it leaves the field. This excellent exit trait works regardless of whether Denglong is banished, destroyed, or returned to hand, making it nigh-impossible to prevent.
9. Zefraniu, Secret of the Yang Zing
Note that, unlike most main deck Yang Zings, Zefraniu doesn't field a member from your deck when destroyed. He also needs a tribute to normal summon, and goes to the extra deck rather than graveyard when defeated. However, he wields a fairly-high pendulum scale of 7, although his scale only lets you pendulum summon Zefrath and Yang Zing monsters.
However, Zefraniu enjoys a sturdy 2600 DEF, and when pendulum summoned or destroyed (either through battle or effect), you get to search any Yang Zing or Zefrath spell/trap from your deck to hand. Thus, if you're using the pendulum Yang Zing strategy, Zefraniu's essential for both his utility searches and his swarm-allowing scale.
8. Jiaotu, Darkness of the Yang Zing
While Jiatou sadly doesn't boost your synchro monsters' capabilities, he's still one of your most essential tuners. For his low level of two, Jiatou harnesses a solid 2000 DEF, and (like many of his kin), when destroyed through either battle or effect, he special summons a Yang Zing in attack position.
Jiaotu's also a great first-turn play or comeback tool, as when he's the only monster you control, he can send any two Yang Zings from your hand to graveyard to special summon one with 0 ATK and one with 0 DEF from your deck, banishing them during the end phase. This excellently swarms numerous units of your choice, and to avoid their exile, simply tune them with Jiaotu before the turns ends.
7. Baxia, Brightness of the Yang Zing
The Yang Zing helpfully offer powerful synchro monsters bearing a variety of levels, giving you nice options no matter what your materials' levels add up to. Level eight Baxia arrives with a workable 2300 ATK and fierce 2800 DEF, and when synchro summoned, you can shuffle cards on the field into the deck up to the number of different attributes of wyrm monsters used for Baxia's summon, excellently removing even indestructible foes.
Baxia can also (once per turn) destroy a card you control to revive a level four or lower monster from your graveyard. Since your Yang Zing effects activate when either player destroys them, this lets you skillfully field two units at once, and note that your revived monster doesn't even have to be a Yang Zing.
6. Yang Zing Prana
Since most Yang Zings summon other members from your deck when destroyed (who in turn can do the same), your graveyard should rapidly fill with monsters, perfect for empowering Prana. This continuous spell gains different, cumulative abilities depending on the number of attributes Yang Zing monsters in your graveyard possess:
- 2+: All Yang Zing monsters you control gain 500 ATK.
- 3+: You can send Prana to the graveyard to prevent the destruction of one or more Yang Zing monsters you control.
- 4+: Your opponent cannot set monsters, and they change all face-up monsters they control to attack position.
- 5+: You can send Prana to the graveyard to destroy all cards on the field.
These are all powerful abilities that stack; of particular notice are the easily-accessed 500 ATK boost and the final field-wipe, an excellent reset in case your opponent gains the advantage.
5. Nine Pillars of Yang Zing
Nine Pillars of Yang Zing is a powerful counter trap, which basically means it can only be responded to by other counter traps (and is thus harder to counter or chain onto). You can activate Nine Pillars to negate any opposing activated effect and shuffle that card into the deck (skillfully preventing graveyard recoveries), but you have to destroy a Yang Zing card you control.
Luckily, you can choose to destroy any type of Yang Zing card—monster, spell, or trap—and if you destroy one of your creatures, it should field a different monster from your deck, replenishing your field, stocking your graveyard, and negating a threat in one fell swoop.
4. Chaofeng, Phantom of the Yang Zing
As great as Nine Pillars's negation is, you can entirely prevent effects with level nine Chaofeng. Use as many different attribute for his summon as you can, because while fielded, he prevents your opponent from activating monster effects from creatures who share an attribute with any of the Yang Zing materials you used.
Plus, when this synchro summoned card is destroyed by battle or effect, you can add any tuner from your deck to hand, and (once per turn), when you destroy an opponent's monster, Chaofeng can special summon a wyrm from your deck in defense position with a matching attribute to that eliminated foe. Finally, Chaofeng's impressive 2800 ATK can be further boosted using...
3. Suanni, Fire of the Yang Zing
Suanni is the strongest main deck Yang Zing that doesn't need a tribute, serving as an excellent low-level beatstick with his 1900 ATK. The special summons another Yang Zing from your deck in defense position when destroyed, and since he's the only fire-attributed member, he's crucial for empowering Prana and Chaofeng.
Additionally, Suanni makes for one the best materials in the game, as any synchro monster summoned using him (even ones that aren't Yang Zing) receives a 500 ATK and DEF boost, helping dominate foes in battle.
2. Yang Zing Creation
Creation is admittedly a trap that hasn't aged spectacularly, but it's still an important keystone to the Yang Zing strategy. Once per turn, when any monster you control is destroyed, Creation lets you special summon a Yang Zing from your deck.
That's a huge boost that works even when non-member creatures are destroyed, and it can activate on both your and your opponent's rounds. However, the downside is that you can now only access synchro monsters from your extra deck. Before extra deck zones were limited, this was a minor restriction, but you'll now want to be careful when you use Creation, as it could prevent you from casting link monsters that could offer additional extra deck zones.
1. Yang Zing Path
To function, this magic needs Yang Zing monsters in your graveyard, and it moves them to the deck, so it can inadvertently weaken Prana. However, it's an excellent way to both restock your deck (helpful since your Yang Zings rapidly deplete it) and hand.
When triggered, you simply shuffle three Yang Zing monsters from your graveyard into your deck, then draw two cards. You can only do this once per turn, but it's a simple and powerful boon that not only increases your hand size but refills your deck with swarm fodder. Yang Zing Path is a crucial component who has won me several games thanks to his its hand-increasing powers; fortunately, despite its rarity and power, you can nab your own for less than three dollars!
Other Supports for Yang Zing Monsters
Since many Yang Zings have 0 DEF, they make excellent fodder for the revival of "Masked Chameleon", who also happens to be a tuner. Or, if you're constructing a pure-wyrm build, the spell "Solidarity" can boost your monsters' ATK by 800, and the trap "Rivalry of Warlords" will restrict your opponent to similarly controlling just one monster type.
Although their extra deck powers slowed with the introduction of link monsters, Yang Zings remains an engaging archetype that I hope to see expand even further in the future. But for now, as we eagerly await Konami's next batch of original wyrm creatures, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill