As someone who jumped back into the game during the time in which Pendulum Summoning was the “hot, new dueling sensation sweeping the nation,” I was not too aware of the long history of [Duel Terminal]; as a quick recap as to what that was (or as a quick course for those who didn’t know it existed), Duel Terminal was released during the 5D’s series to provide new decks with an overarching story told in parts, telling the [intertwining history and relationships between archetypes] such as [Nekroz], [Shaddolls], [Gem-Knights], and [Worms] (to name a few). Some notable monsters like [Gem-Knight Seraphinite] and [Lavalval Chain] are remembered for their impact in the competitive field of “Yu-Gi-Oh!" in either a positive or negative way. The [Fabled] archetype definitely appeared on the competitive level, according to [Yugioh Top Decks], but it certainly did not extend its welcome, unlike the aforementioned monsters. To further branch from the original concept, the Fabled deck splintered into a sub-archetype that act as Tuners to the parent archetype, allowing for some interesting plays that will be covered in the article. Time to dust off the old storybooks and read more into these elder gods of “Duel Terminal,” lets dive into the “Fabled” deck and see what it brought to the table.
Released in the fourth installment of the Duel Terminal set of cards, [Duel Terminal - Demon Roar God Revival!!], as Promo cards, the Fabled archetype appeared as an archetype comprised of LIGHT Fiend-type monsters that benefited from being discarded into the GY, whether by manipulating your opponent’s Spells or by their own effects. Later down the line, the eighth installment, [Duel Terminal - Charge of the Genex!!], introduced the [The Fabled] sub-archetype to promote a Synchro play style while also continuing the discard effects their parent monsters had before them. Interestingly, the deck never received any Spell/Trap support, but they have a number of cards that can supplement for their shortcomings - cards like [Honest] and [Beckoning Light] can give this deck the power boost and hand recovery that it needed, as most of these monsters have effects regarding only discarding a “Fabled” card and Special Summoning a “Fabled” monster from the GY. As the deck revolved around discarding to the GY, the biggest weakness this deck faces is banishment, as they cannot resolve their effect when something like [Macro Cosmos] keep removing monsters from play. As this archetype lacks any Spell or Trap cards, I’ll separate them by the main deck “Fabled” monsters, the smaller “The Fabled” creatures, and the Syncho monsters that act as their head honchos.
To start us off, we’ll take a look at the first wave of the “Fabled” monsters, which (at the time) focused more on their own discard effects rather than focus on Synchro-Summoning to build their advantages. The parent branch is comprised of fourteen members, with only two monsters reaching higher than Level 5 - [Fabled Soulkius] and [Fabled Dianaira] are Level 6 and Level 8, respectively, with the former having the ability to Special itself out from the GY by discarding two cards and the latter manipulating the first Spell card your opponent plays to benefit your field by changing the effect to read:
" Your opponent discards 1 card. (“Your opponent” means the controller of this monster) "
The archetype ranges from Levels 4 to 1 (with the four “Fabled” Tuners ranging between Levels 2 and 3), and although they can swarm the field with cards like [Ties of the Brethren], they swarm the field with better consistency with cards that force a discard as a Cost, such as [Twin Twisters] and “Beckoning Light.” If there was any pre-existing deck the “Fabled” monsters behave like, one could argue it being closely played like [Dark World] or [Infernity] - all of these decks focused on dumping cards from the hand to the GY to gain an advantage over your opponent. It didn’t take too long for anyone playing the deck before the new generation of Tuners and Synchro monsters to finally shape this deck into something more recognizable to the 5Ds-era of play style, improving some of the consistency issues by adding more monsters that Special Summoned themselves onto the field and adjusting Synchro plays with their lower Levels.
As the story of Duel Terminal continued, and the “Fabled” monsters grew more to be the antagonists of the the plot, new cards were implemented to help create the angels of old in the form of smaller minions - “The Fabled” are a collection of small animal-based monsters with the imps seen on their boss monsters tasked to tame them. This new sub-archetype was comprised of eight Beast-type monsters as opposed to the original Fairy typing that was established that helped the deck by including a number of Level 1 Tuners. Despite the lack of synergy between Types, the “The Fabled” monsters (never going to get used to typing that) managed to pull their own weight in the deck by providing a wider toolbox to Synchro Summon into. For example, [The Fabled Chawa] and [The Fabled Cerburrel] are seen as staples in the build, as the former can discard “The Fabled Cerburrel” to Special Summon itself on the field while also activating the latter’s effect to Special Summon itself from the GY, effectively giving you two Tuners to work with.
To finally round out the archetype, the Synchro “Fabled” guardians make their appearance to protect and support their disciples. They range between Levels 4 to 10, with [Fabled Ragin] sitting at the awkward Level 5. As the deck revolves around drawing an advantage by discarding cards from the hand, the Synchro monsters reflect that with an array of effects that are dependent on the number of cards in both your hand and in your opponent’s – [Fabled Unicore] and [Fabled Kudabbi] are prime examples, as the former’s effect to negate everything your opponent activates is reliant on making sure both players have the same hand size, while the former requires the controller to have no cards in the hand to make sure “Fabled Kudabbi” is protected. “Fabled Ragin” saw some use as the star monster in a turbo build that focused on summoning him out as soon as possible on top of other Synchro monsters for draw advantage to fuel their discard play style. Unfortunately, “Fabled Unicore” is only Synchro monsters to provide your “Fabled” deck any form of protection, on top of the issue of their archetypal Extra Deck monsters’ attack point values, as [Fabled Leviathan] reaches 3000 attack without anything to boost it. As it’s vital for the deck to refill and discard their hand, these fallen angels are a necessary evil.
To be honest, I was hoping this archetype would’ve been easier to write about – the idea of discarding cards to Special Summon and continue plays sounds good on paper, and in practice, the “Infernity” deck reined supreme for a while back in the days before Arc-V. However, I found myself growing bored as I reviewed one card after another. I talked to a few of my colleagues who were around during the older format when the “Fabled” deck was just starting to be introduced into the TCG, and each person I talked to replied with a sigh of disappointment, stating that it was “a deck that believed discarding cards was a positive, when in reality it wasn’t.” The age clearly shows and the lack of further support speaks volumes – it was overshadowed by its predecessors and it was overlooked as newer players joined the game and as Konami continued to spit out new cards as well as a new Summoning Mechanic. If there’s any positive, there may be some hope for it to play in the Link Format, but it would still require for you to go through hurdles to make any substantial play.