[Shadows in Valhalla], a TCG-exclusive product set to be released on August 17th, 2018, provides a number of new cards and reprints that have gotten quite a stir from the community. The fan favorite [Valkyrie] archetype from the original “Yu-Gi-Oh!” anime series finally make their official debut in the TCG, and the [Ninjas] reveal new cards from the shadows to reinvigorate the archetype. In addition to the aforementioned archetypes, “Shadows in Valhalla” also introduces a number of exclusives to the TCG, including the Korean exclusive [Entity] cards that were introduced back as early as [Legacy of the Valiant], as well as finally release yet another [LINK VRAINS Pack] Link Monster to slowly close out the missing cards yet to be released. A number of interesting cards were selected to be reprinted for the set, some of them having received erratas to better suit their new rulings in the OCG, and others being complete left field reprints that hold little presence in the game. The cards in the product are definitely interesting and awesome additions to anyone’s collection, especially for those who have a special place in their hearts for the original anime, but on a competitive standpoint, the set falls short of being a great box to invest in.
"Valkryries" Descend into the TCG!
It’s been nearly fourteen years ago since [Ziegfried von Schroeder]’s titular “Valkryie” made their appearance in his duel against [Weevil Underwood] and [Rex Raptor], and now they finally make their grand appearance as the front-runner archetype advertised in “Shadows in Valhalla.” As advertised from the product’s official statement, a number of their cards received alterations to better suit the playing field of 2018, while also introducing a few limitations to help avert any potential abuse regarding one of their most infamous cards. However, looking at them carefully, the archetype isn’t exactly strong enough to hold its own in the current format, especially when putting into consideration how their combos work and what their general goals are in their play style are. Not only that, but their star card, [Mischief of the Time Goddess], received an adjusted text that neuters whatever potential abuse it may have seen, as it specifically requires “Valkryie” monsters on the field before it can resolve, among other requirements. They’re plagued with a number of problems ranging from a lack of any reliable means of Special Summoning out monsters without the use of their Spell Card to having a poor in-theme card removal system through the use of three Continuous Spell Cards, but as archetypes go, it would make for a fun casual deck for those who have a deep love for the original anime
From the Shadows, "Ninjas" Strike!
Alongside the aforementioned “Valkyries,” the "Ninjas" struck from the shadows with new support to help them compete in the current playing field, including a new boss monster that help in setting up their combos more effectively. The player base has seen the “Ninjas” through various incarnations - playing around with the Pendulum Summoning mechanic and even including members of other archetypes into their fold like [Karakuri] and [Superheavy Samurai] – and as they move into the Link Format, they were given new additions to their [Dragon Ninja] lineage and a new Field Spell, as well as [Ninja Grandmaster Saizo] to help control the field through the use of their [Ninjitsu Arts] – being a LINK-2 with Bottom Left and Bottom Right markers definite helps with the deck in setting up optimal field presence, especially through the use of [Twilight Ninja Getsuga, the Shogun] to Special Summon many “Ninja” monsters at once, and being able to directly set any “Ninjitsu Art” from the Deck for no cost alleviates some of the headache in playing the deck, as it eliminates the issue of having to search them through the use of other cards such as [Ninja Grandmaster Hanzo]. Personally, I’ve been interested in picking up the deck for the design alone, and from general hear-say, I’ve heard more praise for this wave of support for enabling an interesting strategy in locking out one of the Extra Monster Zones without having to resort to Extra Linking through the use of [Ninjitsu Art of Shadow Sealing]. Personal bias aside, the deck’s reliance on Continuous Trap Cards seems on the fence, unless their control on the field can rival [Altergeist], who also rely heavily on their Trap selection to lock the board down, and as such their strategy typically benefits more from moving first. Some of the flaws have definitely been ironed out thanks to their new techniques, and I can see it being a fun deck to duel in a local tournament setting.
What Else to Expect?
With the two front-runners out of the way, all that’s left to cover are the reprints and imports packaged to help fill out the set, and there are a number of them that are actually quite relevant in both a casual and competitive perspective. In terms of OCG imports, the TCG is slated to receive the “Outer Entities,” as well as the [Invoked] Link Monster from "LINK VRAINS Pack," [Aleister the Invoker of Madness], which has definitely struck a chord with many “Invoked” duelists, as the card makes the archetype even more consistent and more potent with the ability to search their archetypal Spells and Traps on a dime as well as providing optimal Link Markers to better build their boards. Meanwhile, cards like [Invocation], [Akashic Magician], and even [Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring] are listed as Super Rare reprints, which makes their accessibility that much easier to the player base – Secret Rare cards include [Aleister the Invoker], [Twin Twisters], and [Gem-Knight Seraphinite] to name a few, which means players can look forward to bumping up their deck’s rarity to the highest quality. However, like with anything, there has to be a balance; with the many great reprints and imports we’ll be receiving in the TCG, we’ll also be receiving a number of cards that aren’t relevant to many player’s interest, as well as cards that are meant to allude to future support namely the [Neo-Spacians] set to be released in the [2018 Mega-Tins] set. The card pool has a fair share of chase cards that make this set interesting to invest in, but if all you’re looking for in this set are the reprints and imports, then it would be better financially to spend for singles rather than pay for sealed product in bulk and leave it up to chance.
Some Thoughts About "Shadows in Valhalla"
In review of the entire set list and its impact on the current state of the game, the set has a lot to offer and has enough influential cards to interest players hoping to improve their competitive edge on the competition. Personally, however, I feel as though the set list was a bit of a miss, as the archetypes that were released in this set aren’t substantial enough to combat against the current decks that populate the game’s tournament settings, and out of the total cards that were packaged to fill out the rest of the booster set, only 1/6th are seeing a large use in tournament environments. I would advise looking to paying for singles after the set’s been formally released, but let this advisement get in the way if you’re looking to buying a box.