Kelbek the Ancient Vanguard – #MAMA-EN027
Date Reviewed: December 29, 2022
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Hello Pojo Fans,
Kelbek the Ancient Vanguard is one of the retrained Ishizu monsters that helped define a Tier 0 deck.
Kelbek may be just a Level 4 Fairy with base ATK/DEF for that level, but its ability mixed into the other retrained Ishizu monsters alongside something like Tearlaments make it a force to be reckoned with. Special Summon effect whenever a card(s) are sent from the hand or Deck to the opponent’s grave, Kelbek Special Summons itself easily when you activate another retrained Ishizu monster effect or a Tearlament effect. You also get the chance to pop back to the hand a Special Summoned monster your opponent has on the field as you Special Summon Kelbek. Kelbek is responsive to your opponent milling and discarding cards, but its real power is in how the Ishizu Tearlament deck forces this to happen rather than waiting on your opponent to do it.
If Kelbek is sent to the grave from the hand or Deck you force a five card mill from the top of both players decks. Kelbek’s second effect can trigger its own first effect, though you are more likely to trigger a whole host of other effects in this one mill (YCS Final mirror match where we had a Chain 8 and it looked more like a deck profile than a field). In other decks that may want to increase their chances of milling this would help anything that loves to send to the grave: Lightsworn, Shaddoll, Empty Jar/Deck Out, Zombie, etc. Being a Fairy-Type monster doesn’t make it a good fit for the conventional style of how Fairy-based decks play: Special Summon swarming or that mixed with Counter Traps and getting pluses off of them. Kelbek, like the other Ishizu retrains also work with “Exchange of the Spirit” being in the grave. If that card is in the grave Kelbek will fetch a Trap and reset it to the field. This effect is more so dependent on getting “Exchange of the Spirit” into the grave quickly so you can benefit from the plus it will give through each of the retrained Ishizu monsters, though some may elect to skip this entirely.
The Ishizu monsters were highly anticipated and have made an incredible mark on the meta. They effortlessly dismissed the dominant Spright archetype and ushered in a Tier 0 format in conjunction with Tearlaments, which of course we will cover (spoiler…not really) as the #1 spot on the countdown. The OCG dealt with the Tier 0 deck (ironically Kelbek dodged the hammer), and TCG players are looking for the powers that be to do the same here.
Until Next Time
Couldn’t go the whole list without mentioning one of the cards that helped boost Tearlaments to Tier 0, so here we are. From Magnificent Mavens, we have Kelbek the Ancient Vanguard.
Kelbek 2.0 is a Level 4 EARTH Fairy with 1500 ATK and 1800 DEF. Alright stats and a solid Type and Attribute combination that’s becoming very popular together. First effect triggers if a card(s) is sent from the hand or Deck to the opponent’s graveyard (except during the Damage Step), letting you target a Special Summoned monster the opponent controls to Special Summon this from the hand and bounce the targeted monster. A pretty good effect overall to take an opponent’s Special Summoned monster off the field while getting a free body. The effect is easy to trigger upon sending other copies of this or Agido the Ancient Sentinel to the graveyard, and it’s a throwback to the original Kelbek. Speaking of that second effect, upon this going from the hand or Deck to the graveyard, you can activate this effect to make both players send the top 5 cards from their Deck to the graveyard (or their entire Decks if less than 5) and then if Exchange of the Spirit is in the graveyard, you get to set any Trap back to your field. The milling of the opponent might be risky, but this series of Exchange of the Spirit retrains has ways to take care of those. Getting a mill 5 on top of a mill you already did to trigger this to begin with is really good, especially for the aforementioned Tier 0 Tearlaments. The second bit won’t be relevant unless you choose to run Exchange of the Spirit as a brick to get into the graveyard, but recovery for any Trap is really good. Hard once per turn on each effect, thankfully, but Kelbek is overall an outstanding card. Honestly all 4 of these EARTH Fairy retrains that Ishizu ran in the anime could of made the list, but we saved a slot for probably the best of the 4.
Advanced Rating: 4.75/5
Art: 4/5 I don’t know what the original Kelbek is supposed to be, so I can’t make out what this even is, but I like it.
My #2: Bystial Magnamhut
The Kelbek retrain hasn’t been around a great long time, but it sure made some noise, appearing as the runner-up in our Countdown. Earth/Fairy, Level 4, 1500 atk and 1800 def, nothing (un)remarkable about this card so far. Special Summons itself to your Field and bounces an opponent’s Special Summon back to their Hand simply from a card(s) being sent from the Hand/Deck to your opponent’s Graveyard, so it doesn’t even have to be their card(s) going, is insane. It means this card should be able to hit the Field in about any situation…ever. Being sent from the Hand or Deck to the Grave itself mills the top 5 cards of each Deck (and nets you a Set Trap if ‘Exchange of the Spirit’ is in your Grave, which is something, but you’re still not likely running that). It’s everything this card can do, and not just on its own for once. On its own, AND in combination with the other players of its kind, and beyond.
Art: 4/5…messy, colorful, enjoyable enough I suppose
Kelbek the Ancient Vanguard snags the silver trophy in Pojo’s countdown; Kelbek debuted in the Magnificent Mavens box in the TCG as part of the notorious Exchange of the Spirit series (informally shortened to “Ishizu” for the anime character that used them). Kelbek, much like its original form, is a level 4 EARTH Fairy monster, giving it synergy with various EARTH Fairy support as well as the Vernusylph archetype. With an unremarkable stat spread of 1500 attack and 1800 defense, there’s more that makes this monster a menace worthy of being number 2.
All of Kelbek’s effects are a hard once per turn, and they’re all pretty loaded to boot. Kelbek’s first effect triggers if your opponent sends a card from their deck or hand to the Graveyard, letting you Special Summon Kelbek from your hand then target and bounce one of your opponent’s Special Summoned monsters. This essentially lets Kelbek function as a hand trap, and it’ll be live against most decks (Floowandereeze is a notable exception); fielding a body in the process is a neat bonus for Rank 4 plays with the rest of the Ishizu gang. Kalbek’s other effect triggers if it’s sent from your deck or hand to the Graveyard (basically, getting milled by a Tearlament monster), sending the top 5 cards of both player’s decks to the Graveyard and letting you set one Trap from your Graveyard to your field if Exchange of the Spirit happens to be in your Graveyard. The Trap part isn’t too important, unless you’re playing a build that utilizes Gravekeeper’s Trap, but the mill part is what makes Kelbek especially dangerous in the powerful Ishizu Tearlaments deck. If luck is on your side, you’ll mill Tearlaments monsters (and other Ishizu monsters), triggering their effects and letting you aggressively Fusion Summon, even on your opponent’s turn if Kelbek happens to trigger at the time. I myself am guilty of thinking Agido was more dangerous than Kelbek, but ultimately it seems this guy and Mudora are the most dangerous cards in this series. Overall, an excellent card for pretty much any mill deck and it’s a decent hand trap if the format calls for it.
The Ishizu cards were initially intended to facilitate an FTK strategy with Exchange of the Spirit; understandably, they were severely underrated on release since they were hilariously incompetent at it (and still are). That changed when they started being played with Tearlaments cards, as their generic milling abilities and powerful Graveyard effects made them simultaneously the best deck and the counter to the best deck in both TCG and OCG. Surely, it will be tough to beat number 2…
Art: 3.25/5 While not particularly exciting, it has way more personality than the original Kelbek, which is kinda boring to the point where it looks creepy. This Kelbek feels a lot more “lively” y’know?
We would love more volunteers to help us with our YuGiOh Card of the Day reviews. If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email. We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉
Visit the Card of the Day Archive! Click here to read over 4,000 more Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards of the Day!