Get your game on! Hello Pojo Readers, Crunch$G here with batch two of the review of every core set in Yu-Gi-Oh history. This time, we enter a new era with the GX related packs. This era started with The Lost Millennium and ended with Light of Destruction and is easily the most well known era of the Ultimate Rares, and it’s an era that ended with power creep times 1000. Today, we will go through the GX era and every set that was released.
The Lost Millennium
Release Date: June 1st, 2005
Cover Card: Ancient Gear Golem
It is now time for Jaden to lead the way as the main protagonist, and he’s represented well with the first set of GX having his ace Elemental Hero Flame Wingman… yet Ancient Gear Golem is the cover card… ok then. This is a 60 card set comprised of 4 Ultra Rares, 7 Super Rares, 14 Rares, and 35 Commons. As with the previous 3 sets, any card you could get Rare or above also came in Ultimate Rare. In this set, we had a bunch of support for the debuting Elemental Hero archetype, alongside the debuts of Ancient Gears, Batterymans, and Charmers, plus you got a bit of Rock support to go along. The four Ultra Rares are Ancient Gear Golem, Reshef the Dark Being, Elemental Hero Flame Wingman, and Elemental Hero Thunder Giant. Good start with 3 anime cards that are very well known, and Ancient Gear Golem being an okay boss for its time and is still somewhat useful in Ancient Gears. Reshef is cool in Ultimate Rare, so I guess it has that going for it. Your Super Rares were Winged Kuriboh, Ultimate Insect LV7, Hieracosphinx, Megarock Dragon, Master Monk, Card of Sanctity, and Brain Control. Winged Kuriboh is your new Kuriboh, so of course it’ll have some fanfare. Ultimate Insect LV7 finally finishes the Ultimate Insect series. Hieracosphinx is a pretty meh card for what it’s meant for. Megarock Dragon is at least an easy Special Summon. Master Monk looks cool. Card of Sanctity would of made more sense in the DM era, and the effect is highly watered down from the anime. At least we got Brain Control as an amazing Super Rare… until its errata in 2017, but we don’t talk about that here. You got few noteworthy rares in Ancient Gear Beast being another tribute in Ancient Gears, D.D. Survivor being a decent option for Banish Decks, Elemental Mistress Doriado at least being collectable in Ultimate Rare due to her great artwork, and Hero Signal to channel your inner Jaden even more. Commons gave you the four basic Elemental Heros in Avian, Burstinatrix, Clayman, and Sparkman alongside Ancient Gear Soldier, Medusa Worm, the four Charmers that aren’t LIGHT and DARK, Batteryman AA, Des Wombat, King of the Skull Servants, and Battery Charger. The set kinda gave GX a weak start competitively, but I do feel this set does have the best looking Ultimate Rares in theory, alongside some collectable ones, so at least there’s that.
Set Rating: 6/10
Release Date: August 17th, 2005
Cover Card: Cyber End Dragon
To quote dawnyoshi from the original review of Cyber Dragon here on Pojo, “The only good cards in CRV have Cyber and Dragon in their names.” While that might not exactly true, they really carry the set, especially upon release. The set breakdown is the same as TLM, so I won’t mention it again until it changes. In here you had the debuting Cyber Dragon, Vehicroids, B.E.S., and Frogs alongside more Elemental Hero cards and the Spiritual Arts to go with the Chamers. The four Ultra Rares in this set are Winged Kuriboh LV10, UFOroid Fighter, Cyber End Dragon, and Power Bond. All cards from the anime is a plus for collectors. Winged Kuriboh LV10 makes for a cool Ultimate, same for UFOroid Fighter. The cards you would of probably wanted are Cyber End Dragon to get it out with Cyber-Stein, and Power Bond for Machine Fusions like the aforementioned Cyber End Dragon. Your Super Rares include UFOroid, Cyber Dragon, Cybernetic Magician, Goblin Elite Attack Force, B.E.S. Crystal Core, Cyber Twin Dragon, and Skyscraper. UFOroid could of been the next Pyramid Turtle, but it’s a Level 6. Cybernetic Magician feels like a troll for those that want the real chase card. Goblin Elite Attack Force, while not exactly an upgrade, at least has DEF that Goblin Attack Force doesn’t. B.E.S. Crystal Core is decent for a B.E.S. monster. Skyscraper is cool for being Jaden’s iconic Field Spell. The cards you would of probably wanted from the Super Rares were Cyber Dragon and Cyber Twin Dragon for how revolutionary the former is and how good the latter is for a Cyber-Stein or Metamorphosis target. Rares give you Elemental Hero Bubbleman, who would find use in the Xyz Era, Miracle Fusion for the later Attribute-based E-Hero Fusions, System Down as your anti-Machine card in a set full of Machines, Transcendent Wings for your Winged Kuriboh LV10, Magical Explosion for future FTKs, and Dimension Wall as a stall card. Finally the Commons give you cards like Jerry Beans Man (just cause it’s Jerry Beans Man), Drillroid, Des Frog, Tyranno Infinity, Fusion Recovery, Dragon’s Mirror, Des Croaking, and the Spiritual Arts to match the Charmers in the last set. Cyber Dragons were the reason this set was going to be good upon release, but you can at least see some cards that would become somewhat useful in the future, plus Cyber Dragons have stood the test of time. A much better set for the beginning of GX.
Set Rating: 8/10
Release Date: November 16th, 2005
Cover Card: Elemental Hero Shining Flare Wingman
Bet you’ll never guess what this set is focused on. Elemental Energy is the third GX set and probably the one that best represents Jaden, as it has many more Elemental Heros with mostly more Fusions. You also got the Water Dragon series alongside Alexis Rhodes’ cards, the XYZ series becoming the VWXYZ series, Yugi’s Three Musketeers of Face Cards series, the Familiar-Possessed cards, and the debut of Dark Worlds. Your Ultra Rares are Elemental Hero Rampart Blaster, Elemental Hero Tempest, Elemental Hero Wildedge, and Elemental Hero Shining Flare Wingman… so I hope you love Heros. Your Super Rares include Elemental Hero Bladedge, Water Dragon, B.E.S. Tetran, Goldd, Wu-Lord of Dark World, VWXYZ-Dragon Catapult Cannon, Cyber Blader, and Pot of Avarice. A lot of these feel like they would of been Ultra Rares if the Elemental Hero Fusions didn’t take all the slots. You got some really cool cards from GX like Bladedge, Water Dragon, VWXYZ, and Cyber Blader though. B.E.S. Tetran is probably the best B.E.S. monster, and Pot of Avarice is a great Spell that you might be familiar with recently as it just came to three for the first time in years. Rares give you the Three Musketeers of Face, Broww, Brron, and Silva. Not much going on, though you got some of the better early Dark World with only Brron not aging well. Commons give you V-Tiger Jet and W-Wing Catapult alongside their Fusion, VW-Tiger Catapult, alongside other cards like Elemental Hero Wildheart, Hydrogeddon, Beiige, Vanguard of Dark World, the four Familiar-Possessed for the previously released Charmers, Ojamagic, Ojamuscle, Boss Rush, and Non-Fusion Area. This set screams collectable as the most noteworthy cards that aren’t Dark Worlds or Pot of Avarice are the Elemental Heros. I mean, since it’s so heavy on collectability, I will probably give it the best score I can give to a set that’s not super competitive, at least not until Dark Worlds get their Structure Deck, but has collectibles all over.
Set Rating: 7/10
Shadow of Infinity
Release Date: February 18th, 2006
Cover Card: Raviel, Lord of Phantasms
It’s time for GX’s version of the Egyptian Gods to descend onto the game. Shadow of Infinity is our next set and it gives us the Sacred Beasts alongside our End of the World cards for the most part. The Ultra Rares in this set include Uria, Lord of Searing Flames, Hamon, Lord of Striking Thunder, Raviel, Lord of Phantasms, and Cyber Laser Dragon. Cyber Laser Dragon is really the odd one out and easily the worst Ultra Rare. If you hunt for Ultra Rares in this set, more likely than not you’re going for the Sacred Beasts, especially in Ultimate Rare. You have Cyber Barrier Dragon, B.E.S. Covered Core, Divine Dragon – Excelion, Ruin, Queen of Oblivion, Demise, King of Armageddon, Ancient Gear Castle, and Damage Condenser. Cyber Barrier Dragon is probably on the same level as Cyber Laser Dragon. B.E.S. Covered Core might be the worst B.E.S. monster and the last one until 2009. Divine Dragon – Excelion at least looks good in Ultimate Rare. Ruin and Demise are pretty cool, and Demise was once meta even though it needed to wait until Strike of Neos for the support card that Deck needed. Ancient Gear Castle has good intentions to bypass tributing, and Damage Condenser is an interesting card. Noteworthy Rares give us cards like Proto-Cyber Dragon for the first Cyber Dragon that isn’t Cyber Dragon, Chainsaw Insect as the best 2000+ ATK Level 4 with a downside, Doom Dozer cause he’ll come into play later, Treeborn Frog to be the best tribute fodder in a long time at this stage, Princess Pikeru and Princess Curran because they have their fanbases, and Karma Cut for great banishing until the Paleozoics gave us a better version of this card. There are probably 2 actual noteworthy Commons in this set with Symbol of Heritage and End of the World, but you do have other cool things like Elemental Hero Neo Bubbleman, Hero Kid, Tenkabito Shien, Anteatereatingant, Saber Beetle, Beelze Frog, D.3.S. Frog, Magnet Circle LV2, and Trial of the Princesses. There were at least some actual good cards in here with Treeborn Frog, Demise, Doom Dozer, and Karma Cut alongside some of the more memorable cards from GX in the Sacred Beasts. The Commons was something I had to reach for straws at to find noteworthy stuff, they’re fairly weak and that’s fine. The set overall is ok, even if it would take a bit for it to give us a new meta Deck. Oh yeah, and this is where the Ultimate Rare is all over the picture now, so I’ll go back to showing the Ultra Rare version of the card so the art is more visible.
Set Rating: 7.5/10
Enemy of Justice
Release Date: May 17th, 2006
Cover Card: Elemental Hero Shining Phoenix Enforcer
Oh yeah, Aster’s Elemental Hero cards. Enemy of Justice is the last set in Series 4 of Yu-Gi-Oh sets, but far from the last GX set in general. The set gives support to Elemental Heros and Batterymen alongside the Cyber Girl and Arcade Game series of cards, plus you had the debut of Destiny Heros and the Counter Fairies and Herald cards. Your Ultra Rares are Voltanis the Adjudicator, Elemental Hero Phoenix Enforcer, Elemental Hero Shining Phoenix Enforcer, and Destiny Hero – Dreadmaster. The Phoenix Enforcers, while cool, don’t really have the appeal that the Flame Wingmen do. Voltanis is somewhat of a good card for Counter Fairies, and Dreadmaster is the original boss for Destiny Heros, which is kinda cool. Super Rares include Cyber Prima, Cyber Phoenix, Victory Viper XX03, Majestic Mech – Goryu, Super-Electromagnetic Voltech Dragon, Elemental Hero Wild Wingman, and Clock Tower Prison. Cyber Prima is pretty meh overall. Cyber Phoenix at least saw play back in the day. Victory Viper XX03 began the series of Gradius ships becoming cards. Goryu is interesting, even if Majestic Mechs aren’t too memorable. Voltech Dragon is the first Batteryman boss as they await a better one. Elemental Hero Wild Wingman is pretty cool for another Hero Fusion. Finally, you got Clock Tower Prison going well with Dreadmaster. Noteworthy Rares give us Destiny Hero – Diamond Dude as one of the best early Destiny Heros, Harpie’s Pet Baby Dragon to help make Harpie’s more of an official archetype, Majestic Mech – Ohka as another Majestic Mech option, Heralds of Green and Purple Light for some Spell and Trap negation for Fairies, Banisher of the Radiance as a great option in Banish Decks, Hero Flash!! for your Elemental Hero letters, Life Equalizer because more FTKs, and Forced Back as one of the more niche Counter Traps. You also got good and noteworthy Commons like Destiny Hero – Doom Lord, Bountiful Artemis, Elemental Hero Mariner, Elemental Hero Necroid Shaman, E – Emergency Call, Celestial Transformation, Dimensional Fissure, Destiny Signal, Icarus Attack, and Macro Cosmos. Honestly, going into reviewing this set, I was expecting far worse, but it’s better than I remember. You got some good gems in the Commons, Diamond Dude and Banisher of the Radiance being great Rares, and Cyber Phoenix having its time in the sun. 3 of the 4 Ultra Rares do give collectors value while you got one that’s actually somewhat good for its Deck. This really is a better set than I remember it being.
Set Rating: 7.5/10
Power of the Duelist
Release Date: August 16th, 2006
Cover Card: Elemental Hero Dark Neos
Neos has finally arrived. Power of the Duelist is here to represent the shift in the GX anime, as it gives us the Neos and Neo-Spacian cards in their debut alongside the debuting Alien archetype and the first Chimeratech Fusion plus the return of archetypes like Elemental Heros and Destiny Heros, Cyber Dragons, and Vehicroids. Your Ultra Rares are Elemental Hero Aqua Neos, Elemental Hero Flare Neos, Elemental Hero Dark Neos, and Chimeratech Overdragon. The first Neos Fusions are of course going to be really cool, so all do warrant an Ultra Rare slot. Chimeratech Overdragon also falls into the same category, but it’s also a really good card for back in the day with its OTK strategy. Your Super Rares are Neo-Spacian Aqua Dolphin, Neo-Spacian Flare Scarab, Neo-Spacian Dark Panther, Destiny Hero – Double Dude, Destiny Hero – Dogma, Ultimate Tyranno, and Super Vehicroid Jumbo Drill. All anime cards means great collectors value in Super Rares. The Neo-Spacians of course are going to be beloved, and Aqua Dolphin later became meta relevant. Double Dude and Dogma aren’t the most memorable Destiny Heros, but Dogma is probably the coolest one here, Ultimate Tyranno gives us the original Dinosaur boss, and Super Vehicroid Jumbo Drill is probably the best Vehicroid Fusion despite that not saying much. Noteworthy Rares are Submarineroid for your Jumbo Drill and having an interesting concept in the effect, Destiny Hero – Dasher being one of the best early Destiny Heros, Alien Warrior being one of your go-to Alien monsters, Overload Fusion for your Overdragon, Future Fusion pre-errata to set up the Overdragon and Overload Fusion play, and Neo Space so your Fusions don’t return to the Extra Deck. Commons have cards like Elemental Hero Neos (odd the ace of the main character is a Common), Sabersaurus, Destiny Hero – Fear Monger, Babycerasaurus, Alien Skull, Alien Hunter, Vehicroid Connection Zone, Mausoleum of the Emperor, and The Paths of Destiny. Despite actual great cards like Overdragon, Overload Fusion, and Future Fusion alongside the two good Destiny Heros in Dasher and Fear Monger, you don’t have as much going on in here. Neos and Neo-Spacians are really cool and you do have future potential with cards like Sabersaurus and Babycerasaurus, but it isn’t that strong of a set.
Set Rating: 6/10
Release Date: November 15th, 2006
Cover Card: Cyberdark Dragon
This set was notorious for being one of the worst sets ever, but over time it was realized that there were a bunch of hidden gems in this set, even if they were in the low rarities. It’s probably because of the two concepts it debuted with one of them being the column mechanic before Konami was able to make columns actually matter, but you also had the Chain Link cards which were good. This is the last set with 60 cards, so I’ll get into the change with Strike of Neos. Your Ultra Rares are Allure Queen LV7, Dark Lucius LV8, Cyberdark Dragon, and Cyber Ogre 2. Allure Queen LV7 and Dark Lucius LV8 only really have their artwork going for them, especially in Ultimate Rare. Cyber Ogre 2 doesn’t really have the fanfare to be an Ultra Rare in my opinion. That leaves Cyberdark Dragon, which while still a lackluster boss for a lackluster archetype at the time, at least had the anime fanfare and Cyberdark Decks were fun even before their latest cards. Super Rares give us Cyberdark Horn, Cyberdark Edge, Cyberdark Keel, Cyber Esper, Storm Shooter, Trojan Blast, and Cyber Shadow Gardna. Besides the Cyberdarks, you honestly have a real bad batch of Super Rares here besides MAYBE Cyber Shadow Gardna being somewhat cool. Cyberdarks are still the best due to their epic artwork making for great Ultimate Rares. Rares have interesting cards like Allure Queen LV5 and Dark Lucius LV6 to go with their bigger forms, Vanity’s Fiend and Vanity’s Ruler as the best generic Tribute Monsters in history probably that aren’t Monarchs, Degenerate Circuit for being an interesting option against cards that bounce to the hand, and Black Horn of Heaven as some real good Special Summon negation. Commons have a great batch of cards, though. I’ll mention Allure Queen LV3 and Dark Lucius LV4 for being the base forms in the series, but you actually have really good cards like Snipe Hunter, all 6 Barrier Statues, Instant Fusion, Counter Cleaner, Chain Strike, Straight Flush, and Accumulated Fortune. Besides the last 4 cards barring Chain Strike, you got some powerhouse cards with all spending time on the F/L List besides the Barrier Statues, and even those are super good in Attribute specific Decks. Cyberdark Impact, while still not a great set, isn’t the worst in GX due to the amount of hidden gems in here that were found over time. Plus again, Cyberdarks look outstanding.
Set Rating: 6.5/10
Strike of Neos
Release Date: February 28th, 2007
Cover Card: Elemental Hero Air Neos
We can now usher in the return of Secret Rares. Strike of Neos kicked off 2007 with 69 new cards. This includes 9 Secret Rares, 4 Ultra Rares, 7 Super Rares, 14 Rares, and 35 Commons and it should be known only Rares to Ultra Rares can come Ultimate Rare. You had some support for the Alien, Dark World, Elemental Hero, and Neos archetypes alongside the Counter Fairy series. Your Secret Rares included Grandmaster of the Six Samurai, Neo-Parshath, the Sky Paladin, Meltiel, Sage of the Sky, Harvest Angel of Wisdom, Freya, Spirit of Victory, Nova Summoner, Radiant Jearl, Gellenduo, and Aegis of Gaia. Grandmaster of the Six Samurai was the first ever TCG exclusive card in a main set and was also the Sneak Peek card of this set, which is a great start with it being a good Six Samurai card. The rest of the Secret Rares were imported from the OCG’s Surge of Radiance Structure Deck, and the noteworthy good cards from that were probably Harvest, Meltiel, Nova Summoner, Freya, and Gellenduo. Your 4 Ultra Rares were Reign-Beaux, Overlord of Dark World, Elemental Hero Air Neos, Elemental Hero Grand Neos, and Elemental Hero Glow Neos. Reign-Beaux is honestly the forgettable boss of Dark Worlds, but the remaining Neos Fusions were actually really good to get for collectors. Super Rares were Gene-Warped Warwolf, Neo-Spacian Air Hummingbird, Great Shogun Shien, Dark World Dealings, Card Trader, Skyscraper 2 – Hero City, and Birthright. Gene-Warped was cool as the first 2000 ATK Level 4 vanilla. Air Hummingbird goes well with the cover card, which is why it was the Super Rare instead of the good Neo-Spacian probably. Great Shogun Shien is the first, and a solid, Six Samurai boss. Dark World Dealings is one of the better draw cards we have. Card Trader is one of those cards for Decks like Exodia. Skyscraper 2 was good in some of the earliest meta Hero Decks I believe. Finally, Birthright was good to revive your giant vanilla monsters. Noteworthy Rares include Neo-Spacian Grand Mole for being an early out to boss monsters, D.D. Crow for graveyard banishing as a hand trap that has stood the test of time, Ancient Rules to get your big vanillas out of your hand and on the field, Twister to destroy face-up Spells and Traps that are problematic, The Transmigration Prophecy for recycling or graveyard interruption, and Pulling the Rug to stop effects on Summon. Some interesting commons include Neo-Spacian Glow Moss, the original Six Samurai, Electric Virus, Puppet Plant, Marionette Mite, and Advanced Ritual Art (the card that made Demise meta). There’s surprisingly a lot of good meta cards in here. Some handtraps that have been good tech choices, and D.D. Crow as the standout of this group. Good for collectors with Secret Rares returning and the final Neos Fusions until we get the Triple Contacts. I knew this set wasn’t bad, but I’m surprised at remembering how good it was.
Set Rating: 8.5/10
Force of the Breaker
Release Date: May 16th, 2007
Cover Card: Volcanic Doomfire
Here’s a fun one with some of the fan favorite GX archetypes. We come to Force of the Breaker next as another 69 card set like Strike of Neos, so same setup in rarities. You had support for the Alien, Archfiend, Elemental Hero, Gravekeeper’s, and Harpie archetypes alongside the debuts of the Volcanic and Crystal Beast archetypes plus the Sky Scourge series. Secret Rares give us Volcanic Rocket as our TCG exclusive and Sneak Peek card and imports from the Curse of Darkness Structure Deck in the OCG with Diabolos, King of the Abyss, Lich Lord, King of the Underworld, Prometheus, King of the Shadows, Mist Archfiend, Plague Wolf, Recurring Nightmare, Sword of Dark Rites, and Eradicator Epidemic Virus. Volcanic Rocket was great for Volcanics early on and with their 2014 support, and Eradicator was an amazing import to get. Besides Recurring Nightmare, that’s really it for decent cards. Ultra Rares are Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus, Volcanic Doomfire, Elemental Hero Captain Gold, and Rare Value. Sapphire Pegasus is one of the musts for Crystal Beasts with Rare Value being decent draw power for them. Volcanic Doomfire is a cool boss for Volcanics, but it was never in optimal Volcanic builds. Captain Gold also helped give the original Skyscraper some meta time I believe as well. Your Super Rares were Sky Scourge Enrise, Sky Scourge Norleras, Sky Scourge Invicil, Raiza the Storm Monarch, Soul of Fire, Tri-Blaze Accelerator, and Radiant Mirror Force. The three Sky Scourges were all solid cards that all found meta success at one point each, especially Norleras. Raiza was easily the best Monarch until Caius came out. Soul of Fire was a pretty weak card in all honesty. Tri-Blaze Accelerator upgraded the base Blaze Accelerator and was your way to summon Doomfire until the Arc-V era. Finally, you got Radiant Mirror Force as an artifact of the time Mirror Force was limited. Noteworthy Rares were Crystal Beast Topaz Tiger as the best Crystal Beast that wasn’t Sapphire Pegasus or Ruby Carbuncle, Volcanic Shell for searching itself while in the graveyard, the Field Spell searchers with Gravekeeper’s Commandant for Necrovalley, Warrior of Atlantis for A Legendary Ocean, Destroyersaurus for Jurassic World, Zeradias, Herald of Heaven for The Sanctuary in the Sky, Archfiend General for Pandemonium, and Harpie Queen for Harpies’ Hunting Ground… oh, and also you had Ancient City – Rainbow Ruins as a really good Field Spell for Crystal Beasts. Noteworthy commons give us the rest of the Crystal Beast monsters, Volcanic Scattershot, Crystal Beacon, Crystal Blessing, Crystal Abundance, Crystal Promise, Blaze Accelerator, Field Barrier, and Crystal Raigeki. There’s some really cool cards in here. Sky Scourges were a series I would of loved to see revisited, Volcanics are a fan favorite for many and an archetype we wish to see more support for, Crystal Beasts also is the same even though it gets sporadic support, and the Field Spell searchers are great the better the Field Spell they search is. Oh, and also Raiza was in this set, plus you had one of the three good Virus cards with Eradicator. It’s a fairly good set, even if it isn’t as meta impacting as the last.
Set Rating: 7.5/10
Release Date: August 15th, 2007
Cover Card: Rainbow Dragon
Time for a big change now, as sets get bigger, the Ultimate Rares only cover Ultra Rares and Super Rares, and the debut of the Ghost Rare. This set had 90 cards overall in the set with 10 Secret Rares, 5 Ultra Rares, 9 Super Rares, 18 Rares, and 48 Commons. You had Alien, Crystal Beast, Dark World, Elemental Hero, Neo-Spacian, Ojama, and Volcanic support with the debut of the Venom and Bamboo Sword archetypes and the Gemini subtyping of monster. The Ghost Rare was the cover card, Rainbow Dragon, and it was this way until Judgment of the Light with only one exception. Other Secret Rares were Gemini Summoner, Vennominaga the Deity of Poisonous Snakes, Frost and Flame Dragon, Elemental Hero Magma Neos, Cyberdark Impact!, Cranium Fish, Abyssal Kingshark, Mormolith, and Il Blud. Gemini Summoner (the Sneak Peek promo), Cranium Fish, Abyssal Kingshark, Mormolith, and Il Blud were all TCG exclusive in this set with Il Blud being the only one to impact the meta. Magma Neos, Vennominaga, and Rainbow Dragon are all fun cards from the anime. Frost and Flame Dragon is cool in theory. Cyberdark Impact! helped summon Cyberdark Dragon easier. Secret Rares were kinda meh in here. Ultra Rares give us Vennominon the King of Poisonous Snakes, Chthonian Emperor Dragon, Crystal Seer, Desert Twister, and Elemental Hero Darkbright. You got more cool anime cards with Darkbright and Vennominon, Chthonian is a pretty meh Gemini, Crystal Seer never lived up to the hype, and Desert Twister is another cool card in theory. Super Rares have Necro Gardna, Elemental Hero Neos Alius, Aquarian Alessa, Lucky Pied Piper, Doom Shaman, Zombie Master, Fifth Hope, Mirror Gate, and Blazewing Butterfly. Necro Gardna was good until it got many alternatives, Neos Alius was good in later Hero builds with Gemini Spark, your other Gemini Supers aren’t good except for Blazewing Butterfly, Zombie Master was great for Zombies, Fifth Hope served as a Pot of Avarice for Heros, and Mirror Gate was interesting for the opponent taking the damage as your Hero and the opponent’s monster swapped when your Hero was attacked. Also Blazewing Butterfly was a TCG exclusive. Noteworthy Rares are Hunter Dragon as the best Cyberdark target for years, Neo Space Pathfinder to search your Neo Space, Elemental Hero Marine Neos as the only Neos Contact Fusion of an NEX Neo-Spacian, Snake Rain as the card waiting to be broken and banned, Double Summon for play extension, Summoner’s Art to search high-Level vanillas, Damage = Reptile to get Reptiles from the Deck when you take damage, and you had TCG exclusives like Ocean’s Keeper, Thousand-Eyes Jellyfish, Fossil Tusker, and Phantom Dragonray Bronto. Finally noteworthy commons have Alien Shocktrooper as a good vanilla in Aliens, Neo-Spacian Marine Dolphin and NEX to represent an idea they quickly abandoned, Ojama Knight for a better Ojama Fusion, Broken Bamboo Sword later with the other Bamboo Swords, Gift Card to go with the cards that burned the opponent when they would of instead healed, and Counter Counter to counter those pesky Counter Traps. I look at this set and feel kind of underwhelmed. Rainbow Dragon and Magma Neos are probably the coolest cards from this set. You had a few meta cards like Il Blud, Necro Gardna, Neos Alius, and Zombie Master. There’s just not a lot in here overall, and the best cards are kind of niche. It’s fine I guess.
Set Rating: 5.5/10
We’re getting closer to the setup for rarities we’re used to. Gladiator’s Assault is a 95 card set with 15 Secret Rares (the most in any main set), 5 Ultra Rares, 9 Super Rares, 18 Rares, and 48 Commons. You had archetype support for Aliens, Ancient Gears, Elemental Heros, Neos, Vehicroids, and Six Samurai with the debut of Gladiator Beasts, Cloudians, and Evil Heros plus some fan-made cards. Those aforementioned fan-made cards were Dragon Ice, Tongue Twister, and Skreech and they were TCG exclusives. The other TCG exclusives were Gladiator Beast Octavius (Sneak Peek promo), Gladiator Beast Torax, Test Tiger, Defensive Tactics, Royal Firestorm Guards, Veil of Darkness, and Security Orb. The OCG imports were Necroface, Gil Garth, Soul Taker, Magic Formula, and Silent Doom. Your 15 Secret Rares, which are known for being hard to come by sometimes, are Elemental Hero Chaos Neos, Gladiator Beast Octavius, Elemental Hero Plasma Vice, Super Vehicroid – Stealth Union, Gladiator Beast Heraklinos, Dragon Ice, Tongue Twister, Skreech, Royal Firestorm Guards, Veil of Darkness, Necroface, Gil Garth, Soul Taker, Magic Formula, and Silent Doom. You had some of those cool anime cards like Chaos Neos, Plasma Vice, and Stealth Union. Octavius is far from being a good Gladiator Beast, but Heraklinos isn’t. Dragon Ice is a decent card, alongside Skreech. Tongue Twister is the weakest of the fan-made cards. Royal Firestorm Guards is great for the 1 real Pyro Deck there is. Veil of Darkness is Card Trader for DARKs that discards the cards you want to replace. Necroface is great for Banish Decks. Gil Garth is a vanilla that isn’t preferred, but I believe Marik used it. Soul Taker was able to make cards miss timing. Magic Formula is known for being insanely expensive in this set. Finally, Silent Doom can be nice to revive some vanilla monsters. Your Ultra Rares were Enishi, Shien’s Chancellor, Evil Hero Inferno Wing, Evil Hero Lightning Golem, Test Tiger, and Security Orb. Enishi is an ok card for earlier Six Samurai builds, the Evil Heros are cool relics from the anime, Test Tiger was great in Gladiator Beasts, and Security Orb can be a fine stall card. Super Rares have Evil Hero Malicious Edge, Cloudian – Eye of the Typhoon, Cloudian – Sheep Cloud, Gladiator Beast Alexander, Cunning of the Six Samurai, Updraft, Energy-Absorbing Monolith, Gladiator Beast Torax, and Defensive Tactics. Really underwhelming overall. Malicious Edge is a neat Evil Hero to collect. Eye of the Typhoon and Sheep Cloud are fine, but not the Cloudians that are played, and Updraft is burn that doesn’t belong in Cloudians. Torax, Alexander, and Defensive Tactics isn’t really Gladiator Beast support worth using, Cunning of the Six Samurai can help Six Samurai OTK or get a different monster for plays maybe, and Energy-Absorbing Monolith turns burn you’d take to LP gain. Noteworthy Rares give us Evil Hero Infernal Gainer to give Fiends double attacking, the good Cloudians with Acid Cloud, Cirrostratus, and Altus, Expressroid to give that archetype recovery (interestingly was in a Starter Deck before it was printed in here), some good Gladiator Beasts with Murmillo and Laquari, Alien Telepath since the Deck doesn’t have many options and it’s backrow removal at a time MST was limited, Evil Hero Dark Gaia as a fun card to build a Deck around, and Dark Fusion to get your Evil Heros. Noteworthy Commons have Cloudian Smoke Ball with Turbulence for later spam for Synchros and Links, Nimbusman for the fun Nimbusman OTK, Bestiari as the best Gladiator Beast in the Main Deck for its Fusion in a few sets, Gladiator Beast Hoplomus for a defender in that Deck, Secutor to be super powerful if you can pull the effect off, Superalloy Beast Raptinus to give your Geminis their effects without the need to Normal Summon them twice, Swing of Memories to revive Normal Monsters and let them attack unlike Silent Doom, Cloudian Squall for Fog Counter generation, and the great counters that are Light-Imprisoning Mirror and Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror. Talk about collectability with those 15 Secret Rares, plus the fact that Elemental Hero Chaos Neos was known for being misprinted in here with the Rainbow Dragon name in the 1st Edition packs and you could get a Rainbow Dragon in Ghost with the Chaos Neos picture misprinted in Unlimited Edition. You had Evil Heros as cool collectors cards. Gladiator Beasts gave some of the pieces that would make them Tier 0 later. There’s some good stuff in here, even if it is considered a “calm before the storm” set.
Set Rating: 7/10
Release Date: February 13th, 2008
Cover Card: Yubel – The Ultimate Nightmare
The big two of this series are here. Phantom Darkness is here to introduce power creep to the game that it never really slowed down from. Phantom Darkness is the first 100 card set we’re used to, but the rarity spread is a little different with 10 Secret Rares, 10 Ultra Rares, 12 Super Rares, 20 Rares, and 48 Commons. I mentioned that until Judgment of the Light that the Ghost Rare was always the cover card with 1 exception, and this set is that exception with Rainbow Neos being the Ghost Rare. Also this set changed it to where Ultra Rares only came Ultimate, which also stood until Judgment of the Light. The TCG exclusives were Dark Grepher (Sneak Peek promo), Darklord Zerato, Darknight Parshath, Deepsea Macrotrema, Allure of Darkness, Metabo Globster, Golden Flying Fish, Prime Material Dragon, Lonefire Blossom, and Aztekipede, the Worm Warrior. The OCG imports were Vampire’s Curse, Castle Gate, Dark-Eyes Illusionist, Legendary Fiend, Metal Reflect Slime, Zoma the Spirit, Call of the Earthbound, Dark Red Enchanter, Goblin Zombie, and Belial – Marquis of Darkness. The Secret Rares included Rainbow Neos, Dark Grepher, Rainbow Dark Dragon, Yubel – The Ultimate Nightmare, The Dark Creator, Dark Armed Dragon, Darklord Zerato, Dark Red Enchanter, Goblin Zombie, and Belial – Marquis of Darkness. Rainbow Neos was a very strong Fusion for the time, even with its Fusion Materials. Dark Grepher is an amazing card for DARK Decks. Rainbow Dark Dragon is probably the weakest of the Dark retrains, but still solid and better than Rainbow Dragon technically. Yubel – The Ultimate Nightmare is strong, despite the steps needed to summon it. The Dark Creator was solid to revive DARK monsters. Dark Armed Dragon was broken for the time, you probably don’t need me to tell you that. Darklord Zerato is a decent DARK boss for early DARK-themed Decks and was good for Darklords later. Dark Red Enchanter and Belial are easily the weak links here. Finally, you got Goblin Zombie as an outstanding card. Ultra Rares were Yubel – Terror Incarnate to be the easier Yubel form to summon, Dark Horus as a cool card to revive your lower-Leveled DARKs when the opponent used a Spell, Dark Nephthys as an MST waiting to happen during the next Standby Phase after banishing 2 DARKs and sending this card from the hand to the grave when you got 3+ DARKs in the grave, Superancient Deepsea King Coelacanth to spam Fish monsters later in the Synchro Era, The Beginning of the End for great draw power with DARKs at a somewhat moderate cost, Drastic Drop Off to be a better version of the old Drop Off, Darknight Parshath as the retrain of the old Goat Format favorite, Allure of Darkness as the main draw power for DARKs and one of the best TCG exclusives ever, Vampire’s Curse as a meh tribute monster that can revive itself, and Metal Reflect Slime as a Trap Monster that’s a great wall. Super Rares have Yubel for your base form and a card you want to try and destroy, Cyber Valley as one of the best early stall options that was a target for Machine Dupe, Volcanic Counter to help deal damage in Volcanics, Armageddon Knight to send any DARK to the grave and was a very good card, Doomsday Horror to get stronger for each banished DARK, Field-Commander Rahz to top-deck a Warrior, Elemental Hero Storm Neos as the best Triple Contact Fusion, Dark Eruption to get back weaker DARK monsters, Escape from the Dark Dimension to summon banished DARKs, Golden Flying Fish to give Fishes some monster removal, Prime Material Dragon for a decent 1-tribute Dragon in later Dragon Decks, and Zoma the Spirit for another good Trap Monster. Noteworthy Rares have Shadowpriestess of Ohm for her FTKs, Gigaplant as one of the best Gemini monsters ever exclusive for Plants, Super Polymerization as an amazing card as we got Fusions with more generic materials, Fires of Doomsday for Token generation, Six Samurai United to give the archetype draw power and more Bushido Counter generation for later, Rainbow Life to turn damage to healing, Offering to the Snake Deity as an Icarus Attack for Reptiles, Lonefire Blossom to tutor any Plant from the Deck, and Aztekipede, the Worm Warrior for a Special Summon in Insects. Noteworthy Commons are Chain Material as a short print that has caused a lot of degenerate combos and FTKs, Gladiator Beast Andal for a vanilla in the archetype that’s useful in later builds, Samsara Lotus for the one FTK that got it banned, The Immortal Bushi as a Treeborn Frog in Warriors, Gladiator Beast Darius to help Gladiator Beasts use their best Fusion in the next set, Cannon Soldier MK-2 for an FTK alternative to Amazoness Archer, The Calculator to build a fun Deck around, Sea Koala as a Level 2 Beast to weaken the opponent’s monsters, Neo-Spacian Twinkle Moss for the only other NEX Neo-Spacian, Chain Summoning to potentially give 3 Normal Summons in a turn, and Gladiator Proving Ground for a searcher in the Gladiator Beast archetype. It’s insane how many great cards are in this set, probably the most we’ve seen out of any set so far and especially counting meta relevant cards. This set changed the game forever and accelerated the game to a pace it’ll never get slower from really. It’s outstanding how strong this set was in 2008!
Set Rating: 10/10
Light of Destruction
Release Date: May 13th, 2008
Cover Card: Honest
Two powerhouse sets in a row was one hell of a way for GX to go out. Light of Destruction ended GX with the 100 card setup from Phantom Darkness that lasted for a bit. You had support for Ancient Gear, Bamboo Swords, Batteryman, Cloudian, Crystal Beast, Destiny and Elemental Hero, Gladiator Beasts, Jinzo, Neo-Spacian, and Volcanics alongside the debut of the Arcana Force and Lightsworns with the first real support to make Frogs a proper archetype. Your TCG exclusives were Guardian of Order (Sneak Peek promo), Aurkus, Lightsworn Druid, Ehren, Lightsworn Monk, Dark General Freed, Magical Exemplar, Maniacal Servant, Nimble Musasabi, Flame Spirit Ignis, Super-Ancient Dinobeast, and Vanquishing Light. The OCG imports were Tualatin, Divine Knight Ishzark, Angel O7, Union Attack, Owner’s Seal, Helios Trice Megistus, Dangerous Machine Type-6, Maximum Six, Fog King, and Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo. The Secret Rares gave us Honest as a powerful card that put fear into attacking LIGHTs for the rest of time, Guardian of Order as an easy body to summon with LIGHTs, Arcana Force EX – The Dark Ruler as a decent boss to try and use, Judgment Dragon as an insane boss for Lightsworns at the time, Ehren, Lightsworn Monk as defensive counters, Dark General Freed to turn your draw for turn into a search for a Level 4 DARK, Tualatin for an interesting monster if all your monsters were destroyed in battle for a comeback, Angel O7 as a monster effect floodgate if tribute summoned, Fog King is a great counter against other Decks that tribute, and Fossil Dyna is a great monster to lock down Special Summons. Ultra Rares have Arcana Force XXI – The World as a card worthy of some jokes and a card with a Heads effect that’s fun to pull out, Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress for Spell/Trap removal in Lightsworn, Celestia, Lightsworn Angel as the lone good tribute summon in Lightsworns to destroy cards, Phantom Dragon for a free Special Summon at the cost of some Monster Zones, Destiny End Dragoon as a Fusion for Destiny Heros that has stood up well, Ultimate Ancient Gear Golem as a scary force in Ancient Gears, Solar Recharge for Lightsworn’s insane draw power, Super-Ancient Dinobeast for an easy Tribute Summon in Dinosaurs that lets you draw for reviving Dinosaurs, and then you have Dangerous Machine Type-6 and Maximum Six as old Joey cards. Super Rares have Jinzo – Lord as a bigger Jinzo, Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter for spot removal after a FLIP, Wulf, Lightsworn Beast to mill and Special Summon, DUCKER Mobile Cannon to retrieve any Level 4 in your graveyard after a FLIP, Gladiator Beast Gyzarus as the Gladiator Beast card I’ve mentioned in the last two sets that made Gladiator Beasts a Tier 0 Deck, Light of Redemption for banish recurrence for LIGHTs, Arukus, Lightsworn Druid to give Lightsworns protection from targeting, Magical Exemplar to generate Spell Counters to summon bigger Spellcasters, Vanquishing Light as negation in Lightsworns, Divine Knight Ishzark to banish any monster it destroys, Union Attack being more well known for farming in Duel Links than it is in real life, and Helios Trice Megistus as the final Helios boss. Noteworthy Rares have Jinzo – Returner to revive Jinzo potentially and be a direct attacker, Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner for revival in Lightsworns, Substitoad for the broken Frog FTK later on, Batteryman Industrial Strength for a better boss in the Deck, Light Barrier to make sure you get the Arcana Force effect you want, Deck Lockdown for a strong floodgate against Deck-using effects, Hero Blast to get back vanilla Heros and pop cards, and Owner’s Seal to take back your monsters from the opponent. Finally you got noteworthy Commons like Volcanic Queen as a Kaiju before Kaijus, Arcana Force 0 – The Fool as another monster that can’t be destroyed in battle, Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior for more draw power in the Deck, Unifrog as a Frog name, Batteryman Charger as a Tribute Summon to summon a Batteryman from the Deck, Batteryman Micro-Cell for a FLIP Monster that can also get Batteryman monsters from the Deck and can let you draw when Micro-Cell is destroyed, The Lady in Wright for another Skull Servant name, Cloudian – Storm Dragon to get more Fog Counters and be a Special Summon for Cloudians, Demise of the Land to activate Field Spells from the Deck after the opponent Special Summons, Cup of Ace as a 50/50 chance to be Pot of Greed for you and an equal chance to be the same for the opponent, Wetlands to make your Level 2 or lower WATER Aquas become bigger beatsticks, Quick Charger to give the archetype hand recovery, Short Circuit for a potential field nuke in Batterymen, Golden Bamboo Sword for draw power with Bamboo Swords, Limit Reverse to revive 1000 ATK or lower monsters and trigger Yubel, Portable Battery Pack for a double Call of the Haunted in Batterymen, and Summon Limit to limit summons. Another powerful set overall, might not of been as good as Phantom Darkness at the time, but it’s stood the test of time better with Lightsworns mostly, even if they’re still missing more of their great cards. Collectors value is there, but those cards are playable as well. Pretty good final set.
Set Rating: 10/10
GX was a very consistent era with the worst being okay and the best being pretty good, and then the end with a massive bang. There were a lot of great cards in this era, and it is overall a very collectable era with Ultimate Rares being some of the best with the Elemental Heros and other archetypes. It’s an era I’m fond of since it was the era I began playing during, which probably made this the most fun I was going to have making these set reviews. Next up is 5D’s, which is another one I’m fond of being a Synchro Lover, so that’s something to look forwards to, even with a lack of sets creating Tier 0 metas like Phantom Darkness and Light of Destruction, but it’s really consistent as well. Until next time!
- Phantom Darkness and Light of Destruction (10/10)
- Strike of Neos (8.5/10)
- Cybernetic Revolution (8/10)
- Shadow of Infinity, Enemy of Justice, and Force of the Breaker (7.5/10)
- Elemental Energy and Gladiator’s Assault (7/10)
- Cyberdark Impact (6.5/10)
- The Lost Millennium and Power of the Duelist (6/10)
- Tactical Evolution (5.5/10)
Thanks for Reading,