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Pojo's Yu-Gi-Oh! Card of the Day
Daily Since 2002!

Elemental Hero Stratos

When this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can activate 1 of these effects. ● You can destroy Spell/Trap Cards on the field, up to the number of "HERO" monsters you control, except this card. ● Add 1 "HERO" monster from your Deck to your hand.  

Card Number - Jump-en012

Card Ratings
Traditional: 4.17
Advanced: Banned 

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale
1 being the worst. 3 is average. 5 is the highest rating.

Date Reviewed - August 30, 2013

Back to the main COTD Page



Closing Ban Week is Elemental Hero Stratos.  Stratos, like everything else we looked at this week, has been Banned.  Heroes actually see a lot more play than most people realize.  A lot of Hero support was taken of the list, and I can only assume that Stratos being Banned was to (over)compensate.  He's arguably one of, if not the best card, in a Hero Deck.  Stratos isn't as easy to replace in it's Deck as most of the other cards we looked at this week.  Solemn Judgment being the other so difficult to fill.  People will still play Hero, but it won't be as easy.

Traditional:  4.5/5 
Advanced:  Banned 
Art:  5/5

John Rocha

Elemental HERO Stratos was such a great and fun monster. The ability to search for any HERO monster or blow up your opponent’s back row cards was amazing. Notice that I said “was”. It is sad to see the Airman go. Even though you could only play one Stratos, you could search for it with E - Emergency Call, Reinforcement of the Army, A HERO Lives, and even Summoner Monk.
The reason that Konami may have banned Elemental HERO Stratos may be because of the cards that are no longer restricted. With Destiny Hero Malicious, Destiny Draw, and E – Emergency Call at three, searching for Stratos to get Malicious to use with Destiny Draw is just too much draw power for some people’s tastes. With Scapegoat at three, searching for Destiny Hero – Plasma with Stratos is just too sweet. And finally, we have A Hero Lives at three now so getting Stratos on the field to get one of its effects just makes all of the above that much easier. So the trade off is to ban Stratos and get four cards unrestricted. Sounds good to me.
Traditional: 4/5
Advanced: 4/5


YouTube Site

We close out this week with what I feel was the most controversial banning: Elemental HERO Stratos.


Level 4


Warrior / Effect

1800 ATK / 300 DEF

When this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can activate 1 of these effects.

● You can destroy Spell/Trap Cards on the field, up to the number of "HERO" monsters you control, except this card.

● Add 1 "HERO" monster from your Deck to your hand.


His two effects are both very simple yet very effective. You can either do a mass MST (that doesn’t target) or search for another HERO, making Stratos effectively an 1800 ATK Gadget.


This one is controversial because a lot of people (particularly HERO fans) feel that his banning was not justified. Allow me to lay out exactly why it WAS justified, because this guy’s history of abuse is EXTENSIVE.


The first time Stratos got abused was in the Airblade Turbo Deck, which was legal for so short of a time that many people don’t even know what it is. Pretty much, it’s Diamond Dude Turbo with 3 Stratos. This Deck was so horrendously powerful that it took all but one top spot in the only SJC it was ever legal for. Less than a month later, Stratos got Limited. Airblade Turbo is known today for being among the most powerful Decks we’ve ever seen; I would even go as for to say that the only Decks that ever beat it for the title of best Deck are Dragon Rulers and MAYBE Prophecy, both of which came out less than a year ago.


But it certainly didn’t end there for our dear Stratos. Even at 1, he was able to singlehandedly make the entire Destiny HERO Engine consistent. Because of him, Reinforcement of the Army AND E – Emergency Call could effectively add any Destiny HERO to your hand for Destiny Draw (remember that back then, Effect Veiler didn’t exist to stop Stratos). With all of this searching power, it wasn’t uncommon at all to only see 5 Destiny HEROes in a Deck with 3 Destiny Draw.


The Destiny HERO Engine remained relevant for several years. It was present in Airblade Turbo, became the core of Perfect Circle, Dark Armed Return, AND TeleDAD, and saw play in some versions of Zombie during the height of their popularity between September 2009-March 2010. The engine was also crucial to Absolute Zero Decks, which never got the chance to take off. 3 years of tournament relevance is rare for any Deck, let alone an engine.


While the Destiny HERO engine hasn’t been nearly as popular since then, Stratos still remained a powerhouse. The introduction of LIGHT HERO / Gemini Beat made him a strong force that grabbed another strong monster (Neos Alius). With the introduction of Xyz Monsters, Stratos could search out Bubbleman in a Deck with as few monsters as possible, allowing Bubbleman to come out for free, effectively making Stratos a 1-card Blade Armor Ninja. Combined with a RotA or Emergency Call, he could even make Shock Master easily.


But wait! There’s more! Stratos also helped fuel the Gate HERO Dragon Ruler Deck and the Harpie Dancer FTK, the former being just as broken as the regular Dragon Ruler Deck (just not as consistent) and the latter being enough of a nuisance in the OCG to get hit despite not making any major dent in tournaments.


You can argue that Stratos is the only reason HERO Decks are playable, but if a Deck needs a broken card to survive, that Deck really shouldn’t exist.


Stratos has been abused for six straight years. Now please explain to me why he shouldn’t have been banned?


Traditional: 4/5 (I dunno how strong the D HERO engine is here, but it can’t be too bad)

Advanced: BANNED (5/5 when legal, for reasons I explained in GREAT DETAIL above)


Art: 5/5 (Hands down the coolest looking Elemental HERO. He has FANS ON HIS WINGS, your argument is invalid)


Trivia: Elemental HERO Stratos is the first Forbidden Elemental HERO and the second Forbidden HERO (after Destiny HERO – Disk Commander).


Hmm… so it is Elemental HERO Stratos, another older card hit by the new Ban List?  Which means I have a clue as to how it is used?  Eh, you’ll be back to cards I didn’t even know exist and am clueless about sooner or later.  Might as well see if I can entertain with a review! 

Card Breakdown 

Elemental HERO Stratos reminds us what’s in a card name; not only its primary identifier (unless modified by card text) but in this case it denotes it membership in the HERO family of cards, specifically the Elemental HERO subdivision.  Elemental HERO Stratos is a Level 4 Wind/Warrior Effect Monster, giving it a fantastic body of support cards it can tap.  As an effect Monster, with the right effect it can be as potent as a Spell card but still have a “body” with which to attack other Monsters (and your opponent’s Life Points) while defending your own LP. 

1800 ATK isn’t game breaking for a Level 4 Monster, but it is solid; 22.5% of the beginning LP total and capable of taking out most cards that are below or just barely into “beatstick” status.  Higher Level Monsters as well as equal Level Special Summons are likely to beat it out, but those all require significantly greater investments than just a Normal Summon.  The effect is what really got this card played, however; essentially a better version of E – Emergency Call or a more restrictive Reinforcement of the Army as when Elemental HERO Stratos was either Normal or Special Summoned, you could add the HERO Monster of your choice from your deck to your hand. 

That isn’t all, if you didn’t want that effect, you could also choose what amounted to a built in R – Righteous Justice instead, though as it didn’t count itself you needed another HERO card in play to trigger it.  Again, unlike the actual Spell it is similar too; the effect of Elemental HERO Stratos isn’t restricted to just Elemental HERO cards, but works for any HERO cards.  All in all, this meant that Elemental HERO Stratos had a solid body with one great effect that turned it into a +1” and one good effect that might not be worth using at all or that could inflict up to a -4 to your opponent.a


Elemental HERO Stratos was originally so potent because he combos with himself; your first copy can get your second copy, and your second your third, and if they all survive your third can then nuke up to two S/Ts in play or go for a different HERO Monster.  Elemental HERO Stratos wasn’t the first Elemental HERO Monster to actually be “good”, but it was the first to be “great” and all the benefits it gave meant it was easy to just run three of it or add in something like Elemental HERO Wildheart as a target for that third search. 

Its solid Stats and great Effects made it a great card for Warrior decks, Elemental HERO decks, and other HERO decks.  Even Wind decks could make solid use of it.  Unsurprisingly, this meant it was a common sight maxed out in decks when it was new; I am still kicking myself because when this came out I was short on cash and not really playing anymore, and forgot to hit up my friend to see if he was interested in the 2-3 copies I owned from my Shonen Jump subscription plus that I received from friends who didn’t play but remembered I (sort of) did. 

Even after being Limited and Semi-Limited, this still was worth running in HERO decks or those that had enough such cards to warrant it.  Being relatively easy to search out itself (Reinforcement of the Army, E – Emergency Call) and retrieve from the discard (the usual suspects plus The Warrior Returning Alive) as well as to Special Summon (…I shouldn’t need to list these), this card just had all sorts of chances to generate card advantage.  While we are restricted to one Reinforcement of the Army, the only HERO cards left are Destiny HERO - Disk Commander and Elemental HERO Stratos himself; based on what others have told me, there are also some combos I was clueless about (mostly because I am so behind on the card pool) that after having it explained to me, I can see why it was hit with the hammer. 


Traditional: While not for everything, of a deck is shooting for a OTK that utilizes HERO Monsters it is a great pick. 3/5 

Advanced: Well, at least I can’t get this one wrong. Banned/5 


Another favored card of the past is banned… and while I will miss using and abusing the power of Elemental HERO Stratos, if losing him makes it safe to bring back some other fun cards and/or promotes better game balance, I am okay in bidding him a fond farewell.

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