Toby Johnston of Nottingham in the UK writes,
Welcome back to the third, more in-depth part of my how-to guide to Yu-Gi-Oh, (part one and two here) in which I will explain Synchro Summoning mechanics and basic rulings, for if (hopefully when) you begin to actually experience the game for itself. Oh yeah, and if you haven’t read the previous ones, I’d really recommend you do, because otherwise, none of this will make any sense whatsoever unless you have prior knowledge of Yugioh.
For this segment, we begin in 2008, a year which gave us The Dark Knight, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and the Secret Invasion storyline from MARVEL. In Yugioh, however, from January to August 2008, the meta game was dominated by a bunch of angry zoo animals, aka Gladiator Beasts, who just happened to use a mechanic discussed last time, Contact Fusion. But, in August 2008, the entire game was shaken up with the release of Synchro Monsters (also known as ‘What are these weird white cards?’ by everyone at the time).
With Synchro Monsters, there also came a new sub-type of monsters from the Main Deck, Tuners. And no, not all of them were fish (but some of them were! See what I did there, with, uh, Tuna?… No? OK, scratch that), but they all play an integral part in Synchro Summoning. (fish type tuner)
To Synchro Summon, you need at least 1 Tuner, and 1 non-tuner monster (certain monsters might specify more Tuners or Non-Tuners). Then, you send them to the Graveyard, and Summon the Synchro monster from your Extra Deck. But there’s a catch! The sent monsters’ combined Levels must add up to the Level of the Synchro Monster. For example, if I wanted to Synchro Summon “White Aura Dolphin”, a Level 6 Synchro (who is actually a Fish), I would need to send ‘1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner monsters’ from my field whose levels total 6.
Like Fusion Monsters, some Synchros might have specifically named Materials (materials means monsters used for a Summon), or Materials with certain properties e.g. WATER or FIRE (and it’s only now that I’m remembering that I forgot Types and Attributes in the first article — onto them then!)
As a short detour (sorry!), all monsters have 1 of 6 Attributes, WATER, FIRE, WIND, EARTH, DARK or LIGHT, and 1 of 25 Types, Aqua, Beast, Beast-Warrior, Cyberse, Creator God, Dinosaur, Divine-Beast, Dragon, Fairy, Fiend, Fish, Insect, Machine, Plant, Psychic, Pyro, Reptile, Rock, Sea Serpent, Spellcaster, Thunder, Warrior, Winged Beast, Wyrm, and Zombie.
Attributes aren’t usually used that much, but can matter in terms of certain cards, like Gozen Match or Allure Of Darkness. Also, some Attributes, such as LIGHT and DARK, are typically seen as better than others, such as FIRE and WIND, because of LIGHT and DARK’s abundance of generic support.
However, Types are a somewhat different matter, as, although some types (Warrior, Dragon, Spellcaster, Zombie) have more support than others (Thunder, Divine-Beast, Creator God (those last 2 have 6 monsters combined, and 3 of them are different forms of Ra), Reptile), but even the undersupported Types can have a chance if they receive an archetype like the upcoming Thunder Dragons, which have the potential to burst into the metagame.
Back to Synchros, from 2008 to 2011, they dominated Yugioh, with every top deck focusing on ‘how many of those white cards can I spit out in a turn’, and having some of the weirdest deck names in the game’s history, like ’TeleDAD’, ‘Quickdraw Dandywarrior’ and ‘Cat Synchro’. These decks tried to swarm the field as much as possible, so that they could Synchro Summon at least 2 monsters per turn, usually more, and decimate their opponent’s Life Points.
They were so powerful and versatile, that, even during the following era, the Xyz era, the new Xyz monsters were not played in abundance until a banlist heavily hit the most prominent Synchro Decks of the time. This was because, by the end of the Synchro era, Synchro monsters had sped up the game to such a level, which, when combined with the power level of the 2010-11 Synchro monsters, such as Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, which was the creator of multiple First Turn Kills, a way of winning the game before the opponent even gets a turn, or Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, a monster that is still Limited to 1 today, which can banish cards from your opponent’s hand, field and Graveyard on Summon.
Because of these powerful effects, which carried on to Synchro Monsters made later, such as Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon, a monster which can negate monster effects, and Psy-Framelord Omega, a card that banishes a card from your opponent’s hand once per turn by banishing itself. Due to the power and versatility of Synchro monsters, as well as their wide accessibility, Synchros have remained, in some form or another, somewhat meta-relevant since their induction.
That’s it for the second of the Extra Deck Mechanics I’ll be covering in this series, and a little bit of basics which I forgot in the first one. So now, I’ll pass the turn to you, while I start the next part of the series, the aforementioned Xyz monsters, and the first of these parts which have the capability to go in (almost) any deck.
Toby Johnston is a student in Nottingham who can only dream of being bitten by a radioactive spider. His exposure to comics, games and geek culture as a whole originated when he met his uncle during his first weeks on the planet. Now, most of his time is spent between trading card games, building some sort of competitive Pokemon team, and devouring as many comics as Uncle Rich can throw at him. He’s also finally catching up with Marvel, DC TV, Doctor Who and “classic” sci-fi films, which could take him a while.