King of Games: The Archetypes of Yu-Gi-Oh! — Magical Musket
I like Yu-gi-oh.
Well, I should say I liked Yu-gi-oh as a kid. I followed the anime from Duelist Kingdom all the way into the GX era. Even back then I could tell this was going to be a series with some staying power; The duel monster cards were colorful, the game rules (at the time) were weird and felt like they made up stuff as they went along, and when the anime transitioned into following the rules of the actual game more closely it made the show more exciting because it was like watching people playing an actual card game in an over-the-top anime fashion.
Sadly, much like with Magic: the Gathering, my interest in the game and series waned because I didn’t have anyone else to play with. I played some of the video games put out there (some better than others), but to my knowledge there is no dedicated PvP-style online game for Yu-gi-oh that matches Hearthstone or MTG Arena. Considering that Yu-gi-oh does not have any set rotation, I’m not sure how they could even begin to make a game like that with all those cards.
But hey, I’m already doing a series where I talk about the cards of Magic: the Gathering. How about a series where we talk about the cards of Yu-gi-oh? I can’t wait to give my opinion on all those classic cards: The Dark Magician, the Blue Eyes White Dragon, the….
…Killer hair dryer. What?
Why is she a princess???
Are we still even in the same game anymore?
WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON RIGHT NOW?
Yeah, I like Yu-gi-oh, but it can get weird sometimes. Like really, really, REALLY weird.
Yu-gi-oh kind of has the opposite trajectory of Magic: the Gathering. Back in the day when Magic was still new and the story wasn’t a big deal, there were a lot of…weird things in Magic (Which you probably already know if you’ve followed my Magical Thinking series). But as time went on, Magic became more focused on telling a story through the cards, on world building, on making things make sense.
Yu-gi-oh doesn’t have that problem. The fiction of the card game is that it’s a card game that is the most important thing in the world and sometimes the cards come to life. As time went on, realizing there weren’t really any restrictions keeping them from making whatever the hell they wanted, Yu-gi-oh started including some weird stuff.
So let’s look at some of them, won’t we? I’m not going through every single set like I am with Magical Thinking. Instead in each entry I will look at a different Yu-gi-oh Archetype. That is, a different family of cards meant to be used together because they have the same name, thematic elements, and work with each other. Yu-gi-oh cuts out the middleman of creating your own archetypes by just spelling out what creatures go in a deck together.
But which Archetype will we go with first? Something classic? Something new? Something Weird? Well, if you follow me on Tumblr, then you can probably guess where I’m starting. And yes, that little tangent did inspire this entire mess.
The Magical Musket archetype was introduced in the 2017 set Spirit Warriors. It was based on a German Opera called “Der Freischutz” about a Marksman who asks the devil to make him seven bullets with superhuman accuracy. Six of the bullets are subservient to the wielder, but the seventh is in the control of the devil. So the premise is basically the Lord of the Rings, only with guns. One bullet to rule them all, if you will. Say what you will, the Yu-gi-oh game designers are very well read. I mean, who designs a CCG card set based on a German play from the 1800s? So, lets see what they do with it.
Well I guess what they do first is sub the work out to Rob Liefeld. I mean, look at that guy. Rambo would tell him to tone it down. Also worth noting that most of the Magical Musketeers are based not only on characters from the play, but also famous cowboys and gunslingers, with the NRA poster boy up there being Wild Bill Hickok. Granted I am not too familiar with my westerns, so I must have missed the part where Wild Bill was strapped with rockets and machine guns.
And here we have Starfire, who is not an orange skinned alien from Tamaran, but a harem girl wielding a tiny little Derringer. Yeah no, the big guy gets overloaded with guns and the girl gets a tiny little pea shooter? How about a little gender equality if we could?
This is Musketeer Calamity, based on Calamity Jane. Now if you recall my overview of Portal Second Age, you know that I am a huge fan of huge, absurd looking, steam punk style guns, and this lady does not disappoint with her giant demonic-looking rocket launcher. Also, she’s got some weird amazon dancing girl costume going on? I don’t know.
Caspar isn’t based on a famous old west icon. He’s wholly from the play side of this. He also looks like a Final Fantasy character.
I guess times have been tough on the Medic from TF2 since Overwatch came out, he had to take this part time job to make ends meet. This guy is based on Doc Holiday, so they made him a scientist, I guess, and gave him a sniper rifle.
And here we have Kidbrave, based on Billy the Kid. And I have to say, points on being the only one of the Musketeers who ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE A COWBOY.
Oh hey, another one whose an actual cowboy…except Max here is again just based solely on a character from the play and not a wild west gunslinger. It also occurs to me I haven’t been paying attention to the mechanics of these cards and…. sorry. I don’t really know how Link monsters work. The last time I paid attention to the anime (where you go to actually learn this stuff) was when they were doing XYZ monsters, so this is a bit over my head.
Well, we covered the creatures, lets move on to the related spell and trap cards. I won’t be covering all of them, but I will look at a few.
I actually like the flavor here: Taking your time in order to ensure you get a clear shot on your opponent. It’s kind of like the aiming spells and such from WoW.
This seems to make up the majority of the Magical Musket trap cards: If you have a magic musketeer out you can do a thing. Either that or they get you a magical Musketeer. Also, they all seem to be named for the Musketeers’ weapons. Likewise, all the Musketeers let you activate these cards straight from hand instead of having to set them like normal, which I imagine makes playing against this archetype really annoying.
So that was the Magical Musket Archetype, the first archetype I will be looking at in this series. If I continue, that is. I did this largely as an experiment to see how people would react. If people like it, then we will continue certainly. Let me know in the comments, or we’ll just let the views speak for themselves. I’m not sure which archetype I will be covering next. I will probably just bounce around as suits my fancy, but I will try and look at the more peculiar archetypes first and foremost.
So until next time, don’t forget to believe in the heart of the cards (Hmm, I’ll need to workshop a new sign off phrase. Lets me think it over).