The ideology of a Hero is something that transcends the Yu-Gi-Oh Trading Card Game. They are a media staple, whether in movies, television, books, and many other sources of entertainment. It’s an easy archetype to fall back on. Yu-Gi-Oh is not unfamiliar to Heroes, with each of the seven animes being based on a singular main protagonist who has to save the world. Heroes are so popular that they have transcended the anime characters and have become their own full fledged archetype.
The HERO archetype is used by a few characters in the anime and manga. The biggest examples are Jaden Yuki and his Elemental HERO cards as well as Aster Phoenix and his Destiny HEROes. We’ve also seen other HERO variants like Vision HEROes, Evil HEROes, and Masked HEROes. An archetype as big as HERO seems likely to see competitive success. That’s why I’m here to go through the history of this archetype in the competitive meta and its evolution throughout the years.
Table of Contents
We’ve been through the basic HERO variants in history so far. There was the era of Airblade/Diamond Dude Turbo, which later evolved into Tele–DAD. We got to the Little City and Big City variants within the same era. Last part was the Fusion variants of HEROs. Now we see some interesting versions of the HERO Deck. The early history of the archetype does suggest some playability with other cards. This was later explored in future years with some different strategies to mix the HERO cards with. There’s four noteworthy Decks I found with some success, and each are unique in their own ways.
Zombie HERO (March 2010)
The first HERO variant was Zombie HERO. This is your standard Zombie Synchro stuff from around this time as well, you also had a HERO package mixed in. The main card here is Malicious, which was a good Synchro material for anything, even when it was semi-limited. The Deck also had Fear Monger to revive Malicious. Stratos could search Malicious to use Destiny Draw. You could also expand on the Destiny HERO package with Dasher and Diamond Dude. The engine was small due to banlist hits, but it was still useful.
The Zombies did what you expected as well. Plaguespreader Zombie had its easy revive effect, which was still good, despite being limited itself. Mezuki also helped revive Plaguespreader or other Zombies. Both were at least searchable off of Goblin Zombie, alongisde Zombie Master for more revival. You had Allure of Darkness for a little more consistency. Overall, it is a nice deck you don’t really get to see at full power due to many F/L List hits.
Diva HERO (March 2010)
You might have seen Deep Sea Diva a few times in previous decklists shown in Zombie HERO. That’s mainly cause there was some use with Deep Sea Diva and the HERO archetype. Any chance you could get to use Absolute Zero back then was pretty good. Deep Sea Diva was a good Miracle Fusion target for this purpose. Your lone Elemental HERO might be Stratos, but you still had RotA to search it if you wanted. Future Fusion could just send it to the grave instantly. You had the Synchro synergy of Deep Sea Diva and a Destiny HERO package while Stratos also let you Miracle Fusion or Future Fusion for Absolute Zero.
Tzolkin HERO (September 2016)
We skip a few years in the timeline to see the Tzolkin version of the Deck. The goal of this variant was to use the archetype to help summon Ultimaya Tzolkin. This way you can set your Spells and Traps like Mask Change searched off Shadow Mist. You could summon various options then like Crystal Wing, Void Ogre, Michael, Stardust Spark, etc. Tzolkin was easy to get to as well with Coral Dragon plus Malicious. The synergy is there with Red Resonator being Normal Summoned to then summon Shadow Mist and get your Mask Change. This way you get closer to your Tzolkin setup and have a potential Dark Law setup with Mask Change. The Deck died off after Master Rule 4, but the 2020 update does make this viable again.
Toadally Awesome HEROs (Late 2016 to Early 2017)
Finally, we get to the Toadally Awesome variant. While I couldn’t find the Tzolkin variant seeing OCG success, likely due to Shadow Mist being limited, the Toad variant worked in both formats. This could be since Shadow Mist is less important in this variant. All you want to do is turbo out Bahamut Shark and summon Toadally Awesome. You had Bubbleman as a searchable target. The other WATER for Bahamut Shark was either Tin Goldfish or Elder Entity Norden. You played the Deck regularly while also spamming Bahamut Shark and trying to get a few copies of Toadally Awesome on field. Its negation was so powerful and it could recover your cards like Norden or Bubbleman if needed.
These were interesting parts of the archetype’s history. They might have been blips on the radar, but they are all cool variants. I’m sure all of them are still playable in 2021 as well, but could be better off pure. The Tzolkin version has a lot to offer in Master Rule 2020. The Toad variant probably isn’t as good without Norden, but OCG found success with it. The Deep Sea and Zombie versions could have just been products of their time, though.
Now that we’ve gone through the timeline of the Deck’s history. We saw the Skyscraper Field Spells both see some play. Fusions eventually became viable in the archetype. There were also these crazy variants I mentioned, and potentially more I could have missed. It’s now time to catch up to modern day. The final part will go over the most recent support and how the Deck has evolved and what it’s become in the modern day.
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