HEROes have been getting a lot help lately. A combination of hot new releases and surprising unlimits of old staples have put the deck in a better place than it’s been in for a few years. In particular, the recent Sao Paulo, Honolulu, and Sacramento regionals have all seen HERO tops, taking first place in Honolulu. One pilot even took the deck to YCS London and bubbled. So how does the deck function? What cards make it effective? The wonderful thing is that HERO decks are not a specific strain of HEROes. Instead, all the factions – Elemental, Destiny, Masked, Vision, Xtra, and even Evil – contribute members of their respective troops to form one unified alliance that wins duels in a flash.
HEROes are primarily an OTK deck. They like to blind second, break their opponent’s board, and beat them down with ridiculous levels of ATK. While they do have some going-first options and can manage some resource recursion over a few turns, they’d prefer to end the duel in one explosive turn.
Elemental HERO Stratos, Elemental HERO Shadow Mist, and Elemental HERO Solid Soldier are integral combo pieces that help put your board together. Shadow Mist searches either a monster or Mask Change; Solid Soldier extends plays; and Stratos can either search a HERO monster or destroy backrow. Elemental HERO Honest Neos contributes to the gameplan by boosting the ATK of a HERO monster, enabling an OTK.
Destiny HERO – Malicious is a fantastic extender that provides materials for both Link, Fusion, and even Tribute summons. Destiny HERO – Dynatag can protect you from attacks while burning your opponent. Like Honest Neos, Dynatag also provides an ATK boost to HEROes on the field. Destiny HERO – Celestial can help gain resources after your first turn. In the Extra Deck, Destiny HERO – Dangerous unbricks hands and sends key DARK monsters to the graveyard, making it a subtle combo-maker.
The Destiny HEROes boast two great bosses, one in the main deck and one in the Extra Deck, that function well going first or second. Destiny HERO – Plasma negates monster effects on the field and steals monsters while boosting his ATK. Destiny HERO – Dystopia can burn your opponent, shaving off life points that may determine the duel, and can pop a card on either player’s turn, provided its ATK has been altered.
The Destiny HERO Fusion Monsters have a great helper in Fusion Destiny, which fuses monsters from the deck. This makes putting your Destiny HEROes on the field a whole lot easier and can make for some crazy combos.
Vision HERO Faris is one of the best additions to the HERO deck. It lets the player put bodies on the field while unbricking their hand and putting key cards in the graveyard. In tandem with this, Vision HERO Increase facilitates the summon of another Vision HERO, almost always Vision HERO Vyon, which mills a HERO from the deck and searches for Polymerization. These three cards go a long way in enabling plays.
In the Extra Deck, Vision HERO Adoration finds use as a generic Polymerization target that enables OTKs with its ATK reduction effect. But its beefier brother Vision HERO Trinity can deal even more damage by doubling its ATK and attacking monsters three times. These two Fusion monsters are essential beaters.
Masked HERO Dark Law is a familiar face to the meta. The ability to banish cards sent to the graveyard is huge in matchups like Orcust and Sky Striker, and the hand-ripping effect is the icing on the cake. But Masked HEROes have offensive options as well. Masked HERO Anki can attack directly with halved ATK, or search Mask Change if it destroys a monster by battle. Masked HERO Dian provides a benefit when it beats over a monster. Dian summons a level 4 or lower HERO from the deck, adding to your attack power and potentially activating the summoned monster’s effects.
One really interesting addition, made more viable by the unlimit of Stratos, is Masked HERO Blast. Its ability to bounce a Spell or Trap during either turn gives it utility going first or second. And of course, its on-summon ATK-halving effect is great during an OTK turn.
Xtra HERO Cross Crusader is one of the most important combo facilitators in the deck. Upon its summon, it can revive any Destiny HERO in the graveyard, from the lowliest Malicious to the mightiest Dystopia. It can also tribute a Destiny HERO to search for any HERO in the deck – a pretty strong toolboxer! Meanwhile, Xtra HERO Dread Decimator bulks up your monsters to protect them going first or kill the opponent going second.
Who knew the Evil HEROes would see competitive significance in this day and age? With Evil HERO Aduster Gold, it is possible to search Dark Calling, whose cost then becomes ridiculously simple to pay. You’ll use it to summon the fearsome Evil HERO Malicious Bane, who destroys other monsters and gains powerups while being protected from destruction itself.
The Supreme King’s signature spell is right at home with this board-breaking, Fusion-heavy variant of HEROes. Not only can you wipe away your opponent’s monsters and gain a generic Fusion for yourself, but you can also use Super Polymerization to bring out your own monsters in ways your opponent won’t expect, as the Honolulu winner related.
That was a lot of cards and a lot of effects. Here’s a recap of what the HERO deck aims to do using the cards above:
- The deck blinds second, break boards, and kills with lots of ATK.
- Stratos, Shadow Mist, and Solid Soldier grab key cards and start plays.
- You’ll want to grab Vision HERO Faris so you can summon your other Vision HEROes, including Vyon.
- With cards like Malicious and Cross Crusader, you can put Destiny HEROes on the board and search for other cards you need.
- You’ll want to use the extenders you’ve gained to access the many bosses at your disposal. The best options include Plasma, Trinity, and Malicious Bane, with Honest Neos in hand – but there are plenty of other options that can fit different situations.
This was a broad overview of the most common cards that are most integral to the HERO strategy. There are many different tech options, like Xtra HERO Wonder Driver or Masked HERO Divine Wind, in addition to the generic helpers like hand traps.
HEROes have a lot of great cards that work great together and make the deck quite strong. It’s no wonder they’re starting to see a competitive resurgence. But the crazy thing is, it looks like their power is only going to grow. More great HEROes are releasing in the OCG, with more still to come. This is an exciting time for HERO players. Perhaps we need them to shake up what could be a stale meta and carve a niche in the top level of competition.