Phantom Rage is a set dedicated to the XYZ theme, so naturally several cards are designed in that respect. Negalogia AA-Zeus completely caught me by surprise one day by wiping my board (and my arrogant smile) before hitting me for game. I hope no one had experience such a humiliation like I did, so I started preaching about the strengths of this card, which really proved to be the most influential card of the set. Do not underestimate XYZ monsters!
I want to talk about the ridiculous strength of this card, reminiscent of the once banned Evilswarm Exciton Knight.
What it does
A brief breakdown of its effects.
- Once per turn, if an Xyz Monster battled this turn, you can also Xyz Summon "Divine Arsenal AA-Zeus - Sky Thunder" by using an Xyz Monster you control as material. (Transfer its materials to this card.)
Simply put, this card can only be summoned on your MP2, but it's ridiculously easy to summon!
- (Quick Effect): You can detach 2 materials from this card; send all other cards on the field to the GY.
This is the key effect. You can easily have 2 materials even from overlaying through the first effect, so you merely need to detach to wipe the opponent at any point in the game. It does not destroy, and it is not limited to once per turn!
This means that if your opponent chains Effect Veiler (or similar) to the activation of Zeus, you can simply detach 2 more materials to ensure your wipe goes through.
- Once per turn, if another card(s) you control is destroyed by battle or an opponent's card effect: You can attach 1 card from your hand, Deck, or Extra Deck to this card as material.
Honestly I have never bothered to resolve this effect, but I suppose it serves as a pseudo Foolish Burial. You should remember this effect though!
In summary, this card exists as a generic boardwiper for any deck that can XYZ summon, which instantly propelled several memorable decks back to usefulness. If your deck can XYZ summon anything, you should probably leave an extra slot for Zeus.
What changed with Zeus?
Zeus has noticeably improved the quality of XYZ reliant decks. I will recommend a few notable archetypes for your Zeus to settle in.
Zoodiac has finally returned to the OCG 10/2020 Meta, but with a different approach. Packing several disruptions, the deck will deny the opponent until a Zoodiac monster is drawn, then it stacks as many materials as possible until the Battle Phase. Ideally, Zoodiac Boarbow does a direct attack to avoid self damage, then Zeus will be summoned with around 6 materials! Zeus will serve as a constant threat, being able to wipe the board 2 - 3 times anytime during the opponent's turn. And you can expect the Zoodiac player to summon such a Zeus every turn just for this purpose! Zoodiac decks will main at least 2 Zeus just for this gameplan.
Burning Abyss has never truly died out, and now Zeus is there to cover one of its biggest flaws; a simple board wipe. You can choose to stack this on a 2 material Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss, or opt for a 3 material Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal. As Burning Abyss monsters will resolve after the nuke, you can re-summon Dante for a stronger board presence for your opponent to deal with!
This archetype has gone into hiding for a very long time now, but I thought it was worth mentioning as they manipulate XYZ materials to a degree. With Ghostrick Angel, you can easily opt for 4 - 6 materials on a Zeus! The XYZ monsters will recycle Ghostrick cards. And the rest of the Ghostrick will annoy the opponent to submission.
I am extremely conflicted about the presence of a gigantic mecha robot within a magical fluffy forest, but it's actually no different from people playing Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon in any deck right? Melffies will escape the playing field before you activate Zeus, and they can easily come bouncing back at the end! No animals were harmed in the making of this deck.
The Base of Zeus
Of course, you can stack this on a failed Number 75: Bamboozling Gossip Shadow, or cards like Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Tiger King, which you have no idea what to do with the XYZ materials. But if you feel dedicated to summoning Zeus, here are some XYZ monsters that might pair well with its summon.
- Number 47: Nightmare Shark/Number 82: Heartlandraco
These numbers can easily avoid an unpleasant battle confrontation by sneaking in a direct attack! Then you can wipe those threats off right after, turning the game in your favor.
- Number 39: Utopia Roots/Number 100: Numeron Dragon
These numbers actually make use of Zeus's insane Rank 12! Both will gain immense power referencing Zeus's presence. Just remember, these monsters are for attacking, not for overlaying!
Now that we are aware of how insane Zeus actually is, how should we go about avoiding this card?
The simplest way is just to avoid letting the opponent declare a successful attack with his XYZ monster. As Zeus can completely overturn the board state, you should never underestimate letting a XYZ monster live on the opponent's board. But you can simply prevent this by leaving a strong monster on your side in Attack position (so that the opponent cannot attack unscathed), or pick off their monsters during their turn with your effects (eg XYZ Encore). Some XYZ monsters bypass this by being able to declare direct attacks (eg Zoodiac Boarbow), or are just naturally strong enough to avoid destruction (Number 1: Numeron Gate Ekam).
Zeus is also extremely annoying to deal with after it has been established, but you can also take advantage of it, with cards like Mind Control or Triple Tactical Talents. In case you are unaware, you can summon an additional Zeus on top of another Zeus!
And lastly, the easiest way to counter Zeus is just going second. AA-Zeus's summoning requirements needs the opponent to declare an attack, so just deny them the Battle Phase! Your deck needs to be able to deal with everything else though.
My Thoughts and Conclusion
Negalogia AA-Zeus is truly the pinnacle of XYZ monsters. And it adds an additional layer of disruption and shove for XYZ monsters. With such an addition to the current cardpool, it is best for players to be weary of stranded XYZ monsters now, in case they transform into a shining machine for the reverse sweep!