Age of Overlord is very reminiscent of sets like Power of the Elements and Darkwing Blast in terms of crazy strong archetypes and format-warping cards, as it packs a ton of very viable and potent additions to the metagame coming soon like Diabellestarr the Dark Witch, S:P Little Night, Stellar Nemesis T-PHON - Doomsday Star and much more! For this article, we're looking at the new Horus cards. This long-time fan-favorite series features the ever-iconic Horus the Black Flame Dragon, one of the first LV monsters introduced to the game. Surprisingly, the new support from AGOV focuses more on the Egyptian side of Horus' story. Let's open the casket and see the power that his heirs possess!
Uncover the Sarcophagus!
The four sons of Horus revolve around having Pharaonic Sarcophagus on the field, which is quite a powerhouse on its own. By sending a card from your hand to the GY, you can send any one of them from the Deck to the GY. You can use this effect up to four times per turn! The monsters can Special Summon themselves from the GY without activating if you control the Sarcophagus, allowing for huge swarming potential, and this also makes the Spell quite potent into monster effect heavy negate setups. Sarc provides two additional benefits to your Horus monsters, which can let them muscle past your opponent's monsters. The first benefit is making it so they cannot be destroyed by card effects that do not target them, and the second is that once per turn, you can send an opponent's monster to the GY if a Horus monster battles them.
With an incredible slew of effects, this is one of the most powerful Spell cards we've seen to date and if you have the hand fodder necessary, you can turn the tables of a Duel! Decks that have cards they want to hit the GY (just remember that it's a cost to send) doubly benefit from this, as you won't feel the card disadvantage from pitching them. The number of Pharaonic Sarcophagus to run will depend on your build and how much you want to commit to Horus, and there doesn't seem to be a correct answer just yet. Small splashes can just run the 1, but some lists are running 2-3. If Sarcophagus manages to stick, you can resummon back the Horus monsters in your following turn, giving you built in follow-up!
Canopic Protector features the Black Flame Dragon himself in the artwork and is a strong card in a vacuum, but it currently doesn't have a home in most Horus splashes due to it being unsearchable. Still, it's probably a good idea to keep in mind once future support hits. Now then, let's dive deeper into the Pyramids and examine the Horus monsters themselves!
Meet the Quartet
Imsety, Glory of Horus is the best monster of the quartet, as it can directly search Pharaonic Sarcophagus and get you a draw for the trouble. Sending itself and another card from your hand as cost may seem like a bad thing, but it also doubles as a way to get the other Horus monsters out of your hand should you happen to draw them or get cards you otherwise want in the GY. With an ATK of 3000, Imsety can immediately pressure the opponent if it manages to walk.
The DARK attribute may seem problematic due to Bystials, but as long as he's your first summon while you have the Continuous Spell up, that shouldn't be an issue. Lastly, in the instances where you keep him on the field, being able to send a card your opponent controls can prove difficult for them to overcome, paired with the fact that Sarcophagus sends one of their cards when a Horus monster battles. There's no reason not to max out on Imsety, as you want to open him to get your Horus plays started.
Duamutef, Blessing of Horus, also known as "The Jackal" is the heaviest hitter of the bunch, reaching an absolute mammoth 4800 ATK stat if all four Horus brothers are face-up on the field. This matters the most going second, as you can absolutely beat over almost any threat your opponent has in store for you. He is quite vulnerable to effect negation though, so keep that in mind when committing to this one. Still, it's usually in your favor if they use a card to deal with Duamutef.
His bonus effect is that should they get rid of one of your cards, you get to draw equal to monsters with different names in your Main Monster Zone, which is a dangerous prospect for your opponent. Most Horus splashes will just run 1 copy. Even if you aren't maxing out, getting to 3600 ATK is enough in most general use cases.
Hapy, Vanguard of Horus may have the lowest ATK, but he makes up for it by having the best bonus effect compared to all his brethren. Whenever your opponent deals with one of your cards by a card effect, you can add back 2 cards from the GY or that is banished back to your hand, or shuffle them into the Deck. Hand traps, board breakers, engine, literally anything you could think of as long as it's in there. This makes Hapy the best one to leave on the field when setting up turn 1, or if you fail to OTK your opponent turn 2.
While the other Horus monsters are free to be converted into Extra Deck plays, Hapy is more often than not better to leave on the field unless you absolutely need to go into something. It's difficult to find a level of generic recursion this strong, and this is arguably the scariest effect to deal with when trying to play against decks that splash Horus. Run the 1 Hapy for sure, this baboon will not let you down.
Qebehsenuef, Aegis of Horus is unfortunately the worst out of the bunch as his bonus effect isn't really anything to write home about. Despite that, there are still arguments to run it if you're on a large Horus package. Giving Duamutef the extra attack is huge, and being a free Level 8 beater by itself that can take advantage of Sarcophagus' Damage Step effect isn't anything to scoff at.
His actual effect is that your Horus monsters will be untargetable by card effects and attacks during the turn one of your cards leaves the field by an opponent's effect. Not entirely bad at all of course, just not as immediately impactful as Imsety's removal, Duamutef's card draw, and Hapy's recursion. Feel free to run the 1, but I wouldn't disagree if you choose not to run it.
Ridiculous Rank 8s!
Due to the fact that the Horus monsters are free Level 8 bodies, duelists have access to extremely powerful Rank 8 Xyz monsters in the Extra Deck! Let's go over some of the popular options.
Fire King Deity Garunix Eternity is one of the strongest Rank 8 monsters ever printed, and it has ridiculous synergy with Pharaonic Sarcophagus. When this blazing avatar enters the battlefield, it destroys all other creatures! Thanks to your Continuous Spell, your Horus monsters cannot be destroyed by card effects that do not target them. This further adds to their going second potential, as you have access to an on-demand Dark Hole with two Horus monsters to spare. For example, keeping Hapy and Imsety alongside Garunix is more than enough for lethal. Garunix is a gift that keeps on giving, as he can additionally deal with a Spell / Trap the opponent controls while boosting his already formidable ATK. With a little bit of help, you can utterly incinerate your opponent's field and push for game.
The Zombie Vampire is another combo powerhouse for GY-centric decks, as being able to mill 4 and get a free summon is insane value! Decks like Tearlaments and the like have a lot to gain from this, as the majority of the cards they run love to be sent from the Deck to the GY, and a good mill can easily snowball into more ( thanks to the likes of Tearlaments Kashtira, Agido the Ancient Sentinel and Kelbek the Ancient Vanguard ) and utterly overwhelm the opponent. In tight spots, you can take your opponent's monster and use it for your own purposes, especially if it happens to be something like a Kashtira Fenrir.
Number 38 and Number 90 are pretty formidable Xyz monsters in their own right, now easily accessible thanks to the Horus monsters. Photon Lord is a bit more popular as it can help stifle hand traps such as Nibiru, the Primal Being that would impede your plays and can be made super early. This can feel like an even better form of the Adventurer engine, as PL sticks around to act as negation on the opponent's turn too, unlike Wandering Gryphon Rider.
Despite monster negation being a lot more in demand, Number 38: Hope Harbinger Dragon Titanic Galaxy is not to be underestimated! In recent times, Spell cards have been moving to be a lot more powerful than they let on, either by having effects in the GY ( "The Sinful Spoils Hunter Fiend" ), not caring about their activation being negated (multiple copies of Triple Tactics Talent or Triple Tactics Thrust for example) or sticking around and doing a multitude of things (any of the Visas planets like Primeval Planet Perlereino). This makes Harbinger's negating the Spell's effect AND attaching it as material a luxury, not many boss monsters can boast. Against opposing Horus decks, Harbinger's ability to stop the Sarcophagus and delete it from their side of the field is very desirable.
Coach King Giantrainer needs no introduction, as the card essentially lets you draw 3 cards! The only real issue has been how difficult the card is to make, as 3 Level 8 monsters is a tall order. Due to this, we've only really seen it in the likes of Danger Dark World due to their ability to vomit near limitless bodies. By enlisting the help of the Horus monsters (ideally Imsety, Duamutef, and Qebehsenuef), you're able to easily access this behemoth and get your draws and some incidental burn to go alongside it. After that, you're free to link off Coach King into something like I:P Masquerena. Your opponent knowing what the cards are shouldn't matter too much when you've outvalued them with sheer card advantage.
Dingirsu, the Orcust of the Evening Star may not be as explosive as the shinier new tools in the R8NK toolbox, but he's still an absolute powerhouse thanks to his unparalleled removal effect. Being able to send any card your opponent controls on demand without targeting is incredible, and it's not conditional unlike Imsety or the Sarcophagus. The fact that Dingirsu shields your cards from battle and card destruction makes it difficult to interact with as well. To top it off, thanks to his handy type and due to the fact he doesn't detach to send, you can ladder into Number 84: Pain Gainer and summon a 4-material Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder!
For honorable mentions, Number 68: Sanaphond the Sky Prison may be worth looking into should Horus become very popular in the metagame. You can lead with your Horus monsters and then lock both GYs out of Special Summons, making it so their Sarcophagus and Horus monsters don't hit the field, while yours are free to come out during your next turn. Gigantic "Champion" Sargas is a cute option, and Number 1: Infection Buzz King may have some merit as Diablosis at home.
Canopic Resting Places
As we reach the end of our analysis, we can check out some potential decks to slot in the Horus engine. OCG has started to experiment with various Horus builds after it fell under the radar due to Diabellestar's popularity among the player base, such as Horus Therion. The decks below are just my personal picks on where you can possibly splash them. By their very nature, a good majority of strategies and archetypes in the game can make good use of Horus, however.
Ishizu Tearlaments is the first deck that comes to mind, as all of the Horus monsters are great to mill which means you don't have to burn as many cards to get them to the GY. Not only that, Imsety and Sarcophagus can send the Ishizu monsters and Trivikarma from your hand to the GY, allowing you to make full use of them. The strategy gains a very solid backbone and a fallback option all in one, and can now easily make use of Garunix, Coach King, and of course, The Zombie Vampire to fuel its plays.
Tri-Brigade is an underrated pick that has a lot of good synergy when mixed with Horus! Tri-Brigade Nervall is great to pitch off the Sarcophagus which means you're able to go even and get a better Tri monster like Tri-Brigade Kitt with a loaded GY. Speaking of which, 3 of the 4 Horus monsters just so happen to be Beast, Beast-Warrior, and Winged Beast, respectively. A huge benefit here as they can double as useful Link / banish material. You can get them back with Tri-Brigade Revolt! You can dedicate them to climb into Tri-Brigade Ferrijit the Barren Blossom if needed, and they can assist Tri-Brigade Shuraig the Ominous Omen in dealing with your opponent's monsters. Trib's modest endboard gets a sizeable boost from either ending on Hapy and Duamutef or making a R8NK.
8-Axis OTK is a perfect candidate for making use of the Horus cards. They run a lot of cards to increase their hand size like Fairy Tail - Luna bouncing Kaijus or cards that love to hit the GY such as Gizmek Orochi, the Serpentron Sky Slasher. As a result, this gives them plenty of ammo to pitch with the Pharaonic Sarcophagus. The deck focuses on vomiting out Level 8 monsters and attempting to game the opponent as fast as possible, which the Horus playstyle heavily compliments. Last but not least, being able to make additional R8NK bosses to beef up the deck's modest Turn 1 plan is great, and being able to Coach King deep draw into a floodgate is solid too. The deck is infamous for quickly running out of steam should the initial lethal push get stopped, so Horus monsters coming back every turn is a great failsafe.
That wraps up our in-depth look at the Horus archetype! I'm both excited and terrified to use and face these cards once Age of Overlord is released in the TCG. I'm also hoping that their second wave has a retrain of the OG Horus in some way as that card is an iconic classic. Having him work well with his sons would also be a great sight to see. I hope this article has been useful in learning about what Horus does and what to expect from it. Until next time folks, Renren out!