Fossil is an archetype used by Jim Crocodile Cook in the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX anime. Despite the archetype existing fifteen years ago, it didn’t actually come to the OCG/TCG game until 2020, when it won Konami’s January 2020 poll, forcing Konami to adapt fossils into real-life cards. Before, fossils were playable in the Tag-Force videogames series, including several anime-only cards, such as Dark Synchros, Maiden in love, etc.
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Invoked VS Fossils
Invoked debuted earlier in the real-life game, but as mentioned before, Fossils existed way before Invoked since Fossil already existed in the anime. Konami took inspiration from Fossils when designing the Invoked archetype.
Like the Invoked archetype, Fossils is an archetype that focuses on Fusion Summoning by using monsters from both players’ graveyards. However, unlike Invoked, the fusion materials focus on Levels rather than Attributes. The specific material can also be any Rock-Type monster rather than a particular monster. In addition, thanks to the flexibility of the Invoked archetype, it is often used as an engine in other Decks. The Fossil archetype, however, struggles to be included in any deck that doesn’t use any Rock-Type monsters. Pure fossil archetype also has additional gameplay of fusion climbing to your Level 8 Fusion monsters using Time Stream. Meanwhile, by design, pure Invoked wants the player to dump all their Fusion Monsters into the graveyard to take advantage of its boss monster’s effect, Invoked Elysium.
It’s interesting that despite the two archetypes using the same gimmick, their gameplay and utility is very different from each other.
Waves and Different Gameplay
Believe it or not, some cards in the Fossil archetype (or cards used by Jim in the GX anime) debuted before 2020. Both Gaia Plate the Earth Giant and Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo debuted in 2007. Unlike most of the later cards used by Jim Crocodile, these two cards don’t have their effects updated to support the Fossil Fusion archetype. Furthermore, these two cards don’t even relate to each other. Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo is a terrifying monster that focuses on stunning the opponent, while Gaia Plate is a giant beatstick.
The second wave of support came in 2020 when the rest of the Fossil Fusion archetype monsters were released. All the monsters Jim used during this wave of support had their effects updated to support the Fossil Fusion archetype (e.g. Weathering Soldier).
The last few waves of support arrived soon after finishing off the Fossil Fusion monster lineup and giving two main deck monsters that poorly support the archetype at all.
Changes when adapting to the OCG/TCG
As mentioned earlier, when the archetype was adapted to real-life, several cards were updated to support the archetype better. This is no surprise, as the anime effects are too inconsistent and outdated for the current game. Cyber Angel, an archetype also debuted during the GX era, also received an update where Benten and Idaten were retooled as a ritual engine.
Fossil Fusion doesn’t actually have any main deck support monsters in the anime. Jim merely uses a bunch of random Rock-Type monsters and then fuses it with the opponent when it gets destroyed. Konami decided to turn these random monsters into actual archetype members by giving it the term “Fossil Fusion” in its effect. Furthermore, the lower levels Fossil Fusion monsters were given additional effects to help with link climbing and clearing the field for an OTK. Let’s look at these changes.
Thanks to its anti-Special Summoning effect, Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo was changed from a safe, aggressive attacker to a stun card. Weathering Soldier was given a searching ability to search out Fossil Fusion or any cards that mention ‘Fossil Fusion’, boosting the Deck’s consistency. Flint Cragger’s burning effect was changed from an Ignition Effect into a Trigger Effect. Konami also gave it two additional effects. Shell Knight was given the ability to search out or Special Summon a Level 8 Rock-Type Monster from your Deck.
All the Fusion monsters in the archetype no longer require the opponent to have specific Monster Typing in their graveyard, making summoning them a lot easier. Furthermore, most of the Level 4 to 7 Fossil Fusion Monsters were merely vanilla monsters in the anime.
Contradiction and Clashing
Despite being a fans favorite archetype, Konami dropped the ball when adapting this archetype into real-life. Most of the support clashes.
The first two Fossil members, Fossil Dyna and Gaia Plate, hurt the Deck. Fossil Dyna prevents the player from Special Summoning. Gaia Plate banishes your Fusion Materials in the Graveyard.
The Fossil Fusion spell rewards the player by granting the monster a protective effect. However, the archetype also wants you to use Time Stream to evolve your Fusion monster. Therefore, effectively removing the protection.
The archetype wants the player to Fusion Climb, as evident with the spell card Time Stream. Konami even gave the archetype a dedicated Time Stream Searcher. However, the dedicated Time Stream Searcher is a ‘HOPT’ effect. This results in situations where the player can’t Summon their boss monster until the next turn.
Konami gave Shell Knight an updated effect. The intention was so the player could Special Summon Gaia Plate from the Deck. However, as established earlier, Gaia Plate hurts the Deck more than it helps.
Flint Cragger’s effects are all beneficial. It can help set up the grave, trigger Weathering Soldier‘s effect or dump Skullgar to the grave to search Fossil Fusion. The problem is it needs to be Special Summoned. Now, why is this a problem? It’s because the archetype doesn’t have the ability to Special Summon any monster at all.
The Level 4 to 6 Fossil Fusion monsters were given battle-orientated effects. However, their stats are way too low to do anything. They literally sit on the field waiting to get sent to the Graveyard to trigger their more practical effects. Furthermore, all the smaller Fossil Fusion monsters require banishing themselves to trigger their effect, which hinders the player from Fusion Summoning afterwards.
Fossils have strong OTK power thanks to Skull King, Skullgios and Skull Convoy’s effect. You can easily make a comeback and cheese a win with these cards.
The archetype also has a reasonable grinding capability thanks to Fossil Fusion’s ability to recover itself from the Graveyard. Like Invoked, banishing the opponent’s Graveyard to perform a Fusion Summon is quite powerful. When used correctly, it often disrupts the opponent’s game plan. It’s also an excellent little engine in other Rock-Type decks (e.g. Adamancipator).
The archetype isn’t meta. The player requires a lot of skills, and they need to understand the archetype to play this deck effectively. At times, it can be pretty frustrating to play. However, the archetype does capture the anime Fossil Fusion gameplay perfectly. Unfortunately, this came at the cost of Konami sacrificing the deck’s consistency and power. Overall, I am glad that the archetype was finally adapted to real life. I voted for the poll to get released and was excited when it won. However, I can’t help but feel Konami didn’t put a lot of effort into making this archetype. I was expecting more after the lengths they went through to make Cyber Angels more playable to the point where they are a great splashable engine.