First Thoughts: Invoked Link

Invoked has become one of my favorite decks of all time. From the first time I saw the OCG builds of Windwitch Invoked Artifact, I knew what I was playing when February 2017 rolled around. For the past nine months, Invoked has been my most reliable deck, gaining me weekly tournament tops. I’ve experimented with dozens of builds, from the anti-Zoodiac Windwitch Invoked Artifact to Invoked Zefra to handtrap turbo to Invoked True Draco, my current tournament deck.

I say all this so that you can know just how unbelievably psyched I was when it was rumored that Invoked would receive a Link Monster. For months now I’ve watched the insanely good legacy support Links from the Link VRAINS Pack be revealed one by one, and it has only grown my anticipation for the Invoked Link Monster. With stuff like Crystron Needlefiber, Heavymetalfoes Electrum, and even Gem-Knight Phantom Core emerging, whatever it was Konami had planned for Aleister and the gang must be awesome.

With the reveal of Aleister the Meltdown Invoker today, we have our answers.

The Card


Aleister the Meltdown Invoker
Link 2 DARK Spellcaster Link Effect Monster
ATK 1800
Links: Bottom Left, Bottom Right
Materials: 2 monsters with different Types and Attributes
(1) This card’s name is treated as “Aleister the Invoker” while it is on the field or Graveyard.
(2) If a Fusion Monster is Fusion Summoned while this card is in a Monster Zone: you can discard 1 card, and if you do, add 1 “Invocation” or “The Book of the Law” form your Deck to your hand.
(3) If this face-up card is removed from the field by your opponent’s card effect: you can add 1 “Omega Summon” from your Deck to your hand.

(Credit to YGOrganization for translation)

First Reactions

The card does not seem all that great at first. It certainly is not on the level of Crystron Needlefiber. I would have liked for it to be a Link 1 that could be summoned using Aleister the Invoker as material and had some way of changing Attributes to enable quick, efficient Fusion Summons. Perhaps that would have been too powerful, but, come on: this is the Link VRAINS Pack. Power doesn’t seem to be too much of concern.

The first effect is good. It allows for easy access to an Aleister if for whatever reason you have Invocation but no access to him.

The second effect is the best part, and while it doesn’t seem to do much for the deck at first glance, it actually will make a huge impact on the way the deck is played. I’ll explain in the next section.

The third effect is pretty mediocre. Depending on an opponent’s card to activate one of your own effects is never a good position to be in and at just 1800 attack there isn’t much of a reason for them to destroy him by effect when they could just as easily run him over. None of this really matters though because Omega Summon is a pretty bad card, so why would you want to search it anyway?

While it isn’t broken on the level of some of its peers, a card doesn’t have to be broken to be good, and as a long-time Invoked player, let me tell you that this card is very good.

What it Does for the Deck


Boosting Swarm Ability

Since Master Rule 4, Invoked has been played almost exclusively as a deck where you sit on one Fusion Monster while disrupting and beating the opponent with the 29 other good cards in your deck. Restricted to only one boss monster at a time, Invoked decks have had a hard time actually killing the opponent outside of an Invoked Purgatrio OTK. Variants have emerged that try to solve that problem with Link-enabling cards like Blackwing – Gofu the Vague Shadow and Scapegoat to put additional big monsters on board and open up more Extra Monster Zones. Kaiju Invoked uses Kaijus as beaters that take huge chunks out of the opponent’s life at a time. True Draco Invoked solves this problem by putting big maindeck monsters on board–one of the biggest reasons why that variant is so good. Not only is Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King + Invoked Mechaba a very threatening board in terms of disruption, it also represents a huge amount of damage every turn.

Meltdown Invoker’s Link Markers are the very good bottom-left/bottom-right combo, allowing for two more extra deck monsters to be summoned to his side. Previously, the best way to get to this gamestate was through Decode Talker, a difficult monster for the deck to summon outside of opening up with Gofu. With Meltdown Invoker, though, the requirements for its summon should almost always be available after the first turn. If your Invoked Fusion Monster survives your opponent’s turn, Normal Summon Aleister, use the two monsters as material, and start to combo.

In fact, in this situation, you probably have an OTK. Check it out:

  1. Fusion Summon to one of Meltdown Invoker’s zones using Aleister in grave.
  2. Activate Meltdown Invoker’s effect, discarding one card to add a second Invocation from deck to hand.
  3. Use Invocation’s grave effect, returning itself to deck and a banished Aleister to hand.
  4. Send Aleister from hand to grave to boost the Invoked Fusion’s Attack by 1000.
  5. Use the second Invocation to Fusion Summon to Meltdown Invoker’s second zone using the Aleister in grave.
  6. Activate Meltdown Invoker’s effect, discarding one card to add The Book of the Law from deck to hand.

At this point, you should have well over 8000 damage on board, and if Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring was used at some point in the duel, one of your Invoked Fusions is the very dangerous Purgatrio. Book of the Law can be used from hand during the Battle Phase to get an extra attack in, or saved to trade in one of your Invokeds for the disruption of an Invoked Raidjin or Mechaba if you can’t kill the opponent.

The best part about everything I’ve just discussed: no outside enablers are required. Invoked builds can stay exactly the same as they are now, with the addition of a single copy of The Book of the Law, and pull off this setup. And trust me, you will definitely want to play The Book of the Law.

Searching The Book of the Law

I’ve always thought this card was good. Even though it’s a -1 in card advantage, the Invoked Fusion toolbox is robust and powerful and the ability to toolbox any Fusion, on either player’s turn regardless of the materials available, is very cool. Besides, if Invoked is good at one thing it’s generating constant advantage, so the -1 is a small price to pay for such a good effect. Book of the Law’s lack of searchability is what ultimately prevented it from seeing play.

Now Book is easy to get to, making this a whole different ballgame. Any Invoked Fusion can become Purgatrio, a Purgatrio that failed to OTK can become Mechaba, and a Raidjin or Mechaba that has used its once-per-turn disruption can be traded in for the other. As already discussed, it can be used as an OTK enabler in much the same way Heroes use Mask Change, trading in a monster that has already attacked for one that hasn’t yet.

Finally, as a Fusion Summon Book of the Law cannot be negated while Magical Meltdown is on the field, and the opponent cannot activate any cards or effects during the summon response window. It also triggers Meltdown Invoker’s effect to search another copy or an Invocation. If only Book wasn’t a hard once-per-turn…

Synergy with Magical Meltdown

Not only can your opponent not negate your Invocation or Book of the Law or smack you with Torrential Tribute while Magical Meltdown is on the field, they cannot respond to Meltdown Invoker’s search effect. His effect activates during the summon response window, where the opponent is prevented from activating any cards or effects by the Field Spell. That means no Ash Blossom, no Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, no Effect Veiler, no Solemn Strike…you get the idea.

Acting as Aleister the Invoker

This effect seems like an afterthought, because how often do you see Invoked players without Aleister, am I right?

As an Invoked player I can tell you that it does happen and when it does it REALLY sucks. Invoked variants are particularly vulnerable to drawing Invocation without an Aleister to use it on. In these situations, the ability to pull an Aleister from the Extra Deck is very useful.

Consider this: Gofu + Invocation is now a Mechaba summon. Summon Gofu, turn the two tokens into Proxy Dragon, use Proxy and Gofu to make Meltdown Invoker, and fuse Proxy and Meltdown Invoker into Mechaba. If it seems niche, that’s because it is, but having additional, outside-of-the-box ways to get your plays off is one of the marks of a good deck.

As a final point here, once you’ve summoned two monsters to his Link Markers and got the necessary searches, you can fuse with Meltdown Invoker into a third Invoked Fusion. But that’s probably just win-more.

The Bad


Not Great on the First Turn

Perhaps the biggest issue with Meltdown Invoker is his lack of usefulness going first. True, you can run extenders to help you summon him going first, but why would you want to? It is unlikely that you will have enough fuel for multiple Extra Deck summons going first anyway, and his low Attack stat means he might not survive to the next turn. In my opinion, it is better still to sit on a single Invoked Fusion and make full use of Meltdown Invoker’s Link Markers and search effect on your second turn and beyond, when you will have plenty of fuel and OTK potential.

I would rather have Trap Cards or handtraps than extenders that help me summon a Link Monster that has no disruption and is easy to kill, is all I’m saying–although, I am open to ideas here if anyone would like to comment with a useful line of play that utilizes Meltdown Invoker on the first turn.

Discard Cost

Okay, at this point I’m just complaining. Obviously the card would have been better without a discard required to search Invocation and The Book of the Law, but the deck plusses enough as-is without giving it more easy +1s. The 1-for-1 trade here is fair, but unfortunate because Invoked often plays with a small hand–usually less than three cards. As a “40 Good Cards.dek” strategy, these three cards are often things you don’t want to throw away.

The OTK line of play I showed earlier required two discards, leaving you with very few or no hand resources when it’s over, but a massive board. That’s when Evenly Matched can show up to ruin your day.

What I’m trying to say is, while Meltdown Invoker’s effect certainly increases the deck’s explosiveness, it is essential that you win the turn that you start to go off with it, because your grind game will be almost nonexistent if you fail.

The beauty of Invoked is its disposable boss monsters, easily brought back by the persistent, one-card engine. The key word there is “disposable”: most of them aren’t particularly hard to kill, so be careful not to put all of your eggs in that one basket.

Conclusion


Don’t sleep on this card. It may not seems like much at first but it really is very good. It has great synergy with the deck, fixing two of the biggest issues by helping to swarm the field and searching The Book of the Law. While it’s not everything I could have wanted from an Invoked Link Monster, it definitely has a place in every Invoked strategy and I look forward to seeing what combos and builds the community can come up with as the days go on.

wifispiders

wifispiders

Article writer. He is looking forward to playing Scapegoat in tournament in 2017.
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Article writer. He is looking forward to playing Scapegoat in tournament in 2017.


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