Raise your Sword: An Intro to Swordsoul (Xiangjian)

Prologue

Out of the many archetypes introduced lately, Swordsoul (Xiangjian) is the one that has caught the attention of the public eye. Xiangjian is a WYRM archetype that focuses on Synchro summoning. Their main gimmick is their ability to generate a Level 4 Xiangjian Token that is also a Tuner. This allows them to easily Synchro summon.

Note: Although this archetype’s name in the TCG is Swordsoul, I will still be referring to the cards using their OCG names for potential translation reasons.

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Playstyle & Deck Building

Playstyle/Strategy

Xiangjian is an archetype that I would describe as having a midrange playstyle. They consistently use 1-2 cards to Synchro into a Level 8/10 and then attempt to control the game. Because their play can start from just 1-2 cards, this gives the deck a lot of room to play disruptive cards like Hand Traps. The archetype can also play a variety of disruptive Synchros to help control the game. One example of such a Synchro is their boss monster, Cheng Ying, the Xiangjian Grand Duke, which we’ll mention later on.

Strengths

Xiangjian’s greatest strength is their ability to summon the Level 4 Xiangjian Token. This makes Xiangjian very consistent, as other Synchro-based archetypes need to access their Tuner before starting play. Banishing effects also synergize with the archetype due to their S/Ts having effects that trigger upon banish. Cheng Ying also synergizes with banish effects as it’ll both increase the ATK of itself while decreasing the ATK of your opponent’s monsters based on the number of banished cards. The archetype also has synergy with other WYRM archetypes such as Tenyi monsters and Yang Zing Synchros.

Weaknesses

Xiangjian’s weakness is their heavy reliance on tokens and Synchro summoning. This makes cards that are strong against tokens or Synchros very strong against Xiangjian. For example, Token Collector is a good Side Deck option that can nullify the use of tokens while it’s face-up on the field. Dimensional Barrier is also a card that can pose a lot of problems for the archetype, since it can lock them out of Synchros.

Cards

Main Deck Monsters

Mo Ye, the Xiangjian Swordmaster

Mo Ye, the Xiangjian Swordmaster is a Level 4 WATER WYRM and the main starter of the archetype. It can generate a token by revealing 1 Xiangjian card or WYRM monster and also lets you draw a card if it’s sent to the GY as a Synchro material.

Mo Ye is the main starter because it can generate a token without setup. Since almost the whole deck will be Xiangjian cards or WYRM monsters, this effect is very easy to activate. This’ll allow you quickly summon a Level 8 Synchro. Furthermore, Mo Ye also allows you draw a card when you use it to Synchro. This means on top of leading to a monster, it’ll also replace itself. Furthermore, because Mo Ye’s effect to draw is a Trigger effect, you can use it to chain block along with other on-summon effects. One example of this is chaining Mo Ye with Chi Xiao to ensure Chi Xiao’s search effect is not met with Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring.

Overall, Mo Ye is a really solid starter. It helps you set up your field while retaining card advantage. It also happens to be a WATER monster which can be beneficial if you play Adamancipator Risen – Dragite.

Tai A, the Xiangjian Swordmaster

Tai A, the Xiangjian Swordmaster is a WIND WYRM and the other Level 4 monster of the archetype. It can generate a token by banishing 1 Xiangjian card or WYRM monster from your GY. It also lets you mill a Xiangjian card or WYRM monster if it’s sent to the GY as a Synchro material. 

Tai A is a good follow-up once you’ve already set up the field or GY. Its banishing effect synergizes well within the archetype as Xiangjian S/Ts all have trigger effects when they’re banished. Alternatively, Tai A can act as a starter if you don’t have Mo Ye. This usually requires a Tenyi monster as Tenyi monsters can special summon themselves easily and link themselves off. This provides you with a WYRM monster in the GY for Tai A’s effect. You can also use Tai A as a starter if you use Peak. Furthermore, Tai A also has the same chain blocking mechanic as Mo Ye. Tai A’s milling effect is also useful for helping you setup for the next turn. Examples of cards you can mill include Xiangjian S/Ts that can be useful if banished or Tenyi monsters which can provide additional follow-up.

Overall, Tai A is ideally used as follow-up proceeding the turn of Mo Ye. It’s also great for summoning Baxia, Brightness of the Yang Zing as it’ll let you shuffle 2 cards. The main advantage that Tai A has over Mo Ye is that you might not always have another Xiangjian or WYRM in your hand, but you’ll almost always have one in the GY.

Long Yuan, the Xiangjian Tactician

Long Yuan, the Xiangjian Tactician is a Level 6 FIRE WYRM that can special summon itself from your hand by discarding 1 Xiangjian card or WYRM monster. This effect also generates you a Xiangjian token. If Long Yuan is sent to the GY as a Synchro material, it also lets you burn your opponent for 1200 points of damage.

Long Yuan is one of the archetype’s extenders and also gives you an easy way to access Level 10 Synchros. Excluding the archetype’s boss monster, solid options include Baroness de Fleur and Ruddy Rose Dragon. The burn effect is also a nice bonus as Xiangjian is an archetype that can inflict heavy damage with it’s Boss monster; Cheng Ying, the Xiangjian Grand Duke. While 1200 damage might not feel like a lot to some, it can make the difference between life and death under an assault of Synchro monsters. 

Overall, Long Yuan is another useful monster in the Xiangjian arsenal. It’s one of the only in-archetype extenders and ways to access Level 10 Synchros. Lastly, it’s important to note that unlike Mo Ye and Tai A, Long Yuan’s effect activates in the hand. This is valuable because it means Long Yuan’s effect dodges disruption like Effect Veiler and Infinite Impermanence.

Chun Jun, the Xiangjian Auspicious Beast

Chun Jun, the Xiangjian Auspicious Beast is a Level 6 EARTH WYRM that has some interesting effects. It’s also one of the few Xiangjian monsters that doesn’t generate a Xiangjian token.

Chun Jun is one of the less popular Xiangjian monsters due to it’s niche effect when compared with the rest of the archetype. While similar to the rest of the archetype in having an effect that triggers if used as Synchro material, the main problem with the card is that it doesn’t generate a Xiangjian token. This makes the Chun Jun unreliable on its own as it doesn’t offer any individual play. Its damage calculation effect also rarely comes up as removing monsters isn’t a problem that the archetype often faces. On top of this, if you want to use this effect, Chun Jun must also be destroyed along with the monster you’re destroying. 

Overall, Chun Jun probably won’t see much play due to the lack of situations where it’ll be useful. It does have some merit in helping your monsters dodge targeting effects like Effect Veiler and Infinite Impermanence. However, this benefit probably won’t be enough for players to consider this card.

Xiangjian Swordmaster of the Illusory Iris (The Iris Swordsoul)

Xiangjian Swordmaster of the Illusory Iris or The Iris Swordsoul (TCG) is a Xiangjian Hand Trap that can summon itself from the hand during the Main Phase if there is a monster with its effects negated on the field. It’s the only non-WYRM Xiangjian monster and has 3 effects that can activate if your opponent special summons a monster.

Within the archetype, Iris’s effect is a niche one to say the least. It synergizes with Chi Xiao but that’s about it. The main problem on top of not being a WYRM, is its effect is generally unreliable. It’s a very reactive card and is often dead in certain matchups. Furthermore, it doesn’t have much synergy with the archetype outside of Chi Xiao and it’s arguable that even if triggered, it is often not beneficial. While drawing 2 cards is nice, it comes into question how often this effect will go through. 

Overall, Iris isn’t a bad card but it doesn’t fit in as a Xiangjian card. The main issue is that in order to get full value out of Iris, too many things need to go right. While the card looks great on paper, its performance in actual play is yet to be determined. Therefore, take this section with a grain of salt as the card is new and mainly untested. 

Ecclesia, the Virtuous in White

Ecclesia, the Virtuous in White is a Xiangjian support card and one of the best monsters the archetype has. It has the summoning conditions of Dinowrestler Pankratops while also having a Lonefire Blossom-like Quick effect. On top of this, it’s also a Level 4 Tuner with GY recursion under specific conditions.

Ecclesia is good for many reasons. First off, the summoning condition is easy to fulfill and is great going second. If you’re going 1st, Ecclesia is a good starter as it can tutor any Xiangjian monster. If you’re going 2nd, Ecclesia is also an extender that helps you play through disruption. The fact that its effect is a Quick effect is also great because it plays around handtraps with targeting effects. This effect can also be insane if you have PSY-Framegear Gamma and your opponent tries to Ash Blossom it. Lastly, while the recursion effect won’t come up too often in Xiangjian, it does have synergy with Instant Fusion. Though Instant Fusion is at 1, this effect is more of an added bonus anyways and not something you overly rely on.

Overall, Ecclesia is like a dream card for the Xiangjian archetype. It solves a lot of the problems the archetype has and helps play around a lot of cards that are strong against it. For example, Token Collector is usually very strong against Xiangjian, but since Ecclesia is both a Tuner and extender, it’s one of the in-archetype outs to Synchro summon while Token Collector resides on the field. 

Spells & Traps

The Xiangjian Dragonsword Appears

The Xiangjian Dragonsword Appears is your standard ROTA-type card for the archetype. If you control a Synchro, it can let you search a WYRM monster instead of just a Xiangjian monster. Dragonsword also can increase or reduce the level of a Xiangjian or WYRM monster by 1 if it’s banished.

Dragonsword is a ROTA as well as a 1-card starter for Xiangjian. This is achieved by searching Tai A and then banishing Dragonsword for Tai A’s effect. This line will also trigger Dragonsword’s level modifying effect incase you want to summon a non-Level 8 Synchro. Alternatively, if you have a Xiangjian card or WYRM monster in your hand, you can search Mo Ye instead and follow a similar line of play.

Overall, there isn’t too much to say about Dragonsword. It’s a generic 3-of search card that is played in almost any archetypal deck that has it. While Dragonsword can also search any WYRM monster if you control a Synchro, this effect won’t often come up as you’d usually prefer your Xiangjian monsters over other WYRMs. The level modification effect is also nice but again, won’t often come up outside of summoning Yazi, Evil of the Yang Zing or other tech options.

Xiangjianmen the Grand Spiritual Peak

Xiangjianmen the Grand Spiritual Peak is the Monster Reborn for the archetype. Similarly to Dragonsword, it also lets you summon a WYRM instead if you control a Synchro. Peak also shares the same banish effect as Dragonsword.

Peak is an extender that is great for pushing through disruptions. In the early game, Peak can be used to revive Mao Ye or Tai A to make a Synchro. Later on, it can also revive your Xiangjian Synchro monsters like Cheng Ying and Chi Xiao. If you control a Synchro, Peak can summon any WYRM monster which can be useful for reviving Baxia and Yazi.

Overall, Peak is another simple card that is just solid Xiangjian support. Reviving monsters is nice and being able to revive your boss monsters for free is even better. Chi Xiao especially is quite good here as it has a Quick effect to negate the effects of an effect monster. This lets Peak sometimes transition into a 2800 ATK body with a negate.

Xiangjian Research

Xiangjian Research is a Trap that banishes Xiangjian cards or WYRM monsters from your GY to increase the ATK of a face-up monster. If banished, it can also summon a Xiangjian token.

Research is a card that’s playable but also iffy. While its effect can be useful, ATK gain isn’t something that’s very high on the archetype’s list of priorities. While Research can help you beat over monsters and push for game, again, these aren’t factors the archetype struggles with to begin with. The best thing Research does is banish Xiangjian cards which synergizes with your Xiangjian S/Ts and Cheng Ying. 

Overall, Research is okay, but underwhelming when compared to the rest of the archetype. Though there are highlights, it’s not a card you’d want to see very often. However, it can create some pretty big ATK swings with Cheng Ying. Since banishing 5 cards would swing the ATK of field by 1000, with Research adding 1500 ATK, it does provide some decent damage.

Xiangjian Sudden Shift

Xiangjian Sudden Shift is a Trap that is similar to Icarus Attack but for Xiangjian and WYRM monsters. The difference between Shift and Icarus is Icarus tributes for cost while Shift destroys your monster simultaneously with your opponent’s cards. Shift also shares the same banish effect as Research.

Shift is your standard 2-for-2 Trap card. It can be used to dodge targeting effects and clear problematic monsters and backrow. This is useful for dealing with troublesome floodgates and Side Deck threats. Shift also synergizes well with Cheng Ying’s protection effect. This combo destroys 2 cards via. Shift and also triggers Cheng Ying’s banish effect. This is because Shift destroys cards and Cheng Ying can avoid destruction by banishing a card from your GY instead. 

Overall, Shift is a solid Trap that contributes to the utility of the archetype. Ideally, you’d want to activate Shift when you have Cheng Ying for maximum results. However, even without Cheng Ying, Shift is great by itself. 

Extra Deck Monsters

Chi Xiao, the Xiangjian Grand Swordmaster

Chi Xiao, the Xiangjian Grand Swordmaster is the Level 8 Synchro of the archetype. It’s got a lot of things going for it, so let’s look at what this card can do.

For starters, Chi Xiao is a Level 8 which makes it easy to summon. It also has 2 effects that are beneficial to the archetype. The 1st effect is great as it can be use for consistency, utility or extending. For consistency, Chi Xiao can be used to add Mo Ye or Tai A for a next turn play. For utility, Chi Xiao can add Shift or Research to cement your field. If you want to extend and continue play, Chi Xiao has a plethora of cards you can search. For example, Long Yuan, Dragonsword, and Peak are all extenders that can be searched off Chi Xiao’s effect. If you need a token, Chi Xiao can banish Research or Shit. This can be useful for summoning your other Synchros or Synchroing with Chi Xiao for Geomathmech Final Sigma.

Chi Xiao’s 2nd effect is also really good. A Quick effect negate is always useful especially when it also lets you banish a Xiangjian card from your GY. This gives it synergy with your Xiangjian S/Ts and Cheng Ying.

If I had to say something negative about Chi Xiao, it’d be that it can’t negate effects that aren’t on the field. This means it can’t stop hand traps such as Nibiru, the Primal Being. Aside from that, Chi Xiao is just a really solid card in the archetype. After all, when’s the last time you saw a Level 8 Synchro with both a search and negate.

Cheng Ying, the Xiangjian Grand Duke

Cheng Ying, the Xiangjian Grand Duke is the Level 10 Synchro and Boss monster of the archetype. It has 3 effects that help push for game, protect itself, and disrupt your opponent.

Cheng Ying’s 1st effect is a stat modifying effect. It both increases its own ATK/DEF while lowering your opponent’s based on the number of banished cards in the game. This makes cards like Pot of Desires very powerful as it would banish 10 cards resulting in a 2000 ATK/DEF swing on the field. Furthermore, this also works against your opponent’s Desires since Cheng Ying takes into account all banished cards and not just your own. This effect is especially prevalent later in the game when more cards are banished. 

Cheng Ying’s 2nd effect is a continuous effect that protects Cheng Ying from destruction effects by banishing a card from your GY instead. This effect synergizes with Shift as well as Cheng Ying’s 3rd effect. This also lets you play some area-of-effect destruction cards like Needle Ceiling and Torrential Tribute.

Cheng Ying’s 3rd effect banishes 1 card from your opponent’s field and GY if a card is banished. This effect has amazing utility as it banishes 2 cards from different places and also doesn’t target. This effect also synergizes with generic banish cards such as Called by the Grave and Crossout Designator. Needless to say, if this effect goes through, it’s probably game over.

Overall, Cheng Ying is an amazing card that has all the attributes a strong boss monster should have. It has protection, it has disruption and it applies tremendous pressure while it’s on the field. If I had to fault something, I’d say summoning Level 10s are a bit more difficult than summoning Level 8s, but that’s about it.

Non-Archetype Cards to Consider / Honorable Mentions

Tenyi

Tenyi can be a ally for Xiangjian due to them being WYRM monsters and synergizing with non-effect monsters. Because the Xiangjian token is considered a non-effect monster, there is some clear synergy between the 2 archetypes. 

Yang Zing Synchros

Yang Zing Synchros, namely Yazi and Baxia are both great options for a Xiangjian deck. Yazi is good at providing safe removal while also cycling itself for a WYRM monster from your deck. Baxia is good for non-destruction removal and can usually spin away 2 cards. Furthermore, both Synchros are WYRM monsters which mean they can be summoned using Peak if you control a Synchro monster.

Various Synchros

As a Synchro archetype, Xiangjian naturally has access to some very devastating monsters. While we won’t go in-depth in talking about all of these monsters, some solid options are Crimson BladerBaroness de Fleur and PSY-Framelord Omega.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, Xiangjian looks to be a strong archetype. It possesses both consistency and firepower and has an abundance of ways to establish threats on the board. The archetype’s main strength is how easily they can setup strong monsters while retaining meaningful advantage through their normal play. Furthermore, since they require little to no setup, they can start play very quickly. This makes the archetype difficult to deal with if you fall behind as you’ll constantly be on the back foot trying to survive instead of looking for chances to win.

Looking forward, Xiangjian definitely seems to be one of the top meta contenders when it’s released. It’s already performing well in the OCG and while we don’t have cards like Crossout Designator, this shouldn’t hinder the deck’s performance when it arrives in the TCG. If you’re looking for a consistent and powerful Synchro deck, Xiangjian might be the deck for you. And if not, it’ll still be important to prepare for what might be one of the strongest decks of the upcoming meta.

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Blue Rain

Owner of Blue Rain TCG / Former Professional TCG Player / Amateur Youtube/Streamer / Currently a Casual Player and Collector / Always trying to provide Quality Content!


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