Today’s topic is another less than optimal Yugioh archetype. However, this is not a story of failure. Instead, this article is about adapting to less than optimal circumstances, and people making the best with what was on offer. The subject is “Nordics”, an archetype with cool ideas, but is confused in both design and effects. They did not manage to impress when they came out in Storm of Ragnarok back in 2011. Odin, Father of the Aesir was the poster-boy of said booster, but some katana-swinging hoodlums stole all the glory. Nonetheless, the “Nordics” soldiered on; even though it soon became clear that big beatstick-politics was not where the meta was heading. Some disagreed with that fact, such as this article from 2011, but for most players, it was clear that “Nordics” are not going to be the one to beat.
That did not keep players from trying new builds and making things work. However, it became clear that the “Nordics” on their own are not well-equipped enough to make for a self-efficient archetype. It took until 2018 for modern support cards to arrive. The archetype gained both Alviss of the Nordic Alfar and Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant. Those two cards made the summoning of “Aesir” monsters way easier and consistent. However, they did increase the consistency at the cost of being the most boring option to play. Stuck in limbo, only summoning one Level 10 Synchro monster for steep costs. However, a spoiler from Battle of Chaos revealed four shiny new cards for an archetype that definitely needed the support. So, let us take a look at “Nordics” in 2021.
Table of Contents
The archetype found a following not necessarily due to the playstyle, but because of the setting. Norse mythology is a vast and interesting source to draw inspiration from; it certainly provides ample material to create something interesting. The cards manage to keep some of the flavor of their mythologic counterparts. However, understanding the Yugioh archetype at hand certainly needs some patience due to the confused design. Basically, the “Nordic” archetype can be split into four factions:
- The “Nordic Alfar”, Dark and Light Spellcaster monsters with Loki, Lord of the Aesir as their leader.
- Thor, Lord of the Aesir commands the “Nordic Beasts”, a group of Dark, Earth, and Light Beast monsters.
- A group of Dark and Light Fairy monsters called the “Nordic Ascendants” are working for Odin, Father of the Aesir.
- The rest of the “Nordic” monsters, which do belong to the archetype but not to the aforementioned factions.
Despite these groups, the “Nordic” cards all work together as one deck. The only restriction comes with the “Aesir” boss monsters only being Synchro Summonable by using a Tuner of their faction; even though there are exceptions to this rule. The Typing and Attributes are not necessarily helpful either, since there is nothing to blend it all together. In fact, here is what we are working with in the case of the “Nordic” archetype fact-wise:
- Attribute: Various (Dark, Earth, Light)
- Type: Various (Beast, Beast-Warrior, Dragon, Fairy, Spellcaster, Warrior)
- Levels: Various (1,2,3,4,5,8,10)
- Extra Deck usage: Synchro, Link
On top of the monsters being sorted into various groups, there are also the “Nordic Relics”. This sub-archetype of the “Nordics” takes artifacts from Norse mythology and puts them into Spell/Trap form. Of course, those come on top of the Spell/Trap cards that belong to the “Nordic” archetype but are not named as such like Odin’s Eye. However, with new cards to give the deck more options, we should take a look at what is on offer:
The Members of Nordic
- Fenrir the Nordic Wolf: A 4000 ATK beatstick that you gift to your opponent and that blows up if no “Aesir” monster is around.
- Garmr of the Nordic Beasts: Bounces the monster it fights against assuming the opponent is Level 4 or lower and this thing survives the battle.
- Guldfaxe of the Nordic Beasts: The “Nordic” version of Cyber Dragon which only Special Summons when the opponent controls a Synchro monster.
- Jormungardr the Nordic Serpent: Part two of the gimmick combo with Fenrir the Nordic Wolf.
- Ljosalf of the Nordic Alfar: Special Summons “Nordics” from hand when Normal Summoned, but only if you can target another monster you control.
- Svartalf of the Nordic Alfar: Only gains a mediocre recovery effect on Normal Summon.
- Tanngrisnir of the Nordic Beasts: Summons token upon being destroyed in battle.
- Tyr of the Nordic Champions: A 2000 attack beatstick that provides unnecessary protection.
- Gotterdammerung: Gift your boss monster to the opponent and then watch them Link it away to prevent the second effect of this card.
- Nordic Relic Laevateinn: Terrible removal option that is not only slow but also burdened with the drawback of only destroying a monster that destroyed another monster in battle.
- March Towards Ragnarok: Make an “Aesir” immune to backrow while also negating their effects for one turn.
- The Nordic Lights: Provides battle protection for “Nordic” monsters; but not for “Aesirs”. Also has the funny caveat of blowing your field up if your opponent has backrow removal available.
- Gleipnir, the Fetters of Fenrir: For the longest time the only real searcher the deck had. The problem? It is a Trap card.
- Nordic Relic Brisingamen: Strange stat-changing Trap card that will oftentimes simply allow your low-stat “Nordics” to trade against bigger monsters.
- Nordic Relic Gungnir: Questionable removal option.
- Odin’s Eye: Too slow, too bricky.
- Solemn Authority: Provides the protection from Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant as a without any of the other beneficial effects of the Link monsters, while also blowing itself up after two turns.
- Dverg of the Nordic Alfar: Extra Normal Summons and recovery for “Nordic Relics” sounds nice. The fact that this thing is nigh unusable for Level 10 Synchros not so much. Good for Warrior-based builds, unnecessary in everything else.
- Mara of the Nordic Alfar: Summoning Synchros with material from the hand sounds nice; until you realize that this archetype likes to provide the Synchro material by summoning it.
- Mimir of the Nordic Ascendant: Mediocre monster that can re-summon itself. Due to discard targets and this monster being the sole Level 2 non-Tuner “Nordic”, it does actually see play.
- Tanngnjostr of the Nordic Beasts: Gimmicky option that you can Special Summon after the opponent attacked with their board to Special Summon a Gullinbursti of the Nordic Beasts straight from your deck during your turn.
- Valkyrie of the Nordic Ascendant: Provides everything you need to summon an “Aesir” monster but is restrictive in doing so.
- Vanadis of the Nordic Ascendant: The first omni-Tuner the “Nordics” had available. Decent option to summon via Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant while also providing a Foolish Burial via her second effect.
- Loki, Lord of the Aesir: The least-played “Aesir”. “Loki” comes with backrow negation that can only be used during the Battle Phase and Trap card recovery on revival. Still playable at one copy.
- Nordic Relic Draupnir: Awful option for any “normal” “Nordic” build, but can work fairly well in a Warrior-variant with “Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights” using the card as fuel.
- Divine Relic Mjollnir: Allows one of “Aesirs” to attack twice, but is held back by being a Trap card and not even being a “Nordic Relic”, but a “Divine Relic”, which means you need to rely on Trap Trick to make this card more consistent.
- Nordic Relic Megingjord: Stat-booster. Unlike Nordic Relic Brisingamen, you can boost both “Nordic” and “Aesir” monsters. This allows giving the “Nordics” high stats while allowing Odin, Father of the Aesir to dream of being Number 39: Utopia Double.
- Alviss of the Nordic Alfar: An easy way to go into “Aesirs”, while providing a revive for your “Aesirs”. Also manages to fly under the radar of Nibiru, the Primal Being with only four summons from turn start to the Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant/”Aesir” setup.
- Gullinbursti of the Nordic Beasts: Omni-Tuner, summons more “Nordics” on summon, and recovers “Nordic” monsters from the graveyard at no further cost. Good card overall.
- Ivaldi of the Nordic Smiths: More swarming and a highly useful search effect for “Nordic Relic” cards, meaning mostly the new ones. Also happens to be a Warrior monster, which is helpful in case the Warrior-build is chosen.
- Odin, Father of the Aesir: The “Aesir” you normally go for. Biggest statline, neat protection, draw one on revival.
- Thor, Lord of the Aesir: The number two in the “Aesir” line-up. Negates effects of opposing monsters during your turn, a solid beater, and even imitates Ookazi upon revival for meme reasons.
- Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant: The Link-1 monster of the “Nordic” archetype and basically the one card running the show. Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant is your main way into the “Aesirs”, even though she is restrictive regarding non-“Aesir” summons.
- Nordic Relic Hlidskjalf: Emergency Teleport for “Nordics”, with a costly search effect added as a graveyard effect. Has some restriction issues with Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant, which makes the card less good than hoped.
- Nordic Relic Svalinn: Continuous Trap with an omni-negate for anything on the opposing board if an “Aesir” is available; also comes with an “Aesir” revive. Solid card, easily searchable via Ivaldi of the Nordic Smiths, and should not be missing on any first turn “Nordic” board.
A few cards shape up to be the solid core of any “Nordic” deck. However, there are enough creative ideas to work and experiment with.
Nordic Tech Choices
Queen of Hearts at the Nordic Court
One thing is absolutely clear: You cannot talk about “Nordics” without mentioning Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant. For anyone unfamiliar with “Nordics” the cost for her first effect might seem steep, but she is necessary and there are ways to get things working. Any “Nordic” monster results in an “Aesir” with Gullveig since you can simply pick the necessary monsters from the deck. She protects your “Aesir” from targeting effects, which is helpful. She gets Alviss of the Nordic Alfar going, while also triggering several effects from summoned monsters. Since 2018, the idea with “Nordic” is not how to work around Gullveig’s summon restriction, but rather how to cushion the blow of banishing three cards and losing the game to a stray Effect Veiler, Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, or whatever else might come up and tries to stop her.
Wings of Steel
Gullveig needs to go through, so anti-handtrap cards are in order. But in times of limited Called by the Grave, only one copy of Instant Fusion to go into Millennium-Eyes Restrict, and the TCG-release of Crossout Designator making it a high-price card, there is the need for some other way to protect the “Nordic” playmaker. Cue “Sky Strikers”: At the time when Gullveig would be hit by negation or removal, she is normally the only monster on the field, occupying one of the Extra Monster Zones. This allows Sky Striker Mecha – Eagle Booster to protect her from any handtrap that the opponent might use. Add one copy of Sky Striker Mobilize – Engage! for searching. Lastly, add one copy of Sky Striker Mecha – Hornet Drones for further searchable Link material. Overall, this engine provides options to keep Gullveig alive and makes some plays smoother.
Into the North
Let us talk about the new “Nordic” support. Gullinbursti of the Nordic Beasts is a solid Tuner monster, with swarming and recovery for “Nordic” monsters in your graveyard. Since Gullveig summons the “Nordic” monsters with their effects still active, Gullinbursti is more than just Synchro material. You can summon one additional monster when it hits the field while also gaining another monster back from the graveyard. One good target for that effect is Ivaldi of the Nordic Smiths. Ivaldi is easily Special Summonable, requiring only a “Nordic” or “Aesir” monster on your side of the field. But Normal Summoning him first allows you to get him back for turn three plays via Gullinbursti. Also, Ivaldi fetches a “Nordic Relic” when Normal or Special Summoned. That might sound terrible to anyone knowing the old “Nordic Relics”, but we even got better relics to search for.
Armed with Shield and Chair
The new “Nordic Relics” are quite an upgrade to what was available before. The nearly unpronounceable Nordic Relic Hlidskjalf provides both Special Summons straight from the deck. Also, it has a costly but helpful search effect in the graveyard. As with all cards that trigger solid graveyard effects, you might want to opt for playing Foolish Burial Goods, ditch the card for a search, pick Ivaldi, and turn the -1 from Hlidskjalf into a +0 by Special Summoning him and searching the other “Nordic Relic”. Said relic is Nordic Relic Svalinn, amazing disruption that fits the overall playstyle of the archetype and provides both effect negation for cards on the opposing field as well as recovery. Sure, the opponent still has various ways to play around the card. Removal against the”Aesir” works as well as baiting Svalinn and simply moving on, but the “Nordics” sure appreciate having it.
Carnival at Glaðsheimr
But even some of the old options are still playable and viable. One of the “swarming helpers” in the deck pre-new support was Rescue Cat, fetching copies of either Tanngnjostr of the Nordic Beasts or Tanngrisnir of the Nordic Beasts. The kitty is not as good anymore, but in case you want to give that idea a go you now have a searchable Level 3 Tuner monster with Gullinbursti, making some new Synchro plays possible. Furthermore, to get around the high cost of Gullveig, players included Hippo Carnival and Super Hippo Carnival into the mix. Normal Summon a “Nordic” monster, Link Summon Gullveig, chain either card depending on the board, and simply banish the tokens for the effect before they block the Special Summon. Playing those cards might seem odd, but reducing the cost for Gullveig’s effect to one card is nice.
Give the Skalds Something to Sing About
There are also other paths for “Nordics.” For example, a Warrior-themed build. Ivaldi of the Nordic Smiths is already played at three copies in “Nordics”. Dverg of the Nordic Alfar is often overlooked, but it is another “Nordic” Warrior monster. In fact, Dverg gifts us an additional Normal Summon for “Nordic” monsters and serves as Link material. Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights increases the overall consistency and can use cards like Nordic Relic Draupnir. Reinforcement of the Army becomes available for yet more consistency. The Squeaknight/Sublimation Knight/Infernoble Knight – Renaud package with an added Infernoble Arms – Durendal can further improve the deck. Immortal Phoenix Gearfried can serve as a boss monster alongside the “Aesir”. Lastly, combinations like Neo Space Connector and Neo-Spacian Aqua Dolphin can also be played, so there is definitely potential here.
Phantoms of the Aurora
“Necessity is the mother of invention,” a motto the “Nordics” worked by for the longest time. The need for cards spawned some crazy ideas. I cannot mention all the different builds people went for, but one honorable mention goes to “Metaphys Nordics”. Instead of working around the banish cost of Gullveig, make it work for your deck. Banishing Metaphys Ascension via Gullveig provides a search. Metaphys Decoy Dragon can be summoned by banishing Metaphys Tyrant Dragon, which is a solid beater in its own right. Metaphys Nephthys can take care of Set backrow. You can even run Metaphys Horus if you want since it is summonable via Metaphys Decoy Dragon plus Vanadis.
The Deck Section
Here is one example build that I could see myself playing. First off, “Nordics” normally want to go first instead of second. Knowing that, I provided a few options to place into the backrow, mostly “Solemn”-Counter Traps. If the opponent manages to out our Gullveig the game is pretty much over; therefore, I use all available options to keep her safe. Other than that, the build has all of the good “Nordic” Main Deck monsters and some “quality of life”-additions. The build is pretty straightforward by design. You only need one “Nordic” monster to start your turn, but lots of help to keep it going unimpeded.
The basic turn could look something like this: Normal Summon Ivaldi of the Nordic Smiths. This will trigger his effect to search a “Nordic Relic”. Search a copy of Nordic Relic Svalinn. Link Summon Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant by using Ivaldi as Link material. Summoning Gullveig will trigger her effect, so banish three cards from your hand (except for the searched Nordic Relic Svalinn. Banishing three cards will allow you to Special Summon Gullinbursti, Alviss, and Tanngnjostr from your deck. Activate the last effect of Gullinbursti to retrieve Ivaldi from your graveyard. Synchro Summon any “Aesir” monster using Gullinbursti, Alviss, and Tanngnjostr as Synchro material. Set Nordic Relic Svalinn (and anything else you might still have available) and end your turn. Not the most impressive possible board, but one “Aesir” with protection (and potential revival) plus disruption is a start.
“Nordics” are still not competitively viable, but that does not matter. The new cards transform “Nordic” into a fun casual archetype with room to grow. And there is quite a bit of room left for creativity. Your “Aesirs” are all Level 10, making cards like Mound of the Bound Creator or Red Reign interesting for casual play. The level also allows for the inclusion of some “Trains” for burn and additional kicking power. Since the “Nordic Beasts” are all Beast-Type, you can go for interactions with the “Tri-Brigades”. Having both solid Light and Dark monsters makes a “Chaos”-variant possible. They can also fit the upcoming “Brave Token”-engine as much as various other decks. Conclusively, the new cards make the deck quite a lot better and, most importantly, interesting to play. Nice to see that the “Nordics”, after being left in the rain for so long, looks towards a brighter future.