In the third season of GX, we were introduced to a rather interesting character, Jesse Anderson, and his unique Crystal Beasts archetype. In addition to these monsters having voice acting of their own, their special attributes made them highly notable, even before the arrival of Rainbow Dragon. By Force of the Breaker, players now get to wield the Crystal Beasts' unique abilities, too!
There's a common thing for Crystal Beasts - when they would be destroyed and sent to the Graveyard, they could enter the S/T Zone instead. When placed there, they are treated as Continuous Spells. (This process shall be known through the guide as "crystallization") Though they do nothing in there, this is crucial to some of their strategies, as the many card effects associated with them benefit off this. This also circumvents effects that say "destroys a monster by battle and sends it to the Graveyard" to trigger.
Note that there are several ways your opponent can circumvent your Crystal Beasts getting into the S/T Zones. For one, they need to be face-up and have their effects un-negated when destroyed before they get said option. This means your opponent can destroy them with effects while face-down or negate their effects to disable crystallization. Don't worry if they do get attacked while face-down - they will be flipped up for Damage Calculation, so after the attack they still get an opportunity to crystallize. Also, if they were to be both destroyed and banished at the same time (like through Bottomless Trap Hole), they cannot enter the S/T Zone (Fortunately they still have this option if Macro Cosmos or Dimensional Fissure is active.)
For those who seek to put a Crystal Beast Deck together, a good amount of these cards can be obtained easily in Duelist Pack 7: Jesse Anderson. However, OCG pack contents differ from the TCG ones, particularly since they contain vital pieces like Sapphire Pegasus and Rainbow Dragon while the TCG ones don't.
- OTK maker - Crystal Abundance is more or less the ultimate goal of the Crystal Beast Deck, since it will leave the opponent almost completely defenseless while summoning a large swarm of Crystal Beasts to beat them silly.
- Good swarming ability - Crystal Beasts have a couple of tricks up their sleeves that allows them to summon a bunch of monsters in one turn. On a related note, they also have multiple effects that let them crystallize from Deck or Graveyard, allowing them to use their crystal-reliant effects sooner.
- Circumvents "destroy and send to Graveyard" effects - Crystal Beasts enter the backrow rather than the Graveyard when destroyed in battle, unless there's no space or you choose not to do so. This means that effects need a monster to score a kill (e.g. Blackwing - Shura the Blue Flame) will not trigger.
- Unable to use many traps - Crystal Beast Decks tend to clog their backrow with crystals, and as such need to keep enough space for it. If a situational unchainable Trap were to be sitting in one of those slots, it can interfere with the Deck's strategies. Thus the only traps the Crystal Beast Deck would prefer to use are either staples or chainable ones.
- Lack of brute force - The strongest Crystal Beast stands at a base 1800 ATK. There's one that can exceed that amount, but it only buffs up to 2000 ATK. Equip cards can help overcome this drawback, but without them, Crystal Beasts would become sitting ducks for a while as they take beatings and fill the backrow.
- Vulnerable to S/T destruction - Doubly so since they cannot reliably use Traps to counter that Heavy Storm.
Let's look into the base components of the deck - the monsters:
- Crystal Beast Ruby Carbuncle - At 300/300, it can't do much, but its effect is very potent. When Special Summoned, all Crystal Beasts in the S/T Zone can be Special Summoned to the field if possible. This swarm of monsters allows for a game-ending rush, which is what the Deck is known for.
- Crystal Beast Amber Mammoth - Decent stats of 1700/1600, and if another Crystal Beast monster is attacked it can change the target to itself. The second largest beater of the original 7, and thus is a must to have in the deck.
- Crystal Beast Topaz Tiger - 1600/1000 is fair enough for a LV4, but its ATK rises to 2000 when it attacks a monster. This makes it a prime choice as it can take out many monsters using its powerup ability, but take note that the effect does not work when it gets attacked instead.
- Crystal Beast Emerald Tortoise - 600 ATK cannot take much down, but 2000 DEF can hold many monsters off. Its effect can switch a monster that has attacked this turn to Defense Position, which is good when you're going to suffer damages otherwise, but overall lack of offensive ability leaves this underplayed.
- Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus - 1800/1200 is standard issue LV4 stats, but what makes this card shine is its effect - on Summon (any kind), he can crystallize a Crystal Beast from anywhere - hand, Deck, or Graveyard. This ability to speed things up and generate advantage makes it a central card for the deck.
- Crystal Beast Cobalt Eagle - Weak stats of 1400/800 and a questionable effect of topdecking a Crystal Beast card on the field leaves it an underlooked card. Perhaps useable with Pegasus to create a loop of constant crystallization, but generally considered a weak Crystal Beast.
- Crystal Beast Amethyst Cat - Weaker stats of 1200/600, but it can attack directly for half damage. It is generally good for slipping under most locks due to its Level, but it also makes a valid target for Rescue Cat.
- Rainbow Dragon - The key card of a pure Crystal Beast build, Rainbow Dragon can be dropped from the hand as long as all 7 Beasts are either on the field or in the Graveyard. And with 4000 ATK, it's not fooling around. Its effects cannot be used on the turn it's Summoned. The first eats all Crystal Beast monsters you control for a 1000 ATK boost per Beast, which is good for overkill or quickly overpowering something much bigger than it already is. The second removes all Crystal Beasts in the Grave to reset the field, a questionable effect which sees little use. Be careful if you're not done with the opponent once the Dragon is Summoned, as it has 0 DEF.
- Rainbow Dark Dragon - Its summoning requirement wants 7 different DARK monsters rather than 7 different Crystal Beasts... However, if you run Advanced Dark, all your Crystal Beast monsters in the field and Grave are treated as DARK monsters, allowing Rainbow Dark to be summoned. It can be used with Rainbow Gravity and Rainbow Path if needed. Problem is that Rainbow Dark banishes your monsters for its summoning requirement, and its ATK-boosting effect is just as problematic as it does the same to everything DARK on your field and in your Grave. Seeing that Crystal Beasts don't do well with banishment, it's best if you stick to the original Rainbow Dragon.
Spells & Traps
With that done, let's look at the S/T support:
- Ancient City - Rainbow Ruins - A solid Field for the deck, and its effects accumulate! It gains each effect for each Crystal Beast in your S/T Zone:
- It is immune to destruction by card effects. Fields with innate self-protection like this are very rare.
- Once per turn, you can halve the Battle Damage from one of your opponent's attacks, letting you survive a little longer.
- You can send a Crystal Beast monster you control to the Graveyard to negate the activation of one of your opponent's S/Ts. A fairly decent means to protect your monsters once you start staging an attack.
- You can draw an additional card once per turn. This count resets if you play over with another copy of Rainbow Ruins, allowing you to run through the Deck faster!
- You can Special Summon one Crystal Beast from your S/T Zone. Either target Carbuncle for a swarm, or simply free up a S/T Zone slot to use your own cards.
- Advanced Dark - Oh sweet mother of Sophia, THIS is unexpected! Advanced Dark doesn't have a load of utility as Rainbow Ruins does, but it is very useful in Decks focusing on summoning Rainbow Dragon or its shadow counterpart. First of all, all Crystal Beast monsters on the field and in the Graveyard are treated as DARK, allowing for Rainbow Dark Dragon to be playable. Next, it negates the effects of whatever Rainbow Dragon or Rainbow Dark Dragon is attacking during the Battle Phase, allowing them to puncture battle-indestructable walls or searcher chains. Finally, if you'd take Battle Damage with a Crystal Beast you control, you can dump a Crystal Beast of your choice from your Deck into the Grave to negate the damage, prolonging your survival and further setting up for the Dragon. Whether to run this or Rainbow Ruins in a Rainbow Dragon Deck is up to you.
- Crystal Abundance - The OTK engine for the Deck. It costs 4 crystallized Beasts, but in exchange it clears out the entire board, and you get to Special Summon a Crystal Beast for each of your opponent's cards wiped off. The resulting swarm clears the way for game-finishing damage, but take note that it is a dead draw early on. Be careful of any Counter Traps or anything that can negate its activation, since you will not be likely to have a way to counter this, and will be stuck with an (almost) empty field afterwards.
- Crystal Beacon - Requires 2 crystallized Beasts, but Special Summons one from your Deck. This is very good with Pegasus in filling up the S/T slots, or you can pull a Carbuncle for a quick swarm.
- Crystal Blessing - Regenerates 2 Crystal Beasts into the S/T Zone, and is good for recovering after getting hit by some S/T destruction, or fueling up for other more costly effects. Max these out, you will need it.
- Crystal Counter - At the cost of wiping your S/T Zone, you get to fill it to the brim with Crystal Beasts from the Graveyard. After which all Crystal Beasts cards you control are wiped off the field. The rules dictate that this card remains in the S/T Zone until it is done resolving, meaning a total of 4 Crystals of your choice will fill the zone. This makes for a good follow-up with Abundance, or it can be used with the field card to quickly use its first 4 effects.
- Crystal Pair - When a Crystal Beast monster is destroyed by battle and sent to the Graveyard, you can activate this card, crystallizing another Beast from the Deck, and preventing further Battle Damage this turn. It's a bit counter-intuitive to let a Crystal Beast hit the Grave through battle though...
- Crystal Promise - This simple Spell Special Summons a crystallized Beast. Good when used with Pegasus for further crystallization, and can be used with Carbuncle for a sudden swarm.
- Crystal Raigeki - At the cost of a crystallized Beast, this destroys a card of the opponent's. Good removal, but handle with care - don't unnecessarily empty out your crystals.
- Crystal Release - An awesome equip card for the Crystal Beasts. The equipped monster gains 800 ATK, which is enough to get some of the weaker beasts to hold their own in battle, while powering up the stronger ones to extents where they can take down normally stronger beatsticks. And that's not all - when sent from the field to the Graveyard, it furthers the strategy by crystallizing another Crystal Beast from the Deck!
- Crystal Tree - An odd Continuous Spell which gains counters each time a Crystal Beast gets Crystallized. It can send itself to the Graveyard to crystallize a number of Beasts from your Deck equal to the number of counters on it. Best if you play this at no more than 1 copy, and best used to its full potential once it hits 2 counters, no more.
- Last Resort - Seeks out a Rainbow Ruins from your Deck and activates it when your opponent attacks. If you play over a field in the process your opponent gets a free draw. Good for a bit of surprise element, but Terraforming is usually preferred.
- Rainbow Gravity - Once you have fulfilled the conditions for Rainbow Dragon, this card lets you summon it from your Deck or Graveyard. If you want to, Rainbow Dark Dragon can also be summoned by this effect. Quite a good card for Rainbow builds, when you just lost the Dragon to a discard or need an emergency beater late into the game.
- Rainbow Path - When the opponent attacks, you can send a crystallized Crystal Beast to the Graveyard to negate it, and then search out Rainbow Dragon or Rainbow Dark to your hand. Not quite worth the cost unless you're almost set for the arrival of the Dragon.
- Rare Value - A debated card. While you wind up losing a crystallized Crystal Beast, you draw 2 cards. Some say the tradeoff is not worth it, others welcome the draw power. I say, give this card a shot.
Many different ways to play Crystal Beasts exist, with some means being preferred to others for several reasons.
This build is a pure Crystal Beast build, using all 7 Crystal Beasts and Rainbow Dragon. The aim here is to quickly gather the 7 beasts either on the field or in the Graveyard using whatever support the theme has. Then, the Dragon can be dropped either as a surprise attack, or as a follow up to Crystal Abundance for sheer overkill.
Some unique features of the Deck include:
- Crystal Beast Cobalt Eagle and Crystal Beast Emerald Tortoise, which the other builds ignore for Deck space
- Rainbow Gravity to get the Dragon out faster
- Rainbow Dragon, of course.
- Advanced Dark to give the player the ability to pick and mill missing Crystal Beasts for the Dragon's Summon requirement.
- Rainbow Dark Dragon becomes playable in this Deck with Advanced Dark, though it is still not recommended.
An example of this Deck is as follows:
A more flexible build as it uses other resources to aid the usage Crystal Abundance rather than fully dedicating to Rainbow Dragon. It does not use the full Crystal Beast set so as to free up Deck space for other resources that can speed up the placement of the crystals in the S/T Zone, so that the finishing Abundance can be pulled off with ease once drawn.
This build tends to feature the following which the Rainbow Build does not use:
- Rescue Cat, to fetch out 2 Amethyst Cats. After which these two would self-destruct and crystallize. However, this card has been banned since September 2010.
- Summoner Monk can easily summon a Sapphire Pegasus for a free crystallization, or a Rescue Cat to get 2 Amethyst Cats as stated above.
- Kuraz the Light Monarch helps crystallize Beasts on the field while letting the player draw cards.
- Destiny Hero - Diamond Dude can bypass the activation costs and requirements for most of the Normal Spell supports.
- Card Trooper serves as a way to thin the Deck, beat face, and dump Crystal Beasts into the Graveyard for later recovery.
An example of the Deck is as follows:
With the ability of Crystal Beasts to swarm the field, another variation has been derived: Crystal Synchro. Using many methods to pull Crystal Beasts out to the field, the Deck can then summon a few Tuners for a quick tuning to beat face. Popular strategies include Special Summoning Ruby Carbuncle to flood the field with Synchro material, or using Rescue Cat to fetch Tuners for a fast Synchro. Now, Xyz Monsters can tap into the swarming power of the Crystal Beasts, making even Cobalt Eagle useful.
Some unique cards this variation features:
- X-Saber Airbellum is used in conjunction with Rescue Cat to quickly fetch a Tuner and Amethyst Cat to immediately Synchro Summon. Too bad that Resuce Cat is banned now.
- Rose, Warrior of Revenge, Soldier of Mist Valley, Flamvell Magical and Scrap Beast are all LV4 Tuners with no drawbacks.
- Krebons combined with Emergency Teleport make an instant LV2 Tuner for other Synchro Summoning.
- Spell Striker is a good free Special Summon, particularly with a large amount of Spells the Deck uses.
An example of the Deck is as follows:
Tag Duel Options
Be careful of what rules you're using for the Tag Duel. If you're playing in the environment where both players share the same 5-zone field, you'll become a liability unless pairing with another Crystal Beast Deck, because your crystals will clog the backrow and inhibit your partner's use of Traps.
If you're not, then try to get a partner that has the ability to defend S/Ts from destruction, since you will need your crystals around. If you're feeling daring, you can pair with a Neos Deck to try to make Rainbow Neos for the lulz.
Some other cards can be considered when constructing the Deck:
- Anteatereatingant - Summon by sacrificing off 2 crystals, and it can support in raw power or reuseable S/T removal.
- Dragon Queen of Tragic Endings - You can Special Summon this card just by having 3 Continuous Spells, which your crystals can count for. She provides some great support by putting pressure on the opponent's hand while replenishing yours. Also, if she ever gets taken out, you can revive her at the cost of a crystal.
- Dweller in the Depths - Powers up for each crystal you have. Can reach a maximum of 3000 ATK and attacks under most Level-based locking cards.
- Hamon, Lord of Striking Thunder - It can be summoned by sacrificing 3 crystals. It is said to be arguably better than Rainbow Dragon due to its burn and protection effects, along with its solid 4000 DEF.
- Magical Merchant - It can mill through Crystal Beasts to prepare for the arrival of Rainbow Dragon, while fetching a Spell or Trap card that will be abundant in this Deck. Take care that the Dragon itself doesn't get milled.
- Magna-Slash Dragon and Gravi-Crush Dragon - Both eat crystals for their effects. One kills S/Ts, another kills monsters. Both are also 1-Tribute monsters. Considering the weakness of many Crystal Beasts, these can be a problem to bring out, but they are capable of providing additional muscle to the Deck.
- Snipe Hunter - There are times when you find yourself with a hand full of Crystal Beasts that won't do you any good in dealing with threats, or copies of Spells that you can't use. This can help you clean out threats in a way which Stardust Dragon can't stop, and tossed out Crystal Beasts can always be replenished with Blessing.
- Monster Reincarnation - Toss out loose copies of Spells, get that dead Dragon back to your hand for another round. Alternatively, you can send unneeded Crystal Beasts to the Graveyard for use with Crystal Blessing to quickly fill up the S/T zone.
- Horn of the Phantom Beast - Now, this card can only equip to Topaz Tiger, Amethyst Cat or Amber Mammoth, but 2 to 3 different targets never really stopped Scrap hybrids from using this card. The equipped monster gets a substantial 800 ATK boost, and if it scores a kill, you get to draw a card. A good card to use to turn the battle when your Tiger/Cat/Mammoth gets attacked, while providing a source of draw power.
- Skill Prisoner - A Chainable, reusable Trap that lets you protect a single card from monster effects that target. You need not wait for the opponent to activate an effect to use it, so you can free up space anytime. Not to mention it can still activate in the Graveyard on later turns.
- Trap Stun - Nothing hurts more than a Counter Trap screwing over your Abundance. Activate this right before you try for your OTK to either defuse Counter Traps or distract them, so that Abundance goes off without a hitch.
- Rank 3 and 4 Xyz Monsters - A Crystal Beast Deck has difficulties when it encounters a Deck dedicated to locking and deliberately not destroying their monsters. The new Xyz Monsters will allow the Deck to have some proper muscle, not to mention that the Rank mechanism bypasses Level-based locking cards. Use of the Xyz monster effects, or removal of the monsters, will also fill the Graveyard with the Crystal Beasts, allowing them to be placed in the S/T Zone with Crystal Blessing. For those trying to run these, the following would be good for the Deck:
- Gagaga Cowboy - Pulled off an Abundance but the opponent is barely alive? Squeeze out that extra 800 to finish the game.
- Leviair the Sea Dragon - Pegasus fell into Bottomless Trap Hole? Bring it back and gain another crystal.
- Number 17: Leviathan Dragon - Use your Carbuncle or Turtle to form this massive beatstick.
- Number 39: Utopia - A great beatstick at 2500 ATK which can also help protect your Beasts from being attacked.
- Number 82: Heartlandraco - Unattackable if you control a face-up Spell card (i.e. any crystallized Crystal Beast), and can attack directly for a bit. Good as a late-game finisher/wall.
- Temtempo the Percussion Djinn - Opponent's got their own Xyz Monsters giving you trouble? Defuse the threats by reducing the number of times their effects can activate.
- Wind-Up Zenmaines - Stop your opponent's attacks cold as they begin to expend other forms of removal just to circumvent its effect.