"Ice Barrier" (氷結界Hyōkekkai) is an archetype consisting of WATERmonsters resembling, for the most part, famous concepts, figures, warriors, and mythological beings of different Asian cultures. Their team symbol resembles a hexagonal snowflake. They focus on stymieing the opponent's attackers with their defensive monsters and plenty of Spell/Trap Cards to compensate for their inability to maintain hand advantage. The ace monsters of this archetype are thethreeDragons and thethreeGenerals of the Ice Barrier.
Most "Ice Barrier" monsters require another of their kind - usually, but not always, on the field - in order to activate their effects, which are oriented towards field advantage. For example, many "Ice Barrier" monsters have effects to protect other "Ice Barrier" monsters, be it from attacks ("Cryomancer of the Ice Barrier" forbids all monsters of Level 4 or higher from attacking while its owner control another "Ice Barrier") or card effects ("Dai-sojo of the Ice Barrier" protects all of your "Ice Barriers" from being destroyed by Spell/Trap Cards). These effects can overlap, making "Ice Barriers" capable of creating resilient fields if several of their monsters are out. One of the three Generals of the Ice Barrier, "Raiho", does not need other "Ice Barrier" monsters for its effect to work, but it can stand on its own as well as complement their lockdowns by taking a toll on the opponent's hand if they rely on monster effects.
Many of the "Ice Barrier" monsters are not very useful if alone, making this archetype have issues if not able to establish field presence. While not plentiful, Ice Barriers do have effects of their own to facilitate having several monsters out, such as "Magic Triangle of the Ice Barrier", and this is also assisted by the effects of their remaining two Generals, "Grunard" and "Gantala".
The aforementional "General Gantala of the Ice Barrier" is one of the archetype's trump cards, being a 2700 ATK monster that can Special Summon an "Ice Barrier" monster from its controller's Graveyard during each of their turns' End Phase. It can revive any "Ice Barrier" besides other copies of itself, be it monsters such as "Defender of the Ice Barrier" to create or rebuild a defensive field, "General Raiho of the Ice Barrier" to apply more pressure, or even their Synchro Monsters, making it powerful and versatile.
"Prior of the Ice Barrier" is a multi-purpose card - it can be used for its easy Special Summon, quickly enabling another "Ice Barrier" monster's effect, or be used for its effect to Special Summon any other "Ice Barrier" monster from the Graveyard - the usual target being "Gantala", as it can in turn revive more "Ice Barriers" turn after turn, but it can revive other monsters for Synchro and Xyz Summons as well. "Prior" himself can be easily retrieved by "Salvage" and "Surface", making it possible to use a single copy of "Prior" several times.
For the most part, "Ice Barriers" want to establish a solid field and, if possible, keep it. While they are definitely capable of Synchro Summoning with their own Tuner monsters, and all of their Synchro Monsters are very good, caution must be exercised - their Tuners themselves have defensive effects you must give up on in order to Synchro Summon, and "Ice Barriers" as a whole are not very good at gaining and keeping card advantage.
"Dewloren, Tiger King of the Ice Barrier" and its ability to return face-up cards to the hand make it possible for players to dedicate a build to it and use a variety of Spell/Trap Cards that remain on the field such as "Swords of Revealing Light" to pressure the opponent while you can replay them constantly as long as "Dewloren" is around. The many means of revival the "Ice Barrier" archetype has makes it difficult to break through "Dewloren" combos permanently without banishing it or returning it to the Extra Deck.
Using a small monster lineup, keep it consistent and simple, relying on Spell/Trap Cards to keep you in the game long enough to capitalize off of the effects of "Gantala" and "Gungnir". Since the entire archetype is made up of WATER monsters, it can benefit from using monsters such as "Barrier Statue of the Torrent" and "Moulinglacia the Elemental Lord", the latter of which shrinks your opponent's hand size, making the effect of "General Raiho" even more potent.
The following Decklists may or may not contain copies of cards that exceed the maximum amount allowed by the current Forbidden & Limited List. These should not be changed, as these Decklists are copied verbatim at the time they were published.
As "Ice Barriers" thrive on having several monsters on the field, an easy way of dealing with them is to not let them do so. Also, their lockdowns are never absolute and they rely on several monsters being on the field at the same time, so disposing of one or two of those will tip the field on your favor.