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Ritual Monsters (Japanese:
When a Ritual Spell Card is activated, in general, Tributes must be offered from your side of the field and/or from your hand whose combined Level is at least the Level of the Ritual Monster in question. However, Ritual Spell Cards that can Summon more than one potential Ritual Monster ("Advanced Ritual Art" and any "Gishki" Ritual Spell Card, for example) require the total Level of the Tribute(s) to exactly equal the Level of the Ritual Monster. This also goes for some Ritual Spell Cards with additional effects, such as "Dawn of the Herald" and "Luminous Dragon Ritual" (which require exact Tribute(s) and yet only work for one Ritual Monster). A Special Summon performed this way is specifically treated as a Ritual Summon.
For example, in order to Ritual Summon a Level 1 Ritual Monster like "Relinquished" via "Black Illusion Ritual", a Tribute of at least 1 Level would be required, so any Monster at all (except an Xyz Monster) could be offered as a Tribute, since no monsters are below Level 1. However, with Ritual Monsters like "Black Luster Soldier" or "The Masked Beast", 8 Levels are required, so you would either need to Tribute two to three low-level monsters (around Level 3 or 4), or one Level 8 or higher monster, such as "Blue-Eyes White Dragon". For a monster like "Evigishki Soul Ogre" being Ritual Summoned with "Gishki Aquamirror", the Tributes are required to total exactly Level 8, and monsters whose total Levels are higher than 8 cannot be used. In a Deck dedicated to Ritual Monsters, it is not uncommon to use one Ritual Monster as a Tribute to Ritual Summon another (often times a second copy of the one that was Tributed.)
If a Ritual Monster is sent from the hand to the Graveyard (with cards like "Morphing Jar", or "Hand Destruction"), it can't be Special Summoned from the Graveyard with cards such as "Call of the Haunted" or "Fulfillment of the Contract", since it wasn't properly Ritual Summoned first. "Magician of Faith" or "Dark Magician of Chaos" can be used to return a used Ritual Spell Card back to your hand, while cards like "Monster Reincarnation" can be used to return the Ritual Monster back to your hand. "Preparation of Rites" can return a Ritual Spell from your Graveyard to your hand and simultaneously search out a Ritual Monster from your Deck.
If a Ritual Monster was Ritual Summoned successfully and destroyed in any way, or banished, it may be Special Summoned by cards like "Call of the Haunted" or "Return from the Different Dimension", unless it has restrictions that prevent it from being Special Summoned.
In one sense, Ritual Monsters are easier to Summon than Normal or Effect Monsters of the same Level, since you do not need to Summon the Tributes to the field, only to have them in your hand. However, it does require a number of specific cards in the hand at once, which can be more difficult depending on the Deck. To counter this, some Ritual Spell Cards such as "Advanced Ritual Art" can forego using cards from your hand and/or field altogether, and use monsters from one's Deck as Tribute Fodder instead. The "Djinn of Rituals" monsters, such as "Djinn Releaser of Rituals" and "Djinn Presider of Rituals", can be banished while in the Graveyard for use in a Ritual Summon as well as being Tributed normally, while also giving the Summoned Ritual Monster stronger abilities.
Ritual Summoning is supported by a number of Spell Cards, including "Ritual Foregone", which allows for the instant Summon of a Ritual Monster from the hand, though such a monster cannot attack and will be destroyed during the End Phase. In addition, "Advanced Ritual Art" can be used should you have a sufficient amount of Normal Monsters.
No other tributes are required if using "Ritual Raven" for the Summoning of a DARK Ritual Monster. Two of the "Gishki" archetype monsters, "Gishki Shadow" and "Gishki Vision" allow them to be the entire tribute for any WATER monster - not just a "Gishki" Ritual Monster.
Ritual-reliant Decks benefit the most from having multiple copies of Ritual cards (both spells and monsters), as the chances of drawing both the Ritual Spell and the Ritual Monster increases exponentially.
- So far, there is no WIND-Attribute Ritual Monster, except for "Elemental Mistress Doriado", that can be treated as so due to its effect.
- Ritual Monsters are some of the least-often used cards in the anime and manga
- The "Gishki" and "Nekroz" are the only archetypes focused on Ritual Monsters.
- "Forbidden Arts of the Gishki" is the only Ritual Spell Card that allow its user to tribute monsters of his/her opponent.
- "Gishki Photomirror" is the only Ritual Spell Card that requires its user to pay Life Points instead of tribute monsters.
- "Nekroz Exomirror" is the only Ritual Spell Cards that allow its user to banish monsters from the Graveyard instead of tributing them.
- The "Djinn of Rituals" is the only series that supports directly Ritual Monsters.
- There are no Level 2 Ritual Monsters.