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"Irou", "Nisashi", "Yaichi", "Kamon", "Yariza" and "Zanji" in the artwork of "Six Samurai United".
"Six Samurai", known as "Six Warmen" (
The "Six Samurai" monsters consist of the original six, as well as their allies and masters. "Shien" cards are supported by this theme, "Great Shogun Shien" seems to be the warlord they serve. The overall theme takes a more futuristic approach, while in some form drawing inspiration from feudal Japan.
The basic "Six Samurai" monsters (the first six, whose card names feature names rather than titles) all have the effect "If this card would be destroyed you can destroy another "Six Samurai" monster you control instead" and also "While you control another "Six Samurai" monster with a different name, this card can... " meaning that their effects only activate when another "Six Samurai" monster is on the field.
In the set Storm of Ragnarok, a "Legendary Six Samurai" series was released, providing further support for the original Six, as well as their new counterparts.
"Six Samurai" were radically altered by the release of Storm of Ragnarok. With the release of the "Legendary Six Samurai", their strategy has shifted very rapidly from one of a normal Aggro Deck to a low monster search based Aggro Deck.
The addition of "Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En" is one of the major factors that has shaped the change, with his ability to negate a Spell or Trap card once per turn, allowing the Deck to extend farther than most other Metagame Decks without fear. Legendary Shi En is easy and quick to Summon, using "Legendary Six Samurai - Kageki" and "Kagemusha of the Six Samurai" (searchable by "Shien's Smoke Signal", "Reinforcement of the Army", and "Gateway of the Six") or by using "Elder of the Six Samurai" and "Asceticism of the Six Samurai" to Special Summon "Kagemusha of the Six Samurai", with a high DEF to reliably stay in play, he is now the key card of "Six Samurai" Decks.
In addition to "Shi En", "Legendary Six Samurai - Kizan" has also had a major effect on the play style of the Six Samurai. The ease with which he can be Special Summoned and searched has greatly increased the speed of the Deck and allowed it to use fewer monsters. He can either be Normal or Special Summoned, and, in the presence of two or more other "Six Samurai" monsters, gains 300 ATK/DEF bringing him to 2100 ATK.
Since the release of Storm of Ragnarok, "Six Samurais" have run far fewer monsters than they used to. The reason for this is their access to large numbers of search cards. They may use "Shien's Smoke Signal" and "Reinforcement of the Army" to boost their effective monster count.
The "Six Samurai" have access to amazing draw power in the form of "Six Samurai United". It is effectively a +1 when used, and the Bushido Counters it generates can be used for "Gateway of the Six" (Though Gateway is still banned). Bushido Counters are collected by Summoning "Six Samurai" monsters. In addition to "Six Samurai United", a popular option is to run "Upstart Goblin" to boost the Deck's consistency, using the argument that if they manage to get their field properly set up, the extra Life Points will not matter anyway.
The fact that the "Six Samurai" are all Warrior-Type monsters gives them access to "Rivalry of Warlords" in their Side Deck; a card that can cripple many different Decks.
The TCG September 2013 list banned "Gateway of the Six" causing this archetype to lose a valuable card and losing their OTK. However, "Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En", which was Limited for a good amount of time is now Unlimited, giving Six Samurais a big power boost. Having "Shi En" and "Great Shogun Shien" on the field at the same time makes it extremely difficult for the opponent to plan which Spell/Trap Cards to use and how to use them.
Six Samurai Xyz
This Deck relies on Summoning Xyz Monsters by swarming the field with Level 3 monsters. The most key card of this Deck is "Double-Edge Sword Technique", though cards that can prevent you from touching your Graveyard can kill this Deck as well as cards that prevent you from Special Summoning.
Usually, a well-played "Six Samurai" Deck poses a big threat to Decks that rely on a few powerful Spell and/or Trap cards to function. It can lock down, or at least greatly stall, them in the early game and keep its' own field untouchable. Decks like Elemental HEROs can be completely locked down by "Naturia Beast" and "Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En" as key spells like "E - Emergency Call" and "Miracle Fusion" become unusable. The same can be said about Dark World decks, which rely on many different discarding Spells.
If Six Samurai remove most of the opponent's cards and gain enough card advantage, it's almost impossible for the opponent to come back, due to the fact that most of the cards he can draw will be simply negated by "Shi En", "Musakani Magatama" and/or the "Naturia" Synchro Monsters.
"Six Samurai" can have excellent consistency in the early game, and may have the answer to anything that the opponent does throughout an entire Duel. Due to their versatility, they can adapt to almost any format.
Loss of Hand Advantage
"Six Samurai" require cards on the field and/or hand to get anything from their Draw Phase. The less cards they have, the more problematic it becomes for them to get good draws. If you make them waste or remove their cards, they will have much difficulty making a comeback.
Negation of Special Summoning and Prevention of Summoning
The "Six Samurai", much like "Blackwings", require field presence to properly swarm. Any card that prevents them from doing so for a turn slows them down greatly. Past this, "Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En" and "Musakani Magatama" largely solve this problem. Because of their varied attributes, "Gozen Match" can create problems for "The Six Samurai". This problem can be solved by negating or destroying the card with "Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En" or "Mystical Space Typhoon". Cards that prevent Special Summoning, such as "Archlord Kristya" and "Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo" also greatly weaken this Deck. This can be solved by adding "Breakthrough Skill" and/or "Fiendish Chain" to negate their effects.
"The Six Samurai" are also particularly vulnerable to cards that clear monsters out en masse, such as "Torrential Tribute", "Dark Hole" and "Black Rose Dragon". Cards like "Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En" and "Musakani Magatama" help to alleviate this problem. By switching a "Six Samurai" monster into Defense Position prior to attacking with another monster, you can minimize the damage taken by cards similar to "Mirror Force". Since "Mirror Force" only destroys Attack Position monsters, your "Six Samurai" monsters being destroyed can use the ones in Defense as substitues. "Backs to the Wall" is good in this situation, however, as you can fill your field right back up. If you can combo it with "Six Strike - Triple Impact", you can wipe out most or all of their spell/traps or monsters, depending on their status. ("Six Strike - Triple Impact" makes you choose between clearing face up monsters, and face-up or set spells & traps). Bringing out a "Legendary Six Samurai - Shinai" and a "Legendary Six Samurai - Mizuho" can enable you to clear another card of choice, with Shinai letting you bring out another copy of a samurai that "Backs to the Wall" couldn't.
"The Six Samurai's are currently a very effect-reliant Archetype. Without its effect, "Legendary Six Samurai - Kageki" is as useless as "Chamberlain of the Six Samurai". The most threatening effect to be negated, however, is that of "Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En". The negation of the effect of "Shi En" makes the Samurai player open to previously non-threatening Spell and Trap Cards, and allows a player locked down by "Shi En" to attempt a comeback. The common method used to negate "Samurai" monster's effects is simply "Effect Veiler", as it is the most effective monster effect-based negation (Spells and Traps are usually negated by "Shi En"). "Debunk" takes care of this problem and also helps against the commonly sided "Puppet Plant", although it is advised to only use this card in the Side Deck. Cards such as "Skill Drain" should be handled with effective side Deck cards, such as "Mystical Space Typhoon," "Twister," and "Dust Tornado". "Breakthrough Skill" can be a problematic card, although it can be negated by Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En when activated on the field. It can be used against Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En while in the Graveyard, however.
Due to the fact that most "Six Samurai" have low to mid level ATK, being overpowered by an opponent's monsters poses a risk to most "Six Samurai" Decks. Since the boom of "Chaos Dragon" Deck types with the release of the Dragons Collide Structure Deck, this is even more of a relevant weakness. "Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon" can easily put a stop to many Deck strategies with the "Six Samurai". Keep one or two copies of "The Six Samurai - Zanji" to deal with it. Another, although not commonly used, remedy to help with this can be "Solidarity", since all "Six Samurai" are Warrior-Type; although this can present a problem with too many non-Warrior Type, Synchro Monsters, due to "Solidaritys' effect being stopped by different types of monsters in the Graveyard. Also, "The A. Forces" can help as well, especially since it is included with the recent "Samurai Warlords" structure Deck. Despite the fact that "The A. Forces" doesn't give as big of an initial boost as "Solidarity", it carries the potential to out perform with five monsters active, as they would all be granted a 1,000 ATK point increase each. In addition, this weakness was largely solved with the release of the, easy to summon, "Heroic Champion - Excalibur".
Probably the biggest problem for "Six Samurai" is a LIGHT Fairy-Type based Decks - With "Archlord Kristya", "Gozen Match" (sometimes even in their Main Deck nowadays), "Herald of Orange Light" and high ATK monsters.
Monsters, that can, without destroying, remove monsters from the field are a big threat to Six Samurai strategy, since "Naturia" Synchro Monsters are usually kept at one of each in the Extra Deck. Chaos Monsters, like "Dark End Dragon" etc., can easily overpower this Deck. Additionally, "Penguin Soldier" can bounce two monsters to the owner's hand, posing a threat to most of the Six Samurai and their Synchro/Xyz Monsters, so Six Samurai players should keep some quick monster removal and/or effect negation to respond to these cards.
Mermail\Atlantean mixes, because of their power to constantly destroy cards on the field without using Spells and Traps, as well as their spell\trap negation, they are a big problem for "Six Samurais'. A good choice would be to wait for them to go off and then overpower them. In a second game, "Soul Drain" and\or "Dimensional Fissure" will help you even more against these troublesome decks, because of the abilities of the "Six Samurai" to already protect against cards like "Mystical Space Typhoon".
The Six Samurai should also be cautious against "Gravekeeper's" Decks. Cards like "Gravekeeper's Descendant" and "Gravekeeper's Guard" can mean trouble for just about any Deck."Necrovalley" can also negate the effect of "Grandmaster of the Six Samurai" if it is destroyed by a card effect and sent to the Graveyard, although, he can still target and return himself.
- Each Six Samurai has a different attribute, and those with polar attributes have opposite effects. Yaichi's opposite is Kamon, Nisashi's is Yariza, and Irou's is Zanji.
- Yaichi destroys face-down Spell/Trap cards, and Kamon destroys face-up Spell/Trap cards.
- Nisashi can attack twice and potentially destroy multiple monsters, while Yariza bypasses monsters entirely to attack directly.
- Irou's effect can take down monsters before they become a threat, and Zanji's effect can take out an already active threat.
- The Legendary Six Samurai have similar interactions between opposing attributes:
- "Shi En" takes care of Spells and Traps, while "Enishi" gets rid of monsters once per turn. Both effects can be activated during either player's turn.
- "Kizan" can summon itself if you have a different "Six Samurai" monster, while "Kageki" summons another "Six Samurai" when Normal Summoned.
- "Mizuho" requires "Six Samurai" to be tributed to activate its effect that destroys cards. On the other hand, "Shinai" need to be tributed to get a "Six Samurai" from the Graveyard (also, you can Special Summon one while controlling the other).
- Most card artworks featuring the Six Samurai and their supporting cards contain a heraldic crest/coat of arms(紋章 - monshō or 家紋 - kamon) representing the Six Samurai. The crest is composed of a bolded outer-circle and an inner-circle. The inner-circle contains six smaller dotted circles which are connected to each other (in a specific path) and 6 other irregular shapes that are likely to represent the initial Six Samurai. To date, the only Six Samurai related cards that do not feature the Six Samurai crest are "Great Shogun Shien", "Tenkabito Shien", "Shien's Footsoldier", "Shien's Daredevil", and "Shien's Castle of Mist". However, it appears that if you look at the art in some of the Shien cards that Shien and Elder have an alternate symbol between them, as evident in "Tenkabito Shien", "Shien's Advisor", "Elder of the Six Samurai", and even "Shien's Smoke Signal".
- The name of the archetype and the design of their members, including the "Shien" archetype, may be derived from the Japanese films Seven Samurai (1954) and Kagemusha (1980), both by Akira Kurosawa.