Six Samurai, known as the Six Warmasters (六武衆) in the OCG, is an archetype of Warrior-Type monsters that debuted in Strike of Neos, with further support included in Gladiator's Assault, Storm of Ragnarok and Extreme Victory. They rely on having multiple Six Samurai on the field to use their effects. So to easily activate the effects, the deck revovling around them's playing style is often based on swarming or the act of rapidly summoning monsters to your side of the field in an attempt to overpower or overwhelm your opponent. Swarming is essential to the Six Samurai because one samurai is nothing while a samurai paired up with another's power is more than doubled.
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" seeming to be the warlord they serve. The overall theme seems to be futuristic, while in some form drawing inspiration from feudal Japan.
The basic Six Samurai monsters (the initial '6') 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" sub-archetype was released, providing further support for the original six, as well as their new counterparts.
Six Samurai have been 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 shift, 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. 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 had a major effect on the play style of 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, is increased from 1800 ATK to 2100 ATK.
Since the release of Storm of Ragnarok, Six Samurai 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, and make up the difference in monsters with "Gateway of the Six" from there.
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 this is not recommended unless you can refill its Bushido counters and draw on that same turn). 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. Also it may be helpful to run "One Day of Peace" to add draw power and save you in a pinch.
The fact that the Six Samurai are all Warrior-Type monsters give them access to "Rivalry of Warlords" in their Side Deck, a card that can cripple many major decks in today's metagame. The Six Samurai deck is strong against most decks, but are especially vulnerable to fairy decks for some reason.
- The basic Six Samurai monsters (the initial '6') artwork features each of them holding a weapon which refers to their effects.
- 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, and Yariza bypasses monsters entirely to attack directly. Irou can take down monsters with his effect before they become a threat, and Zanji can take out an already opposing threat with his effect.
- 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" 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 may be derived from the 1954 Japanese film "Seven Samurai", by Akira Kurosawa.
- Many of the Legendary Samurai are a form of other members of the Six: for example. Enishi, Shien's Chancellor has battle armor in the background of his image. That battle armor is what is worn by The Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi. It can be assumed that Shien and Shi En are the same obviously, but The Legendary Six Samurai - Kizan is closely related to the Grandmaster of the Six Samurai, and so forth.
- Grandmaster of the Six Samurai
- Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi
- Legendary Six Samurai - Kizan
- Legendary Six Samurai - Kageki
- Kagemusha of the Six Samurai
- Hand of the Six Samurai
- Elder of the Six Samurai
- Enishi, Shien's Chancellor
- Great Shogun Shien
- Shien's Squire
- Reinforcement of the Army
- Six Samurai United
- Gateway of the Six
- Shien's Smoke Signal
- Asceticism of the Six Samurai
- Shien's Dojo
- Upstart Goblin
- The Warrior Returning Alive
- Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En
- Naturia Barkion
- Naturia Beast
- Scarred Warrior
- Naturia Landoise
- Colossal Fighter
- Blade Armor Ninja
- Ancient Fairy Dragon
- Number 39: Utopia
- Number 16: Shock Master
- T.G. Hyper Librarian
- Heroic Champion - Excalibur
- M-X-Saber Invoker
- Shadow of the Six Samurai - Shien
The "Six Samurai" have a decent (if well played) upper hand when facing the "Wind-Up" Archetype, mainly for its high monster ATK and "better" swarming capabilities, for the basic strategy for Wind-Ups is to commence the "Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity" loop and end with three Carrier and one Rank 5 Monster, preferably "Wind-Up Arsenal Zenmaioh", "Tiras, Keeper of Genesis", or "Adreus, Keeper of Armageddon and few Trap Cards. The Samurai duelist, even with a simple monster such as "Legendary Six Samurai - Kizan" can run over the Wind-Up monsters, as they are Swarmy but weak. The Wind-Up duelist's Monster Cards just don't have enough attack points and effective Spell Card and Trap Cards to counter the Samurai strategy.
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.
"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 can minimize 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 Position to "negate" their destruction. "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" has to 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 "Backs to the Wall" couldn't.
"The Six Samurai" is currently a very effect-reliant Deck. 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 unfeared 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.
Due to the fact that most "Six Samurai" have low to mid level ATK points, overpowerment 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". Some remedies to help with this can be "Solidarity", since all "Six Samurai" are "Warrior" type; altough this can present a problem with high synchro non-"Warrior" type decks; since any other type of monster in the "Graveyard" will cancel the effect of "Solidarity". Also, "The A. Forces" can help as well, especially since it is included with the recent "Samurai Warlords" structure deck for easy availability. 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.
Because Six Samurai Decks are used so much, people often fill their Side Decks with a lot of anti-Six Samurai cards, such as "Kinetic Soldier", or the more card with no cost.
You 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, if you're not properly prepared. "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.