I’m not going to complain about WP cards being the best way to get people excited for new product in the West because we’ve seen the other 80 cards from the set months in advance. I promise that’s not what today is about. Today is about Vermillion Dragon Mech and it’s the perfect Level 9 Synchro that I’ve been waiting years for. It’s not amazing, but rather, generic enough to be strong.
The high-level synchro pool has been pretty lacking as far as generics go. You can’t have a Level 1. Formula Synchron is the best Level 2. Clausolas is playable, but we didn’t get that until JOTL. Armory Arm is pretty old and still a good Level 4. Catastor, Magical Android and T.G. Hyper Librarian are all good, generic Level 5s that we got fairly early. Okay, Android is not so good but it was serviceable. At six, we had Brionac until it got itself Forbidden. Now we have Coral Dragon to fill that spot. Not to mention, Goyo Guardian was a powerhouse when it was first printed. Black Rose Dragon still sees play in decks that can make Level 7s. We also have Yazi and Clear Wing for good, generic Level 7s. There are too many Level 8s to name but we started with Stardust, Colossal Fighter, Red Dragon Archfiend and Thought Ruler Archfiend. All of them saw tournament play and are actually still good cards. The original RDA is a little sucky by today’s standards, though. Then we hit an absolute brick wall of playables after Level 8.
Mist Wurm was the best until Trishula came out and both require you to use at least three monsters. Giganticastle and Cloudcastle suck. None of the others are generic. At Level 10 we still only really have Leo, which is pretty new. Star Eater is great but didn’t come out until 2013. I’m glad we have it and it’s actually good. Now, Level 11 isn’t the easiest to make, but at the time Dragon Ruler plus Dragon Ruler plus Debris bringing back a Level 1 Tuner meant you had some Level 8 and a Star Eater. We only just got the Level 12 generic synchro. It’s about damn time we finally got a Level 9 two-material usable synchro. so, what does it do?
FIRE and Machine don’t immediately scream any type of synergy to me. It’s got 2700 ATK to match Trishula and the 1800 DEF won’t ever matter because nobody runs Book of Moon, Enemy Controller, nor Maestroke. 2700 is a pretty terrible number to be at because it loses to PSY-Framelord Omega, the Metalfoes fusion, Infinity, every single monster in the Blue-Eyes deck and can’t attack over Pilgrim Dante or Beatrice. At least 2700 ATK is something and Vermillion can stick around and do more than Trishula did once it hit the field.
When Vermillion hits the table you have to hope your opponent doesn’t have anything like a Bottomless Trap Hole waiting because you need to wait for the game state to be open before you can activate its ignition effect. Trishula got rid of two, sometimes three, real cards without targeting but only when it’s summoned. Vermillion can banish a Tuner from your hand, field or Graveyard to target and destroy any card on the field. Vermillion notably says “destroy it”, which means it doesn’t matter if the target becomes a different card, is flipped face-up or whatever, Vermillion will just destroy it. That’s the other thing. The target can be anything that can be targeted. True, you can’t hit your opponent’s Kozmo ships with Vermillion, but in that case, why did you summon Vermillion? As long as you have Tuners somewhere, you can banish them to destroy cards. It also banishes as part of the cost, not tribute. You can Mind Control or use something like Monster Reborn on an opponent’s Tuner to both banish their Tuner and destroy any card, even your own. I really appreciate this type of flexibility. I usually won’t want to destroy my own cards or banish Tuners from my hand/field but it can easily come up where I’ve used all of the Tuners in my Graveyard already. In 2011, there were so many times where I ran out of Fairies to banish with Master Hyperion, or banished an Agent from my hand to summon Hyperion only because I had a single Fairy in my Graveyard to destroy something with Hyperion.
Vermillion doesn’t have just one effect, either. The second effect is just gravy and gives you back any banished Tuner if it’s destroyed by a card effect. Of course, Konami had to put terrible restrictions on it that it needs to be Synchro Summoned AND destroyed by a card effect AND sent to the Graveyard. It’s only 2700 ATK, why can’t it just be when Vermillion leaves the field? -sigh- At least you can play something like Dark Hole and get the Tuner. I expect this to come up about as much as destroying your own cards will. Basically never. Konami is too careful with generic cards nowadays.
Let’s recap why this card is actually good.
1) It’s generic and only requires a Tuner and one or more non-Tuners.
2) Its ignition effect can be activated every turn as long as you have fodder.
3) The destruction doesn’t care what the target is.
4) You can sometimes get the extra gravy of getting a banished Tuner back.
5) 2700 ATK isn’t awful.
6) It only requires two monsters to Synchro Summon.
7) You can destroy your own cards if that comes up.
8) You can also banish Tuners from your hand or field.
9) Tuners are super easy to come by and you don’t care about banishing them.
10) Alternative Dragon and any Level 1 Tuner is an out to most problems the deck can’t deal with already.
I’m really excited for Vermillion. The only downsides are that it doesn’t do something if it dies by battle and it only has 2700 ATK. It’s not going to come up often if you do play it, but there isn’t another card like it that deals with problems as cleanly or as easily as Vermillion does. It looks like it will be a secret rare in INOV, which wouldn’t be surprising, but we can all hope it’s just a rare. Honestly, I’m hoping it’ll be secret because this is one card that I’d want a foil version of rather than a poopy rare. It always felt bad summoning a plain old rare Leo to attack over all the Burning Abyss monsters.
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