Shadows in Valhalla is one of my favourite kind of Yu-Gi-Oh! sets, the ol’ Hidden Arsenal formula of 4 Super Rares and 1 Secret Rare per pack. Alongside a bunch of cute anime girls and edgy ninjas, it contains foiled out reprints of old favourites and some previously hard to obtain cards. Which is just a treat.
Let’s look at the new cards, namely the Valkyrie archetype and some support for the Invoked and Ninja archetypes.
Valkyries make their debut in this set, boasting some very interesting cards, namely Mischief of the Time Goddess, Ride of the Valkyries and their associated continuous spell cards.
Mischief of the Time Goddess seems completely insane, but has a lot of serious hindrances and issues. You need to be ahead on the board, control exclusively Valkyrie monsters and be able to kill your opponent in two Battle Phases. That seems hard. Except for the doing 8000 points of damage part, that bit’s easy.
This is where Ride of the Valkyries comes in, it allows you to slam your hand on the board and also searches Mischief straight afterwards(it doesn’t contain the oft used addendum of ‘except the turn this card was sent to the graveyard’). This card is the real playmaker of the deck and is absolutely essential to winning. Fortunately it is searchable by Valkyrie Dritte(the best normal summon for the deck).
All the dumb OTKs aside, I think the Goddess spells are legitimately very powerful. Acting as a chain of 2 free searches, providing some board protection and allowing you to manipulate the top of your opponent’s deck for free and boost your monsters. The chain of Oracle>Guidance>Verdict just seems crazy strong. It is unfortunately restricted heavily to the Valkyrie archetype, but that is definitely for the best.
With some workshopping and the right build this deck is likely perfectly reasonable, but it does suffer from the predictability of Ride of the Valkyries and generally fragile board when going first. A real shame the Goddess cards aren’t also Valkyrie cards to search off of Dritte. And that general Fairy support is pretty awful.
We also have a bunch of new Ninja cards, which didn’t really come up in the box we opened. We were looking for the Link monster Ninja Grandmaster Saizo, who is a total powerhouse for the Ninja archetype and opens up a lot of cool new strategies.
As it turns out, setting cards for free from your deck is pretty sweet, especially when those cards allow you to disrupt your opponent or field some sick tech monsters such as Mist Valley Apex Avian(which was reprinted in this set) or Scary Moth. My actual favourite target for Ninjutsu Art of Transformation in the middle of a chain of summons.
Yellow Ninja is also super handy, acting as the archetype friendly Goblindbergh/Marauding Captain. He really helps you get to Saizo a whole lot faster.
The new Yellow Dragon Ninja is a bit boozy, requiring you to fairly trade two of your cards for two backrow. We never want to make fair trades, that’s not a way to win games. His art is notably badass though.
Overall, ninjas are in a weird place with this set. Their new Ninjutsu cards are reasonably fair, which is fine if you want to have a good time and get up to some shenanigans.. But if you want to win I’d recommend playing a ton of floodgates and drawing Ninja Grandmaster Hanzo a lot. Maybe hope to Dark Simorgh + Anti-Spell Fragrance some Sky Striker and Trickstar players into the ground.
With the spicy stuff out of the way, let’s look at the cards you will likely be seeing a lot.
Aleister the Invoker of Madness is a very good card. It has excellent arrows for a link 2, strong attack and easy summoning requirements. Even better: it generates advantage for the invoked strategy and allows you to justify some cool(read: silly) cards like Book of the Law and Omega Summon.
It cannot be understated how powerful this card is when it comes to just providing great arrows, as we have never had such easy access to double usable arrows from a universally accessible link monster before. Aleister the Invoker of Madness is definitely the big swinging dingaling of the set.
The Old Entity and Outer Entity cards received their final support in this set. It is unfortunately very, very late and it is likely these cards will not boast the same kick they did a few years ago. Elder Entity Norden was just too insane to be left alive.
Nonetheless, the art for these cards is absolutely fantastic, and they offer some opportunities for cute plays in the future. Definitely pick them up for a dime when you can.
In terms of reprints, this set is bonkers. The previously $40 dollar Invocation and Invoked Mechaba received Super Rare reprints, making the deck much more budget friendly. Although be aware that Purgatrio is actually the best Invoked monster, he’s big and doesn’t afraid of anything. Also he’s a bunch of eggs.
Furthermore, Shaddoll Fusion and Shaddoll Winda received Secret Rare reprints. Not to mention the combo of Brilliant Fusion and Gem Knight Seraphinite. Just some more cute little engines for players to grab and play around with.
Hi-Speedroid Chanbara is another great reprint, one of the best Level five Synchro monsters with only a single printing, really great when you want to close out games or punish open fields.
Last, but definitely not least would be the highly sought after Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring as a Super Rare. Albeit a short-printed one. A little disappointed at the short printing, but any more copies of this card on the market is certainly not a bad thing considering how universally applicable it is.
All in all, I think this set is primarily useful for the great reprints and also contains some shiny new stuff. Whether or not it rocks the meta doesn’t matter too much as it presents more opportunities to build fun decks and savage people with them. Which at the end of the day is all we can really ask for from a Yu-Gi-Oh! set.
A huge shoutout to Banter Toys & Collectibles once again for the opportunity to open a box of this sweet set! You can check out the unboxing video (with some great loot) right here –