“Synchro Summoning” is the act of Special Summoning a Synchro Monster from the Extra Deck by sending to the Graveyard a Tuner and one or more non-Tuner Monster(s); the monsters used as “Synchro Materials” must all be face-up on the field, their combined Levels has to match the Level of the Synchro Monster and, unless a card states otherwise, they can even Tokens and/or Trap Monsters.
This is, in short, what Synchro Summoning is, but how will this mechanic affect the game? I’m here to discuss this subject while also providing some commentary on the Skills and the cards that have something to do with it.
Whether Synchro Summoning will have an immediate impact on Duel Links or not is completely up to the developers of the game and to what cards they are going to release, but one thing is for sure: something is going to change.
The introduction of this mechanic means that cards like Paleozoic Canadia and Floodgate Trap Hole will become even stronger and more relevant because, as I mentioned, in order to be used as Synchro Materials, the monsters on the field must be face-up; other cards like Mithra the Thunder Vassal will instead become worse as they essentially give the opponent something that they could then utilize for a generic Synchro Monster.
As you can imagine, since at least one monster of this type is required in order to perform a Synchro Summon, Tuners are very important. What makes a good Tuner monster?
There are many factors that contribute in making a good Tuner: its Level, its effect and the support available for it.
The Level of a Tuner monster is what determines what you can Special Summon with it: a lower Level will grant more versatility, whereas a higher Level will give you easier access to higher Level Synchros.
The effect of a Tuner may give it the ability of Special Summoning itself or of Special Summoning another monster, making it easier to then Synchro Summon with. Junk Synchron is a pretty good example of the second scenario I mentioned as its effect allows you to Special Summon a Level 2 or lower monster from the Graveyard, giving you instant access to a Level 5 Synchro.
The archetype, Type, Attribute, ATK and DEF determine what kind of support a Tuner can take advantage of; a Normal Dragon, Warrior or Spellcaster could be searched by Blue Dragon Summoner, whereas a Level 4 or lower LIGHT monster could be Special Summoned by Photon Lead—just to make some examples.
Since you are “sacrificing” at least two monsters in order to Special Summon one of them, it better at least be worth it. Not all Synchros are created equal: some have very powerful effects, some have only raw stats to sport and others don't have either of these two. What makes a good Synchro?
The main things you should look for in this case are: the Synchro Materials, the Level, the effect, the stats and the support available.
The materials required in order to summon a Synchro monster are crucial: some monsters ask for very generic materials, the classic “1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner”, whereas others may ask for monsters of a specific Type, Attribute and/or archetype.
The Level determines how easy it is to summon the monster: a lower Level Synchro will require less materials, whereas a higher Level Synchro will require either more materials or higher Level materials.
The effect of a Synchro monster may make up for how difficult it is to summon it or simply make something already easy to get out even better.
While not being the primary focus, stats are still important: we only have 4000 Life Points to work with in Duel Links, so a big monster will always be a threat; a decent ATK and DEF is complementary to a monster with a good effect.
The last factor is what I defined as “support”: an archetype, a group of cards or a Skill that allows you to easily summon it are what makes a Synchro monster with a powerful effect and/or stats even greater.
This is a great limitations that certain archetypes and, in this case, an entire summoning mechanic will suffer from in Duel Links: the absence of a second Main Phase between the Battle Phase and the End Phase.
In the TCG the U.A. archetype can go on the offensive and then easily switch the monsters on the field with ones more appropriate for a defensive role before the opponent's turn, but in this particular format that would not be possible and, in the same manner, Synchro Summoning will also be affected.
In this section I will analyse every Skill and card that has to do with the upcoming summoning mechanic, looking at both what will be added with the 5D’s Update and what we already have.
Let’s start from a Skill we already have and look at how it would interact with Synchros.
I’m going to start by saying that I don’t think this Skill will stay with us, as it is right now, for long; Cyber Style functions well with a lot of decks—some depend on it entirely and others don’t, but they still take advantage of it.
Will this Skill be good after the advent of Synchros? We can only make assumptions at this point, but adding Level 3 monsters to the board so easily without sacrificing your Normal Summon is definitely something not to overlook.
While Proto-Cyber Dragon is not the most versatile monster in terms of Level, Type and Attribute, depending on the Tuner monster used, it can give you access to a lot of Synchros of different Levels.
Cosmic Cyclone is a great way of abusing this Skill: you get rid of the opponent's backrow, activate the Skill, summon a Tuner and then go into a Synchro of your choice.
Only thing to keep in mind is this case is to summon the Tuner monster before activating the Skill if your Life Points are at 1000 or below since you would otherwise lock your entire field.
This type of Skill is quite common and most characters have at least one. What could be the purpose of it? Drawing into a Tuner. Just like Spellbook decks can take advantage of Draw Sense: Water in order to draw Spellbook Magician of Prophecy, any other Draw Sense Skill could give you direct access to a certain Tuner. If Junk Synchron was the only DARK monster in your deck, Draw Sense: Dark would be a viable option.
Next I’m going to look at cards that are already in the game and that will likely see more play in the next months.
With the addition of a new summoning mechanic, Confronting the "C" might finally see some play: the ability to Special Summon itself when the opponent Special Summons a monster from the Extra Deck will make it a viable option in a meta in which most decks focus on Synchros. Confronting the “C” gains immunity to targeting monster effects when Special Summoned by its own effect, making for a pretty good line of defense between the opponent’s monsters and your Life Points.
You might have already seen this card around; Chaos Hunter has a similar effect to Confronting the “C”, but its summoning requirements are less specific.
I know I have already mentioned this for its ability to prevent the opponent from performing a Synchro Summon, but there’s more to it: Paleozoic Canadia can be Special Summoned from the Graveyard and become a Level 2 WATER Aqua-Type monster that you could then use as material. Whoever decided to invest into Valiant Souls made the right decision because this card is surely not going to go anywhere and will likely stay in the Popular Cards List for a long time.
This Continuous Trap lowers the Level of all monsters on the opponent’s side of the field, making it very difficult to Synchro Summon if not completely impossible. Right now this card has nearly no use, but in the future it might even become a staple in every deck.
Next I’m going to look at some of the Skills that will be added with the new characters.
With the introduction of Synchro monsters the Extra Deck becomes sort of a toolbox from which we can pick the card we need at the right moment, but, as you know, the space dedicated to it in Duel Links is very limited. Instead of simply expanding the Extra Deck, it looks like the developers found another way to fix this problem: the “Mark of the Dragon” Skills.
This type of Skill works similarly to something we already have in the game, Grandpa's Cards, as it essentially adds more cards to both the Main Deck and the Extra Deck. The first problem that the “Mark of the Dragon” Skills have is pretty clear: we have to build a deck first, with a minimum of 20 cards, and then more cards are going to be added, reducing its consistency.
Jack’s version of the Skill adds Dark Resonator to the Main Deck, which is not a particularly great monster; the only thing this card brings to the table is its “once per turn” protection from destruction by battle, which is not always going to be enough to keep it on the field until another monster is summoned.
Blackwing - Blizzard the Far North is not that different from Junk Synchron, their effects are actually very similar; Duel Links is not the slow game it once was, but we don't have many cards that allows us to summon multiple monsters on the field unless they are part of a specific archetype, so having this type of effect makes this Winged Beast a pretty decent Tuner on release.
Copy Plant is a pretty versatile Tuner: its effect allows it to copy the Level of another Plant-Type monster you control. Plant-Type monsters can take advantage of different support cards we have in the game, ranging from the Special Summoning effect of Rose Lover to the Additional Normal Summon of Aromage Jasmine. The only problem there is with this monster is that copying the Level of another monster means that their combined Levels will always be an even number, whereas Black Rose Dragon has 7 stars.
|Mark of the Dragon - Heart|
At the beginning of the Duel, add 2 "Morphtronic Lantron](/c/j0nu56jn)" to your deck, and 1 "Power Tool Dragon" and "Life Stream Dragon" to your Extra deck.
The following Skills are not named “Mark of the Dragon -”, but they still work in a similar way.
Quickdraw Synchron is similar to the Tricky, but it’s a Tuner monster and it can substitute any “Synchron” monster as material for a Synchro Summon. The monsters that will be added to Extra Deck are random and that’s the biggest issue: the options are not all bad, but some are clearly better than others.
The main appeal of this Skill is the fact that it adds 2 Stardust Dragon to your Extra Deck, the part about Wicked Rebirth is hardly going to come into place, but it’s still an extra card. If you have no intention in diving into the new Main Box, but you still want to play with Yusei’s ace monster, this is a good option.
Leo already has a pretty good “Mark of the Dragon -” Skill, but this one gives you a better Tuner monster at the cost of Life Stream Dragon.
This Skill is very similar to My Name is Yubel, but it’s even better for this mechanic: “Assault Mode Activate” can only Special Summon the “/Assault Mode” counterpart of a monster from the Deck, so, if you draw your only copy of that monster, you would end up with a dead card in hand and at least another one still in your Deck;
Assault Exchange shuffles back the monster into the deck and gives you the Trap Card that would Special Summon it. You still need to get the Synchro version on the field first, but, if you are planning on playing “/Assault Mode” monsters, then this is without a doubt the best Skill to pair with your deck.
How this Skill will perform depends entirely on what Synchro Warrior-Type monsters will be released, but we can already see that it’s similar to the current Beatdown! in terms of effect.
Junk Warrior has a base ATK of 2300 and it’s a Level 5 monster, so this Skill will give it a 500 ATK boost in addition to its own effect; 2800 ATK is definitely above average and it ties already with a some of monsters that are currently popular in Duel Links.