If I had to choose one card to be my favourite above all others in all my days of playing Yu-Gi-Oh, it would have to be Black Luster Soldier: Envoy of the Beginning. It’s no secret that Black Luster Soldier’s second reincarnation is clearly the most overpowered and broken card ever to exist in the game. So when it was released in Gold Series 4 this past year, a lot of people scratched their heads, wondering why they would bother reprinting a card that has been banned for quite some time. Truthfully, while it’s not nearly as broken as it once was, considering how many things there are now to stop it (Solemn Warning being a major counter and Dimensional Prison being a great removal tool) it’s still very overpowered considering how relatively easy it is to summon.
I’ve wondered why it was decided that Chaos Sorcerer was put to three copies a couple of formats ago, but clearly, that has not broken the format. I won’t say that Black Luster Soldier could single-handedly wreck the format, but as of September 1st, 2011, our favourite Envoy of the End has returned to playability, and it could make for some really awkward game-enders.
So why is even the lowly Gold Series version (which does look quite awesome, by the way) already selling for $40 USD on the secondary market? Well, let’s see: it has the same summoning cost as Chaos Sorcerer, removing a light monster and a dark monster from your graveyard. This is not a problem at all, especially now, with all of the copies of Thunder King Rai-Oh, D.D. Warrior Lady, Elemental Hero Neos Alius, and Dimensional Alchemist running amok. Also remember, our new favourite rank 4 XYZ Monster, Utopia, is a Light attribute monster, as well. Dark monsters are all over the game, and few decks run absolutely none. Heck, a fair share of Dragon Decks with all of their big Light and Dark behemoths will make room for this guy! So you’re going to get a 3000 ATK/2500 DEF beater out very, very easily.
If that wasn’t enough, each turn you can select and activate one of his very powerful abilities. His first ability is nearly identical to Chaos Sorcerer’s famous effect, remove one monster from the field from play and Black Luster Soldier cannot attack during the turn. The major difference, however, is that said monster does not need to be face-up to be removed. Goodbye, face-down Ryko or Snowman Eater. It can also remove pesky Stardust Dragons, since being banished is not the same as being destroyed. Since Black Luster Soldier can then not attack, it’s not too overpowered, but it’s still extremely powerful considering you can use it every single turn.
Its second ability, however, is perhaps even more ridiculously overpowered than the first effect. If Black Luster Soldier destroys an opponent’s monster by battle, it can attack once again in a row. This is pretty ridiculous, considering that it could easily be 3000 Direct Damage. Yes, Gorz, Emissary of Darkness is still heavily played, and is a good guy to be able to drop in case Black Luster Soldier swings in, but by the time the Envoy hits the board, that 3000 could easily be enough for the final blow for game.
So Black Luster Soldier, Envoy of the Beginning is perhaps the best Duel Monster ever printed. But was it a mistake to un-ban him? I would say no. There are a lot of very, very powerful cards in the game now that didn’t exist when he was legal. There are a lot more ways to get rid of him now, and many removal cards are far less expensive than they were at the time he was still legal. Heck, Solemn Judgment is a common now! What the unbanning of Black Luster Soldier means is that Konami is clearly trying to give everyone the ability to have that one card that they can call their trump card. It’ll be the Judgment Dragon of the new breed of Chaos decks reminiscent of those run in the days of Invasion of Chaos: they simply just won’t be as completely overpowered since the game is far more balanced now than it was back in those days. Of course, Black Luster Soldier is no Judgment Dragon, but he’s easily the most overpowered card in the game relative to his summoning costs. However, you still have to play him right. He’s going to be fun in Twilight as a game-finisher, and a major beat-stick in Chaos and Stun decks. But all someone has to do is flip over a Solemn Judgment or Solemn Warning (even a Gladiator Beast War Chariot will do!) and he’s done for. I’m just really glad he’s back, because finally, Yu-Gi-Oh again has that one card everyone has to worry about, and you only need one.