Card of the Year (#5): Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En | The Irish Duelist

Card of the Year (#5): Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En

We're into the final 5 now, some of the strongest and most influential cards we've seen released this year, and we start with one of the strongest Synchro Monsters ever created!

Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En

(Storm of Ragnarok)

DARK/Warrior/Synchro/Level 5

1 Warrior-Type Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner "Six Samurai" monsters
Once per turn, when your opponent activates a Spell/Trap Card, you can negate its activation and destroy it. If this face-up card on the field would be destroyed, you can destroy another face-up "Six Samurai" monster you control instead.


If you go back to the first few months of the year (basically before Extreme Victory came out) you'll remember that Duelists were in a paradoxical situation when it came to Deckbuilding. They had to reduce the monster count in their Decks due to the threat of Gravekeepers and Royal Tribute stripping them all away (while also locking down the Graveyard at the same time), but at the same time keep their Spell and Trap Card count low, as today's featured card would render most of them useless. No matter which way you built your Deck, it was going to lose to either Shi En or Tribute, unless you came up with something incredible enough to withstand both.

Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En was the standout card of Storm of Ragnarok, a Synchro Monster capable of negating 1 of your opponent's Spell/Trap cards every turn. It was easy to Summon too (which made it even more threatening) thanks to the other Legendary Six Samurai cards, and the card we looked at 2 days ago, Shien's Smoke Signal. On top of that, even if your opponent did have an opportunity to kill it, you could redirect the hit to another of your Samurai. This perfect storm of conditions meant that Shi En was a near unstoppable force, and Six Samurai duly won several major events around the world because of it.

To give a personal example, I was running Plant Synchro for the majority of the year (before switching to T.G. in August), and I've never had a more difficult matchup than that of "Fissure Sams", which used Dimensional Fissure to shut down the Graveyard and Shi En to shut down everything else. Normally when I played against Samurai I'd try and take down Shi En through various monster-based plays, from Trishula and Black Rose to Brionac and Scrap Dragon, with the occasional Chaos Sorcerer thrown in as well. More often than not that involved various mixes of Debris Dragon, Dandylion, Spore and Glow-Up Bulb, all of which need a fully functioning Graveyard to work well. Take that away and there's almost nothing that can be done about Shi En. Turn 1 Shi En was always a menace, but Turn 1 Shi En + Dimensional Fissure? I may as well sign the match slip now and go home, it was that good.

Shi En's success is largely dependant on the wide variety of support cards that made it such an ever-present threat, but you could also argue that without Shi En, the Deck was easily beatable. For being one of the most fearsome cards Duelists have ever come across, it's certainly deserving of its spot as one of the year's best cards.