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Baneful's Column
February 21, 2014

An Ode to Black Luster Soldier

3000 ATK.  2500 DEF.  Easy to summon.  Can remove any threat.  Can attack twice, conducive to OTK's.  Yes.  If I had to pick one card to symbolize the entire game, it would be "Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning" (or, BLS). 
 
Granted, it's hard being objective because I have a lot of memories with this card.  Good ones.  I won more tournaments with this card than without and I even pulled it out of the first Invasion of Chaos pack I ever opened (no joke).  Bad ones too.  I also had to re-acquire this card several times after it got lost and stolen.  And I remember the loud arguments about whether to ban him or not.  BLS was my signature card, but it is unfortunately too prevalent and too good to be unique to me, as lots of people use it.
 
But still.  You would hard pressed to find a better card to represent the game.  Exodia, Dark Magician, Blue-Eyes White Dragon and Egyptian God Cards are all symbolic, but mostly of the anime.  If we look at the game itself in real life, none of those cards saw major tournament play.  BLS started being competitive in 2003 and is still a competitive monster today.  How many monster cards have accomplished that feat?  Not many.  Yes, it stayed legal for a while, got banned for some years and then came back.
 
What about Chaos Emperor Dragon, the other Envoy?  Technically, CED is better than BLS, but it still had it's share of problems.  CED was too good, and in conjunction with a Yata-lock, it had to be banned.  It was almost impossible to counter an effect that would send all cards on the field and in both player's hands to the graveyard.  At least with BLS, while it was still broken, it had enough weaknesses to barely justify it's legality.  That, and it's anti-climactic to continue a duel by top-decking after you've already summoned a very powerful monster.  With BLS, there's always the thrill of using cards like Change of Heart and Snatch Steal to gain control of it and use it against your opponent.  While it was way better than the other monsters of it's time, it still was succeptible to removal.

Where does it stand today?  A staple in every deck with at least 3 DARK monsters and 3 LIGHT monsters.  People aren't revolving decks around him today, but they are likely to add a few Effect Veilers to deck full of DARK monsters to be able to run BLS.  Or add the Tour Guide engine to a deck full of LIGHT monsters.  Back then, BLS was the only boss monster out there.  Today we have lots of different decks in play, each with their own boss monsters like Judgment Dragon.  But BLS still remains one of the greats.
 
That's the beauty of it: endurance.  I've been in this game over 10 years and a lot has changed.  One thing that remains the same: BLS is still a boss monster.  Yes, he has allowed newer monsters to thrive in the spotlight and he's no longer severely overpowered but still maintains a presence of his own.

 

 


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