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
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.