New Card Mechanics: Soul Charge

It’s not often that I write something about how a specific card works.  Heck, it’s not often that I update this blog, and I’m sorry for that.  But with that said, there is a new card that I’d like to review since it has some interesting stuff going on for it.  It’s called Soul Charge and it will be released in Dragons of Legend later this month.

What does Soul Charge do, exactly?  Well, let’s have a look.

Soul Charge is a Normal Spell Card with this effect.  “Target any number of monsters in your Graveyard; Special Summon them, and if you do, you lose 1000 Life Points for each monster Special Summoned by this effect. You cannot conduct your Battle Phase the turn you activate this card. You can only activate 1 ‘Soul Charge’ per turn.”

So a step by step would go like this: First, you play the card and choose your targets.  You can choose any number of monsters, but only up to the number of vacant Monster Card Zones that you have.  So if you have one monster and two zones are blocked by Ground Collapse, you can only chose two monsters.  After this, follow the rules for building Chains.

When resolving the card, you Special Summon any of those targets that are still there to be summoned.  If you do, your Life Points are decreased by 1000 points for every monster that came out of the Graveyard.

This card has two additional conditions for activating it.  First, you must have at least one legal target in your Graveyard.  Second, you cannot enter your Battle Phase and activate this card in the same turn (so no playing it in Main Phase 2, unless you took battle damage from Great Long Nose).  You also cannot activate two copies of Soul Charge in the same turn.

Even with all of this, I’m sure a lot of combos are playing through the minds of well-versed players, as well as ways to stop this card.  Well, I’m afraid I have to dash a few of those possibilities.

First off, take a look at the first three words of the effect: “Special Summon them”.  Notice anything?  Let’s look at one word in particular: “them”.  Those of you who remember your Problem-Solving Card Text will remember that words like “it” and “them” mean that the card doesn’t care that much about specifics during its resolution.  What does this mean for you folks building your Side Decks to stop this card?  It means D.D. Crow won’t be quite as effective.  Sure, you can use it to banish one monster, but Soul Charge will still Special Summon the other targets.  All you’ve really done is prevented one from appearing, and also reduced the amount of Life Points your opponent loses.

Which brings me to my next point: Notice how the card says “you lose 1000 Life Points for each monster Special Summoned by this effect.”  It doesn’t say you take 1000 points of damage.  This is very important.  There are actually three ways to lose Life Points in this game: Damage, payments, and plain old reduction.  Not many cards in the game tell you to “lose” Life Points without calling it damage, but they do exist.

So why is this important?  Because I guarantee that at least one of you was thinking of combining this card with One Day of Peace or Prime Material Dragon, hoping to either prevent or reverse this loss of Life Points.  But since this isn’t “damage”, neither card will do anything to prevent it.  Your Life Points are dropping.  Thus far, there is no card in the game that can prevent simple reduction.

This last thing is also quite minor, but it may prove useful.  The card says, “you can only activate 1 ‘Soul Charge’ per turn.”  If you remember my previous talk about negating activations, this means that if your Soul Charge is stopped in its tracks by a card like Light and Darkness Dragon or Solemn Warning, you are free to activate another copy.  Negating an activation means that the gamestate doesn’t see that an activation happened, nor does it count it as an attempt like it would with Summons.  It never happened as far as the duel is concerned.  However, if only the effect is negated, then you’re out of luck this turn.  And remember, these rules also apply to the “no Battle Phase” condition.

Soul Charge may have some hefty restrictions and clever mechanics to balance it out, but I simply cannot see this card passing by the metagame without making a very big splash.  Keep an eye out for it and be extra cautious when using it.  And remember, this kind of mass summoning is only the beginning.  Coming this summer, I’ll discuss a brand new mechanic!

Until next time, keep dueling!