Yu-Gi-Oh! Archetype Overview: Ice Barrier
Ice Barriers are an archetype in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game consisting entirely of Water-attribute monsters, based on famous mythological figures of various Asian cultures. They primarily focus on increasing field and hand advantage. Most Ice Barriers require another of their kind to be on the field. This can be hard to maintain in the face of an opponent's monster effects, spells, and traps, but fortunately, many Ice Barriers have effects to protect one another and work with another. An opponent's best chance is to stop Ice Barriers before there are more than two of them on the field, or else defeat is unavoidable. Ice Barriers are a very fun deck build to use, but until recently, with the release of booster pack Hidden Arsenal 4, have been fairly difficult to master.
General Raiho Of The Ice Barrier - This card cripples any opponent whose strategy relies on activating multiple monster's effects in a row, as it forces them to discard - also lowering their hand advantage. Against Infernity decks, you may have practically won, since their strategy relies on not having any cards in the hand at all.
General Gantala Of The Ice Barrier - This card can special summon any Ice Barrier monster at the end of each turn, regardless of level, even powerful synchro monsters that may have been defeated by an opponent. A good tactic would be to summon Ice Barrier monsters that you don't have on the field to perform a combo move and further increase your field advantage.
General Grunard Of The Ice Barrier - This card can be used to summon up to two Ice Barrier monsters per turn. If combined with the spell card Double Summon, you can summon up to three Ice Barrier monsters per turn.
Dai-Sojo Of The Ice Barrier - This card is by far one of my absolute favourites as it prevents all Ice Barrier monsters on your side of the field from being destroyed by spell or traps. Regardless of what your opponent tries to throw at you, such as a Black Hole, a Bottomless Trap Hole, a Mirror Force, etc., your monsters will still remain on the field. It also allows you to use Torrential Tribute with impunity, your own monsters being unaffected.
Medium Of The Ice Barrier - If your opponent controls 4 more monsters than you do, you can special summon this card. Henceforth, your opponent can only activate one spell or trap per turn! This can be very useful when attacking, as you can attack, and if your opponent may try to a trap or quick-play spell, you can flip Dark Bribe, and then suffer nothing more from your opponent for the rest of the turn.
Dance Princess Of The Ice Barrier - This card is nothing short of being absolutely spectacular. If you have another Ice Barrier on the field, you can show any number of Ice Barrier monsters in your hand to bounce the same number of spells and traps back to your opponent's hand. You can use this each turn, clearing your opponent's field with no cost to yourself, and attacking without repercussions. This card is the centrepoint of any Ice Barrier deck, as you can combo it effectively with most other Ice Barrier monsters.
Strategist Of The Ice Barrier - This card is good at eliminating dead draws, because each turn you can draw one card by sending one Ice Barrier monster to the graveyard. You can then use the spell card Salvage to return the monster you sent to the graveyard back to your hand, keeping up your hand advantage.
Samurai Of The Ice Barrier - This card works out to be a nice 1800 beatstick, and if you really need to draw a card, you can switch it to defense to destroy it and activate that effect.
Sacred Spirit Of The Ice Barrier - This is an interesting card which can combo with other Ice Barrier monsters quite easily. Once per turn, if you have another Ice Barrier monster on the field, you send one of your opponent's monster cards back to their hand. If you have no other Ice Barrier monsters on the field, this card returns instead to your hand, increasing your hand advantage. Combined with Dance Princess Of The Ice Barrier, you can create an effective trap and monster lock.
Shock Troops Of The Ice Barrier - This card can be used as a deck-searcher, but it will come at the cost of itself and another one of your monsters. This can be offset by using the spell card Salvage, thereby returning both cards back to your hand - and increasing your hand advantage by three cards. Another way is if your opponent uses Water-attribute monsters - you can then use this card to destroy itself and an opponent's monster, and then receive an Ice Barrier monster from your deck to your hand.
Blizzed, Defender Of The Ice Barrier - This card is handy in a tight spot. You can set it in defense and when your opponent destroys it, you get to draw a much-needed card from your deck.
Caravan Of The Ice Barrier - Like the card above, this one also proves its worth in tight situations. Each turn, you can select any two Ice Barrier monsters from your graveyard, return them to your deck, and then draw one card. The only downside is it's low defense and the fact that your opponent gets to draw a card as well.
Spellbreaker Of The Ice Barrier - This is the Ice Barrier equivalent of the spell card Coldwave, which has now been banned. You send any one Ice Barrier to the graveyard, and neither player can activate a spell card until the end-phase of your next turn, lasting a total of three turns. The trick is to play your spells before you activate this effect.
Warlock Of The Ice Barrier - This card is similar to the one above, except for the fact that it requires another Ice Barrier to be on the field, and instead of preventing spells from being activated, it requires that players set spells before activating them. The motivation of doing this is of course to make it easier to destroy an opponent's spells. Combined with Dance Princess Of The Ice Barrier, you can create an effective spell and trap lock. Combined with Sacred Spirit Of The Ice Barrier to create a monster lock, you've effectively won the duel.
Numbing Grub In The Ice Barrier - This card limits the number of monsters your opponent can control on their field, provided you can protect this monster from your opponent.
Royal Knight Of The Ice Barrier - This card allows you summon a token to your opponent's side of the field. It is also the only five star monster of the Ice Barrier archetype, which can be useful for synchro summoning.
Secret Guards Of The Ice Barrier - This card prevents your monsters from being targeted by the effects of your opponent's monsters, such as Scrap Dragon, Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter, and Machina Fortress.
Ice Barriers currently have 4 tuner monsters.
Cryomancer Of The Ice Barrier - This card forbids all level 4 monsters or higher from attacking while another Ice Barrier monster is on the field. This can be used to stall for time until you draw the right card, or combo with other Ice Barrier cards. For instance, you can stall with it, then summon Dance Princess Of The Ice Barrier, clear the field of spells and traps, and then sync for Brionac, Dragon Of The Ice Barrier.
Geomancer Of The Ice Barrier - This card is most effective against one-attribute decks - you can discard to select that particular attribute, and then keep this monster safe until you can use it to synchro summon.
Defender Of The Ice Barrier - This beauty, if you control another Ice Barrier monster, prevents your opponent's monsters from attacking if their attack is greater or equal to this card's defense. As a level three tuner, it is also useful for synchro summoning.
Dewdark Of The Ice Barrier - This card can be used to attack your opponent directly with 1200 attack each turn. If you combo it with, say, Cryomancer Of The Ice Barrier, your opponent will not be able to attack with level 4 or higher monsters, and you will be able to attack each turn with this card, regardless of your opponent's monsters.
Ice Barriers currently have 4 synchro monsters.
Brionac, Dragon Of The Ice Barrier - This is a truly amazing card and is not limited to Ice Barrier decks. With this card, you can discard any number of cards to return the same number of cards from the field to the hand. You can clear your opponent's field completely, and then attack for 2300.
Dewloren, Tiger King Of The Ice Barrier - With this card, you can return any number of cards you control back to your hand to have this card gain 500 attack for each. It can also be used to return one-time only cards back to the hand to be used later, such as Geomancer Of The Ice Barrier.
Gungnir, Dragon Of The Ice Barrier - Once per turn, you can use this card to discard up to two cards to destroy the same number of cards your opponent controls. Not only is this devastating to your opponent in the long run, but you can use the spell card Salvage to offset the hand advantage loss.
Trishula, Dragon Of The Ice Barrier - This card is one of the most powerful in the Ice Barrier archetype, and is now used in many other decks, because like Brionac Of The Ice Barrier, it is not limited to Water-based synchro summoning. As soon as it is synchro summoned, you can remove from play one card from your opponent's hand, one card from your opponent's field, and one card from your opponent's graveyard. After that's all over, your opponent still has to contend with a 2700 attack monster.
Medallion Of The Ice Barrier - This is a staple card for the Ice Barrier archetype, as you can add any Ice Barrier monster from your deck to your hand. It should be run in threes for any Ice Barrier deck.
Magic Triangle Of The Ice Barrier - This incredible card is without a doubt to be included in any Ice Barrier deck. By revealing any three Ice Barrier monsters in your hand, you can destroy one card your opponent controls, and then special summon an Ice Barrier monster from your hand to the field regardless of it's level. This is an effective way to destroy an opponent's card and summon an Ice Barrier General or Dai-Sojo Of The Ice Barrier.
Mirror Of The Ice Barrier - This card can be quite useful, as it makes an opponent who removes your cards from play do the same thing to himself twice-over. As a quick-play spell, it can be activated during either player's turn.
Big Wave, Small Wave - This card is really useful for getting the more powerful Ice Barrier monsters onto the field. By destroying all Water monsters on your field, you can special summon the same amount of Water monsters from your hand, regardless of level.
Moray Of Greed - This card is really useful as a deck-drawing machine. By returning two Water monsters from your hand to your deck, you can draw three cards.
Salvage - As I have often referenced this card in this overview, you can probably tell that it is quite useful. Salvage, by allowing you to add 2 Water monsters with an attack of 1500 or less to your hand, can be used to offset hand discarding costs and maintain a high hand advantage.
Gozen Match - This card is very useful for one-attribute decks, such as the Ice Barrier archetype. It forces each opponent to have monsters of only one attribute, and stays on the field as it is a continuous trap card. This is easy for Ice Barriers, but could devastate an opponent's deck.
All Ice Barrier monsters and support cards were included in this overview. Additional non-archetypal support cards were only included as cards that can be used in any type of Ice Barrier deck. All images from the Yu-Gi-Oh! Wiki.
© 2011 Gregory Markov