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"Arcana Force" (アルカナフォース Arukana Fōsu) are an archetype of cards used by Sartorius in the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX anime. The monsters are based on the Major Arcana tarot cards, each possessing a different symbolic meaning. "Arcana Force EX - The Light Ruler" and "Arcana Force EX - The Dark Ruler" are the only "Arcana Force" monsters not based on tarot cards.
Every "Arcana Force" monster has two possible effects, one positive and one negative. When an "Arcana Force" monster is Summoned, its Trigger Effect activates, tossing a coin to determine which of its two effects it gains, which it keeps as long as it remains face-up on the field; heads results in its positive effect whereas tails results in its negative effect. However, while they do have two possible effects based on the result of a coin toss, "Arcana Force EX - The Light Ruler" and "Arcana Force EX - The Dark Ruler" have two positive effects rather than one positive and one negative. The Deck has a number of support cards to help ensure "Arcana Force" monsters have their heads effect.
In the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX anime, they are used by Sartorius, the main antagonist of the second season. In the anime and some video games, the coin flip is represented by the card spinning until the opponent chooses to stop it, with the effect depending on whether the card is right-side-up or upside-down. The Light of Destruction which possesses Sartorius manipulates destiny to consistently give him the positive card effect. It uses this ability and the fact that the opponent chooses when to stop the card's spinning to manipulate people during Duels, demonstrating their belief that they control their own destinies is false, but Sartorius has seen their future and they can change their destiny if they ally with him.
In the TCG and OCG, "Arcana Force EX - The Light Ruler" was the first "Arcana Force" card to be released. Light of Destruction debuted "Arcana Force" as an archetype, introducing a number of monsters and support cards. Several "Arcana Force" monsters and Sartorius's other cards that have appeared in the anime but not the TCG or OCG are included in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force 2 as game original cards.
"Arcana Force Extra - The Light Ruler" appears as a character in Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2008, and both "Arcana Force 0 - The Fool" and "Arcana Force EX - The Dark Ruler" appears in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's World Championship 2009: Stardust Accelerator.
With the exception of "Arcana Force EX - The Light Ruler" and "Arcana Force EX - The Dark Ruler", the monsters are based on the Major Arcana tarot cards, each possessing a different symbolic meaning. Sartorius also uses a number of Spell and Trap Cards which are based on Minor Arcana tarot cards, although "Reversal of Fate" is the only tarot-based Spell/Trap Card to be related to the "Arcana Force" archetype.
Every tarot-based "Arcana Force" monster has a number in its name that matches the number of its corresponding tarot card, expressed in Roman numerals, although "Arcana Force 0 - The Fool" uses the Arabic numeral for zero instead due to zero not having a representation in Roman numerals. In the OCG, these Roman numerals are in a different typeface to basic Latin characters, being the only card names in the OCG to use this typename; in the TCG, standard Latin letters are used. All numbered "Arcana Force" monsters except "Arcana Force 0 - The Fool" have an ATK and DEF equal to their number × 100 + 1000; "Arcana Force EX - The Light Ruler" and "Arcana Force EX - The Dark Ruler", which are unnumbered, instead have 4000 ATK and DEF.
|0||The Fool||The Fool|
|1||The Magician||The Magician|
|3||The Empress||The Empress|
|4||The Emperor||The Emperor|
|6||The Lovers||The Lovers|
|7||The Chariot||The Chariot|
|12||The Hanged Man||The Hanged Man|
|15||The Fiend||The Devil|
|18||The Moon||The Moon|
|21||The World||The World|
|2||Empress's Staff||The High Priestess|
|5||Emperor's Staff||The Hierophant|
|10||Reversal of Fate||Wheel of Fortune|
|13||Tour of Doom||Death|
|Ace of Sword||Ace||Swords|
|Ace of Wand||Ace||Wands|
|Cup of Ace||Ace||Cups|
|Knight of Pentacles||Knight||Coins|
|Pentacle of Ace||Ace||Coins|
|Suit of Sword X||Ten||Swords|
"Arcana Force", as an archetype that spawned back in the GX-era, is not really clear on what overall strategy it tries to achieve. All of the monsters of this archetype are LIGHT Fairy monsters with equal stats in both ATK and DEF. Their overall gimmick is based on coin tossing: All of the "Arcana Force" monsters force the player to toss a coin upon being summoned and therefore have effects for both heads and tails. While the majority of the monster line-up gains a positive effect on heads and a negative one on tails, this is not necessarily always the case.
The "Arcana Force" player should try to use the individual effects of the cards to win; they might have lost some punch in comparision to newer archetypes, but the "Arcana Force" monsters certainly sport a number of diverse effects. Good choices for the deck are as follows: "Arcana Force 0 - The Fool" is immune to battle destruction and depending on the toss can also gain targeting protection against the opponent's effects. While not necessarily a good choice for every match-up, it can still hold its ground against some decks in casual play. "The Fool" is also a Level 1 monster, which allows easy summoning via "One for One" and fulfills the condition for "Court of Justice". "Arcana Force III - The Empress" either allows Special Summons whenever the opponent Normal Summons a monster, or causes you to lose one card from your hand per summon; this card definitely needs the heads effect, but with it "Empress" can help out a lot. "Arcana Force IV - The Emperor" either raises or lowers the ATK of your "Arcana Force" monsters. While relatively unimpressive on his own, "The Emperor" can be combined the "Inferno Reckless Summon" and "Light Barrier" to summon a small army with high ATK. "Arcana Force VII - The Chariot", just like the "Empress", desperately needs its heads effect, which allows it to steal any of your opponent's monsters it destroys by battle. Upon getting tails as the result, it will be summoned to the opponent's field. "Arcana Force XIV - Temperance" is a solid monster which focuses only lowering battle damage; on heads, yours, on tails, the opponent's. She can also be ditched to prevent battle damage from one battle altogether. "Arcana Force XXI - The World" gets an honorable mention: The card is underwhelming in a pure "Arcana Force" deck, since it will quickly run out of material to sacrifice for it's effect, but there are dedicated OTK builds for "The World" (mostly with "Danger!") that are able to build a deadly board and OTK the opponent in the next turn, while skipping the opponent's turn completely because of "The World"'s heads effect. The true boss monsters of this deck are "Arcana Force EX - The Light Ruler" and "Arcana Force EX - The Dark Ruler": Both have a solid 4000 ATK and DEF and while they both stay true to the coin toss principle, they do not gain any primarily negative effects out of it. They are both solid choices for the deck, but keep in mind that the "Dark Ruler" can potentially erase the board with his tails effect active, destroying any Continuous Spell and Trap Cards in the process.
The less useful choices for "Arcana Force" are "Arcana Force I - The Magician" for being either a passable beatstick or healing the opponent; "Arcana Force VI - The Lovers" for being useless no matter the result; and "Arcana Force XVIII - The Moon" which, while it is able to produce tokens that are very welcome in times of Link Summoning, is rather slow and relatively dangerous for the overall strategy if tails was the result.
"Arcana Force" also has a decent amount of Spell/Trap support, and it also mostly uses the coin toss gimmick for better or worse. "Cup of Ace" is an archetypal "Pot of Greed"; unfortunately, this is only true if the coin toss resulted in heads. On tails, this card gives your opponent two cards, a risk not worth taking in most cases. "Light Barrier" is the "Arcana Force" Field Spell, which lets you pick the result for "Arcana Force" monster effects and gives you Life Points whenever an "Arcana Force" monster destroys something in battle. There is a catch, though: "Light Barrier" itself needs the player to toss a coin and upon tails, it will negate its own effects for the turn. Nonetheless, the ability to choose the effect of the summoned monster(s) is definitely worth playing the card and it will always start with the effect activated up until the next Standby Phase. "Tour of Doom", a Continuous Trap, activates during the opponent's Standby Phase and either prohibits the opponent from Normal Summoning for that turn, or will block you from doing it during your next turn. Again, the effect is rather powerful, but the risk of not having a Normal Summon in a Deck as slow as "Arcana Force" might not make this card a solid choice. "Reversal of Fate" simply changes the coin toss effect of an "Arcana Force" monster to the other effect; simple, potentially useful, but you actually want the monsters to enter with the right effect and giving up deck slots for this card seems hardly plausible. The last card is "Arcana Call", which allows you to transform an "Arcana Force" monster on the field into something from your Graveyard. The idea is taking something small and easy to summon and then change the effect into anything beneficial of a bigger monster. Gimmicky, but not really necessary.
There are a few generic cards that are handy for an "Arcana Force" Deck. In terms of coin tossing, cards such as "Second Coin Toss" can help you make sure you get the right effect, while "Lucky Chance" can help you draw more cards. In addition to that, all coin toss cards that were mentioned before such as "Tour of Doom" or "Cup of Ace" will benefit from the overall increase of tries to get the right effect. "By Order of the Emperor" is also useful in an Arcana Force deck because you can negate the effect if you're afraid of losing the coin toss, and draw a card. As all "Arcana Force" monsters have equal ATK and DEF, "Shield & Sword" will have no negative effects to you.
In terms of overall Fairy support "Arcana Force" monsters can benefit from "Athena": By Tributing your "Arcana Force" monsters and summoning another one from the Graveyard you can burn the opponent for 600 damage and also enable yourself to flip the coin again and getting another chance to getting an effect that you want. "Valhalla, Hall of the Fallen" is also very useful, as all "Arcana Force" monsters are Fairy and can therefore be summoned regardless of level. "Honest" works wonders in this deck and also helps trigger the healing effect of "Light Barrier". "Barrier Statue of the Heavens" is easily useable, since every monster in the Main Deck is LIGHT Attribute; it can also be summoned via "Ties of the Brethren" by choosing any Level 4 "Arcana Force" monster. "Sky Scourge Invicil" can block Spell usage, and "Herald of Green Light", "Herald of Orange Light" and "Herald of Purple Light" can also hinder the opponent and work well with "Arcana Force" Decks. Additionally, "Herald of Orange Light" allows the deck to use Synchro Monster.
- The most notable weakness of this deck is chance: If you can't get the right coin flip, this deck will destroy itself.
- Some anti-Light cards can either disable or destroy this deck, like certain Ally of Justice monsters.
- Another enormous weakness for Arcana Force is "The World" and "The Ruler"s' reliance on sending monsters to the graveyard. If a card like "Dimensional Fissure", "Macro Cosmos" or "Banisher of the Radiance" is in play, you won't be able to use "The World"'s Turn Skip ability, and you won't be able to summon either "Ruler". You also cannot use tokens to satisfy these costs because tokens cannot hit the graveyard.
- The Arcana Force monsters are dependent on their effects, so cards like "Skill Drain" or "Forbidden Chalice" can disable their effects. They do not regain their abilities if they temporarily lose them.
- Due to the high amount of Continuous Spell and Trap cards this archetype uses to make its coin flips more accurate, cards like "Heavy Storm", "Twin Twister" and "Heavy Storm Duster" become especially effective.
- Like almost any other Deck "Arcana Force" is weak to any form of Special Summon negation; therefore, cards like "Vanity's Emptiness", "Vanity's Fiend", "Archlord Kristya" or "Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo" can cripple the deck substantially.