"Aesir", known as "Polar God" (
In the anime, the "Aesir" monsters are DIVINE Divine-Beast monsters. They are the only Synchro Monsters that are either DIVINE or Divine-Beast in any medium. However, their Attributes and Types were changed in the OCG. "Loki, Lord of the Aesir" is a DARK Spellcaster, "Thor, Lord of the Aesir" is an EARTH Beast-Warrior and "Odin, Father of the Aesir" is a LIGHT Fairy. Each member of Team Ragnarok possesses one of these cards.
"Odin, Father of the Aesir" appears as a character in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's World Championship 2011: Over the Nexus.
|Odin, Father of the Aesir||Nordic Ascendant||Halldor|
|Thor, Lord of the Aesir||Nordic Beasts||Dragan|
|Loki, Lord of the Aesir||Nordic Alfar||Broder|
The three cards are named for the most prominent among the Æsir of Norse mythology: Odin, the so-called Allfather and king of the Æsir; Thor, known as the god of thunder and strongest among the gods; and Loki, a notorious trickster and Jötunn who was usually associated with the Aesir until orchestrating the death of Baldr, for which he was tied to a stone as punishment until Ragnarök, the end of the world. The term “Polar God” could refer to the Scandinavian origins of Norse myths, as the region stretches up to the Arctic Circle and therefore towards the North Pole. Notably, while the term “Æsir” is usually spelled with the letter ash (Æ/æ), the TCG spells it “Aesir,” likely for familiarity with an audience that largely doesn’t use said character, being most common in Scandinavian languages like Danish and Norwegian.
In the anime, the 3 “Aesir” cards were found by the three Duelists who possessed the Rune Eyes. Each card was found within a cave dominated by a shrine made of tree roots, ostensibly in reference to the “World Tree” Yggdrasil, which connects the Nine Realms of Norse mythology. Among the Nine Realms are Asgard, land of the Æsir, and Midgard, home of humans and another name for Earth, thus these shrines may symbolize a connection to Asgard itself, hence the power of the “Aesir” cards.
The powers of these Gods rival that of the Crimson Dragon. When "Thor" clashed with "Red Dragon Archfiend", both monsters emitted a strange energy pulse, wreaking havoc around the Dueling arena and drastically upsetting the weather outside the stadium. During Team Ragnarok's match against Team 5D's, the attacks of the Aesir dealt real damage to Jack and Crow.
The main goal of any "Aesir" deck is to Summon "Odin", "Loki" and/or "Thor". The "Aesir" gods are able to manipulate the opponent's plays by either becoming unaffected by Spell or Trap Cards (Odin), negating your opponent's monster effects (Thor), or straightout negating Spell and Trap Cards (Loki). They also all have an effect to revive themselves, paired with another bonus if Summoned that way, and have sizeable stats, making them useful beatsticks.
For the longest time, the main focus of the deck was getting the right monsters for the job, since every single god has its own line-up of subordinates and can only be Summoned with a tuner of his followers. "Loki" uses the so-called "Alfar", which limits the Tuner choice to "Svartalf of the Nordic Alfar", a Level 5 monster with an effect that only triggers upon Normal Summoning, and "Mara of the Nordic Alfar", who needs to have the right components in the hand and is unable to Synchro Summon with monsters on the field. "Thor" makes use of "Guldfaxe of the Nordic Beasts", which is Special Summonable if the opponent controls a Synchro Monster. "Odin" is able to use "Valkyrie of the Nordic Ascendant", who is able to bring the needed monsters for the Synchro Summon with her, but for the steep cost of banishing two cards in hand, and "Vanadis of the Nordic Ascendant", who is the only truly versatile Tuner in the "Nordic" archetype due to her ability of deck thinning, and the possibility of Summoning any of the "Aesir" monsters.
Aside from their Tuner monsters, the "Aesir" also have other members in their respective groups:
- "Thor's" "Nordic Beasts" also feature the following monsters: "Garmr of the Nordic Beasts", a defense wall that bounces the opposing monster if it is Level 4 or lower; sadly, "Garmr" is one of the least useful "Nordics" due to him having to survive the battle as well as having a wide pool of unbounceable targets, namely any monster with Level 5-12, any Xyz and any Link Monster. "Tanngrisnir of the Nordic Beasts" Summons two Level 3 tokens upon being destroyed by battle, which can be used as setup to Summon an "Aesir" with an additional Level 4 tuner. Lastly, "Tanngnjostr of the Nordic Beasts" enables some more board presence by Special Summoning itself from the hand upon the death of another monster on your side of the field and afterwards easily Summons more of its friends from the deck. Overall, the "Nordic Beasts" are probably the most useful group of "Nordic" monsters, since they can be combined with useful and generic cards like "Rescue Cat" and "Super-Nimble Mega Hamster". In addition to that, they are the only group that doesn't necessary need a lot of other "Nordics" to function, since their effects are all fairly generic.
- "Loki" and his "Nordic Alfar" also consist of "Dverg of the Nordic Alfar", who is technically a free Normal Summon and recovers "Nordic Relics" from the Graveyard and "Ljosalf of the Nordic Alfar", who Summons another monster from the hand when Normal Summoned. Both effects are helpful for swarming, but are let down by the weird restrictions of the "Nordic Alfar" Tuners.
- Lastly, "Odin" and his ranks of "Ascendants" have another member in "Mimir of the Nordic Ascendant", who is capable of Special Summoning himself from the Graveyard for the cost of one Spell Card in your hand.
In addition to the three groups of "Nordics", a very confusing design choice can be found in the "Fenrir the Nordic Wolf" and "Jormungardr the Nordic Serpent" pair: "Fenrir" can only be Summoned via Special Summon in Main Phase 2, can only be Summoned to the opponents side of the field and destroys itself instantly if no "Aesir" monster lingers anywhere on the board. On the upside, it switches everything in Attack Position and battle damage from battles with "Fenrir" is inflicted to both players. When paired with "Jormungardr", which is pretty much the same monster aside from being able to enter the field in Main Phase 1 and having only 3000 ATK and DEF, this is supposed to combo for a massive 3000 burn damage due to the effect of "Jormungardr" when being switched into Attack Position. While these two certainly pose a fresh idea in the overall "Nordic" strategy, the combo itself is less than favourable: Gifting two monsters to your opponent and therefore sacrificing two cards in your hand to deal "only" 3000 damage would already cause some intense frowning from the average Yugioh player, but in addition to that the entire strategy collapses instantly upon you losing the necessary "Aesir" monster. Worse even, "Fenrir" packs enough power to put your boss monsters out of commission, with only "Odin" being strong enough to even trade with "Fenrir". And it doesn't end there: If you actually put these monsters onto the opponents side of the field and your opponent doesn't have a target to ram them into, he will, without a doubt, start to Link Summon them into something more beneficial.
"Nordics" and "Aesir" also have their own line of Spell/Trap support, called the "Nordic Relics". The reason these weren't featured in the text before, aside from "Dverg" recycling them, is that they are rather weak and gimmicky: "Brisingamen" can be used to lift the stats of a "Nordic" to "Aesir" standard; "Draupnir" is a Equip Spell that increases the monsters ATK by 800 and floats into another "Nordic Relic" upon destruction; "Gungnir" destroys a card for the low cost of banishing one of your monsters for two turns; "Laevateinn" is a silly revenge kill option; and "Megingjord" boosts an "Aesir" to even higher stats, which can be combined with piercing damage for quite a bruise. Almost all of them are Trap Cards and therefore inherently slow, while not increasing the overall consistency of the deck in any way (other than searching for more "Relics" with "Draupnir").
The archetype recently got support in form of "Alviss of the Nordic Alfar" and "Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant", allowing for more stable and consistent ways to Summon the "Aesir" gods for the low cost of any variety in deck building or strategy. "Gullveig of the Nordic Ascendant" is Summonable with only a single "Nordic" monster, and will fetch the needed god for the sacrifice (and in this case banishment) of three cards from either hand or field. Aside from accelerating the Summoning process of the Aesir gods, she protects them from targeting effects, while they disallow the opponent from attacking "Gullveig" as long as an "Aesir" lingers on the field. "Alviss of the Nordic Alfar" is only another way to get gods on the field, since every single strategy of this deck ends in an "Aesir" running into the opponents face.
Unfortunately, the archetype aged quite badly, making elaborate and artsy strategies almost impossible. The aforementioned two newcomers are certainly helpful, but limit the choices in deck-building quite badly; and still, they pose to be the best choice when Summoning "Aesirs" is involved. A great number of the main deck line-up is questionable, with most of the "Nordic Relics" being sub-par, and many monsters either asking for to much to make their effect worthwhile or being to slow due to being forced into battle destruction for their effects to trigger. While it is certainly still possible to construct this deck in an effective way, the task of building around the archetypes' shortcomings makes this a rather frustrating task.
- Since a "Aesir" Deck's de facto stratagem has Synchro Summons as its centerpiece, Anti-Synchro cards such as "Discord", "Synchro Control", "Tuner's Scheme" and "Shiny Black "C"" can hurt this Deck's purpose.
- "Maxx "C"" can be used with great effect against an "Aesir" Deck, since it needs to Special Summon a respectable amount of monsters to reach its normal boardstate of one Link and one Synchro monster.
- "Koa'ki Meiru Drago" can keep "Loki" and "Odin" off of the Field, as "Loki" and "Odin", as well as all of the "Nordic Alfar" and "Nordic Ascendant" monsters, are LIGHT or DARK.
- Cards like "Archlord Kristya", "Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo", "Jowgen the Spiritualist" and the "Vanity's" cards can be a more complete solution in crippling "Nordics".
- Any form of effect or Summon negation can be devastating to the Aesir player, making cards like "Solemn Judgment", "Solemn Warning" or the "Ghost Girl" Handtraps effective counters against the Aesir strategy.
- Banishing cards such as "Dimensional Fissure", "Macro Cosmos", and "Banisher of the Radiance" can hurt this Deck too, since "Nordic" Tuners won't be in the Graveyard anymore to revive fallen "Aesir" monsters—on that note, these aces-in-the-hole can also be banished, making it almost impossible to bring them back in the Duel: "Orient Dragon", "D.D. Warrior Lady", "D.D. Assailant", "Chaos Sorcerer" and other monsters that banish can therefore also be a huge threat against the "Aesir" due to their lack of protection against monster effects.
- Cards that return monsters to the hand or Deck, such as "Penguin Soldier", "Compulsory Evacuation Device" and "Compulsory Escape Device", bypass the ability of "Aesir" monsters to revive themselves from the Graveyard.
- One of the worst matchups of their time for "Nordics" is Evilswarm, because they have access to "Evilswarm Ophion", which prevents you from Special Summoning your "Aesir" or Synchro Monsters of level 5 or higher and "Evilswarm Bahamut". Other bad matchups are the following: "Harpies", due to them having access to "Lightning Chidori"; "Constellars", due to having access to "Constellar Pleiades" and "Constellar Ptolemy M7"; "Fire Fists", for having access to "Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Bear" and "Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Cardinal"; and "Mermails, for having access to the Atlantean cards and "Mermail Abyssgaios".
- Decks that can run "Number 11: Big Eye", "Number 101: Silent Honor ARK" and/or "Abyss Dweller" have an advantage against "Aesir", since they are vulnerable to effects that take control of them or lock out access to their Graveyard.
- Finally, without any of the three "Aesir" on the Field or at the very least, the use of "Nordic Relic Brisingamen" and/or "Nordic Relic Draupnir", "Nordic" Decks lack offensive power (perhaps save "Guldfaxe" to a minor extent).