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— Jaden Yuki on the Fusion potential of "Elemental HERO" monsters.
"Elemental HERO" (Japanese:
They were designed by Kazuki Takahashi, and are themed after comic-book superheroes from the anime and are based off natural elements in the manga.
"Elemental HERO" Decks focus heavily on Fusion Summoning. Most of these fall into two primary "Elemental HERO" monsters categories that can be fused with one another. Normal Monsters from the TV series (Named Materials for Fusion Summoning) and manga counterparts that are retrained versions with effects (Fusion Materials are generic). See 'Grouping' section for more information.
"Avian", "Burstinatrix", "Clayman" and "Bubbleman" are often grouped together because there is at least one Fusion Monster for each pair of them (except "Avian" and "Clayman"), as well as "Elemental HERO Electrum" using all 4 as Fusion Materials.
"Sparkman" was introduced very early on and is usually on cards like "Fifth Hope" and "HERO's Bond". "Sparkman" has the most fusions of any Elemental HERO, other than "Neos", with a grand total of 6 ("Thunder Giant", "Tempest", "Shining Flare Wingman", "Shining Phoenix Enforcer", "Plasma Vice", and "Darkbright").
The manga "Elemental HERO" monsters (unoffically called "Omni Heroes") are also grouped together since they don't have fusions with the anime "Elemental HERO" monsters. These include "Ocean", "Woodsman", "Heat", and "Lady Heat".
The Elemental HEROes' designs are based after the western comics' heroes. In the Japanese version, their nomenclature is "Elemental HERO (term related to its element) "man" (for the masculine heroes, with the exceptions of "Prisma" and every "Neos"). The only feminine heroes are "Burstinatrix", "Lady Heat", "Poison Rose" and "Shadow Mist" (the first two having "Lady" instead of "Man" in their Japanese name). Some of the names are changed in the English version.
As the name says, the "Elemental HEROes" each represent an element of nature. In western culture, the main elements are fire, water, air, earth, light and darkness, but in eastern culture, more elements are considered, such as lightning, wood, metal and ice, though ice is many times not considered since it's part of "water".
The manga doesn't follow the same theme as the anime, but the heroes are still based around those same elements.
The "Elemental HERO" archetype features numerous Main Deck monsters and Extra Deck Fusion boss monsters, each with their own varied effects. Historically, the archetype can be built to focus on their Main Deck monsters or their Fusion Monsters; currently in 2021, the Main Deck "Elemental HERO" monsters are too weak in contrast to the general power level of the game, and later "Elemental HERO" support leaned into their Fusion Summoning playstyle, meaning that the Extra Deck playstyle is the preferred playstyle for the archetype.
The pure "Elemental HERO" playstyle aims to Fusion Summon their Extra Deck Fusion boss monsters by searching out their required Fusion Materials and Fusion Spell cards as quickly as possible. This can be done through a combination of specific "Elemental HERO" support cards (e.g. "E - Emergency Call"), generic "HERO" support cards (e.g. "Vision HERO Vyon"), and non-archetypal Warrior/Fusion support cards (e.g. "Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights").
The "Elemental HERO" Fusion Monsters typically have battle focused effects with little defensive capabilities. Most "Elemental HERO" Fusion Monsters also require Fusion Materials with specific monster names, but some of them have generic materials and are much easier to summon. The 6 most notable ones are "Great Tornado", "Nova Master", "The Shining", "Escuridao", "Absolute Zero", and "Gaia", which require 1 "Elemental HERO" monster + a monster with a specific Attribute as their materials. Between these 6, "Escuridao" and "Absolute Zero" are the most commonly used, because "Escuridao"'s DARK Attribute is ubiquitous, and "Absolute Zero" has a very strong effect, and also only requires a "HERO" monster rather than an "Elemental HERO" monster as its material, making it even easier to create in a general "HERO" deck.
Within the space of the entire "HERO" meta-archetype, the "Elemental HERO" archetypal playstyle is strongly supported by the "Vision HERO" combo of "Faris" → "Increase" → "Vyon", since "Vyon" can search out "Polymerization" and can send "Elemental HERO Shadow Mist" to the GY to search out more needed "Elemental HERO" monsters. The "Vision HERO" Fusion Monsters, "Adoration" and "Trinity", are also good options for an "Elemental HERO" deck to run due to their generic materials.
The "Xtra HERO" Link Monsters provide many helpful benefits to the "Elemental HERO" playstyle. "Infernal Devicer" can directly search out up to 2 listed Fusion Materials on a "HERO" fusion monster, making it most strongly support the "Elemental HERO" playstyle of Fusion Summoning monsters with specific materials. "Wonder Driver" can recover Fusion spell cards, making it useful for longer combos or grind games.
On the other side of the relationship, the "Elemental HERO" archetype (more specifically, a few individual members of the archetype) are vital combo pieces to the overall "HERO" meta-archetype playstyle. The most important "Elemental HERO" with regards to the entire "HERO" archetype is "Stratos", a non-once-per-turn searcher for all "HERO" monsters and the ideal target for "A Hero Lives". "Shadow Mist" is a once-per-turn searcher for all "HERO" monsters when sent to the GY (usually by "Vision HERO Vyon"), but she's also a searcher for "Change" Spell Cards, which enables the Special Summon of the powerful "Masked HERO" monsters (most notably "Dark Law" and "Acid", usually made from "Absolute Zero" to perform a board wipe); the variety of Attributes the "Elemental HERO" monsters have makes them ideal for summoning "Masked HERO" monsters, making "Masked HERO" monsters good options even in a pure "Elemental HERO" build.
"Solid Soldier" and "Liquid Soldier" are good Normal Summons that can Special Summon needed "HERO" monsters (usually "Shadow Mist" to search for "Mask Change"). Lastly, "Honest Neos" is an ATK booster for all "HERO" monsters, and "Sunrise" is a Fusion Monster with generic "HERO" Fusion Materials that can search out "Miracle Fusion", a powerful Fusion Spell that can use monsters in the GY as Fusion Materials, allowing a Fusion Summon with zero loss to the field advantage.
- "Elemental HERO" monsters often lack protection, can often easily have their field cleared by mass destruction cards and effects like "Dark Hole".
- Pure "Elemental HERO" monsters have very weak disruption and oppression power, having little ability to disrupt or prevent the opponent's plays.
- "Gozen Match" can significantly disrupt a pure "Elemental HERO" deck due to their many Attributes.