First off: Full Art! Hnnnnnnng. Second off, we have real Force of Will art this time! I know a lot of people were hyped about this set breaking the chain of awful Vingolfs, but I think these cards actually confirmed that. The art styles for Valkyria Chronicles and Engage Knights were just bad, since they were more or less ripped straight from source material. The theme/lore for this set is just as good as the pictures, too. If you're a fan of Marvel Comics, and are familiar with the Secret Wars storyline, then you've got a pretty good handle on what this box is about. For you unfortunate souls who aren't as familiar with it, Secret Wars depicted an all-powered being transporting every hero in the Marvel universe to his own planet and pitting them against each other in a massive war. What we have here are the Dragon Rulers, protectors of the Magic Stones, recruiting all of the Rulers for a similar purpose.
The card itself is amazing, even by regular set standards. Traditionally, Vingolf Rulers are kind of just bad (save for Vlad Tepes, for better or for worse), but you can tell Force of Will went the extra mile in designing these dragons. They're all basically cut-and-paste of the same template, but with each of their colors' main traits spliced in to give them individuality. Guardian of the Light Magic Stones is rocking out a 5-cost Judgment, which is shared among all 5 Rulers, as well as Energize. Resonance is a new keyword introduced with this set, which requires the listed card (in this case, Light Magic Stone) to enter your field in order to trigger the ability. What we essentially have here are Rulers that trigger abilities when you call a stone each turn, which is perfect for cards that are supposed to be the guardians of their respective stones. The Light Dragon's resonance will give one of your resonators +200/+200 for the turn when you call a stone, which isn't incredibly strong on its own, but will allow some of your weaker cards to trade off (or even beat) stronger monsters in battle. The first thing that comes to mind is Wendy and her Fairy Tale OTK combo. This guy is a strong mono-light Ruler, so you can easily keep the 10-mono-stone lineup that she requires. Call for stone, pump her to a 600/700, and start swinging off. She makes a little power go a long way, making her perfect for this guy.
Once he judgments, not only does he become even more of an absolute badass, but he makes sure everyone else on the field knows it. 1000/1200 is just above the standard stat level for J-Rulers this cluster, but with a 5-cost judgment, those may be a little low. Flying is always a strong keyword, but he's really packing the punch with his enter ability, which wipes the board of everything other than stones and J-Rulers. Additions, Resonators, Regalia... all of it! Take note that this doesn't discriminate, so it will nuke your own cards too, but you won't be flipping him unless you're in a bad spot. The opponent will have to play conservatively for the whole game out of fear of getting board wiped by a judgment.
I'm excited about this guy not just because of what he does, but because we finally have a good, generic Fire Ruler. Melgis dies too easily, Alisaris and Mars are gimmicky, Sylvia is too linear, and Lunya dies to double bow. This guy is honestly really similar to Lunya, but with a couple changes that make him a bit more solid card. He has the exact same template as the Light Dragon, with the 5-cost judgment, energize, and resonance effects. Rather than beefing your own cards up by 200, though, his resonance instead deals 200 to something. This makes Demonflame live just by calling a stone, and on early turns, lets you kill off weak things like Tama or Elf tokens for doing nothing. Flipping him gives you a Lunya-on-crack ability, where he burns every resonator your opponent controls for 1000 damage. Holy cow. On top of that, anything that dies after he deals it damage gets RFG'd instead of going to the grave, so he really screws over Monkey Trapped in Life, Red Riding Hood, Rukh Egg, Messenger Familiar, Alice's Little Scout, etc (*cough* Fox decks *cough*), and basically just outclasses Lunya. For 1 more judgment cost you're getting 200 more DEF, 200 more damage on the burn, AND burning multiple targets instead of one. You lose Swiftness, sure, but Laevateinn is just begging to be used with this guy. Tap it for the increased damage, and he can take out Gwibers and Titanias just for flipping. Red control is looking preeeetty viable.
I guess after Jordan got asked "Is Shion really dead?" in stream every week for 3 months, something like this was bound to happen. Water Guardian's resonance effect lets you look at the top card of your deck and either keep it there or put it on the bottom. Obviously its not as good as Shion's "always look at the top card of your deck," but at least he doesn't need Hydromonica to get rid of it if you don't like it. This adds a ton of consistency to water decks, which were already pretty consistent to begin with. Flipping him gives you a mini Rising from the Depths, but only for your opponent's field. Mass blocker removal is pretty good, although for the cost of his judgment, you could just play Rachel's Smile and get the same results. Although Smile doesn't have an 1100/1100 body, so I guess there's that.
This guy breaks the pattern a little bit, but in a good way. His resonance effect is 100% non-GMO FDA-certified bonkers: Calling a stone turns a resonator into a mana dork. You don't think that's good? Do you think a turn 3 Celestial Wing Seraph is good? Or maybe Turn 2 Lucifer? How about Turn 3 Huanglong with all his colors? This essentially lets you call 2 stones a turn, as long as the resonator you make a dork has been on the field for more than a turn. Turn 1 play something like a Tama, pass. Turn 2 call a stone, turn Tama into a mana producer. You have 3 open will, 4 if you went second and have Energize. What kind of nonsense is that? And if you played a real mana dork, you'll have even more. When you flip, everything passively gets that ability, even during your opponent's turn now, and he gives you 2 Elf tokens just because. Flipping this guy essentially ramps you 2 will, at minimum. You already had 2 resonators on board? Well now you have 4 open will. Absolutely insane. He doesn't wipe the board like the other Dragons do when they flip, but he'll let you play something like Red Boy, which does the same thing.
I'd like to say we saved the best for last, but then I'd be a liar. The Darkness Dragon is honestly the worst of the bunch. His resonance is a -100/-100 to one card, which can be a J/resonator unlike any of the other dragons, but that's just so... meh. The Fire Dragon burns for 200, the Light Dragon pumps for 200, so why can't this guy debuff for -200? Likewise, his J-Ruler forces the opponent to banish 2 on-flip, but that's not doing too much in the current state of the game. It'll probably snipe some lower-tier decks, sure, but Fiethsing turbo and Fox will have plenty of fodder to feed to it and go on with their day. He let's Space-Time be a -600/-600, but Valentina already does that better. Heck, Dark Alice is already a form of mass-removal that gets around Barrier, and she can also counter Fox and put a permanent -200/-200 on the field. This guy is just outclassed by most other Darkness Rulers, and seeing how great the other four Dragons are, I just feel bad for this guy.
That's it for the first round of spoilers. I honestly wasn't expecting them to dump all the Rulers on us at once, but given how similar they are, I guess it makes sense. This has me really interested in seeing what the new Special Stones in this set are, and I can't wait to see how they've adapted our favorite Rulers into resonators! This is the first time I've been genuinely excited for a Vingolf and I love it!