Errata Case Study: Necrovalley

TheLastPharaoh

Necrovalley is one of the most famous field cards in the game, but what does it actually do? There is a good chance you're not quite sure, and no one can blame you. Let's take a walk through the valley of the shadow of death and explore the different errata the poor card had to endure!


necrovalley

Off the top of your head, how many times has Necrovalley's text been changed? You get two guesses. Did you say four? You are a bit far off actually. Did you say six? Close enough. The latest version of Necrovalley printed in Duelist Saga is the seventh version of the card. I think someone simply had no idea what the card should do and ended up changing the effect accordingly as time went by. While some updates to the text were necessary to adapt the card to the current rules, other changes made the card even more powerful than it previously was.

Errare Humanum Est

This is the original wording of Necrovalley:


  • As long as this card remains face-up on the field, all effects of Magic, Trap and/or Effect Monster Cards that involve Graveyards are negated and neither player can remove cards in the Graveyards from play. In addition, increase the ATK and DEF of all monsters that includes "Gravekeeper's" in their card name by 500 points.

PSCT or Problem-Solving Card Text has come a long way since then. Along with some other changes in card naming, such as magic cards becoming spell cards, "removed from play" turned into "banished."


necrovalley

By the fifth erratum, the wording of Necrovalley changed to:


  • All "Gravekeeper's" monster gain 500 ATK and DEF. Cards in either player's Graveyard cannot be removed from play. Cards in either player's Graveyard cannot be affected by card effects, except for their own effects.

It looks simple, clean and polished. However, more changes kept coming, which further transformed the card. The sixth erratum changed its wording to:


  • All "Gravekeeper's" monsters gain 500 ATK and DEF. Cards in either player's Graveyard cannot be banished. Negate any card effect that would move a card in the Graveyard, other than itself, to a different place.

It is a relatively extensive erratum despite not sounding like much. While it seemed that the main reason was to update the card's text according to the latest terminology, that is "removed from play" being changed into "banished", there is actually a huge difference. "Cards in either player's Graveyard cannot be affected by card effects" turned into "Negate any card effect that would move a card in the Graveyard." Previously, you weren't able to move cards away from the graveyard, except with a card's own effect. Now you also couldn't activate any effect that would for example negate the continuous or activated effect of cards in graveyard. After that erratum, the effect changed to only moving cards from the graveyard.

The latest erratum arrived with the release of Duelist Saga, changing the card's effect to:


  • All "Gravekeeper's" monsters gain 500 ATK and DEF. Cards in the Graveyard cannot be banished. Negate any card effect that would move a card in the Graveyard to a different place. Negate any card effect that changes Types or Attributes in the Graveyard.

Previously, cards that could move themselves from the graveyard, such as Gizmek Orochi, the Serpentron Sky Slasher or any Paleozoic trap card, were able to revive themselves via their own effects. However, cards now cannot be moved from the graveyard to any other location. That is it. We will talk down below about the relevance of this for the current metagame. Lastly, Necrovalley gained a new effect to nullify any effects that change types or attributes in the graveyard. While that last effect might not be too relevant for the moment, it does affect some archetypes. Poor Elementsaber Makani.

Necrovalley's Relevance Today

Surprisingly, Necrovalley is extremely relevant right now. There are so many strategies currently that are graveyard-reliant and are hurt by Necrovalley's presence on the field. To mention a couple of them, Tri-Brigade relies on banishing monsters from the graveyard to summon their big link monsters, rendering something like Tri-Brigade Fraktall somewhat useless. Meanwhile Prank-Kids players are unable to recur any resources from the grave. Prank-Kids Dodo-Doodle-Doo can no longer access resources from the graveyard to set up that Prank-Kids Battle Butler play, which suddenly cannot rely on Meow-Meow-Mu anymore.

Virtual World decks also have a bit of a hard time as the effect of Virtual World Xiezhi - Jiji to add a card from the graveyard to the hand won't apply. Qinglong becomes simply unplayable as both its effects are restricted by Necrovalley. Moving on to Eldlich, the traps cannot banish themselves to set others from the deck. You would really need to have Eldlich the Golden Lord in your hand with a spell or trap card in order for the deck to function.


Prank-Kids Dodo-Doodle-Doo salamangreat sunlight wolf

Salamangreat is heavily reliant on the graveyard. Salamangreat Jack Jaguar will struggle to shuffle back a Salamangreat monster from the graveyard in order to summon itself to the field. Also, Sunlight Wolf's effect to bring back spells or traps from the graveyard is suddenly nonexistent, causing the deck to end on much weaker boards. Lastly, we also have Dragon Link decks. Almost the entire deck is reliant on the graveyard in some way or another, so the struggle is real. Oh, did I mention that the Drytron, Shaddoll, and Invoked strategies hate this card too?

Necrovalley is one of those old cards that aged well thanks to the care of Konami. I expect it to remain relevant for many years to come since graveyard reliance is becoming more and more common. Who knows, though, we might receive another erratum that could change its effect yet again.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.



3 Comments

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xCherry(13.08.2021 05:41)

Thanks for the article!

TheNodop(11.08.2021 20:00)

Interesting article.
Are there cards with even more erratas?

TheLastPharaoh
Pharaoh7(12.08.2021 09:37)

TheNodop
Nope, this one is officially the king of errattas

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