Posted by : Abdalaziz al-shammari Mar 24, 2011

This past weekend at the YCS in Charlotte we saw Thor, Lord of the Aesir annihilate a dude. It was awesome. And do you know what would be even more awesome? Thor and Loki, Lord of the Aesir annihilating someone at the same time.
So far, it’s really easy to play to play Thor or Odin practically whenever you like. All it takes is one attack against Tanngrisnir of the Nordic Beasts along with a copy of Vanadis of the Nordic Ascendant, and you can Summon either Thor or Odin while being able to revive your Aesir at least once. But what about Loki? Sure, you can use the combo to Summon Loki, but you won’t have any “Nordic Alfar” Tuners in your Graveyard to use if Loki is destroyed. Some Nordic Duelists shy away from using Svartalf of the Nordic Alfar because it’s Level 5 and doesn’t play nicely with the Nordic Beasts. But I’ve got a feeling that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Loki once Nordic Duelists get their hands on Mara of the Nordic Alfar!

Mara of the Nordic Alfar is a Level 2 Tuner monster with a twist: When you use it for a Synchro Summon, the other Synchro Material Monsters have to be 2 “Nordic” monsters in your hand. It draws an instant comparison to Valkyrie of the Nordic Ascendant, which lets you, under very specific circumstances, turn 2 “Nordic” monsters in your hand into 2 Level 4 Token monsters on the field that you can use to Synchro Summon Odin, Father of the Aesir. Mara, however, dodges a lot of problems and lacks key weaknesses that are steering Nordic Duelists away from using Valkyrie.
First, the two monsters you use to tune with Mara don’t necessarily have to be Level 4. TheEinherjar Tokens are always going to be Level 4, but with Mara you can dabble in different combinations. One popular combination is sure to be a Level 3 monster and a Level 4 monster along with Mara to Summon a Level 9 Synchro Monster like the dreaded Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier! Imagine just dropping Trishula whenever you want without needing any prior set-up on the field. Scary, right? Sure. If you’re on the receiving end of it. If you’re dishing it out, it just rocks.
Second, if your opponent tries to use Effect Veiler on Mara, that’s their loss. Like Eccentric Boy, Mara’s Synchro Summon shenanigans aren’t an effect that can be negated. Whereas seeing Effect Veiler when you tried to use Valkyrie’s effect was a prompt for picking up your cards and going on to the next Duel, Mara suffers no such difficulty.
Third, you’re allowed to have cards on the field when you Synchro Summon with Mara. To use Valkyrie’s effect, you need to have no cards on the field and your opponent has to have a monster. With Mara, you never have to let your defenses down for a single second, and you don’t have to wait for your opponent to have a monster. This also means that you can Summon 1 Aesir monster and then immediately follow up with a second on your next turn. Most Duelists pack it in at the sight of one Aesir monster. Two is surely enough to send them running for the exits.
Finally, unlike Valkyrie, the monsters you use with Mara go to the Graveyard along with Mara. With Valkyrie you have to remove 2 Nordic monsters in your hand from play. That makes them ineligible for Pot of Avarice, a Spell that Nordic Duelists have been flocking to as a way to reload their Deck with Nordic Beasts and draw more cards. Using Mara to drop Loki, Trishula, or whatever you happen to have the right materials for loads 3 monsters in your Graveyard at once. By the second or third turn you probably already have 3 monsters in your Graveyard from your first Synchro Summon of the Duel, meaning after you use Mara you can play Pot of Avarice to shuffle 5 monsters back to your Deck and draw 2 cards and leave Mara in the Graveyard to remove for Loki!
Don’t forget, Loki, Lord of the Aesir has an absolutely brutal revival effect. If your opponent destroys him, he comes back from the Graveyard and brings a Trap Card back to your hand. Trap Cards tend to be incredibly useful and powerful, and Loki’s whole deal is that he can negate the opponent’s Traps and recycle your own Traps. In short, you want him on your side of the field.
So what monsters are best to use with Mara? If you’re running a Deck with a lot of Nordic Beasts, consider adding Garmr of the Nordic Beasts to your Deck. You can Special Summon it as a big defender with Tanngnjostr of the Nordic Alfar, add it to your hand with Gleipnir, the Fetters of Fenrir to use with Mara, or just Set it to thwart early attacks from monsters like XX-Saber Fulhelmknight and any of the basic Gladiator Beast monsters. It’s also a DARK monster, as is Mara, so if you’re running more DARK monsters like Gorz the Emissary of Darkness and Vanadis, you might even be able to add Allure of Darkness or Dark Armed Dragon to your Deck to get some extra power!
No matter what kind of Nordic Deck you play, keep Mara of the Nordic Alfar in mind asExtreme Victory approaches. If you’ve been looking for a nice, convenient way to Summon Lokiand fuel his effect, this is it!

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