One of the most emblematic Cards of Seto Kaiba, other than the obvious pale dragons, is his mighty God Card, Obelisk the Tormentor. Unlike the other Egyptian deities, Obelisk's strategy is much simplier than managing Life Points or Cards in Hand. Obelisk beats face, plain and simple. Packing a fist worth 4000 Life Points, and the power of Raigeki in its other palm, one certainly can't ignore this monument turned into a divine beatstick. Like every Egyptian God Card, Obelisk is a classic for many players who always mentioned how making it legal wouldn't be a problem, considering how the game always has something more terrifying than a monster that can take down half of your Life Points in one punch.
Before we start, the "blue" Obelisk (GBI-002) is an illegal Card. You cannot use it under any conditions, not even as a proxy of the actual the legal one (JUMP-EN037). The GBI Obelisk is an Asian-English Card, and these have always been illegal, with all of them having an English counterpart. With that said, the legal Obelisk has a lot of different effects. Most of them are simply what defined Ra, Slifer, and itself as God Cards:
You must Tribute 3 monsters to Normal Summon this card (you cannot Set this card). The Normal Summon of this card cannot be negated. When this card is Normal Summoned, Spells, Traps, and Effect Monster effects cannot be activated. This card cannot be targeted by the effects of Spells, Traps or Effect Monsters. If this card is Special Summoned, it is sent to the Graveyard during the End Phase. You can Tribute 2 monsters to destroy all monsters your opponent controls. This card cannot declare an attack the turn this effect is activated.
Because being blue only makes it more awesome! Oh well, let's break it down, as usual:
You must Tribute 3 monsters to Normal Summon this card (you cannot Set this card).
This first line is a restriction on how you Normal Summon Obelisk. You may be wondering about the last part of this sentence. That comes from its Japanese text. Their texts use the them "Normal Summon" for both Normal Summons and Sets, so you tribute 3 monsters to Normal Summon Obelisk "in face-up Attack Position". It sounds redundant for our terminology, so it reads that you can't Set it. This doesn't mean that one cannot use effects like Book of Eclipse to flip Obelisk face-down, though.
Being a Normal Summon that uses tributes, you are Tribute Summoning Obelisk by doing this. For example, you cannot Tribute Summon Obelisk if Zombie World is active. Also note that you must tribute 3 monsters, so you cannot use Mausoleum of the Emperor paying 2000 Life Points (let alone 3000).
The Normal Summon of this card cannot be negated.
Whoa, this is heavy. This type of effect is really unique, and as expected of this Egyptian God, it laughs at pathetic Cards like Solemn Judgment that try to negate its Summon. This is a Continuous Effect, and there aren't many ifs or buts about it.
When this card is Normal Summoned, Spells, Traps, and Effect Monster effects cannot be activated.
This is when Obelisk grabs Creeping Doom Manta by its tail and watches it cry in defeat. This Continuous Effect prevents both players from responding to Obelisk's Summon, so you don't have to worry about Cards like Torrential Tribute or Bottomless Trap Hole. Note that this effect only lasts for the window that responds to Obelisk's successful Normal Summon, not the entire turn. If you tribute Sangan or a similar monster, its effect cannot be activated, since it would need to activate while Obelisk prevents it. There is a loophole around this, which is Normal Summoning Obelisk as link 2 or higher of a chain using Ultimate Offering. In that case, this effect is applied only in the middle of the chain, and so, Sangan can start a new chain, free from Obelisk's restriction.
Speaking of loopholes, this peculiar effect causes a nice disruption on how priority works in response to this Summon. Say you Normal Summon Obelisk. You can't respond to this Summon, and neither can your opponent, so priority returns to the turn player to perform actions. Since you probably have forgotten already, the turn player now has priority to perform any action, as s/he isn't responding to any event. This means that you could perform a Synchro Summon after a Normal Summon in this case. Gods sure act in mysterious ways.
This card cannot be targeted by the effects of Spells, Traps or Effect Monsters.
This Continuous Effect makes Obelisk impervious to many popular Cards like Dimensional Prison, Brain Control, Brionac, Book of Moon, and many others. This really narrows down the number of Cards that can touch it. Notably, effect negation is probably one of its main enemies (Starlight Road, Divine Wrath, etc.), since it's pretty uncommon for it not to target. Note that this effect is only applied while Obelisk is face-up on the Field.
If this card is Special Summoned, it is sent to the Graveyard during the End Phase.
It's pretty easy to miss it while reading Obelisk's Summoning Condition, but Obelisk CAN be Special Summoned by pretty much any Card, like Call of the Haunted, or Return from the Different Dimension. However, if you do, Obelisk will be damned by this Trigger Effect. This effect will activate during every End Phase that Obelisk is face-up. If Obelisk stays face-down, or has its effect negated, it will survive that End Phase, but this effect will still activate in the next End Phase. But hey, you have a huge beatstick that can't be targetted for an entire turn.
You can Tribute 2 monsters to destroy all monsters your opponent controls. This card cannot declare an attack the turn this effect is activated.
Bang! The power of nuking every monster escapes the banlist and reincarnates in a 4000 ATK body. This is an Ignition Effect, which certainly doesn't target, and tributes 2 monsters as a cost. You can even tribute Obelisk if you wanted to. Granted, this effect isn't too useful, as Obelisk can perform the job most of the time with its raw power. But it's certainly a nice treat to keep some of its original effect from the anime. Besides, if you can manage to generate 3 monsters to Summon Obelisk, you probably won't have a hard time generating two more for a free Raigeki.
Obelisk is a Card that truly suits Kaiba's strategy: Raw power in the most blunt way. It has been used in some memorable Duels like a 2-turn Tag Duel OTK, and in a very special Duel in which Kaiba refused to use Obelisk and chose his signature Blue-Eyes White Dragon instead. Why all the Kaiba hype? Because next week we'll be discussing some of his Cards from the recently released Duelist Pack under his name. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an e-mail at ness00[at]gmail[dot]com.