Phantom Beast Rock-Lizard
If you’re Tributing a “Phantom Beast” monster or “Gazelle the King of Mythical Beasts”, this card can be Normal Summoned with 1 Tribute. When this card destroys a monster by battle, inflict 500 damage to your opponent. When this card is destroyed and sent to the Graveyard by an opponent’s card effect, inflict 2000 damage to your opponent.
Can Be Found In: Force of the Breaker: Special Edition (FOTB-ENSE1), Gold series 2009 8GLD2-EN014)

Far before the debut of the Mecha Phantom Beast archetype, there was only Phantom Beasts. This group is extremely small to get a big spotlight in the card game, with “Gazelle the King of Mythical Beasts” being their only memorable member and just because of the series. What they lack in number of monsters they compensate in power, as being Beast-Warriors allows them to keep the pressure in battles in addition of a solid pool of cards to support their game. With also some tricks arround the graveyard, Phantom Beasts is a forgotten treasure with enough potential to keep the game under control.

“Phantom Beast Rock-Lizard” is the boss monster of this small archetype, and although might seem underwhelming in stats for a Level 7 creature its effects easily compensates. “Rock-Lizard” can be Normal Summoned with a single Tribute if using a Phantom Beast or “Gazelle” as the material, easily solving any issues with its Level. When this monster defeats enemies in battle will deal 500 damage, not much but still decent when combined with support. However, the real threat of “Rock-Lizard” is actually when the opponent gets rid of it, as once destroyed by a card effect will deal 2000 damage. While dealing damage in battle might not seem much the work of playing arround this monster, is actually about pushing the opponent to get rid of it so we can finish them off with that big quantity of damage. Due Phantom Beasts and the Type they belong to have several cards arround stat boosts, soon enough the opponent will sacrifice their Life Points just to get rid of “Rock-Lizard” or lose trying to do so.

Excluding their Mecha counterparts, Phantom Beasts has few yet enough members to become a tribute of “Rock-Lizard”. We can start a Duel with the assistance of “Fire Formation - Tensu”, providing us a second Normal Summon so we can bring out any Phantom Beast or “Gazelle” to follow with a Tribute Summon. We can also combine the Spell with the effect of “Rescue Rabbit” bringing out two copies of “Gazelle” so one is used for “Rock-Lizard” and the other for any other purpose we can give it. Mecha Phantom Beasts have a completely different strategy, but due their ability to create Tokens they can aid “Rock-Lizard” arrival by the effects of members like “Mecha Phantom Beast Blue Impala”, “Mecha Phantom Beast O-Lion”, or “Mecha Phantom Beast Tetherwolf”. Finally and since we try to encourage the opponent to destroy “Rock-Lizard” to deal massive damage, try to have cards like “Call of the Haunted” ready to revive back this monster, specially when the opponent tries to use disruptive effects against our backrow and chain this monster’s destruction in the process.

Since we want the opponent to destroy “Rock-Lizard” by an effect, we must fix its stats as soon as possible. This is easily done by the archetype itself by simply milling “Phantom Beast Cross-Wing”, giving their members an ATK boost as long it stays in our graveyard. “Horn of the Phantom Beast” is a Trap which immediately turns “Rock-Lizard” into a 3000 ATK menace, in addition of giving us drawing power when defeating monsters in battle as deals damage by its effect. Similarly, “Solidarity” will provide all Beast-Warriors a 800 ATK so “Rock-Lizard” is not the only only with a stat buff. “Enraged Battle Ox” will increase the offensive of “Rock-Lizard” and other Beast-Warriors by providing them piercing damage, increasing the damage done considerably. Since Fire Formations easily supports the archetype, we can add Fire Fist members like “Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Gorilla” or “Brotherhood of the Fire First - Bear” to cover them against certain menaces. Don’t ever forget that “Rock-Lizard” can only be destroyed by an effect, so try to have some coverage by cards like “Skill Drain”, “Dark Bribe”, or “Phantom Beast Thunder-Pegasus” to assure the opponent can only get rid of it by a destructive effect.

Phantom Beasts might be a small group, but have a big menace in their strategy in the form of “Phantom Beast Rock-Lizard”. With the many cards to increase their stats and some coverage, either “Rock-Lizard” will constantly defeat monsters and chip away the opponent’s Life Points or force them to get rid of it and take a big loss in return. They also have several tricks arround the graveyard to keep the pressence of “Rock-Lizard” make it count, like a “Call of the Haunted” chained against a destructive effect or “Phantom Beast Cross-Wing” and its copies aiding its members. The problem with “Rock-Lizard” is obvious, as we have to make sure to limit the opponent options to destructive effects. With below average stats we must be quick to start providing stat boosts, and after that be still aware of the many methods the opponent can still get rid of “Rock-Lizard” without taking any damage. Phantom Beasts are a hidden gem in the card game, and “Rock-Lizard” has the right tools to either keep the pressure on the field or avenge itself if the opponent defeats it.

Personal Rating: A-

+ Deals damage when destroys monsters in battle
+ Massive damage if the opponent destroys it with an effect
+ Greatly supported in both summoning and stat boosts

- Relies on other cards to compensate its weaknesses
- Several options to defeat it without activating its Burn effect