"Hand" (ハンド Hando) is an archetype used by Girag in the Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL anime. Visually, they appear as large mechanical human hands, often constructed primarily of a unique natural element. In the anime, some "Hand" monsters like "Fire Hand" and "Ice Hand" attach themselves to their controller's shoulder, like a prosthetic limb, while also causing the controller extreme pain.
The cards of the archetype do not seem to have a single strong effect focus, though they generally focus on a defensive Control Strategy. Several of the the later cards feature effects that activate when destroyed by battle. The Xyz Monsters of the archetype have effects that respond to and negate other monsters' effects when it is activated.
Due to this archetype's Japanese name, it technically also includes numerous cards unrelated to its play style and that do not have "Hand" anywhere in their English name, such as "Extra Hundred".
The "Hand" archetype has a rather straightforward play style centered mostly on "Fire Hand" and "Ice Hand". When either of this pair is destroyed by an opponent's card (by battle or card effect) and sent to the Graveyard, they can destroy a monster the opponent controls ("Fire") or a Spell/Trap card the opponent controls ("Ice"). Once a card is successfully destroyed this way, each "Hand" can Special Summon its opposite counterpart directly from the Deck. Since this effect can be used as many times in a turn as possible, a popular strategy is to ram the "Hands" against a stronger enemy monster as many times as possible. This will successively destroy the opponent's field while successively Summoning the alternating "Hands" from the Deck. While this can cost some Life Points (a risk which can be easily be resolved by throwing in a "Spirit Barrier"), they are capable of shifting card advantage away from the opponent quickly, making them excellent floaters. "Black Garden" can be used to generate tokens for the "Hands" to attack and trigger their effects, reducing the strain on the player's Life Points.
They can also be used defensively, since opponents who are aware of the "Hands'" capabilities may choose to hold back on their offensive out of fear of losing their cards. In conjunction with destroying the opponent's cards, "Fire Hand" and "Ice Hand" are capable of independently maintaining board presence, Deck Thinning, and also filling the Graveyard for resources that can be exploited by monsters like "Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos" and "Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls."
The other two members, "Prominence Hand" and "Magic Hand" take a radically different approach and tend to be less popular. "Prominence Hand" serves to facilitate easy Xyz Summons, by Special Summoning itself when any other "Hand" is in play. While this can be useful in certain situations, that approach is sometimes forgone by players who prefer to sacrifice their more valuable "Hands" in exchanges with the opponent.
Meanwhile, "Magic Hand" is the true oddball of the group. "Magic Hand" offers the unique ability to, one time only, shut down the opponent's ability to search their Deck. Since its effect doesn't directly help the other members, it finds itself rarely used. However, it can make a useful one-time combo with "Dark Designator," which forces the opponent to search for a monster of your choice. "Magic Hand" will immediately discard the searched card and deal 800 damage as a bonus, which can help break combos and hinder fine-tuned Decks. Also, since it lacks the destruction combos of the "Ice" and "Fire" pair, it makes for a better partner to "Prominence Hand". With its Type being Spellcaster, it opens up the possibility of comboes involving the Pyro-Type "Hands" and "Inari Fire".
The boss monsters of the archetype are "Number 106: Giant Hand" and its evolution, "Number C106: Giant Red Hand." The former has a useful Quick Effect that allows it to negate the effects of an opponent's monster while also preventing them from changing their battle position, at the cost of both of its Xyz Materials. However, it is often unfavored due to its rather low ATK and DEF values for a Rank 4 (both 2000) and because of splashable cards like "Fiendish Chain" and "Breakthrough Skill" that serve the same purpose, but with more reliability.
"Number C106: Giant Red Hand" is unique amongst "C" monsters in that it can only have an effect through the use of a "Rank-Up-Magic" Spell Card. In compensation it can acquire its effect by having ANY "Number" monster attached to it as Xyz Material, unlike the rest of the "Number C" monsters that require specific base forms to get all of their effects. Together with "Rank-Up-Magic Limited Barian's Force, it can easily fit into a huge variety of decks, and is arguably the most splashable "Number C" card. While its battle stats are respectable, boasting a decent 2600 ATK, "Red Hand" generally isn't as powerful as other "Number C" monsters, trading strength for raw utility. Its effect, which negates all effects on the field in response to an effect activation can make it a powerful support monster in any Xyz-focused Deck.
The "Hand" archetype can be tricky to handle despite the small size of the archetype. However, the power lies almost exclusively in the effects of "Ice Hand" and "Fire Hand" and can be taken down easily if one prevents their destructive effects from triggering. One way to beat the pair is to exploit the limitations imposed by their card text; they can only Summon a replacement if they destroy the respective opponent's card. Using card effects against "Fire Hand" while controlling no monsters, or destroying "Ice Hand" while controlling no Spell or Trap card, can slow down the entire combo.
Furthermore since all the effects of "Fire Hand" and "Ice Hand" only activate when sent to the Graveyard, effects that banish them like "Dimensional Prison" or "Dimensional Fissure" can shut down the pair. Also, cards which negate effects in the Graveyard like "Soul Drain" work just as well to stop their combo.
As some of the older cards with the "when" optional effect, the effects of "Fire Hand" and "Ice Hand" can miss the activation timing.