"Ritual Beast", known as "Spirit Beast" or "Spiritual Beast" (
This archetype seems to be the remnants/successor of the "Gusto" archetype in the Duel Terminal Storyline, as "Ritual Beast Tamer Elder" is a grown-up "Kamui, Hope of Gusto". Their team symbol is a sphere encircled by four-pointed star (different style for each pair), which shaped similarly as the crest of the "Gusto", further reinforcing the connection between them. In addition, the artwork of the cards features the coiled foliage seen in many "Naturia" cards, implying that these monsters may inhabit the "Naturia Forest". This connection is cemented by the art of "Ulti-Gaiapelio", which depicts "Naturia Gaiastrio" as part of a "Ritual Beast" pair. The Fusion monsters of the archetype also serve as a throwback to the original "Gem-Knight" Fusion Monsters, forming the same Pyro - Aqua - Thunder trinity (albeit in WIND as opposed to EARTH and with the exception of "Ulti-Gaiapelio", which is LIGHT/Psychic).
Below is the list of the original members of the archetype and how they are related with each other.
Names in the TCG
In French, Italian and Portuguese, the archetype is called "Spiritual Beast", since the implied "Ritual/Spiritual" pun wouldn't work in those languages due to the backward word orders. For example, in French, if "Ritual Beast" were to translate to "Bête Rituelle" and "Spiritual Beast" to "Bête Spirituelle" instead, the "Spiritual Beast" archetype would then be split from "Ritual Beast", or the whole card text wording would be unnecessarily complicated. As for German, the word "Geist" ("ghost; spirit") appears to be the most common but it seems too short and not to be able to bear such a pun.
The Spiritual Beast have dwelt on this world since time immemorial and possess mystical powers. They live together with the Ritual Beast Tamers, and together both man and beast combine their powers together to try and prevent any disaster that comes their way.
Each of the "Ritual Beast Tamer" monsters have effects that helps swarming the Field (with the exception of "Ritual Beast Tamer Zefrawendi") in order to initiate Contact Fusion, either by Special Summoning "Ritual Beast" monsters from Deck, GY or the ones being banished, or even grants an extra Normal Summon.
On the other hand, the "Spiritual Beast" monsters banish 1 "Ritual Beast" card from the Hand, Deck, Graveyard, or Extra Deck in order to get rid of problematic opposing cards, search for a card on the long run, give power boosts, or setting up combos, respectively.
Each of the Main Deck monsters also shares a restriction that only allows them to be Special Summoned once per turn.
The original "Ritual Beast Ulti-" Fusion Monsters are all Level 6 and their ATK and DEF have a sum of 3000. Each of them has their own unique roles:
- "Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio" is their offensive vanguard, with 2600 ATK and immunity against any card effects while it attacks.
- "Ritual Beast Ulti-Pettlephin" is their defensive wall, with solid 2800 DEF and being indestructible by card effects.
- "Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk" is the supportive pillar of the deck (and the most important one). Despite its average ATK and DEF, it can search any "Ritual Beast" card from your Deck to help accumulates resources.
All of them share the following effect:
"During either player's turn: You can return this card you control to the Extra Deck, then target 2 of your banished monsters (1 "Ritual Beast Tamer" monster and 1 "Spiritual Beast" monster); Special Summon them in Defense Position."
It is one of their biggest strength, allowing them to dodge most dangerous card effects. This ability also allows the player to utilize the loophole of "Once per turn" effects, allowing the player use them multiple times per turn (mostly "Spiritual Beast" monsters and "Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk"), effectively accumulating numerous resources, initiating offense, and often, leads into OTK in just a few turns.
"Ritual Beast Ulti-Gaiapelio" is their boss monster; with 3200 ATK and powerful negation effect (only if Summoned properly), it is best Summoned when aiming for a decisive victory that same turn.
The archetype also has a pair of Pendulum Monsters, "Ritual Beast Tamer Zeframpilica" and "Ritual Beast Tamer Zefrawendi", with Pendulum Scale of 1 and 7 respectively, allowing the Deck to Pendulum Summon (albeit not always necessary).
With the release of their own Link Monster, "Ritual Beast Ulti-Kimunfalcos", the deck can extend their usual combo into much greater heights, effectively doubles their firepower (through "Ritual Beast Steeds"), increasing field security, optimizing "less-than-ideal" hands as well as allows them to execute OTK without delay. Since it's a Link-2 monster, it can also supports the usage of other powerful Link Monsters such as "Borreload Dragon" or "Saryuja Skull Dread" if necessary.
Due to the Limitation of "Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk" by the November 2015 Lists (TCG only), the deck's major play becomes even riskier than usual, and suffers a minor consistency hit (though Ulti-Kimunfalcos somewhat mitigates this) but still quite powerful.
- "Imperial Iron Wall", "Chaos Hunter" and "Artifact Lancea" prevents cards from being banished, preventing their Contact Fusion and most of their effects.
- "Dimensional Barrier" (declaring Fusion) can stop this deck within its tracks for an entire turn.
- As all of their effects activates on the field, "Skill Drain" and "Lose 1 Turn" can be a nuisance for this deck. It won't stop them from conducting Contact Fusion or de-fusing, but does shut down the search effect of "Ulti-Cannahawk" (without its de-fuse trick), or most of its Main Deck monsters.
- However, this can also benefit "Ulti-Apelio" in some way, since without its immunity effect, it can gain ATK boosts from "Spiritual Beast Apelio", allowing it to destroy bigger monster in battle.
- Due to their "de-fusing" Quick Effects, most targeting effects are particularly ineffective against them. But it still won't save them from cards like "Artifact Moralltach", "Madolche Queen Tiaramisu", "Nekroz of Trishula" or even the opposing "Ritual Beast Steeds". Effect negation or destruction negation effect are particularly important against those threats.
- "Denko Sekka", "Royal Decree", or "Trap Stun" can shut down both "Ritual Beast Steeds" and "Ritual Beast Ambush", which most Ritual Beast decks depends on to secure field presences. "Denko Sekka" is the most dangerous of them all, since its Continuous Effect doesn't leave any chance for player to respond with on-field cards at all; but can still be stopped by either hand traps like "Effect Veiler", or Counter Traps like "Solemn Warning", "Solemn Judgment" or "Chaos Trap Hole".
- Counter Trap Cards that can negate Special Summons can effectively disrupt the deck's major play, since not even the de-fuse abilities of "Ritual Beast Ulti" monsters can dodge it. Negating the Summon of "Ulti-Cannahawk", in particular, can almost completely paralyze the deck. To stop them, cards like "Wiretap" or "Red Reboot" can be useful. Spell/Trap destruction cards such as "Mystical Space Typhoon", "Night Beam" or "Twin Twisters" can also helpful against these threats.
- Kaiju monsters can eliminate their Fusion Monster immediately, without them having a chance to respond.
- However, this can still be avoided by simply de-fusing your Fusion Monster before your opponent's Main Phase.
- This archetype's Contact Fusion style is similar to that of A-to-Z monsters, albeit with the ability to freely reverse the fusions, and less-specific requirements.
- Their Fusion Monsters, with the way they're Summoned and their similar "tagging out" ability, is also similar to that of Gladiator Beast Fusion Monsters.
- All monsters in this archetype have their formal names derived (in whole or in part) from Ainu, the only remaining (though nearly extinct itself) language of the ethnic group of the same name. This language was also featured on members of the "Gusto" archetype – most notably "Kamui, Hope of Gusto", whose name comes from the Ainu word for "deity". 
- ↑ The Organization - New Duel Terminal World Lores
- ↑ The Organization - Names and Etymology EP2: Ainu, Language of the Spirits