"Shark" (シャーク Shāku) is an archetype used by Reginald Kastle/Nash in the Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL anime and manga. Most of them are Level 3 to 5 WATER and/or Fish monsters. Many have swarm effects, allowing easy Summoning of Rank 3-5 monsters. They are only supported as an archetype in the anime and manga.
Original members of the archetype had no common theme among them. However, from the Zexal era onward most of the monsters are designed after various tools and weapons; like spear, saber and hammer. Most of the Xyz bosses of the Archetype are Sea-Serpents, so they display dragon-like features in them.
"Shark" monsters (except for "Scrap Shark", "Shark Fortress" and "Corroding Shark")) are all WATER, and few of them, notably "Metabo-Shark" and "Scrap Shark", sport decent to high ATK at low Levels, allowing them to start out as beaters when Summoned and letting them battle outside the Extra Deck.
However the true strengths of the archetype lie in a combination of Swarming and Level-manipulation effects which allows them to Summon Rank 3 to 5 Xyz Monsters. The archetype is built for aggression and swarming, and a fast-paced Deck can be built by using the swarm effects of the Sharks and complementing them with generic WATER support and other Fish monsters like “Silent Angler”, “Beautunaful Princess”, and "Xyz Remora" for various Xyz Summons in one turn.
It is actually quite easy to pull combos with this Deck, since the swarming effects have little restrictions or setbacks apart from limiting Xyz Summoning to WATER monsters. Some of the most basic combos include Normal Summoning "Hammer Shark" and then use its effect to Special Summon any Level 3 WATER monster (alternatively "Shark Stickers" can be used) for the Xyz Summon of a Rank 3 Xyz Monster, using "Double-Fin Shark" to summon a Fish from the graveyard for an instant Rank 4 Xyz (though only WATER) or using “Buzzsaw Shark” to search the Deck for another monster, then Xyz Summon a Rank 4 or 5 Xyz.
The Xyz Monsters of the deck have effects focused on Beatdown tactics. A rather potent combo is to use the effect of "Bahamut Shark" to Special Summon “Toadally Awesome” in order to restrict the opponent’s plays and at the same time recover resources. Other targets for Bahamut’s effect are "Number 47: Nightmare Shark" which through its own effect can gain Xyz materials and allow for a direct attack, “Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction” which in combination with “Creature Swap” restricts the opponent’s Special Summons and also damages them each turn, and “Number 71: Rebarian Shark” which can then be used for the summon of "Full Armored Black Ray Lancer" and searches for “Rank-Up-Magic - The Seventh One”.
"Full Armored Black Ray Lancer" on its own has a powerful backrow removal effect, while “Valiant Shark Lancer”, "Number 73: Abyss Splash" and "Number 94: Crystalzero" can take care of annoying enemy monsters. Valiant Shark in particular can use materials from other allied Xyz Monsters to activate its effect.
The original Boss Monster of the Deck, "Number 32: Shark Drake" and its evolved form, "Number C32: Shark Drake Veiss”, can act as finishers since they have effects focused on reducing the opponent’s attack to chow down the opponent’s LP. Other cards that support this strategy are "Shark Fortress", which protects your own monsters and can allow any monster to attack twice during the Battle Phase, “Shark Caesar”, which can increase its attack each turn and the aforementioned "Number 47: Nightmare Shark" with its Direct Attack effect. Though not very viable being a Rank 2 Xyz monster, “Cat Shark” can double the attack of a Xyz monster, making the previous combos even more deadly, and the “Nimble” Fish cards can help in its summon.
One in-Deck "boss monster" can be found in "Hyper-Ancient Shark Megalodon" who sports the highest original ATK in the entire archetype (2900) and whose effect destroys a monster when it inflicts Battle Damage, further pushing the aggressiveness of the archetype, though it doesn’t support the overall Xyz strategy.
Though not Shark monsters themselves, "Number 101: Silent Honor ARK" and its evolved form "Number C101: Silent Honor DARK" are great support for the archetype as they allow for cheap monster removal and have protection effects for themselves.
- Most main deck monsters have effects that activate only when they are Normal Summoned or require an existing WATER monster on the field to be Special Summoned. Indeed most of the archetype’s opening plays depend of the first Normal Summon, so cards that negate it can stop the Deck in its tracks, making it the most vulnerable in the second turn. Teching in "Double Summon" or "Ultimate Offering" (though the latter is now Forbidden) to help alleviate this risk can be effective.
- Since the deck supports an aggressive strategy, it is susceptible to monster removal effects. Cards like "Sea Lord's Amulet" can prevent your WATER monsters from being destroyed by your opponent’s card effects.
- “Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring” and “Infinite Impermanence”, still being around in the current metagame represent serious threats one must be wary off, since they can counter the Deck’s main play enablers like “Buzzsaw Shark”, “Double Fin Shark”, “Beautunaful Princess” and “Bahamut Shark” on the first turn.
- Perhaps one of the most notable weaknesses the Deck always had was the variety of Ranks its Xyz monster pool possesses, which required careful management of the ratios of level 3, 4 and 5 main deck monsters the player includes in the deck, though with the release of new support which lets level 4 monsters be used as Rank 3 or 5 materials, this issue has been somewhat mitigated.