While in the past they have been associated with hand control, and to a limited degree still are, the archetype is now more focused around Summoning many monsters in very short periods of time with powerful cards such as "Gottoms' Emergency Call" and "XX-Saber Faultroll". The archetype is largely known for its mass Synchro Summoning capabilities, with the ability to summon powerful Synchro Monsters at rapid ease.
The name "X-Saber" may be a reference to the fact of the original "X-Saber" archetype consisting of ten monsters ("X" is the Roman numeral for "10") - hence, the "ten sabers". The "XX-Saber" archetype also consists of ten members, making a total of twenty monsters ("XX" is the Roman numeral for "20") - the "twenty sabers".
Also, the word "Saber" in these Monsters' names indicates that they are mostly using swords, sabers, and blade-like weapons.
Overview and Playstyle
Many were introduced in Duel Terminal - Synchro Awakening!! followed by further support in Duel Terminal - Invasion of Worms!!. With the release of "Gottoms' Emergency Call", the "X-Saber" monsters are the first Duel Terminal archetype to receive Spell and Trap support.
With the Ancient Prophecy pre-release exclusive "XX-Saber Gardestrike", "X-Sabers" were the first Duel Terminal archetype to have its own TCG-exclusive card. They also received more support in Ancient Prophecy in the form of the "XX-Saber" sub-series and were released to the TCG with the 2009 Starter Deck.
The archetype is well known for its explosive Synchro Summoning plays, and can make Level 5, 6, 7 and 8 Synchro monsters very easily, with the ability to search and pull out their Tuners via "XX-Saber Emmersblade" and "XX-Saber Darksoul". Because they are all EARTH monsters, the archetype also has easy access to several very powerful Synchro monsters such as "Naturia Barkion" and "Naturia Beast".
"XX-Saber Darksoul" gives the ability to search out any "X-Saber" monster from the Deck, even high Level ones such as "XX-Saber Faultroll".
"XX-Saber Emmersblade" has given the archetype its own version of "Giant Rat", and gives the player an immediate access to almost all monsters in their Deck, allowing the player to easily pull out whatever monster they may need at a specific time.
"XX-Saber Boggart Knight" with its ability to summon a second X-Saber from your hand when Normal Summoned provides easy set-up for large swarms of Synchro Summoning and Graveyard resurrecting via "XX-Saber Faultroll" (whom you must control at least 2 XX-Saber monsters to summon).
The key Tuners in most current XX-Saber builds are "X-Saber Pashuul" and "XX-Saber Fulhelmknight". Pashuul allows easy Level 8 or 6 Synchro Summoning when combined with "Boggart Knight" or "Faultroll", whilst "Fulhelmknight" allows easy Level 9 or Level 7 Synchro Summoning when combined with the two. They also work well in conjunction with "XX-Saber Darksoul", as when Synchro Summoning with "Darksoul", you will have both a Synchro and a search for another "X-Saber" monster at your End Phase. "Fulhelmknight" also provides the ability to summon an "X-Saber" from your Graveyard if it destroys a Defense Position monster, giving you more potential Synchro Summoning in a turn.
The Deck has several other Spell/Trap support in addition to the staple Trap card, "Gottoms' Emergency Call". These include "Saber Slash", "Saber Vault", and "Saber Hole". However, it is usually recommended to avoid using these cards, as "Saber Slash" will require you to destroy your own cards if not enough are on your opponent's field, "Saber Hole" is very situational, requiring you to control an "X-Saber" monster and does not stop non-inherit Special Summons, and the ATK gain from "Saber Vault" usually does not benefit the player in modern formats.
Due to the use of the Graveyard on many of these cards' effects ("Gottoms' Emergency Call", "XX-Saber Ragigura", etc.), cards that banish can be used to prevent the triggering of certain effects, such as "XX-Saber Emmersblade" and "XX-Saber Darksoul". X-Sabers will not be able to operate as effectively, as the monsters will be removed from play or stripped of graveyard power.
Cards that negate Graveyard effects such as "Soul Drain" and "Abyss Dweller" will also prove problematic for a X-Saber player, as it will strip the player of "XX-Saber Emmersblade" and "XX-Saber Darksoul"'s effects.
Because "XX-Saber Darksoul" must be sent to the Graveyard in order to search for a X-saber card, the Deck can sometimes be slow as they must at times use up their Normal Summon/Set to Set a Darksoul.
Further, the dreaded "Evilswarm Ophion" and his effect to prevent Level 5 and higher monsters from being Special Summoned will prove a major problem for a X-Saber player, as the archetype focuses primarily on Synchro Summoning high Level monsters.
"Gottoms' Emergency Call", although an "X-Saber" support card, could also be used to combat the X-Saber Deck as it can target "X-Saber" monsters in either player's Graveyard, not just your own.
Cards that destroy multiple monsters will hinder this Deck. For example, a Dragon Deck containing multiple copies of "Burst Breath" may dramatically devastate its swarms if activated at a right timing.
"X-Saber" and "XX-Saber" Decks often focus on searching for cards through the Deck, and "Thunder King Rai-Oh" will completely shut down the searching ability.
Another problem for the Deck can be "Rivalry of Warlords", as the key monsters in the Deck contain many different Types.
Cards that negate effects, such as Skill Drain, also pose threats.
A good way to counter a lot of these problems is with "XX-Saber Hyunlei". By using "Trap Stun" in combination with "XX-Saber Hyunlei"'s powerful ability to destroy up to 3 Spells and Traps when Synchro Summoned, you will easily be rid you of many potential problems such as "Dimensional Fissure", "Rivalry of Warlords", "Macro Cosmos", "Necrovalley", "Royal Decree", and so on, without your opponent being able to respond.