Dark Hole and Heavy Storm, The Two Best Cards in the Game.

Before I begin, I’d like to introduce myself since this is my first article I’ve written for the alterealitygames.com. My name is Daniel LaMartina. I’m from Rochester, NY and I’ve been playing Yu-Gi-Oh since Metal Raiders and started playing competitively since around Chaos Return format. Through my Yu-Gi-Oh years I was never able to travel to many events, such as SJC’s and the newly named YCS’s, simply because I didn’t have the money to do so and it made traveling hard. Over the past year or two I’ve been able to travel to many more events mainly because I have a full time job at a telecommunications company. Since I’ve started to have the privilege to travel to more events I’ve finally begun to show some success in the game. The format of 2010 Nationals was where I really broke out into the competitive scene and showed success. It started at the biggest SJC ever in the history of the game, SJC Edison, NJ. Over 2,000 players in attendance and there were 12 rounds of swiss. I piloted a Lightsworn Deck to a 10-2 finish after a 9-0 start. I was ranked 8th after swiss. It mained unconventional card choices such as Consecrated Light and Dimensional Prison. I took a rough beat in the top 16 and that’s where I finished. It was a few months later at the WCQ in Minneapolis where I really broke out. I decided to run Gladiator Beasts because I truly thought they were the best anti-deck at the time. The meta consisted of nothing but Frog FTK, X-Sabers, and Infernity. All 3 were excellent matchups. I managed to place in the top 32 after Swiss and I made the cut to top 64. I fought four hard matches which brought me all the way to the top 4 and locked myself in to a spot at WORLDS. Took a tough loss in Top 4 and my day was over. A few weeks later I managed to find myself back into the top 8 once again with a carbon copy of my Nationals deck at the YCS in Indianapolis at GenCon. 2010 was really my shine year, and I hope I can continue to shine and top more events, and I’m always looking for ways to become a better player. Now on to the article!

When you ask people about Dark Hole and Heavy Storm, you may get polar opposite responses depending on who you ask. We won’t say who is the better player for believing in one thing or another, but I will represent my side of the argument. In my mind Dark Hole and Heavy Storm are the two BEST cards this game has. Regardless of what the format is, no matter how slow or how fast, Dark Hole and Heavy storm should ALWAYS be limited to 1. They should never be found on the forbidden list.

Let’s start with a general sense of what both the cards achieve. They are both mass removal cards. Dark Hole destroys every monster on the field, while Heavy Storm destroys every spell or trap on the field. A lot of people would argue that cards like this are much too broken, and should always be banned. I’d argue that they are far from broken and that they are actually extremely balanced and reward intelligent plays, and punish over extension.

Heavy Storm has been banned the last couple of formats while Dark Hole has been limited. It’s been a long time since we have seen both on the limited list. If I could only choose to have one limited, without a shadow of doubt I would always pick Heavy Storm. Ever since Konami butchered Heavy Storm and threw it on the forbidden shelf the game has not been the same. It changed for the worse. While Heavy Storm existed, you had to be careful about setting multiple cards. For example, say your hand was Torrential Tribute, Dimensional Prison, Mystical Space Typhoon, Gladiator Beast Laquari, Gladiator Beast War Chariot, and Book of Moon. With a hand like this you actually had to consider what deck you may be facing and what would be the ideal card(s) to set, because if you set 2 or more of those cards you would be vulnerable to losing card advantage to Heavy Storm. Since the banning of Heavy Storm, If I drew this same hand, I could easily just Summon my Laquari and set all five cards, and not have a worry in the world. I had my opponent in a very solid control setup that would be difficult to break. I could easily disrupt any of his/her plays they tried to make. Without Heavy Storm, there is no way to punish this thoughtless process of just setting every control card in my hand. It comes down to, who draws the better hand, and who gets to go first. Going first means, you get to draw your 6 cards, and potentially set 3-4 trap or spell cards that your opponent will have to deal with on his turn if he wants to make an offensive play. This makes winning the dice roll a HUGE advantage, and possibly affecting the outcome of the whole match. Heavy Storm promotes conservative play, and rewards the better player in the long run. Yes, there are no doubt times where you are in tough position and your opponent top decks a Heavy Storm, and wins the game because of it, but you can raise that same argument with a lot of cards that get ‘top decked.’ In the long run it truly does reward the better player, and promotes a more fair game.

Now I won’t spend as much time on Dark Hole as I did with Heavy Storm simply because the same reasoning exists within both cards as to why they should never be forbidden.

Dark Hole has been limited for the past couple formats and it’s been a pleasure to see it’s return. No longer can you randomly over extend your field and push your opponent for 7600, and just let your monsters sit there and survive the next turn to try and finish your opponent off. The only way you could safely over extend your field to put yourself in a winning position was if you had a Solemn Judgment face down, one of your monsters was a Stardust Dragon, Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En, or if your opponent had already used their Dark Hole. Obviously there are other scenarios, but these are sort of the main four. If you over extended your board without any sort of protection or insurance plan, then you risked the chance of losing a field full of monsters to Dark Hole and more than likely the entire duel. You can’t just randomly summon a bunch of anti-meta monsters (Thunder King Rai-Oh, King Tiger Wanghu, Doomcaliber Knight) and lock down your opponent. You would be totally vulnerable to losing massive advantage to Dark Hole. Once again, it promotes a more fair game, and in the long run rewards the better player.

The existence of Dark Hole and Heavy Storm is nothing less than completely necessary for the promotion of a fair and better game. Once either one of the cards becomes limited, then the psychological aspect kicks into effect. You don’t even have to run either card in your deck! Your opponent has no choice but to base his plays around the fact that you just may have a Heavy Storm or Dark Hole in your hand. In return, he is forced to make the conservative and smart play(for the most part). You will run into players out there who just simply don’t care and will make the aggressive play no matter what. They tend to be one of your 1-2 losses in a big YCS when you end with a record of 9-1 or 8-2, and in a lot of cases they will have dropped from the tournament because at some point their aggressive antics completely backfired and they got nailed by one too many Dark Hole’s and/or Heavy Storm’s. I do also believe Starlight Road should be limited to 1, so not every deck can just throw two in as free outs to the two best cards in the game! Starlight Road would quickly become a problem card seeing as just about every deck would be maining Dark Hole, Heavy Storm, Torrential Tribute, and Mirror Force. I will concede the point that it does make playing Dark Hole and Heavy Storm a bit of a risk and provides a balance to the extremely strong effects they provide. You actually have to think activating them and whether or not you can answer a Stardust Dragon, plus having your card negated. At the same time I believe it to be counter-productive if you have the two cards that promote a fair game are completely irrelevant because every deck is maining a card that not only negates them for free, but special summons a monster which can negate the other mass removal card as well! The existence of Dark Hole and Heavy Storm I believe are the healthiest thing the game can provide at the moment regardless of whether or not the format as a whole is bad.

I’d like to thank you for taking the time for reading my very first article, and I hope to write more in the future. I love constructive criticism and suggestions on how to write better articles. I was never the writer type, so this isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but writing about things you like and relate to make it a ton easier. Feel free to suggest ideas for articles, or things you’d like to hear more about or get my opinion on. I’m writing articles for the competitive player base, and also the player base who is trying to step up to the competitive level, so all suggestions are welcomed!

- Daniel LaMartina