Heavy Storm and Three MST

Hey guys, this is Patrick Hoban here with my first article here at Alter Reality. Let me start by telling you a little bit about myself so that you know I am qualified. Firstly I am a freshman at the University of Georgia and have been playing the game pretty much since its release, competitively since about 2007. I made Top 16 at YCS Indianapolis, Top 4 at SJC Nashville, and Top 8 at Nationals all in 2010. Additionally I have 19 regional tops and contribute to both the Duelistgroundz and ETC Forums Yu-Gi-Oh communities. Now that the introduction is out of the way, let’s get right to the article.

The most recent banlist gave way to something that I have never experienced in my time of competitive play; Heavy Storm and 3 Mystical Space Typhoon in the same format. With this change comes a basic problem; if you set one you run the risk of being punished by Mystical Space Typhoon and if you set more than one you might outright lose to Heavy Storm.

An important concept in Yu-Gi-Oh is Risk v. Reward. Currently, just about everybody is utilizing their third copy of Mystical Space Typhoon. This may change as the format develops, but as of right now Mystical Space Typhoon is 3 cards and Heavy is just 1. This is important to keep in mind throughout the article.


Certain trends will likely develop with the added Spell/Trap Removal in the game.

Fewer Overall Traps:

One such trend that may develop is people use significantly fewer traps. This means that the opponent’s removal has the potential for being dead since there are fewer traps. There is also another effect to fewer overall traps. Imagine if your deck were a pie graph with the pieces of the pie being your monsters, spells, and traps. If the traps part of the pie gets smaller, at least one of the others will have to get bigger. Essentially, by increasing the overall number of spells, you increase the number of cards that can be played immediately and are decreasing the number of cards that you must wait at least one turn to activate. This could lead to an overall proactive rather than reactive game state.

More Overall Traps:

Another way of dealing with the increase in removal is to run more traps. In doing so you would be able to decrease the effectiveness of a single Mystical Space Typhoon. I’m sure many players who take on this strategy will also incorporate Starlight Road as a means to deal with Heavy Storm.

I think that you will see a trend developing of more extremes with either 7 or fewer traps or 10 or more, and fewer in between as we have seen in recent formats. Again this may change as the format develops, but I think this will certainly be the trend for Toronto in two weeks.

More Hand Effects:

The latest banlist gives hand traps such as Gorz and Veiler an even higher level of usefulness. They are essentially trap cards that you cannot MST or Heavy Storm away, but still have to take into consideration when you are formulating your play.  This banlist also brought about the semi-limiting of Tragoedia, another powerful hand effect that players can now utilize as an alternative means to setting multiple backrow. Agents also have a themed Effect Veiler in Herald of Orange Light which is even more versatile than Veiler. These hand effects will certainly see in increase in play over the next couple of months.

More Cards in Hand

There won’t be any more summon Thunder King, set 5 with the amount of removal. People will want to hold more cards in their hand so that they won’t outright lose to Heavy Storm. Even decks playing heavy backrow still won’t set more than 2 without proper protection. This gives Trap Dustshoot amazing possibility as it will almost always be live.


When there is added removal in the game people will also begin to run more chainables in their decks to counteract it. This goes hand-in-hand with the above point as Trap Dustshoot is also a chainable card. Cards like Mind Crush may also see increased play.


This doesn’t really have to do with Heavy being back in the game, but it’s more of an overall trend that helped me come to the conclusions about my opinions on how to play Heavy and Mystical Space Typhoon.  Card advantage has always been an important concept in the game, but it seems like this format it is that much more important. Last format you could have incredibly busted plays with Lonefire and Reborn or Tengu and One for One that would put you up 4 or 5 cards in a single turn. This format there is significantly fewer broken plays that can garner that kind of advantage in a single turn. A plus one means much more than it did over the past couple of formats. This leads me into my next point about how to go about playing your Mystical Space Typhoons and Heavy Storms so that you get the most out of them.

How to Play Your Heavy


  1. Simple +1
    What it is:
    Your opponent has 2 set cards and you don’t have any. You play Heavy Storm for a simple +1.
    When to do it: One of the best times to go for a simple plus off of Heavy Storm is when you already have card advantage.
    Why: My reasoning for this goes back to what I said before about card advantage. Since it is more significant this format, if you are already up a card and you become up a second card, it will be that much more difficult for them to come back from.
  2. 2. Saving it for Your Push
    What it is:
    You wait to play Heavy Storm for when you are trying to put yourself in a winning position, this can include going for a game shot or just creating a board that puts lots of pressure on your opponent.
    Why: This one is good because it makes sure that your push goes through.

There are other ways to play Heavy Storm, but as a generalization I feel like these will be the most effective ways to play them at the beginning of the format.


If you try to do the traditional “pro Heavy” (for those of you who don’t know or weren’t playing the last time this was relevant, it refers to setting your Heavy and letting them think that you don’t have it since you set backrow of your own, then they set 2 and you get a plus) you’ll get MSTed all day.

In Regards to Playing Around Starlight Road

As a general rule, you don’t want to play into it unless you have an out to it, similar to how you would go about playing around Gorz. If you can deal with it, that’s fine. Don’t do it if you outright lose if they have Starlight.

With that being said, take the rule with a grain of salt. Firstly keep in mind not all decks play Starlight Road. Next there are certainly exceptions to this rule. For example, say your opponent has Scrap Dragon and 3 set cards. They haven’t used really any traps, but you’re low in life. Your hand is Heavy, Boggart, Pashuul, and Faultroll. Here if they have Starlight and you play Heavy, you’re probably going to lose. The thing is if you don’t play Heavy and just go for it (assuming you have to), you’re probably going to lose to one of the sets. In this case, play Heavy and hope for the best. It’s the best play as you’re in an overall bad position and could lose out to a number of things. And while they could have one of a handful of things, you’ll certainly lose if you don’t do anything. The same logic can be applied to playing around things like Veiler.

How to Play Mystical Space Typhoon


  1. 1. End Phase MST
    What it is:
    Your opponent sets a card and you already have MST set. You MST in the end phase.
    When to do it:
    Against most decks, it’s never really a bad option.  You’ll see later when you may want to avoid this.
    It dodges chainables and stops problem cards.
  2. 2. Use before a Push
    What it is:
    You are about to make an attempt to turn the momentum of the game in your favor and your opponent has 1+ set cards. You use MST on one of them to clear a potential threat.
    When to do it:
    Well, before you make a push. Generally you will want to do this any time you are making a big push and have MST.  That being said, you generally don’t want to push until you are sure it will be successful.
    Let me go ahead and clear something up. This is often regarded as “blind MSTing” and is considered a bad play. Let me assure you, it’s not. It’s quite the opposite. You’re going to need to clear the sets before your push or it will ultimately fail. It’s nice to wait to bait backrows, but you can’t always do that. Similar to the Heavy with Starlight situation earlier, sometimes you have to man up and hit 1 of their 3 sets and hope for the best. It is better to wait when you can, but you can’t always wait.
  3. 3. Simplification
    What it is:
    Play it just to take a card away from both players and reduce both players options.
    When to do it:
    Really you only want to do this when you’re up 2-3 cards. Most of the time, your MSTs will be better spend.
    Randomly taking a card away from both people is generally bad. The exception to this is would occur in a situation where you may have 5 cards total to their 2. If you can take one card away from both people and put it at 4 cards to 1, that’s pretty solid. In this situation you would go from controlling 71% (5/7) of the total cards in play to 80% (4/5) of the total cards in play.
  4. Saving it for a plus
    What it is:
    You wait for them to randomly MST one of your sets, then chain yours and hit another one of theirs.
    When to do it: You’re going to want to do this in longer games and mirror matches
    Why: A lot of mirror matches turn into attrition wars where both players try to dwindle down the other player’s resources. In a game like this, you’re going to want to save your MST for this.
  5. Holding it for Continuous Cards
    What it is:
    Saving it for a Necrovalley, a Call of the Haunted, or Skill Drain.
    When to do it: You’re only going to want to do this when you know they are playing certain cards like Skill Drain or Necrovalley AND those cards will actually hurt you. In regards to Call of the Haunted, that’s going to be almost solely on reads and really only if they have a floater in the grave.
    Why: Most decks don’t run cards like these, so you’re not going to want to save it for a situation that will likely never happen.

This isn’t to be followed 100%, but is more of a general outline of how you should play with them. These situations may be modified by things like reads that you made on your opponent.

How to Play Around Heavy and MST

The fact remains the same that with 3 MSTs and 1 Heavy, you may get punished by MST for setting 1 or by Heavy for setting more, so how do you balance the number you set?


  1. Setting Zero
    When to do it:
    Other than the obvious “When you don’t have any to set” response, there are certain times that you don’t want to set any. One such time is if you have hand effects that can protect you and lure your opponent into a false sense of security for when they make a push. Then the turn after, you can shift momentum back in your favor. Another time you won’t want to set any is when you have a read that one of their sets is an MST. For example, they have 3 sets, but they are playing Plants. It’s fairly safe to assume one of those is an MST since they probably don’t run that many traps. Another thing I’ve learned through experience is that if your opponent goes first and just sets 1 and ends, 90% of the time it’s MST. In which case, you may not want them to hit your cards until you have a way of dealing with their set.
  2. Setting One
    When to do it:
    Setting one is riskier than it has ever been with MST at 3, you can get punished for it. And while that is true, let’s go back to what I said earlier about advantage. There are very few cards that give you significant advantage like a plus 4 in a single turn. Even if they MST your one set and follow up with a play, it’s probably only going to net them a small plus. So as a general rule of thumb, setting one is the safest.
  3. Setting Two
    When to do it:
    You might want to set 2 to lessen the effect of MST. If you need to protect your setup and you are already winning, keep in mind, MST is 3 cards and Heavy is 1. It’s safest to do this excluding when you have Starlight or Solemn if you’re already winning because 1) the chances of them having MST are greater than them having Heavy and 2) because even if they have Heavy and net a plus, you were already up at least 1 card, so at worst, you broke even. This is also a solid play when one of them is a chainable that will replace itself if they have Heavy (Call for Sangan).
  4. Setting More than Two
    When to do it:
    Generally, don’t do it. I could write an entire article on why you don’t want to, even if Heavy weren’t in the game. With it in the game, you certainly don’t want to. Setting 3 might be okay if you actually have Starlight or Solemn, but setting 3 and not having either of those and trying to bluff it is really brave. Most people aren’t going to play around cards they don’t even know if you run and may want to first turn Heavy 3 backrow just to make you pay 4000 off of Solemn. Then when you don’t have it, you lose. Unless you have a good reason to know they think you run Starlight (it is game 2 and they MSTed it game 1), don’t bluff it.

Hopefully this covers just about everything dealing with Heavy and 3 Mystical Space Typhoon being in the same game. I hope you enjoyed the article and learned something from it. I’ll be back in 2 weeks with another article, so stay tuned!

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

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