With the release of the January 2014 ban list, Dragon Rulers have finally been dethroned as the best deck in contention. The limiting of Blaster, Redox, Tempest, Tidal and [ccProd]Sacred Sword of Seven Stars[/ccProd] along with the ban of [ccProd]Sixth Sense[/ccProd] and Return have essentially made all versions of the deck moot, and I’m sure most players are glad to move on from a format dominated by just Dragon Rulers and… decks that beat Dragon Rulers. I’m all for a diverse format and that is definitely what we are looking at. Fire Formation – Tenki is now unlimited and you bet that people will start sleeving up their Fire Fist, Constellar, and Bujin decks for gameplay. Other decks that will be played pretty much range from anything from Mermails to Prophecy to Madolche to Harpies to Noble Knights to Hunders. But it’s safe to say from recent tournament results that the most popular decks so far are Fire Fist and Prophecy. I am here to talk to you today about a certain card everyone should start placing in their side deck in 2 copies or even 3 because it is just that powerful, and it has a strong application among the best and most popular decks of the format. That card is none other than[ccProd]Retort[/ccProd].
I’m sure the majority of you are familiar with the counter trap, but just in case you aren’t it says: “When your opponent activates a Spell/Trap Card with the same name as one in your Graveyard: Negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that card. Then, you can add 1 card with that name from your graveyard to your hand.” Right off the bat you can see that this card has a strong application in mirror matches, where you and your opponent both play the same cards and therefore activating Retort is actually all too easy. It was released in Abyss Rising as a Secret Rare and it was definitely overlooked at the time because the best decks following that set were Mermails and Wind-Ups, with Fire Fists only slowly gaining popularity. However, now I personally believe that this card will have a strong impact on the meta today because in examining the top decks of the format, mirror matches will be prevalent and if you want to have an edge in the mirror then playing Retort is definitely a way to go about it.
Imagine playing a Fire Fist mirror. Regardless of what version of the Brotherhood you or your opponent are playing, whether it is 3-axis or 4-axis, or a mash up of both, your strategy is heavily reliant on one card: Fire Formation – Tenki, and that card is now at 3. Another important supporting card is Fire Formation – Tensu, and that is also commonly played at 3, and also in the 3-axis version you have Rekindling. Now I personally believe that Tenki should not have been unlimited, but we must accept that the ban list will never be to our liking and indulge in the way things shape up to be. So Tenki is at 3, but you know what is better than Tenki at 3? Having more Tenkis by taking your opponent’s Tenkis. The common opening play of 3-axis Fire Fists will usually involve activating a Tenki or resolving a copy of Leopard followed by summoning a Fire Fist – Rooster either through Tensu or through resolving the effect of Horse Prince, and swapping your already used copy of Tenki or even Tensu for another copy of Tenki to activate next turn. To even get in the game, your opponent would have to activate either a Tenki or a Tensu, and if you have Retort set, you pretty much just blow them out of the game. They lose their copy of Tenki so it does not even float on the field for use by their monsters if they had drawn them, and you get your own copy of Tenki back and still have one set and ready to go next turn. That is as devastating as a +1 gets and it would most likely give you too much advantage and surmount so much pressure to end the game.
Assessing the Prophecy mirror you can see that is a matchup which heavily reliant on getting going as soon as possible. Spellbook Library of the Cresent as well as [ccProd]Spellbook of Secrets[/ccProd] are the best way to do this and are easily accessed but [ccProd]Spellbook Magician of Prophecy[/ccProd]. However, Retort shines even stronger in this matchup because of just the sheer number of same cards you and your opponent play. If you have Retort set at any point in the game with any Spellbook in the grave, you are in the position to win the game even if you are behind in advantage to begin with or are lost the die roll and you are going second. The fact that the deck has so many cards that it must play means that there is a ton of different situations where Retort is not only live but game breaking.
The best thing about Retort is that it is not just limited to countering Spell Cards, but it also hits Trap cards, and it is a counter trap at that. In the Fire Fist mirror if you have a bigger Brother and declare an attack on your opponent’s monster and they ask for damage step and you already have your own Tensen or Lance in the grave, you know you’re in a good position to win the battle because Retort can even activate during the Damage Step. In Prophecy decks, a commonly main decked card is [ccProd]Divine Wrath[/ccProd] because it simply cannot be responded to by [ccProd]Spellbook of Wisdom[/ccProd], [ccProd]Infestation Pandemic[/ccProd], MST, or Lance like its cousin F[ccProd]iendish Chain[/ccProd] can be responded to. But just imagine having already Divine Wrathed your opponent’s [ccProd]Spellbook Magician of Prophecy[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Temperance of Prophecy[/ccProd] to lock them out of the game and having them flip their own [ccProd]Divine Wrath[/ccProd] to stop your power play only to be stymied by Retort. It is just devastating and something that cannot be overlooked. Retort also has applications in just hitting common cards that you and your opponent both should have such as [ccProd]Solemn Warning[/ccProd], MST, [ccProd]Bottomless Trap Hole[/ccProd], and more. Its flexibility matches its power.
But as always there’s a ton more, the mind games that Retort creates are just incredible. Have you ever played a Mirror match and your opponent just either went first, drew their engine and got going before you did, or just drew absurdly well? Well, Retort gives you a shot at coming back and it’s a card that can even psyche your opponent out and cause them to play awkwardly to avoid Retort even if you do not have it set. Remember the Dragon Ruler mirror match from last format? In the middle of the format, [ccProd]Mystical Refpanel[/ccProd] became a popular side deck card and it was even mained in some Dragon Decks as we have seen in the decklists of the ARG Circuit events because everybody knew that Dragon Ruler mirror matches would be prevalent and resolving a Refpanel on a [ccProd]Sacred Sword of Seven Stars[/ccProd] was simply too devastating to pass up. However, the thing about [ccProd]Mystical Refpanel[/ccProd] was that it was mostly limited to hitting [ccProd]Sacred Sword of Seven Stars[/ccProd], or a [ccProd]Cards of Consonance[/ccProd] if your opponent even played it, but that lost popularity in the mainstream Dragon Ruler decks as the format progressed in favor of more trap cards. [ccProd]Mystical Refpanel[/ccProd] could be stopped by [ccProd]Trap Stun[/ccProd] and it just had limited windows of activation. [ccProd]Retort[/ccProd] is the new [ccProd]Mystical Refpanel[/ccProd] that can hit a wide range of cards and it does not lose to any other card but Counter Traps.
And do you know what stops Retort in the mirror match? Having your own[ccProd]Retort[/ccProd]. After you have Retorted your opponent they can try to get themselves back into the game with a Retort of their own so that the advantage is mitigated. While trading [ccProd]Retort[/ccProd] for a [ccProd]Retort[/ccProd] is one of the few ways you can stay in the game after being Retorted, being able to [ccProd]Retort[/ccProd] your opponent’s [ccProd]Retort[/ccProd] will actually seal the deal. This means that the more copies of [ccProd]Retort[/ccProd] your playing the better chance you have of not only winning the [ccProd]Retort[/ccProd] war but ultimately winning the mirror. In conclusion, [ccProd]Retort[/ccProd] is just one of those cards that will add a new level of depth and skill to the game. It is definitely a card that most players should be trying to jam in their side if they are looking for an edge in their mirror match. I know I never want to have that card flipped on me because as soon as it is the game is basically over, but for now I am more than content flipping it on them. Until next time duelists, play hard or go home!