With the first wave of regionals finished we all have an idea of how the meta is started to shape up. Mono Mermail seems to be leading the pack with Fire Fist and Macro Rabbit not too far behind with Wind-Ups being the surprise outbreak of the weekend. This was already assumed by most players anyway and it just confirms that any strategies or theories that we had been thinking up would in fact be effective when it came to actual tournament time. There is a set way to beat all the top decks right now too. You guys already know about everything you can do against Water Game 1 with Abyss Dweller being #1 but people aren't really exploring different ways to play their game against Fire Fist and Rabbit. Everyone is just throwing removal around with whoever running out of traps first losing the game. There are cards that I think should see way more play right now and when I look at people's lists I barely see them. First one being a card you should all be very acquainted with.
Tour Guide From the Underworld
So what, they take away 2 big reasons to play this card (Sangan and Zenmaity) so everyone drops it completely? Not smart. Tour Guide is one of the most versatile monsters in the game and its abilities seem almost endless. With Sangan and Zenmaity gone what's left? I guess I'll start with Wind-Up Zenmaines. If you guys have ever played the Rabbit mirror where one player didn't just draw completely broken you guys would understand how true it is when I say Wind-Up Zenmaines is a beast. If you want me to be honest that's a huge reason I threw Neo-Spacian Grand Mole in my deck at this past WCQ. Fire Fist VS Rabbit reminds me a ton of the Rabbit mirror match and Zenmaines still proves to be a power card there too. I've been playing a lot of Fire Fist mirrors and Tour Guide has been absolutely nuts for me.
It can become a Zenmaines against Fire Fist/Rabbit, a 2500 beater against Water that they'll probably have a hard time dealing with, a way to open Rabbit if your opponent got to the card first (Leviair), or an out to an opposing exceed monster. Talking about Temtempo is extremely important because as less people elect to play Tour Guide, exceed monsters like Zenmaines and Maestroke become that much stronger. Fire Fist and Rabbit usually have to invest 2 of their monsters into an exceed to get rid of those monsters and that's where you can take advantage of them with cards like Bottomless Trap Hole, Torrential Tribute, and Fiendish Chain and that's if you even give them the time to put 2 monsters on the field. This is especially difficult for the opponent if you are playing Fire Fist, where your monsters have removal built into them. Until they decide it's a good idea to try to break your wall you're being protected from Fire Fist - Bear and any other monster. If you're counting on cards like D. Fissure and Soul Drain to lock out opposing Water players you can use a single card to camp behind a Zenmaines to make sure they can't get hits in with Deepsea Diva or Atlantean Marksman.
Or should I say Abyss Dweller from the hand? Yeah it's weaker to Abysspike but that's pretty balanced out by the fact that you don't have to invest 2 monsters to go into it. Outside of a Rescue Rabbit or Fire Fist - Dragon play none of the top decks have safe Abyss Dweller plays and most of the time it's better to just xyz into a Tiger King to keep your Tenki searches going, go into an Evolzar or just keep both monsters on board. Back to Pike being able to kill it, it hardly even matters. That's just an extra 2-3 outs in a deck that already doesn't play many. I played a game last week where I opened 2 Tengu, 2 Banisher, Gene-Warped Warwolf and another irrelevant card and I summoned Banisher. My opponent summoned a Pike and crashed. Next turn I did the same thing and once again he brought down a 2nd Pike to crash. Next turn I resolved a Rescue Rabbit into an Abyss Dweller and passed, again with no trap cards! He summoend Dragoons and attacked over. After those 3 turns I was able to comeback and eventually win the game with regular Fire Fist shenanigans. I could've even went into a 2nd Abyss Dweller later in the game if I would've extra decked 2.
After the game was over he showed me that he had 2 dead Abyss-Squalls and complained about how bad he drew during the game. I agreed with him because I didn't to start an argument but in reality you all remember what he opened with, right? Double Abysspike, Dragoons, and a copy of Abyss-Sqauall. I don't think you can call any hand with Abysspike+Dragoons in it bad by any means. Banisher just made him waste his resources and he couldn't recover from losing those so early in the game. Even without traps Banisher puts in some real work against Water. In decks like Wind-Ups that would also side Level Limit - Area B, Banisher becomes even better and almost unkillable. Rabbit can use it in conjunction with Macro Cosmos, and even rogue strategies like Agents can put Banisher to use because of its great synergy with cards like Herald of Orange Light, Call of the Haunted, and Gachi Gachi Gantetsu. I think people see Banisher's weak stats and pass over it in favor of cards like D. Fissure and Macro Cosmos but I think if people just gave him a chance and used him alongside D. Fissure for example, they would see great results.
BT Skill hasn't really gotten any attention at all since it was released. People just see Fiendish Chain as the superior card and until Mono Mermail I would've agreed. It does have its uses over Chain though. It can stop Rescue Rabbit, Thunder King Rai-Oh, Laggia/Dolkka for free, can't be stopped by Lance or Space Typhoon, etc. Those situations never really came up though, and the times they did didn't outweigh how important the times Fiendish Chain stopped attacks were. Now it's a different ball game though. Wind-Ups are dead and 2 out of the 3 top decks bank on summoning a monster that gets affected by BT Skill on your own turn giving the card an insane amount of added value. Lance is also seeing a huge increase in play this format so that adds to the reasons to consider BT Skill over Fiendish Chain. I'm a huge fan of the card in Water decks since your opponent will normally be holding their Space Typhoons to hit Sphere anyways so if you flip a Chain chances are they'll have the MST to out it. Having BT Skill in that situation is infinitely better. The fact that having a BT Skill eliminates Evolzars and Abyssgaios from the current game you're playing is something that just can't be ignored. It's like the card reads "Target 1 face-up Effect Monster your opponent controls; negate the effects of that opponent's face-up monster, until the end of this turn. In addition, your opponent can't summon Evolzar Laggia, Dolkka, or Abyssgaios for the rest of the game". Too good to be real, right? Nope, it's actually a card and it's only about $15 right now. Insane if you ask me.
Last but not least I don't see why more people aren't playing Cardcar D. Any matchup that includes Rabbit or Fire Fist are usually grind games and with the insane amount of traps people are playing it shouldn't really matter that you're giving up one of your turns. Again just like Zenmaines this card goes very well with cards like D. Fissure or Soul Drain. Activating either of those cards is usually a -1 since they are floodgate cards and don't really do anything to actually stop your opponent's cards. Your opponent will just hold the cards that are hurt by your D. Fissure until they can 1-1 it then go off anyways. This means you're playing with a -1 until your opponent is ready to go off. Cardcar D can help even it out and draw you into more of your deck, whether it be your main strategy or more copies of your continuous cards so that even an MST can't help your opponent come back into the game. Fire Fist existing has made the game very reactive, meaning you want to stop your opponent on their turn instead of waiting and taking care of the problem with cards like Dark Hole, Soul Taker, or your own monsters. What's the point of clearing a Bear if it already blew up a card and searched a copy of Tenki? This combined with how insanely easy it is for Water to OTK has created a huge influx of trap cards being played which in turn makes Cardcar - D a lot better. Your traps will protect you from any push you leave yourself open to while your opponent might not be able to make a huge push because they're looking at a bunch of traps themselves. Cardcar D has always been a good card and it has just been waiting for its time to shine. Now is that time.
Those are 4 cards I personally feel to have huge potential in the upcoming format and I was actually really surprised when I saw barely anyone using them. Hopefully some of you will try these cards and see for yourselves how good they are in the current format. I expect a lot of the top players at YCS Texas to be utilizing these cards.