Playing Against Future Traps

joe giolandoAs I was playtesting for the North American World Championship Qualifier this upcoming weekend, I realized a general principle in Yu-Gi-Oh that has become particularly important with some of the side deck trends going on. One of the most frustrating aspects of Yu-Gi-Oh over the past decade has been the usage of cards like Mystical Space Typhoon. How often have you seen players draw it and immediately activate the card before it even reached the rest of their hand contents. Cards like Mystical Space Typhoon - while not the most played this format, are Swiss army knives in the correct hands and should be utilized as such. But I am not going to write another article on Space Typhoon, Patrick Hoban has that subject covered.

But what I did want to talk about was using cards like Mystical Space Typhoon and opening yourself up to be annihilated by stun trap cards such as Rivalry of Warlords, Imperial Iron Wall, Gozen Match, Mind Drain, DNA Surgery and so on. If you are running Dragon Rulers and Mind Drain has been flipped against you - you should be fully aware as to how difficult it can be to function correctly. You are forced to rely solely on the Dragon Rulers creatures you already have in the graveyard - which can often times not be a winning game plan. How about the newly trending DNA Surgery? Prophecies cannot activate a single Spellbook that does anything but draw a card (if you have Tower and a Spellcaster already in the graveyard) or searches another card. Spellbook of the Master, Spellbook of Fate, Spellbook of Wisdom, Spellbook of Power and so on are all rendered useless. Suddenly a Prophecy player will need to immediately deal with the threat in order to continue with their game plan. Of course unless they are lucky enough to be holding Spellbook of Wisdom and Fate on the turn the Surgery is flipped. They would then be able to chain Wisdom on their on board Spellcaster and have a turn with a Fate target... but anyway.

MysticalSpaceTyphoon-LCYW-EN-ScR-1EThe point is, this format there are a slew of prevalent continuous trap cards which have a warping effect on one side of the board, and in turn, require immediate action by a player. So if that exists in the current format, and formats previous for that matter, why in the world are we wasting Mystical Space Typhoons? There are just as many legitimate outs to these cards as there are copies of other stun cards in the opponent's deck. How many times have you seen someone use a questionable Typhoon only be lose the following turn to a Gozen Match? It has to be one of the most common occurrences I witness in this game.  And if you intend on doing well this weekend, you need to force yourself to acknowledge the existence of these types of cards, and carefully weigh the options every time you activate a backrow removal card. We already know we have cut down on the amount of them we have access to because of how little mass backrows are seeing play. So for example, when you are playing against Dragon Rulers with Prophecy and you have access to Phoenix Wing Wind Blast and are going off with Spellbook of Judgment. There are often times where you can Secrets for a Spellbook of Fate and aggressively activate it in order to up your Spellbook of Judgment count. If you are willing to do so, and use Wing Blast as your only source of protection for Jowgen/Kycoo you must use Judgment to search a combination of Wisdom/Fate during the end phase. Might seem like a simple thing to do in the first place, but do not get sloppy with your Judgment searches! I know the card basically wins the game, but that is no excuse for poor play. If you fail to search for those two cards, or were forgetful in realizing you are out of Spellbook of Fate and instead searched Spellbook of Eternity thinking you can just add it back to your hand during your next turn, you are opening yourself up for being shut down by DNA Surgery. You may be forced into using your pseudo backrow removal card in Phoenix Wing Wind Blast on a creature that threatens Jowgen and your lock, then suddenly have DNA Surgery flipped on your standby phase.  A game you had no business in dropping - you are now at the mercy of your opponent. The nifty thing with Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, which is another reason why I think it is one of the most important cards this upcoming weekend, is how you are able to play around the stun trap card in your turn of freedom - only to lock the opponent out of a vital draw step. Just crushing.

spellbook of judgmentThe same concept can be applied to decks like Dragon Ruler. If it is Rivalry of Warlords, Gozen Match or Mind Drain there are quite a few different options out of the side board of this formats most popular decks. But we all know about that trick to destroy The Grand Spellbook Tower during the standby phase and make the card miss timing, so we always have to do that right? If you have played enough matches against Prophecy this format, you might have realized how that singleton card does not often times matter. If the opponent actually has Tower on the field, there is a reasonable chance they were able to resolve a Spellbook of Judgemnt, and if you have been reading some of the previous articles I have written this format, Judgments chain into Judgments and the ball just keeps rolling. So you are using your Mystical Space Typhoon in order to stop an opponent with access to nearly 15 cards from drawing another. That does not seem like the best value, especially seeing as how they have access to an additional Spellbook of Judgment turn, which can easily be capped off by another Tower. To be completely honest - I am thrilled whenever my opponent using Mystical Space Typhoon on Tower in situations like this. That is one less out to the cards which will actually make a significant difference on the match - such as Mind Drain or in some situations Spellbook Starhall. Of course there are times when the opponent is obviously lacking card advantage, perhaps trying to draw into the pieces of using a large Spellbook of Judgment, so each situation I write about today can be adapted for the proper situation. But I still stand by my assessment of prematurely activating Typhoon to counter a Tower which has almost no actual impact on the game. The thing with Dragon Rulers is how much gas they are able to amass in the turns staring down at Jowgen/Kycoo locks.

"If I drew Heavy Storm/Dark Hole/Last Day of Witch I would have won." How often have you heard that? Other than Heavy Storm, a lockdown trap card like Mind Drain or Rivalry would be able to reestablish control over the game, giving the opponent yet another obstacle to jump through. Well if they didn't waste that Typhoon on a meaningless Tower - they might be jumping over every hurdle and dropping 8000+ damage on the board.

Joe Giorlando

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