Hello Duelists! Last week I mentioned a little bit about seasonal cards and after receiving a couple of messages I came to the conclusion that the topic is actually pretty interesting. This week I'm going to be discussing some "seasonal" cards that I think you guys should be on the lookout for in the near future!
Let's start with what I mean when I say seasonal cards. Seasonal cards are those that see a “on and off” pattern in terms of seeing play. Such cards are very powerful because they're strongest when nobody knows about them. I'll be discussing some cards that were previously used and some cards that I think will be used again.
Seasonal cards are best when nobody has caught on to them because they’re going to win you many games against players who are unaware of them, and because of this those cards can only be good for a limited amount of time in each format. At some point people will realize how good it is, it will become a staple, and people will start to play around it more and more to the point where you usually won't get much value out of it.
Breakthrough Skill vs Fiendish Chain
This is one of the first things I always check at the beginning of each format: the difference between using Fiendish Chain vs. Breakthrough Skill can make or break your deck at a premier level event. I’ll give you guys a few examples so you see what I mean. Back in 2013, Patrick Hoban popularized Mermails in Fire Fist format, maining 2 Fiendish Chains. Following the ARGCS that Pat won players quickly copied the Mermail deck, and I’m sure that upon picking up the deck they noticed that Abyss Dweller was a very big problem when playing the mirror match or the Fire Fist matchup. So instead of using Fiendish Chain they switched it up with Breakthrough Skills, and the results were very positive.
Sometimes this decision is fairly easy to make such as when Primal Origins introduced Artifacts to the Yugioh world. All of their effects only triggered on your turn so Breakthrough Skill would definitely give you more value than Fiendish Chain most of the time.
In Yugioh there are many cards that do similar things, finding the best card can separate you from making the top cut and not even making day 2.
Let me give you guys a bit of history on this card so you can see how seasonal it actually is.
This card was first noticed in Geargia format out of nowhere by Brandon Wigley at ARGCS Milwaukee being used in his Geargia deck. To no surprise he would end up making the top cut of that event, because he was so prepared for the mirror match. Then after Geargia format was over the card lost a lot of popularity until it saw pretty much no play at all. The card made an unexpected return at ARGCS Chicago by R.J. Scarpelli in his Burning Abyss deck. He made it all the way to the finals before losing. I'm sure that this card took many of his opponents by surprise and may have outright just won some games. But that's not all! Then this card would yet again make an appearance but this time it was stronger than ever at ARGCS Texas. With the release of Stellarknight Diamond players saw the perfect opportunity to use it against Burning Abyss because they could use their opponents Dantes to summon Diamond and if their opponent chose to use Dante’s effect to add cards back from grave, Diamond would just banish them instead. However, as soon as players realized that this was a legitimate threat, even in the BA mirror, they started playing around it and the card became much weaker, having lost most of its surprise factor.
Notice how this card keeps leaving and coming back format after format. Currently we are in a format where there isn't much use for it, although I'm sure that this card will be back sooner rather than later. Be ready duelists!
Vanity's Fiend/Majesty Fiend
These two cards are probably some of the most powerful seasonal cards that I can think of. These cards are probably the epitome of the example in that they can single-handedly win games when people aren't expecting them. With Dark Matter Dragon Rulers on the verge of becoming a real deck, I wouldn't be surprised to see these cards seeing noticeably more play, so keep a lookout.
It’s difficult to say whether Vanity's Fiend has peaked or not. I sided this card at YCS Tacoma and thought it was amazing and now I see many Qliphort decks siding it. It was really good at YCS Tacoma because most Nekroz players would side out their Book of Eclipse which gave them less outs to Vanity's Fiend. I was actually pretty sure that players would start siding Vanity's Fiend for the Nekroz mirror match but then I realized that the same things that get rid of the Djinn lock would get rid of Vanity's Fiend, so that wasn't a very good idea. If your opponent has an out such as Book of Moon or Book of Eclipse, they can just summon Trishula and blow you out.
This is probably my favorite seasonal card because it's such a blowout. If Mirror Force hasn't been used all format and you start using it, it will probably be one of the most powerful cards in your deck since it's so unexpected. I remember playing against Admassu back in Ravine Ruler format and he had a backrow set the whole game. He used Maxx C and I made a Push to try and game him (I had no way to destroy the backrow and do 8000 damage), then he flipped Mirror Force and I instantly lost, I went home and thought about it, and I realized that the only reason Mirror Force was so good at that moment was because nobody (Including myself) expected it, which made it very powerful. Another example is before Secret Forces was released I was using Satellarknights and nobody expected Mirror Force, everyone expected Dimensional Prison to be ran so they would put up a lot of monsters with no fear and get severely punished for doing so. This strategy proved quite effective as I would go on to make the top cut of ARGCS Texas and win my Regionals the weekend before.
The problem with Mirror Force in particular is that when players become aware of it being used more they will play around it a lot more. For example when I was at YCS Tacoma most Qliphort decks didn't use Mirror Force but now I think it's safe to say that a majority of Qliphort players do use it. What does that mean? That means that your opponent will be aware of Mirror Force being used in some decks and will be very careful so as to not get blown out by it, which would make it a suboptimal choice.
That's all for this week's article! Are there any seasonal cards that you guys are currently using that nobody else is? If you'd like to see me write about a certain topic feel free to message me on Facebook. The Circuit Series stops by Fort Lauderdale, FL next on March 7-8! I hope to see you all there!
And As Always Play Hard or Go Home!