Hey duelists! We’ve had quite the amount of Yu-Gi-Oh in the last 2 weeks because of 2 back-to-back YCS tournaments. After everything was said and done it appears that Dino-Rabbit is still the dominant force in the format. The deck won both championships pretty convincingly. However, there was one huge difference between the 2 YCSs and that fundamental change has caused some cards to see more play. Konami revised the TCG gameplay rulebook to reflect the OCG’s “no priority on ignition effects” rulebook. This article will focus around the first of many cards that have become a lot better due to the “no more priority” rule in the TCG. First up is Safe Zone. If you’ve been living under a rock and you’ve never read this card, here is a description:
Continuous Trap Card
Activate by selecting 1 face-up Attack Position monster. That monster cannot be targeted or destroyed by your opponent's card effects, or be destroyed by battle. It cannot attack your opponent directly. When this card is removed from the field, destroy that monster. When that monster is removed from the field, destroy this card.
The first sentence is extremely important and many players overlook it for the rest of the card’s text. The monster must be in attack mode. I’ve seen this mistake cause players to lose games because they’ve switched a monster to defense or special summoned a monster in defense and then set Safe Zone. For example, if you plan to use Safe Zone on your Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning so that you have a constant form of removal on your side of the field, you have to first drop it in attack mode. Players have gotten into the habit of summoning BLS in defense position so that it can dodge the threat of Wind-up Zenmaines. Since the release of Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction this has become less important because it can beat BLS in attack or defense. The point is, you could lose a game because you summoned a powerful card like BLS in defense position instead of attack position. If the opponent activated something like Torrential Tribute in response to the summon of BLS you could chain Safe Zone to prevent its destruction as long as it is in attack position.
Now we can move on to the juicy stuff! Ever since last week when priority on ignition effects left the game there has been a developing new way to play your cards. When the opponent summons a monster you have the chance to activate a card in response to the summon as long as it is a spell speed 2 or higher. This means that you can activate cards like Safe Zone before the opponent can use the effect of Chaos Sorcerer to remove your Inzektor Dragonfly from the game. If you ask my fellow teammate and Inzektor player, Billy Brake, about his experience at YCS Chicago, he’ll tell you about how this play had won him a couple games. Before, when players still had priority on ignition effects, you would not be able to use Safe Zone in this way to protect a monster because the monster would have been targeted already. Safe Zone prevents the monster from being targeted after it has already resolved so if the monster was targeted beforehand there is nothing you can do about it. Another cool thing that you can do with Safe Zone is use it on the end phase of your opponent’s turn to give your monster immunity to Effect Veiler when your own turn rolls around. This will happen quite often with cards like Call of the Haunted on Inzektor Dragonfly. You’ll be free to pop a card on the field without the interruption of Effect Veiler—at least on the Dragonfly—and proceed to search out Centipede with its effect. The opponent will have the opportunity to use Veiler on the Centipede but by that time you can use it to overlay into something useful or you could use your normal summon for the turn on another Inzektor monster if you were fortunate enough to have one.
Safe Zone’s protection from destruction by battle is pretty cool. If your opponent summons Acid Golem to crash into your BLS you could respond with Safe Zone to the attack and the Acid Golem will be the only monster scathed by the encounter. Once again, this card’s protection shines best in Inzektors because the deck can come back from a large opposing field. If you can keep a Dragonfly or Centipede alive until your next turn you could possibly win the game just because of the absurd combos that will ensue with Zektkaliber and Giga-Mantis.
The other noteworthy restriction on the card is that the monster cannot attack the opponent directly. Take notice to the emphasis on “the opponent.” This does not mean that you can shield yourself from an oncoming direct attack from an opposing monster because it says “the opponent” which means the opponent of the Safe Zone itself. You are not the opponent for the purpose of your own Safe Zone. You are the controller of the card. However, there are beneficial ways that you can use Safe Zone on the opponent’s monsters. The best one is chaining it to the activation of Heavy Storm or Mystical Space Typhoon. Safe Zone says, “When this card is removed from the field, destroy that monster.” So if the opponent uses a blind MST and he or she controls a monster, you can just put the Safe Zone on his or her monster and it will be destroyed. The next play is very unorthodox but it’s possible that it could come up. Let’s say that the opponent is at about half life and he or she has a Sangan on the field in attack position and you have a read that he or she has Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness. If you swarm the field and then use Safe Zone on the Sangan it will not die by battle which will stymie the search effect of Sangan and prevent it from leaving the field so that all your monsters can attack it for game instead of risking a Gorz being dropped by making a direct attack.
One last thing that I want to make sure I get across about Safe Zone is that it prevents the opponent from targeting the monster or destroying it with card effects. This means that the monster is still affected by your own Dark Hole and Torrential Tribute but it also means that you can still equip it with cards like Inzektor Sword – Zektkaliber. I don’t want to see any of you foolishly using Safe Zone thinking that you can clear the whole field of just the opponent’s monsters without destroying your own. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
Remember, Play Hard or Go Home!
-YCS Atlanta Champion