The upcoming Hidden Arsenal has obviously caused quite a stir throughout the dueling community. With archtypes like Prophecy, Mermail and Elemental Dragons focusing on spamming Level 7 special summons, the upcoming Iswarm theme is seen as the perfect counter to the mainstream decks. YCS New Jersey may not be filled with Spellbook of Judgment or Elemental Dragons, but the persistence of Mermails will surely not wind down. The unquestionable deck to beat has been the vocal point of players deck choices, as seen by the rise in play of Macro Rabbit and Frog Monarchs. Even with the heaps of hate, Mermails have found a way to adapt and continue winning, but are Iswarms finally going to put a stop to that?
Well, the short answer to that question is no. I probably don't have to include much of these creatures text, but for the sake of clarification I will add a few. The primary reason players believe Iswarms to be the ideal counter to the upcoming format shift is their absolutely astounding XYZ monster - Ophion.
2 Level 4 "lswarm" monsters
While this card has Xyz Material, Level 5 or higher monsters cannot be Special Summoned. Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; add 1 "Infestation" Spell/Trap Card from your Deck to your hand.
Alright, now it doesn't take a lot of thought to realize exactly why this card is an absolute beast against Mermails, but also the upcoming archtypes which are shut down by his ability to mitigate special summons. And not only is Ophion going shut down a myriad of explosive plays, the ability to search a pseudo-Forbidden Lance will only further protect your boss monster. However, the fundamental problem here isn't the power of Ophion, it is blatantly powerful - it is exactly how we suppose to put him on the field.
The first, and most ideal situation, is to use [ccProd]Rescue Rabbit[/ccProd] in order to special summon two copies of Evilswarm Heliotrope. Sure, we all get that. But that is inherently an inconsistent means to fall back on. While it has proven to be successful, I have always had reservations against the use of a single set of normal monsters in Fire Fists. The numbers are just not in your favor. You will open double Rabbit and you will draw into multiple copies of Heliotrope. But I could even live with that if I honestly help like the supporting cast of creatures had something to offer- but do they?
Unfortunately for players going into YCS New Jersey, they will not have access to the best non-XYZ Iswarm- Kerykeion.
You can banish 1 "lswarm" monster from your Graveyard to target 1 "lswarm" monster in your Graveyard; add that target to your hand. You can only use this effect of "Evilswarm Kerykeion" once per turn. Once per turn, if that effect was activated this turn: You can Normal Summon 1 "lswarm" monster, as an additional Normal Summon. If this card is in your Graveyard because it was sent there this turn, you can Normal Summon 1 "lswarm" monster with 1 less Tribute than required. (You can only gain this effect once per turn.)
Now this guy is something to talk about. A consistent stream of card advantage, while at the same time making it virtually impossible not to have access to a Rank 4 monster. Now this is the one card Ophion that makes Iswarms what they are, and it even fuels Leviair off of Tour Guide and manages the graveyard for [ccProd]Dark Armed Dragon[/ccProd]! But he isn't out... but players still seem adamant about suiting up Iswarms for New Jersey because Ophion is just that good. But just take a look at what Iswarms are available come May.
During either player's turn, when a card or effect is activated (except during the Damage Step): You can banish this card you control. During the next Standby Phase, return this card banished by this effect to the field, and if you do, it gains 300 ATK. You can only use the effect of "Evilswarm Thunderbird" once per turn.
During the turn this card was Normal Summoned, you can Normal Summon 1 "lswarm" monster in addition to your Normal Summon/Set. (You can only gain this effect once per turn.)
If your opponent controls more monsters than you do, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand).
Well then. Thunderbird is certainly a reasonable creature, wouldn't it be great to have access to him with Keryceion? I hear a lot of comparisons to Wind-Up Rabbit with this guy, but that is not quite fair to Wind-Up Rabbit. There is no Wind-Up Factory to continuously abuse, there are no Wind-Up Rats or Magicians to combo off of, and unlike Wind-Up Rabbit - Thunderbird has a slew of restrictions to his effect. First of all, it has to return back during the next Standby Phase, meaning yes - if you happen to use the effect on your turn - the opponent has one free turn to attack over it. Granted your deck will be filled with protection, but we all know there are times when you simply do not have access to any. I understand this card is good, but what exactly does this to stymie the format?
The final two cards, Castor and Mandragora, are simply ways to put two Iswarms on the field - the magic number for Ophion. Which leads me into my next issue with this deck pre-Keryceion. All of these monsters are entirely dependent on having multiple copies of each other. Castor on its own? It is basically a Kabazauls you cannot set. Mandragora on its own? A worse[ccProd]Kabazauls[/ccProd]? These guys are not just not impressive on their own, and that it is a huge issue in the current format. You really do not have the time to fool around when a deck like Mermails exist. You need to be doing something fast and impressive right away, and a psuedo-Boggart Knight, [ccProd]Wind-Up Rabbit[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Cyber Dragon[/ccProd] are just not potent enough. Now don't get me wrong, Ophion is that good and Keryceion is that good. But I feel like people are jumping too fast at the archtype assuming it is going to save them from the summer of Mermails. There are other cards which exist that give Mermails a considerable amount of trouble. [ccProd]Abyss Dweller[/ccProd] has been out and causing problems since Abyss Rising. It isn't like Ophion is such a unique creature that the others just do not compare. It might be the best in a vacuum, but is playing the other Iswarm creatures actually worth it? I could be proven horribly wrong next month - but I honestly do not think so.
Not to mention how prepared people have been getting. There is a reason [ccProd]Metaion the Timelord[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Genex Ally Duradark[/ccProd] spiked in price. Outs to Ophion! How many times have you heard that the past months? It is one of the major topics of discussion in Yu-Gi-Oh. It is almost like people are over preparing for an anti-Meta deck. How crazy is that? Without a full suite of their creatures, coupled with the inherent inconsistency of what creatures they do have - I am willing to almost guarantee Iswarms will not be what does Mermails in, and as a matter of fact, am confident enough to just say that Mermails will adapt accordingly and continue to reign supreme at YCS New Jersey.