How to Play MST

Hey everyone, I’m back this week with an article on how to play Mystical Space Typhoon. This is an article that I think needs to be rewritten pretty much every ban list as the correct way to play this card changes with the Meta. Look at the Meta six months ago, it was a race between Plants and Agents, two decks that ran a low number of traps an averaged about two copies of the card in each main deck. Fast forward to now and we’ve got a much different Meta. We’ve got a definitive best deck in Dino Rabbit and have Wind-Up and Inzektors trailing not too far behind. All of these decks have a much heavier trap lineup than the top decks from six months ago and most of them include upwards of ten traps instead of last format’s staple five. This format we’ve got the top decks playing two copies of Solemn Warning, two copies of Torrential Tribute, Mirror Force has been reintroduced as a staple since this time last format, one copy of Solemn Judgment, and two to three copies of Fiendish Chain as the staple trap core in this format. With the increased number of traps and the need to protect them combined with the fact that Torrential Tribute was recently semi-limited, Starlight Road has made a resurgence in popularity as well. Add all of these together and each deck has a pretty hefty trap lineup at the moment. Due to the increased number of traps per deck, we are also seeing an increase in the popularity of the third Mystical Space Typhoon in the main deck. So now that we know the differences between this format and last format, it becomes obvious why it is necessary to play the card differently. Let’s get to it.

“Blind MST”

I’ve never really liked this term because quite honestly it comes with a negative connotation and despite the bad wrap it gets, it’s often the right way to use it. Blind MSTing is playing your MST into multiple back row often while having a set card of your own. This leaves the possibility of hitting one of their MSTs and them getting a +1. For this reason, it’s often considered a bad play.

At one point this probably was a bad play, but let’s consider the state of the game for a minute. Card advantage is still a very fundamental part of the game, but it’s not as big as it once was. There are so many cards that generate advantage at no cost to the user, that it’s now much more about momentum than card advantage. Consider the following scenario: You’re playing Rabbit and have a face up Dolkka with a set Forbidden Lance. You also have two cards in hand. Your opponent is playing Wind-Ups with nothing on the field, but they have six cards in hand. Technically they have a +2, but which position would you rather be in? You’d probably pick the Rabbit player’s position who has Dolkka backed with Lance. Even though he’s down two cards, the momentum of the game is in his favor. Now, what does that have to do with blind MST? Essentially, hitting an MST with your MST sucks and it gives them a plus 1. But if they had three sets and you had one set with an MST and a Rescue Rabbit, you better be playing that MST before you summon Rabbit. You want the momentum to be in your favor. You need give yourself the best chance you can of your momentum shift going through. For this reason, unless I give a different reason for a specific example below, always use your Mystical Space Typhoon before attempting any kind of momentum shift.

Setting MST

Traditionally, players have set MST almost mindlessly. Well I’m here to tell you, you’ll get a lot more work out of the card if you use it as if it were a normal spell the majority of the time. Setting it first turn going first is almost never good. First of all, your MSTs are some of your most important cards. They ensure your momentum shifts go through. You don’t want to lose your MST to your opponent’s MST. Later in the game you’ll often be left with only one play and if you let your opponent MST your MST, you have to make your one play hoping that their set isn’t a Warning. Had you kept your MST in hand, you’d have it when you needed to make that one play.

Also what happens if you open up with no traps in your hand with MST as the only card you’d consider setting? Well as mentioned above you don’t want to lose your MSTs to theirs, but if you don’t set any cards at all on your first turn, your opponent has greater reason to believe that you might have Heavy Storm. In turn, they will probably only set one. Now on your second turn you are free to play the MST on their one back row and make your momentum shift. Think about the current Meta. Chainables pretty much don’t exist at the moment. Playing MST from your hand there would have done the exact same thing as playing it in their end phase, but you take out the risk of them MSTing it and you also increase the likeliness that they will only set one card.

There are certain times you don’t have to treat MST like it is a normal spell. You can set it if your opponent already has a set card. That way you can still get your use if they play an MST from their hand by chaining yours and destroying their set card that you would have before you made your momentum shift anyway.

You can also set it in certain match ups. For example, Dark World plays Gates from the Underworld. You’re going to want to MST that card, but you’re not going to want to wait until after they’ve used the effect. For this reason it’s okay to set it in a match up that calls for it. This isn’t the only match up, just the most mainstream one.

The End Phase

Well now that you’re only setting your MST if they already have a back row, what happens if they set another back row? Do you make the traditional play and activate MST during their end phase? Well since you ended your turn after you set MST and your opponent’s one set that they already had wasn’t an MST, it’s probably some kind of trap card. What’s the newly set card then? Well unfortunately there’s no way to generalize this and it’s going to depend too heavily on the individual game on whether or not you should activate MST during their end phase when they set a second back row.

I’ll go ahead and give you one example of a time where you should not activate the MST. What if you have a Laggia on the field with Mystical Space Typhoon set? What is going to hurt you right here? It’s a very short list and Fiendish Chain is at the top of it. Here you are essentially left with the option of activating MST and hoping to hit a potential Chain, or you could wait. If you wait, you could let them force the negate and they will try to respond to Laggia’s effect with the Fiendish Chain so that their card may go through successfully. If you activate MST in the end phase, you’re taking a 50 50 shot at hitting the chain, assuming they have one. If you wait until they force the negate, you can respond to the Fiendish Chain with MST and let your Laggia negate what it was trying to.

Mitigating Opposing MSTs

Alright well let’s say that one of a couple things has happened. Either your opponent’s Heavy Storm is gone or you can protect yourself if they were to have it by using something like Solemn Judgment, Evolzar Laggia, or Starlight Road. At this point your only real concern should be opposing MSTs to take out your power trap like Solemn Warning or Fiendish Chain. Well since you don’t want them to hit one of those specific cards and you can protect yourself if they Heavy you, set more cards! This decreases the chances of them hitting your good trap card that you are wanting to protect. Let’s say you have a Laggia that hasn’t negated and Solemn Warning, Mystical Space Typhoon, and Smashing Ground in hand. At this point, the momentum is in your favor and you can protect from an opposing Heavy Storm. If you set just the Warning and they have MST, they have a 100% chance of hitting it. If you set the Warning and MST the chances go down to 50%. But if you set all three of them, their chances of hitting the Warning go down to just 33% Setting multiples in a situation like this does a much better job mitigating your opponent’s MSTs.

A Ruling

I’m going to conclude this article with a ruling that you all may not have known. Let’s say I activate Heavy Storm in an attempt to destroy my opponent’s four back rows. They respond with Starlight Road. If I chain Mystical Space Typhoon to the Starlight Road and destroy my own Heavy Storm, they cannot special summon the Stardust. The Heavy Storm will still be negated, but since Starlight wasn’t able to destroy Heavy (because MST did), then they cannot special the Stardust. On that note, I’ll catch everyone next week. Just remember, MST was erratted and is now a normal spell. Play as such. And as always, play hard or go home!

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

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