What’s up Yugi-doods, I hope you’re all enjoying this holiday season. As some of you may know, the card that’s been receiving a little bit more mainstream popularity amongst the top players, including Alistar Constantine and Billy Brake, is none other than Fiendish Chain. This card is still widely underrated simply because most people have never tried it but I assure you that that will soon change. Due to my past experiences with the card I have become very accustomed to its high utility, having topped this year’s nationals using an Agent deck that mained a full 3 copies and I sided 2 copies at YCS Kansas City. Another thing to note is that Fiendish Chain (known as “Demon’s Chain” in Japan) has always been a huge part of the OCG meta. Now while I do not typically partake in using the ideas from the OCG because of how different our meta has become apart from theirs it is still worth noting that being aware of their tech choices can be beneficial. For all of those unaware of what
Fiendish Chain does here is its effect:
Select 1 face-up Effect Monster on the field. Its effect(s) is negated and it cannot attack. If it is destroyed, destroy this card.
After you have carefully read the effect I want you to take note of the fact that the words “Effect Monster” are both underlined and in bold. This is extremely important now because of the popularity of Dino-Rabbit decks. The reason that I’m taking the time to mention the whole “Effect Monster” clause is because you cannot Fiendish Chain a normal monster—something that I learned the hard way at locals. I had a Fiendish Chain and a Solemn Judgment set in my backrow while my opponent had a monster set and nothing else. He flipped a Kabazauls and declared a direct attack with it while I was at 1400 lifepoints. I responded with Fiendish Chain and it was then pointed out to me that I cannot target anything but effect monsters. Needless to say it sucked really badly because I lost the game when things would’ve played out completely different had I known about the exact text and just used my Solemn Judgment instead. It’s funny how something that was once completely irrelevant can now be the deciding factor between winning and losing; welcome to Yu-Gi-Oh. An interesting trick to use against Dino-Rabbit decks when you have a set Fiendish Chain is to activate the effect of a card that you know will be negated and chain the Fiendish Chain to the Evolzar. For example, If I summoned Master Hyperion while my opponent controls an Evolzar Laggia it is highly likely that he will attempt to negate the summon with his Laggia, that to which I can then use Fiendish Chain to negate its effect. This was a tactic used against Legendary Six Samurai Shi En last format and it translates directly into this format against Dino-Rabbit. Remembering what worked in similar situations in older formats is a way to stay ahead of the competition. It’s one of the many ways to become a better player.
As for the utility of Fiendish Chain I would have to say that it’s one of the best traps in the game at the moment and it will surely only get better with the release of the next set, Order of Chaos, on January 14, 2012. It acts as a skill drain on one monster and prevents it from attacking. This means that the only thing a monster can do while chained up is either be used for tributes or used as Synchro/Xyz material. If a monster is tributed or used as Synchro/Xyz material, the Fiendish Chain will remain on the field in the same way as it would with cards like Call of the Haunted. This particular fact isn’t as important as it once was when Giant Trunade was legal because back then you could have several lingering Chains on the field and then return them to your hand for reuse with the effect of Trunade. Although it’s a rare occurrence you can still use the effect of Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier to bounce a Fiendish Chain back to your hand. The situations where this is a good play are very specific so I’d advise you to refrain from doing it just to do it. However, if you’re holding onto something dead, such as a Solemn Warning when you’re under 2000 lifepoints, or something that’s better off in the grave, such as a Dandylion, Spore, or Glow up Bulb, then feefree to style on your opponent a little bit by bouncing and reusing a Fiendish Chain. Another thing to note is that Fiendish Chain allows you to hold onto your Solemn Warnings against those weaker monsters that you can beat in battle. The longer you can hold a Warning the better.
Wind-ups, Ninjas, and Inzectors are about to be released in Order of Chaos and in case you didn’t know they rely heavily on powerful ignition and trigger effects to work properly. Fiendish Chain happens to punish decks that rely heavily on certain monster effects resolving. Inzector Dragonfly and Centipede become quite the vulnerable targets when they are caught by a Fiendish Chain because of their low attack stat (1000 for Dragonfly & 1600 for Centipede). The same can be said for the pesky Wind-up Rat that aims to cause nasty loops that drop your entire hand or at least most of it. Fiendish Chain is almost the same as using more copies of Solemn Warning against these decks--so long as you kill the monster on your following turn—because the opponent wasted his summon for the turn and will usually have to proceed to the end phase which of course gives you more time to develop your own strategy. Another great part about Chain is that it stymies opposing Tour Guides, leaving them there in attack mode so that you can summon your own Tour guide and grab Sangan to ram into the opposing Guide and search a card that’s appropriate for the situation. This play works the same against The Agent of Mystery- Earth who shares the same 1000 attack stat as Tour Guide and Sangan. Since we’re on the subject of agents I would like to also mention one of the cooler tricks that you can do with Fiendish Chain which is to bait a monster powered by the attack of Gachi Gachi Gantetsu to attack into your monster. For example, let’s say I control a Reborn Tengu and a set Fiendish Chain and you control a Venus and a Gachi Gachi Gantetsu and you decide to attack into my Tengu with your Venus (original attack 1600) I can activate Fiendish Chain on the Gachi Gachi Gantetsu, which will render his attack/defense bonus useless, but you will still be forced to attack into my Tengu who has an attack of 1700 thus killing your Venus. As an additional bonus the Gachi Gachi Gantetsu would be unable to save itself from destruction since Fiendish Chain negates all of its effects. This means you could easily run it over with a Thunder King Rai-oh or anything with more than 1800 attack.
Gachi Gachi Gantetsu isn’t the only monster who feels the wrath from a Fiendish Chain. The newly popular Wind-up Zenmaines, whose effect to save itself from destruction works exactly like that of Gachi Gachi Gantetsu, will be much easier to deal with once you start throwing Chains at that toy harder than Nicholas Cage in a bad Marvel movie. I can guarantee you that Zenmaines will be the most annoying monster in the game real soon. His ability is so powerful and it requires so much patience to deal with properly that I can’t see this card NOT becoming the star of most extra decks. Luckily, Fiendish Chains takes away its resilience and turns it into a vanilla monster with a high defense. Another annoying immortal that’s seeing lots of play is the infamous Spirit Reaper. The increase in Dino-Rabbit decks have inadvertently caused an increase in the playability of Spirit Reaper but no need to fear for Fiendish Chain is here. If you have a game breaking push and Reaper is floating in your way don’t be afraid to Chain it up and continue your onslaught. As Alistar mentioned in his last article about Dino-Rabbit, Fiendish Chain is a great fit in the deck because it goes well with the whole negation theme and it stops those cards that halt the aggression – e.g., Spirit Reaper.
Fiendish Chain will NOT stop the negation of effects of cards like Stardust Dragon or Thunder King Rai-Oh. This is important because at this year’s North American WCQ it was able to stop Stardust from negating cards like Mirror Force and Torrential Tribute so long as it was already Fiendish Chained. Therefore, you’ll want to avoid making any plays that require Fiendish Chain to negate the effects of monsters that leave the field (Lonefire Blossom, Rescue Rabbit, Stardust Dragon, and Thunder King just to name a few). What I do love about Fiendish Chain is that those decks that require a first turn searcher to get started, such as Hanzo in Ninjas, Earth in Agents, or Tour Guide in everything, are knocked off balance by stopping that initial summon. It could take them entirely too long to find the next piece to get started and while they scramble to get their deck started you can continue to lower their lifepoints. Sometimes if you can lower someone’s lifepoints very low (around 2000 or below) before his/her deck can take off it won’t matter if he/she gets started. This is one my tactics to beat bad matchups where the longer the game persists the more likely it is for my deck to lose because of natural disadvantages.
Once again, if you haven’t tried out Fiendish Chain I strongly recommend that you do. It helps to beat those hard to deal with monsters like Wind-up Zenmaines, Gachi Gachi Gantetsu, and Spirit Reaper. It renders boss monsters like Black Luster Soldier- Envoy of the Beginning, Chaos Sorcerer, Dark Armed Dragon, Archlord Kristya, and Master Hyperion useless. Fiendish Chain allows you to hold on to your Solemn Warnings and it can hold off monsters that you’d rather not use a Dimensional Prison on like Reborn Tengu. I’m sure there’ll be a couple of players maining this card in the top32 of YCS Atlanta. Maybe it’ll be you.
Until next time Yugi-doods play hard or go home!
May Yugs be with you.