I understand that everyone has their preferences when it comes to deck themes, but I try to convince people to play underrated decks for both the competitive surprise factor and for fun.
Furthermore, if you're planning on playing a wide range of decks, it's good to keep a well-rounded spread of cards in your collection. With the right roster of cards, you can create your own strategies, jump on the latest competitive trends, or join me in my not-so-subtle attempt to help others geek out on Shiranuis.
At first glance, the Toon Chaos booster set may look like just a light smattering of Toon and Chaos cards that may or may not draw new players into those archetypes. More pessimistically, some will see it as a PSY-Framegear Gamma and Pot of Extravagance reprint set. And for those of you not interested in Geminis and Ignoble Knights, Toon Chaos might be kind of boring.
But I'd argue even if you're playing none of those themes, there are still tons of new cards to pick up if you're planning on playing mash-up strategies, both competitive and casual. I don't even really want to focus on the standalone themes themselves; I want to look at ten new cards that will all be welcome additions to your binder once Toon Chaos is released next Friday.
#10 - Cross Over
At first glance, I thought Cross Over would be useful solely for Infernoble Knights and Geminis, but I think general Warrior toolbox decks are starting to make a comeback and this'll see play in, well, decks that play Warriors.
Cross Over's a very straightforward card despite the hefty word count. You take an opponent's monster and attach it to a Warrior, dealing with a single threat in a 1-for-1 exchange. You might say if you're only using it for monster removal, then Dark Ruler No More and every Kaiju does the same thing without the headache; I'm not going to disagree there.
However, it also comes with added protection keeping whatever Warrior monster you're equipping safe from destruction. In theory I'm drawn to it because it opens up for some cool board buffs, but the real problem is the sheer lack of Warrior-type boss monsters in the Extra Deck.
Cross Over probably won't make a huge splash when it debuts, but its surprise utility as a Side Deck pick for certain Warrior strategies could make it surprisingly useful, similar to what we've seen in the past from other seemingly random cards. For example, early Burning Abyss builds used to side Noble Arms - Arfeudutyr for certain matchups, because their lines of play always finished on Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss.
Built-in protection and the ability to deal with a monster is a flexible combo you can't overlook, filling a niche that Dark Ruler No More and Kaiju monsters can't quite manage. Time will tell how impactful Cross Over becomes, but yeah, it's got some potential as a Side Deck option.
I mean, we recently saw Vylon Sphere jump to nearly ten dollars, a card that even I, Loukas the Great, had to look up the effect of, all because of an extremely niche combo that rips all the cards from your opponent's hand. If you ever totally discount a card with a unique effect, you clearly don't know your Yu-Gi-Oh history.
#9 - Toon Bookmark
Hold on, before you roll your eyes at this one, Toon Bookmark does have applications outside of Toon decks. Not because it's insanely powerful but because the Toon theme is just getting bigger.
First, consider Toon Cannon Soldier. Historically speaking it's a degenerate card that fosters OTKs and might seem like a slightly worse version of Shadowpriestess of Ohm and regular Cannon Soldier, but Toon Cannon Soldier's basically the same card, and it's now searchable by both Toon Table of Contents and Toon Bookmark.
While those monsters aren't as easy to trigger as Mass Driver, remember two things. One, Mass Driver is currently Forbidden and, well, cards like Saryuja Skull Dread simply exist. Summoning a monster to act as a defacto Mass Driver gets easier every day, so we're always one step closer to opening up the floodgates to some unknown FTK via burn damage.
While the applications are weaker, Toon Bookmark works as a deck thinner and facilitates Toon mashups in one fell swoop. On the boring end, it's another spell to feed Treasure Panda or search a burn card, but at best you'll have more flexibility to splash Toon cards into other strategies.
Toon Cyber Dragon and Toon Summoned Skull both have applications outside of Toon decks thanks to their respective theme support, and you can say the same for Toon Ancient Gear Golem, Toon Barrel Dragon, Toon Black Luster Soldier, Toon Harpie Lady and Toon Red-Eyes B. Dragon, all which can compound on top of the extra search in Toon Bookmark.
Am I saying I have a Hieratic Summoned Skull deck that focuses around Toon Summoned Skull? The world may never know… this week.
#8 - Magician of Hope
Magician of Hope didn't need to be a Pendulum Magician card to be important, but it is. I have no doubt it will interact well with a variety of Magician Pendulum decks, but that seems like the most straightforward and boring way to approach the card since it isn't bound by any themed restrictions.
Magician of Hope starts off great because even when you strip away all the nuances, the card still holds up as a solid Xyz. It's a Rank 4, you can bring it back from the Extra Deck, and it has a smooth 2500 ATK to run over threats like the typical Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess.
It might not have the same level of priority for your Rank 4 slots as Tornado Dragon or Abyss Dweller, but considering its utility to effectively summon a free Pendulum monster from your hand each turn, we'll see it used in any Pendulum strategy that can make it.
That may sound a big vague, but think of all the Link Monsters that require particular Types, Attributes, and other specifics for their materials. Magician of Hope's basically a Rank 4 version of [Saryuja Skull Dread]'s effect summoning monsters from your hand. Granted, it's limited to Pendulum monsters and the summoned monster's effect is negated, but if all you need is raw materials for Link fodder, Magician of Hope will prove clutch.
Keep in mind, its effect to run away to a Pendulum Zone is optional, diversifying your options even further. With Magician of Hope, a single Parallel eXceed translates to a Scale 8 in your Pendulum Zone, letting you cheat the need for high Scale Pendulum monsters. Things like King of the Feral Imps nets you Pendulum Scales too, but Magician of Hope does that without clogging your deck with bricky cards like uhhh… whatever King of the Feral Imps searches for?
While it won't be as important as Heavymetalfoes Electrumite for Pendulum strategies, there's so much packed into Magician of Hope that it's going to command respect in many strategies. Most people have been dismissive of the card so far, but it fits a niche role that has some really notable uses.
#7 - Supermagic Sword of Raptinus
My first thought when I read Supermagic Sword of Raptinus was, "It's like Double Summon married Axe of Fools!"
Okay, so, that doesn't make much sense and it isn't super applicable, but the Sword's a great way to round out the Equip Spells you need for Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights to throw into the graveyard. There's a cast of half a dozen Equip candidates you see pretty regularly, but Supermagic Sword of Raptinus checks that box and it gives you an Extra Normal Summon for combos.
Yes, getting to that second Normal Summon requires a Battle Phase and won't work on the first turn of the duel, but when Brilliant Fusion and Knightmare Goblin are Forbidden, scoring a second Normal Summon with anything better than Double Summon is a breath of fresh air you can't be too picky about.
Weirdly enough, I think equipping it to your opponent's monsters will be just as beneficial as your own - if a monster has a big DEF and you can't get around it, the Sword comes in clutch and switches that monster to attack.
So while there are a handful of asterisks that come with this card I'm praising, the fact that it can shine in five different ways screams utility. Whether it protects your monsters from battle or extends your combo or lets you throw a disruptor on the field suddenly, the card's definitely going to shine in some capacity.
#6 - Gemini Ablation
Remember last week when I complained about the lack of "generic" support for Geminis, specifically Chemicritters? Well, I'm still going to because this wave of Gemini support doesn't round out the card type like the Toon cards do.
Yes, there are obviously some good Gemini cards here, but it's all a hot mess of tangential Gearfried and Infernoble Knight cards that leave me a little unsatisfied. Theoretically, Gearbreed's alright in the long run, but Pinpoint Landing and Supply Squad aren't played for the same reasons Gearbreed won't demolish the competition.
Gemini Ablation, on the other hand, searches Gemini monsters and treats them as if they were effect monsters. It's a trap so you might be a bit underwhelmed at first glance, but if a card is good enough people will find a way. Heck, when Volcanics saw a sudden rise in popularity in 2015 due to Blaze Accelerator Reload, it was the keystone card, important enough to warrant the use of Temple of the Kings.
Il Blud, Gigaplant, and Doom Shaman are all prime options for Gemini Ablation, accelerating Zombie, Plant, Insect, and Fiend strategies. Ablation doesn't need on-field presence to work, freeing you from the burdens of putting a monster on the field, much less a Normal Summon.
Obviously Gemini Ablation has other applications and will be leveraged in multiple ways, but it's more than a pipedream to have an on-theme Emergency Teleport for Gemini monsters. Gemini Ablation's a Continuous Trap, so it's nice for the long duel, but I'm much more interested in eschewing Gemini monsters into other strategies.
Good thing Temple of the Kings costs, like, a nickel.
#5 - Immortal Phoenix Gearfried
Have there been any weird problems in Yu-Gi-Oh you didn't even know you needed to resolve? Virtually everyone can recognize the benefits of the second and third effects of Immortal Phoenix Gearfried, but have you ever wanted to summon say, a Level 9 Warrior for the low cost of banishing an Equip spell?
Crickets? Fine, be that way.
There aren't tons of uses for Level 9 monsters and Rank 9 plays at the moment, but it's worth noting that True King of All Calamities is one of the best cards in the game right now. Aside from that, I'll tread back on what I said to pay some attention to the other effects that get you on board, for decks that don't solely focus on Immortal Phoenix Gearfried and Equip Spells. Since Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights is used in lots of combo decks, Immortal Phoenix Gearfried promises a built-in boss that cycles well with Divine Sword - Phoenix Blade.
If you're running Isolde you'll already have Warriors and Equip Spells to banish for Phoenix Blade and Immortal Phoenix Gearfried, so I could easily see dedicated players running it as an added level of power or annoyance to buff their Turn 1 setup.
When Orbital Hydralander first debuted, it was shunned for being too complicated with all its finicky restrictions. But it quickly became a staple in Burning Abyss and other mill-strategies, like this deck Max Reynolds showed off in 2017. Before Orcust Crescendo could search it, Orbital Hydralander proved devastating, especially when no one saw it coming as an off-the-radar ace in the hole.
So while True King of All Calamities or an impromptu boss monster might not pique your interest, just know I'll be there when you lose to it with a half-smirk holding back the words, "Should have respected the Gearfried."
#4 - Code Generator
This is so high on the list for a rather flat reason - it searches cards, and a lot of them. And when new cards come out, it'll search them, too.
What, did you want me to say something else?
To unlock its search, you'll need to actually get Code Generator onto the field and use it for a Code Talker monster. So it's not the pure powerhouse searcher Sangan and Witch of the Black Forestwere, but keep in mind that Witch got out of hand quickly as more cards were printed.
My point is, Reinforcement of the Army is Limited, and we've seen Fire Formation – Tenki and Atlantean Dragoons Limited too. Zoodiac Broadbull's outright Forbidden. Why? Because unbridled searching is grounds for abuse. So is Code Generator going to meet the same fate?
Sure, you have to use it for a Code Talker monster, but with a lot of really good Code Talker monsters these days… so what? The 1200 ATK restriction just means Code Generator isn't ridiculously broken right now but every Cyberse monster going forward will be looked at through the lens of Code Generator.
Heck, Code Talker Inverted can summon the searched monster outright as long as you have another Cyberse monster in hand and you stack your chains correctly. Is Code Generator going to completely destroy the market? No, but it's a powder keg, and I'm eagerly awaiting the match.
#3 - Infernoble Knight - Renaud
When I first saw this card, all six of my remaining brain cells had delusions of grandeur about a revival of Lavals. But hey, it turns out it's 2020; this card's even more busted than I thought.
The April 1st 2020 Forbidden & Limited List was a death blow to most Tuners, but surprise, Crystron Halqifibrax isn't a hurdle for decks that play Fire Warrior monsters. That's a huge boost to Infernoble Knights in general, but it also means you can splash a small suite of cards for another way to make Halqifibrax.
If you want to be more generic, think back on Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights. From Gouki to Danger to Orcust to Phantom Knights to Monster Mash, Isolde's been a lynchpin to the strategy and now you have an amazing card to field straight from the deck.
Isolde summoning Infernoble Knight – Renaud translates to a search for any Equip Spell. Isolde Summons Renaud by pitching an equip, and Renaud gets it back just like that? So much for making things hard.
IIsolde is so freaking easy to summon that it opens up a can of worms I wasn't mentally prepared to deal with when I first saw the card. Hidden Armory searches your deck for any Equip Spell, but that eats up your Normal Summon, and you have to go through the painstaking process of actually drawing Hidden Armory - yuck!
This is 2020, where apparently Normal Summoning Armageddon Knight turns into a Rank 3 and any equip from your deck, a sentence 2017 me wouldn't have been able to understand.
Also, there's a hand loop combo with it, so that's nice…
#2 - Chaos Space
Chaos is one of the themes with the weirdest history in terms of its nomenclature and classification. With the influential booster set Invasion of Chaos, the theme was born… I think? Well, kinda. Banishing wasn't a new concept in IOC, but the term "Chaos" itself wasn't used until the set dropped.
But now there's like, Gaia The Fierce Knight and burn effects in the Chaos theme proper, and don't even get me started on Elemental HERO Chaos Neos. Is Freed the Brave Wanderer part of the "Chaos" umbrella, when Dream Mirror of Chaos isn't?
All the confusion aside, Chaos Space clears up what Chaos cards were to at least some extent. Chaos Space works with Light and Dark monsters that banish other Light and Dark monsters to Special Summon themselves, killing three birds with one stone. But if we're going by that definition for what is and isn't a Chaos monster, then Cosmo Brain is a Chaos card.
Back to the point at hand, Chaos Space is an insanely powerful card that proactively searches devastating cards like Chaos Dragon Levianeer, Orbital Hydralander and Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning. As a surprise bonus, pitching a card from your hand triggers a smattering of effects and feeds your Chaos summoning requirements, but the card mitigates that when you don't want to throw anything away.
Chaos Space's third effect recycles a banished… uh… "cannot be Normal Summoned/Set" monster on top of giving you a draw. The card would still be insanely powerful without that added effect, but hey, go big or go home, right?
If you thought Code Generator would be a problem, oh boy, Chaos Space has another thing coming.
#1 - The Chaos Creator
I was having a great day until this card was announced last week.
The Chaos Creator's obviously searchable with Chaos Space, and it might be one of the best cards for it. It's asa easy enough to summon as most other "Chaos" monsters just banishing a Light and a Dark, but if you go a little bit further you'll unlock its revival effect.
It's not a perfect parallel to Chaos Dragon Levianeer, but the two work in tandem to get Special Summons on command. Where The Chaos Creator exceeds it, though, is its generic revival. If you have a third monster banished beyond the two you banished to summon Chaos Creator, congrats, you can revive said monster instead.
The other monsters go back to your deck, but that's hardly a restriction when Chaos Space can search them out again.
This thing's basically a Monster Reborn on legs, and I'll point out tthat you're not restricted to Light and Dark monsters with The Chaos Creator's revival effect. Chances are good that you'll generally have Light and Darks to work with in a Chaos deck, but it boils down to a simple fact. Can you banish cards? If the answer is yes, The Chaos Creator acts as Monster Reborn number 2, 3, and 4.
The Chaos Creator can even recycle another copy of itself on top of Chaos Space, so theoretically you could resolve an effect that mirrors Monster Reborn over 10 times.
While not every card we just discussed is a standout in every strategy, all ten of these card shine in and out of theme, in either a front-and-center role or a supplemental one. Toon Chaos is an awesome set because it buffs so many different archetypes without drastically altering or reinventing the nature of what any of those archetypes can do. Those themes get better, but they also stay true to their roots.
Some of the cards I didn't highlight are awesome as well – Fluffal Angel and Frightfur Meister are rockstar additions to Fluffal strategies, but they don't mesh in decks without dedicated Frightfur and Fluffal support, so they didn't make the cut for this particular talk.
The same can be said for things like Chaos Valkyria. Throwing out a Level 4 body that also gets monsters to the graveyard is nice, but it's not as efficient as the other Chaos cards, which blend power and consistency in an unprecedented way. Chaos Daedalus is even better, adding a layer of protection, but it's not a very nuanced card otherwise.
If you can't tell, I'll still blown away by The Chaos Creator! I'm looking forward to the combos that will no doubt hinge around it in the coming weeks.
Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.