Can you believe that Synchro Monsters debuted twelve years ago?

There are duelists today who've never known Yu-Gi-Oh! without Synchros, or even Xyz. Synchros were the game's first new addition to the Extra Deck ever, and their debut was literally the reason why the name "Fusion Deck" was retired. Synchros have since been joined by Xyz and Link Monsters, but I don't think the excitement around Synchros has ever quite been matched. The concept of Summoning a powerful monster from beyond your hand, deck, or graveyard without resolving a card effect was just totally foreign at the time.

 

The thrill of lining up Levels for a Synchro Summon, putting a huge new monster on the board, and ultimately trading what were often non-threatening monsters into a brand-new bruiser channeled everything I loved about the Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds anime. Sadly, the Synchro experience died off for a bit in 2012 when the Forbidden & Limited List kicked a couple of excellent Tuners out of the Advanced format, as well as the game's best Synchro Monster.

Flash forward a bit and Master Rule 4 made Synchros even harder to play thanks to Link Monsters. But that's changing with the arrival of Master Rule 5 in April. In just a couple of weeks Synchros, Xyz, and Fusions will no longer need to be Summoned to the Extra Monster Zone or a Linked Main Monster Zone. The difference is incredible, and there are many, many Synchros that benefit from the changes.

Today we'll talk about some of the best, and my personal Top 5.
 

#####CARDID=25150#####

Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon - Nibiru No More
Synchros with negation effects are already a hot commodity among players, and that's especially true for Borreload Savage Dragon. There are plenty of fantastic negation effects in the pool of Synchro Monsters, including Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon, that offer things Borreload Savage Dragon doesn't.

First, some of these monsters are a little easier to Summon before that crucial five-Summon trigger that brings your opponent's Nibiru, the Primal Being online. You can simply negate Nibiru's activation if you can establish monster effect negation on or before your fifth Summon, so combos that can present an impressive Turn 1 field and negate Nibiru are the holy grail of combo strategies.

Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon doesn't have the coverage of Borreload Savage Dragon, but it does have more synergy with recursion effects like Monster Reborn and Return of the Dragon Lords. It's also nearly unbeatable in battle with monsters Level 5 or higher, and I'd expect to see many more high-Level monsters when the restraints on Synchros and Fusions are lifted. Don't get me wrong here: Borreload Savage Dragon will absolutely see a massive uptick in play on its own, but Crystal Wing isn't as vulnerable to cards like Effect Veiler, D.D. Crow, or Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit. It's also unique in that it can actually BE the fifth Summon of your turn and still negate Nibiru; something Borreload Savage Dragon can't do.

#####CARDID=19366#####

Ultimaya Tzolkin - The Ultimate Dragon Toolbox
Ultimaya Tzolkin is seemingly the big winner of the upcoming rule change… provided you're actually interested in the cards it Summons. Level 7 Dragons are a bit of a mixed bag, but there are a few standouts like Odd-Eyes Meteorburst Dragon and Michael, the Arch-Lightsworn that provide immediate value by Summoning or banishing a monster. Dragunity Knight - Trident has untapped potential that could rid your opponent of up to three Extra Deck monsters, and you get to choose which ones they'll send to the graveyard. Power Tool Dragon itself is probably useless, but that's fine: you're mostly Summoning Tzolkin to get to your top Level 8 Synchros anyways.

Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon's the top prize among Tzolkin's available targets, and its availability through Tzolkin's effect is a big reason why it might end up seeing more play than Borreload Savage Dragon. It's arguably the best generic choice, although pairing it with Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer adds an insane amount of flexibility to your Summoning choices.

Ignister's non-targeting, non-destruction removal is among the best in the game, and it can deal with just about any threat that's not protected by monster effects. The up-front aggression of Ignister paired with the promise of Crystal Wing a turn later makes Tzolkin extremely threatening, and there are plenty of decks that can Summon it with ease, like Cyber Dragons and Dragon Link with Galactic Spiral Dragon.

#####CARDID=25964#####

F.A. Dawn Dragster - Destrudo's New Best Friend
It's almost painful to watch Destrudo, the Lost Dragon's Frisson – one of the best Tuners in the game – end up as just another cog in the wheel of strategies that see it only as Link Material.

That's changing in April when Summoning a Synchro Monster no longer requires a meticulously-planned combo involving a series of Link Monsters. F.A. Dawn Dragster's among the best Level 7 Synchros in the game, and unlike other Level 7s like Black Rose Dragon and Yazi, Evil of the Yang Zing it's actually designed to stick around on the field for an entire turn. In fact, Dawn Dragster's an excellent way to grind out card advantage against decks that rely heavily on spells and traps. It hits the field with three spell and trap negations, and that's plenty of ammo to stall your opponent's strategy for a few turns.

What makes Dawn Dragster so interesting is that it's relatively low-investment. You can Summon it by pairing any Level 6 or lower non-Tuner with a copy of Destrudo in your graveyard or your hand. Remember that you have many ways of getting Dragons to the graveyard, so setting up Destrudo isn't a challenge. As for the non-Tuner requirement, well, you're probably already playing enough Level 6 or lower monsters. The ability to convert just about any monster into a negation body is huge, and the Summoning restriction of Master Rule 4 was the only thing holding Destrudo back from finding its way into just about every strategy in the game.

#####CARDID=26197#####

Trishula, Dragon Of The Ice Barrier - Back To Destroy The World
The OCG moved Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier to the Unlimited List last October, so I'm not expecting it to suddenly find its way to the Forbidden List again too quickly. That said, Trishula's easily one of the most abusable Synchros in the game, and decks that can repeatedly Summon it could become a serious issue in competitive play. Anything that interacts with the opponent's hand has the potential to make degenerate combos that stop duelists from actually playing the game, and we've already seen some of what Trishula's capable of in past formats.

Horror stories aside, Trishula remains one of the game's most powerful Synchros thanks to the sheer impact of banishing three cards. In today's game resources are plentiful enough that banishing individual cards proactively might not be enough to slow your opponent down. While resolving Trishula on Turn 1 can rob your opponent of one of their starting cards, it's not guaranteed to make an impact the same way a negation body would have.

Luckily you don't have to choose between one or the other: True King of All Calamities is just one more Level 9 away – or one more Trishula away– and its temporary floodgate effect's a fantastic pairing for Trishula's often-lukewarm Turn 1 performance.

Trishula's still amazing at clearing boards thanks to its non-targeting removal effect. I doubt it'll see much play outside of extremely Synchro-heavy strategies and decks where the conditions are perfect – think Dinosaurs – but it's a much more real threat in the coming format. I think monster effect negation via hand traps like Effect Veiler and Infinite Impermanence will only become more popular as dangerous Synchros like Trishula begin to show up in more player's Extra Decks.

#####CARDID=23925#####

Junk Speeder - Channeling Yusei Fudo's Legacy
Junk Speeder is practically begging to be played in a Yusei Fudo theme deck – as if the coming rule changes somehow weren't enough to get you to bust out your Summoning chants, motorcycles, and Stardust Dragons.

Speeder was immediately overlooked when it debuted in the 2018 Mega-Tins thanks to a built-in restriction that made it utterly useless: Speeder's effect can Summon five Tuners from the deck, but you're limited to summoning Synchro Monsters from the Extra Deck for the entire turn. The problem is, or was: what can you do with a field full of Synchron Tuners if you can't Link Summon that turn? The idea that you'd Summon a Link Monster the turn before, then Summon and activate Junk Speeder wasn't a viable strategy. It simply took too long for the strategy's win condition to materialize.

April's a different context entirely for Junk Speeder, and its first effect deserves a second look. Summoning three or four Synchron Tuners is a significant increase in field presence, and Junk Speeder itself is easy enough to Special Summon. At the very least you could turn Junk Speeder into just about anything: Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon, Borreload Savage Dragon, F.A. Dawn Dragster, Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, or Ultimaya Tzolkin. That's the minimum of what Speeder can do, but its ceiling could be an insane number of Synchro Summons led by T.G. Hyper Librarian and followed up with a barrage of destruction effects with Junk Destroyer and Satellite Warrior.

Tuner Monsters have never been more accessible than they are today. While some Tuners might be on their way out soon thanks to Crystron Halqifibrax there are plenty more waiting to see play towards their intended purpose: Synchro Summoning. The return of Synchros is, of course, also a return for Xyz and Fusions, some of which are direct competitors to the Synchros I've listed here.

Bahamut Shark and Toadally Awesome are the Xyz competition to Ultimaya Tzolkin and Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon, and players will be working to discover which combos are better in the early weeks of the new format. I think this rule change delivers some much-needed choice back to duelists who want to play the game their way, with their favorite monsters, without feeling forced to build up Links first and Synchro second.

Until next time then

-Kelly