Since we haven't done a recap in awhile, let's go ahead and run it down: while you can often do the detective work on your own to see which big cards are experiencing the greatest price spikes, our twice-weekly Market Watch columns here on TCGplayer offer info you can't get anywhere else – actual info on which cards are selling the most copies every four days, here on TCGplayer.
The TCGplayer marketplace is a gateway to over a thousand active Yu-Gi-Oh! sellers, all listing their cards so you can find the rarities and conditions you want, of whatever you want, at the best price possible from rated, reputable outlets. And since so many sales pass through the marketplace, we have a unique opportunity to get you information you can't really get anywhere else: we can actually show you which cards are moving in the biggest numbers, regardless of price or rarity.
That's valuable because when a big card's in high demand you can generally get a feel for the situation just by looking to see if its listed price has gone up or not. Usually that price increase can indicate a legitimate boost in demand, though sometimes it's just people buying out large volumes of cards to create artificial spikes, or sellers pulling their stock for one reason or another. It's far from a perfect system.
But more than those risks, the big problem is that hunting for price spikes can't help you see boosted interest in less valuable cards: you can sell through thousands of copies of a common or rare and see no difference in price for that card, because the supply pool is so deep. And since most cards in any given release aren't high value foils, you could miss a ton of important information if you're only looking at price info instead of actual sales trends.
Case in point? The entire Top 10 list this week consisted of cards selling for anywhere between 25 cents to $1.25. None of them would have stood out if you were only looking at prices, and that'd be a shame because at least eight of these cards are competitively relevant, and represent at least one but possibly two important trends you're going to want to be aware of for upcoming tournaments.
But first, Magician stuff!
#10: Dark Illusion' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Magician of Dark Illusion">Magician of Dark Illusion
Starting off our countdown this week at Number 10, Dark Illusion' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Magician of Dark Illusion">Magician of Dark Illusion rode the wave of Movie Pack nostalgia and anticipation for further Dark Magician support coming up in Legendary Decks II in October, proving to be about as popular as anyone who was paying attention to the nostalgia-driven fan craze lately would assume.
Hitting the field on your opponent's turn whenever you play a spell or trap card, or activate the effect of one, Dark Illusion' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Magician of Dark Illusion">Magician of Dark Illusion's a solid beater with 2100 ATK, and a stiff wall at 2500 DEF. That big backside's notable since the Magician then turns one spell or trap card into a free +1 that Monster Reborns a Dark Magician for free once per turn, fielding more damage and making Rank 7 Xyz as break-even investments or better.
Also important: thanks to Dark Illusion' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Magician of Dark Illusion">Magician of Dark Illusion's ability to stand in for Dark Magician when it's on the field, it works with Dark Magic Attack, Thousand Knives, and Eternal Soul, effectively making them all better cards. That's going to become much more relevant when Eternal Soul drops in Legendary Decks II.
#9: Magician's Rod
Free cards! Like Dark Illusion' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Magician of Dark Illusion">Magician of Dark Illusion, Magician's Rod gets a lot better when Eternal Soul hits: the Rod will search it, which in turn searches Dark Magic Attack or Thousand Knives for free once per turn. You'll be able to grab Dark Burning Magic too. In the mean time the Rod can search stuff like Magician Navigation and Dark Magic Curtain to Chaos Form, and the Rod's recursion effect lets you trade dud Spellcasters on the field to get it back for more searching.
It wound up being even more popular than Dark Illusion' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Magician of Dark Illusion">Magician of Dark Illusion, probably because search effects are generally great. There's no real mystery here. People love searching and anything that even resembles Elemental Hero Stratos, no matter how vaguely, garners reliable enthusiasm.
#8: Metalfoes Fusion
Metalfoes Fusion makes Metalfoes work, which, spoiler: becomes important as this Top 10 list plays out.
Over the past years we've seen a lot of attempts to make Fusion spells more viable in terms of card economy; for ages, Miracle Fusion was largely the only competitive Fusion spell in the game, simply because it could abuse an established graveyard to make a Fusion as a 1-for-1 trade. Nekroz were so fierce in part for a similar mechanic: while it was the deck's precision and endless search power that really made them competitive, the sheer efficiency of their nigh-endless string of Ritual Spells fueled the deck.
The ability to just use Metalfoes Fusion and then cycle it back into the deck for a free draw won't grant quite the same level of precision as the Nekroz Rituals did, but it does make the card effectively free to play. And the good news is that all of the current Main Deck Metalfoes offer that element of precision anyways, so combined with their status as free Pendulum Summons recycled again and again as Fusion Materials, your card economy gets really crazy, really fast. And since you can search Metalfoes Fusion any time you'd want it, you generally only run one copy.
That makes the volume of Metalfoes Fusions sold kind of insane. Either a ton of people were buying three copies just in case, or an even greater number of people were buying one copy each. It's the difference between huge enthusiasm for the deck that forecasts a big competitive presence, or an utterly crazy level of enthusiasm with even bigger tournament representation.
We'll look at those enabling monsters in a bit. But first…
#7: Metalfoes Counter
Tournament-topping OCG builds of Metalfoes generally only play one copy of Metalfoes Counter, because like Metalfoes Fusion, you can search it. But that didn't stop players from buying more copies of Counter than they did of Metalfoes Fusion over the weekend. Accessibility's likely the reason: while Metalfoes Fusion is a Super Rare, Metalfoes Counter is a common. While neither card is expensive, it was likely easier for some players to rationalize extra copies of Counter than it would've been to snag more Fusions.
Regardless, it represents a massive level of interest in Metalfoes for actual play, since nobody's going to be speculating on a potential price spike for a 1-of common.
#6: Blackwing – Gofu the Vague Shadow
The only non-Metalfoes card in the Top 8 this past weekend, Blackwing – Gofu the Vague Shadow sees substantial play in Metalfoes anyways. Free to Special Summon from your hand when your Monster Zones are empty, Gofu brings with it two Vague Shadow Tokens, which you'll usually turn into two Set Metalfoes spell or trap cards with your Metalfoes Pendulum Spells. To recap that statement: the card starts you off with an immediate +2.
From there it's a Level 5 Tuner, which is awesome for making regular Synchro Summons, that's great, but also happens to be the magic number for Summoning Ultimaya Tzolkin. Combine it with a Level 5 like Metalfoes Adamante or a Level 5 Pendulum Monster off-theme, and you can make that same tremendous Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon opening or answers like Black Rose Moonlight Dragon, just like Tzolkin Monarchs.
In fact, it's potentially great in Tzolkin Monarchs as well, which might be partly responsible for its popularity and impressive sales numbers over the weekend. You can't Tribute or Tune with your Vague Shadow Tokens, but you can destroy them. In Metalfoes that means popping them for searches, but in Monarchs it can mean destroying them with Kuraz the Light Monarch to turn them into two free cards. And just like Quickdraw Synchron before it, Gofu works with The Prime Monarch to make Ultimaya Tzolkin.
Blackwing – Gofu the Vague Shadow's easily one of the most intricate and promising cards in The Dark Illusion, and it's tough to tell quite how to interpret its placing on the charts. On one hand, the sales numbers could purely be a function of enthusiasm for Metalfoes. But don't be surprised to see it pop up in Monarchs as well, provided they survive the… supposedly?… upcoming F&L List.
#5: Metalfoes Combination
Outselling Metalfoes Counter and Metalfoes Fusion, Metalfoes Combination is another searchable Metalfoes card that's generally played as a one-of. Setting up for free in the bulk of your games, it turns into a free search effect itself if it's destroyed, and that search works regardless of how it's destroyed; you can pop it yourself if you need to find a Metalfoes monster.
That said, its chief function is making your already-efficient Fusion Summons even easier. Recovering your Fusion Materials and bigger monsters at will is incredibly powerful, and the momentum you get from Combination makes it an early game priority. It adds an element of inevitability to the Metalfoe strategy, and removing it from the field can be painful at best, to impossible at worst. We've really seen a revolution the past year or so in the quality of core set spell and trap support for new themes, and cards like these are the product of that seemingly revised design policy.
Finally, the last four cards in our countdown are…
#4: Metalfoes Silverd
#3: Metalfoes Steelen
#2: Metalfoes Volflame
#1: Metalfoes Goldriver
…Which makes a ton of sense, since cards Number 5 through 8 in the weekend's sales records are all largely singletons in Metalfoes. The four core Metalfoes Pendulum Monsters are all played in triplicate, so they saw way more action in the TCGplayer marketplace these past three days.
There's not a lot here to say that isn't obvious. Clocking a Pendulum Scale of 1 and 8, with two monsters at each end of the Scale, Metalfoes specialize in recycling Fusion Materials to make big monsters that punish defensive players, and use their repeated search effects to set up early and churn out big threats. Since all the Metalfoes Pendulums are Normal Monsters, they work with Painful Decision and Summoner's Art, and Metalfoes Volflame can be searched with Summoner's Art. With such a wide Pendulum Scale you can run them with stuff like Majespecter Unicorn – Kirin, too, a huge player this past WCQ season.
So eight of the Top 10 bestsellers in this Market Watch are Metalfoes, or in the case of Blackwing – Gofu the Vague Shadow, honorary members of the tribe. None of these cards are commanding notable prices, but knowing the numbers behind the sales data we know just how incredibly popular they've become. It's very likely that we'll see Metalfoes in big numbers once competitive play returns, if not earlier at events like the upcoming ARG CS in Providence.
So what else hit it big over the weekend? Illusion Magic, Metalfoes Orichalc, Metalfoes Adamante, Fairy Tail – Snow, and Ebon High Magician took positions Number 11 to 15 respectively, while the highest-selling money card from The Dark Illusion was Dark Magical Circle at Number 16. SPYRAL Super Agent punched in at Number 20, while Shiranui Solitaire reached the Number 22 spot and Magician Navigation followed hot on its heels.
Pot of Desires didn't make the Top 25, likely in part due to short stock on account of strong local sales and lots of players just keeping their copies of the new might-be-staple. Price point was certainly a factor, too: at 55 bucks it's the biggest pull from The Dark Illusion, as everyone expected. Cosmic Cyclone and Coral Dragon didn't chart either, and both are sitting around the $10 mark at present. You can't really go wrong with Secret Rares in this set, since everything but The Forceful Checkpoint is about $10 or more, with three of them being in the $20+ range.
The new set made a tremendously strong debut, but what do you think of the future of Metalfoes? Will they be viable immediately, or will we need to see a format change to bring them into top competitive form? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, and join us again Friday when we see if the Metalfoes trend continues through the week.