Nothing changed over the holidays here in TCG territory, with no newreleases and no big tournaments taking place over the winter break. Whatdid change was the rising influence of Salamangreats overseas, where thetheme continues to do increasingly well as one of the OCG's top strategies.A lot of competitors seemed to take the time to figure the deck out overthe holidays, because Salamangreats ran roughshod over the TCGplayerMarketplace to take six spots in our Top 10 countdown.
The Salamangreat theme debuted in Soul Fusion, and gets moresupport in the upcoming Savage Strike and Dark Neostormboosters, as well as February's Structure Deck: Soulburner. Ifthat sounds to you like a lot of support once we get through January you'dbe correct, and since the Salamangreats are Cyberse monsters they get toborrow at least one major support card that's technically off-theme. Thatcard made it to the Top 10 as well this week, and we'll get to that in awhile.
The remainder of the countdown consists of two of the most popular promosfrom Soul Fusion Special Edition, as well as the two bestsellingSide Deck cards from the latter half of 2018. Surprise surprise: Called bythe Grave is still good, and somehow still selling like hotcakes.
Regionals return this weekend, and while Salamangreats probably won't bemaking a splash until February, we're already starting to get an idea ofwhat the post-Savage Strike world might look like. Let's dive in,counting down the bestselling cards from over a thousand Yu-Gi-Oh! sellerscombined in the TCGplayer Marketplace.
#10: Salamangreat Falco
First up, Salamangreat Falco. This card's key in Salamangreat buildsbecause it lets you reuse powerful theme-stamped cards like Will of theSalamangreat… without running too many copies of them. OCG builds of thedeck get away with running just one copy of Will, because even though it'sa wildly powerful card it's a dead draw if you've already got one going.
Instead of running multiple copies the deck saves space and quells the riskof redundancy by sending it to the graveyard withSalamangreat Gazellefrom the Structure Deck, then getting it back with Falco. Since bothmonsters integrate perfectly well into the deck's routine plays it's nosweat to keep things efficient, and that built enough demand forSalamangreat Falco this week to push it to Number 10.
#9: Salamangreat Jack Jaguar
An 1800 ATK beatstick that acts as Link Summoning fodder, and then returnsitself to the field while recycling a card to your deck, Jack Jaguar'sanother popular pick for the theme as a reusable source of utility. LikeWill of the Salamangreat, Jaguar's a once-per-turn effect, and as such it'soften played as a singleton in current OCG builds. But we'll have to seehow it's played here come February.
#8: Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights
Stepping off the hype train for just a moment, Isolde, Two Tales of theNoble Knights clung to her spot in the Top 10 this week by coming in atNumber 8. December saw what appeared to be a growing enthusiasm and growingsuccess for Goukis and Dark Warrior decks aiming to abuse Number 86: HeroicChampion – Rhongomyniad, and Isolde's a key piece of both strategies. Thesustained demand continues to suggest that the Rhongo decks will see risingplay in Regionals over the coming weeks.
#7: Will of the Salamangreat
Speaking of Will, it clocked in at Number 7 this week despite single statusin most Salamangreat lists. Flat out, you just can't imagine passing onthis card: a free better-than-Monster-Reborn once per turn, it morphs intoa sort of Soul Charge type effect once you control a decent Link Monster.Factor in the chance to effectively search it with Gazelle and Falco, andthe opportunity to reuse it turn after turn, and you've got an absolutestaple for the strategy.
#6: Neo Space Connector
Joining Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights as a top-selling card ridingthe Rhongo wave of success, Neo Space Connector is still the mostsought-after promo from Soul Fusion Special Edition. We've seen alot of data lately indicating rising interest in Goukis and Dark Warriors,and while one could stretch and imagine that high sales numbers for recentpromos don't necessarily indicate tournament trends it would be tough toignore the significant price spikes for older cards that have no other use,like Mountain Butterspy' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Blue Mountain Butterspy">Blue Mountain Butterspy.
We finally saw players Side Decking the much-discussed Xyz Encore to stopRhongo late in December, and if you're heading to a Regional this weekendor next you might want to consider having at least some kind of silverbullet tech for the matchup.
#5: Salamangreat Heatleo
The current boss monster of the theme, Salamangreat Heatleo might beoutclassed over time in some builds, but for now it's the focus of thestrategy. A Link-3 Cyberse that starts with 2300 ATK and an effect thatharasses your opponent's graveyard, it grows into an ATK-manipulating wincondition if you make a new copy with a previous one…something laterreleases help facilitiate.
#4: Salamangreat Foxy
Heatleo was outsold this week by one more Salamangreat monster, one of thedeck's limited searchers doing a fiery imitation of Elemental Hero Stratos.When you Normal Summon Foxy you get to excavate the top three cards of yourdeck to snag any Salamangreat card, shuffling the rest back. It's also gota slick removal effect and synergy with the deck's REAL searcher, which –spoiler – is sitting up at Number 2 on the countdown.
#3: Dinowrestler Pankratops
What beat Dinowrestler Pankratops, the hottest new Side Deck card sinceCalled by the Grave, down into the Number 3 spot? Why it's none other than…
#2: Lady Debug
Yes, Lady Debug. While many players may be familiar with Lady Debug as anintegral part of a dedicated Cyberse deck…thought most may not be familiarwith the card at all…it actually plays a starring role in Salamangreats. Asa Level 4 packing 1700 ATK, it searches you a free Cyberse of Level 3 orlower when it's Normal or Special Summoned. That makes it the real Stratosof the Salamangreat strategy, giving you instant access to Foxy, Meer, andmore cards coming in those February releases.
Currently only available in Structure Deck: Powercode Link, LadyDebug's quietly climbed past the six dollar mark in recent weeks, and asknow key foils from Structure Decks can often become quite valuable. IfSalamangreats get good positioning off the next F&L List we couldeasily see Lady Debug gain even more value in the first quarter of thisyear, so while it's surprising to see so many players buying so many copiesof a relatively valuable card, everyone who got ahead of the pack on thisone might be thanking themselves in a month or two.
#1: Called by the Grave
And finally, the only card to outsell Lady Debug was Called by the Grave.With the sheer volume of Calls being sold it'll be interesting to see whatattendance is like at big events in 2019. It seems like a ton of newplayers are picking up staples they'll need to make the transition totournaments, starting with this must-have.
Looking just past the Top 10 proper, Summon Sorceress nearly made the cutat Number 11. But everything else was all Salamangreats all the time:Salamangreat Sanctuary came in at Number 12; Salamangreat Meer at lucky 13;Rise of the Salamangreat at Numbrer 14; and Salamangreat Gift at 15. Ofthose four cards only Sanctuary is regarded as a staple in most circles,with the rest being optional picks or simply not seeing play at all.
Speculators picked up a ton of PSY-Frame Driver this week too, asPSY-Framegear Gamma's set to see more play in the coming weeks off somerecent successes. Cybernetic Horizon boosters saw huge speculationas well, though it's not quite clear why.
That's it for Market Watch this week, but if you're headed to Regionalsthis weekend or next best of luck to you for success in the new year! Strapin for 2019: it's going to be a wild year of Yu-Gi-Oh.