Welcome to our latest Friday edition of Market Watch!

 

Last week we saw Duel Powerdominate the best sellers listhere on TCGplayer: hand traps, Galaxy Soldier, and Evenly Matched occupiedthe Top 10 on the reprint side while Security Dragon, Lefty Driver, RightyDriver, and Cyber Dragon Nachster proved to be the most popular debutcards. But flash forward one week and suddenly the Top 10 landscape'sentirely different.

It doesn't happen often, but not one card that made the Top 10 managed torepeat this time around. Yikes.

Duelists clearly got their fill of Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, GhostReaper & Winter Cherries, and Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, while theprice tag of Evenly Matched created flagging demand. Machines remainedpopular: the Driver monsters still saw respectable numbers, but the focusfor many buyers suddenly shifted to cards like Silver Gadget and GoldGadget as many looked to expand their repertoire.

And Nekroz were huge. Herald of the Arc Light's been on a consistent upwardtrend ever since Nekroz reprints were confirmed for Duel Power,and it only continued to spike this week with two of its three printingsabout to hit the $25 mark. That's because of Nekroz, which are now vastlymore affordable thanks to Duel Power.

While Nekroz have hovered at the fringe of top table status for weeks – inpart thanks to Impcantations – the sudden wider availability kindledmassive interest: Nekroz of Valkyrus is less than five bucks and Nekroz ofBrionac is barely Cracking seven. Both made the Top 10 this week whilesales spiked on plenty of related cards, from Zaborg the Mega Monarch toPot of Extravagance.

Similar fringe status for True Dracos –the format's most budget deck makingregular Top 8 showings – drove demand for some related cards as well, whilea few of 2019's biggest cards were back in Top 10 action. It was a reallycrazy week in the TCGplayer Marketplace.

#10: Platinum Gadget

Machines are getting a lot of support these days, though none of it'sreally resulted in tournament breakthroughs quite yet. Infinitrack, ABC'sand Rank 10 Trains are all solid for what they are, and the introduction ofCyber Dragon Nachster created huge demand for cards like Cyber Emergencyand Cyber Revsystem.

All of those decks can play Gadgets in a supporting role and PlatinumGadget's Special Summon effect is a huge boon, grabbing plenty of CyberDragon cards including Nachster, Cyber Dragon Herz, and Cyber Dragon Core.Is that good enough to get it into Top 8's? That remains to be seen, but itwas enough to whet player appetites the past week.

#####CARDID= 25121#####

#9: Beat Cop from the Underworld

Nobody seems to be running Beat Cop from the Underworld just yet, but as ageneric alternative to LANphorhynchus it trades 200 ATK for an effect that's brimming with potential. Kelly discussed Beat Cop earlier this week speaking to its power level combined with floodgates: protecting something like Summon Limit, There Can Be Only One or Anti-Spell Fragrance can bedevastating, and it's even attractive with control-oriented monsters.

Unlocking that ability requires more specific Link Materials, but BeatCop's sure to be relevant at some point in the future. For now it can behad for as little as 50 cents and that made it a hot pick as players lookto futureproof their options.

#####CARDID= 25120#####

#8: Zaborg the Mega Monarch

Blame Nekroz: Zaborg the Mega Monarch was one of the hottest cards of theweek.

There's a debate going on right now as to which Nekroz variant is best, andwhile versions revolving around Archlord Kristya and Vanity's Fiend arecertainly part of the discussion, Zaborg Nekroz is the crowd favorite. Ontheir own Nekroz just don't seem powerful enough to stand toe to toe withdecks like Sky Strikers and Salamangreats, but with the right "somethingelse" they may be able to get there.

When that "something else" is just a ton of card advantage and destructivepower you're off to a good start. Zaborg the Mega Monarch feeds cards likeHerald of the Arc Light, Elder Entity N'tss and even PSY-Framelord Omega tothe graveyard, so you can wind up cashing in a ton of free effects –abilities that extend your combos and clear the field all in one shot.Since you're ripping apart your opponent's Extra Deck at the same time, oneclutch Zaborg can clinch the game then and there.

The problem is resolving its effect in an era dominated by hand traps.Zaborg Nekroz players have to run triple Called by the Grave and sometimeseven Magical Mid-Breaker Field just to resolve a combo they have to harddraw in the first place, and that's not always easy. The future of Nekrozremains a mystery, but for now a combination of speculators and realplayers seem to be favoring the Zaborg variant. It's something big to watchout for moving forward.

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#7: Bond Between Teacher and Student

On one hand it's almost entirely nostalgia and fantastic character-drivenart that's made Bond Between Teacher and Student so popular. On the otherit's kind of tough to ignore that this is one of the best support cards fora theme that's continued to get more and more support: Bond's a straight +1that grants immediate field presence and a choice between some crazycontrol spells or a big ATK boost.

If you overlooked this thing and don't know what some of these cards do,Dark Burning Magic's a Quick-Play Spell that literally just destroys everycard your opponent controls if you control Dark Magician and Dark MagicianGirl. And you will once you resolve Bond. You could search Dark BurningAttack instead, which is just a funny way to spell Raigeki; or you couldfetch Dark Magic Attack which is just Harpie's Feather Duster. Butdestroying all of your opponent's cards is usually going to be better.

That leaves Dark Magic Twin Burst, which boosts your Dark Magician by thecombined ATK of all the Dark Magician Girls on the field and in bothgraveyards, for the duration of the turn. There are no attack restrictionsthere: nothing that says "Dark Magician is your only attacker this turn" oranything else like you might expect. Dark Magician just gets swoll andbeats face, no muss no fuss.

And while controlling those cards uninterrupted isn't always possible,Bond's still more impressive than it might seem when you're thumbingthrough your packs and ignoring all the character cards. It's cool stuff.

#####CARDID= 25098#####

#6: Nekroz of Valkyrus

A three-of in almost every build imaginable, Nekroz of Valkyrus is aheavy-hitting beatstick that shuts down the entire Battle Phase and tradesyour used on-field monsters for free draws. It's really, really good, andnow that it's four dollars instead of forty it's a predictably hot ticket.There was a time when Nekroz ran this game, and while the bad old days maynever quite return they're clearly on the comeback trail.

#####CARDID= 25171#####

#5: Nekroz of Brionac

Sitting in a similar position, Nekroz of Brionac is one part fundamentalsearch card and one part field-clearing powerhouse, feeding your combos andshattering big set-ups depending on how you play it.

Again, this card used to be fifty bucks. Now it's seven. And while Nekrozstill haven't had their modern tournament breakthrough that may not be faroff. There's an entire generation of tournament competitors who never sawthis deck at its peak, and with an April F&L List that could drop anyday now, anticipation is high for a possible boost.

#####CARDID= 25168#####

#4: Salamangreat Sunlight Wolf

Back in the world of modern dueling, Salamangreat Sunlight Wolf was back inthe Top 10 as Salamangreats continue gaining table share. There's nothingtoday that blends the Salamangreat deck's tournament record with its budgetbuild cost: True Dracos are easier to build, but their handful of Top 8finishes is nothing compared to the widespread success of salad bois.

As National Championships begin to kick off across the globe and we countdown the days to the big continental WCQ's, Salamangreat Sunlight Wolf'sbottoming out at around three dollars. The entire deck's hugely attractiveto returning players and casual competitors looking to step up their game,so it's no surprise to see it back in the Top 10 this week.

#####CARDID= 24861#####

#3: Card of Demise

…But about those True Dracos! Reprinting Card of Demise removed the lastmoney card from that strategy,and suddenlyit'spopping upin Regional Top 8'sall overNorth and South America. The deck's almost free at this point: Card ofDemise is under five bucks, it's packed with flex slots you can fill withbudget picks, and thanks to The Monarchs Erupt it doesn't play an ExtraDeck. Even Salamangreats have to shell out for Knightmare Unicorn.

While other strategies may be running Card of Demise as well, True Draco'sthe one you have to be aware of in upcoming tournaments. Armed with aridiculous number of floodgates and lots of draw power to see themconsistently, the deck could easily become a sleeper hit at WCQ's.

#####CARDID= 25132#####

#2: Predaplant Dragostapelia

Super Polymerization is seeing lots of Side Decked play this format tocounter Salamangreats and Thunder Dragons, with Salamangreat Violet Chimeracoming in against its home strategy and Predaplant Dragostapelia stealingThunder Dragon Colossus off the table. And while Thunder Dragon Titan'slargely disappeared from tournaments these days, it's worth noting that asingle Dragostapelia can eliminate both Fusions at once since Colossus is aDark.

Duel Poweris the card's first foil printing and Ultra Rares are widely beloved by anoften picky playerbase, so that drove a ton of interest in the reprint.

#####CARDID= 25151#####

#1: Called by the Grave

And finally Called by the Grave was back on top once again. We've spokenabout this card countless times since it was released just over a year ago,and while Called by the Grave seems destined to be popular as long as handtraps are competitive you definitely have to give a nod to the extra pushfactor we mentioned earlier: Zaborg Nekroz needs to run this. That deckauto-wins most of its games if it resolves Zaborg the Mega Monarch'seffect, but it loses all the work it puts into setting up that play if itgets nailed by a hand trap.

Was that the reason Called by the Grave skyrocketed to the Number 1 spotthis week? Or is Called just so ubiquitous now that the pressure of WCQseason did all the work. We'll have to wait and find out, but it'sdefinitely another reason on the stack of good reasons to get ready forNekroz.

#####CARDID= 23177#####

That's it for this week, but join us Monday on Facebook and Twitter for ourusual Weekend Market Update. There are half a dozen Regional Qualifiersscheduled for the U.S. this weekend and we'll be back on Friday with a fullbreakdown of next week's Top 10.

Until then, definitely get familiar with the True Draco and Nekrozmatchups. Both decks could show up in your tournaments this weekend.

-Jason Grabher-Meyer