Pretty crazy week, huh?
The indefinite postponement of YCS Charlotte arrived yesterday, and as I'm writing this a similar announcement was just made postponing YCS Hartford. You're probably aware, it's not just Yu-Gi-Oh; a lot of businesses are taking precautions to make sure people stay safe, in an effort to maintain personal distancing and to promote healthy habits. Right now there's not much we can do, aside from following recommended measures, being personally responsible and spending more time at home if you can.
Thank goodness for card games.
The rising impact of COVID-19 has dealt some major blows to a lot of markets worldwide, but this week the Yu-Gi-Oh market was still huge. And surprisingly enough, it was led almost entirely by Duel Overload despite the fact that the set's still a week away from launch. In the past week we've seen lots of creators and players ahead of the curve discussing new combos and strategies that emerge from cards like Union Carrier, Simorgh, Bird of Sovereignty, Crystron Halqifibrax and Selene, Queen of the Master Magicians, and spoiler: demand for those cards exploded this week.
It's exceptionally rare to see so much demand for a new set during the pre-sale period, but that demand for Duel Overload started last week and it's grown consistently as word gets around about those big plays. Simorgh and Raidraptor - Force Strix create a combo for Lunalights that fields a ton of Level 4 fodder and a free Cyber Dragon Infinity. Union Carrier can lock your opponent out of their Extra Deck, or create a looping play with Mist Valley Apex Avian and Mist Valley Thunderbird. Selene's positioned as the new savior of Pendulums. There's so much going on with the cards from this set, and most players are still growing their understanding of it all. That meant growing demand.
So where did we wind up after a week of that? From Monday to Friday, our Top 10 best-sellers were nine cards from Duel Overload and a certain sheep we're all familiar with. And that adorable ovine? Well, he was nowhere near the Number 1 spot. Check out the countdown.
#10 - Predaplant Verte Anaconda
The ability to change a monster into Super Polymerization fodder and then effectively search and activate Super Polymerization's kind crazy enough, but it's really just the beginning of all the nutty tricks you can do with Anaconda. We've seen this thing used in lots of different ways; it's a big boost in Orcusts where you can get out Dingirsu, then Verte into Instant Fusion for El Shaddoll Winda and keep it on the field. Cyber Dragons, Thunder Dragons, and almost every other Fusion theme except for Shaddolls love it.
In the OCG this card's a troublemaker due to Dragun of Red-Eyes , but for now that's a problem we don't have. It'll be interesting to see just how powerful Anaconda is in the TCG environment when it drops next week.
#9 - Artifact Dagda
Artifacts are already big right now, with Artifact Sanctum moving from a powerful Side Deck card granting access to Artifact Scythe to shut down Extra Deck Summons, to that, plus additional utility in answering Lightning Storm. Now we're getting an incredibly easy Link 2 that once per turn pops out an Artifact for free and triggers it. Again and again if it sticks on the field. And if your opponent runs this thing over and it doesn't stick on the field, you can revive an Artifact for that too. With two downward Link Arrows it's just an awesomely versatile card that's guaranteed to see some competitive success.
#8 - Cross-Sheep
Cross-Sheep, still a staple for some of the format's biggest decks like Shaddolls, Heroes and Invoked variants, and still one of the most popular cards in the secondary market. Shaddolls aren't going anywhere any time soon, barring a new F&L List taking it down a few pegs. And even if that happens, more Fusion strategies become more viable on April 1 st when Master Rule 5 arrives anyways.
After dipping down to the #$5-$6 range off the release of the Ignition Assault Special Edition, Cross-Sheep's Rebounding again to flirt with the $8 mark. That upward trend might continue as we get closer to the Master Rule update.
#7 - Relinquished Anima
If you run Relinquished Anima, any Level 1 monster in your deck becomes non-destroying monster removal for any card it points to as long as you have a spot on your field for a Link Summon. And while that's not as universal as something like Thousand-Eyes Restrict, it doesn't require any special cards to summon provided your deck already runs Level 1s. The fact that this works so well with Thousand-Eyes Restrict under Master Rule 5 could make it an entirely different beast, and Anima's often used for tricky little moves like eating your own Sky Striker Ace – Shizuku with some help from Secure Gardna.
The card's playable in all sorts of decks come April, with a role in decks that are already seeing play now, including Altergeists. Anima's one of those cards that most people may not fully appreciate yet, and demand is already really high; it could easily become an even bigger card by this time next month.
#6 - Dingirsu, the Orcust of the Evening Star
Dingirsu's back in Duel Overload at a preorder price of three bucks, and Orcusts are still topping Regionals right now, in their stunted form coming off the last F&L List. Every day draws us closer to Eternity Code and Mekk-Knight Orcust Girsu . It's not hard to do the math on this one; Orcusts get a huge boost from that card, it's very likely the powers that be will want to make it a selling point for ETCO, and that makes Orcusts a strong prospect for May.
Dingirsu in the double digit range? You probably won't buy it unless you want to play the deck immediately. But Dingirsu for two or three dollars? That's a bet lots of players and speculators are willing to make.
#5 - Selene, Queen of the Master Magicians
This card seems so reasonable until you get to the "and in the GYs" part in that first sentence. With a protection ability, a free revival effect that helps build your combos and synergies with other Spell Counter cards, I can't even tell you what the most broken thing is that this card can do. I have no idea. Pendulum players are a crafty and resourceful bunch, always improving on established lines of play. This card opens up that strategic design space in some very powerful ways, and I can't wait to see how people are using it in say, six weeks.
#4 - Salamangreat Almiraj
A must-run in Invoked Shaddolls and a hugely popular card for Altergeists, Salamangreat Almiraj is valued for its ease of summoning and its Fire attribute. We don't see Battles of Legend cards get reprinted that often, but Almiraj is a pretty big money card with several different uses, and the fact that it's only two dollars in preorders makes it an obvious hit.
#3 - Simorgh, Bird of Sovereignty
The last three cards of our Top 10 list this week are all giant combo enablers that all anchor hugely powerful plays. In the case of Simorgh, Bird of Sovereignty the high profile move is to summon Mist Valley Apex Avian with its effect, often rolling into Union Carrier to attach Mist Valley Thunderbird to Sovereignty. That combo drove Thunderbird into the $6-$8+ range this week. But you can also bring out Barrier Statue of the Stormwinds if you'd prefer to limit your opponent's Special Summons instead, or even Dark Simorgh to stop your opponent from setting stuff.
Simorgh's awesome, and it's incredibly inexpensive for what it does. There's no wonder it was so popular this week as more players learned about the full range of uses for it.
#2 - Crystron Halqifibrax
I mean, it's Needlefiber, sooooo…
Crystron Halqifibrax appears to be settling around the $40 mark, and that makes its Number 2 finish for the week pretty crazy. If you were at all buying into the hype of, "It's nothing special in Master Rule 5," then get ready for a reality check, because competitive players are investing hard into this thing and they aren't planning to not use it. Master Rule 5 certainly widens the field, but there's not much reason to think that's going to work AGAINST Halqifibrax. It's a tremendously versatile card that will probably do better in an environment where Links are no longer required, and the enthusiasm for it is a direct result of that speculation.
#1 - Union Carrier
And last but not least, Union Carrier is the week's best-selling card. You can debate which one's more broken, Union Carrier or Crystron Halqifibrax, but the reality is that Halqifibrax costs almost three times the price of Carrier, and at some point there's a cap on the sheer volume of copies a $40 card can move in preorder season. Realistically both cards are fantastic combo enablers that accomplish different things, they're not mutually exclusive, and both are worth owning.
Piggybacking off the hype for Union Carrier and Simorgh, Bird of Sovereignty, Raidraptor - Wise Strix fell just a few copies short of the Number 10 spot; it was neck and neck with Predaplant Verte Anaconda. The Duel Overload reprint of Cyber Dragon Infinity clocked in at Number 12, closely related to Wise Strix by way of Rank-Up-Magic Soul Shave Force. D/D/D Abyss King Gilgamesh took Number 13, Mist Valley Thunderbird was Number 14, and Dark Ruler No More finished at the Number 15 spot.
Want more insight into the secondary market? We'll have another Market Update for youon Facebook and Twitter on Monday, so be sure to follow our socials for all the latest! Until then, make sur to wash your hands, keep a healthy personal distance and take care of yourself.
Thanks for reading!