Welcome back, to our last Market Watch countdown before the holidays begin!

The last Regional Qualifiers were of 2018 were held in Columbus Ohio,Providence Rhode Island, and Seattle Washington this week, but the biggestnews of the weekend wasthe ARG Circuit Series in Orlando, Florida. That event was big not just because it was arguably the most competitivetournament for the rest of the year, but because of the somewhat surprisingresults.

In a format where Thunder Dragons and Sky Strikers are jockeying for therole of deck-to-beat, neither deck made the finals of the ARGCS. And whileNumber 86: Heroic Champion – Rhongomyniad variants only scored a couple ofTop Cut seats at YCS Milan it wound up winning the entire ARG tournament,beating out – wait for it – Pendulum Magicians. Yes, a Pendulum deck took 2nd Place, in a Top 16 where half the competitors were runningSky Strikers or Thunder Dragons.

And that was just one of the stories that made the ARGCS such a big factorinforming player impressions of the new format. Prank-Kids took three seatsin the Top 16 with two of them making the Top 8, coming off the deck's winat YCS Milan the week prior. And while Prank-Kids seemed like a potentialone-hit wonder at Milan, the strong showing at the ARGCS didn't reallydispel some of the questions about the strategy because once again, playersjust weren't Side Decking the best cards to stop it.

But regardless of those details, the end result was a strong impression ofRhongomyniad and Prank-Kids moving forward. Those impressions shone throughin the TCGplayer Marketplace this week in some subtle ways, giving us lotsto talk about in our Top 10 Countdown. Let's get to it.

#10: Pot of Desires

We've said before that the demand for Pot of Desires at any given time isusually an indicator of the number of new players entering tournamentcompetition, and as lots of people prepare to take a week or two off workand school, it seems like many duelfans may be looking toward 2019 as achance to up their game. Is Pot of Desires more ubiquitous in the emergingformat than it was before?

Maybe, but the players that are aware of those types of trends usually havetheir copies already. A spike in demand generally just means a healthyinflux of new blood, especially during the holiday season.

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#9: Rivalry of Warlords

Still hot after its Super Rare reprint in Hidden Summoners,Rivalry of Warlords is a powerful Side Deck option in several of theformat's top decks. While a price spike on the foil has yet to materialize,we're definitely starting to see a mix of player and collector interest asthat possibility looms large. Releases like Hidden Summoners areoften more scarce months down the road than bigger core sets, and that'screating a bit more buzz behind the first-ever holo printing.

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#8: Mountain Butterspy' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Blue Mountain Butterspy">Blue Mountain Butterspy

What happenswhen Gouki Rhongo wins a major tournamentwith three copies of Mountain Butterspy' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Blue Mountain Butterspy">Blue Mountain Butterspy? Apparently this, as demandexploded to send Butterspy rocketing to Number 8 on the countdown. Whilethe common printing remains affordably around a quarter, the original SuperRare from Number Hunters saw some big ups and downs in price this week aspeople bought copies, elevated the price, and then supply rushed in to fillthe gap.

How much of that is speculation and how much is legitimate interest inlocking your opponent out of their Summons with Rhongo Bongo is up in theair, but regardless of the percentage split I'd definitely be preparing tosee Gouki and Dark Warrior variants of Rhongomyniad at your tournaments inthe coming weeks. That 1st Place push goes down in the recordbooks as the last big tournament win of the year, giving it more influenceand longer legs than we'd normally see.

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#7: Prank-Kids Rocksies

Blame it on the sheer volume of Prank-Kids cards sold whenSoul Fusion Special Edition launched, or the thousands morePrank-Kids that moved in the wake of YCS Milan, but Prank-Kids Rocksiesslipped to the Number 7 spot this week. With the deck delivering anothergreat tournament finish there's no shortage of people who want to play it,but at some point the demand has to stutter when just the sheer volume ofcards sold is so high for so many weeks.

It'll be interesting to see how Prank-Kids look in our next Market Watchwhen things are a bit more settled.

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#6: Gozen Match

Like Rivalry of Warlords, Gozen Match is hugely powerful this format and isfinding its place amongst staples of top level play. And also like Rivalryof Warlords, its recent Super Rare reprint makes it a potentiallyattractive buy for collectors and speculators now that we know both cardshave dodged the F&L List, and remained relevant for tournaments. Withfloodgates once again seemingly protected from the banhammer, a lot ofplayers who've held off on running them in the past are now coming aroundand picking up their copies. Floodgates are a fact of life in Yu-Gi-Oh, andif you aren't at least considering them for your deck you're probablypassing up important opportunities.

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#5: Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights

With Goukis suddenly back in the competitive discussion, Isolde, Two Talesof the Noble Knights continued to be hot off its Special Edition reprint.Now wildly accessible, Isolde's reprint has led to actual budget builds ofDark Warrior Rhongo as a competitive choice, and that financial factor maykeep it popular through to Savage Strike.

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#4: Called by the Grave

It was a staple at two, and it's definitely still a staple at three. Thebestselling card of the year has long wandered into Pot of Desires "whostill needs this, how is it still selling" territory. But like Pot ofDesires, Called by the Grave is another good barometer of playerparticipation in tournament play, and more and more duelists are making thetransition to serious competition everyday. It's still remarkable to seethe demand for this card, but there's no real wonder as to why it remainsso popular.

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#3: Summon Sorceress

Combo decks are alive and well in the new format, though not nearly sooppressive, and that means Summon Sorceress has continued its role in bothacknowledged Big Turn 1 strategies and some new-ish rogue picks. Cut itwhatever way you want, the Sorceress is one of those cards that's equallyinspiring and frustrating because it does just as much to lock big decksinto power as it does to make fun strategies viable.

Its power level alone means it always has a sword of Damocles danglingabove it, but for now it doesn't seem to be creating problems incompetition anymore. And with both creative and competitive uses it's stillone of the hottest cards of December.

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#2: Neo Space Connector

In terms of the SOFU Special Edition reprints, Summon Sorceress is beatenout only by one card, and it's a telling one. Jonathan Barber played threecopies of Neo Space Connector in his Gouki Rhongo build at the ARG, andwhile Connector may have stumbled out of the gates at YCS Milan, it clearlywon new respect as a deadly card that acts as both a play starter and acombo extender.

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#1: Dinowrestler Pankratops

It really didn't seem possible for Dinowrestler Pankratops to become evenmore powerful, popular, and important in the game today, but then peoplestarted running it with World Dino Wrestling and it just got even better.If being a free beatstick, chainable removal, a free body for Link Summons,and a Level 7 for Xyz wasn't enough, the Dinowrestler Field Spell turnsPankratops into a floodgate against attacks and gives it an ATK boost whenit's on the aggressive.

Then there's the fact that you can just kick it to the graveyard to SpecialSummon Pankratops in the first place, giving you a way to search it fromyour deck, often for free, without drawing fire from a variety of effectsthat would stop you from searching it to your hand. The ways in whichPankratops just keeps. Getting. Better. Are actually insane, and it's nosurprise to see it in the Number 1 spot again.

Everyone is playing it, and they should be.

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What else was big this week? The big results for Rhongo created a big pushfor the Phantom Knights engine, creating demand for Phantom Knights' FogBlade, The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak, and of course The PhantomKnights of Silent Boots. Those cards wound up at Number 11, Number 13, andNumber 15, all very close to the top 10 proper.

Meanwhile upcoming releases built some demand for Lady Debug at Number 12,and the sustained success of Thunder Dragons elevated Gold Sarcophagus toNumber 14.

There aren't a lot of mysteries with the state of the secondary marketright now, with almost everything aligning very cleanly with recenttournament results. But as tournaments take a break for the next two weeks,we'll see a bit of vacuum of information, and it'll be interesting to seewhat appears on the other side of that.

Until next week, Happy Holidays!

-Jason Grabher-Meyer