No rogue strategies made it to the Top Cut as the Big 4 continue to becomemore refined, and promising new ideas are held in reserve for the NorthAmerican World Championship Qualifier two weeks from today. But despite theappearance of a stale competitive scene, Knoxville had lots of innovationsgoing on under the hood, and many of them influenced our Top 10 countdownthis week.
As always, our Market Watch Top 10s here on TCGplayer are based off totalnumbers of cards sold, not rarity or card value. That means when playersmigrate to a big deck and key commons move in huge numbers, we can see thattrend. It also means that when a big high-value carddoes make the countdown, you know the numberswere so high that it outsold thousands of less pricy picks.
The end result is a perspective you can't get anywhere else, andinformation that can help you stay ahead of both the tournament scene andthe collector's market. Let's dive right in to this week's bestsellers.
#10: Evenly Matched
Evenly Matched may have no role in three of the top four competitive decksright now, but it crops up pretty regularly in Salamangreats and we'vestarted to see considerable growth in "go-second" strategies in recentRegionals. The interest in Evenly Matched is bolstered by its ever-loweringprice point; it's currently sitting at less than ten dollars, possibly theall-time low for the card.
Evenly Matched is more accessible than it's ever been, and its potential asa sleeper hit for competition is high. Watch out for it in yourtournaments.
#9: Cyber Dragon Nachster
Speaking of go-second decks in Regionals, Cyber Dragons continue to seeoccasional success. The deck's been more of a serious competitor sinceCyber Dragon Nachster was introduced, and a high profile Day 2 showing fromSam Arunnaveesiri at YCS Knoxville seemed to drive demand this week.
In April this was a $12 card carrying a ton of hype when it debuted inDuel Power, but now that it's around five bucks and thecompetitive season is winding down for many, lots of players are interestedin giving it a shot.
Gnomaterial debuted to mixed results when Dark Neostorm hit thescene, arriving with a lot of hype, a high price tag, and very littleactual play.
Fast forward to YCS Knoxville and bothTop 32 finisher Gabriel Vargasas well as the
That means this card is an asset in what might be the two biggest match-upsin any given metagame, and that's got Gnomaterial hugging the $35 mark.While there are ways for Orcusts to play around it that's really a matterof odds and how fast that information's going to spread: will players knowall the tricks to get around it by your next tournament? Or in time for theWCQ? That's up in the air, and in the meantime a shocking number of playerspicked up copies this week to get a jump on their opponents.
#7: Chronograph Sorcerer
Are Pendulums back? We saw some favorable results in Regional Qualifiersthis season, but the strategy flopped at YCS Knoxville and that throws itsviability into question. Regardless, Chronograph Sorcerer's still neverbeen reprinted and its price has slowly declined. It's a great pick-up forthe future and again, this is the time of year where players not heading toa WCQ tend to take a break or have a little fun. If you've been looking togive Pendulums a shot now's a great time for it, and the market actedaccordingly.
#6: Salamangreat Sunlight Wolf
Salamangreats put eight players into the Top 32 at Knoxville, comparingfavorably to the five Sky Strikers, 9 Thunder Dragons, and 10 Orcust decksthat made the cut. The last Salamangreat deck of the tournament waseliminated in the Top 4, but a lot of the press coming out of that eventfeatured the Salamangreat players heavily and it remains a veryapproachable pick for tournaments.
Larry Musgrove's build was especially good, capitalizing on choices like Flame Bufferlo, Crusadia Reclusia, anddouble Salamangreat Roar while skipping Cynet Mining – one of thebig-ticket cards that could make a budget player think twice about Salads.With new Salamangreat support coming down the pipe in future months it'sstill a big pick for players that aren't married to their current decks,and its prospects are definitely better now than they were at the start ofthe format. Salamangreats look stronger than before as we head into theNorth Am WCQ.
#5: Artifact Lancea
This card's been arguably the biggest Side Deck staple of the format, butit took until now for it to actually break into the Top 10. Artifact Lanceacame in at Number 11 in last week's countdown, but it seems like the YCSresults finally pushed a lot of lagging duelists to get their copies;Lancea was played in every Top Cut deck
With incredible matchup utility, awesome stopping power and stunning easeof use, it's very difficult to make an argument against Lancea as amust-run. It's still one of the cheapest power-cards you can add to yourSide Deck, too.
#4: Mystic Mine
While Mystic Mine Burn continued to struggle last week, Sky Strikers keptit popular by adopting it into many builds. It fell a spot from Number 3 toNumber 4 this week, but another strategy started playing it in Top Cut atthe YCS: new variants of the Orcust strategy went all-in on Field Spells,adding Mystic Mine and Set Rotation to the Main Deck and Black Garden tothe side.
Check out Avery FosterandMark Myatt's decks from Knoxvilleto see how it came together; it's a really good set of ideas that couldeasily become the dominant Orcust build moving forward.
#3: Dinowrestler Pankratops
Pankratops has lost a little ground as a go-to removal option due to theinfluence of Mystic Mine, but it still appears in the vast majority of TopCut Side Decks in big tournaments. Its versatility can't be beat, it winsgames in a variety of ways, and it's one of the biggest, most popular cardsof the year. Like Pot of Desires before it the real wonder here is how itcontinues to sell copies when everyone's already playing it.
It's just a fantastic card for virtually any player, and you want to havethat option to run a full three copies at any given time. It's still ablessing that the team over at Konami made it a Common instead of an Ultraor Secret Rare, but even then it's still approaching the $2 mark. It's justthat good.
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#2: Called by the Grave
Advancements like the return of PSY-Framegear Gamma and a slight uptick inInfinite Impermanence did nothing to slow Called by the Grave this week,which remained at Number 2 from our last countdown. That's no surprise:most of the big strategies can run it right now, with the only interferingfactor being Sekka's Light in Thunder Dragons. It's especially important inOrcusts and Salamangreats since they're so combo-heavy, but to be fairalmost everything is combo-heavy right now.
If you break it down you're either playing Called by the Grave or you'replaying to push everything through your opponent's hand traps. Most of thetime you're doing both.
And finally, Crackdown held onto the Number 1 position for the week. Idon't think this was played anywhere in the Top Cut at YCS Knoxville, butthe trap comeback continues everywhere else, from Regionals on down. Thepotential for an upset at the WCQ from a rogue backrow deck is still veryreal. Worldwide, players like this card and what it represents for thegame; trap cards as we once knew them are slowly returning to competitionand Crackdown's what kicked that all off.
And while Crackdown's still holding an average Market Price under $3 thisweek, the current available price is approaching $3.50, so its value mayfinally be rising. On one hand it plays no role in the most competitivedecks of the format. On the other it continues to sell in droves, and atsome point that demand's going to catch up with supply. Next week's launchof Dark Neostorm Special Edition may curb that trend, but we could see somemore upward momentum over the weekend.
Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring nearly made the cut at Number 11, as itmaintains its role as the best Main Deck hand trap in the game. Time ThiefRedoer clocked in at Number 12 suggesting continued enthusiasm for Orcusts,so don't expect them to lose tableshare any time soon.
Pot of Desires reached Number 13 as it starts to appear all over the place– actually something we've seen before in past WCQ seasons – and PhantomKnights' Fog Blade took the Number 14 slot as another nod to Orcusts.Infinite Impermanence finished out at Number 15.
Of all the cards that were speculated on this week, the one you'll want tokeep an eye on is Electric Virus. It saw a mix of player and speculatorinterest over the week after it showed up in Knoxville as a side pickagainst Hot Red Dragon Archfiend Abyss in the Thunder Dragon matchup, andit featured in Avery Foster and Mark Myatt's Top 16 decks. It's markedlyworse against a board anchored with Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon, so thechoice between Crystal Wing and Hotred is a little murkier now. Expect tosee Electric Virus in your tournaments.
That's it for this week, and we only have two more Market Watch Fridaysuntil the North American WCQ! Next week we'll see the impact of the CentralAmerican and Oceanic WCQs,so stay tuned to the Deck Archive for those resultsas soon as they're available.
We'll see you next Friday!