The first Regional weekend of the new format has come and gone, and after logging dozens of Top Cut success stories in our deck archive, we're starting to see the competitive landscape take shape.
SPYRAL started the format with a bang. Salamangreats appear to have survived the F&L List at least for now, and Sky Strikers even managed to squeak in a top or two. We saw plenty of Altergeist, Dinosaur, Hero and Subterror decks leading competition, as well as lots of rogue representation from Witchcrafters, Gren Maju, Madolches, Infernoids and a cadre of similar contenders. As is common in the early days of a new format, the field feels wide open, and that means the earliest competitive trends in the secondary market tend to favor splashable tech cards.
Several such cards rose in the ranks of TCGplayer's best-sellers this weekto make the Top 10, while several more are holdovers from the early Ignition Assault enthusiasm. We're going to call out which are which as we run down the list today, to try and give you a leg up separating the shiny new hype picks from the stuff you'll want to watch out for at your tournaments.
With the stage all set for today's Top 10 countdown we're ready to dive in! The following were the Top 10 most ordered cards in the TCGplayer Marketplace from Monday to Friday morning.
#10 - Ancient Warriors - Masterful Sun Mou
Two cards from the new Ancient Warriors theme made the Top 10 this week, and for two very different reasons. The first was Ancient Warriors – Masterful Sun Mou, a powerful Level 4 with a strong 1800 ATK and two effects that place it at the center of the strategy: one adds a bonus bounce to all of your other Ancient Warriors' effects, kicking opposing monsters off the field once per turn; while the other lets you pitch a card from your hand or field to search another Ancient Warrior monster, Stratos-style.
Needless to say, Masterful Sun Mou probably doesn't have much of a role outside of dedicated Ancient Warrior decks; if there's nothing to search or no matching effect to activate, none of Masterful Sun Mou's abilities matter. The Ancient Warriors aren't really competitive yet, but the keycards are some of the most affordable Ultra Rares in Ignition Assault and that's made the theme both exciting and accessible. A lot of players were clearly looking to pick up a new theme, and I'm sure some collectors and speculators see the usual opportunities when key cards for any particular deck are going cheap.
#9 - Linguriboh
A potential must-run for any Cyberse-type deck moving forward, Linguriboh could play a role in Marincess, @Ignisters, or the apparently-still-alive Salamangreat decks. It's unclear if the current power ceiling on Salamangreats is high enough for the strategy to survive as the format becomes more refined, but the roster of results from that first Regional weekend was pretty huge: we saw different builds of Salamangreats topping in Arequipa Peru and Halle Germany, and the deck scored multiple tops in Montreal Canada. That's just from the results we've put together so far.
Packing an ability that scales with the ever-rising value of Normal Trap defenses in the current format, and a Link-1 rating that demands easy Link Materials for potential combo building, Linguriboh's a flexible card that could easily see competitive play. For two bucks and change it was a prime cart-filling pick this week.
#8 - Time Thief Startup
We're starting to see successful Time Thief engines in competitive play, largely pairing the theme with Lunalights, and a lot of the fervor for the Time Thief theme that we observed last week carried through to this one.
Time Thief Startup's basically the best Double Summon ever printed, searchable for free with Time Thief Winder and ensuring you get max value out of your Time Thief Redoer. The Time Thief theme doesn't really do a heck of a lot right now, but Time Thief Startup works with the suite's best cards and helps you do everything within the deck's limited range so far.
#7 - Gravity Controller
The first majorly competitive card of today's countdown, Gravity Controller's a huge sleeper pick from Ignition Assault, filling a very specific role in several different strategies. Gavin Kale used it in his Infernoid deck to clear away his own Infernoid Tierra from his Extra Monster Zone, allowing him the freedom of Levels to OTK whenever he wanted. Meanwhile the Top 8 Zoodiac player from the Duluth Regional used Gravity Controller to similar effect, chucking Zoodiac Chakanine to the graveyard so he could bring it back and combo off toward a win with stuff like Infinitrack Fortress Megaclops.
Neither deck really even cared about Gravity Controller's actual effect, acting as a sort of battle-driven Compulsory Evacuation Device to clear the EMZs. But it was a fascinating showing from a unique card that may appear in more strategies as players come to appreciate it. Given the strong sales this week, it's clear there's a real player interest.
#6 - Sky Striker Ace - Roze
Salamangreats appear to have adapted to become the most promising survivor of the last format's royal hierarchy, but Sky Strikers were alive and kicking in George and at the Carlisle Regional over in England. James Woodward assembled a version that leveraged Darkest Diabolos, Lord of the Lair, Zoodiac Whiptail with Zoodiac Barrage, and triple Sky Striker Ace – Roze. Meanwhile familiar face and veteran duelist Junior Dorcin ran a Mine Striker build that looked a little more familiar, crammed with twelve hand traps.
Were those tops a fluke? Does Sky Striker still have what it takes, or will it be powercrept as the format moves on? And how many of these sales were to competitive players versus waifu fans? These are all questions you'll have to keep in mind moving deeper into the season.
#5 - Time Thief Retrograde
Clocking a repeat performance from its Number 5 finish last week , demand for Time Thief Retrograde remained totally steady this time around. Like we said last week, a freely searchable negation card with a wide range and a bonus effect that feeds into the deck's central goals is pretty sweet. The fact this card came in at Number 5 two weeks in a row is starting to demonstrate lasting interest, even while the Time Thief suite struggles in the early days of the format. Note that of the successful engines we've seen so far, all of them ran a copy of Retrograde.
#4 - Ancient Warriors - Loyal Guan Yun
A lot of people are sleeping on this card, but Ancient Warriors – Loyal Guan Yun is a really powerful choice for a lot of decks and could become more popular depending on how the format shapes up. Unlike Masterful Sun Mou earlier, Loyal Guan Yun isn't limited to Ancient Warrior strategies: you can totally treat it like a 2500 ATK Level 7 Cyber Dragon, slap it down when you don't control any monsters and if your opponent controls 2 or more monsters Loyal Guan Yun can snipe one of them off.
If that sounds familiar and reminds you of another big green dude with a removal effect, yes, Loyal Guan Yun does smack of Dinowrestler Pankratops. The summoning conditions are a Little Different, with Loyal Guan Yun requiring you to control no monsters. And while Pankratops could destroy any opposing card, Loyal Guan Yun only destroys a monster. But instead of Tributing Pankratops as a Quick Effect, you keep Loyal Guan Yun and use its ability at Spell Speed 1.
They're both very different cards, but they're both exceptionally good and they both into a whack-ton of strategies. With Loyal Guan Yun currently hugging the $1 mark it's incredibly easy to grab a playset.
#3 - Jack-o-Bolan
This week's enthusiasm for Jack-o-Bolan was almost as strong as last week's, leaving the card to slide from Number 2 to Number 3. There's not a lot going on here for competition as far as I'm aware, but it's easy to look around online communities and see lots of excitement from old school Zombie fans. Jack-o-Bolan's searchable with Glow-Up Bloom, and with a little assist from Zombie World it comes straight to the table. If you need to Special Summon it from your hand it just fills your graveyard to combo with cards like Mezuki, and from there it either serves as high-Level material for bigger combos or it picks away at your opponent's graveyard (again, with help from Zombie World).
I'm not sure Zombies are doing so hot in an era where Terraforming, Metaverse and Set Rotation are all Limited. Searching Zombie World isn't as easy as it would be in other strategies due to the activation conditions of Necroworld Banshee, and it's arguably more important to use that card to protect Zombie World than search it. That said, Banshee's a solid four dollars right now and slowly climbing, so sometimes the fan-favorite appeal of cool nostalgia themes just can't be suppressed.
As a Zombie fan myself, I feel the love welling up in my black and undead heart.
#2 - Time Thief Perpetua
Up from Number 3 and taking Jack-o-Bolan's spot, Time Thief Perpetua climbed to Number 2 for the week. Quickly becoming a fan-favorite character, we'll have to see if she can reach the iconic heights of her predecessors like Tour Guide From the Underworld. But for now, she's a must-run piece of what might be a competitive new engine in tournament play, and those two factors combined are keeping the Super Rare a huge pick, even as the Prismatic chase version dukes it out with Aussa the Earth Charmer, Immovable around the $170 mark.
#1 - Cross-Sheep
Speaking of Aussa, Cross-Sheep was once again the best-selling card of the week after slowing down over the weekend, and we've got a little more insight into why after seeing it reach a couple of Top 8s. Carlos Alberto topped the Regional in Zacatecas Mexico playing Heroes, and he ran one copy of Cross-Sheep in his Extra. An unnamed competitor also played the Sheep to a Top 8 finish in the Bloomington Minnesota Regional, piloting Mekk-Knight Invoked. Both decks put a lot of Fusion Monsters on the table, and if Cross-Sheep points to one of them you get a free Level 4 or lower monster, Special Summoned back from your graveyard.
That makes big Link Summons much easier at times, and the Bloomington duelist was quoted as using for alternate plays into a more powerful Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess. Are the ATK manipulating effects of Cross-Sheep, leveraged with a Synchro or Xyz Monster actually relevant? I'm told some players are interested in trying Ritual strategies for the Graceful Charity ability too, though I'm not sure how widespread that is, or how likely it might be to succeed.
Cross-Sheep's probably inflated at $5 for a regular rare. But it sits at an intersection between niche competitive use with Fusions and a lot of more casual game plans, and that's kept it hot since the day it released.
…Maybe it's not so ba-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ad.
Looking beyond the Top 10, Gizmek Kaku, the Supreme Shining Sky Stag almost made the Top 10 at Number 11, despite its $30+ price tag and what might be a death sentence come April 1st and the Master Rule update. Ancient Warriors - Virtuous Liu Xuan and Ancient Warriors Saga - Three Visits clocked in at Numbers 12 and 14 respectively. Time Thief Chronocorder was still up there at Number 13, and Infinitrack Fortress Megaclops finished out at Number 15 after starring in that Zoodiac deck from the Duluth Regional.
We'll be back Monday with a Market Update poston Facebook and Twitter, so stay tuned to our socials for the next shifts in the TCGplayer Marketplace. 'Til then, have a great weekend and good luck in your tournaments!