Before we get into the countdown proper and some of the factors that shapedit, let's expound on that last point: with Hero's Revengebeing amassive hit, eight of the Top 10 bestsellers from Monday to Friday morningwere still from that set, including some more casual cards that playershave been bullish on in the competitive off-season. So on one hand thesheer enthusiasm for BLHR's important to remember in the context of thosecards; there just hasn't been a lot of new stuff to get excited about thepast weeks, and now that there is players are eager to spend their duelingdollars on some new hotness.
But at the same time, that over-arching trend makes the two cards on thislist that weren'tfrom BLHR even more significant.There's a lot of cool stuff and a lot of new opportunities offered by theJuly F&L List, and knowing which ones players bought into the momentthe list dropped is going to help you prepare for your tournaments thisweekend and beyond. Frankly you can probably take a few potshots and guesswhich cards from previous releases made the cut this week due to theF&L List. But the sheer force with which they pounded other cards intothe ground is important.
There are two big, big cards back in the competitive discussion because ofthe new format, and you're probably going to see them show up in yourtournaments instantly. More on that later.
We also saw some pivots in the BLHR hierarchy that are probably responsesto big deck expectations moving forward; we're already starting to get someidea of what decks players are looking to try in the run-up to Regionalsand YCS Portland (all of which kick off on the same weekend of August 24,just in case you weren't aware). All of the big tournament decks leadingcompetition "lost" off the new F&L List, but they didn't all loseequally, and that kept demand high for some of them anyways. And to look atthe flip side of the coin one more time, we're also seeing a suggestion ofa new(ish) up-and-coming deck that players are responding to since the bigheavy-hitters got whalloped.
With all that in mind, let's dive into the Top 10 Countdown starting with acasual hit.
#10 – Battlewasp – Twinbow the Attacker
Battlewasps were a big hit last week during the pre-sale and launch period,despite largely being regarded as a casual theme. Two of the deck's biggestenablers continued to be popular through the week, starting with this cardwhich helps you swarm the field for bigger plays. Battlewasp – Twinbow theAttacker follows in the Orcust footsteps of "easy to Summon, butrestrictive toward your Extra Deck" and there's no real way you can ignoreit; Insect-only Extra Deck Summons are pretty restrictive.
All that aside, there are functional Insect-types in the Link, Xyz, andespecially Synchro rosters (where the Battlewasps have four of their ownname-stamped monsters like Battlewasp – Hama the Conquering Bow andBattlewasp – Halberd Charge). And that "sting you twice" Double Attackingability Recalls fond feelings of Hayabusa Knight – 2000 damage off a freeSpecial Summon can't be totally ignored. If Battlewasps are ever going tohave a breakout showing in say, a Regional Qualifier, Twinbow will likelybe part of the picture.
#9 – Battlewasp – Sting the Poison
Moving on, Battlewasp – Sting the Poison is an even better play enablingcard, effectively the Battlewasp answer to Elemental Hero Stratos: Normalor Special Summon it, search your deck for a free monster, and you canleverage Sting straight into a Synchro Summon as a Level 2 Tuner. Needlessto say it goes hand-in-hand with Twinbow. But when you've already got yourbeaters in place it still retains utility, offering a decent negationeffect tied to an unfortunately vulnerable body. It's got a lot going on,and the sheer level of utility made it the best selling Battlewasp card ofthe week.
#8 – Sky Striker Ace - Raye
Into reprint territory, there's an early consensus forming that SkyStrikers may have sustained the least damage from the new F&L List, andthat concept kept demand for the new foil Raye pretty high. While I couldpoint to some Orcust and Thunder Dragon players that would dispute thestatus of Sky Strikers as the"Best Survivor" strategy, and those sentimentsmay be growing as I write this, sales of Raye were especially strong earlyin the week as players snap-reacted to the lack of restrictions on SkyStriker Mobilize - Engage! and Sky Striker Mecha - Widow Anchor.
#7 – Dinowrestler Pankratops
Nothing can stop the demand for Dinowrestler Pankratops, least of all anF&L List that both opens up the field and restrains Mystic Mine, twofactors that will likely make Pankratops even more popular as a Side Deckpick. It may prove to be especially valuable in a format where tripleSolemn Judgment sees considerable play, so while Pankratops is alwaysexcellent, it's worth keeping an eye on now more than ever.
#6 - Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms
The Dragon Rulers are back! Except only one of them! And it's objectivelythe worst of the bunch!
On one hand that doesn't sound great. It also wouldn't sound very good if Iwere to say, "Wind monsters are so terrible these days that R&D thoughtit was fine to bring back a Dragon Ruler." Because that's true. And that'ssort of what we're talking about: Harpies, Speedroids, Dragunities and awealth of other strategies are so bad that a group of people somewheredecided it was fine to give them a self-recurring Special Summonedbehemoth. And that's sort of sad.
But if you squint and cock your head? It's also totally awesome! BecauseTempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms suddenly makes all of thosefan-favorite-but-sadly-not-quite-good-enough strategies more competitive,giving them a rallying point that instantly buffs their strength intournament play. If you've been missing your favorite Wind themes, well,get ready because suddenly they're all much more viable.
Will that be enough for some of those strategies to compete in tournaments?We're going to find out over the coming weeks, because the sheer number ofplayers that picked up their Tempest the last few days was insane. Harpiesmight not be a serious Championship contender even with Tempest's help, butby gum you'd better get ready to see them at your locals.
#5 – Artifact Scythe
The engine of Artifact Scythe, Artifact Lancea and Artifact Sanctum isincredibly versatile, and because it can handle such a range of strategiesit gets even better in more open formats. The new F&L List threw thedoors wide for all sorts of rogue contenders and wacky ideas, so combinedwith the early enthusiasm for the affordable foil Scythe in BLHR, theresult was huge sales. Nobody expected Artifacts to see less play in theearly weeks of the new format, but if you needed confirmation you've gotit; a ton of people picked up Scythe this week.
#4 – Vision HERO Faris
Elemental Hero Stratos to two? Konami clearly knows their audience, asdemand for everything Hero has been on the rise since late last year. It'stough to release new Hero cards without creating new bestsellers – we'veseen a trending interest in classic Yu-Gi-Oh! GX cards, and Heroes havestood at the forefront of that shift. Add to that the fact that Vision HEROFaris is really quite good for what it does, helping you leverage a ton ofdifferent Vision HERO abilities from the backrow, and you've got a recipefor a hit. Heroes like doing stuff for free, and Faris makes that happen insome new and interesting ways.
#3 – Herald of the Arc Light
Herald's one of the biggest budget-oriented reprints fromBattles of Legend: Hero's Revenge, dropping a card that was asmuch as $15 at its peak to about a dollar now. While Herald has uses in afew different strategies, its most popular in Nekroz, where you can send itto the graveyard with Nekroz Kaleidoscope for a free search.
Nekroz saw some limited success just before WCQ's started up earlier thisyear, and now that Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz is back at two-per-deckthe strategy's a top rogue pick in the new format. The massive demand forHerald of the Arc Light suggests a lot of players will be trying out Nekrozin upcoming tournaments.
#2 – Elemental Hero Stratos
One of the most speculated cards of the BLHR preorder period, Stratoscatapulted to the Number 4 spot over the weekend as that speculation wasreplaced witg legitimate player interest. Now, with one of the biggestfan-favorite cards of all time playable at two, the demand skyrocketed evenmore, escalating the iconic Hero monster to Number 2 for the week. CanHeroes really compete in the power vacuum created by the new F&L List?It's too early to say, but we're definitely going to find out because lotsof players are going to give Heroes a shot.
#1 - Solemn Judgment
The only card that outpaced Stratos this week, the quintessential controlcard – absolutely the most powerful and feared Counter Trap of all time –is back at three and players responded accordingly. Solemn Judgment's astunning high-risk high-reward force, and the last time we saw it at fullpower it was a format-defining card.
What does its return mean for the game as a whole? That's an interestingquestion. I'm less intrigued by where it might see play, so much as what itmeans on a higher level, and I'm really enthusiastic about the impact itmight have on tournaments. On one hand we live in a negation-heavy erawhere an easy negate like Solemn Judgment may prove to be overpowered. Onthe other hand it's an incredible play-shattering effect that may benefitsimple strategies more than combo decks.
At the same time, using it costs an absolute crap-ton of Life Points. Andwhile it's always "cool" to echo the line about only needing one Life Pointto win, the reality is that making a misstep with Solemn Judgment… or evenplaying it correctly and getting outplayed anyways… can make for somesignificantly shorter games. There's a strong chance that bringing backSolemn Judgment could actually help the integrity of tournament play bycreating faster duels that don't go to time as often, simply because it canwin or lose games so easily.
But that's just me digressing. People bought into Solemn Judgment this weekbecause they believe it's a powerful card that can win them games, and theincredible volume of players who picked up their copies this week shows anundeniable interest in running it. If you had any doubts that SolemnJudgment might not be regarded as competitive in modern Yu-Gi-Oh, well, getready for it, because it's going to appear in your tournaments. And it'sprobably not going to fade from top tables any time soon.
Looking beyond the Top 10 to the cards that almost made the cut, Battlewasp– Arbalest the Rapidfire clocked in at Number 11, while every otherBattlewasp card saw notable action as well. Vision HERO Vyon, freshlyreprinted in BLHR, took the Number 12 slot, while the Nekroz love continuedwith Nekroz Cycle at Number 13. Cyber-Stein and Artifact Lancea came in atNumber 14 and Number 15 respectively.
The remaining speculation targeted Hero cards and to a lesser extentSpeedroids, but Shaddolls were the one outlier that saw tremendous actionfrom buyers looking to place some bets; all four of the BLHR reprints werebig picks for a very limited number of buyers, from Shaddoll Beast andShaddoll Hedgehog to Shaddoll Falco and Shaddoll Squamata. Those are cardsto watch once competition picks up in August; if the Shaddoll enginebecomes a bigger competitive factor all four could easily rise in value.
That's it for this week, but we'll be back in another seven days for thelaunch of Rising Rampage.We may see some early winners frompreorders next week, so be sure to stay tuned for the early winners.