This past weekend we saw the most competitive tournament of the year so far, as the first North American Remote Duel Invitational (RDI) streamed live!
We compiled deck lists from that event, and if you missed them you can find them here. With Subterrors winning the Invitational, and not one, but two players piloting Lyrilusc Tri-Brigade, the RDI had a big impact on the secondary market. On top of that, TCGplayer's 8% kickback deal arrived a day later on Monday morning, and with so many duel fans looking to pick up the hottest cards from the tournament, market trends developed faster than normal.
Apart from the Top 10 best-selling cards of the week, the kickback spurred on some big buyouts. We saw massive pressure on cards like Ally of Justice Cycle Reader, Chamber Dragonmaid, and Number 90: Galaxy-Eyes Photon Lord, forcing price spikes on those cards and many more.
Lots of collectors and investors were also picking up Starlight Rares, driving up the price on key chase cards. Examples? Tri-Brigade Ferrijit the Barren Blossom (Starlight Rare) ran from $160 to $240, Pot of Prosperity (Starlight Rare) spiked from $320 to nearly $400, Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier (Starlight Rare) went from $330 to a stunning $490, and I:P Masquerena (Starlight Rare) jumped from $660 to a whopping $800! That 8% kickback was huge for buyers looking to invest in big cards.
But with all that action, what were the best-selling cards of the week? Let's count 'em down.
As far as I'm aware Alpha, the Master of Beasts didn't have any breakout showings this past weekend. That said, players have tried to make it work all over the place, in everything from Invoked, Dogmatika, and Mekk-Knights, to Harpies, Live☆Twins, Eldlich, and Zoodiac. It's certainly most common in Zoo, where it's seen some limited tournament success, but overall Alpha's just one of those cards lots of players have been on the fence about and weren't willing to shell out for until Monday's 8% kickback.
Alpha, the Master of Beasts was $51 the day Phantom Rage debuted, but it was just $26 the day before the kickback. Sales skyrocketed as the wait-and-see crowd went in hard, on Monday and the result was more than a four-fold increase in demand. Alpha, the Master of Beasts wasn't alone, either; lots of players saw the kickback on Monday and decided it was a good time to pull the trigger on some big tournament cards, as you'll see further up the Top 10.
…Springans Watch wasn't one of them.
This card is cheap, and it's been that way since it dropped. Effectively a souped up Terraforming for the theme, Springans Watch offers way more utility than the typical field search spell, adding a powerful monster search to the mix if you already control Great Sand Sea - Gold Golgonda. Loukas wrote on a Springans build a couple weeks ago, and whether or not Springans go anywhere, I hope we see this kind of theme-stamped card design for other decks in the future.
The entire dueling world was watching this past weekend when Cesar Gonzalez Rodriguez won won the Remote Duel Invitational with a Dragoon-heavy Subterror build, and his success set the pace for a lot of action this week. His choice to Main Deck this card, Dimension Shifter, for matchups like… uhh, well, a lot of them... was a deciding factor in his success, and with plenty of players scrambling to take advantage demand for the card shot through the roof.
Between the three promo cards from the 2019 Gold Sarcophagus Tins - Nibiru, the Primal Being, Dark Ruler No More, and Dimension Shifter - this card was the odd one out that lots of players slept on. Now, with proven efficacy in the current format, it was time for thousands of competitors to get caught up.
Also huge coming off the weekend, the Lyrilusc Tri-Brigade deck, piloted to the Top 8 and Top 16 by Yishan McNabb and Kyle Waterbury respectively. There's always been a ton of enthusiasm for Tri-Brigades, ever since the theme was first revealed through concept art in the OCG. Now that the deck's finally seeing some success players are buying in. The pairing with Lyriluscs just added to the existing demand for Lyrilusc - Assembled Nightingale, which was already played in Drytron builds as well.
The same strategy's responsible for pushing Ancient Warriors Oath - Double Dragon Lords into the Top 10 for the week, since Tri-Brigades can dodge its material requirements and cheat it straight into play. Doing so won't let you get the search, cutting off any cheeky thoughts you might be having about a teched copy of Ancient Warriors - Loyal Guan Yun, but the discard-to-bounce effect is intact, offering flexible removal and a graveyard loading ability all in one.
Again, if you aren't familiar with the Lyrilusc Tribrigade deck, study up on the lists because you're going to be seeing them around over the next few weeks.
PSY-Framegear Gamma always awesome, but it tends to see even more play in higher level tournaments like the RDI and this weekend was no exception. PSY-Framegear Gamma a must-own hand trap that dominated the best-seller charts in 2020 as soon as it was reprinted in Toon Chaos, and it's still an affordable must-own for any competitive player.
Springans Ship - Exblowrer was huge this week, nearly doubling in price. We saw a ton of action on both Springans and Machina when the kickback dropped on Monday, with cards like Machina Metalcruncher blowing up as speculators and players both took the plunge and placed their bets. Springans Ship - Exblowrer a wildly impressive card tied to a theme that, while underpowered now, is sure to get more support in the future. It was a cheap pickup for weeks, but at a new $7 price point that's no longer the case.
Speaking of cards that aren't a cheap pickup…
Pot of Prosperity was never cheap, and probably never will be. Sitting at around the $95 mark today, it's a staple for any deck that can support it. Let's be real: the winning deck from the RDI played three copies of this card; the runner-up played three as well; and while we've only seen one of the two decks from 3rd and 4th Place, the one we've seen played two copies. If you don't own Pot of Prosperity you can't build a lot of the format's top decks at full power.
Competitive Yu-Gi-Oh's pretty expensive right now, with Lightning Storm, Triple Tactics Talent, Forbidden Droplet, and now Pot of Prosperity all creating barriers to entry for the highest levels of play. Heck, even Ice Dragon's Prison is a problem. Pot of Prosperity brand new, and that makes it a good investment since it won't be reprinted anytime soon. When the kickback hit Monday morning a ton of players decided that 8% was probably the best deal we're going to see on Pot of Prosperity for a long time.
It's nuts for such a huge money card to land this high up on the sales charts, but Yu-Gi-Oh players are historically very good at responding to opportunity and that's what happened here.
Now trending toward the $4 mark, Tri-Brigade Kitt was already one of the most popular cards from Blazing Vortex during pre-sales, and now that the world has seen Tri-Brigades on the center stage of the Remote Duel Invitational even more fans and competitors have picked up the deck.
Frankly, I think it's best to keep the results from that event in context and take them with a little grain of salt; a Top 16 finish and a Top 8 aren't necessarily powerhouse showings in a tournament that only had 16 players. But regardless, the deck was enough for two respected competitors to pin their chances on it; that counts for something. And with more players trying the strategy out over the coming weeks, Tri-Brigade Kitt and company could see further success.
Finally, Underworld Goddess of the Closed World didn't seem to be anywhere near the RDI weekend, but that just served to make it a prime mark for a huge burst of sales on Monday. Sinking from its presale price between $35 and $40 to an all-time low of $24, before business picked up during the kickback, selling a crazy number of copies and rocketing Underworld Goddess of the Closed World back to the $35 mark overnight.
Will Underworld Goddess of the Closed World become competitive? We've already seen it topping smaller tournaments in decks like Unchained, but it's tough to name a deck where it might make a bigger splash. Regardless, the Latin American Remote Duel Invitational starts tomorrow, and it's sure to bring some new twists to competition; Underworld Goddess of the Closed World remains one of the format's top cards-to-watch.