Searching a card from your deck to your hand is one of the most common card effects in the game. It's also immensely powerful, providing consistency to strategies that lack draw effects. Cards like Reinforcement of the Army, Elemental Hero Stratos, Sangan, and Fire Formation - Tenki have made dozens of decks viable in the past; without their support, many strategies would become nearly unplayable. It's no surprise that new means to search cards often result in a massive increase in a deck's viability. Look at what Black Whirlwind, XX-Saber Darksoul, Dragon Ravine, and Hysteric Sign did for Blackwings, X-Sabers, Dragunities, and Harpies respectively. These cards were hugely important, and taking away any of them would cripple the deck they come from. We've already seen that happen with Dragon Ravine.

Currently the top decks in the game are loaded with a plethora of search effects. Tenki's played in Fire Fists and Bujin, along with a handful of rogue strategies. Hieratic Seal of Convocation, Spellbook Magician of Prophecy, Spellbook of Secrets, Geargiarmor, Fire King Avatar Barong, Inzektor Centipede, Atlantean Dragoons, Mermail Abyssteus, and dozens of off-theme cards like Pot of Duality and Terraforming all have one thing in common: they get cards from your deck to your hand. That list is hardly comprehensive; there are a lot more where those came from.

Countering search effects is a great way to cripple your opponent's strategy and force them to rely on their draws. Plenty of decks just aren't suited to play in environments where searching is off-limits. Spellbooks are crippled without easy access to Spellbook of Fate, so blocking their search effects would dramatically impact that deck's playability. Unable to use Geargiarmor or Gear Gigant X to their fullest, Geargia quickly fall apart when they can't add Geargiaccellerators from the deck to the hand. In the past, Thunder King Rai-Oh has been responsible for countering the best decks in the game by shutting down search effects. It's been Limited for nearly a year now, but a pair of potential replacements have emerged in the last three months: Mistake from Shadow Specters, and Shared Ride from Legacy of the Valiant.

I've Made A Huge Mistake
I've always been of the opinion that Shadow Specters is full of sleeper hits. Cards like Pot of Dichotomy, Meliae of the Trees, and even Shadow Vampire have a chance of becoming massively popular down the road. The best of the bunch was clearly Mistake, Thunder King Rai-Oh's current replacement. Last week Mistake shot up past the 40$ mark – it nearly doubled in price. The jump didn't come as a surprise. In fact, the only surprising element in Mistake's price history is how long it took for the jump to occur. This card has been seeing a ton of play lately at the Regional level in decks like Fire Fists and Harpies. At YCS Sydney the majority of Fire Fist players in the Top 16 were siding Mistake.

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Mistake's price isn't solely the result of how effectively it counters this format: it's also gaining attention because it's playable in several of the best decks. Fire Fists can easily side it to turn most match-ups in their favor. Harpies make use of Harpies' Hunting Ground to bring Hysteric Sign back online. Other decks can use Trap Stun to temporarily bypass Mistake's effect on their turn. That's very different from last format, where Dragon Rulers simply could not afford to side into Mistake. Despite some initial hype, the trap never rose very far above the $25 mark and even dropped below $20 for a while. Now that the best decks in the game can run it, Mistake has shot up to where I expected it to be for the last month.

Getting back to Fire Fists, they can abuse Mistake for two reasons: one, you can se Fire Formation cards straight from the deck, and two, 3-Axis builds do their searching early in the game, long before Mistake is flipped. Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Leopard, Bear, Gorilla, Tiger King, and Dragon search out Fire Formations, but they don't add those cards to your hand. Instead, their effects set the Formation cards directly to the field. While the same can't be said for Rooster and Tenki, there are already more than enough plays for the Fire Fist player to make while under Mistake. Thunder King Rai-Oh's a great fit in the Main Deck of this strategy and popped up a few times at Sydney, including the build that took 2nd place. It makes sense, then, that Mistake would fit just as well.

A popular trend in the community is to dismiss cards until they see success. In a sense, many players 'wait' to be told which cards are good. For others, it's just a matter of not being able to test every possible combination; people rely on innovators elsewhere to come up with new ideas. Mistake has proven itself to be successful in what's arguably the best deck in the game right now – at least until we see the fallout of Legacy of the Valiant – and it's getting more attention as a direct result.

Mistake stomps on a handful of match-ups and almost completely shuts them out of the duel. Spellbooks are obvious: they rely so heavily on searching for spells that Mistake leaves them defenseless and short on options. There isn't much your opponent can do in that scenario, and they'll be forced to wait and try to draw an out like Mystical Space Typhoon or Dust Tornado. That buys you time and prevents your opponent from advancing their strategy; as long as Mistake's on the field it's your duel to lose. The linear playstyle of Spellbooks makes them especially vulnerable, although other match-ups won't be quite as straightforward.

I wrote about Inzektors last week, and Mistake's still strong there. Hornet's a pain, but an early-game Mistake can keep your opponent from getting to it without making easily-preventable plays. Lavalval Chain's often risky, but without Inzektor Centipede, Verdant Sanctuary, or Pot of Duality, it might be their only option. Madolche's another deck that has difficulty with Mistake. Madolche Ticket, Madolche Messengalato, and Madolche Magileine are critical to your combos, but Mistake prevents their effects from activating. At that point only Madolche Queen Tiaramisu or another off-theme piece of removal or negation can clear away the trap.

Speaking of removal, there are a lot of ways to get rid of Continuous Traps this format. And honestly, I'm glad for that. There are too many cards available right now that prevent your opponent from using basic game mechanics. If reliable answers to those cards didn't exist the game wouldn't be very fun. Imagine a format where preventing your opponent from playing the game was more effective than actually putting up an offense yourself. Number 16: Shock Master did that, and Mistake is in the same category of "cards that don't let your opponent play Yu-Gi-Oh."

Typhoon, Trap Stun, and a bunch of on-theme removal like Harpies' Hunting Ground, Inzektor Hornet, Atlantean Heavy Infantry, and Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Gorilla can destroy or negate Mistake and make search effects live again. But what if there was a Spell, similar to Mistake, that couldn't be countered by any of those? Well, there is now...

Sharing The Ride
Legacy of the Valiant bring us a new piece of Side Deck tech: Shared Ride. It's as if Konami asked: "What would happen if we crossed Maxx "C" and Mistake?" Droll & Lock Bird, right? Well, actually, the answer's the next installment in the 'Sangan's Unpleasant Adventures In The Forbidden Realms' story: Shared Ride. After Mistakenly boarding the wrong bus, everyone's favorite monster-searcher is sharing the ride with other Forbidden cards like Graceful Charity, Delinquent Duo, and Tribe Infecting Virus. It's no surprise that Shared Ride is packing an anti-deck searching effect. While it doesn't prevent searches outright, it does let you draw a card each time your opponent adds a card from the deck to their hand over the course of a turn.

Because Shared Ride is a Quick-Play Spell it can be used in a couple of different ways. You can play it as a trap and set it, chaining it to the effect Tenki, Evilswarm Ophion, or Bujin Yamato. You'll get a draw, and you'll get another one for each subsequent card your opponent happens to search out. Note that you'll only draw once when a card like Hysteric Sign resolves. The other way to play Shared Ride is by proactively using it on your turn. Madolche Ticket, Verdant Sanctuary, or even something like a set Geargiarmor offer opportunities to draw cards by destroying your opponent's monsters. Sure, they'll get their effects too, but you'll likely draw into plenty of outs for their next turn. The play is similar to activating Maxx "C" before destroy an opponent's Reborn Tengu.

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Unlike Mistake, Shared Ride can be played in anything. It doesn't stop your own ability to search your deck, so there's no way for it to Backfire on you as Mistake sometimes can. Better yet: as a Quick-Play Spell it meshes with far more strategies. Not everyone plays a large backrow, and thus sided traps typically become Typhoon magnets that lose their effectiveness very quickly. Shared Ride can be chained to removal, punishing your opponent for hitting it by accident. Players will often destroy backrow before activating Tenki to eliminate opposing Typhoons, and Shared Ride is the perfect card to capitalize on that.

Maybe the best, and most noteworthy aspect of this card, is that it's immune to the usual cards that precede an OTK. Trap Stun, Typhoon, and other forms of backrow removal are useless against Shared Ride. However, Fire Formation - Gyokkou can lock the spell in place, so that's something you'll want to keep an eye out for. Anyways, when a deck like Geargia begins making plays, you'll be able to draw a handful of cards. Maxx "C" might have netted you more cards overall, but there's nothing stopping you from activating both and drawing ten or more. Well, maybe your current deck size is a limiting factor. Mermail are very similar to Geargia in terms of how Maxx "C" and Shared Ride interact with them. The hand trap is probably the superior choice in both of these decks.

So where does that leave us? Shared Ride is still great against Spellbooks and other decks that do more searching than Special Summoning. It's also a perfect fit for strategies that can't use Mistake, either because they rely on their own search effect too much or because a Continuous Trap doesn't fit in their build. In the end, Shared Ride trades the effectiveness of Mistake for much greater flexibility, and if Maxx "C" didn't exist it could have been an extremely popular card. It still has a lot going for it, and I'd definitely give it a shot if you're looking for a Side Deck card that's a bit unconventional.

Until next time then

-Kelly