The 2019 Gold Sarcophagus Tinlaunches at the end of this month with an incredible assortment of competitive reprints, but so far most of the discussion about the new tin has revolved around the three WorldPremiere promo cards debuting alongside it.

Each tin contains one of three World Premiere cards:Nibiru, the Primal Being,Dark Ruler No More, or Dimension Shifter.Team APSwas there for the reveal of the new cards at the World Championship inGermany alongside Jerome McHale, and more recentlyLeon Cali covered the new cards in a video for TCGplayer. You'll definitely want to check out their videos if you're just hearing about these cards now.

It's impossibleto talk about the upcoming Regional season without thoroughly discussing how Side Decks – and Main Decks – are about to undergo a total transformation to account for two new blowout hand traps and a proactive mass-negation spell. I've noticed plenty of comments signaling that combo decks are on their way out, or at least will take aback seat to control strategies that can dodge the oppressive impact of Nibiru and Dimension Shifter.

I don't entirely agree with that assessment, but it's hard to overstate just how game changing some of these cards are. Whether they'll actually be able to beat back Guardragons, Salamangreats, and Thunders remains to be seen, but let's take a closer look.

Sphere Mode Gets Upgraded
My personal theory is that Nibiru, the Primal Being is a response to a new rule suggestion I've seen tossed around by players who are frustrated with the many rapid Extra Deck Summoning strategies we've seen over the last decade.

The proposal goes something like this: introduce a mechanic that limits a player to a certain number of Extra Deck Summons, or even Special Summonsper turn. Konami has implemented a handful of cards that put a hard stop to your opponent's insane Turn 1 combos including temporary floodgates likeDroll & Lock Bird, Gnomaterial, and Artifact Lancea. Ghost Reaper &Winter Cherries can break up combos by banishing a specific Extra Deckmonster, and just about any hand trap can toss a wrench into your opponent's plays if it's timed well enough.

The advent of Called by the Grave and dozens of other extenders has made hand traps significantly less reliable. It's akin to an arms race: hand traps have become increasingly potent and flexible to counter an ever-more intense set of Extra Deck-focused strategies. Synchros, Xyz, Pendulums, andLinks have driven up Main Deck monster counts by making a monster on the field–any monster–valuable as a potential material for an Extra DeckSummon. Control-oriented strategies exist in this space, but the dominant decks of the last decade have overwhelmingly been those that contain the highest number of Special Summons per turn.

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Maxx "C" was once the best solution to the problem of power creep inYu-Gi-Oh, but it had its own problems. The best decks of any given format weren't defined by their ability to play around Maxx "C" and instead the top strategies were those that could draw Maxx "C" faster or play straight through it. I think the illusion of Maxx "C" as a moderator for competitive play was shattered when Heavy Slump was seriously suggested as a tech card.The problem with Maxx "C" is that it still let your opponent build a boardthat might include floodgates, and no amount of draw power would give youthe means to bypass those effects.

Nibiru, the Primal Being takes the concept of punishing your opponent for their Special Summon habits in an interesting new direction. You can activate its Quick Effect at some point during the Main Phase where your opponent has Normal or Special Summoned five or more monsters, and interestingly you can apparently activate it on your own turn so long as those conditions are met.

Nibiru's effect tributes all monsters on the field, Summons itself to your side of the field, and gives your opponent a Token with ATK and DEF equal to the sum of the tributed monsters. Its field-clearing power is incredible, but the fact that you can activate it relatively early into your opponent's combos is even more impressive. You can totally offline your opponent's plays for that turn by timing its Summon correctly.

I think Nibiru could take the place of hand traps like Ghost Ogre &Snow Rabbit, but I think it'll end up replacing The Winged Dragon of Ra -Sphere Mode in most Side Decks. It pairs nicely with Fantastical DragonPhantazmay even if you'll end up tributing it for Nibiru's Summon. Phantazmay's designed to help you find your hand traps when your opponent's loading their field with Link Monsters, and Nibiru punishes your opponent for exactly the same thing. As long as you have a way to deal with thePrimal Being Token on your next turn you'll be fine; it's not much morethan a powered-up Normal Monster with a potentially massive ATK stat.

The big winners of Nibiru's release are decks that can stop just short of their fifth Summon, and decks that find monster negation beforeNibiru can activate. Pendulums will prioritize Mythical Beast Jackal Kingto protect their field and force you to hold Nibiru in your hand unless you can bait out its monster negation first. In that situation you'd be better off playing Sphere Mode, and Pendulums aren't the only match-up that can neutralize Nibiru.

World Chalice can afford to play Herald of the Orange Light to push straight through Nibiru, or even negate a Phantazmay that might let the opponent draw into Nibiru or another hand trap. Decks that can't Main Deckan out to Nibiru aren't about to slide off into obscurity, but they will have to rethink their combos to try to mitigate the damage. For example, Guardragon variants could try to field Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon as earlyas possible to bait out Nibiru.

Does Proactive Negation Matter?
Dark Ruler No More isn't a one-card solution to your opponent's set-up likeSphere Mode or Evenly Matched, but it's almost guaranteed to resolve ifyour opponent only controls monsters.

It's designed to be a first step toward breaking your opponent's board, andit's a relatively safe option for dealing with negation bodies that could stop other activated mass removal effects. The downside here is that DarkRuler No More doesn't actually remove monsters from the field, and it's hard to justify it when another unchainable piece of monster removal exists. It's competing directly with Super Polymerization, and I'm not sure how many players will actually end up playing it over much more flexible alternatives.

That said, Dark Ruler No More's a perfect fit for themes that are already stacked with monster removal. Infernoids come to mind immediately as a deck that would love to play a mass negation effect instead of mass removal, andDinosaur themes have a boss monster that can make short work of your opponent's negated field of monsters. You'll still have to contend with hand and graveyard-activated monster effects, but if you can capitalize onDark Ruler No More you'll probably end up in a great position to win the duel.

I think Dark Ruler No More shines in the handful of situations where Nibiruis easily countered. Decks that can get monster negation on the boardbeforeSummoning their fifth monster will simply negate Nibiru, but they won't have the same capacity to stop Dark Ruler No More without a trap or a floodgate like Spell Canceller. It's a niche role that still needs to be played in a deck with plenty of monster removal already included, and it's possible that your opponent could control a monster that simply isn't affected by spells. Dark Ruler No More will probably become a popular pick for a handful of different strategies in the future, but I don't see it being as game changing as Nibiru.

Different Dimension Ground, But It's A Hand Trap
Dimension Shifter's a hand trap version of Different Dimension Ground'seffect that makes the graveyard obsolete for a turn. Blanket banish floodgates like Different Dimension Ground, Masked HERO Dark Law, MacroCosmos, and Banisher of the Radiance are extremely effective at crippling popular strategies. While every deck is affected to varying degrees there's rarely a time when a top competitive theme actually wantseverythingbanished. So far we've only had access to hand traps that prevent cards from being banished, so Dimensional Shifter is hugely exciting as an alternative to the single-card banish effect of D.D. Crow.

The viability of Dimension Shifter is largely tied to its ability to stop your opponent's strategy for a full turn. I don't think there's any question that it will accomplish that, but there's another consideration to make here: its activation conditions essentially force you to use its effect on your first turn before activating most other hand traps. EffectVeiler and Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit must be sent to the graveyard to activate, so they can't be used to follow up Dimension Shifter.

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Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring is still good to go, and you can even use Nibiru if your opponent somehow manages to play through Dimension Shifter's effect. Your other copies of Dimension Shifter are totally dead unless youcan empty your graveyard again, and strangely you can't activate it while you control Macro Cosmos or Dimensional Fissure.

I think Dimension Shifter's a perfectly suitable alternative to D.D. Crowifyou're willing to bet on drawing it in your opening hand. You could use Phantazmay to draw into it, but at that point Dimension Shifter might not be enough to stop your opponent's plays. I'd love to play it in the Main Deck of Metaphys to help banish both my cards and my opponent's, and if Gold Sarcophagus was still Unlimited I'd be tempted to try it.Unfortunately even Metaphys builds weren't exactly keen on keeping the graveyard entirely empty. With Fairy Tail - Snow Forbidden there aren't many ways to actually banish spells and traps in your graveyard. From the non Dimension Shifter becomes a dead card, and it's hard to justify playing a potential brick when so many other excellent hand traps exist.

Nibiru, the Primal Being is a game changer in the vein of Evenly Matched,and both Dark Ruler No More and Dimension Shifter expand going-second options for players. All of these cards making going second safer, and combo strategies that rely on building massive boards to shut their opponents out of the game will have a harder time doing so while Nibiru exists. These cards aren't going to radically transform the format, but they will make Guardragons a little harder to win with.

Combo decks will still be the best strategies as long as the counters to them are unsearchable, and I think they only way that'll change is if we see a serious attempt to rebalance dozens of cards that are used to make insanely long combos possible. That, or Konami could address the insane power of Extra Deck Summoning mechanics. In the meantime we have Nibiru, and we'll have to wait to see if it's really capable of changing the game.

Until next time then

-Kelly


Kelly​​​ ​​​Locke​​​ ​​​is​​​ ​​​a​​​ ​​​West​​​ ​​​Michigan​​​​​​gamer and writer. You​​​ ​​​can follow​​​ ​​​him​​​ ​​​on​​​ ​​​​​​Twitter​​​​​​ for more updates ​​​and​​​ ​​​check​​​ ​​​out​​​ ​​​his​​​ ​​​​​​Youtube​​​ ​​​channel​​​. He​​​ ​​​also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.