Targeting effects are on the rise following the Limit of SPYRAL Resort andthe subsequent fall off of SPYRAL decks in competitive play. With onechange, dozens of cards went from being a liability against the best deckin the game, to smart tech choices and worthy Main Deck picks. It's a trendthat's especially noticeable with decks like True Draco, where the deck'sace card is now much less likely to flop in a tremendously popularmatch-up.

Effect Veiler itself is probably a fleeting Side Deck choice for a new anduncertain format, but it's also indicative of the larger trend amongtargeting effects. For budget players, Effect Veiler's an excellent pick inlieu of Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring despite struggling with TrickstarCandina, and for that reason I'm glad to see it's once again viable.

Make no Mistake: Ash Blossom is the premiere hand trap right now,and if you're playing other hand traps it's probably just because you can'trun ten copies of it.

Taking Another Look At Hand Traps
The arrival of a new core set and a Fresh forbidden & Limited List hasled to some of the most interesting changes to the 'standard' Side Deckline-up we've been seeing since early last year.

Most Side Decks concentrate on hand traps with regard to playing first orsecond, and typically swap in floodgates and normal traps when playingfirst. They're simple, easy changes to make that let you swap one set ofdefensive cards for another. Everyone can improve their Side Deck game bysimply noting which cards are best playing first, and which are bestplaying second.

Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, Droll &Lock Bird, Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries, and Effect Veiler are amongthe best going-second cards you can side. While the first three have seentheir share of play over the last three months, Effect Veiler's been almostentirely absent. Veiler has two major flaws: first, most of the effects itcounters can also be answered by Ash Blossom; and second, it just wasn'tworth playing against SPYRALs or Trickstars. SPYRAL Resort and TrickstarLycoris guarded Veiler's ideal targets effortlessly, and Lycoris continuesto defend Trickstars from various targeting effects.

With Maxx "C" Forbidden, SPYRALs are no longer the game's most popularmatch-up, and with an Ash Blossom reprint still months away the question of"Is Effect Veiler worth playing?" is important. I think the answer to thatis a tentative yes, but that's entirely dependent on whether or not youhave access to better hand traps.

#####CARDID= 21659 #####

Ash Blossom, Ghost Ogre, and Ghost Reaper are leagues better than Veilerfor one simple reason: they stop Heavymetalfoes Electrumite from beingSummoned in the first place. If you can't stop the Summon you could arguethat Effect Veiler's still the better pick than Ash Blossom specifically;Veiler negates all of Electrumite's effects while Ash Blossom merelynegates its second ability. Both hand traps leave Elecrumite on the field,and that's a big problem since it's a Link Monster.

If you can't stop Electrumite from hitting the field, and youcan't destroy it soon after, the best you can do is force your opponent tomake a second Electrumite after they Pendulum Summon. It's not theworst position to be in, but ideally you'd like your Side Deck cards tohave a bit more impact on the duel. Discarding a hand trap like Ghost Ogrecan brick your opponent's hand if they opened poorly, and it's particularlydevastating if they had to Normal Summon to make their first Elecrumite.Loading the Extra Deck's meaningless if you don't have a way to PendulumSummon, so Ghost Ogre itself is easily the best budget solution to a Turn 1Heavymetalfoes Electrumite.

Effect Veiler does make sense as a dedicated alternative to AshBlossom in a few other match-ups, including decks playing the Spellbook andInvoked engines. Negating a Spellbook Magician of Prophecy can certainlyBackfire if your opponent is already holding a Spellbook of Secrets orSpellbook of Knowledge, and Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit tends to be alittle better in this case.Here's a Regional Top 8 from James Sleddthat illustrates a matchup where having Veiler is better than simply nothaving Ash Blossom, although with so few monsters it's hard to recommendplaying more than a couple of monster-specific hand traps.

There's alsoGem-Knight FTKand plenty of60-card strategiesin the mix, and some of them are making a splash at Regionals. EffectVeiler tends to play very well against these strategies, particularly innegating key one-time effects like Predaplant Darlingtonia Corbra or themonster that Summons it: Predaplant Ophrys Scorpio. Hand traps, andespecially Effect Veiler, must pick up the slack left by the now-absentMaxx "C" to slow down these Special Summon-heavy strategies.

Assuming Control Of The Duel
Mind Control is quickly becoming one of my favorite going-second Side Deckpicks for this format. When Link Monsters first emerged it was only amatter of time until taking opposing Links would become exceptionallypowerful, yet Mind Control and Enemy Controller both remain unlimited.

So what gives? Well, the first big Link strategy on the scene protected itsmonsters with targeting immunity, so there wasn't much reason to exploreMind Control. However, with SPYRAL Resort Limited and plenty more Links nowback in the game, I think it's time to reconsider how effective cards likeMind Control can be.

Christopher Cheong topped a Regional in Melbourne, Australia withWorld Chaliceearlier this month while siding three copies of Mind Control. There areplenty of opportunities in Games 2 and 3 to take control of an opponent'smonster and either use it for Link Summons, or leverage its Link Arrows oreven its effects to push your strategy forward. Mind Control'sexceptionally powerful in a Link-heavy theme like World Chalice, and fitsnicely into a going-second Side Deck strategy in addition to mass removaland hand traps. If your opponent wants to make another HeavymetalfoesElectrumite after you hit their first with Effect Veiler, simply let themdo so, then take control of one of them next turn with Mind Control.

The best Link Monsters to take are those with horizontal Link Arrows, sofor the most part monsters you take control of will only have utility asfodder for new Link Monsters. You can use Mind Control in Pendulummatch-ups to search your deck and draw cards before sending it off for aLink-3 or 4 monster. Interestingly, Enemy Controller works even better whenactivated on your opponent's turn, for a similar reason: their Link-2 willlikely return to their Main Monster Zone with irrelevant Link Arrows. Thatsaid, Enemy Controller's of course much more useful when playedaggressively.


Target-Heavy Themes Make A Comeback
True Dracos were among the best decks of 2017 thanks mostly to the power ofMaster Peace, the True Dracoslaying King. Much like SPYRAL Sleeper, MasterPeace was a game-changing card that competed against Zoodiac Drident fordominance of the field.

Master Peace's protection effect, often easily-met Summoning conditions,and its ability to be played in off-theme decks makes it an all-aroundamazing card. It's also a generally great pick for a Link-heavy format,especially when Link Summons are so prone to disruption. Master Peace and ahand trap forms a shockingly strong opening with no additional cards, andthat start isn't limited to True Dracos either.

Earlier this month Aaron McInnes topped a Fort Worth Regional with aMetalfoes deck complimented by Master Peace, and it's a great example of where Master Peace is going this format.Dragonic Diagram's the other half of that equation, and it's an excellentchoice with Astrograph Sorcerer also included in the build. OverallMetalfoes are vastly improved with SPYRALs out of the picture:Fullmetalfoes Alkahest and Metalfoes Mithrilium can both run free with farfewer effects to block them. Of course, the fact that HeavymetalfoesElectrumite is an on-theme card certainly helps.

#####CARDID= 22969 #####

True Dracos are making their own comeback thanks to Dragonic Diagram andMaster Peace, the True Dracoslaying King. It's a much more challenging deckto build with Dinomight Knight, the True Dracofighter Forbidden, as well asIgnis Heat, the True Dracowarrior, and True King's Return Limited. Playerslike Thomas Camburako have made the most of the cards we're allowed to playand scored a Regional Top 8 withhis build of True Dracos.

Without SPYRAL Resort to ruin his targeting effects he was free to wieldthe graveyard effects of True King's Return and True Draco Apocalypse, andhe also played Strike of the Monarchs for even more negation.

The state of targeting effects and cards that are immune to them hasmassive implications for the entire format. This isn't the first timetargeting has suddenly trended up following a Forbidden & Limited List,and it won't be the last. The game's a bit too fast for Lost Wind,Breakthrough Skill, and Evacuation Device' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Compulsory Evacuation Device">Compulsory Evacuation Device right now, but I thinkwe'd see those cards making a return alongside other targeting effects ifit wasn't.

We'll see another swing whenDarkest Diabolos, Lord of the Lairdebuts in the upcoming Structure Deck. It's protected against bothtargeting effects and Kaijus, making it an even more challengingmonster to beat.

Until next time then

-Kelly


Kelly​​​ ​​​Locke​​​ ​​​is​​​ ​​​a​​​ ​​​West​​​ ​​​Michigan​​​​​​gamer and writer. In​​​ ​​​addition​​​ ​​​to​​​ ​​​writing​​​ ​​​onTCGplayer,​​​ ​​​Kelly​​​ ​​​writes​​​ a ​​​​​​personal​​​ ​​​blog​​​​​​ ​​​covering​​​ ​​​Yu-Gi-Oh!,​​​ ​​​Destiny,​​​ ​​​and​​​​​​other​​​ ​​​hobbies. You​​​ ​​​can follow​​​ ​​​him​​​ ​​​on​​​​​​​​​Twitter​​​​​​ ​​​and​​​ ​​​check​​​ ​​​out​​​ ​​​his​​​ ​​​​​​Youtube​​​ ​​​channel​​​. He​​​ ​​​also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.