Use of Main Deck spell and trap removal has dropped to almost nil over the last month and a half. When the April Forbidden and Limited List restricted Vanity's Emptiness, Skill Drain, and several Qliphort cards, the value of Mystical Space Typhoon in Game 1 decreased drastically. The best deck in the game – Nekroz – plays almost no traps, which means Main Deck removal is often a liability in one of the most common match-ups of the format.

All of these factors have contributed to the exodus of Mystical Space Typhoon from the Main Deck – a dramatic change from last format's removal-heavy line-ups. Oddly enough, one of the most wanted cards in Crossed Souls is another spell and trap removal card: Galaxy Cyclone. It's a powerful piece of tech, but poorly positioned for a format where even MST's relegated to Side Deck slots. That said, Galaxy Cyclone's a powerful Side Deck card that fits incredibly well into strategies that can make the most of it.

Discussing Galaxy Cyclone from the perspective of the Side Deck is probably more sensible than assuming it'll see widespread Main Deck play. As long as Nekroz are only running a couple of traps we can expect most players to side their spell and trap removal. That's not to say you won't encounter Game 1 Mystical Space Typhoons from time to time. Main Deck copies of Mistake are a common sight in Shaddolls, as well as rogue strategies. Yang Zings, Infernoids, and Mecha Phantom Beasts have all topped regional and YCS events thanks to their opponent's inability to deal with Mistake. Nekroz players have almost no answers to continuous floodgates outside of MST...a card they typically leave in their Side Deck.

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Mistake isn't searchable, and there are only a handful of Championship-level strategies that can play it without ruining their consistency. Nekroz players certainly aren't siding it, let alone playing it in their Main Deck. Dropping Mystical Space Typhoon offers the best possible Game 1 against the mirror match, which is generally considered to be the best route for serious competition. Why main cards that are useless in your most important match-up if the only additional benefit is a chance to stop an unsearchable card that might appear in infrequent rogue match-ups? That logic is what's pushed MST out of Main Decks.

Of course, plenty of Nekroz players still main two copies of Mystical Space Typhoon while leaving a third sided. Other decks are built with the same ideas in mind: do you play Game 1 removal to destroy floodgates, or side them and hope you don't lose to a Mistake, Dimensional Fissure, or Vanity's Emptiness. The trend has leaned towards the former, and that's been the case for the last few YCS events. However, Crossed Souls might change perceptions on the value of Game 1 removal. Lose 1 Turn, Galaxy Cyclone, and the introduction of another Pendulum theme have made Main Deck spell and trap removal highly desirable again. The question is: what role does Galaxy Cyclone have in all this?

New Space Weather Phenomena
Galaxy Cyclone's arguably the best alternative to Mystical Space Typhoon since Night Beam. Cyclone trades MST's vast utility for a second activation from the graveyard. The card's biggest selling point is that it can be played as a +1 of card economy. The extra card advantage, or simply the ability to destroy another card, can be the deciding factor in a game. Although you can't use both effects on the same turn, cashing in on Cyclone's graveyard effect during your next turn will put your opponent down a card with very little effort on your part. It's free face-up spell or trap removal – what's not to like?

The trick to putting this +1 spell to work is finding targets for its effects. Galaxy Cyclone destroys set spells and traps when it's activated from the hand, and face-up cards when used from the graveyard. To resolve both effects you'll need to play it against a deck that's running both face-down and face-up targets. More importantly, those targets need to be worthwhile. Simply destroying dead copies of Call Of The Haunted or Fiendish Chain won't get you very far. Getting the most out of Cyclone involves destroying relevant cards, like Pendulum and Field Spells, as well as set backrow.

Satellarknights are a backrow-heavy strategy where Galaxy Cyclone is almost always live...or at least its first effect is. The targets for Cyclone's second effect include Call Of The Haunted, Oasis of Dragon Souls, Fiendish Chain, Vanity's Emptiness, and sided floodgates, but some of these cards aren't worth destroying. The monsters Summoned by Call Of The Haunted and Oasis of Dragon Souls are almost always put towards an Xyz Summon shortly after they hit the field. There's rarely time for Cyclone to destroy both the trap and the monster. There's a good chance that your opponent will bounce back their face-up traps with Triverr anyways. You can destroy Fiendish Chain after it resolves, but by then it might be too late for your Satellarknight Deneb, Nekroz of Trishula, or Volcanic Rocket. Monsters with on-Summon trigger effects won't be protected, although they will get to make an attack that turn.

It's hard to justify Galaxy Cyclone against Satellarknights. Mystical Space Typhoon is more responsive and shuts down Continuous Traps the moment they appear. Even if it's more costly, a Quick-Play Spell is needed for this match-up. Even Twister and Dust Tornado are better options. Burning Abyss also play few face-up spells and traps. Their line-up mostly consists Normal Traps like Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, Fire Lake of the Burning Abyss, and Mind Crush. Still, that's just Game 1. When Game 2 rolls around cards like Mistake make their appearance. You can say the same for Satellarknights: Shadow-Imprisoning Mirrors are commonly sided there.

It's in Game 2 and 3 where Galaxy Cyclone truly shines. It's an anti-floodgate card at its heart, and would have been the perfect solution to last format's oversaturation of Vanity's Emptiness and Skill Drain. Cyclone is a format too late to be a must-play Main Deck card, but it's still an excellent counter side to popular Continuous Traps. Light-Imprisoning Mirror, Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror, Dimensional Fissure, Gozen Match, Rivalry of Warlords, Mistake, Kaiser Colosseum, Vanity's Emptiness, Skill Drain...oh, and Lose 1 Turn.

Get Out Of Jail Free
Lose 1 Turn debuted last week alongside two cards which directly counter it: Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit and Galaxy Cyclone. We took a look at how Snow Rabbit interacted with Lose 1 Turn last week, and this week we'll be doing the same with Cyclone. Like other Continuous Traps Lose 1 Turn's vulnerable to Cyclone's second effect. Galaxy Cyclone is actually somewhat more useful here than against Fiendish Chain, because Lose 1 Turn presents a threat to other monsters you might Special Summon that turn. While a Fiendish Chain attached to a Special Summoned Satellarknight Deneb might not be worth using a Cyclone on, destroying Lose 1 Turn will keep your Extra Deck monsters from having their effects negated.

Since you can't control a Special Summoned monster to activate Lose 1 Turn, it's mostly restricted to decks that rely on Normal Summoned monsters. As a result Satellarknights, Volcanics, Yosenju, and Qliphorts will probably end up playing it the most. That's fine as far as Galaxy Cyclone is concerned: these decks set more than enough cards for Cyclone to destroy. It's an optimal Side Deck pick for Yosenju and Qliphorts, as well as other Pendulum themes. Looking for something to side against Zefra? Galaxy Cyclone has you covered.

Once again, there's an argument to be made for playing Mystical Space Typhoon over Cyclone while Lose 1 Turn, or any other floodgate, is in play. The additional advantage from Cyclone is usually gained at the cost of a monster's effect; that is, your Special Summoned monster will have its effect negated before Cyclone can destroy Lose 1 Turn. If it's something like Deneb or Elemental HERO Shadow Mist, firing off a Typhoon would let you resolve their effects. Sacrificing that search in order to grab a +1 later through Cyclone's effect is pointless and doesn't change your card economy. You're better off destroying Lose 1 Turn immediately and continuing with your play.

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It's tough to recommend Galaxy Cyclone over Mystical Space Typhoon. In the future we'll probably see it as supplemental removal, although for the bulk of this format Typhoon remains a better option. The one place where Cyclone is obviously superior to alternatives is in decks that aggressively send cards from the hand or deck to the graveyard. Infernoids, Lightsworns, and Burning Abyss can grab free face-up Card Destruction simply by sending Cyclone to the graveyard with a Lightsworn monster or Dante, Traveller of the Burning Abyss. A Twister or Dust Tornado sitting in your graveyard is worthless, but a Galaxy Cyclone is a +1 waiting to happen.

I think Galaxy Cyclone's biggest impacts are psychological. Once a Cyclone hits the graveyard your opponent will have to change their playstyle. They can't rely on Continuous floodgates to keep them safe while removal is just a banish away. Your opponent might try to avoid setting cards or, alternatively, avoid playing face-up targets for Cyclone. In that case, siding Galaxy Cyclone back out would effectively force a change in your opponent's playstyle while preventing that change from impacting your strategy. They adapt to make your cards dead, you swap those cards. Galaxy Cyclone has potential, but like Ghost Ogre & Soul Rabbit I think it'll take some time for players to figure out the best way to use it.

Until next time then

-Kelly