Holding Arms and Holding Legs are standout cards from last month's Millennium Pack. Both monsters have similar stats and typing, and their effects place them squarely in the realm of Side Deck tech. They're uniquely suited to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing players this format, and they're flexible enough to see play against a variety of match-ups.

This week we'll check out where these cards can see play, and which match-ups they're strongest against.

Denko Sekka's New Competition
Holding Legs is clearly more popular than its sister card, and that's largely due to its first effect: when Holding Legs is Normal or Special Summoned it returns all set spell and traps to the hand. It's a bit like Giant Trunade, but since it only bounces set cards there's virtually no potential for the same level of abuse recycling your own cards. You can't bounce Call Of The Haunted or other face-up spells and traps to use them repeatedly.

Before it was Forbidden, Giant Trunade typically led an OTK by removing threatening backrows. Holding Legs isn't much different – you'll Summon it, bounce away set cards, then proceed to Summon the rest of your monsters. Sound familiar? Denko Sekka's played for almost exactly the same reason. Both cards lead big plays and Remove Traps from the equation. However, Holding Legs has a number of advantages and disadvantages compared to Denko Sekka. You can Special Summon Holding Legs and use its effect despite having your own set spells and traps. It's strictly more flexible, placing virtually no restrictions on its Summoning condition or effect activation.

On the other hand, Denko Sekka's your card if you actually want to leave those set spells and traps locked on the field. It's a better long-term solution if you can keep it protected, but most of the time you should be aiming to destroy those set cards while they can't be activated. That means following up with backrow removal, usually from Extra Deck monsters.

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Denko Sekka lets you remove set Solemn Strikes with The Phantom Knights of Break Sword, Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer, or Super Quantal Mech Beast Grampulse. Normally you'd never get away with that play, but with Denko Sekka on the field you're free to Xyz and Synchro Summon without worrying about Summon or effect negation from trap cards.

If card advantage is your thing, go with Denko Sekka. Holding Legs is more suited for clearing the way ahead of an OTK, and won't give you the chance to capitalize on your opponent's frozen backrow via follow-up destruction. That said, returning backrow to the hand has much more value than one might assume. Sure, your opponent won't lose any cards to Holding Leg's effect, but they'll be missing opportunities to activate them in the meantime. That means they're less likely to stop you from acquiring more card advantage yourself, setting up boards that require more resources to beat, and robbing your opponent of their own card advantage by dismantling their remaining field.

The impact of Holding Legs has a lasting effect on the duel. It's most pronounced during the turn you play Legs, for obvious reasons, but it continues to influence play on following turns. It's as if your opponent drew their backrow a turn late, and forces them to find new opportunities to activate their traps. The majority of reactive traps being played this format are best suited for preventing your opponent from building a set-up, and are much less useful against an established field. Holding Legs pushes those cards out of play until you've secured a set-up, allowing players to set their traps again only when they're least effective.

The two-turn delay on set backrow is a huge plus for this card, even if you're not planning on winning the duel that turn. Once those traps leave the field they won't be playable until your next turn, giving you two whole turns to play against a relatively defenseless opponent. Somewhat slower strategies that have a hard time dealing with monsters and backrow can use Holding Legs to dictate the pace of the duel, reduce the number of threats on the board, and temporarily simplify the game. Those decks get a lot of mileage out of Holding Legs provided they can integrate it into their plays, which isn't easy outside of Pendulum themes.

More Delays, Solutions Against Backrow
Holding Legs has a second effect! The two-for-one deal includes a single-card lockdown to keep a targeted set backrow offline until the end of your opponent's next turn. The parallels to Denko Sekka are still there, though Xing Zhen Hu also comes to mind. This effect is another tool that keeps your opponent's backrow out of the game, and when stacked onto Holding Legs' already useful first effect you can potentially delay the activation of any one trap by four turns.

The added value here is enough to make Holding Legs a serious competitive option, especially in decks that rapidly send cards from the deck to the graveyard. It has decent synergy with Galaxy Cyclone: Holding Legs disables set cards while Cyclone's graveyard effect knocks out face-up spells and traps. There's a bit of crossover with Cyclone's initial targeting of set cards, but besides that they're a great combination if you absolutely cannot let traps ruin your day.

One of the most important distinctions between Holding Legs and Denko Sekka is that the former can actually be negated by Solemn Strike. That's a serious concern if your opponent has three or four backrows, and especially so if they're willing to spend a Strike to maintain their set-up. Luckily, Holding Legs won't leave you waiting another turn. It can activate and lock down one of the remaining backrows during the same turn it hits the graveyard. It's a bit less effective, but it can ultimately get the job done just the same.

If you don't want to use your Normal Summon for Holding Legs that's fine too. Discard it for Twin Twisters and load it into the graveyard, then use its effect to lock down whatever backrow remains. That play can nullify three cards, and it might turn out better than if you had used Holding Legs' first effect. With Twin Twisters you're not just talking about backrow, you can also target Field Spells and Pendulum Scales. There are tons of ways to play out that two-card combination to swing the duel in your favor, whether you're blowing out your opponent's defenses or dismantling their Pendulum Scales and locking down their one set card.

Making The Most Of Holding Legs
How do you actually put Holding Legs into play? Normal Summoning it is perfectly acceptable for Pendulum strategies. That kind of deck is chiefly concerned with protecting its Pendulum Summon, so burning a Normal Summon isn't a big deal. In the early game you might prefer to Pendulum Summon Holding Legs to clear the way for Performapal Skullcrobat Joker, Majespecter Raccoon - Bunbuku, or Armageddon Knight.

Speaking of, Armageddon Knight's another way to get Holding Legs into the graveyard as soon as possible. Normally you're playing Shaddoll Dragon in those Dark Pendulum variants, but Holding Legs is a far better card to draw into. Unfortunately it's not an answer to Anti-Spell Fragrance. Twin Twisters is, and as I mentioned previously there are some great incentives for running Twin Twisters and Holding Legs together.

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If you can double up on Normal Summons through Brilliant Fusion you're already well off. If you can't, something like Summoner Monk or Call Of The Haunted can rapidly put it into play. An End Phase Summon of Holding Legs with Call Of The Haunted is incredible if your opponent just set several fresh backrows. They'll end up sitting uselessly in your opponent's hand during your next turn even if they're usually chainable.

For any other strategy you'll most likely need to rely on Summoning Holding Legs the old fashioned way. If you can afford to Normal Summon it, or get it to the graveyard reliably, then you should absolutely consider Holding Legs. That's especially true if Mirror Force, Trap Hole, and Solemn traps have a disproportionate impact on your deck. Pendulum themes and combo-oriented strategies can avoid losing their cards, plays, and even duels thanks to Holding Legs' effect.

The obvious decks to side Holding Legs against are backrow-heavy strategies like Burning Abyss and Heroes. Even if a Main Deck is light on traps, back rows in Games 2 and 3 can be a completely different story. Holding Legs is an excellent counter side to highly reactive cards like Chaos Trap Hole, Cursed Seal of the Forbidden Spell, Xyz Universe, and Horn of Heaven. Any time those cards are popular as Main or Side Deck tech, Holding Legs will be an effective solution that can keep your plays going.

Holding Legs is a perfect fit for Rank 4 strategies, mill-heavy themes like Lightsworns and Infernoids, and backrow-hating Pendulum builds. Don't let this card sneak by you. It's much better than it seems at first glance.

Until next time then

-Kelly