Magical Spring's recent price spike has drawn a lot of attention to this once-overlooked Secret Rare from Duelist Alliance. It moved from $3 to $5 to nearly $15 overnight, and has since settled in the $10-15 range. Jason posted about it on the facebook page, asking readers for their thoughts on the card, and I feel compelled to answer his questions in the form of an article. First up: why is Magical Spring climbing in the first place? Given that Spring isn't seeing any serious play yet, the answer's clearly market speculation.

Cards change in value due to the simple forces of supply and demand, but demand can take many shapes and forms. One of the quickest ways to raise the value of a card is to simply buy out vendors in mass: there weren't many copies of Magical Spring on the market to begin with, which means even a single investor could causes prices to skyrocket by spending just a couple hundred dollars. Perhaps less. Magical Spring was a steal throughout most of September, and only now are players catching on to its future potential. That brought speculators into the market, and supply is drying up as a result.

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Where will Spring eventually settle? I'm not sure, but I doubt we'll see it fall back down below the $10 mark until next year, and that's only if it ends up not seeing play. If it does? I'd expect to see it double in price again. Spring definitely isn't worth playing right now, but its effect makes it an ideal Side Deck pick against spell-heavy strategies in the future.

Qliphort and Noble Knights are poised to be powerful contenders this November, and Spring has some interesting interactions with both themes. Today's we'll take a look at how this card works, and discuss whether it's worth playing in the wake of The New Challengers' release.

The Secrets Of The Spring
Magical Spring is a somewhat complicated card that's slightly deceptive at first glance. Let's break down its effect:

At resolution you'll draw cards for each face-up spell and trap your opponent controls. If you chained Spring to the activation of a spell or trap card, you'll get to draw for that, but you won't be able to draw for any card activated later that didn't stick around on the field. Seems fairly simple, right? What might not be quite as obvious is the Spring's discard effect: you'll discard a card for each face-up spell or trap you control, including Spring itself. In other words, you'll almost always end up discarding at least one card. That means activating Spring is actually a minus unless you draw two or more times. Even then, it's only a +1 when your opponent controls three face-up spells or traps.

Spring's biggest drawback is the protection it offers your opponent's cards. After it resolves you won't be able to destroy spells and traps your opponent controls, or negation their activations or effects, until the end of their next turn. For some match-ups that might not be a problem, but for others it's a serious issue that makes the card nearly unplayable. Lingering copies of Fiendish Chain, Fire Formation - Tenki, or Call Of The Haunted won't suddenly become better if they're safe from removal. Match-ups against strategies that play plenty of spells and traps you don't want to destroy, or that aren't worth destroying, are ideal for siding Magical Spring.

On the other hand, protecting cards that are crucial to your opponent's strategy is a sure way to end up losing the duel. Themed spells that continually generate card advantage – such as Wind-Up Factory, Black Whirlwind, The Grand Spellbook Tower– can put your opponent well ahead of you in a short amount of time. Offering those same cards immunity from removal or negation is a huge Gamble that I don't believe is worth taking. Why would you allow your opponent to accrue an increasingly large number of cards for the sake of drawing a few yourself? That might seem obvious, but when Magical Spring's mentioned there's always one match-up that enters the discussion: Qliphorts, a theme that packs exactly the sort of cards you don't want to protect for your opponent.

Qliphort are certainly well worth preparing for, and there are plenty of cards out right now that will come in handy as far as siding is concerned. Spell Shattering Arrow, Fairy Wind, and yes, even Anti-Spell Fragrance are strong picks for this match-up. One potential Side Deck card that's been gaining steam is – you guessed it – Magical Spring. Given that Pendulum strategies need to control at least two face-up spells, Spring will almost always replace itself. Qliphort are also packing an Equip Spell, a Field Spell, and Skill Drain, offering numerous opportunities to draw three or more cards at once. There seems to be a lot of potential here, but it's largely deceptive.

Siding Magical Spring against Qliphort will effortlessly hand the duel to your opponent. Sure, you might draw three cards, but keeping Qliphort Tool on the field is never a good idea. Unless you're able to lock your opponent's search effects with Thunder King Rai-Oh or Mistake, you'll find that any advantage gained from Spring will be quickly countered by Tool's deck-searching effect. You'll need to win the turn you activate Magical Spring– hardly an easy task if Skill Drain is on the field. OTK strategies might be able to use Spring to end games quickly, but other decks will find it much less useful than cards that actually destroy Tool and Skill Drain.

Qliphort aside, it's also important to remember that Magical Spring prevents the negation of spells and traps your opponent controls. That means themes with negation effects will have a hard time using Spring effectively. Wiretap, Stellarnova Alpha, Trap Stun, Stardust Dragon, Bugingi Turtle, and Royal Decree are much more difficult to use while Spring's protection is in place. What's more, your opponent can play their own Trap Stun without negating their cards. Once again, Spring can be a huge Gamble, but there are some match-ups where the rewards do outweigh the risks.

Immediate, And Non-Immediate Answers
There are a number of similarities between Maxx "C", Shared Ride, and Magical Spring: they're all cards that punish certain play styles and net you draws as their controller. They effect your opponent indirectly – instead of stopping a play they'll let you dig through your deck for more answers. Maxx "C" never put a stop to Dragon Rulers in the past, but it would let you draw into Swift Scarecrow and prevent an OTK.

Magical Spring is similar, and trades the ability to counter spells and traps now for potential counters in the future. It's a surprisingly forward-thinking mechanic that benefits decks that can grind out advantage over a long period of time. Spring is most effective when sided against strategies that play enough Equip, Field, or Continuous cards to make it frequently live, but can't use those same cards to fuel a long-term game plan. Fire Fist and Noble Knights just so happen to fit that description.

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Magical Spring was practically made to counter the Noble Knight match-up. The deck already plays a half dozen Equip Spells, and will usually leave three or more active at the same time. There are plenty of opportunities to draw a ton of new cards, and potentially grab another Spring for next turn. The Noble Arms are also painfully annoying to destroy thanks to their recycling effect. If you hit them with a Mystical Space Typhoon they'll simply reattach to another monster, leaving you down a card without making any real progress. Spring might grant protection to those cards, but it's irrelevant if you weren't targeting them with destruction effects anyways. Instead, you can draw into a different out to the deck's best monsters.

Ghostrick Jackfrost and Swords of Concealing Light are excellent counters to Noble Knights equipped with several Noble Arms. They don't target or destroy monsters, but they will flip them face-down. Cards protected by Magical Spring can still be destroyed by game mechanics, allowing you to use Spring's draw effect to get additional cards and draw into an answer to your opponent's plays. Pairing Spring with Jackfrost or Swords will give you more ways to draw into the cards you need without sacrificing your ability to overcome Noble Knight Extra Deck monsters.

There are two drawbacks to Spring's effect that you'll need to consider for this match-up. First, because Noble Arms can't be destroyed, cards like Noble Knight Medraut won't be able to destroy the card equipped to it after Summoning a Noble Knight from the deck. That could work in your favor if your opponent only opened the duel with one Noble Arms, but it could Backfire just as easily. Second – and this is relevant towards all match-ups where Magical Spring is being played – you'll need to be aware of the floodgates your opponent is siding. Rivalry of Warlords or Dimensional Fissure can be a serious problem for a number of strategies being played right now, and the last thing you'd want to do is keep those cards alive even longer.

Overall I'm not sold on Magical Spring yet, but if Noble Knights take off and become a serious, championship-level strategy this year I'll definitely change my tune. As for Qliphort, I'd look elsewhere for cards to side. Still, investing in Magical Spring now is probably a good idea. It's entirely possibly that another theme will be announced soon that it's even better again. The potential is there, it's just waiting on the right match-ups.

Until next time then