I've been trying to stay away from traps that activate only in the Battle Phase for most of this format. Mirror Force and Dimensional Prison have delivered poor results for me on a consistent basis, across multiple match-ups. They're not necessarily bad cards, but a majority of the strategies being played right now will rarely trigger them. It's too easy for many decks to take out backrow cards before the Battle Phase. Failing that there are plenty of ways to dodge Mirror Force's destruction or Dimensional Prison's targeting. The number of moves you can make in Main Phase 1 these days is absurd, and usually you'll have at least one out to a set card.

Besides the incredibly popular Mystical Space Typhoon there are dozens of decks with searchable, on-theme removal. Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Gorilla, Atlantean Marksman, Bujingi Centipede, Inzektor Hornet, and Hieratic Dragon of Su will quickly eliminate opposing Mirror Forces and Dimensional Prisons. Then there's the Extra Deck to consider. Number 101: Silent Honor ARK, Maestroke, the Symphony Djinn, and Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack will fearlessly attack into Mirror Force. Dimensional Prison has been seeing far more play than Mirror lately as a result of monsters such as these. It's also a stronger card in the Fire Fist match-up where banishing Wolfbark' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Coach Soldier Wolfbark">Coach Soldier Wolfbark targets has a bigger impact on your opponent's strategy.

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Of course, there are also cards like Trap Stun, Forbidden Lance, and Royal Decree running around. At the very least you can chain a Raigeki Break to Trap Stun, but if your set cards are Battle Phase-only then you're out of luck. With that in mind it's no surprise that more and more players are using traps that can be activated during the Main Phase. Traptrix Myrmeleo has become a popular choice for Fire Fists because it searches Bottomless Trap Hole and the classic Trap Hole. Both cards are great at stopping your opponent's plays well before they get to their Battle Phase. Then there's Fiendish Chain, which might be the most-played trap in the game right now. It's incredibly versatile, but is generally perceived as a -1 like Raigeki Break, Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, and Divine Wrath.

Despite being a Battle Phase-only trap, Dimensional Prison's still a great Main Deck choice. But there's a somewhat-similar trap you might want to consider for your Side Deck. It stops attacks, banishes monsters, and even nets you a free card! What is this mysterious, sophisticated, and elusive trap? It's certainly not the one in the title of this article!

Well, okay. Maybe it is.

Remember The Fallen
Memory of the Adversary was printed over a year ago in Abyss Rising as a Super Rare, although even as a holo it was almost completely ignored. It started to get some attention after it was reprinted in the Battle Pack 2: War of the Giants and players were forced to use it for the first time. That's exactly how I came to realize that Memory was seriously playable. In fact, I'm not sure I even read the card before its reprint. I had just assumed that because it wasn't being played, it wasn't worth playing. That's an easy trap to fall into, and it's one that's made even more difficult to avoid with the sheer volume of new releases each year.

So what exactly makes Memory of an Adversary worth playing? It's immediately obvious that we'll have to compare it to Dimensional Prison; they're nearly the same card. They operate almost exactly the same and can typically be played interchangeably. The biggest difference is the trade-off between keeping your Life Points and being able to summon the monster you banished. If you imaging Adversary's effect damage as a cost to pay, then summoning your opponent's monster during their next turn's End Phase is the reward. Otherwise the two cards are pretty much identical outside of some ruling differences. Both stop attacks, banish monsters, and provide solid Battle Phase defense. Their activation timings are the same, and even their art is similar.

Before we dive into another part of our discussion we need to take a look at how Adversary works and how it differs from Prison. First, let's get this out of the way: Memory of an Adversary does not target. This is a big deal, and it's probably the biggest reason to run it over Dimensional Prison. Cards like Number 74: Master of Blades, Leo, the Keeper of the Sacred Tree, and Tytannial, Princess of Camellias are normally unaffected or can negate targeting effects. They can attack without fear of Prison, but they won't be able to stop Adversary. A Noble Knight equipped with Noble Arms - Excaliburn, or any other monster with Safe Zone attached are equally immune to targeting effects...and equally susceptible to Adversary.

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As far as counters go, Trap Stun and Royal Decree are just as effective against Memory of an Adversary as they are against Dimensional Prison. Unfortunately Adversary has a worse interaction with Forbidden Lance. Using Lance on a monster that would be banished keeps it on the field, but the player who activated Adversary will still take damage – albeit 800 less than normal. You can end up taking a lot of damage in a situation like this and it's not impossible to lose games as a result. Ideally you'll have a monster strong enough that Lance would turn the battle in your favor anyways, but that's not always the case.

Ultimately Adversary's effect damage is what keeps most people from using it. At some point in the duel you won't be able to activate it because doing so will run out the last of your Life Points. In the past I've been hesitant to recommend Adversary for that very reason. Giving up big chunks of your Life Points will come back to bite you more often than not. Unlike Solemn Judgment you won't always be able to activate Adversary, and against a strong enough monster that moment might come earlier in the duel than you'd expect. But thankfully, we happen to be playing in a format where duelists are handing out free Life Points with Upstart Goblin. Plenty of Fire Fist and Mermail players are maxing out on Upstart to boost their consistency, and the extra 1000 LP helps keep Adversary live late into the duel.

Free Monsters? Yes Please!
Without a doubt: Summoning your opponent's monster is the biggest reason to play Memory of an Adversary. As similar as Adversary and Prison are, one of them is clearly a +1 while the other's a 1-for-1. The difference in this exchange, especially against decks like Fire Fists that thrive on generating card advantage, is well worth paying Life Points for. Granted, Xyz monsters usually return to the field as little more than beatsticks, but there are plenty of Effect and Synchro monsters that are well worth taking. At the very least the monster you take can be used for a Tribute, Xyz, or Synchro Summon. They're also handy for paying costs for all sorts cards. You might find it worthwhile to play Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger just to overlay with a stolen Rank 5 or 6 Xyz monster.

There are lots of ways you can abuse this part of Adversary's effect, and it only gets better when you look at some of the match-ups it's playable in. Let's start with Bujin. Outside of Royal Decree and Forbidden Lance you won't find many answers to Adversary in the average Bujin deck. Bujingi Turtle only negates targeting effects, which means that it can stop Dimensional Prison but not Memory of an Adversary. Bujingi Hare is just as powerless, and since Adversary activities on the attack you'll probably only take between 1800 and 2000 points of damage. In exchange you'll get a Bujin Yamato or Mikazuchi. You can imagine how effective this card is in the mirror match. Don't have a way to search your own Yamato? Why not just take your opponent's? Adversary's becoming increasingly popular among Bujin players for that very reason.

I'm not a big fan of Adversary against Mermail, but it's great against Fire Fists. It turns the tables on their +1 strategy and takes their precious monsters away from them. If you happen to be playing your own copies of Fire Formation - Tenki then you're in luck! You can use your opponent's Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Bear to dish out damage and search your cards. Banishing the first Beast-Warrior of the duel typically makes Wolfbark dead for a short period of time, but you'll have to be careful after you Summon it to your side of the field. The best move is to Xyz with it and try to keep that card out of the graveyard for as long as possible, so your opponent can't revive it. Thankfully Fire Fist players use Level 4 monsters almost exclusively, so making an Xyz Summon's usually pretty simple.

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Adversary's great in just about every mirror match out there. Getting themed monsters from your opponent is rarely a bad thing, and even taking more generic cards has its benefits. Thunder King Rai-Oh's an excellent target, as is Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo, Banisher of the Radiance, and Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer. Anything your opponent's siding in against you is fair game, and once you've taken control of it you can usually destroy it or overlay with it quite easily. Of course, that's assuming they'll make attacks with those monsters. Your opponent might hold back and let their monster's passive effect do its thing.

Because Memory of an Adversary is so similar to Dimensional Prison it isn't uncommon for duelists to play around it despite being unaware that it's actually set. Still, stealing your opponent's monster can make for serious upsets and quickly turn the tables on a previously one-sided duel. You can also play it as a third or fourth Prison if you want, although you'll definitely want to be careful about consolidating all of your traps in the Battle Phase. If you're looking for something that's a bit different to give you an edge in your mirror match, I definitely recommend giving Adversary a shot.

Until next time then.

-Kelly