Mystic Mine's a format-defining Field Spell with consequences that extendwell beyond the dedicated burn strategy we're probably all familiar with.

Mine can be played in just about anything – includingInfernoids– but it's clearly found a home in Sky Strikers over the last handful ofweeks. Its effects are totally devastating against an unsuspectingopponent, and it gives slower strategies a massive advantage against farmore aggressive decks like Thunder Dragons and Orcusts.

While you probably won't lose the duel while Mystic Mine's on the fieldyou'll almost certainly be at a disadvantage: the decks that are playingMystic Mine are doing so to get a significant leg up on their competition,and they're built to take full advantage of the time Mystic Mine buys them.

How Mystic Mine Changes The Game
Mystic Mine reprises the role of Inspector Boarder by shutting off monstereffects while your opponent controls more monsters than you do. Bycarefully managing your field presence you can stop your opponent frommaking any attacks or activating their monsters, or you can simply keepyour field empty and let Mystic Mine do its thing with minimal effort onyour part.

Mine's ability to stop attacks is a significant upgrade over InspectorBoarder, and it's arguably better than other blanket monster effectdisruption for the same reason. It's not strictly monster negation, butthat's actually even more useful: your opponent can't activate a card likeDinowrestler Pankratops to destroy Mystic Mine even if it's the onlymonster they control. Skill Drain and Lose 1 Turn ultimately lose out toPankratops, but Mine is safe so long as you don't control any monsters.

The ideal floodgate is one with an effect that disrupts your opponent'sstrategy and their removal options, and Mystic Mine does that bymaking most monster-based forms of spell and trap removal irrelevant. It'sprotected against popular monsters like Pankratops, Dingirsu, the Orcust ofthe Evening Star, and Knightmare Phoenix as a result of its effectnegation, and depending on the match-up your opponent might not have asearchable out in their Game 1 arsenal.

Prior to Dark Neostorm we saw a heavy trend away from Main Deckspell and trap removal outside of monster effects. Extra Deck monsters,Pankratops, and other on-theme removal effects largely replaced TwinTwisters and Heavy Storm Duster. Pankratops was the removal effect ofchoice beyond Game 1, but that's changing thanks to Mystic Mine.

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With Mystic Mine on the field it's almost impossible for either player tolose the duel. It needs to be destroyed in some way before the duel canend, whether that's by another card effect or Mine's own built-incondition. That doesn't mean both players are sitting around doing nothingin the meantime: decks that can quickly stockpile card economy will takethe time to build up a pool of resources to take control of the duel.

Cards like Crackdown and Sky Striker Mecha - Widow Anchor are incrediblyeffective at swinging the duel around, but they can take some time to setup. Mystic Mine offers trap-heavy decks and Sky Strikers just enoughbreathing room to build up an aggressive push, and in the meantime otherstrategies like Thunder Dragons, Orcusts, and Salamangreats can't leveragetheir monster-heavy card advantage.

Mystic Mine is a fantastic anti-meta tech choice right now, and it's evenmore absurd when you play it with Metaverse. Maintaining a constantfloodgate on monster effects and blocking attacks is powerfulenough, but Metaverse is definitely the tipping point where things trendinto absolute degeneracy. Playing just a few copies of Metaverse makes youropponent's first removal effect irrelevant: you can immediately activateanother copy of Mystic Mine from your deck the moment you lose your firstone.

It's also a great way to shut down your opponent's monster effects or end aBattle Phase by surprise. You can set Metaverse without playing MysticMine, then activate it once your opponent's monsters outnumber your own.We've seen this strategy in a few decks already, and there are plenty ofSky Striker players that are leaning into Mystic Mine by running Metaverse.

Siding In a Mystic Mine World
Now that Mine Strikers are the most popular variant of Sky Strikers thereare some interesting changes happening in Main and Side Decks at Regionaland YCS events.

Spell removal's predictably more popular now than it has been in all of2019 so far, and cards like Twin Twisters, Heavy Storm Duster, and MysticalSpace Typhoon are being welcomed back into Main Decks as players preparefor the match-up. Sky Strikers might not have cracked the Top 4 of YCSKnoxville – and the deck was overall less-represented in the Top 32compared to Thunder Dragons, Orcusts, and Salamangreats – but it's stillone of the most widely-played decks in the game. Any significant changes inthat match-up is likely to drive changes in tech choices, and Mystic Mineis definitely a game-changer.

The best counters to Mystic Mine are naturally spells and traps that canremove field spells. Twin Twisters and Heavy Storm Duster have theadvantage of destroying twice as many cards as single-target removaloptions like Mystical Space Typhoon and Cosmic Cyclone, and that'sespecially helpful against Sky Strikers. Targeting both Mystic Mine and SkyStriker Mecha Modules - Multirole is a great way to clear a path for yourown offensive plays.

Unfortunately targeting a set card is a bit of a risk: unless you knowwhere Widow Anchor is you're just as likely to hit a set Metaverse. Youropponent can chain Metaverse to Twin Twisters or Heavy Storm Duster toinstantly replace Mystic Mine, which ultimately leaves you down a card andstill without access to your monster effects or attacks.

Typhoon's shockingly strong in the Mine Striker match-up largely becausethere are so many opportunities to activate it from the hand; Mystic Mineis yet another card that makes Typhoon live against a Turn 1 End PhaseMultirole activation. It's a stronger pick over Ghost Ogre & SnowRabbit if only because it's also an out to Mystic Mine, and thatgives it significantly more coverage in the new match-up.

Typhoon doesn't replace backrow removal entirely: it can't target setcards, so if you're looking for a way to destroy set copies of Widow Anchoryou'll need to play Mystical Space Typhoon or Cosmic Cyclone instead. Bothcards are great alternatives to Twin Twisters if you can't manage thediscard cost.

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Spell Shattering Arrow is surprisingly strong against Mine Strikers andsignificantly more economical than Twin Twisters. It's faster than HeavyStorm Duster and typically destroys at least two cards. Unfortunately itdoesn't have anywhere near the same amount of utility as other removaloptions. Even Typhoon can at least be played as an out to floodgates likeImperial Order and Anti-Spell Fragrance, or Turn 1 Field Spells in otherstrategies.

Set Rotation totally solves the problem of Mystic Mine and SkyStriker Airspace - Area Zero with a single activation. Yes, it's Limited,but it's a great addition to any deck that's playing at least differentField Spells. You can keep your Field Spell set to stop your opponent fromactivating any of their Fields, or give your opponent a card like Oracle ofZefra that can't be activated. It preemptively solves Metaverse too, and itforces your opponent to waste resources destroying a card on their field.

That's definitely doable and Sky Strikers have a searchable out, but SetRotation costs essentially nothing and it replaces itself immediately. It'sexcellent inOrcustsespecially, but you could reasonably play it in dozens of differentstrategies.

Mine Strikers stumble against Unending Nightmare and Anti-Spell Fragrancein exactly the same way as Striker variants that don't run Mystic Mine.Cards that can keep your opponent from successfully resolving their spells,or at least stop some of their spells, are still great Side Deck picksagainst Sky Strikers this format. A Turn 1 Naturia Beast can still wingames, but Summoning it later in the duel might not be as useful if youcan't destroy Mystic Mine.

Spell Canceller is a bit different: it's a total rout against Mystic Mineeven if it's Summoned after Turn 1. I think it's a low-key pick for deckswith readily available tribute fodder and a free Normal Summon. Foreveryone else there's the classic Imperial Order option that still solvesthe problem of Mystic Mine even after it hits the field.

Waiting for Mystic Mine to self-destruct during the End Phase isunforgivingly slow. You can't keep that pace against Sky Strikers forever,and they're not going to make it easy to maintain a specific number ofmonsters on the field through the end of the turn. And it's not just SkyStrikers that are playing Mystic Mine:Orcusts, Infernoids, and other rogue strategies are all experimenting with ways toleverage it. It's triggered a paradigm shift among players all over thecompetitive scene to dust off their spell and trap removal, and so far TwinTwisters is the clear winner.

Cards like Typhoon and Set Rotation are interesting adaptations, andsome playersare even using Cosmic Cyclone and Mystical Space Typhoon over additionalTwin Twister copies. I think Mystic Mine still has some surprises in storefor us, and new innovations to drive.

Until next time then

-Kelly


Kelly​​​ ​​​Locke​​​ ​​​is​​​ ​​​a​​​ ​​​West​​​ ​​​Michigan​​​​​​gamer and writer. You​​​ ​​​can follow​​​ ​​​him​​​ ​​​on​​​ Twitter​​​​​​for more updates ​​​and​​​ ​​​check​​​ ​​​out​​​ ​​​his​​​ Youtube​​​ ​​​channel​​​. He​​​ ​​​also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.