Evenly Matched, Infinite Impermanence, and Red Reboot are astonishingly powerful trap cards will primarily see play as hand traps – no setting required.
The mechanic isn't particularly new, but withFlames of Destruction now available in the TCG it does seem like the game's headed in a direction where most competitive traps will behand-activated. Last week we broke down Infinite Impermanenance, and this week we'll be taking a look at the other hand-trap-that's-actually-a-trap:Red Reboot.
Playing second in a duel has always had a strong disadvantage in regard toTrap Cards. Your opponent can use every card in their deck against you:monster, spells, and traps. But any traps in your opening hand are largely useless until your opponent's next turn, and that's just not good enough in today's competitive environment. Traps that can be activated without being set, like Evenly Matched and Infinite Impermanence, are paving the way for a more fair approach to trap cards.
Red Reboot also helps balance the drawbacks of playing second by giving duelists a way to negate Counter Traps directly during their first turn.Like Forbidden Lance and Denko Sekka, Red Reboot is now the tech card of choice to protect aggressive plays against heavy backrow. Its ability tone gate a Solemn Strike is invaluable, and it means we're no longer restricted to continuous effects and proactive removal to deal with set cards. Red Reboot is everything Trap Stun always wanted to be, and it's arriving at an opportune time to counter some of the best traps ever released in Yu-Gi-Oh!
Put simply, Red Reboot can negate the activation of a trap card and keep your opponent from activating any other traps for the rest of the turn. On its own that effect is fairly niche: there are a handful of match-ups where your opponent's trap count warrants a Wiretap x Trap Stun mix. But what really makes Red Reboot stand out is its final line: you can activate itf rom your hand by paying half your Life Points. Unlike InfiniteImpermanence and Evenly Matched you don't need to have an empty field to play it from your hand, and that makes a huge difference considering the fact that your opponent's probably saving the bulk of their trap effects for after you commit something to the field.
Activating from the hand isn't limited to a particular player's turn. Youcan slam it down during your first turn while playing second to push through backrow in your opening plays, or you can keep it safely in yourhand to ward off Evenly Matched. Holding on to Red Reboot is expensive–andpotentially dangerous with the new end of match procedures–but it does put it out of reach of most of your opponent's removal effects. Twin Twisters is totally irrelevant to these hand-activated trap cards until you decideto set them, but since Red Reboot doesn't have an empty field requirement it's best suited to stay in the hand.
Of course, Red Reboot isn't without drawbacks. The negated trap is set back onto the field and your opponent gets a quick +1 in card economy. It's by no means a long-term solution or an ideal way to win a duel that's likelyto go on for many more turns. Worse, your opponent can then set a fresh trap from their deck for a total of +2 overall. If you paid half your LifePoints to activate Red Reboot you may have just given your opponent the deal of a lifetime, but there are plenty of ways to capitalize on its egation effect so that you come out ahead.
Playing Red Reboot as a means of protecting Turn 1 aggressive plays is incredibly strong. Decks that couldn't afford the Normal Summon for DenkoSekka can now shut down trap-based defensive backrow with ease. While that backrow will grow by a card, you'll have information on two of their traps:the one you negated, and the other they set from their deck. Not only willyou know the names of those cards and where they're at you'll also have an entire turn to deal with them. Those trap cards aren't going anywhere for the moment, which gives you time to set up Extra Deck Summons or leverage on-theme removal to blow out your opponent's most threatening backrow.
It's also possible that the trap you negate, and/or the one your opponent sets from their deck will be totally useless. If their trap line-up in Game2 or 3 consists only of a set of Evenly Matched you won't have to worry about returning those cards face-down. Evenly Matched activates in very specific circumstances, and you'll have plenty of time to take out their copies before you reach the end of the Battle Phase on the following turn.Similarly, there are plenty of traps where paying the cost a second time might not be possible or easy. Just because your opponent is essentially gaining two traps doesn't mean they'll be able to use them effectively.
Red Reboot allows OTK's against decks like Paleozoics by bypassing most of their disruption, and since it's a Counter Trap it's also faster than Toadally Awesome. Altergeists can protect their themed cards with Altergeist Protocol, but Red Reboot can easily shut down the rest of their trap line-up. Trap-heavy Trickstars should expect to see Trickstar Reincarnation negated more often than before, and the rest of their defense might end up stuck on the field too. In each match-up you'll still need to end the duel quickly: loading your opponent's field or graveyard with an extra Paleozoic, Personal Spoofing, or Trickstar Reincarnation is a dangerous game, but the payoff for a successful routing of their defenses is too great to pass up.
An Alternative To Removal
Before Red Reboot you had three options to deal with large backrows: youcould grind out card advantage using self-replacing monsters to whittle down your opponent's traps, play enough backrow removal to blindly push through multiple set cards, or use a floodgate like Denko Sekka to make set cards irrelevant. I love Red Reboot because it's a competitive way to dealwith backrow that actually negates traps on your first turn of the duel. It's the only meaningful way outside of Denko Sekka, Hey, Trunade!,or Holding Legs to adequately deal with more than two Counter Traps.
Twin Twisters was the go-to backrow hate for a long time, but with cards like Waking the Dragon running around I'm very concerned with targeting anyset backrow with a destruction or banish effect. That said, spell and trap removal has more applications beyond blind backrow removal. They're answers to floodgates, Field Spells, and Continuous spells and traps which are especially common thanks to the growing Altergeist match-up.
Red Reboot doesn't fill that role perfectly, but it's a Turn 1 counter to many trap-based floodgates. If your opponent has two they're preparing to flip before your Main Phase you can negate the first one and their othercard will stay face-down. That's slightly better than single removal options like Cosmic Cyclone, and it's even more ideal if your opponent has several other set cards alongside their floodgates.
Red Reboot shines against Dimensional Barrier and other one-time use traps.Negating Dimensional Barrier in particular can totally change the outcome of a duel by keeping your Summons and effects available for the rest of the turn. Meanwhile your opponent will find the remainder of their set traps stuck on the field, and your potential to OTK will shoot through the roof.
I think Red Reboot's a must for Pendulum themes right now because it addresses the most dangerous traps used against the mechanic: Summon negation from Solemn Warning, Judgment, and Strike, and both floodgatesAnti-Spell Fragrance and Dimensional Barrier. Pendulums rarely have cards they want to discard for Twin Twisters, so Red Reboot's a vastly bettercard by comparison.
We're seeing cards like Wiretap start to creep into Side Decks to address the power of Red Reboot, and it's a great call for backrow heavy themes like Altergeists. You need to keep your set cards, and the first trap you flip up that turn, safe if your strategy relies on them. Altergeists can't afford to have Personal Spoofing sit face-down for too long, and withou ttheir defensive traps they won't be doing much of anything in the meantime.Decks that can use monster effects, and especially hand traps, to their fullest potential won't need to worry too much about Red Reboot. It's no answer to Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring after all, and we already haveCalled by the Grave as a counter.
The question everyone should be asking when going into Regionals this season is how many copies of Called by the Grave, Red Reboot, or InfiniteImpermanence should you main or side, and should those cards replace Kaijus and mass removal? What's best for your strategy, breaking up backrow?Negating hand traps? Busting boards of monsters with interrupting or floodgate effects?
There are so many more options available than there were a year ago, and with the format slowing ever so slightly there's a lot of room to experiment. Unfortunately time is running out, and the North American WorldChampionship Qualifier will be here in just a little over a month. You need to make the right choices for your strategy, and that means asking the right questions to begin with.
Until next time then
Kelly Locke is a West Michigangamer and writer. In addition to writing on TCGplayer, Kelly writes a personal blog covering Yu-Gi-Oh!, Destiny, andother hobbies. You can follow him onTwitter and check out his Youtube channel. He also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.