Madolche Anjelly is arguably the most-wanted card in Primal Origins, and it's a powerful new addition to the existing Madolche strategy. It's a serious boost to a deck that's already seen some minor success over the last year. Madolche have fallen just shy of Championship-level play ever since Madolche Hootcake's release in Lord of the Tachyon Galaxy, but Anjelly's set to change that. It helps mitigate the theme's greatest challenge: overcoming a lack of worthwhile monsters. Madolche monsters aren't in short supply, but roughly half of them are fairly described as 'useless'. Typically it's only Madolche Magileine, Madolche Messengelato, Madolche Mewfeuille and Hootcake that see Main Deck play. Anjelly adds a new Madolche to the mix and offers much-needed search power to get the strategy up and running.

This deck's well-equipped for the upcoming format – especially the Artifact match-up. Madolches play a lot like Inzektors; they have a slow early game that ramps up quickly to a field-clearing OTK. Grinding out card advantage early on with Madolche Ticket and Madolche Chateau sets up combos that capitalize on your opponent's field commitments. Every Madolche Extra Deck includes Madolche Queen Tiaramisu, a Rank 4 that shuffles cards back into the deck without targeting them. Queen clears the way for direct attacks, and with Chateau giving Madolche monsters an extra 500 ATK you'll find that resolving it will generally win you the game that turn.

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Knowing when to shift from a conservative play style to a more aggressive one is a skill that's developed over time, but there are some strategies that are simply better suited for it than others. Madolche is definitely a deck that rewards your patience. Losing your monsters doesn't matter: Ticket will get you a new one, and Chateau will put the destroyed card back in your hand. Since Madolche monsters don't stay in the graveyard, you'll almost never find yourself in a situation where you're out of targets for Ticket, Anjelly, Magileine, or Hootcake. You can feel free to take your time, but as Loukas Peterson would say: beat your opponent before they beat you.

Of course, you're not here to read a how-to guide on playing Madolche – you're here to educate yourself about siding for Madolche. If the price of Anjelly is any indication then we can expect to see a whole lot more sugar madness at the local, Regional, and even Championship level. Whether or not Madolche will become a major contender in the post-PRIO format is still up in the air, but I'm sure more players will pick up the deck in response to Anjelly's release. Siding for this match-up isn't mandatory, but it's smart – especially if your deck doesn't fair well against it.

Dessert With A Side Of...
There are a couple of different ways to go about siding for Madolche:

1. Play enough monster hate to keep your opponent from making Xyz Summons, and simply run over their field.

2. Destroy Ticket and Chateau to prevent them from gaining card advantage, then make aggressive plays to kick their cards back to the deck.

While you can choose whichever method sounds coolest–or fits your playstyle–your choice is largely dependent on the deck you're playing. Bujin players will probably opt for the second route and follow the Standard Bujin Procedure documentation to the letter. After all, the only thing Bujin Yamato and Bujintei Susanowo fear from Madolche is Tiaramisu. Bujingi Hare and Turtle are powerless to stop it, but cards like Black Horn of Heaven and Vanity's Emptiness keep it from hitting the field in the first place. Dragon Rulers and Mermail can afford to be a little less concerned with Tiaramisu, and instead focus on clearing the field and attacking directly.

Most of the cards we'll take a look at this week fit somewhere between these two strategies, but others will fall distinctly into one or the other. Let's start with ways to counter Madolche monsters: specifically Hootcake and Anjelly. Both of these cards Special Summon key monsters from the deck and kick off huge plays. When Anjelly Summons Hootcake, the pancake owl can banish Anjelly and summon Messengelato to add either Ticket or Chateau to hand. With either of those cards on the field you won't be able to destroy your opponent's monsters without them being immediately replaced. What's more: Anjelly prevents the monster it Summons from being destroyed by battle until the End Phase of your opponent's next turn. If you don't take out Hootcake in the one turn you're given, it'll Summon yet another monster, and that'll probably be the end of it.

Generic, anti-Special Summon effects like Vanity's Emptiness and Black Horn of Heaven are very useful here. Surprised? Probably not; both of these cards are seeing a lot of Main Deck play right now anyways. Horn's phenomenal at stomping out Tiaramisu and any other Xyz Monsters your opponent might summon, and chaining Emptiness to Anjelly leaves your opponent out a monster. Maxx "C" is definitely worth siding if you're playing a more aggressive strategy that can capitalize on just a few extra draws. Again: it's another card that's already being played in numerous decks, but it's still useful against a strategy that has to make a ton of Special Summons to get major plays going.

D.D. Crow's an interesting card that could, potentially, be better than both Effect Veiler and Maxx "C" under the right circumstances. You can banish Hootcake's target and prevent it from summoning a new Madolche. If that was the only monster in your opponent's graveyard, they won't be able to use Hootcake until they can dump another monster. Sometimes that can buy you a turn, but it's also risky. Banishing a monster sets up plays with Leviair the Sea Dragon, and Crow's much less effective than Effect Veiler against Tiaramisu.

Speaking of effect negation, Breakthrough Skill and Effect Veiler work wonders here. Fiendish Chain and Skill Drain might not work on Anjelly, but they're still very much worth playing. For something new: Majesty's Fiend is really, really good in this match-up. Madolche monsters won't return to the deck when destroyed, and there's nothing Hootcake, Anjelly, or Magileine can do about it. Even with Chateau, none of the Main Deck monsters are strong enough to destroy Majesty in battle, which leaves only a few traps to actually deal with it. I think we'll be seeing a lot of Majesty in future formats, and this is only one of many match-ups where it's devastating to play against.

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Back to banishing cards: Macro Cosmos and Dimensional Fissure are just too dang good this format. Bujin, Dragon Rulers, Infernity, Artifacts, and Madolche all rely on their graveyard to function. While blanket-banishing effects are active many of these decks lose access to their best cards. Madolche monsters won't go back to the deck if they're destroyed while Macro or Fissure are face-up, and if you play them early enough Hootcake won't have anything to banish. Ticket and Chateau can't recycle monsters if they don't go back to the deck, and Macro can keep the graveyard clear of Tiaramisu targets.

Both Macro and Fissure are powerful cards, but they don't fit into many strategies without some serious concessions. Unfortunately a more generic option like Banisher of the Radiance is a bit weak against Chateau-booster Madolches to warrant suggesting it.

Sugar Crash
The alternative to stomping out Summons and effects is proactive card removal. Fire Hand and Ice Hand are perfectly suited to take advantage of first-turn Hootcake plays. You can Summon Ice Hand, run it into Hootcake, then destroy Ticket or Chateau and summon Fire Hand. Repeat the process and you'll end with an Ice Hand after taking out both your opponent's monster and one of their spell or trap cards. These kinds of plays require minimal risk on your part and can leave your opponent down several cards. Madolche players will frequently leave themselves exposed to attacks because, after all, they have loads of protection and recycling. Fire and Ice Hand do a great job at exploiting this trend and leaving your opponent scrambling to piece together their broken field.

Backrow removal like Twister and Dust Tornado lets you make agressive plays without worrying about Chateau, Ticket, or Fiendish Chain. Without those cards your only concern would be some sort of monster packing a negation effect. Outside of Naturia Beast that isn't something you'll find many Madolche players using. Taking out Ticket is definitely worth your while: with Anjelly on the field the monsters that Ticket would add to the hand can be Special Summoned instead. Not only can your opponent replace their monsters, they can also trade them out for better ones. Again: if you're going on the aggressive you'll want to make absolutely sure that if your push gets stopped, your opponent won't be able to kick your monsters back to the deck with Tiaramisu. It's definitely possible if you let them set up their hand with Ticket, and I tend to approach it the same way I approach Black Whirlwind or Wind-Up Factory. The sooner you get it off the field, the less time you'll spend trying negate every new monster your opponent throws at you.

Madolche may have new support, but they're still facing many of the same problems that have plagued them since Return of the Duelist. DNA Surgery can turn Beasts like Hootcake into any other type, preventing Messengelato from activating. Rivalry of Warlords heavily restricts your opponent's plays and limits their Xyz options. It's probably the easiest card for Fire Fist, Bujin, and Geargia to side for this match-up. Finally, the addition of Anjelly opens up a vulnerability to Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare that wasn't nearly as exploitable before. Now it's not just Xyz Monsters that Traptrix can destroy: it can also negate and destroy a monster Summoned by Anjelly.

I'm not sure what the future has in store for Madolche. It could end up being one of the biggest decks leading up to the North American World Championship Qualifier, or it might be shut out by other strategies. Either way, I'd definitely start looking to side against it. Madolche are definitely a match-up worth preparing for.

Until next time then.

-Kelly