The Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG's built itself quite a history over the last thirteen years, and at this point the card library's big enough to make a Disney princess sing. In spite of the massive collection of cards to use, there are still more from the TV show that we haven't gotten yet, and probably never will. Drawing a hundred cards; Special Summoning every monster in both players' decks; fusing living and unliving monsters to make monsters that biodegrade over the course of several turns… there are just some things that the game doesn't need. Sometimes when we do inevitably get a TV-only card in the TCG it has to get a facelift so it doesn't make the game destroy itself like a kangaroo jumping down its own pouch forever.


Card of Sanctity and The Seal of Orichalcos are understandable examples. Instantly refilling your hand, even if it gives your opponent cards, just doesn't make sense for the game in a real-world application. Beyond that, having your soul ripped out would be just so inconvenient, and it wouldn't make Swiss rounds any faster.

Then when those cards come out, it's in a slow trickle as spaced out magazine promos or one-ofs in booster sets. Dragons of Legendgave that custom a hearty scoff and slapped it in the face, dropping oodles of new TV cards on our heads like it was Christmas in some weird universe where our families were replaced with monetarily-correct clones of the monopoly guy. I want to talk about one of the cards from DRLG that's seeing play right now, even though I hardly hear anyone talk about it: Kuribandit.

Fuzzy Details
There are a lot of interesting things at work in Kuribandit's card design; it's obvious that someone, somewhere didn't want Kuribandit to get abused by anything. It has to be Normal Summoned to activate its effect, so bringing it back from the graveyard to use it again with Soul Charge is out the window, and you can't Special Summon it from your hand to preserve your Normal Summon either. Committing your whole turn to Kuribandit's Summon is rough, so decks that can't Special Summon their way through the Main Phase have to exercise a little more caution before playing it.

You can't use Kuribandit's effect at the beginning of your Main Phase, so any hopes of trying to snowball a bunch of plays with it all at once are out of the question. It effectively operates the same way as Cardcar D, setting up your next turn instead of strengthening the one you're currently in. Also, Kuribandit won't end your turn, but it has to go off in the End Phase, so they're both generally the last thing you'll do.

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Unlike Cardcar, Kuribandit doesn't have a limitation that outright prevents its Special Summon, you'd just have to give up using its effect. Being a Level 3 Fiend, Tour Guide From the Underworld can pluck it from the deck to use as Xyz Material if you want, and any extra utility is always good. Tour Guide hasn't had a really great partner since Sangan, and swapping out one furball for another isn't so bad.

While Kuribandit's not as splashable as Pot of Duality, they both fill a similar role. Kuribandit does it in a very different way, but both cards move toward the end goal of putting cards that you want into your hand as efficiently as possible. Between the two you could dig through three cards and then five more, thinning your deck twice in the process. You lose four cards from your deck to the graveyard, but there are plenty of instances where that's not a bad thing. If you rely on a specific spell or trap to start a combo or get your deck rolling that kind of consistency's definitely a big deal, especially if you never had any other options. Some decks have Reinforcement of the Army, Shien's Smoke Signal or something similar, but others have never had that kind of love.

Perfect Hideout
The way Yu-Gi-Oh's developed, monsters being useful in the graveyard isn't anything unusual; just about every deck can do something with its fallen monsters. The Six Samurai can recycle them back into the hand or onto the field, and use the rest as fuel for Special Summoning or the effect of Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi, and that archetype isn't even considered to be very involved in the graveyard. Then Dark World, Dragon Rulers, Lightsworn, Zombies and a bunch of other decks basically make the graveyard into a second hand, and those are exactly the places where you want to smush Kuribandit.

The Lightsworn Hype Train's about to pull into the station with the new Structure Deck coming out, and Kuribandit offers them a consistency that they couldn't dream of before. Historically speaking, milling away key cards like Charge of the Light Brigade and Solar Recharge absolutely murdered your chance at pulling out a win, but you could never really avoid it. If you weren't activating the Lightsworn to mill cards away, you were treading water and waiting to get run over, but if you floor the gas and start milling, you're at the mercy of blind luck. Kuribandit gives you a first turn play that doesn't just amount to leaving a Lightsworn out there and crossing your fingers that your opponent thinks you have Honest, and it gives you the chance to pick up a piece of your engine. The best-case scenario is that you load up four different Lightsworn and your Judgment Dragon's ready to massacre your opponent next turn, but even dumping Wulf, Lightsworn Hunter and a few unnecessary monsters is still great, depending on what you add to your hand.

The Sylvan deck's a natural progression for anyone thinking about Kuribandit, thanks to their shared use of the Excavation mechanic. Sylvan are something like Lightsworn 2.0, with less light-speed milling and more of a controlled approach to going through your deck. With the effects of the Sylvans, Kuribandit could potentially bring out a monster to replace itself and nuke a card or two from the field, not only digging you further into your deck, but in a meaningful way that doesn't put you behind in card economy. Some people are playing Sylvans in a way that revolves around pushing for game with huge beaters powered by Raging Mad Plants, and Kuribandit works hard to put it in your hand as fast as possible. Even the more conventional Sylvans love to Excavate as much as possible, so you're not really at a loss either way.

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Zombies are notorious for being active in the graveyard, between Mezuki, Zombie Master, Plaguespreader Zombie, Shutendoji and Book of Life. Some of them use Destiny Hero - Malicious as an augmentation to their ability to Synchro Summon, meaning Kuribandit has even more monsters to throw into the graveyard. With access to Beelze of the Diabolic Dragons and Void Ogre Dragon, Zombies have a strong Extra Deck to draw from. Thanks to Soul Charge, which Kuribandit drives toward, getting out two or three Level 8 Synchro Monsters at a time isn't so outlandish, which is in itself outlandish.

A Ghostrick deck attempting to play turbo-beatdown made the Top 16 at ARGCS Richmond a couple of weeks ago, and that largely worked because Kuribandit was there to load Darks into the graveyard as fast as possible. Both Dark Armed Dragon and The Dark Creator loved the constant fuel for their effects, and digging to key spells at that rate made the deck a nightmare for nearly everyone that played against it. Patrick Hoban and Desmond Johnson topped that event with Kuribandit in their Dragon decks, knowing how beneficial it was to get the Dragon Rulers into the graveyard.

Excavating Wins
Like Mathematician, which I wrote about last week (right here, for anyone that missed that), Kuribandit has great elements of thoughtful card design that keep it from becoming some abusable superweapon. Unlike some other cards (Sabatiel - The Philosopher's Stone) that get ground into the dirt during the design process in fear of their extreme power, Kuribandit still has the potential to see play in a variety of decks and maintain a relevance to the competitive circuit without being downright broken.

As things stand, Kuribandit's viable in a whole host of different strategies and offers a lot to the game, and there's nothing better that could be said about a single card. Somehow, four of the decks from ARG Circuit Series Richmond's Top 16 used Kuribandit, and I still haven't heard anyone mention how good it is. That's crazy. What are you going to play it in, if you plan to use it at all? Whether in your own deck or across the table from you in your opponent's, get ready to see Kuribandit make its rounds for the foreseeable future.