If you've been keeping up with Specifically Speaking for the last few weeks, you know it's mostly been the story of me talking about how game-changing and ridiculous Dragons of Legend is, because of cards like Kuribandit and Soul Charge. The last four pieces from me are all about DRLG cards that really stand out, and you can find all of those right here if you didn't catch 'em before. While it's true that the set had some absurd cards, and I stand by my point completely, it's not really fair of me to pretend like it's the only set worth talking about right now. Primal Origin's been generating its own share of excitement and speculation since the full spoiler was released in the OCG, and even a little bit before that with some spoilers from Shonen Jump.

Thanks to the new support for Bujin, chatter hardly stopped about how big the impact of PRIO would probably be. Then there are the Artifacts, which I know firsthand people were saying would absorb the majority of the competitive spotlight. An Artifact deck basically has enough copies of Mystical Space Typhoon to destroy every trap ever printed, so it's no surprise the general opinion was that they'd be Planters-level nutty, and give people twice as much salt. I mean, we're talkin' one-third of a Snickers right now, but only a fraction as satisfying, if you're across the table from them. The new Noble Knight support seems promising, too, depending on the rest of the format's development from here.

But this article isn't about any of those things. Even though there were plenty who noticed it early on, there are definitely duelists out there that were blindsided by the emergence of what's now the very obvious, miles-away frontrunner for "Most Appealing Card" in the set – Madolche Anjelly.

Dedication Through Decadence
There were problems with the Madolche archetype since its introduction. Madolche Mageleine did as much as one card could for the consistency of any theme, basically functioning as a self-recycling Elemental Hero Stratos. As powerful as that search power is, you still have to wait a turn to Normal Summon the next Madolche and get things rolling. Originally, Madolche killed things about as slowly as high blood sugar, and that's just not the speed Yu-Gi-Oh! moves at. Madolche Hootcake tried to stack up, pushing the pedal a little harder by putting monsters straight onto the field from the deck – almost a Mageleine 2.0. Unfortunately, it needs to banish a monster from the graveyard to do it, and none of the Madolche up until now were fond of spending any time there. They even have their own club house to fall back on instead: Madolche Chateau.

A name like "Madolche Anjelly" might not help allude to it actually being an overdose of hyperspeed, ready to rip monsters straight from the deck and start things going instantly, but that's exactly what it is. Unlike Hootcake, there are no requisites or set-up needed for Anjelly's effect; you drop her into the graveyard and whip up any one of your confectionery cohorts with no complications. Hootcake's definitely still a relevant and driving factor in the speed game, but Anjelly's exactly the nitro-boost the deck needed, and it works alongside Hootcake perfectly. Pulling it from the deck with Anjelly means you can activate Hootcake on the spot by banishing that same Anjelly you just tributed, making her a +1 with two-card deck thinning. And it doesn't have to stop there; with Madolche Messengelato's effect, Hootcake's search is a +2 that hands you your field spell. So, that's two monsters from your deck and the equivalent of a Terraforming, for your Normal Summon.

Somewhere, Reinforcement of the Army and Rescue Rabbit are crying.

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No two ways about it, though, Anjelly has good synergy with more than just Hootcake. Madolche Ticket's a big fan of Fairy-type Madolches, which the average Madolche duelist's Main Deck was sorely lacking in the past. Other than the rarely-seen Madolche Puddingcess, only Madolche Queen Tiaramisu could meet that requirement. Now every Madolche deck's guaranteed a minimum of three Fairies, thanks to Anjelly's definite three-of status. It makes Madolche Puddingcess more attractive as a tech choice too, since both Madolche Mewfeuille and Hootcake could Special Summon it already. Combined with Ticket that's as many as twelve cards that hop Puddingcess right onto the field, despite most people sticking to just one Ticket. Madolchepalooza can do it as well, but that would also toss it back into the deck, and we're only talking about two-card combos that leave Puddingcess hanging around the field indefinitely.

With Chateau and Ticket, Madolchepalooza is an absolute monster, letting you attempt to push for a game-ending swing. Your most real negative consequence being that those monsters could return to your hand, and you'll search for another from the deck as consolation. The disappointment is so strong.

The big combo plays are largely what make Anjelly so amazing, regardless of everything that can be said about it as an individual card. Since Mewfeuille's around to Special Summon Anjelly and there's a full Extra Deck of options at your fingertips, it's not outlandish for those two monsters to turn into a Leviair the Sea Dragon and Tiaramisu with an activated Chateau and two cards bounced off of your opponent's field. Joe Soto did a piece covering that in yesterday's Competitive Corner, so make sure you give that a look to go over all the neat stuff at work there in a lot more detail. Here's a link to that.

The SparkNotes version is that you get to use Mewfeuille to Summon Anjelly, Anjelly to grab Hootcake, then jellyroll the field with delicious card economy. Side note, I'm calling all of my Madolche builds from here on "JellyRoll™," so be ready for that.

You read it here first.

Preserving Freshness
Madolche weren't exactly set in stone in the way they could be built before, but with the exception of some mild tech, there was an overall consensus that playing the grind game was the only way to do it. Slow, methodical play with a very defensive approach and opportunistic pokes was the gameplan if you didn't want to get run over. The work that Anjelly puts in extends beyond in-game plays and decision-making and reaches all the way into the deck building process to give some serious flexibility to Madolche as an archetype.

Looking at Chris LeBlanc's 1st Place decklist from YCS Philly over in the TCGplayer Deck Archive, you can see that the additions of Fire Hand and Ice Hand to both the Main and Side Decks are about the only defensive choices he made outside of his trap lineup, which is huge. Because Anjelly's so explosive with Mewfeuille and Hootcake, LeBlanc's game plan involved sitting on an early game of Hands and Mageleine just long enough to secure an opening for a dynamite knock-out punch. The Hands replace themselves while they take cards off the field, simplifying the game without actually making you invest anything beyond the initial Normal Summon, and Mageleine's the definition of a solid opening if neither of the Hands are around. Once you've gotten your Hands on some of your opponent's resources and you see an opening, unleash your buffet of delectable denizens and snag the game.

Turning the scope a little, many Madolche players still aren't on board with Fire Hand and Ice Hand, and even Mewfeuille seems to be a coin toss. Those variants that run little to nothing that isn't a Madolche by name, save for hand traps, end up playing the grind game with no real explosive finish. Anjelly's still around to make a +2 and pull a few cards from the deck, and Tiaramisu's never out of the equation, but trying to burst several Xyz out at a time is harder when you don't have Mewfeuille, and if you're not pacing yourself with Hand monsters, you're actively using up your Madolche in the early and mid-game. You won't exactly run out because of Chateau, but you still won't necessarily have a good time building up the same field presence.

The Only Flavor That Matters
It's true that Madolche Mewfeuille is one of the most key parts of launching the double-Xyz Madolche Anjelly play, but that play would obviously be out of the question if it wasn't for Anjelly in the first place. Making Madolche Puddingcess a viable one-of; vastly improving the overall speed of the deck; just being a Fairy for Madolche Ticket; giving more convenient access to Rank 4's; putting itself in the graveyard for Madolche Hootcake to use as payment for its cost… the list of things Anjelly accomplishes just goes on and on. At the same time, Anjelly can't work in any other decks without bringing other Madolches along for the ride; can't do anything on its own if it gets negated with Breakthrough Skill or Effect Veiler; and practically locks you into taking the Maxx "C" Challenge if you don't have a solid backrow.

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Anjelly's another great example of a powerful card that does precisely what it's intended to do without totally overwhelming the environment by itself, or worming its way into every deck as some pro tech choice. It has tremendous strengths and obvious weaknesses, giving it a sense of risk versus reward, regardless of whether or not they're exactly equal. Other than Soul Charge, that kind of smash-hit card design keeps shining through lately. If you're a Madolche player how many Anjelly are you testing with? It seems like three's the right answer with the way the deck's developing, but there are always people with different experiences. Now that Chris LeBlanc's taken 1st Place at a YCS with Madolche, expect to be seeing both the Anjelly and the rest of the deck more often.

-Beau