We've seen two Remote Duel Invitationals in two weeks, but with so few deck lists emerging from the Latin American RDI, the new Structure Deck became a surprise mover in the marketplace.
Yes, Structure Deck Freezing Chains was the single big push-factor in the secondary market this week, determining almost the entire Top 10! While early responses to the Structure were a bit chilly, a lot of players are actually really feeling the new Ice Barrier cards, and the result was big demand for both the new hits, and older cards that support them. Loukas gave us his spin on the deck a week and a half ago, creating a build on the high end of the budget range, while Sam dropped two builds we featured over the weekend. All three decks played to different budgets, and the result was a ton of interest in key combo cards.
So what were the biggest cards of the week this time around? Here's our latest Top 10 countdown.
Any time a Water-friendly deck with Tuners is on the radar, Adamancipator Risen - Dragite probably going to be in the picture - especially if it runs Crystron Halqifibrax. That was the case this week as players looked to complete their new Ice Barrier decks. The more competitive versions of this deck can end on a number of negation monsters, including Adamancipator Risen - Dragite, leveraging it against spells, traps, or effects. It's a really solid card to set up with, and at less than 3 bucks it's easy to pick up at any budget.
Shooting Riser Dragon was key to those competitive Ice Barrier decks, featuring in both Loukas's build and Sam's. Like most Water decks, the Ice Barrier strategy tries to summon Moulinglacia the Elemental Lord to force 2 cards out of your opponent's hand, and Sam's build played Crystron Halqifibrax into Desert Locusts to force another discard. From there you can use Desert Locusts Quick Effect to Synchro Summon Shooting Riser Dragon, loading your graveyard and making another Synchro at a flexible, adjusted Level thanks to Shooting Riser Dragon ability.
As the format gets more refined, Called by the Grave is seeing more play again, even while it's Limited. This card definitely fell out of staple status over time, so now a lot of competitors are playing catch-up on it as they get back into cardboard Yu-Gi-Oh (or enter the game for the first time).
The speculation that we might see Called by the Grave back at 2 or 3-per-deck in the next couple of weeks might have also driven some speculation; many buyers were picking up multiple copies.
Relatively easy to Synchro Summon, Trishula, Zero Dragon of the Ice Barrier is a powerful generic Synchro that hits the field with an explosive banishing effect. From there it protects itself with one of the most punishing on-destruction abilities we've ever seen. You don't want to let this thing run wild, but you don't want to let it unleash a buffed up Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier and mess with all your monsters either.
Trishula, Zero Dragon of the Ice Barrier probably a 1-of in competitive Ice Barrier builds, but we saw buyers picking up multiples. At an average price of $1.78 for the week, a lot of buyers might have seen it as undervalued. Powerful Structure Deck cards have fetched a lot more in the past once the decks they come in sold out, so it's not a bad bet.
Neptabyss, the Atlantean Prince has been a staple of Water combo decks ever since it was released, offering an easy way to toss a copy of Atlantean Dragoons to the graveyard so you can immediately search another to your hand. Neptabyss, the Atlantean Prince Special Summon ability is huge too, though it's worth noting that the synergy runs deeper than just that; the current Ice Barrier decks often use it as Synchro Material from the field to make that summon with Neptabyss, the Atlantean Prince is the perfect size for that at Level 1.
This card's been as high as $8 or more in the past, and veteran players know the kind of crazy hand control combos it creates. At an average price of about $2.50 this week, the value prop's pretty strong. Current Ice Barrier decks only run one copy, but again, we saw some people picking up extras. Neptabyss, the Atlantean Prince is really good, and Water control decks rotate in and out of popularity every year or two, so it's a solid buy long term.
Geomancer of the Ice Barrier was never reprinted after its Duel Terminal 2 and Hidden Arsenal 2 debuts, and that made it a huge target for buyouts this week. Ice Barriers want to run a Geomancer of the Ice Barrier because it's a Level 3 Tuner that you can Special Summon with Revealer of the Ice Barrier, and Geomancer of the Ice Barrier effect lets you dump cards like Neptabyss, the Atlantean Prince and Atlantean Dragoons so you can use their effects. That was enough to drive the Hidden Arsenal Super Rare from $2 to almost $12 as of this writing, while the Duel Terminal common is currently a whopping $25.
We see this a lot when a new Structure Deck releases: important cards that don't get a reprint in the Structure suddenly spike in value as players scramble to get their copies and investors try to corner a chunk of the market. Sometimes those older cards don't matter, but in this case that Level 3 Tuner status and the discard effect really are clutch for important combos. You might have to pony up for this one if you want to run Ice Barriers seriously. The good news is that overall, the deck core for Ice Barriers is pretty cheap; most of the price tag for the competitive builds is coming from pricy free agent cards like Forbidden Droplet.
Most Water decks love playing Bahamut Shark into Toadally Awesome for a ton of free value, and Ice Barriers are no exception. Toadally Awesome a great card that puts in work for any deck that can support it, and now that it's back at 3 a lot of players are keeping an eye on it. While the Secret Rares are well into the double digits, that Maximum Gold reprint's still just a couple of bucks.
Some of the most powerful combos in the Ice Barrier deck's repertoire revolve around Crystron Halqifibrax and this card; in a deck that sends Water monsters to the graveyard for powerful effects, Marincess Coral Anemone lets you bring one of those monsters back, extending your plays and keeping your combos going. Sam's build ran 2, and buyers were picking up 1 or 2 copies apiece to fill out their Extra Decks.
Atlantean Dragoons was never reprinted outside of Astral Pack 2 and OTS Pack 14, both limited run tournament prize sets. And while the OTS Pack common is still a couple bucks cheaper than the original Structure Deck Super Rare, they're still gonna cost you 4 dollars each. The people buying in this week largely seemed to be players, as the average number purchased was fewer than 2 copies.
Meanwhile the Astral Pack Ultimate Rare is a whopping $99 right now Near Mint, which is actually nowhere near its all-time high; if you were trying to buy Ulti Atlantean Dragoons last June, you would've been looking at 140 bucks a pop. I wouldn't be surprised if the Ultimate Rare gained even more value in the coming weeks.
And finally, Deep Sea Diva finishes out the list of cards you probably want if you bought some Freezing Chains Structures. Deep Sea Diva one of the old school greats as far as combo starters go, and it can Special Summon both Neptabyss, the Atlantean Prince and the new Hexa Spirit of the Ice Barrier. Deep Sea Diva gets more powerful every time a new Sea Serpent gets released at Level 3 or lower, and at this point its range is impressive.
Also big this week? Knightmare Unicorn almost made the Top 10, still wildly popular since its most recent reprint. Lappis Dragon and Crystron Quariongandrax are both played in the Ice Barrier deck for very specific combos, and they clocked the Number 12 and Number 14 spots respectively. Dark Magician came in at Number 13 as the Maximum Gold Premium Gold Rare saw some targeted buys, and Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring finished at Number 15, still a staple of competition.
By this time next week we might have a new banlist in the mix, and it might swerve the secondary market in some big ways. And at the very least we're going to have a new round of Top Cut lists from this weekend's Remote Duel Extravaganza. Join us next Friday to see the impact, and where the market's headed!