product-hover id="243716" one of the best core booster sets we've seen in a while.
Every set - no matter how big or small - will have something worthwhile lurking in its depths. Dawn of Majesty was a great set, but it didn't have the money cards to pull people in. product-hover id="240556" has those big-money cards, but with only three themes as the focus, it wasn't for everyone. The product-hover id="241346" was great for reprints, but if you already have everything you need, why bother?
product-hover id="243716" marries the best of all worlds, and literally everyone I've talked to is excited about it. I can't call any set perfect, but BODE really gets five stars in virtually every category.
Let's talk about the biggest pulls everybody's looking for.
On the surface, this Link 4 monster has two very simple effects: by tributing it, you can Special Summon two on-theme monsters from your graveyard. Or, you can kick a card from your deck to your graveyard to send a card on the field to the graveyard.
So in terms of boss monsters… that doesn't sound like much, right? After all, countering cards is the name of the game these days. Consider another Link 4, Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess; it shuts down virtually anything your opponent can throw at you, and it even stops multiple threats in a single turn. Evil Twin's Trouble Sunny (Ultra Rare) doesn't stop anything, it just sends something to the graveyard and revives a couple monsters.
But look deeper into the Evil Twin deck, and you'll see Evil Twin's Trouble Sunny (Ultra Rare) simple effect pays big dividends. Evil Twin Ki-sikil and Evil Twin Lil-la are your main targets, which destroy your opponent's cards while netting you more draws. Not to mention, you'll most likely send Live Twin Ki-sikil Frost with Evil Twin's Trouble Sunny (Ultra Rare) second ability, giving you another opportunity to draw.
Keep in mind, you can make Evil Twin's Trouble Sunny (Ultra Rare) with a single Live Twin Lil-la or Live Twin Ki-sikil. Each monster rakes in more card economy, through summoning monsters, picking off threats, and drawing you cards. Evil Twin's Trouble Sunny (Ultra Rare) brings this extremely efficient deck full circle, finally combining all these effects into a flurry of free advantage.
Sky Strikers are one of the few decks that can work so well when they're over 40% hand traps, but I think Evil Twins might snatch the crown from Sky Striker Ace - Raye and Sky Striker Ace - Roze. The deck is so good at drawing multiple cards on your opponent's turn, it's practically begging you to run more hand traps.
Icejades might not rise to the height of competition when they first release, but I think they have lots of potential. The art's really nice, too: it's very soothing to look at, introducing a new style of artwork that's a big contrast for Yu-Gi-Oh.
In contrast to the Number 10 card - Evil Twin's Trouble Sunny (Ultra Rare) - Icejade Tremora isn't the be-all end-all for the deck. While it's just as integral to the strategy, it doesn't boast the same raw power, nor does it have the same level of implied power for the future. It's a weird dichotomy to see two cards for two different themes that play wildly different roles, but are both so essential to their respective themes.
It's a good illustration that the most important cards in a given deck will often be very different depending on the strategy. Make sure to pick up your Icejade Tremora if you're playing Icejades.
Searching monsters from the deck is a tradition that reaches back almost as far as the beginning of Yu-Gi-Oh itself. Lonefire Blossom probably the most notorious searcher in the entire game, because of its 1-to-1 replacement. Substitoad and Mind Master are still Forbidden and thus saw less time in the spotlight, whereas the attribute-specific recruiters, cards like Mother Grizzly and Giant Rat are woefully outdated due to their battle trigger.
History aside, searching free monsters from your deck is a wildly powerful ability. At some point, the game's best searchers generally end up on the Forbidden & Limited List. Those classic searchers are Forbidden for a reason: they're not once-per-turn effects - but even the OPT restriction on Summon Sorceress didn't save her from the banhammer.
Are the Soulsword and Albaz monsters enough to warrant a hit on Incredible Ecclesia, the Virtuous? Short answer: probably not, but as the game grows and evolves, as new cards are printed, and new combos discovered, anything's possible.
While powerful, I've put Incredible Ecclesia, the Virtuous this far down on the list for a few reasons. First, she only works in decks that specifically use Swordsoul monsters, which is a small pool even with the new cards in product-hover id="243716". Additionally, it's looking to be the second most expensive card in the entire set. The lack of generic use coupled with the high price tag means it won't be on everyone's wish list.
Is Konami begging me to play Frogs again? They have to be, right?
Face-down set cards - specifically traps - have taken a thunderous beating in recent years. As Hanko pointed out, some decks thrive with traps thrive with traps, but it's crazy to think that so many decks just ignore them entirely when trap cards were once so integral to competition.
These days traps have to pull a +2 in card economy, be searchable, shut off an entire aspect of the game like Skill Drain, or be named Solemn Strike to see play. It's not easy being a trap card in 2021.
But Lord of the Heavenly Prison might help change that; it protects your backrow from pesky destruction while netting you new cards.
I mentioned Incredible Ecclesia, the Virtuous as a great searcher for Soulsword cards, but Lord of the Heavenly Prison gets you any spell or trap you need. There aren't any specific restrictions dictating which cards you can or can't get. It's just that simple.
And to boot, Lord of the Heavenly Prison is searchable itself. Thanks to Gallant Granite, any Rock monster is just a Rank 4 away. It's incredibly simple to get to Lord of the Heavenly Prison and trigger its effect, and like most players, I'm a fan of cards that are easy to use.
Painting with a broad brush, any deck that has the space to run this can tap into its power, not just trap-heavy decks like my precious Paleozoic Frogs. There have been hits and misses for backrow-dependent decks over the years, but I think this'll be a homerun.
The theme of product-hover id="243716" seems to be "simple." A lot of the set's cards are pretty straightforward and easy to digest. Kelly pointed out some cards with ridiculously long card texts in his recent article , so it's refreshing to see that so many of the best cards from this set have concise, but ultimately very powerful effects.
Swordsoul Grandmaster - Chixiao (Secret Rare) is a mostly generic Level 8 Synchro that offers an even exchange rate: banish another card in your hand or graveyard, and it can stop the effect of one Effect Monster on the field. There isn't anything convoluted, nor do you have to run specific cards from the theme to capitalize on your gains.
Basically, play Soulsword cards, summon this guy, banish Soulsword cards, stop card effects. What else do you want from a boss monster?
Floowandereeze & Empen
I like birds.
The Floowandereeze theme's arguably the most cleverly named in the game, stacking several plays on words inside of a portmanteau. All of those puns and witticisms may correlate to the eleven thousand Normal Summons you'll get every duel as a Floowandereeze player.
That's only barely an exaggeration. Almost every Floowandereeze card grants more Normal Summons, and the majority of the effects require you to make those summons to trigger. I opted to put Floowandereeze & Empen on this list because it's a cornerstone of the Floowandereeze deck. Any card that searches out so many cards from a given strategy is bound to be important to the overall theme, and this is no exception.
Floowandereeze & Eglen
Floowandereeze & Robina
Furthermore, Floowandereeze & Empen has the annoying effect of, "While this Tribute Summoned card is in the Monster Zone, your opponent cannot activate the effects of Special Summoned monsters they control in Attack Position." Monster effects? Never heard of them.
I may miss the mark on this one, but all signs point to this being the big money card for Floowandereeze. And effects aside, Floowandereeze & Empen probably my favorite artwork for any of the Floowandereeze cards, narrowly edging out Floowandereeze & Snowl.
This card's gonna be used to make Swordsoul Grandmaster - Chixiao (Secret Rare) alot, but I'm actually more interested in its off-theme potential.
Baxia, Brightness of the Yang Zing is one of my favorite Synchro Monsters, despite being pretty overlooked in current competitive Yu-Gi-Oh. Chaofeng, Phantom of the Yang Zing and Yazi, Evil of the Yang Zing saw wide play outside of Yang Zing decks, and Denglong, First of the Yang Zing was banned relatively quickly (and rightfully so).
But then's there's Baxia, Brightness of the Yang Zing - poor, sad, Baxia, Brightness of the Yang Zing, which never had a chance to shine just because it required non-Tuner Wyrm monsters to hit the field. It always felt so close to being great without actually getting there.
Obviously, Swordsoul of Mo Ye has applications beyond Baxia, Brightness of the Yang Zing; as long as you have the right card to reveal in your hand, Swordsoul of Mo Ye a free Level 8 Synchro. There aren't any other catches to the card. It's simple, efficient, and powerful.
To boot, Swordsoul of Mo Ye will work whether it's Normal or Special Summoned. There aren't any real downsides to this thing; if you want a 1-card combo to make Level 8 Synchros, Swordsoul of Mo Ye has you covered. I don't see it coming down in price anytime soon, either.
It's probably a surprise to see this card so high on the list, but it just feels so right to put it here. The Rokket theme, and by extension the Borrel cards, have been an instrumental part of countless cheeky combos, and Rokket Caliber only adds fuel to the fire. Striker Dragon and Quick Launch are two of the most-seen cards in Dragon combos that pull from the Rokket theme, but I think Rokket Caliber a real force to be reckoned with.
Heck, the Rokket cards even make a strong showing in Time Thiefs, of all things. Whenever there's a new one, it's worth paying attention to.
As we've quickly learned, any time your opponent throws a Dragon onto the field for free, something suspicious is about to go down. Guardragons have shown us that time and time again. Rokket Caliber being a Dark Dragon Tuner only makes me more suspicious of it, so I'd advise picking it up while it's cheap.
product-hover id="243716" filled with so many amazing cards that gems like this one might get overlooked. Rokket Caliber not as flashy as other powerful cards, but it's a spicy tool that's going to come in handy down the road.
Every time I've played Magistus, my emotions have swerved from elation to sudden confusion. Simply put, "Where are all my resources?"
Artemis, the Magistus Moon Maiden is the lifeblood of the deck, helping you search combo pieces and keeping your hand healthy. But if your opponent severs that Link, it's impossible to recuperate, let alone get a big body on board to push with.
The biggest effect here is the one that shuts down your opponent's activated monster effects: if you have the right Magistus in your backrow it's fantastic. In the right matchup your opponent can be left reeling and might have to scoop up their cards. But the secondary effect to revive itself makes that ability all the more powerful.
You can pop any Magistus card - that's right, card, not monster - to revive Zoroa, the Magistus Conflagrant Calamity, meaning you'll always have a threat that can shut down your opponent's Extra Deck on-hand. Other Magistus cards do a fine job of equipping themselves to the right monster, so getting them into your Spell and Trap Zone's never been the problem. The challenge for Magistus is that they have a horrible recovery game, so Zoroa, the Magistus Conflagrant Calamity is exactly what they needed.
Imagine if you could just set Skill Drain again when it was destroyed. Your opponent may have answers at first, but Zoroa's self-reviving effect just never stops, and eventually they'll run out of ways to stop it.
It doesn't always follow the same pattern, but in general, the more flexible and generic a card is, the more success it will see. Destiny HERO - Destroyer Phoenix Enforcer is about as easy to summon in a HERO deck as you could hope, and it has amazing effects. Destiny HERO - Dangerous is pretty good too, but Destiny HERO - Destroyer Phoenix Enforcer is so good, because its effect is amazing in a vacuum.
If you look at the four Destiny Hero Fusion monsters we have now, you may notice they're all deeply dependent on other cards. Between the attack buffs, Battle Phase effects, and mandated synergies, you really need to have a full plan in place to maximize the effectiveness of certain Destiny HERO monsters. I still remember reading Destiny HERO - Dystopia half a dozen times before I really understood how to use it.
Destiny HERO - Destroyer Phoenix Enforcer is much simpler. Deal with threats, pop whatever you need to pop on your side of the field, and you get a free revive of a Destiny HERO monster, including Zoroa, the Magistus Conflagrant Calamity itself. Whether you use a simple Polymerization to unleash it, or the much more evolved Fusion Destiny, Destiny HERO - Destroyer Phoenix Enforcer will pay dividends turn after turn. It's simple, it's effective, and it's easy to summon.
Strangely enough, Destiny HERO - Destroyer Phoenix Enforcer ability to pop cards on the field is cleverly disguised in the larger effect of self-preservation. You'll need to destroy at least one card you control to blow up another on the field, so if your opponent has a way to deal with Destiny HERO - Destroyer Phoenix Enforcer, you'll often blow it up yourself. Then it'll come back during the next Standby Phase, and you can start the whole process over again. Get ready, because the fact that Predaplant Verte Anaconda exists means we're going to be seeing Destiny HERO - Destroyer Phoenix Enforcer everywhere.
All in all, I'm very pleased with product-hover id="243716". It seems like every high rarity card in the set is worth picking up. I definitely love finding hidden gems amongst the commons and Super Rares of a new set - it's always fun finding ways to toy with discarded cards - but this is one of the first releases where my eyes really stayed glued to the high-rarity cards. Make sure to pick up whatever you're really pining for, since everything in this set will make someone's Top 10 list!