King's Court launches on Friday, and now that we've seen the Collector's Rares and the surprise debut of Millennium Rares, the wait was clearly worth it!
I'll be honest: I never thought we'd get more support for Yugi's "Poker Knight" or "Face Knight" cards. They're just so wildly specific in what they do. And the thing they do is… not very good? I know, that's a terrible way to start off a hype article, but yeah, think about how far this theme has come! No more setting Shining Angel to Special Summon Queen's Knight, hoping you draw into King's Knight without drawing Jack's Knight! The new Poker Knight support is leagues ahead of where the archetype started.
Apparently if you just keep stacking on amazing support, there IS a point where running multiple copies of Jack's Knight in your deck becomes viable. Who knew! Who would've predicted that we'd be here today, talking about these ancient cards and miraculously triggering their abilities.
But it's not just the Poker Knights that get a buff from King's Court. XYZ-Dragon Cannon, Rose Dragons, and Galaxy are just some of the themes getting new cards, and there's so much stuff in this set that I'm kind of confused about how to even label this pack.
Unless you were clever enough to think we'd get support for Poker Knights, Gearfried, and Tindangle right next to reprints of Evolzar Dolkka and Scrap Twin Dragon, you probably share my sense of surprise. This set is weird. But it works, because it's loaded with fantastic stuff, and today we're going to look at the cards everybody wants.
I told you this was going to be a Collector's Rare!
Reinforcement of the Army is only stuck down at Number 10 on this list because… well, because not everybody wants it. I know, I know, here I am hyping up the Collector's Rares, and this will certainly be one of the most expensive cards in the set. But there are some players and fans that just don't care about chase cards; some people just want t play Yu-Gi-Oh. You could take their favorite card, literally dip it in gold, and bedazzle it with jewels and their response would be a resounding, "meh."
And I don't blame them! Not everything is for everyone. On the flip side, remember those abysmally nauseating Platinum Rares from the Noble Knights of the Round Table Box Set? Some people ate those up, while most didn't care for them. Collector's Rares look cool to everyone, but some people just aren't hunting max rarities these days, and those people probably got their common copies of Reinforcement of the Army years ago.
I think every staple, or commonplace powerful card will get a Collector's Rare eventually. That, or a different kind of premium rarity, as more are introduced. Reinforcement of the Army seems to be the prime candidate for all spicy rarities in the future because search cards don't really fall out of fashion. Mystical Space Typhoon may be a relic of the past, but Reinforcement of the Army - and Marauding Captain - will live in our hearts forever! (Also? Goat Format players are going to sell their grandmother to pick up copies of this.)
What is it with people and Galaxy-Eyes cards?
Wait, this isn't even a Galaxy-Eyes card! It's just a Galaxy card, once again muddying the waters with this ever-changing nightmare of nomenclature surrounding Galaxy, Galaxy-Eyes, Photon, and Dragon cards.
And… did we really need another way to search Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon? Personally, I wish this card mimicked The Melody of Awakening Dragon with its additive effect instead of fielding Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon.
That said, this card could probably have had any effect, and I would have put it on this list. People love Galaxy cards that much. Thankfully, this card packs quite a punch. It's at the very least useful, which isn't necessarily true for all legacy support.
Hyper Galaxy reminds me vaguely of Gemini Spark, but instead of drawing a card you'll get a free Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon. It has the minor drawback of requiring your opponent to have a beatstick to tribute, but if you're playing the card defensively that's perfectly acceptable.
Technically this is more about White Rose Cloister, but since Rose Princess can search White Rose Cloister while also acting as a better version of Terraforming, I figured I might as well include it in the discussion.
…Actually, Rose Princess is much better than Terraforming. If your opponent controls monsters, you get to summon a free monster from your hand! And it becomes a Tuner! Plant decks, specifically Rose decks, desperately need monsters on the field, and this is a nice addition to the current suite of Plant cards.
White Rose Cloister and Rose Princess don't actually work that well together. It's a bit ironic, but given the fact that you'll normally pitch one to search the other, I'm not sure how often you'd play them together anyways. Both cards require your field to be free of monsters, and barring some extenuating circumstances, you'll usually choose between one effect or the other.
I can see both of these cards being played, even outside of the obvious Rose, Rose Princess, and Rose Dragon decks. Many Plant decks sorely need more Special Summons, but for me, the best thing about White Rose Cloister is its interaction with Miracle Fertilizer. Who needs a Normal Summon when you have this thing?
Not gonna lie: there's a whole lot of nonsense written on this card. I feel like "Summon 1 Magnet Warrior from your deck" would deliver the same end result in the grand scheme of things. There are stipulations to Magnet Induction, and likewise added benefits to counter the specific demands. But to me, this card's first effect is the only one that matters.
I mean, sure, fine. It pairs nicely with Magnetic Field. But chances are that's not why you wanted to use it.
If you've ever played a Magnet Warrior deck, you'll know that the most frustrating thing about the strategy is the lack of interesting plays. Sure, you have some cool niche cards like Gorgonic Guardian and Berserkion the Electromagna Warrior, but the deck has a relatively low ceiling; the Magnet Warriors suffer from limited scope.
That isn't to say they're bad cards, they're just simplistic. Half of the Magnet Warriors are Normal Monsters, and the others all assist each other in a sort of circular way. I love them, but you only get one Normal Summon a turn, ya know?
Magnet Induction doesn't necessarily make the deck better, but it's three more chances to draw something interesting to keep the strategy going. It helps you get to your best plays more consistently, and it effectively turns any Magnet Warrior into an Emergency Teleport.
Well, that's oddly good, huh?
Dodging your opponent's cards while Synchro Summoning as a Quick Effect is something that's… just… weirdly powerful. I never thought about having a card like this, tapping into that Spell Speed 2 Synchro trick that's always been exclusive to monsters like Formula Synchron. But here we are.
Playing Burning Soul for a Synchro Summon on your opponent's turn is neat; it feels a lot like El Shaddoll Fusion, and how it can put immense pressure on your opponent to open up the field for OTKs. Burning Soul is similar, but it in Synchro form. The surprise factor alone can be really valuable, but there's one little effect that I can't get over.
I'm not complaining, but why do you get a card back from your graveyard when you play this? Imagine if El Shaddoll Fusion also retrieved a card from your graveyard. Or a Ritual Spell like Black Dragon Ritual just drew you a card for free. It's an added bonus that really helps mitigate the price of playing Burning Soul. It's a drain to your field and hand, so the extra bit of card economy definitely helps. Again, I'm not complaining! I just don't want my opponent getting back more hand traps, yeesh!
Burning Soul is like Urgent Tuning, but literally eleven times better.
Gilta-Gearfried the Magical Steel Knight
I can't make up my mind about how good this card is, though the secondary market is clearly bullish on it. Gilta-Gearfried the Magical Steel Knight is certainly fine by all measures of that word, but will it be anyone's ultimate card?
…Probably not, and that's ok. Not every card has to be the best thing since sliced bread. We have plenty of "generic" Fusion Monsters that leverage cards of all types, but one as simple as Warriors with different Attributes is appetizing.
Face Card Fusion
It's no accident this card is coming with Face Card Fusion alongside Queen's Knight, King's Knight, and Jack's Knight. As long as you play non-Light Warriors in your deck, Face Card Fusion effectively reads, "turn a Knight into Gilta-Gearfried the Magical Steel Knight while also playing Foolish Burial."
Which is pretty great, right? It's campy enough to fit Poker Knight decks, but also good enough to warrant actual use. Win-win!
I think Gilta-Gearfried the Magical Steel Knight will be a highly sought-after card because it's 1) obviously the boss monster of this whole shin-dig, and 2) it's more generic than Face Card Fusion. The spell needs a Poker Knight to fully realize its potential, while Gilta-Gearfried the Magical Steel Knight will be sprinkled into decks without Queen's Knight.
This card is… weirdly generic?
Joker's Knight is obviously a great card for Poker Knight strategies, but it's also effectively a recursive Level 5 Warrior that you can Special Summon for free every turn. And that's really good.
There aren't any major downsides here. There are the obvious negative that you're forced to play a Poker Knight card, sure, but with Queen's Knight and Jack's Knight being Level 4 and 5 Normal Light Warriors, you can definitely finagle some use out of them. Those qualifiers actually bring a wild amount of support, letting you elevate Queen's Knight and Jack's Knight past the brick status you might first suspect.
And Joker's Knight is recursive! Just put back your aforementioned brick and do it all again next turn! There are so many applications for this card that I can't even begin to guess at what the best strategy might be for it. As if Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights needed to be any easier to summon. Sheesh.
The Poker Knight cards have a cult following, stemming in part from their role in Yugi fandom. When you have the sheer force of nostalgia backed by a wickedly powerful generic card and some cool art, it's no wonder Joker's Knight is in demand.
I was looking through some pre-sale prices for KICO singles, and needless to say, the price tag on this one wasn't a big surprise. While Number F0: Utopic Draco Future isn't the best negation card out there, it's so easy to summon, and so incredibly useful. As you've probably noticed, Yu-Gi-Oh has really migrated toward a strategy of using monsters to solve problems whenever possible, and the best ones are usually the ones you can summon from your Extra Deck; you never have to draw them, they're always accessible, and that makes them reliable when you need them most.
Raigeki, Dark Hole, Smashing Ground… those were classic troubleshooting cards inn the past, but they're hard to draw and often limited in scope; not only are they tough to get to, but they take up room in your Main Deck and they only do a few very specific things. Sometimes they just aren't useful, and that's a big problem.
On the other hand, Extra Deck answers are versatile and if they aren't useful, you're never forced to draw them and try and figure out what to do with them as dead cards. Perfect, right? Well, surprise! Number F0: Utopic Draco Future specifically guards against that type of play. Just as you started packing away all your spells that deal with threats so you could stuff them under your bed, Number F0: Utopic Draco Future makes a mockery of your options and eats up all of those precious tech monsters you were going to rely on.
Number F0: Utopic Draco Future going to see lots of table time moving forward. Oh, and try not to get caught up in the ridiculously convoluted natural summoning method. I went out of my way trying to think of ways to make three monsters with the same Rank when that's redundant with its alternate summoning condition.
Lightning Storm is just… such a good card. It's basically a Raigeki or a Harpie's Feather Duster, depending on how you feel. There are some minor stipulations to playing the card, sure, but none of them are enough to make me call the card anything less than what it is: amazing.
This is one of the best go-second cards in the game right now, and one of the staple Side Deck cards that - until this week - created a handicap for all but the most moneyed players.
Lightning Storm not right for every strategy, but it works insanely well for its purpose. Similar to Triple Tactics Talent, using Lightning Storm with the right timing is wildly beneficial. When you're behind in the game, this card gives you a huge leg up.
That's one reason I've been so vocal about the need for a Lightning Storm reprint. I'm ok with the best themes having a high price tag, but for the sake of general game balance, the utility cards that exist so you can try and play the game are really important. Lighting Storm may not directly win the game for you, but it can clear the field or bait negations so you can at least have a chance at playing your cards when your opponent's got a big set-up. The budget reprint is great, and for higher end collectors and max rarity duelists, we now know there's a Lightning Storm Collector's Rare, too.
And yet, with all of that, it's probably not the most coveted card in the set.
Slifer the Sky Dragon (Ultra Pharaoh's Rare)
Obelisk the Tormentor (Ultra Pharaoh's Rare)
Ok, well, I was certainly surprised. The Sacred Beasts, Wicked Gods, and Egyptian Gods have all had an insane year with plenty of re-releases. With The Winged Dragon of Ra (Ghost Rare), the Secret Rare printings of all three Egyptian Gods in Speed Duel: Battle City Box, and new Ultra Rares in the Egyptian God Decks, I didn't think we'd be getting buffed up rarities of these cards so soon. But with all the new support for Slifer, Obelisk, and Ra - as well as the strong demand from the fans and players - it makes sense to see a new premium printing of the God Cards in King's Court.
Let me wind that back, because it's still kind of fresh news: Obelisk the Tormentor, Slifer the Sky Dragon, and The Winged Dragon of Ra are back in King's Court, with a new take on the long-awaited Millennium Rare parallel prismatic effect (which debuted in the OCG in 2015). Details are still pretty sketchy as of this writing, but so far the rumors suggest that these are one-per-case chase cards.
If that's the case, the Millennium Rare God Cards are going to be three of the absolute hottest cards of the year. You only have to look back at Toon Chaos and Battles of Legend: Armageddon last year to see how hot these cards will probably be: anytime a new premium rarity debuts like this, it's always a huge hit. That factor, combined with the sheer fan power of Obelisk, Slifer and Ra, puts them at the top of my list for King's Court.
Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.