You know what I love?

Well, I guess I love a lot of things, but I'm not talking about Melffy Rabby or Fableds right now. What I really, really, really, really, really, REALLY love in this game - something that's been woefully underused in Yu-Gi-Oh, despite largely overused in every other trading card game out there - is alternate arts.

Seriously, who doesn't like alternate art cards? But if you don't count Lost Art promos and the occasional Elemental Hero monster, the only cards with variant illustrations were Red-Eyes Black Dragon, Blue-Eyes White Dragon, Dark Magician, and Dark Magician Girl. For basically the entirety of Yu-Gi-Oh's history.

Sure, the occasional Cyber Dragon, Tour Guide from the Underworld and um… more recently, Sky Striker Ace - Kagari got alternate arts, but overall, cards with variant artwork are few and far between. (I want to let you know, I refused to look those up and actually sat in a coffee shop for seventeen minutes until I remembered a third example. Demonstrating the problem pretty well overall.)

But now, man oh man, Maximum Gold is set to bless us with some beautiful alternate arts of fan favorites, legacy support, and even modern meta cards. Let me be clear, everyone's going to have a different list for their Top 10 this time around - like my friend who's kinda weird and suspiciously, and only plays Dragonmaids - but below you'll find what I'm calling the Top 10 of the set.

Fight me.

#10 Madolche Hootcake

Slowly… very slowly… every Madolche card is getting reprinted… again… and again… and eventually the entire deck will be dirt cheap.

I've checked on the prices of various Madolche cards periodically over the years, and I'm always foolishly surprised that the cards are way more expensive than I think they'd be. But now, with Maximum Gold driving the final nail into the budget coffin, everything but premium rarities of stuff like Madolche Queen Tiaramisu, is… finally affordable? I mean, we're not talking pocket change here: Madolche Puddingcess still runs north of five bucks even in its cheapest printing. But as far as recent history's concerned, that's very much on the lower end.

If you don't like Madolches I won't force you to pick them up, but they keep randomly getting support that… well, someone is asking for. Is it me? No. Yes? Kinda. Madolche Fresh Sistart, Madolche Salon, and Madolche Petingcessoeur are just a few examples from the last two years alone. The more I think about it, the more I'm not disliking it.

Maybe I'm still riding that high from the new Fabled cards.

Seriously, if you ever think that you'll want to play them or think they'll become something others may want, go out and get them now. Don't be me who wanted to play a Monster Mash deck and ended up spitting out my coffee seeing how expensive Madolche Anjelly was in 2019.

#9 Toadally Awesome

Wait, no, please! Keep reading!

I know that lots of people don't love the Paleozoic Frog deck, because traps decks aren't the most fun to play with, or play against. But as far as hype cards go in this release, I think Toadally Awesome definitely a strong sleeper pick.

Toadally Awesome only a rare in this set, so it'll be relatively easy to open in packs. And it's certainly got a lot going for it. Not only is it easy to find, it's backed by a new busted trap card from Phantom Rage - Warning Point - and it was recently returned to Sem-Limited status. I see this as being a huge grab from Maximum Gold .

Taking a look at Jason's Top 10 Pre-Sellers List from Phantom Rage and you'll see the proof's in the pudding; the most sought after cards aren't always the most expensive cards from the set. I mean, not everyone's going to sell an arm, or a leg, or a child just to get Ten Thousand Dragon - it's actually prtty common for lower rarity stuff to get bought up so quickly that at the end of the day, the total numbers sold of cheaper cards eclipse the more expensive stuff.

It didn't help that Doug posted a Frog video on his Dzeeff YouTube channel either, giving away the not-so-secret "secret" that Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder is a major tipping point for Frogs in the wake of Warning Point release.

Will Toadally Awesome sell out online? Probably not just due to the sheer volume of supply. But it'll definitely be one of those cards that starts off so cheap you pass on it, and then a few weeks out you suddenly see the price skyrocket whenever you wake up out of your personal haze.

For a point of reference, Pot of Desires was like 30$ for weeks and weeks, and then suddenly it was all, "Oops, that'll be 300 dollars for a playset!"

#8 Harpie's Feather Duster

Has Harpie's Feather Duster made a huge impact in competition? Well, we've had very little aggregate data to answer that question with, since, ya know, the whole "global pandemic" thing. But Harpie's Feather Duster been out of print for a long while, and there aren't any cheap copies these days due to the fervor that kicked off when the new F&L List dropped. That means anyone who wants one, or thinks they want one, or is speculating on one or more copies will surely grab one.

Or they'll grab a hundred.

…Or a thousand. I don't know. I'm old enough to remember in 2017 when Senet Switch of all things was bought out, and the price ballooned to an embarrassingly high number for a card that literally couldn't be good in the competitive landscape.

Well, come back to me in 2025 when somehow there's a Senet Switch FTK. We'll see how's laughing then.

Anyway, Harpie's Feather Duster that might be outclassed by Lightning Storm, but there's no reason to anticipate aa lack of demand for it. There's no nuanced or eloquent way to put this: a spell that wipes out all of your opponent's backrow is really good, and it's currently quite tough to find.

Imagine Dinowrestler Pankratops in the exact same position. Only one copy allowed, technically searchable but you probably won't search it, and maybe it's better suited for your Side Deck. It's the kid of card you probably won't see anyone get shivved over, but it'll go fast on the secondary market. The explosion of demand for previous printings of Harpie's Feather Duster left a lot of players out in the cold without their copies, and Maximum Gold corrects that problem to level the playing field.

#7 Infinite Impermanence

I realize that most of what I was going to write here could easily be parroted for Droll & Lock Bird on the surface, but then I remember that Infinite Impermanence is "the" hand trap of current competition. Effect Veiler, Nibiru the Primal Being, and Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring are all up at the top of the list as well, but Infinite Impermanence is seen in more decks than any other hand trap these days.

I haven't explicitly run the numbers analyzing everything - seeing as there isn't much data to run right now - but the closest competitor for hand traps is Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, also appearing in Maximum Gold. But there seems to be a key difference between those two cards, despite both being extremely generic in their approach to negations.

I'm not knocking Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring power level, but Infinite Impermanence just has more applications across different parts of the game, and even in different decks. If you need to get cards out of your hand or want to play a trap deck, Infinite Impermanence is the card for you.

If you want something that stops your opponent on their first turn, or is likewise useful as your sixth card, well, Infinite Impermanence is what you're looking for. And if you're a huge fan of Cyber Dragon Infinity, I guess this card's a good addition?

Without any bargain basement reprints, what can I say about Infinite Impermanence that isn't obvious? It'll be a staple for literally everyone, and people that want extra copies for other decks, people that sell in the secondary market, and people that don't own any copies to begin with are all going to be pursuing multiples.

Not that anyone here falls into that last category. Certainly not me. How could you even think such a thing?

#6 Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess

Look, I could say something useful, sure.

Or… I could show you this!

#5 Elemental HERO Stratos

Should Elemental HERO Stratos be higher on the list? Probably, but I'm not giving you Hero players the satisfaction I know you crave. I've always been partial to Elemental Heroes myself, and that's about it; the newer sub-themes carrying the "HERO" title don't carry much weight for me, so I'm glad that one of the best cards for the archetype belongs to the original Hero family.

And no, I don't mean Oscillo Hero. Nice try, person who likes to nitpick things!

Not only is Stratos an iconic competitive card, but the alternate art version's just magnificent - I know I've raved about art a lot so far, but I think this one sells it for me. I know my nostalgia for Elemental Heroes is playing a huge role in my decision making, but at the end of the day it's my article, and I'll be partial if I want to be.

To boot, HERO decks are actually pretty good. Yes, they hinge heavily on Vision Heroes these days, but to put things simply, a HERO is a HERO. Even when it's evil. Like an Evil HERO. Which… wait… it's… an… evil… that can't be right.

Excuse me while I go question morality for a second.

More annoying for anyone that just wants to pick up a copy or two, is the inevitable fight through all the nostalgia players to get one. Nothing will ever overtake Dark Magician Girl as a fan favorite, but you certainly won't be able to ask your friends to throw in this Premium Gold Rare. On top of a trade anytime soon.

#4 Miscellaneousaurus

This lil' Dinosaur has probably been one of the biggest Yu-Gi-Oh enigmas that's ever existed. The community has been so up and down on this card over the years, all too often kicking it when it's down, and equally ignoring it at its full power.

For being a fairly good card that's spent time on the banlist, I've been surprised to hear just about everything you could hear about this card. "It's too good!" "It can come back to just two!" "Why was it a common?" "Dinosaurs aren't even good!" "Ban it!"

Well, now Miscellaneousaurus is back to 3-per-deck, and it's finally getting a rarity bump. To clear up what seems like a constant misconception: no, Dinosaurs aren't the most completely dominating kill-you-and-everybody-else strategy in competition right now. So… can we all shut up? It seems like we're finally at some stasis regarding this particular Dinosaur that I cannot spell for the life of me.

There's a reason that I've spelled the word "miscellaneous" as "misc." almost every time I've ever written it, and yes, I had to use spellcheck to correctly spell that word just now.

Of all the comments I've heard over the years, the most common was, without a doubt, the rage stemming from the common rarity of Miscellaneousaurus. The only other card I've heard so much complaining about was Infernity Necromancer.

Speaking of Infernity…

#3 Infernity Mirage

I received a non-zero amount of hate mail and DMs, when I didn't include any of the Infernity cards in my Phantom Rage Top 10 list. I mean, I was excited for the new Infernity cards myself, don't get me wrong, but I just didn't see much public hype surrounding the strategy. The cards are great and there's lots of dedicated support for the deck, but with the low rarities all around, they just aren't the hottest picks from PHRA.

That might come across as hypocritical considering I put Prank-Kids Meow-Meow-Mu on the list and it's just a Super Rare, but one of those things is not like the other; Prank-Kids essentially double their consistency with a single new card, whereas Infernities with Phantom Rage are just… moderately better versions of themselves.

But all of that's moot considering the price of Infernity Mirage. Infernity has't been a top competitive pick for years, but Infernity Mirage was still wayyyyyy too expensive on the secondary market since it only had one measly printing. It's irrelevant how good the deck was because Infernity Mirage was such a sought after card, in tremendously high demand.

My point is, even if Phantom Rage had no new Infernity cards, Infernity Mirage would still be on this list. But Phantom Rage did have new Infernity cards, and that just makes this reprint that much more impressive.

#2 Aleister the Invoker

I'm not 100% for predicting the future, and I know that the previous printings of Aleister the Invoker aren't exactly expensive, but c'mon! Look at that new artwork! Even if you don't like the Invoked theme, this artwork is sooooooo cool!

And yes, the extra 'o's were necessary.

This might not turn out to be an expensive pull, but when Aleister the Invoker, Invocation, and Magical Meltdown are played in so many different decks, how could this not be one of the set's most sought after cards?

Like, imagine back in 2011 if Spore got an alternate art and another rarity bump? Wouldn't literally everyone that used that card grab a copy? And unlike Spore, Aleister the Invoker is played at three!

Well, at least most of the time. I'm not talking about those weird decks that "tech" just two copies to be "cool" or "edgy" or whatever. Pretty much everybody that runs Invoked or wants to use Invoked cards will pick up a playset of this new alternate art. What will happen to the old cards? I don't know, maybe we'll have a community bonfire when COVID's done.

In 2028 or whenever that is.

#1 Eldlich the Golden Lord

Sigh…

Barring my love of Fableds and my hefty dislike of Battlewasps, I try to stay as impartial as possible when it comes to talking about different decks. But in this case, I can say in the most partial way possible, I don't particularly care about Eldlich.

But guess what? The community sure as heck does, so my opinion doesn't matter. Eldlich has been the best deck, or one of the best decks, ever since its release in Secret Slayers, and the Premium Gold Rare reprint of Eldlich the Golden Lord is arguably going to make the deck that much more popular, re-invigorating player interest in the era of Dragon Link. Generally when a competitive deck sees a reprint on this level, dragging a must-run card with a sky-high pricetag back down to earth and putting tens of thousands of copies into circulation, it typically means more visibility for that theme.

You're going to see Eldlich played much more frequently in both competitive and casual settings over the coming weeks, so buckle up kids. I wish there was more to say about it, but it's like when Invocation was reprinted for a fourth time.

"This just in - a card that's been played ad nauseum, a card that everyone wants, has been reprinted again. Back to you with the weather."

Because it's a Premium Gold Rare, Eldlich the Golden Lord still won't be the easiest pull, so if you're not interested in Eldlich yourself don't discount the card just because you're not personally going to play it. I mean, I'm definitely more interested in the deck with the new cards from Blazing Vortex, sure. But if you pull a Eldlich the Golden Lord or two, at the very least, you'll have major trade bait for whatever you want from Maximum Gold.

Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson