Sometimes when you're looking at a new set, it's easy to tell what the hot cards will be, and what will fall into the category of, "that might be nice to have, I guess" instead. The OCG setlist for Phantom Rage has been confirmed for a while since the set came out in like, August, so in my mind, things were pretty locked in.
When Legendary Duelists: Rage of Ra dropped, it didn't exactly take a clairvoyant to see that a Ghost Rare version of The Winged Dragon of Ra (Ghost Rare), a fan-favorite icon with a slew of new support, would be a hot commodity. (Like me!)
But slowly, the TCG version of Phantom Rage was breathed into existence through reveals by some of the game's biggest Yugitubers, like our very own Doug Zeeff. Now that we've seen the World Premiere cards the release is even better: Phantom Rage is so annoyingly good that my Top 10 list doesn't even have a bunch of cards I would "normally" include in a Top 10 list. You know me - I gravitate towards those non-meta decks and I'm always seeking out random strategies and legacy support. But even I'm blown away by the entirety of Phantom Rage.
Maybe I should have done a Top 100...
I don't care if you don't like traps; this card is a big deal.
This goes for all trap-heavy decks, but monster effect negation's been a point of contention for a long time as the ratios of certain cards wax and wane. Depending on the format and the overall needs of your deck, arguments have been made for and against cards like Titanocider, Lost Wind, Infinite Impermanence and many more. What's the best option? What's in, and what's out?
Muddying the waters, you have non-negation cards like Compulsory Evacuation Device and Get Out! too. Why bother negating the effect when you can bounce one, maybe two monsters clean off the field? Or what about Crackdown, stealing a monster outright? And heck, almost all of those cards lose out to things like Denko Sekka, which means in the right format even Breakthrough Skill a contender.
Now there's Warning Point. Sure, it doesn't make your opponent destroy their whole field or lose 8000 Life Points, but it's insanely strong. Shutting down effects and attacks while also limiting Extra Deck usage… this card does everything you can imagine short of instantly shutting down your opponent's turn. And against a Normal Summon, it may still do just that.
On top of the flashy effects, Warning Point being a Normal Trap is a huge benefit for Paleozoic Frogs and any other deck running Trap Trick. Heck, any deck that even considers running traps can look to Warning Point as an option, even if you just toss it in there for extra negates.
Even if Warning Point isn't an instant three-of in every trap-based deck, it'll be a hot commodity until basically forever. The rarity and sheer potential should spike the price of the card out of the gates, and I'm sorry in advance for all the times it's going to screw up your plans.
Hey, look, it's Swallow's Nest, but good!
When I first read Tri-Brigade Airborne Assault I didn't realize that its effect isn't limited to Tri-Brigade monsters. I'm not dogging the theme at all, but I'm always more interested in a card if it has applications across a wide spectrum of different decks.
So the ability to swap out a Beast, a Beast-Warrior, or a Winged-Beast for a different monster actually has far greater range than many might suspect. It's not just for Tri-Brigades, and we'll definitely see the demand reflect that. Tri-Brigade Airborne Assault isn't the "best" Tri-Brigade card, because the actual core Tri-Brigade cards are the real showstoppers, but… I'm always partial to cards that can be splashed into a wealth of strategies.
Cut back to my reference to Swallow's Nest.
I wish there were more cool and nuanced stuff to say about Tri-Brigade Airborne Assault, but it's just a really solid card. Does it help with Tri-Brigade combos? Sure. And does it get you better Tri-Brigade opening hands? Absolutely.
Or is it just, ya know, a better version of Swallow's Nest? That too.
I'll always support generic search cards like this. Even with it's restriction, Tri-Brigade Airborne Assault a good card to have in your collection if your wallet can handle it.
…And no, I didn't ignore things like Tri-Brigade Shuraig the Ominous Omen. But with so many good cards, gosh, you could almost make a Top 10 list entirely of Tri-Brigades. If I kept every card I wrote about for this list, you'd have a Top 17.
That's right, readers, I go above and beyond to write content you'll never see.
Y'all, I hate this card's stupid name. At least it's a Super Rare – it's inexpensive, and it'll sell like hot cakes.
I know I'm not being fair to the card, but no matter how good Prank-Kids Meow-Meow-Mu is, the name just sounds silly to me. Good thing for all the Prank-Kid players though; my opinion on the card's name is pointless, and if you're a Prank-Kids fan Prank-Kids Meow-Meow-Mu practically a gift from the gods.
In short, Prank-Kids monsters turn into Link and Fusion Monsters, and when they do, the materials for those summons bring out new Prank-Kids from the deck. The obvious problem there is that you need to see multiple Prank-Kids, and you often need a third card to get them onto the field or fuse them together.
Prank-Kids Meow-Meow-Mu doesn't alter the structure of the deck, but it means that a less-than-perfect hand is no longer a death sentence. Just one new Prank-Kids monster won't solve all your problems, but now you can *gasp for dramatic effect* do something.
That may not sound like a big deal to people that haven't played Prank-Kids, but trust me, it is. Normal Summon a Prank-Kids monster, turn it into Prank-Kids Meow-Meow-Mu, then Special Summon another Prank-Kids monster for free.
Link your second Prank-Kids Main Deck monster and Prank-Kids Meow-Meow-Mu into Prank-Kids Dodo-Doodle-Doo, which summons another Prank-Kids monster and gets yoou a Prank-Kids spell or trap from your deck to your hand. Prank-Kids Meow-Meow-Mu existence means even the most mediocre hands can make a comeback, making Prank-Kids more consistent, and more competitively viable.
There are some inexplicable things that people in this game go crazy for - certain types of playmats, card sleeves, deck boxes - don't get me started on the calculator cases, pink sleeves, and dice culture that some people utterly worship.
But you know what people go really nuts for? Charmer support and Prismatic Secret Rares.
One of my friends who literally hasn't played an actual game in over three years bought every Charmer Starlight Rare literally as soon as possible, buying an obscene number of packs for some, and finding others on the secondary market.
Aussa the Earth Charmer, Immovable (Starlight Rare), Eria the Water Charmer, Gentle (Starlight Rare), and Wynn the Wind Charmer, Verdant (Starlight Rare) all got the Prismatic treatment, so it was only a matter of time before Hiita's Link counterpart got the same treatment.
Don't believe that this hype train exists? I scrolled through my Facebook shortly after the announcement of Hiita's Starlight reprint, and I literally saw dozens of posts raving about the card within five minutes. Try to go find one of the other Starlight Charmers for less than 300 dollars - sure, Hiita isn't a Ten Thousand Dragon, but literally every time I've checked the price of this card for pre-sale prices, it's gone up.
Sorry, not sorry to add more fuel to the fire. People are downright ravenous about Charmers, and with Structure Deck: Spirit Charmers right around the corner, having all four Starlight copies of the Charmer Link monsters is going to be the perfect way to flex on your opponent.
I didn't go to the doctor to be sure, but I'm pretty sure my brain literally broke reading this card. Oh, and it being a Secret Rare means it will break everyone's wallet as well.
You know Evenly Matched? And how it basically board wipes your opponent because the Battle Phase exists? Well, how does the idea of activating a monster version of Evenly Matched sound? And what if I tell you it's an Xyz Monster? And that the requirements are just, "an Xyz Monster, provided an Xyz Monster battled this turn."
I'll admit that actually triggering Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder effect is technically not as easy as throwing down Evenly Matched. But it's pretty darn close. Those requirements are pitifully easy to fulfill, and I'm already annoyed at the number of times I'm going to forget this card exists and then lose to it.
It's funny. During Master Rule 4, a fair number of cards would have elicited mild excitement and/or shrugs. But the freedom to throw down infinite Xyz Monsters makes this card really good.
Excuse me while I go scream into the void.
As amazing as Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder is, at least it's not a recurring Evenly Matched. You'll need to detach two materials to board wipe the field. Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder can replenish its own materials, sure, but more often than not you're facing a single board wipe.
…Unless, of course, you don't manage to destroy Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder. In that case… Well… You lose.
The Dogmatika theme is… bad? Am I allowed to say that out loud?
Like if you had to play every Dogmatika card in multiples,you'd have a really mediocre deck. That feels weird to say, but when a few cards in the theme are absolute bananas, the rest of it can look pretty dry. To some extent, t's like comparing Spellbook Library of the Heliosphere to Spellbook of Fate.
Dogmatika Ashiyan falls somewhere in the middle. Its summoning requirement's relatively easy, and its stats aren't too bad. Heck, you'll even get an ATK buff when your opponent attacks your monsters. Its main effect recycles Dogmatika cards from your graveyard, too.
Yes, that's the part where you're supposed to throw confetti.
I think the hype behind Dogmatika Ashiyan stems from its sheer novelty. It doesn't have to be the best card, but when your search options with Dogmatika Ecclesia, the Virtuous are so limited, something else – almost anything else – is a welcome change.
And of course, Dogmatika Ashiyan recursion ability can't be understated. I'd love to trigger things like Dogmatika Maximus multiple times, but do I ever want to draw multiple copies of it? No! You don't want to put yourself in a position of overstuffing your deck with niche cards, risk overdrawing them, and focusing too much on Dogmatika Ecclesia, the Virtuous to bail you out.
So you may be asking yourself, "Wait, is this a good card or not? Are you hyping it or hating it?" And it's good, to be clear. But as just an Ultra Rare and not a Secret Rare, I don't think Dogmatika Ashiyan will maintain its price and continue to be the hot commodity it is now. It's a bit overrated at the moment, but it's still extremely important.
I'm not saying Myutants are what Predaplants should have been, but this Psychic Fusion strategy is just worlds better than the Predaplant theme. The whole strategy's really cool and I can't cover all of it here, but in short, Myutants banish each other to leverage powerful aggressive threats that also counter your opponent's cards, very much a going-first deck of 2020.
But the theme's most exciting card is a 3500 ATK Fusion Monster, easily summoned with Myutant Fusion. You can't talk about the Fusion Monster without the Fusion Spell, which only gets better if your opponent, ya know, does things.
It's strange times. We're at a weird point in Yu-Gi-Oh where it's borderline advantageous for your opponent to have Quick Effects on your turn.
Any deck that kicks out a giant monster with the ability to counter monster effects, spells, and traps with the added bonus of getting back monsters post-mortem is no laughing matter. Myutant Ultimus isn't as generic as Invoked Mechaba, but if you're playing a Myutant deck, you don't have to worry about splashability.
Also, the art here's pretty sweet. It won't be a Starlight Rare, but I'm the kind of duelist that often likes the artwork of a card more than the overall aesthetic. I would have happily welcomed Myutant Ultimus as a common just for the hydra's artwork, but it being a Secret Rare is a huge bonus.
You laughed at me.
I don't know who you are, but yes, you… you probably laughed at me and my Melffys.
Well prepared to get absolutely WRECKED every day of the week once me and my boy Alpha, the Master of Beasts come onto the scene! Alright, it's not going be an unbeatable card, but Alpha, the Master of Beasts one of the best boss monsters Beast, Beast-Warrior, and Winged-Beast decks could ever ask for.
There are plenty of big Level 8s that are considered boss monsters: Orbital Hydralander and Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning definitely come to mind. They take some setup but they work wonders to spot remove threats. They're really powerful, but in 2020, they swing the momentum of games more than dominate them.
To be fair, boss monsters like the original pre-errata version of Chaos Emperor Dragon - Envoy of the End are outliers. That card was beyond busted.
But Alpha, the Master of Beasts is definitely leaning towards the busted end of the Main Deck boss monster spectrum. Its summoning requirements are extremely easy. It takes some math to get it right, but the main effect is crazy: bounce some Beasts to your hand, and you bounce up to the same number of opposing cards .
This isn't a one to one boss monster. You won't pop a single spell, trap, or monster. But in the right situation you can clear your opponent's entire board, or at least deal with all the most important cards. On top of that, you can search Alpha, the Master of Beasts with Melffy Catty.
I wouldn't make an idle Melffy threat and not capitalize on it. Just wait - we're coming for you.
I have to admit, I have no idea what's going on and I'm scared.
The Virtual World cards are all Wyrm and Psychic monsters that bring nothing but chaotic energy to the game. Trying to absorb all the information from the Virtual World cards is confusing at first, but they aren't so scary once you understand them.
The theme does a pretty good job of summoning monsters, so as long as you're playing a Virtual World deck this monster's ridiculously easy to summon. The Virtual World monsters have a weird restriction of limiting your options to Rank 3, and Level 3 and higher monsters, drawing reactions kind of like this.
But Virtual World Kyubi - Shenshen is the lowest common denominator for decks both Virtual World and not. After many years of virtually no Level 9 Synchros, we've seen an influx of both good and bad additions to the database.
There are lots of reason why Virtual World Kyubi - Shenshen won't replace Herald of the Arc Light as a counter to decks that send cards to the graveyard. But as a generic Level 9 Synchro that revives itself from the graveyard for minimal cost… look out.
Obviously, Virtual World Kyubi - Shenshen banishing effect can be abused for your own cards, but this recursive thorn in your opponent's side will no doubt come back to haunt unsuspecting duelists. Imagine if Masked HERO Dark Law could bring itself back every turn. That doesn't sound too fun.
Well, at least not for your opponent. That sounds GREAT for you if you're the one who controls Virtual World Kyubi - Shenshen.
Remember when The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche was like, ya know, insane? AKA, since it's existed? It's hard for Main Deck monsters to compete with Extra Deck monsters because it's so much easier to abuse cards in your Extra Deck – you don't need to draw them, making them vastly more consistent. But The Phantom Knights of Torn Scales is sure giving The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche a run for its money. We've seen Armgeddon Knight, Foolish Burial, and Dark Grepher all get Limited, but you're in luck if you're concentrating on Warriors or specifically Phantom Knights.
Considering half the cards in the game today want to be sent to the graveyard anyway, The Phantom Knights of Torn Scales discard cost is often a benefit. But the added bonus of sending a Phantom Knights card to the graveyard and then bringing itself back when that Phantom Knight gets banished?
All aboard the hype train, yall!
Starting at the bare basics, consider summoning Marauding Captain and bringing out The Phantom Knights of Torn Scales from your hand. Discard whatever, and send The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak from your deck to your graveyard. Suddenly you've opened up a world of potential! You now have access to Cherubini, Ebon Angel of the Burning Abyss, and need I say more?
Given that The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche is Limited once again and Phantom Rage introduced a bunch of other Phantom Knight and Raidraptor support, The Phantom Knights of Torn Scales only gets better. Even if the entirety of Phantom Rage was literally just this card, it'd be a huge boost to a slew of decks that could abuse it.
And yes, you can even make the case that it'd be good in Fabled.
Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.