Has everyone calmed down after the Dark Magician Girl Ghost Rare hoax? Yeah? Most of us? Good.
Recovering's pretty easy, since not only do we still get Dark Magician (Ghost Rare) in Ghosts From the Past, along with four more Ghost Rares, we also get new themes to build decks with, lots of rarity upgrades, and legacy support for a bevy of fan-favorite archetypes. If you're still not over it, hey, at least product-hover id="221762" promo's coming back to stores soon, right?
But hey, back on topic. Narrowing down Ghosts From the Past to just ten choice cards was nearly impossible, because every time I looked back at the spoilers I found something I hadn't noticed before. It wasn't until I tackled the set list for seriously the eleventh time, that my brain registered there were new Fairy Tail cards. I'm not sure how big the demand for Fairy Tail cards is with Fairy Tail - Snow Forbidden, but I think there's really something there now.
To get this into a formal Top 10 I had to pass up on great support for stuff like the Lavals, Time Thiefs, Nekroz, and Shaddolls. Personally, the Time Thiefs are what I'm most excited for, but my precious Time Thief Double Barrel seems underappreciated in the public eye.
Oh well. Guess it's more Time Thief goodness for me.
If there are any cards I missed that you've got on your Top 10, let me know over on Twitter. I know that someone out there's getting worked up for that Ultra Rare copy of Mine Mole, and as far as I'm concerned, you do you. Honestly, this article could have been "Top 10 Themes Supported By Ghosts From the Past" and some great stuff still would have been left out.
There are roughly seven people in the world obsessed with Hieratics, and I'm one of them. My favorite decks of all time are Ghostricks, Fabled, and yes, Hieratics, so I will have my shining moment for a second while you buckle up and listen.
The weird thing about Hieratic Seal of Creation is that it's so generic: it's almost as playable in other decks as it is in Hieratics. As long as you have something to summon from your Extra Deck, any Dragon Xyz on your field is a valid target for the Hieratic Seal of Creation first effect.
If you haven't figured out by now, Hieratic Dragon King of Atum Special Summons any Dragon from your deck, and Hieratic Seal of Creation turns your Xyz Dragon into Atum. Long story short, any one of roughly 50 different monsters plus this spell means a "free Dragon" of your choice.
Hieratic Dragon King of Atum
The Hieratic Seal of Creation not as wildly unfair as Guardragon Elpy, but it's worth noting its potential. Is it amazing for Hieratic decks? The second effect certainly helps the beloved-by-me strategy, but the first effect takes some finagling.
Xyz Summon Hieratic Dragon King of Atum, use its ability to Special Summon a monster, stack a Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger, then use Hieratic Seal of Creation to turn Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger into another Hieratic Dragon King of Atum. You'll get a second free Dragon from the deck, meaning extra space in the Extra Deck means more dragons. Yay? That combo takes several spots in your Extra Deck combined with hard drawing a spell, so I'm not confident it'll pan out that often.
Long story short, yes, it's useful for Hieratic decks and non-Hieratic decks. Will it see competitive play? On some level, yes. Am I going to try and play Xyz Gift? Yes, and that will last for about 10 seconds.
In terms of cards I was not expecting, Dragunity Glow takes the metaphorical cake.
Since the dawn of Yu-Gi-Oh, there's been a strong line that separates monsters that are Level 4 or lower, from monsters that are Level 5 and higher. The big defining factor is the Normal Summon, specifically which monsters you can Normal Summon without tribute, but the line's slowly been getting blurrier over time.
So while Dragunity Glow can only search high Level Dragunity monsters - meaning it can't search Dragunity Remus or Dragunity Dux - it's still a fantastic card. The new Dragunity Arma Gram the best monster for it, but there are some old school Dragunity cards to search too, like Dragunity Arma Mystletainn. Man, Dragunity Arma Mystletainn being Level 6 brings back some warm memories of Hieratic Dragon King of Atum and busted OTKs. I wish I had Hieratic Seal of Creation back then.
Dragunity Arma Gram
But yeah, Dragunity Arma Gram a Level 10 monster you can Special Summon from your hand or graveyard by banishing yarded monsters, it's got massive stats, a powerful once-per-turn effect, and it's a Dragon. I'm not saying it's a Dragon Ruler, but if it walks like one, talks like one, and you can Special Summon it with the exact same condition, uhhh… it raises questions. And the fact that you can search it so easily with Dragunity Glow is just bonkers. Aren't three of the Dragon Rulers banned, anyway? This is basically a searchable Dragon Ruler, and it's doubly searchable thanks to Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms.
This has turned into a Dragunity Arma Gram review, but you can't talk about one card without the other. Dragunity Glow turns into Dragunity Arma Gram, and the Dragunity fan base is so rabid, Dragunity Glow quickly become one of GFTP's bigger pulls.
Dragunity Glow second effect accelerates combos or something, sure, but I'm still kinda reeling realizing that we can practically search a Dragon Ruler now. "Dragon Ruler #5." "Dragunity Dragon Ruler." "Giant Dragunity dude." "Dragunity Dragon Ruler that negates Effects Dragon." Whatever you want to call it, Dragunity Glow makes Dragunity Arma Gram that much better.
I refuse to call this card anything but Krampus - you know, the wendigo that punishes kids for being naughty? AKA Santa's moody co-worker.
Starry Night, Starry Dragon a retrain of Seiyaryu, a move nobody asked for, and I can't for the life of me figure out why it's vaguely Christmas themed. The flavor text for Seiyaryu reads, "A mystical dragon that burns away the unworthy with its mystic flames." It doesn't exactly scream "Happy Holidays," does it?
So… yeah, that's… a thing. The Starry Knights are Fairy monsters that all support Starry Night, Starry Dragon and they do it in the strangest way possible: helping field a Level 7 Dragon that blows things up when it's summoned… on Christmas.
If you're confused on the Christmas thing, let's break it down. Starry Knights are Fairies, basically stand-ins for angels. Starry Night, Starry Dragon has 2500 ATK while the Starry Knights stats all add up to 25, and guess which holiday falls on December 25th? Starry Dragon Level 7, traditionally a holy number, and the Japanese name for Starry Knight Arrival is "Holy Knight Advent," so that's literally Christmas on Christmas on Christmas in a card name.
There are a few more parallels, but the only way they could have made it more obvious would have been to print the lyrics to Silent Night as the flavor text on one of the cards.
This Christmas, give the gift of flames and destruction! Starry Knight Blast shows you what happens to all the bad boys and girls, so make sure to stay on Starry Night, Starry Dragon good side.
And yes, I'm just as confused as you are. Starry Knights won't be the most competitive theme going, but it's 1) a new theme, 2) a retrain of an old card, and 3) Christmas, but on fire. Go figure.
If you're not familiar with Vampires in Yu-Gi-Oh, I can't say I blame you. The deck's gone through several big changes of focus over the years, and right now I guess I'd say it's largely about stealing monsters from your opponent's graveyard. Vampire Lord isn't really viable right now, using a Battle Phase to let your opponent Foolish Burial their deck.
Not gonna lie, remembering when that card topped tournaments makes me feel old.
With Vampire's Domain, Vampire Voivode is officially a good card. When I first saw it, Vampire Voivode seemed pretty lackluster. I'll be honest, I kinda forgot about Vampire's Domain It's searchable with Vampire Retainer, and it means you can actually Normal Summon Vampire Voivode after you've done some other stuff.
I don't want to gloss over the process: Vampire decks, and by extension Zombies, easily summon big swarms of monsters. But along the way, you'll probably have to use your Normal Summon. But with cards like Uni-Zombie, Mezuki, Gozuki, One for One, Book of Life…the list of easy Special Summons goes on and on, so you should have plenty of fodder for Vampire Voivode. And that's where the fun starts.
When you Normal Summon Vampire Voivode, it gets you two free monsters from your opponent's graveyard. That's not a typo. And while the monsters do come up in defense mode and have their effects negated, there's no other downside. You just steal their monsters, and you can use them for whatever you want. After all, they're free.
Vampire Voivode other effects are useful, but they won't come up as often. Stopping monster effects while another with the same name exists in the graveyard? Useful, yes, but it's not an ironclad defense. Revival by sacrificing lesser monsters on your field? Again, that's insanely useful in the right situation, but to make it work, a monster has to come out of your opponent's graveyard.
I still give it a solid thumbs up.
Ultimately, I think Vampire Voivode going to be a catalyst for Vampire decks that sires a gulp of fresh blood into the theme. A lot of great Vampire cards have stacked up over the years, but the deck needed a single rallying point that would make it worth playing, and now we've finally got it.
The Sunseed, Sunvine, and Sunavalon themes are all part of a larger umbrella, or rather a Venn Diagram of archetype assortment, that can work together in many different combinations. The only definitive thing I can say about the three themes is that the naming generally correlates to what part of your deck it represents: the Sunseeds are exclusively Main Deck building blocks, while the Sunavalon are Link monsters (that are also trees).
…And then there's Sunvine Maiden, breaking the naming conventions right from Day 1.
That said, the cards that seem to have drawn the most attention are Sunvine Thrasher and Sunavalon Dryas. Sunseed Genius Loci is the plant glue that holds everything together, and both Sunvine Thrasher and Sunavalon Dryas come from Sunseed Genius Loci, so it only seems fair to declare a tie as to which of these Sun cards is most sought after. Technically I guess it's a three-way tie with Sunseed Genius Loci , but I digress.
Sunseed Genius Loci
I'm not exactly sure how to describe this deck to someone that hasn't seen it in action. I'll be blunt - not all the cards are exactly "useful for competitive play," so don't worry if you're overwhelmed by the sheer volume of "Sun" cards in Ghosts from the Past. Just make sure to understand those three cards, because they're the main pillars of whatever "Sun" combos you're going to be assembling.
The deck does lots of Link Climbing to get to Sunavalon Dryatrentiay, but ultimately, the strategy wouldn't survive without Sunvine Thrasher and Sunavalon Dryas. They provide the bulk of the consistency and raw damage potential leading up to the finishing moves, so even if you only want to play a small suite of these Sun archetypes, you'll need Sunvine Thrasher and Sunavalon Dryas.
Speaking of themes that bleed together.
I've been confused for a long time about what to call the Photon/Galaxy/Galaxy-Eyes umbrella archetype, but Galaxy-Eyes Cipher X Dragon takes it up a notch. As you might have noticed, I forgot to include "Cipher" in that list a moment ago, and then you have to remember that half of the monsters in these themes are also Dragons, or include "Dragon" in their name.
The bad news is that you'll need a giant whiteboard and a few dry erase markers to figure out who's related to who. But the good news is that you won't need all that to figure out how awesome Galaxy-Eyes Cipher X Dragon is! Anytime you can overlay an Xyz Monster on top of another Xyz for a low cost, or for free!, the card's brimming with potential.
The only issue with Galaxy-Eyes Cipher X Dragon a simple one: you're limited by Extra Deck space. There are plenty of instances where Galaxy-Eyes Cipher X Dragon could be useful, cause, ya know, it has 4000 ATK. But its effect to Special Summon a fallen Xyz means Galaxy-Eyes Cipher X Dragon has to survive until YOUR Standby Phase.
Useful? Yes. Another Galaxy-Eyes card that people are gonna go bananas for? Yes. Always going to make the cut in a tiny, cramped, 15-card Extra Deck? Maybe not.
If you simply want the protection effect as a Rank 10 monster, Number 81: Superdreadnought Rail Cannon Super Dora is the way to go, but that card just isn't as cool as Galaxy-Eyes Cipher X Dragon.
Hyped cards aren't always the most competitive, and vice versa. Don't blame me, blame the player base. But hey, if you make it to your next Standby Phase, I have a special prize for you.
I'd like to kindly inform all Dragunity players that they are never, and I mean never, ever, EVER, allowed to complain anymore, until roughly 2030. Dragunity came out of the gate as a top contender over a decade ago in Starstrike Blast, and they may be up there again once Dragunity Remus drops.
Yes, I'm aware of the pain you suffered when Dragunity Ravine spent an undeserved and exceedingly long period of time on the Forbidden & Limited List, but I think Dragunity Remus makes up for that in the long run. Beause wow, this card.
There isn't much flair to Dragunity Remus first effect: you discard Dragunity Remus and you search Dragunity Ravine. It doesn't matter if you've already played one, nor does Dragunity Remus restrict your summons. For that reason alone, any deck that uses Dragon Ravine will play Dragunity Remus as a second, third, and fourth copy of Terraforming.
Dragunity Remus second effect is definitely useful, but thankfully it has a restriction that's slightly more oppressive than the Guardragons. If you have a Dragunity monster on board, you'll summon Remus directly from your graveyard, and in return it locks your Extra Deck summons to Dragons for the rest of the turn.
Is that awesome in a generic strategy? Better question: why are you bothering with generic strategies when dedicated Dragunity is staring you right in the face? There aren't really any downsides to this card because the negative drawback doesn't really hit until way late in your combos, and at worst you'll only be affected by it if your opponent's already wasted one or two of their responses.
I don't see how they could have made Dragunity Remus much better without it being entirely broken. Years ago I would have called this card unfair, but the game's grown to a point where I can say it's not unbalanced.
Between Dragunity Knight - Romulus and Dragunity Remus, you'll always have access to Dragon Ravine. The only way you won't see Dragon Ravine is if somehow all of your cards get negated. Which seems unlikely.
How many retrains and evolutions of The Signer Dragons are we going to get? I have no idea, but we're getting at least one more now!
Remember Red Dragon Archfiend and Stardust Dragon? It's 2021, and both of those monsters have a combined dozen upgraded versions now. Red Supernova Dragon the latest in the line of souped up 5D's Dragons, this one taking a staggering three Tuners to unleash.
XX-Saber Gottoms still takes the cake, since technically you can make it with an even more ridiculous six Tuners if you were so inclined, but Red Supernova Dragon definitely getting out of hand. Yeah, fielding three Tuners isn't the hardest thing in the world, but it's still kind of its own subsection of silly.
If it can be done, it will. And in the case of Red Supernova Dragon it's worthwhile. We have plenty of field wipes in the game today, but I can't think of many others that are as generic as Red Supernova Dragon. I should say, "as generic as triple Tuners can be," but that's not outlandish all things considered.
When your opponent attacks or uses a monster effect, poof, you just banish Red Supernova Dragon and wipe the field. There isn't a downside, so you can wait as long as you'd like before you trigger the effect. It's not like a normal counter card, stopping one action and letting your opponent have free rein from there: it's a field wipe you can use virtually any time to shut down everything.
In terms of the easiest route to summon this thing, Junk Speeder a 1-card Red Supernova Dragon. Is that a deck in and of itself? Actually, yeah. I'm not saying it's Tier 0, but Red Supernova Dragon a field wipe Quick Effect on legs; there's not much to say about that because it's so obviously powerful. Red Supernova Dragon returns during your next End Phase, so it's not something that will be around every turn to attack, but it'll probably be available on every one of your opponent's turns to control the game.
This isn't up for debate. When Evenly Matched was removed from Structure Deck: Spirit Charmers for the TCG release, I literally thought hell was going to break loose on the stateside Yu-Gi-Oh community. Evenly Matched is up there with Infinite Impermanence and Invocation as cards that players will always want, and will still drive demand after roughly seen dozen printings.
Even with reprints in the 2018 Mega-Tins Mega Pack and Duel Power, Evenly Matched has stayed above the $20 mark. Any time Evenly Matched falls out of the tournament scene for a few weeks and one of those printings dips in price, a sort of hive mentality takes over that yeah, maybe Evenly Matched is good and it should be expensive, and the resulting demand sends it back up over 20 bucks again.
Back in my most recent article calling attention to cards that need reprints , I highlighted Infinite Impermanence as one of the top candidates, but I'll double down on the sentiment I've literally shared for years now: Evenly Matched, Infinite Impermanence, and Invocation need fourteen dozen more printings, and until that time comes, one of them will make any Top 10 list I make.
That being said, Evenly Matched falls into a weird category of cards that can be competitive one week, and then irrelevant the next. Sometimes it's a Side Deck staple? But sometimes it's not played whatsoever? It's not quite as nebulous as Dinowrestler Pankratops, but Evenly Matched has a significant foothold as an ace in the hole, and you can check out Anthony's March Metagame Recap to see where it was used over the last few weeks.
For older players like myself, it breaks my brain a little bit that cards like Raigeki and Evenly Matched aren't perpetually staples, but that's just how the game's shaped up. Trends come and go, and the cards that play into them have become very powerful, and very specific.
Not all strategies need Evenly Matched all the time, but surprise, when it's good it's freaking fantastic. Need a de facto board wipe because your "main" cards aren't good enough? Why not Evenly Matched. I don't see this card ever falling out of competition permanently, though it's always smart to remember that a decade ago Tsukuyomi and Magician of Faith were considered too broken to be allowed in competitive play.
Of course it's Dark Magician (Ghost Rare), y'all.
I haven't done an official poll on which rarity is the number one favorite amongst all players, but I'd bet a significant amount of money that Ghost Rares are the winner. And a Ghost Rare nostalgia card that I and hundreds of thousands of others have loved for twenty years? I don't see how this card won't be a bajillion dollars.
Don't tell the people that are obsessed with Super Rares, though. They're vicious and would fight me to the death to defend their precious product-hover id="26057".
In some ways, Yu-Gi-Oh comes down to an eternal battle between Dark Magician (Ghost Rare) and Blue-Eyes White Dragon, and as far as the top card in the brand is concerned, maybe GFTP swings the pendulum slightly in Dark Magician (Ghost Rare) favor. Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon (Ghost Rare) also got the Ghost Rare treatment, but it's not really Blue-Eyes White Dragon, and thus Dark Magician (Ghost Rare) still reigns supreme.
I think all of the GFTP Ghost Rares, Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon (Ghost Rare), Black Luster Soldier - Soldier of Chaos (Ghost Rare), Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon (Ghost Rare) and Firewall Dragon (Ghost Rare), will only go up in value and notoriety as time goes on. But Dark Magician (Ghost Rare) leading the pack from Day 1, and that isn't likely to change. It's the ultimate wizard in terms of attack and defense, and it's also the ultimate icon of the King of Games.
If anyone wants to donate to my "Ghost Rare Dark Magician" collection, feel free to do so! If I had all the money in the world, I'd happily paper my walls with as many copies of this card as I could fit. It might be a while before I see one in real life, but I don't think I can resist the awesomeness that is Dark Magician (Ghost Rare), and it's an easy pick for the Number 1 card that everybody wants in Ghosts From the Past.
Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.