Hello again, readers! I'm bringing you a double feature this week with a quick outline of what I feel are the biggest wins and the biggest missed opportunities in Legendary Duelists: Season 2, the new boxed booster release that just dropped yesterday.
Last year we saw multiple Legendary Duelist sets combined into a single release for the first time ever, with Legendary Duelists: Season 1. The reaction I saw was overwhelmingly positive! Between the new Colorful Ultra Rares, the big character cards, and strong reprints for both competitive and casual players, the over-arching concept made Season 1 a banger.
While there were definitely some improvements to be made, LDS1 was a step in the right direction, and Season 2 seems to be building on that. Let's take a quick look at some of the biggest wins the new set offers, starting with...
Kicking off with the most obvious, some of the biggest wins are the incredibly huge price drops some of these reprints represent. Seriously, some of these cards had prices that made me want to tear my hair out.
Photon Orbital a perfect example: at more than $40 for the original printing, it's not exactly something you wanted to pick up for a strategy you probably weren't going to take to anything above a local tournament anyways. Especially when you needed three copies; $120 is a hard pill to swallow for a purely casual strategy.
Luckily, our friends at Konami heard the screams of players like Loukas, who seem to enjoy playing decks with cards that most players have never heard of, and gave us a MUCH-needed reprint that's currently clocking in at just over $6.
Currently the most expensive card in the entire set is roughly $11, which isn't wallet breaking by any means. Cards like Urgent Schedule, which are legitimately required if you're planning to have any success with the Train strategy, were over $20 each just a few weeks ago; a big turn off to most players when they're just trying to build a deck to mess around with on their kitchen table.
LDS2 took those kinds of prices to the cleaners and threw them out the door. Blackwing - Simoon the Poison Wind was going for $20+ and now it's less than $2. Those kinds of price drops are going to be a tremendous selling point, with decks like Harpies, Cyber Dragons, and even Blue-Eyes White Dragon all getting a slew of great reprints.
Not only is that good for the more casual playerbase, but even competitive players get some goodies! Garden Rose Maiden was averaging $18 or more per copy over the summer months, because it was played in the powerful and popular Dragon Link deck. But fret not! Now you can get a stunning Secret Rare copy for a measly four bucks and change.
If you're like me, and you like playing Eldlich, you may have seen the price of Superdreadnought Rail Cannon Juggernaut Liebe which was north of $20. Luckily you can now snag a reprint for less than $4, which is a much more reasonable price.
Typically, the value-adds that appear in these sorts of releases tend to be an afterthought. Take the character cards from the previous LDS set: some players, like myself, wanted to snag one of each. Some wanted every copy of a character card and have over 100 copies of Jessie Anderson, to which I raise an eyebrow and grow concerned. However, most didn't really care about them at all.
Then there was Dragons Of Legend: The Complete Series from the summer, where each box included one of three variant dice, and people lost their MINDS. Yu-Gi-Oh players love collectible accessories, be it deck boxes, dice, sleeves, tokens, or whatever else. The ability to express yourself and include a bit of personal flair in your dueling set-up's something that players will pay out the nose for.
When YCS events included special dice that were randomly given out for pre-registration, that idea created a surge in the number of players who pre-reged; suddenly everyone wanted those highly sought after dice, so they could flex on their friends who had only regular pre-registration dice. Like cavemen.
LDS2 takes the best of both worlds and includes a chance at a coveted white Kaiba Corp die, which adds a fun bit of variety into the mix, giving players something to chase after other than the cards. It's also great for collectors, and for smaller volume vendors and stores for whom every case purchase presents significant risk.
It's also great because it helps to ensure duelists of all experience levels have the tools they need to succeed and play properly at events. Over the years we've seen Konami provide dice, scorepads, pens, coins, and more - all stuff newer players either struggle to invest, in or forget to bring to tournaments - and they're always invaluable. Hopefully they continue to add supplies like these to future releases; they're always fun, and they're always useful.
So Legendary Duelists: Season 2 gets a lot right. But there are a couple missed opportunities, the first of which being...
This is a personal gripe, so take it with a grain of salt. However, one thing that's always irked me is when a card's reprinted in a manner similar to, or the same as, a previous printing.
For my fellow Yugi-boomers, you might remember Duelist League promos being a thing; they were various cards that were printed as rares, but instead of silver lettering they came in a variety of colors. Sound familiar? The concept was pushed into the Legendary Duelists: Season sets as Colorful Ultra Rares, which is great!
The problem is, one of the marquee cards of LDS2, Blue-Eyes White Dragon, already had a colorized rare run in the Duelist League promos, so it's kind of a shame to see it happen again. Now obviously they're different, as the LDS2 print is a Colorful Ultra Rare, where previously it was non-foil. There's also an argument to be made for doing this again as it's a set, not a small promotional release like Duelist League.
And I understand the validity of those points. But I would rather have seen a different card get that Colorful Ultra Rare treatment, such as The White Stone of Legend, which could really use another foil printing. The other way to remedy such a conflict would've been to use a different artwork, if possible. I can't say with any confidence that it was a possibility, because licensing agreements are complicated, but the BEWD artwork including Kaiba would've been an INCREDIBLE addition to Legendary Duelists: Season 2 and would've made collectors, and players alike, extremely happy.
This is another point where I feel the ball was kind of fumbled. Nobody dropped it, but boy the play could have been cleaner. There are four, technically five different printings of Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon now, and honestly, we don't need another Ultra Rare run. Yes, it comes in different colors, and yes, it looks amazing in each printing including the hideous Gold Rare, but fight me on this and I'll throw a colored pencil at you.
Seriously, we don't need another printing of this card in high rarity. Like my point above, there are other cards that could have used the rarity bump, and it would have been fantastic to see them get an increase in rarity, as well as a more accessible copy of Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon. Cards like Lunalight Serenade Dance, which helped to define the competitive viability of Lunalights, or Dragon Shrine, a card that's seen an astounding amount of play, could have been fantastic candidates for that rarity slot. Not to say it's a bad thing by any means, it just feels like a bit of a missed opportunity that would have boosted the satisfaction of multiple groups of players at once.
Overall, Legendary Duelists: Season 2 is great! While it probably won't make much of an impact on current competition, hopefully it goes over well, and Konami continues to release products like it in the future. Find me over on Twitter, and if you see me playing or chatting at this weekend's Remote Duel Extravaganza, say hello!
Until next time.