Normally when I write a Giant Set Review, "Part 4" covers the spell and trap cards in the core set. It's generally easy to examine them all in one shot, because while most new decks rely on flashy, impressive monsters, their support cards are often simple and powerful, or so weak that they're not worth discussing. At the same time we don't see powerful generic spells and traps all that often.
Dimension of Chaos throws that out the window, inverting the formula and placing more emphasis on spells and traps. Not only are there some amazing support for both new cards and legacy themes, but there are some outstanding splashable cards as well, plus some weird stuff that's just off the wall enough to make for interesting discussion.
With that in mind, we'll be looking solely at the new spell cards in today's discussion, following up with the trap cards tomorrow. So let's dive in.
I'm intrigued by Shuffle Reborn. On the surface both of its effects appear to be -1's of card economy: you can play it to revive a monster, but you banish that monster at the end of turn for a net loss of one card. You can banish Shuffle Reborn from your graveyard to trade a card on the field for a new draw, but if you do, you banish a card from your hand, again in the End Phase. It seems like bad news all around, but a slanted perspective and a willingness to abuse the card gives better results.
Namely, if you don't have cards to banish you obviously don't take those minuses. Overlay the monster you revive, Tribute it, or use it as Synchro Material and you won't lose it to Shuffle Reborn's effect. Crash it into an opposing monster as a 1-for-1 and you'll dodge the inherent minus. Use Shuffle Reborn to 1-for-1 into a draw and you can escape the second minus by playing out your entire hand. Heck, if you send a used card back to your deck like Fiendish Chain or Call Of The Haunted, you can plus off this card if you can avoid the banishing effect.
And while you're used to cards like Breakthrough Skill and Skill Successor limiting you to just one of their effects per turn, Shuffle Reborn doesn't actually have that restriction. You can activate it to revive a monster, banish it to shuffle that monster away, and then draw a card to use it as a sort of Upstart Goblin plus Jar of Avarice deal.
And don't get me wrong, none of that's inherently powerful. But cards like this tend to have a way of popping up months or years after their release to accomplish very specific things in explosive combo decks. Into The Void's a good example: it was worthless until it was suddenly winning tournaments in Qliphort Turbo.
Easy, same-turn monster revival, plus the ability to send something back to your deck, plus draw power? Shuffle Reborn will definitely be good for something at some point. For now, Ultimate Athlete's love it to field a monster and then jump it back to the hand. It speeds up their plays and offers an optional draw effect, so it might be worthwhile there.
We've already mentioned Super Soldier Ritual quite a bit, but another quick rundown won't hurt. As a Ritual Spell demanding 8 Levels of Tribute it's easily paid with a Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands plus a Beginning Knight or Evening Twilight Knight, and from there its banish effect synergizes with those Light and Dark cards. That lets you Special Summon another Black Luster Soldier – Super Soldier from your hand and triggers the search effects of any of the Knights you banish.
There's also the option of Tributing a Level 7 and a Level 1, namely Gaia The Fierce Knight' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Charging Gaia The Fierce Knight">Charging Gaia The Fierce Knight, along with a Level 1 like the newly minted Super Soldier Soul or Sphere Kuriboh. Both cards have synergy with the theme, but as I've said before neither is spectacular, and Super Soldier Soul doesn't really fit the deck's best play sequences (heck, it's not even a Light or Dark). That said, the ability to revive Gaia The Fierce Knight' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Charging Gaia The Fierce Knight">Charging Gaia The Fierce Knight when Black Luster Soldier – Super Soldier's destroyed is attractive, essentially making it free Tribute fodder, so who knows – some form of Level 1 could creep into the deck.
It's a very solid Ritual that in large part guides how you'll build your Super Soldier strategy.
Gateway to Chaos is an immediate +1, searching out Black Luster Soldier – Super Soldier or Gaia The Fierce Knight' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Charging Gaia The Fierce Knight">Charging Gaia The Fierce Knight. It then searches a Ritual Spell when it accumulates three Spell Counters, which you get every time a monster hits the graveyard from the hand or field. Since it gets Spell Counters off your opponent's monsters too, they to tend to build up pretty quickly.
Searching copies of Black Luster Soldier – Super Soldier's really useful, since one copy of Super Soldier Ritual effectively Summons two Super Soldiers. It's really important to hit hard and fast with the Super Soldier deck, and Gateway to Chaos helps make that happen by ensuring your second Super Soldier as a follow-up to your first. Seaching Gaia The Fierce Knight' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Charging Gaia The Fierce Knight">Charging Gaia The Fierce Knight isn't super important since you can Special Summon it straight from your deck, but the ability to just grab a free 1900 ATK beater when you already have all the Super Soldiers you need is a nice way to put pressure on your opponent. It keeps Gateway from becoming a dead card in the mid-game.
And while one Super Soldier Ritual does cover two Super Soldiers, the second copy will be Special Summoned without the benefits of Beginning Knight and Evening Twilight Knight, so it might be worthwhile to reserve the banish effect of your first Super Soldier Ritual if you have a better play with the free copy from Gateway. Activating Gateway before going off with a Ritual Summon gives you two counters then and there, so the search is really easy to claim.
None of these searches are particularly exciting on their own, but they add up really quickly and they help ensure that once the Ritual Monsters start flowing, you can keep playing aggressively instead of stalling out. The sheer deck thinning is valuable as well: each initial activation of Gateway removes a card from your deck, with the strong chance to clear out one or two more along the way.
When your deck's full of potentially dead combo cards, consistency's an absolute priority. Effects that can smooth your draws are precious, and anything that can do that while delivering free cards is a must-run.
Rank-Up-Magic Raid Force is actually a great addition to the vastly under-supported Raidraptor theme. Because it works with any Xyz Monster you control, not just Raidraptors, it opens up a lot of worthwhile plays where you use Raidraptors to make an efficient Rank 4, resolve its effect, and then Rank-Up into Raidraptor – Blaze Falcon for a direct attack and a bunch of monster destruction. Blaze Falcon destroys all of your opponent's Special Summoned monsters and deals 500 damage for each, so it dishes out a lot of burn against Pendulum Strategies, and whomps on your opponent's card economy if they're playing anything else. Of the Level 4 Raidraptors, only Raidraptor – Fuzzy Lanius places a restriction on what you Xyz Summon.
At the same time, Rank-Up-Magic Raid Force works just fine with the Raidraptor Xyz themselves, giving you plays into Raidraptor – Revolution Falcon at Rank 6. That won't make it a replacement for Rank-Up-Magic Revolution Force, but it lets you reserve Revolution Force to take opposing Xyz, or set you up for Double Attack tricks more consistently by giving you more opportunities to activate Revolution Force in the Battle Phase. That makes the strategy faster, giving it a surprising win condition your opponents won't be expecting.
The sheer promise of Rank-Up-Magic Raid Force makes Raptor's Ultimate Mace that much more unfortunate. This card gives a 1000 ATK bonus, and effectively reads "If you're going to lose a battle and take a -2, just take a -1 instead by searching a Rank-Up-Magic card from your deck that you might not be able to activate next turn anyways."
I think the intent here is to sneak in an extra 1000 damage with a relatively low ATK monster, then try to bait out an attack into a protective trap or something? To get a free card? But that's not gonna happen consistently enough to make this thing worthwhile, if it's going to happen at all. Raidraptor – Readiness is bad; this card doesn't make it any better; and it's it doesn't just trigger when the equipped monster's destroyed or removed with an effect, because that's what's usually going to happen. Taking a minus against 1-for-1 monster removal is just awful.
I was about to move on to the next card when I realized, "Wait. Wait a second. This is the ULTIMATE mace?"
Like there was a regular mace at some point, and it was somehow worse than this one.
Oh thank god. Good cards.
Majesty's Pegasus is so good. It buffs your underpowered Majespecters so they can put a bit more pressure on your opponent without demanding Xyz Summons, and it lets you trade Majespecters from the field to Special Summon replacements from your deck, delivering instant pluses with their search abilities. While Majesty's Pegasus has no protection or compensation ability when it's destroyed, like Kyoutou Waterfront and Kozmotown, you'll never activate it without the intent to Tribute a monster then and there, netting you an immediate plus when the Special Summoned Majespecter's search ability resolves.
And since Tributing a Majespecter just sends it to your Extra Deck, Majesty's Pegasus sets up big Pendulum Summons and leans on your opponent in those situations where they refuse to attack your monsters for fear of just allowing more searches. This card is fantastic provided it can last even just one turn. If it survives longer than that it gets really nuts. While I love the self-protecting and compensating Field Spell trend we've seen in recent sets, I also love the idea of Field Spells that are just so good at supporting their themes that a more oldschool design is possible.
Majespecter Storm's the weakest of the Majespecter support cards, which is saying something because it's still quite powerful. The remaining four Majespecter cards we'll discuss from this point forward are all activated by Tributing a Wind Spellcaster, chiefly but in no way limited to Majespecters. Since Majespecters go to the Extra Deck when you Tribute them it's only a soft loss, and when you Pendulum Summon them back the turn following you don't just recoup your minus – you plus out of it, thanks to that Majespecter's search ability. These support cards all function as different forms of monster removal, and they're the real reason why Majespecters are so good.
Majespecter Storm is a Normal Spell, while the rest of the Majespecter cards operate at Spell Speed 2. That said, it offers the second best form of removal in the game, shuffling an opposing monster of your choice into your opponent's deck. (The only way to top that is to banish a card face-down.) That's tremendous in a competitive landscape where you're likely to see lots of Pendulum Monsters. Destroying a Pendulum Monster just lets your opponent revive it next turn if they have a full Pendulum Scale, but shuffling it away ensures that it's gone forever.
Majespecter Storm carries the common handicap of formally targeting the monster you want to shuffle away, making it a weaker card in the mirror match, and against Kozmos. But you can choose any monster you like regardless of Level, ATK, or position on the field. I'd personally expect this to be a 1-of or 2-of depending on preference; it's worth playing, but it's outclassed by the other Majespecter cards and it's going to be more difficult to play against two of the biggest match-ups going.
Majespecter Cyclone's likely an automatic three-of since it' a Quick-Play: you can use it proactively on your turn, or reactively on your opponent's. It targets like Majespecter Storm, creating issues in the mirror match, and the fact that it destroys causes problems against Kozmos. That said, it's still wildly flexible, still leads into +1's when you have your complete Pendulum Scale, and still offers more utility than Majespecter Storm since you can play it defensively.
Remember, both of these cards are searchable with Majespecter Cat – Nekotama and Majespecter Crow – Yata, so if you're not deeply familiar with Majespecters yet it's important to remember that not only are these removal cards plentiful, but they're easy to get to whenever you need them. They're inherently better than standard 1-for-1 removal, since you get them as free +1's to begin with, and they win you more plusses over the short term if played into Pendulum Summons.
The Igknight strategy's wildly redundant, building consistency off the intermeshing of a wealth of very similar monsters. The problem? Sometimes you draw too many, and wind up with an unbalanced hand. Igknight Reload can solve that problem, which can be an issue in the early game right off the bat, or can become a problem in the mid or late game once you've already got so many Pendulum Summons going that more monsters just become sub-optimal draws.
Igknight Champion and Igknight Lancer both have effects that bounce an Igknight from your field to your hand to stuff your opponent's cards back into their deck, and having the option to shuffle those Igknights away for more draws can make those high-Level bosses more worthwhile. Keep in mind that you can searc Igknight Reload with Ignition Phoenix, too, so it's easy to dig for when you need it, and serves to make Ignition Phoenix more useful.
Graydle Impact's outstanding. In fact, it's so good that my number one problem with the Graydle strategy is how often you have to destroy this card in a sub-optimal Special Summon play for Graydle Slime. At first blush it's reasonably powerful removal, trading one of your on-field Graydle cards to destroy anything your opponent has. Not bad, and a great way to make the most of a strategy that's combo-driven and thus has to tolerate dead cards from time to time.
But that's really more of a last line of defense, since you can only use one of Graydle Impact's effects per turn and you'd really rather use the second: it just searches any Graydle card from your deck for free. That gets you to Graydle Slime when you need it; searches fodder monsters to trade into your opponent's, taking control of them; or nabs trap cards if you decide they're worth running. You can even just search another Graydle Impact in case your opponent has removal for your first one.
How do you make a kind of spotty B-List strategy more worthwhile? Free search effects every turn! Remember when every deck was inconsistent and nothing but Mystic Tomato searched anything? Those days are long gone.
We spoke in brief about Odd-Eyes Fusion yesterday in Part 3, where I stated that it made Odd-Eyes Vortex Dragon wildly easy to Fusion Summon. I said there were some intricacies that I wanted to reserve for the discussion of the card itself, and now that we're here that's precisely what we're going to do.
Odd-Eyes Fusion functions as a normal Polymerization for Dragon Fusions with its first effect – nothing special. Fusing something like Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon and another on-field Pendulum Monster of your choice can be a stronger play than it may seem, since odds are good that you'll just Pendulum Summon back whatever you Fuse. That's not an uncommon scenario in the mid-game.
But Odd-Eyes Fusion is most interesting earlier on, when your opponent controls two monsters and you don't control any. Under those conditions you can Fuse up to two Odd-Eyes monsters from your Extra Deck, sort of like Shaddoll Fusion. You can use another copy of Odd-Eyes Vortex Dragon plus a face-up Pendulum Monster you've stowed away in your Extra Deck for that effect, but there are more interesting ways to go about it. Namely Odd-Eyes Rebellion Dragon.
Yes, the weird Xyz Pendulum Monster that starts the game in your Extra Deck is valid Fusion Material for Odd-Eyes Fusion. So the moment your opponent controls two monsters, you can activate Odd-Eyes Fusion to send two Rebellion Dragons to your graveyard, Fusion Summon Odd-Eyes Vortex Dragon, and Compulsory Evacuation Device a face-up monster. From there it's game on with Vortex Dragon's 2500 ATK and ability to turn face-up Pendulums in your Extra Deck into free negations.
Using Rebellion Dragon that way accomplishes two things. First, it speeds up the strategy and keeps you from waiting around until you've stacked up a bunch of Odd-Eyes and Pendulum Monsters in your Extra Deck. Second, it sends those two Rebellion Dragons to the graveyard where you can banish them with Dragon's Mirror for another Odd-Eyes Vortex Dragon.
Note that once we get the Master of Pendulum Structure Deck you can search Odd-Eyes Fusion with Sky Iris, too. I'm looking forward to building around this thing come December.
Sometimes extremes are powerful in Yu-Gi-Oh. For instance, while small ATK boosts and small Life Point reductions are hardly worthwhile, huge ATK boosts and the ability to pay yourself down to abuse cards like Hope for Escape or Life Equalizer are often the building blocks of really unfair strategies.
Psychic Blade offers both of those capabilities, giving you a chance to effectively pay 2000 LP to deal 2000 more damage, while creating a Life Point deficit that can be used in conjunction with several counterintuitive cards to make its cost into a bonus. As a basic ATK buff it's just extreme enough to maybe matter. As the component of strategies that likely shouldn't exist, it has the potential to be a frustrating card for degenerate deck concepts to come.
And just in case you missed it, you can equip Psychic Blade to anything you want, not just Psychic monsters. This card's going to wind up doing something that makes people angry, mark my words.
Painful Decision's actually one of my favorite cards in the set. It's immediately competitive because it takes the place of the now-Limited Reinforcement of the Army in Igknights, searching out Igknights of Level 4 or lower while thinning the deck. Afraid you'll run out of Igknights by burning them willy-nilly for Painful Decision? That concern's unfounded, because if you ever run through all the Igknights in your deck, the Pendulum Effects of each Igknight monster that you'd normally use to search them can bring them back from your graveyard too.
And that's good. But to me, the compelling thing about this card is its use in less celebrated strategies. Gem-Knights absolutely love it, searching whatever Normal Gem-Knight you need and then sending another one to the graveyard. That thins you toward key cards like Brilliant Fusion, and then fuels stuff like Gem-Knight Lazuli, Gem-Knight Obsidian, and Gem-Knight Fusion's recursive effect. Gem-Knights just keep getting stronger, and while we've already seen numerous Regional Top 8's from decks borrowing the Brilliant Fusion engine, we may finally see real breakout showings from dedicated Gem-Knight decks. Painful Decision's that good.
Franco Ferrara's been ramming this card down my throat for months at this point, and I have to say, I can understand his excitement.
Meanwhile on the janky side of things, it warms me deeply to know that I can Painful Decision for Skull Servant, placing one in the graveyard immediately and virtually ensuring that I don't draw more copies in the future. That leaves one Skull Servant in the deck to combo with Wightprince, and the lone copy in-hand can be played with something like One for One to make it useful. While it's doubtful you'd have more than one trio of Normal Monsters to use Painful Decision with, a single copy helps speed up the deck ever so slightly.
As meaningful Skull Servant support goes, I tend to take what I get.
Super Rush Headlong's not very good. It's not as bad as it looks, since it can trade as a 1-for-1 and then let one monster brickwall multiple monsters for the duration of the turn, kind of like Bad Mirror Force. And since you can play it proactively on your turn, it also kind of works like a Bad Smashing Ground that doesn't work when your opponent stops your attack by flipping A Card That's Not Bad.
Actually, no. Scratch that. This card is just as bad as it looks. Especially wandering into a new competitive landscape where Pendulum Monsters don't care if you destroy them and trap cards are even more popular.
Maybe this was legacy support for Hayabusa Knight? Is that even how you spell Hayabusa Knight? That card's like, twelve years old at this point. I'm just going to assume I'm spelling it correctly, and that I'm remembering the right card in the first place.
Because like Super Rush Headlong, it doesn't matter.
Those are the spell cards in the Dimension of Chaos core set! All in all, it's a pretty great spread of cards minus Super Rush Headlong. Tomorrow we're going to discuss an even more powerful ground of new entries, when we look at all the new trap cards.
See you then!