I'm back again! Are you tired of me yet? I hope not, because today we're diving in and looking at the impact of Blazing Vortex, examining the set from three different perspectives. The set's been met with a mix of reactions so far, but personally I think it's going to be a banger long term; it's really got something for everyone.
Whether you're a competitive player seeking out glory and fame, a relaxed duelist hanging out with friends and roomies looking to see what sort of strategies you can make, or even a hardcore collector or rarity hunter, there's a lot to love in this release.
First up, let's speak to the interests of our competitive brethren.
TCGPlayer alum Doug Zeeff recently showcased the free agent cards from Blazing Vortex, and I can't say enough good things about these cards.
Pot of Prosperity one of the most powerful cards released in years. Imagine a Pot of Duality but without the drawback of the Special Summon restriction: that's silly, and I can't imagine a world where this card doesn't see tons of table time in the hands of Yu-Gi-Oh's best. Decks like Eldlich, Virtual World, and even Drytron can abuse it, bolstering their consistency in exchange for some of your Extra Deck. Pot of Prosperity WILL be one of, if not the, most powerful card released this year.
Heavenly Zephyr - Miradora got big potential. Special Summoning it when your opponent summons a 2000 ATK or higher monster from their Extra Deck is already cool, but from there, you can pick any face-up card that was summoned from the Extra Deck and neither player can activate its effect while Heavenly Zephyr - Miradora on the field.
It's ridiculously flexible since it doesn't negate the effect, it simply stops the effect from happening altogether, and the icing on the cake is that first line on the card, that that protects Heavenly Zephyr - Miradora effects from negation. That means it can drop and shut down stuff like Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess, Borreload Savage Dragon, Invoked Mechaba, or Toadally Awesome, and from there it's a 2000 ATK body.
You'll have to protect Heavenly Zephyr - Miradora and ensure it sticks to the field, but since it's so easy to play that definitely seems fair. You can even search it with Starliege Seyfert, Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms, or if you're really getting into the weeds, Armed Dragon Thunder LV5.
Blazing Vortex also introduces the TCG's very first Link 5 monster Underworld Goddess of the Closed World! It's got one of the coolest lines of text a Link Monster could have, "you can use 1 opponent's monster as material to summon this", and combined with cards like I:P Masquerena, it could be a huge pick for any Link climbing strategy. Underworld Goddess of the Closed World is also a Skill Drain on legs, and it clocks in at 3000 ATK.
Another cool bit is that it's unaffected by opposing card effects, UNLESS those effects specifically target it. Suddenly, the ways you were looking to force outs to Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon become less useful, knowing that this behemoth is looming in the Extra. Finally, once per turn you can negate effects that would summon monsters from the graveyard, giving you even more disruption. While Underworld Goddess of the Closed World doesn't seem overly powerful right now, watch out for it in the future, because it will absolutely see its day.
Underdog got to be one of the coolest, and most fascinating cards in Blazing Vortex. It's a Continuous Trap that negates face-up monster effects, but it only affects each side of the field on different turns.
On your turn, Underdog negates the effects of your opponent's monsters. On their turn, yours get negated instead. Initially I totally misread it and thought it was the opposite - that it would shut down your effects on your turn, and your opponent's effects on their turn - leading me to think it would combo well with El Shaddoll Winda. Unfortunately, I am a melon. I swear there is some kind of crazy use for this and I'm just not seeing it.
Cards like this are extremely difficult to find a niche for, but when you, they often become become absolute powerhouses. What deck(s) have you come up with for it? I've got nothing so far other than Traptrix and Altergeist, thanks to Doug pointing out the ability to effectively dodge its downside.
Blazing Vortex bolsters lots of popular existing strategies, including a total redux of the Armed Dragon deck. The new "Armed Dragon Thunder" monsters give the classic strategy from the GX era an actual coherent gameplan, a speed boost, and a real win condition. I haven't gotten much time in with the cards myself yet, but they seem pretty cool for a deck that's more geared toward snagging some wins off your buddies when you're hanging out, rather than rigorous Championship-level competition.
For fans of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX and Chazz Princeton, the Armed Dragon Thunder theme feels like what the original Armed Dragons should've been in the first place.
The S-Force cards are an all-new theme making their debut in Blazing Vortex, and hopefully you can use them to swipe some W's from your friends. The same can be said for War Rock. there's just so much going on in this set, and I'm sure we'll be spending some time explaining the potential of the new engines in the weeks to come.
While I don't think these new themes are quite strong enough to take an Extravaganza or Remote Duel Invitational victory yet, I do think they have vast potential and will have their time in the sun. I'd highly recommend keeping an eye out on each of these strategies going into the future and pick them up if you can.
Blazing Vortex even has cards for those who don't actively seek glory in competition, but instead look to collect the rarest and most valuable cards in the game. The five Starlight Rares in Blazing Vortex all have something to offer, for every kind of duelfan. Live Twin Lil-la Treat (Starlight Rare) continues the theme of the obnoxiously pretty, and somewhat competitive Live☆Twin deck. Meanwhile Pot of Prosperity (Starlight Rare) is sure to be the biggest cash cow of the set, so if you pack one, ditch it and get more cards!
Armed Dragon Thunder LV10 (Starlight Rare) will be a big chase for a more casual sector of players, a high rarity card for all of the kitchen table duelists and GX fans looking to style on their friends. Nothing says "ha, loser!" like Chazzing it up with the highest rarity in the game save Ghost Rare.
Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier (Starlight Rare) is a very cool nod to the upcoming Ice Barrier Structure Deck, Freezing Chains, which is coming out in just two weeks, giving collectors another high rarity chase version of one of the most iconic Yu-Gi-Oh cards ever printed. I'm interested to see what happens amonngst the different factions of collectors; there's already been debate over which is the "true" highest rarity.
Duel Terminal 4 Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier always been one of the game's crown jewels, so when the Ultimate Rare printing was released the debate was started! Now we're adding another exclusive printing of Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier into the mix, with the ridiculously hard to find Starlight Rare hitting shelves this week. Let me know over on Twitter which is the true highest rarity in your opinion, and which one's your favorite! For me, my personal pick is the Duel Devastator Ultra Rare. I don't know why, but I love that version of the card.
Blazing Vortex has so much more to offer than you might think. Let me know what you're looking forward to, and until next time, play on!