#####CARDID= 17832 #####
Surprise! It's more bad Performapal support that winds up demanding unconscionable minuses! Bad exchanges of card economy really seem to be the bread and butter of the Performapal theme, and Illusion Balloons is no exception: since it asks you to lose a monster and give up a spell card it's an instant -2 right off the bat, and at best it's going to Special Summon one Performapal to become a -1.
The best part is that if you don't excavate a Performapal monster you get nothing; it won't even grab you Performapal Call or Performapal Revival because they're not monster cards. And since you only excavate five cards in the first place, there's a very real risk that you could give up two cards, check your top five, and see no help whatsoever.
Want to add insult to injury? Unlike other cards that also let you peek at the top of your deck and use that information, Illusion Balloons shuffles them back instead of placing them on top of your deck. That's nuts. It's like they literally did everything they could to make this card unplayable.
#####CARDID= 17833 #####
As mentioned back in Part 3, Raidraptor – Nest could be pretty cool once we have more Raidraptor monsters. But for now we only have Raidraptor – Vanishing Lanius to build around, and controlling two copies of it for Nest's activation would leave you with only one left to search from your deck. Sure, you could control Raidraptor – Rise Rise Falcon plus one Lanius and then get two searches across two turns, but that's a cumbersome play involving a ton of luck and over-investment. There's just no way it can be competitive.
Again, we're left to reserve judgment on the theme until we actually have enough cards for it. It could've been better if it searched "Raidraptor" cards instead of just monsters, or if it were a Field Spell and thus more searchable. Again, it feels like this card was nerfed into its current state over a series of revisions.
#####CARDID= 17834 #####
On the flipside, Constellar Twinkle feels like a really neat card that was designed to bring new abilities to the Constellar strategy, without being overpowered. It's an exciting card with a lot of possibilities; a spell equivalent to Constellar Kaus that's essentially free across the long term, and lets you upgrade up to two monsters by one or two Levels in a single turn.
With Constellar Twinkle in the mix and a Constellar monster in the graveyard to banish, any two Level 4 Constellars become Constellar Pleiades no Constellar Kaus required. You open up plays for Rank 6 monsters like Gauntlet Launcher; Number 25: Force Focus; Number 72: Shogi Rook; and Photon Strike Bounzer too.
This card's important because it solves so many problems Constellar duelists couldn't really overcome otherwise. With an alternative to Constellar Kaus there's less pressure on that card, so if your opponent manages to counter it you still have plays. It also makes Constellar Sheratan way better, a card that was always desirable for its search effect but that never synergized properly since it was the only Level 3 monster you'd play in a deck of Level 4's.
Since you can recycle Constellar Twinkle turn after turn it makes discard costs and backrow bluffs easier as well, and remember: it's really easy to keep bringing this thing back. A simple play of two Constellars into Constellar Pleiades and then Constellar Ptolemy M7 effectively places four Constellars into the graveyard over time. And while your Xyz may not hit the graveyard immediately, you'll likely detach one Material for Pleiades' effect immediately anyways, so Twinkle's recursion effect will be live right off the bat. Like Koa'ki Meiru Overload, Stellarknight Constellar Diamond, Morphtronic Smartfon and others, this card solves all sorts of challenges to make this theme much more viable.
#####CARDID= 17835 #####
Effectively a free Soul Charge playable at three for X-Sabers, Gottoms' Second Call is an exciting new piece of support for a strategy that's lain dormant for years. There are lots of ways to play it with cards that were already must-run in X-Sabers. You can clear your opponent's backrow with XX-Saber Hyunlei, then bring back two monsters to use as Synchro Materials knowing your Summon will go through. Or, use those two X-Sabers as the requisite for X-Saber Faultroll's Special Summon, then make another Special Summon. In fact, since Second Call ignores Summoning conditions you can bring back Faultroll directly from your graveyard, then get another Summon with its ability!
The card art features XX-Saber Gottoms itself, and if you manage to Summon it then the play there should be clear: bring back X-Sabers with Gottoms' Second Call, then Tribute them all away to knock two cards out of your opponent's hand with Gottoms' effect – three if you roll in a Faultroll. That play was always good with the original Gottoms' Emergency Call, but this makes it faster and again, there's that chance to bring back a Faultroll for an even bigger play.
As an oldschool X-Saber fan I love that this thing exists. I don't think it does as much for the theme as many other SECE cards do for theirs, but it's still an exciting new add! Thanks Arc-V, for breathing new lore and interest into some older themes.
#####CARDID= 17792 #####
Void Seer is like a specialized Forbidden Lance for Infernoids, shielding your targeted monster from your opponent's cards but allowing your effects to work, should you have any. That alone is pretty cool, especially since it's a name-stamped "Infernoid" card. But add in the Breakthrough Skill-esque graveyard effect to stop the destruction of another Infernoid by a card effect, and you've got a killer 2-in-1 that really pulls its weight in a theme with a few amazing control monsters.
Two cool things? The Infernoids already draw on a ton of smart card economy and free pluses, so locking in their abilities by protecting them from effects is huge. The fact that you can effectively grift a plus by stopping two cards with the two different effects of Void Seer furthers that advantage. Furthermore, while Void Seer looks a lot like Breakthrough Skill and Skill Prisoner there's no clause limiting when you can use its effects. If you want to play both effects on the same turn you totally can.
Void Seer's a flexible, tremendously versatile card in a strategy that can make the most of the freedom it grants you. What a tremendous spell.
#####CARDID= 17836 #####
Void Expansion's super-cool. Not only does it accomplish three things for an Infernoid deck, but it can be played in other themes just to Summon a free Token every turn. Combined with Strike of the Monarchs this card has me eager to try a modern build of Mecha Phantom Beasts. You'll see me share a build of that over the coming weeks.
But for now let's talk about Infernoids. The first effect of Void Expansion Summons an Infernoid Token every turn. That can help shield you from attacks, but it also feeds the second effect of this card, which lets you banish Infernoids from your field instead of just your hand and graveyard when you want to Special Summon an Infernoid. That means you can get the ball rolling in the early game when your graveyard's empty, without having to banish anything from your hand as a minus. It also lets you replace on-field Infernoids in a pinch, getting them off the field to free you from the Level cap each Infernoid imposes without having to resort to the Infernoid's Tribute ability. That all adds up to a lot of valuable options and freedom in making your plays.
Void Expansion's final effect also creates a sort of Seal of Orichalcos type condition, where your biggest monsters protect your smaller ones from attacks. That's really awesome, because the longer vulnerable monsters like Infernoid Antra, Infernoid Harmadik, and Infernoid Patrulea stick to the field, the more card advantage they can rake for you.
#####CARDID= 17837 #####
It's largely speculated that Nephe Shaddoll Fusion will give rise to two different builds of Shaddolls in high-end competition: one running Nephe Shaddoll Fusion with Hidden Armory alongside Snatch Steal, and one that focuses on more familiar gameplans involving fast OTK's backed by Denko Sekka.
While Shaddolls lost Super Polymerization to the latest F&L List, they gained this card… which isn't necessarily much consolation. While Shaddoll Fusion had the tremendous upside of letting you fuse monsters from your Main Deck for free, and El Shaddoll Fusion had Super Polymerization's status as a Quick-Play Spell so you could activate it in the Battle Phase for game-winning damage, Nephe Shaddoll Fusion's bonus upside isn't anywhere near as good. Changing attributes so you can Fusion Summon whatever you want is solid, but it seems easily overshadowed by the sheer speed of the OTK version backed up by Denko Sekka. Since Hidden Armory eats your Normal Summon, Denko Sekka doesn't play very well in the Equip-heavy version of the strategy.
Will Nephe Shaddoll Fusion keep Shaddolls in competition? That remains to be seen. Right now the future of the strategy is very up in the air: both the strategic direction it'll take, and its survival on the whole. We'll have to see what happens at YCS Charleston next weekend.
#####CARDID= 17838 #####
Secret Forces will bring us several more Nekroz Ritual Spells, and at first glance they all may look better than Nekroz Cycle: each has the same recursive ability, banishing themselves and a Nekroz monster from your graveyard to search out a Nekroz spell from your deck. Each can also Ritual Summon Nekroz monsters, sometimes several at once and sometimes using alternate Tributes that are more affordable.
The catch with Nekroz Cycle is that it lets you Ritual Summon a monster from your hand, or your graveyard. That places Nekroz Cycle as a mid-game card, but it lets you reverse toolbox for the Ritual Monsters you need most and works wonders for your card economy. That factor will likely make Nekroz Cycle the only three-of Ritaul Spell in competitive Nekroz decks once Secret Forces arrives in mid-February.
#####CARDID= 17839 #####
Got a Monarch? Tenacity of the Monarchs gets you to whatever support card you need, grabbing stuff like The Monarchs Stormforth and Escalation of the Monarchs. As long as you have a Monarch or something with matching stats, Tenacity becomes a wildcard that gets you to whatever you need. Even just boosted accessibility to the two cards I mentioned is huge, and thinning your deck can help you get to your most powerful unsearchables and make your deck more consistent.
It can also make Strike of the Monarchs and Return of the Monarchs more viable, since you can seek them out when you want them and see them reliably without running multiple copies. That's good, since drawing multiples can be a death sentence, and even just seeing either card too early in the game can cause major problems. We don't see this level of search power for spell and trap cards very often, and there's really been some exciting Monarch support in the last few sets. Suddenly it's all much more approachable.
#####CARDID= 17840 #####
Boosting damage off big Synchro plays to potentially end games a turn earlier, Dragunity Divine Lance helps solve one of the biggest problems Dragunities have always had to fight against: running out of steam. If you've ever played a long game with or without Dragunities you know how difficult the game becomes when you run out of Dragunity Dux. While Dragunity Arma Mystletainn is similar, it's also a dead draw in many situations and was always conflicting.
Enter Dragunity Divine Lance, a backup plan for when you can't find a Dux and a healthy counter to problem-cards that would negate Dux's effect, like Effect Veiler and Fiendish Chain. It also makes Dragunity Legionnaire more interesting, letting you use its monster destruction effect up to three times in one turn. Combo that with Dragunity Aklys to detroy up to five cards, or settle on four cards by yarding Aklys twice and leaving it with boosted ATK and an immunity to traps.
There are a lot of possibilities here, and while Divine Lance doesn't do quite enough to rocket Dragunities back into competition, it's nice to see a fitting piece of support for the much-loved fan favorite strategy.
#####CARDID= 17776 #####
Pot of Riches is currently one of the top ten most valuable cards from SECE on the TCGplayer Marketplace, and it's being valued almost entirely on its future potential. While the format is too fast right now for it to be competitive, the idea of a free Pot of Greed for any Pendulum strategy is too good to ignore.
While Pot of Riches restricts Special Summons, it leaves your Normal Summon intact and still lets you Pendulum Summon, so the drawback usually won't be much of a problem. There are even some scenarios where sending Pendulum Monsters back from your Extra Deck to your Main Deck could be useful, giving you a chance to play them as Pendulum Spells again… though that would require a very slow format or some amazing search effects to be relevant.
At this point, players who have been in the game for a few years are getting used to the patterns surrounding cards with long term potential like Maxx "C" and Pot of Dichotomy. Even if they aren't useful when they're first released, cards that could be a stellar fit for later Formats tend to see their day in the secondary market sun. Pot of Riches is one of those cards.
#####CARDID= 17841 #####
A Wild Monster Appears is one of the coolest, most creative cards in Secrets of Eternity, and it's been a big hit at least in conversation. It brings to life hundreds of monsters that were almost impossible to play before, getting you to some remarkable effects that are just too powerful to print on reasonable, balanced competitive cards. Halve your opponent's Life Points with Destiny Hero – Dogma. Bring out an Elemental Lord, as pictured in the card art. Blow the field with Judgment Dragon. Sky Scourge Norleras? Even Ritual Monsters and Assault Mode monsters are both fair game. Ever wrecked the entire game with Ocean Dragon Lord – Neo-Daedalus? I haven't.
But I now plan to.
Want to cheat the system? You can combo A Wild Monster Appears with G.B. Hunter to keep your monster from being shuffled back, or remove it from the field momentarily with something like Interdimensional Matter Transporter. Do that, and it's yours forever. There's so much fun stuff here. It's everybody's dream card for their inner six year-old.
#####CARDID= 17843 #####
I had several people ask me about my thoughts on Extra Net in the run-up to this Giant Set Review, and while I didn't have much time to chat – sorry guys! – I really love this card. It's essentially a new take on Maxx "C", deterring Special Summons on a more specific level and in a less absolute way: Extra Net only deters Summons from the Extra Deck, and it's vulnerable to basic removal like Mystical Space Typhoon, Qliphort Helix, Shaddoll Dragon, or Fire Lake of the Burning Abyss.
But in return? It's searchable with Terraforming, and it pins your opponent down for multiple turns if it stays in play. All the big strategies right now revolve around making Summons from the Extra Deck, so if you can keep this card on the field without using your Extra Deck yourself you'll likely win through sheer card advantage or your complete control over the game.
With trap counts getting lower and lower in Shaddolls, Burning Abyss, and Qliphorts right now, and with Nekroz just a few weeks away, we may see Mystical Space Typhoon fading from Main Deck play once again. If that happens it may be the perfect opportunity to play this card for a major Game 1 advantage, supporting strategies that can live without the Extra Deck like Monarchs, Deskbots, Koa'ki Meiru, Rock Stun and more. This is one of my number one cards to watch as the format progresses: the moment the trends align it's going to start winning tournaments for a smart, opportunistic few.
It's a great card, and I'm really glad to see the Maxx "C" type of mechanic being revisited in new ways.
#####CARDID= 17844 #####
Performapal Call was so close to being another actual reason to play Performapals, until that last line ruined it.
Way to get my hopes up and then bring them crashing down, guys.
#####CARDID= 17847 #####
Raidraptor – Readiness is an interesting defensive card. On their own, neither of these two effects would warrant play. Together I think it's still kind of borderline, but we'll have to see how the Raidraptor theme shapes up.
…He said again, feeling like a broken record.
#####CARDID= 17759 #####
I'm mixed on Eye of the Void. On one hand, I read it and my gut reaction is that it says "If you can't play this deck right and get your cards where you want them, take a minus and just drop a big dude." But at the same time, dropping a big attacker when your opponent doesn't see it coming is the kind of tempo move that wins games this format, and Infernoid Onuncu is very, very large. Hurling it onto the table without banishing anything, and alongside other attackers that technically shouldn't be accompanying it, does sound appealing.
With the value of card advantage now at what may be an all-time low, and with control and speed two big priorities by comparison, this could theoretically be a good card. But really I can't make up my mind – if you have a fully formed opinion, let me know what you think down in the comments.
#####CARDID= 17793 #####
Void Launch and Void Expansion both work to get your Infernoid deck going in the early game, then support you with more advantages for the rest of the duel. While I like Void Expansion for its use in other strategies, I like Void Launch for the sheer deck thinning.
It's obviously very good at supporting your Summons, no argument there. But you can also just winnow away cards you don't need in particular match-ups, fueling your strategy while sculpting your Game 1 in ways that wouldn't be possible otherwise.
#####CARDID= 17848 #####
Re-Qliate plays like a selective Skill Drain that works the way a Qliphort duelist would want it to work. Normal Summon a Qliphort without Tribute and it gets its full ATK, at least until the end of the turn. At the same time, you'll negate the effects of your opponent's Level 4 or lower Normal Summons and Flip Summons. Special Summon a Qliphort and you get the same idealized ATK boost, while your opponent loses the effects of their biggest, most important monsters at Level 5 and higher.
The coolest part is that if you Normal Summon a monster that's Level 5 or higher it's totally unaffected; it's business as usual for Qliphort Stealth, Qliphort Carrier, and Qliphort Helix. You get most of the bonuses of Skill Drain but you get to keep your big Tribute effects. The chief drawback? If you don't control another Qli card you lose Re-Qliate entirely. But with a field of monsters plus a two-piece Pendulum Scale you'll keep Re-Qliate around more often than not. The bigger concern may be the fact that it won't impact Xyz, since they have Ranks instead of Levels.
But even with those caveats, Re-Qliate's a great card and it gives Qliphorts a big advantage over the other most popular decks right now. I'm eager to see how it ends up performing at YCS Charleston.
#####CARDID= 17851 #####
Another one of the SECE solve-it-all type cards, Unpossessed looks to cure every headache facing the Charmer archetype – up until now a noted, but completely noncompetitive theme.
For many years, the Charmer and Familiar-Possessed monsters suffered some major problems. Cards like Aussa the Earth Charmer and Eria the Water Charmer had powerful Flip Effects, but since each one was attuned to just one attribute it was tough to get to the ones you needed, and the ones you didn't need were useless against your opponent. If you had Lyna the Light Charmer but your opponent was playing nothing but Dark monsters, Lyna wasn't going to be very useful. In addition, while each Charmer monster gave you control of an opposing monster until the Charmer was removed from the field, 500 ATK and 1500 DEF didn't buy you much time.
Unpossessed fixes those problems by protecting all your Charmers from battle, so that when you take control of a monster you get to keep it for a while. Furthermore, its effect to replace destroyed monsters with 1500 DEF Spellcasters of a different attribute – which covers all the Charmers and Familiar-Possessed cards – means you can get to the Charmers you need when you want them, and you can trade your useless Charmers for better ones. You can even replace them with any Familiar-Possessed as an effect-free beatstick at 1850 ATK. That gives you solid attackers and makes it easier to gather the two matched attribute monsters you need to Special Summon a Familiar-Possessed with their abilities.
Even if you bring out a Familiar-Possessed with no effect, Unpossessed still boosts it to 2650 ATK when it attacks a monster. That's a lot of muscle these days, and with the added resilience of the monster-replacing effect and the knowledge that any Charmers you Summon won't be destroyed by battle, it gives you a ton of confidence and control over the field. It's a shame there aren't better ways to search this card – there'd be a really fun deck here if you could get to Unpossessed reliably.
#####CARDID= 17852 #####
Blaze Accelerator Reload is amazing. Doug already wrote on it both as a single card spotlight and featuring it in his first deck article of the SECE season, but it bears repeating: it's searchable with Volcanic Rocket; it gets you free draws in combination with Volcanic Shell, on both your turn and your opponent's; and it turns Volcanic Scattershot into Raigeki on your opponent's turn.
It's really, really crazy, and the sheer volume of cards it sends to the graveyard makes Royal Firestorm Guards playable. It even makes Volcanic Doomfire worth a re-read. Again, like so many cards in this set it's just an incredible solve-it-all that totally turns around an entire deck theme. Amazing.
#####CARDID= 17853 #####
Soul Transition is a generic "Draw 2" card for Normal Summoned Level 4 monsters, which is to say it's almost every rogue deck's new best friend. This card's taken some flack for being too slow for the current format, and that may be true if you're considering playing it in say, Qliphorts. But it could be really awesome for strategies that can restrict Special Summons and slow down the game, and while it has that Special Summoning restriction it doesn't really matter; as a trap card, you'll probably be flipping it on your opponent's turn much more frequently than you will on yours.
And that's pretty awesome, because if you can trade an on-field monster and a backrow card for two draws it means you can actually grift a +1 any time your opponent activates a piece of 1-for-1 removal targeting either card. It's a killer answer to Snatch Steal, it's great against all sorts of field-clearing tricks, and even if your monster's just under attack you can get it out of the way, trigger a replay, and not lose card economy.
Like Pot of Riches, this card may not be ready for the big time just yet. Frankly I'm not writing it off this early, but even if it's not viable now, you know it'll be huge some time in the future. To me, this is one of the most exciting cards in the set.
#####CARDID= 17854 #####
Like a sort of awkward Jar of Greed, Echo Oscillation functions as a 1-for-1 since whatever Pendulum Card you destroy will pop right back into your Extra Deck. Is that useful? Oscillation won't do anything unless you control a Pendulum Spell, and you won't want to activate it unless you've got another Pendulum Spell waiting in the wings to replace the one you destroyed. The acceleration factor is easy to see, but so are the risks: draw this card too early and it's just dead, as you will be moments later when your opponent realizes you're stuck with cards you can't play.
Like Soul Transition, the ability to chain Echo Oscillation to any Pendulum Spell removal or backrow hate can make it a +1, but the fact that you're only drawing one card seems subpar. This is a card I want to continue thinking about in the future as new Pendulum strategies emerge, but I think we'd have to see something really specific happen for it to become viable.
And that's it! With the mid-set highlights all under control we've just got one more Part to our SECE Giant Set Review. Check back tomorrow to read all about the World Premiere and OCG import cards that flesh out our version of Secrets of Eternity!