One day I'll be writing about "The Top Ten Fabled and Hieratic Cards" from an unnamed booster set. But in the meantime I gotta say, the latest booster sets have been hitting a need I didn't know I had.
So until Fableds get the support that Kelly's Dragunities keep getting, I'll be content with all the awesome in sets like this week's Battles of Legend: Armageddon. After all, I shouldn't complain – with new themes, amazing reprints, prize cards, and TV show cards now finally appearing in real life, there's a lot to tackle moving forward.
I know it's been said a million times before, but narrowing down my top picks from this set was incredibly hard, no exaggeration needed. Of the 94 cards in Battles of Legend: Armageddon, I can confidently say over a third of them are "hot picks." Maybe even half? More than half?
Appliancer fans, please don't yell at me. You and the Battlewasp fans can hang out or something.
Joking aside, there's something for everyone in this set – even Penguin players! That's right, there's even a Penguin Tuner monster, Glacial Beast Polar Penguin! Why am I hyped for that? I have no idea, but come join me in jubilation as I count down my Top 10 picks from the release!
It won't actually promote FTKs needing a second Draw Phase, but Afterglow's just such an annoyingly cheeky card, it's definitely going to draw attention. Don't believe me? It literally took me only six seconds to think of three people from my locals that will no doubt make this card into a pivotal part of some garish nightmare strategy in the future.
In a similar vein to Card of the Soul, Slash Draw or even Berserker Soul, Afterglow's just a weird card that should probably never really work, but will see plenty of play anyways. It may take hundreds or thousands of attempts, but players will try to make Afterglow happen. Why? Because people are like that.
While Jackpot 7's the strangest card of this type to see success in the competitive arena, it doesn't mean the rejects will be anything less than fan favorites. I'm not exactly sure how people plan to optimize their chance to trigger Afterglow's effect and burn for 4000 Life Poinnts, but I have no doubt that Tainted Wisdom on YouTube could think of something to make the card effective… maybe?
The weird part about Afterglow is that it's technically not an OTK, even though the set-up to resolve Afterglow is just as meticulous and demanding as the most convoluted First-Turn Kills. The more I think about it, the more I feel like I need someone to make Afterglow work so I can marvel at their genius. With all the hype I've been hearing and seeing surrounding this thing, Afterglow had better do something.
Afterglow's either going to create a usable deck, or we'll see people try to run with it and fail hilariously. Good luck: I'm rooting for you.
If someone asked you what the best Madolche card is, what would you say? It tends to be the nature of the beast that the best cards aren't the most sought out and expensive, but Madolche Anjelly is, in a lot of ways, literally the glue that holds Madolches together. It certainly deserves my vote for the title of "best" Madolche card.
If nothing else, it has one of the top artworks in the theme.
While we don't have a ton of recent data on tournaments since we're living in a post-COVID-19 world, there were a handful of Madolche decks that occasionally popped up in previous tournaments, including one I wrote about here. Keep in mind, that was before Madolche Salon and Madolche Promenade arrived in Eternity Code, so who knows exactly how good Madolches can now be in an open field.
Going first, the deck can set up some beefy boards and thrives on hand traps, using them to feed Madolche Hootcake. But going second the deck can break boards and easily OTK with just one or two cards. Worst case scenario, it can end on plays that loop hand traps via Madolche Teacher Glassouffle, so good luck to your opponent as they struggle to get back into the game.
On top of the inevitable rise of dedicated Madolches, you can also splash Madolche Anjelly into certain monster-heavy decks. I've seen it in Plant decks before to make an easy Meliae of the Trees, and in Burning Abyss variants where it makes Cherubini, Ebon Angel of the Burning Abyss. Heck, it's even good Earth fodder for Block Dragon if you're running Monster Mash.
With flexible effects and a ton of demand due to its previously high price ta, we'll see everyone with two hands grabbing Madolche Anjelly for the foreseeable future.
Marauding Captain, Blue Mountain Butterfly, Junk Forward, Destiny Hero - Malicious, Boost Warrior, Infernoble Knight - Renaud… all those Warriors take some sort of effort or at least planning to summon. As long as Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights has been a relevant card, "free Warrior Special Summon" has been a hot commodity.
But now, in a nutshell? Fire Flint Lady's better than literally all of them. Yes, cards like Marauding Captain and Infernoble Knight - Renaud have effects that outshine Fire Flint Lady, but the Fire Flint Lady ability to place herself on the field amounts to a better effect than all those other options. If you control a Warrior with Fire Flint Lady in hand, you can make Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights. No muss, no fuss, and no funky requirements.
Fire Flint Lady's about as generic as you can get, too. I guess the text could say, "If this card is in your hand, you can Special Summon this card," but since Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights only requires another Warrior as material, the requirements to make Fire Flint Lady shine are baked into the cake. Or I guess stoked into the fire, if you want to be clever.
It's simple. It's effective. It'll be cheap. And it literally makes fire. Why wouldn't it be a hot pick?
Given that I wrote this article on my birthday, I'm pretending Konami listened to me and finally decided to reprint Invocation… again. Despite three printings so far, both price and demand for Invocation have remained high.
With such raw power and versatility, I don't see the demand for Invocation dropping any time soon. A fourth printing will probably drive down the price a bit for now, but there will either be enough copies for everyone to have a hundred, or players will hoard Invocations and they'll just shoot up in value again. With rumors of short printing in BLAR and case breaks yielding very few copies, I'd expect the latter.
While it's not the main feature of Battles of Legend: Armageddon, Invocation will be one of the cards that no one ever wants to casually part with. Invocation's actually climbed in demand and price every time it's been reprinted, so why wouldn't you try to collect every copy you can get your hands on, knowing where card's probably headed?
Exhibit A, Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring. Enough said.
On top of future speculation, keep in mind that a lot of people actually enjoy playing decks that run Invocation. Mekk-Knight and Shaddolls are just two strategies that have paired well with it in tournaments, but the card's splashable in just about anything that has a Normal Summon to spare. Heck, with Master Rule 5 in full swing, I even need Invocation for a Fabled Invoked hybrid I'm working on.
Last week I wrote about the Fossil theme, and I can say my anticipation for Fossil Fusion's release is now palpable. I know I'm not the only one excited to play Fossils, and outside of the Appliancers, it's the only new theme actually debuting in BLAR.
If you'd like my thoughts on Appliancers, well, here.
Whenever new themes are released, the reception tends to be utterly gleeful or heavily muted. It's either Kozmos or Battlewasps, there's not much ground in between; either competitive and casual players are both pining after the cards, or that new archetype has six, maybe seven fans. Virtually everyone I've spoken with – even if they don't plan on playing them competitively – have been interested in Fossils.
Fossils are a GX era theme with over a decade of hype. Combine that level of anticipation with insanely easy summoning requirements and cool art, and there's just a ton of buzz surrounding the deck. Even if the cards aren't insanely expensive and Fossils don't start fights and riots every time a pack is opened, they definitely won't be left collecting dust in jank binders.
Since Fossil Fusion's the lynchpin of the strategy, it'll be the top priority for anyone wanting to dedicate themselves to Fossils as an art, or just dabble with the deck. You might have mixed opinions on which Fusions are the theme's best, but Fossil Fusion will certainly be one of the most in-demand cards from the release.
While there are lots of good reprints in this set, Cross-Sheep beats out cards like Artifact Sanctum and Mecha Phantom Beast O-Lion on the Scale of Generic Usefulness. The cheaper price will definitely drive people to purchase the card, sure, but its versatility on the table is the real draw.
After all, there was a weird trend that only finally slowed down in May – Solemn Judgement appeared at the top of Jason's Market Watches for weeks, day in and day out. Did Solemn Judgement top any online tournaments? Sure, it was relevant for like… eight seconds in a few Eldlich builds. But it didn't matter if it wasn't a staple in every big deck at the time - it's just a really darn good card you can run in virtually anything.
Cross-Sheep isn't quite as splashable, but the barriers to using it are exceptionally low. Considering Rituals and Fusions will continue to exist – the two kinds of monster cards that trigger the best effects of Cross-Sheep – people are going to be grabbing up copies left and right.
Think of other solid, flexible cards like Effect Veiler, Abyss Dweller, Twin Twisters… the list goes on. Unless Konami personally ships 500 copies to everyone in the world, those types of cards are hot picks even if they stay relatively affordable. People like long term investments, and Cross-Sheep's going to be viable for years.
Ah yes, the retrained version of Chaos Emperor Dragon - Envoy of the End that's arguably better than the original, especially given the Envoy's modern errata. Not too long ago this was a prize card only available to those skilled enough and lucky enough to win one, but now, we the people have the power to use Chaos Emperor, the Dragon of Armageddon ourselves, for good and for evil.
Mostly for good though, I promise.
While we may never get a reprint of Blood Mefist because of that card's weird art licensing issues, Chaos Emperor, the Dragon of Armageddon seems like it took almost no time at all to become widely available. Not only does it have that "exclusive" hype to it, but the art's amazing and the effect's great to boot.
Even just Chaos Emperor, the Dragon of Armageddon pendulum effect makes it worthwhile, getting back banished Dragons for a low cost. Since it's not exclusive to a particular attribute and it's searchable by The Melody of Awakening Dragon, it's way more consistent than Light of Redemption, a card I've tried to use a thousand times. Cap that off with its monster effect and you have yourself a crazy powerful card.
Keep in mind, you can bring it back from the Extra Deck after you use its pendulum effect because why not? Might as well make the card as useful as possible.
On top of all that, it's actually a higher rarity pull fromBattles of Legend: Armageddon than it was as a prize card . Literally everything about this card screams "hot pick."
No, this isn't a joke – Number 39: Utopia (Astral) will be one of the most sought after cards in Battles of Legend: Armageddon, not for its effect but for its collector value. Not for its impact on the table, but because the text will be in Astral glyphs.
If you think I'm joking about the hype surrounding the card, go try to buy one on the secondary market when the booster set officially drops, then come back to this article. To Future You: see what I mean?
This is different from just a new rarity, and while the glyphs mostly line up with kana, a phonetic Japanese script, it looks so alien and novel that I really doubt you'll see anyone playing it. This new version of Utopia won't be quite on the level of a prize card, but you're going to see these in collections, not on the tournament table. I know it won't be everybody's cup of tea, but have you seen the Starlight rare cards, specifically the Charmer Links?
Point and case. Even I was a little skeptical that the card would be in such high demand, but come on, considering the number of collectors in the game these days, it only makes sense. Heck, Wattgiraffe was over $10 dollars for literally a decade because… well, the short answer is supply and demand.
And with a limited printing that will probably never be repeated after Battles of Legend: Armageddon, that same law of supply and demand will no doubt kick in for Number 39: Utopia to make it both expensive, and impossible for anyone to stumble onto.
As Paul wrote about, there are many reasons that buying sealed products makes a lot of sense these days, and now we can add Number 39: Utopia (Astral)'s glyphs to the list.
Do a six second internet search and you'll see the extreme hype surrounding the Numeron cards. Technically it's kind of a new theme, but it's so closely tied to other ZEXAL archetypes that you might as well consider it part of "all that."
Numeron Wall, Number C1: Numeron Chaos Gate Sunya, Number 1: Numeron Gate Ekam, Number 2: Numeron Gate Dve, Number 3: Numeron Gate Trini, Number 4: Numeron Gate Catvari, Numeron Network, and Numeron Calling are all central to your success, dominating your opponent with this new strategy.
Sam wasn't hyperbolic in his praise of the Numeron deck, and Hanko went so far to call it "the era of ZEXAL locking."
There's a lot I could say about this new archetype, but Hanko gave a full in-depth discussion on the new cards and why you should be very afraid them. Maybe not "crying in the corner" levels of afraid, but definitely, "should I just scoop now" afraid.
I've been playing Yu-Gi-Oh since Legend of Blue Eyes White Dragon, but I must have missed the memo that we were nearing ten thousand unique cards. So for starters, Ten Thousand Dragon's an incredible milestone for the card game. But it's also introducing a few new things in terms of design.
The art backing has an inverted shading, the lettering is colored differently, the text box has a unique "10,000" detailing, and it's a Starlight Rare to boot. Plus, the artwork is one of my favorite dragon illustrations to exist. With all of those factors combined, how couldn't this be the most hyped card in the set?
Everything about Ten Thousand Dragon's new and unique; both the passcode and set ID have references to its milestone name, being "00010000" and "BLAR-EN10K" respectively. Did I mention the different colored lettering? And the Starlight Rare hype? And that it's the 10,000th card to be printed? And it looks amazing? AND HOW BADLY I WANT IT BUT KNOW IT'S GOING TO COST MORE THAN MY HOUSE?
That last part may be a slight exaggeration, but this next statement won't be: Ten Thousand Dragon will probably be one of the rarest cards printed in a booster set, ever. It won't rival untouchable cards like Tyler the Great Warrior and World Championship prizes like E-HERO Pit Boss, but I wouldn't be surprised if Ten Thousand Dragon gets roughly zero more printings over the course of the game's life.
Copies of Ten Thousand Dragon have already sold for more than 2000 dollars. I don't see how anything can touch this card, at least out of Battles of Legend.
Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.