Hello duelists! With the September 2020 Forbidden and Limited List just taking effect this week, I'm back today to bring you some updates on the competitive landscape.
The forbidding of Mecha Phantom Beast O-Lion and Jet Synchron opens up a lot of options, and creates myriad changes that might not appear to matter much in a vacuum, but will actually have a gigantic ripple effect.
Crystron Halqifibrax has already forced a whopping five cards to be banned from the Advanced Format, and there's no sign of that stopping any time soon. Summoning any Level 3 or lower tuner from your deck is nothing short of incredible, something we've seen countless times in recent competition. We've covered that quite a bit here on Infinite, so I won't go too deep into the details of that card's impact. If you've been playing Yu-Gi-Oh in the past six months, you already know that Crystron Halqifibrax is a game-shaping card.
While we may not have those powerhouse tuners in Mecha Phantom Beast O-Lion and Jet Synchron anymore, there are still quite a few options available to you, as an intrepid deck builder. With a bit of ingenuity and a little elbow grease, you can do some crazy cool stuff in this format with stuff like...
Plaguespreader Zombie was the first card mentioned by many duelists as the "new" Jet Synchron in the wake of the banlist reveal. The parallels are there: both tuners can be a 1-card Crystron Halqifibrax combo, though Plaguespreader Zombie doesn't have the Level 1 flexibility of Jet Synchron; it also loses out on the summoning ability that was so abused, thanks to Linkross and Linkuriboh. However, you get an interesting set of bonuses instead.
FIrst off, you can do some neat stuff with Plaguespreader Zombie and the Adamancipator tuners, putting a Rock monster on the top of the deck to guarantee a free summon. That can be incredibly valuable, mitigating the cost of the Plaguespreader Zombie. You can also put back any sort of engine requirements you might have drawn, which is beneficial for plenty of strategies.
Uni-Zombie and Shiranui Solitaire are big parts of this engine too. Any time I can play those cards I'm a happy lad. Running three copies of Shiranui Solitaire is effectively playing four copies of Uni-Zombie, which allows you to then have a 1-card Crystron Halqifibrax again, assuming you play Mezuki as well. It's especiaally powerful in the Edlich combo deck because of the synergies with Eldlich the Golden Lord. In a more control-oriented variant, you can also play Necroworld Banshee and Zombie World too. That helps in the Dinosaur matchup that will certainly be plaguing the format for a while, since they lost nothing to the new banlist. Give it a shot and see how it works for you!
One of the first things I remember doing when Crystron Halqifibrax was released, was going over to the official card database and searching for tuners. Specifically, I was looking for self-interacting tuners. It's been a long time since players commonly teched random Deep Sea Diva into a wide range of decks as a tuner of choice, but that may be about to change! Deep Sea Diva alone can summon the extra body needed to make Crystron Halqifibrax and combo off from there. And interestingly enough, you can do quite a bit more than the typical Water shenanigans you'd expect.
The dueling powerhouse Jesse Kotton recently pointed out in one of his videos that Magellanica, the Deep Sea City can work with cards like the Danger monsters to effectively "stack" Deep Sea Diva to the top of your deck, draw a card, and wowzers you have a tuner and a non-tuner to do silly stuff with!
Imagine doing that with a Danger! Mothman!, summoning Deep Sea Diva and making Coral Dragon. Then, Magellanica, the Deep Sea City triggers to let you banish one card from your opponents hand for the turn; if they're holding Nibiru, the Primal Being they're going to be more upset than Rex Raptor losing to Joey. From there, you can make Crystron Halqifibrax with the Coral Dragon and the remaining Deep Sea Diva, draw a card and summon, and do who knows what from there.
Seriously, the options are endless.
Drawing some inspiration from the "3-Axis" Dragon Link strategy, this is a small suite of cards that can do a lot for you in some crazy ways. All you have to run is three Tour Guide From the Underworld, Sangan, and Crusadia Arboria.
You can Normal Summon Tour Guide From the Underworld, use her effect to snag Sangan, and Link Summon Cherubini, Ebon Angel of the Burning Abyss. From there Sangan will activate to search Crusadia Arboria to your hand, which is conveniently a tuner! The Special Summon condition doesn't activate, so the restriction placed by Sangan doesn't matter.
At that point you can go directly into Crystron Halqifibrax if you want, or you can use Cherubini, Ebon Angel of the Burning Abyss to send a monster from your deck to the graveyard. That lets you toolbox any of the hundreds of graveyard effects available in the game.
What's cool about this engine is that Sangan can search different pieces of your strategy. Crusadia Arboria's a Warrior, so Reinforcement of the Army can serve as an additional copy for the purpose of deck building. If you already have access to Crusadia Arboria you can grab cards like Psychic Wheeleder, or even something like Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring for the following turns.
When your engine pieces can search more engine pieces or defense cards, all while helping you extend your plays? You're going to have a good time.
Finally, we have easily the most unpleasant option to face off against. Vylon Cube lets you search for an Equip Spell from the deck when you use it to Synchro Summon a Light monster, so you'll probably use it for Smoke Grenade of the Thief. You can equip it and pop it with Rokket Tracer or Infernoble combos and gain perfect information about your opponent's hand. It's really pretty disgusting, and the worst part is that it's not a once-per-turn search.
You could use Overdone Burial and bring Vylon Cube back, only to search again, all thanks to Crystron Halqifibrax. Be on the lookout, because the Vylon Cube was already picking up a bit of steam before the banlist was announced. I expect to see it explode in competition.
Some honorable mentions need to go to Lefty Driver and Righty Driver, since they give you a recurring engine to pump out free Machines, as well as Deskbot 003 and Deskbot 001 . There are other engines I'm sure I haven't even seen, but those Machine suites are definitely scary thanks to Mecha Phantom Beast Auroradon simply existing. Perhaps something with Mecha Phantom Beast Coltwing, which summons more tokens could be cool. Only time will tell.
Luckily the days of Jet Synchron and Mecha Phantom Beast O-Lion are gone, but there are definitely plenty of strong tuners waiting to see table time. The format's wide open and now's a great chance to innovate. If you're experimenting with anything cool let me know over on Twitter, and it might make it into a future article!