Hello again, duelists! Winter may be upon us, but unlike previous years that doesn't mean the game is slowing down by any means.

The second Remote Duel Extravaganza is taking place this weekend, and just a few days ago we saw LCS 9 played using the new Forbidden & Limited List, which comes into effect today!

Not only is competition ramping up before the end of this historic year, but we're also about to get the final major product release of the year: Genesis Impact. This deck builder set introduces two new themes to the competitive landscape that warrant serious discussion, as well as some great reprints of classic cards like Knightmare Phoenix and Knightmare Unicorn.

So today, let's really dissect the ramifications of Genesis Impact, as we prepare for the set's arrival here in the TCG.

Evil Twins Ki-sikil & Lil-la

Link-Heavy Live ☆Twins

One of the most warmly received archetypes of recent memory, the Live☆Twins cards aim to set up a flurry of efficient Link Summon plays with tremendous consistency. Live Twin Ki-sikil can summon Live Twin Lil-la, and vice versa, giving you a small, concise Link 2 engine that can climb into more plays.

The Live☆Twins theme also has its own search spell in Secret Password, which is pretty crazy once you think about it; now you have nine ways to summon a Link 2 with just one card, assuming you have no other monsters on the field.

Oh I'm sorry, did I say nine ways to summon a Link 2? I meant twelve. Live☆Twins also have an Emergency Teleport of sorts, except it requires a discar and it locks you into Evil Twins for the rest of the turn. More on those to follow!

So, you have two free Link materials: what do you make? This is where your Evil Twins come in! Evil Twin Lil-La can destroy a card upon summon if you control a Ki-Sikil monster, either Live Twin Ki-sikil OR Evil Twin Ki-sikil! And if you don't control a Ki-Sikil you can summon one from your graveyard, though you'll be locked into Fiends. Conversely, if you summon Evil Twin Ki-Sikil while you have a Lil-La monster you can draw a card, and if you don't control a Lil-La you can summon one from the graveyard.

Evil Twin Ki-Sikil

The ability to revive each other makes the Evil Twins especially cool. Let's say you summoned Evil Twin Ki-Sikil going first. From there you could summon back Live Twin Lil-La, and then link the Evil Twin Ki-Sikil with the Live Twin Lil-La to make an [Evil Twin Lil-La, which can then summon back the previous Evil Twin Ki-Sikil, triggering its effect to get you a draw. Right there you're already up in card economy, since you can can do all this off just the Normal Summon of either Live Twin.

But wait, there's more! You could be really cheeky and link the two Evil Twins for something like Unchained Abomination, since it's a Fiend. That's especially cool if you're using Eldlich cards with the Live Twins, because then you can potentially use Conquistador of the Golden Land and Eldlich the Golden Lord to destroy a card, triggering Unchained Abomination effect to destroy another card as well. You can also summon Knightmare Gryphon, which could be a huge problem for your opponent since it lets you set any floodgates or extenders in your graveyard for another use.

Overall, the Live☆Twins theme is a cool control deck that I could see getting some serious table time, at least eventually. I'm not too sure that is their time, since everything they do, Zoodiac largely just does better. But time will tell, and I'd suggest picking up the cards for cheap if you get the opportunity.

Next up, Rituals!

Hung Out To Drytron

Full disclosure: I've read every Drytron card at least three times and I still have no earthly idea what this deck does. I need Hanko or Loukas to explain it; please send help.

Basically, like previous Ritual themes, you need a Ritual Spell to summon Drytron monsters. Easy enough right?


...Please laugh.

Anyway, instead of matching up Levels like the rituals of old, the Drytrons focus on using attack points instead, making for some interesting deck building that takes Rituals in a very fresh direction. Example? If you wanted to summon Drytron Meteonis Draconids, you'd need to tribute 4000 ATK worth of monsters. While that may seem like a lot, don't worry! For some reason, all the Level 1 monsters have 2000 attack. How appropriate.

If you only used Level 1's to summon your Drytron Meteonis Draconids, it can attack all of your opponent's Special Summoned monsters once. Oh, and it can banish monsters from your graveyard with ATK that equals exactly 2000 or 4000… you know, the ATK you needed to summon it... and then destroy a face-up card your opponent controls for every 2000 attack points you banished.

Because it needed that.

The big selling point of the Drytron deck is the utterly horrifying level of consistency it offers. The search power of cards like Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands and Preparation of Rites, plus the Special-Summon-from-you-deck effect of Drytron Nova, plus other consistency-driven cards like Drytron Alpha Thuban, all mean you're essentially playing with a 40-card hand. Your entire deck is accessible, pretty much all the time. Since you can get to your key cards so consistently, you don't need to run as many copies as other strategies would, and that means more space for tech cards. Jesse Kotton's 2nd Place deck from the LCS this weekend, which you can find here, showcases that idea extremely well.

The high potential to abuse Cyber Angel Benten is another big selling point for Drytron, since Benten's effect triggers on tribute, and all the Level 1 Drytrons tribute to activate effects. You're basically just throwing your free cards at your opponent, laughing gleefully while they cry and wonder why any of this is socially acceptable.

Oh, did I forget to mention that Drytron can play cards like Vanity's Ruler and Archlord Kristya, which are searchable thanks to Cyber Angel Benten? With the option to run Herald of Orange Light and Artifact Lancea if you so choose? Suddenly those old school Herald cards aren't looking too shabby.

If you're planning to play in any remote events, you'll have to be prepared for this deck. Any time Jesse Kotton or any other well-known player on that level sees success with a new strategy it suddenly becomes much more popular, so going forward I'd expect to see a significant number of Drytron decks in your play circles.

Magistus Who?

Unfortunately, I don't think the Magistus cards will have much of a competitive impact on the format. They're very slow, and they're weaker than the other themes introduced in Genesis Impact. I can't even remember what they do, personally, outside of equipping each other, which is neat but doesn't scream competitive.

Hopefully someone'll prove me wrong and Magistus will start dominating out of nowhere. But until then, just use your hand traps to shut Magistus down.

Ghost Belle & Haunted Mansion

So What Mark Will Genesis Impact Make?

Looking at the format heading into late December, it's obvious that there are some voids to fill, and some room to pick up where Dragon Link and Infernobles left off. Both strategies could easily adapt, but I expect to see a MASSIVE surge in the number of Droll & Lock Bird seeing play, specifically because Drytron's really weak to it. You can also expect more Skull Meister and Ghost Belle & Haunted Mansion, as they're both incredibly useful for slowing down the tempo of the game.

Ghost Belle & Haunted Mansion saw an especially big resurgence at the LCS, due to its ability to stop Eldlixir of Scarlet Sanguine, Nadir Servant, and several other power cards in the format. If you don't own a set yourself, I'd suggest snagging them now, since it just got reprinted in Maximum Gold.

Dimensional Barrier another card I'd expect to see on the rise. Now that we have multiple Xyz decks and a Ritual deck at the forefront of competition, Dimensional Barrier really going to shine. You'll want to be careful when you're considering activating cards like Cosmic Cyclone and Twin Twisters blind.

Artifact Lancea will continue to be a powerhouse with Eldlich seeing even more play than it did before, and Virtual World getting away from the banlist without a scratch. We could easily see cards like [Artifact Sanctum]] in Side Decks if banishing effects continue to be so big in the new format.

I think we'll also see a continued evolution of the Zoodiac deck, as it now needs to adapt to combat more grind and tempo-based decks, as well as answering Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon. We saw Avery Foster and a couple other players running a 60-card Eldlich Dragoon deck to fantastic success this past weekend, so be wary of that. The Zoodiac deck's well equipped to be able to handle a myriad of threats, as long as it can successfully leverage the Extra Deck, so I wouldn't expect it to go anywhere any time soon.

Cards like the Kaijus, Book of Moon, and Forbidden Chalice are all incredible post Genesis impact, as they can all solve Archlord Kristya and Vanity's Ruler, effectively turning them into more costly Summoned Skull. Overall, the format's going to shift from the combo focused game we've all been playing in 2020, where blow outs were common and games often ended quickly, to a more tempo-driven, advantage-focused game, with some exceptions like Drytron and Virtual World. Deck building will be key if you want to be successful in this period, and you'll need to understand the cycle of the format, so you aren't caught off guard by whatever trends are emerging to combat the established decks-to-beat.

That's it for me today, but I'll see you all at the Remote Duel Extravaganza this weekend, and hopefully I can face a few of you there! Make sure to follow my new Twitter, and I look forward to seeing how your packs of Genesis Impact go.