Considering how rough 2021 was for sets, I was shocked I was able to scrap up this many cards for this list. Hello Pojo Readers, Crunch$G here with the annual list of honorable mentions for the top cards of 2021, because every year has more than 10 good cards. I know I’m late to this year, 2021 just wasn’t as interesting of a year to talk about again. With that said, these are still some good cards to discuss from 2021 that didn’t make the annual top 10, so let’s look at these cards and see what we had.
It really took a bit to really get to sets with good cards, considering Blazing Vortex only had one good card and of course that did make the list. So we skip all the way to Lightning Overdrive for the first card, a new Tuner that had a ton of hype on reveal. Scrap Raptor has several good qualities on its own being a Level 4 EARTH Dinosaur Tuner, meaning you can search it with both Scrapyard and Fossil Dig. So it’s accessible, now is the access worth trying to get to? For one it can destroy another monster on your field to let you Normal Summon another Scrap monster in addition to your Normal Summon or Set, easily extending combos and can trigger upon destroying itself. Once it’s destroyed, you also get to search for a non-Tuner Scrap monster, meaning if you don’t have a monster to Normal Summon, you can search one like Scrap Recycler to get Machine combos going or get Scrap Chimera to revive your Raptor and do Synchro or Haliqifbrax plays. It’s a card, that while good for pure Scraps, ended up being best in strategies like Orcust and Dinosaurs. A great card overall that opens up some great combos.
Ruddy Rose Dragon
Next up from Lightning Overdrive, we get a brand new Level 10 Synchro upgrade over the classic Black Rose Dragon. The fact it’s generic already opens up potential for any Deck to use it. Upon being Synchro Summoned, you get to banish all cards in the graveyard, which is almost all the card really needs to find its niche being said generic Level 10 Synchro. Using Black Rose Dragon as material for the Synchro Summon also lets you destroy all other cards on the field after you banish the graveyards, which while not going to come up as often, is a nice extra bonus to have. The second effect reminds me of Stardust Dragon, where it can tribute itself to negate the effect of a card/effect that would destroy a card and then you can summon a Black Rose Dragon from the Extra Deck or graveyard. The graveyard nuke alone is good enough for a pure Level 10 Synchro, but extra effects are always appreciated.
Drytron Mu Beta Fafnir
The last card from Lightning Overdrive worth talking about is some 2021 Drytron support, the only real card of the year minus Diviner of the Herald that the archetype received to boost the Deck. It’s a generic Rank 1 Xyz, but most likely being summoned using 2 Drytrons. Upon Xyz Summon, you get to send a Drytron from Deck to grave, setting up whichever Drytron name you need for your combos. There’s also another useful effect to Ritual Summon using this card’s Xyz Materials, helping you make your Rituals without losing hand or field advantage, which is outstanding. The last effect might not always come up, but it’s a Quick Effect negation of a Spell/Trap if you control a Machine Ritual by detaching a material, which is far from bad still. Drytron had to be one of the more hated Decks of the year, and this card helped add to the issues.
Number F0: Utopic Draco Future
Now for King’s Court and the only new card in the set to have a real impact, or at least could of. Number F0: Utopic Draco Future is a great Xyz for any Xyz strategy not using just Numbers, as it’s easy to summon by slapping on top of the original Number F0 and comes with great protection from battle or effect destruction, which makes the card very difficult to out. Not only that, but it also has the effect to detach a material to negate a monster effect and then lets you take control of the monster you negated if it was on the field, giving you another monster on your field to potentially make some plays with. This card would of made a bigger impact if Zoodiac Drident wasn’t banned just before it released, but it still has found use here and there and will likely find use again in a Deck that could supplement its summoning requirements.
There’s a few archetypes from the year worth talking about, and while this one didn’t make the biggest impact in 2021, it’s bound to make a major impact in 2022. We got the Despia archetype, full of powerful consitency cards and negation/disruption effects that you see in several top strategies. The fact it searches the Branded Spell/Trap lineup with its main Normal Summon, Aluber, is great for cards like Branded Fusion coming in 2022. Despian Tragedy is also great to use as Fusion Material to get your Despia monsters whether being sent to the grave or banished for your Fusion Summons. Branded in Red is another good card from the year accessible by the archetype to summon Guardian Chimera. There’s a lot of good qualities to the Despia archetype that only gets better as we get more Branded cards and Albaz Fusions.
Instant Fusion in 2021 is a card I’m sure we can agree on being way too good to be at 3 in any format, but at least now we have a nerfed version that’s still really good. Ready Fusion does take away a major part to Instant Fusion, that being the ability to summon Effect Monsters, but you do get 1 extra Level to make up for the loss of Effect Monsters. All some Decks might need anyways is the extra body on board that Ready Fusion provides to make some nice plays, even if what you’re summoning has no effects. There’s a ton of different Fusions this can summon with varying Types and Attributes to get you what you need, so Ready Fusion is a card I can imagine as a great extender for future strategies.
Lyrilusc – Bird Call
We covered the best card from Synchro Storm, but there’s more worth talking about from that set. Lyrilusc received several good cards, but nothing really tops the power of Lyrilusc – Bird Call. Bird Call is a searcher most strategies would love to have, either adding any Lyrilusc from Deck to hand or sending the Lyrilusc from Deck to grave instead. Add on top of that a Special Summon of a different Lyrilusc from whatever you added or sent from Deck to trigger whatever you Special Summon and help make more plays. Bird Call is a great card and probably one of few reasons Lyrilusc variants became super popular in 2021, especially after Synchro Storm.
Burst of Destiny was the undisputed best core set of 2021, something I’m sure many players might agree on. We had a few good new archetypes from the set, with the main new archetype being Swordsoul. Being able to Synchro Summon for just summoning one monster and having the right setup to trigger their effects is great and answers a notable issue with Synchro Summoning. You also get effects when you use your Swordsouls from the Main Deck to Synchro Summon, benefiting you after you make said Synchro. The Synchros of the archetype are pretty good, especially their Level 8 serving as a searcher for the whole archetype. They also can use Incredible Ecclesia, a card seen on the top 10 list from 2021. Overall a great archetype that I’m sure we’ll be playing against for a while.
The second worthwhile archetype from Burst of Destiny comes in the Floowandereeze archetype. This archetype basically breaks the Normal Summon mechanic by letting you Normal Summon as much as possible depending on your hand, alongside searching cards and doing various other activities. The archetype also makes great use of old Winged Beasts that needed 2 tributes alongside their own boss monsters. The archetype is fairly consistent with the amount of searching it can do and it’s pretty solid at playing on the opponent’s turn. It wasn’t the best archetype from Burst of Destiny, but it’s rare a new set debuts 2 good new archetypes.
The 2020 Machina Structure Deck gave a nice boost to the archetype enough to make EARTH Machine a viable contender in the meta from time to time. In 2021, the archetype finally gets their new DARK boss monster counterpart to the old Machina Force, and it’s a much better upgrade over the original. The fact you can summon multiple in a turn from the graveyard, assuming you have the graveyard setup to bring them all out, is pretty powerful with 4600 ATK. The floating the card offers upon destruction is also nice to keep summoning more Ruinforces, and the Battle Phase negation and LP halving can make effects during the phase very dangerous for the opponent. The card also brought an interesting FTK by loading the grave with Level 12 Machines to summon as many of these as possible for Gustav Max. A great boss monster to put a bow on the archetype for now.
Another worthwhile common this year came in the form of Cupid Pitch, a very strong Synchro Tuner. The Level Modulation the card makes you do upon this being Synchro Summoned could get in the way sometimes, but other times it allows you to make certain Synchros you otherwise couldn’t make, so the pro outweighs the con here. You also get to burn the opponent for 100 damage times the Level of the Synchro you make using this, and then search any Level 8 or lower monster with 600 DEF from the Dec to give you a nice extender potentially. The ATK boost this card gets for its Level times 400 isn’t too relevant, but nice to give it some ATK. Overall a good Synchro Tuner to have for many combo strategies.
Evil Twin’s Trouble Sunny
The last card worth talking about from Burst of Destiny supports the Evil Twin archetype with their boss Link-4. The monster is super easy to summon, as long as you just use a single Evil Twin monster you’re free to use whatever else you want. The card has a nice Quick Effect to tribute itself and revive a Ki-sikil and Lil-la monster, letting you get the 2 Link-2s from the graveyard to give you a draw and pop at any given moment. It also has a nice effect to banish itself to remove any card on the field just by sending any Evil Twin monster from your hand, field, or Deck to the graveyard. The card is a nice piece of support the Evil Twin archetype needed, and it’s a fine card if it ends up being the last card we get for a while.
Number 4: Stealth Kragen
The last set of the year, Brothers of Legend, had several decent new cards, but some of the best cards in the set have to be the WATER support. Number 4: Stealth Kragen is probably the most notable card for WATER in the set, being a Rank 4 that’s made with any 2 Level 4 WATERs. As a result, you get a monster that turns all monsters on the field into WATER, making it great to have alongside a copy of Gozen Match on the field. You also get a Quick Effect to pop a WATER monster the opponent controls and burn them for half that monster’s ATK, great considering this already turns your opponent’s monsters into WATER. The final effect to float into some Stealth Kragen Spawns is nice to have as well to make sure your board isn’t empty after Stealth Kragen is destroyed, making this a great card for WATER strategies.
Finally, we get to another piece of WATER support to end off this year’s batch of honorable mentions, specifically Fish support. White Mirror is a simple Spell Card that revives any Level 4 or lower Fish from your graveyard and then search a monster with the same name from your Deck. Having a Monster Reborn and RotA on a single card for the Fish-typing is pretty good overall to really ensure you can make a ton of plays. Other Types would love to have a card like this, so Fishes are very lucky to get a generic support card that’s this strong in anything using Fish monsters. Another reason why you might of seen a rise in play of the WATER Fish strategy this year.
As mentioned, the sets this year were overall rough, but there were a ton of gems in these sets. We didn’t get as many insane cards as we did in 2020, so the power level might be lower this year compared to the previous, but that’s fine. As long as we still got some good cards to shake the game up every once in a while, you can’t really ask for much more. I just hope 2022 is a better year for cards than 2021.
Thanks for reading,