Another year in the record books, hundreds of more cards added to the card pool. Hello Pojo Readers, Crunch$G back here to talk about 2018 in Yu-Gi-Oh as a whole through products and Forbidden & Limited Lists as that tells us the best what came out in 2018, how that shook up the meta, and what took a hit and came back for future use. This year might of not been a fun year overall with Extra Linking and FTKs all around, but there were some good cards released this year that weren’t used for degeneracy, so here I am to talk about everything that basically happened in 2018.

The Lost Art Promotion

Before we had any product, Konami decided to do a cool promotion where if you spent $30 or more at an Official Tournament Store, you got a promotional card of the OCG arts of Monster Reborn and the Exodia Pieces from February to August in 2018. This was a cool promotion and it was clearly successful as Konami is doing it in 2019.

Wave of Light Structure Deck

We kicked off 2018 with the Wave of Light Structure Deck, which gave support to the Counter Fairy strategy with their new Parshath Boss that summoned itself when it negated something and searched for any Counter Trap or Parshath card. We also got a solid searcher for the Herald hand traps as well as a Counter Trap recursion monster and a searcher for any Fairy in the game so as long as you negated something with a Counter Trap. We also finally got a retrain of The Sanctuary in the Sky, but it wasn’t a Field Spell, but it did recycle Fairies and Counter Traps back into your deck. Also a new Parshath Counter Trap that negated anything and shuffled it into the deck and then let you summon any Parshath from the Deck or Extra Deck. This deck will leave an impact on Counter Fairies for years to come, especially if they become meta.

Trickstar Crimson Heart

The first of four yearly Jump Promos until 2019 ends that promotion once and for all was Trickstar Crimson Heart. It is arguably the best Link for Trickstars, first off giving you 200 LP when you summon a Trickstar. You could also discard a Trickstar to make both players draw a card, which let you burn with Candina and burned through your opponent’s deck faster with Trickstar Reincarnation, but if your LP were 2000 higher than the opponent’s, you got to draw 2 cards to help keep you ahead of the opponent. If Trickstars were to Link Summon, I can imagine this being one of their options, since it is a pretty solid card, but it hasn’t received a reprint, but it will in the Savage Strike Special Edition in 2019, so for now anywhere outside North America can’t play with this.

Extreme Force

The first main set to kick off the year was Extreme Force, and it truly left an impact on the meta. First off were the Mekk-Knights, which can see mixed in with many different strategies as well as its own standalone deck to be a decent deck that can get a few tops. The Mythical Beasts were in this set, and the two big ones were Jackal King and Master Cerberus as they worked in tandem to make a Mythical Beast engine in the Pendulum Magician deck after they took their first hits. Inspector Boarder made stun strategies like True Draco and Anti-Meta much more stronger. There were some good generic Link monsters in this set like Saryuja Skull Dread and Underclock Taker and Triple Burst Dragon. Hey, Trunade! and There Can Be Only One will be solid cards worth noting of their existence for years to come. The big part of this set though were the OCG Imports. Scramble Egg was so good, I don’t want to talk about how degenerate that card was, lol. But for real, Isolde and Heavymetalfoes Electrumite were phenomenal Link Monsters to have imported as Electrumite made Pendulum Magician a bigger meta force and Isolde was going to get abused later in this year in Warrior decks galore. There were other good Link VRAINS imports like Curious, Phantom Quartz, Qliphort Genius, and Zefra Metaltron that were somewhat meta relevant and well as Steelswarm Origin and Ritual Beast Ulti-Kimunfalcos being good for their archetypes. There was also some nice support for Rokkets, F.A., and Vendread. Overall, this was a solid set, which might of been carried to its status more by its imports.

February 5th, 2018 Forbidden & Limited List

They did not let Pendulum Magician stay in the meta for even a few days before hitting them, as this list was revealed around the same day as Extreme Force was released, and went into effect three days later. This list banned Blackwing – Gofu, Dandylion, Maxx “C”, Double Iris Magician, Performapal Skullcrobat Joker, and Level Eater. Gofu, Dandylioin, and Level Eater were hit because of Link Spam abuse, though Dandlylion was odd considering we are waiting til April 2019 for the Aroma Link. Double Iris Magician and Skullcrobat Joker hurt the consistency of Pendulum Magician, but it still had some power, especially with Astrograph Sorcerer not being hit yet. Maxx “C” is sacky at one, and if they weren’t putting it at three, I guess banning it was the other best option. The limits on this list were Apoqliphort Towers, Grinder Golem, Performage Damage Juggler, Firewall Dragon, Monster Reborn, SPYRAL Resort, and Solemn Judgment. Damage Juggler, Monster Reborn, and Solemn Judgment were welcome additions back into this game, especially since Monster Reborn was part of the Lost Art Promotion. Firewall Dragon was abused in multiples, so limiting it made sense, though at this time we didn’t know that only one could be abused as well. Grinder Golem was hit for Link Spam just like some of the banned cards, and SPYRAL Resort going to 1 ended SPYRAL as a Tier 1 deck, though it is still a decent deck in the meta you can say. A ton of cards went to three to clean off the list like Artifact Moralltach, Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning, Card Trooper, Thunder King Rai-Oh, Brionac in its errataed form, Brain Control in its errataed form, El Shaddoll Fusion, Future Fusion in its errataed form, Mind Control, Preparation of Rites, Saqlifice, Bottomless Trap Hole, Ceasefire, Ojama Trio, and Torrential Tribute and all of these are welcome additions to being at three now.

Legendary Duelists: Ancient Millenium

A set based around giving Legacy Support, this pack came out towards the end of February and gave us new cards for the Relinquished, Insect, Coin Flip/DARK Machine, Ancient Gear, Crystal Beasts, and Ojama/VWXYZ/Armed Dragon strategies. Millennium-Eyes Restrict will likely see some use with Instant Fusion, but it is better than Thousand-Eyes as it doesn’t require a Level 1 Vanilla as Fusion Material. The Insect support is pretty generic and might see use in future Insect decks. The Coin Flip stuff is cute, but you are still banking on a 50/50 chance most of the time for good effects. The Ojama/VWXYZ/Armed Dragon stuff basically just let Ojamas be mixed with ABC as a casual strategy, but I have seen Ojama Link Spam now. The Ancient Gear stuff was pretty good as they got a new searcher for Ancient Gear Golem related cards, which includes an archetypal Fusion Spell for Ancient Gears that is searchable, but doesn’t require you to use Ancient Gear Golem to Fusion Summon, just gives an added benefit. The Crystal Beast support gave them some good consistency and a boss monster that is arguably easier to summon than the original Rainbow Dragon while at the same time making Rainbow Dragon easier to summon. Plus reprints for Instant Fusion, Toon Kingdom, and Mimicat. Overall a fun set.

Arc-V Volume 3 and D/D/D Destiny King Zero Laplace

A magna promo is something to always expect when we get a new manga book, and this one gave us D/D/D Destiny King Zero Laplace. Laplace as a Pendulum Monster adds back a D/D/D Pendulum while in your scale and can be Special Summoned by tributing a D/D/D and gains ATK equal to double the monster it battles, deals piercing, and once per turn cannot be destroyed in battle and you take no damage. Overall not a bad card, but I don’t know how often D/D/D will use it, even with Link Summoning slowing down their old playstyle until we get Needlefiber and their own D/D/D Link Monster. I’m sure the manga is fun to read, though. I did see that there was a European release of the manga, so this card should be legal over there.

Legendary Collection Kaiba

Arguably the best set of the year, Legendary Collection Kaiba had a ton of good reprints. The promos were new to us and gave us a Critias Fusion for Ring of Destruction and a revival Spell for 2 Dragons, including 1 Vanilla so as long as you control a Spellcaster, and a searcher for The Melody of Awakening Dragons, Flute of Summoning Dragon, and the aforementioned new card Dragon Revival Rhapsody. As for the Mega Packs inside, we had nothing but Ultra and Secret Rares, steering away from the old Mega Packs with one of each Foil, a Rare, and several Commons. We had some iconic Kaiba cards in here in high rarity, as well as some good cards for old school formats like La Jinn and Delinquent Duo. There of course were some Blue-Eyes reprints, which both White Stones, Sage (though it was in the first Battles of Legend as Secret Rare), Dragon Spirit of White, and Azure-Eyes look great in Secret Rare. The ABC pieces and the ABC Fusion were also Secret Rare, which look great. Card of Demise and Lullaby of Obedience are good Kaiba Spells to be in Secret Rare. The Melody of Awakening Dragon, Silver’s Cry, Enemy Controller, Return of the Dragon Lords, Trade-In, Terraforming, and Dragon Shrine made for good Secret Rares. Beelze and Ancient Fairy Dragon are good Synchro reprints. As for Ultra Rares, we have all the Virus Traps. Raigeki is a good Ultra Rare. Thunder Dragon finally got to be a holo as an Ultra Rare in here. Many of the good hand traps were reprinted as Ultra Rares like Ghost Ogre, Ash Blossom, Droll & Lock Bird, D.D. Crow, and Ghost Reaper. Finally, there were some reprints from old Tournament Packs and the Ultra Rare Promos were Secret Rares in this set. Overall a good set for collectors, casual players, and competitive players.

Summon Sorceress

Oh boy, here is a contender for one of the greatest Jump promos ever. Summon Sorceress was a phenomenal Link-3 that does require monsters of the same Type to Link Summon, but in return summons almost any monster from your deck to a zone it points to with its effects negated, just as long as Summon Sorceress points to a monster with the same Type as the monster you plan to summon. If you don’t have Summon Sorc already set up, she will do it for you by summoning a monster to the opponent’s field to the zone she points to on their side so you can summon what you intend from the deck, it is a rare effect that is used but there if you need it. Overall this is the best Link-3 we got with so many easy ways to summon it.

Extreme Force Special Edition

With every set now we get a Special Edition and the first one was obviously going to be for Extreme Force in 2018. For the Flames of Desturction preview cards, we had Mekk-Knight Avram and Called by the Grave. Mekk-Knight Avram is a vanilla with 2000 ATK that wants you to CHECK THIS OUT! Yeah, that’s all you need to know there. Called by the Grave was an amazing preview card as it gave us an out to hand traps earlier than we expected it to come out, meaning it ended up being a common in Extreme Force. A good chance that this Special Edition was picked up mostly to get Super Rare Called by the Graves so you don’t have to play the commons. As for the reprints, the first one was PSY-Framegear Gamma, which was the best PSY-Frame hand trap in the meta, ironically one that Called by the Grave doesn’t counter unless PSY-Frame Driver is in the GY. Gamma was powerful in the meta for stopping monster effects while you controlled no monsters so your opponent doesn’t go off on you that bad with big plays. The other reprint was for Galaxy-Eyes Cipher Blade Dragon, which is a nice Rank 9 to use to upgrade your Galaxy-Eyes Xyzs in Rank 8 decks, and considering this was a Jump promo, everywhere outside North America finally got access to this card with the release of this Special Edition.

Star Pack VRAINS

I mean, it’s a Star Pack, standards typically shouldn’t be high for these sets. I mean, I guess having Starfoil versions of cards that previously only came in common or Rare might be nice, but beyond that, not much else. There are ok reprints in there. A lot of the first Gouki monsters in there, and most of them previously only came in common, so I guess having them in Starfoil would be nice. We got reprint for some of the good Trickstar cards, excluding Trickstar Reincarnation, so they are no longer just in high rarity. The Altergeist cards were also reprinted, and a few of them were in Ultra Rare, so nice to make them a bit easier to get. I guess for what it was worth at the time, Decode Talker was a ok reprint considering it went for a few bucks in the 2017 Starter Deck, but it later came in common in the 2018 Starter Deck and this set only had it in Starfoil. I mean, this set is one dollar a pack, so I don’t expect them to put insane value in here, even though that’d make it sell more, or less if it isn’t short printed as then you’d probably get it very quickly and then want to move on when they could of just put it in a bigger, more valuable set.

OTS Tournament Pack 7

Time for rarity upgrades. For the Ultimate Rares in this set we had Herald of Orange Light, Link Spider, and Cosmic Cyclone. Herald of Orange Light coincides with the Wave of Light Structure Deck from earlier, and it makes all the Herald hand traps finally come in Ultimate Rare. Link Spider I guess since it was used commonly for Link Climbing, but I don’t know why someone would want to get an Ultimate Rare copy of Link Spider just to summon it for a second then Link it away for a bigger and better Link Monster. Cosmic Cyclone might of been the best of the Ultimate Rares as it is a useful Spell/Trap removal as it doesn’t destroy the card, cause that can be relevant sometimes. The Super Rares in this pack were Royal Magical Library, SPYRAL Tough, World Legacy – “World Chalice”, Destrudo the Lost Dragon’s Frisson, Magical Citadel of Endymion, Fossil Dig, Divine Punishment, Paleozoic Dinomischus, Paleozoic Marrella, and Paleozoic Leanchoilla. RML and Magical Citadel went with the release of the Mythical Beast Pendulums from Extreme Force, though they were late on a relevant Super Rare of RML and Magical Citadel later came in Secret in Dark Saviors, making a Super in here a waste. SPYRAL Tough was a nice bump for SPYRAL, though it was after they finished SPYRAL off as a Tier 1 deck. World Legacy – “World Chalice” is good in World Chalice decks and is worth being a Super Rare. Destrudo came as Rare in Circuit Break and is amazing, so this is a good upgrade. Fossil Dig is a great Super Rare bump for Dinosaur players cause that deck is still good actually. Divine Punishment is another promotion for the Wave of Light deck. Finally the three Paleos in this set as Supers were better than the last three Supers, though the best one in Olenoides is still common, and spoiler was never reprinted as a Super Rare. Oh yeah, and Pikaia also remains a common only, but that one isn’t played too often. For noteworthy commons… Zombie World? Wavering Eyes? Yeah, the commons are rarely good and just promote the latest and upcoming product, no matter how good or bad they are.

Lair of Darkness Structure Deck

Well this deck kinda flopped. Now, this isn’t saying it is a bad deck, cause it is far from it. Lilith and Darkest Diabolos are still great cards as Lilith gets to any Normal Trap basically and Darkest Diabolos takes a card from your opponent’s hand at the cost of tributing a DARK monster and also has great protection and ease of summoning. The Lair of Darkness Field Spell isn’t that bad, as it turns all monsters DARK and lets you tribute your opponent’s DARK monsters for effects, it’s just not as good as we expected it to be. It even got it’s own searcher in Ahrima, which is another good card beyond just searching for Lair. We had good reprints in here, though, like Caius the Mega Monarch, Vanity’s Fiend, and Allure of Darkness. The deck is honestly far from bad, just didn’t live up to the hype it first received.

Flames of Destruction

Probably the best main set of the year and it is kinda hard to debate. First off, this set introduced us to the Knightmare monsters, which are still seen in many Extra Decks and one of them, being Knightmare Goblin, later got banned in the year. Altergeist Multifaker came in this set to put Altergeist on the map as a strong meta contender. Batteryman Solar was in here, and it saw use later in the year with an archetype from the last main set this year. Ghost Belle & Haunted Mansion joins the Ghost Girls as a new hand trap and stops cards involving the GY. Sekka’s Light gave Monster Mash decks a new breath of life and made many decks take on a 37 Monster and 3 Sekka’s Light strategy. The aforementioned Called by the Grave got the common print in this set. Red Reboot is a great Counter Trap to use against other Traps. Also, we got one of the best Trap Cards in the game in this set, Infinite Impermanence. We also had the debut of the Elementsaber archetype with a new LIGHT Elemental Lord with a Raigeki effect, more support for Goukis and Trickstars, a solid Link-3 as the cover card in Topologic Trisbaena, a Link for Wind-Up and Vampires (which is generic Zombie support), a World Legacy Spell that revives a monster to a zone a Link Monster points to which is really good in many decks, and support for archetypes like F.A., Vendread, Crystal Beasts, Cardian, Madolche, Inzektor, and Shaddoll in the imports and exclusives. 

May 21st, 2018 Forbidden and Limited List

The second F/L List of the year and this list also had many changes. First off was the banning of Astrograph Sorcerer to hinder the Pendulum Magician deck even more, along with Supreme King Dragon Starving Venom to stop the Pendulum FTK. Master Peace was also banned to get rid of the one overpowered play that True Draco had left, but got consistency in return with the limiting of Dinomight Knight from Forbidden and the unlimiting of Ignis Heat. Phoenixian Cluster was also banned to prevent the Plant FTK, though again we are waiting on the Aroma Link. Ancient Fairy Dragon was banned because of all the powerful Field Spell and Summoning shenanigans she allowed in Link Format. Rank-Up-Magic Argent Chaos Force was banned to stop the Utopic ZEXAL lock from happening more, which I never thought a Rank-Up would be banned. That Grass Looks Greener is also banned now to hinder 60 card decks more. Gem-Knight Master Diamond was limited to hit Gem-Knight FTK, and Chain Strike was limited because of the new time rule we would later get. Apoqliphort Towers and Ring of Destruction were put to two because they weren’t really relevant at one. Finally we got Atlantean Dragoons back to three to give the Atlantean Mermail deck some strong consistency, Grandsoil is limited with his hard once per turn errata to match the other Elemental Lords, Mathematician was put to three cause it wasn’t really a problem at one, Neo-Spacian Grand Mole got its long overdue release from the list, and Compulse is finally unlimited because it isn’t as bad as it once was.

Dark Saviors

Another one of the best sets of the year was the Dark Saviors set. This set introduced us to the Sky Striker archetype, which is a very powerful and consistent deck and engine for many decks with cards like Engage, Hornet Drones, and Kagari, along with other cards for many different uses such as board clearing, disruption, and resource gathering and replenishing. We also had the Fur Hire archetype, which got the worst name change ever probably, but it is still a good archetype that can spam monsters from the hand and get various effects when said monsters were summoned. We also got new Vampire support, which gave the archetype a new and better play style of trying to revive and use your opponents monsters for stuff. There are also nice Super Rare reprints in Armageddon Knight, ROTA, Dark Grepher, Toon Table, Monarchs Stormforth, Drowning Mirror Force, Scapegoat, and Allure of Darkness. So yeah, this is a pretty good set with something for casual and competitive players.

Flames of Destruction Special Edition

The next Special Edition was the one for Flames of Destruction, and while the set might be really good, the promos are just ok. To coincide with the Elementsabers, we had reprints for the two best Elemental Lords of Grandsoil and Moulinglacia. Grandsoil got its errata to be a hard once per turn to be a Monster Reborn on summon and Moulinglacia had an insane price tag as its only printing before this was as a Secret Rare in Abyss Rysing back in 2012. We also got World Legacy’s Memory, which is an Emergency Teleport for Mekk-Knights and a overall good card for them and Mekk-Knight variants. The other one was Universal Adapter, which just changes the ATK of every monster to the ATK of a monster your opponent controls and is pretty meh. The Elemental Lords are nice as the both of them just had one reprint and Grandsoil got an errata, and World Legacy’s Memory improves Mekk-Knights, but beyond that the promos weren’t that strong.

Battles of Legend: Relentless Revenge

The sequel to Light’s Revenge last year, Relentless Revenge was another solid reprint set, only this time will the new cards actually being somewhat pretty good. After many years we got Golden Castle of Stromberg and a whole Fairy Tale archetype surrounding it, which the Golden Castle might of been the biggest reason Ancient Fairy Dragon was banned. Living Fossil is a great Equip Spell to put in your Isolde Warrior decks. Cyber Emergency is outstanding for Cyber Dragons and is a better searcher than Cyber Repair Plant. Slash Draw saw more use later in this year in a FTK after the final banlist of this year in December. We finally got the remaining Timelords from the anime to complete the series. Number 27 is good for summon Rank 10+ Machines, Number 90 is great in Photon/Galaxy decks, and Number 75 is great in Number 86 turbo decks. Iron Draw can be useful in Machine decks. With all that said, however, the biggest card in this set might be Topologic Gumblar Dragon, which is a powerful Link-4 that can eat away at your opponent’s hand. Monster Reborn got its first reprint outside the Lost Art since it came back from the F/L List. We have a few Neo-Spacian reprints to prepare us for that new Neo-Spacian card in Cybernetic Horizon, though they are better for the new Neo-Spacian support in Savage Strike. T.G. Wonder Magician is reprinted to lower its price before Crystron Needlefiber hits the TCG. Performage Damage Juggler and Trick Clown get foil upgrades in this set, along with Uni-Zombie, Supreme King Dragon Darkwurm, and Eater of Millions finally getting foil prints. We have some Phantom Knights cards like Silent Boots, Ancient Cloak, and Fog Blade. Brilliant Fusion gets a reprint as a Secret Rare. PSY-Frame Driver gets a reprint cause it was a Rare that went for a few dollars. Some Noble Knight reprints to promote new Noble Knight support as we saw Medraut, Brothers, and Merlin in this set. Darklord Ixchel and Nasten were reprinted as they were previously short printed Secret Rares in Destiny Soldiers. The best Kaiju in Gameciel gets a Secret Rare print. Elemental HERO Honest Neos is in here to lower the value of the one from Duelist Saga. Some Metalfoes fusions are in here like Mithrilium and Alkahest. Cyrstron Quandax is another one reprinted before we get Needlefiber. Tornado Dragon, Dragonic Diagram, and Trickstar Reincarnation get another Secret Rare printing each in here. Number 41 and Pre-Preparation of Rites get upgraded from Super to Ultra Rare. Unending Nightmare gets a reprint as it is a nice counter to Pendulum decks. Finally we get reprints for Solemn Strike to make it more budget, and Solemn Judgement for the first time since it was unbanned. Nice reprint set, and better new cards than the first Battles of Legend.

Starter Deck: Codebreaker

Here is your yearly Starter Deck. This time around the Starter Deck seems to want to help the Cyberse strategy more whereas last year’s was to introduce us to Link Summoning and giving us a first good Link Monster in Decode Talker. The main card this year is Powercode Talker, which revives a Link-3 or lower Cyberse Link to a zone it points to and while it is co-linked, gives itself and the monster(s) it is co-linked to some protection and ATK points. Widget Kid and Cyberse White Hat do make for good extenders in the Cyberse deck as well. As for reprints, you got Linkuriboh, which is arguably one of the best Link-1 monsters in the game and it was finally playable outside North America as previously the card was just a Jump Promo. Starter Decks never break the game, but this one is better than some Starter Decks I’ve seen in the past and I feel they’ve done better with Starter Decks in the Link Era than they did the Pendulum Era, whether 2019’s is good or not.

Shooting Riser Dragon

The third Jump Promo is one that is most useful with a card the TCG doesn’t have yet, Shooting Riser Dragon. Riser is a generic Level 7 Synchro Tuner that if Synchro Summoned can send any monster below Level 7 from your deck to the GY to lower this card’s Level, but thankfully the monster this card sends cannot use its effects when sent to the GY. Also this card has an effect similar to many other Synchro Tuners where it lets you Synchro Summon during your opponent’s turn just as long as this card is used as material. The card can already be Level 1-7, so you got a ton of possibilities here. Shooting Riser Dragon is a good card that becomes great when the TCG gets Crystron Needlefiber.

Cybernetic Horizon

This is probably one of the more interesting sets of the year, as there are some pretty cool things in this set. First off is one of the best Link-4 Boss Monsters in the game in Borrelsword Dragon, and we all know how powerful that card is for ending games swiftly. We got that Neo-Spacian support I mentioned earlier in this set, and it was one card, and it really wasn’t amazing. The Crusadia is a good archetype in this set, adding on to the World Legacy, and makes for a fun rouge deck on its own or mixed with Guardragons in Savage Strike. World Legacy – “World Crown” is easily the best of the World Legacy monsters as it can destroy a monster summoned from the Extra Deck just by tributing itself. We got the first two Impcantation monsters and they are really helping out Ritual Decks, especially as we get more of them. Cyber Dragons get a wave of support for the first time since their Structure Deck I believe, not counting the one card they get periodically, and it does make for a fun rouge strategy just like Crusadia. This set had a ton of new Ritual monsters, making it the perfect place for the Impcantations to make their debut, including a new Cyberse Ritual and some more Demise and Ruin Rituals along with some support cards. The biggest archetype from this set, however; were the Danger! monsters, which the first four were really good and all are worthy of being played whether as staples or from time to time. A few extra things in this set include a DARK Elemental Lord with the original effect of Sangan on summon, a few nice Dragunity, Metaphys, and Noble Knight cards, a new Link for Sky Strikers and Mekk-Knights (the E-Tele for Mekk-Knights was common in here as well), Reproducus to make Summon Sorceress easier to summon, the LIGHT and DARK Link-2s, some ok Mythical Beast support, and a nice Draw Spell for Level 6 heavy decks.

Powercode Link Structure Deck

Did you say you wanted another Cyberse Structure Deck? Don’t worry, there is one more then we move on to Salamangreats (which are Cyberse, but don’t really boost a pure Cyberse deck and only use a few generic Cyberse cards) when it comes to Structure Decks that aren’t retrains. Though I guess in the TCG we are getting the Salamangreat Structure Deck before the other Cyberse Structure Deck. The main monster for this deck was Powercode Talker, a Link-3 that negates the effects of a face-up monster on the field for a turn and can tribute a monster it points to to double its own ATK. We also had a vanilla Link-2 and Link-3 that required 2 and 3 monsters respectively and had down arrows only. Sea Archiver and Cyberse Gadget makes for good Cyberse extenders, Flame Bufferlo makes for a nice Cyberse draw card, and Lady Debug is great for searching any Level 3 or below Cyberse. As for reprints, you got some nice cards like Reborn Tengu, Skull Meister, Phantom Skyblaster, Juragedo, and Effect Veiler. The big reprint we didn’t get that the OCG got was Droll & Lock Bird, but overall the reprints were fine in here and the new cards were nice additions for Cyberse.

Shadows in Valhalla

An interesting set as only the TCG got this and the OCG will be waiting for these cards to be imported to them when it comes to the new cards, which is the debut of the Valkyrie archetype from the DM anime and some Ninja support, including a pretty good Link Monster and Field Spell. We also got some OCG Imports in here with the Outer Entity Xyz monsters finally being printed in the TCG and the Invoked Link Monster coming over in this set to boost Invoked variants. This set also has some good reprints, including Invoked Mechaba, Magical Meltdown, and Invocation as Super Rares and Aleister the Invoker as a Secret Rare since Invoked did get their Link Monster in this set. Mermail Abyssmegalo gets a very budget reprint and Abyssteus gets a 2nd reprint to make it very accessible now. Mist Valley Apex Avian is good in some Pendulum Magician variations, and Windwitch – Ice Bell being reprinted makes the Windwitches very budget friendly now. El Shaddoll Winda and Shaddoll Fusion are great Secret Rare upgrades that make the cards more budget… for now I assume. Gem-Knight Seraphinite now matches Brilliant Fusion in Secret Rare. Hi-Speedroid Chanbara is a nice Super Rare, and Twin Twisters makes for a lovely Secret Rare. The biggest reprint in this set though is Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, which is only a Super Rare, but pretty short printed so it is still expensive until hopefully Duel Power’s reprint of it doesn’t have it short printed.

OTS Tournament Pack 8

Another OTS Pack, and this one sorta makes up well for the last two OTS Packs being not as amazing. The Ultimate Rares were Sky Striker Ace – Kagari, Droll & Lock Bird, and Scapegoat. Kagari is a staple three of in Sky Strikers pure and the reason it is a good engine, and unlike Link Spider I can at least see you leaving a Kagari on the field longer than just being Link Fodder, despite its only arrow pointing up. Droll & Lock Bird is one of the best hand traps we have, and is a worthy Ultimate Rare. The final one being Scapegoat is a nice one as Scapegoat is really good for making big Link Monsters. The Super Rares in this set include the newest Demise and Ruin Rituals cause I assume they didn’t have enough room in Cybernetic Horizon to make them Super Rares instead of Rares, Twin Triangle Dragon which is a decent Link-2 for some Dragon decks, Underclock Taker cause that card deserves better than to be a common only, Machine Duplication because having another foil print of that is nice, Broken Bamboo Sword because it was previously a short print from an old GX set, Space Gift because Neo-Spacians, Secret Village of the Spellcasters because having another Super Rare run of that is amazing since the only other one I believe is in Crossroads of Chaos, Waking the Dragon because that is the best bait card to set in the S/T Zone in the game, and a Sky Striker Ace Token because having Tokens is always nice. The noteworthy commons are Ojama Red because it was an expensive Rare from Raging Battle, and Windwitches – Snow Bell and Glass Bell to help lower the value of the Windwitches even more. The Portuguese version of this pack had some Dragunity cards as commons if you want foreign and common Dragunity cards. 

2018 Mega Tins

Ah, the yearly Mega Tins, the set that is designed to make every card from the last year cheaper, and boy does it do the job. This year the Mega Tins spanned from Maximum Crisis to Extreme Force and featured Jaden and Yusei with their new cards. Jaden had Nebula Neos, which is now the best Triple Contact Fusion, while Yusei had Junk Speeder, which is thankfully balanced by locking you to Synchros after you summon a ton of Synchrons. The other promos were OCG Imports with the best ones being Keeper of Dragon Magic, Elemental HERO Solid Soldier, and Junk Collector. The Mega Packs did have some noteworthy exclusions as they almost always do, but still great reprints for the two Mekk-Knight Secret Rares, Borreload Dragon, Firewall Dragon, Saryuja Skull Dread, Heavymetalfoes Electrumite, Topologic Bomber Dragon, Inspector Boarder, and Evenly Matched. There are a few other nice goodies in the Ultra and Secret Rares, but that is the best of the best. Oh yeah, and for some reason they put the original Ruin and Demise along with End of the World cause I guess they didn’t want them in an OTS Pack.

Around this time in the year the Dark Side of Dimensions Movie Pack was reprinted in a Special Edition, but I talked about the Movie Pack Gold Edition in 2017 and it this is literally the same thing, just with Ultra Rares instead of Gold Rares.

Cybernetic Horizon Special Edition

As expected, we got a Special Edition for Cybernetic Horizon, which means more of the set to circulate. The reprinted promos were Number 38, which is an amazing Rank 8 getting its first printing in 2 years and finally outside just being a Gold Rare, and SPYRAL Super Agent, which was still valuable even after all the SPYRAL hits due to missing the Mega Tins in 2017. The new cards were Eternal Galaxy, which Rank-Uped a Galaxy/Photon Xyz by 4 Ranks, and Necro Fusion, which is basically Miracle Fusion in Trap Form for every deck only it banishes the materials in the GY face-down. The reprints in this Special Edition were well done, as both really needed a reprint, and the preview cards from Soul Fusion were cool, but nothing Earth-shattering like with Called by the Grave earlier this year. 

September 17th, 2018 Forbidden and Limited List

Konami has done a good job at releasing lists after a good amount of time this year by not waiting too long after they promise one. This list banned Knightmare Goblin because of his extra Normal Summon being too good for so many decks, M-X-Saber Invoker because that card has only seen use in very powerful combos for the last few years, and Samsara Lotus to stop an FTK with Topologic Bomber Dragon and Trickstar Black Catbat. The limited section was loaded this time around as we had A – Assault Core limited because of a loop with Firewall Dragon and Cannon Soldier, Elemental HERO Stratos because they are somewhat pushing HEROs and they finally realize that Stratos isn’t broken, Evilswarm Exciton Knight because they probably forgot it was reprinted last year in Battles of Legend and intended to release it this time last year, Heavymetalfoes Electrumite to keep slowing down Pendulum even more, Morphing Jar and Card Destruction to push the Danger! archetype, PSY-Framelord Omega because it is a long overdue limit, A Hero Lives because I guess they didn’t want this at three with Stratos (though OCG limited this later and they already had 2 Stratos), Sky Striker Mecha – Hornet Drones to limit Sky Striker as an engine somewhat, and Super Polyermization because it helps out Extra Links I guess. The semi-limits are interesting as we got Kozmo Dark Destroyer because Kozmo are past their prime, Called by the Grave because I guess they didn’t want any remaining overpowered decks to have negation to disruption, Scapegoat because of so much Link Spam, and Terraforming because Field Spells are good now. The unlimits were Apoqliphort Towers making his progression from 0 to 3 like many cards do, Destiny HERO – Disk Commander cause the errata slaughtered how good the card was, Burial from a Different Dimension to support Zombies and probably cause it isn’t so powerful anymore, and Ring of Destruction because the errata doesn’t let it cause draws or let you win as much anymore.

Legendary Duelists, White Dragon Abyss

Another legacy support set, and a nice one at that. The five archetypes in here were Blue-Eyes, Cyber Dragon, Blackwing, Galaxy/Photon, and Abyss Actors. Blue-Eyes got a new Ritual to use with Chaos Form if Chaos MAX Dragon wasn’t good enough for you and a searcher for most to all Blue-Eyes related cards, though the search is random. Cyber Dragons got a new Fusion that protects itself if you already got a Machine Fusion in the GY, a Power Bond searcher, and a Fusion Quick-Play Spell that lets you use your field and banished zone for the Fusion Summon. Blackwings got a Towers like Level 10 Synchro, a Level 6 that searches and makes good use of Black Whirlwind, and a Level 4 Tuner that summons banished Blackwings. Photon/Galaxy got a new searcher for their cards, a Rank 4 that summons a Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon that is banished or in the GY as well as a Photon/Galaxy from your hand, a searcher for just Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon, a Snatch Steal like card that only works on Xyzs if you don’t have Photon Dragon, and a Trap that can ditch one of your Galaxy/Photons you control to search or summon a different one, or both if you send Photon Dragon. Finally, Abyss Actors got a nice searcher for your Abyss Actor monsters and a new monster to help destroy your set Abyss Scripts. This is arguably the best Legendary Duelists so far, but the 4th one might be better.

Legendary Hero Decks

It seems these Legendary Decks are going to be a yearly tradition and I’m happy that is, cause these things have been well done so far I feel. This year we got a Destiny HERO, Nordic, and Phantom Knights deck. The Destiny HERO deck gave us two new HERO Link Monsters, one to power up your HERO Fusions and another to keep cycling Polymerization and your Mask Changes. The Nordic deck had a new Link Monster that made the Aesir monsters insanely easy to summon, but with proper restrictions. The Phantom Knights deck had a new Link Monster to send your Phantom Knight monsters to the grave to get to your Phantom Knight Spells and Traps as well as a new Trap that recycles your banished Phantom Knights monster and revives itself as a monster with another Phantom Knights monster. Some good reprints in the HERO deck include Destiny HERO – Malicious, Destiny HERO – Celestial, an errataed Destiny HERO – Disk Commander, Elemental HERO Shadow Mist, Elemental HERO Blazeman, Monster Reborn, Masked HERO Dark Law, and Masked HERO Anki. The good reprints for the Nordic deck are Vanadis of the Nordic Ascendant, Monster Reborn, Soul Charge, Hey, Trunade!, Ascension Sky Dragon, Beelzeus of the Diabolic Dragons, Beelze of the Diabolic Dragons, and Coral Dragon. The best reprints in the Phantom Knights deck were The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak, The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots, Armageddon Knight, Blue Mountain Butterspy, Rescue Ferret, Junk Forward, Kagemucha Knight, Cockadoodledoo, Effect Veiler, Monster Reborn, Foolish Burial, Reinforcement of the Army, Twin Twisters, Phantom Knights’ Fog Blade, The Phantom Knights of Shade Brigandine, Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon, Evilswarm Nightmare, Number 86, Leviair the Sea Dragon, and Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss. These are always a good value for $30.

Advent Calendar 2018

It seems Konami finally decided to give America an Advent Calendar instead of just Europe, but did not put this together well when it comes to giving players good cards. The sole purpose of this thing seems to just be to have something fun to open to build up towards Christmas by putting in here mostly cards based around the Christmas Season. Now, I don’t hate this thing, I honestly thought it was cute, but if you are looking for value then this is the last thing you should be buying. If you wanted to have fun for Christmas, then $20 for this wasn’t too bad. I like the idea of having an Advent Calendar, and I get it is for Christmas, but they could of picked a better theme to give better cards like how they did with the 5D’s and ZEXAL Advent Calendars.

Soul Fusion

The final main booster set of 2018 was Soul Fusion, and it had some interesting cards in here to shake up the meta. We had the Dinowrestler archetype, but the biggest card for that was Dinowrestler Pankratops, which is viable to throw into many different side decks as it is such a good card. We got the Thunder Dragons as an archetype, which has some good consistency and has two great Fusion Monsters to go with them. Crusadia got a new Link Monster that will see play in the aforementioned Crusadia Guardragon deck. Orcust was the newest World Legacy archetype with some good potential and might be a good rogue deck right now. Herald of the Abyss can be a useful Spell for monsters that can be a pain to otherwise deal with. Trap Trick is a great Trap for decks that want to really make use of specific Normal Traps or have a heavy amount of them in their deck. Finally, for the competitive side we had new Danger! monsters to make use of. Casually, you got Salamangreats (who are getting more support in the future), Photon/Galaxy, Condemmed Witch for some Fairy strategies, some nice Insect cards, more Impcantations, more Cyberse cards, new Gravekeeper support, Extra-Foolish Burial, more Noble Knight cards, D/D/D Flame High King Genghis, and finally the long awaited Frightfur Patchwork.

Structure Deck: Zombie Horde

The final Structure Deck for the year, and probably the best one, is Zombie Horde, which is a retrain of the old Zombie World structure deck from 2008. This deck had great support for Zombies. One of their cards helps you activate a Zombie World from the deck, another is a Zombie Glow-Up Bulb that banishes itself to search a Level 5+ Zombie or Special Summon it if you have Zombie World, a new Level 7 Synchro that revives Zombie monsters from either GY when a Zombie is destroyed in battle, and a new Level 8 Boss that revives itself if you control a Field Spell (preferably Zombie World) and can either negate the activation of an effect or banish a card from the field or GYs when a Zombie monster activates its effect and you can use both in one turn. This deck makes it important to remember that Zombie World turns every monster on the field and in the GYs into Zombies. You had your standard Zombie reprints in here, but some great ones include Shiranui Solitaire, Dragged Down into the Grave, Metaverse, Anti-Spell Fragrance, and Mask of Restrict. The best Structure Deck of the year maybe and Zombies do make for a good rouge deck I hear.

Arc-V Volume 4 and White Aura Bihamut

The second manga to be released in 2018 and this one comes with a better promo card in White Aura Bihamut. White Aura Bihamut is a Level 10 Synchro that is generic except that it needs a Synchro Tuner, but while on the field can always summon a Token with the same stats as it as long as you don’t have one, which is great since it is a 3300/3000 body. White Aura Bihamut can always be revived as well if it is destroyed and sent to the GY by a card effect. A good promo to add more incentive to buy the manga if you weren’t already planning on getting it to read. Just like the last manga, this one was also released in Europe, so this card is legal for them to play.

Hidden Summoners

Another set like the Dark Saviors from earlier this year, only this one is not as good to be honest. The first archetype in here is the Nephthys archetype, taking the old Sacred Phoenix and making a whole archetype around it and making it Ritual based with two new Ritual monsters, two new Link Monsters, and several Main Deck monsters that destroy cards in the hand to do various things and during your next Standby Phase get other effects like the old Sacred Phoenix if they were destroyed by card effects. The other archetype, and the best one, was the Prank-Kids archetype, which was a Fusion and Link archetype that had the Main Deck monsters summon other Prank-Kids from the deck when used for Fusion or Link Material, the smaller Fusions tributed themselves to revive Prank-Kids monsters, the smaller Link Monsters tributed themselves to add Prank-Kids cards back to your hand, their Boss Fusion tributed itself for a Raigeki effect, and their Boss Link tributed itself for a Harpie’s Feather Duster effect. Their Spells and Traps help Fusion and Link Summon, get to your Prank-Kids monsters, and recycle your Prank-Kids cards back to the deck. A great archetype and when they got their fourth Main Deck monster, they were able to win a YCS, so it was an archetype we really underestimated at the beginning you can say considering we knew about the aforementioned card. The final archetype was the Mayakashi, a Synchro based archetype with monsters to help get your Tuners on the field for Synchro Summons, which then based on what happens to your Synchros, whether summoning them or having them destroyed, you can revive said Tuners to keep Synchro climbing from Level 3 all the way to Level 11, and then Link Summon their Link Monster if you wish, because all the Synchro Monsters revive themselves when a Synchro two Levels higher than it is destroyed, or a Link Monster in the case of the Level 11. The archetype is linear, but has created some FTKs for what they are worth. Some nice reprints include De-Synchro, Manju, Shiranui Spiritmaster, Gold Sarc, Rivalry of the Warlords, and Gozen Match. A nice, fun set, but not too meta breaking despite the Prank-Kids winning a YCS. 

The Errata of Chaos Emperor Dragon – Envoy of the End

The final Jump Promo for 2018 is Chaos Emperor Dragon – Envoy of the End. Now sure this was a card we already had, but the OCG has had an errata for this thing since 2015, so it took us over three years to get the errata. It does the same thing it used to do, only with a restriction. You still banish a LIGHT and DARK to summon it and you can still pay 1000 LP to send every card on the field and in the hands to the GY and burn your opponent for 300 for each of their cards sent to the GY by this effect. The restriction is that you cannot activate other cards or effects the turn you use this card’s effect to send everything to the GY. No more degenerate plussing just cause you sent everything to the GY, the days of using this to set up the Yata Lock are long gone. This card is probably best to use to finish the game now, because otherwise you risk your opponent getting pluses just cause you used this to send their cards to the GY. Chaos Emperor Dragon is not as dangerous as it once was. I expect it to come to three in January just like the OCG has it when all the Jump Promos of this are more than likely sent out, but the errata is official, so Europe can play with this I think since it is in the database, they’ll just need to bring the errataed effect with their old copies of Chaos Emperor Dragon I believe.

December 3rd, 2018 Forbidden & Limited List

I feel Konami didn’t really want to release a list as soon as they did, considering it was so short and didn’t address everything, but they saw a degenerate problem in the format and decided to act upon it. The first thing they did was ban Firewall Dragon because of all the summoning it allowed to begin FTK Loops and Extra Linking, and we now know there is a new anime ace monster, so Firewall Dragon wasn’t going to have that “plot-armor” of not getting banned if it had it in the first place. The one limitation they did was to Armageddon Knight because DARK Warrior decks were very powerful, so the consistency of seeing Armageddon Knight in the opening hand was hit, but we have one to summon off Isolde still. The only Semi-Limit was Destiny HERO – Malicious returning to the spot so you can at most only use Malicious one time unless you somehow recycle it, though now there can be an argument to limiting it since it seems viable at two still. We had three unlimits and they went to A – Assault Core since the Firewall Dragon loop no longer existed, Kozmo Dark Destroyer because two of this card didn’t matter in the meta, and Called by the Grave back from two to three because I guess the format was healthy enough to where there wasn’t a degenerate deck they didn’t want to stop hand traps. There are still problems in the meta, and I feel they’ll be addressed in January and February and I’ll talk about that in the 2019 Year Review, but for now this list was good enough to calm the problems down a bit and Firewall deserves its ban.

Soul Fusion Special Edition

The final Special Edition of the year and easily the best one was the Soul Fusion Special Edition. The reprinted promos were Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights and Summon Sorceress. Isolde was demanding a big price tag for being an Ultra Rare and is very good in many different Warrior decks to the point where Warrior might be the most meta relevant type. Summon Sorceress was a Jump Promo that is now legal in Europe so they can play with it before they eventually and deservingly ban the card. The preview cards were Neo Space Connector and Prank-Kids Rocksies. Connector is a great card to put with the new Neos support that we’ll get in Savage Strike, but is useful in the meta with Aqua Dolphin to abuse Isolde in many decks. Prank-Kids Rocksies is your standard Main Deck Prank-Kids monster that banishes a card to draw a card when used for a Fusion/Link Summon and gets a Prank-Kids monster out of the Main Deck at the same time, but this card did give Prank-Kids enough of a boost to win a YCS like I mentioned earlier, so it is a big addition to the deck. Easily the best promos I’ve seen for any Special Edition.

OTS Tournament Pack 9

To end this off is the 9th OTS Tournament Pack, because this one didn’t want to stop at 8 like the other Tournament Packs I guess. The Ultimate Rares were Elemental HERO Stratos, Trickstar Lycoris, and Sky Striker Ace – Shizuku. Stratos comes off the Forbidden List and now gets to be an Ultimate Rare, which is a deserving upgrade. Lycoris is a staple three of in the Trickstar deck, so it deserves to go from Super to Ultimate. Shizuku is the second best Sky Striker Link behind Kagari, and is played in multiples in a pure Sky Striker deck and is another Link I can see people putting on the field for more than Link Climbing so it is automatically better as an Ultimate Rare than Link Spider. The Super Rares were Morphing Jar, Card Destruction, and Super Polymerization cause they were also unbanned recently, Galaxy Wizard and Galaxy Expedition cause they only had one other printing and were demanding a big price tag, Thunder Dragonmatrix to make every main deck Thunder Dragon exist as a holo, Reproducus because it was a useful Link Monster for Summon Sorceress, Sekka’s Light because it is a good draw card for monster heavy decks, Personal Spoofing cause it is a good searcher for Altergeist, and three different Mecha Phantom Beast Token artworks because more Tokens and it kinda teases Crystron Needlefiber and Mecha Phantom Beast O-Lion is a Tuner that Needlefiber abuses. Some good commons include some T.G. cards since we are getting support for the archetype, Jet Synchron to again tease Crystron Needlefiber, Forbidden Graveyard having a name change to Silent Graveyard, Imperial Tombs of the Necrovalley because it was an expensive Secret Rare since Gravekeeper’s got support, and Imperial Order since with the errata it is still a great floodgate against Spells.

In Conclusion

There were a lot of fun cards released in this year and I’d be lying if I said otherwise. With that in mind, the meta was a complete mess mostly due to Firewall Dragon starting Extra Linking and FTK problems. Sure the meta is still having some problems with Topologic Gumblar Dragon, Sky Strikers being around still, and there being a new Slash Draw FTK, but I do believe the first list of 2019 will fix what remains. I did mention some stuff coming in 2019 a lot, and that is mostly because it is important to some of the stuff I mentioned and because so far it looks like 2019 will be a fun year. 2018 had ups and downs, and hopefully 2019 fixes the problems that this year had.








Thanks for Reading,