Time for another decade to come to a close. Hello Pojo Readers, Crunch$G back here to talk about Yu-Gi-Oh in 2019 as a whole. We’ve seen new F/L Lists, new booster sets, new archetypes, and even Speed Dueling becoming a real thing outside of Duel Links. This seemed to be a fairly diverse year for the meta, though a lot of the meta decks were fairly old archetypes from 2018. This year seemed more balanced since we didn’t have a Tier 0 meta like 2017 with Zoodiacs and we didn’t have FTKs going around like in 2018, so the meta was much calmer. Overall, let’s see what the end of the 2010s had for us.
The Final Jump Promos
First, I’ll get started by mentioned that this year was the last time they sent out Shonen Jump promos to those who subscribed to the service. They went out in an interesting way though as they gave us 4 retrains of classic cards. We got Darkness Metal, the Dragon of Dark Steel first and Trishula, the Dragon of Icy Imprisonment as the first two and later in the year you would of got Judgment, the Dragon of Heaven and Dark Armed, the Dragon of Annihilation. All 4 are fairly cool, though I’d say Darkness Metal and Dark Armed are the most playable with Trishula falling somewhat behind. They’re beautiful cards at least, and a good way to go out.
The Lost Art Promotion 2019
Last year it was a success, so I guess they were of course going to do it again in 2019. This year around we got a bigger variety of cards compared to getting 5 Exodia pieces last year as well as Monster Reborn. We got Ring of Destruction, Lesser Fiend, Call of the Haunted, Dark Ruler Ha Des, Soul Drain, and Skill Drain for the promotion cards this time around between January and March and then the other half coming in June through August. They’re really cool looking arts since the OCG typically has cooler art than the TCG, so I can’t wait for the promotion to return in 2020.
Legendary Duelists: Sisters of the Rose
The first real product to hit the shelves in 2019 is the fourth installment of the Legendary Duelists series, Sisters of the Rose. This set gave us support for Harpies, Cyber Angels, Rose Dragons, Rank 10 Trains, and Lunalights. The Harpie cards were nice little additions to the deck for better consistency overall, but nothing game breaking. The Cyber Angel cards were fine, but it didn’t shake the deck up too much either. The new Rose Dragon cards were really cool since we got a Black Garden searcher and a card to search for any Plant, so the potential was there. The Rank 10 Train support helped summon Rank 10s faster and gave us a bigger and better OTK machine. Finally, the Lunalight support was probably the most successful, especially with Lunalight Yellow Marten helping Lunalight variants top, but all the cards were good for a pure variant. Some nice reprints in the set, but none were really monumental reprints.
Speed Duel Starter Decks: Destiny Masters and Duelists of Tomorrow
The first official Speed Duel release wasn’t just one set of decks, but two sets instead. Each one came with three different decks full of 20 cards (except 1 with an Extra Deck) and 3 Skills with Yugi, Ishizu, and Pegasus in Destiny Masters and Kaiba, Joey, and Mai being in Duelists of Tomorrow. There were some of the first Skills for Field Spells to be used along with some good archetypal and niche Skills like Tribal Synergy, Dragon Caller, and It’s a Toon World! Plus, you also got good generic Skills like Beatdown, Destiny Draw, and Grit. You got a good amount of Toon, Harpie, and Amazoness cards in here with good reprints from both decks including Toon Table of Contents and Mimicat, and then you got cards like Windstorm of Etaqua being really good in this format, which is what this format might be best for, making cards better than what they were in the TCG.
The January 28th, 2019 F/L List
The first F/L List of 2019 kicked the year off with some big changes as it banned 6 cards, limited 10, and brought 10 all the way back to three. Fairy Tail – Snow, Grinder Golem, Number 42: Galaxy Tomahawk, Number 86: Heroic Champion – Rhongomyniad, Topologic Gumblar Dragon, and Soul Charge were the bans. Snow has been used fairly often since its release and it hasn’t been too fun to go against, so the ban did make sense, especially with Thunder Dragons and Dangers as a combination. Grinder Golem and Number 42 were victims of Link Summoning becoming a thing and probably should of been banned earlier. Number 86 was because it was easy to get it with more than 5 materials in Warrior decks since technically you could use Level 3s now with the release of Number 75, and Soul Charge was a card we might of rather had banned years ago considering how strong it is, but better late than never I guess. The limits included Chaos Emperor Dragon – Envoy of the End, Cyber-Stein, Dark Grepher, El Shaddoll Construct, Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz, Brilliant Fusion, Gold Sarcophagus, Magical Mid-Breaker Field, Scapegoat, and Slash Draw. Chaos Emperor with the errata did not need to be banned anymore of course, so here it began to peel off. Cyber-Stein, Shurit, and Construct aren’t the powerhouses they once were, so they deserved their freedom. Dark Grepher was similar to Armageddon Knight as sending DARKs to the grave was getting too good. Brilliant Fusion was abused too long in decks that weren’t Gem-Knights, so I guess I get the ban though I would of preferred Seraphinite instead. Gold Sarc was too good in Thunder Dragons. Mid-Breaker Field let combo decks go off without much interruption. Scapegoat is another victim to Link Summoning. Slash Draw was necessary with Saryuja letting you FTK with it, so they made the FTK physically impossible basically. The unlimits included Evilswarm Exciton Knight, Inzektor Hornet, Nekroz of Brionac, T.G. Hyper Librarian, Wind-Up Magician, Interrupted Kaiju Slumber, Limiter Removal, The Monarchs Stormforth, Eradicator Epidemic Virus, and Infernity Barrier. Hornet and Magician probably could of come to three long ago as the archetypes haven’t been meta relevant in years. Brionac is cool for making Nekroz rogue. Hyper Librarian is fine under Master Rule 4. Interrupted Kaiju Slumber isn’t as powerful as it once was. Limiter Removal wasn’t going to break Machine decks wide open. Evilswarm Exciton Knight at 1 didn’t matter, so at three didn’t make a difference. Eradicator Epidemic Virus is a nice Sky Striker counter for the few decks that could use it. Finally, Infernity Barrier is nice for Infernity players since so many other decks have tons of disruption already.
The first core set of 2019 had Synchros enter the VRAINS era with Synchros from the anime alongside other things. We had the debut of the Guardragon and Time Thief archetypes, support for older archetypes like T.G. and Shiranui, extra pieces for archetypes like Sky Striker, Orcust, Madolche, and Prank-Kids, and a ton of good generic cards like Fantastical Dragon Phantazmay and Pot of Extravagance. There was some Salmanagreat support, with the most noteworthy cards being Sunlight Wolf and Violet Chimera and we had one of the better cover cards in a while with Borreload Savage Dragon. The imports also gave us Subterror Guru and Trickstar Corobane to help make those decks better in the meta. There was also Impcantation Chalislime and Impcantation Inception being good cards for Ritual Decks and cards with good potential like Psychic Wheeleder and Witch’s Strike. It was overall a decent set.
Structure Deck: Soulburner
The first Structure Deck of the year was easily the most meta impacting one, as it helped make Salamangreat a Tier 1 deck. We had great monsters in the main deck like Salamangreat Spinny and Gazelle to great Spells and Traps like Circle, Rage, and Roar, to more good Extra Deck options like Miragestallio and Balelynx and then you had some amazing reprints like Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, Dogoran, the Mad Flame Kaiju, and Gozen Match. You could basically get some good staples and the whole Salamangreat archetype in this deck minus Sunlight Wolf and Violet Chimera, two good Extra Deck monsters for Salmangreat. Easily one of the best Structure Decks this year.
Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V Volume 5 and Odd-Eyes Phantasma Dragon
The next manga promo and the first overall one for 2019 was Odd-Eyes Phantasma Dragon. Basically it’s a Level 8 Scale 0 monster that can discard a card to grab back a face-up Dragon in your Extra Deck while it’s a scale and can be Special Summoned just by having 2 cards in your Pendulum Zones and a face-up Odd-Eyes Pendulum in your Extra Deck, though it would prevent you from Pendulum Summoning that turn. In return, you get a monster that will debuff your opponent’s monsters that this card attacks by 1000 ATK for each face-up Pendulum Monster in the Extra Deck. Overall, I feel it’s an easily a skippable promo, even for Odd-Eyes players. I’m sure the manga was a good read at least.
Savage Strike Special Edition
The first Special Edition of the year and with few Jump promos needing reprints now, especially since we won’t get no more, this Special Edition set the new precedent for getting OCG Imports as promos in this set. Your four promo options overall were Grid Sweeper, Yuki-Musume, the Ice Mayakashi, Trickstar Crimson Heart, and White Rose Dragon. Grid Sweeper and Yuki-Musume were from Dark Neostorm and out of the two of them, Yuki-Musume seems the most useful since I could imagine Mayakashi players using it. As for Trickstar Crimson Heart and White Rose Dragon, well Crimson Heart isn’t that bad, it’s just that Trickstars don’t really Link Summon their own monsters that often, at least the competitive versions. White Rose Dragon is probably the best promo with some good potential, especially with the Rose Dragon cards from Legendary Duelists. The promos weren’t the strongest, but the packs you got were pretty good with Savage Strike being a solid set.
The Infinity Chasers
Our first “Deck Build Pack” of the year was The Infinity Chasers, and like similar sets in the past, we got three new archetypes. Infinitracks were a EARTH Machine focused deck on summoning high-Rank Xyz monsters by combining Levels with other EARTH Machines. The cards have some good potential in future EARTH Machine decks, but probably won’t cut it on their own for now. Witchcrafters is a Spellcaster archetype based on using Spells for their own various effects or to use your monster’s effects, and the Spells replenish themselves while you have your Witchcrafters on the field. The archetype could use more, but it’s pretty good and it can mix well with other strategies. Evil Eye is a control deck where the cards get better effects if you control their theme specific Equip Spell, the Evil Eye of Selene. It can be a good deck while you have Selene out, and like the other archetypes it mixes well with some other archetypes/decks. There were some good reprints in here like Hidden Armory, Mythical Beast Jackal King, and Spellbook of Knowledge while also having nice rarity bumps for cards like Heavy Freight Train Derricrane and Phantom Fortress Enterblathnir. Not the best version of these kinds of sets, but a good and fun one nonetheless.
Speed Duel: Arena of Lost Souls
The first Speed Dueling set ever helped us expand on the Structure Decks fairly well, and had a few nice things to offer for regular players. For the Speed Duel players, you had Skills that helped Zombie decks, made the three Poker Knight cards useful, and gave you a way to access Call of the Haunted and Necrovalley via Skills without putting the actual cards into the Speed Dueling format. You had some pretty good cards like Senju of the Thousand Hands for Relinquished decks and Sphere Kuriboh to be one of the best defensive cards in the format. Also, King of the Skull Servants got its first foil printing ever, so that’s pretty cool. There’s a pretty good amount of cards in here to help you figure out a strategy in this format, it’s a fine set for the format, though the cards might not age well as Speed Dueling gets more cards in its card pool.
What seems like now will be a yearly tradition, the first set in April was Duel Power and it gave us a total of 40 new cards and 60 reprints. Along with the cards in the pack, every box of Duel Power came with alternate art versions of Dark Magician, Elemental HERO Neos, Stardust Dragon, Number 39: Utopia, Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon, and Decode Talker. Some noteworthy new cards include some cool new Dark Magician related cards like Magician of Chaos and Dark Cavalry, Number 39: Utopia Double, Hieratic Seal of the Heavenly Spheres, Aromaseraphy Jasmine, Righty and Lefty Driver, Cyber Dragon Nachster, Security Dragon, Beat Cop from the Underworld, Platinum Gadget, and Quintet Magician. You also had good reprints for cards like The Winged Dragon of Ra – Sphere Mode, Card of Demise, Vision HERO Vyon, Hot Red Dragon Archfiend Abyss, Galaxy Soldier, Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon, Borreload Dragon, Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, Ghost Belle & Haunted Mansion, Zaborg the Mega Monarch, most of the Nekroz archetype, El Shaddoll Construct, Naturia Beast, Evenly Matched, and Infinite Impermanence. Everything came in Ultra Rare and there was a lot of good value in this set with new cards and reprints.
OTS Tournament Pack 10
OTS Packs are typically well received with the foil upgrades they give sometimes and how they’re one of the only ways to get Ultimate Rares in the TCG now. The three Ultimate Rares in this set were Thunder Dragon Colossus, Sky Striker Ace – Hayate, and Galatea, the Orcust Automaton. All there were deserving of the Ultimate Rare slots for being great cards for their respective meta decks, but sadly we didn’t get a good generic card in here as an Ultimate Rare. The Super Rares we got in here were Breaker the Dark Magical Warrior, Batteryman Solar, Salamangreat Mole, Jizukiru, the Star Destroying Kaiju, Shiranui Sunsaga, Salamangreat Sunlight Wolf, Hiita the Fire Charmer, Ablaze, Revolving Switchyard, Orcustrated Babel, and a Trickstar Token. Hiita and Sunlight Wolf were worthy foil upgrades for Salmangreat Decks, but Salamangreat Mole was an odd one considering not many lists ran Mole at all. Breaker the Dark Magical Warrior was for the Order of the Spellcasters Deck coming out, but it wasn’t really deserving of this slot. Batteryman Solar is great for Thunder Dragons. Jizukiru adds to the list of foil Kaijus and this one was useful in Cyber Dragon Decks at least. Sunsaga I guess was for the latest Shiranui support, and at least I can see it somewhat being played. Revolving Switchyard was cool for Train players. Babel was another good foil upgrade addition for Orcust. The Trickstar Token was for the latest Field Spell the archetype got in Savage Strike. There were a few good commons in here like Super Quantum Red Layer, Stardust Dragon/Assault Mode, Number 81: Superdreadnought Rail Cannon Super Dora, T.G. Hyper Librarian, and Mythical Bestiary. It was a fine OTS Pack for what it was.
Speed Duel Tournament Pack 1
Since Speed Duel format was stuck with a lot of common cards that I’m sure people wanted to upgrade, the first Tournament Pack for the format helped give foil upgrades to cards and adding the Speed Duel stamp to allow them for Speed Duel use. You had Ultra Rares like Dark Magician, Blue-Eyes White Dragon, Red-Eyes B. Dragon, Relinquished, Harpie Lady Sister, and Gravekeeper’s Oracle. The Super Rares were Dark Magician Girl, Wonder Wand, Lord of D., The Flute of Summoning Dragon, Time Wizard, Gearfried the Iron Knight, Black Illusion Ritual, Toon Table of Contents, Harpie Lady 1, Elegant Egotist, Gravekeeper’s Priestess, and Gravekeeper’s Steele. I’m sure it would be cool to play with a lot of these cards in foil in an official Speed Duel, but that’s all the point of these sets are. It’s always cool to have some of these cards in foil, though. I just wish they did something unique with the foiling in these sets like having Glossy and Prismatic foiling on the cards similar to Duel Links, but maybe those won’t be easy on the eye, so that might be why they didn’t do it.
Structure Deck: Order of the Spellcasters
The first Structure Deck as part of the retrained Structure Deck series revitalizes the old Spell Counter based Deck and updates it with new Pendulum Monsters since they didn’t exist when the original version of this Deck came out. This Structure Deck gave some great additions to Pendulum Decks with cards like Servant of Endymion and Endymion, the Mighty Master of Magic and other cards to help along with that strategy like Magister of Endymion, Spell Power Mastery, and Day-Breaker the Shining Magical Warrior. The reprints were fairly good in here as well with cards like Spellbook Magician of Prophecy, Spellbook of Secrets, Left Arm Offering, Pot of Desires, Magical Citadel of Endymion, and most importantly we had a Droll & Lock Bird reprint in this Structure Deck. So overall, it was a fairly good Structure Deck for reprints and for boosting a competitive strategy and eventually being able to stand on its own.
The April 29th, 2019 F/L List
The next list came around 3 months after the first one and while it didn’t have as many changes as the previous list, it did have some noteworthy hits on it. The cards that were banned on this list were Number 95: Galaxy-Eyes Dark Matter Dragon, Summon Sorceress, and The Phantom Knights’ Rank-Up-Magic Launch. Dark Matter Dragon might of been a long time coming since originally the Dragon Rulers helped abuse this card and in 2019, we saw a massive rise in Dragon Decks with the Guardragons being released. Dark Matter deserved its ban around this time. Summon Sorceress was just a good Link Monster in extending your plays since it could summon nearly any monster from your Deck for you to use with the only real downside being that its effects were negated, but it was still too good of a card as it allowed for a ton of combos that were a bit unhealthy for the game. Rank-Up-Magic Launch was simply due to Phantom Knights rising in popularity with their Link Monster and them being able to use this card and Time Thief Redoer to help summon Outer Entity Azathot on the opponent’s turn to turn off their monster effects, so the hit made sense at the time. The limits were Lady Debug, Phantom Skyblaster, and Sky Striker Ace – Kagari. Lady Debug was a way to indirectly hit the consistency of Salamangreats as a whole since it was a fairly new and consistent Deck, but this hit didn’t do that much to harm the Deck overall. Phantom Skyblaster was just useful for massive Link Spam and it’s banning feels inevitable. Kagari was to limit the recovery of the Sky Striker Deck by taking it down a few pegs, but the Deck was still very viable. There was a lone semi-limit to Super Polymerization since it was starting to feel more like a necessary evil in the game and a lone unlimit to Miscellaneousaurus since Dinosaurs weren’t doing much overall.
The second core set of the year helped bring Xyz Monsters to the VRAINS era, at least when it came to the anime. This set had a ton of World Legacy cards in here with the most noteworthy being Knightmare Incarnation Idlee, Ib the World Chalice Justicar, and Mekk-Knight Crusadia Avramax. This set also brought Orcust into being a much stronger meta Deck and splashed in more Decks with cards like Dingrisu, the Orcust of the Evening Star and Orcust Crescendo. Destiny HEROs, Super Quantals, and Assault Modes also got some new cards in this set. We got Omni Dragon Brotaur to boost Dragon Decks. Ghost Sister & Spooky Dogwood also makes for the fifth Ghost Girl we have now. We got World Chalice Guardragon Almarduke as a good Super Poly target against Link Decks. We finally get the Link Monsters for Burning Abyss and Mermail. Cyberse gets a generic searcher in Cynet Mining. We had good, strong stun cards in Mystic Mine and Crackdown. We also had another new hand trap in Gnomaterial. All this along with a few extra cards to help support archetypes and you got another fairly good set.
Speed Duel: Attack from the Deep
The second Speed Duel set ever this time was more focused on WATER support, but it did have more to offer beyond that. Mako got three new Skills to help retrieve high Level WATER monsters, make The Legendary Fisherman better, and have a way to start the Duel with Umi. Joey also got a new Skill for die rolls and coin flips and Kaiba got a new Skill to help destroy the opponent’s Deck. For some of the cards in the set you had Sonic Bird to search your Ritual Spells, Magician of Faith to retrieve your Spells, Apprentice Magician to summon more Spellcasters from your Deck, Blade Knight as a countermeasure to FLIP effects, The Legendary Fisherman because we got a Skill that works with him, Levia-Dragon – Daedalus to give the Umi strategy a good boss, Slushy to help summon your boss WATER monsters, and Dust Tornado for some generic Spell and Trap removal just to name a few good cards in here. A fine set for Speed Duel, especially for WATER decks.
Dark Neostorm Special Edition
With every new set comes a Special Edition, and this time we have one for Dark Neostorm. For the preview cards from the next set, we had Beatraptor and Fury of Fire. Beatraptor is a good option to negate effects of monsters in the Extra Monster Zone, so I can see it being a good anti-meta option. Fury of Fire can also revive multiple Salamangreat monsters at the cost of only letting you summon one more time that turn and no more. The other set of promos we got were Shooting Riser Dragon and Magicalized Fusion. Riser Dragon is a pretty good Synchro Tuner for changing its Level while at the same time sending a lower Leveled monster to the graveyard, this card will especially be better when Crystron Halqifibrax comes to the TCG. Magicalized Fusion is basically a Dragon’s Mirror for your Spellcaster Decks, so it’s pretty good overall. A step up from Savage Strike’s Special Edition promos.
Battles of Legend: Hero’s Revenge
What seems to be another tradition now is the Battles of Legend sets giving us a ton of good reprints as well as some new cards that we could make use of. We had the first alternate art for Five-Headed Dragon in this set, which was pretty good. HERO players got some new tools in cards like Vision HERO Increase and Vision HERO Faris. The entre Fortune Fairy archetype was finally printed from the anime, alongside the anime T.G. cards and the Battlewasp archetype. We got some more Numbers to get closer to having all 100, or 107 I guess, with the most noteworthy being Numbers 60 and 97. We got a lot of Link Monsters in this set to give support to Vendread, Harpie, Rank 10 Trains, Traptrix, Speedroid, PSY-Frame, Magical Musketeers, and Gimmick Puppets alongside some good generic Links like Salamangreat Almiraj and Black Luster Soldier – Solider of Chaos. We had some good reprints for HEROs as well with cards like Vision HERO Vyon, Elemental HERO Stratos, and Vision HERO Trinity. Dragonecro Nethersoul Dragon finally got its reprint as it’s a great Super Poly for and against Zombies. Dinowrestler Pankratops gets a very worthy Secret Rare print. Borrelsword Dragon gets a very highly demanded reprint. Salamangreat Sanctuary and Will of the Salamangreat are upgraded in foil. Cyber-Stein gets its first reprint in about a decade. Black Dragon Collapserpent and White Dragon Wyverburster get reprints in here as well. We have two of the best Artifacts in Scythe and Lancea in this set, with Lancea finally being foiled out in Secret Rare. Most of the Shaddoll monsters in the Main Deck were reprinted in foil. Herald of the Arc Light and Nekroz Cycle were strong reprints. Interrupted Kaiju Slumber gets a Secret Rare upgrade. Summon Limit gets its first reprint ever. We got useful Sky Striker reprints for Engage, Widow Anchor, and Afterburners. Finally, we got a YCS Prize Card reprint in Number 93: Utopia Kaiser. Overall a good Battles of Legend with some useful new cards and strong reprints.
The July 15th, 2019 F/L List
Our third F/L List of the year gave us a lot more to unpack compared to the last one with 2 bans, 11 limits, 10 semi-limits, and 8 unlimits. The two bans were for Eclipse Wyvern and The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche. Eclipse Wyvern was mostly as a hit to Decks that were abusing the Guardragon package and Eclipse Wyvern just made those Decks more powerful, so its ban was warranted at the time of it happening. The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche was just so powerful in many DARK Decks like the previous DARK Warrior Deck from about a year ago and Orcust this year. It was just so powerful that its ban felt destined to happen. The limits went to Altergeist Multifaker, Black Dragon Collapserpent, Salamangreat Gazelle, Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms, White Dragon Wyverburster, Daigusto Emeral, Salamangreat Circle, Sky Striker Mecha Modules – Multirole, Terraforming, Trickstar Light Stage, and Metaverse. Altergeist Multifaker was to hit Altergeist alongside the other Decks they were hitting at the time and to match the OCG, though Altergeist weren’t doing well enough in the format to warrant a hit I believe. Black Dragon and White Dragon go together in Dragon Decks, so it makes sense to limit both at once. Tempest was a cool addition back to the format and it makes some wish for the other Dragon Rulers to return. Daigusto Emeral can’t be looped at 1, so it should be fine. Salamangreat Gazelle and Circle to one really limits the consistency of Salamangreat, but Cynet Mining helps make up for it somewhat. Multirole is almost like Spellbook of Judgment for Sky Striker, so it’s a pretty obvious card to hit considering how powerful it can be. Trickstar Light Stage was because people were using a Trickstar package to get into Knightmare Mermaid and the Orcust combo. Terraforming and Metaverse were due to Field Spell abuse and Mystic Mine for the latter. The semi-limits were to Chaos Emperor Dragon – Envoy of the End, Danger! Nessie!, Danger!? Jackalope!?, Danger!? Tsuchinoko!?, Ehther the Heavenly Monarch, Elemental HERO Stratos, Inzektor Dragonfly, Performage Damage Juggler, Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz, and Royal Tribute. Chaos Emperor Dragon seemed like it would keep moving up with how its errata made it not as strong as it once was. The three best Danger monsters going to 2 limited their consistency, which is a benefit. Ehther was fine with Monarchs not doing much. Stratos was warranted since HEROs keep getting new cards, so more Stratos promotes the new support more. Dragonfly is fine since Inzektors are far past their prime. Damage Juggler is good in a format where Rank 4 Spam isn’t that bad and Brilliant Fusion is at 1. Shurit is to keep moving the consistency of Nekroz back up. Royal Tribute is fine since it’s been a while since Gravekeeper’s done much in the meta. The ulimits were for Qliphort Scout, Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer, Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, Dark Hole, Monster Gate, Rekindling, Super Polyermerization, and Solemn Judgment. Qliphort Scout is fine to come back since Qliphort isn’t as strong as it once was. Luster Pendulum is nice for Pendulum Decks, but it won’t really be the broken piece in those Decks anymore. Trishula is hard to abuse at 3 in the Link Era. Dark Hole is fine at 3 considering Raigeki is hardly if ever played at 1. Monster Gate is cool since it hasn’t done much in a while. Rekindling is nice for FIRE Decks. Super Poly at 3 is great to counter the big boards. Solemn Judgment is cool at three, since the high cost could be dangerous for you if the opponent could play around the Judgment. A pretty nice list to neuter the meta somewhat and give us some cards back.
Onto the third core set of the year, this one sadly didn’t make too much of an impact on the game as some might of liked for it to. We had the debut of the new rarity in this set which is being called Prismatic Secret Rare by most people and the Konami Database as of right now. Some archetypes made their debut like Marincess, Tenyi, Simorgh, and Dream Mirror. We also got nice legacy support for Yosenju and Fortune Lady. A few nice cards like Witchcrafter Golem Aruru, Gizmek Orochi, the Serpentron Sky Slasher, and Get Out! Number 29 and the Dragunity Link were finally imported to the TCG in this set. Finally, we got a great new Link-4 in Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess to give us some monster negation for every Deck. There were some nice things in this set with Apollousa being a great card and there being a lot of potential in Gizmek Orochi, Get Out!, and the Tenyi and Marincess archetypes, but not much changed with this set.
Speed Duel Starter Decks: Ultimate Predators
Time for some new Starter Decks in the Speed Dueling format, where now you can play themed Decks around Rex Raptor and Weevil Underwood. Both Decks are full of Insect and Dinosaur support and they give Skills based on Insects and Dinosaurs, though Rex also gives a Skill to make Serpent Night Dragon more useful. You get Ultra Rare variant cards of Jar of Avarice and Order to Charge, which both can be solid in Speed Dueling. No real special reprints in these Decks though, mostly just a bunch of Insects, Dinosaurs, and support around both types. There are the first TCG printings of Big Insect and Alinsection, which I guess is cool for older players. The Insect Deck also has a copy of Worm Bait, which is nice as well. Mostly these Decks are just good if you want to play Dinosaurs or Insects in Speed Duels.
Speed Duel: Scars of Battle
The same day we got new Decks for Speed Duels, there was also a new set to help expand on your strategies. We had new Skills with the effects of Heavy Metal Raiders and Double Evolution Pill from the TCG card game, a Skill to steal your opponent’s set Spell or Trap, a Skill to make your bigger Normal Machines easier to summon and make them protected by Spells, and a Skill to send your low-Level vanilla Zombies to the graveyard directly from the Deck. There were also some good cards to add to the card pool like Crystal Seer, Troop Dragon, Vampire Lord, Command Knight, Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive, Mask of Darkness, Iron Blacksmith Kotetsu, Night Beam, and Security Orb. It was also pretty cool to get a reprint of Fortress Whale and Fortress Whale’s Oath so you could obtain it without paying a lot. It was a pretty good set for Speed Duels.
OTS Tournament Pack 11
Time for the second OTS Pack of the year to upgrade our cards. We got Ultimate Rares of Dingrisu, the Orcust of the Evening Star, Sky Striker Ace – Kaina, and Pot of Desires. Dingrisu is a great generic Rank 8 as well as it being a great boss in the Orcust Decks, so it was most certainly warranting an Ultimate Rare. Kaina is probably the least used Sky Striker Link, but it lets it match the other 3 in Ultimate Rare. Pot of Desires is a great Draw card for many Decks, so it being an Ultimate Rare feels due. The Super Rares in here were Fortune Lady Light, Subterror Nemesis Archer, Altergeist Kunquery, Orcust Harp Horror, Orcust Knightmare, Aloof Lupine, Salamangreat Violet Chimera, Fortune’s Future, Metaverse and a Duel Dragon Token. The Token was to go alongside the new YCS Prize Card and it does look nice. Fortune Lady Light and Fortune’s Future go along well with the fact we got new Fortune Lady support. Subterror Nemesis Archer could of used this reprint since it was in Secret Rare previously in Invasion: Vengeance. Orcust Harp Horror and Orcust Knightmare are two of the best Orcust monsters, so they deserved a Super Rare print. Altergeist Kunquery helps make all the Main Deck Altergeist monsters finally in foil. Aloof Lupine is a great card in Thunder Dragons that deserved a foil. Violet Chimera is good with Fusion of Fire and Super Polymerization. Finally, Metaverse is a good Field Spell support that deserved to be Super Rare, despite being limited. There were a few good commons in here as well like Fortune Ladies Water and Fire, Future Visions, True Draco Heritage, and True King’s Return to make them easier to access. Overall a really good OTS Pack.
Structure Deck: Rokket Revolt
For the first time in a bit, we got a Structure Deck that didn’t focus on Cyberse monsters, though there was 1 in here. Revolver got his own Structure Deck based around his Rokket theme and gave us a ton of new cards to help the theme. You had great cards for the archetype like Rokket Tracer and Absorouter Dragon to help make plays while Silverrokket Dragon helped destroy the opponent’s Extra Deck for you. Quadborrel Dragon was good for either trading big Link Monsters for a bunch of Rokkets or to trigger a Rokket monster’s effect. Borreload Furious Dragon is a good Fusion for the archetype to use or for you to have when you play Super Polyermization against the Deck, and the Deck came with an interesting new Fusion Spell in Rapid Trigger. The big ace was the new Topologic Zeroboros, which has an effect that can be extremely devastating as it can banish the whole field and then come back later to do the same. Great new cards and you also had great reprints like the whole Rokket archetype, World Chalice Guardragon, Red Reboot, Imperial Order, and Borreload Dragon. It was a very strong Deck for its reprints and new cards, though it didn’t become meta like in the OCG due to the TCG missing some pieces.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution
For the first time in years, we finally got a new Yu-Gi-Oh video game for consoles, even if it was basically just an update for the original Legacy of the Duelist, but at least this one was on the Nintendo Switch, a more modern console. The game let you play through all the first five series of Yu-Gi-Oh’s stories through Duels and even lets you get a little into VRAINS, though not much since the series wasn’t finished when this game came out, so you only got 3 Duels in that series. The F/L List in this game is a mix of the TCG and OCG from a few months ago, since that was probably when it was being developed. It can be a fun game, though a little slow at times in my opinion. We do know now that it will receive an update in the future, and probably more updates after, that will add new cards and more duels in VRAINS, so at least we can get more value out of this game over time. The game also came with 3 cards in Micro Coder, Cynet Codec, and Progleo. Micro Coder and Cynet Codec are especially good as they are essential to Code Talker themed Decks. Good cards for promos, but thankfully not meta cause they can be hard to come by one day if not reprinted.
Fists of the Gadgets
In a set that kinda came out of nowhere like Shadows in Valhalla last year, we had Fist of the Gadgets give us support for the Fire Fist and Gadget archetypes while also importing the Cyberse related cards from the OCG Structure Deck we never got in here. The Gadget support was pretty nice, it gave the archetype somewhat of a boss, but you could of hoped for more out of Gadgets. Fire Fists got a ton of new support, including the OCG Imported Link the archetype had, but even then they got a second Link, a Fusion, and a Ritual. The new cards helped give Fire Fists new plays and made the Deck more respectable. The Cyberse support was okay with the most noteworthy cards being Shootingcode Talker, Code Talker, Cynet Optimization, and Code Radiator just to name a few. We also had the Ritual, Fusion, Synchro, and Xyz Summoned Skulls in here, which were cool. The reprints were nice as we got some of the important Fire Fist cards, including a Secret Rare upgrade for Tenki. You also had Subterror Fiendess, The Hidden City, Subterror Final Battle, Scrap Recycler, the three main True Dracos, the three main Amorphages, Chronograph Sorcerer, Mythical Beast Master Cerberus, and Starving Venom Fusion Dragon. A decent set, very similar to Shadows in Valhalla.
2019 Gold Sarcophagus Tin
The Mega Tins were changed up this year a lot. They looked much nicer and they were smaller. You also had randomized promos with awesome cards drawn by Takahashi, some great cards to counter other meta strategies, and reprints for the Egyptian Gods, Monster Reborn, and Raigeki. The Mega Packs was full of cards from Flames of Destruction, Dark Saviors, Cybernetic Horizon, and Soul Fusion. The catch was everything was mostly in a different rarity from its original printing. You had Super Rare Impcantations, Ultra Rare Borrelsword, Ultra Rare Engage, most of the Knightmares in Ultra with Mermaid in Secret, Ultra Rare Vampire Sucker, Secret Rare World Legacy Succession, Secret Rare Sekka’s Light, Secret Rare Called by the Grave, Super Rare F.A. Dawn Dragster, Secret Rares of Crusadia Magius and Equimax, Ultra Rare for Crusadia Reclusia, Super Rares of Crusadia Draco and Arboria, and a Secret Rare Maximus, there was a Secret Rare for Cyber Dragon Sieger, the Dangers in Ultra Rare and Secret Rare opposite of their release, Secret Rare for Salamangreat Foxy and Heatleo, an Ultra Rare Dinowrestler Pankratops, and the Thunder Dragons in Secret Rare with their Fusions in Ultra Rare. It was a positive change for the Mega Tins that it felt they needed.
Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V Volume 6 and Timelord Progenitor Vorpgate
What I believe is the last manga for the Arc-V series, we get a good promo to go out on at least. Timelord Progenitor Vorpgate is a great generic Level 10 Synchro that works like the other Timelords and it can banish your opponent’s monsters for the rest of the turn. You could get around that just by using this as Xyz or Link Material after you banish your opponent’s monsters so its effect doesn’t trigger to bring all their monsters back, but even if you didn’t do that you do get a direct shot of damage, even if Vorpgate will half the damage done to use its effect. It’s a fairly strong Synchro and makes the manga worth getting, though again I’m always sure the manga makes for an entertaining read.
Rising Rampage Special Edition
Easily one of the weakest Special Editions released by Konami. Rising Rampage did already feel lacking as a set, and with these packs not going to give us the new Prismatic Secret Rares, we could of used a good incentive to buy the packs with the promos. What we got were 3 of the Marincess cards from Chaos Impact and Salamangreat Coyote. The Marincess cards are solid overall, though they would’ve needed that one last piece in Chaos Impact to be at full power and Salamangreat Coyote feels like a card most Salamangreat players could pass on. It’s nice to get those Marincess cards in foil though, since it told us they’ll be common in Chaos Impact. This is a rare case where it feels better to just get Booster Packs over the Special Edition since you got that chance at a Prismatic Secret Rare.
Advent Calendar 2019
It’s nice to see the return of the Advent Calendar, even if they aren’t made to give us really good reprints. Since they already went with the Christmas theme last year and are now probably out of Christmas themed cards, they chose to go with a new theme for this calendar in the Kuribohs. You got 24 Days of Kuribohs and Kuriboh related cards in this Advent Calendar and it’s an extremely cute concept. I guess the best reprints, though, are Linkuriboh and One for One being Ultra Rares in here. The reprints never matter here since they’re always meant to be cute Christmas gifts and nothing beyond that, so I’m sure it made someone happy for Christmas.
Legendary Duelists: Immortal Destiny
Short printing fiasco aside, this was a really good Legendary Duelists I feel. We got new Occult themed cards for Bakura that gave us an upgrade to Dark Necrofear alongside cards to help make use of your Level 8 Fiends and cards that made Destiny Board more viable to use. We had the first Evil HERO support in over a decade that gave the archetype a really good boss monster and other monsters to help speed up the Deck to get to your new boss. We had some Earthbound Immortal support that went with the old Inca cards from Absolute Powerforce, including a way to search your Earthbound Immortals and guarantee the game to nearly end just from summoning an Immortal. There was some solid Gimmick Puppet support that included the archetype’s first Rank 4 to help the archetype get to the Rank 8s much easier. Finally you had the new Predaplant support, which gave us a great Super Poly target that’s better than Starving Venom, though it needs 1 more monster, and we got cards to make the Deck more consistent. The reprints weren’t too strong, with Ccapac Apu, Dark Fusion, Dark Calling, and Starving Venom Fusion Dragon being the best in here. There were some things to like about the new cards in here.
Speed Duel Tournament Pack 2
As long as there are official events for Speed Duels, it’s nice to get foil upgrades in this format as well. In here you have Ultra Rares for Serpent Night Dragon, Perfectly Ultimate Great Moth, Barrel Dragon, Amazoness Swords Woman, King of the Skull Servants, and Fortress Whale. Most of these are just cool for if you want to build Decks around them, but Amazoness Swords Woman is warranted as it can be one of the best cards in the format. You also got Super Rares of Kabazauls, Man-Eater Bug, The Legendary Fisherman, Hyper Hammerhead, Ally of Justice Core Destroyer, Beetron, Slushy, Enchanting Fitting Room, Summoner’s Art, Half Shut, Ready for Intercepting, and Adhesion Trap Hole. You got some cool cards worthy of being staples in the format like Man-Eater Bug, Half Shut, and Adhesion Trap Hole and you also got some cool cards for specific decks like The Legendary Fisherman, Beetron, and Slushy. I say these are some nice cards to be able to foil out in an official Speed Duel.
Well if you needed a starter kit to get into competitive Yu-Gi-Oh, then this should be the product for you while it is on shelves. Duel Devastator might be expensive at $40, but you do get all 56 cards guaranteed along with 4 Field Centers from a set of 12. You have alternate art versions of Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries, Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, Ghost Belle & Haunted Mansion, and Ghost Sister & Spooky Dogwood all in here alongside the new Red Blossoms from Underroot. You also have some great generic Extra Deck cards like Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, Black Rose Dragon, Scarlight Red Dragon Archfiend, Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, Abyss Dweller, Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer, Tornado Dragon, Underclock Taker, LANphorhynchus, Decode Talker, Topologic Bomber Dragon, and Saryuja Skull Dread. Then you got cards that can be put into your Main or Side Deck to counter other strategies like D.D. Crow, Effect Veiler, Denko Sekka, Inspector Boarder, Spell Canceler, Vanity’s Fiend, Majesty’s Fiend, Dinowrestler Pankratops, Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju, Mind Control, Super Polymerization, Cosmic Cyclone, Called by the Grave, Dimensional Barrier, Lost Wind, Heavy Storm Duster, Anti-Spell Fragrance, There Can Be Only One, Solemn Strike, and Red Reboot. So many cards in this one product that can be used by multiple Decks, it is most certainly worth the price tag.
The October 14th, 2019 F/L List
The last F/L List of the year and while it was a fairly small one, it was somewhat effective with 2 bans, 1 limit, 1 semi-limit, and 9 unlimits. The two bans went to Guardragon Agarpain and Knightmare Mermaid. Agarpain was allowing players to easily get out big Dragons from the Extra Deck with minimal effort, so it deserved to go. Knightmare Mermaid was certainly warranted of this since it allowed nearly any Deck to do a full Orcust combo. You had a lone limitation to Sky Striker Mecha – Widow Anchor in order to limit the control power of the Sky Striker Deck. Dark Armed Dragon is semi-limited since it isn’t the boss monster it once was back a decade ago. Finally you got 9 cards being free from the list in Chaos Emperor Dragon – Envoy of the End, Destiny HERO – Malicious, Ehther the Heavenly Monarch, El Shaddoll Construct, Elemental HERO Stratos, Inzektor Dragonfly, Shurit, Strategiest of the Nekroz, Royal Tribute, and Super Rejuvenation. Most of these cards were put to 2 on the previous list and weren’t doing much at that spot, so they all deserved this bump up. Malicious went from 2 to 3, but it was semi-limited a while back when DARK Warriors were a problem, and now they aren’t, so it’s fine at 3 again. Construct went from 1 to 3 which is fine with the lack of Shaddolls dominating the meta and the new Structure Deck the archetype is getting. Finally, Super Rejuvenation is interesting as it went from banned to 3 in an instant, but the OCG has also had it at 3 for a long time and it hasn’t caused any trouble, so safe to say it won’t cause trouble over here either. It was a somewhat effective list at hitting Guardragons, Orcust, and Sky Strikers slightly, but mostly this list helped give us a lot of cards back.
The final main set of 2019 and while it wasn’t as meta impacting as we’d wish, it was honestly a fairly stronger and more consistent set over Rising Rampage. We have new support for Marincess, Aroma, and Gladiator Beasts to help boost them all, where Marincess and Gladiator Beasts can be considered rogue now. We got some extra pieces for Tenyi in a Level 7 LIGHT, a generic Level 8 Synchro that any Deck can use, and their Link-3 Effect Monster imported from the OCG. We had some LIGHT/DARK Dragon support with the best card easily being Starliege Seyfert, though Galaxy Satellite Dragon is very good as well. You have the debut of the Unchained archetype, which does allow for interesting experimentation as it is a fun archetype based around destroying your own cards. Infinitracks get a great new Level 5 for the archetype to extend plays. Gizmek Yata, the Gleaming Vanguard has great future potential and is good for Cyber Dragons. Hop Ear Squadron allows for Synchros on the opponent’s turn. Gallant Granite is a great generic Rank 4 that helps anything to do with Rock monsters. Firewall Dragon Darkfluid gives us our first legal Link-5 and it’s a solid boss for Cyberse Decks. We also got a Link-4 boss for Salamangreat that can potentially nuke the whole field. I:P Masquerena is a great Link-2 to allow you to Link Summon on the opponent’s turn and give said Link Monster targeting protection just for using it as material. We have more Dream Mirror support to help the Deck at least stand on its own two feet better. Finally, we got Striker Dragon to help the Rokket Deck take off a bit better, though we are arguably still missing some pieces.
This one might be a fan favorite set mostly due to it having an archetype people are likely to love in Dragonmaids, but there’s more to it than that. You got the Mathmechs in here to summon Cyberse Synchros and Xyzs with no issue and their boss having great OTK potential and also having a good generic Rank 4 that can potentially search for any Level 4 monster or any Spell/Trap. You got the aforementioned Dragonmaids that can use their maid forms to cycle the Deck while turning into the big dragon forms during the Battle Phase to do some damage, and those Dragon forms do have some in-hand effects to help you as well. They even got their own Fusion that can disrupt the opponent while the archetype does what its meant to do. Finally you got the Generaider archetype full of Level 9 bosses that can be put together in a Generaider Deck or potentially into other Decks that fit the specific Generaider’s type. As for reprints, you got some great cards like Lonefire Blossom, Debris Dragon, Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Dragon, Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms alongside Lightning, Dragon Ruler of Drafts, Balancer Lord, True King of All Calamities, Super Rejuvenation, Monster Gate, Dark World Dealings, Rekindling, Monster Gate, and Waking the Dragon. It was a fairly good set to be honest, even if the strategies aren’t too competitive, though they have rogue potential.
OTS Tournament Pack 12
The last OTS of the year is easily the best one of the year, if not the best one ever. Your Ultimate Rares in this set are Chaos Dragon Levianeer, Twin Twisters, and Solemn Judgment. Chaos Dragon Levianeer is worthy of this slot as it’s a great card in any Deck using any combination of LIGHT and/or DARK monsters. Twin Twisters is long overdue for this as it’s one of the best backrow removal cards in the game. Solemn Judgment is nice to have in this slot as it’s an old card, yet still really good for negating nearly anything. Your Super Rares in this set are Gren Maju Da Eiza, Crusadia Leonis, Salamangreat Jack Jaguar, Orcust Cymbal Skeleton, Servant of Endymion, Tenyi Spirit – Adhara, Tenyi Spirit – Vishuda, Time Thief Redoer, Salamangreat Rage, and a Primal Being Token. Gren Maju finally gets its first foil printing after all of the years of being the centerpiece of its own strategy that has honestly peaked this year so far. Leonis probably could of been in the Mega Packs, but at least we got a Super Rare of it. Jack Jaguar is one of the better Salamangreats, so it deserves a foil upgrade. Cymbal Skeleton finishes the list of the good Orcust monsters in the Main Deck that are foil, though we could still use World Wand. Servant of Endymion is a great card for Pendulum Decks now, so it deserves to be foil. Adhara and Vishuda are easily two of the better Tenyi monsters, so they deserve to be foil, especially Vishuda. Redoer is a great generic Rank 4 that deserves this slot, though could of maybe got it earlier in the year when it was more relevant. Salamangreat Rage is a great foil as it’s the main disruptive card for Salamangreats. Finally, the Primal Being Token was good call as we just got Nibiru and we know how great that card is. For the commons, you got a few good cards like Flame Bufferlo, Sea Archiver, and Hi-Speedroid Chanbara that could of used another reprint potentially, but nothing special in the commons. The foils are very strong in this set, though, which makes it one of the best OTS Packs we’ve seen.
Chaos Impact Special Edition
The last Special Edition of the year and they go out with a bang with the promos and it seems they learned from Rising Rampage’s Special Edition. We got two Link Monsters in Battle Shogun of the Six Samurai and Scrap Wyvern as options. Battle Shogun is a very powerful Link for the archetype as it can search for Gateway of the Six and gain Bushido Counters to help the Deck loop even more, then you got Scrap Wyvern being a great piece of Scrap support that allows other Decks like Orcust to splash in a Scrap engine as well since the card is that good. You also got the Ignition Assault cards in Dragonmaid Send-Off and Armory Call. Send-Off is one of the remaining support pieces of Dragonmaids that were put into a main set, so it’s nice to get that early. Armory Call is a cool Trap as it can search for any Equip Spell and potentially equip it to any monster if it’s able to. The promos of this Special Edition were probably the best of the year, mostly due to the two great Link Monsters we had in here.
Speed Duel: Trials of the Kingdom
The last product of the 2010s and we end on the concept that debuted this year, Speed Duels. Trials of the Kingdom wasn’t shy on giving us a variety of Skill Cards as we got one for a different character for all 5. We got Zombie Master to turn your Zombies into Zombie Master when it comes to the effect. Terror of the Deep to make Kairyu-Shin useful, which yes that card is now in the TCG in this set. Dino Destruction to give your bigger Dinosaurs piercing damage. Cocoon of Ultra Evolution to mimic the real card in the official card game. Finally for Skills, we got Switcheroo to switch a card in your hand for a card in your Deck basically, which can be extremely powerful and makes for a great generic Skill. In the set, you got the best Ritual now not named Relinquished with Magician of Black Chaos. The aforementioned Kairyu-Shin is in here like I said previously alongside other vanilla monsters being printed in the TCG for the first time like Wetha, Change Slime, Giant Mech-Soldier, and Crazy Fish. Don Zaloog allows for Hand or Deck Destruction in this format. You got Golden Ladybug for some lifepoint gain. You got a few pieces of the Jurrac archetype to potentially bring full archetypes slowly into this format. The Legendary Fisherman II and Parasite Paranoid are in here for some fun Speed Duel strategies and they’re good reprints from previous Legendary Duelists sets. Share the Pain has a ton of potential in this format, same with Double Cyclone. You got Surface for good revival in most WATER Decks. Bashing Shield to easily be the best generic Equip in the format. Haunted Shine to give Zombies strong revival in this format. Finally, you got Floodgate Trap Hole to make a monster the opponent summons hard to use as it will go face-down and can’t change its battle position naturally. It was a strong set for the format with some good things to offer.
This was the year for rogue Decks to shine. We saw a lot of strategies do well this year with some new support they got. The meta wasn’t changed much this year as we still have Orcust, though more prevalent with their last bits of support, alongside Sky Strikers and Thunder Dragons. We had Guardragons help expand on Thunder Dragons and even help Dragon Decks do better though. There were a ton of good cards that could be useful in many Decks like Phantazmay, Nibiru, and Apollousa. We also had a ton of great reprints this year and some generous F/L Lists to give us some stuff back and weaken the meta somewhat. Now it’s time to enter a new decade that’s going to give us some exciting new products and a new Master Rule update, which should be fun.
Thanks for Reading,