Who needs sanctioned events when you have Remote Duels? Hello Pojo Readers, Crunch$G here for the yearly review for Yu-Gi-Oh during this year. It’s been a rough year for everyone I feel like, but at least the game itself has done good outside the sanctioned events being canceled. Konami figured out an alternative in Remote Dueling, which has been nice for competitive players and groups of friends I’m sure. As always, I just go through the significant products and events from the year and give my thoughts on everything before summing up the year as a whole, so you can expect a lot more positive than any other review of 2020. Konami has killed it this year, so let’s see exactly what they did.
The Lost Art Promotion 2020
Even if there are no events, some people are going to want to go and support their locals, so Konami made a good call this year to improve on The Lost Art Promotion. Instead of 6 cards for 6 months, we basically had the promotion going throughout the entire year when locals weren’t closed by having a grand total of 18 Lost Arts throughout the year. We finally got the 10th Anniversary Art of Dark Magician Girl that the OCG has had for over a decade alongside the uncensored artworks of Super Rejuvenation, Solemn Judgment, Edge Imp Sabres, Foolish Burial, Offerings to the Doomed, Superdreadnought Rail Cannon Gustav Max, The Legendary Fisherman, Harpie Queen, Harpie Channeler, Harpie Dancer, Ghost Sister & Spooky Dogwood, Frightfur Leo, Harpie Conductor, Arrivalrivals, Alluring Mirror Split, Harpie’s Feather Rest, and Tragedy. A lot of fan favorites overall with DMG and the Harpie cards alongside some more competitively viable options like Judgment, Gustav, and Foolish Burial. Hopefully this promotion continues like this into 2021 and beyond.
Legendary Duelists: Magical Hero
The first set release of 2020 probably gave us the best of the Legendary Duelist series with Magical Hero. This one gave support to the first five protagonists in the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise with new cards to update their Decks. Yugi got some Dark Magician cards with a new Fusion of Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl alongside an amazing card that has been used in many Decks like Magicians’ Souls. Jaden got some new HERO cards to help the OTK and swarming of the Deck with Elemental HERO Sunrise and Elemental HERO Liquid Soldier. Yusei got some good cards to accelerate his Synchro strategy with Satellite Synchron, Junk Converter, and Synchro Chase alongside a new Accel Synchro in Satellite Warrior. Yuma got some ways to accelerate Rank 4 spam with new Level 4s with Special Summoning capabilities like Zubababancho Gagagacoat and Dodododwarf Gogogoglove alongside a consistency boost with Onomatopickup. Finally, Yuya got a nice new option for Pendulum Magicians in Performapal Celestial Magician alongside an Odd-Eyes boost with Odd-Eyes Wizard Dragon and a new powerful draw card with Performapal Popperup. All this alongside great reprints like Apprentice Illusion Magician, Elemental HERO Honest Neos, and Cosmic Blazar Dragon makes for a great set for competitive and casual players alike.
January 20th F/L List
Fitting that the first list of 2020 ended the “Eternal Format” that we had in 2019 as well as preparing for the impending Master Rule update. The cards that were Forbidden on this list were Heavymetalfoes Electrumite, Ib the World Chalice Justicar, Orcust Harp Horror, Outer Entity Azathot, Salamangreat Miragestallio, Tempest Magician, Thunder Dragon Colossus, Brilliant Fusion, and Sky Striker Mobilize – Engage! Electrumite felt like a fear factor for Pendulums, which didn’t feel necessary. Ib was a good hit since it was a powerful generic Synchro that was probably easier to make use of in other Decks than Denglong once was. Harp Horror was warranted at the time, but now could probably come back to 1. Azathot will not be missed for how it wouldn’t let a player interact with their opponent. Miragestallio felt like a hit that didn’t really affect Salamangreat at all outside a small consistency hit. Tempest Magician banned kills an FTK, so good move there. Colossus ruined Thunder Dragon’s meta viability, but didn’t kill it, though it could of still went to 1 and been fine. Brilliant Fusion was probably another hit to Thunder Dragons using it at the time, but again not a Gem-Knight hit I’d prefer. Finally, Engage was an insane consistency card that had to go and probably shouldn’t come back for a while. The Limited cards on this list were Danger! Nessie!, Dinowrestler Pankratops, Servant of Endymion, True King Lithosagym, the Disaster, Card of Demise, Dragonic Diagram, Into the Void, Pot of Avarice, Sekka’s Light, and Red Reboot. Nessie going to 1 was the beginning of the three main Dangers going to 1 on the F/L List. Dinowrestler Pankratops is a good hit as it’s a more generic and easier to summon Cyber Dragon with a Quick Effect pop. Servant of Endymion is another hit to Pendulum, despite the Deck not needing to be hit. Lithosagym was fine since the game has sped up a little, especially with Dragonic Diagram going to 1 as well. Card of Demise hits the consistency of control Decks, which is okay. Into the Void gets rid of a free draw 1 for combo. Pot of Avarice coming back was fine since the card wasn’t overpowered anymore. Sekka’s Light hit Monster Mash Decks, despite not needing a hit. Finally, Red Reboot going to 1 helps make Traps more viable. The Semi-Limits were Deep Sea Diva, Tour Guide from the Underworld, and Mind Control. Diva was for the impending Deep Sea cards in ETCO that help boost the archetype, Tour Guide is fine since the card hasn’t done much in a while, and Mind Control was a good card to get hit at the time and thankfully went to 1 next list. Finally you got the Unlimits of Dark Armed Dragon, Lady Debug, Morphing Jar #2, Performage Damage Juggler, Sky Striker Ace – Kagari, Tribe-Infecting Virus, Book of Moon, The Phantom Knights’ Rank-Up-Magic Launch, and Soul Drain since either the cards were power crept to being balanced now, balanced due to other hits, or outdated cards banned over a decade ago in the case of Tribe. The list did a good job taking care of the “Eternal Format” as mentioned and helped usher in a new and fresh meta for a bit.
Movie Pack Secret Edition
This one will be short since I don’t know how many times Konami has reprinted this set. We have yet another print for the Movie Pack in a Special Edition form, except this time the cards pulled are Secret Rares. You get the same four promos from previous Special Editions, only now they added Obelisk the Tormentor and Slifer the Sky Dragon in their movie arts to the promo lineup, which was good in the case of Obelisk. The set had different short prints compared to previous editions where now we could finally pull Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon at a regular rate with short prints instead being the original Blue-Eyes White Dragon, Dark Magician Girl, and Palladium Oracle Mahad just to name a few. Some of these cards are nice to have in Secret Rare, but we don’t need more Movie Pack reprints anymore.
The first core set of the year, and probably the worst of the four. The set honestly was sold on the power of Lightning Storm more than anything else, but there are a few nice things in this set. We had the debut of archetypes like Ancient Warriors, @Ignister, Plunder Patroll, and Megalith. We also had some good support for archetypes like Time Thief, Karakuri, Chronomaly, Gimmick Puppet, Sky Striker, Generaider, Witchcrafter, Unchained, and Marincess. That alongside a few good Link Monsters in Cross-Sheep and Gravity Controller entering the game as well. We also got a new Gizmek that was good until the Master Rule update and a Trade-In for Level 9 Monsters. There were decent cards in this set, and we saw rogue success of Plunder Patroll and Megalith for a time, but this set is basically known for being the set that had Lightning Storm in it, which is kind of a shame.
Structure Deck: Shaddoll Showdown
The first Structure Deck release of 2020 was likely to be a popular one since it did win a popular vote in the OCG to be created, and I know some TCG players took part in it. This Structure Deck supported the Shaddoll archetype with some new cards to modernize the strategy. They got a new Fusion in El Shaddoll Apkallone that used 2 Shaddolls with different Attributes and served as some good negation and searching, alongside a floater from Deck with Reeshaddoll Wendi and some graveyard manipulation and banish recovery with Naelshaddoll Ariel. That is also added with a decent Trap for the archetype in Resh Shaddoll Incarnation. All this plus good reprints like Super Polymerization, BLS – Envoy, Instant Fusion, the whole Shaddoll archetype, and much more made for a good Structure Deck that gave Shaddolls one last run of relevance in the meta for a time. That, and we got alternate arts of El Shaddoll Construct and Winda, so that was cool.
Ignition Assault Special Edition
The final Special Edition ever, until Konami potentially returns to the idea, and they don’t really go out with much of a bang. Special Editions were going to struggle without good promos since only 1st Edition packs had the Starlight Rares, so you’d need a good incentive to buy Special Editions. The best promo here was Unchained Twins – Sarama and the rest were pretty mediocre Gouki and Cyberse related cards. Weak promos to try and sell a set that only really had Lightning Storm as the only good card. They did good with Chaos Impact’s Special Edition, but they likely didn’t have sources for good promos for long considering some of the best cards could sell sets, so they cut Special Editions all together and found a replacement.
The main March reprint set of the year was probably the best of the March reprint sets. First off you got over 20 new Link Monsters introduced to the TCG, including the long awaited Crystron Halqifibrax alongside other good Links like Predaplant Verte Anaconda, Union Carrier, Auroradon, Selene, and many more. You also had some TCG exclusives, though not very great ones with the Traptrix and Mayakashi cards being okay and the new Continuous Spell being lackluster. There were some other cool imports like Malefic and Cubic support alongside a few Premium Pack cards from the OCG, but the Links were the main new cards. The reprints were great with cards like PSY-Framelord Omega, Daigusto Emeral, Infinite Impermanence, Fantastical Dragon Phantazmay, Cynet Mining, Cyber Emergency, and many more. Plus you got four alternate artworks for cards like Tour Guide from the Underworld, Cyber Dragon Infinity, Chaos Dragon Levianeer, and Sky Striker Ace – Kagari. You even got some cool giant cards designed like the manga. Overall, it was a great reprint set.
Master Rules (April 1st, 2020 Revision)
Now we get to the big news of the year, the Master Rule Revision that was basically an extension of Master Rule 4, commonly called Master Rule 5 (though not officially Master Rule 5) or Master Rule 2020. The main part this Master Rule was known for is that Fusion, Synchro, and Xyz Monsters could be summoned to an Extra Monster Zone or a Main Monster Zone, even if a Link Monster doesn’t point to said zone. Pendulums and Links remained the same from the original Master Rule 4 update. There were also some other small details like Trap Monsters still treated as Trap Cards no longer occupy a Spell/Trap Zone, Monster effects that activate when they leave the field don’t activate if they return to the Extra Deck face-down, cards no longer being able to activate Trigger Effects if sent to a different location before it can activate, and negated summons not being counted towards card effects that would otherwise count if it was successful. This was a fairly well received update to the rules since many Decks were hurt by the Master Rule update in 2017, so now they have that life back in them with the 2020 update. They kept Pendulums the same from the 2017 rule since the mechanic inherently is very strong and Links remained the same since that’s their gimmick. A good change for the game that helped old strategies become good once again.
April 1st F/L List
Now Konami wasn’t going to change the Master Rules without an update to the F/L List since cards were going to need to be taken care of to ensure the update doesn’t break the game. The bans on this list were Blackwing – Steam the Cloak, Destrudo the Lost Dragon’s Frisson, Glow-Up Bulb, Lunalight Tiger, and SPYRAL Master Plan. Steam and Glow-Up Bulb were easy to spot a mile away with Halqifibrax’s release, and Destrudo likely left the game because of Halq’s release. Lunalight Tiger made Rank 4 spam easy with Lunalights, something the archetype wasn’t initially designed to do, so they took care of Tiger before the Rank 4 spam got insane with the Master Rule, though probably is fine to come back now. SPYRAL Master Plan was hit because Magicians’ Souls made SPYRAL meta again and they opted to get rid of Master Plan so Souls isn’t useful in SPYRAL anymore and destroyed any chances of SPYRAL being meta again. The limits on this list were ABC-Dragon Buster, Danger!? Jackalope?, Danger!? Tsuchinoko?, T.G. Hyper Librarian, Toadally Awesome, Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, Zoodiac Drident, Instant Fusion, Mind Control, and Zoodiac Barrage. ABC and Toadally Awesome were hit due to Master Rule fears, which was later proven to be unnecessary as they returned to 3 by the end of the year. The two other Dangers were hit to join Nessie so you don’t have too many of the Dangers that replaced themselves if they were hit. Hyper Librarian and Trishula were to prevent Synchro abuse, though arguably only Librarian needed the hit, but Trishula hit is for safe measures. Zoodiac Drident is now fine in the current metagame, but Zoodiac Barrage was fine to hit so Zoodiac didn’t become super splashable again. Instant Fusion was a powerful card to help extend your plays while having a versatile amount of options. Finally, Mind Control was going to be more powerful once again now you could use the stolen Monsters for Synchros, Xyzs, and Links efficiently again. The two semi-limits were Destiny HERO – Malicious and Sky Striker Mecha – Widow Anchor since Mali is a very powerful card with the rule update and Widow Anchor is acceptable in a world where Engage is banned. Finally, you got unlimits for Deep Sea Diva, Necroface, SPYRAL GEAR – Drone, and Pot of Avarice since none of the cards are really overpowered anymore, especially where they were at on the list.
And now the first of two Deck Build Packs of 2020 with easily the better of the two in Secret Slayers. Secret Slayers debuted three new archetypes to the TCG: Adamancipator, Rikka, and Eldlich. Adamancipator used an excavation gimmick using Rock Monster with their Tuners helping get to non-Tuner Rocks for Synchro plays. Rikka was a Plant Deck based on tributing and Level modulation for spamming the board of Monsters to go into Xyzs. Eldlich was a strategy based around the lone boss of the archetype with the Spells and Traps helping you get to the boss or having extra benefits for having the boss out. Out of these three archetypes, the first two did really well in the meta with Adamancipator being able to setup insane boards, mainly when Block Dragon was legal, while Eldlich was able to control the game state with their Spells and Traps that replaced themselves with the greatest of ease while Eldlich himself was a fairly powerful card. Rikka overall was nice, but it needs a lot more to be meta since it’s balanced out due to the powerful Plant support that has been released over the years, but it at least has a good generic Rank 8. You also had good foil reprints for the main Koa’ki Meirus that are Rock Type, Block Dragon, Upstart Goblin, Solemn Judgment, Galaxy Cyclone, and Trap Trick. It was easily one of the better Deck Building Sets and the only one to bring two true meta contenders when others only brought one meta contender at best and sometimes another rogue contender.
Structure Deck: Mechanized Madness
Machina Mayhem was arguably the first good Structure Deck ever released with a great boss in Machina Fortress and a decent support card in Machina Gearframe, so it was fitting that this was one of the Structure Decks to get a retrained version. We got a new Machina boss in Machina Citadel that can easily revive itself and interrupt the opponent’s board by wiping out multiple Monsters with the greatest of ease. On top of that you had 2 Monsters to easily summon Machinas from Deck that were also easy to summon with Air Raider and Irradiator, a powerful consistency card in Machina Redeployment, and a great revival on summon with Machina Possesstorage. On top of all this you had reprints of the original Machinas, including Fortress and Gearframe, on top of reprints for Scrap Recycler, Jizukiru, Magnet Reverse, Ties of the Brethren, Cosmic Cyclone, Trap Trick, and Solemn Strike to make for a fairly decent Structure Deck to make Machina playable as a pure Deck and boost other Machine strategies.
The second core set of the year, Eternity Code supported many of the archetypes from this era alongside supporting other archetypes and giving us good generic cards even. The best card in the set was easily Accesscode Talker, being one of the best Link-4s in the game and arguably trumping Borrelsword Dragon. You also had Girsu, the Orcust Mekk-Knight to help boost Orcust after losing Harp Horror and Animadorned Archosaur to raise the power of Dinosaurs even more. You also got a good generic Level 9 Synchro for draw power in Ravenous Crocodragon Archethys, a new Traptrix Xyz to revive Level 4 Plants or Insects, a good Rank 4 toolbox card in Parallel eXceed, and the Token spamming abilities of Linkross. This on top of good support for Madolches, Generaiders, Dragonmaids, Invoked, Plunder Patroll, and Ancient Warriors and Effect Veiler getting the Starlight Rare treatment alongside the regular 4 in the set make this a good core booster for the year.
Speed Duel Starter Decks Match of the Millennium and Twisted Nightmares
It was a lackluster year for the struggling format that is Speed Duels since they only got 3 new products in 2020, two of which were on the same day here. Match of the Millennium and Twisted Nightmares was the first of two extensions to Speed Duels and boosted strategies for Yugi and Pegasus while also debuting Marik and Bakura to the format. You got a good amount of Yugi cards and Toons alongside a bunch of DARK Monsters in the format. We had the new strongest Ritual in the format with Black Luster Soldier and Gaia the Fierce Knight cards with Skills to support them, as well as Skills to support Thousand-Eyes Restrict’s debut to the format and Toons. Bakura and Marik had more generic use Skills, and also some good cards in their Decks like Magical Stone Excavation, Dark Necrofear, Allure of Darkness, and Lava Golem to name a few. Also you could get a D.D. Crow in the Yugi and Pegasus Decks, alongside a foil Advanced Ritual Art. It was a fine release for Speed Duels.
Arc-V Volume 7 Promotional Card
As far as I saw, this was the only manga promo we got in 2020: Go! – D/D/D Divine Zero King Rage. It’s a fine card as its scale effect prevents you from taking effect damage, helping counter the Dark Contracts burning you, as well as letting you Normal Summon your high Level D/D Monsters without tributes. As a Monster it is interesting since it’s ATK becomes equal to the opponent’s LP when their LP is 4000 or less, it cannot be destroyed in battle and you take no damage from battles involving it, and it could tribute a Monster to either let you attack directly with it that turn, lock down your opponent’s Spells and Traps for a turn, or lock down your opponent’s hand and graveyard effects for a turn. It’s an okay card, though doesn’t really boost the best versions of D/D Decks, which want to combo off with strong Monsters with interruptive effects, except for it letting you Normal Summon your Level 5+ Monsters without tributes. Could be good in more pure D/D strategies, though.
OTS Tournament Pack 13
There weren’t many OTS Packs released this year, but the ones that were released really rewarded you for going to locals to get some, especially considering some locals let you get some free packs for purchasing product if you didn’t want Lost Arts. OTS 13 was a strong OTS Pack with great Ultimate Rares like Book of Moon, Abyss Dweller, and Traptrix Rafflesia. These are great Ultimate Rares considering Book of Moon is a classic card that is still useful to this day while Dweller and Rafflesia are both great generic Rank 4s that have very powerful effects. The Super Rares were great as well with Deep Sea Diva, Scrap Golem, ABC-Dragon Buster, Junk Speeder, Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon, Bahamut Shark, Where Arf Thou?, SPYRAL GEAR – Drone, and SPYRAL MISSION – Rescue. Some of these cards were good for the Master Rule update like Crystal Wing, Bahamut Shark, Junk Speeder, and ABC (despite its recent limitation). The SPYRAL cards were kind of late considering the Deck just lost Master Plan. Where Arf Thou? deserved a foil printing for a long time being an easy Level 1 searcher. Scrap Golem was great considering Scrap Wyvern gave the archetype new life. Also you had another foil of Deep Sea Diva for the Deep Sea archetype. There were also some good Commons in this set like The Lady in Wight, Formula Synchron, Ultimaya Tzolkin, Goyo Defender, Muddy Mudragon, Bottomless Trap Hole, and Floodgate Trap Hole. I should also mention the last Super Rare of course being the standard Token we’ve gotten in the last several OTS Packs, with this one being a Generaider Token. Overall a good OTS set.
June 15th F/L List
The third F/L List in the year was in an awkward state considering we were just starting to really go into lockdown from the COVID-19 pandemic and there was no way for Konami to really officiate any events considering Remote Duels were yet to be created. Therefore it was expected that Konami wouldn’t do much on an F/L List update, and they didn’t. All we got were three unlimits to the format with Altergeist Multifaker, Nekroz of Unicore, and Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk coming back to 3. Multifaker was probably the biggest one since Altergeist can still be a strong Deck, but the archetype hasn’t really took over, but has had rogue success at least. Nekroz of Unicore is nice to have back to get Nekroz back at full power once again, which it’s kind of nice to be at that point where Nekroz at full power is acceptable. Finally, we got the unlimit for a card that should of never been limited in Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk finally giving Ritual Beasts some more resistance if they lose a Cannahawk in the Duel. It was very lackluster to get this list as the time, but it was hard to expect much considering Konami was probably going to want to give players some sort of chance to play the new Decks.
One of the best releases of 2020, Toon Chaos was the TCG Exclusive side set we get each year, and it changed things from the regular 20 Secret Rares and 40 Super Rares. Instead we got 10 Ultra Rares, 15 Super Rares, and 35 Rares with you pulling 6 Rares and 1 Super or Ultra Rare per pack. However, you could instead pull 1 of 15 Collectors Rares in the set instead of a Super or Ultra, which is a rarity the OCG has had for years finally coming to the TCG. The 15 Collectors Rares were Toon Black Luster Soldier, Toon Harpie Lady, Toon Bookmark, Toon Page-Flip, The Chaos Creator, Chaos Daedalus, Chaos Valkyria, Chaos Space, Immortal Phoenix Gearfried, Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning, Chaos Emperor Dragon – Envoy of the End, PSY-Framegear Gamma, Stardust Dragon, Pot of Desires, and Pot of Extravagance. A good mix of new cards that people are going to love, classic cards that people remember very well, and meta cards that see a good amount of play. All of this on top of new Toon and Chaos support and some FIRE Warrior and Gemini cards coming over from the OCG made for a very memorable set.
Legendary Duelists: Season 1
Here is the new replacement for Special Editions, and let’s just say that it still needed some perfecting at this time. For $15 you got 2 packs of 15 Commons, 2 Ultra Rares from the first 2 Legendary Duelists with a colorful name of blue, green, or purple, and 1 regular Ultra Rare as a preview card from Rise of the Duelist on top of a promo pack with 1 of 7 Secret Rare cards from the first two Legendary Duelists and a character card. There were 16 colored Ultra Rares overall and 4 regular Ultra Rares, meaning it was super easy to get all of the Ultras and therefore value was going to be hard to maintain. The Secret Rares had good choices at least with Red-Eyes Slash Dragon, Millennium-Eyes Restrict, and Ancient Gear Fusion just to name a few and the character cards were nice. It was just hard to justify purchasing this set considering the value was going to be so weak since everything was easy to get. It needed fine tuning, but at least this gave us needed reprints from Legendary Duelists sets.
Structure Deck: Sacred Beasts
It’s nice that this Structure Deck still got printed since it was second place in the popularity poll behind Shaddolls by only 1%. Sacred Beasts getting a modernization was needed, and the Deck made a Sacred Beast strategy playable. You had great consistency boosters like Dark Beckoning Beast, Chaos Summoning Beast, and Opening of the Spirit Gates on top of some cards rewarding you for controlling the Sacred Beasts like Cerulean Skyfire and Awakening of the Sacred Beasts. You also had Chaos Core to get all your Sacred Beasts in the graveyard to set up Dimension Fusion Destruction to give you an easy way to summon Armityle for a quick OTK. You also had good reprints in this Deck like Radian, the Multidimensional Kaiju, Chaos Hunter, Farfa, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, Danger! Chupacabra!, The Beginning of the End, Pot of Desires, and Mistake on top of all the old Sacred Beast support cards and two Tokens, one Phantasmal Martyr Token and one Phantasmal Token. Overall a very cool Structure Deck to give life to Sacred Beasts as an actual strategy.
Battles of Legend: Armageddon
Now it’s time for the yearly Battles of Legend, and this one was probably the worst of the four so far considering we also had other reprint sets that Konami needed to sell. Some positives were Ten Thousand Dragon being in here to celebrate 10,000 cards and Number 39: Utopia being a Starlight Rare in Astral Language to celebrate all 100 Numbers being released finally, but both would be super difficult to pull. On top of that, you also had the Numeron and Fossil Fusion archetypes in this set debuting and a new good Rank 3 in Number 3: Cicada King. Reprints had decent cards with Chaos Emperor, the Dragon of Armageddon getting a reprint from the prize card with the 4 final Jump Promos in here alongside another needed reprint for Invocation, which was unnecessarily short printed. You had some other decent little reprints here like some more Invoked Fusions, Blackwing – Kris the Crack of Dawn, Mecha Phantom Beast O-Lion, Dragon Buster Destruction Sword, and Madolche Anjelly, but it wasn’t enough to make this set compare to previous Battles of Legend sets. It was likely highly opening for the hunt for Ten Thousand Dragon and Astral Utopia, but everything else didn’t really incentivize anyone to really want to open this set that much considering the only main short prints were Invocation, which had several prints, and Chaos Emperor, which wasn’t going to be used in every strategy.
Rise of the Duelist
Now it’s time for probably one of the best core release sets ever, Rise of the Duelist. That isn’t hyperbole either, the set was very good. You had some great staple cards like Triple Tactics Talent and Forbidden Droplet alongside a new splashable engine in the Dogmatika archetype. You also had more Infernoble Knight support from Toon Chaos to really boost that strategy to the meta, a cool new archetype in Melffy, and some support for favorite archetypes like Gaia, Fluffal, Darklord, Machina, Koa’ki Meiru, Ancient Warriors, and Shaddolls. Also I don’t want to forget a really cool new Synchro in Chaos Ruler, the Chaotic Magical Dragon and the import of Odd-Eyes Revolution Dragon finally to the TCG. You also had great Starlight Rare choices like Dogmatika Ecclesia, Triple Tactics Talent, Wynn the Wind Channeler, Gaia the Magical Knight of Dragons, and the insertion of D.D. Crow to be a Starlight Rare. Overall a great core release to kick off a new era for the game.
2020 Tin of Lost Memories
Overall the tin’s Mega Pack set was actually very good. You had needed reprints for Apollousa, Masquerena, Borreload Savage Dragon, Pot of Extravagance, Mekk-Knight Crusadia Avramax, Cherubini, and Infinitrack Anchor Drill on top of some cool rarity upgrades for Guardragon Elpy and Pitsy, Time Thief Redoer, Unchained Abomination, and many more. You also had the TCG debut of Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon to be a powerful Fusion that many strategies wanted to implement with Predaplant Verte Anaconda for another strong negation option and some cool Dark Magician and Blue-Eyes related cards with Successor Soul, Strength in Unity, and Destined Rivals. The only true issue with this tin is that it came with no promo pack, which was big considering how well received last year’s promo pack was with Nibiru and Dark Ruler No More. That overall hurt the tin somewhat, but the Mega Pack set was very good with no real big misses from the previous year.
Dragons of Legend: The Complete Series
This one kind of fixed the format from Legendary Duelists: Season 1. This set reprinted cards from the three Dragons of Legends sets we got before Battles of Legend as well as imported some cool cards like Cyber Slash Harpie Lady, Jinzo – Layered, Time Wizard of Tomorrow, and Hundred Dragon while giving Phantom Rage prereleases like the two Awakening of the Possessed cards and Xyz Import, all 7 cards in Secret Rare as a promo. Also instead of the character cards, you got 1 of 3 dice of either Timaeus, Critias, or Hermos which are all really nice looking. The main set also had 30 Ultra Rares this time with 2 colored Ultras in a pack and 1 regular Ultra from the set of 30, and one of those Ultra Rares was an alternate artwork for Dark Magician Girl the Dragon Knight. We also had some decent reprints for Toon Kingdom, Number 100: Numeron Dragon, and Galaxy-Eyes Cipher Dragon. It was an improvement from Legendary Duelists: Season 1, though could use a little more work. The dice should stay easily, though.
September 14th F/L List
Now with Remote Dueling something that Konami would like players to take part in, it’d be expected to get a better incentive with a more impacting F/L List, and that’s what we got here. The cards that were banned this list were Block Dragon, Jet Synchron, and Mecha Phantom Beast O-Lion. O-Lion and Jet were mainly hit for Halq abuse and wouldn’t be banned if Halq wasn’t in the game anymore, and Block Dragon was hit because it made Adamancipator too powerful in the TCG format. The limits were Double Iris Magician, The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche, Called by the Grave, and Harpie’s Feather Duster. Double Iris is fine considering Pendulum have some harsh hits over here with bans on the main cards. Rusty Bardiche was an attempt to help sell Phantom Knights in Phantom Rage, and at least it made the archetype better over here. Called by the Grave was probably because Konami doesn’t like cards played in every Deck at 3, but it really didn’t deserve a limit. Finally, Harpie’s Feather Duster was something the TCG wanted for years considering how long the OCG has had it legal. The semi-limits were to ABC-Dragon Buster, Cir, Graff, and Toadally Awesome since none of those four are really too powerful anymore and ABC and Toadally Awesome didn’t even need to be hit in the first place while Cir and Graff helped boost PK Fire strategies. Finally, the unlimits were to Evigishki Gustkraken, Makyura the Destructor, Tour Guide from the Underworld, Pantheism of the Monarchs, and Sky Striker Mecha – Widow Anchor since these cards didn’t do much in their previous state and the meta has sped up to be acceptable for these cards. Makyrua was interesting since it was going to get an errata in the next Legendary Duelists, but it wasn’t updated in the database for a few days so there was a time where unerrataed Makyura was legal, but the errata took in effect shortly after and made the card healthy for the format.
Legendary Duelists: Rage of Ra
This was an interesting case considering it wasn’t a Legendary Duelist set overseas, but it became one here for marketing purposes since Duelist Packs had a tarnished name after Dimensional Guardians. This set gave us support for The Winged Dragon of Ra and Slimes on top of new Jinzo and Meklord support and a Ghost Rare of The Winged Dragon of Ra. Having a Ghost Rare of a God Card is super cool, but it’s the main selling point of this set. The Ra support is cool and all, but it isn’t going to be too powerful, even compared to previous Legendary Duelist support, and this was the best part of the set. Jinzo became more playable as a strategy and Meklords finally became playable in general, but it wasn’t going to be too great considering the previous material it was working off of wasn’t that great. The set overall was cool, but the main cards to really pull might be the Ghost Rare of Ra, the alternate art of Ra, and Egyptian God Slime with maybe more Ra support being okay pulls as well. Probably the worst of the 7 Legendary Duelists saved only by a cool collector’s card. Just hope the Ghost Ra you pull isn’t scratched on the surface.
OTS Tournament Pack 14
The second OTS Pack of the year was another good one as well, though slightly of a step down from OTS 13 in my opinion. The Ultimate Rares in this set were Super Polymerization, Toon Kingdom, and Nibiru, the Primal Being. Super Poly is a great Ulti to have finally come over from the OCG while Nibiru is great being one of the most powerful hand traps in the game against combo. Toon Kingdom is cool as a collector’s card, though weird considering Ultimate Rares usually go towards more competitive cards. You had some good Super Rares in here as well Madolche Messengelato to foil out a Madolche that previously wasn’t foil, Infernity General to finally get it to European regions for the new Infernity support, Super Quantum Red Layer and Smoke Grenade of the Thief for Infernoble Knights, Parallel eXceed since it’s a great Rank 4 toolbox card that should of been foil to begin with, Raidraptor – Force Strix being one of the best Raidraptor cards needing a reprint before the Raidraptor support, U.A. Signing Deal for the new U.A. support, Appointer of the Red Lotus as an old Common that needed a reprint for how good it became in modern times, Unpossessed for the new Charmer Structure Deck that was coming, and a Dual Avatar Spirit Token for the upcoming Dual Avatar archetype. You also had good Commons in Atlantean Dragoons, Weeping Idol, Evil Thorn, The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak, Void Ogre Dragon, Demise of the Land, Cattle Call, The Phantom Knights’ Rank-Up-Magic Launch, and The Phantom Knights of Shade Brigandine to round up an overall pretty good OTS set once again.
Structure Deck: Spirit Charmers
This was going to be an interesting Deck to see how Konami made Charmers playable, and while it wasn’t good enough to make Charmers meta, it was cool fanservice. First off there was RNG to this set with the four Familiar-Possessed Monsters having alternate arts in Ultra and 5 Super Rares of Tokens with different arts, each of the two you got 1 of in each Structure Deck randomly. On top of that you got decent support for the archetype with two more Awakening of the Possessed Monsters to go with the Phantom Rage ones, Grand Spiritual Art – Ichirin, Awakening of the Possessed, Possessed Partnerships, and Spirit Charmers. You also had good reprints for Raigeki (which sadly replaced the much more needed Evenly Matched, but was okay for a replacement I guess), the three legal Fairy Tail Monsters, Witchcrafter Golem Aruru, Witch of the Black Forest, Effect Veiler, Denko Sekka, Secret Village of the Spellcasters, Spellbook of Knowledge, Book of Eclipse, Twin Twisters, Dark Ruler No More, Metaverse, Dimensional Barrier, and Solemn Warning alongside old Charmer and Familar-Possessed support, outside the LIGHT and DARK ones. It might of not helped make Charmers a pure strategy too much, but made for a fun strategy, had good fanservice, and had some good reprints.
The last set of the year had high expectations, yet didn’t really live up to them, which was shocking. The set had some good support for Raidraptors and Phantom Knights on top of a new meta strategy in Virtual World on top of a great Pankratops like card in Alpha, the Master of Beasts and a great new Xyz boss in Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS – Sky Thunder. You also had some cool new archetypes like Dual Avatar, Tri-Brigade, and Myutants and support for other archetypes like Infernity, U.A./F.A., Sacred Beasts, Penguins, Melffy, Prank-Kids, Dark World, Arcana Force, and Fur Hire. The Starlights were fine as well with AA-ZEUS, Alpha, Torn Scales, Tri-Brigade Ferrijit, and the Hiita Link finally getting its Starlight. The set is pretty good overall, just didn’t do as well as we would of expected.
We’ve had Gold Series, we’ve had Premium Gold, and now we get Maximum Gold. This Gold set changed up the previous two formats with this time having 4 packs of 5 Rares with gold-letting and 2 new Premium Gold Rares which are just Gold Rares with more of a 3D effect to make the card pop more. There were some cool choices for the Premium Gold Rares with alternate arts for cards like Apollousa, Droll & Lock Bird, Stratos, Phantazmay, Aleister the Invoker, and Borrelsword Dragon alongside reprints for the Duel Overload and Duel Devastator alternate arts alongside the original arts. You had some big reprints for cards like Infinite Imperemaence, Eldlich the Golden Lord, Harpie’s Feather Duster, Nibiru, Zoodiac Drident, and Zoodiac Chakanine alongside cool cards getting the new rarity like Blue-Eyes, Red-Eyes, Dark Magician, Artifact Lancea, the aforementioned Ghost Girls in original and alternate arts from Duel Devastator, Gaia the Dragon Champion, Constellar Pleiades, Beatrice, Rusty Bardiche, Polymerization, Monster Reborn, RotA, Super Polymerization, Forbidden Chalice, and Solemn Judgment. There were a few good Rares as well like Toadally Awesome, but the set was sold on the new Premium Gold Rares and it didn’t disappoint outside those expecting imports in this set.
Speed Duel: Battle City Box
The second main Speed Duel release of the year, the Battle City Box was cool giving the format Secret Rares for the first time, 3 of the 24 being guaranteed as the Egyptian Gods. The remaining Secret Rares you had to get lucky to pull were Dark Magician, Buster Blader, Swift Gaia the Fierce Knight, Breaker the Magical Warrior, Metaverse, Dark Paladin, Valkyrion the Magna Warrior, Fire Formation – Tenki, Union Hangar, Blue-Eyes White Dragon, Masked Beast Des Gardius, Airknight Parshath, Nobleman of Crossout, Foolish Burial, Valhalla, Hall of the Fallen, Cosmic Cyclone, Lost Wind, Jinzo, Reinforcement of the Army, Red-Eyes Black Dragon, and Spell Canceler. A lot of these came in Secret Rare for the first time and most to all of them are cool for collectors, regular players, or Goat Format players, but this is best to get singles from if you aren’t playing Speed Duels. The Speed Duel players also had an insertion of nearly 200 new cards to the format and 20 Skills in this set. It was the best Speed Duel product, and hopefully it isn’t the last and Konami pushes the format more. Better treatment like this can bring this format back to life, but I wouldn’t mind Rush Duels replacing it in all honesty.
The last Deck Build Set of the year, this time we had the Toon Chaos ratios instead of previous Deck Build Set ratios. Therefore, you had Collectors Rares in the set, which were not as good of choices as Toon Chaos. You had some of the best Magistus cards in Collectors Rare like Rilliona, Ninaruru, and Artemis alongside all the Evil Twin and Live Twin Monsters getting a Collectors Rare and the two Drytron Rituals and the Drytron Ritual Spell being Collectors Rare. The reprints in Collectors Rares included the Alesiter Link, Beat Cop, Knightmare Phoenix, and Knightmare Unicorn. Really the main good Collectors Rares are probably the Knightmares, the rest could of been better with too many probably going to Evil and Live Twins while Aleister and Beat Cop feeling lackluster. Overall the archetypes were cool, though. Magistus is a cool archetype to extend the lore for many Spellcaster archetypes and had some good cards for an engine and for Spellcaster strategies, Evil Twins and Live Twins make for a great engine to use since the Live Twins are an easy Link-2, and Drytron makes for a great competitive Ritual archetype to add to the meta. You also had good reprints like the Aleister Link actually being a good reprint, just not as an Ultra Rare, but you still had Knightmares Gryphon, Unicorn, and Phoenix on top of Cyber Emergecy, so the reprints were okay, about what you’d expect from a set like this. Was a fine set, just not comparable to Secret Slayers or Toon Chaos. Heres to hoping for better Collectors Rares in Ancient Guardians.
December 15th F/L List
We end things off with a Forbidden and Limited list as a little clean up for the format, nothing too crazy. The bans went to Linkross, Dragon Buster Destruction Sword, and Smoke Grenade of the Thief. Linkross was insane Token abuse, especially in combination with Crystron Halqifibrax and deserved to go either way. Dragon Buster was hit since Union Carrier made it an easy Extra Deck lock outside Buster Blader, which wasn’t intentional and I could see this coming back if we hit Union Carrier. Finally, Smoke Grenade was a good hit since nobody likes hand destruction, especially cards taking multiple cards from your hand. The lone semi-limit was to True King’s Return since bringing this to two won’t do much to boost True Draco. The unlimits went to the remainder of the semi-limit list outside Malicious, so ABC, Cir, Graff, and Toadally Awesome since they were fine at two and we saw Evigishki Mind Augus come from 1 to 3 since Gustkraken was fine to go from 1 to 3 earlier in the year, so try Mind Augus as well I guess.
Overall, we had a great year for products. It might of cooled down later in the year outside Maximum Gold, but it was overall still good even at the end with Phantom Rage and Genesis Impact. There were some great sets like Secret Slayers, Eternity Code, Duel Overload, Rise of the Duelist, and Maximum Gold with the 2020 Tin being decent outside no promo pack. The two lone OTS Packs this year were great. The Special Edition replacement is cool in theory, but does need work. The Structure Decks we got were pretty cool with Shaddolls have a spell in the meta and Machina being a good boost to Machines while Sacred Beasts were nostalgic and Spirit Charmers was nice fanservice. It was a great year for reprints and a great year for some new cards, a far improvement from 2019 not having too much that was impactful. We did have a disappointing Battles of Legend and second Legendary Duelists set that year, but they had redeeming qualities in lottery-like cards and the first Legendary Duelists this year was great overall. The Forbidden and Limited Lists did their job well this year outside the June one, while leaving a few cards for us to play with longer with cards in 2021 before they hopefully get hit that year. Here’s to hoping 2021 is as great as 2020.
Thanks for Reading,