This tumoltuous year is drawing to a close with plenty to look forward to in Yugioh before we enter 2023! Dark feathers of Blackwings appear the horizon as the ancient archetype receives yet another set of support in Darkwing Blast, but only 2 weeks later Magnificent Mavens bring various Yugioh heroines into the spotlight. Battles of Legend: Crystal Revenge and Structure Deck: Dark World clash the full spectrum of light against the shroud of darkness to round out 2022! In this list we're looking at 10 of the best cards and themes releasing in that period.
Please note that card names marked with an asterisk are using unofficial fan translations, as the official English localization hasn't been made public yet.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of early Darkwing Blast box openings by YouTube creators was a TCG exclusive quick-play Spell card with great potential to define the meta, be it now or in some future format. Spellbound is a devastatingly simple card: everything the opponent currently has on the field cannot be used as a material for any sort of extra deck summon.
The application when going first is natural, simply flip it when the opponent commits key resources which now remain stuck on the board. Some decks can tribute or ritual summon to clear up space on the board, but many will end up with a locked Extra Monster Zone and without a way to extend their plays. Going second the card has reduced purpose as it needs to be used reactively. Unlike Gnomaterial way back, you cannot use Spellbound on opponent's first turn when you go second. The only use you'll be able to get is playing it in response to quick effects to Fusion, Synchro, Xyz or Link summon with materials on the field. For example, chaining Spellbound to I:P Masquerena shuts off plays in Mathmechs, and chaining it to Branded in Red saves you from Guardian Chimera.
It does make one wonder though: if you're already dealing with materials on the board, wouldn't something like Super Polymerization be better? It prevents any response from the opponent and actually removes the troublesome monsters while giving you one of your own. Time will show how good of a card Spellbound really is, so it's cautiously and optimistically entered as number 10 on this list.
9. Naturia support
With the reveal of new Naturia cards, some recent product moves by Konami started to make a bit more sense. For example, the Hidden Arsenal: Chapter 1 that was released this year seemed like a really odd product, but if there's plans to further support old Duel Terminal themes, then it's pretty nice we got so many reprints before the cards got released.
Anyways, Naturias are up to some true degeneracy with their new cards, looking to set up a board of "infinite" Spell and Trap negates, as well as some Monster effect disruption. Naturia Mole Cricket tributes itself as a Quick effect to summon any Naturia monster from the deck and it summons 2 instead if the opponent has the strongest monster currently on the board. When you summon a Naturia monster from the Extra Deck or your opopnent summons anything from the Extra Deck, Mole Cricket will revive itself for completely free! Naturia Camellia sends a Naturia monster from Deck to the GY when Summoned and brings a great substitution effect. If you would tribute a Naturia monster, you can mill 2 cards instead. And then when the opponent summons a monster it gets to revive one Naturia from your GY, further adding to the board swarm on the opponent's turn. To make full use of these extra bodies, Naturias are also getting Naturia Blessing - a Quick-play Spell that can either summon a Naturia from hand or GY, either Synchro summon or Fusion summon using monsters on your field as materials. This allows you to easily bring out Naturia Beast or Naturia Barkion to lock down the opponent's options. Last, but not least, all the summons from GY and Deck can set up the old Naturia Sunflower which negates monster effects, now with reduced cost thanks to Camellia!
8. Dark World support
Boy oh boy, this one is scary! Dark World structure deck of old (Gates of the Underworld) is receiving a re-train in Structure Deck: Dark World. The name is much less creative than the previous one, but the new support more than make up for it!
Reign-Beaux, Supreme Overlord of Dark World* searches a level 5 or higher Dark World monster when discarded. Once in GY he works similarly to Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World, returning a Dark World monster on the field back to the hand to special summon itself. The only restriction is that the monster is level 7 or lower. Once he's on the board, Grapha can return him to summon itself and you now have the same number of monsters on the board, but 2 cards more in hand! In true Dark World fashion, neither effect is once per turn.
Genta, Gateman of Dark World* is an underrated piece of support, discarding itself to search The Gates of Dark World. If he is banished while you control a Dark World card he special summons himself back to the field. Conveniently, The Gates of Dark World are a card you control that can also banish him, making Genta a free extender. While his effect to search Gates is not once per turn, Genta does have a restriction that he can only be special summoned in any way once per turn. So no shenanigans with multiple Gates or Allures of Darkness.
Dark World Library* is a continuous spell with an effect similar to Trade-In. If a Fiend-type monster is discarded by the effect of a Dark World card, you can discard any 1 card to draw 2. When the rest of the Dark World engine doesn't facilitate that effect on its own, Library can also discard 1 Dark World monster to boost the ATK of all your Dark Worlds by 100 for each level of the discarded monster.
There's also a few other bits of support, including a summon-negating Counter Trap, but what we're looking at with the new Dark World support is prime material for abuse with Danger! cards, just like in the good old days. Danger! Dark World can keep spamming monsters and drawing cards, easily going up to 10 cards in hand while still comboing to a field of Link and Xyz monsters. With the increasing amount of GY disruption in the meta when they do release, as well as staple cards such as Droll & Lock Bird to shut down draw-heavy turns, the deck won't be without its challenges. One thing is certain though, it will be TONS of fun to play!
7. Blazing Cartesia, the Virtuous
Following events depicted in the artwork of Branded in Central Dogmatika, Darkwing Blast brings forth the corrupted form of Incredible Ecclesia, the Virtuous. In a much more sinister manner she still acts as support for Fallen of Albaz, special summoning herself from hand if one is on field or in the GY. From there she can fusion summon a level 8 or higher Fusion monster using materials from hand and field. Finally, if a fusion monster was sent to the GY she returns to hand in the End Phase.
While Cartesia is helpful to the usual Branded strategies, where she will really shine will be in one of the current meta's strongest decks - Tearlaments. Branded in High Spirits combined with Albion the Shrouded Dragon is a small engine that already sees some popularity in the TCG. High Spirits act almost as 2nd to 4th copies of Instant Fusion by sending a Tearlaments monster to the graveyard before actually fielding any monsters. This plays around Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries on Tearlaments Kitkallos, but also around soon to be released Bystial monsters. Slight spoiler for a higher place on this list. 😉
When High Spirits searches Cartesia, the Tearlament player will likely discard a Tearlament monster and use its effect to fusion summon Tearlaments Kitkallos, which will then search Tearlaments Reinoheart. Once Kitkallos is on board and Cartesia is normal summoned, it is possible to use Kitkallos effect targeting itself as chain link 1 and Cartesia's effect to Fusion summon as chain link 2. The fusion resolves using Kitkallos and Reinoheart for Tearlaments Rulkallos. Kitkallos summons before sending the targeted monster (itself) to the GY, so that part of the effect will successfully resolve, reviving the Reinoheart used as fusion material. Then, because she was sent to the GY through Cartesia's effect, Kitkallos will also mill 5 cards, while the special summoned Reinoheart gets to send another Tearlament name to the GY to fusion summon once more! That's not where the madness ends still! Cartesia is a level 4 tuner, opening up further Xyz and Synchro plays. She can be overlaid into Time Thief Redoer or Abyss Dweller together with Reinoheart or Synchro summon Baronne Le Fleur together with Garura, Wings of Resonant Life.
Overall, Cartesia will be a really powerful addition to Tearlaments after Darkwing Blast releases. With the rest of the High Spirits engine printed in common and Cartesia being a 1-of, try and get your hands on one to power up the deck to new heights! It might command a slightly higher price as a secret rare on release, but should settle down quickly.
Pendulums used to be a force in this game, but through a combination of banlist adjustments and the Master Rule 4 changes, they lost too many tools to justify the cost of a Pendulum summon - 2 cards to be used as scales. Finally though, there is some hope for the dual-colored cards! Beyond the Pendulum provided a nice boost in Dimension Force and now Ignis, Majesty and Dinomight are receiving Dracoslayer retrains in Darkwing Blast!
Ignis Phoenix, the Dracoslayer searches non-Pendulum Dracoslayers when in scale, which isn't all too useful. However, when he's destroyed on the field, be it in scale or as a monster, he summons a Dracoslayer from deck and treats it as a tuner for the turn, easing access to Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer. Majesty Pegasus, the Dracoslayer's scale effect searches another Dracoslayer as long as one accompanies her in the other Pendulum zone, and then she destroys one of the two scales. There's obvious synergy with Ignis with this effect, gaining his trigger while searching for Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer to extend plays. If she happens to be summoned by the effect of a Dracoslayer card or even just Pendulum summoned, she searches any field spell at the cost of a discard. From the Pendulum favorite in Sky Iris, to a floodgate such as Secret Village of the Spellcasters, Necrovalley or Zombie World, the ability to search for Field spells has always been powerful in Yugioh. She also has a protection effect that requires a discard and helps break through boards going second, protecting your Dracoslayers from targeting and destruction effects. Finally, Dinomight Powerload, the Dracoslayer special summons a Dracoslayer from the other Pendulum Zone and acts as recursion for Dracoslayers in face-up Extra Deck when tributed.
It's worth noting all three monsters tie some of their effects in with their respective archetypes and are also treated as their cards, so they are direct support to those strategies. Ignis as an Ignister card, Majesty as a Majespecter card and Dinomight as a Dinomist card. However, their strength in a Dracoslayer strategy outweighs the minor benefits to their individual archetypes and all it really means for them is that archetype-specific search effects, such as Majespect Raccoon - Bunbuku and Dinomist Charge have a place in the deck as a way to search the new support. Explaining the full combos is perhaps a topic for some future articles, but look no further than the old Dracoslayer cards with their complete lack of once per turn effects! Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer is the main offender and the more you get to use his effect to summon from the Deck for free, the better!
5. Kashtira Fenrir
Kashtira archetype debuts as a part of the Visa's Starfrost storyline in Darkwing Blast. All three of its monsters can be special summoned to an empty field and offer a disruptive trigger effect when they attack or when an opponent's monster activates an effect. Kashtira Unicorn definitely has future metagame potential with its ability to remove options from opponent's extra deck, but for now the spotlight definitely goes to Kashtira Fenrir who banishes one of the opponent's cards face-down.
Easily accessible removal on a 2400/2400 body can never be overlooked and its pre-emptive threat can make life really difficult for most current meta decks, as cards in face-down banish are near impossible to access and keeping bodies on board is important for control of the game. By now Fenrir has been confirmed to be an ultra rare card in Darkwing Blast, meaning he likely won't command too high of a price. Level 7 currently doesn't promise serious longevity, though it does provide access to some old favorites such as Number 11: Big Eye. If you're looking for pre-emptive counters, OCG players have utilized Chaos Hunter to some success.
4. Spright support
One of the two meta-defining archetypes in Power of the Elements and possibly the strongest deck in the current format combined with Runicks, it would be normal to think they don't need any additional help. But that's not what Konami thought when they designed Spright Sprind, their new Link 2 monster. With the same material requirements as Spright Elf, it gets to choose between one of its two effects each turn. On link summon it can send any level 2 monster from the Deck to the GY. Or when an another monster gets special summoned it can detach one material from an Xyz you control to return the summoned monster back into the hand or Extra Deck. So it's an extender during your turn and disruption on opponent's, provided you end with Gigantic Spright somewhere on the board. The level 2 monster you will most likely be sending is an old one: Nimble Angler. Once sent to the GY it can summon 2 Nimble Beavers from the deck, providing two level 2 bodies to extend your plays. As Beavers are already in the deck as a reasonable normal summon play, this comes with little additional cost.
Spright Jet got a new toy to play with, as it can now search Spright Double Cross, a Trap card with three different ways of saying "your monster is mine". It can take any monster on field or in the GYs and either attach it to your Rank 2 Xyz, or take control of it in a zone your Link 2 points to. Permanently taking away monsters has long been a powerful form of disruption, going way back to Snatch Steal and Enemy Controller. Double Cross isn't something to write home about, but you could expect to see it as a 1-of in Main Deck or Side Deck exclusively for going 1st.
3. Tearlaments support
Two noteworthy cards appear as direct archetype support to Tearlaments in Darkwing Blast. First and flashier one is Tearlaments Rulkallos, an evolved form of Tearlaments Kitkallos. She is a level 8 Fusion with 3000/2500 body and several powerful effects. Requiring Kitkallos and another Tearlaments monster as materials she provides another avenue of recycling it through Fusion summons besides Garura, Wings of Resonant Life and Predaplant Dragostapelia.
All 3 of Rulkallos' effects are terrifyingly good. First of all, she protects other Aqua monsters from being destroyed by battle, making it easier to keep Tearlaments Sulliek live while protecting random Aqua monsters such as Toadally Awesome from being run over. The second effect can negate and destroy opponent's card or effect that would Special Summon a monster, then sends any Tearlaments card from hand or field to the GY. So not only does it protect Tearlaments from one of their more sizable vulnerabilities in Nibiru, the Primal Being, it also facilitates further advantage by sending a Tearlaments card to the GY. And in the odd case she has to send herself, her third effect will revive her if she was Fusion Summoned. This means the self-revive works only once, but that's a small price to pay to keep a summon effect negate for the next turn.
Another advantage to Rulkallos ties back to the Branded in High Spirits engine mentioned in relation to Blazing Cartesia, the Virtuous. Prior to Darkwing Blast, the only Aqua level 8 monster with 2500 ATK or DEF is D.3.S. Frog. While still useful as a Fusion material to reach Kitkallos, it's by all means a vanilla slot and a waste of the spot in the extra deck. Rulkallos can now slot into the extra deck with no additional cost to its limited space, as the target for High Spirits would be in the Extra Deck anyways!
There's also Tearlaments Scream, a continuous Spell card. Its trigger effect on field mills 3 cards when a monster is summoned and you control a Tearlaments monster, then makes opponents monsters lose 500 ATK for the rest of the turn, whether they are currently on the field or summoned afterwards. If it's sent to the GY by any means it searches a Tearlaments trap, making Sulliek, Metanoise and Cryme more accessible through Foolish Burial Goods or card mills in general. Scream is one of those cards that don't look very flashy or particularly special, but it's probably the single best individual support card in Darkwing Blast.
There's a large number of cards which could be described as staples - generically good cards which can be played in any deck to help it on its way to victory. Usually these cards are good because they can be used against other decks, rather than helping their own, thus disrupting their opponent. Naturally, they fall in and out of favor depending on which decks reign supreme in the format. A card that has seen increased play as of late is D.D. Crow - an old monster which discards itself to banish a single card from opponent's GY. Bystials are an archetype of plain better D.D. Crows debuting in Darkwing Blast as another addition to the storyline of Fallen of Albaz.
Each of the main 3 are level 6 Dark Dragons sporting a 2500/2000 stat line and a shared effect. Target 1 Light or Dark monster in either GY, banish it and special summon the Bystial, after which they each have a unique effect. If your opponent controls a monster this becomes a Quick effect. So there is a small caveat. Unlike D.D. Crow the Bystials don't work on spell or trap cards, or even monsters of attributes different than Light or Dark. Luckily for them, we are currently in a Dark-heavy meta with Tearlaments and Sprights running the show. Unrestricted drops of 2500 ATK bodies that also disrupt opponent's plays are a major obstacle to deal with. Tearlaments simply hate getting the fusion plays disrupted, while Sprights struggle against multiple large monsters and this is all before taking into consideration their individual effects!
Bystial Magnamhut is the clear best one to run. Once summoned, his effect to add any Dragon to the hand in the End Phase activates, grabbing either another Bystial, either some engine piece in Dragon-focused decks. Bystial Saronir mills a Bystial monster or a Branded spell or trap card if sent to the GY by any means. Bystial Druiswurm sends a special summoned monster to the GY if Druiswurm itself is sent from field to the GY. The latter two are much more restricted, but powerful nonetheless. Level 6 extenders aren't the easiest to come by in Yugioh though, so they hold extra value as a way to access Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal in decks which don't usually have a way to summon her, but like throwing specific cards into the GY!
It's very likely this trio will deserve to be run in full playsets in the 2 week format between the release of Darkwing Blast and Magnificent Mavens, which is why it is very nice from Konami to have printed them all as super rares. Yup, you read that right! Despite being an immensely powerful generic hand trap engine, they didn't get rarity bumped to ultra or secret rares! With only the foil treatment expect them to be cheap and enjoy the treat from Konami!
1. Ishizu Ishtar's cards
An easy way to find out how our Yugioh TCG format might play out is to look at the OCG (Original Card Game) metagame played in Asian countries where products are released 3-6 months earlier. Any souls brave enough to peer over the fence in the past few months would quickly see a potential tier 0 format brewing once Ishizu Ishtar's cards arrive to TCG.
Ishizu are not an archetype per se, as they support a card called Exchange of the Spirit and share no naming scheme. Ishizu is simply a group name for the collection of Earth Fairy monsters used by Ishizu Ishtar in the anime. Their retrains combined with a current dominant force in the meta - Tearlaments, have proven to be a very effective strategy in OCG, with 40% or higher top cut representation every week since their release. So what is it that makes these cards so powerful?
Kelbek the Ancient Vanguard* and Agido the Ancient Sentry* both get to special summon themselves when any card is sent from opponent's hand or deck to the graveyard, after which they apply special effects. Kelbek can return an opponent's special summoned monster back to the hand, which makes him a strong generic hand trap despite already belonging to an "archetype"! Much like PSY-Framegear Gamma, expect this card to be represented in many future decks. Agido is much less impressive with its ability to resurrect a level 4 Earth Fairy monster, likely another Ishizu card. When sent from hand or deck to the GY both Kelbek and Agido have the optional effect of milling 5 cards of both players' decks. Risky effect to use in the Tearlament mirror, but strong advantage push and resource drain against all other decks
Keldo the Possessed Statue* and Mudora the Cestus Oracle* can be summoned by discarding any other Earth Fairy monster, after which they grab another part of Ishizu engine. Keldo adds any Ishizu card, while Mudora directly sets a spell or trap card supporting the theme. Even more important is their shared quick effect. Both of them can be banished from field or GY to shuffle 3 cards in either GY back into the deck, acting as powerful disruption of multiple effects at little or no cost to yourself - simply milling them at any point is all you need. If Bystials were good, these two are insane!
A trap likely to be searched through Keldo or Mudora is Gravekeeper's Trap*. During the Main Phase it can discard a card as part of the effect to search an Earth Fairy. So not only does it trigger potential Tearlament fusion summons, but it also grabs a piece of the Ishizu engine!
Finally, since all Ishizu monsters are Earth Fairies and they like ending up in the graveyard, a common piece of non-engine that's run alongside them is Herald of Orange Light. This old-school hand trap can discard itself and another Fairy to negate the activation of a monster effect and destroy the monster. It's a bit pricy if you're looking to get it before Ishizus arrive to TCG, but a reprint was announced in OTS Tournament Pack 20, so try to grab your copies from there instead!
That's it for the list! Overall it is a small look into what the last few months of 2022 will bring to Yugioh, but it should give you a grasp of what to expect in the meta. Tearlaments and Sprights currently reign supreme and I wouldn't expect that to change any time soon, as their support only gets crazier! It is likely a banlist update will be required to dethrone them, which might come sooner than we expect if they overperform at the upcoming premier events in YCS Pasadena and YCS Dortmund. Until then, make sure you stay on top of the meta changes if you want to take down bigger tournaments!