Upcoming Release Impacts

Kelly Locke

3/1/2011 9:52:00 AM

As the September 2010-March 2011 format comes to a close, it's about that time to look ahead into the next format. The banlist has changed quite a bit for the metagame and I'll try to discuss that in latter articles. However, I'm not going to talk about it here. Instead I want to focus on the new releases for the next six months. Konami announced a huge amount of new product information leading up to Dallas. This article will help you make some sense of it all.

Structure Deck: Dragunity Legion (SDDL) – March 8th

The full spoiler for this structure deck is not quite out yet at time of writing, but thus far it seems to be following the OCG equivalent, Dragunity Drive. Dragunity monsters were first released last year in Hidden Arsenal 3, and players have been itching to run the deck for over a year now. Jason Grabher-Meyer, if you could not already tell, is a big fan of the archetype, and for good reason.

Dux and Phalanx combine to make one of the best Synchro summon engines in the game, ceaselessly pumping out level 8 Synchro monsters. The consistency added by Dragon Ravine propelled the deck to competitive status in the OCG, and is likely to do the same here. Leyvaten is a new threat that players are going to need to deal with, and Legionnaire, Aklys, and Icarus Attack provide the deck with numerous, often devastating plays.

Will the deck take off in the TCG? The banlist has certainly helped by limiting Book of Moon, but there's not much else we can go on. At any rate, the deck is solid enough to be a good choice next format, and offers reprints of cards like United We Stand, Bottomless Trap Hole, and possibly Icarus Attack and Mirror Force.

Hidden Arsenal 4 (HA04) – April 19th

In 2009, Hidden Arsenal gave the TCG its first mass release of Duel Terminal cards. Now, after HA02, HA03, and numerous OCG imports, Hidden Arsenal 4 is about to legalize the most anticipated Duel Terminal card yet: Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier.

Yeah, it's a big deal. DT04 Trishula is enormously expensive on the secondary market right now. The big heavy-hitter synchro that made Infernities viable in the OCG, without Infernity Barrier, will likely change the game for most players. Hitting a level nine Synchro monster will become more important, and Debris Dragon will become a much more powerful card with this new target, even at two. Trishula's effect is game changing, easily a +2 with a built-in D.D. Crow. Players are bound to seek any way possible to adapt their Synchro engine to accommodate this beast.

But Trishula is not the only great card in HA04. After all, there are a lot of cards contained between the OCG Duel Terminal 07 and 08. Naturia Landoise gives Naturia decks extra lockdown abilities, as well as any Earth deck that can summon it (namely X-Sabers). With this, the Spell, Trap, and Effect Monster-negating Synchros are all finally in the TCG. Naturia Exterio, a Synchro Fusion, is also making its first appearance in the TCG.

HA04 also features new archetype members. Genex Alley, Naturia, Jurrac, Ice Barrier, Dragunity, Fabled, and new archetype, Neo Flamvells. Fabled monsters in particular are getting some interesting cards. Rather than the usual Fiend-type monsters, these new Fableds are Beasts, and they are a decent tier two deck in the OCG. In fact, cards like The Fabled Cerburrel almost directly led to the banning of Rescue Cat. At any rate, these new cards should be interesting, and at least this time we won't pull any of those dang Worms…no offense to Worm players of course.

Extreme Victory (EXVC) – May 10th

Extreme Victory is the last set of the 5Ds series that began in 2008 with The Duelist Genesis. It's hard to believe we've come this far since the days of dropping Stardust Dragon for the first time. With this set, Synchros have come full circle. The new Meklord archetype (formerly Machine Emporer) is filled with monsters that are directly aimed to punish Synchros. There are some very strong Meklord cards, such as Meklord Emporer Skiel, which may end up being the best counter to Stardust Dragon yet. While only Skiel is currently confirmed, it does not take much of a stretch to assume that both Grannel and Wisel would make it into EXVC as well as secret-rare OCG imports.

The T.G. archetype (formerly Tech Genus…alright, I suppose they still are) are another group of unique and incredibly powerful cards. Where Meklords are anti-Synchro, the T.G. is quite Synchro heavy, with new a new Synchro Tuner to boot. T.G. Wonder Magician is a level five Synchro monster that is also a Tuner, much the same as Formula Synchron. Wonder Magician (or Formula Synchron) is necessary for both T.G. Blade Blaster and T.G. Halberd Cannon. Both cards are incredibly powerful, particularly Halberd, which can negate a summon once per turn, and special summon monsters as big as Blade Blaster when it is sent to the graveyard. Cards like T.G. Werewolf make getting these Synchros almost too easy, but they could certainly be teched in other decks were Formula Synchron can be used.

Extreme Victory features some great Psychic, Scrap, and unnecessary Six Samurai support (really Konami?) Blue Rose Dragon has also been confirmed as a Secret Rare OCG import, but will probably never see much play outside of casual duels. Elemental Hero Neos Knight will also make its debut here instead of in the movie pack. Perhaps the most interesting cards yet are the three mentioned on the official website: Psi-Beast, Reborn Tengu, and Tour Guide From The Underworld. These three cards have been listed as support for a new kind of monster, which I'll talk a bit more about below.

2011 Starter Deck – May 31st

There is not much info on this one yet, but what we do know is that it will contain a new kind of monster card. If you have been paying attention to the 5Ds thus far, you know the series ends soon. ZEXAL is the new series after 5Ds, and introduces “Exceed” monster cards. These cards will also exist in the Extra Deck.

Exceed monsters cards have a black border, and can be special summoned from the extra deck by meeting the conditions associated with their “rank”. The material monsters themselves are “stacked” (puts a whole new definition on that word), and can be manipulated with other card effects. This new strategy means that decks without tuners can still access stronger monsters. The stacking mechanic (that will take a while to get used to saying) offers a totally new level of strategy. Will they be as successful as Synchros? It will probably come down to just how good these Exceed monsters are. However, if Synchros were any indication, these cards are bound to change the way we play this game.

Duelist Pack: Crow (DP11) – June 6th

As the 5Ds season comes to a close, players will have to say goodbye to many of the themes used by the anime characters. Plants will lose support, as well Synchrons, and most notably, Blackwings. Crow's birds form one of the largest monster families in the game, and have been featured in every major set release since Crimson Crisis, with only two exceptions (ABPF and DREV). Blackwings have been a strong competitive deck for some time as well, and are widely played across all competitive levels. Even as Icarus Attack and Kalut become semi-limited and limited respectively, the deck will continue to be picked up by players.

Duelist Pack: Crow is likely to be the last set to introduce new Blackwing cards for a while, but it is a great way to go out. Most, if not all of the important Blackwing monsters are here with new rarities, making the deck even cheaper to build. Five new cards are also in the pack, including a new level 4 Tuner, and Zephyros the Elite, which provides extra Tuning material as well as fodder for Icarus Attack. Zephyros is also likely to be the “chase card” of the set due to its many applications in decks like Dragunities.

Hidden Arsenal Special Edition

Not much is known about this other than it will contain three packs from the three previous Hidden Arsenal sets, along with a variant card (most likely a sought-after Synchro). In my opinion, it is about time. If you have ever tried to get someone into Yu-Gi-Oh! within the past year or so, you've probably encountered a problem getting those staple HA01 Synchros. I'm talking about Brionac, Catastor, and Mist Wurm. Yeah, they can be a real pain to get ahold of, especially if a player only recently began playing. This pack may not make them ‘easy' to get, but prices should drop slightly at the least.

There's a downside to this new pack however, which is that it effectively excludes a Gold Series 4 this summer. With so many new releases, it's hard to see where a new set could be fit in. Not to mention that many Hidden Arsenal cards would have likely made up the Gold Series roster. Still, it's nice to see Konami thinking about reprints in any way.

Structure Deck: Lost Sanctuary – July 26

Two Structure decks are being released within the first half of the year…and add to that a new starter deck. Lost Sanctuary in particular is interesting, because the OCG set list offers a reprint that would be just as important as Mirror Force was last year: Solemn Judgment. While the OCG received this card as a common long ago, it has always remained somewhat elusive here, even at one per deck. But there are more reprints than just that in the Structure Deck…

Archlord Kristya, Splendid Venus, Tethys, Goddess of Light. What do these cards have in common? They are all secret rares released over a year ago, and they have yet to receive a reprint. Kristya and Tethys saw their prices skyrocket last format when Perfection Herald took off, and have only recently settled. Now, we are getting common versions of all of them, and more. Premium Pack cards like Athena, and Valhalla, Marshmallon, and Hecatrice are also included. Needless to say, many more Fairy-Type monsters are being reprinted. Another interesting card to note would be Burial From the Different Dimension. If you remember the format after Vayu, and Brionac hit, then you probably remember the insane prices this card was going for.

Lost Sanctuary played a huge role in the hits against Archlord Kristya and Honest on the banlist. Mostly because this structure gave rise to the OCG Agent Angel deck , which revolved around the use of Agents Earth and Venus to search and pressure the field with Mystic Shine Balls (yes, that card actually has a purpose now) while abusing Master Hyperion's amazing effects. Kristya and Treasure of Heaven gave the deck even more explosiveness, and it consistently gives Six Samurais, Blackwings, and Plant Synchro a run for their money in OCG tournaments.

Some closing notes, expect to see Generation Force released sometime in August, where we will finally get our hands on Exceed monsters. Also, note that the STOR Special Edition is coming up on the 22nd of March. If you are fretting about standard box prices now, why not wait for an SE box? Light and Darkness Dragon and Hand of the Six Samurai are decent promos after all.

This year is already shaping up to be a lot of fun. With new and interesting cards being released that will surely push the best players to rethink their strategy, I feel that players everywhere will be picking up new decks for the surprise factor. With any luck, X-Sabers, Gravekeepers, and Six Samurais will not be the all-powerful force that they are now, and other decks, including newer ones like Dragunities, T.G., Meklords, and Agent Angel will be able to see a good deal of competitive play. Keep your eyes on the next few sets; it's going to be a wild ride.

Until next time then.

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