End-Of-Year Market Watch: 2016’s Biggest Cards, Part 2

Jason Grabher-Meyer

1/5/2017 11:02:00 AM
 Comments

Welcome back! Yesterday we took you through the first half of 2016 and showed you the Top 10 bestselling cards of 2016, from Breakers of Shadow, Wing Raiders, Infinite Gold, Millennium Pack, Shining Victories, the Movie Pack, and all three of the year's Structure Decks.

Today we'll close out our retrospective counting down the Top 10 cards from six more booster releases, and we'll take a look at the hottest cards from OTS Packs 1 through 3. Finally, we'll bring it all home with a look at the Top 20 bestsellers of the year – no divisions by set, just one giant countdown to show you the absolute biggest cards of the year.

Let's kick it off with another core booster.

 Blackwing - Gofu the Vague Shadow
$3.47
$0.94
$0.21
Blackwing - Gofu the Vague Shadow121270
Set The Dark Illusion
Number TDIL-EN013
Level 5
Type Tuner/Effect Monster
Monster Winged Beast
Attribute DARK 
Rarity Common
Card Text

Cannot be Normal Summoned/Set. Must first be Special Summoned (from your hand) while you control no monsters. When this card is Special Summoned from the hand: You can Special Summon 2 "Vague Shadow Tokens" (Winged Beast/DARK/Level 1/ATK 0/DEF 0), but they cannot be Tributed or be used as Synchro Material. You can banish this card and 1 or more face-up non-Tuners you control, then target 1 "Blackwing" Synchro Monster in your Graveyard whose Level equals the total Levels the banished monsters had on the field; Special Summon it, and if you do, it is treated as a Tuner.


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The Dark Illusion

#1: Blackwing - Gofu the Vague Shadow

#2: Metalfoes Goldriver

#3: Metalfoes Volflame

#4: Metalfoes Steelen

#5: Metalfoes Silverd

#6: Metalfoes Combination

#7: Magician of Dark Illusion

#8: Magician's Rod

#9: Paleozoic Anomalocaris

#10: Metalfoes Fusion

Pot of Desires and Cosmic Cyclone were nowhere near the Top 25 for The Dark Illusion, strictly because the sheer volume of Secret Rares available paled in comparison to the number of lower rarity TDIL cards in the Yugiverse. And of all the releases this year, this one might've had the hottest spread of nonfoils, as Metalfoes absolutely dominated the TDIL Top 10.

The four basic Metalfoes were obvious top picks, as must-run three-ofs for arguably the top strategy of the year. But Blackwing - Gofu the Vague Shadow outdid even those, since it was a three-of in most Metalfoes builds but also saw play in stuff like Monarchs, and a variety of rogue Synchro decks amongst others. It's a bit surprising to see it on top, but it takes about three seconds to figure out why it was so popular. With Metalfoes Combination and Metalfoes Fusion at Number 6 and Number 10, Metalfoes really ruled the roost.

Magician of Dark Illusion and Magician's Rod both saw use in some fringe Top 8 Dark Magician decks this year, and were riding high in the fandom zeitgeist as 2016's oldschool frenzy reached its peak toward the end of August and into September. With Frogs taking center stage in the final weeks of competition last year, Paleozoic Anomalocaris rounded out the Top 10.

 Night Express Knight
$3.49
$0.91
$0.45
Night Express Knight121525
Set Dragons of Legend: Unleashed
Number DRL3-EN072
Level 10
Type Effect Monster
Monster Machine
Attribute EARTH 
A / D 3000 / 3000
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

Cannot be Special Summoned from the Deck. You can Normal Summon this card without Tributing, but its original ATK becomes 0.


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Dragons of Legend: Unleashed

#1: Night Express Knight

#2: Cyber Angel Benten

#3: Soul Charge

#4: Number 45: Crumble Logos the Prophet of Demolition

#5: The Eye of Timaeus

#6: Ritual Sanctuary

#7: Number 24: Dragulas the Vampiric Dragon

#8: Machine Angel Ritual

#9: Kuribandit

#10: Cyber Angel Idaten

Two weeks after TDIL, Dragons of Legend: Unleashed hit the scene, and it was kind of one of the year's strangest releases. Cyber Angel Benten and Ritual Sanctuary emerged as immediate money pulls, while Number 24: Dragulas the Vampiric Dragon, Machine Angel Ritual, and Cyber Angel Idaten all saw some small play in tournaments.

But the enthusiasm for Level 10 trains, which had basically become a meme by this point in the year, was at its absolute highest when DRL3 hit, and Night Express Knight sold in droves. Not only was it played in theme-y Train decks, it was experimented with in a variety of Rank 10 strategies. The hype here definitely overshadowed the competitive potential – while Benten and Ritual Sanctuary topped tournaments in conjunction with Herald of Perfection builds, the trains never made it – but that didn't really kill player interest in the post-WCQ season, where a lot of players just wanted to kick back and play something fun.

Number 45: Crumble Logos the Prophet of Demolition debuted to some small hype that burned out quick, but demand picked up later in the year when Toadally Awesome arrived. Soul Charge was a big get from the beginning, since it was the first Ultra Rare printing of the card and could be for just a couple bucks, while Kuribandit hit the Yugiverse right in their fandom-feels.

 Majespecter Raccoon - Bunbuku
$11.00
$2.46
$0.69
Majespecter Raccoon - Bunbuku122423
Set 2016 Mega-Tins Mega Pack
Number MP16-EN126
Level 3
Type Pendulum/Effect Monster
Monster Spellcaster
Attribute WIND 
A / D 1200 / 900
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

When this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can add 1 "Majespecter" monster from your Deck to your hand. You can only use this effect of "Majespecter Raccoon - Bunbuku" once per turn. Cannot be targeted or destroyed by your opponent's card effects.


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2016 Mega-Pack

#1: Majespecter Raccoon - Bunbuku

#2: Solemn Strike

#3: Painful Decision

#4: Brilliant Fusion

#5: Twin Twisters

#6: Frightfur Sabre-Tooth

#7: Cyber Dragon Infinity

#8: Clear Wing Synchro Dragon

#9: Galaxy Cyclone

#10: Majespecter Tornado

Easily one of the most needed and well-loved releases of the year, the 2016 Mega-Tins and the associated Mega-Pack brought back cards from Crossed Souls, Clash of Rebellions, Dimension of Chaos, and Breakers of Shadow. Majespecter Raccoon – Bunbuku went from a 40-dollar Ultra Rare to a much more approachable range of $20-$25, while Solemn Strike saw a similar adjustment. The economies at play made those cards the two biggest standouts in the set, so it's no surprise to see them topping the chart.

Meanwhile Metalfoes players needed Painful Decision, ABC-Dragon Buster duelists needed Brilliant Fusion, and anybody who didn't own it yet needed Twin Twisters. It's a huge Top 5 that reads like a laundry list of the most competitive money cards of the year. Clear Wing Synchro Dragon, Galaxy Cyclone, and Majespecter Tornado fell into similar categories, while Cyber Dragon Infinity saw fringe demand and Frightfur Sabre-Tooth benefitted from recent hype aimed squarely at new Fluffal releases – it didn't make many waves when the Mega-Pack was first released, but it's seen several charting weeks very recently.

Further down the chart, Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju clocked in at Number 15, one of the year's biggest Side Deck picks. As a $4-$5 pull before the Mega Pack reprint, a lot of players still needed their copies back in September when the Tins released, and that demand hasn't really slowed much.

 Magnet Reverse
$9.75
$3.21
$1.66
Magnet Reverse122945
Set Duelist Pack: Rivals of the Pharaoh
Number DPRP-EN006
Type Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

Target 1 of your Machine or Rock-Type monsters, that is banished or is in your Graveyard, that cannot be Normal Summoned/Set; Special Summon it.


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Duelist Pack: Rivals of the Pharaoh

#1: Magnet Reverse

#2: Dragon's Mirror

#3: Dragon Shrine

#4: Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon

#5: Silver's Cry

#6: Thousand-Eyes Restrict

#7: Necroface

#8: Magnet Force

#9: Lullaby of Obedience

#10: Tribute Burial

In a year full of hits, Rivals of the Pharaoh might have been the odd duck out. In Simpsons terms, there was very little meat in these gym mats. Lullaby of Obedience saw a big push out of the gates but fell off quickly when it failed to deliver results. Don't get me wrong, it saw some Top Cut side deck success, especially in Europe. But as the most interesting new card from the set, it wasn't exactly a record-breaker.

Magnet Reverse wound up being the only new card to see big tournament tops, as a fringe pick in ABC-Dragon Buster that never really hit the mainstream mark. It's not surprising to see it at Number 1, and it's equally unsurprising to see that the rest of the Top 10 was fandom-driven reprints.

 Pot of Acquisitiveness
$3.75
$0.95
$0.40
Pot of Acquisitiveness124769
Set Invasion: Vengeance
Number INOV-EN065
Type Quick-Play Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

Target 3 banished monsters; shuffle all 3 into the Deck, then draw 1 card. You can only activate 1 "Pot of Acquisitiveness" per turn.


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Invasion: Vengeance

#1: Pot of Acquisitiveness

#2: Raremetalfoes Bismugear

#3: Red-Eyes Insight

#4: Paleozoic Opabinia

#5: Paleozoic Dinomischus

#6: Fullmetalfoes Fusion

#7: True King Bahrastos, the Fathomer

#8: Metalfoes Mithrilium

#9: Meteor Dragon Red-Eyes Impact

#10: Paleozoic Marrella

From the ridiculous to the sublime, Invasion: Vengeance was another huge release. You'd be easily forgiven if you thought Raremetalfoes Bismugear was going to be the top seller from the release, but despite a fairly mellow tournament presence, Pot of Acquisitiveness was the biggest card of the set.

Pot of Acquisitiveness debuted to a ton of enthusiasm, hyped as the answer to Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries. It didn't really have that impact in the first weeks it was out, and then people stopped playing it, and then more people played Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries, and then Pot of Acquisitiveness came roaring back. I'm unclear as to how many times that cycle was repeated, but that kind of thing sort of happened again and again, creating repeated surges of interest that eventually simulated consistent demand. With a fairly low price point and a “well, it's generally a good idea to own three” type status, it outsold everything else in the release.

Red-Eyes Insight was huge the moment Invasion: Vengeance hit, coming off the reprint of The Black Stone of Legend in the Mega-Pack, so while it's a bit surprising seeing it outsell competitive cards, it's not that much of a shock. The Paleozoic cards are about where you'd expect them to be, while Fullmetalfoes Fusion's status as a one-of and then a two-of pushed it to Number 6, along with Metalfoes Mithrilium at Number 8. True King Bahrastos, the Fathomer benefited from some success in TCG Yang Zing decks, as well as big hype over upcoming OCG releases.

Yang Zings did pretty well too, with Denglong, First of the Yang Zing coming in at Number 11, and Nine Pillars of Yang Zing at Number 14. The Yang Zings continue to be a big sleeper presence in tournaments, and the TCGplayer marketplace.

 Allure of Darkness
$8.27
$5.20
$3.49
Allure of Darkness125300
Set Destiny Soldiers
Number DESO-EN044
Type Normal Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

Draw 2 cards, then banish 1 DARK monster from your hand, or, if you do not have any in your hand, send your entire hand to the Graveyard.


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Destiny Soldiers

#1: Allure of Darkness

#2: Destiny Hero - Malicious

#3: Dark Hole

#4: Trade-In

#5: Abyss Actor – Wild Hope

#6: Abyss Actor - Superstart

#7: Abyss Actor – Sassy Rookie

#8: Abyss Actor – Leading Lady

#9: Abyss Script – Rise of the Abyss King

#10: Abyss Actor – Evil Heel

Prices on Darklords skyrocketed right out of the gates, so Abyss Actors became the surprise hits from December's Destiny Soldiers! With some notable showings in ARGCS tournaments and a big Regional Top 8 in conjunction with Metalfoes, Abyss Actors made up six of the Top 10 from Destiny Soldiers by the time the year was out.

That said, utility cards were the big winners here. Dark Hole rotated back into fashion around the time of the set's release, finding favor over stuff like Swords of Concealing Light and Book of Eclipse due to a fistful of metagame shifts. Trade-In sold well as Darklords debuted and Blue-Eyes White Dragon made a bit of a rally towards the end of the year. Destiny HERO – Malicious was run in several Synchro mash-ups, and the reprint of Allure of Darkness made it wildly accessible to those returning and first-time players who didn't own their copies yet.

 Anti-Spell Fragrance
$16.00
$12.24
$8.89
Anti-Spell Fragrance115963
Set OTS Tournament Pack 1
Number OP01-EN011
Type Trap Card
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

Both players must Set Spell Cards before activating them, and cannot activate them until their next turn.


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OTS Packs

#1: Allure of Darkness

#2: Anti-Spell Fragrance

#3: Cyber Dragon Nova

#4: The Melody of Awakening Dragon

#5: Typhoon

#6: Performapal Lizardraw

#7: Dinoster Power, the Mighty Dracoslayer

#8: Infernoid Patrulea

#9: Imperial Iron Wall

#10: Performapal Skullcrobat Joker

Looking back I think we saw similar levels of interest in all three OTS packs. But since OTS Pack 1 launched so much earlier in the year – it came out in March, while OTS Pack 2 launched in July and OTS Pack 3 hit in November – it sold way more cards over the course of the year in total. The entire Top 10 here save The Melody of Awakening Dragon were from OTS Pack 1, Melody being from OTS Pack 2. That's kind of interesting, since it shows just how big the demand was for Melody.

The correlation between the demand here for Allure of Darkness combined with the demand for the equally accessible version in Destiny Soldiers also tells a story about how big that card was in 2016. No surprise that Anti-Spell Fragrance, which still hugs the $15 mark or higher in all its printings, clocked in at Number 2, though Cyber Dragon Nova at Number 3 is a bit of an eyebrow raiser. The Performapals hit the ground running so fast that their high numbers survived the deck's fall from grace in the wake of the F&L List, while Infernoid Patrulea demonstrates the enthusiasm for that theme that we can expect to see in 2017.

And finally...

 Sage with Eyes of Blue
$41.24
$31.00
$27.20
Sage with Eyes of Blue117916
Set Shining Victories
Number SHVI-EN020
Level 1
Type Tuner/Effect Monster
Monster Spellcaster
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 0 / 1500
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

When this card is Normal Summoned: You can add 1 Level 1 LIGHT Tuner monster from your Deck to your hand, except "Sage with Eyes of Blue". You can discard this card, then target 1 Effect Monster you control; send it to the Graveyard, and if you do, Special Summon 1 "Blue-Eyes" monster from your Deck. You can only use this effect of "Sage with Eyes of Blue" once per turn.


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The Biggest Cards Of The Year

#25: Metalfoes Steelen

#24: The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots

#23: Cairngorgon, Antiluminescent Knight

#22: Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon

#21: Sage with Eyes of Blue

When the Blue-Eyes White Dragon support hit in Shining Victories it kicked off one of the biggest frenzies of the year. Even though players knew some of them were getting reprinted as upcoming promos, the strategy was clearly positioned to become the new deck-to-beat and it delivered on the hype. Blue-Eyes' meteoric rise and almost-as-quick decline placed Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon and Sage with Eyes of Blue right in the same snack bracket, despite the differences between their release times and price points.

Cairngorgon, Antiluminescent Knight became one of the year's biggest sleeper hits thanks to its late use as an under-the-radar tech pick in ABC-Dragon Buster once the deck got more established; The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots were the three-of anchor for Burning PK's in their heyday; and Metalfoes Steelen was one of several basic Metalfoes to make the Top 25.

 Return of the Dragon Lords
$8.97
$7.50
$6.24
Return of the Dragon Lords120313
Set Structure Deck: Rise of the True Dragons
Number SR02-EN025
Type Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

Target 1 Level 7 or 8 Dragon-Type monster in your Graveyard; Special Summon it. If a Dragon-Type monster(s) you control would be destroyed by battle or card effect, you can banish this card from your Graveyard instead.


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#20: Number 101: Silent Honor ARK

#19: Majesty's Fiend

#18: Metalfoes Volflame

#17: Kozmo Soartroopers

#16: Return of the Dragon Lords

The Metalfoes love continued with Metalfoes Volflame clocking in at Number 18, but it was bested by the relatively shortlived fervor surrounding Kozmo Soartroopers as a staple in Fire King Kozmos. Number 101: Silent Honor ARK's place at Number 20 was a bit of a surprise, riding high off its reprint in the 2016 Mega-Pack, while Return of the Dragon Lords was a solid showing at Number 16, the clear cut hottest Structure Deck card of the year.

 Elder Entity Norden
$6.10
$3.89
$0.90
Elder Entity Norden105133
Set 2015 Mega-Tins
Number CT12-EN003
Level 4
Type Fusion/Effect Monster
Monster Fairy
Attribute WATER 
A / D 2000 / 2200
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

1 Synchro or Xyz Monster + 1 Synchro or Xyz Monster
When this card is Special Summoned: You can target 1 Level 4 or lower monster in your Graveyard; Special Summon it, but its effects are negated, also banish it when this card leaves the field.


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#15: Fiendish Rhino Warrior

#14: Metalfoes Goldriver

#13: Blackwing - Gofu the Vague Shadow

#12: Silver Gadget

#11: Elder Entity Norden

It's a bit surprising to see Fiendish Rhino Warrior outpacing The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots, as Rhino was played almost exclusively in pure Burning Abyss decks, while Burning Phantom Knights were vastly more successful in tournament play. But Metalfoes Goldriver and Blackwing - Gofu the Vague Shadow definitely put in the work to take Number 14 and Number 13 respectively, arriving late in the year but clocking massive numbers.

Silver Gadget will be matched by Gold Gadget momentarily in our countdown, but Elder Entity Norden wound up right between them both in total sales, which seems fitting; all three were massive Rank 4 enablers, and often appear side-by-side in the same strategies. The fact that Elder Entity Norden was released in September of 2015 and wasn't even a 2016 release, makes its sustained demand even more impressive.

Again, it's testament to the sheer number of new and returning players that came into the game this year; when Norden dropped a year and a half ago, who DIDN'T get their copies that week?

 Master Pendulum, the Dracoslayer
$4.75
$0.59
$0.30
Master Pendulum, the Dracoslayer111122
Set Breakers of Shadow
Number BOSH-EN023
Level 4
Type Pendulum Monster
Monster Dragon
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 1950 / 0
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

Pendulum Effect: Once, while this card is in your Pendulum Zone: You can target 1 card in a Pendulum Zone; destroy it.
Monster Effect: "Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer" continues his journey to uncover the secrets of Dragon Alchemy, believing it is the key to dispelling his curse and restoring his memory. His power continues to grow... perhaps the same power used by the Dracofiends?


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#10: Gold Gadget

#9: Speedroid Terrortop

#8: Guiding Ariadne

#7: Kozmo Tincan

#6: Master Pendulum, the Dracoslayer

There's Gold Gadget at Number 10, followed by Speedroid Terrortop at Number 9 – both splashable cards that were used in a variety of strategies to enable Xyz Summons. It might be sort of surprising to see the utterly ubiquitous Speedroid Terrortop outsold by Kozmo Tincan, but there were a lot of times where Kozmos led competition, and a ton of times where Tincan was only a buck or two. It sold really strongly throughout a lot of the year.

Guiding Ariadne stood the test of time and continues to see play today in decks like Metalfoes, while Master Pendulum, the Dracoslayer was a three-of staple in its heyday. It even remains on the playable fringe today.

 Twin Twisters
$16.95
$9.70
$5.84
Twin Twisters122518
Set 2016 Mega-Tins Mega Pack
Number MP16-EN221
Type Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

Discard 1 card, then target up to 2 Spell/Trap Cards on the field; destroy them.


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#5: Interrupted Kaiju Slumber

#4: Pre-Preparation of Rites

#3: Mystical Space Typhoon

#2: Bottomless Trap Hole

#1: Twin Twisters

And then there were the heavy-hitters. Interrupted Kaiju Slumber proved to be one of the absolute most popular cards of the year, never really price spiking but often featuring in the background of major competition, as the core of a splashable Kaiju engine that was often comparable to Dark Hole. It saw really big sales in the latter portion of the year, and its only slight rise in value hit around that time, after months of play.

Pre-Preparation of Rites did virtually nothing in competition, but it spent more time at Number 1 in our bi-weekly Market Watches than literally any other card this year. It was one of the year's biggest sellers, but also one of the year's biggest competitive disappointments, hardly ever seeing successful play. New releases in 2017 may give it new life.

Mystical Space Typhoon and Bottomless Trap Hole outselling so many other releases again told the tale of new players hitting the game in mobs. If the future of Yu-Gi-Oh! was ever in question it seems virtually impossible to retain any doubt after the record-breaking sales and tournament attendance we saw this year, and sales patterns like these show a micro expression of those macro observations.

And then there was Twin Twisters. The Number 1 bestselling card from Breakers of Shadow and the Number 5 bestselling reprint from the Mega-Pack, Twin Twisters changed the way we approach the game on a fundamental level. For many years we saw the terror of Heavy Storm, creating a game where setting more than one backrow was frowned upon. And then without it, we saw several trap-heavy formats where the game swung arguably too far in the other direction.

Twin Twisters proved to be the best of both worlds, offering layers of complexity that we've simply never had before its release. Cards with effects from the graveyard are better now than they were before. Lower utility cards and combo decks are more viable, because you can turn a dead draw or the worst card in your hand into a Mystical Space Typhoon. The impact of Twin Twisters has been the subject of a lot of discussion, but that's only going to continue into 2017. It didn't just change the way we play the game. It changed the way the game can be designed, opening up the possibility for a lot of cool stuff that wouldn't have worked before.

If anything BUT Twin Twisters was the highest-selling card of 2016, I'm not sure it would've felt quite right. But as the card of the year Twin Twisters is the perfect icon, a near-staple that opened up more possibilities instead of closing them down. It's one of the best pieces of design Yu-Gi-Oh's ever seen.

What were YOUR favorite cards of 2016? And what do you think of the lists here and in Part 1? Were there any surprises: cards you expected to see, or cards you didn't expect to see? Let me know down in the comments.

-Jason Grabher-Meyer


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