Side Deck Theory: Field Spell Disruption With Set Rotation

Kelly Locke

5/15/2017 11:00:00 AM
 Comments

You might not have noticed it yet, but Field Spells are really good right now. 2016 was a great year for new Field Spells with Domain of the True Monarchs, Fire King Island, and Union Hanger. 2015's Kozmotown and the recently released Dragonic Diagram have pushed Field Spells to the forefront of competitive play, which means countering those cards is now a priority for many duelists.

Maximum Crisis delivered a new spell to meet player demand, and it's already making major showings at Regionals across the country.

So I Heard You Liked Field Spells…
Set Rotation is a short print common in MACR with an insane effect: you can set two Field Spells with different names from your deck to the two Field Spell Zones. Then, while either of those cards is face-down, neither player can put another Field Spell on the field. Note the ‘either' in the second part of the card's effect. Only one of the two Field Spells needs to stay set to prevent other cards from being played.

There are plenty of unique ways to play Set Rotation, which gives it massive utility regardless of the match-up. First, you can simply activate it to set a relevant Field Spell to your side of the field. At a minimum you'll need to be playing at least two different Field Spells, but ultimately Set Rotation acts as additional copies of Terraforming. Like Terraforming it's a one-card exchange, and it also happens to thin your deck by two cards.

Field Spells are incredibly important right now. Match-ups are frequently decided by whether or not you can get to your Dragonic Diagram before your opponent. Set Rotation might seem like overkill, but three Terraforming isn't enough to ensure you'll see Diagram within the first couple of turns. With Set Rotation, however, it's a far safer bet. Redundancy becomes an issue here despite Diagram's ability to leverage dead cards into a search for True King and True Draco cards. Again, Set Rotation's utility helps justify the extra spells.

 Set Rotation
$2.99
$0.99
$0.40
Set Rotation131181
Set Maximum Crisis
Number MACR-EN064
Type Quick-Play Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Short Print
Card Text

Set 2 Field Spell Cards with different names from your Deck on the field (1 on your field, and 1 on your opponent's field). While either of those cards remain Set on the field, neither player can activate or Set other Field Spell Cards.


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You can also break your opponent's Field Spells, or even your own, with Set Rotation by setting cards to the Field Spell Zones. Any Field Spells in those zones will be sent to the graveyard, so Set Rotation doubles as a Mystical Space Typhoon and even matches its ability to prevent Field Spells from resolving successfully. You can even take Kozmotown off the field without triggering its search effect. Set Rotation doesn't destroy Field Spells, and setting or activating a Field Spell over another one doesn't destroy the first card either.

Set Rotation doesn't have a cost, but it does require you to play another Field Spell name. What's more, if you draw into all copies of that Field Spell, banish them with Pot of Desires, or send them to the graveyard with That Grass Looks Greener, you'll be left with at least a couple of completely dead cards. Even just activating the first Set Rotation might run your deck out of targets for remaining copies.

Then there's the problem of deciding which Field Spell to ‘gift' your opponent. You could give your opponent a Field Spell that has some negative effect, like Secret Village of the Spellcasters. If they don't control a Spellcaster or have any in their deck they'll be locked out of their spell cards. However, there's nothing stopping them from leaving it set. A card that gives you a beneficial effect when destroyed, like Kozmotown, is an even better gift and a key play for decks like True Draco Kozmos.

Finally, there are some Field Spells your opponent can't activate without the proper cards in their deck. Oracle of Zefra and Gateway to Chaos will stay face-down until removed from the field by a card effect regardless of what your opponent chooses to do.

Siding Against Field Spell-Centric Strategies
Set Rotation is amazing against decks that abuse specific Field Spells. When you give your opponent a Field Spell they can't activate it locks them out of a vital card. Even if they draw their Field Spell they won't be able to use it, and that's huge against decks that need their Field Spell to keep their engine moving, or to kickstart it in the first place.

For the most part you can expect Set Rotation to be effective whether you're going first or second, which lends itself to an argument for playing it in the Main Deck. I don't think there's anything wrong with that strategy either, and I've personally been exploring several Dinosaur builds with a mixture of Lost World, Fire King Island, and Dragonic Diagram. It's already shown up at Regionals, twice, as a Main Deck card. It might continue to see primarily Main Deck play, but that depends on how players respond to its frequent play.

Elsewhere you might use Set Rotation just to put a card on your opponent's field. That's sometimes useful for card effects that need to destroy a card on the other side of the field. More specifically you can side it against Burning Abyss to prevent their Malebranche monsters from using their Special Summon effects. It's a little gimmicky, but there's a lot of potential for any effect that lets you put cards on your opponent's field.

 Dragonic Diagram
$104.99
$93.55
$84.96
Dragonic Diagram131170
Set Maximum Crisis
Number MACR-EN053
Type Field Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

All "True Draco" and "True King" monsters on the field gain 300 ATK and DEF. The first time each Tribute Summoned "True Draco" or "True King" monster would be destroyed by battle each turn, it is not destroyed. Once per turn: You can destroy 1 other card you control or in your hand, and if you do, add 1 "True Draco" or "True King" card from your Deck to your hand.


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So where can you play it? Kozmos, Dinosaurs, Metalfoes, ABCs, and True Dracos love Set Rotation for all of the above reasons. It's a faster way to get to their Field Spells and it offers a way to put Field Spells on your opponent's zone. Most of these decks already have good reasons to play Dragonic Diagram, so they have at least one Field Spell to double up on. Others can get away with playing Gateway to Chaos or Oracle of Zefra as their second name.

There are several decks that can give their opponent a Field Spell that helps them by applying some effect over the entire field, but relying on your opponent to flip their set Field Spell and leave it there is a stretch. Field Spells with narrow uses, or ones that are highly theme-specific can be gifted without worrying that your opponent will put them to use. Realistically that's the best case scenario if the card you're giving your opponent isn't something you can destroy and take advantage of, or one that can't be activated.

In a worst-case scenario you'll draw into your ‘extra' Field Spells, or possibly just one of them. Gateway of Chaos is almost impossible to use outside of Black Luster Soldier decks, but Oracle of Zefra is fairly interesting. You can tech a single Zefra monster like Zefraxi, Treasure of the Yang Zing or Zefraniu, Secret of the Yang Zing as Earth and Wyrm monsters for your True King engine in True King Dinosaurs. There's at least some potential there to use your otherwise-dead Oracle of the Zefra, though I think it's best left to decks like Yang Zings or Zefras themselves to explore. The most competitive option appears to be simply hoping you don't draw your Gateway or Oracle before Set Rotation.

Countering Set Rotation
Spell removal is the most consistent counter to Set Rotation, and Cosmic Cyclone's particularly strong against Kozmotown. If you're going first you can set your Mystical Space Typhoon, Twin Twister, or Cosmic Cyclone to nuke their Field Spell as early as possible. Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit can destroy Dragonic Diagram specifically along with a few other common targets, so it's a solid choice when playing second. Ash Blossoms & Joyous Spring is unfortunately useless here.

When your opponent gives you a Field Spell, and their own card effect tells them they can't activate any more as long as either copy remains set, the best counter to their card is actually the easiest: simply leave your Field Spell face-down. Use a removal spell to dispatch their card and force your opponent to use removal against the Field Spell they gave you. They'll have to take a -1 to destroy their own card, and that might not be terribly worthwhile if it isn't something like Kozmotown.

Your typical array of dedicated counters to spell cards can either stop Set Rotation or the Field Spells it searches. Imperial Order remains unreasonably strong this format against everything that isn't True Dracos, and Anti-Spell Fragrance is similarly positioned against the top decks. True Dracos make short work of most floodgates so I wouldn't expect either card to last on the field for long. However, they're still excellent in many other match-ups.

Magic Deflector might be coming back. At the time of writing YCS Pittsburgh is still a day away, but I'd be shocked if Magic Deflector didn't make a big showing. It's a temporary one-card solution to Set Rotation, Twin Twisters, Cosmic Cyclone, True Draco Heritage, Zoodiac Barrage, Kozmotown, Dragonic Diagram, and Union Hanger. Although it only negates those cards while they're face-up on the field, Magic Deflector makes up for that by being chainable to removal. It's an awesome way to delay your opponent's first turn, and I personally think it's a viable alternative to Dimensional Barrier in some strategies for a handful of key match-ups.

Set Rotation is a championship-worthy card that will almost certainly make or break duels at the World Championship Qualifier. It's still a new card to the TCG, and there's plenty of time to experiment with it.

Until next time then

-Kelly


Kelly​​ ​​Locke​​ ​​is​​ ​​a​​ ​​West​​ ​​Michigan​​ ​​gamer,​​ ​​writer,​​ ​​and​​ ​​college​​ ​​student.​​ ​​​​ ​​In​​ ​​addition​​ ​​to​​ ​​writing​​ ​​on TCGplayer,​​ ​​Kelly​​ ​​writes​​ ​​​​personal​​ ​​blog​​​​ ​​covering​​ ​​Yugioh,​​ ​​Destiny,​​ ​​and​​ ​​other​​ ​​hobbies.​​ ​​You​​ ​​can follow​​ ​​him​​ ​​on​​ ​​​​Twitter​​​​ ​​and​​ ​​check​​ ​​out​​ ​​his​​ ​​​​Youtube​​ ​​channel​​.​​ ​​​​ ​​He​​ ​​is​​ ​​currently​​ ​​studying​​ ​​marketing​​ ​​at Western​​ ​​Michigan​​ ​​University,​​ ​​and​​ ​​hopes​​ ​​to​​ ​​graduate​​ ​​before​​ ​​​​Dragon​​ ​​Ravine​​​​ ​​is​​ ​​Unlimited.


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