Side Deck Theory: Unending Nightmare

Kelly Locke

6/21/2017 11:00:00 AM
 Comments

Maximum Crisis wasn't the best set for Side Deck enthusiasts a category of player that might consist of just me but it made up for its lack of volume with the highly-demanded Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, and outside of that we also got Set Rotation and Unending Nightmare.

I've written about Set Rotation in the past, and I might have overhyped it when I did; it didn't end up seeing the frequency of play I thought it would. On the other hand, Unending Nightmare has been a frequent pick in Side Decks since MACR released.

This week I want to take a closer look at it. Unending Nightmare's about to spike in popularity, even if only briefly, since Pendulums are set to make one last big appearance before the Link Summoning mechanic arrives next month.

Not Quite Mass Removal, But Close
Unending Nightmare lets you trade 1000 Life Points for what's essentially Twister, but with no limiting activation clause you're free to use it as many times as you'd like in a single turn. There's only one restriction on its effect, which limits its activation to once per chain. That gives your opponent a chance to play around Nightmare, but it's a situation that comes up infrequently. For the most part you'll never actually want to activate it twice in a chain unless you're targeting Continuous Traps anyways.

The 1000 LP cost is well worth Unending Nightmare's effect, especially considering its impact on the duel. There are very few cards that can control the field as well as Nightmare, giving you near-perfect authority on which Continuous Spells and Traps resolve successfully at the cost of 1000 LP per card. That's a bargain in terms of card economy and Life Point cost. Interrupting spells and traps has never been easier, and in many situations it puts Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit to shame.

You'll start the duel with seven potential activations. That's plenty of Continuous Spells, Traps, and Field Spells. In a vacuum Nightmare's effect can net up to a +6 in card advantage, and that number can go up if you have some way to gain Life Points. That said, it's rare to see Unending Nightmare destroy that many cards. After all, your opponent isn't going to willingly toss cards at it. At least most of them won't. Why activate a Continuous Spell or Trap if you know it'll just get destroyed at almost no cost to your opponent?

 Unending Nightmare
$24.99
$5.20
$3.49
Unending Nightmare131196
Set Maximum Crisis
Number MACR-EN079
Type Continuous Trap Card
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

You can pay 1000 LP, then target 1 face-up Spell/Trap Card on the field; destroy it. You can only activate this effect of "Unending Nightmare" once per Chain.


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Unending Nightmare acts like a floodgate in a way that's similar to Naturia Beast. Sure, it doesn't actually block the activation of cards, but they won't be resolving while it's face-up. You can't bait Nightmare's effect either since it's not once per turn, which draws another parallel to Naturia Beast. In the right match-up it can stop your opponent from making moves or even keep them from making use of their deck's key mechanic.

As you might expect, Unending Nightmare's devastating against Pendulum strategies, since your opponent won't be able to establish a Pendulum Scale if Nightmare destroys their Pendulum Spells each time the Scale is completed. It's best to wait until your opponent has played a second card in their Pendulum Zone, then destroy whichever Scale your opponent is least likely to have a replacement for. Doing so will save you a few Life Points.

Answering A Field And Continuous Spell-Heavy Format
Unending Nightmare solves most Field Spells this format, and it also fixes the biggest problem with one-time removal effects: immediate replacements. I can't tell you the number of times I've destroyed a Dragonic Diagram only to watch my opponent activate another copy. Players are effectively running six of them, so more permanent solution are necessary to avoid wasting your removal cards. I tend to suggest Magic Deflector for exactly that reason. You won't just stop the first Diagram that turn you'll stop all of them.

You can shut Dragonic Diagram, Union Hanger, and even Kozmotown out of the game with Unending Nightmare. Kozmotown can nab another copy of itself, but you can destroy all three copies for 3000 Life Points. Nightmare's far from useless even if Cosmic Cyclone's a better card in the same situation. Diagram and Union Hanger are, of course, better solved with a trap that can answer a replacement copy just as easily as the initial Field Spell.

Continuous Spells and Traps like Zoodiac Barrage, Fire Formation - Tenki, and Oasis of Dragon Souls are easily blown out by Unending Nightmare. Barrage and Tenki are key consistency cards for Zoodiacs, and stopping either of them can help keep Zoodiac Drident from hitting the field. If you can do that, and assuming you don't lose your Nightmare to other teched removal, you'll have essentially taken control of the field with just one card. Things rarely work out so nicely, but the potential is worth noting.

True Draco Zoodiacs add another two targets for Unending Nightmare: True Draco Heritage and True King's Return. Destroying Return can stop a Tribute Summon on your turn or a Special Summon from the graveyard. You'll lose a monster in the process, if you have one, but it's usually worth taking the hit. On the other hand, targeting True Draco Heritage will probably lead to your Unending Nightmare being destroyed by Heritage's effect. You can activate Nightmare once more before it's destroyed, so sometimes the trade-off is worth it.

Unending Nightmare is excellent against True Draco Zoodiacs and good against pure Zoodiacs, but it's not an ideal choice for the Demise True Draco match-up. The deck has too many ways to break Continuous Spells and Traps, and a quick Tribute Summon using a set True Draco Heritage will easily dispatch Nightmare. That's less of a concern in True Draco Zoodiacs, where Master Peace the True Dracoslaying King usually ends up buried in the deck until it's found by Dragonic Diagram. Nightmare disrupts the engine and protects itself in the process.

 Duelist Alliance
$29.49
$19.97
$16.19
Duelist Alliance131180
Set Maximum Crisis
Number MACR-EN063
Type Normal Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

If there is a card in the Pendulum Zone: Add 1 "Pendulum" Pendulum Monster or "Pendulum" Spell/Trap Card from your Deck to your hand. You can only activate 1 "Duelist Alliance" per turn.


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Destroying Field Spells and Continuous Spells and Traps is no where near the limit of what Unending Nightmare can do. Equip Spells and Pendulum Spells are also valid targets. Currently there aren't many Equip-focused themes, but Pendulum strategies are making a return soon. The June 12th Forbidden & Limited List breathed new life into Pendulum Magicians, and they'll be receiving a fresh batch of support in Pendulum Evolution.

The new Pendulum Magician strategy drops Sky Iris and, in some builds, even Pendulum Call. Duelist Alliance, Pendulumgraph of Ages, Timestar Magician, and Iris Magician provide deck searching instead. Many of the new cards rely on Pendulum Spells and monsters being destroyed, but Unending Nightmare's volume of removal lets it break Pendulumgraph before targeting cards in the Pendulum Zones. The current trends in the deck make it even more vulnerable to Nightmare. However, simply bringing in a few copies of Pendulum Call now searchable with Duelist Alliance sets up a destruction-immune Dragonpit Magician.

Unending Nightmare's worth drawing into at nearly any point in the duel, so unlike Anti-Spell Fragrance you can see it a few turns in and still put it to use. It's a great answer to Pendulum Spells that activate in the Pendulum Zone, and can continue to interrupt effects throughout the duel. Again, the one potential outcome is a full denial of your opponent's Pendulum Scale. If you keep destroying Pendulum Spells eventually they'll run out of cards to build a Scale with, and at that point you're very likely to win the duel.

Counter Siding With Nightmare
Unending Nightmare is an awesome anti-floodgate card. Before the days of Twin Twister we would see players loading up on floodgates to outnumber their opponent's removal options. The math makes a difference in the opening turns of the duel, and long-term there's always the threat of simply running out of cards to answer a crippling floodgate. Those numbers are at the front of your mind when you're waiting for an out to a card you need to take off the field to keep playing.

Nightmare easily solves the equation for you by avoiding the resource war entirely. You don't need to wait to activate Nightmare, or hold onto it for later. You can activate it the second a floodgate hits the field and, assuming it's not destroyed, target another floodgate a few turns later. The longer the duel goes on the more opportunities you'll have to leverage Unending Nightmare into obscene amounts of card advantage. Most importantly you'll be taking out huge threats to your strategy with just one card.

Playing against Unending Nightmare is shockingly simple: just chain your own removal to it. Nightmare is limited to a once per chain clause, so it can't activate for a second time after being targeted by Mystical Space Typhoon, Cosmic Cyclone, Twin Twisters, or even another Unending Nightmare. Unfortunately most of those cards, and other options like Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, Zoodiac Drident, ABC-Dragon Buster, and Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King, are incredibly common.

Although Unending Nightmare is extremely effective this format it's also vulnerable to the game's most popular tech cards and boss monsters. It's a difficult card to protect, and you'll likely find yourself trying to bait out Ghost Ogre before activating it. That's a lot of work for a half floodgate, half removal spell and trap removal effect. It has great potential in the future against other Field Spells, Pendulum strategies, and Continuous Spell and Trap-heavy themes, and it's well-worth picking up at its current price point. There's no doubt in my mind that it will eventually become a must-play Side Deck card.

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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