Pot of Desires: One Year Later

Doug Zeeff

11/20/2017 11:00:00 AM

Pot of Desires is one of the most polarizing cards ever printed. Released just over a year ago, it's had a lot of ups and downs: both in the eyes of competitive and casual players. At its core, Pot of Desires sets out to answer the age old question: how far will Yu-Gi-Oh! players go for card advantage?

A Disagreement On Card Advantage
Card advantage is a fairly simple idea to grasp, but it often gets muddied and overcomplicated by newer players, and sometimes even not-so-new ones. All card advantage describes is how many cards you begin with and end with, usually in relation to a combo, effect, or any random card. For example, Pot of Greed is one card, and if you play it you draw two cards. That's a +1 in card economy, because you've traded one card for two.

Where this sometimes confuses players is when anyone tries to look at card advantage from a theoretical standpoint instead of a mathematical one. Reinforcement of the Army is a 1-for-1, but Fire Formation – Tenki's a +1. We can sit here and argue all day about whether or not the Tenki left on the board actually matters from a gameplay perspective, but the fact remains that you started with one card - the Tenki itself - and ended with two cards - the added monster and the Tenki.

How does this matter when talking about Pot of Desires? The big debate was whether or not the cost of banishing 10 cards affected the card advantage Pot of Desires offers. It's basically a meme at this point, but there was a legitimate debate about whether or not Pot of Desires was a +1 or a -9, the latter of which referring to the loss of resources from the deck to get hard draws.

The issue with this line of thinking is an outline for why it's difficult to look at card advantage in any other way than pure numbers. Fire Formation - Tenki might be a dead card on the field, but what about when you have a Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Bear to make use of it? Or how about when you destroy it with Double Cyclone to get rid of an opponent's backrow? The gameplay value that players place on cards changes from duelist to duelist and deck to deck, so it's nearly impossible to think of card advantage in these theoretical ways.

 Pot of Desires
Price N/A
Pot of Desires141277
Set 2017 Mega-Tins
Number CT14-EN004
Type Normal Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

Banish 10 cards from the top of your Deck, face-down; draw 2 cards. You can only activate 1 "Pot of Desires" per turn.

Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
Sparkly sparkles Limited - Near Mint 1 $3.45
Buds Place Limited - Lightly Played 2 $3.46
Underground Elites Limited - Near Mint 1 $3.71
Buds Place Limited - Near Mint 2 $3.84
ClevelandCardResale Limited - Near Mint 2 $3.99
The Next Level Games Limited - Near Mint 3 $4.00
TCG Polypus Limited - Near Mint 2 $4.00
superbrothers Limited - Lightly Played 2 $4.00
Gamers Den Limited - Near Mint 2 $4.05
Kingminer Limited - Near Mint 1 $4.07

What ended up happening was that most players wound up in one of two camps: those that thought Pot of Desires was one of the best cards ever printed (see: most people topping events), and those that thought Pot of Desires was overhyped (see: those that were not topping events).

It didn't help that Pot of Desires was incredibly expensive upon release. It's only natural for budget players to look for reasons to justify not running it. After all, if you can't afford a card or don't want to invest in it, you want to find solid ground to defend yourself on why you don't play it. In hindsight, I've noticed that a lot of the players that were adamant about Pot of Desires being terrible when it was released happen to be using copies of the Mega Tin reprint version in their own decks now that it's more affordable…

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's perfectly okay to say that a card is too expensive for you, but there's something wrong when you try to look for outside reasons to explain why you're not playing the card. Not everyone has the resources to purchase the best cards, but everyone has the resources to learn why those cards are the best.

Deck Building: Changed Forever?
Part of the reason that Pot of Desires made such a huge impact on competition when it was released is because the decks of that time period were well-equipped to take advantage of it. Specifically, things like Metalfoes, ABC's, and Blue-Eyes White Dragon strategies. All of those decks were generally considered to be some of the top contenders, and they all were built in a similar style that really benefits Pot of Desires.

Specifically, they all played a lot of three-of's, and they also didn't care about any one card being banished. Pot of Desires isn't a perfect card by any means, but it shines in decks that just want to see more cards without caring which ones they see. In Metalfoes, half the deck was just Metalfoes monsters that all had the same effects. In ABC's, the entire deck was designed to summon ABC-Buster Dragon as fast as possible. Blue-Eyes had a ton of redundant spell cards to dig towards your power plays. In many cases your Pot of Desires banish wouldn't hurt you in any way. Even if there was a game or two that you lost because you banished, for example, all three copies of B-Buster Drake, the games that you won because of Pot of Desires outweighed that.

This is a similar approach to Yu-Gi-Oh! theory as with Brilliant Fusion being a good card. Sure, there are games where you'll draw Gem-Knight Garnet in your opening hand, but in the vast majority of games that won't happen, and the ones where you open with Brilliant Fusion are almost auto-wins.

 Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring
Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring131153
Set Maximum Crisis
Number MACR-EN036
Level 3
Type Tuner/Effect Monster
Monster Zombie
Attribute FIRE 
A / D 0 / 1800
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

During either player's turn, when a card or effect is activated that includes any of these effects: You can discard this card; negate that effect.
- Add a card from the Deck to the hand.
- Special Summon from the Deck.
- Send a card from the Deck to the Graveyard.
You can only use this effect of "Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring" once per turn.

Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
MrCarrotsPlace Unlimited - Near Mint 2 $62.00
RIW Hobbies Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $62.75
Amazing Discoveries Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $63.00
Bottom dollar cards Unlimited - Lightly Played 1 $63.73
UltimateCardGuyz Unlimited - Near Mint 2 $64.99
ShenanigansTCG Unlimited - Near Mint 2 $65.00
Great Lakes Games 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $65.99
SKYAThatOneGuy Unlimited - Near Mint 2 $66.95
gateway city games 1st Edition - Lightly Played 2 $67.01
Opolentia TCG Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $67.15

Pot of Desires also opened people's eyes to the fact that they're not going to use the majority of the cards in their deck in any given game. This was one of the biggest selling points of Pot of Desires, actually. Because a lot of games are finished before players have even gotten to see 50% of their deck, why not trade 25% of it for a fresh two draws? Even more so, the pressure to play Pot of Desires was greater because your opponent would most likely have access to the card themselves, which made matchups where one player was drawing two cards and the other was not very lopsided.

However, I will say that Pot of Desires isn't always worth playing in your specific deck, and we actually saw that with the release of Raging Tempest, all the way up until the North American WCQ. Decks like Zoodiacs and Dinosaurs needed every single card in their deck to function, which made Pot of Desires a bad choice. Banishing Zoodiac Ratpier, Zoodiac Whiptail, or Jurrac Aeolo put you at such a huge disadvantage that it wasn't worth the two extra cards.

In other words, Pot of Desires is really bad in decks that can't in any capacity afford to lose any of their 40 cards. I know that some players might read that statement and argue that their deck needs all 40 cards to win, but the percentage of decks that truly do need all 40 is so ridiculously low that it's hard to be sympathetic. Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon decks probably don't need every card in their deck to win, nor do Subterrors. But Zoodiacs and SPYRALs? Absolutely. Another way to look at it is reminiscent of years past: if you can't find three cards to cut for Upstart Goblin, then you probably can't justify playing Pot of Desires.

Present and Future
At the moment, Pot of Desires is at the spot where I think it will stay for a while. SPYRALs aren't running it, but a variety of other decks gladly take the +1. Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring complicates things because there's a way to punish players looking for free draws, but it seems like that's not enough of a deterrent for a good portion of the community.

Pot of Desires looked really good when it was released because of the decks that surrounded it, and then we moved on to a format where almost nobody was running any. The middle ground that we're in right now is likely where Desires will stay for a long time, and I'm interested to see whether or not players will still be debating Pot of Desires five years from now.

Hindsight is a funny thing, that's for sure!

-Doug Zeeff

Doug Zeeff hails from Michigan and is currently an English major in college. When he's not found emailing Konami about why there's not a single walrus card in all of Yu-Gi-Oh! you can find him regularly posting unorthodox, unfiltered Yu-Gi-Oh! content on his Youtube channel, Dzeeff. In his spare time he enjoys eating cheese, Overwatch, and, of course, playing Yu-Gi-Oh. Click here to follow him and his adventures on Facebook!

All original content herein is Copyright 2018 TCGplayer, Inc. TCGplayer.com® is a trademark of TCGplayer, Inc. No portion of this website may be used without expressed written consent.
All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service