Side Deck Theory: Effect Veiler And Trends Of Targeting

Kelly Locke

2/20/2018 11:00:00 AM

Targeting effects are on the rise following the Limit of SPYRAL Resort and the subsequent fall off of SPYRAL decks in competitive play. With one change, dozens of cards went from being a liability against the best deck in the game, to smart tech choices and worthy Main Deck picks. It's a trend that's especially noticeable with decks like True Draco, where the deck's ace card is now much less likely to flop in a tremendously popular match-up.

Effect Veiler itself is probably a fleeting Side Deck choice for a new and uncertain format, but it's also indicative of the larger trend among targeting effects. For budget players, Effect Veiler's an excellent pick in lieu of Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring despite struggling with Trickstar Candina, and for that reason I'm glad to see it's once again viable.

Make no Mistake: Ash Blossom is the premiere hand trap right now, and if you're playing other hand traps it's probably just because you can't run ten copies of it.

Taking Another Look At Hand Traps
The arrival of a new core set and a Fresh forbidden & Limited List has led to some of the most interesting changes to the ‘standard' Side Deck line-up we've been seeing since early last year.

Most Side Decks concentrate on hand traps with regard to playing first or second, and typically swap in floodgates and normal traps when playing first. They're simple, easy changes to make that let you swap one set of defensive cards for another. Everyone can improve their Side Deck game by simply noting which cards are best playing first, and which are best playing second.

Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, Droll & Lock Bird, Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries, and Effect Veiler are among the best going-second cards you can side. While the first three have seen their share of play over the last three months, Effect Veiler's been almost entirely absent. Veiler has two major flaws: first, most of the effects it counters can also be answered by Ash Blossom; and second, it just wasn't worth playing against SPYRALs or Trickstars. SPYRAL Resort and Trickstar Lycoris guarded Veiler's ideal targets effortlessly, and Lycoris continues to defend Trickstars from various targeting effects.

With Maxx “C” Forbidden, SPYRALs are no longer the game's most popular match-up, and with an Ash Blossom reprint still months away the question of “Is Effect Veiler worth playing?” is important. I think the answer to that is a tentative yes, but that's entirely dependent on whether or not you have access to better hand traps.

 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  
Four Horsemen Unlimited - Lightly Played 2 $68.99
Vortex Gaming Center Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $69.99
DJ Gamerloft Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $75.00
chowproductions 1st Edition - Lightly Played 1 $79.99
North Country Cards Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $80.00
YGOCardTrader 1st Edition - Near Mint 3 $80.95
Yugioh Black Market 1st Edition - Near Mint 2 $85.00
GetBodied 1st Edition - Near Mint 2 $85.00
SuperSpecialAwesome Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $85.98
ProjectYGO Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $87.99

Ash Blossom, Ghost Ogre, and Ghost Reaper are leagues better than Veiler for one simple reason: they stop Heavymetalfoes Electrumite from being Summoned in the first place. If you can't stop the Summon you could argue that Effect Veiler's still the better pick than Ash Blossom specifically; Veiler negates all of Electrumite's effects while Ash Blossom merely negates its second ability. Both hand traps leave Elecrumite on the field, and that's a big problem since it's a Link Monster.

If you can't stop Electrumite from hitting the field, and you can't destroy it soon after, the best you can do is force your opponent to make a second Electrumite after they Pendulum Summon. It's not the worst position to be in, but ideally you'd like your Side Deck cards to have a bit more impact on the duel. Discarding a hand trap like Ghost Ogre can brick your opponent's hand if they opened poorly, and it's particularly devastating if they had to Normal Summon to make their first Elecrumite. Loading the Extra Deck's meaningless if you don't have a way to Pendulum Summon, so Ghost Ogre itself is easily the best budget solution to a Turn 1 Heavymetalfoes Electrumite.

Effect Veiler does make sense as a dedicated alternative to Ash Blossom in a few other match-ups, including decks playing the Spellbook and Invoked engines. Negating a Spellbook Magician of Prophecy can certainly Backfire if your opponent is already holding a Spellbook of Secrets or Spellbook of Knowledge, and Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit tends to be a little better in this case. Here's a Regional Top 8 from James Sledd that illustrates a matchup where having Veiler is better than simply not having Ash Blossom, although with so few monsters it's hard to recommend playing more than a couple of monster-specific hand traps.

There's also Gem-Knight FTK and plenty of 60-card strategies in the mix, and some of them are making a splash at Regionals. Effect Veiler tends to play very well against these strategies, particularly in negating key one-time effects like Predaplant Darlingtonia Corbra or the monster that Summons it: Predaplant Ophrys Scorpio. Hand traps, and especially Effect Veiler, must pick up the slack left by the now-absent Maxx “C” to slow down these Special Summon-heavy strategies.

Assuming Control Of The Duel
Mind Control is quickly becoming one of my favorite going-second Side Deck picks for this format. When Link Monsters first emerged it was only a matter of time until taking opposing Links would become exceptionally powerful, yet Mind Control and Enemy Controller both remain unlimited.

So what gives? Well, the first big Link strategy on the scene protected its monsters with targeting immunity, so there wasn't much reason to explore Mind Control. However, with SPYRAL Resort Limited and plenty more Links now back in the game, I think it's time to reconsider how effective cards like Mind Control can be.

Christopher Cheong topped a Regional in Melbourne, Australia with World Chalice earlier this month while siding three copies of Mind Control. There are plenty of opportunities in Games 2 and 3 to take control of an opponent's monster and either use it for Link Summons, or leverage its Link Arrows or even its effects to push your strategy forward. Mind Control's exceptionally powerful in a Link-heavy theme like World Chalice, and fits nicely into a going-second Side Deck strategy in addition to mass removal and hand traps. If your opponent wants to make another Heavymetalfoes Electrumite after you hit their first with Effect Veiler, simply let them do so, then take control of one of them next turn with Mind Control.

The best Link Monsters to take are those with horizontal Link Arrows, so for the most part monsters you take control of will only have utility as fodder for new Link Monsters. You can use Mind Control in Pendulum match-ups to search your deck and draw cards before sending it off for a Link-3 or 4 monster. Interestingly, Enemy Controller works even better when activated on your opponent's turn, for a similar reason: their Link-2 will likely return to their Main Monster Zone with irrelevant Link Arrows. That said, Enemy Controller's of course much more useful when played aggressively.

Target-Heavy Themes Make A Comeback
True Dracos were among the best decks of 2017 thanks mostly to the power of Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King. Much like SPYRAL Sleeper, Master Peace was a game-changing card that competed against Zoodiac Drident for dominance of the field.

Master Peace's protection effect, often easily-met Summoning conditions, and its ability to be played in off-theme decks makes it an all-around amazing card. It's also a generally great pick for a Link-heavy format, especially when Link Summons are so prone to disruption. Master Peace and a hand trap forms a shockingly strong opening with no additional cards, and that start isn't limited to True Dracos either.

Earlier this month Aaron McInnes topped a Fort Worth Regional with a Metalfoes deck complimented by Master Peace , and it's a great example of where Master Peace is going this format. Dragonic Diagram's the other half of that equation, and it's an excellent choice with Astrograph Sorcerer also included in the build. Overall Metalfoes are vastly improved with SPYRALs out of the picture: Fullmetalfoes Alkahest and Metalfoes Mithrilium can both run free with far fewer effects to block them. Of course, the fact that Heavymetalfoes Electrumite is an on-theme card certainly helps.

 Heavymetalfoes Electrumite
Heavymetalfoes Electrumite158159
Set Extreme Force
Number EXFO-EN098
Type Link/Effect Monster
Monster Psychic
Attribute FIRE 
A / D 1800 /
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

2 Pendulum Monsters
If this card is Link Summoned: You can add 1 Pendulum Monster from your Deck to your Extra Deck face-up. Once per turn: You can target 1 other face-up card you control; destroy it, then add 1 face-up Pendulum Monster from your Extra Deck to your hand. If a card(s) in your Pendulum Zone leaves the field: Draw 1 card. You can only use this effect of "Heavymetalfoes Electrumite" once per turn.

Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
AllFunAndGamesPA 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $58.99
OblivionGamesTampa 1st Edition - Near Mint 5 $59.98
Genex Gaming 1st Edition - Near Mint 3 $59.99
CloudThreeX 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $59.99
KynCatt Collection 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $60.00
DHeshYGO 1st Edition - Near Mint 2 $60.00
Lotsofcardz 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $61.00
Prime Time Gaming 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $62.50
Wingless 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $62.50
One Up TCG 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $62.60

True Dracos are making their own comeback thanks to Dragonic Diagram and Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King. It's a much more challenging deck to build with Dinomight Knight, the True Dracofighter Forbidden, as well as Ignis Heat, the True Dracowarrior, and True King's Return Limited. Players like Thomas Camburako have made the most of the cards we're allowed to play and scored a Regional Top 8 with his build of True Dracos .

Without SPYRAL Resort to ruin his targeting effects he was free to wield the graveyard effects of True King's Return and True Draco Apocalypse, and he also played Strike of the Monarchs for even more negation.

The state of targeting effects and cards that are immune to them has massive implications for the entire format. This isn't the first time targeting has suddenly trended up following a Forbidden & Limited List, and it won't be the last. The game's a bit too fast for Lost Wind, Breakthrough Skill, and Evacuation Device' rel="/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Compulsory Evacuation Device">Compulsory Evacuation Device right now, but I think we'd see those cards making a return alongside other targeting effects if it wasn't.

We'll see another swing when Darkest Diabolos, Lord of the Lair debuts in the upcoming Structure Deck. It's protected against both targeting effects and Kaijus, making it an even more challenging monster to beat.

Until next time then


Kelly​​​ ​​​Locke​​​ ​​​is​​​ ​​​a​​​ ​​​West​​​ ​​​Michigan​​​ ​​​gamer and writer. In​​​ ​​​addition​​​ ​​​to​​​ ​​​writing​​​ ​​​on TCGplayer,​​​ ​​​Kelly​​​ ​​​writes​​​ a ​​​​​​ personal​​​ ​​​blog​​​ ​​​ ​​​covering​​​ ​​​Yu-Gi-Oh!,​​​ ​​​Destiny,​​​ ​​​and​​​ ​​​other​​​ ​​​hobbies. You​​​ ​​​can follow​​​ ​​​him​​​ ​​​on​​​ ​​​​​​ Twitter​​​ ​​​ ​​​and​​​ ​​​check​​​ ​​​out​​​ ​​​his​​​ ​​​​​​ Youtube​​​ ​​​channel​​​ . He​​​ ​​​also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.

All original content herein is Copyright 2016 Ascension Gaming Network, Inc. TCGplayer® and MaxPoint® are trademarks of Ascension Gaming Network, Inc.
No portion of this web site may be used without expressed written consent. All rights reserved.
Magic the Gathering and its respective properties are copyright Wizards of the Coast
Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service