Market Watch Top 10: The Run-Up To Regionals
Jason Grabher-Meyer

Welcome back! Regional Qualifiers return this weekend, with the new format in effect and Extreme Force once again legal.

With competition just about ton kick off for the season, we saw a mix of general competitive trends mixed with what might have been direct responses to the ARGCS in Indy last weekend. While that event was played under the old F&L List, it served as a smorgasboard of ideas for what we might see in Pendulum Magicians moving forward.

With Magicians gaining Heavymetalfoes Electrumite but losing Double Iris Magician and Performapal Skullcrobat Joker, the Main Deck suddenly has a lot of free space. In addition, cards like Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer and Star Pendulumgraph are impacted by the changes as well, freeing up more card slots. And even without those changes to the format, every Pendulum Magician deck that topped the ARGCS was a departure from the cookie cutter builds of the last few months. We saw a number of different approaches to the strategy as players compromised on old staples to clear the way for new tech.

Astrograph and Chronograph Sorcerer were played with and without Abyss Actor – Curtain Raiser, and were sometimes backed up with Stargazer Magician, and Timegazer Magician. Supreme King Dragon Darkwurm and Supreme King Gate Zero made multiple Top 8 finishes , including Mark Myatt's build with triple Mist Valley Apex Avian. Both decks ran Foolish Burial and Dragon Shrine. We even saw Akeem Davis crack the Top 16 with a build that ran Mythical Beast Master Cerberus and Mythical Beast Jackal King.

But even with that showing at the ARGCS, Magicians only took three spots in our Top 10 countdown for the week. What else dominated TCGplayer from Monday to Friday? Let's find out.

#10: Supreme King Dragon Darkwurm

Supreme King Dragon Darkwurm was only really rivalled by Chronograph Sorcerer as the next big thing for Magicians the past few months. Played with Supreme King Gate Zero it's a one-card Pendulum Scale, and sending it to the graveyard with Foolish Burial or Dragon Shrine means instant Material on the field for Heavymetalfoes Electrumite.

While Gate Zero is widely regarded as a “Garnet”, in that you want to search it, not draw it, the sheer efficiency of the engine is too good to ignore. It'll be interesting to see how Darkwurm performs at YCS Atlanta next weekend, after Top 8'ing the ARGCS but falling short of the Top 4. Some are calling it the answer to Performapal Skullcrobat Joker's Forbidden status, while others remain skeptical.

Still, the hype and the early results were enough to drive Supreme King Dragon Darkwurm up the charts to Number 10.

#####CARDID= 21642#####

#9: Mythical Beast Jackal King

Slightly more out of left field, Mythical Beast Jackal King works with Mythical Beast Master Cerberus as another engine that places a Link Material for Heavymetalfoes Electrumite on the table, without consuming a Normal or Pendulum Summon.

Both cards were underrated heading into the weekend, but repeat buyouts have driven up the price of Master Cerberus; while its average Market Price for the last few days is currently twelve bucks, it can't be found for less than $19 as of this writing, and as copies are appearing on TCGplayer they're being bought in an instant.

There were definitely some efforts to force a price spike earlier on, but it's becoming more of an organic trend off the back of the ARGCS, and players are starting to pick up on the engine's potential. We'll have to see how restocking as of Monday impacts its price, but we could have another solid money card on our hands from EXFO by the time YCS Atlanta is over.

#####CARDID= 22901#####

#8: F.A. Motorhome Transport

F.A.'s were still huge this week, taking up half of the Top 10. F.A. Motorhome Transport was an obvious part of that, as the end point to many of the deck's opening combos and the single on-theme boss monster amongst a wealth of strong Synchros in the strategy's arsenal. It's unclear just how serious players really are about F.A.'s right now, and YCS Atlanta's going to be make-or-break. But for now, the whole theme remains dirt cheap, and that's making all the key cards easy buys for anyone looking to hedge their bets.

#####CARDID= 22959#####

#7: Qliphort Genius

Doug's become one of the biggest experts in F.A.'s lately, and he pointed out weekend that last week's demand for Qliphort Genius was likely due to its status as a go-to Link Monster for F.A.'s. With two downward link arrows and Link Materials of any two Machine-types, it's a strong pick for the theme that lets you multiply the impact of your fast, easy Special Summons.

#####CARDID= 22966#####

#6: Supreme King Gate Zero

Searchable for free with Supreme King Dragon Darkwurm's effect, Supreme King Gate Zero makes Darkwrum an easy +1, filling out your Pendulum Scale or finding you more fodder for Heavymetalfoes Electrumite. You don't want to draw it, but searching it for free is pretty stellar, and I'd bet money that it's going to be a big factor in the Top Cut at the YCS.

#####CARDID= 21640#####

#5: F.A. Test Run

Remember Raigeki Break? That card was a -1 requiring a discard for flexible spot removal. F.A. Test Run is effectively the same thing without a discard or any other significant cost, and then when it hits the graveyard it's an Emergency Teleport on your next turn. And while that Special Summon effect destroys one of your cards, you're just going to use it to blow up something like a Field Spell anyways, searching another card in the process.

It's pretty bonkers, and it offers a lot of trouble shooting and hand fixing to the F.A. strategy all in one package. At the price of a few pennies a piece, the demand is understandable.

#####CARDID= 22961#####

#4: F.A. Auto Navigator

The combo-building freebie Tuner that holds down almost every play that matters in the F.A. deck, F.A. Auto Navigator's an incredible, repeatable, flexible starter that launches the F.A. theme into competition. A near-one-card combo, it doesn't draw comparisons to Zoodiacs yet, but you wouldn't be off base to make that kind of connection.

#####CARDID= 22958#####

#3: F.A. City Grand Prix

And finally, F.A. City Grand Prix does everything you could want out of an F.A. Field Spell, replacing itself when destroyed and boosting your monsters' Levels in every phase that matters. This is the gold standard for F.A. Fields, and it anchors all of the theme's big Extra Deck plays.

#####CARDID= 22960#####

#2: Overtex Qoatlus

And in a surprising move, Overtex Qoatlus is up from its Number 3 finish over the weekend to Number 2! Dinosaur fans have long been known for their ability to hype new, affordable cards for the Dino theme into huge sales – you only have to look as far as True King Lithosagym, the Disaster's massive run last year to see an example. But Qoatlus is a bit surprising, since a number of players still don't really see eye to eye on its power level.

Still, with a flashy negation effect of a type Dinosaurs have never had before, and a set of stats that make it an easy Special Summon with Double Evolution Pill, Overtex's appeal is clear. The fact that it continued to sell throughout the week suggests it's being bought up by both casual and competitive demographics, which makes sense, as Dinosaurs have yet to be proven much in tournament play.

#####CARDID= 22911#####

#1: Underclock Taker

And finally, the newest enabling Link Monster came in at Number 1 yet again! Underclock Taker is set to make a big impact at YCS Atlanta, bringing a flexible downward link arrow to any deck that can rub together two effect monsters. Expect to see it in a variety of strategies over the next few months.

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What else was big this week?

Pot of Desires rallied to Number 11, but narrowly missed the Top 10 proper. Bottomless Trap Hole fell from Number 4 on Monday to Number 12, calling to question the state of defensive traps moving forward. Curious, the Lightsworn Dominion took Number 13, and Mind Control took Number 15.

That left Mythical Beast Master Cerberus at Number 15, fresh off its massive price spike to nearly twenty bucks. How many of those purchases happened at which price points remains a mystery, but Master Cerberus is definitely going to be one of the most-watched cards of the week in the run-up to Atlanta.

That's it for this week, but join us Monday for another look at all the action in the TCGplayer Marketplace.

-Jason Grabher-Meyer