Side Deck Theory: Hey, Trunade!
It's been over six years since the original Giant Trunade landed on the Forbidden List, and this year a replacement has arrived in Extreme Force: Hey, Trunade! The new Trunade is functionally identical to its long-Forbidden brethren with only one exception: while it returns spells and traps on the field to the hand, Hey, Trunade! only affects set cards.
It's a small change that makes a massive difference in how this new Truade is perceived, and it's particularly interesting from a Side Deck perspective. Hey, Trunade! is easily one of the best solutions to match-ups where large backrows are common, like Paleozoics.
Hey, Trunade! arrives at a strange time where hand traps are dominating the competitive scene and at least two of the most frequently-played normal traps have nothing to lose from its effect. Trickstar Reincarnation's chainable to removal, and it'll probably be activated long before Trunade has a chance to bounce it off the field. Evenly Matched is rarely set anyways, but there are some traps in Games 2 and 3 that validate Trunade's existence.
A More Balanced Approach To Mass Removal
While it was legal, Giant Trunade was well known as an OTK-enabler, and its effect didn't leave players with any choice about how to effectively use it. It was a -1 if you simply tossed it on the field without a second thought, but if you timed it correctly it was an essential part of so many OTK's.
On the September 2011 Forbidden & Limited List Giant Trunade was swapped out for Heavy Storm. Interestingly, Heavy Storm itself was coming off a year-long stint on the Forbidden List, a first since it was introduced to the Limited List way back in 2003. In terms of card economy Heavy Storm was a potentially more devastating card, but it lacked something that made Giant Trunade so powerful: it couldn't return your own spells and traps to your hand. That's the real reason Giant Trunade was Forbidden: its potential to break mechanics by repeatedly reusing Field Spells, Continuous Spells, and Continuous Traps.
While Giant Trunade was legal some of my favorite plays involved abusing it get back my own cards. I'd activate Dragon Ravine, use its effect to search Dragunity Phalanx, then reload it to search Dragunity Dux. But there were so many better plays, especially with cards like Call Of The Haunted and Fiendish Chain, as well as floodgates like Dimensional Fissure, Macro Cosmos, and Skill Drain. You could Special Summon Lonefire Blossom with Call Of The Haunted, activate Lonefire's effect to Summon a Plant, then Trunade the Call Of The Haunted back to your hand. Heavy Storm accomplished the same goal of keeping backrow in check without enabling insane combos.
Unfortunately Heavy Storm created such massive shifts in card advantage that its very existence shaped backrow line-ups and trap choices. It was eventually Forbidden in 2013 in the TCG, and it's remained there ever since. Denko Sekka, Holding Legs, Twin Twisters, and Heavy Storm Duster have addressed the problem of large backrows in their own way, and now Hey, Trunade! has arrived as another solution to set cards. What makes this rework of Giant Trunade so much more palatable is the scope of its effect: it only returns set cards to the hand.
Unlike Giant Trunade it's impossible to abuse Hey, Trunade! with spells and traps that stick around on the field. It's just as effective as ever against set Normal and Counter Traps, and depending on your match-up that might be all you need. Still, its uses are fewer and further between, and that places it squarely in the realm of Side Deck tech. It's devastatingly effective against the right line-up of traps, but it's a liability against builds that forgo Solemns and Trap Holes for hand traps.
Bouncing The Bountiful Backrow
Mass removal's often necessitated by a numbers game, and Hey, Trunade! is certainly a winner in that respect. Against decks with truly massive backrows, like Paleozoics, Trunade shines as a one-card answer to a stacked line-up of dangerous traps. If you can't afford the discard from Twin Twisters, or you need a card that can solve three or more backrow simultaneously, Trunade's once again an excellent pick.
You'll see the most traps in any given match-up after Game 1 when your opponent's playing first in Game 2 or 3. It's an ideal situation for Summon-response traps like Bottomless Trap Hole and Floodgate Trap Hole, and it's also the domain of the entire Solemn series. Solemn Warning, Solemn Strike, and the freshly-Limited Solemn Judgement are easily swept aside by Hey, Trunade, and when they show up in multiples of three or more there are few better cards for the job. Solemn Judgment can negate Trunade, but I'm of the opinion that baiting out a Judgment with a single Trunade is worth it in the long run.
It's the lack of a discard cost that really sells Hey, Trunade! against its competitors. Twin Twisters isn't sustainable everywhere, especially in decks that can't leverage the discard into an advantage-generating play down the line. When you can use the discard for a future play you'll absolutely want to pick Twin Twisters over other backrow removal, and that's obvious, right? Nobody's picking Cosmic Cyclone over Twin Twisters when they have cards they desperately need to drop off into the graveyard.
Since Hey, Trunade! can't touch face-up cards it's not even in the realm of discussion when you're looking for Side Deck picks to counter floodgates and other face-up spells and traps. The biggest face-up threats from next format are Anti-Spell Fragrance, SPYRAL Resort, and Time Pendulumgraph, and if your deck is vulnerable to these cards you'll still want to side heavily for them. Trunade finds its home in strategies that aren't concerned with the most prominent continuous floodgates in the game, and especially those that can deal with them using on-theme methods.
Looking For Other Synergies
Cards like Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, and Droll & Lock Bird are far more likely to disrupt your plays than any Trap Hole or Solemn Counter Trap. Is it worth siding a card that specifically answers set traps that aren't chainable to removal? Dimensional Barrier's a particularly dangerous card this format that totally dodges its effect.
Hey, Trunade! is interesting in a deck like Trickstars where you're largely interested in keeping your Normal Summon safe. The biggest threats to Trickstar Candina are Solemns, and while hand traps can also be an issue they won't stop Trickstar Lycoris from resetting Candina. Lycoris itself will burn your opponent if it's on the field when Trunade resolves, and putting cards back in your opponent's hand increases the potential burn damage from a Trickstar Reincarnation next turn. Finally, Trickstar Light Stage can lock down backrow, preventing it from being chained to removal, before kicking it off the field with Trunade.
The Artifact engine's back at full power with Artifact Moraltach returning to unlimited. Artifact Sanctum's easily countered by Trunade and either forces Sanctum's activation preemptively or kicks it off the field without triggering its effect. You can also return your own Artifacts to your hand if you're playing a larger engine with Artifact Ignition. There are plenty of other themes where spells and traps can be set directly from the deck – namely Metalfoes – and Hey, Trunade! gives us a unique opportunity to bounce those cards back to the hand.
The progression of spell and trap removal in this game has reached a point where a card like Hey, Trunade! is a niche option. It would have been fantastic in an era without Twin Twisters, but for right now it's hard to recommend for any match-up outside of Paleozoics. Even there your opponent will have a much easier time negating Trunade than halting Denko Sekka's Summon. That said, Trunade has none of Denko Sekka's restrictions and won't burn your Normal Summon. It's another option in a sea of spell and trap removal, and I think it has enough advantages to warrant Side Deck slots in the right strategy.
Until next time then