Hey everyone, this is The_SynchroGuy, and today is a pretty good day. I mean, in case you’ve been living under a rock, the United States has officially gone under new management as of this past Wednesday. And suddenly, I felt like trying to get myself back into blogging a bit. I know I’m not as consistent as I used to be and only pop up here and there, but it’s a new year, so I’m gonna see about staying consistent this year. Anyway, let’s kick off the new year, and the new US management, with a blog!
In today’s blog, I thought about talking about something that’s been bugging me as of late. And that is the new world premiere archetype, War Rock. In case you don’t know what they do, here’s a video that quickly goes over them.
Regardless if you’ve just watched it or not, the big takeaway from this new archetype is that, almost, all of them revolve around the battle phase. When we learned about this, the community’s reaction was…not the greatest. Like, they just left a sour taste in our mouths because of two words, “battle phase”.
Realizing this, I thought it would be an interesting topic to go over. Because there have been cards with battle phase related effects before in the past, and we didn’t always make a sour face about it back then? So, what changed? Well, let’s go over it and find out!
Quick note: this is actually a sequel to a blog that I made back in 2017, during the Zoodiac format, which talked about whether targeting in Yu-Gi-Oh was still good since we looked down at stuff that had to target stuff our opponent controls. If you want to learn some Yu-Gi-Oh history, or take a trip back down memory here, click here to give it a read!
And keep in mind, I’m going to be talking about this as a competitive player. I may sometimes like to play casually, but I’m still gonna play competitively through and through (because I like playing competitively).
So, what’s the reason that battle phase effects are so bad? Have they always been this bad? Well, no, not always. In the past, we’ve had cards that revolved around the battle phase, or attacks in general, and they were good. Take a look at this old card, Wind-Up Zenmaines.
Believe it or not, back in the day, he was good. Like meta-level good! Why? Because he could remove threats on the field! Now, of course, you couldn’t get that effect unless he would be destroyed first. That’s why when you summoned him, you would have him suicide into an opponent’s monster, but then use his effect to detach a material and keep him around. Then during the End Phase, you get to pop a card.
I know this card’s effect doesn’t involve the battle phase anywhere in its text, but it’s the fact that players had him go attack an opponent’s monsters just to get that pop effect. And that was considered to be good back then.
Or how about this guy, Gorz the Emissary of Darkness.
Gorz was insane back then. Getting attacked directly while you currently controlled nothing and then getting to summon a free 2700 beater along with a possible, high ATK Token was so good. Heck, back then, you had to be sure to attack with your lowest ATK monster first. If you got too greedy, you were going to be in trouble. Some people still have PTSD from this card.
Okay, now let’s go really old school by bringing up such a classic, old school Yu-Gi-Oh card that a lot of people loved, Mirror Force!
It was so good back then! Your opponent tries to go full swing on you, and then you just flipped this over and watched as their face made a complete 180° was always priceless. It was an amazing card! So powerful!
But now…these cards do not see any play at all. Like, in today’s game, they just suck, so hard. Why is that? Well, for obvious reasons, the game changed. Back then, we didn’t have some of the things that we have now. Like negations.
While we did have cards that negated stuff back in the day, we didn’t have them as frequent as we do now. Heck, we now are able to build a board that’s full of nothing but negations and/or interruptions. If we can do that freely, then we don’t have to worry about what’s to come in the battle phase since we can negate or remove whatever it is our opponent has planned for us.
Because of that, we couldn’t just wait until our battle phase to do something, or wait for our opponent to go into their battle phase so we could do something. We needed to deal with those boards now! Or stop them from getting into those boards in the first place! So, we started shifting away from these battle focused cards and looked towards cards that could either stop our opponent from making these OP monsters, or cards that helped us deal with them straight away. Stuff like hand traps that could interrupt our opponent.
Now don’t go thinking ‘that is horrible that Konami put us in such a position. Those dirty money grabbers!’. But I’m not saying you shouldn’t hold them responsible for it, since they are responsible for what happens in this game. Regardless though, that’s just how life progresses. Things need to change. And they’re gonna change whether we like it or not.
Getting back to the topic at hand, are all cards that revolve around attacks, or the battle phase in general, just bad in today’s game? Well, no, not entirely. There have been some recent cards that revolve around these things and have proven to be good. Take for example, Borrelsword Dragon.
This guy can practically beat over any monster it battles, and can make a second attack during each battle phase. That’s pretty good if you ask me. Hell, we called him an OTK machine that could steal games on turn 2 for a good reason.
Or how about this guy, Armades, Keeper of Boundaries.
While he’s not as good as Borrelsword, he’s still a decent monster with a decent effect that prevents your opponent from activating any cards or effects when any sort of attack involves him. And it remains like that until the end of the damage step. This means if this monster hits into a monster that has a Flip effect or GY effect, they’re not going to trigger since this guy won’t let them. (I know Armades is not the best for a most recent example, but you have to respect cards that have his kind of effect.)
Alright, so is it just boss monsters, and semi-decent monsters, that are the exception to this whole battle phase thing? Well no, not entirely. There’s an archetype that currently exists that’s pretty good, and a lot of them have effects that revolve around the battle phase. That archetype being, Dragonmaid.
(Oh my god, not this trash! My eyes! Get that waifu tax out of here!) Yeah, yeah, get it out of your system. And suck it up, we’ve had the waifu tax since Dark Magician Girl was a thing. If you could live with that, you can live with this.
With that out of the way, each of the low Level Dragonmaid main deck monsters have an effect where you can summon one of the Level 7 or 8 Dragon monsters from either the hand or GY, but you could only do this at the start of the battle phase. Does this make the archetype really bad? Well, if you ask a highly competitive or meta tryhard player, then yes. But honestly, no. They’re a pretty good deck. I’m not saying they’re meta, but they’re a decently fun deck. And a lot better than War Rock. Why? Because their effects don’t entirely revolve around the battle phase!
Each of the Dragonmaid monsters have effects that can be used outside of the battle phase. One can search you a card, one can mill a card, etc. War Rock though, it’s either battle phase or nothing. They have to go into the battle phase in order to do something. And since you can’t do that on the first turn, going first doesn’t sound that good, so it’s best to go second. But if we do that, there’s a chance for our opponent to make a board that can stop us. Am I saying this happens all the time? No. More like 85%-90% of the time. Or 99% if you’re playing against the meta.
And that right there is the problem. If you are playing with War Rocks and want your stuff to go off, you have to rely on the fact that your opponent won’t make an oppressive board to stop you. Or rely that they won’t have any backrow that’ll stop you. Bottomline, we do not like it when things ask for our opponent to do something for us. I mean, the thing that you can rely on is that your opponent wants to win the duel, so do you really think your opponent is going to be nice and treat you by helping you out? (Well if he/she does, then they’re just playing with you at that point.)
And again, this is not a bad thing. That’s the point of competitions. We want to show that we’re the best, and we can’t do that if everyone is being friendly with one another. We can’t compare our skills if they’re not willing to hit us with everything they’ve got. When they do start playing seriously, this gives us a chance to show that we’re the better player. And to do that, we need to outwit them, and we can’t do that with cards that require our opponent to do something for us.
Bottomline, it’s not that cards that have battle phase effects are terrible. It’s just terrible when that’s all they’re focused on, and they’re not cards like Armades or Borrelsword. Or at the very least, bomb cards like Evenly Matched.
So is Konami just being lazy with these new cards or are just teasing us by not giving us the really good stuff? No, I don’t think it’s that. As we can tell from their artwork, the War Rock archetype is a barbarian archetype, and what do barbarian’s love to do? Fight! Why? Because that’s pretty much all they knew how to do; it’s how they survived back then.
So if you want to blame anyone, go back in time and blame the barbarians. Ask them, “what the hell were guys thinking?!” Here, I will give credit to Konami for paying attention to detail when making these cards, but that doesn’t take away the sour taste these cards still leave in our mouths.
Overall, I hope the new cards the War Rock archetype gets in Lightning Overdrive will help make up for their battle focused oriented playstyle. But as we already went over, we don’t like it when we have to rely on our opponent to make things go our way. (Think about it.)
Anyway, those are all just my thoughts. Let me know what you guys think about battle phase effects as of late! Do you think they’re still good? Or do we need to get a little something something to happen first before they can be good again? Also, what are your thoughts on the new War Rock archetype? I would love to hear your thoughts!
I’ll see you guys in the next one! Hope you have/had an awesome day today!