Looking Ahead: Dimensional Boundary

Generic cards that can be used in any strategy are always worth looking at. Recent sets have been more focused towards themes with the most powerful cards typically belonging to specific archetypes, but sometimes we get cards that every deck can use to really up their game.

Look at Pot of Desires, Twin Twisters, and Solemn Strike; they’re all really powerful, and Twin Twisters has gone so far as to warp the format while Pot of Desires is an absolute staple. Strong generic cards have a high impact on the format because they could be a factor in your games every round regardless of what specific decks you’re facing. And while Dimensional Boundary from Invasion: Vengeance might not be as absurd as those cards, it’s definitely up there in power level.

dimensionalboundary-inov-jp-srDimensional Boundary
Normal Trap
Declare 1 monster card type (Ritual, Fusion, Synchro, Xyz, or Pendulum); this turn, neither player can Special Summon monsters of the declared type, also negate the effects of face-up monsters on the field of the declared type while they are on the field. You can only activate 1 “Dimensional Boundary” per turn.

Reading Dimensional Boundary, it’s pretty easy to see why the card is great. You win the game by summoning, and cards that stop summoning have been always been regarded as powerful. But Dimensional Boundary’s much better than a card that would just trade for a single summon. Dimensional Boundary’s effectively a floodgate for a single turn, and even impacts the field, which gives it a ton of utility. The first card that it draws comparison to is Different Dimension Ground, since it has a similar effect.

Different Dimension Ground was the best card in the Shaddoll mirror match for quite a while. It had a high impact effect, and could blow someone out when it was chained to the right card. Dimensional Boundary’s very similar; if you catch your opponent at the right time the game can just be over. But the big difference is that Different Dimension Ground didn’t really stop stuff from resolving, it just made it resolve in a way that wasn’t advantageous.

In that light, Different Dimension Ground and Dimensional Boundary aren’t actually very alike, so maybe we should be talking about what this card might truly end up becoming.

Vanity’s Emptiness
Out of all the cards that are currently legal in the Advanced Format, I think Vanity’s Emptiness is the most unfair. It can end the game on the spot if your opponent doesn’t have removal for it, and while it’s way more fragile than many other Continuous Traps since it self-destructs whenever almost anything hits your graveyard, it’s still just absurd. I can’t even count the number of games I’ve played that were decided by Vanity’s Emptiness. While you may think it’s a bit of a stretch to compare Vanity’s Emptiness to Dimensional Boundary, I actually think that Dimensional Boundary’s even better than Emptiness is in a couple situations.

300px-VanitysEmptinessSTBL-EN-C-1EA lot of the time, Vanity’s Emptiness doesn’t need to stick for more than a turn to win you the duel. The format is just so fast, and every deck is trying to make the best field they can on Turn 1 in hopes that their opponent’s hand isn’t good enough to break it; throw a trap or two into the mix and you’ve won the duel. Vanity’s Emptiness only needs to work for a single turn, because your field’s generally more than enough to reduce their Life Points to 0 on the next one. That’s why cards like Solemn Strike are so powerful too: they answer the best thing your opponent tries to summon and all you really need is that tiny opening for one turn to win. The biggest issue there is that traps aren’t actually very good right now.

Twin Twisters has had a huge impact on how the game is played. Trap removal’s no longer hard to come by, since every deck effectively has six Mystical Space Typhoons to destroy whatever important trap you were relying on to protect yourself. While Vanity’s Emptiness can take over the game if it goes unanswered even for a single turn, it’s still susceptible to removal; Solemn Strike falls to a similar fate. But that’s where we can go back to a comparison to Different Dimension Ground, as Dimensional Boundary’s so resilient.

What really makes Dimensional Boundary absurd is that your opponent can’t stop it. No amount of removal will counter it because you can just chain it, so they’re left with nothing to do after already having wasted a card to try to destroy it. Because Dimensional Boundary’s effectively unstoppable, the game’s just over if your turn one field is strong.

Every deck right now is built proactively rather than reactively, and removal’s at an all-time low even with cards as strong as Raigeki legal. Before Dimensional Boundary, monster combo pieces were always ideal because they were great going first or second. They either helped you make a field or helped you break your opponent’s, and thus cards like Raigeki which aren’t good on Turn 1 going first simply see less play. Dimensional Boundary takes huge advantage of those trends, punishing your opponent for building their deck to be as powerful and consistent as it can be.

Twin Twisters
There are certain scenarios where Dimensional Boundary can actually make wildly advantageous trades of card economy, like when your opponent Twin Twisters just your set Dimensional Boundary because their hand is good enough to give them confidence in that kind of move. Suddenly your opponent’s down two cards, while you still have your field and they can’t summon. That’s huge!

TwinTwisters-BOSH-EN-SR-1EDimensional Boundary’s actually just crazy against Twin Twisters, mostly because your opponent’s forced to make a decision before you are. That’s important for two reasons, the first being that your opponent is forced to bin a card not knowing that you can stop their whole turn. That could result in them discarding a card that may have put them in a much better position if they had known their turn was effectively over, so you can just steal a game right out from under them.

The other important dynamic against Twin Twisters is that by discarding a card, your opponent is going to reveal what deck they’re playing the vast majority of the time. By doing so you can safely call what type of summon you want to turn off, hedging your bets against one of the few issues Dimensional Boundary suffers. This may ultimately create a trend where other trap removal gets better, because you don’t have to give your opponent any information.

All of the more basic trap removal works better against Dimensional Boundary because you don’t have to give your opponent information, but at the same time the upside of Twin Twisters is definitely huge. It just accomplishes so much for one card, but if there are other factors that might make something like Cosmic Cyclone’s banishing aspect better, then I could definitely see duelists trying it out. You also have to consider that sometimes Twin Twister’s discard helps a strategy combo off – Blue-Eyes, D/D/D, and Shiranui can all make the most of that kind of discard cost – so some decks might just have to risk the potential blowout.

Bonus
Dimensional Boundary’s effect negation isn’t as strong as its ability to stop summoning, but it’s definitely not weak either. We’ve seen effect negation like Breakthrough Skill, Fiendish Chain, and Effect Veiler play key roles in competition before, and Dimensional Boundary has similar potential. Mass effect negation is pretty powerful; Skill Drain’s a crazy card and turning off whatever key effect you don’t want your opponent to have for a turn can definitely shift the direction of the duel. While there is a slight drawback since it can also affect your monsters, you ultimately get to choose when to activate your Dimensional Boundary, and what to do with it, so sometimes the compromise is worthwhile.

300px-SkillDrain-TU08-EN-UR-UEThe negation aspect makes Dimensional Boundary much better in the mid-game, which is huge for a card that you generally want to see on your first turn. That negation power allows for Dimensional Boundary to be a good draw at different stages of the game, so if you don’t happen to open with it, it’s still useful later. I’m sure that the summon prevention can also play a huge role beyond the early game, but catching your opponent on a pseudo 2-for-1 where you can prevent a card from being summoned while also stopping an effect is huge, even if you’re forced to flip it for the latter reason earlier in the turn. Not only do you get to trade it for whatever high value effect you want to stop, but it isn’t really wasted, because your opponent can’t advance their game position in the way they want to either.

I think Dimensional Boundary’s a phenomenal card. We’ll have to see if it will have an immediate impact upon its release, but ultimately I think that it could wind up being an absolute staple, even if it’s in some format down the line.

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