When Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries was first revealed, I thought Yu-Gi-Oh! would change forever. So many strategies rely on specific Extra Deck cards to function, and usually the most powerful competitive decks do that the most.
It makes sense that the best decks are the ones trying to do something really powerful with a particular Extra Deck Monster. If the card you rely on is in your Extra Deck, you can get to it every game really reliably rather than needing to draw it. That’s huge, and it’s those strategies that are typically the most consistent. If you have easy ways to summon that Extra Deck Monster, you can basically guarantee a strong early game instead of waiting to draw what you need.
That’s exactly why Burning Abyss has performed so well for so long. Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss lets you get going as soon as you can make a Rank 3, so if your deck has lots of ways to do that, it’ll work consistently. Similarly, Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal spiked the power level of the strategy because it was just as easy to get to as Dante. Once Dante hits the field, all you had to do was throw away one of your many Malebranches to upgrade Dante to Beatrice. From there you had access to every single card in your deck, and a strong response to almost anything your opponent could do.
But even strategies that don’t rely solely on one particular Extra Deck Monster can get demolished by Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries. The Blue-Eyes White Dragon deck doesn’t always need Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon to win, but losing it to Ghost Reaper still hurts as Spirit Dragon’s one of your stronger plays. In other situations the Ghost Reaper can hit a key Galaxy-Eyes Xyz to preempt Number 95: Galaxy-Eyes Dark Matter Dragon. While neither of those plays approach the pinnacle of Ghost Reaper’s potential impact, both moves can throw a huge wrench in a Blue-Eyes player’s plans.
So why does all of this matter? Well, there’s finally an answer to Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries. I had a tough time wanting to play any strategy that was weak to Ghost Reaper this format, but thanks to Invasion: Vengeance I don’t feel like it’ll be nearly as big of an issue as I’d anticipated.
Pot of Avidity
Target 3 banished monsters; shuffle all 3 into the Deck, then draw 1 card. You can only activate 1 “Pot of Avidity” per turn.
I expect to see Pot of Avidity in a lot of Side Decks moving forward. It’s surprisingly flexible even though it seems a bit narrow on the surface, but we’ll discuss that shortly. The big reason I’m so excited for it is to answer Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries. Anytime you’re playing a strategy that relies on a single Extra Deck Monster you can expect your opponent to have Ghost Reaper for Games 2 and 3. It’s so high impact against a variety of strategies and all it takes is a few more Extra Deck slots to get the most out of it.
Not only does Pot of Avidity completely answer Ghost Reaper by shuffling back all of those key Extra Deck monsters, it doesn’t even cost you a card! You can immediately slam Pot of Avidity to the table once the Ghost Reaper resolves to put everything back and it’ll replace itself in your hand. Now your opponent’s down a card, but the best part is that if they needed to play in a certain way to make sure they could activate Ghost Reaper, you’re super far ahead.
Typically in mirror matches that involve Ghost Reaper, both players will avoid committing monsters – not only to play around Ghost Reaper, but also to fulfill the requirements necessary to activate their own copy. That leads to a stalled situation until someone decides it’s worth pulling the trigger, typically when they can either push for game or make a field that’s worthwhile even if their opponent does have Ghost Reaper.
With Pot of Avidity in the mix, that dynamic changes completely. Now it’s much riskier to just keep passing back and forth, because if someone draws Pot of Avidity, that Ghost Reaper isn’t going to do much. With no monsters to defend, whoever’s relying on the Ghost Reaper’s probably taking a huge chunk of damage if not losing that very turn.
That’ll be especially true during the early stages of post-INOV competition when people aren’t yet adapted to the new norm of Ghost Reaper versus Pot of Avidity, but regardless I don’t think we’ll stop seeing Ghost Reaper in tournaments. While it does answer the problem, most strategies can’t really play multiple copies. That said, things are probably going to change with the new top dog in town.
As Easy As…
…ABC is just so powerful and so consistent, I have a hard time believing Metalfoes will remain the best deck even with new support from Invasion: Vengeance. As long as you can manage to get to Union Hangar your hand’s probably great, and all it takes to win the duel is a single ABC-Dragon Buster and a single tag out to win the duel. ABC’s another strategy that Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries is crazy good against; without ABC-Dragon Buster, the strategy’s really just a weak Rank 4 Xyz deck. That means you already want Pot of Avidity, but even Avidity can do a lot more for and against ABC.
Pot of Avidity’s a strong answer to ABC-Dragon Buster’s tag out move. Whether your opponent tributes their Dragon Buster during the Draw Phase to play around Kaijus, or during the End Phase to try to maximize their value, Pot of Avidity can totally counter it. That’s absurd. No other card can really deal with the effect of Dragon Buster like that, especially since you can played it going second against the ABC deck’s ideal hand. It also draws a card in the process which – and I can’t stress this enough – is absolutely bananas. You basically erases the work of your opponent’s whole prior turn, and if you can manage to take the field and capture the initiative, you probably just won the game thanks to Pot of Avidity.
Not only that, but if you’re Side Decking Pot of Avidity in ABC to beat Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries and find an edge in the mirror match, you also get the general value out of recycling your monsters. If your opponent can somehow manage to run you out of ways to summon ABC-Dragon Buster, then you’re obviously in a rough spot. While that won’t happen very often, an unlucky a Pot of Desires can banish multiple copies of an ABC monster that you need. If that happens on top of your opponent somehow answering your ABC-Dragon Buster, you’ll need Pot of Avidity to help you get back into the game. Avidity’s just another safeguard to make sure you don’t run out of steam.
While those are the best reasons to use Pot of Avidity, there are obviously a ton of other situations where the card can have value. At YCS Minneapolis, Lightsworn Zombie decks that triy to abuse PSY-Framelord Omega and Minerva, the Exalted Lightsworn were much more popular than I would have expected. While not the best option, a Pot of Avidity can help you clean up a Mezuki that would’ve otherwise been shuffled back by PSY-Framelord Omega. You can even do tricky things if you’re the one who has the Omega, such as activating its effect to banish a card from your opponent’s hand and then using Pot of Avidity to shuffle it back if it was a monster.
Pot of Avidity can also be used against Leviair, the Sea Dragon; still a very popular Xyz in Burning Abyss Phantom Knight. The Burning Phantom Knight usually combos off to where they set up a Leviair and need it to resolve to keep going, getting another Level 3 material onto the field, and typically also recycling a Phantom Knight so they can get an additional effect. If you can manage to cut that off with Avidity, then you can usually halt their play from progressing further.
Kozmos is worth mentioning too. Two different Kozmo Decks made the Top Cut of YCS Minneapolis, and Pot of Avidity can catch them off guard by shuffling back whatever Kozmo they wanted retrieve with Kozmotown. Sometimes stopping that card for a single turn is enough, especially because you won’t be destroying it, so they can’t just search another Kozmo.
Pot of Avidity can do something in all three of those situations, but it’s not really a reason to Side Deck it in. More so, these are all situations where you can use a Pot of Avidity that you Sided in just to answer Ghost Reaper when the coast is clear.