Spell Specialist Changes

The genesis of Spell Specialist Shiranui has resulted in many players reevaluating the consistency of 30 card decks and how often they are able to open Loading... . In the past, spell specialist would guarantee 1 spell and the rest of the hand would be random, however Konami recently shadow buffed the skill to work differently. Balance changes are typically made clear in game, but when changes are made without informing anyone we refer to these changes as shadow buffs or nerfs. On December 14th, a Japanese player posted on twitter that with a 30 card deck with 7 spells, they opened grass 67% of the time and opened at least 2 spells 78.5% of the time over the course of 200 games; through the use of statistics we can say that the old model does not represent how the skill works now and that the skill has definitely changed.

How it Works

With the help of Snyffus and superforms, a new model has been made which resembles the data gathered by the Japanese post and our own gathered data:

  1. The first card in the hand is guaranteed to be a spell.

    De-Spell
    3 copies
    Mokey Mokey
    3 copies
    Mokey Mokey
    3 copies
    Mokey Mokey

  2. The second card has a 50/50 chance of being a guaranteed spell; if the card is not a guaranteed spell then the game will revert to the regular shuffle system.

2 copies
De-Spell
2 copies
De-Spell
2 copies
Mokey Mokey
2 copies
Mokey Mokey
De-Spell
3 copies
Mokey Mokey
3 copies
Mokey Mokey
3 copies
Mokey Mokey

NOTE: Even if the spell is not guaranteed, you are still able to get a spell from the shuffle system.

  1. The remaining cards follow the regular shuffle system.

Second Spell Guaranteed Examples:

2 copies
De-Spell
2 copies
De-Spell
2 copies
Mokey Mokey
2 copies
Mokey Mokey
2 copies
De-Spell
2 copies
De-Spell
Mokey Mokey
Sparks

Second Spell Not Guaranteed Examples:

2 copies
De-Spell
2 copies
De-Spell
Mokey Mokey
Sparks
De-Spell
3 copies
Mokey Mokey
3 copies
Mokey Mokey
3 copies
Mokey Mokey

Calculated Values

This model results in a 30-card grass deck opening at least 2 spells 75.76% of games and opening grass 68.33% going first and 71.99% going second. I would like to emphasize that this model is not unfalsifiable; it is possible that a more accurate model may exist for this skill. However, this is the most accurate model for the time being and I recommend it be used for future reference.

Alternative Applications

The implications of this change means that opening a 3 of spell card is far more consistent than before, especially in a deck with 30 cards. However, the repercussions of a skill like this is that if a strategy revolves around a specific spell card then that strategy can also use (or abuse) spell specialist. Many players have tried increasing the size of their decks to 25 to counter grass (examples from the recent MCS) because milling less cards results in a much weaker strategy, but it is also possible for decks to run spell specialist themselves with higher card counts to counter grass while maintaining consistency. Whether that be Darklords seeing Loading... or Elementsabers seeing Loading... , there are a number of possible strategies that only require one copy of their spell to start playing the game.

Other Skills

The newfound consistency of this skill is worth exploring, but is also notable as it indicates more skills may receive changes without our knowledge. While I cannot entirely confirm it, Trap Layer has reportedly been changed and works similarly to spell specialist, except with traps. Evidence also suggests Heavy Starter and My Monster Cards have been altered, but since the activation requirements of these skills differ an accurate model has yet to be determined.