This is the 31st Mini Box and was released on December 9th, 2020. introduces the Battlin’ Boxer archetype and adding support for the Fire King, Hazy Flame, and Laval Archetypes.
Despite only getting one piece of direct support in this box, Fire Kings are very happy to finally receive the linchpin of their strategy in Fire King Avatar Arvata. Arvata can negate monster effects and destroy FIRE monsters in your hand, giving the Fire King strategy some much needed disruption that also helps set up their plays. On top of that, Arvata can destroy any FIRE monster in your hand, giving him synergy with generic FIRE Attribute floaters like Nine-Tailed Fox, Brushfire Knight and Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Caribou. Ultimately the Fire King deck itself still has a lot of weaknesses due to a low offensive cap, lack of protection and slow gameplay, but with Fire King Avatar Arvata they’ll at least finally be at their full power.
This long-dormant deck also gained their big boss monster in Hazy Flame Basiltrice. Basiltrice has a nice targeting banish effect, and if you manage to equip enough Xyz materials to it via Hazy Pillar and Hazy Flame Hydra you can give it Invoked Cocytus levels of protection. That said, the combo required to get Basiltrice the requisite 5 materials is way too slow and fragile to be viable. Hazy Flame Basiltrice may show up as a niche removal option in decks that can make it without disrupting their main strategy, but Hazy Flame overall will likely not be able to rise to the challenge of the meta with such a slow and one-note game plan.
Unfortunately there’s not much to talk about here. Battlin’ Boxers are FIRE Warrior-Type monsters with generic effects that are almost universally underwhelming. The deck doesn’t really have a coherent gameplan - while setup effects like Battlin’ Boxer Headgeared and Battlin’ Boxer Switchitter are good in a vacuum, neither of them have any useful targets. To top it off, the deck’s boss monster Number 79: Battlin’ Boxer Nova Kaiser is woefully terrible, acting as nothing more than a 2500 ATK beater who floats back into his materials. The one card from this archetype that might see some play is Battlin’ Boxer Veil, a defensive hand trap that may sneak into stall decks. Other than that, this is almost completely meme tier.
A handful of solid generic cards landed in Rage of Volcano. We finally got access to Rekindling, a ridiculous power card for FIRE archetypes that can take advantage of it. Lavals especially love to make big power plays with Rekindling, and this card will only get stronger as time goes on. The Rank 5 toolbox also saw some nice additions in Tiras, Keeper of Genesis and Number 61: Volcasaurus. While there aren’t really any decks that focus on churning out Rank 5 monsters, the game now has a healthy toolbox of strong options for any decks that choose to go that route. Lastly we got Vylon Disigma, a Rank 4 with a high upfront cost but a crazy strong payout. Disigma takes a whopping 3 Level 4 monsters, but it lets you suck up an opponent’s monster and then automatically destroy any monsters that it battles that have the same Attribute as the sucked up monster. This, on top of a solid 2500 ATK, can make Disigma a win condition on its own if you can resolve it. Rank 4 spam decks like Tellarknights and Onomat are definitely going to be experimenting with this card as their closer.
The metagame right now is historically weak, with nearly every top deck having been very heavily nerfed on the past banlist, and Konami missed an opportunity to usher in a new era of powerful decks. There are some good cards individually in this box, but nothing that will build a competent deck or significantly augment the existing decks in the meta. There’s a chance that Fire King Avatar Arvata or Vylon Disigma make this box worth going into, but definitely wait to find out before making any investment.
After the most destructive banlist probably in the entire history of Duel Links, if there was ever a box that would let us all wistfully go “out with the old and in with the new!”… This is not that box, not in the slightest, with prior boxes I always asked myself a question, and with the core of this box I do the same, here the question is a simple “if”, “IF I can get to this point it’s good, but can I even get there?”.
Hazy Flames (affectionately called “Hazy’s”) are an archetype of fire monsters where all of the main deck monsters share the effect of “Your opponent cannot target this card with card effects”, a very good inherit protection effect making them naturally resistant to pretty much all of the backrow Duel Links can throw at them, there new strategy will be relying on the synergy between their new spell card Hazy Pillar to summon Hazy Flame Peryton to summon 2 Hazy’s from the deck and go into their new boss monster Hazy Flame Basiltrice who gains cumulative effects based on the amount of Xyz materials equipped. Whilst this may sound good in theory, the deck possesses innumerable problems; 1) the decks main combo to summon Hazy Flame Basiltrice can only get her up to 3 materials immediately, and whilst a combo does exist to get her to 5 immediately (Hazy Pillar into Peryton) whilst their XYZ rests on only 3 materials it DOES NOT possess the targeting immunity the others do, making her vulnerable to an instant Karma Cut; 2) All Hazy Flame monsters have very weak stat lines, making them vulnerable to just getting run over by battle most of the time; 3) With Desperado being the best deck in the format right now, non-targeting removal still destroys the Hazy strategy in its entirety. Ultimately, if their boss monster can get to 5 materials it effectively becomes a Invoked Cocytus but bigger and banishes, which sounds good in theory, but unlike the monster it is being equated to it takes much more effort to summon and is woefully inconsistent.
Fire Kings’ newest support comes in Fire King Avatar Arvata, a walking negate that casually goes +1 by destroying another FIRE monster in your hand or on the field and then reviving a FIRE Beast, Beast-Warrior, or Winged Beast monster in your Graveyard if it is destroyed, but the monster has its effects negated and is destroyed during the end phase. Ah Fire Kings, with Invoked Cocytus around you never stood a chance, and even with Arvata, who is easily the best card in the entire box you may still not stand a chance; within its archetype Arvata being able to destroy cards in your hand or on the field sets-up Fire Kings for their destructive board wipes, setting up Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys to wipe backrow or setting up Fire King High Avatar Garunix for board clears, with all pieces except Nephthys being searchable by their field spell, but there’s just 1 small problem with the Fire King strategy… Well, several: 1) Karma Cut exists, 2) Noble Arms of Destiny exists, 3) Giving the opponent Desperado Barrel Dragon is a bad idea - Fire Kings certainly have an uphill battle in the current meta, but with the addition of other generic cards such as Rekindling and their synergy with Diamond Dire Wolf, it may well be possible that there’s a FIRE in them yet, I know I just kinda laughed at them, but I won’t count them out just yet because of the sheer power of Arvata and the multiple ways the deck has to bring him out.
There is only 1 card in this whole archetype that even warrants a mention, and that’s Battlin’ Boxer Veil who effectively acts as Parry Knights but worse. However, for those of you who are not in possession of Sphere Kuriboh, consider this card as a free to play alternative due to him effectively stopping 2 attacks. As for the rest of this archetype, trying to understand what it does seems to be an exercise in futility, the deck is focused on surviving through its mediocre battle protection, culminating in their boss monster which is basically just a 2700 ATK vanilla that floats back into it’s materials and does nothing else, it can’t even swarm effectively, being reliant upon their archetypal monster reborn to do it for them.
As many people have noted, Rekindling is effectively a Soul Charge for FIRE Attribute monsters with 200 DEF or less, which makes it absolutely incredible and probably the second best card in this box - it’s synergy with Fire Kings and Fire Fists (with very light hazy synergy) give them huge comeback potential… IF you survive long enough to trigger it, and also providing you have the Extra Deck to accommodate it; this card undoubtedly has massive future potential, but for now I remain skeptical of how it will actually perform in the meta, the same goes for Coach Soldier Wolfbark, he’s effectively Junk Synchron for Fire Fists and Fire Kings, but we might not have the resources to utilize him effectively.
As for the generic Xyz’s, Tiras, Keeper of Genesis improves Onomat-’s Rank 5 line up and gives them some stall and control capabilities, acting as a sort of “wall” against Cyber Dragons for decks that can make a Rank 5 - Vylon Disigma‘s removal is certainly powerful but the material cost may be too prohibitive, but he is basically the new Tellarknight boss monster now in place of Stellarknight Delteros - Battlin’ Boxer Cheat Commissioner could be funny in Stromberg - and Number 61: Volcasaurus is a great Rank 5 that pops a card and burns for half of the monster’s original ATK.
My question remains: IF Fire Kings can set up their board wipe combo, they are very powerful in a Cocytus-free meta, IF Hazy’s can get 5 materials on their boss monster it becomes a powerful force… But can they? In a meta full of Karma Cut, Fiendish Chain (which can negate Hazy Flame Basiltrice pre-emptively), Sphere Kuribohs and Floodgate Trap Holes, it is hard to see how effective these strategies will be in the current meta; suffice to say, this box is looking less like a volcano, and more like a dumpster fire.
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