This is the 31st Main Box and was released on November 8th, 2020. Shark Fang was the first Xyz box, introducing the Evilswarm, Gishki and Onomat decktypes and adding Generic and WATER-specific Xyz support.
Konami is still trying to empty the cardpool of early Zexal and the Shark-themed box is the next iteration of that. Except this time they don’t even try to sweeten it up with archetypes that had success in the TCG and instead just put Elemental HERO Stratos in as a selling point.
Tin Goldfish is a card similar to Goblindbergh but with WATER attribute and Machine typing. The Machine Type makes it a possible material for Gear Gigant X and the WATER attribute is also used for some Xyz Monsters like Number 37: Hope Woven Dragon Spider Shark. However, I don’t see Gadgets making an impact and this is not worth going into the box for
Mermaid Shark - This card is actually not bad: It’s a Stratos for Fish-decks and with Shark’s Skill Territory of the Sharks and Silent Angler it’s a 1-card Rank 4! Sadly the Skill locks you into a WATER Main and Extra Deck.
Gogogo Golem - Golden Form gives the Onomat deck a decent Turn 1 card that’s always accessible due to the power of Onomatoplay. It’s not even bad going second because you can just shuffle it back if you don’t need it. As the effect is mandatory, your opponent can force it to negate cards they don’t need, but most decks that rely on monster effects don’t have that luxury. The only ones I can think of off the top of my head are Blackwing - Gale the Whirlwind and Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress (as Lyla is not once per turn).
Number 45: Crumble Logos the Prophet of Demolition is actually not a bad option for future Rank 2 Decks (Think Paleozoics) and it’s only an R
Elemental HERO Stratos - No fish box without bait, so if you haven’t invested in to the Selection Box but want to play HEROs, this is the money card.
Evilswarm gets a cool new boss monster in Evilswarm Bahamut as well as some power tools in Evilswarm Castor and Evilswarm Kerykeion. The problem is Evilswarm is slow enough to be a control deck, but it almost completely lacks the ability to disrupt your opponent. Their big power trap is the non-searchable Infestation Terminus, but banishing your monsters has bad synergy with the monsters’ own effects that encourage Xyz spamming. And Evilswarm Bahamut itself is the ultimate negation bait - good luck actually resolving that effect in a game. Despite its origins as a grindy control deck, Evilswarm looks like it’ll be a deck that relies on sacky Bahamut steals to win games, making it a potential Hey, Trunade! abuser that’s still weaker than other options like Karakuri or even Infernity.
The shark deck is ultimately a kind of wonky engine with some kind of wonky boss monsters. Mermaid Shark is an exceptional search card with loads of great targets, including one from this box in Silent Angler. Mermaid Shark being a level 1 monster, however, really throws a wrench into the whole Xyz spamming strategy. This can be fixed with the Territory of the Sharks skill, but that in turn locks you into exclusively WATER monsters for your Main Deck and Extra Deck, which heavily reduces the utility of this engine. Number 37: Hope Woven Dragon Spider Shark is a very cool Rank 4 that finally has the ability to disrupt your opponent by decreasing their monsters’ ATK by 1000, plus it has a very nice floating effect that is always live. Unfortunately because Mermaid Shark only triggers on Normal Summon, the new shark engine doesn’t have great synergy with existing Fish support like Hammer Shark or Shark Stickers. The shark cards do have some potential to find their way into future WATER decks and Number 37 is a very solid Rank 4 for decks that can make it, but at the moment there just isn’t enough there to make a competent deck.
Number 45: Crumble Logos the Prophet of Demolition is a very interesting Rank 2 option. It has a nice lockdown effect that can really mess with decks that rely on hitting the same monster effect multiple times by negating monsters like Witchcrafter Madame Verre, although its negation effect is not a Quick Effect which limits its utility somewhat. It does have a hefty 2200 ATK for a Rank 2 though, so decks with a lot of Level 2 monsters like Spellbooks will definitely want to include it just for the beatdown potential.
Number 28: Titanic Moth is a generic Rank 7 that can make direct attacks and burn your opponent. This is absolutely begging to be used in Dark Magician decks, who can really abuse its ability to bypass powerful defenders like Invoked Cocytus or Lunalight Sabre Dancer. One copy will pretty much be a necessity for Dark Magician decks.
Adreus, Keeper of Armageddon adds to the fairly powerful Rank 5 pool with a simple targeting destruction effect and a solid 2600 ATK. Not many decks can make Rank 5s easily right now, but Adreus is a great choice for any deck that can, and it’ll be useful in the future.
Whether you should go into this box depends solely on whether you want the HERO reprints or not. Going into HEROs now for the first time seems a bit late to the party as the deck is very much starting to show its age, but if you’re determined to build HEROes, this box is your big chance. Other than that, this box is a disappointing showing. Many of the cards that are most likely to see actual play, like Number 45: Crumble Logos the Prophet of Demolition and Number 28: Titanic Moth are Rs, and the SR and UR cards from Shark Fang just don’t have any solid deck that can justify playing them. If you’re not a HERO fan, this is a safe skip.
The newest main box is upon us, bringing forth a host of Water and Dark support in Sharks boss monster Number 32: Shark Drake, Evilswarms and… Stratos? I mean, ok then Konami, whatever floats your boat… With the last box I asked the question of “so what do you actually do?”, but with this box I find myself asking a different question, an arguably more depressing question, “But is it enough?” It’s clear what these decks “do”, the question is whether this support can make it so that “what they do” is ultimately “enough”.
lswarms received new support in Evilswarm Castor, Evilswarm Kerykeion, and Evilswarm Bahamut - Castor acts (and works the same as) a Ritual Beast Tamer Elder for the deck, granting an additional normal summon if his summon resolves and cannot be interrupted by Fiendish Chain, working alongside Evilswarm Kerykeion to help turbo out their new boss monster Evilswarm Bahamut who can detach to discard an lswarm, target an opponents monster, and steal it. Now, these effects sound fantastic in theory, and with the synergy that exists from prior sets (including cards such as Steelswarm Scout and Infestation Terminus) it would appear to be the set-up for a great deck that now possess a way to contend with the current meta… However, lswarms still have issues in a lack of consistency due to their only searcher being a slow continuous trap, a severe lack of protection is a trap heavy meta making it reliant upon Hey, Trunade!, a lack of a solid first turn play, and being generally too slow to compete with the current meta as Evilswarm Kerykeion takes far too much time to set-up without a consistent Lightsworn engine, which would require trunade and protection to be sacrificed.
Gishki have received new support in Gishki Vision, who can use itself as the entirety of the requirements for a Gishki Ritual Summon as well as discard itself to search any Gishki Ritual monster, and Gishki Abyss who can search any Gishki with 1000 or less defence from the deck on summon. Now, this support is a fantastic boost to the consistency of the deck, with Abyss being able to search Vision, who can then in turn search any Gishki Ritual Monster, or Gishki Shadow to search for Gishki Aquamirror to then be able to out specific threats on the board, such as Invoked Cocytus; I however remain hesitant to say that this will boost Gishki to relevancy, one of Gishki’s core issues is protection and this support does nothing to fix this issue, however the power of Gishki cannot be under-estimated, the decks ability to shuffle monsters into the deck (now possessed by their new Rank 4 Evigishki Merrowgeist when it destroys a monster by battle) alongside the host of WATER support improving their recovery (Salvage and Evigishki Mind Augus) means the improved consistency could yet breathe life into Gishki, making this the prime archetype to look out for from the new box.
The most note-worthy card here is Gogogo Golem - Golden Form, a fantastic addition to the Onomat archetype’s line-up, providing on average a 3k beat-stick that trades in 1500 ATK once per either-players turn for a mandatory monster effect negate; Consistency has never been an issue with the archetype due to their frankly broken skill in Onomatoplay, what the deck lacked was a solid turn 1 play that they could utilise to protect themselves, and Golden Form combined with a generic rank 4/6 (such as Number 39: Utopia or Number 25: Force Focus) gives them a genuinely solid turn 1 set-up that provides great protection, especially when combined with Traps for back-up. In a worst-case scenario Golden Form is a 3000 ATK beatstick that is easily summonable by its archetype and attempts to solve the decks biggest weakness indirectly, rather than improve the quality of the Xyz Monsters, it attempts to protect the Xyz and act as a proxy for making the Xyz good in conjuncture with it, as opposed to just providing good Xyz Monsters. Ultimately, Golden Form is a very powerful addition to the deck, but the question of “is it enough” still lingers in the air.
Adreus, Keeper of Armageddon is a fantastic Rank 5 that serves as a 2600 ATK beater with the very simple effect of detaching a material to pop a face-up card, making it a very solid choice in decks that can easily make Rank 5’s; Maestroke the Symphony Djinn has long-since been powercrept and, like it’s predecessor last box with Wind-Up Zenmaines, might have been fantastic in 2013 / 2014 TCG, but here we are so far beyond that it really serves no purpose. Finally, Number 45: Crumble Logos the Prophet of Demolition can assist in some lockdown strats, however its selection of cards is relatively limited due to it not being a Quick Effect, however it does still have a very solid ATK stat at 2200 for a Rank 2, which itself is very worthy of note.
Overall, I ask myself that question again, “Is it enough?” When answering this question it’s important to think about what the decks were missing in the first place and whether this support can ultimately bridge the power-gaps in these decks and propel them to relevancy - I remain more optimistic than others I feel, which is why I am hesitant to say these decks are completely dead in the water; Onomat now have a solid Turn 1 play, Evilswarm Bahamut is still a fantastic boss monster and Gishki now have incredible consistency, but this support does not solve all of the decks’ issues: with Onomat still lacking Xyz Monsters and lswarm and Gishki still lacking protection, and as such, I would advise you wait before you buy, with boxes as uncertain as this one it is more crucial than ever to hold onto your wallets, or you risk your account / gem balance sinking to the briny depths of the ocean.
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