Flaming Eternity, released back in early 2005, was a solid set that had some useful tools for tournament play. Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys saw some introductory success in the Shonen Jump Championship following it, mainly due to its ease of inclusion in a deck with the Apprentice engine thanks to Hand of Nephthys. While the big Phoenix was certainly a bomb in Sealed Pack and Booster Draft during the Sneak Preview events for Flaming Eternity, the shining star of the weekend was the humble common trap card Good Goblin Housekeeping. It was the one card players strove to open or immediately slam down as a pick in any of the formats: without any restriction on the number they could run, the card could get ridiculous.
Unfortunately, Good Goblin Housekeeping’s success in Sealed didn’t follow it into the Advanced format. It wasn’t because the card wasn’t good enough, however. It was just that the card quickly became Semi-Limited before it could see any play. But why? And why was holding it to two copies per deck such a huge hit to the card’s power?
The concept behind Good Goblin Housekeeping is simple enough. Activate the first copy and you actually lose a card since you have to return one from your hand to the bottom of your deck once you have drawn. However, it still provides a way to see an extra card while replacing a card you’d rather search from your deck, such as that extra Old Vindictive Magician or Nimble Momonga. When you activate the second copy of Good Goblin Housekeeping, you break even in cards and get to sift through the top two cards of your deck. The third one, however, offers an extra card flat out (as well as strong digging power) by letting you draw three and return one from your hand to the bottom of the deck. You’ll ultimately balance out the loss and gain of cards in the long term after you have activated the third copy.
The primary reasoning behind the card’s Semi-Limited status was the pretty nasty synergy it had with cards that could send the activated copy of Good Goblin Housekeeping to the graveyard before its effect resolved. This was typically done via Emergency Provisions. The trick is that, once Good Goblin Housekeeping reaches resolution, it will draw you one card and then an additional card for any copies of Good Goblin Housekeeping in the graveyard. It doesn’t have to be a different copy of the trap, since it just needs to exist within the graveyard for you to draw extra cards. Activating two copies of Good Goblin Housekeeping and then sending them both to the graveyard via Emergency Provisions lets you draw three cards for each resolution of your trap card, giving you fantastic filtering and a few more cards than what you started with before activating the little combo.
The initial release of Good Goblin Housekeeping suffered from some bad timing. Players had been putting up with Emergency Provisions tricks for a while at that point, since Mirage of Nightmare didn’t make its way onto the Forbidden list until Good Goblin Housekeeping appeared. The last thing the game needed from this viewpoint was another draw combo that used a quick-play spell card that removed cards from your field. Mirage of Nightmare became Forbidden, Emergency Provisions became Limited, and Good Goblin Housekeeping took a preemptive cut to two per deck.
The problem with Semi-Limiting Good Goblin Housekeeping, however, was that it effectively destroyed the card’s true playability. What made it a powerhouse card-filtering trick was that you could blow through your deck and activate all three copies of the trap card in a single duel. This would cause you to neither gain nor lose any actual card presence, while giving you some speedy deck-filtering that also let you put key cards back into your deck to search up later (such as Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys). However, without being legal at three copies per deck, you’d ultimately lose precious cards if you activated your two copies. The reward didn’t balance out the long-term cost for playing a pair of Housekeeping, so there was little point in running it.
With the Semi-Limitation lifted on Good Goblin Housekeeping, the card finally has a chance to shine. The Emergency Provisions trick is still legal, and still very powerful. Imagine getting that starting hand of Emergency Provisions and two copies of Good Goblin Housekeeping. While it takes a turn to get it into effect, this lets you filter through more than ten cards of your deck within the first two turns of the game. This is the sort of thing you’d expect from a combo deck, but even a control deck can utilize this trick while still receiving a huge benefit for doing so.
I’ve mentioned this a couple of times already, but it demands emphasis. Putting certain cards back into your deck can be very, very helpful in fixing bad hands. Good Goblin Housekeeping lets you fix situations where you find yourself with too many copies of one particular card. Thunder Dragon, Nimble Momonga, and Volcanic Shell all come to mind when I think of “cards I’d rather be searching out of my deck,” and Good Goblin Housekeeping makes sure that I get them via a search instead of an unlucky draw. Volcanic Shell is (no pun intended) especially explosive with the powerful card-filtering trap, since it also lets you get extra uses out of a Volcanic Shell in your graveyard over a few turns, and can help fuel a couple of useful discard-based effects such as Blaze Accelerator or Lightning Vortex. Thunder Dragon also helps balance out the loss of cards from the first activation of Good Goblin Housekeeping, allowing the two to help each other out. Thunder Dragon uses the fixing that Good Goblin Housekeeping can provide by keeping your hand clear of the dreaded “double Dragon” opening hand, while also keeping your hand fresh and full so that you can pay for the discard costs of certain effects.
It’s rare for me to look at a card and not think about how much better it can be with Mask of Darkness. The little Fiend flip-effect monster works wonders with Good Goblin Housekeeping, allowing you to re-use the trap card once you have filtered through your first and second copies. Being able to use Good Goblin Housekeeping to draw three cards multiple times typically swings games into your favor, since it’s hard for an opponent to beat the extra steam that the re-use of a late-game copy can provide. Even drawing two cards again thanks to Mask of Darkness can enable enough deck-filtering to help find that crucial third copy of Good Goblin Housekeeping to activate.
Good Goblin Housekeeping was one of those cards that was really powerful, but never got its chance to shine when it was released. Now that the card is once again legal at three copies per deck, the old trap finally gets its chance to see the play it rightfully deserves. The deck-filtering or possible extra cards that it can provide when recurred via flip-effect monsters (along with its ability to fix the bad draws of certain decks) will make Good Goblin Housekeeping a sure winner for at least the next six months.