As the Advanced format changes, whether through the rise of a new deck or a new change to the Forbidden and Limited lists, cards filter in and out of the most commonly played decks. But certain cards remain pretty consistent throughout these changes: generally those used to destroy monsters. Smashing Ground is an example of a card that made it into a wide variety of decks, since most decks that ran it were based on winning via attacking and Smashing Ground not only cleared the route for this goal, but was also a solid piece of monster removal.
Sakuretsu Armor is in the same category, although it is purely limited to monster removal. It’s also reactive, and would only work if the opponent attacks with a monster that is crucial to maintaining his or her field presence. Another issue with Sakuretsu Armor is that it is extremely vulnerable to spell and trap destruction, especially the sort that could destroy a trap card before an opponent’s battle phase. Because of this, it is vulnerable to the now-legal Breaker the Magical Warrior, and is even more vulnerable to the tempo-killing Raiza the Storm Monarch.
Bottomless Trap Hole, on the other hand, isn’t quite as vulnerable as Sakuretsu Armor. It has commonly seen play off and on throughout the past few years due to its ability to quickly and efficiently deal with newly summoned monsters. It also commonly appears alongside Sakuretsu Armor as the second option for monster removal, and sometimes it even replaces Sakuretsu Armor depending on what the player expects to see at his or her next Regional event.
Bottomless Trap Hole is a more powerful and interesting spin on the original Trap Hole, which was about the best you could get in terms of card-for-card monster removal (until the release of cards like Sakuretsu Armor, that is). The difference is that, while Trap Hole would only destroy monsters, Bottomless Trap Hole destroyed monsters and then removed them from play. While the monster (or monsters) that get summoned right before the activation of this trap card need 1500 ATK or greater, this was a more effective form of removal. After all, Premature Burial and Call of the Haunted are commonly played cards and the ability to remove a big monster from play so that they are out of range of the two popular recursion cards was definitely relevant.
Bottomless Trap Hole has always seen play through the past two years. While it’s definitely powerful and can be a lot less reactive than Sakuretsu Armor, it also has the limitation of destroying and removing monsters only with an ATK of 1500 or greater. Against popular recruiter strategies from ages ago (such as decks that search out monsters via Mystic Tomato), Bottomless Trap Hole sits as a primarily dead card. This has also been an issue with the trap not seeing play over the past year due to its inability to remove only the occasional Cyber Dragon against a Gadget deck.
However, while Bottomless Trap Hole hasn’t seen too much main-deck play, the trap remains a commonly popular side-deck option against various decks that rely on special summoning monsters or just summoning larger monsters. Because of cards like Bottomless Trap Hole, monsters like Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys remain relatively underplayed, since losing your big investment monster is extremely painful when a Bottomless Trap Hole effectively negates its beneficial recursion effect. The same goes for a monster like Lava Golem. While activating Bottomless Trap Hole onto a Lava Golem that is summoned to your field will cost you three cards to the opponent’s one, the decks using Lava Golem typically value tempo, and the value they get in terms of life point damage means far more than the three-for-one you are giving them by activating your trap card.
It is this versatility and ability to take down opposing strategies in a way that Sakuretsu Armor cannot that has allowed Bottomless Trap Hole to continuously see play. While Sakuretsu Armor is the better generic removal trick across an average run of formats, Bottomless Trap Hole has always been easier to trigger while also hurting strategies that may have an edge over you. This was especially important when Return from the Different Dimension was really popular, since those decks were typically loaded with large monsters that you didn’t want smashing your face in. Bottomless Trap Hole can be activated when any monsters are summoned, so if you resolve a Bottomless Trap Hole against an activated card like Return from the Different Dimension, it’s not unheard of for an opponent to put almost every monster he or she just summoned back into the removed-from-play zone! After all, Bottomless Trap Hole doesn’t target one monster, and it doesn’t affect just one monster. It affects all monsters with 1500 ATK or greater that were summoned.
And in this new Advanced format—where Breaker the Magical Warrior is once again legal and Raiza the Storm Monarch is still ridiculous—Bottomless Trap Hole can shine brighter than a more reactive card like Sakuretsu Armor.
Monsters like Breaker and Raiza really put a hamper on the playability of Sakuretsu Armor and other battle-phase-only traps. The real strength of Breaker the Magical Warrior has always been picking up traps like Sakuretsu Armor and Mirror Force, since that is what made the monster a near-staple in any deck that relied on attacking (along with the bonus of destroying key continuous cards that can hurt that player’s entire deck). Bottomless Trap Hole gets rid of that Breaker permanently. Raiza the Storm Monarch also takes advantage of opposing reactive cards by forcing the opponent to draw them again. This can be lethal if the player who summoned Raiza has a permanent answer to the expected Sakuretsu Armor put on top of the opposing player’s deck, since it negates that player’s draw phase while also clearing a path for the Monarch player’s 2400 ATK monster to get a direct attack in. Bottomless Trap Hole is another solution to Raiza the Storm Monarch, since it deals with the big Monarch before it can deal too much damage. If your opponent targets your Bottomless Trap Hole, then you can really put a damper onto the possible tempo advantage he or she would have received by bouncing something more reactive back to the top of your deck.
As always, Bottomless Trap Hole is still a solid solution to Mobius the Frost Monarch. The Monarchs are as playable as ever, even with Brain Control on the Limited list, so it’s important to remember what cards are hurt the least when specific Monarchs are summoned.
Bottomless Trap Hole will most likely see more play than it has over the past few months. Right now is the best time to be playing this over the expected reactive removal traps, since Bottomless Trap Hole can survive an early-turn Breaker or Raiza a lot better than Sakuretsu Armor can. Being able to survive these early-game Breakers and Raizas will be crucial to winning with a deck that relies on attacking in this format, so it’s important to know which cards can give you an edge. A face-down Bottomless Trap Hole is one of the best starting plays you can make right now.