If you caught the newest Advanced format list, you may have noticed a few heavy changes. Aside from the ridiculous cards being Forbidden once again (So long Snatch Steal. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!), one of the more surprising changes was the movement of cards like Nobleman of Crossout up to two copies per deck.
Why is this so surprising? Nobleman of Crossout is essentially a staple, right?
Wrong. Nobleman of Crossout is one of the more subtly powerful spell cards in the game. It is the original face-down hate card. Nailing Magician of Faith with Nobleman of Crossout was simply huge years back, and today the spell card is commonly seen removing multiple copies of Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive or Gravekeeper’s Spy from play. Nobleman of Crossout was at its prime when Tsukuyomi was not restricted to any number of copies per deck, as the two when used together turned the spell card into monster removal at its finest.
That was a while ago. Since then, Nobleman of Crossout has commonly been at one copy per deck while Tsukuyomi has been Forbidden from tournament play. However, that didn’t hinder Nobleman’s ability to completely demolish control decks that relied on face-down monsters. This applied even moreso to flip effect monsters. But this has also meant that sometimes, Nobleman of Crossout just isn’t good enough.
Take a look at the coverage for the past few Shonen Jump Championships. One of the more popular decks is Machine beatdown, along with Trooper-fueled and more pro-active spins on the Monarch control deck, and the Destiny Hero-engine strategies. The problem with Nobleman of Crossout is its ability to hit only face-down monsters, meaning that against decks like these, you are probably winning already if you have the card in your deck. After all, the decks I mentioned are highly aggressive and are more bent on using face-up monsters. At SJC Indy, you will notice that many players who Top 16’d the tournament actually didn’t even include Nobleman of Crossout in their main decks. Some decided to ditch it entirely, without even including it in their side decks! Clearly, this once-powerful spell card has seen better days.
However, as of September 1st, 2007, Nobleman of Crossout will be at two copies per deck once again. The trend of not playing it will likely break, and two copies of the powerful spell card will become a common sight among decks at every Regional and Shonen Jump Championship. After all, the new Advanced format Forbidden and Limited list changes a lot of things, and these changes will lead to Nobleman of Crossout being a real powerhouse for the next few months.
Not only did Tactical Evolution bring one of the best flip effect monsters in the game into Apprentice engines, but Magician of Faith was brought off of the Forbidden list. With the magical little beast legal, there is bound to be a resurgence of Monarch-based control decks running off of the much more powerful Apprentice engine, since Apprentice Magician now has the ability to find spell recursion via Magician of Faith, card filtering via Crystal Seer, and monster removal via Old Vindictive Magician. The huge increase in tournament viability that the Apprentice engine received is reason enough to see two copies of Nobleman of Crossout in many decks once September comes along.
The biggest reason for the increase in Apprentice engine popularity (and Nobleman of Crossout popularity) comes from the newly Limited status of Smashing Ground and Fissure. Since the two primary face-up removal cards are now down to one copy per deck, the easiest way to remove face-up monsters has become traps like Sakuretsu Armor. Since Sakuretsu Armor and other cards like it are traps, the ability to remove face-up monsters has become a much slower process. In order to deal with opposing Monarchs, players must run these in order to effectively destroy the threats as they hit the field, which will allow the player who used a trap card to follow up with a threat of his or her own. Plays like “Play Smashing Ground, summon a monster, bash you” have been significantly reduced by the new list, so games with face-up monsters like Monarchs will become much slower than they previously were. This allows for face-down monsters to become more dominant in the new format: the type of environment where having two copies of Nobleman of Crossout can be an absolute blessing.
If only one Nobleman of Crossout was allowed in this format, a Monarch-based control deck or any deck needing to buy time could easily get away with running two copies of Apprentice Magician, one Magician of Faith, three copies of Crystal Seer, and three copies of Old Vindictive Magician. That last Spellcaster is especially brutal right now with normal spell removal becoming scarcer and trap-based monster removal becoming better. Old Vindictive Magician as your set monster for the turn is certainly fine: he will either be flip summoned to destroy what your opponent sets before being tributed off to a Monarch, or he will keep your opponent’s field clear of any threats if he or she attacks into him. With Nobleman of Crossout at two copies per deck, running three copies of any flip effect like this can be downright devastating if one of those Crossouts hits one of your flip monsters. Setting Old Vindictive Magician like I mentioned without trying to bait out a Nobleman of Crossout can completely destroy you if your removal monster gets crossed out, so going down to one or two copies is a lot more realistic since it won’t leave your entire monster line-up vulnerable to one resolved spell.
It’s not like Nobleman of Crossout doesn’t have any bizarre and off-the-wall strategies that can be utilized thanks to its two-copy-per-deck limit and the lack of normal spell face-up removal. Slate Warrior is an underused flip effect monster that shares synergy with the removed-from-play area since it is a Fiend. A beatdown deck for the new format can include copies of Slate Warrior as a solid beatstick with Bazoo the Soul-Eater or even Dark Necrofear as a way to remove cards like the 1900 ATK flip effect monster from play for a Return from the Different Dimension finish. Thanks to Nobleman of Crossout being pushed up to two copies per deck, it’s actually a realistic play for you to set your Slate Warrior and then remove it from play with your own Nobleman of Crossout so that you can fuel a Return from the Different Dimension in the same turn! Situations like these won’t come up often, but with Nobleman of Crossout at two copies per deck instead of one, you can get away with using some of your face-down monster removal to set this up.
Nobleman of Crossout at two copies per deck is perhaps one of the most important changes to this list, other than the Forbidden status of cards like Ring of Destruction. It is a card that players take for granted, and is a spell that has had an unfortunate lack of play since it just wasn’t good enough for a majority of this past face-up focused format. However, once September 1st rolls around, you can expect this powerhouse spell to make its way into almost every deck based around winning via battle, since it is one of the most important cards to use against an Apprentice engine that will likely see a lot of play in the near future. Nobleman of Crossout will have its time to shine once again after many months of sitting on the sidelines, out of many players’ decks.