Being trapped and unable to control one’s actions is a truly terrible feeling. As I write this, I’m currently experiencing the sensation of entrapment by suffering through one my more boring college classes. (I usually like my classes, but in this case, I feel cornered.) As in real life, being constrained and limited in one’s options can be very frustrating when playing the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG. Some cards out there can limit a player’s actions, allowing the player who uses them achieve his or her winning strategy while the opponent is completely bogged down and helpless.
The trap Gravity Bind can easily hamper an overly aggressive opponent. Ideally, you should lull him or her into a false sense of control before springing it. Nothing is more shocking than having a level 4 or higher monster suddenly become unable to finish its attack. In the past, it was not uncommon to see decks based around Gravity Bind. While other lockdown cards usually promoted a non-aggressive stance, Gravity Bind was different. There are a number of monsters that, with the right support, can dominate a battlefield under the effects of this continuous trap. Injection Fairy Lily, Dream Clown, and Mataza the Zapper are some examples. Of course, Gravity Bind is not without its drawbacks, and, as a trap, is easy prey for cards like Jinzo and Royal Decree.
One way to sidestep that problem is to use spell cards that help control the duel and slow it down. One such card is Messenger of Peace, which, for the paltry price of 100 life points per turn, stops any monster with a 1500 ATK or higher from attacking. Such a card is integral to a strategy involving an alternate win condition, such as gathering all five pieces of Exodia the Forbidden One, waiting 20 turns for the effect of Final Countdown, or trying to directly burn your opponent’s life points away with various effects that do not involve attacking. Unlike Gravity Bind or other continuous effects, Messenger of Peace gives you the option to keep its effect going. If you feel that there’s some advantage to attacking and you want to abandon your lockdown strategy, you don’t have to pay the required 100 life points. Then you can go ahead and destroy it at will. You can even splash it in to your side deck in case you are facing an overly aggressive opponent. You might even trick him or her into thinking you sided in an alternative win condition (like using burn cards), and force him or her into committing an error.
The Dark Door is another card in our lockdown arsenal that can seriously slow down an opponent’s assault. It essentially nullifies the advantage of a substantial field presence, since either player can only attack with one monster per battle phase. Numerical superiority becomes obsolete while The Dark Door is active. Of course, a single monster that can attack twice (or even more) can still do so while this spell card is out. So, if you happen to have, say, Armed Samurai - Ben Kei equipped with two copies of Axe of Despair and Mage Power, then feel free to attack multiple times. With The Dark Door out, your opponent might try to alleviate the mounting frustration by constantly summoning or setting monsters he or she may have. You can take advantage of this by keeping this continuous spell out for as long as possible, so you can set up your opponent with a well timed Ceasefire or even Torrential Tribute.
Those who favor lockdown tactics, but also like to attack, can turn to Vengeful Bog Spirit. This card rewards the long-term planner: it simply stops any monster that was flip summoned, normal summoned, or special summoned from attacking in the same turn they were summoned. By playing this card, you can force your opponent to start setting monsters in the hopes eventually destroying Vengeful Bog Spirit and then making several flip summons. Of course, you can capitalize on this with cards like Nobleman of Crossout to remove those set monsters from play. You can also use Book of Moon on a monster that has been face up for a while, forcing your opponent to flip summon it and putting it under the constraints of Vengeful Bog Spirit once more.
Nightmare’s Steelcage is a great way to keep your opponent from attacking while you execute a complex strategy. It makes for some excellent short-term delay, and can give you valuable time to draw that card or pull off that effect that firmly keeps the duel in your favor. Whether it’s something as massive as summoning three Fiends in order to bring out Raviel, Lord of Phantasms or trying to bring out all five members of the Dark Scorpion Gang, Nightmare’s Steelcage provides the benefits of protection and stalling with virtually no risk to you.
Finally, since I’m talking about cards that can stop or limit your opponent’s attacks, this article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Swords of Revealing Light. Being able to reveal your opponent’s set monsters and giving you time to recover for 3 turns makes this spell card a popular choice among players everywhere.
Well, that’s all for this week. As always, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or comments. Thank you all for reading, and I hope all of your games are fun ones!