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Doomkaiser Dragon
Card# CSOC-EN043

Doomkaiser Dragon's effect isn't just for Zombie World duelists: remember that its effect can swipe copies of Plaguespreader Zombie, too!
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Crossroads of Chaos Preview: Secret Village of the Spellcasters
Bryan Camareno
Welcome back to our first week of previews leading up to the Crossroads of Chaos Sneak Preview Weekend! I have the special privilege of reviewing a very powerful and highly anticipated card in the new set: Secret Village of the Spellcasters. Let’s take a quick look at the effect text:

Secret Village of the Spellcasters
Field Spell
If you control a Spellcaster and your opponent doesn’t, your opponent cannot activate spell cards. If you don’t control a Spellcaster, you cannot activate spell cards.

Right off the bat a certain thought comes to mind: "one-sided Imperial Order." Considering the current state of competitive metagames, this card presents a serious threat to the mighty Teleport Dark Armed Dragon. The very essence of TeleDAD is its spells. It does not win without the ability to activate the powerful spells at its disposal. The monsters it employs in its main deck are paltry in terms of ATK (excluding Dark Armed Dragon and Caius the Shadow Monarch). Before we get into this new card’s impact on competitive metagames, let’s focus on how it revives the Spellcaster monster type.

A Brief History of Spellcasters
Spellcasters have long been a favorite archetype of mine and many other fans of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise. (Hardly anyone forgets the sight of Yugi laying the smack-down with Dark Magician on the show.) Spellcasters have gotten support here and there, but they never seemed to shine on their own. Breaker the Magical Warrior is no stranger to any competitive deck. To most he’s a staple because of his built-in Mystical Space Typhoon ability and his sturdy ATK. Injection Fairy Lily is another old-school favorite of mine that has seen play here and there. The price of 2000 life points in exchange for almost half of my opponent’s base life point total is a fair trade in my book. Magician’s Circle upgraded the search capabilities of the Spellcaster deck and changed things a bit. Instead of Spellcasters playing the support role, they now had a tool to take the offensive in their own themed deck. Sadly, only the Gravekeepers were able to take full advantage of Magician’s Circle with mixed success.

The release of Magical Dimension was the next step for the Spellcaster fan hoping to make better use of Dark Magician (and his counterpart Dark Magician of Chaos). Its quick-play status gave the Spellcaster duelist increased flexibility with the field situation. Over time, Dimension’s influence on the game was a novelty at best: useful, but not quite as good as cards from the top decks at the time. With Secret Village of the Spellcasters these long-held beliefs can finally be challenged and I’m confident that they will be overcome. It’s time to build the case for the viability of the Spellcaster archetype.†

The Case for the Archetype
The primary question to address is how Secret Village improves the viability of the Spellcaster archetype. Where do I start?

One unnoticed advantage of the Spellcaster type is the arsenal of high ATK monsters, especially at the non-tribute level. The attack curve of the level-4 monsters seeing play right now caps at 1800 ATK with Elemental Hero Stratos, Gladiator Beast Laquari, and Jain, Lightsworn Paladin (rare exceptions like Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior, Wulf, Lightsworn Beast, Breaker, and Laquari break this curve). Skilled Dark Magician stands firm at 1900 ATK and that ATK rating serves as a foundation for the strength of Secret Village. The primary requirement of the Village is that you have a Spellcaster on the field and your opponent doesn’t. If you fulfill this requirement then you can control your opponent’s ability to change the game via spells. You can do this in a variety of ways. The first is with large Spellcasters that are easy to summon. We’ve already mentioned Skilled Dark, but what other monster cards fit the bill? That’s easy: Gemini Elf and Injection Fairy Lily. Another old-school favorite with a good ATK rating is Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer. Kycoo prevents any attempt at Dark Armed’s removal effect, D.D. Crow, or Destiny Hero - Malicious’s effect. Against TeleDAD, having a large Spellcaster and a Secret Village will usually be enough, but sometimes you want extra insurance. This is where the other Spellcaster cards come in handy.

The first on the list is Magical Dimension because it prevents your opponent from summoning any monsters that could cause you problems on his or her turn. It keeps you safe from cards like Compulsory Evacuation Device and Bottomless Trap Hole. It stops cards like Dimensional Prison or Phoenix Wing Wind Blast from disrupting your monster presence. It can help slightly against TeleDAD, turning a big problem into a smaller one. It’s easy for TeleDAD to sit back while you stop its spells and let you destroy all of its Dark monsters. That’s fuel for Dark Armed Dragon. Once Dark Armed hits the field, the jig is up. It’s going to destroy your Secret Village. What do you do? To prevent it from doing further damage, you could chain Dimension to the activation of Dark Armed’s effect and destroy it while replacing your smaller Spellcaster with a larger one. Ideally, you should strive to have Kycoo face up on the field to prevent any kind of Dark Armed shenanigans.

Magician’s Circle is one offensive weapon that has the added bonus of allowing you to manipulate your opponent’s Spellcasters. Against the typical TeleDAD deck the only Spellcaster you’re likely to see is Breaker. He only hits the field at 1600 ATK while you are equipped with Skilled Dark, Gemini, or even Lily. Against Lightsworn, Magician’s Circle draws out small Lightsworn Spellcasters like Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner and Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress to be picked off. There are other targets for Circle that are equally great: Magical Marionette and Dark Red Enchanter. These two cards have been largely ignored and unfairly so. Magical Marionette under the protection of Secret Village can accumulate quite a few counters. What I like about Marionette is the ATK boost and the option of destroying a monster by trading two counters. Playing Terraforming and Secret Village immediately afterward is a guaranteed destroyed monster if Marionette is already on the field. It’s the ultimate protector of your field: insurance against your opponent’s aspirations of building field presence.

Dark Red Enchanter is another Spellcaster powerhouse I’m fond of. Not only does he gain a good amount of ATK power per counter, but he depletes your opponent’s options at the same time! He keeps your opponent off the field indirectly via hand disruption. Even if you special summon the Enchanter (in which case he won’t begin with any spell counters), your field presence is stronger than with a vanilla 1900 ATK Spellcaster because of Enchanter’s limitless ATK potential. The same logic applies to Marionette. With Marionette and Enchanter controlling your opponent’s field, what about your own? You can build your field with Magical Exemplar. Exemplar, another counter-dependent monster, is built solely for the purpose of keeping you on the field and applying pressure on your opponent’s defenses. Her primary purpose in the new Spellcaster deck is maintaining the condition required by Secret Village in order to gain and/or keep the "one-sided Imperial Order" effect. 

Implications for the Spellcaster Deck
What does this mean for the Spellcaster deck? First, it’s no longer a "fun deck." It can actually be competitive in tournament play. You can build an aggressive and disruptive deck via Dark Red Enchanter, Magical Marionette, Injection Fairy Lily, and such. It would be similar to Gravekeepers in the sense that your primary weapon is a field spell with an amazing effect. Again, getting to the Secret Village should be easy, due to its field spell status and Terraforming.

If you’re not the aggressive type then go the control route. Secret Village is a pure control card. It can be protected by the enormous amount of negation present in the environment today. Solemn Judgment is an obvious pick to protect the Village. Dark Bribe is the next most useful piece of negation. If you’re especially crafty, then you might be thinking of a way to exploit the fact that Spellcasters have a good spread of monsters that are ahead of the curve in terms of ATK strength. Hmmm . . . why not combine your 1900 ATK beatsticks with the services of Skill Drain? It’s annoying as it is, but combined with a 1900 ATK Spellcaster and Village active, and backed by Solemn Judgment to boot? An opening turn that consists of that combination of cards is a recipe for victory.

Final Thoughts
Fans of Spellcaster decks are getting a great treat with the release of Secret Village of the Spellcasters at the upcoming Crossroads of Chaos Sneak Previews.  This card is good, and there are little to no drawbacks to using it. Spellcasters are back!

-Bryan Camareno
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