Hey there Rulers,
Last week the new set “The Underworld of Secrets” dropped and with it also the long awaited banlist. In today’s article, we will first take a look at the new banlist and after that skim over the set and identify the best cards to watch out for.
As you already might have seen, FoWLibrary now has a Patreon Page. Since Dennis is managing the platform and also added some nice new features lately (check Force of World), the costs to host it all have been steadily increasing over the last two years. FowLibrary therefore seeks your help to support their platform, so that we will also be able to provide you with high quality content in the future. To give you a little motivation to join us as Patrons, there will be a Patreon-only deck feature coming up in the next few days, were I will present you the new Hyde, Solitary Assassin (TUS-068) Ninja deck with some spicy techs and an in-depth gameplay discussion.
This will be followed-up by a Reinhardt, Descendant of the Ethereal King (TUS-078) Ethereal deck feature later that week, so stay tuned!
The new Banlist
Lets go over some of the more interesting new entries of the new banlist (the complete list is available here).
New Banned Cards
Finally The Origin of the Seven Lands (PofA-112) and Warhorse (NWE-011) have been banned. Origin and its favourite first reveal target Dreiwing, Mechanized Wind of Destruction (GRV-040) not only crippled every deck that tried to cheat Will, it also gave the first player who revealed Dreiwing one extra Will, since the second player would not get the Will from Origin’s reveal effect due to Dreiwing. Also Warhorse, which was a very dominant card in last format is now gone. It did not only enable FTKs through counter spells (for example in Aristella, Twin Prince (NWE-057) – see my tournament report from GP Magdeburg), but also was a pain to play against in Machina, the Machine Lord (SKL-087) // Machina, the Mechanical Emperor (SKL-087J) control decks (see Jean-Paul’s article).
Combination Banned Cards
Two good calls were made by the company, to first preemptively ban Reconnaissance Gears (TUS-098) and Squirrel of Solari (NWE-045), which could enable free ramp combos in the new Sechs (TUS-099) & Neun (TUS-095) deck, that resulted in turn two double Deathscythe Chronogear (TUS-102J) + the extra turn. Secondly, Painter Gears (TUS-097) and Back to Nature (GRL-039) were combination banned to prevent a one-Will stone destruction, since Painter Gears can give magic stones an attribute.
Also the new Ninja ruler Hyde, Solitary Assassin (TUS-068) can no longer be used with Mariabella, Sincere Engineer // Heart-to-Heart Talk (ROL-013). Another good call, since setting your first cards face down for free into the <Shinobi> EX Area (which is a new feature for the Ninja deck) would have been very powerful, because some cards have extra effects by just turning them face up.
So after already talking about a few cards of the new set, lets take a look into the best cards from Underworld of Secrets.
Top Cards of The Underworld of Secrets
Since many cards this set are only really useable in their specific theme, it’s hard to compare their power level. I therefore ordered the rulers based on their power level, which I assume they will have after testing each ruler more or less intensively the last days.
In my opinion, the best rulers of this set are Reinhardt, Descendant of the Ethereal King (TUS-078) and Hyde, Solitary Assassin (TUS-068), with Reinhard having a small advantage due to the combination ban of Hyde and Mariabella, Sincere Engineer // Heart-to-Heart Talk (ROL-013).
Reinhardt, Descendant of the Ethereal King (TUS-078) brings with him the new Ethereal resonators and the <Possession> EX Area, where he can place Ethereals if they would go to the graveyard. Those resonators not only have effects when they leave the field, but also have continuous effects in the <Possession> EX Area, that can support your gameplan. For example the Ethereal Defense Trooper (TUS-027) prevents 400 damage each time when damage would be dealt to you.
His Contract Soul Absorption (TUS-082) allows us to put as many Ethereals into our <Possession> EX Area as possible. If we have at least three Ethereals there, we can put his J-ruler side The Ethereal King (TUS-082J) into the field. And he brings a win condition by himself. Having swiftness naturally, he brings an Ethereal resonator from the <Possession> EX Area into the field while also giving it swiftness. Furthermore, whenever an Ethereal resonator attacks, we can also recover our Ethereal King, to continue attacking and flood the board with Ethereals from our <Possession> EX Area.
One of Reinhardt, Descendant of the Ethereal King (TUS-078)‘s best cards is Ethereal Lamentations (TUS-065), which gains huge card advantage and empties our opponent’s hand. Another great card is Dexia, Ethereal Twin Prince (TUS-062), which not only triggers our other Ethereal abilites an additional time, but also increases our maximum number of cards which we can put into our <Possession> EX Area (Reinhardt lets you start with 2 spaces, you get 1 more when you use Child of the Ethereal Moon (TUS-025). The last of his support cards I want to mention is Waterfront Demon (TUS-035), which is not only a free sac outlet for any resonator, but he also gets [+100/+100] counters whenever he banishes resonators and can even be revived from the graveyard by banishing an Ethereal resonator from the field.
Hyde, Solitary Assassin (TUS-068) introduces the second new area, the <Shinobi> EX Area, where cards can be placed face down by paying one void Will (The combination ban with Mariabella, Sincere Engineer // Heart-to-Heart Talk (ROL-013) makes sure we do not get that for free). Hyde herself allows us to play any card from the <Shinobi> EX Area. And like you might have guessed… those cards will most likely be Ninja resonators or Ninjutsu chants. The nice gimmick of those cards in the <Shinobi> EX Area is that some have effects when you flip them face up.
Her Contract Rocket Dive (TUS-079) needs to be played from the <Shinobi> EX Area, to be able to contract into our J-ruler Pink Spider (TUS-079J). It also helps increasing the size of our <Shinobi> EX Area by one space. That is needed, because Pink Spider literally doubles our hand, by allowing us to place any number of cards from our hand into the <Shinobi> EX Area and then drawing the same amount of cards. Of course she gives us an additional space before, so we can make sure that we can really double our hand size.
With 800 ATK, 1100 DEF, drain and bane, she will most likely not win games on her own, so we have to rely on other cards to win the game. One of the most important cards is her Cocoon Iga, Village of Assassins (TUS-069). It is not only free for one turn before we have to banish it or put it into our <Shinobi> EX Area, but it also gives all our Ninjas and Ninjutsus quickcast, wherever they are. Another important piece of the engine is Rusty’s Fox (TUS-009). We can play it for only one Will from our <Shinobi> EX Area, and it draws a card and fills the emptiness it left in the <Shinobi> EX Area with another card. It also deals 300 damage for each card in the <Shinobi> EX Area for each card we have in there whenever we flip it face up. If we are still missing the right cards after replacing our whole hand from contracting, Glowing Spider (TUS-001) is able to draw 3+ cards easily, because it draws us a card and gains 200 ATK/DEF for each card in our <Shinobi> EX Area, while being a 1000 ATK/DEF body most of the time. And all that for only one light Will.
The deck has way more tricks in its arsenal, so be sure to click that Patreon button, select a Tier and enjoy an in-depth deck feature about our new Ninja ruler coming soon!
Way weaker compared to our first two rulers comes the rest of the new rulers. I would argue that T2 takes that first spot. Metal Lifeform: T2 (TUS-076) introduces the new Metal Lifeforms race and its Fusion mechanic, which basically allows you to equip Metal Lifeforms as additions to one another to form a gigantic boss monster. The target those additions are attached to also gets all the stats, symbol skills and other abilities of the lifeforms attached. His Contract Metamorphosis (TUS-077) allows you to just contract him, and as he enters the field with an already big 1300/1300 body. He also attaches all Metal Lifeforms (with different names) from the graveyard and removed area to it. Speaking of the removed area, his Cocoon Deathmetal, Sea of Metal (TUS-061) is able to draw two cards and then we have to remove two cards from our hand from the game. The nice thing is that we get one water or fire Will for each Metal Lifeform removed this way. So we can directly contract after that and can make sure we have many lifeforms to attach to our J-ruler Dendrobium (TUS-077J) to give it all the necessary symbol skills. You could even combo it with the Child of the Water Moon (NWE-024) to bounce the Cocoon back to hand to replay it and fill the removed area with even more Metal Lifeforms.
Initially Deathmetal, Sea of Metal (TUS-061) looked quite concerning when combined with the older Homeland Cocoon rulers, because it would allow them to potentially start their turn with 3 Will, due to the first recovery phase of every player being skipped and therefore also the step were unused Will ceases to exist. Fortunately this issue has been adressed with the new CR under point 503.1 :
503.1. If this is the first turn for the turn player, skip the recovery phase and all produced wills cease to exist.
Now the first recovery phase is skipped and also all Will ceases to exist.
Next we have Ki Lua, Fossil Girl of Melted Ice (TUS-070). She starts the game with four ice counters, which are needed for some of her support cards. She also draws a card every time an ice counter is removed from her, which helps her keep up a healthy handsize. Once all the ice counters are gone, she is able to contract with her Contract chant Divine Lightning (TUS-063) into Predator (TUS-063J).
When Predator enters the field it puts a Dinosaur from your graveyard into the field, but you have to banish it at the end of the turn. One of her best targets might be her boss monster Grandleon, Strongest Ancient (TUS-067), which also has abilities to put itself into the graveyard from hand. This is one of the first Contracts which can be played for free because of its Mastery ability. Besides contracting, it also has two other modes which make this card the best contract we have seen so far. On the one hand it can either act as a Gradius (ADW-022), in order to negate the effect of a J-resonator and dealing 800 damage to it. On the other hand this card is one of the few, that can negate ruler effects. And not only that… it also prevents contracting of that ruler until the end of the turn. So this is like a free cancel for Contract heavy decks. Also keep in mind that other important ruler abilities, like for example Hyde, Solitary Assassin (TUS-068)‘s ability to play cards from her <Shinobi> EX Area, are also negated.
The rest of her support package looks pretty straightforward though. Meaning that it will most likely act as a beatdown deck using some cheap beatsticks like Permafrost Monster (TUS-022) (which is a Cthulhu and can be paid with Umr at-Tawil, Keymaster of Outer World (MSW-096)). I haven’t tested her that much yet, but I can imagine she can also bring some more controlly elements with her… maybe based around Mosasaurus (ADK-076).
Reflect and Refrain
The second worst in my opinion and the first tag rulers of this set are Reflect, Resident of Wanderers’ Castle (TUS-044) and Refrain, Resident of Wanderers’ Castle (TUS-008). Like the old Reflect, Child of Potential (TTW-063) // Refrain, Child of Convergence (TTW-063J) from The Twilight Wanderer set, these two tag rulers also rely on accumulating magic counters on their ruler/J-ruler side.
To support that, they have come with many cards that generate magic counters. The best in terms of magic counter production are Wanderers’ Castle (TUS-085) and Magical Power Piggy Bank (TUS-042). Another cards thats pretty good in that manner is Phoenix of Megiddo (TUS-007). While it just discards itself for one white Will to put one magic counter on your J/ruler, it returns to the field from the graveyard, when a contracted J-ruler enters your field. With flying and drain it brings some useful symbol skills, while also getting +400/+400 for each magic counter on J/rulers you control.
Each of the twins also brings their own Contract with Mastery and two modes to the field. With Wanderers’ Magical Storm (TUS-087) you can directly search both Contracts with one card to your hand. Reflect, Resident of Wanderers’ Castle (TUS-044)‘s Contract Memory of Worlds (TUS-043) removes any spell from the game, but the opponent can still play it from there until end of game. To contract Reflect, you must remove a spell from game which was not played from the hand. This can be the spell you removed before with another Contract chant for example, or something Hyde, Solitary Assassin (TUS-068) played from the <Shinobi> EX Area. If it’s too hard for you to remove something from your opponent, you can also remove a card you casted yourself. The first thing that comes to mind here would be Rogue Spectator (GRL-021), since it’s always available from your sideboard. Reflect’s J-ruler side then acts as another magic counter creator. Although it’s only on your turn, once per turn you can put a magic counter a J/ruler you control to choose between three powerful effects. The first one gives a J/resonator +600/+600, eternal and barrier, the second one draws a card while the third one recovers an entity you control.
To make use of all those counters generated, we now take a look at the other twin and her Contract Launch of Megiddo (TUS-004). It also has two modes and can recover your light or wind J/ruler while also drawing a card, or you can directly contract it with Refrain, Resident of Wanderers’ Castle (TUS-008). Refrain acts as the opposite of Reflect, Resident of Wanderers’ Castle (TUS-044) and can only use her ability in your opponent’s turn. To activate it you remove X magic counters and then can choose one of three effects. The first one destroys X target non-magic stone entities, the second one cancels a card with total cost X, while the third one gains you X000 life.
From my first few tests, the deck kinda lacks a card advantage engine and the powerful support of the moonchild rulers and that is why I would place them this low.
Sechs and Neun
With the recent combination ban of Reconnaissance Gears (TUS-098) and Squirrel of Solari (NWE-045), our second pair of tag rulers lost quite some playability for me. To play Sechs (TUS-099) and Neun (TUS-095), we have to take a heavy restriction for deckbuilding into account, because we are only allowed to play nine different cards in the main deck. Which then comes down to 7 cards + 4 Twin Deathscythe, Severing Scythe (TUS-102) + 8 Chronopawns (NWE-088) or Painter Gears (TUS-097). Sechs also brings the strong Homeland (Solaris) ability with him, which allows you to start the game with a Solaris addition in play. One of those is the new The Damascus Moon (TUS-101), which negates all abilities of additions with equal or more than one attribute.
My initial build of this deck played with Charlotte, Last Hope of Attoractia (ENW-037) to make all your chants cheaper and generate extra Will with Gears Recycling (TUS-091), Gearsification (NWE-091) and Reconnaissance Gears (TUS-098) revealing Squirrel of Solari (NWE-045), to then have free searches with Sech’s Return from Retirement (TUS-100) and in the end play two Contracts in one turn as early as turn one or two if you drew well. But the combination ban prevented that Will cheating… fortunately I guess.
Contrary to Reflect, Resident of Wanderers’ Castle (TUS-044) and Refrain, Resident of Wanderers’ Castle (TUS-008), this deck only has a single Contract, which first contracts with Sechs (TUS-099) and if you control the J-ruler Deathscythe Chronogear (TUS-102J) already, it then contracts with Neun (TUS-095) instead. The Contract must be played with Will from gears entities like Satellite Crystal (NWE-104) though, and it acts as a counter spell and must counter the targeted spell to successfully contract. So cards like Child of the Fire Moon (NWE-013) can be used to counter that. The J-ruler Deathscythe Chronogear is pretty powerful. Not only does it negate all your opponent’s J/resonator abilities, but it can also destroy J/resonators for two void Will, or one void Will if you control both your Deathscythe Chronogears. If you control both, they also gain +1000/+1000 and barrier each, representing a total of 4000 flying damage on board. The most powerful thing though, is that the second Deathscythe Chronogear gains an enter ability, which allows you to remove nine cards with different names from your deck to gain an extra turn. To make sure you always have at least nine different cards in the deck, you can play Reconnaissance Gears (TUS-098) to shuffle gears from outside the game into your deck, or use Neun’s Return from Retirement (TUS-096) to shuffle cards from your graveyard back into your deck.
All in all I think the deck is not that bad, but the heavy deckbuilding restriction and the combination ban pushed the deck back compared to the other decks.
I think this set will shake up the meta quite a bit. I hope this article gave you a brief overview of what to expect. Stay tuned for some deck features the next days and consider supporting The Fow Library on Patreon if you like the content. If you like to discuss more on specific things or want to propose new topics for articles feel free to leave a reply via the comment section below, or contact me via Discord (#largio1476), or use the contact form on the website.
As always keep playing and enjoy brewing awesome stuff.