Thursday, 12 July 2012

Don't Space Out

Apologies for the terrible pun, but this article is about our good friend MST.
Mystical Space Typhoon may be one of the most versatile Spells in the game. It's close to Book of Moon as most versatile, in my opinion. The ability to instantly pop a backrow cannot be underestimated, and for a long time Mystical Space Typhoon was Limited due to its power. Times have changed, however, and we saw MST go from 1, to 2, and finally at 3. Being able to play Mystical Space Typhoon at 3, however, opens up a certain phenomenon that Alex and myself refer to as the 'Backrow Paradox'. If you open with two backrows, say a Solemn Warning and a Mirror Force, do you set two and risk losing them to a Heavy Storm? Or do you set one and have no protection after your opponent plays Mystical Space Typhoon?

It's easy to say that you'd rather set two because there are three Mystical Space Typhoons in most decks compared to one Heavy Storm. But losing two backrows puts you at a severe early game disadvantage. I have spoken elsewhere about how having your opponent Heavy two cards on their first turn has its advantages for you, but speaking strictly in terms of card advantage, it's not desirable. This paradox exists because we are in a format where Mystical Space Typhoon and Heavy Storm coexist at their full strength.

However, we're seeing a move away from Mystical Space Typhoon. The winner of the European WCQ only ran 2 MSTs in his deck. The reason for this was because recently, many 'no-Trap' decks have risen to the forefront. Traps are powerful, for sure, but they are often slow and clutter the deck. It's easy to get carried away with power cards like Bottomless Trap Hole. Chaos Dragons and variants of Monster Mash choose to forgo Traps. For this reason, Mystical Space Typhoon has dropped in usage.

But the irony here is that as Card X, the counter to Card Y drops in usage, it's more viable to run Card Y. We can apply this to the metagame in general, such as the recent Wind-Up phenomenon.

Increase in Maxx C -> Decrease in Wind-Ups -> Decrease in Maxx C -> Increase in Wind-Ups -> Increase in Maxx C

The cyclical nature of the metagame means that I could just be speculating in an uncertain period. However, there's no denying that the introduction of Chaos Dragons as well as Monster Mash being played more often has led to the decrease in Mystical Space Typhoon usage, and that those decks are here to stay. But with the decrease in Mystical Space Typhoon, isn't it more viable to run Trap-heavy decks focused on control such as Rabbit Control Wind-Ups or Dino Rabbit or even Gravekeepers? It's an interesting question for sure, and with no major tournaments left for this format, it may be a question that goes unanswered.

So, next time you draw a Mystical Space Typhoon, think about the influence that that little green piece of cardboard has over the metagame. And appreciate what you have, because you never know, come September 2012, you could be searching for a new deck...

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