Digimon COTD

Digimon COTD: Toy March

Toy March Digimon Battle Evolution Option card

Toy March—They just keep going…and going…and going…

What’s good about it: You pick one of any 4 effects that stay permanently for the game. The flip effect means no need for Gazimon. This benefits the need to know what card comes next (for either player), for use with cards that lock powerful effects behind that knowledge, plus your own ability to have an extra card for support, and never be surprised by a cornered opponent who uses a top-deck support. The hand reveal effect means no need to attach Research. Opponents who keep large hands will have a hard time surprising, and changes the strategy phase to remove risk. The draw 2 effect relieves the burden of needing Purity Crest attach or similar. This keeps a medium or high hand staying high all game. The max hand limit remover means not needing to evolve to JijimonEbemon rapidly. High-hand or conservative decks can continue to accrue better possibilities without hitting a wall. Read more

Digimon COTD: Bigmamemon M

Bigmamemon—One bean to rule them all…

What’s good about it: There’s so much. Their HP is at 2600—a number befitting a massively composite colony of Digimon. Only 4 Digimon have more HP (in order): Zeedmillenniumon, Moonmillenniumon, Plesiomon, Olegmon. The first two are dimension-shattering time gods who are DNA-only. The latter two are the upper-limit of the highest-HP type in the game: . The Power distribution of Bigmamemon is also comparable to these same 4 cards, which says something for its status as the god of beans. Notably, everything else close to Bigmamemon costs 70 DP or is DNA-only (Millenniumon, HiAndromon, Diablomon, PR Herculeskabuterimon). But it goes beyond such wearisome comparisons: Bigmamemon has two passives. The bubble number ① effect is available during the support phase and is just a built-in TOY Missile Pod. No need to worry about attaching it! For bubble number ② (the cyan color just sets it apart for you), you passively void all cross abilities with “Circle to zero”. This is really mean. A mean, bean, machine if you will. Bigmamemon already has one of the highest HP in the game and once the ② effect is accounted for, it probably has the highest longevity ratio of any Digimon, since you can swing at full power with huge HP. The cross ability can even stop x3 VS (cross power to 0), assuming you used Dominion to take on a vulnerable type. If that’s not enough for you, it has one of the highest-potential for abuse evo-box bonuses in the game: “Get all  below this”. Read more

Digimon COTD: Valdurmon

Valdurmon—For when Phoenixmon isn’t intense enough.

What’s good about it: Every Digimon has a ability but very few have a ability. Valdurmon not only has both but also an implicit ability! Evolving in the typical way using its evo-bonus gives a heavy Draw 3, which is an immense advantage while a Mega is live. Valdurmon can even continue to draw using its cross ability, so your hand never dies. This Digimon is incredibly defensive with its 1840 HP and Shatter ability combination. In addition, its ACTIVATE is nearly as powerful as the ACE Ground, with an additional Recycle any 5, which can be the end-game gambit for filtering your deck into using your best cards ad-nauseum. The ridiculous Phoenixmon DATA card is valid in this deck. Valdurmon also has a generic Level U DNA, making it pretty consistent even for decks that will have trouble racking 60 DP—which Wind rarely has trouble making. Lastly, Valdurmon’s cross is about as strong as most Level M/U triangle power, which is unique.

What’s bad about it: As ACTIVATE abilities go, this one is pretty limited. Being forced to use can delay a safe window for it several turns depending on the opponent. Since its DNA includes a Mega, the Phoenixmon DATA card must be in-hand to skip the 60 DP requirement. Despite being a Ruler, its numbers are overall a bit lower than many 60-cost Megas due to the staggering number of attack abilities and their utility. Despite this, Valdurmon has no recourse (such as Counter or To-Zero) against a stronger Digimon with more powerful attacks.

Tips: If you want to use Valdurmon without being roped into Garudamon, Piximon, or DNA try using Penguinmon, Love Crest and Moxie to get extra evo-bonuses (Plug-In A isn’t valid for Level M). You could also double the bonus and draw 6 cards! Having a Ruler type means the ability to use Dominion to freely add/remove Types during your turn. Make the best use of this by including Digimon with extra types so as to be able to play Pink D3. Using Phoenixmon DATA for the Data Break can be an effective way to keep your ultimates live and in the game when losing horribly and the prospect of evolving to Valdurmon seems unlikely. The data’s Any Phase also compliments Valdurmon’s two draw effects by making sure your hand size stays consistent throughout the game. Recovery Supports or Evolutions (around +300 or more) are useful the turn Valdurmon enters the field if 1840 isn’t enough Power, which should then be enough to kill most Level U/M in the game. Love Crest is incredibly devastating with Valdurmon and it may even be recommended to use Incubator to search the turn it enters play. Since the ACTIVATE says “make own Power same as own HP“, it won’t matter if becomes the weakest. What might actually matter is if becomes incredibly strong with Shatter (250)! In addition, Love Crest immediately grants an evo-bonus so you can Draw 3 again. One last tip: Valdurmon’s ACTIVATE has one of the most powerful recycles available, in that you get to choose any 5 to put back into the deck. Wind tends to be able to make use of decks that run 1 copy of multiple powerful or situational Option cards, draw/self-trash a ton of the deck, and then put the best cards back in for re-use later. This can effectively make their late game a kill machine. Valdurmon’s recycle is like a turbo charged version of an entire Wind deck archetype.

Digimon COTD: Research

Research—what does the scouter say?

What’s good about it: Changing your attack after seeing the opponent’s, allows you to pick the highest-damage, safest option that can dodge their attack abilities; choose your own cross if you know the opponent used a relevant attack; and you can play this in response to “If both attacks are same”, “different”, or “If opponent used [attack]” to effectively void the card by ruining its condition. Research can also be attached for permanent knowledge of the opponent’s hand—an extremely abusable packet of information. The turbo (cost of static 2) changes the slow support effect timing into “Any Phase”, so you can see the opponent’s attack, change yours, then immediately support with something that takes advantage of what attacks were chosen; or simply attach it and support in a way that takes advantage of hand knowledge immediately. As a proxy, it can be most effectively used with partner-searching effects and on a partner with some battle related support to close up its weaknesses. If one of your own attacks has Jamming, you can void the opponent’s attack ability and Digimon support, then resolve Research to change your attack to something more powerful—effectively giving your strongest attack Jamming.

What’s bad about it: By default, this is support timing and doesn’t help the battle by itself. Even with turbo, you have to static your own trash (which is a cost and can’t be skipped, so is a dead card early game). It’s true that you can make up for a lack of skill at attack prediction, but over-reliance on Research could become a detriment to your own personal growth. Since it doesn’t help with battle, playing it as support can be a waste of a turn.

Tips: Pair the attack changing effect with defensive cross abilities like Jamming, to-zero, counter, grudge; or against those abilities to use your best attack that isn’t being countered. For the same purpose, Data Morph admittedly tends to be better. There are some unique situations where Research’s attack change is better though, such as an opponent with Counter (all attacks). You could switch to your weakest attack and take as little damage as possible, where Data Morph would be the worst case scenario. Research can go beyond this; Turbo creates powerful combos with cards like: Cyber Parts, Short Lance, Net Worm, Uninstall, Deluxe Mushroom, Lucky Mushroom, Coliseum, Starmon, Magic Word, Liquid Crystallize. Any “both players use [attack]” is also incredible when you can simply change your attack afterward during the first step of the Battle Phase; some examples are: Balmung, Mystery Egg, Giromon, Impmon.

X-ray hand vision is incredibly useful for discerning the best time to play discard effects, especially random discards like: Heap of Junk, Scummon Curse, Lie. Discard-all effects also become far more timely and less damaging to yourself when you know exactly what is being trashed. Examples: Fakedrimogemon, Deathmeramon, Lilithmon, Chaosdukemon, Superstarmon, and you’ll know what effect they’d likely pick with Bombnanimon. The combos and possibilities with Research seem endless because it gives the one power that is normally forbidden in Digimon Battle Evolution—and one thing many aspects of the game hinge upon: hidden knowledge.

Digimon COTD: Silver Ball

Silver Ball—more like cannon ball

What’s good about it:  Doubles your power and sets the opponent’s to 0, allowing an easy come-from-behind when you lose the evolution race. Since your own Digimon can be any level when used, it can also act as a “get ahead” gambit that preserves your own health while taking a significant chunk out of the opponent. The “If not” case can be really helpful as well, though not as strong as cards dedicated to discarding. Discard 1 can disrupt your opponents ability to evolve, rack DP, Support on the next turn, or even dump them into the dreaded 0-card hand.

What’s bad about it: Silver Ball tends to be least effective when your opponent is stalling or losing, which makes it less effective if there’s a significant gap in deck or player strength. Until such time, it’s a mere discard 1 which can be difficult to time properly or prioritize when you should presumably have more impactful effects. Having multiples of this card is therefore not very recommended.

Tips: Since, most every deck tries to evolve to Ultimate and Mega Digimon—which are big and hit hard, Silver Ball tends to be devastating when played at the right time. Put one of this card in your deck and most of the time it acts like having a second ACE. It should almost always start in the side pile, so as not to clog the opening hand. Key moments to play this card are when the opponent is Level R or C but has 1 card in hand or when they’re U or M and doubling the power would decrease the number of hits-to-KO. Alternatively, when they’re at Level U or M and their attack would KO. When you calculate potential damage for both players, it can sometimes be better to wait for your opponent to reach Mega. If you can tell the current Ultimate won’t deal a knockout blow and the Silver Ball is close enough to KOing their Mega (they haven’t played yet), try saving it for that instance and net two KOs! Silver ball is both a sword and shield against the strongest Digimon in the game; as such, it is a tool from which every deck can benefit.

Digimon COTD: Cyclomon & Monochromon

Cyclomon and Monochromon—A Double feature of evo-bonus madness! These two dynamos of evolution are quite similar.

What’s good about them: The evo-bonuses of these two Digimon combine deck searching—one of the strongest effects in the game, with Evolution cards—one of the most powerful cards when used correctly. Their circles are incredibly powerful on such high HP. Monochromon’s strong attack distribution is balanced to an almost ideal body and has one of the best circle-to-HP ratios in Level C, with an aggressive support. Cyclomon is even more of a tank, has the exact ideal attack distribution, with a similar HP ratio. If you can’t predict the opponent’s attack for use with your cross ability, Cyclomon’s support does it for you. Supporting with Cyclomon first means you won’t eat a Coliseum or similar. to Zero is a solid Cross ability both Digimon share and with enough of it in a deck, Cyclomon’s support becomes a menace. You can get the obvious and fast evolutions like Digivice or Super Tag, but also utility evolutions like Burst Growth, Meatvolution, or Plug-In A. One of the best targets for this bonus is Fated Spirit since both evolve to several dragons and a few metal—the end result of which is similar in potence to an Ace like Super Evolve. On top of that, it can search the insanely strong Firewall Immortalize!

What’s bad about them: Independently, Monochromon’s support is situational to a safe use of circle. Cyclomon’s support is situational to even wanting cross but only when you’re unsure—so maybe wanting cross? Playing both in the same deck for their evo-bonuses is quite difficult, because they don’t share Rookies in common. The evo-bonus is very central to these cards so they are lackluster in decks that aren’t tailor-made for their evolution tree, which limits effective deck building. Some Evolutions like Warp Digivolve or Data Hijack are a bit less effective simply due to the nature of their level requirements. Using those cards would rely on getting KO’d. You can’t search all cards with the “Evolve” timing, only yellow-border Evolution category cards.

Tips: Don’t try to have Monochromon and Cyclomon together in a deck unless you work around their evo-box names. Losing bonus consistency to gain evolution consistency is pretty counteractive. Use a partner that can evolve to one of these, since you’ll get the Evolution search for free and the partner itself can be searched with Partner Finder. A take any 1 Evolution effect improves the reliability of Hyper Digivolve, since it’s an incredibly unique effect, often central to the strategy of a deck, but mercilessly limited to 2 copies. After fixing the reliability problem, you now also meet the Level C requirement, so they can jump straight to Level M later. Don’t forget to re-consider all the Evolutions you normally avoid due to limited usability. If you have 1 copy of several Evolutions like Incubator, Sniper Disk, Plug-In Backup, you can count on having a very robust next evolution. D-Link allows your Level Us to be a different type, and require less DP. D-Link would therefore open up many new creative combinations not yet explored here. Evolution that “activate an evo-bonus”, such as Plug-In A or Jogress are even better, since you’re able to move away from the rigid evolution tree with Monochromon and Cyclomon.

Digimon COTD: Dark Evolve

Dark Evolve—The most tooled version of three other Evolutions.

What’s good about it: Dark Evolve works like 3 previously printed evolution cards at the same time: Warp Digivolve, Digivice, and Mutate depending on your current level when played. As a Warp Digivolve replacement, it can take you from R to U (with no DP cost). It’s a Digivice when progressing C to U without DP. Lastly, as a Mutate from U to U and allows abnormal. Since the three aforementioned Evolutions are not always a valid option by themselves, it’s incredibly useful having one in the deck that is always live. Dark Evolve can be used even when you’re abnormal for even more versatility. Since it ignores DP, you get to keep any that was racked. Not for nothing but since it attaches and provides a downside, opposing “Shatter” abilities will backfire, causing opponents to be less likely to use them and also get the damage reduction effect.

What’s bad about it: Plan to replace or detach Dark Evolve. If you don’t, the passive conditions are totally devastating. Without a way to remove this attachment, your shiny new Ultimate is defenseless to Counter, Flatten and To-Zero effects as well as every single prediction-based Support. Having someone support with Net Worm and kill your entire hand would be game changing, Ultimate or not. Since it also removes the ability to use “Any Phase” effects, Dark Evolve can significantly limit deck building. It would be difficult to include the ACEs Digi-Diamond and Miracle Ruby, DATA cards (if using the Any Phase primarily), half of Partner Finder and Data Morph (many more), both Super Hit and Moxie will have to be played as Support to attach, and could be voided. While it has one of the use cases from three different evolutions, it doesn’t have every use case. You can’t Mutate C to C or Digivice R to C. This is significant only for the fact that Ultimates tend to be at a lower quantity in the deck and thus less likely than Champions to be in a given hand. Lastly, having to trash 5 when you get KO’d or even when you net a win is pretty steep. That’s a forced full-hand mulligan which essentially means you can’t take a mulligan during a game that Dark Evolve has to stay attached until your Ultimate dies. This is yet another significant restriction but is still a kind of soft-restriction, since you could barrel in head first if you want.

Tips: If you play something like Lesson Plan or Nanimon which requires/allows you to discard an attachment as part of its effect, you won’t have to run as many attachments in the main deck to clear a Dark Evolve quickly. In this way, you can technically use those cards (or Support attachments) to trick the opponent into using Circle hate while choosing another attack (don’t get voided!) and Dark Evolve would be removed by the time your attack resolves. Attachment-heavy strategies, like Flatten which uses Letterbox, can make Dark Evolve a tempting Evolution. Be careful of having cards like DarkLizamon, Super Hit, or level Ms that add attachment slots. Since you’re not allowed to remove attachments at-will, these will put you in more danger of having to keep the Dark Evolve. Notice the pattern with deck building and Dark Evolve: don’t bother building an entire deck to cater to it, but many decks can run it without much risk. This goes double for decks that can’t easily search the Dark Evolve since its trash 5 penalty makes it too risky to aggressively find with mulligans. A copy or two in a Monochromon/Cyclomon-heavy deck can be wonderful in theory, due to the evo-box search but consider that a Digivice is strictly better to find in that instance. Cards that change both players’ or your opponent’s attacks like Coliseum and Disrupt Ray help temporarily cover the stopping effects and tend to be good enough to run coincidentally with Dark Evolve instead of as a halfway solution to it. In short, build the deck smart with quick ways to remove the attachment but don’t dedicate a huge chunk of the deck to this card since it’s limited to 2 copies and therefore could weaken the deck overall.

Digimon COTD: Mastertyrannomon

Mastertyrannomon—Power up!

What’s good about it: Mastertyrannomon sports a pretty “square” body of attacks, in that they’re all quite closer together in number than other . In a correctly built deck, its support is stronger than an Attack Chip. The evolution box bonus gives unprecedented toolbox power—take any 1 Digimon from your deck! This is even less restricted than Gold Treasure. The x3 VS gives the ability to hit / / for 1080 at its printed power, which easily OHKOs the vast majority of Jungle and Wind champions and 2-shots all three types’ Ultimates. Drain will not save them. With the evobox containing multiple, tightly-grouped champions, a deck that always gets the bonus is easy to achieve.

What’s bad about it: Like most , Mastertyrannomon suffers from low HP. In fact, his HP is lower than the average in his cost and type. This is so significant, that when accounting for cost, Master is near the bottom tier of all Level U HP. If you’re not facing one of its hate-types, the x3VS is just wasted power, which also means it doesn’t have attack hate and therefore can’t protect himself against enemy , which it’s weak against given the low HP. The vast majority of peers in its level can 2HKO it, same as what it does to the types it has critical power against. You usually want only 1-2 copies of a “hate” card but its support begs you to have 4. The evobox doesn’t include a DP cost reduction unlike most of the carnivorous dinos, meaning most of the time he takes 2 racks or requires an Evolution card. The support, while potentially very powerful, scales slowly and requires a certain amount of time or effects to have passed during the game to be effective. In addition, “-tyrannomon” cards have to be in the deck at high numbers, potentially choking other ideas. The maximum boost from the support is +700, and you have to over-plan for it. The support also eats away at 2 cards in your trash, which might also be tyrannos given their saturation level.

Tips: Choose another Tyrannomon ultimate—it’s not a great idea to solely have Mastertyrannomon. Try using Super Evolve to pick Master out of the deck when its x3 VS would be relevant. If you’re willing to be sacrificial, Fated Spirit is a slightly weaker Super Evolve for the same purpose, but I suggest using this on your alternate Level U tyranno, since you really want Master support. Since the evobox can take another Master from the deck (for support), it’s recommended to pack Partner Finder or Blue Comet, use the destiny evolve (or just Data Hijack from the deck) to get to Deltamon, Tyrannomon, Darktyrannomon, Coredramon (any), Dinohumon, and especially Cyclomon in preparation. Cyclomon is special here since its evo-bonus takes 1 Evolution card in deck, which you can use to guarantee a Master evolve. This should guarantee having your powerful support. Master works well with cards that have trash costs such as Mega Disk, Mega Chip, and occasionally Giga Hand (though HP can be relatively low in a Tyranno deck). Once a Master’s support Power is high, it would only bleed slowly as long as the opponent doesn’t have access to vast quantities of static. Recycle can utterly kill this deck unless used on Master specifically (use recycle any), so try re-using Master supports over and over again for a quick win. If you’re willing to give up evolution to Mega, try using Zeedmillenniumon with Cyberdramon DATA and Millenniumon DATA: This gives you access to a +800 Power Data Break and 5 selective recycles to re-use Master’s support. An alternative is Millenniumon (with the DATA) and use Mugendramon DATA to trade Cyberdramon DATA for Drain+Crash (significant healing benefits plus damage, potentially x3 VS), and the ability to add a flat +100 Power with deck corruption and recoding.

Be wary of how limited your other tyrannos can be. ExTyrannomon is a great body for the active zone, but only has a Passive, no support. In a deck that begs for 4 copies of every tyranno, this is pretty suspect. Metaltyrannomon is a great pick, but be aware that its DP discount or Draw 3 bonus only covers “Tyrannomon”, the original. Its support is great with Crash, but not amazing unless your HP is lower…oh right. Luckily, Darktyrannomon can also recover HP (only abnormal, so don’t plan on healing Level M or R). While Tyrannomon’s support is great for attach, it’s not much use otherwise. Since you’ll likely have 4, this means Master-focused decks tend to also need several attach cards—and now the deck list is starting to fill up on its own, preventing much flexibility. That can be an asset though, if you work with the flow instead of against it.

Both Goddramon and Dorbickmon are good Level M picks for their evo-bonuses and other circumstantial support. With Dorbickmon, you can fill the opponent’s trash about as much as yours. Properly used, its first turn on the field can mean trash 7 for the opponent—when that’s a cost, it gives ace-potency effects like HP+1000! Since it also halves everyone’s HP and makes the opponent discard 2, you can use Master support for a guaranteed KO, even against crazy 3000 HP monsters like Zeedmillenniumon or Moonmillenniumon; since you can smoothly hit 1500 Power with 810 base, +700 from Master. Goddramon is no slouch either, since the opponent won’t be able to mulligan as you pound their head in with a crazy 960 Power circle. They better have every damn card they want in-hand, right now. On top of that, Goddramon revives you to Master once it gets KO’d, so you don’t even have to start the slow DP-racking over again. The M that really shines is Rusttyrannomon since all your tyranno Level Us count for the Draw 3 bonus, which is immensely powerful once the cannon fires. Even better, Rusty fuels its cannon with the mounds of tyranno corpses you’ll be piling into the trash for later Master support!

Digimon COTD: Magic Word

Uh…uh…uh…you didn’t say the

Magic Word—A new firewall that stops Any Phase effects and sticks around to void.

What’s good about it: If you’re good at attack prediction, this card can gain almost endless voiding of Digimon, which is incredible value. Magic Word also heavily punishes decks that use evolution box bonuses to lower DP costs, which can throw off their entire evolution progression. Any Phase effects can be some of the most flexible and hard to deal with effects in the game since they occur outside of normal play. No more sudden use of Digi-Diamond, Kabuterimon, or RedOtamamon, just to name some. They would have to Support with those effects—the Digimon you can continuously void; the Option you can void by merely trashing the Magic Word! Having the ability to trash it at any time to void Options can make opponents play their Options more conservatively, so it’s always threatening.

What’s bad about it: Magic word is a two-edged sword—you don’t get to use “Any Phase” or evolution boxes either. Depending on whose turn it is and what your opponent plays, it can be a played around or voided (on initial Support). Suppose you’re bad at prediction, or the opponent is better: your Magic Word’s usability drops off significantly. This can easily make it worse than any other Firewall. More than one Magic Word at a time is pretty much nonsense unless your opponent supports with an Option so you can trash it. Other firewalls tend to be far more usable one after another. Lastly, Shatter is an attack ability, which this doesn’t void, and it gets rid of Magic Word.

Tips: Try to keep your “Any Phase” effects to a minimum. DATA cards may still be worth it, especially since you can dictate the terms of when it leaves play to some degree. Try to ensure your own deck doesn’t require evolution box bonuses for decreasing DP. Try cards that attach directly from the deck! In this way, Tyrannomons can become extra copies of Magic Word in the deck. Love Crest and Moxie are good for decks that aren’t attempting to “double-dip” on the evoboxes, since the deck should be able to evolve fine without them but can get nice bonuses when these are attached instead of Magic Word. “Research” lets you mismatch your attack, guaranteed.

Digimon COTD: Disrupt Ray

Disrupt Ray—Choose your opponent’s attack, sort of

What’s good about it: If you’re an expert at prediction and attack-choice punishment, Disrupt Ray can be incredibly potent. This card can be used, with significantly higher accuracy than not, to force a Counter or to-Zero effect, or at the very least save you from a deadly . Don’t forget that this can protect you from a powerful opposing like a Counter/Flatten/to-Zero effect which threatens your own attack, in addition to a one-hit-kill Crash/1st Attack/x3 VS. Replacing itself with a draw is a nice bonus too!

What’s bad about it: There’s no fast-and-loose way to specify what attack you want an opponent to use in Digimon. This is on purpose—taking away a player’s choice is heavy handed design and can lead to less mutual exchange of intelligence and tactics; as well as ruining fun for players when you’re making choices for them. Disrupt Ray is therefore limited in its capacity to change attacks by forcing its player to figure out what the opponent would choose and, if the Ray is still the best card to play in that instance, decide what “direction” they want to rotate the attack selection from that presupposed choice. If the deck playing Disrupt Ray is telegraphing that it does attack changes, opponents can play further mind games to disrupt the disruption. In addition, many situations make Disrupt Ray significantly less effective than simply playing a Recovery Disk or other protection from damage. You have to work hard to get the best use of this. It also doesn’t stop Jamming. If an opponent wants to reveal with Jamming before this Option resolves, they can do it and still Jam your attack ability (not this Option), then their attack will change. This means Jamming effectively gets better if Disrupted.

Tips: Don’t tip your hand by being incredibly obvious about your ability to counter or nullify attacks. But the mere existence of Disrupt Ray can also effectively disrupt how an opponent chooses attacks if they know you have it, or suspect, and you respond by not playing it. In that case, you still have the card to play and predicted accordingly. If you absolutely must force a specific attack, usually for Counter, Flatten, or to-Zero, make sure you understand the situation and opponent’s current payoffs. If they are none the wiser and have the ability to one-hit-kill your Digimon with either or , and you have Counter on your , you can safely assume Cross is your best attack, support with Disrupt Ray, choose the bottom option (which assumes they went for the “safer” Traingle-kill) and roll them up to Circle for your counter! Now you take no damage and they take it all. Notice that by being in a weaker position (both Circle and Triangle can KO instead of just the typical Circle), there’s no need to guess what they’re playing. If it’s a Circle one-hit KO and Triangle two-hit KO, you still have to guess whether your opponent values taking you out now, can afford to take you out next turn, or prefers to be unpredictable. Keep these things in mind. Disrupt Ray is also a good choice for decks that need to hit with commonly—and it supports protecting your attack as well as a Coliseum. Often this protects from a Counter/to-Zero/Flatten to your favored attack.

Digimon COTD: Reload

Reload—Refresh all the things!

What’s good about it: As an ACE, it pulls its weight in utility by providing any two cards from the deck and effectively making trash costs—or opposing trash strategies, null. You get a full deck, a full hand (some of which is picked), and to setup part of the deck going forward. It’s a great preparatory tool for the transition into late game. And if willing to give up on the huge effect of a late game deck refresh, it can still be used to refresh the hand and pick any 2 early on, which in some cases can be more effective earlier game.

What’s bad about it: You don’t get to keep your current hand. It’s not always a bad thing but it’s worth noting that it will reduce its efficacy window if you have to give up other critical in-hand cards, then waste some of your 2 picks on those cards again. You can also lose out on the effectiveness of the deck refresh if you haven’t gotten any trash-cost cards or you are forced to play it early. Like Polymorphic Code, you get a hand of 4 that turn; unlike it, Reload is voidable and is your only support for turn.

Tips: Once you decide Reload is best for your deck, always try to maximize every bonus it provides. This goes without saying, but it can be tricky if you plan for a deck of trash costs for heavy effects (Mega Chip, Mega Disk, Phantomon, Dark Wings, Giga Cannon, et al) and end up trashing the Reload without any way to recover it. The good news is Reload can be gained back with “recycle any 1” effects. Some evolution boxes will make this a practical ACE search when combined with reckless trashing, which Reload would then erase as if it never happened, effectively making high-trash costs in your deck into ACE-power cards! In addition, cards like Aquilamon are intensely powerful when combined with Reload, since this gives you effectively 5 copies of the Reload for purposes of sequencing: now you’re more likely to draw the Reload earlier than trash cards.

Digimon COTD: Puppet Switch

Puppet Switch—Setup your hand and DP.

What’s good about it: Puppet Switch puts any card in your trash in your hand. This card is fantastic for reusing powerful cards, and setting up for high DP cost Digimon. Just imagining the possibilities with Ace cards, for instance: you could re-use Warp Dimension, netting you 18 cards of deck damage. Also, since you can change your type, this is usable with an attachment that fell into the trash along the road that your current active zone can’t use. You could change your type to Metal and re-use a Miracle crest to suddenly gain support effects outside of Metal’s domain.

You can do almost everything Puppet Switch does with other cards, but it always takes more than one card (and therefore turn) to set up these sorts of scenarios. This is a high-value card that can give players a host of new and unexpected outs. Most opponents wouldn’t consider a clutch Puppet Switch when playing out their turn. The fact that it gets back cards like evolutions or Digimon that were paid into DP means you can get insane DP value for later evolutions. Example: rack a Redotamamon for +40P, evolve, support with Puppet Switch and get back the Redotamamon, then it gives you +10P. By your next opportunity to evolve, you’ll have a guaranteed 50P and a net card advantage of +0. Lastly, a deck with x3 VS against your type can fall apart if you change your type away (plus you’ll net some sweet cards and DP out of the deal).

What’s bad about it: This card can’t be charged into DP normally—you have to play it as support to get it there. If you’re not set up for multi-color, you lose one of its effects; and if you are, you need a tight evolution-box line.

Tips: If you’re looking to reuse specific cards in your deck, Puppet Switch is a good universal way to do it without splashing into Jungle or Enigma. In fact, Puppet Switch is a good way to unlock the potential of your existing cards and therefore provides good universal synergy. Many games can come down to a well-timed Ace play that doesn’t get voided, so Puppet Switch on reusable Aces can give you the edge to win.

Digimon COTD: Black Gear

Black Gear—If own level is lower…

What’s good about it: Black Gear is a crazy mix-n-match that tries to give you the best possible answer to whatever lower-level situation you find yourself in. Since you gain every effect cumulatively, unlocking the Level U effect also automatically means getting the Level C. Since each level has an “OR”, you could potentially play this card with any 3 of 6 different effects. Each of those effects is easily comparable to other option-potence cards. At the highest level, it even gives the option for “Turbo” which means change the Support to “Any Phase”, so you can stack the remaining effects and still play a support; or else you could just get your Ace and play something devastating. With 2 KOs on the line, turbo OR Ace is a heavy advantage. Even if you’re not lower level, you can still draw 2 in a pinch.

What’s bad about it: You get nothing unless you’re behind in evolution. Everything you get is based on your opponent, which you can nudge but never control. If you unlock only the Level C ability, you’re Level R and at that point, a mere Power -400 or HP -300 might be nothing when you’re so weak. Voiding while the opponent is higher and U/M usually leaves you open to a beating from their superior body and the alternative for Trash 6 may do nothing to help you in that particular instance. Turbo and Draw 2 isn’t particularly devastating to a Level M, regardless of your level. Any Ace searched can’t be supported on the same turn. Each effect on its own is hard to justify.

Tips: At first, Black Gear looks difficult to control. But it’s important to remember, you don’t get more effects the further behind you are, you get them for being any number of levels behind, but with an opponent’s that’s further up the evolution stages. Therefore, the maximum value of Black Gear isn’t when you’re Level R, it’s when you’re Level U and they’re Level M (or any level just under theirs). Simply use a slow-evolution deck—Marine type usually excels at this. Any Digimon with high HP at each level can go slowly and allow the opponent to eventually reach Level M with very little risk. You won’t need to focus on your damage much, which gives you time to prepare for the biggest effect. Try using this as a guaranteed 2 KO card, either by searching your Ace (while Level U ideally) or turbo for a last-ditch KO. If you chose “trash 6”, the opponent may not be able to effectively recover from losing their Level M, as you now threaten to reach your own Level M unchallenged. If you plan to wait for the best effect or not, it’s still a good idea to include other “low-level” cards such as Whistle, and cards that work better if level is lower, like Data Copy.

Turbo is not a unilaterally worse choice than your Ace, since Turbo allows you to stack every other effect, draw 2, and still support with Silver Ball, which covers the same bases as Black Gear’s turbo condition. The real weakness of Black Gear is comparing it to Silver Ball in the first place, since the ball is a far more straightfoward card that gives high value every time, regardless if your level is lower. All the ball and gear care about is whether your opponent is high enough. With that in mind, black gear can be extended beyond this microcosm of level, which isn’t very common anyway (U and M aren’t the mode of the game) and provides an additional benefit for opposing Level C. It’s not a devastating effect, but -400 Power can sometimes be as good as Whistle, since the highest Level C power is 600, most circles are around 500, most triangles around 300, and the average incoming attack will be somewhere around 400 after all. With that in mind, it’s like a soft Whistle if you’re R (where Whistle works at higher levels too, so long as you’re lower), but with the additional option to soften them up by 300 HP before hitting. Some Level R are quite strong, such as Goblimon, which has the highest base power of any R, and Crash Rookies such as Ghostmon, which has the highest damage potential of all Rs. Goblimon’s circle plus Black Gear is 780 damage! Ghostmon’s crash + gear is 1050 damage on a Rookie!

In fact, Crash with any lower level is going to benefit from the HP -300 effect, so keep that in mind. Just throwing this one out there: you can Data Break on the turn you support with black gear, since you probably don’t want Level M anymore (unless you have a plan), and breaking will pile on even more powerful effects. What’s extra devastating is piling black gear on after using Level Crush to ensure maximum carnage. Crushing for an HP reset, a ton of bonus HP, plus all the gear effects you can handle is a pretty strong turn. Surprisingly, that’s not the only Evolution card this low-level option pairs well with—Mutate can keep your HP reset and fresh, while providing a body swap to another of the same level (which would obviously be lower). Another counter-intuitive pick is D-Link, since you can play an abnormal Level C and evolve to Level U, assuming you waited for an opponent Level M. So it’s not even a matter of keeping your own active alive through this process to maximize the effectiveness. You might think it’s tough to ensure you’re exactly 1 level lower, but since Mutate, Level Crush, and D-Link all assist in fine-tuning this, it’s actually quite easy. Not to mention there’s more than one card in the game that evolves you from R to any C from the deck (or Destiny Zone). You don’t have to be “lowest” level, just a little lower will do.

Digimon COTD: Whamon

Whamon (Level U)—The magic of an Ultimate that evolves from itself.

What’s good about it: Whamon (like his Champion form) has the highest printed HP of any Digimon in its level. The Evo-box bonuses featuring “Whamon” push the HP even higher. Whamon in the Evo-box gives this card a built in “Mutate” letting you evolve from U to U if you would like. Its Support ability is also very nice getting tons more HP if you can keep your hand relatively stable.

What’s bad about it: This card has low Power—closer to a Champion rather than an Ultimate. Its to zero ability is very under-powered.

Tips: Whamon (like most Ultimates) wants a dedicated deck with lots of evolution cards that can supplement its built-in Mutate. Running “Download” as your ace with cards like “level Crush”, “Plugin Back-up” and “Burst Growth” can give you extra effects with your extra Evolution, and keep the Whamons coming.

Digimon COTD: Data Hijack

Data Hijack—Evolve from your deck and charge extra DP.

What’s good about it: Data Hijack’s primary effect is to evolve to level C straight from the deck. Evolve from deck is bonkers, letting you take full advantage of every Champion in your deck, as long as it’s a legal target. It’s second effect doesn’t require you to evolve, meaning you can use it even if you can’t go up—If that’s the case, the second effect lets you virtually charge twice before Evolving (by DP instead of the primary effect), or reveal the top card of your deck before the support phase. After use, it deletes itself so you don’t accidentally get flooded with this card after recycle effects (this is usually a good thing, since re-using a card like this is rare and requires tricky timing, while it clogs the hand).

What’s bad about it: At mid to late game, this card can be rather dull— especially if you are not at Level R or you didn’t have a valid card on the top of your deck (cards with +P).

Tips: Data Hijack loses consistency as the game progresses. If you have no other evolution to play and this is stuck in your hand (usually stopping you from draw 2 each turn), consider playing it and checking the top of the deck—at the very least, you get to check your upcoming card. Mixing this into decks with extra Champions or a variety of them can let you toolbox your evolution. Try running with “Shogungekomon”, “Cherrymon” or Champions with a wide variety of evolution-box effects.