I firmly believe that—above all the Pots of Greed, above all the Firewall Dragons—stands Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring. Am I crazy? Probably, but let's see why I think so.
Bear with me. I do know this is a pretty big claim. It may even seem outlandish and crazy, but trust me when I say I can justify it. First I believe we should clearly define what "a good Yu-Gi-Oh! card" is. And what better way to define that than to go through what most people agree are the best cards ever made?
We should obviously take a look at the ban list, and what can we see there? Not Ash Blossom, that's for sure. But I digress—we see lots of unfair cards that are adequately banned. I think these can be divided into three categories: those that grant you insane amounts of advantage by themselves, such as Maxx "C", Painful Choice, Pot of Greed, Graceful Charity, et cetera; some others that are crazy combo enablers like Grinder Golem, Summon Sorceress, Block Dragon, and their ilk; and lastly those that are unfair floodgates such as Cold Wave, Vanity's Emptiness, Number 16: Shock Master, and more. I think we can all agree that these cards are all extremely powerful and should never come back.
I'd like to draw attention to three of the examples I just gave: Pot of Greed, Graceful Charity, and Painful Choice. These cards are the ones I feel are most commonly quoted as being "the best cards in the game." And here's where we run into an issue with how good cards are in relation to how you can utilize them. The issue being, you need to draw them.
Painful Choice is absolutely insane and absurdly powerful, but if you do not draw it, it's going to do little to advance your plays. This issue is one a lot of people use to argue for extra deck monsters being strictly better than main deck cards, as you do not need to draw Firewall Dragon in order to do your combos. And this is very true, you cannot expect to draw your one-of Painful Choice every game to send all your combo pieces to the graveyard and instantly win, but three Ash Blossom? Now that's a 33.8% against a 12.5% probability to draw the card.
But I hear you, Ash is nowhere near the power level of all these cards I just mentioned. While that is true, it is also incredibly more versatile and useful every single game you play, no matter what deck you're playing or what you're matched up against. What I mean by this is that you're not going to win the moment you resolve an Ash Blossom like you would if you resolved Painful Choice, but most times you are going to survive precisely because you used that Ash.
Here is where the ghost girl really shines. What deck in the game does not have at least one card that can be negated by Ash? Most of the power cards in any deck are precisely its searchers. Cards like Cyber Angel Benten, Tri-Brigade Fraktall, Tour Guide From the Underworld, Armageddon Knight, et cetera are all absurdly powerful but fall to the girl with the big forehead. It's in this versatility the card finds its power. When was the last time you looked at your decklist and thought, "Hm, maybe I shouldn't run Ash Blossom?" Never, that's when. The factual truth is just that Ash is at least good every single format, in every deck, against every deck. There simply does not exist any other card that does what Joyous Spring does as good as it does.
Does this same quality apply to other cards such as Pot of Greed? Yes and no. While they will have larger impact, draw cards are limited to the effectiveness of your deck. If you're playing Vehicroid Malicevorous, a Painful Choice will probably not have a lot of impact, but ashing Pot of Desires will always prevent it from drawing two cards. That's another factor to take into account, the card will most times go uninterrupted, since you're dropping it way before your opponent can set up any negates—at least normally. (Looking at you, Mister Herald of Orange Light.) What good is your Spellbook of Knowledge if you're going second against your opponent's crazy board that you could not stop because you weren't playing the best hand trap in the game?
On top of that, while this next point is rather petty, the card would not be as pricy as it is if it weren't this good. How many printings has it had by now? Eight. How much do you have to spend, for a card that has been reprinted a lot and even has a common printing in a structure deck? Well, that'll make about fourteen euros in its cheapest form at the time of writing this article, more than the MSRP of the structure deck it's included in. Granted, price does not equal card quality, but if a card is actually good, it will mostly command a higher price.
At the end of the day, Ash is just a card that is impactful no matter when, no matter where, and what more could you want? Pot of Greed might draw you Gem-Knight Garnet and Droll Bird for all I know, but Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring will always stop the best cards in the game. And if it beats all the good cards, doesn't that mean it's better than all of them? Probably not, but Ash is still the most prevalent hand trap by a mile and has been a staple in every single deck in the game since its release, and it certainly does not look like that's going to change anytime soon. How good is it? It's the best card in the game.
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