Structure Deck Review: Albaz Strike

TheLastPharaoh

Albaz Strike is a structure deck that has been anticipated and impatiently awaited by the community since its release in the OCG. The structure deck not only gives a boost to the Despia strategy but also benefits other decks. Let's have a look and rate its various components, shall we?


albaz

1) Hand Traps

There are two hand traps that were reprinted in this structure deck. The first is Effect Veiler while the second is Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit. While maybe not the best hand traps in the game, Ghost Ogre in particular is very decent this format since it can stop the Adventurer Token engine from going off. It is also decent against other strategies but it is mainly useful for this particular reason. A reprint for under one euro is definitely something welcome.

As for Effect Veiler, it was reprinted recently for the Spirit Charmers structure deck. Aside from the jokes about Konami reprinting this one instead of another, more powerful card that was in the OCG version of the structure deck, this card ages like fine wine and still commands one euro or more per copy. Hopefully, this latest reprint can finally make it, well, cheaper.


Effect Veiler Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit

For the hand trap portion of the review, I would give it a five out of ten. Of course, the contents of the structure deck are almost identical to those of its OCG counterpart. However, since they have the liberty to change cards on occasion, I would have preferred to see a more expensive hand trap being reprinted such as Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring to try and bring its price down a bit despite its many reprints so far.

2) Staples and Generic Cards

Where do I start here? There are a couple of very nice reprints here for budget players, but I am going to start with what is not in the structure deck: Ice Dragon's Prison. Konami probably would like to reprint this card elsewhere to push the sales of an upcoming product, but it is a notable miss from this structure deck. While the card is not really expensive right now, the lack of reprint might make the card go up in value if it becomes an integral card in metagame again.

Next up, we finally have a reprint for a very excellent draw card. First released in January 2019, Pot of Extravagance has been a competitive staple, although it is suffering from some lack of love currently when compared to Pot of Prosperity. The card had a couple of reprints since then, but now it is finally truly affordable after receiving a common printing. I was expecting Konami to give Extravagance the same treatment they gave Infinite Impermanence and print it as a super rare, but still—it is there, it is affordable and it was not replaced by anything else!

If you have been watching day one of YCS Charlotte on April 4, you might remember the match between Shunping Xhu and Ramiro Garcia. During game two, Ramiro went on with his combo and ended up on a strong board. Shunping simply did not interrupt him and, during his turn, activated Dark Ruler No More to neutralize Wandering Gryphon Rider before going straight to the battle phase and hitting him with an Evenly Matched. Evenly would never have resolved without Dark Ruler, which in my opinion is the budget version of Forbidden Droplet. It is nice that it got another reprint since it is such an impactful card.


Pot of Extravagance Dark Ruler No More

Warning Point and There Can Be Only One, or affectionately called TCBOO, are also very impactful cards and it is nice to see them reprinted. While Warning Point might not be so impactful, TCBOO is a fantastic floodgate that peeks into the metagame in different formats. The structure also comes with two kaijus, Thunder King, the Lightningstrike Kaiju and Radian, the Multidimensional Kaiju for easy monster removal. Artifact Scythe is an interesting reprint. The card should either be banned or nerfed by banning Artifact Dagda. There are other good reprints too such as Chaos Dragon Levianeer and Gold Sarcophagus.

I give the generic and staples section of this structure deck eight out of ten. There are many strong reprints that are good either for now, or for the future. The only thing that bothers me is that it feels more like the reprints in general are geared towards the Dragon Link deck rather than the Albaz-focused decks. It would have been nice to include some more Despia cards for example, but it is what it is.

3) The Albaz Core

I would like to expand on the Branded Fusion engine in its own article, but it is sufficient to say that Branded Fusion pushes the Despia deck from a rogue contender to a fearsome meta deck. Just check the price of Aluber the Jester of Despia, which can search for Branded Fusion. While it previously reached the price of 90 euros, it calmed down to about 70 euros after the upcoming reprint was announced for Ghosts From the Past: The 2nd Haunting during the first week of May 2022.

Anyway, back to Branded Fusion. It is the newest equivalent to Red-Eyes Fusion and Fusion Destiny, allowing you to fusion summon from your deck. If we have learned anything about cards that let you fusion summon from deck, you know they will end up used in as many decks as possible, simply because they can take the deck to another level.

Back to new cards, Springans Kitt is an extender that can special summon itself if you control a fusion monster that mentions Fallen of Albaz as material. Being an extender is not the good part about Kitt though. It is effectively a budget replacement of Aluber. If normal or special summoned, it can add to hand any Branded spell/trap that is banished, in grave, or in deck as long as you afterward return a card from your hand to the bottom of the deck. Lubellion the Searing Dragon allows you to conduct an extra fusion summon by shuffling back materials from the field, graveyard, or face-up from the banished zone back to deck.

The new cards give the Branded deck more power through Branded Fusion. That card alone and, to some extent, Lubellion would make me give this part of the structure deck a ten out of ten.


Branded Fusion Lubellion the Searing Dragon

Overall, it is one of, if not the most anticipated structure deck of 2022. Branded Fusion will have a huge impact on deckbuilding and the Albaz army will march into the competitive spotlight because of it. Overall, I give the deck a rating of eight out of ten. A couple of better reprints could have pushed the rating higher for me.

Are you going to buy this structure deck? Do you think Despia will be good right away or will it take a banlist first? Also, what is the card you are looking forward to the most in the structure deck? Please share your thoughts with everyone in the comment section below!


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket's.



4 Comments

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Deensen-Dynamite(21.04.2022 09:43)

An 8/10 and 10/10 would be a 9/10

Hyozan123(21.04.2022 22:53)

Deensen-Dynamite, don't forget to count the 5/10 for the Handtrap part.

Deensen-Dynamite(22.04.2022 11:25)

Hyozan123, you´re right! Sorry

Isabelle98(21.04.2022 00:26)

Very interesting. Thank you for the work.

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