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Why Pot of Dichotomy’s Amazing

Right now as I’m writing this, Pot of Dichotomy is about $26 on the open market.  By the time you read this though, that may no longer be the case.  I started doing the work for this article a couple days ago, and now I’m sitting here watching the card disappear off the internet, one sold out seller at a time.  It’s Sunday night and by mid-week when this article runs, I could easily see Pot of Dichotomy doubling in price and skyrocketing in demand, as people realize it’s an amazing card.

Why is it so good?  Well, it’s basically Pot of Greed with a couple of restrictions, and it’s incredibly easy to play.  If your deck runs multiple monster types and sends them to the graveyard when you make your key, consistent plays, you can probably run Pot of Dichotomy.  If your deck makes a lot of Xyz and Synchro Summons that don’t match the types of your Main Decked monsters, you can probably run Pot of Dichotomy.  And if you run hand traps all the better, because there’s a really good chance the most popular hand traps are different types from the bulk of your Main Deck.  Maxx C‘s an Insect.  Effect Veiler‘s a Spellcaster.  Swift Scarecrow‘s a Machine.  D.D. Crow‘s a Winged Beast and even Tragoedia‘s a Fiend.  These aren’t wildly popular Main Deck material right now.

If your deck does all three of those things?  Then Pot of Dichotomy’s a must.  While it’s difficult to run in Dragon Rulers and Dragunity Rulers, partly due to a lack of different monster types in your Main Deck and partly due to a lack of Main Deck space altogether, Dichotomy works wonders in lots of other strategies.  Constellars and Evilswarm are the two big picks you might have seen me discuss in this context before, but it also works well in new strategies like the revamped Plant Synchro with Meliae of the Trees; anti-meta and stun decks; Mermails; and even Madolches.

How Can You Press Your Advantage?
Pot of Dichotomy’s easily good in anything that doesn’t mind sending monsters from the graveyard back to the deck; that removes it one more degree from Dragon Rulers, which would rather use those yarded cards for Debris Dragon and Dragon Ruler banishings.  Since it requires you to give up your Battle Phase, anything with strong control effects is going to have a leg up as well; that means both continuous and multi-trigger effects that can help stabilize and dominate the field, as well as just big back rows that can benefit from the card advantage Pot of Dichotomy offers.

If your deck can benefit from returning monsters to your deck, even better.  You can keep a chain of self-searching or recruiting monsters going steadily, which is great with cards like Madolche Magileine.  You can reuse monsters that win you games the more you Summon them, and you can skew your deck over time to give you more monsters than you’d normally draw – valuable for creating combos involving from-the-hand Special Summons for Xyz.

If your deck has control-oriented monsters that can secure the field just by sitting on it, you can subtly improve your performance by building your deck to protect them even more than usual.  Trap cards that stop attacks become more useful.  Effect negation even moreso, shielding you from simple removal tricks, or stuff like Black Rose Dragon and Scrap Dragon.  Any card that can do both, namely Fiendish Chain and to some extent Divine Wrath, can be even better than usual.  There are lots of decks where you can just throw Pot of Dichotomy into the mix and get great results, sure.  But careful tweaks can bring even bigger benefits, so it’s important to consider everything carefully as you make your deck building decisions.

Examples?  Here are two deck lists: Constellars and Evilswarm.  Both are playing triple Pot of Dichotomy, and both have been carefully balanced to optimize its performance.  Let’s start with Constellars.

Dichotomy Constellars – 40 Cards
Monsters: 17
Brotherhood of the Fire Fist Bear
Constellar Algiedi
Constellar Kaus
Constellar Pollux
Constellar Sombre
Honest
Maxx C
Thunder King Rai-Oh

Spells: 13
Pot of Dichotomy
Book of Moon
Dark Hole
Fire Formation Tenki
Forbidden Lance
Mystical Space Typhoon
Reinforcement of the Army

Traps: 10
Bottomless Trap Hole
Compulsory Evacuation Device
Safe Zone
Solemn Warning
Torrential Tribute
Trap Stun
Mirror Force
Fiendish Chain

Extra Deck: 15
Abyss Dweller
Constellar Omega
Constellar Pleiades
Constellar Praesepe
Constellar Ptolemy M7
Gagaga Cowboy
Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger
1 Maestroke the Symphony Djinn
Number 61: Volcasaurus
Shark Fortress
Starliege Paladynamo
Tiras, Keeper of Genesis
Wind-Up Zenmaines

Constellars are a prime choice right off the bat, because they revolve around a set of mismatched monsters that add up to quick Xyz Summons in the early game.  That makes it easy to activate Pot of Dichotomy; you can Dichotomy as early as Turn 2 with this thing.  The entire strategy revolves around one major control-oriented Xyz, too – Constellar Pleiades – so missing a Battle Phase to grab free cards is fine.  Pleiades’ effect wards off your opponent’s aggressive moves.

We’re working with six different types of monsters in the Main Deck: Constellar Kaus and Brotherhood of the Fire Fist Bear are Beast-Warriors; Constellar Algiedi‘s a Spellcaster; Constellar Pollux is a Warrior; Constellar Sombre and Honest are both Fairies; Maxx C‘s an Insect; and Thunder King Rai-Oh‘s a Thunder-type.  To add to that, Constellar Omega‘s another Beast-Warrior for when Kaus isn’t around, and when you do have Kaus you can make Constellar Pleiades, another Warrior.  That means that just by making a standard Rank 4 play – something this deck has to do to win in almost any game it plays – you’ll usually set up with the three monster types you need, right then and there.  Even Constellar Ptolemy M7‘s a Machine in a pinch, upgrading Pleiades and getting another unique type into your graveyard.

To place more emphasis on locking in a protected, controlling field with Consteller Pleiades, I’ve maxed out on triple Fiendish Chain.  A single Safe Zone can keep Pleiades from being destroyed, and Forbidden Lance protects it from removal effects.  Keep these choices in mind as we discuss the next deck I’m presenting, because there are going to be some intricacies and important comparisons.

And while you’re thinking it – yes, three Pot of Dichotomy.  Not two.  Why?  Because you want to see it every game, usually in the early game, and running three is the best way to do that.  The odds of drawing two in your opening hand is just under one in every twenty games, so that’s not a big concern.  If you do draw multiple copies you have a good chance of resolving both regardless.  If you’ve ever said “no thank you” to two Pot of Greeds I… well, let’s be honest.

You’ve never said that.

Dichotomy Evilswarms
Monsters: 16
Evilswarm Castor
Evilswarm Heliotrope
Evilswarm Kerykeion
Evilswarm Mandragora
Evilswarm Thunderbird
Rescue Rabbit

Spells: 13
Pot of Dichotomy
Allure of Darkness
Book of Moon
Dark Hole
Forbidden Dress
Infestation Pandemic
Mystical Space Typhoon
Reinforcement of the Army

Traps: 11
Bottomless Trap Hole
Compulsory Evacuation Device
Fiendish Chain
Infestation Infection
Mirror Force
Safe Zone
Solemn Warning
Torrential Tribute

Extra Deck: 15
Abyss Dweller
Diamond Dire Wolf
Evilswarm Bahamut
Evilswarm Nightmare
Evilswarm Ophion
Evilswarm Ouroboros
Evilswarm Thanatos
Gagaga Cowboy
Maestroke the Symphony Djinn
Number 66: Master Key Beetle
Photon Papilloperative
Number 50: Blackship of Corn
Wind-Up Zenmaines

Like Constellars, Evilswarm decks generally win by keeping one big Xyz Monster on the field from the early game on forward.  Also like Constellars, your quick Xyz Summon plays involve a mish-mash of differing monster types that lend themselves to Pot of Dichotomy: Evilswarm Castor‘s a Warrior; Evilswarm Heliotrope‘s a Rock;  Evilswarm Kerykeion‘s a Spellcaster; Evilswarm Mandragora‘s a Plant; and Evilswarm Thunderbird‘s a Thunder.  There’s no overlap between them.  In fact, Evilswarms have it even better than Constellars in some respects, because their Xyz boss Evilswarm Ophion’s a Dragon – another unique type in the strategy (remember, Constellar Pleiades‘ Warrior type overlapped with Constellar Pollux).  The Evilswarm deck is a bit less fluid; it tends to keep Ophion on the field longer than Constellars keep a Pleiades.  That can mean a bit of a delay in using Pot of Dichotomy, because it might take a while to get that third monster, Ophion itself, to your graveyard.  But if Ophion’s on the field that’s because you’re winning, so you can’t really complain there.  You’ll have Dichotomy at the ready to spark a reinforcing play when and if Ophion’s destroyed.

As in the Constellar deck previous, I’ve opted to max out on Fiendish Chain to protect Evilswarm Ophion over the long haul, now made a touch longer by Dichotomy’s condition of eating your Battle Phase.  I’m also running double Mirror Force, largely to repel the kinds of attacks your opponent will have a few more opportunities to make when games run longer.  I’m prioritizing Forbidden Dress over Forbidden Lance for the same reason; I’ve got Infestation Pandemics to protect Ophion from spells and traps when I’m on the attack, but Dress protects it when you’ve just played Dichotomy, made a new Xyz Summon, and have to wait a turn to make your attacks.  Safe Zone’s here as well, and note that Infestation Infection can actually be used to swap your Evilswarms in order to max out the number of different monster types in your graveyard.

Both of these decks plan to play Pot of Dichotomy only after they’ve successfully made their key Xyz, and from some perspectives that might make Dichotomy seem like a “win more card” –  a card that’s only useful when you’re already winning the game, lending itself only to overkill and not a balanced deck building philosophy. But let’s be clear – we’re not talking about a card that works only when you’re winning, we’re talking about a card that works once either deck has made their most rudimentary moves in the early game.  If you’re playing Constellars or Evilswarm and you don’t make an Xyz Summon in your first couple of turns, something’s gone horribly wrong; you play these strategies only because they’re so consistent in making that initial Xyz Summon in the first place.  Three copies of Dichotomy is very safe, only ever threatening to conflict with Evilswarm Kerykeion and Constellar Sombre, and only in extreme situations at that.

But Jason!
All you did was take two existing Constellar and Evilswarm decks, and cram three Pot of Dichotomy in them!

Well, yeah, sort of.  That’s kind of the whole point!  I mean don’t get me wrong, I made some tweaks and customizations to create optimal builds.  But if these look a lot like a Constellar deck or an Evilswarm build you have yourself?  Good.  The entire thrust of my argument for this card is that it’s ridiculously easy to play; you spend a few minutes figuring out the best way to fit it into your existing strategies, and bam!  Suddenly you’ve got triple Pot of Greed at your disposal.  This isn’t nearly as complicated as some people are making it out to be.

Of course, there are some cool strategies that are a bit further off the beaten path, that can take advantage of Dichotomy’s effects.  Monarchs got a big boost in a very new direction with the release of Return of the Monarchs.  That card loads you up with powerful plays, and the mix of Tribute fodder and Monarch monsters lands you with a ton of conveniently mismatched monster types.  The Monarch effects combined with Return’s search power let you rack up a lot of free card advantage without resorting to battle, and Dichotomy’s especially brutal played with Soul Exchange: if you were going to give up your Battle Phase for a Soul Exchange combo anyways, why not throw a Pot of Greed in there too?  With Spellcasters like , and Dragons like the new Black Dragon Collapserpent and White Dragon Wyverburster fuelling your Tribute Summons, all the pieces line up.

Pot of Dichotomy‘s going to be huge, so if it didn’t go berserk on the secondary market between the time I wrote this and the time we posted it, take advantage of the opportunity and snag yourself a few copies.  I really think that whether it happens next week or at the beginning of the next format, there’s nowhere for this card to go but up.

How about you?  Tell me what you think of Pot of Dichotomy, or even which new cards you think are underrated, down in the Comments!  Shadow Specters is full of hidden gems – what are your favorites?!

-Jason Grabher-Meyer

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