Card of the Year (#7): Shien's Smoke Signal | The Irish Duelist

Card of the Year (#7): Shien's Smoke Signal

Here's number 7 on my list of the top 10 cards released this year.

Shien's Smoke Signal

(Storm of Ragnarok)

Spell Card

Add 1 Level 3 or lower "Six Samurai" monster from your Deck to your hand.

Earlier in the year the big Deck to watch out for was Six Samurai. With instant access to one of the strongest Synchro monsters ever printed, the flexibility to use Dimensional Fissure in a Graveyard-reliant era and much more besides, Six Samurai wasn't a Deck you made plans for, it was a Deck you feared. Storm of Ragnarok gave the 4 year old Decktype a massive boost with a new set of monsters, a boss card that every Deck dreams of running, and plenty of other options, but one card in the set was more important than the others, as it turned an alarmingly powerful Deck into an alarmingly consistent one as well.

Shien's Smoke Signal does exactly what it says on the tin; get a Samurai from your Deck, and add it to your hand. The Deck's main combo was to Summon Legendary Six Samurai - Kageki, Special Summon Kagemusha, and then Synchro Summon Shi En which can control the Duel from then on. Kageki and Kagemusha were both run in triplicate, but also had the added bonus of being searchable by Shien's Smoke Signal.

What Smoke Signal did was take a strong combo and make it a very real opening turn threat. With 3 copies in your Deck there's a very high chance that you'll open with Kageki/Smoke, Kagemusha/Smoke, Kageki/Kagemusha or even Smoke/Smoke. Each one of those 4 outcomes ends with you having a Shi En and your opponent having a headache as they try to take it down. The Deck was so consistent that it would often follow up a Turn 1 Shi En with a Turn 2 Shi En, or when combined with the Level 4 Kizan a turn 2 Trishula. Some Samurai builds also ran Shinai and Mizuho (both searchable by Smoke Signal) to create a "Red and Blue" variant capable of producing infinite ATK. Even classic Samurai like Yaichi and Spirit are searchable by Smoke Signal, opening up further options.

There are many good Decks and strategies out there that never see the tournament play the deserve, simply because they're not able to consistently get the combos off in a competitive environment. Shien's Smoke Signal helped the new Samurai Decks to avoid that fate, and deserves recognition as one of the best cards released this year.