Altogether the reason for this article is pretty random. I was just thinking the other day that I’d really like a card that was kind of like Tour Guide except for Rank 4’s. Now, Gravekeeper’s spy isn’t that by any means, but the thought got me looking at cards like this and I thought it deserved a bit more of the lime light than it’s getting right now. It also became even more relevant when Brian Hines got top 8 with a deck running a small Spy engine at Nationals. For this weeks article I’ll just be going over some of the advantages of trying out Gravekeeper’s Spy again after its long absence from the metagame.
I’m sure we all know this card well, it’s been around for quite some time now gaining power in the shadows. Gravekeeper’s Spy has 1200 ATK and 2000 DEF and is a level 4 Dark Spellcaster. Here’s her(maybe he) effect:
FLIP: Special Summon 1 “Gravekeeper’s” monster with 1500 or less ATK from your Deck.
The card runs similar to Tour Guide in decks in that it usually makes a small engine of 4 cards: 3 Spy and 1 something else. The something else can consist of most likely a Gravekeeper’s Descendant or a Gravekeeper’s Guard. Spy is a very versatile standalone card, if gives options of offense, defense and field presence and also offers Dark monsters for any decks that may require it. (aka. chaos)
Given a strong spell and trap line-up most decks nowadays can’t really deal with 2000 DEF. The attack barrier for this format is usually capped off by Sabersaurus in terms of straight up normal summon monsters and all other high attack threats can usually be dealt with with common spell and trap support. This means that a set Spy is usually very safe early game. Spy also can lend a very nice late game top-deck since it gives free advantage and has quite good stats for a combo monster. (most other combo based monsters such as Tour Guide, Junk Synchron and the like have low stats so when they’er stopped they might as well be dead)
Spy also has some very strong offensive capabilities. Now that XYZ monsters have come out it’s been given the nice ability to make Rank 4’s on its own, which is something it really lacked in the past. Back in the day, a Spy alone wouldn’t really be able to do much. Now you can make some one card XYZ. Spy itself has some interesting synergy with Wind-Up Zenmaister. If you can setup a Zenmaister or a Papilloperative with a Spy on board you do some pretty neat recycling similar to the Evoltile Westlo loop. Basically this is how it works: Ideally, the play requires a Spy and any other level 4 monster in your hand. First, the Spy is attacked by the opponent and doesn’t die and you summon another level 4 from the deck. On your turn you normal summon the other level 4 from the hand and XYZ for Zenmaister, but don’t use the Spy as the material. Then use Zenmaister’s effect to flip Spy face-down, then you can manually flip summon the Spy and Summon another monster and proceed to make another another Rank 4.
The card also has access to two fantastic cards: Gravekeeper’s Descendant and Gravekeeper’s Guard. First is Descendant; Descendant gives the mini Spy engine lots of destructive potential. When Spy is flipped you can special Descendant from the deck and then tribute the Spy for Descendant’s to get a free destruction. If the opponent attacks into the Spy and it survives, if you summon a Descendant it will usually stop the opponent from setting cards because that would allow you to destroy them without using any cards. (which is fantastic) So that allows for some easy control over the opponent. The only problem with Descendant is that you really don’t want to draw it because it kind of stinks. That’s where Guard comes in. Guard, unlike Descendant, is a really good card to draw. Guard has 1900 DEF and when he’s Flipped he returns a monster on the field to the hand. With all the XYZ monsters running around Guard can really put some work in. Guard is a one card answer to cards like Evolzar Laggia, which we all know is an annoying card.
There’s a couple other really good cards to run with Spy that are welcome in almost any format. The first is Caius the Shadow Monarch. Caius has always been a really strong card and the versatility he brings is almost never un-welcomed. The second card is Genex Ally Birdman. Birdman has a ton of huge plays with Spy. He allows level 7 Synchro’s: Blackrose Dragon and Arcanite Magician, both huge names in field control. Birdman also allows a bunch of Spy recycling which is fantastic free advantage. The last card is Allure of Darkness, which seems pretty obvious but it’s always nice to have a card to bring the extra deck speed and consistency that everyone so desires, not to mention it can deal slightly with the problem of drawing Descendant.