Hey guys! So this week, we’re back again with another archetype appraisal for you all to enjoy. This week, I wanted to focus on an archetype that, until recently, was only a TCG exclusive, and one that I happen to personally adore – the Time Thief archetype! Upon its initial release back in the core booster set “Savage Strike”, Time Thief made a splash in the competitive meta thanks to its incredibly versatile Boss Monster. Surprisingly, then, for one reason or another, after a strong first release, when the next core booster set “Dark Neostorm” rolled around, there was no new support, and they have since found themselves relegated to the pile of forgotten TCG archetypes – remaining there for a staggering eight months. With the recently revealed OCG support coming in “Extra Pack 2019” and “Ignition Assault”, I feel that now is as good a time as any to take a look at these pretty awesome cards that, luckily, were thrown a bone by the OCG. With all that buildup out of the way, let’s get ready for our weekly trip down the Otaku Rabbit Hole. Buckle up, and let’s get right into it!
Time Thief: Their Finest Hour
Arguably, the Time Thief cards were at their competitive peak prior to the banning of “The Phantom Knights’ Rank-Up-Magic Launch” on the April 2019 Banlist. Due to “Time Thief Redoer” and its ability to summon itself without Xyz materials, this presented an ideal opportunity to abuse the “Rank-Up-Magic” spell card, giving a multitude of decks immediate access to “Outer Entity Azathot” during the opponents turn, thus shutting down the opponent’s ability to use Monster effects – an incredibly effective, if broken, strategy. Sadly, however, since the banning of both “The Phantom Knights’ Rank-Up-Magic Launch” and later “The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche”, the impact and the deck in the competitive meta has dropped considerably, which is a real shame.
Strengths and Weaknesses of the Deck
Current Time Thief strategies tend to revolve around Xyz-summoning from the Rank 4 toolbox, though this can rapidly become a ‘defend the castle’-style deck, relying heavily on its in-archetype Boss Monster. This Boss Monster is “Time Thief Redoer”, which allows players to steal cards from the top of their opponent’s deck or from their Graveyard by attaching them to “Time Thief Redoer” as Xyz materials. Then, by detaching different types of material, “Time Thief Redoer” can either generate advantage, disrupt the opponent or even avoid threats entirely, providing an incredible degree of versatility.
The deck’s ability to summon “Time Thief Redoer” is made easier thanks to their Main Deck monsters “Time Thief Regulator” which, if successfully activated, allows you to summon two Time Thief monsters directly from the deck, resulting in an instant Redoer; and “Time Thief Winder” that, when summoned, acts as a “Stratos” for the deck, searching any card in the archetype.
The Spell and Trap lineup also revolves around supporting “Redoer” and the gimmick of stealing cards from your opponent, even if they are somewhat lacklustre. The most notable among them is “Time Thief Flyback”, a Trap that allows players to steal a card from the opponent’s Graveyard to attach to “Redoer”, potentially adding another layer of disruption to help interrupt the opponent’s powerful plays.
The newest round of support from the OCG is also pretty solid, further emphasising “Time Thief Redoer” as the key player in the overall strategy by providing a Graveyard recursion option for Time Thief monsters. “Time Thief Perpetua” also enables access to the powerful Spell and Trap material effects thanks to its ability to attach any Time Thief card from the deck to another Xyz monster you control, which, in most instances, will likely be “Time Thief Redoer”. Additionally, the newly announced “Time Thief Startup” from “Ignition Assault” grants the deck a powerful new tool to help play through disruption or extend further, if given the proper setup. While its Graveyard effect is incredibly situational, if you can pull it off, “Time Thief Redoer” will be primed and ready at full power – something that will put you in an advantageous position moving forward. The fact that “Time Thief Startup” is a Quick-Play Spell is also a huge bonus for the deck, allowing you to activate it during your opponent’s turn for a defensive play, while providing you with a search or disruption, depending on the card summoned.
Sadly, the Time Thief archetype have a set of glaring weakness that primarily revolve around their Main Deck monsters – that being they’re slow and incredibly Normal Summon-reliant. Most Time Thief opening hands will crave the main starter of the deck, “Time Thief Regulator”, however. An opening hand without this card will often cripple the overall momentum of the deck, potentially resulting in a lacklustre board that offers only a paltry defence at best. While “Time Thief Startup” can allow the deck to play through negation by providing access to a Special Summon from the hand, if this card is still somewhat situational.
Another issue is the overall susceptibility of the deck to Hand Traps and negation. Almost all monsters in the archetype fall foul of common Hand Traps such as “Ash Blossom and Joyous Spring” and “Effect Veiler”, with “Time Thief Winder”, “Time Thief Regulator” and “Time Thief Redoer” finding themselves most at risk. Additionally, while “Time Thief Redoer” can avoid a lot of threats with its Monster-detach effect, cards like “Infinite Impermanence” and the Kaijus, which can either negate effects or act as unchainable removal, can cripple “Time Thief Redoer”, leaving it helpless in the face of opposing threats. Much of the Time Thief deck lacks viable recursion options, apart from the upcoming “Time Thief Perpetua”, which can revive its allies. However, to gain access to this effect, she must survive until your standby phase, meaning you’re often better off with cards like the always excellent “Monster Reborn” for recovery.
While the deck has its issues, many of them arguably stem from the lack of support cards that currently exists within the Time Thief archetype. With only one wave of support back in “Savage Strike”, and a single card currently revealed for “Extra Pack 2019” and now “Ignition Assault”, there is only a miserly total of eight cards in the archetype. As a result, it’s uncommon to see players playing a “pure” build of the deck, instead opting to run “Time Thief Redoer” as a solid generic Rank 4 Xyz option in the Extra Deck, or by fusing the Time Thief cards with other archetypes to make something far greater than what could ever be accomplished with a “pure” build. Sadly, until more cards are revealed, this deck has some potential, but lacks powerful utility options to make the deck playable and monopolise on that potential.
Cards That Support the Deck/ Strategy
Due to the nature of the deck, generic Xyz support cards such as “Xyz Reborn” may prove invaluable, as it provides a revival option for Xyz monsters AND supplies it with a Trap card as material – a perfect match for “Time Thief Redoer”. Also, thanks to the deck’s exclusive DARK typing, “Allure of Darkness” is always an excellent option as it offers a powerful and consistent draw option to help get the show on the road.
Generally speaking, the deck has considerable synergy with the Phantom Knights archetype, and fusing both together is generally the most effective way to generate advantage thanks to “The Phantom Knights of Shade Brigandine” providing easy access to an invaluable level-4 Trap Monster at any time. “Phantom Knights’ Fog Blade” also gifts Time Thief decks with much sought-after disruption and negation – something the deck is desperately lacking overall. The fact that the entire Phantom Knights archetype is also searchable, thanks to the incredible “The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots”, is excellent and, combined with Phantom Knights’ ability to swarm the field, helps circumvent one of the core weaknesses of the Time Thief deck. Sadly, this will often mean that, in most builds of the deck, players will rely more so on the Phantom Knights part of the deck rather than the Time Thief aspect. However, with the introduction of “Time Thief Perpetua” in “Extra Pack 2019” and “Time Thief Startup” in “Ignition Assault”, all of this may soon change – we’ll have to wait and see what news, if any, we get on the future of this archetype.
The Time Thief archetype is one that finds itself in a very strange position – one that places the deck in limbo until Konami decides to bless the deck with more support. While “Time Thief Perpetua” and “Time Thief Startup” will hopefully spell a resurgence for the deck, until more cards are announced, all fans of the deck can do is hope. While it possesses an excellent “Stratos” alongside many powerful tech options, the deck lacks the ability to stand on its own two feet without using another archetype as a crutch to counterbalance its otherwise glaring weaknesses. A huge plus for the deck is its low-rarity printing, meaning all currently released cards, including the great “Time Thief Redoer”, are accessible to all players, regardless of budget. However, despite its incredible potential and interesting play style, due to the lacklustre archetypal support currently available for the deck, I can only award the deck a 2/5 overall – but please note that this score could easily change should the deck receive future support, which, from the looks of things, might happen sooner than we think!
If you’d like some more in-depth information regarding the cards in the archetype we discussed today, including my opinion on each card in the archetype, then please check out the information below. Apart from that, that’s all we have for you this time on the Archetype Appraisal. I really hope you enjoyed this entry and I hope to see you again real soon. Until next time, keep it weeby everyone!
The First Round of Support
Time Thief Winder
DARK, LV4, Psychic, Effect Monster
ATK: 1800, DEF: 1300
Effect: You can detach 1 material from an Xyz Monster you control; Special Summon this card from your hand. If this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can add 1 “Time Thief” card from your Deck to your hand, except “Time Thief Winder”. You can only use each effect of “Time Thief Winder” once per turn.
This card is a useful “Stratos” for the deck, allowing you to search ANY card in the archetype. While this is a well appreciated piece of support in any archetype, the most mileage you’ll get from “Time Thief Winder” is following its Special Summon at the hands of “Time Thief Regulator”. Sadly, however, due to the limited support options for Time Thieves, you’ll most often be searching your copies of “Time Thief Flyback” or “Time Thief Startup”. This is still a great option for your Normal Summon if you don’t open with “Time Thief Regulator”, and the ability to Special Summon from the hand is also nice if you already have an established board – a must-run at three in the deck!
Time Thief Bezel Ship
DARK, LV4, Machine, Effect Monster
ATK: 1000 , DEF: 2000
Effect: (Quick Effect): You can Tribute this card, then target 1 “Time Thief” Xyz Monster you control; attach 1 card from your opponent’s GY to that monster as material. If this card is in the GY: You can detach 1 material from an Xyz Monster you control; Special Summon this card, but banish it when it leaves the field. You can only use each effect of “Time Thief Bezel Ship” once per turn.
“Time Thief Bezel Ship” offers very little at first glance, and it’s likely never going to be your first choice for your Normal Summon. However, summoning this card with “Time Thief Regulator” and getting it into your Graveyard gives access to a useful Special Summon and the excellent ability to disrupt your opponent’s Graveyard plays. As the deck lacks much disruption, any at all is much appreciated, even if it is situational. If you’re using “Time Thief Regulator” in the deck (which you probably should be), then you’ll need to run this card at at least one copy due to a lack of other Main-Deck targets for “Regulator’s” effect.
Time Thief Regulator
DARK, LV4, Machine, Effect Monster
ATK: 600, DEF: 200
Effect: If you control no other monsters: You can Tribute this card; Special Summon 2 “Time Thief” monsters with different names from your Deck in Defense Position, except “Time Thief Regulator”. When an Xyz Monster you control is destroyed by battle, while this card is in your GY: You can Special Summon this card, but banish it when it leaves the field. You can only use each effect of “Time Thief Regulator” once per turn.
The primary play starter for the Time Thief archetype, and an invaluable first-turn play maker. Despite its inherent weakness to Hand Traps and disruption, being able to summon a copy of both “Time Thief Bezel Ship” and “Time Thief Winder” from the deck to enable Xyz or LINK plays makes this card a powerful tool in your arsenal. Its Special Summon effect from the Graveyard provides some additional protection in the face of an OTK, although this effect is by far not the main focus, merely offering a nice bonus to an already powerful card. A must-run at three.
Time Thief Redoer
DARK, RANK 4, Psychic, Xyz, Effect Monster
ATK: 2400, DEF: 2000
Effect: 2 Level 4 monsters
Once per turn, during the Standby Phase: You can attach the top card of your opponent’s Deck to this card as material. (Quick Effect): You can detach up to 3 different types of materials from this card, then apply the following effect(s) depending on what was detached.
● Monster: Banish this card until the End Phase. ● Spell: Draw 1 card.
● Trap: Place 1 face-up card your opponent controls on the top of the Deck.
You can only use this effect of “Time Thief Redoer” once per turn.
The first Xyz monster and the main Boss Monster of the archetype, “Time Thief Redoer” is an incredible card. Firstly, being able to steal a card from the top of your opponent’s deck can potentially neuter certain strategies, if you can get lucky and steal a copy of a valuable one-of. The main event, however, comes from its detach effects. The monster effect offers protection by enabling “Redoer” to avoid threats while also opening up the Extra Monster Zone; its Spell effect provides instant advantage and its Trap effect is non-targeting removal – something that’s not to be sniffed at. This card will almost always be the main goal of Time Thief decks, and keeping it well supplied with Xyz material is far from difficult thanks to this archetypes support lineup. An invaluable member of the archetype with generic Xyz materials, this card is a great Boss Monster for the archetype.
Time Thief Hack
Effect: During the turn they are Special Summoned, Xyz Monsters you control cannot be destroyed by your opponent’s card effects, also your opponent cannot target them with card effects. You can target 1 face-up Xyz Monster you control; it gains 300 ATK for each material currently attached to it, until the end of this turn, and if it does, and also has a material that is owned by your opponent, it can attack directly this turn (even if this card leaves the field). You can only use this effect of “Time Thief Hack” once per turn.
The only Spell card in the support lineup, this card is… Ok. Offering blanket protection for your Xyz monsters at the hands of destruction effects is always nice, and the additional ability to beef up your Xyz monsters depending on the number of materials attached can make your “Time Thief Redoer” pretty big. Combining that with the direct attack effect, should it have an opponent’s card attached as material (which “Time Thief Redoer” almost always will), it can really put the pressure on opponents if not dealt with quickly. The fact that it’s searchable by “Time Thief Winder” means you should probably only run this at one, as any more would likely brick.
Time Thief Flyback
Effect: Target 1 “Time Thief” Xyz Monster you control; attach 1 “Time Thief” card from your hand or Deck to it as material. You can banish this card from your GY, then target 1 “Time Thief” Xyz Monster you control; attach 1 card from your opponent’s GY to it as material. You can only use 1 “Time Thief Flyback” effect per turn, and only once that turn.
The last card of the initial support lineup and the sole trap in the archetype, “Time Thief Flyback” is actually a pretty solid piece of support, only held back by it being a Trap card. It’s on-field effect allows you to attach whatever material type you need from the deck to “Time Thief Redoer”, an invaluable tool to increase the potency of your Boss Monster. The Graveyard effect is pretty much identical to that of “Time Thief Bezel Ship’s” on-field effect, offering another source of valuable disruption. A key player in the overall Time Thief strategy that will most definitely help the deck’s momentum.
The New Support
Time Thief Perpetua
DARK, RANK 4, Psychic, Xyz, Effect Monster
ATK: 1900, DEF: 2500
Effect: 2 Level 4 monsters
During the Standby Phase: you can detach 1 material from this card, then target 1 “Time Thief” monster in your GY, except “Time Thief Perpetua”; Special Summon it. (Quick Effect): You can target 1 Xyz Monster you control, except this card; attach 1 “Time Thief” card from your Deck to it as a material. You can only use each effect of “Time Thief Perpetua once per turn.
The newest Time Thief offers some pretty decent support for the deck overall, although I wish she could have come with a few extra support cards. Once again, this card revolves around supporting “Time Thief Redoer” by allowing you to attach materials to it from the deck. The additional recursion is nice, but it does require that “Time Thief Perpetua” survive until the Standby Phase of your turn. If this had been a Quick Effect, this would have made the card better, but overall it’s a decent support to help bolster the overall ‘defend the castle’ play style of the deck.
Time Thief Startup
Effect: You can only use 1 of this card name’s (1) or (2) effect per turn, and only once that turn. (1) Special Summon 1 “Time Thief” monster from your hand. (2) During your Main Phase: You can banish this card from your GY, then target 1 “Time Thief” Xyz Monster you control; attach 3 “Time Thief” cards (1 monster, 1 Spell, and 1 Trap) from your GY to it as materials.
This card is hot off the press, being announced just as I was just adding the finishing touches to this Appraisal. The Special Summon effect is invaluable for the Time Thief deck, offering the ability to summon a Monster from the hand during either player’s turn. This gives players a defensive option to prevent OTKs while also allowing more utility to extend further. The Graveyard effect is situational and more than likely won’t be activated thanks to the Graveyard utility of “Time Thief Flyback”, but it’s a nice extra ability that fits the Time Thief theme. As of writing this card hasn’t even reached YGOPRO yet, but you can already tell it’s an excellent addition to the deck and will be an absolute three-of for the deck!