Incorrectly using Dust Tornado against a Snatch Steal is one of the most common and costly mistakes that I see in games of Yu-Gi-Oh!’s Goat Format, and yet it I never see it mentioned in discussions of “most common misplays” or during post-game analysis. (Note: Mystical Space Typhoon can be interchangeably used with Dust Tornado, but I will continue to simply say “Dust Tornado” throughout the remainder of this article, for ease of readability.)
So what is this misplay that I speak of? You might not even know that you’re doing it. Your opponent activates Snatch Steal, targeting your monster. You have a set Dust Tornado. You chain it, targeting Snatch Steal. Yep, that’s the misplay. While this can often be a good play, there are some good reasons to wait until the battle phase to activate your Dust Tornado instead.
Reason to Hold Off on Dust Tornado: Additional Main Phase 1 Plays
Whether or not you chain Dust Tornado or leave your set card unused can change the entire course of the main phase. For example, let’s say you have a D.D. Warrior Lady and a set Dust Tornado. Your opponent is using Goat Control, and you know that they have a Sinister Serpent in their hand. If they activate Snatch Steal and you chain Dust Tornado, they are likely to use Metamorphosis on their Sinister Serpent, making Thousand Eyes-Restrict and attacking you for 1500. If you waited until the battle phase to use your Dust Tornado instead, they would do the same play, but in main phase 2, which saves you 1500 lifepoints. I see this kind of scenario come up quite frequently. Waiting into the battle phase to use your Dust Tornado can save you crucial lifepoints.
Alternatively, suppose that you know your opponent has Tsukuyomi in hand, and you have already used Mirror Force and Torrential Tribute. You have a Chaos Sorcerer, a set Dust Tornado, and no other cards on the field. If you chain Dust Tornado to Snatch Steal on Chaos Sorcerer, your opponent will probably set a flip effect monster like Magician of Faith. If you let the Snatch Steal resolve, then they are likely to summon Tsukuyomi, targeting Chaos Sorcerer. If you chain Dust Tornado here, you take back your Chaos Sorcerer and your opponent has used their normal summon for the turn. This is a huge tempo swing.
In either case, the idea is to anticipate your opponent’s plays after you Dust Tornado the Snatch Steal, and then figure out if waiting to use your Dust Tornado later in the turn can place you in a better position going forward.
Reason to Immediately Chain Dust Tornado: Tributing
These autopilot plays, like chaining Dust Tornado to Snatch Steal, usually started for a reason. If you let Snatch Steal resolve and take your monster, there are some potential negative consequences to this. One is that your opponent tributes the stolen monster, never giving you the opportunity to activate your set Dust Tornado.
This tribute risk is deck dependent and can be evaluated based on how many tribute monsters (or tribute effects) your opponent has already used, and whether it is likely that they would want to use them before the battle phase. For example, if your opponent activates Snatch Steal on your Airknight Parshath, you can be pretty sure that they want to attack with it and draw a card. It is quite unlikely that they will tribute it in main phase 1.
Thunder Dragon Chaos uses Thunder Dragon as its only tribute monster, so here you have to ask yourself whether or not your opponent would want to tribute your stolen monster for a Thunder Dragon in main phase 1. The answer is often no. Goat Control typically plays 2 Airknight Parshath as its only tribute monster, so this is a case in which you have to evaluate whether or not your opponent is likely to have Airknight Parshath in hand or not.
Some decks, like Chaos Control, don’t even play any tribute monsters at all. They could use Metamorphosis on the stolen monster, but this typically provides little benefit to them. If your set spell/trap is instead something like Sakuretsu Armor, they would risk wasting their Metamorphosis for no benefit (unless they are stealing a level 6 monster to get Ryu Senshi).
Decks like Reasoning Gate Combo and Monarchs are quite likely to tribute away your monster in main phase 1 though, so it’s probably better to be safe than sorry and just activate your Dust Tornado right away. There are few situations in which it is better to hold the Dust Tornado against these decks.
Reason to Immediately Chain Dust Tornado: Book of Moon
A bigger risk of letting Snatch Steal resolve and using Dust Tornado in the battle phase is that your opponent could chain Book of Moon to permanently keep your monster. There are a lot of decks that play Book of Moon, so this is another decision that’s going to come down to risk versus reward.
You’re going to have to take into account your own reads as well. For example, if last turn you used your Thousand-Eyes Restrict on a crucial monster, and your opponent let it resolve, it means that they are unlikely to have Book of Moon, as they would have wanted to set it to protect their monster from Thousand Eyes-Restrict.
Otherwise, you’ll have to take in account how many Book of Moons their decklist uses and how many they used already. Most Goat Control decks play 2 Book of Moons, but some have 3. With Thunder Dragon Chaos, their Book of Moon count can vary a lot.
You’ll also have to take into the consideration the monster that your opponent would be permanently stealing. For example, if your field is Blade Knight and Don Zaloog, permanently stealing one of these monsters is not that bad for you, because they have low enough defense to be attacked over on your turn. You would be making a two-for-two trade (your Dust Tornado and a monster vs your opponent’s Snatch Steal and Book of Moon).
Reason to Immediately Chain Dust Tornado: Using Your Monster Effect Against You
This is probably the most obvious reason to use Dust Tornado right away. If your opponent steals a monster like Chaos Sorcerer, Tribe-Infecting Virus, or Abyss Soldier, they can use the effect after Snatch Steal resolves. Of course, depending on your field, this may not be an issue. Your opponent is unlikely to use Snatch Steal on a chaos monster and have it banish itself.
In a Goat Control mirror, your opponent activates Snatch Steal on our Abyss Soldier while you have Dust Tornado set (and nothing else on the field). Your opponent has no Airknight Parshath and 1 Book of Moon in the graveyard. You should chain Dust Tornado. The risk of it being tributed for Airknight Parshath is too high, and it’s possible that they have a Sinister Serpent to pitch to Abyss Soldier’s effect, focusing you to use Dust Tornado in the main phase anyways.
You’re playing an Anti-Meta Warriors deck who starts game 1 by setting Solemn Judgment, Sakuretsu Armor, and Dust Tornado. You summon King Tiger Wanghu and pass. Your opponent activates Snatch Steal. It is better to just flip Dust Tornado now, as it is almost impossible for this to backfire. You’d much rather keep your King Tiger Wanghu than risk it being tributed or Book of Moon’d.
You have a D.D. Warrior Lady and a Sangan while your opponent has 2 Book of Moons in the graveyard. If your opponent activates Snatch Steal on D.D. Warrior Lady, it’s pretty clear that they want to attack your Sangan with it. Wait until the battle phase to use Dust Tornado to deny them main phase options.
You have a Breaker the Magical Warrior without a spell counter and a set Dust Tornado. Your opponent is playing a teched out Chaos Control deck with 2 Apprentice Magicians. If your opponent activates Snatch Steal, it is better to wait and see what happens rather than flip it right away. Your opponent does not play any tribute monsters, and they might summon Apprentice Magician to add a counter to Breaker the Magical Warrior. Chaining Snatch Steal to Apprentice Magician’s effect would be an opportunity for a huge blowout.
In game 1 of a Chaos Control vs Thunder Dragon Chaos matchup, you have Shining Angel, a set Mystical Space Typhoon and only 1400 lifepoints remaining. If your opponent activates Snatch Steal, it is best to wait until the battle phase to use it. Your opponent would usually rather attack directly with the Shining Angel rather than tributing it for Thunder Dragon in hopes of forcing out a Sakuretsu Armor. If you flip Mystical Space Typhoon right away, this gives our opponent the ability to summon Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning and attack for game. Given that we do not play any Dust Tornadoes, our opponent is extremely unlikely to play around our set Mystical Space Typhoon by tributing in the main phase.
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This article covered the risk and reward of not chaining Dust Tornado to Snatch Steal. Our Risk in Goat Format article covers more aspects of how to manipulate risk to your advantage.