For Christmas 2006, I received the Yu-GI-Oh Structure Deck: Spellcaster’s Judgment. It’s one of my favorite structure decks of all time, but it’s not because I received it for a gift. Besides a few really good cards like Breaker the Magical Warrior and Skilled Dark Magician, the deck included one of the best spell cards for Spellcasters: Magical Dimension!
As one of Yugi Moto’s cards from the anime, Magical Dimension has seen several reprints over the years, including in the 5D’s Spellcaster’s Command Structure Deck. Released on March 31, 2009. it’s arguably a better deck than its predecessor. Most recently, it was reprinted in Maximum Gold: El Dorado. Despite seeing plenty of reprints, and as a Yugi card having its loyal fans, Magical Dimension has never seen top tournament deck play. We’ll get into the reasons why, but first, here’s more about my personal history with the card.
Why is Magical Dimension an Underrated YuGiOh Card?
So, what’s so great about Magical Dimension? It’s a Quick-Play Spell Card that requires you to have a face-up Spellcaster monster on the field. This is easy enough, as there are plenty of good Spellcasters in competitive YuGiOh. Then, you can tribute 1 monster you control – which doesn’t have to be a Spellcaster itself – and Special Summon 1 Spellcaster Monster from your hand. Even better, if that summon is successful, you can destroy 1 monster on the field.
Hilariously, Magical Dimension has been a bit of a pain to deal with when it comes to rulings. Because the destruction of a monster is optional, it can lead to some unfortunate interactions for an opponent. You have to declare whether you’re destroying a monster when you activate Magical Dimension. If you don’t choose to destroy a monster, an opponent can’t respond to the Special Summon of your Spellcaster with Bottomless Trap Hole or Torrential Tribute because it misses the timing to activate. Once a counter trap like Solemn Warning was printed, this wasn’t an issue; but for many years, Magical Dimension was a pain to play against. Who wanted to use their Solemn Judgment and pay half of their LP to stop this card?
Taking into account that most of the time Magical Dimension broke even on card advantage, it’s highly surprising more top decks didn’t try out a copy or two. This card was especially good for me, especially since there was a jacked-up copy I owned of one of the best Chaos Monsters of all time: DARK MAGICIAN OF CHAOS!
The key card in the really crazy Dimension Fusion/Cannon Soldier combo deck nonsense, Dark Magician of Chaos was a sweet monster. When he hit the field, he gave you a Spell Card from your graveyard! He even banished any monster he destroyed! The downside was that if he left the field for whatever reason, he was banished. Then again, this wasn’t REALLY a downside; banished monsters were SO easy to get back into play back then with Return from a Dimension Dimension and D-Fusion around. Because DMOC could set up such insane plays like Dimension Fusion, they banned his butt for a long, long time.
Eventually, DMOC came off of the ban list, unfortunately along with an errata. Now, you could only get the Spell Card at the End Phase of the turn in which he was summoned. To be fair, he’s still good, especially if you use Magical Dimension to summon him on your opponent’s turn. You then still get back the Magical Dimension, which is pretty sweet. As it was, you were usually sacrificing something like an Apprentice Magician or Magician of Faith anyway that had its effect already spent, so tributing it was pretty busted.
(They actually added errata to a lot of cards that were once banned, which is really annoying. At least, they left my boy Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning alone…)
Anyway, you may be surprised to learn that Magical Dimension was never really a card that saw top-level play. It did, however, certainly see play in some decks that had some local game stoe success, including Fortune Ladies (an OK deck at the time). Strangely enough, even with Gravekeepers and other Spellcaster-heavy strategies rather popular at the time, Magical Dimension saw very little play in winning decks. When it comes to exactly why, it never seemed clear to me.
My Personal History with Magical Dimension in Local Tournament Play
I started playing with Magical Dimension in my deck for the Ultimate Masters 2006 video game on Game Boy Advance. This game used the September 2005 Forbidden and Limited List, and even though the Spellcaster’s Judgment deck wasn’t released in the U.S. until January 2006, it was released in Japan in September 2005. Therefore, the structure deck was available in that game.
I actually ran two versions of the Magical Dimension deck, one in early 2006 and one in 2009 with cards from the newer Spellcaster’s Command deck. The first time was in a more DMOC-oriented strategy and the second time it was in Gravekeepers!
Another time, I’ll look at my 2009 deck when I look over the structure decks properly. Today, I’ll look at a deck that’s similar to the one I ran in early 2006 using the ban list at the time. This would’ve been around the Chaos Return format, which makes sense considering how many Spellcasters ran amok at the time. This list is optimized using the best cards available at that time, despite myself not necessarily owning copies.
1x Dark Magician of Chaos
1x Caius the Shadow Monarch
1x Chaos Sorcerer
1x Cyber Dragon
1x Breaker the Magical Warrior
1x Cyber Jar
2x Gravekeeper’s Spy
1x Gravekeeper’s Guard
2x Skilled Dark Magician
2x Skilled White Magician
2x Apprentice Magician
1x Magician of Faith
1x Old Vindictive Magician
1x Injection Fairy Lily
1x Book of Moon
1x Brain Control
1x Heavy Storm
1x Lightning Vortex
1x Mage Power
3x Magical Dimension
1x Mystical Space Typhoon
1x Nobleman of Crossout
1x Premature Burial
1x Smashing Ground
1x Snatch Steal
2x Bottomless Trap Hole
1x Magic Cylinder
2x Sakuretsu Armor
1x Torrential Tribute
In my sideboard, I used to play Chaos Command Magician, too, as another Light monster for Chaos Sorcerer. In one version of this deck, I even played Kaiser Glider. This seems random, but that guy was always really solid for me, especially when coming in against Monarch decks. Glider could trade profitably with a Monarch, since he wasn’t destroyed in battles where he tied for ATK. (He’s also the first card I ever bought online and he was strangely cheap.) It didn’t really work well with Magical Dimension, though, and eventually it was replaced with a Cybernetic Magician – another card that never gets talked about despite being better than you might think.
I didn’t own a Mirror Force at the time, but it was banned then anyway, so it wouldn’t have mattered. Also, I actually didn’t even own an Injection Fairy Lily at that time, but it belongs in this deck, thanks to her being a Spellcaster. So, let’s break this down.
Dark Magician of Chaos is the boss monster of this deck, and you’re rarely going to need two Tributes to summon him. Magical Dimension is your key method of getting him out; sometimes, it’s just a flipped Apprentice Magician, Flip Effect monster, or Scapegoat Token that’s going to get him into play. Back then, you could just get the Magical Dimension back to your hand on the same turn, too. Now with his errata, you get it at the End Phase; honestly, this is still OK, but not as busted as it was. When DMOC could get Dimension back immediately, you could use it to tribute another little monster for a bigger monster.
I ran one copy of Caius the Shadow Monarch in every deck back then, because really, banishing any card from the field is crazy. No, he’s not a Spellcaster, but that’s not really a problem, since you have plenty of tribute fodder for him.
Chaos Sorcerer is pretty busted in this deck. Sure, you can’t summon him with Magical Dimension; but, he is a spellcaster, and that’s important. One of my favorite moves with this deck is to summon him, remove a monster with his effect, tribute him for Dimension for another monster, then Premature Burial the Sorcerer. I’ve done that before and won that game.
Cyber Dragon is mostly in the deck to be a Light monster for Chaos purposes, honestly. Still, the fact you can Special Summon him is enough reason to play him. At this time, I only had one and only ran one. I don’t think I’ve ever played more than 2 in any deck, ever.
Breaker the Magical Warrior was my favorite card in the game at that time, and BLS was second to him. Of course, you could actually play Breaker in a tournament, as the Envoy was still on the banlist at that point. One of my favorite Magical Dimension moves was to pop Breaker’s counter to destroy a backrow card, flip an Apprentice Magician to give him another counter, and pop another backrow. Then, I’d attack for 1600, and during Battle tribute him with Dimension to bring out another Spellcaster and attack again with the new monster. I always got so much value out of him.
Cyber Jar was a card that I always hated, but I owned one, and it was good in this deck. Yes, it was still tournament legal in those days. I didn’t care if they got a good monster, because I could usually deal with it pretty easily. The Jar brought out a lot of the monsters that I wanted to go face-down for free and usually I only played it coming from behind.
The best part of Magical Dimension, though, is that it’s a Quick Play spell card. As I mentioned earlier, you can activate it during Battle in order to tribute a monster that already attacked in order to bring out another Spellcaster ready to go. This would’ve been a lot of fun with Injection Fairy Lily – a move I made in Ultimate Masters 2006 – since you can activate her ability to pump by 3000 during damage calculation. Two of the last three monsters are ones I didn’t even play at the time.
I will say that in a 2009 version of this deck, I did own an Injection Fairy Lily. There were a few games where paying 2000 LP and and doing 3400 damage won me some games I probably shouldn’t have. Besides, who was playing Lily in 2009? Magical Dimension and Injection Fairy Lily is a lot of fun, for sure!
All in all, Magical Dimension was always a pretty good card for me. Even when I drew a dead copy, I usually could just set it face-down to make people think it was a trap card. Best of all, it got under Jinzo, who was still running around negating traps on a regular basis.
Magical Dimension in Apprentice Spellcasters & Gravekeepers
In my original Spellcaster deck, which you could probably categorize as Apprentice Spellcasters, I played 3 Spy and 2 Guard. While that’s fine in a Gravekeeper deck, I didn’t really need the 3rd Spy or 2nd Guard looking back. The engine was great, though. I ran 41 or 42 cards back then, so to get it down to a more consistent 40, I cut those two cards. These guys always played good defense and even when the extra copies were dead draws they were discarded to something like Lightning Vortex.
Skilled White Magician and Skilled Dark Magician were two of my favorite cards in 2006, and they are, in fact, good cards. Skilled White Magician in particular is very good if you go the triple Chaos Sorcerer route with Spellcasters. But, having two of each in this deck is very important to the Magical Dimension strategy. They beat a lot of the meta monsters at that time, especially the White Magician with his 1900 defense. I didn’t care about things like Reflect Bounder, because I always had an out to them. Everything else I could run over or use removal or use Magical Dimension.
I ran a little Apprentice Magician engine in there, too. I’d run three Apprentices if Magician of Faith was at two, but at one, three Apprentices were just too many. The cool thing about Apprentice is that if you flip her, she can put a Spell counter on something that can use one. It’s great with Breaker, especially. She’s good with Royal Magical Library, too, a card that was pretty good in Exodia Stall decks. So, I ran one Magician of Faith and one Old Vindictive Magician.
To be fair, if I were running a Monarch strategy, I’d play two Vindictive Magician and a third Apprentice. But, this was fine for a good stuff Spellcasters strategy. In retrospect, I should’ve maxed out the Apprentice Engine with a couple more Old Vindictive Magician and ran the full three copies of Caius, plus maybe a Mobius the Frost Monarch. I did eventually play Apprentice Monarch, but the Magical Dimensions weren’t a part of that deck, obviously, since they became very inconsistent draws.
As for the other monsters, most of them should be pretty self-explanatory. Sangan gets you most of the important creatures in the deck. Plus, if you control a Spellcaster monster in addition to him, you can tribute him with Magical Dimension, and get something good with his effect.
Tsukuyomi is a card I didn’t really play much back in the day, and in retrospect, I should’ve played her far more. As a Book of Moon on a stick that you get back to your hand every turn, she’s pretty good. Also, even though she can’t be special summoned herself, she is a Spellcaster that you can tribute to Magical Dimension. This deck really wants two Book of Moon, but since that card was limited to one, it made lots of sense to play this gal. Book of Moon was one of my favorite cards then, and it still is now; it’s so busted in Apprentice engine decks!
Brain Control and Snatch Steal are particularly great in this deck because they just gave me more Magical Dimension fodder. Plus, they offered additional ways to tribute for Caius or even DMOC. I’m not going to lie, I’ve even tribute summoned Cyber Dragon using Brain Control before. What a blowout.
Heavy Storm and one Mystical Space Typhoon are kind of low for Spell/Trap destruction, but I also ran Breaker. If I was facing a stall deck, I had a couple of Dust Tornadoes in my side board. That was usually enough to hit the Return from a Different Dimension or other important traps. Lightning Vortex was the next best thing to Raigeki. The discard is actually not that bad, especially if it turns on Chaos Sorcerer.
Mage Power seems kind of random, but in my experience, it was usually 1000 extra power in this deck. I’d play enough things face down that it made sense. Even 500 ATK power is worth playing it. I’d love people to waste their spell/trap removal on it; so, yes, this equip spell was more of a bait for S/T removal and it often got sided out. Nobleman of Crossout was just a staple back then, and it was just an awesome card. Being limited to one at that point really kind of stunk, but that’s why Apprentice engines were so playable.
Premature Burial was the only good grave revival spell at that point that wasn’t a trap like Call of the Haunted. I don’t run Call in this list, only because I’m not sure I needed it. Plus, Jinzo made it look bad. Scapegoat is a lot of fun because it’s versatile. Not only can it stall, but it can give me tokens to tribute to Magical Dimension as long as I already control a face-up Spellcaster, which is pretty easy to do. Smashing Ground is just an awesome removal card and I always played at least one for years. It deals with my opponent’s biggest threat, usually.
Back in the day, I only played two copies of Magical Dimension, because I only had two. This was before I bought many things online. But, I really like three in this deck looking back. You can use Dimension in so many ways, since it’s a quick-play spell. Best of all, using it during combat could just be an absolute blow-out. People would activate their Sakuretsu Armor, and I’d just tribute the attacking monster, replace it with something bigger, and kill their monster. Then, the Armor missed its timing and was wasted. That always felt good. Putting my DMOC into play, getting the Dimension back, then tributing it for like a Breaker or Skilled White or Skilled Dark Magician for additional battle damage felt pretty good, too.
I really didn’t run many traps back then. Basically, I ran the staple 2 Bottomless Trap Hole and 2 Sakuretsu Armor, plus Torrential and Magic Cylinder. I preferred Ring of Destruction, but it was banned at that time, which was annoying because I had a secret rare copy. All in all, it wasn’t a super competitive deck, but it won more than it lost.
However, some time later I ran a complete Gravekeeper’s list, also with the two Magical Dimension. It ran all three Spies, two Guards, three Spear Soldiers, and of course, Necrovalley. No one saw Magical Dimension coming from Gravekeepers, which was a good enough deck already. Mostly I would just bring out Spear Soldier in combat, but with Necrovalley pumping it to 2000, that was a pretty solid play. Why people didn’t play it more in an already powerful strategy baffles me, but yeah, it was probably kind of a win-more card.
Why Hasn’t Magical Dimension Seen More Tournament Play?
Despite seeing some rogue play over the years, Magical Dimension remains absent from Yu-Gi-Oh Top Decks. While it’s certainly become a staple in Dark Magician themed decks over the years, Magical Dimension has become outclassed by cards that send cards to the graveyard rather than destroy. Its reprint in Maximum Gold: El Dorado did bring some new eyes to the card, but it’s simply not as good as it was.
Sadly, even with the rise of Goat Format and other old school formats becoming competitive again, Magical Dimension remains on the outside looking in. Of course, Magical Dimension didn’t exist in the TCG during Goat Format, nor Reaper Format, the two popular retro formats from that time. In probably my favorite competitive format, YCS Edison Format, Magical Dimension is certainly playable, but it doesn’t slot into any of the best lists of the time.
One could argue that Magical Dimension is a stupidly underrated YuGiOh card. It’s going to usually break even on card advantage and Spellcasters are nuts. Heck, Spellcasters only get better all the time. But, when are you going to see Pendulum Magicians fit this in when they do enough broken stuff already? The only way Magical Dimension will ever see play again is in retro formats, and I don’t think anyone is clamoring to return to Chaos Return format, as fun and nostalgic as that format is for me.
Another possibility is that Common Charity, the YuGiOh format using only common cards, will take off. It’s a Konami supported format, and Magical Dimension was first printed at common. If a Spellcaster focused deck can win, which I’m sure Gravekeepers can certainly compete, you may see a copy or two, even if only in the sideboard.
For now, Dark Magician lovers will probably be the only players even boarding Magical Dimension at all. Who doesn’t love a little dork being tributed for a Dark Magician, while also popping an opponent’s creature? It’s too bad Dark Magician continues to have spam support for it – heck, Battle of Chaos just released in early 2022 with even more Yugi stan cards. I’d love to see Magical Dimension have its day once again, even if its just in Duel Links.