Ever since the Yubel Unlock Event - Rise of Yubel Event in September, when Yubel, Yubel - Terror Incarnate and Yubel - The Ultimate Nightmare were released, we’ve been hearing a lot of people complaining about these cards.
Yubel Fire King is a fairly popular deck right now and a lot of people are having trouble dealing with it, so in this guide I will try and list the most efficient ways to handle with these problematic cards and talk about how you can get around their immunity from destruction by battle and floating effects.
One important thing that you should know about Yubel and Yubel - Terror Incarnate is that their floating effect, meaning their ability to respectively Special Summon Yubel - Terror Incarnate and Yubel - The Ultimate Nightmare, can miss the timing, meaning it can fail to activate.
This may sound complicated at first, but it's actually very simple: a card or effect “misses its activation timing” when something happens right after the event it was supposed to be chained to, essentially not giving it a chance to be activated. Not all cards can miss their timing, only the ones whose effects are worded in a certain way like Yubel - Terror Incarnate.
Yubel - Terror Incarnate's card text states that, “when” it leaves the field, “you can” Special Summon Yubel - Ultimate Nightmare from your hand, Deck or Graveyard. Why did I emphasize “when” and “you can”? Because they indicate that this is an optional effect and that the second part can only take place if the last thing that happened was Yubel - Terror Incarnate leaving the field.
Let's take Pinch Hopper and Gravekeeper's Recruiter, both of these monsters’ effects trigger “when” they are sent to the Graveyard, but there's a difference between them: Pinch Hopper's effect is optional, meaning it's going to ask you whether or not you want to activate it, whereas Gravekeeper's Recruiter's effect is mandatory, meaning that, even if there are no monsters you can add from your Deck to the hand, it's still going to activate.
If I decide to Tribute Gravekeeper's Recruiter, its effect will activate, allowing me to search for a “Gravekeeper's” monster, but, if I Tribute Pinch Hopper, its effect will not activate. Essentially something happened right after the card was sent to the Graveyard—a monster was Summoned—and there was no time for Pinch Hopper's effect to activate.
Why does Gravekeeper's Recruiter's effect not miss its timing then? Mandatory effects don't have to be activated right away, they just activate at the first opportunity and the same goes for effects that use “if” instead of “when”, even if they are optional.
Let's say your opponent has Yubel - Terror Incarnate on the field and you have a Gozuki and Treacherous Trap Hole: how do you get rid of the opponent's monster without letting them Special Summon Yubel - Ultimate Nightmare?
You started a Chain (Gozuki's effect activation) and Chains resolve sequentially, starting from the last card that was activated (Treacherous Trap Hole); when the chain resolved, the last thing that happened was not Yubel - Terror Incarnate being destroyed, but Gozuki's effect, preventing Yubel - Terror Incarnate's effect from being activated.
Your opponent may activate a card or effect themselves while Yubel - Terror Incarnate is on the field, like destroying something in their hand to search for a “Fire King” monster with Fire King Island; you can chain your removal to Fire King Island’s effect to make Yubel - Terror Incarnate's effect miss its timing.
What happens? Dragon Spirit of White's backrow removal effect misses its timing because it's an optional effect that has to be activated “when” it's Summoned, there was no time to activate it because it was part of a chain. An easier way to remember this would be to keep in mind that optional effects that start with “when” will miss the timing if they are part of a chain and they are Chain Link 2 or higher.
The first thing you should do, when you start noticing that your deck is doing poorly against another one in particular, would be to implement cards that can make this unfavourable matchup better.
We already know that Yubel - Terror Incarnate’s effect can miss its activation timing, so we also know that most forms of removal such as Treacherous Trap Hole, if used at the right time, can work perfectly fine; your goal here is to make this particular matchup more favourable without drastically decreasing your chances of winning against any other deck.
You can use Enemy Controller to take control of Yubel and then Tribute it to Summon a Level 5 or higher monster or to activate another effect. Vampire decks that feature Gozuki can make good use of this card and generate OTKs, stealing Yubel and Special Summoning a high Level “Vampire” monster that, if boosted by Vampire Kingdom, likely won’t have trouble ending the duel.
This Quick-Play Spell can negate the effect of a face-up monster on the field, it can negate Yubel - Terror Incarnate’s immunity from destruction by battle, allowing you to easily destroy it; Yubel - Terror Incarnate’s Graveyard effect will still trigger, but you will also be able to deal damage to your opponent.
Forbidden Chalice is extremely versatile and a lot of Masked HERO decks already use it due to its synergy with Masked HERO Anki; the first part of Forbidden Chalice’s effect can be used to simply get over a monster that is naturally bigger than yours, it can be activated during the Damage Step, when cards such Wall of Disruption or Sphere Kuriboh can’t anymore, but it’s obviously for the effect negation that you will use it most of the times.
Forbidden Chalice was already a good card when Fur Hire decks were still around because it prevented swarming without necessarily sending a “Fur Hire” monster to the Graveyard and it can be used even on a monster on your side of the field like Lava Golem or anything else that may have a particular drawback. The important thing is to have multiple ways of getting rid of an opponent’s monster as Yubel - Ultimate Nightmare can’t Summon anything else when it leaves the field.
Gravity Blaster and, to a certain extent, Double Tool C&D can deal with the three forms of Yubel as they negate the effect of monsters the monster they are equipped to battles with;
Gravity Blaster’s effect negation lasts until the end of the Battle Phase, so even Graveyard effects won’t activate, whereas Double Tool C&D’s effect negation works only for effects that are active while the monster is on the field; what should be noted about these cards is that they negate the immunity from destruction by battle of the three forms of Yubel.
If Yubel is Tributed, its Graveyard effect will miss the timing, so, Tribute decks such Monarchs or even U.A., to a certain extent, can use this card to get around the immunity from destruction by battle and floating effect at the same time.
Super Rush Headlong can destroy Yubel, Yubel - Terror Incarnate and Yubel - Ultimate Nightmare, it does not prevent the Graveyard effects of the first two, but it’s still a card that can find its use even when dealing with other decks such as Blue-Eyes or Masked HERO, which are also extremely relevant.
If your opponent decides to attack you directly with a Fire King Avatar Yaksha, Drowning Mirror Force can shuffle all of his Attack Position monsters, including any of the three forms of Yubel, back into the Deck.
Treacherous Trap Hole can get rid of Yubel - Terror Incarnate and make its effect miss its timing, if used at the right moment, but that’s not always going to be possible; if you have more removal available, Yubel - Ultimate Nightmare is not going to be a problem.
What you should focus on is destroying the card that wipes the board every opponent’s End Phase and that creates a loop with Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys.
No, another way to deal with Yubel would be to prevent it from being Summoned in the first place; you can use backrow removal to destroy Fire King Island before the opponent has a chance to activate its effect or you can just prevent its activation.
Cosmic Cyclone is a Quick-Play Spell, so you can use it during the opponent's turn to banish Fire King Island right away. You can also use this card while Yubel is already on the field targeting the Field Spell, Fire King Island's effect will trigger and Yubel will be destroyed.
This will not solve the problem completely, but it will still act as additional removal; Yubel and Yubel - Terror Incarnate’s effects will not miss their timing in this situation because them being destroyed would be the last thing to happen when the chain resolves completely, but you can wait for your opponent to activate Fire King Island’s effect and then use Cosmic Cyclone or just activate something yourself before doing so to.
Certain decks have a notably better matchup against Yubel Fire King, so, if you think that you are having trouble with this deck in particular, you may just want to change your strategy completely.
If Yubel - Terror Incarnate is used as Fusion Material for Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroyer Swordsman, its effect will not trigger because the last thing to happen would not be Yubel - Terror Incarnate leaving the field, but the Fusion Monster being Special Summoned.
If DNA Surgery is active, you can activate Destruction Swordsman Fusion and use any monster on the opponent’s side of the field as Fusion Material, since they are now Dragon-Type monsters; the card is a Quick-Play Spell, so it’s very versatile and it can be searched by Buster Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman, so this strategy and deck is also very consistent.
If I wasn't’ listing these decks in alphabetic order, Silent Spellbook would be the first one I should mention when it comes to having a good matchup against Yubel Fire King: Silent Magician can prevent the activation of Fire King Island and Spellbook of Fate can banish Yubel - Terror Incarnate and, while this would not prevent the opponent from Summoning Ultimate Nightmare under normal circumstances, it would still get rid of the second form of Yubel permanently, essentially leaving the opponent with just Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys and the two “Fire King” monsters once the third form leaves the field as well. I’ve already explained how you can make Yubel - Ultimate Nightmare’s effect miss its activation timing using Treacherous Trap Hole, so you should know that the same thing can be done with Spellbook of Fate.
Vampire decks have removal in the form of Vampire Kingdom, it’s limited to a “once per turn” use, but, if Yubel is the only thing they have to deal with, it shouldn’t be a problem. Thanks to Vampire Retainer and Vampire Familiar, monsters that can be easily Special Summoned from the Graveyard and that, under Vampire Kingdom, can deal a respectable amount of damage, Vampire decks can quickly recover from Yubel - Terror Incarnate’s destruction effect.
You can use Enemy Controller to take control of Yubel and then Tribute it to Summon Vampire Grace or any other Level 5 or higher “Vampire” monster; thanks to Vampire’s Domain, you have an additional Normal Summon/Set, so doing that is not going to be that difficult.
If it wasn’t for what happened a couple days ago, Amazoness and Fur Hire decks would be on this list too as the former had Amazoness Onslaught and the latter had Donpa, Marksman Fur Hire, Wiz, Sage Fur Hire and Dyna, Hero Fur Hire.
A good piece of advice I can give to anyone struggling with a certain deck would be to try it out yourself, if possible; using a deck is the fastest way to know its limitations and what gives it trouble.