"Illusion of Hope", known as "Prisoner of Destiny" in the Japanese version, is the forty-fourth episode of the Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS anime. It aired in Japan on March 21, 2018 and aired on Teletoon on January 27, 2019. It became available with official subtitles via Crunchyroll on the same day.

Having learned the truth hidden by the Ignis and the truth behind the Lost Incident, Playmaker tries to persuade Varis to stop the Tower of Hanoi. Unfortunately, his words fail to convince Varis. Having been driven into a corner, Playmaker entrusts all his hopes to his new ace monster!

Featured Duel: Playmaker vs. Varis

Duel continues from the previous episode.

Turn 3: Varis
During the Standby Phase, the effect of "Link Coin" Special Summons "Vorticular Drumgon" (1000/LINK-3/←↓→) back from Varis's GY as it was sent there from his last turn. The effect of "Drumgon" then activates as it was Special Summoned, allowing Varis to draw a card.

Varis Normal Summons "Sniffer Dragon" (800/400), with its effect then activating, allowing him to add a third "Sniffer Dragon" from his Deck to his hand. Varis uses "Sniffer Dragon" and the LINK-3 "Drumgon", treating it as 3, to Link Summon "Topologic Bomber Dragon" (3000/LINK-4/↑↙↓↘) to the Extra Monster Zone on his right. He then activates the Equip Spell "Borrel Regenerator", Special Summoning "Metalrokket Dragon" (1700 → 2000/1400 → 1700) from his GY in Defense Position and equipping to it. As a monster was Summoned to a Zone that a Link Monster points to, the effect of "Bomber Dragon" activates, destroying all monsters in the Main Monster Zones - however, as a Link Monster was Link Summoned during this turn, "Restoration Point Guard" cannot be destroyed by battle or card effects by its own effect, so only "Metalrokket" is destroyed. As the monster equipped with "Borrel Regeneration" was destroyed, its effect allows Varis to draw a card.

"Bomber Dragon" attacks "Restoration Point Guard", with Playmaker activating the effect of "Rescue Interlacer" in his hand as his Attack Position Cyberse monster was attacked, discarding it to reduce the battle damage he would take from this battle to 0. The attack continues, with Playmaker taking no battle damage and "Pointguard" not being destroyed via its own effect. The second effect of "Bomber Dragon" then activates as it attacked a monster, inflicting damage to Playmaker equal to that monster's ATK (Playmaker 4000 → 3000 LP).

During Main Phase 2, Varis activates his Set Continuous Trap "Mirror Force Launcher" and uses its effect, sending a card from his hand to the GY to add "Mirror Force" from his GY to his hand. Varis Sets two cards. During the End Phase, Varis activates the effect of the "Metalrokket" in his GY that was destroyed this turn, Special Summoning "Magnarokket Dragon" (1800 → 2100/1200 → 1500) from his Deck in Defense Position. Playmaker then activates the effect of the "Rescue Interlacer" in his GY as it was sent there to activate its effect this turn, Special Summoning it (1000/1200).

Turn 4: Playmaker
Playmaker uses "Rescue Interlacer" and the LINK-2 "Restoration Point Guard", treating it as 2, to Link Summon "Transcode Talker" (2300/LINK-3/↑↓→) to the Extra Monster Zone. He activates its effect, allowing him to Special Summon a LINK-3 or lower Cyberse Link Monster from his GY to his Zone it points to. He Special Summons "Excode Talker" (2300/LINK-3/←↑→) to the Zone below "Transcode". Due to the effect of "Excode", monsters it points to gain 500 ATK, and cannot be destroyed by card effects ("Transcode" 2300 → 2800 ATK). As a monster was Special Summoned to a Zone a Link Monster points to, the effect of "Bomber Dragon" activates again to destroy "Excode" and "Magnarokket", however as an effect was activated that would destroy monsters, Playmaker activates his Set "Shield Handler" by targeting "Bomber Dragon" and "Excode". The effect of "Bomber Dragon" is permanently negated, while "Excode" is equipped with "Shield Handler". While equipped with "Shield Handler", "Excode" cannot be destroyed by card effects. Also, as "Transcode" is co-linked with "Excode", its effect has both of them gain 500 ATK, and prevents Varis from targeting them with effects ("Transcode" 2800 → 3300 ATK) ("Excode" 2300 → 2800 ATK).

Playmaker then activates the effect of "SIMM Tablir" in his hand by targeting a Level 4 or lower Cyberse monster in his GY ("ROM Cloudia"). He will Special Summon "Tablir" to a Zone his linked Link Monster points to and add the targeted monster to his hand. He Special Summons "Tablir" (0/1800) to the right of "Excode" in Defense Position and adds "ROM Cloudia" to his hand. He subsequently Normal Summons "ROM Cloudia" (1800/0) and activates its effect, adding "Latency" from his GY to his hand. As "Latency" was added from the GY to Playmaker's hand, he activates its effect, Special Summoning it (0/0). Playmaker uses "SIMM Tablir", "ROM Cloudia", and "Latency" to Link Summon "Powercode Talker" (2300/LINK-3/←↙→) to the left of "Excode". As "Latency", that was Special Summoned by its own effect, was used for a Link Summon, its effect allows Playmaker to draw a card. Also, as "Excode" points to "Powercode", the effect of "Excode" is applied to it ("Powercode" 2300 → 2800 ATK).

"Powercode" attacks and destroys "Magnarokket". "Transcode" attacks "Bomber Dragon", with Varis activating his Set Continuous Trap "Link Turret" by sending 2 "Rokket" monsters from his Deck to the GY. When it is activated, it gains 1 Rokket Counter for each Link-3 or higher monster on the field, of which there are four (Rokket Counters 0 → 4). Also, during the turn it is activated, Varis's Link Monsters cannot be destroyed by battle. The attack continues, with "Bomber Dragon" not being destroyed due to "Link Turret" (Varis 3000 → 2700 LP). As Varis took battle damage, "Link Turret" gains another Rokket Counter via its effect (Rokket Counters 4 → 5). Playmaker Sets a card. During the End Phase, Varis activates the effect of the "Magnarokket" in his GY that was destroyed this turn, Special Summoning "Autorokket Dragon" (1600 → 1900/1000 → 1300) from his Deck in Defense Position.

Turn 5: Varis
Varis activates the Quick-Play Spell "Squib Draw", destroying the "Autorokket" on his field to draw two cards. Then, as Playmaker controls more monsters than him, Varis activates the second effect of "Boot Sector Launch", Special Summoning "Rokket" monsters from his GY in Defense Position, up to the difference in monsters. There is a difference of two monsters, so Varis Special Summons "Shelrokket Dragon" (1100 -> 1400/2000 -> 2300) and "Metalrokket Dragon" (1700 -> 2000/1400 -> 1700). Varis uses "Shelrokket" and "Metalrokket" to Link Summon "Miniborrel Dragon" (800/LINK-2/←→). He then Normal Summons "Gateway Dragon" (1600/1400) and activates its effect, which allows him to Special Summon a Level 4 or lower DARK Dragon monster from his hand once per turn. He Special Summons "Sniffer Dragon" (800/400) in Attack Position. Varis uses "Sniffer Dragon", "Gateway Dragon", and "Miniborrel Dragon", treating it as 2, to Link Summon "Borreload Dragon" (3000/LINK-4/←↙→↘) in the middle Monster Zone.

Varis activates the effect of "Borreload", reducing the ATK of "Powercode" by 500, and preventing Playmaker from activating effects in response ("Powercode" 2800 → 2300 ATK). "Borreload" attacks "Transcode", with Varis activating its other effect, taking control of "Transcode" before the battle can finish and placing it in a Zone "Borreload" points to, but it will be sent to the GY at the end of Playmaker's turn. Varis places "Transcode" in the Zone below "Bomber Dragon". As "Transcode" and "Excode" are no longer pointing to each other, their ATK changes accordingly ("Excode" 2800 → 2300 ATK) ("Transcode" 3300 → 2300 ATK). However, as "Transcode" is now co-linked with "Bomber Dragon", its effect applies again ("Transcode" 2300 → 2800 ATK) ("Bomber Dragon" 3000 → 3500 ATK). A replay occurs and "Bomber Dragon" attacks and destroys "Excode" (Playmaker 3000 → 1800 LP). As a result, "Powercode" is no longer affected by "Excode's" effect ("Powercode" 2300 → 1800 ATK). "Transcode" attacks and destroys "Powercode" (Playmaker 1800 → 800 LP).

Duel continues in the next episode.

Featured cards

The following cards appeared in this episode. Cards in italics debuted here.

Playmaker (Yusaku Fujiki)
Varis (Ryoken Kogami)
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