Sangan is one of the most beloved Monsters in the game. Its journey off and on the ban list has spawned an entire story of which you can search about here. An ancient relic of the past, you would expect it to be powercreeped by now. But Sangan continues surprising us in its current continued importance for the game.
What will Sangan yield?
Despite being unbanned along with a restrictive errata from the March 2017 TCG List, Sangan never saw play. Sangan continued being neglected until March of 2019 when Salamangreat Almiraj released in the OCG's Premium Pack 20. With Salamangreat Almiraj, Sangan could trigger its effect immediately, giving access to a wide range of monsters. As being able to search specific monsters to deal with varying situations proved extremely important in upcoming formats, Sangan proceeded to claim its spot within various decks as a strong tutor card. Sangan also boasts the coveted trait of being a Level 3 Dark Fiend monster, which synergizes with many cards.
What does Sangan find?
Sangan boasts one of the strongest tutor effects of the game, although with an activation restriction during the turn. Despite that, players were able to use Sangan's searching skills to claim results. Here is a list of what Sangan could bring to you:
An Extra Handtrap
The first application of Sangan is to search for a handtrap of your choice. The idea is to use Sangan during your combos, build a strong board before sending Sangan away, or just pass on Almiraj, adding a relevant handtrap from the deck to further increase your advantage against your opponent. The opponent could deal with your existing board while maintaining knowledge of the added handtrap, but the extra negation from the hand is always useful while maintaining your advantage.
Searching for a Combo Piece
Despite the restrictions, monsters searched by Sangan are still summonable. Therefore, Sangan could search for Crusadia Arboria, a Tuner monster that could summon itself to Almiraj's zone without activation. Linking away Arboria with Almiraj into Crystron Halqifibrax made Sangan the core to many Halqifibrax combos (including FTKs). Alternatively, Sangan could search for Altergeist Multifaker, a monster that frequently activated on the opponent's turn. Even if your combo piece was already in hand, Sangan could still search for a handtrap before you resumed the combo.
The Search for Santa?!
Certain powerhouse monsters, like Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King, Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon, or even a Borreload Savage Dragon equipped with Buster Dragon Destruction Whelp are extremely hard to deal with without expending resources. Santa Claws, an uninvited Kaiju-like monster searchable by Sangan, can easily remove these pesky threats before continuing your plays.
Unfortunately, despite the strength of Sangan's tutoring ability, the action of sending Sangan from the Field to the Graveyard means normal summoning Sangan, an action that many decks would rather reserve for other starter cards. The restriction of not using the added monster's effect has also proven problematic for fully realizing Sangan's potential. Players familiar with Sangan's applications could also negate Sangan's search, proving awkward without a proper follow-up.
Despite all of its flaws, Sangan has extremely strong synergy with many cards. Tour Guide of the Underworld is a prime example. She tutors Sangan directly from the deck allowing for a Link-2 lay that immediately triggers Sangan. Crusadia Arboria, as mentioned, is a great extender for any decks with Sangan for any Crystron Halqifibrax combos. As a level 3, Sangan can easily be paired with Psychic Wheelder/Tracker to produce LINK advantage. Santa Claws is also a great addition to combat indestructible monsters. Lastly, many strong handtraps such as Ash Blossom or Droll & Lock Bird could be considered for Sangan to retrieve against your relevant meta!
Where Should I Put Sangan?
Sangan performs best in decks that do not require normal summons. As such, Mekk-Knight users may seek to incorporate this little critter into their decks (a pure combo Mekk-Knight variant created by RAM). It has also seen play in Altergeist to tutor the single Altergeist Multifaker or a handtrap, supplementing supplement the many Traps that Altergeist mains. Sangan also saw experimentation in Burning Abyss decks, as it could link with Tour Guide of the Underworld to summon Cherubini. Sangan was the core of the infamous Dragoon Releaser (now unplayable). a deck that seeks to achieve its namesake through the simple normal summon of Sangan.
Comparisons and Replacements
If Sangan's generic tutoring effect was not good enough, you could consider its counterpart, Witch of the Black Forest. She may not be as easy to trigger as Sangan, but she is blessed with the Spellcaster-Type, supported by many cards such as Wonder Wand and Spellbook of Knowledge. Witch of the Black Forest also boasts a wide range of targets compared to Sangan. Ipiria, a contender against Sangan, can replace itself with a single draw if summoned. In exchange for not being able to tutor specific cards, Ipiria's draw is extended to many other different possibilities, as observed from Shannon Long's Mekk-Knight List. Capshell also generates the same advantage through a different method. Omni Dragon Brotaur is a slower consideration to search for specific monsters. Lastly, Umbramirage the Elemental Lord carries the exact tutor effect, but with a different summoning condition.
My Thoughts and Conclusions
Sangan has always had a special place in my heart throughout the history of Yugioh. Staying relevant for so long, I believe in the potential of Sangan. However, not all decks can use Sangan to its fullest potential, so feel free to experiment with Yugioh's oldest mascot, and may it add some satisfactory results to your hands.