Wind-Ups, first revealed in Generation Force as the first archetype fully dedicated to Xyz summoning. At first, a simple set of toys with potential, now a deadly force to be reckoned with. This is Archetype Analysis: Wind-Up Edition.
Wind-Ups had their start at the end of the Synchro era, a time where Xyz were very few in number and was the newest monster in town. At first, people seemed skeptical of these new monsters, still confining in Synchros for all of their needs. However, Wind-Ups knew they were built for Xyz shenanigans. While these toys normally had their effect once while on the field, it called for some good tricks too. But no trick could ever compare to Soldier and Dog, the first level manipulators of the group. These two made it possible for Rank 5 to be achieved quickly, which seemed to be the power Rank of the moment (Tiras and Adreus were going nuts).
Their effects also managed to have synergy with themselves, allowing for the deck to have some mobility. Factory and Magician accomplished these tasks quite well, adding a Wind-Up to either your hand or field whenever an effect goes off. And they also had their first Xyz, Zenmaister, which allowed them to reuse their effect by flipping them. But at the time, this wasn't enough to get these guys on the top shelf at the toy store. They needed something else...
Not Your Average Toy...
During their next set (Photon Shockwave), more Xyz monsters and Wind-Ups became available. During this time, we saw that these guys could pack a punch. Not only by their own releases, but by the TCG Exclusive release of Zenmaines. Zenmaines is a Rank 3 Xyz that allowed to keep field presence and destroy for it's survival. Right there, Rank 3 was becoming the norm via cards like Tour Guide. But Wind-Ups weren't going to fade away in obscurity. Cards like Wind-Up Rabbit allowed for further rewinding of these fun toys, as well as refueling Factory for greater advantage. Cards like Hunter and Kitten were also created to manipulate your opponent's hand and field.
Rabbit and Zenmaines were starting to get these guys on the map, allowing for more shenanigans and increasing the archetype's power. They were starting to captivate more players, becoming a really fun deck full of possibilities. However, nothing could prepare them for the incredible onslaught that was Order of Chaos.
Toys For All
Shark allowed for level manipulation of itself by either reducing or adding a level to itself. And better yet, it was once per turn. This card helps fuel Factory in so many ways that it's amazing. And it can special summon itself after the summon of another Wind-Up, thus boosting their shenanigans even more.
So with all this, it's no wonder that Wind-Ups are here to stay. They are a powerful archetype full of bringing out dangerous Xyz monsters that can cripple you is you aren't careful. I think they got what it takes to compete with the best, so now it's only a matter of time until we see if they can pass the test.