A Look at the TCG Forbidden List Part 1: Forbidden Cards

There’s been a lot of commotion over the TCG finally getting an exclusive list (although if you get right down to it, the OCG and TCG lists have only one month in history of ever being identical). There’s been questions of “why” for just about every single change on the list, and a bunch of “why nots” for changes that weren’t made. I felt taking some time to go over, at least in my opinion, why each card was or was not moved around. Some a lot more in-depth than others.

Lets start with the Forbidden cards:

Newly Forbidden: Elemental HERO Stratos
This one somehow took a lot of people by surprise. “Why couldn’t E-Call have gone to 1 instead of 3? Or stay at 2?”. When you get right down to it, Stratos does three incredible things that E-Call doesn’t. The first, and probably most potent: it is re-usable. You can continuously keep Special Summoning this monster to keep recycling its effects. The second is that it’s a monster in the first place – with 1800 ATK. Newer players are not familiar with ‘attack thresholds’ as they don’t play nearly as big a role as they once did, but 1800 is a very potent threshold. It’s the highest ATK you typically find on a ‘no strings attached’ monster, and can take out many of your opponents cards (generating even more ‘pluses’) as well as block attacks on your own Life Points. The third and most important thing that Stratos had over E-Call is that it could grab any “HERO” monster period, of any Level. This allowed it to grab “Destiny HERO” monsters such as Malicious.

Most importantly, Stratos also has a second effect: It can destroy Spell and Trap Cards. Something that has a very real role in this format, as we are in what is being called ‘heavyless’ format. Forbidding this card also allows us to un-limit many cards that were only on the list because of how overpowered Stratos was in the first place.

“Baby”, Dragon Ruler of “Element”
These four really shouldn’t require explaining. They allowed for multiples of Xyz Monsters, as well as access to things like Abyssgaios far easier. I’m not even going to bother.

Number 16: Shock Master
Here we have an example of what should be known to the world as a “Shueisha” card. It is far too common that people don’t know Yu-Gi-Oh! isn’t owned by KONAMI. A separate company prints their own cards for our game that owns the actual brand, in the form of manga promos, and Shonen Jump Magazine/Alpha Promos. They also don’t release these cards in Europe, South America, or Oceania. That’s why you see so many of them get reprinted in products: To release the cards in those territories, making them legal or play. They still don’t have “Shooting Quasar Dragon” legal in Europe. This is also why Europe will never have access to the cards “Unity”, “Yu-Jo Friendship”, or “Judgment of the Pharaoh” as the artwork depicts characters KONAMI doesn’t own. They can’t print them.

So why is this relevant? Well, if you take a look at some of the most broken combos and cards throughout history, especially when you learn that cards 91-99 in every core set are “OCG promo imports” of more Shueisha cards such as the entire “hunder” family, or “Number 11: Big Eye”, it becomes very apparent to you that all of them involve these damn cards. Even “Elemental HERO Stratos”, “Tragoedia”, “Dark Simorgh”, “Archlord Kristya”, “Dandylion”, “Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon” and yes, “Number 16: Shock Master”. “Making a new Wind-Up archetype? Fantastic, lets make them spam out good Xyz’s and have good synergy and be an all around fun and good Deck to play. Awesome, let’s release it. Wait, what’s Shock Master?”. You all hate the wrong people for what happened here.

Shock Master has been forbidden, thankfully, as it was a card that made a game remarkably one sided. Something that is very unhealthy for constructive, fun, competitive dueling. Cards such as “Thunder-King Rai-Oh” or “Royal Oppression” that are balanced by affecting both players, inherently don’t affect their controller until after their use. This unfortunately means you can play every Spell you want, and THEN call Spells with Shock Master locking down only your opponent. Seem fair?

Card Destruction
Here we have what is known in TCG development as a ‘staple in card design’. Every TCG that gets printed has a card like this. Things like “Pot of Greed”, “Dark Hole”, and “Sangan” are inherently found in any TCG to give it some sort of structure and base to build off of. These are also usually the most powerful cards that ensure people have something to buy to get your fad off the ground. Yu-Gi-Oh! did start off as a fad, and until Soul of the Duelist, there was no plan for it to be anything but, so the TCG was nothing but cards being imported into randomly made sets of shiny overpowered cards that now decorate our Forbidden list. Some staples from those days have survived this long, and some such as “Dark Hole”, will survive a bit longer (though it was once not a part of the game, either). “Card Destruction” has always served to do one thing: Be a “Win-Button”. Only 3 Decks come to mind that use this thing: Gishki FTK (Gishkill), Dark World, and Empty Jar. All 3 Decks win when this card resolves, and utterly abuse it to a point that should not be possible. I’m thankful to see this gone. It didn’t help that Dragon Rulers abused it, and to top it off, this is the card that won the World Championship this year.

Gateway of the Six
Another win button card for Six Samurais. Nobody is sad to see this gone except for Six Samurai players that needed a crutch to win. In a format where the Naturia Synchros are going to have so much potency (especially with “T.G. Striker” making a comeback and “Scapegoat” at 3), I don’t see a problem with hindering “an EARTH Deck that spams a Synchro that already limits Spells to 1 a turn and has a Spell they auto win with if drawn turn 1”.

Heavy Storm
The heart and soul of our TCG Forbidden and Limited list changes. For every influence on the list Stratos or T.G. Striker affected, this card affected three. This card has been at 1 for longer than most people have been playing. It was at 2 when it debuted in the TCG, and even spent some time at 0, but for the majority of its life, Limited is a badge it wore proudly. This card was fantastic for the game. It prevented ‘set 5.format’. It punished people for over committing and “pro-set Heavy” was a risk vs. reward that many players took advantage of. At the same time however, this card was horrendous for the game. How many combos can you name that are just ‘put 8000 ATK’ on the field? Megalo + Diva? Magician + Shark? You’ll find that quite a lot of these are prefaced as “Storm Magician Shark” or “Storm Megalo Diva” as ways to give your opponent the finger and stack on the rage counters. This card is a problem that had to go. But how could it, without causing everybody to just Set 5 cards in their backrow? That’s what this list was all about. It went after the backrow, and cards that influenced it, in what is ultimately a very carefully and well thought-out list that has brought what should be quite a diverse format. Last format when holding a tournament, you could expect maybe 5 or 6 different Decks to enter, and really only actually count on 3 to show up. YGOrganization held a tournament last Friday that had 66 entrants. These entrants used 31 different Decks, even when you count any and all variants as the same Deck (such as 3 and 4 axis Fire Fist as just “Fire Fist”). Welcome to September 2013.

Monster Reborn
This is another “Card Destruction”. Generic card made at the start of the game with far, far too much power that is rightfully removed. Nobody denies this should be gone.

Pot of Avarice
When this card came out eight years ago, it was a very poor card. It wasn’t doing anything productive for anyone. It wasn’t until Synchros came out, and the Quickdraw Dandywarrior Deck abused this thing at 3, that it became a ‘problem’. Nowadays it’s a card that rewards you for over-extending and generates a free plus while recycling back your extra deck cards and other resources best left in your deck. The Inzektor FTKdDeck we posted earlier this month relishes in the fact Avarice could put the Centipedes back, let alone things like Tour Guide From the Underworld.

Spellbook of Judgment
This card, like the ‘baby Dragon Ruler’ monsters, was also Forbidden in the OCG and for damn good reason. Nobody could have possibly thought this card was a good idea. The fact it exists and yet Spellbooks weren’t the best Deck last format really says a lot about the past three months. Everybody join hands and rejoice, this menace is gone.

Super Rejuvenation
This card was only limited in the OCG. It’s a degenerate card that replaces lost resources and does nothing productive or healthy for the game. Again printed during the early fad days, this thing would only serve to continue to abuse decks in things like Dragon Exodia, or even Hieratics. I see this ‘ban’ as just a final rest to a card that the game had to be designed around.

Solemn Judgment
“Pay half your Life Points = NO. If your opponent would flip the table in response to this card’s activation: Add 1 rage counter.” Metal Raiders. Second set. Yu-Gi-Oh! fad. Noticing a trend? It’s good to see ‘your opponent finally had an out, but this card, with an always payable cost, just screwed them’ is now nice and gone.

Ultimate Offering
Another win button card, and one that is used by some very powerful Decks next format. Whirlwind at 3? Madolches about to dominate? Machina Geargia Karakuri Gadget Mecha Phantom Beast Machine Variant? (Seriously KONAMI, stop printing EARTH machines, we get it.) This card is not okay.

Things that weren’t hit
Limiter Removal
This is a card that I feel should have been grouped in with the rest of the ‘win-button OP card’ ‘bans’, but at the same time even the wide variety of Machine Decks that do exist, are not using this card, so it must not be as powerful as I think. Perhaps I should start playing Machines more?

and what about Rekindling?
“Rekindling” is a card I would personally put at 1, not 0. To see why it wasn’t hit, and why I’d hit it, you’ll have to read the next article that covers the newly Limited cards!

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