Early 2017 Forbidden & Limited Card List Speculation
This is our Fifth article in collaboration with Complexity Card Gaming!
Hi there, I’m Marcel Burri. Welcome back for my second article here on YGOrganization. After all YCS in 2016 concluded and Christmas and New Year moved closer I had the overall feeling that Yu-Gi-Oh faded a bit into the background for many players as there were no big tournaments coming up.. In the middle of January things got going again and there is one thing TCG players are especially waiting for: The new Forbidden & Limited Card List (which I will just refer to as the “Ban List” as that is the common phrase used for it).
I know ‘Ban-list’ predictions have been done time and time again, but they’re always a popular topic for discussion. With this article, I would like to provide a more in-depth discussion regarding ‘the list’ that most provide.
The OCG got its new January 2017 list released in the middle of September. In case you missed it or want to look it up again, you can check out this link:
Usually if an OCG list is released, players also start getting excited what will happen in the TCG. This is mainly a thing because there is no fixed date for the release of our list anymore. So with that being said, let’s have a look what could happen..
The big Zoodiac dilemma?
So wait, did I just read Zoodiac again?! Unfortunately, yes. If you’re following the OCG meta the word Zoodiac spread like a virus over the last weeks and you may not want to hear it anymore… But before we start with the actual Ban List discussion, we have to take a quick look what is going on over in the OCG.
Since the release of Raging Tempest on October 8 Zoodiac just took over the meta completely. Before its release we saw a lot of similar decks in the OCG as we have in the TCG right now: Metalfoes and ABC were the most popular decks usually representing more than 50% of the top-placing decks. In addition, we had Paleozoic (which was much less popular in the OCG than in the TCG), D/D, Kozmo, Blue-Eyes, Darklords and even more decks.
It took a little while until players recognized Zoodiac’s full potential. From metagame reports I have seen, 1-2 weeks after its release it only covered 25-35% of the top-performing decks. But after 1 month it was already over 50%. And we’re only talking about the pure Zoodiac deck. If you include all decks that at least run a Zoodiac engine the percentages will increase drastically.
So the only diversity in the OCG left is pure Zoodiac and all its offshoots that also run a Zoodiac-core engine such as Infernoid, Metalfoes, ABC or Eidolon Beasts. The January list didn’t change that much. The limitations of Speedroid Terrortop and Fire Formation – Tenki hurt a bit, but both aren’t crucial cards to make the deck work. Plus what’s even better, the list also weakened all other strong decks: Metalfoes lost Majespecter Unicorn – Kirin, ABC had its Union Hangar limited and all Frog decks now only have access to a single copy of Toadally Awesome.
So why do I even talk about this stuff and titled it as a dilemma? Of course there are strong cards and decks around in the tournament scene right now. The meta is dominated by Metalfoes, ABC and decks with access to Toadally Awesome. The logical thing for the Ban List would be to hit those top decks to give the remaining field some air. The OCG list was therefore solid with the hits mentioned above. The huge dilemma we have this time is the threat of Zoodiac which will be released in less than a month. If Konami weakens the established decks too much Zoodiac will find an even better environment to just completely take over. Pendulum Domination structure deck will also be released soon which will make D/D/D a strong deck finally. This makes designing a list right now really hard, but let’s give it a try anyway!
The “Obvious” hits?
It would be really interesting to have some statistics how many games were won just by flipping up this card and your opponent having no answer to it. I’m sure there were a lot…
I personally liked it much more when the card was still at 3. If multiples of the card are around it’s at least easier to prepare for it and much less awkward to side properly. As a 1-off it’s just much more awkward. A simple example:
Let’s say you’re playing Mermail and play against Blue-Eyes. You know your opponent has Vanity’s Emptiness in his deck as his only Trap. If you don’t want to risk auto-losing you’d probably have to side in Mystical Space Typhoon’s or something similar just to deal with it. Something like Neptabyss into Heavy Infantry or Raigeki may just not work at all if there is a Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon on the field and a Return of the Dragon Lord in the Graveyard. So you just lose to it. If you want to be safe and side multiple Spell/Trap removal cards just for one single card you risk getting really clunky hands that are not strong enough to make any good plays. We saw different decks main-decking Emptiness as their only Trap card, so this scenario may come up.
But even if there is no such scenario the card can just auto-win games. If you have, let’s say 5 outs, you’re not guaranteed to have one if you need it. Then there are, and probably will always, be certain (soft-)locks with cards like Master Key Beetle or Stardust Spark Dragon that make things even worse.
Majespecter Unicorn – Kirin
I already mentioned the card before. It’s just too much power in a single Pendulum monster. The fact it can’t be target and destroyed by card effects makes it almost impossible to deal with. On top of that it has an amazing effect that is super helpful to disrupt your opponents plays or deal with already established board while it may even recycle useful Pendulum monsters (bouncing back Archfiend Eccentrick to use it again, recycling Metalfoes monsters to reuse them as scales, etc.)
I don’t think the timing for its ban is perfect right now with Zoodiac just around the corner, but it still has to go in the long run and better sooner than later. The card already caused enough trouble.
I’m pretty sure whenever a new Pendulum deck will be released with a scale that allows you to Pendulum summon Kirin (and Bunbuku as well), the card will be played. With Bunbuku unlimited you basically have access to 4 copies of the card which makes it not even that unlikely to start with it. And we shouldn’t forget about Magical Abductor which may be played in future Pendulum decks making it even more likely to start with Unicorn.
The potential of this card was underestimated a lot when it was released. Almost nobody had it on the radar back then. The latest with the re-rise of Burning Abyss it unfolded its full potential. It was a simple 1-card Rank 3 XYZ that didn’t even use the normal summon.
And as long it is at 3 it will most probably be a staple in every Rank 3 based deck in the future as well which really limits the design space for Konami.
In the very near future it WILL see play in Zoodiac Beasts as well. Even if the deck is not rank 3 based itself, Terrortop can be used to summon M-X Saber Invoker and Zoodiac Beast Marmorat to start off its huge combos.
The Wind Witches that will soon be released as well can also profit a lot from the Speedroid engine for example…
Overall it would just make sense to limit the card preemptively before things may eventually get out of control.
I really liked the approach of limiting Omega to 1 in the OCG. A single Omega on its own is not broken. Many decks are using a single copy, like Metalfoes with Gofu or D/D/D very soon. You can usually handle that single Omega and still play. Things look totally different when there are three.
And that’s exactly what Handloop/Dark Synchro decks are trying to achieve: Summoning all three of them on turn one. With certain cards like D.D.R – Different Dimension Reincarnation it’s possible to re-summon and recycle it and potentially even summon a fourth one. And if that’s not enough we also have Trishula who can take away another card.
Of course you could try and solve the problem differently. Level Eater was also banned in the OCG due to such interactions. But Handloop can be played in a lot of different variants. The list we saw in the Top 32 of YCS Bochum e.g. didn’t run any Level Eater and still worked fine. I think banning certain other cards in the main deck would just lead to a smiliar thing: players would find new cards and combos to make the deck work.
Of course the deck is not the biggest threat right now. But Konami usually doesn’t show much mercy with these kind of loop or FTK decks so after already limiting it in the OCG I assume this is going to happen here as well.
The only thing that bothers me a bit is that PSY-Frame as an own archetype is hit very hard as well with this hit. That deck really didn’t need anything like that, but because Omega is just a generic level 8 Synchro they will have to take that burden. If Konami wants to avoid something like that, they should just print more archetype-associated cards that have restrictions so they can’t be abused in other decks.
Elder Entity Norden
Instant Fusion and Elder Entity Norden have been creating havoc since Nordens release in September 2015. Most players expected them to be hit by the list, following suit the OCG.
But Konami showed mercy and only limited Norden while not touching Instant Fusion at all. Since then it was abused a lot: In many formats Abyss Dweller was just an amazing card and Instant Fusion made it very easy to summon it with its much stronger 2200 ATK. We saw it abused in decks abusing the Star Seraph engine to revive Scepter and triggering the Sovereignty from hand. In Mermail decks it could be easily used as a 1-card XYZ which even got you the search off your Atlantean Dragoons.
Recently, things got out of control even more since Instant Fusion turned into Bahamut Shark + Toadally Awesome which is just very tough to handle for any deck. Instant Fusion was always an ok card that was used in a variety of decks in the past, and thanks to its once per turn clause I don’t think it’s an unfair card. It’s Norden that makes it unfair and therefore he should finally leave us..
This card may be a bit surprising on the list of the obvious hits. This extremely old card, which was released already in 2003, was originally designed to slow down Spell-heavy decks. It’s not used for that purpose in first place nowadays but if you have it in your side deck anyway, you can still side it to do exactly that. When going first it’s a good choice to side it against decks like Blue-Eyes, ABC or Darklords since they run a lot of Spell cards and it can slow them down enough to overcome them.
The reason why it’s in side decks in first place is because it shuts down Pendulum decks completely. They can’t do anything at all once this card if flipped face up which is very frustrating since Pendulum scales can’t be set face down like Spell/Trap cards.
I don’t think this was ever the purpose of the card and since it cripples an entire summoning mechanic I expected it to be hit much earlier. The main reason that may not have happened yet is the fact that the Pendulum mechanic itself is very strong as you basically never lose your resources as long as your monsters are sent to your Extra deck from where you can just summon them back. I’m pretty sure Konami was well aware of that fact and therefore quarreled to do anything about it.
In the next OCG set Maximum Crisis there may finally be the card that will allow Konami to ban Anti-Spell Fragrance, check it out if you haven’t yet:
Continuous Trap Card
‘You can pay 1000 LP, then target 1 face-up Spell/Trap Card on the field; destroy it. You can only activate this effect of “Eternal Nightmares” once per Chain.’
Weakening the current and upcoming meta..
If I’m talking about Frog decks I don’t mean Paleozoics exclusively. This also includes decks that usually get access to Toadally Awesome via Bahamut Shark such as Heroes, Mermail or more Water focused Minerva Turbo decks.
I don’t think much is needed right now with Zoodiac coming up. With Norden forbidden on my list the Bahamut oriented decks will usually only being able to summon 1 Toadally Awesome anyway which I think is fine. And pure Palezoic is definitively not such a huge threat that it need to be crippled right now. The best solution I think is to semi-limit the card for now. This will at least hurt Paleozoic in longer grind games since they will be forced to recycle the Toads earlier.
Short and simple for this one. There are two approaches to weaken the deck:
1) (Semi-)Limiting ABC Dragon Buster to decrease its overall power level
2) (Semi-)Limiting Union Hangar to decrease its consistency
In the OCG Hangar was limited which is probably just a bit too much. I see a bit of a general problem in Terraforming anyway, so I would prefer to see both of those semi-limited. This will hurt the consistency quite a bit but leave it at a much more viable level than in the OCG with 2 copies of Union Hangar around.
This one is pretty tough. I think the deck will be hurt enough already if Kirin is banned. But in any case if Anti-Spell Fragrance leaves the game it may be necessary to at least hit it a bit. The main problem is that you cannot really do anything with the main deck cards. The most consistent lists play 3 copies of each monster and 1 copy of each Spell/Trap. Limiting any of the monsters doesn’t solve anything and none of the Spell/Traps are anyway near ban-worthy.
That leaves us just with the Extra deck monsters. And there is only one that makes sense as well: Metalfoes Mithrilium. To achieve something it had to be limited since semi-limiting it wouldn’t matter as long you could recycle them with each others effects.
Other relevant cards
Fire Formation Tenki
Reinforcement of the Army was limited for the most time of its existence. Konami experimented around with it a bit, un-limiting it but eventually decided that it’s in good hands at 1.
Fire Formation Tenki has a much smaller spectrum of monsters it can search for but it’s the same kind of effect as Reinforcement of the Army. Most other monster types in the game don’t have such a strong tutor card which makes them a lot less consistent.
We saw Tenki being a staple in all Zoodiac Beast lists in the OCG as a 3-off before it was limited. It’s definitively not the best card to open with (since Elemental Triangle does basically the same but doesn’t use your normal summon) but still adds a lot of consistency. Because cards that are not released yet will not be hit by the list, this is as much as we can expect to happen before the release of Zoodiac.
Nowadays Terraforming is almost a 3-off staple in every deck that is running a Field Spell. This is usually the case because Field Spells have a very strong effect on their own or enable strong interactions within the deck.
I think there is still a dilemma with Terraforming right now, again I feel like you have two approaches:
1) You (semi-)limit the card to curb the impact of a Field Spell on a game and lower a deck’s consistency.
2) You leave it unlimited. The reason why this makes sense is to make things more fair in a single game. If both players have access to 3 Field Spells + 3 Terraforming it’s more likely that both of them will draw it and have access to that important effect of the Field Spell. If the card is limited you basically have only 4 copies in the deck which makes it statistically much more likely that only one of the players will open the Field Spell which may give him a huge advantage and snowball the game in his favor.
As much as I respect the 2nd argument I’d still prefer if Terraforming is semi-limited and later on even limited. The reason is simply because Field Spells in my opinion are getting better and better. Union Hangar was a perfect example. We already know how good the Eidolon Field Spell will be and both current TCG archtypes, Subterror and SPYRAL, have very strong Field Spells and just need more good support to become viable at some point.
The last advantage that (semi-)limiting Terraforming is involving is about more liberty in deck building. This also became a bit of a problem in my eyes lately, that lots of new archtypes have plenty of cards that are just auto-includes in the deck, leaving room for only few tech choices. And if your deck is really dependent on the Field Spell there are other ways to get it such as Planet Pathfinder.
The “Trap” cards
Whenever you look at decklists right now, you usually see a mix of the same Trap cards:
1) Archetype specific Traps
2) Vanity’s Emptiness
3) Solemn Strike/Warning
4) Dimensional Barrier
There are so many other Trap cards available which aren’t even ‘that’ bad, but that’s just not good enough to make the cut. That’s the reason why I think those super strong generic Traps should be restricted a bit. We already covered Emptiness. I think Solemn Strike and Dimensional Barrier should both be limited. I’m pretty sure this will not happen in one go, if something happens Konami will first semi-limit them and then later take the next step. I think at least for Dimensional Barrier it’s too early yet since it’s too new which is a bit sad because I consider it being stronger than Solemn Strike as it has the potential to just completely lock down your opponent for a whole turn.
To give players a bit more alternatives I think it would also make sense to liberate some of the other Trap cards that are affected by the list right now. Compulsory Evacuation Device, Torrential Tribute and Book of Moon could all be semi-limited or even unlimited (I know Book of Moon is not a Trap, but in many aspects it acts like one).
Clearing up the Ban List
There are many cards on the list right now that don’t need to be there anymore. The power level of the current decks increased over the time so cards from older archtypes can easily be released from the list to make it a bit thinner.
Shurit, Strategis of the Nekroz and Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity can be limited. They are in the OCG and the decks don’t see play so I don’t see too much of a risk there. Wind-Up Hunter should be banned then to make sure there are no crazy handloops around with it.
Debris Dragon, Wind-Up Magician, Neo-Spacian Grand Mole, Inzektor Hornet and Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk can be unlimited.
There are other candidates such as Thunder King Rai-Oh, Dragon Ravine, Honest, Card Trooper, Wall of Revealing Light, Monster Gate, Artifact Moralltach that can probably be move down on the list as well, but of course Konami has much better insight here since they know better what cards they will release in the future and what interactions could eventually be enabled. Anyway I think they will act very carefully here and not remove cards from this list that they have to regret sooner or later.
First we have Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning. After being banned for multiple years it was quite a big surprise when it was limited in September 2011. I think it was also a bit of a surprise when it was semi-limited in the OCG this year. Even if the card doesn’t see play right now it’s still a big fan favorite and many players would like to see the same change happen here. I don’t think it would make a big difference anyway.
Right now we have a format that favors going first a lot. That’s the main reason why many players would like to see Evilswarm Exciton Knight limited again since it could help a lot when going second. I totally agree on that line of argumentation but think other factors have to be considered. First, I doubt it will be as easy to just wipe every field when going second with this card. There are just too many effects to stop that from happening. Second, it’s a bit unfair that only level 4 decks have access to such a strong XYZ while others don’t. And last, the card would also punish players for certain decks, situations or strategies they are using which is kind of unfair in my opinion.
Next we have Heavy Storm/Harpie’s Feather Duster. I personally still don’t really understand why Feather Duster is limited instead of Heavy Storm. Of course Feather Duster is much more popular because of its appearances in the anime but this shouldn’t be a reason how to handle it in the end. I personally always liked that the card(s) stayed forbidden in the TCG but I think right now it would actually not be that bad anymore to release any of them. With such a dice-roll depending meta the card could really help while going second. But a bit similar to the argumentation with Exciton Knight I personally still wouldn’t un-ban it since it can just heavily punish all strategies that rely on Spell/Trap cards. Konami also released so many Spell/Trap removal cards lately that it’s just not really necessary anymore.
The last card I want to talk about is Pot of Desires. Of course, the card is extremely strong. It’s just a simple +1 with no real cost to pay. Many players would therefore like to see it limited. I heavily disagree here. I think the card should be at 0 or 3, nothing in-between. The reason is, that it would be super unfair at 1 because in many games one player would draw it while the other doesn’t. This would be really unfair. If the card is at three it’s much more likely that both players will see the card eventually. It’s cost to banish 10 cards also makes sure it’s not that easy to resolve multiple copies of the card and gain even more advantage in the long run. I think it can definitively stay at 3.
So, here it is.. My final list prediction..
Majespecter Unicorn – Kirin
Elder Entity Norden
Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz
Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity
Fire Formation – Tenki
Book of Moon
Compulsory Evacuation Device
Note: I didn’t talk about or include any cards that were removed from the Forbidden section in the OCG due to an erratum. Konami will most probably first reprint them and then change their status on the list afterwards.
I really hope you enjoyed the quite long article with all my thoughts about certain card choices. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter under @EntryFee if you have any thought you want to discuss with me.