Finally, a Forbidden & Limited List that does something.
Honestly, nothing annoys me more in Yu-Gi-Oh than a banlist that does nothing. The June 2020 list was exactly that - I mean, Doug and his Altergeists got three Altergeist Multifaker, while Nekroz and Ritual Beasts got a bump in playability, but the integrity of the game didn't really change. Plenty of things that should have happened didn't; big cards couldn't be Forbidden because of COVID, and at the same time a lot of cards that could have been released from their shackles were left restricted.
Now that's all in the past! I'm quite forgiving when it comes to Forbidden & Limited Lists because, hey, there's always a new one right around the corner. Sometimes, you get a text while you're operating chainsaws in a creek two miles from your house after nearly getting bit by a water moccasin.
That's life, and you make the most out of it. Here are my first five takes on the September banlist, penned just minutes after the reveal.
Until the day I die, I'll always be in support of banning cards that spiral the game out of control. even if those bans damage other decks, so long as a fun and diverse range of strategies can prosper. Block Dragon… yeah, sure, it was probably great for some random rogue strategy. But when it raises the ceiling of top decks like Adamancipators to an insane degree, something needs to be done. No deck - aside from Megaliths, honestly - relied on Block Dragon to be good.
Everything competitive that leveraged Block Dragon was already in a successful position. It reminds me of Sixth Sense from a few years back. Sure, maybe it was "great" for someone's Tier 17 Iron Chain deck, but it was horribly abused in all the top strategies and something needed to be done.
And while it sucks that Jet Synchron and Mecha Phantom Beast O-Lion are banned and can't appear in various Junk and Mecha Phantom Beast decks, banning those Tuners instead of Crystron Halqifibrax is something I strangely support. Pulling random Tuners from the deck for weird combos and rogue decks is still an option.
Do you have a strategy that "needs" to randomly summon Naturia Cosmobeet straight from the deck? First of all, what in the world are you doing, and second, congratulations your strategy is still viable. Perhaps it's controversial, but I'm in favor of hitting the all-but-broken Tuners to keep Crystron Halqifibrax alive. The price had to be paid somehow.
Since its release in 2014 in Duelist Alliance, Burning Abyss… never really went away. I mean, I guess you could say that it hasn't been a relevant strategy for most of 2020, but it didn't disappear, it just took a back seat.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that literally ever since Burning Abyss was created, it's been in the room when people talk about the decks-to-beat. That's how powerful some of the Burning Abyss cards are. Even when Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal, Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss and Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss were all Limited – AKA, like, five minutes ago – Burning Abyss cards were still seeing play, even if it wasn't in dedicated strategies.
If you liked them being used sparingly, tough cookies my friend, because they're back. Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss will probably be on the field for like, ever, now, and you'll just have to deal with that. I'm personally overjoyed that both Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss and Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss are Semi-Limited; I guess some things just don't die.
Whether it's a die roll, a bad hand, or a meteorite falling from the sky and demolishing the table you're playing on, you're going to lose some of your games and there's nothing you can do about it. Sometimes, your opponent opens Rescue Rabbit and five set cards. Sometimes, it's Droll & Lock Bird in Trickstars. And sometimes it's the Evigishki Hand Loop.
Evigishki Gustkraken a weird card that punishes your opponent for having the gall to *gasp* have cards in their hand. But as we've seen over the last few years, there are plenty of ways to "instantly" win the game with 1-card or 2-card combos, and they don't always make it to the top tables. A while back I detailed how a single Deep Sea Diva could end in a victory by Exodia the Forbidden One, and even stuff like that doesn't guarantee victory.
It'll be annoying when you lose to the loop, but don't worry, it's not going to be meta and you won't be seeing it that often. Math, probability and a general lack of personal interest in the deck are huge factors working against that, so have no fear. I know I know, I panicked a little when I saw it myself, but there are bigger things to worry about.
I and a lot of other legacy duelists once believed that certain cards were too strong to ever come off the banlist. But between rising powercreep and erratas galore, that just isn't the case anymore. I remember one time, thinking to myself, "Unban Tsukuyomi? Are you kidding? It'sBook of Moon on legs, and it's recursive! Ban it forever!11!1!!1"
But considering all the cards that just came off the list - whether they're now Limited or Unlimited - I don't see them being relevant to modern Yu-Gi-Oh, and I don't think they'll make the sort of impact that would leave anyone feeling more sore than they already do.
Consider Harpie's Feather's Duster. Given the fact that Lightning Storm, ya know, exists Harpie's Feather Duster feels outclassed in virtually every way. Lightning Storm and Harpie's Feather Duster are at their best when you need to break boards, not when you already have total dominance over the game, so the requirement of not having any face-up cards is rarely a downside for Lightning Storm.
Conversely, we have Makyura the Destructor. If it wasn't for its new errata limiting you to one trap, I'd say be scared, but… it's just not as impactful anymore. It'll see some play, but honestly, it's just boring without its old effect.
Don't get me wrong. Double Iris Magician and The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche will make a difference in their respective decks. But they won't be as blisteringly annoying as they were before. Sometimes the game just moves on while cards have are stuck in jail.
While plenty of cards were Limited instead of being Forbidden, it sure felt like they were stuck in purgatory at just one or two copies. Toadally Awesome, ABC-Buster Dragon, Sky Striker Mecha - Widow Anchor, Pantheism of the Monarchs… I get it. We had a right to be fearful of those cards at some point. But when the game's evolved so much, it just leaves you sitting and scratching your head, wondering why some cards were left on the List for so long.
Yes, those decks were dominant in the past, but ABC-Dragon Buster is closer to a casual deck than a meta-crushing life ruiner here in 2020. Don't get me wrong, ABC-Dragon Buster and its supporting cast are strong, but if you wanted to play the deck with only one copy of its key boss monster, you were signing on for an uphill battle.
The same thing goes for Toadally Awesome. If you were playing Paleozoic Frogs it felt like you were being punished with only one measly Toadally Awesome to lean on. I'm ok with the deck not being the best strategy out there, but it really sucks to feel like you're getting kicked when you're down.
There are a few more changes I'd have liked to see on this list, but overall I'm happy with it. Block Dragon's gone while Toadally Awesome is at two. I think I can rest easy.
Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.