Huh! Well that's neat.
My favorite time of the year is whenever the Forbidden & Limited List drops. You think I jest, but I legitimately love the thrill of seeing a new list more than I enjoy Christmas.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not some sort of humbug Grinch-type, but thinking about how the new banlist will impact competitive and casual play is always a really fun thought experiment. It's junk food for the Yu-Gi-Oh mind, but the best kind of junk food. Dare I even say… healthy junk food?
This time around there are new Forbiddings, a new Limitation, and plenty of cards off the list, so there's kind of a little somethin'-something' for everyone. We still have a Semi-Limited List, and Destiny HERO - Malicious is on it partying all by himself. We may eventually see that part of the F&L list eradicated altogether, but not today.
For now, let's jump into the changes and start with the newly banned cards.
Look, let's be real for a sec: anyone that's sad to see True King of All Calamities Forbidden, probably has the type of embittering life problems that can't be solved by a banlist in a children's card game.
Seriously, I'm surprised True King of All Calamities wasn't hit until now. Even without considering i ts recent rampage as the centerpiece of Virtual Worlds, was True King of All Calamities ever fun? Whether it was on the field or not, it contributed about -19% of the fun in any given duel.
Don't question my math on that one. I can assure you it's accurate.
In a similar way, Number S0: Utopic ZEXAL will also die a lonely death without anyone shedding a single tear. In the grand hierarchy of cards that make Yu-Gi-Oh unenjoyable by stopping you from playing it, Number S0: Utopic ZEXAL somewhere on the level of Royal Oppression and Vanity's Emptiness. Who in the world actually wants to play with this kind of stuff? Considering how easy it is to summon most Extra Deck monsters these days, are you really surprised that these cards are gone?
Both True King of All Calamities and Number S0: Utopic ZEXAL can rot in Yu-Gi-Oh jail for the rest of eternity.
Moving on, most people are probably excited about Union Carrier getting banned, but I'm jut sad I can't tutor Box of Friends with it anymore. Maybe my priorities are skewed, but we all have our biases.
That said, Union Carrier did and does have a lot of applications outside of Dragon Buster Destruction Sword, and banning that card on the last list just didn't stop Union Carrier from doing broken stuff. Its mere existence opens up a can of worms that just couldn't be closed, a fact that was highlighted in decks like this Zoodiac Dogmatika Eldlich build and this Drytron deck from the February Remote Duel Extravaganza. Even if Union Carrier wasn't totally 100% knock-your-socks off broken for every strategy, it was effectively a time bomb that was going to go off at some point in the future
When M-X-Saber Invoker came out, it could pull some pretty fun cards from your deck. But as the pool of monsters it could summon grew, and as it became easier and easier to summon, the writing was on the wall: at some point M-X-Saber Invoker had to go. Inevitably, some cards with search effects will just be that good, and become increasingly problematic over time.
Cyber Angel Benten now Limited, and that means Drytrons won't go… wait, let me check the math on this napkin I've got… they won't go +97 in card economy while searching their whole deck every turn. The Drytron strategy's still insanely powerful, but now that it's down two Cyber Angel Benten and no longer has the optional Union Carrier, it's no longer an out-of-control geyser of free resources.
I don't have as much experience playing with or against Drytrons as I do other current decks, but it's downright nauseating watching them trigger Cyber Angel Benten so many times in one turn. I think that's a big reason why I didn't gravitate toward the deck in the first place; I fell asleep with all the constant searching and shuffling. The Drytron player of old might as well pick up their deck and add it to their hand with Cyber Angel Benten legal at three. Thankfully, that's (mostly) a thing of the past. Cyber Angel Benten can no longer fetch another copy of Cyber Angel Benten, so stopping the first (and now only) copy is actually relevant.
I'm looking at you, Atlantean Dragoons.
Frankly I'm a bit surprised there weren't more Limits on the list. There aren't tons of great candidates for 1-per-deck status, but we've been getting used to mass changes on the list over the last couple of years… minus that one list that pretty much only helped out Nekroz and Altergeists by giving them more toys.
Ever since we've had a Forbidden & Limited List, one of the hottest point sof contention revolved around the Limited part - why do we even bother with a Limited and Semi-Limited List? Basically, the mantra for many duelists is that a card should be at three or zero.
To an extent, I believe that's the way things should be, but given the power imbalance of certain themes, you can't make that a blanket statement. Just… mostly. A good counter example is PSY-Framelord Omega. It's not necessarily "broken," but two copies creates an aggravating loop that's not very fun.
Given the most recent releases from the F&L List, I'm glad we're coming around on several cards. I get that some things were really powerful in their prime and making them Limited or Semi-Limited is a way to mitigate possible mistakes, but the proof's in the pudding.
Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer, True King's Return, and The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche are all off the list now… which… uh… I'm not even sure I knew those cards were Limited or Semi-Limited, actually.
I think there are a lot of cards that deserve the same Unlimited treatment, but I'm glad to see these off the list. It's refreshing if you want to play a deck that needs one or all of those cards, and we know that in Yu-Gi-Oh, if a deck's legal, there are going to be passionate people trying to make it work on even the grandest stages.
I don't see a world in which you would need three copies of The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche, but you do you.
Hitting certain cards means other cards can be free. Remember when Primal Seed was under lockdown? That was to mitigate the return of Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning. Obviously Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning isn't a problem anymore, but Primal Seed was an intentional move to protect the balance of the game.
With Number S0: Utopic ZEXAL gone, Rank-Up-Magic Argent Chaos Force can come back and terrorize people in new, unique ways. With Union Carrier biting the dust, Dragon Buster Destruction Sword can return and… well, do whatever it was doing in Buster Blader decks before Union Carrier came onto the scene.
I don't have the mental capacity to try and figure out how to play Buster Blader myself, but Kelly did it for me last year anyways! I mean, he didn't do it FOR me, he did it for you guys, but I'm gonna pretend like he did. It's a cool theme, and I have a feeling I'll circle back to it in the coming weeks now that Dragon Buster Destruction Sword back.
Firewall Dragon and Dewloren, Tiger King of the Ice Barrier are unrestricted again solely because both cars have heavy errata to keep them in line. Seeing the effects of classic cards changed makes me literally foam at the mouth, and I'll always prefer to see a card permanently Forbidden instead of becoming a watered down piece of garbage, but I'm not the one pulling the strings here.
Oh! And just in case you weren't up to speed, the new-and-now-playable version of Firewall Dragon is headed our way next month in product-hover id="228256". That's why it's not legal until April 14th.
I'm always all about drastic changes to the F&L List, but I'm really struggling to come up with things I'd like to add or take away from this one, given the current state of the game. I suppose I wouldn't mind a trade of Wind-Up Rat for Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity, or heck, just take Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity off the list once and for all. It's not hurting anyone, and there are more hand traps than I know what to do with that can keep it under control.
I know it might make things a tad chaotic, but I'd love to see Zoodiac Broadbull off the list. Yes, I'm opening up a real Pandora's Box there, and no, I don't care. I have a tragically fun Performapal deck that actually needs Zoodiac Broadbull to work, and yes, I've been sitting on that thought for something like four years now.
The same goes for Draco Face-Off, SPYRAL Resort, Salamangreat Miragestallio, and even another Dragon Ruler (Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls, please!). In terms of actually adding things to the banlist, I wouldn't mind seeing Predaplant Verte Anaconda take a hike. We got a long list of Predaplant cards that work exclusively in Predaplant decks, but for some reason, the powers that be just keep making busted Predaplant cards from time to time that seem to go everywhere but a real Predaplant deck.
Predaplant Verte Anaconda obviously enables Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon, but it's also a ticking time bomb not unlike Union Carrier. If Fusion Monsters exist, then Predaplant Verte Anaconda has the potential to do something uncomfortably busted things.
But for now, we know where we stand. Once this weekend's European Remote Duel Invitational is over it's full steam ahead for a new format, and we'll see it in effect for the upcoming RDI Qualifiers next week!
Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.