The new Forbidden & Limited List is out! Coming into effect on July 1st, the new list will bring a fresh change to the competitive scene. Some decks will start to see less play, and others are coming back with the return of key cards that were previously Forbidden.
If you haven't seen the list yourself, or you just want a refresher, here's what it looks like.
There are nine changes to the Advanced Format this time around, and I have my own impressions about some of the shifts. I could go on for days about how crazy Symbol of Heritage is at three, but for the sake of everybody sanity, I'm gonna resist and just focus on the most relevant changes.
Dragon Link's been the deck-to-beat for quite some time now, having won one of the last in-person premier events before Organized Play was suspended due to COVID-19. Shunping Xu's Rokket Dragon Link Deck from the Winter UDS Invitational in Tulsa set the pace for this strategy almost a year and a half ago, and Dragon Link's just continued to evolve, grow, and adapt to each new format ever since.
But finally, after years of players begging for it to hit the list and then joking about how it survived every time, Guardragon Elpy is Forbidden. Guardragon Elpy going to 0 and Striker Dragon going to 1 both mean huge changes for Dragon Link enthusiasts. Duelists who aren't experienced with the Dragon Link strategy might say that this is enough to kill off the deck once and for all, but I have a strong feeling that Dragon Link will still see competitive play.
The deck does lose some firepower without Guardragon Elpy, and Striker Dragon to 1 does cost the deck a bit of resilience. But Dragon Link's still incredibly powerful, especially with World Legacy Guardragon and Guardragon Pisty still at full power. I know I've had plenty of matches against seasoned Dragon Link players where they didn't even care that I stopped their Guardragon Elpy effect. While it's a super strong card for the deck, it isn't the foundation.
I'm glad that Dragon Link was hit, but I'm also glad that the deck isn't 100% dead; I feel that more cards would've had to have been hit for that to happen, and I don't think you could justify restricting more than two cards from a single deck in one F&L List.
Despite the fact that I've been playing Tri-Brigade Zoodiac myself, I'm actually really excited for this change. This might be a hot take, so brace yourself: I've never been a fan of Zoodiac cards.
I think the Zoodiac engine has cool card design, but the effects of the Zoodiac Xyz are, at least in my opinion, way too powerful for an archetype of 1-card Xyz Monsters. I don't think that Zoodiac Drident catching a ban will be enough to completely stop the Zoodiac theme from seeing play, since Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder is still a card. But I do think that Zoodiac Drident going to 0 will stop the pure Zoodiac deck from being viable; Zoodiac Drident was just to important for the Turn 1 play setting up Infinitrack Fortress Megaclops.
Banning Zoodiac Drident is interesting because the same change just happened in the OCG as well, where the Zoodiac theme is also wildly popular. The OCG has access to Number F0: Utopic Future Dragon, which we don't have, and that might have something to do with it. Who knows! This might be a preemptive hit to ensure that we don't have the crazy shenanigans that the OCG had to put up with when both of those cards were legal. I think I'd be fine with Utopic Future Dragon in the TCG now.
Well, the joke is over. I hate to break it to you guys, but Konami has read Miscellaneousaurus.
Everyone thought that the Dinosaur deck would get hit months ago because of Animadorned Archosaur, but that never materialized. Instead, it looks like Scrap Raptor was the final piece of the puzzle. After a 2nd place finish at the Remote Duel Invitational a few days ago, the newest version of the Dinosaur deck showed us what it could do with a little Scrap support. I like that Dinos were hit in some way, similar to Dragon Link, but I actually think that Miscellaneousaurus could have stayed at 3 in exchange for Souleating Oviraptor.
Now with Miscellaneousaurus at 1, playing against Dinosaurs will almost sort of feel like playing against Maxx "C" was it was Limited: if your opponent has it in hand, you won't be able to get a read on your opponent and play around it like you could when Miscellaneousaurus was at 3. If they have it they're gonna drop it and you're gonna have a rough time. It'll feel even sackier now when a Dino player drops Miscellaneousaurus on you.
I still see Dinosaur decks being played in the near future: they won't be as powerful, but they will still see a good amount of success. Even if Miscellaneousaurus is at 1, the card's still powerful enough to change the course of the game if the Dinosaur player's going second.
Salamangreat Miragestallio back at 1! Salamangreat players rejoice! Your deck is no longer Salamanmediocre, it is once again Salamangreat!
Alright, bad jokes aside, this is actually a huge push for the deck! Salamangreat Miragestallio was banned for a reason, since it was a generic Rank 3 monster with the ability to search any Salamangreat monster and later bounce any card back to the hand. Pretty good if you ask me.
Rank 3's are generally pretty easy to make, especially in a deck like Salamangreat, with on-theme cards like Salamangreat Foxy, Salamangreat Gazelle, and Salamangreat Spinny, plus off-theme cards like Psychic Wheeleder and Psychic Tracker. If you're feeling frisky you could even splash in the 1-1 combo of Speedroid Terrortop and Speedroid Taketomborg.
Salamangreat Miragestallio return is a massive boost for Salamangreat decks. It gives them a great tempo pick, and even if it does keep them from playing Accesscode Talker for a turn, having that level of control and that momentum is often worth the trade.
The craziest change to the F&L List is the return of Sky Striker Mobilize - Engage! from the Forbidden List, now back and Limited to 1. This is something that Sky Striker players have been wanting forever: Sky Striker Mobilize - Engage! was never Forbidden in the OCG, only moving around on the Limited List here and there instead. For us in the TCG? It went straight from 3 to 0. This change has already caused a huge surge in the sales of all the Sky Striker spells this afternoon, and sent many players digging through their Forbidden collection for their trusty search-anything card.
Sky Striker Mobilize - Engage! coming back to 1 not only makes Sky Striker a thing again, but it also opens the doors to other decks playing a Sky Striker engine. You may remember that Sky Striker Eldlich saw a small amount of play over the last year; it might be time to revisit that deck as the two themes complement each other perfectly, much like how Zoodiac worked with Eldlich. I'm sure we'll start seeing Sky Striker Ace - Raye all over the tournament scene just like we did a couple years ago.
Overall this list is awesome! It hit the decks that needed to be hit, while avoiding other decks that just weren't quite there yet. The upcoming June Remote Duel Extravaganza's still going to follow the current F&L List, so it'll be the last event where we see Dragon Link and Zoodiac at full power. But this list will be in effect for the upcoming Remote Duel YCS, and I'm excited to see big shifts in competition coming up!