We have at least four writers on TCGplayer with very different reactions to the latest Forbidden and Limited list gives you a well-rounded look at how the changes will impact Yu-Gi-Oh! moving forward. Doug "Finally Friends With Ricky" Zeeff, Pasquale Crociata and Zach Buckley and I try to tackle the new F&L list creatively, whether it be as useless as July's list or pivotal as this one.

Between moving, getting a new job, training squirrels and trying to adjust to an influx of cheese in my diet, I took a hiatus from competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! and July's Forbidden & Limited list discussion back when Wisconsin weather was generous enough to let me feel my toes. However, I don't think me writing about that list would have mattered anyways since that list impacted no one. July's F&L list was like writing on a Volcanic deck when you only change two cards. But with seventeen changes on the new F&L list, we should get started - we have a lot to talk about!

Newly Forbidden: Apoqliphort Towers, El Shaddoll Construct, Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz
When the apex card of any given strategy rolls to Limited or Forbidden status, the deck won't be maimed but instead crushed completely. Hitting "good" cards on an F/L list won't demolish the deck - it'll just give you a weaker version of what you were playing. It's important to notice the distinction, because while you can still play Qliphorts, Shaddolls and Nekroz, the previous forms of those decks are now impossible. It'd be like trying to build a swimming pool with no water.

Granted Shaddoll and Nekroz decks weren't called "El Shaddoll Construct Turbo" or "Shurit Strategist Recycle," but that's how they functioned. You didn't necessarily win by playing those cards, but every winning strategy revolved around using the cards quickly and recursively. The Qliphort variant of "Towers Turbo" is completely dead because Apoqliphort Towers is no longer a card. You could try to go back to a Qliphort deck focused around Qliphort Disk or perhaps teching as many Lose 1 Turns and Soul Transitions as you can, but Towers Turbo has been erased from existence.

Shaddoll decks are no longer a "thing" either. I'm not saying you can't splash Shaddolls in a deck with non-Light attribute cards, but Shaddoll decks have always had one thing in common no matter how crazy you built them - El Shaddoll Construct. Construct was the driving force behind the deck and facilitated the additions of cards like Denko Sekka, White Dragon Wyverburster, Swordsman of Revealing Light and Performage Trick Clown. Adding Light monsters to Shaddolls is alright but there's no longer any synergy with the best Shaddoll monster. Shaddoll will be forced to focus on control with El Shaddoll Winda and El Shaddoll Shekhinaga, or something completely different.


It's like when Glow-Up Bulb and Spore were first hit on the F&L list. Sure, you could still play a "Plant" deck with Botanical Lion or Tytannial, Princess of Camellias, but the deck everyone called "Plants" was impossible to play. Shaddolls are the same way - no matter how the cookie crumbles, the deck we knew as Shaddolls is no longer a deck. Period.

The same thing is true with Nekroz thanks to the restriction on Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz. You could still play a deck with lots of Nekroz cards and label it as such, but Shurit was the lynchpin to the strategy we grew accustomed to in the wake of limits on Nekroz of Brionac, Preparation of Rites and so on. It's not like they made it harder to recycle Shurit - the option's just not there anymore, and what we know as Nekroz has been erased from existence. The Nekroz, Shaddoll and Qli decks that you've been playing simply ceased to be. Fire King decks would be a completely different strategy without Fire King High Avatar Garunix, and would there even be a cohesive Frog deck without Swap Frog, no matter how many Submarine Frogs you decided to run?

"Sorry, Falco, not even you can bring me back this time." -El Shaddoll Construct

Newly Forbidden: Evilswarm Exciton Knight, Mathematician, Reinforcement of the Army
I wish I had a good reason for Exciton's new Forbidden status, but I can't give a succinct explanation. With Shaddolls, Qlis and Nekroz knocked out of top dog status, perhaps generic Rank 4 decks needed to be taken down a peg? Was the card outright too powerful? Is Exciton Knight too ugly?

Perhaps the change is to help newer Pendulum strategies thrive, and it certainly makes Kozmos and Yang Zings more viable. Personally I don't agree with the change, and saying goodbye to one of the best Rank 4's ever printed is bittersweet. Having the ability to fight out of a crappy situation and get your foot in the door is no longer possible through Rank 4 Xyz Summons. That change indirectly makes Nekroz weaker as well, and limits the impact of Elder Entity Norden. The world didn't crumble when Heavy Storm was finally Forbidden and neither will it crumble now.

I'm lumping the next two cards together primarily for their versatility - both are awesome in their own right, but they were also very strong in Shaddolls and Satellarknights respectively. I think these hits may have come a little too late and are almost irrelevant now, but we will see. More than anything, you'll see more indirect downsides to those Limitations than anything. Hitting both Mathematician and Reinforcement of the Army's a move that might quickly be forgotten. Perhaps they'll be more or less blips in the radar.

In the end, all three cards shifting around on the Forbidden and Limited list have garnered little more than a half-scowl.

Newly Limited: Qliphort Scout, El Shaddoll Fusion, Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk, Nekroz of Brionac, Nekroz of Unicore, Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
Wow. Talk about some doozies that will hamper decks beyond playability. If taking out things like Apoliqhort Towers and El Shaddoll Construct were effectively killing a deck, removing these cards is more like stripping a warrior of his armor and weapons before a battle instead of outright killing him.

Last time around I wrote about how Qliphorts were dead with a footnote, and an invitation to their funeral, but I didn't foresee Towers Turbo being so effective; additions like Wavering Eyes and Lose 1 Turn went completely over my head, and, well, the rest is history. Without Qliphort Scout, the deck's forced to run Re-qliate to even have a chance of surviving. Without El Shaddoll Construct, El Shaddoll Fusion's impact is lessened also virtually irrelevant. That said, both hits are very unfortunate.

Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk is a serious blow to the Ritual Beast deck, now changing the composition of the Main Deck. Ritual Beast Rampengu's effectiveness is seriously dampened, and Elder Entity Norden's a must now, since you'll inevitably bleed resources that much faster. If your opponent kills your only Cannahawk, geez, you're in a serious pickle. Of course you can still do some nutty combos to accrue multiple Ritual Beast Ambushes and Ritual Beast Steeds in one turn, but Ritual Beasts have fallen greatly with no immediate replacement for Cannahawk's departure. Personally I couldn't care less because I despise Ritual Beasts, but Pasquale might shed a lone tear.

Taking away copies of Nekroz of Unicore and Nekroz of Brionac poses a huge problem – sure, it sucks that you have fewer copies of your best monsters, but you're also left with the problem of flat-out having fewer monsters period. Without Shurit and only one Brionac, how often are you going to be able to pump out Nekroz of Trishula?


Gishki Vision? Gross. Nekroz Kaleidoscope's no longer going to be the lynchpin card, getting you free resources from your deck, and Rank 4 monsters are now much harder to come by. I frankly don't even know what you'll put in a Nekroz deck now because so many cards are simply gone. Look back at how much the deck has changed since release. Depending on your ratios of Nekroz of Brionac, Reinforcement of the Army, Preparation of Rites and the rest of the crew, you're down nearly twenty cards.


Burning Abyss still has most of its arsenal intact, but Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss was the bee's knees. With one Graff and one Tour Guide From the Underworld, you can't freely pick and choose what cards you're working with. The new trap from Dimension of Chaos aptly named Painful Escape will be a great addition, but free reign over your entire deck is no longer a possibility.

Newly Semi-Limited: Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
If that was the only change for Burning Abyss, I would have blinked twice, frowned and then moved on with my life. Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss is pivotal to the strategy in light of Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss but I honestly don't think its Semi-Limitation will have much of an impact. Limiting Graff was way more painful. We've already seen The Traveler and the Burning Abyss become hugely popular, and taking out a Cir in addition to the hit on Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss means players will have to get creative to keep their forces strong.

Unlike other powerhouses from the previous format, Burning Abyss is still playable in a form similar to what we've known in the past. Is it as good? Of course not, but the deck can adapt. I don't think it can keep up with Kozmos getting more powerful, and Majespecters cruising in on a damaged format, but you can get techy and still play Burning Abyss.

Newly Unlimited: Spellbook of Fate, Geargiagear, Chaos Sorcerer, Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En
Chaos Sorcerer and Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En finally returning to three-per-deck is something that should have happened a million years ago. Those changes will do absolutely nothing to affect competitive Yu-Gi-Oh. Nothing at all. Sorry, guys. Chaos and Samurai decks may have gotten some strength back, but nothing will change. Hell, I'd summon Naturia Beast in Samurai more often than Shi En, and three Chaos Sorcerers is already somewhat ridiculous.

Spellbook of Fate and Geargiagear are a Little Different. Spellbooks and Geargia won't make a huge impact, but unlike Samurai or Chaos you may actually have a tough time beating those decks. Geargiagear helps establish dominance in the early game and can be a quick push for OTK's, while Spellbook of Fate makes the biggest Kozmo monsters cry. Let's not get crazy and say either deck will dominate the competitive scene, but they'll probably be nipping at your ankles like so many other rogue strategies. Don't say I didn't warn you when you get OTK'd by Geargias at a Regional.

Despite that, I'm glad we're seeing older cards come off the Forbidden & Limited list. Granted it means new cards are so powerful that old cards are irrelevant, but I'm all for giving fan-favorite strategies some fresh air. Back in the era when many cards would hit the F&L list, people would bet their souls that some cards were just never coming back. Tsukiyomi, Magician of Faith, Breaker the Magical Warrior… now people just laugh those cards for how ineffective they are. The same thing's going to be true soon for all the older cards coming off the list, and I think we'll see even more cards escape it for that reason.

Dark Magician of Chaos, Elemental Hero Stratos, Sangan, Tribe Infecting Virus, and Witch of the Black Forest are just some of the cards that don't need to be restricted anymore. Over time, more and more cards will fall off and make absolutely no dents in the game when they do so. I remember the panic Tsukiyomi was expected to bring with it, like some Book-Of-Moon-On-Legs harbinger of death. Oh how wrong we can be.

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson

Loukas Peterson moved back to the cold and desolate North to fulfill his dream as a popsicle in Madison, Wisconsin. When he's not playing Spellbooks, his days are spent shaking his fist in the direction of Konami's North American headquarters requesting new Fabled support. In his spare time, Loukas enjoys cooking Minute Rice in 57 seconds, painting with all the colors of the wind and pretending his Etsy account is something to write home about. Additionally, Loukas doesn't even like the taste of chocolate chips but he eats a bag of them a week because he has no self control over that habit. His favorite number is 28, but his most hated number is 2.

Do you love winning with unconventional strategies? Do you love creating mash-ups? Does your deck need an injection of crazy? Send the following to rerouting.tcgplayer@gmail.com to have your deck featured in the "Re-Routing" deck fix column!

-Your Main and Extra Deck list. (No Side Deck needed, but please send a written deck list, not a screencap; screencapped deck lists will be filed and then burned in the furnace accordingly… and your deck should be TCG legal).

-Your name and city.

-Remember, please use full card names! Abbrevs and mis-sipllngs make Loukas' life sad. Try your darndest to get the TCG name on there.

-A paragraph or two describing your deck: what it does, why you're playing it, and its strengths and weaknesses. "Winning" is not a strategy per se, and neither is "beating your opponents before they beat you."

-Your favorite card from the build and why – make me fall in love with the deck!

The cooler your strategy the more I'll want to fix it, and if you throw in funny jokes, that'll surely get my attention too; be warned, unfunny jokes will push your deck to the back of the stack. Don't be afraid to get creative! New stuff takes priority, because I'm not bored of it yet! -LJP