Hey there, duelists! We're back.
Hopefully you all had some fantastic showings at your respective Yu-Gi-Oh Days. I did not. Out of my four attempts, the best I could manage was 3rd Place finish. But here's hoping you all got some cool mats and field centers! Show me what you got on Twitter, and let me know what you played.
With the current Forbidden & Limited List only guaranteed until December 15th, the next update might be just around the corner, and I know I can't wait for it. Those in my inner circles have heard me vent my frustration with the shape of the game for a few weeks now, so let's go deck by deck and talk about my picks for the best potential changes. Oh, and since Dragon Buster Destruction Sword is so obviously problematic, let's just all agree we'd be happier with it out of the card pool. Kind of like That Grass Looks Greener.
Kicking off with one of the biggest offenders of the format, I think many players would be surprised to hear me say that I don't think Miscellaneousaurus is the problem. Hanko and I have spent lots of time discussing where the true power of the Dinosaur deck lies, and I personally feel that Souleating Oviraptor and Fossil Dig are the real culprits.
That being my position, I'd love to see a world where both cards are Limited to 1-per-deck. By reducing the overall consistency of the strategy, you effectively check the ability of the Dinosaur deck to continue to play once it's field gets picked apart. Now suddenly, you only have two copies of Souleating Oviraptor instead of six, creating some major challenges for the deck. It's already bricky, and now it would often lack its key starters.
Another positive of this move is that the pure Dinosaur deck can still exist, while removing the Dinosaur "engine" from the game. Souleating Oviraptor was played in old turbo decks that revolved around Cherubini, Ebon Angel of the Burning Abyss. While it's not common, cards like Souleating Oviraptor are dangerously powerful in myriad ways, many of them just waiting to be discovered.
The other route would be Forbidding Miscellaneousaurus altogether. That's the only way for a restriction on Miscellaneousaurus to work, since it's effectively played at nine copies per deck - three copies of itself, three Souleating Oviraptor, and three Fossil Dig. Limiting Miscellaneousaurus alone wouldn't accomplish much, since you'd still have seven total ways to get to it.
I don't like the idea banning Miscellaneousaurus. It just doesn't reduce the consistency or power level of the Dinosaur deck in a truly significant way. What it does do, is create a situation where the Dino player simply cannot play the grind game safely against control decks, meaning you're effectively trying to nuke their game from the beginning.
Appropriately hailed as one of the most powerful cards of the year, Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon has failed to live up to the hype. While we're lacking data from a high number of competitive events, Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon barely showed up in the few that have taken place. But why? When you break it down rationally, it makes a lot of sense.
In order to summon Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon you either need to avoid summoning at all for the rest of the turn, or summon a minimum of three times, without having your Predaplant Verte Anaconda stopped. And on top of that you have to play three dead cards in your deck: Dark Magician, Red-Eyes Black Dragon, and Red-Eyes Fusion are all subpar draws, and on average you'll be drawing one of those engine requirements in 34% of your opening hands. That means in one third of your games you'll effectively start the game with four cards.
Another interesting point is that a single negation or destruction effect isn't really that bad. Think about the best decks in the format. Dragon Link? Multiple negations, and it rips a card from your hand. Infernoble? Same story just a different deck. Zoodiac doesn't end on negations, but ends on interactions instead. So a single negation isn't really the problem. The ability to break apart fields is strong, but not unbeatable.
The bigger problem is that Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon can't be targeted. But we've also seen a rise in the number of effects that can remove Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon from the field without destroying or targeting it, effectively bypassing that protection. While Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon is good, and certainly very polarizing, I don't think the banlist needs to address it. At least not yet.
Originally I planned to write on these decks as separate segments, but I think they largely fall under the same category. Both are extremely powerful, yet flawed, combo decks. Both use many of the same lines of play with different outcomes, and both need to be addressed on this next list. But how?
First and foremost, Linkross has got to go. While Crystron Halqifibrax is a problem, Linkross is the true culprit. Summoning multiple tokens for Sychro Summons after you use the best part of your Crystron Halqifibrax is a big issue, and they're incredibly flexible. They're payment for effect costs, Synchro materials, and tribute fodder, all neatly wrapped into one card that lets you continually use the graveyard effects of cards like Plaguespreader Zombie and Deskbot 001.
Smoke Grenade of the Thief is another card that shouldn't be legal. The ability to combo off with absolute perfect knowledge of your opponent's hand is something that only Maximillion Pegasus should be able to do. Doubly so given how searchable Smoke Grenade of the Thief is in both Dragon Link, thanks to Vylon Cube, and in Infernobles. It's way too consistent.
That level of constant disruption, knowing that you simply can't play stuff like Kaijus, Dark Ruler No More, and other cards that seek to break apart field set-ups, is problematic for not only the current format, but for card design as a whole. Suddenly it's not about making sure you draw combo pieces together, it's about ensuring you draw them alongside inconsistent defensive cards, creating an unpleasant experience for players everywhere. I'd also like to see cards like Herald of the Arc Light Forbidden too. A floodgate attached to a negation is just silly, and on top of that it searches cards, which is just over-the-top levels of insane.
Essentially, these decks need to have their crazy consistent Turn 1 plays reined in. There needs to be more of a tradeoff for playing this type of deck.
Honestly, just hit True King of All Calamities. This is going to be short as all heck because there isn't much to say beyond that.
The Virtual World deck's new, and the overall theme has a lot of cool plays. Unfortunately for now, it's just a Calamities Turbo strategy with a crazy trap card. That's no fun. The solution here is easy to call.
Zoodiac's in a fairly healthy spot. Being so "new" to the format, it's still open to a lot of experimentation, which is great! Seeing so much interest in decks like Zoodiac is nice, since it really punishes poor technical play, and rewards you for playing carefully. That said, I wouldn't mind seeing something like Zoodiac Drident at 2-per-deck. It's an extremely weak card right now, so I don't foresee it being an issue, but that could also be due to the consistency of our next subject...
Not particularly unfair, but definitely an annoyance for many players, Eldlich could see some restrictions to either Cursed Eldland or Eldlixir of Scarlet Sanguine. The former hits the early stages of the deck, while the latter measure would recue the Eldlich deck's ability to grind for wins. Going forward, that might become the new norm for the deck. Hopefully not though, because much like Zoodiac, Eldlich isn't particularly powerful or unfair.
It's just really consistent.
I think heading into 2021, we could see Toadally Awesome, ABC-Dragon Buster, and the Burning Abyss brothers of Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss and Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, all hit three copies per deck. They've all been power crept over the years, and it's time for them to be let loose. Overall, it would only serve to bolster interest in the game for both new and returning players.
I think at the moment, the game's okay overall. There are just a few issues that need polishing. Hopefully events in 2021 go better for us all than they did in 2020. In the meantime I hope you're all staying safe, and I look forward to facing some of you in the Remote Duel Extravaganza later this month!