Last week we discussed how the new format could impact the interplay between Shaddolls, Satellarknights, Burning Abyss, and the myriad of rogue strategies vying for success. But the new Forbidden and Limited List did more than change how those decks stack up against each other: it also opened up new Side Deck options by reducing the restrictions on certain tech cards.

Some of those cards, like The Transmigration Prophecy, are direct additions to existing Side Deck plans. Others, like Reinforcement of the Army, have a more subtle influence on the viability of sided Warriors. We'll be taking a look at these newly-Limited, Semi-Limited, and Unlimited cards, and discussing how they might fit into your Side Decks.

Anti-Leo, Anti-Swarm, But Not Anti-Raigeki
One of the most talked-about changes on the October Forbidden and Limited List was Raigeki's return to the game. It's a stupidly powerful spell that's easy to play, and often hard to play around. One-sided mass monster removal with no attached cost is obscene, and as a result Rageki's been Forbidden for over a decade. Its return raises a number of questions, namely: is it still worth playing? Post-YCS Dallas the answer seems to be a resounding "yes," which is probably no surprise to players who looked beyond the Shaddoll match-up. Sure, El Shaddoll Winda can't be destroyed by card effects, Stardust Spark Dragon never dies, and dozens of monsters being played in Championship-level strategies will simply replace themselves, but that doesn't mean Raigeki's useless. It's definitely not effective everywhere, that's for sure.

Raigeki's poor match-up against decks like Fire King, Shaddoll, and Burning Abyss make it a questionable Main Deck choice, but it's a hugely powerful Side Deck pick this format. It's particularly effective against rogue strategies that hinge on setting monsters like Geargia or Evols. It's also a strong deterrent against OTK strategies, where siding Raigeki alongside a Battle Phase-ender could be enough to win you the game. Madolche could certainly recover their field thanks to Madolche Ticket and Madolche Chateau, but Karakuri, Hieratics, and Gigavise will have a much harder time making the same combos again.

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Gigavise is actually getting a fair bit of hype thanks to Glow-Up Bulb. Bulb brings a number of combos back online, and Mathematician doubles as a means of putting key cards in the graveyard, as well as a target for Crane Crane. Meliae of the Trees is a launching pad for OTKs, and it's often ready as early as the second turn. Add Dragon Rulers – and especially Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders – into the mix and Gigavise becomes dangerously competitive. On the other hand, it's a strategy that completely falls apart if the Battle Phase is ended prematurely. Raigeki evaporates your opponent's lead in the duel by wiping away fielded monsters, and will generally put you far enough ahead to let you coast to victory.

Foretelling Victory
The Transmigration Prophecy was Limited in September 2007, and seven years later it's finally heading down the List. Yu-Gi-Oh! has evolved substantially over the last few years and Transmigration is starting to show its age. Much of its Side Deck potential has been delegated to Crevice Into the Different Dimension, but there are several important match-ups this format where Transmigration is a better pick. I've been a fan of Transmigration for a while, but I've been hesitant to write on it due in part to conflicting information regarding its viability. Korey McDuffle played a copy in the Side Deck of his WCQ-winning HAT build, then later stated that he never actually sided it in. A friend of mine who sided Transmigration at the very same event reported that it won him numerous matches – thanks in part to its interactions with his own deck: Madolches.

I wasn't sold on The Transmigration Prophecy until Shaddolls and Burning Abyss became the clear standouts of the post-Duelist Alliance format. Transmigration shuffles Shaddoll Fusion back into the deck when El Shaddoll Winda or El Shaddoll Construct target it with their effects, and might leave your opponent unable to make another Fusion Summon. Teched Light monsters that activate in the graveyard like Felis, Lightsworn Archer and Artifact cards are also easily countered by Transmigration. Targets for Shaddoll Falco, Soul Charge, or even Falco itself can be kicked back into the deck to prevent them from resolving.

In other match-ups The Transmigration Prophecy manipulates graveyards and clears out cards that activate there, like the Bujingi monsters. Against Burning Abyss targeting Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss prevents it from adding another Fiend during the End Phase. Booting Lonefire Blossom, Spore, Glow-Up Bulb, or various other Plant combo pieces out of the graveyard can greatly interfere with your opponent's strategy and prevent them from making plays. Transmigration's greatest strength is its utility: you can shuffle back your own cards to search them later. Like Book of Moon, this card will often be played as a -1. That's the cost of utility, but its stopping power is well worth the investment. I'm already excited to see what impact – if any – this card will have now that it's Semi-Limited.

Blackwings - Back In Action?
Years ago Blackwings were restricted to the point of being almost unplayable. Black Whirlwind, Blackwing - Kalut the Moon Shadow, and Blackwing - Gale the Whirlwind ended up Limited simultaneously for three formats. The deck was a shadow of its former self over that period, and it wasn't until 2013 that Kalut and Black Whirlwind moved to Semi-Limited, and finally Unlimited. There was a ton of hype following those changes; it was widely speculated that Blackwings would once again take flight. Of course, competitive Blackwing strategies never materialized at the Championship level save a Top 4 finish at last year's YCS Toronto by Sehabbi Kheireddine, now our reigning World Champion.

Part of the problem facing Blackwings is their underwhelming Extra Deck. Blackwing - Blizzard the Far North was just inadequate without Goyo Guardian or Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier. Goyo's Limitation earlier this year made Blizzard a bit stronger, but it's important to recall that Blackwing - Vayu the Emblem of Honor and Gale have been instrumental to this deck's success in the past. Blackwings were at the top of their game when Dark Strike Fighter was legal, and also later when Brionac-fueled Vayu plays were possible. It's a very 'fair' strategy now that it can't play either of those Synchro Monsters, and unfortunately 'fair' won't get you very far in this format.

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Back to Gale: the best Blackwing card in the game hit the Limited List back in 2009 due to its insane utility, easy Special Summon condition, and extremely useful Tuner aspect. Now it's back at two, but Blackwings still don't have a strong enough build for it to see serious competitive play. Instead, Gale could find its place in Stun Main Decks, as well as Side Decks for various strategies. Its stat-halving effect cuts down anything with 2600 ATK or less – putting that monster at risk of being destroyed by battle. Notable monsters in that range include Stardust Spark Dragon, Evilswarm Ophion, El Shaddoll Winda, Thunder King Rai-Oh, Abyss Dweller, Stellarknight Delteros, Constellar Pleiades, Vanity's Fiend, and Beau Butler's favorite: Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En.

Gale is even better when sided into decks already playing Blackwing - Zephyros the Elite. Zephyros fits nicely into Synchro-heavy strategies that already have a lot to gain from Gale's Tuner element, and often those same decks are also looking for ways to play around Winda and Vanity's Emptiness. Sneaking under Emptiness and Bottomless Trap Hole, Gale leverages your Normal Summon into an answer to powerful monsters with floodgate abilities. Now that it's Semi-Limited there's more potential for it to make an impact, but few strategies outside of Blackwings can make full use of it. We'll have to wait and see what the future holds for this card.

The Warrior Toolbox Returns
Satellarknights and Noble Knights gained the most from Reinforcement of the Army's recent move off the F&L List, and they're definitely more consistent as a result. Other Warrior themes gained a boost too – Ninjas and Six Samurai in particular. For the history of the Forbidden and Limited List, Reinforcement has only been Unlimited for a single format between September 2008 and March 2009: the TeleDAD format. It's no surprise that it's been Limited for so long with cards like Elemental HERO - Stratos, Dark Grepher, and Armageddon Knight still legal. With Stratos out of the game and Infernities slaughtered, Reinforcement can safely return to Unlimited status.

So what does that mean for commonly-sided Warriors? It means you'll see them more, that's what! D.D. Warrior Lady banishes monsters without targeting them; a solid out to Winda, Leo, Protector of the Sacred Tree, and plenty of other destruction-resistant cards. It'll also keep Shaddoll Fusion Monsters from the graveyard and keep their effects from triggering. D.D. Assailant has also been seeing play, and 1700 ATK comes in handy against Satellarknights and Burning Abyss. Once again: banishing is excellent here. You can take out opposing monsters in 1-for-1 trades without destroying your own Vanity's Emptiness.

For decks that are already playing Reinforcement it's easy to side cards like D.D. Warrior Lady and Assailant because they're so readily available. Ehren, Lightsworn Monk and Blade Knight (yes, even Blade Knight) can be sided against Flip-heavy strategies, and Vampire Hunter and Rose Archer fit their own niche purposes. These cards might have narrow applications, but with three Reinforcement of the Army it's much easier to include them without adding more inconsistency to your build. You can get away with siding a single copy of D.D. Warrior Lady because you have three cards to search it.

And that wraps up part two of our discussion on the October Forbidden and Limited List! There's a lot of great stuff going on here, including some new siding strategies that have me particularly excited.

Until next time then

-Kelly