Despite some of the more oppressive strategies cropping up in recenttournaments, the last few months of competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! have beensurprisingly diverse, at least as far as the sheer number of differentdecks that made Top Cut showings. Sky Strikers, Salamangreats, ThunderDragons… those have all had their time in the sun, but lately we've beenseeing Mekk-Knights, SPYRALs, Heroes and a wealth of other themes takingtheir share of the spotlight, each with different levels of continuedsuccess.

As the power level of certain decks wax and wane in addition and with newcards coming out every few weeks, it's no surprise that some decks willfall out of popularity organically over time. But the Forbidden &Limited List acts as another tool to control what's popular and what's not,and it's not all about restricting player choice; taking cards off the Listcan be just as powerful as throwing cards onto it.

Well, at least in theory. Flashback to a few years ago when I thoughtTsukuyomi would make an impact. Because heaven forbid we have a "Book ofMoon on legs" running roughshod across tournaments!

Despite all the changes we've seen over the years Tribe-Infecting Virus isstill Forbidden, so hopefully next time I'll be writing about that. But fornow let's talk about the most recent round of changes, taking effect in thenew Advanced Format on Monday.

More Thinking, Less Autopilot!
Because I like structural change and think it's good for the overall healthof the game, I'm always excited to see more cards added to the list thantaken off.

I'm not talking about killing entire archetypes in one fell swoop, but ifsomething's clearly a problem then it needs to go, and Guardragon Agarpainwas a prime example of that. I should clarify: I genuinely enjoy largecombo decks that produce flashy combos. But I'm not a fan of racing to anunbeatable board that can be achieved with a million different, but equallyboorish ventures.

Guardragon Agarpain might have been hampered by the restrictions on BlackDragon Collapserpent and White Dragon Wyverburster last format, but thesheer level of access it gave you, pulling out any Dragon from the ExtraDeck, often seemed unfair. The restriction to only Summoning Dragons wasmitigated by Hieratic Seal of the Heavenly Spheres, transforming your spentGuardragons into yet another counter anyways.

Since Guardragon Agarpain didn't have any Level restriction on it – not forits Link Materials or for what it could produce for you - the card's powerlevel would've only increased as more and more cards were released. In avacuum it wasn't something that controlled the game by itself but it openedup an extremely generic Extra Deck negation for any deck that happened tobe running Dragons, and that problem was going to get worse over time.

#####CARDID= 25307 #####

Knightmare Mermaid was even more generic, and its popularity in any deckthat could 1) produce two monsters and 2) had a spare card to discard wastestament to its game-crushing flexibility. While the end result of aKnightmare Mermaid play might vary depending on extraneous factors,bringing the Orcust monsters into such a wide range of decks that couldfulfill the extremely vague requirements needed was pretty unprecedented inYu-Gi-Oh! as we know it.

Once you fully played it out the full Orcust combo didlimit you toDark monsters, but you'd often just finish with the Orcust effects andeffectively bypass those restrictions anyways. So while not every deckneeded to play Orcust monsters in the latter part of 2019, the genericrequirements and minimal investments for such a powerful addition to yourstrategy was completely out of control.

When are we ever going to see that again? Hopefully never.

With all the restrictions we've seen placed on Sky Strikers, you'd thinkthe deck would finally die and wither away, but now the powerful SkyStriker Mecha - Widow Anchor has finally been brought under some kind oflimitation. Hits to Sky Striker Mecha - Hornet Drones, Sky Striker MechaModule - Multirole, and Sky Striker Ace - Kagari all challenged what seemedlike an infinite stream of free and recursive Sky Striker cards, but nowthe big threat itself has been Limited to one.

Will the Limit on Widow Anchor prove to be fatally crippling to SkyStrikers? I don't think so, but the deck doesn't have the insane aggressiveand defensive cards running wild sans restrictions anymore. I can't tellyou how frustrating it is to have three Widow Anchors played on you in asingle turn, decimating a board you thought was unbreakable, but at thispoint there's a good chance that you intimately know my pain. Will SkyStrikers continue to see play? Of course, but they'll be on more evenfooting moving forward.

The Boys Are Back!
Dark Armed Dragon's Semi-Limit… Ok, I'm already bored talking about that,so let's move onto the good stuff. With nine cards freed from the Listentirely, it seems like so much is back on the table with a shot at beingcompetitive. Monarchs, while still missing triple Pantheism of theMonarchs, have their ace monster back at three to wreak a little havoc, sowe'll definitely see people play that moving forward.

Just last week I talked about Heroesand the absurdity of Elemental Hero Stratos at Semi-Limited, and look, nowit's back to three! Inzektor Dragonly's freedom gives that old strategy aboost, while Destiny HERO - Malicious coming back to three is a godsend foranyone that wanted to play Heroes at near-full power.

The same goes for Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz and El ShaddollConstruct. Neither Nekroz nor Shaddols have been cleaning up on thecompetitive scene as of late, so bringing back those ace cards will be awelcome addition to casual decks that might have been fun, but direlyneeded a boost to be more relevant.

#####CARDID= 25434 #####

To some extent, the same thing can be said about Royal Tribute. A thirdcopy of the spell will definitely bolster Gravekeeper's when they need it,but I'm not sure it's going to completely revolutionize the game. Will wesee a rise in competitive play for some or all of those casual decks? Sure,but which if any will score actual tournament success, that needs to betested before anyone can really speak out.

By far the most important card on the list to come back is SuperRejuvenation, because of the sheer potential it unlocks. Rarely do we see acard jump from Forbidden to Unlimited all in one move, but this giant shiftwill quiickly end all speculation on the true power of the card. We'll seeexactly what it's capable of here in 2019, after it wreaked such havoc in2013.

While three of the four Dragon Rulers are still Forbidden, I think SuperRejuvenation has the power to be extremely useful not necessarily as a wayto stock up more aggressive cards, but rather as an answer to youropponent's rebuttals. With the rise in hand traps creating a playenvironment where some decks are running as many as ten of those types ofreactive effects, Super Rejuvenation serves as a way to dig for extra handtraps after you burn through your cards.

We'll have to wait and see exactly how much destruction that card canbring, but of all the changes on the list, Super Rejuvenation has thebiggest potential to make a difference with such a high power ceiling.Laugh now, but trust me when I say it's frustrating to have your opponentwaste all of their cards only to draw six hand traps in the End Phase.

Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson


Loukas Peterson lives in Nashville, Tennessee, hoping one day to run in5th Congressional District on the platform of "Fabled Link Monsters forEveryone." You can find him onTwitteror building a bonfire in his backyard to attract the local wildlife foran audience with his ukulele. Hailed as the only person capable ofcooking Minute Rice in 56 seconds, Loukas is always looking atexpanding his backyard to house every dog in the world without a home.Well, and those with homes already.