Every time a new Forbidden & Limited List comes out, the entireYu-Gi-Oh! community buzzes incessantly for days and weeks on end.Sometimes, the List changes virtually nothing and the hype revolves aroundcomplaining about that, which if you've met me, I'm really good at. Just ask my roommate who I trapped in a car ride explaining why SnatchSteal coming off the list in 2015 was the worst decision I've everwitnessed.

Note, that roommate doesn't play trading card games.

We'll need more time to really see the new Forbidden and Limited List inaction before we can judge it decisively, but to me this List rankssomewhere between "not bad" and "they could have done more." I feel thatsentiment's shared across the community, though "someone" I know has beencomplaining that Tribe-Infecting Virus still isn't off the list.

Of all the F&L Lists in the history of competitive Yu-Gi-Oh, I stillremember the September 2013 List vividly – it completely dismantled the toptwo strategies to the point of a total format overhaul. It's amazing whatthe F&L List can and can't do, and if you're skeptical that July 2019'slist didn't do enough, consider reading further.

At the very least, we can all rejoice that Mystic Mine decks were hamperedwith the limits to both Terraforming and Metaverse. Hopefully Demise of theLand and Planet Pathfinder don't supplement those cards… right?

First Things First: The Fallen
Beyond the off-color rogue deck or slight modification made to a provenstrategy, there were only a handful of decks that consistently provedthemselves as members of the top competitive ranks this last format - theupper echelon of dueling, if you will. Mystic Mine, Sky Striker, ThunderDragons, Trickstars, Salamangreats, and various Orcust Combo decks; thetop's been established for the last few months now.

Obviously other strategies have done very successfully as well - JeremyMitchell's Pendulum Magicians come to mind – but at the core of tournamentplay, the split on representation of decks was nearly set in stone. Goingto a competitive event, you could expect to play those six top strategiesmore than 75% of the time.

But the latest List has made some changes and shaken things up, knockingdown the former pedestals of power! With Terraforming, Metaverse, andTrickstar Light Stage now Limited, it's much harder to play decks thatconcentrate on Trickstars and Mystic Mine... let alone strategies thatborrow from those plays. Orcust Combos are still possible via Terraformingand a spare card in hand, but the chances of seeing that core combo haveplummeted. Even then, the central Orcust play's been taken down a notch inways we'll discuss later.

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The fatalities extend well beyond Field Spell decks. If Sky Striker Ace -Kagari's Limit wasn't hard enough, recursive plays will be that much harderwith Sky Striker Mecha Modules - Multirole Limited as well, and theresponsibility to compensate is falling completely on Sky StrikerMecharmory - Hercules Base. And look at Salamangreats, which got it evenworse! Sure, fun recursive cards like Rekindling work with a narrow rangeof the strategy's monsters, but with one Salamangreat Gazelle and oneSalamangreat Circle, the loss of consistency isn't worth the price!

Even decks that focus on various iterations of the Orcust combo were hithard. The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche was just as much of a lynchpinas anything else in the deck. At the very least, Rusty Bardiche has threefavorable arrows as a Link 3 monster; coming from the Extra Deck or the GYBardiche proved its worth, but it's fairly obvious the card had meritbeyond that.

Orcust strategies might still be explosive but they don't have the mostdefense or destruction, something Rusty Bardiche provided. Using its effectin tandem with the right Phantom Knights, it easily guaranteed you twocopies of Phantom Knights' Fog Blade while offering you an out to monstersyour opponent controlled. The other top decks that were hit largely justlost some consistency, but Orcusts got it at both ends, suffering cripplinglosses to their core plays and getting stuck with a much lower powerceiling.

When The Dust Settles
I won't say that Thunder Dragon, Danger Thunder Dragon, Danger ChaosThunder Dragon… whatever name you want to call it… wasn't hit by theF&L List, but the restrictions on Thunder Dragon variants are much lessdamaging than the other top decks thanks to a range of cards that cansupplement what was lost. The Semi-Limiting of the Danger cards means lessconsistency, sure, but there are other Danger monsters to take their placeand other sources of raw draw power that can make up the difference. It'snot a perfect substitute, but to parallel the situation would you ratherlose Reinforcement of the Army or Upstart Goblin?

I thought so.

The same thing can be said for the baby chaos dragons, White DragonWyverburster and Black Dragon Collapserpent. Nothing can truly replacetheir flexibility in filling so many roles - whether they were banishingThunder monsters, putting a body on board, or turning into a GuardragonLink Monster they were like the Swiss Army knives of the previous format.There's no real one-to-one replacement for them, though there are certainlysome cards that can try.

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We've seen the addition of Crusadia monsters in Thunder Dragon decks, butonce tournaments begin in earnest this format I'd imagine we'll see evenmore Crusadia engines. A stronger emphasis on Crusadia monsters likeCrusadia Draco means more searching and recursion when factoring in theLink Monsters. It's not a perfect supplement, but there's more than enoughto fill the gaps created by the Forbidden & Limited List in ThunderDragon builds.

Losing Eclipse Wyvern hurts these decks as well, but with fewer copies ofBlack Dragon Collapserpent and White Dragon Wyverburster, removal of Wyvernmight have become more prominent without forbidding the monster.

Still On The Bottom Rung
I know this is going to sound extremely silly, but how much does the lossof Altergeist Multifaker truly hurt the strategy? Doug "Free Breakfast ForTwo" Zeeff has struggled with Altergeists for a long time now, and… well…are Altergeists really that good in the TCG anyway?

Altergeist Multifaker doesn't help any woes, but would keeping it aroundsave the deck from the dirges of the top tables? The strategy is slowenough as is and while Multifaker's the lifeblood of the strategy, thefatal blow is really the deck's inherent setup. It runs too many monstersyou can't summon from the hand and it just fails if you don't see the righttraps. Limiting Altergeist Multifaker hurts the deck, sure, but ultimatelythe Altergeist strategy was its own undoing anyways.

Kinda like Frogs, if you know what I mean.

The restriction of Altergeist Multifaker stands in contrast to the releaseof other cards from the Forbidden & Limited List. It's a classic talewe've seen dozens of times - support for strategies gets a boost from theF&L List and nothing happens.

Consider Ehther the Heavenly Monarch. The Monarch deck's already brickyenough, so what will this change? Elemental Hero Stratos coming back… thefirst one did nothing, so why would the second be any different? The samelogic applies to Qliphort Scout, Royal Tribute, Shurit, Strategist of theNekroz, and Inzektor Dragonfly. Yes, those cards are going to make you cryon occasion, but so will Magic Cylinder.

It's not a perfect correlation, but Doug talks in a recentvideo about howcertain cards will prove themselves worthy on occasion without having anyreal impact in the game. I could be proven wrong on Qliphort Scout, butprobably not.

Neat! Is There More?
I've saved my favorite parts of the List for the cards that might have animpact, or at the very least cards that will help with combos that areimpossible otherwise: namely Daigusto Emeral. I'm not saying that SkyStriker decks will start playing ways to makeEmeral, but the recursion is something you can't avoid.

Speaking of recursion, how about Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms? We'vebeen playing without Dragon Rulers for four years, and now one of them -albeit the worst one - is back in action? It helps out Dragunity decks abit, but the main selling point for many of us is the turn after turnability to field a big monster in addition to banishing important monstersfrom the graveyard.

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Super-Polymerization's suddenly back at three, but is it a card you'll needto look out for more now that it's unrestricted? What about SolemnJudgement back at full power? I don't know about you, but having threetraps that stop just about anything without ever being useless in the lategame is scary.

Monster Gate? Dark Hole? Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer? All these cardsthat lay dormant without any real impact might see the light of play inmore competitive strategies now that they've moved to three-per-deck. Timewill tell.

Budget Decks? Top Picks? Of Course!
Despite my wish for a slightly different List – one that would've been evenmore drastic in the moves it made - I'll admit I'm happy overall with theend result because it left one deck somewhat intact. Disregarding anysuccess I've had on the tournament scene I've historically been a rogueplayer, finding weaknesses in metagames and exploiting them. While it'sunfortunate to always have an uphill battle, having one singular deck totry and dethrone at the top of competition means you can build yourstrategy to take advantage of it.

Simply put, you can take bigger risks with rogue strategies now sincethere's less of a chance that you'll get annihilated by a random MysticMine or Trickstar deck. Having trouble splitting up the Main Deck slotsyou've reserved for counters to Sky Strikers and Thunder Dragons? Thedecision is made for you when one of those decks is sidelined by theF&L List, or at the very least, the hivemind expectations.

So for the first few weeks where the format's basically the Wild West, I'mgoing to try out a few decks that received recent support and now have abuff from the Forbidden & Limited List. Both Speedroids and Dragunities- "old" archetypes by today's definition - have seen new cards in recentreleases and they have Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms to playwith. Neither strategy's anywhere close to expensive either, so I encourageyou to try them out yourself!

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.