It's almost October! That means a bunch of different things for different people. October's my birthday month, so that's important, and it's officially spooky season which is awesome.

But for us as Yu-Gi-Oh players, the best part is that right now, here in mid-September, it's banlist speculation time! The most recent update to the Forbidden & Limited List came into effect on July 1st, which feels like forever ago. When the F&L List dropped we were given some idea about when the next update would be: "...no sooner than October 1st, 2021"

This format's been solved for quite some time now. We've consistently seen Tri-Brigade variants dominate tournaments left and right, with Zoodiac Tri-Brigade winning both the North American and Latin American Remote Duel Invitationals over the last 2 weeks. It's clear that the deck needs to be put in check in at least some way. The question is though, if you hit Tri-Brigade, what will take its place? Drytron's arguably just as oppressive, with crazy end boards filled with multiple negations from Herald of Ultimateness.

When we want a new F&L List, we want to see it balance out competition to allow different decks to shine. Sometimes those newly viable decks are newer ones, and sometimes they're decks that haven't had a chance to shine in a while.

So today I'll give you my hot takes on the upcoming Forbidden & Limited List, and the changes I think we might see! As always, these are predictions I believe could actually happen: I'm not trying to say that they will for sure. In addition, some of these changes are things I want to happen, so keep that in mind.

To The Forbidden List - Take Out The Boss

I've been involved with this game for a long time. Not as long as Jason or Dan, but for some perspective, next month will mark 14 years of my tenure as a registered judge.

In all my years of playing and judging I've seen plenty of formats that had decks with different boss monsters as the core of their strategy. Some of the most famous bosses in the game's history include Dark Armed Dragon and Judgment Dragon, two monsters that had entire decks built around them in their time. While both were very powerful, and they each had the ability to change the course of the game, they were difficult to summon and only worked in certain strategies.

Looking at competition today, I see four main boss monsters played in the modern era of the game: Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess, Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder, Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon, and Accesscode Talker. They're all incredibly easy to summon and abuse for their powerful effects.

I don't think all four of them should go away. But I think realistically, one or two of them could be Forbidden without shaking up the game too much. I know the one I want to get rid of the most is Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon. The fact that Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon untargetable and impervious to destruction by card effects just puts it over the top in terms of power level.

Many could argue that Predaplant Verte Anaconda should get the axe over Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon because it gives such easy access to fusion spells in different decks, but I personally think that's fine. I see Predaplant Verte Anaconda as trading any two effect monsters for a Fusion Spell.

I think that's okay, because it'll be the last summon you make that turn, and it can make you lose a lot of your card economy depending on what you send. The big issue with Anaconda right now is that you can use it with Red-Eyes Fusion, ignoring the summon restriction, and summon one of the best Fusion monsters ever printed.

As crazy as it may sound, when I play against Drytron decks, aside from Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon and Herald of Ultimateness, the one card I never want my opponent to resolve, funny enough, is Eva. Up until Drytron became a thing, Eva wasn't really a problem. Now, with Drytron at full power, Eva the biggest problem with the deck in my opinion.

Why? Mainly because Eva sole purpose is to give you a ridiculous number of negations and keep cards in your hand. I firmly believe that if anything's going to get hit in the Drytron deck, it needs to be Eva, since it'll have the most impact without making the deck unplayable.

Get Rid Of Mystic Mine

I don't think this is a hot take, really? Mystic Mine way too strong in today's game. I'm normally fine with monster-restricting floodgates as long as a deck isn't dedicated to them. But unfortunately, Mystic Mine just one of those cards that's so oppressive you can build a whole deck around making sure your opponent doesn't have fun.

Mystic Mine so powerful that it's actually shaped how people have been building their decks since its inception. Every deck needs to be built with some sort of out to Mystic Mine, otherwise you run the risk of outright losing to a bad deck list.

Around this time last year we were talking about how we needed to get rid of Crystron Halqifibrax, rather than the cards it can summon, and I think we have to start looking at Mystic Mine the same way. Don't get rid of the cards that work WITH Mystic Mine, just get rid of the problem itself.

Ironically enough, one of the best and most common outs to Mystic Mine is Imperial Order. Which I also think needs to go away. While it has updated text that forces you to keep it on the field until you're no longer able to pay the 700 LP for it, and having to pay every Standby Phase only helps to speed that up, the fact that you can flip Imperial Order and potentially end the game with nothing but a single trap card is a little ridiculous. Think about a deck like Sky Strikers: the ability to shut down almost an entire strategy with one card is a little much.

Limit The Widely Searchable Stuff

It's often hard to figure out what to Limit. You need to curb a deck enough to make an impact, but at the same time you usually don't want to make the deck entirely unplayable. There are a lot of cards that I want Limited because they'll reduce the overall consistency of their respective decks, while still keeping them playable in tournaments.

For Tri-Brigade, I think there are four cards that could be Limited, and almost any combination of two of them will do the trick. Fire Formation - Tenki OR Tri-Brigade Fraktall needs to be Limited to 1: both serve the same purpose, sending monsters to the graveyard to fuel your Tri-Brigade effects, so why not change it from six copies of Tri-Brigade Fraktall to four?

Hitting Fire Formation - Tenki could arguably be better as it would also hurt pure Zoodiac decks and other Beast-Warrior strategies. That isn't necessarily a bad thing: considering Reinforcement of the Army at 1, Tenki arguably could be as well.

Aside from Fraktall and Tenki, I think either Tri-Brigade Revolt or Tri-Brigade Shuraig the Ominous Omen need to get hit. Both are devastating cards essential to the Tri-Brigade strategy, allowing you to interrupt your opponent.

I think limiting one of them to restrict the numbers of plays the deck has is the smart move. Many Tri-Brigade players burn through a Tri-Brigade Shuraig the Ominous Omen on their opening turn to get the search effect, so I think hitting Tri-Brigade Revolt is actually the smarter play; it forces the Tri-Brigade player to use their trap card more carefully.

For Drytron, I think Drytron Gamma Eltanin or Drytron Alpha Thuban needs to get knocked down to 1-per-deck status. Drytron Alpha Thuban provides a ridiculous amount of consistency by letting you search out any of your Ritual Monsters to further summon new Drytrons. Drytron Gamma Eltanin lets you summon it, plus any other Drytron monster back, making an instant Drytron Mu Beta Fafnir.

I think hitting one of those two cards would be fine. It would make the strategy slightly more vulnerable to cards like D.D. Crow or Ally of Justice Cycle Reader, while giving players a reason to run Drytron Beta Rastaban.

For Prank-Kids, the only card I can reasonably see getting limited without destroying the deck is Prank-Kids Dodo-Doodle-Doo. Hitting Prank-Kids Dodo-Doodle-Doo greatly limits the number of plays that the Prank deck has access to, without crippling it beyond play. With that change, negating the summon of a Prank-Kids Dodo-Doodle-Doo with a card like Solemn Strike has a heavier impact. Putting Prank-Kids Dodo-Doodle-Doo to 1 also makes the recursion effects of Prank-Kids more strategic, since you'd need to make sure that you always put it back with cards like Prank-Kids Pranks.

Virtual World's the weirdest deck to try and rein in, because so many of the cards are high impact, and you can't just Limit all of them. I think limiting the one Virtual World spell that gets you to the rest of them is the best idea. Limiting Virtual World Gate - Qinglong reduces the deck's consistency: it would force you to limit the number of Virtual World cards you play that can be slapped onto the board without a Normal Summon, while also reducing the deck's ability to search out new Virtual World monsters at the start of a combo. You can still recur Virtual World Gate - Qinglong through Virtual World Hime - Nyannyan and Virtual World Gate - Chuche too, but it won't be abused anywhere near as much.

Finally, the last card I want Limited has been a long, long time coming.. The best Normal Summon in the game, Aleister the Invoker! It doesn't have to be a direct hit to Aleister the Invoker, either. You could hit Magical Meltdown and I'd be happy. Similar to Tri-Brigade Fraktall and Fire Formation - Tenki, one of the two cards in the Invoked strategy needs to go to 1 as well. Having the ability to fetch a brand-new Fusion Monster every turn is insane, and it's keeping Aleister the Invoker in tournament play even four years after its release.

Bring These Cards Back!

True Dracos need some love in today's day and age. I think Dragonic Diagram and Dinomight Knight, the True Dracofighter could be justified as Semi-Limited cards: both are strong, but haven't been seeing any play at all since they were Limited. I think Dragonic Diagram would be safe to bump up since it would be a boost to the True King Dinosaur strategy, and that deck's less of a concern since we don't have to worry about True King of All Calamities.

I'd honestly LOVE to see Orcust Harp Horror come back to the game Limited. I think having one Orcust Harp Horror would be great; it would allow the Orcust deck to actually function again.

Even though two of the four decks from the 2019 "Eternal Format" are back with Sky Strikers and Salamangreats, both with previously Forbidden cards, I don't think Thunder Dragon Colossus can come back, simply because Ready Fusion exists. Having three copies of Ready Fusion and Instant Fusion just makes Colossus that much better, since you have so many chances to summon Kaminari Attack for it.

I'm sure we will see some crazy changes with the upcoming Forbidden & Limited List: it's sure to shake up competition. Hopefully the list actually solves some of the problems we have right now, or at least helps to prevent future ones from occurring. I know we've seen lists that didn't do anything in recent years, as well as lists that absolutely reset the competitiive scene. Let me know what you think will get hit, and what you think will come back, over on Twitter! I'd love to see what y'all are expecting!

Oh, and I also think Block Dragon should come back to 1, because it hasn't had its time to shine in person yet. That Grass Looks Greener should also come back. I know it won't, but I can dream right?