It's that time of year again, when everyone starts to suspect, and beg, for format changes.
I've been a player of this game since Exodia pieces were at three copies each, so I've seen my fair share of list changes. And like everyone else I have opinions based on what I think is most likely to happen, as well as what should happen.
My goal is always to have the most legal cards possible (to me, a card at three counts as three cards legal in the card pool). I feel like that helps the company sell the most cards, as well as giving players the greatest range of options in deck building. If I can ban one card instead of limiting two, that's the way I want to go.
With that in mind, my changes would Forbid fourteen cards, Limit away twelve more while returning six to Limited status, and the Unlimiting of cards would add 53 more back; a net gain of 33 cards in the legal cardpool.
Let's get started with the most impactful of the changes.
Bans are often the changes people care the most about. I've Forbidden six cards total.
The first item on the list is sort of my calling card for list adjustments: if you've ever seen a list that bans Wind-Up Rat, odds are I'm the one who made it. I've written about this before, but the three different times Wind-Ups have been a problem, even in the periods of play where Wind-Up Hunter was banned for the hand loop, or Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity was banned for Wind-Up Magician Wind-Up Shark loops, Wind-Up Rat always been the common factor.
Wind-Up Rat simply missed a few balancing mechanics that were commonplace at the time it was released: it doesn't negate the effect of the monster it summons, nor is it restricted to one activation per turn. Everyone wants Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity back, but to get that you'd have to trade it for Wind-Up Hunter at the very least, and I'd rather just get rid of Wind-Up Rat and be done with it.
Next up, a pair of Number monsters. I've been calling for the ban of Number 75: Bamboozling Gossip Shadow since players first used it to make Number 86: Heroic Champion - Rhongomyniad tear the game apart, and now it's doing the same thing to make Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder with four materials.
It's also letting virtual world and Phantom Knights completely play through Nibiru, the Primal Being. This card absolutely has to go, and it doesn't even cause a net loss in the card pool, since it trades for Number 86: Heroic Champion - Rhongomyniad as you'll see later on. Additionally, I don't think anyone has an issue seeing Number S0: Utopic ZEXAL go, which again, trades to bring back Rank-Up-Magic Argent Chaos Force.
Selene, Queen of the Master Magicians
Selene, Queen of the Master Magicians is a lot like Heavymetalfoes Electrumite before it, in the way that Electrumite allowed a myriad of Pendulum themes to simply become the monolithic "Pendulum deck," resulting in something like 25% of all hits on the list in the last four years. Heavymetalfoes Electrumite gone, and if you get rid of Selene, Queen of the Master Magicians too, you not only remove an insanely degenerate OTK with Accesscode Talker that you can make with one card, but you free up a crazy number of Pendulum cards. Obviously Performapal Monkeyboard needs to stay long gone, but there's no reason Double Iris Magician can't be at three.
Gateway of the Six is a card that's used exclusively when it shouldn't be. Nobody will miss it, except the people who shouldn't be allowed to touch it in the first place. Red Reboot was cute when we had zero copies of Harpie's Feather Duster. We now have five copies of Harpie's Feather Duster.
Now leading off with my 'hits,' Cyber Angel Benten gives Drytron the majority of its power, and with the other hits to everything else, Drytron would be the clear favourite if it was left unchecked.
Sacred Tree Beast, Hyperyton
Virtual World City - Kauwloon is by far the best consistency card in Virtual World, and the ability to make a second copy of True King of All Calamities is how it plays through Nibiru, the Primal Being without access to Number 75: Bamboozling Gossip Shadow. Those two changes make that deck significantly more 'fair', while still letting it play all of its intended strategies.
Eldlixir of Scarlet Sanguine is the proper hit for Eldlich decks, cutting it off at the knee without completely killing it as an idea.
There are entire articles about Pot of Desires, and with the new Pot of Prosperity we're once again living in a world where draw consistency is going a little too far. Mystic Mine gets the hit from me so that things like Metaverse can return to 3-per-deck. I like having Mystic Mine legal, but I don't like that it's an entire style of deck people can play.
All of the cards going from zero to one are either just too weak to deserve their spot on the Forbidden List these days, or the shift is a result of a different ban. And in the case of Firewall Dragon it's because we'll see it with a new, errata'd effect in Ghosts from the Past.
I didn't Semi-Limit any cards. I actually think the Semi-Limited list is a waste of space, and it's often used as a pitstop for cards moving between 3-per-deck and 1-per-deck status, one way or the other. The result is often an additional three to five months where a card isn't really where it should be. That often does much more harm than good.
I put True King's Return to three, and left Destiny HERO - Malicious at 2, but frankly it still loops with the Nemeses monsters. So I think overall, the right call is to either leave it at three and figure out a different change, make it once-per-turn, or just Forbid the card outright. 2021's evolved beyond the need for a Semi-Limited list.
Lastly the cards I want to unlimit: cards you could now play three of in my theoretical future.
This is the meat and potatoes, cards that have been on the list for ages but never come back because brevity's always a priority for format updates, cards that are only hit because it keeps other cards like Selene, Queen of the Master Magicians legal, and so on.
The True King stuff was hit almost four years ago for what can only be described as "Konami doesn't want to hit the new Secret Rares, either because money, or because it makes people feel less bad about spent money," but boy golly did we ever get a list after Maximum Crisis that decided both Dragonic Diagram and Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King needed to stay at three, and to justify it, we lost every other card in that deck. Somehow in 2021 we still don't have three True King's Return and Dinomight Knight, the True Dracofighter back, despite Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King being long dead.
Due to aforementioned factors like pit stops on the Semi-Limited List, and an inability to have lots of changes on a single list, lots of cards are still restricted that don't really need to be. Dinowrestler Pankratops went to one, probably so that cards like Gizmek Kaku, the Supreme Shining Sky Stag could find space in peoples' Side Decks, and then that just didn't materialize anyway.
With the increased usage of Aussa the Earth Charmer, Immovable as well, people are already cutting Dinowrestler Pankratops because it hurts more than it helps in a lot of cases. He's paid for his crimes and should be allowed to come home.
Performapal Skullcrobat Joker, Performage Plushfire, Double Iris Magician, Servant of Endymion, Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer, Draco Face-Off, and honestly more, are all restricted right now only because Selene, Queen of the Master Magicians legal. I promise, I checked, I tried. None of this is terribly impactful or scary when there isn't a busted Link Monster to accelerate more free bodies.
Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
Performage Plushfire was a scary one, there's some crazy stuff you can do with that, but it's nothing compared to what Virtual World does just by getting out of bed in the morning. Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon and Dewloren, Tiger King of the Ice Barrier have both had functional erattas that make them nothing like they once were, and they'll both be at three copies sooner or later, and my fictional world allows for sooner.
Number 86: Heroic Champion - Rhongomyniad trades for Number 75: Bamboozling Gossip Shadow, Rhongo was only ever banned because of it, and Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity trades for Wind-Up Rat as we've already discussed.
Chain Strike the worst card in the deck it's been hit for seeing play in, and somehow that made people stop playing Chain Burn. That's gonna be an article later. Dimensional Fissure and Macro Cosmos were hit back when Heavy Storm got banned out of a fear that traps would become way too powerful, alongside restrictions on cards like Dimensional Prison and Bottomless Trap Hole. These can and should come back to three, they actually help a lot.
Into the Void can probably stay at one, honestly, but without Selene, Queen of the Master Magicians, giving Servant of Endymion more blank spells to play just lets the deck exist at all. Rank-Up-Magic Argent Chaos Force is only on the list because Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal can dump it and Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger can stack on her, which adds Rank-Up-Magic Argent Chaos Force from graveyard to hand. That basically means you can effectively search a Rank-Up-Magic spell to summon Number S0: Utopic ZEXAL with, which we banned earlier.
The rest of the stuff on the list is just consistency hits to decks that don't need their wings clipped, or cards that will someday go to three, sneaking onto lists that have few enough 'necessary' hits in the moment to leave space for more changes.
So what do you think? What didn't I hit that really needed it? I'm curious to hear feedback on a lot of this, as I'm sure I hurt your deck, or didn't hurt the deck you hate enough. I'll be checking the threads on the Infinite facebook page and Infinite twitter to find out, so drop your comments there!