So the Forbidden/Limited List is finally here, and like it or not it's here for another 6 months. In case you haven't seen here is what we will be working with
Wind-up Carrier Zenmighty
One Day of Peace
Thunder King Raioh
Advanced Ritual Art
No longer restricted
Blackwing - Kalut the Moon Shadow
Lightsworn Summoner Lumina
Shien's Smoke Signal
This list effectively takes Wind-ups from being the top deck, and probably from being a tier 1 deck all together. Making a turn 1 Shockmaster now takes 3 cards, (Summoner Monk, a Spell card, and Wind-up Magician) and doesn't leave you in as good of a position as before. Basically, Mermails and Fire Fist lose nothing, so they will be the strongest 2 decks in this format.
No cards have been brought back this time around, although the most interesting card to get bumped up is Advanced Ritual Art. Ritual decks haven't seen play in awhile, and really the only Ritual decks that have been scary were Demise OTK and Herald of Perfection. Herald of Perfection is the deck I would say has a chance, if any, simply as it has the ability to just say "No" to everything. As time goes on, it will be interesting to see if any duelist try to take Herald to the top.
Going into this format, hands down in my opinion Mermail is the best deck. It was already one of the top decks before, and nearing the end of the format, really the only deck that can give it problems was Wind-ups, which is now not an issue. With the creation of Mono Mermails from yours truly and Billy Brake, we found that Macro Rabbit really wasn't that big of a deal anymore.
Speaking of Rabbit, that's another deck that went untouched, and is able to counter Mermails with Macro Cosmos and Soul Drain. It's also a very strong choice, but in my opinion, has a terrible match up against Fire Fist, do to the numerous trap cards, and ability to deal with any threats and almost any given time.
Fire Fist are a fairly new deck, and haven't really been able to shine yet, and did fairly mediocre at YCS Miami. This is do to the fact that Wind-up and Mermail were probably the most played decks, and they are much more explosive and can easily overwhelm the Fire Fist relatively slow start. But now Wind-ups are out of the way, meaning Fire Fist really only have to deal with Mermails. The great thing about Fire Fist is that they have no blatant weakness cards, like Mermails, allowing them to easily side cards like Soul Drain and Dimensional Fissure to counter the Mermail deck or other decks that will probably be popular at the start of the format, like Chaos Dragons or Lightsworn.
Lightsworn, now with 3 Lumina, is more consistent then ever. This means more milling, more Necro Gardna's, and more of that guy everyone loves to hate, Judgment Dragon. Judgment Dragon is still one of the best, most powerful, and downright frightening boss monsters in the game. With an easy summoning condition, field nuking effect, and massive 3000 attack, its a card that can turn games and simply end them.
Their weakness is of course Dimensional Fissure and Macro Cosmos but unlike other decks, they have outs to them in the form of Lyla and Ryko which of course can be kind of scary. The good thing is though, is that Lightsworn is still one of those decks that loess to itself with its possibility of having dead Necro Gardna's and Wulf's in hand early game, or unsummonable Judgment Dragons.
Smoke Signal and Kalut going back to 3 really does nothing in my opinion. Samurais already make turn 1 Shien 99% of the time as it is, and Kalut really doesn't help the fact Blackwings are too slow to accomplish anything important. So its safe to say, in my opinion we can count Samurai and Blackwings out of this format... of course Gateway of the Six is still a card... (Why? Don't ask me...)
Looking ahead, we will be getting Hidden Arsenal 7 which brings 2 new possibilities into the mix, Lavals and Evilswarms. Lavals finally gain their Foolish Burial on crack Molten Conductive Field, while Evilswarms get most of their support, and the powerful and very hyped Evilswarm Ophion.
For awhile Lavals were very popular in Japan. Their ability to Rekindling spam the opponent into giant fields, lots of Synchro Monsters, and also make Shooting Quasar Dragon made it a very formidable deck, but then came along Ophion ruining everyone's day.
For the past 3 months, the OCG has been dominated by Ophion, effectively shutting down Mermail decks from summoning Synchros from Diva, and Summoning a Megalo, all while protecting it from Spell/Trap cards. If any deck has a chance of combating Mermails, its certainly Evilswarm, but again, they have a real weakness to Fire Fist as Ophion literally does nothing to the Fire Fist deck.
In the end, the format is looking to be pretty stale until Tachyon Galaxy is released, as I'm sure there will only be 2/3 dominant decks (I really like formats where you can run lots of different decks, although some of my peers disagree). I'm fairly disappointed with the Forbidden/Limited list, as I view it as not only a way to create a balance in the game, but also a way to RENEW the game, by bringing back certain cards and releasing the limitations on others, so that other decks can have a chance, and not everyone is forced to run "whats current" and can go back and try to re-innovate something, and that is the exact opposite of what happened, so I suppose we will just have to wait and see what unfolds at YCS Austin.
Until next time duelist, play hard or go home.