January 2015 Banlist Review

So Konami released the latest Forbidden/Limited List last week, and much to our surprise, the major decks were left virtually unscathed again. I think there are plenty of things they could have done to balance the game while also ensuring that they sell future products, but business is business. This is probably the most blatant way of saying, “We only care about the bottom line.”

Super PolymerizationSuper Polymerization banned

This card getting banned is completely understandable. It is one of the few cards in the game that says you literally cannot respond to it, and its effect happens to be very relevant at the moment. Ever since Patrick Hoban showed the world why we should all be running as many copies as possible, this card has been a nuisance. The main problem with it is that even if you account for it, there usually isn’t much you can do to mitigate it. And since there will eventually be a Shaddoll Fusion monster for every element, it would have gotten to the point where there isn’t anything you cannot Super Poly (except maybe Divine Beast). On top of this, Elemental Heroes are coming back in 2015, and they already have tons of fusions for every element and then some. Therefore, I feel like banning this card was both a current stabilizer and a future hit—all in all, a smart decision.

Artifact Moralltach to 1

I actually do not agree with the decision to put Moralltach to 1. It seems like this only happened because of this year’s NAWCQ, where 5 out of 6 of the World’s competitors were using the card, but even that sounds ludicrous. If they were going to touch it, it would have made more sense for it to happen right after that.

Besides, I think Moralltach has an inherent problem that makes it almost perfect in card design. If you draw it, it’s usually terrible, but if you get it off of Sanctum or if your opponent destroys it during his or her turn, it’s usually pretty good. The game has evolved a lot since Nationals format, though, so Artifacts aren’t exactly the biggest threat on the radar. I have to assume that they wanted to deter us from using archtypes that they are no longer supporting, which is a way to make sure that everyone keeps playing the newer stuff. The problem is, the newer stuff is so outrageous that no one is playing the older stuff anyways.

Dark Strike Fighter to 1

This one is simple. Dark Strike Fighter’s errata makes it pretty underwhelming, so no one will be concerned about it coming back. Long ago, in 2009, this card literally ran the game of Yu-Gi-Oh. You could end a duel on the first turn simply because it existed, and it wasn’t uncommon for that to happen. Nowadays, I can’t even think of a valid deck that would want to play this card.

snatch stealSnatch Steal to 1

This is obviously one of the bigger changes on the list. Snatch Steal has been gone for quite some time, and for good reason, too. Strangely enough, I don’t see this card being a staple like when it was last used. I mean, we all went crazy when Raigeki came back, but only few people have used it, and it can either be terrible or amazing. Cards that have those high variances are not what you want when building a deck. It’s the same reason why main decking Maxx “C” is only subpar in the current format. There will be situations where it does absolutely nothing, and then there are situations where you will get amazing value out of it. But that’s not how you win tournaments.

What I will say about Snatch Steal, though, is that it can obviously steal games, and it will undoubtedly be amazing in mirror matches. All three of the major decks right now—Qliphorts, Burning Abyss, and Shaddolls—can put massive damage on the board in a single turn. Snatch Steal furthers this cause. Imagine going Denko Sekka, then special summoning either White or Black Dragon, then Shaddoll Fusion, then Snatch Steal. It’s hard to imagine that that wouldn’t be game most of the time. I’ve even heard some players opting to use Hidden Armory, which effectively gives you up to four copies of Snatch Steal. While this sounds kind of cool, remember, formats often start off more creative than usual, and then they become defined. This card will either find a place in the main of one of the top three decks, or it will become just like Raigeki—a random insertion in the main or side.

Honest to 2

Honest is one of the most powerful cards in the game. If you don’t think so, then you probably missed a few formats, or you’re just delusional. It acts as a piece of removal while also dealing damage, meaning it can shift the tempo of a duel in a single turn. On top of this, if your lifepoints get too low, you have to constantly try to play around the threat known as, “Well, he might have Honest.” I always compare its effect to Ring of Destruction (the original) because it gets rid of an opponent’s monster and it deals massive damage. And just like Ring of Destruction, it gets increasingly more powerful as the game drags on. Once lifepoints become an issue, you’re in trouble. With that being said, I am actually quite terrified by what may come with having Honest on 2 per deck. Denko Dolls can certainly benefit from this, seeing as how she only has 1700 attack, and traps can’t really defend her. Also, we cannot forget the auto-win 2-card combo: BLS + Honest on anything 2000 or greater. Who knows, maybe Bujins might try to be relevant again.

goyo guardianGoyo Guardian to 2

I do not see this having too much effect on the game. The only deck that really benefits from it—and this is going to be a stretch—is Blackwings. That’s right, I said it, Blackwings. Remember that fresh 2009 beatdown deck? Well, that’s the only thing that can really spam Goyo Guardian, thanks to Blizzard. The other decks don’t have enough space for two of this card. In fact, most of them don’t even have room for one of it.

Dark Hole to 2

Dark Hole is in the same category as Raigeki. You won’t see many people maining it, but it often finds itself in the side deck. Nothing has really changed here, so you can expect it to still fall to the side. I do like that Konami is giving us tons of mass removal, but only because it’s rarely ever game changing. We have tons of graveyard effects nowadays, so unless you’re going to kill someone after you play your Dark Hole or Raigeki, it usually won’t amount to much. I can see that in some situations you will be able to reclaim the tempo, but we’ll see.

Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind to 3

Ok, so is it just me, or does anyone else feel like Konami has a hidden Blackwing agenda going on here? It seems that every new list brings a change for this deck. Maybe they’re hoping it will be relevant again? If so, someone has to tell them that Burning Abyss exists, and Fire Lake never cared—not once. If we tally everything up, Blackwings have 3 Black Whirlwinds, 3 Gales, 3 Kaluts, 3 Blizzards, 2 Goyo Guardians, a Dark Armed Dragon, and anything else you can think of that supports that deck. Still, I can’t see it doing anything until the game calms down from this vicious power creep.

Mermail Abyssgunde to 3

This is a change that I love. Without Gunde at 3, the deck was extremely limited in how unfair it could be. What made Mermails so great at the beginning of this year was the fact that you could resolve Abyssgunde on your turn and your opponent’s turn consecutively. It’s the same reason why Burning Abyss is so ridiculous right now. Resolving Cir, Scarm, and Graff on both players’ turns is a sure way to victory. Now, don’t get me wrong here, Burning Abyss is still way better than Mermails, but I think the deck could at least be somewhat competitive now. I just think Dante pushes BA over the edge because it beats most boss monsters and it’s a floater. I mean, Tidal is great and all, but with Virgil being able to target it on the field or in the graveyard, I don’t think there’s much you can do. And then of course there’s Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, Fire Lake, Karma Cut, etc. So yeah, Mermails definitely got a boost, but not enough to beat the best deck.

reborn tenguReborn Tengu to 3

Nostalgia. I remember the great plant formats of 2011 like they were yesterday. Unfortunately, those times have come and gone. Tengu was widely considered to be one of the best cards in the game back then, and for good reason. He gave you field presence, Synchro fodder, tribute fodder, E-con fodder, and reasonable stats. It was also pretty hard to deal with all three copies without having your own. Nowadays, we special summon so much that you’ll be hard pressed to have this guy stick for more than one turn. My biggest problem with him is how bad he will be when going second. If your opponent has a Dante on the field, or a Construct/Winda, you’re in trouble. These aren’t the days where people summon Thunder King and pass. These are the days where people summon as much as possible on turn one and tell you to deal with it. I guess on the plus side, he is searchable by Fire Formation – Tenki, but as of now there isn’t anything competitive enough to use that card.

Reasoning to 3

This card wasn’t seeing play before, and it won’t be seeing play now. It used to be insane back in DDT (Diamond Dude Turbo) days, but once again, those days have come and gone. Even if you guess wrong, there isn’t anything too threatening that can be special summoned off of this card. Most of the broken monsters that people are afraid of nowadays all happen to say they can only be special summoned in one way. At best, I can see this card being used for some future gimmick.

The Transmigration Prophecy to 3

This is completely understandable since the card doesn’t really do anything in modern Yu-Gi-Oh. Our games are way too fast to set a trap card that doesn’t defend. Maybe in the last Dragon Ruler format of 2013 would this card have been usable. If you’re thinking about using this card in or against Burning Abyss, just don’t. You will be so disappointed when you’re staring down double Dante and it’s in your hand.

So there you have it, duelists. We received few relevant changes and minimal damage to the already overpowered decks of the format. Let’s enjoy another three months of losing games on turn one consistently.

-Frazier Smith

-The Dark Magician

Frazier Smith

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