Problem Cards – September 2014

frazier smithWhile we wait for the next Forbidden & Limited List, I figured I’d give my thoughts on cards that should be affected in some way. There aren’t many that I think need to be changed, but for the few that are on my hit list, I feel that they are just too game breaking to remain unaffected. I do not expect all of these changes to take place, especially since some of them are more recent than others, but hopefully some will.

Soul Charge

This card is the first on the list, and for obvious reasons. Since its release, it has dominated the game in a myriad of ways. A first turn Soul Charge play is ideal for any deck running the card, and that usually leads to auto-wins. I remember doing the coverage for ARGCS Virginia where Patrick Hoban piloted Dragon Rulers to his third victory, utilizing the recursion power of Soul Charge to destroy everyone in the Top16. In the same tournament, we got to see players using Infernities to make unbreakable boards on the first turn, too. This problem has continued throughout each and every format, and it would be great if the card were just banned. Honestly, though, Konami is most likely NOT going to ban this card—for whatever reason—and if they touch it, it will only be to 1 per deck. Now, that may seem okay to some of you, but it is actually more of a nuisance at 1 than it is at 3. It becomes a devastating 1-of that players will complain about because their opponents got lucky and drew into it. Think of it as a Future Fusion or Gateway of the Six Samurai. Unfortunately, the best answer to a Soul Charge is another Soul Charge. However, if there’s only 1 copy of it, many games will be decided because one player drew his while the other did not.

kaisercolosseumKaiser Colosseum

This card has been flying under the radar for a bit because it hasn’t seen play up until this year, really. Now that we all know about it, I would say that it should not be at 3 per deck. It is extremely degenerate, allowing one player to control the entire pace of the game, while the other just sits there hoping he messes up. You can see this featured mostly in Bujins, where only one monster is needed to win the entire game. I remember playing with Madolches at locals and losing to double Kaiser Colosseum—two games in a row—because he never summoned a second monster, and when he did, he turned them into an Xyz anyways. When this card is drawn in multiples, it is almost surely game. Also, I have never seen Kaiser used in any non-degenerate strategies. That usually raises a red flag that a card is not okay for the game, like with Mass Driver. I would love to see it get banned, but even hitting it to 1 per deck would be nice, which I think is a fair treatment for all floodgates.

Rivalry of the Warlords and Gozen Match

Following what I just said about Kaiser Colosseum, these cards should be at 1 because they are floodgates. When they are face-up, they usually make it so that the other player cannot play the game, which is not particularly skillful, and awfully annoying. You get punished for simply playing a specific deck and not drawing an out to said card. I have done it many times to people, and I have had it done to me many times as well. All of those wins and losses feel dirty. You sit there hoping that your deck is kind enough to give you an MST or something to get rid of it, but it doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, even when you finally draw an out to them, they either have another one, or the game has progressed too far for you win regardless. I think Konami had the right idea by limiting Dimensional Fissure, Macro Cosmos, and Soul Drain to 1 per deck. Hopefully, they realize that there are other cards that stop players from doing anything at all, and give them the same treatment.

Super PolymerizationSuper Polymerization

While I don’t think that this card should be banned, I do think it should at least be limited to one. It is one of the only cards in the game that cannot be responded to, and that alone puts it in a league of its own. Super Poly, as it is widely known, has only gained popularity recently thanks to Shaddolls. Now it seems that everyone is maining a full playset of the card following Patrick Hoban’s YCS victory in Toronto. At a recent regional that I judged, I noticed a considerable number of players going back and forth with Super Poly until someone eventually lost. In the OCG, they limited El Shaddoll Construct and El Shaddoll Winda to 1 per deck, which certainly helps, but I think that is a little harsh to do for us because the deck literally just came out. The sad thing is, the forbidden and limited list is usually created and finalized before recent problems are realized, meaning Super Poly will probably fly under the radar. It was only discovered to be a problem at the last event, and I can’t see them factoring that into the equation.

Vanity’s Emptiness

This card has been around for too long, and the strategy with it has always been the same: set up a board of big monsters and hope your opponent doesn’t have an out to it. Emptiness is downright dirty, and it is too powerful to be on three per deck. It is a floodgate, meaning it can single handedly stop one player from playing the game, and it is so powerful that you can win with just one. I think cards like Maxx “C” are far healthier for the game, especially since they promote decision making. You can either continue to make your push at the sake of card advantage, or you can stop your play and wait for the next opportunity. In the latter case, your opponent gets a chance to respond. The problem with Emptiness is, sometimes it’s just outright game with the right field, and the other player doesn’t get a chance to defend himself. Do you remember the two Dragon Ruler formats of 2013? Players were winning games by simply summoning Stardust Spark Dragon and setting Vanity’s Emptiness. There was also double Dracossack with Emptiness, which put on too much pressure for you to even get a turn to set a Phoenix Wing Wind Blast or whatever you needed to both survive AND counter the Emptiness. Just like Royal Oppression, this card is not healthy for the game.

Infernity LauncherInfernity (All of it)

They have hit this deck several times in the past, and the only reason that it is currently surviving is through Soul Charge. However, just to be sure that it never resurfaces, they should either limit Infernity Archfiend to 1 per deck, or just make Infernity Archfiend’s effect once per turn. This deck has plagued the game too many times, especially at this year’s WCQ and Worlds. I’m all about combo decks, but to literally win the game on turn 1 or 2 is just absurd.

Tour Guide From the Underworld

I love this card. She has been with us since the middle of 2011 and she has done great things for the game. However, with the rise of the Burning Abyss strategy, I think it would be nice if she were on either 1 or 2 per deck. The deck can function without 3 copies of her, and I think it would keep things from becoming stale while also promoting innovation.

Stellarnova Alpha

It’s the newest counter trap on the block and it has a very powerful effect. I would really like it if this card went to 2 per deck because when someone draws multiples, you almost don’t get to play. It’s really hard to have a response to it because it’s a counter trap, so it usually goes unopposed. The Satellarknight strategy is perfectly fine without having a full 3 copies of this card. I mean, if you are ever looking for the definition of an auto-pilot deck, this is the one. In my entire time playing the Yu-Gi-Oh Trading Card Game, I have never played a deck easier to use than Satellarknights. And while there is nothing wrong with that, I do find it rather annoying for it to have 3 Infernity Barriers to make things even easier.

And that rounds it up for the cards that I think are the biggest problems right now. If you notice, most of my choices are just things that do not allow the other player to really PLAY the game. I think there is nothing wrong with having to actually duel for advantage. Auto-wins are not okay because they are rarely skillful (memorizing a combo does not count), and they demotivate players to continue in this game.

Until next time, duelists! Remember, Play Hard or Go Home!

Frazier Smith

Latest posts by Frazier Smith (see all)



  • james Johnson

    dragunitys where way easier to play then satellas, dux>phaling, vadriana, stardust, or any level 8, rinse repeat every turn. even inzeters where that way with hornet, six samurias with gateway, E-dragons, then the upcoming Qliphort , Madolche with their hoot cake, plays, and anjelly, even infernity, Batterymen, and so many other decks i can list, every deck seems to have a stretegy, and they pretty much build around it, if its a strong play their going to constly do the play, because it wins games, and they want to win.

  • magic

    Not bad theory-oh! But I personally have no problem with “one of” power cards. It IS not impossible to read or play around a “one of”… We used to do it with heavy storm every day. Also I know the new list is released. I declare a Yu-Gi-Oh! Renaissance!

  • DT7

    the sarah palin of yugioh.
    interviewer: miss palin, what should we hit in the infernity deck to make it more balanced?
    palin: All of it!

  • Andrew Mortenson

    I agree with most of this, in fact it’s one of the first instances I have seen where I actually agree with an ARG player. Personally, it would make me sad if Infernity (My favorite deck ever) left the game for good, though. If anything I feel like soul charge should go to 0 and barrier should be unlimited again- Infernity wasn’t really an issue before soul charge, representing a very fringe percentage of the game and one of the most difficult to master decks in the game. While perhaps archfiend should be hit, it hardly affects the deck at all, since you can still grepher-pitch-stygian-send-heiress with remarkable consistency. You must also consider that the deck is very prone to both hand traps and floodgates, meaning that the win percentage decreases if the infernity player is playing second or playing against well-rounded control lists. Honestly, Heavy Storm still beckons as the answer to many problems I have seen in the game as of late, and will likely be derided because people don’t know how to play good YGO anymore.”WAAAAHHHHH I SET 5 AND GOT SACKED BY HEAVY STORM!!”=Natural consequence of playing like a scrub and setting 5 turn 1.

    Doesn’t really affect me, though, since I’ve pretty much switched to MTG full-time.

  • Donnell Washington

    That is true Fraizer. Infernity does need to go, but you didnt address Artifacts even in the least?!

  • Rose Aren

    >Infernity (All of it)

    …they topped Worlds. And? There were like. 3 other playable decks because the OCG banlist a shit and Konami thought themselves so clever merging the two for that event.

    That said, everything else is legit. Tour Guide back to 2 is fine. Still playable for everyone else while BAs have their slut.

  • Juan Oliveira

    Good Article. But you could leave Infernty alone and focus on Moralltach instead.

    • AliasNorth

      Because Moralltach has been so infinitely relevant for the past 2+ months and will continue to be so?

      • Juan Oliveira


      • Sayoko

        You know Shaddoll Artifacts have been topping a lot, right?

        • AliasNorth

          Just because shit tops doesn’t make it the best shit.

          • Sayoko

            It *does* mean it’s not irrelevant, however.

  • Miguelxdz

    Good article bro, mostly agree on everything, playing over Rivalry or Gozen its downright ridiculous. You have to struggle just to get over one card just so it lets you start toplay.

  • Thomas Glavan

    for everyone complaining about this article what frazier is saying (regarding the floodgates) is it is immpossible to have a well structured card game when 1 of 2 players cant play it isn fun or skillful and in general just creates and unhealthy meta

  • Miles Valentino

    Ahhhh, the old Infernity hate. Pre-Soul Charge what did the deck do? I have some of the statistics… (2 out of top 32 at Philly) (0 out of top 32 at Vegas) (0 out of top 32 at Mexico) (2 out of top 32 at Chicago)

    Out of 4 YCS’ it took a whopping 4 out 128 spots. If we see any problem here, it isn’t an infernity problem. Most “pro” players steer far away from the deck as it has a ton of inherent weaknesses that you have to work around. Soul Charge is literally the only card allowing the deck to prosper.

    As for the other problem cards you mentioned, I agree with pretty much all of it. I just think the Infernity hits are kind of ignorant. Murdering a tier 2 or 3 deck that can’t do anything outside of soul charge plays doesn’t make much sense to me.

    Good article regardless.

    • Itachi312

      infernity is and has always been built to win the game on turn 1, and it was perfectly capable of doing that a high percentage of games they start even before soul charge came out. regardless of tiers or results, that type of deck just shouldn’t exist. that’s his argument.

  • Patrick “The Hulk” Hoban

    You could try getting good, scrublord.

    • Noah LaRosa

      This sounds nothing like the real Hoban. Get a fucking life.

      • Alexander

        I think he meant 3x upstart in everything.

      • Guest

        The joke


      • Khrys Jacek

        The joke

        • Noah LaRosa

          LOL shoo troll. Go attempt to know about this game somewhere else

          • Guest

      • Khrys Jacek


  • Matt Vanden Heuvel

    Finally someone else who can see that floodgates are a degenerate plague in this game which need to be removed (along with the Infernity archetype as a whole). Floodgate cards don’t promote a skillful tournament experience and simply force one player out of the game for next to no reason. For the game to grow as a whole, we should gravitate away from blanket answers and towards more skillful player interaction. Why should one person lose because his opponent happened to open one more floodgate than he opened an answer for? That sounds more like a game of chance than a skillful card game. If I wanted to play a game like that, I’d go play dice. Hopefully Konami will also realize this and implement some of the changes you suggested on this list.

  • Aaron Doucette

    In the current game Frazier I can agree Soul Charge and Launcher and even Alpha(that card is a negation that is an inherit +1 on use and will only get better as they give them more support). can be hit. However I have to disagree with hitting essentially the only answer to decks that are the opposite end of the Floodgate Spectrum. This is coming from a guy who loves OTKing. I mean hell I play Karakuri’s from their release till 2011. I still kinda have a deck for them built. Removing answers to the meta honestly is never good. Kaiser essentially gives decks like Bujins(they already intentionally made Turtle work differently than other cards like it due to crys of its “broken” nature) a chance to play against those spam decks, as you said you have to open up multiples to make it bad. I haven’t seen aside from the Shadoll Bujin variant that deck doing much, and in most cases Kaiser has become a side deck card since they have Hirume and other things. I mean if Konami follows it’s trend of hitting cards that are both staples and that contribute to decks that win worlds then MST will probably be hit for the same reason you said Flood Gate(like Kaiser) cards are degenerate. Where however is your mention of card’s like Sanctum, that card is also an inherit +1 and has 0 drawbacks as its normal use is to summon Moralltach to hit the opponents field, and should they destroy it they still lose a card.

  • Wow, this comment section is a fucking disgrace.

  • Azriel

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with floodgates in this game. It’s surprising the level of salt about them remains high.

    • Khrys Jacek

      Obvious troll.

      • Michael Willis

        Actually, no. What I find strange is the ability to disagree with the article elicits name calling instead of debunking my position.

        • Khrys Jacek

          Ok, let me debunk it: Flip macro/shadow mirror = GG.

          If that isn’t inherently wrong, then what is inherently wrong? You might argue that floodgates are needed to balance the meta because of the power creep, but isn’t the power creep the problem to begin with? A truly balanced format doesn’t need win buttons to maintain itself.

          • Michael Willis

            Yet it they’re there. They exis in almost every deck that’s competitive. It seems to me that more players want to wombo combo than actually play the game. If you’re losing to a floodgate you know exists, then it’s on you partly for failing to adapt or adequately preparing. Part of this also involves luck, but that is an intangible you can’t do anything without. Players , whose deck loses to certain cards should do a better job preparing for what is obviously inbound G2 &G3

          • Khrys Jacek

            Let me give anecdotical evidence if that’s what I need to get to the point.

            A lot of people where admitting that satellar was a weaker deck than both Abyss and Shadolls in g1, but since satellars can run a pletora of floodgates, a lot of people decided to run them to win by flipping a floodgate in g2 and g3. As absurd as this strategy sounds, that is the way most satellars of this format have got tops, which is utterly appaling.

            Tell me Michael, how do you prepare yourself againsts those times when your opponent flips emptiness and you don’t have an out because you didn’t drew it? Are you bad because you didn’t side triple mst and triple dust tornado? Nope, the game is broken, simply as that.

            And yeah, part of the game involves luck, but if you’re a TCG designer, your duty is to reduce the luck factor the most you can, Konami has failed miserably at reaching that goal, format after format. They even promote luck by releasing cards like soul charge.

  • Kog

    i like how many of the commenters telling the article poster to ‘get good’ are far worse than he himself.

    • ScrubSlayer

      >Overlord Hoban
      >worse than a random scrub
      Hoban is more or less Sun Tzu of our generation, you dare challenge the Enlightened one?

      • Kog

        My comment was made before he replied :<

        • Patrick “The Hulk” Hoban

          1v1 me, March 2013 format.

      • Guest

        lick ba***, at 3 secret in u life. I hate fanboys.

  • Felix Jones

    The hate is strong down here o_O Great article! Surprised no mention of Artifact anything.

    • Alexander

      What exactly is it about artifacts that is bad. They stop you from blind MST. Which you shouldn’t be doing anyway. Oh boy. Is it because sanctum is a +1? We have many, many other cards that do that.

      The salt on artifacts is founded on making poor plays in the first place. Don’t make poor plays, don’t lose to artifacts. Know your opponent is running artifacts? Stop making field nukes to get rid of large back rows. All they are is a simplification engine.

      And as a commenter stated above, hardly relevant.

  • Eric Nelson

    Gee, someone sounds salty.

    • Miles Valentino

      You’re right, someone giving a thoughtful and analytic perspective on problem cards within the game is totally salty. Wanting to promote a healthy meta game is totally indicative of high levels of NaCL.

  • LeHobanMaymay

    Fucking bitch some more about floodgates, crybaby.
    >Hoban topped because muh Soul Charge
    Lel. He topped because of the power of Dark Bribe.

  • MeteorACDC

    salt list

  • ScrubSlayer

    >Infernity (All of it)
    Sounds like you need to get good, scrub.