“The Suspense is Killing Me!” – A Brief Banlist Discussion

Well guys, it’s that time of the year again. That’s right, the ban list. Whenever it becomes close to the banlist people constantly bicker over what will be on it, what new cards might be hit, possibly come back, and so on. I’m not going to go into much depth on it but I will talk about things I think should change.

Currently the meta is pretty dominated by Wind-Ups and Water. Even with these two decks being number one, if you took the time to look at them and compare it to previous formats, you’d realize that our current Tier 1 decks are actually pretty underpowered compared to what’s been tier 1 in the past. The difference now is that every decent combination of cards has been taken by the banlist, and everything other than the top decks is just extremely mediocre, underpowered, or inconsistent.

So what needs to happen to Wind Ups to make it more ‘fair’? The main concerns with the deck is for one, how obviously over-powered Shark+Magician combo is, and then for two, gaining infinite advantage off of factory. I don’t like the idea of killing decks and making them unplayable as opposed to just not as over-powered, but it seems last time we tried that with Wind Ups all that happened is the deck became more skill intensive but still pretty darn broken. I understand the issues that need to be addressed but I question what would restore the balance a bit while maintaining the decks playability and reserving some power. First off I believe Factory should go to 1 or simply be banned, because if they don’t have an answer it can turn into a one-card win condition, and is the same basic reasoning Black Whirlwind is restricted to one. Factory can arguably be considered better then whirlwind considering it can search for any Wind Up, and can also be used on your opponents turn. It’s simply an unhealthy card for the game. The next problem with the deck is its ultimate 2 card combo. It wasn’t just drawing it however, it was searching the pieces of it with Factory as well, which we just fixed but bringing Factory to 1 or 0, so with that in mind, is that enough to balance the deck? Probably, however it might still be played and you would just be even more upset when they turn 1 shock lock you, so that in mind, Magician is the best candidate to be hit. If you hit Shark the deck is just dead, but if you limit Magician, the likelihood of opening amazing is very low, but still gives them some power plays. If there’s other suggestions on how to balance Wind Ups I’d love to hear them, this is just my personal thoughts.

The next item on today’s agenda is Water. It’s power comes in OTK potential, as well as destroying any face up or face down cards while still netting advantage. Abyssphere is a major power house for this deck since it adds speed along with helping make more XYZ plays, especially making Big Eyes easier to summon, so my original thought was to hit Sphere. However, Sphere Is mainly used in conjunction with Linde, or at least you can safely keep your Sphere on field at any point in time, knowing you have Linde’s to float with if need be. If Linde was limited to 1, it would decrease the power of sphere dramatically and give them less options in terms of defense, no longer being able to cycle through multiple floaters before going into a Spike or Megalo. Linde to 1 and possibly a semi-limit on Dragoons to slow them down a bit should keep them at bay a bit. It’s hard to say what the right balance is for any deck.

Next I’m going to address ‘over-powered’ staples. There’s a reason that certain cards get banned or are deemed too powerful for play. It’s not just the fact that everybody plays it, but that no matter what the situation is, you have an inherent advantage in the duel from drawing X card. That’s the reasoning behind why Pot of Greed is banned, it’s an instant +1 that gives one player an unfair advantage over the other. It’s obvious that you almost always want to have Reborn, Heavy, or Dark Hole, but sometimes the situation doesn’t call for any of those cards. That being said, there’s many situations where the above cards are simply unfair. First off let’s look at Monster Reborn. In previous formats it’s been used to help get off a lot of great combos and just over-turn the course of duel. In the current format I don’t see that nearly as often, and it can actually be a good tool to utilize in duels, as opposed to being insanely broken. Monster Reborn is fairly appropriate in this format, comparatively at least. Dark Hole is a different story. Not too many occasions is Dark Hole used in a manner which doesn’t completely turn the course of the duel, but in fact is mainly used for massive come backs. Multi-destructive cards already have 2 Torrential Tributes and 2 Mirror Forces to play around; another spell that clears the field is hardly needed. If an argument is made that you need it to combat broken fields such as one that Wind Ups create, and then a much more obvious answer would be to fix the root of the problem, which are cards that create broken fields in the first place. To conclude this, Dark Hole should be banned.

Heavy Storm is a bit trickier of a card to evaluate because it has effects to the entire format much more than most any other individual card could ever do. For a more in-depth discussion over Heavy Storm, check out Billy Brake’s article on the subject matter.


I skimmed through his article and found some ideas much similar to the ones I’ve thought about. Formats can be defined by back row heavy decks and even as a single card can prompt those decks to play multiple copies of Starlight Road. Knowing there’s no potential threats, duelists will begin to set every trap they get their hands on. This becomes rather unhealthy for gameplay because each duel becomes more based on battling resources as opposed to making logically based assumptions and/or reads. It also puts more emphasis on how many should you set turn 1, and which traps to set. If you put the possibility of MST in the mix it becomes that much more difficult to figure out what you might want to set. This might be a reason that Heavy should be banned, in that you set 1 you lose to MST, you set multiple and Heavy Storm will ‘blow’ you away (haha oh man I’m funny). However, the other side of the spectrum is deck such as Gladiator Beasts or Gravekeeper’s going crazy with monster removal and having 0 threats, along with not having to play potentially dead copies of Starlight Road. It’s the better of two evils, and the paradox of MST vs Heavy isn’t as defining to the game as eliminating Heavy Storm. So in my opinion, Heavy Storm needs to stick around.

There’s many things I’d like to see come back and given an opportunity to succeed, but I have nowhere near the amount of data needed to come to a rational conclusion like that. After discussing the previous ban list with a member of Konami’s R&D department at my trip to Japan, I realize there’s much more that goes on in its creation then we’d like to believe. I just touched on a few things, so I’ll let you all take that into consideration as we hold in our suspense on the new list and hopefully a changed format. Remember doolists, play hard or go home!