Hello Duelist, Dale Bellido here reporting from Alter-Reality Games. Firstly I would like to thank Jim for the opportunity to continue writing and expressing my thoughts while it gets exposure on a premier site. If you guys don’t know who I am, like I said my name is Dale Bellido and I’ve been playing this game and been extremely successfully even before ban list were introduced. I have 15+ tops across the shonen jump/ycs/nationals circuit combined and over 50 regional tops so I would like to consider my self much more then a seasoned veteran. Enough with my self so lets just dive in together.
This will be a subdivided set of articles, where I cover the game leading up to a certain premier event (Preview) and the results (Review) of that tournament. For the 2nd time around Konami has decided to debut the brand new ban list in my hometown, Today we will take a look at how we can access a brand new format, how to properly adapt and what happened that last year.
Assessing a brand new format can be one of the most difficult things to do. Its not just about finding the best deck, it’s about discovering the nature of this format; how much does the ban list change the game? is it aggressive or defensive? What power has been removed from the Top tiers? Are the multitudes of deck types just as diverse or more centered this format? All of these questions are here to guide misdirected duelist out there.
How much does the ban list change the game? Looking at the cards that got banned, Konami obliterated two archetypes (water synchro/fishotk and psychics/otk) by eliminating the heart of both decks (banning fishborg and mind master), although both were completely nuked it does not effect the game significantly since both decks were not really played amongst top level play. With the loss of Royal Oppression the newest mechanics (XYZ and Synchro) have become a lot easier to do, without the threat of oppression running around you can mindlessly special summon with very little worry. While they decided to ban Giant trunade they merited their move by unbanning the original spell and trap destruction (heavy storm). As for the restricted cards, When I first looked at the ban list my eyes zip lined to see if Heavy Storm came off the forbidden list and to me delight it has been legal for play once again. The last year of play the majority of the best decks were back row heavy and as the months passed by more decks were integrating a thick defensive strategy but now that heavy storm is running around again I expect the way deck building and in-game strategy to change from the last two formats. Black Luster Solider has been banned for at least a couple years and for good reason, it was one of the original Boss Monsters and now with cards like Tour Guide from the Underworld and Effect veiler being options for almost every deck out there he essentially becomes a staple for almost every top tier deck. Plants were arguably the best deck of last format and Konami definitely took that into account by restricting multiple cards from that deck list with Lonefire Blossom, Debris Dragon, Formula Synchron and Pot of Avarice it essentially makes the decktype unplayable. That being said it may shift from being an archetype as a whole and potentially just an engine splashed in other decks. Six Samurai has been getting weaker as each ban list passes and I think this is the time that it becomes inferior, with The Legendary Shi En and Shien's smoke signal restricted to 1 it slows the deck down and players no longer have to deal with multiple shien boards. Primal Seed may seem like an odd card to be restricted but I haven’t done much research behind it but from some reliable sources there was a certain loop that could be easily abused by it. The last 2 cards that have been restricted are Tech Genus Hyper Librarian and Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, this was just to make our list identical to the OCG’s.
The Semi-Limited list has a few surprises, Necro gardna was the sole defensive card in the Lightsworn archetype but having his bigger bother getting release from the semi-limited chains expect many people to jump back onto the lightsworn bandwagon especially in the beginning of the format. Summoner monk also joined the semi-limited ranks but I expect this card to become non to little impact in the upcoming format, although at there times they were overpowered cards you won't see either card seeing much play until rescue rabbit is released. Trageodia will become an issue next factor, now when making calculated attacks for game you will have to be weary of this monsters alongside gorz and faders, I expect him to generally benefit the gadget archetype with the ability to keep there hand size larger then the other decks and the multiple level fours they can play expect them to get use out of all tragoedias effects. Dewloren had so much hype last format but never really lived up to it, but now that it’s restricted to 2 I expect it to see equally the amount of play it saw last format, next to none. The Destiny Engine is now back, even though Destiny Draw is back to 2, I see many players jumping to this engine at the beginning of the format. Mind Crush in my opinion should have stayed at one but with cards like pot of duality, tour guide into sangan it is easy to get auto hits from your opponent’s hand, but this card may be the blessing in disguise for this upcoming 6 months.
The No-Longer Limited list consists of pivotal cards for certain deck types. Judgment dragon is now back at 3 which adds fuel to the flamethrower of the decks (lightsworn) with the ability to drop unprecedented amounts of damage with virtually free monsters, it gives people more reasons to jump back to this archetype. Zombies got completely hammered by the ruling change of the XYZ mechanic but spirit reaper wasn’t a key park to the decks strategy and it hasn’t made much of an impact amongst other decks. Megamorph and Overload fusion are basically obsolete cards since spell-equip boosters haven’t seen play since the early stages of the game and there are multiple answers to what overload fusion spawns making it a very risky card to run. Icarus attack and Gravity bind both accommodate their decktypes (stall and blackwings respectfully) I expect players not to worry about this affecting the game very much. My biggest issue is MST back to 3, it was once a sacred card where it was used skillfully now with it being unrestricted expect people to be throwing them out like there nothing.
Is the Format going to be aggressive or defensive? A multitude of power cards have been reintroduced back into the game, so after reviewing the ban list I can say with sheer confidence that this is a very aggressive format. What Powers have been removed from the top Tiers? The best decks of last format took a gigantic blow with this list whether it’s a restriction of there key cards (plants) or the change in the card pool hurting the deck strategy (TGS) I can say that yes power has been taken out of the Top tiers. Are the multitudes of decktypes just as diverse or more centered this format? As the format enters its infancy it is very hard to assess this question since the game is not really defined, so you have to make perfect use of your side deck and metagame completely by scouring the internet for other peoples ideas.
Adapting to the Banlist is very simple if you are able to assess it properly (lucky for you I already did it) but constant play testing and networking through friends while your bounce ideas off one another are great ways to start while the format is still being defined Last Year Lazaro Bellido won YCS Toronto with sticking to what was still good from the format before (x-sabers) since it wasn’t really damaged by the ban list it was an easy choice to make, But since the best decks have taken hits from it may definitely be time to sway away from his strategy.
I hope this has helped you guys and make sure to stay tuned to the Alter-Reality site as great articles are released periodically. Also check back for the 2nd part of this article the day after YCS Toronto has finished up. Until Next Time