April 2015 Banlist Thoughts

snatch stealBanned

  • Snatch Steal
    • It was fun while it lasted, but let’s be honest—this card was degenerate. As soon as it came off the list, you would see ARG live coverage of people savaging each other back and forth with their copies of Snatch Steal. I played in an iPad tournament back in January, and I lost a game to an opponent who was completely top decking because he was able to take my Majesty’s Fiend. When he took it, my lifepoints were at 8000 and I had a total of five cards. That means I was +5 on him in card advantage, and I was leading in life…and I still lost to a Snatch Steal. No other card could have won him the game like that. So yes, this card should be banned again despite it seeing little play in the meta.


  • The Dragon Rulers – Tidal, Blaster, Redox, Tempest
    • Let us take a moment of silence for all of the people who thought they were going to play Dark Matter Dragons next format. *bows head*
    • Well, they were four of the most powerful cards ever printed in Yu-Gi-Oh history, and they are finally gone. At one per deck, they barely had any relevance today, but that did not stop Konami from preemptively putting an end to any shenanigans that they might have caused in the future. This part of the banlist really surprises me because future decks rarely get touched before they come to fruition. There always seems to be more of a focus on selling product than stopping problems ahead of time. I guess the dragons had too much promise, or maybe they were scared that people would not buy their new products because they can just play Dragon Rulers again? No one knows. Whatever the case may be, they had a good run.


tour guideLimited

  • Tour Guide from the Underworld
    • I have been saying it since Rubic, Alich, and Calcab came out: The deck is still good without Tour Guide, she just puts it over the top. Opening with her in Burning Abyss is essentially a +2, especially if you’re a pro and can always mill that Cir off the top. The deck may have taken a backseat to Nekroz, but with Qliphorts being hit as hard as they were on the April 1st list, I highly doubt that anyone would play anything but BA and Nekroz if nothing happened to the deck. And that may still might be the case.
    • Tour Guide became even better once Mask Change II came out, and she is one of the only ways to advance your gamestate once you establish a Dark Law. Now, duelists will have to look for other ways to push while they control a non-BA monster, because things just got a bit tougher for the aggressive fiend deck. Perhaps Crane Crane will finally see play, though it pales in comparison to the power of a first turn Tour Guide. Even still, opening with any two BA monsters and Crane Crane can be pretty good. You can special both to make a Dante and then normal summon Crane Crane to make a second one after you detach for his effect. If one of the monsters that you opened with happens to be Graff, you could just wait to use Crane Crane on your second turn since you would be using your normal summon on Graff turn one.
    • Another huge factor in why Tour Guide went to one per deck may have been the return of one of the most powerful cards in the game: Crush Card Virus. It might have gotten nerfed, but it is not to be overlooked.


  • Crush Card Virus
    • This card had its effect changed a bit, but I’d argue that it’s still pretty broken. It does not have a three turn clock anymore, but you can certainly win an entire game just by resolving it. It will become a staple in Burning Abyss as long as Nekroz remain a top contender, and it will keep certain decks in check. Also, with Mind Crush being at three per deck, you can expect to see some nasty things happening on the livestream. Remember, Crush Card does not have to take their entire hand or field for it to be good, it just needs to give you a wealth of information on what your opponent has, and if it happens to hit one or two cards on the way then that’s good enough. A lot of the time, it will act as a trap form of Raigeki against established fields. I suspect that players will find any way possible to fit this card in.


  • Preparation of Rites
    • This card is silly and needed to be limited to one per deck. It was always a good card, but rituals sucked in general so it never mattered. Now that Nekroz are a thing, we can’t have so many free plusses floating around—They already have three copies of Manju and Senju for that. Hopefully, with this card being limited to one per deck, things might slow down a bit. I can’t say for sure, but I really hope so.


  • Saqlifice
    • I never really found this particular card to be the problem of the deck, but hitting anything in Qliphorts is a step in the right direction I suppose. I am very pleased at how well this deck got nerfed on the April list because it was far too autopilot for my liking. It also made the formats awkward because cards that are good against Qliphorts happen to be awful against Burning Abyss and Necloths. If Qliphorts get completely pushed out of the format, there will be a lot of room for innovation.


  • Ring of Destruction
    • The new effect of this card is perhaps one of the best corrections to an overpowered trap that I have ever seen. While it cannot outright kill your opponent anymore, it can still have a great impact on the game. Also, we’re a bit lacking in the splashable trap department, so this is just what the doctor ordered. It’s spot removal, it’s chainable, and it deals damage. I’m interested to see it used in trap heavy decks and Burning Abyss.


  • Skill Drain
    • One of the most annoying and degenerate floodgates in Yu-Gi-Oh has finally been dealt with…somewhat. Skill has become atrocious over time due to Qliphorts. As soon as Nekroz came out, it became a staple at three per deck, and it gave them a very unfair way to quickly end the game if you didn’t happen to draw MST. Now that there’s only one copy, fewer games will see someone getting their face smashed by a field of 2400/2800 monsters. The annoying thing is, they still have their own searchable Skill Drain, but it’s strictly worse. I just pray that people let this deck go altogether so that the format can develop.


  • Vanity’s Emptiness
    • In the same boat as Skill Drain, this card is simply a degenerate floodgate. It promotes the most unfair thing that you could possibly do to someone, which is stopping them from playing the game. I don’t know how it survived this long without being hit, but hopefully the next step is to just outright ban it. It’s going to be quite annoying to see someone draw the one copy of Emptiness now, but it’s better than them having multiples. I think it’s safe to assume that this card will be played in virtually every deck going forward now that Qlihports aren’t that great.


  • Dragon Ravine
    • Well, the Dragon Rulers are banned, so this won’t have an insane impact on anything. Honestly, they should put it to at least two per deck so that die hard fans of Dragunity can have something to mess around with, or people who just love to play Dragons for fun—because we all know there are plenty of them. After all, field spells aren’t exactly the best thing to have sitting on the field now that Trishula is back.


  • Symbols of Heritage
    • This card has the potential to be a problem if the stars ever align, so they preemptively hit it before things got out of hand. I think the closest absurdity we’ve ever seen with it was years ago when Claudio Kirchmair created an FTK deck using this card, Trishula, and Dewloren, but even that was a bit too inconsistent to be taken seriously.


  • Sinister Serpent
    • This is not 2005, and the game is not that slow anymore. I think it would have been more interesting if this card didn’t get its effect altered at all. I don’t see this really getting too much play now that they’ve slowed it down even more, but you never know. In any event, it won’t have any immediate impact.


  • Temple of the Kings
    • This change is irrelevant for now.


  • Exchange of the Spirit
    • This change is irrelevant for now.


qliphort scoutSemi-Limited

  • Qliphort Scout
    • This is a huge step in the right direction. Qliphort puts out way too much damage and pressure by paying 10% of their lifepoints every turn. The less copies the better. In reality, though, what actually hurt this deck the most were the limits on Skill Drain and Vanity’s Empitness. This was just another way to add insult to injury. I will say that MST hurts them way more now because they don’t have two more copies to fall back on. In fact, double MST is now just an autowin.


  • Nekroz of Brionac
    • A slap on the wrist at best. If they really wanted to hurt this deck, they would have put Manju and Senju to one. This change just makes the deck a bit more affordable for those who didn’t want to sell their collections for three copies. The reason why I don’t think this change impacts Nekroz enough is because the other decks also got hit on the list, but they couldn’t afford it the same way. This will continue to be a big contender throughout the April format.


  • Legendary Six Samurai – Shi En
    • Changes like this scare me. I don’t want Konami to get too overzealous with helping this deck out in any way. Let us not forget that it can put out Naturia Beast with ease, which is almost certainly an autowin against Nekroz. Also, double Shi En is too much to handle most of the time, too. Hopefully this does not become a thing, but that’s wishful thinking. Expect to see helmets strapped on tightly at your next few locals.


  • Charge of the Light Brigade
    • You know what’s crazy? Lightsworn almost has all of the cards it had when it was the best deck, and it still sucks in today’s format. JD is just not enough to carry the whole deck like he could years ago. On the other hand, Charge of the Light Bridage will help other decks with their consistency issues. I’m thinking that Infernoids will benefit from this, and maybe other combo decks, too. This is definitely one of the more interesting changes on the list.


  • Sacred Sword of Seven Stars
    • Once again, the Dragon Rulers are banned, so this card is completely fair now. It can be splashed for draw power in random decks, but it’s no longer a +1 like it was in 2013.


gorzNo longer on the list

  • The baby Dragon Rulers – Burner, Lightning, Stream, Reactan
    • Obviously, these cards are absolutely terrible without the elder dragons, so there’s nothing to say here. Konami just wanted to clean up the forbidden list a bit.


  • Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Spirit
    • We were never able to actually see this deck at full power, so maybe it can actually do something now. The Spirit combo is pretty easy and fast to perform, and it applies a nice amount of pressure, too. Perhaps a good grind deck is upon us? Or maybe there’s no room for the persistent Brotherhood in 2015? Only time will tell.


  • Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness
    • This card went to two per deck and barely saw any play. I think the same will happen with it at three per deck. The truth of the matter is, you can’t drop Gorz in a format where having a field is a liability because of Trishula. It’s like ASKING to get Trish’d in Main Phase II. If that isn’t compelling enough, there’s also Crush Card Virus and the fact that Gorz cannot create a huge swing in tempo like he used to. Maybe one day he’ll be relevant again…maybe.


  • Lonefire Blossom
    • Everyone loves this card and for good reason. It gave us some of the best formats in Yu-Gi-Oh, and some of the coolest combos we’ve ever seen. Only two decks come to mind when I think about Lonefire Blossom now, and those are Sylvans and Gigaplant. Both of those decks are a little lacking these days for either consistency reasons or just the simple fact that Soul Charge is no longer at three per deck. Having an extra Lonefire Blossom adds a bit of consistency and power to those strategies but I doubt it’s enough to push them to the forefront. If anyone knows for sure, it’d be Jeff.


  • Goyo Guardian
    • This change is irrelevant, except for maybe Blackwings. It’s disturbing to think that one of the most powerful synchros ever created has no real place in the game right now, but that’s just the reality of the situation.


  • Hieratic Seal of Convocation
    • Again, this is another deck that was hugely impacted by the ban of the elder Dragon Rulers, which is the main reason that this card is now unlimited. It would be impossible to get through a tournament with Hieratics nowadays when you consider that one of the best decks has a searchable Swift Scarecrow.


  • Gladiator Beast Bestiari
    • Some seven years ago, Gladiator Beasts ruled the game thanks to this card and his absurd fusion, Gladiator Beast Gyzarus. The deck was so far ahead of everything else that you’d be a fool to consider another option. That was until…everything changed when the Synchro nation attacked!!!
    • Gladiator Beasts fought hard to stay a contender until things just got way too out of hand. I can tell you now that nothing has changed since then. You cannot believe that the only cards this deck needed to become good again were two more copies of Bestiari. That just can’t be all that it was missing. So as nice as those times were, you have to let them go. They say, “When you love something too much, you should kill it.” Well, I’ve buried them in my heart a long time ago. It’s time to lose contact.


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

-Frazier Smith

-The Dark Magician

Frazier Smith

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