Did this not feel like Ban List season or was it just me? Perhaps it was because there was a YCS last weekend, but for some reason, there just didn't seem to be as much excitement about rumored and supposed lists. The actual list was leaked, and there really wasn't a huge uproar or anything. I honestly thought it was a joke, which might foreshadow how I feel about the list as a whole. Anyway, I have gotten into the habit of going through each Ban List season by going over each change and giving my input on how well it has handled the problems from the previous format. So shall we begin?
Wait what? Are you kidding me? Now don't get me wrong, Zenmaity is horrible card design and certainly deserves to be banned. But there is something about the card that just doesn't fit. When I think about the Ban List, my first thoughts are cards like Mirage of Nightmare and Cyber-Stein. I am most assuredly not going to complain though, I was thrilled when I saw this on the Ban List. Last time around, I thought Wind-Ups were adequately weakened, but boy was I wrong. I think most people assumed the deck was dead, until Patrick Hoban found a new Shock Master combo. This time around, it did not take as long for someone to try and construct a new Shock Master loop revolving around MX-Saber Invoker and Wind-Up Warrior, but honestly... that is nowhere near as powerful as what Wind-Up Zenmaity was able to accomplish for Wind-Ups. Not only was Zenmaity a combo component, it was the centerpiece of alternative win conditions, such as opening Wind-Up Factory and Tour Guide from the Underworld - the strongest grind game starter. Banning Zenmaity is not going to entirely destroy the Wind-Up archtype, since Wind-Up Rabbit is that good, but this will certainly do enough to mitigate the ability to do unfair things. I am thrilled to salute the unfair part of Wind-Ups away.
They actually did it! They banned this little Critter. This might sound degenerate, but because of the interactions with Tour Guide from the Underworld, Sangan has had more of an impact on the last 16 months than Witch of the Black Forest would have had. Not only is the best tutor in the game banned, the Tour Guide engine has taken yet another jab, and is now rendered to just two copies of Tour Guide. You can try playing inferior things like Tour Bus and Night Assailant, but those options are just not ideal. Tour Guide is strong enough to run the two copies in certain decks, but its power level seems to be exactly where it should be. The toolbox of options that Tour Guide once was is slowly being toned down, and sending Sangan away was just another step.
Limited to One:
As I posted on my prediction list, I assumed it was Shark was that going to one, but Wind-Up Magician is almost interchangeable in this spot. Summoner Monk has been discovered has a replacement, but we all know that is not nearly as good. The problem with Wind-Ups in the upcoming format, is how the deck lost the ability to not only explode on the early turns, but grind out the late game. Looping Wind-Up Magician and Rabbit was one of the best alternate win conditions the deck had. Now the deck only has one Magician, and establishing that game state will inherently be more difficult. This is a significant hit, and not because of the lack of a Shock Master loop.
One Day of Peace
So there is a god. Not only is this a hit to the Gishki FTK, this moves has a ripple effect to the other degenerate strategies such as Final Countdown and Chain Burn. Honestly, I feel like Konami should have also gone forth and hit Evigishki Mind Augus because the deck is still functional with only one copy of One Day of Peace. From the perspective of the FTK player, the deck lost one of the Upstart Goblin effects in exchange for the lack of a consistent First Turn Shock Master in the format. The only damage to the deck was the slight mathematically effect on the draw engine, but it is honestly not substantial enough to write it off. The deck might have actually gotten better.
This is by far the biggest change on the Ban List. I am just going to causally list off a few cards, and just rattle around in your head what one less Solemn Warning means: Reborn Tengu, Starlight Road, Trageodia, Light and Darkness Dragon, Gorz the Emissary of Darkness, Gottoms' Emergency Call, Abyss Squall, Mystic Tomato. I could keep going here, but do you get where I am going with this? Do you remember those games where you had to hold Heavy Storm until you had either Solemn Warning or Judgment because Starlight Road was such a blow out? Well now we only have one copy of the counter-trap to go around. The same goes for setting up turns that play around hand traps such as Gorz. Warning was the only virtual staple that played around Gorz, and now we only have one copy to play towards. Not to mention the effect this is going to have when playing around recruiters such as Mystic Tomato and Mermail Abysslinde. I am not sure if this is just going to be straight up infuriating, or add an interesting aspect to the upcoming format. But hands down, no questions asked - Solemn Warning going to one is the biggest change on the list this time around.
Limited to 2:
Why exactly is this card at two? I am confused what this suppose to do. It was virtually unplayed at one, what is the point of bringing it to two? I feel like Konami is afraid of some type of Drastic Drop Off/Mask of Darkness combo deck becoming relevant, which I guess is decent oversight by Konami. But the difference between two and three Tsukuyomis is so minimal, it is almost like they just wanted us to go out and acquire a second Ultimate Rare version...
Thunder King Rai-Oh
This card has no business ever touching the Ban List. This is one of the best cards from a design stand point in Yu-Gi-Oh history. This card's job has been to minimize the effectiveness of Konami's design mistakes over the course of the last few years. Why exactly are we even discussing limiting it to two? It is not like it was even widely played in three. Did any viable deck actually play three copies last format? I know I eventually bumped up to three copies in Tengu Plants over a year ago, but it wasn't even being abused in that deck. Honestly, I assume this was made to push the Prophecy archtype in the upcoming format. We cannot have first turn shut down monsters for an archtype Konami has invested so much time into.
Advanced Ritual Art
Take a moment and think about the only two decks this card was playable in... Demise OTK and Herald of Perfection lock decks. Are we actually trying to advocate those as playable decks? Those decks have no business in being part of competitive Yu-Gi-Oh. I do not think either of those decks will actually be playable, but why even risk it?
So someone at Konami realized this card had that whole, "Once Per Duel" clause...
Blackwing Kalut the Moonshadow
In terms of the Blackwing deck, this is a fairly significant change on the list. The problem is, Blackwings do not exactly matchup well with the other decks in the format, and that is sad to think about. The last time we had three Kalut and three Icarus Attack, Blackwings were a force. Now we suddenly have those numbers again, and the deck might not even be tier 2. How times have changed huh? Getting back the third Kalut will go a long way in helping to fill out the monster lineup for Blizzard and Shura search targets, two major problems I saw when they originally put Kalut to one.
Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner
Lightsworns are still an awful archtype. Until they get back the other two copies of Charge of the Light Brigade they will not be a tier one deck. However, I still stand by my statement from last year that Lightsworn is the type of archtype that stunts the growth of a player. You will find yourself hitting a ceiling if you decide to play this type of deck. Hoping for adequate mills will instill an improper mindset, as opposed to focusing on things you can control.
Shien's Smoke Signal
The difference between two and three Smoke Signals is so minor. The thing is, people realized how potent Asceticism was, so summoning Shi En on the first turn wasn't much of an issue. I guess how it might happen a slight percentage point higher? But unless you accompany Shi En with Macro Cosmos, which is completely reasonable, you are just calling for an Atlantean Infantry, Fire Fist Bear or Deep Sea Diva to ruin your day. Those are the type of reasonable, yet common responses which can break Shi En locks. The fact that Gateway of the Six is still a legal card is an absolute joke. I sometimes question if anyone from Konami sits down and play tests the cards they design, in reference to the warping effect Gateway has. This isn't Wind-Up Factory or Black Whirlwind here.
I mean, I guess Dark World has a third copy of Mind Crush. Not the worst thing in the world right? It is another out to Mermail Abyssmegalo too. No one is actually going to side three against Mermail though, so the only real impact is the Dark World archtype.