Blackwing - Gale the Whirlwind
Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
The Transmigration Prophecy
Coach Soldier Wolfbark
Magician of Faith
Reinforcement of the Army
Hi folks. I’m chiming in today with my first article since the WCQ! Shout-outs to everyone I met in Detroit. It was great to talk to you all! Yes, even the guy who stopped me in the restroom…
In this article I’m going to do some card appraisal at the micro level. This means I’ll discuss how the changes are as individual cards, rather than at the macro level, which is where they cause shifts in the metagame.
I was rather surprised that nothing at all got hit. From a discussion I had with a Konami employee who contributes to the F/L list, I gathered that there were several cards teetering on the edge of this zone. I expect that certain floodgates will make their way here in the coming future.
Glow-Up Bulb I think this is the least healthy change on this list. The existence of One for One, as well as this card’s excellent playability at all stages of the game, as well as this card’s splashability, make it worthy to stay at 0. Very few legal cards can claim BOTH splashability between decks and versatility between gamestates. When a card fits both these criterion, you know it’s going to see use.
Infernity Archfiend I personally enjoy the Infernity deck. Playing it helps you develop your ability to memorize relatively long sequences. It’s a great tool to teach players about combo deck building. With that said, it’s healthy that the deck took a hit since the manner in which it wins is often one-sided and unappealing. Having the outcome decided turn 1 is not how most people want to play Yugioh. Infernity is now among the small percentage of decks that is immortalized in the hall of fame as a World Championship-winning deck. May it depart in dignified peace. I think Infernity Launcher or Lavalval Chain would also have been adequate substitutes for Archfiend.
Raigeki I no longer follow online discussions, but if I’ve learned anything from past experiences, power cards getting unbanned usually cause an unnecessary uproar from newer players. I’m guessing there are some people raging on the forums right about now. This probably won’t make a difference, but: calm down, folks. This card is not as crazy as it sounds.
Raigeki has been on my mind as acceptable for advanced format since last year. The thing is, players have gotten so good at playing around blowout cards that the blowout cards themselves have been reduced to only borderline playable. At the time of this article, Dark Hole is unplayable. What’s funny is that there were lots of complaints when Dark Hole left the forbidden/list.
Reactionary cards, on principle, have a strict ceiling on their utility. They are a -1 in your hand until your opponent actually does something. To open with a reactionary card, you are playing at an immediate disadvantage. We’ve seen in the modern era of Yugioh that versatile, synergistic core engine cards are the heart of effective decks. The age of singleton power staple trade-offs is long gone. Will Raigeki become staple? Initially, yes. Long term? I don’t know. Raigeki will undoubtedly cause blowouts on occasion, but I am very hesitant to consider a card like this for the upcoming YCS, or any premier event, for that matter. Neutral change, neither healthy nor unhealthy (personally I'd call it healthy if I really really had to choose one). Just makes you play differently.
In elegant coincidence, Pat compared Flying “C” to Raigeki after winning Toronto, except he described it as a chainable version.
Soul Charge A comment I’ve heard many say, and that I am inclined to agree with, is that this card is healthiest at either 0 or 3. At 0, no one can use it. At 3, everyone can reasonably expect to play around it and can make better reads as to when their opponent is “packing the heat.” At 1, this card becomes more “sacky,” that is, it makes individual games more volatile and subject to luck. If you remember what it was like to play in Monster Reborn formats, recall how "sacky" the card often was. This is because playing around it while it was only at 1 copy was most often incorrect. If you had the luxury to play around it, then you were so far ahead that you were going to win anyway. Soul Charge is now at that point. There aren't enough copies to play around it. But there is still one copy, so you will steal with it and get stolen from by it. Verdict: unhealthy that it went to 1 rather than 0.
Super Polymerization This card has been at zero on my ideal F/L list for ages. Spell Speed 4, not a trap, chainable spot removal that doesn’t target OR destroy?! That’s absurd. Oh, and it also leaves your field with an additional monster afterward. Healthy change.
Blackwing - Gale the Whirlwind Gale was splashable in 2009, and it created huge problems. People even ran Mystic Tomato in Synchro Cat just to get it out faster. One for one battle phase run-overs are meaningless now. Blackwing is not a good deck. Irrelevant change.
Gorz the Emissary of Darkness Gorz’s playability has an inverse relationship with the number of main phase tricks in the game. The game currently has infinite main phase tricks, which makes Gorz…infinitely unplayable. Ok, not infinitely, but this change is largely irrelevant.
Ceasefire Chain Burn is by no means going to be tier 1, but adding another degenerate weapon to their arsenal does not seem like a healthy choice for the game. Ceasefire also doubles as a time card for “regular” decks. Unhealthy, but hopefully irrelevant, change.
The Transmigration Prophecy Konami played things on the cautious side by leaving the card at 1 for a long time. I think adequate time has passed to demonstrate that there is no degenerate, playable strategy that involves looping two copies of this card, so this change is safe. You basically have a better version of Crevice into the Different Dimension as an additional side deck option here.
Coach Soldier Wolfbark Going back to the criteria I brought up with Glow-Up Bulb, Wolfbark has a relatively high degree of splashability. It isn’t versatile between gamestates, but it makes up for this in two ways. The first is its mean “power level.” The more gamestate-restrictive a card is, the better it has to function within its ideal stage to become playable. Wolfbark gets more and more powerful as the game progresses toward a later stage.
The second thing of note is that it kind of IS an early game card. Half the copies of Wolfbark are Fire Formation - Tenki. Tenki becomes your early game Beast-Warrior OR your late game Wolfbark, which largely solves the late stage weakness. For this reason, I shudder to see both Wolfbark and Tenki at 3. In a vacuum, Wolfbark at 3 is healthy.
Magician of Faith I personally would not have put this card at 3 because its synergy along with existing “Book” spells make it possible for a FUTURE card release to accidentally create a degenerate loop. If I were designing the F/L list, I would not just be working to solve the unhealthy aspects of the current game, but also to prevent future pitfalls and broken mechanics. As it currently stands, this change is irrelevant.
Formula Synchron Formula, in a vacuum, is a fair card. However, we know from history that it tends to get used in unfair ways. I’m ok with this card at 3, provided that there are not unique, non-interactive things it does in multiples that it otherwise would not do as a singleton.
Reinforcement of the Army Konami designs the F/L list with casual players in mind, not just the serious competitors who travel and all that. ROTA helps less experienced players “play Yugioh” more often and boosts a multitude of decks you likely will not encounter on the premier circuit. However, strictly for competitive play, a generic searcher at 3 is unhealthy.
Pros and Cons. The pro is that ROTA enables both players to play their strategies, so the player who plays better should win, rather than the player who drew his strategy. The con is that this is primarily true in mirror matches only. The other con is that ROTA increases the probability of turn 1 Ophion and turn 1 Shi En. Players do not typically enjoy playing against turn 1 floodgate monsters, except in an ironic, sadistic way. Overall, I rate this move as unhealthy, probably tied with Bulb for least healthy move on this list.
Like I said at the start, I am not translating micro-level evaluations to macro-level metagame predictions at this time. I’ve explained why I think changes were healthy, unhealthy, or irrelevant in a vacuum. Ideally, the “unhealthy” changes will not see their niche in the metagame.
Shout-outs to Vanity’s Emptiness for skillfully avoiding this list like a ninja.
The Banlist Prediction Game
Every banlist season, I host a competition called the banlist prediction game. Players compete for the high score of the season, as well as the high score of all time. This is a competition to see who can come as close as to possible to discerning Konami’s moves; it is not the same thing as sharing what your personal ideal banlist is.
You get 1 point for naming a correct card, you get another point for naming the correct position it moves to, and you lose half a point for naming an incorrect card. Generally, making as few guesses as possible yields a higher score. This is a game you can play with your friends, and maybe each throw in a dollar and give the winnings to the person with the highest score.
The highest recorded score is 15 points. This season, Zachary Rodriguez (left) and Nick Wei (right) tied for first place with a score of 4 points. Good job guys.
Do you have a cool deck idea? Send your full list (typed out and capitalized) to: https://www.facebook.com/ArgDeckDoctor