September Banlist Discussion

Hey everyone. There seems to be a trend going around here at ARG of discussing the upcoming banlist. I’m going to continue this trend and give you my input on what I think the banlist ought to look like.

There are two different approaches we can take when discussing the banlist. We can either try to predict what Konami will actually do with the banlist, or we can compile a list of what they should do in order to create the best game possible. Because Konami is largely unpredictable due to them having their own agenda and their opposition to making too many changes at once, it is useless to try and predict them as come September we will all undoubtedly be wrong. This leads me to want to focus on the second of the two approaches and create a list with the goal of creating the best game possible.

In order to do this, we must ask ourselves “What creates the best game possible?” I have come up a few goals that I hope to achieve with this list in order to better answer that question.

-        Increase the amount of interaction between players. Under this format I don’t want decks that play with themselves and care little for what the opponent might have.

-        Vastly reduce the number of OTKs possible.

-        Increase the amount of critical thinking required to win any given game.

-        Take preemptive strikes against cards that will be released within the next 6 months to avoid decks that come out throughout the format from dominating over the current format.

-        Place more of an emphasis on deckbuilding.

-        Increase the length of individual games. If the games last longer there is more time for one person to misplay.

-        Decrease the amount of stolen games.

-        Eliminate any paradoxes that exist.

-        Eliminate bad card design.

-         Above all, create a format where the better player wins the vast majority of the time.

The next thing I think we should do is go deck by deck and see what in the current format is preventing us from achieving the goals I set forth above right now.

After that we should look at the current list and see if anything on the list would no longer affect the game in a negative way.

The last thing I think we should do is look at any cards that might not be seeing play and make sure that they would not create any problems under the new format.


The problem with this deck is that it creates locks that cannot be broken. I don’t think that Rescue Rabbit is actually bad for the game. It forces you to run bad cards with no effects in order to get a good effect. That’s fine, the problem is when these Rabbit plays are followed up by Tour Guide for an absolute blowout. This isn’t an OTK in the traditional sense that you lose in one turn, but in a more general sense you do. After they follow up Rescue Rabbit with a second or a Tour Guide for Leviair, they are just playing with themselves until your life points hit zero. If we could eliminate the Tour Guide follow up, the deck would be much fairer.


Inzektors are horrible card design. They actually punish you for playing cards. This is not something that we want under our new format.


In their current form, they are bad card design as well. Traditionally you would want to play your weaker cards first and let your opponent use their resources at which point you could use your more powerful cards to put yourself in a winning position. If you are playing against Wind-Ups it is not possible to do this. One of two things will happens. They will either loop you and they will be left playing with themselves trying to make your life points hit zero or you will be forced to commit everything you have to the field creating a scenario of “I’ll play my hand and you play your hand and whoever has the better hand will win out.” This is certainly not how we want our new format to play out. We want to reward players for conserving cards, not make it so that the right play is to drop everything you have onto the field and hope for the best. This also creates a paradox with Heavy Storm, a card that is primarily good for the game. When you’re playing against Wind-Ups it’s generally best to set your hand if you do not have a way of stopping the loop with the mindset of “there’s 1 Heavy and there whole deck is a loop.”  What happens when they have Heavy though? You were essentially punished for making the right play. This is a paradox that should not exist. We also have to ensure that Wind-Ups cannot simply OTK you. Magician and Shark with no Hunter to an open field is still 8500 damage. We are going to have to do something to this to ensure that we cannot be OTKed.

Chaos Dragons:

There are good parts and bad parts to the card design of Chaos Dragons. On the good side, they do reward you for conserving your power cards more than other decks in the format. The bad part is that there is also large variation in games due to random milling from Card Trooper, Lyla, Ryko, and Solar Recharge. Also there is the problem of Future Fusion.


This deck shouldn’t really exist. It goes against everything higher level Yu-Gi-Oh fights against. The deck literally drops its entire hand on the board and says “I hope you don’t have anything.” It is a deck that you would never look to take through an 11 round tournament as that is not a viable strategy for one; however, it is also a deck that you do not want to sit on the other side of the table against as just because someone will have that Dark Hole or Torrential Tribute, it certainly might not be you. This is a suicide bomber deck and it is the complete opposite of what this list hopes to achieve. You can rest assured that this and all decks like it will be joining the ranks of Crystal Beasts and Batterymen after I’m done with it.

Final Countdown:

The entire concept of this deck is flawed.  This is once again another deck that plays with itself. It should be eliminated.

Six Samurai:

Good old Six Spamurai. Cards like Gateway should not exist as they give you advantage for dropping your hand and hoping for the best.

Dark World:

At every YCS Joe shows up with Dark World built. Why? He built it to solitaire on the plane. That’s because with the way Dark World is there is almost no interaction between players. We have to change this under the new list.

Elemental Heros:

At their root, there is nothing wrong with Heroes. They have no combos that break the game in their favor and relatively few power plays. They slowly grind advantage and get rewarded for holding their power cards. Unfortunately the Dark Hero will be getting released soon and this does present a problem. With Super Polymerization you are once again punished for just playing cards as you can use it on any monster your opponent can summon as long as you have a Hero. This is something we need to address under our new banlist.

Now that we have identified the problems with the current decks we can create a list to help fix these problems.


- Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning

- Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier

- Card Destruction

- Elemental Hero Stratos

- Final Countdown

- Future Fusion

- Gateway of the Six

- Leviair the Sea Dragon

- Limiter Removal

- Mind Control

- Monster Reborn

- Morphing Jar

- One for One

- Ultimate Offering

- Wind-Up Hunter

Newly Limited to 1:

- Cardcar D

- Chaos Sorcerer

- Deep Sea Diva

- Dragged Down Into the Grave

- Genex Undine

- Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World

- Hieratic Dragon King of Atum

- Hope for Escape

- Inzektor Hornet

- Judgment Dragon

- Karakuri Anatomy

- Magician of Faith

- Mystical Space Typhoon

- One Day of Peace

- Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon

- Rekindling

- Sinister Serpent

- Six Samurai United

- Solemn Warning

- Super Polymerization

Newly Semi-Limited

- Reckless Greed

- Rescue Rabbit

- Solar Recharge

- Tour Guide From the Underworld

- Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity

Newly Unlimited

- Magical Stone Excavation

- Marshmallon

- Primal Seed

- Scapegoat

- Spore

- Summoner Monk

- The Transmigration Prophecy

- Tribe Infecting Virus

Now allow me to explain my choices and how they tie in with the goals of the list.

Newly Forbidden:

Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning – One of our goals was to decrease the amount of stolen games. BLS is the poster child of stolen games. Card advantage means very little when we can rip BLS and do x000 damage to steal the game.

Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier – Brionac is very much a lockdown card. If you do not have an answer to him and are forced to just set monsters, he can put you on a very short clock.  He is also the root of many OTKs and is the sole reason many loops exist.

Card Destruction – This is the most overpowered card in Dark World. It is their Future Fusion. They can generate as many pluses as they have Dark Worlds. This is certainly not good for the game.

Elemental Hero Stratos - With Excaliber coming out and Blade Armor Ninja already out, Elemental Hero Stratos becomes a 2 card OTK. For this reason, I think it is time for this card to go.

Final Countdown  - As I mentioned above when I was addressing Final Countdown as a deck, it just plays with itself. Either the opponent has an out, or they don’t. There is no interaction. This was something we wanted to get rid of in our initial goals.

Future Fusion – I don’t think that there are very many people that are going to argue with me that this card needs to be banned.  It is essentially a Painful Choice for Chaos Dragons or 5 Foolish Burials. Any game the Dragon player draws this their chances of winning increase drastically.

Gateway of the Six – The main issue I take with this card is that it rewards you for dropping your hand. For every other card you put down, you get one back for free. This kind of costless advantage is bad for the game.

Leviair the Sea Dragon – This is by far the best XYZ in the game. It is the reason that Dino-Rabbit is an unfair deck.  Without it, Dino-Rabbit would be completely balanced as there is no way someone is going to consistently open double Rabbit.

Limiter Removal – All this card ever did was promote OTKs. While it is not played today, it is still bad card design and we are only one playable machine away from having another problem card on our hands.

Mind Control – As Joe mentioned in his banlist article, Mind Control literally punishes you for playing Monsters. This is something that you are naturally going to have to do throughout the game and something that punishes you for simply playing has no place in the game.

Monster Reborn – Since this card has been unbanned it has been one of the most overpowered cards in the game. It allows all sorts of combos that provide costless advantage to the player that is fortunate enough to draw this card.

Morphing Jar – Morphing Jar is another poorly designed card. Even if it is not played at the moment, it still encourages players to just drop their hand on the board any time they draw it as they can simply refuel it the following turn by flipping Jar.

One for One – Since this card’s release it has only promoted overpowered plays and OTKs. In the March 2010 format drawing it while playing Frog FTK meant you were almost guaranteed of the FTK as you could pull Substitoad from your deck. The following formats were also defined by One for One Dandylion plays that could generate too much advantage.

Ultimate Offering – This is another card that generates costless advantage. If a Gadget player is fortunate enough to draw this card, 1500 life points later and they would be protected from any traps your opponent might use to stop your OTK the rest of the turn.

Wind-Up Hunter – As I mentioned in the analysis I am against cards that punish you for conserving cards. Wind-Up Hunter does just that. Without this card I think that Wind-Ups would be an interesting toolbox deck in the next format.

Newly Limited to 1:

Cardcar D – One of the goals of the list was to create a slower format. In a slower format Cardcar D would be next to staple as you could afford to trade a turn for a +1.

Chaos Sorcerer – Chaos Sorcerer is easily summoned and has a powerful effect that generates costless advantage. Protecting one for a could turns can almost mean sure victory for that player.

Deep Sea Diva – This is a preemptive strike against upcoming support in Abyss Rising. There are ridiculous power plays that can be generated off this card once that set drops.

Dragged Down Into the Grave – This card is essentially an archetype specific juiced up Trap Dustshoot. It robs one player of the best card in their hand while giving the opponent valuable information and fueling their combos.

Genex Undine – This is another preemptive strike at the release of future cards. Summoning this can be a +3 once the cards are released.

Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World – Grapha is the largest floater in the history of the game. Weighing in at 2700 means he’s a big enough threat just one time. The fact that even if you kill him he’s likely only gone for a turn makes him too good to stay at more than 1.

Hieratic Dragon King of Atum – I said that I would neuter Hieratics on this list and I plan to keep my word on that. Their archetype has no business in the game and this card is the root of the problem. Without him they can’t spam 3-4 boss monsters on the field in a single turn.

Hope for Escape – The only deck this card has proven to be good in thus far is Final Countdown, but I could see this card spreading to other decks as well. At the European Championship this summer a Dark World deck topped that featured 3 copies of this card. Any deck that does not need to grind out attacks to win the game can easily incorporate this card into their deck and draw 2-3 cards every time they flip one.

Inzektor Hornet – Like I said above, I am very against the idea of Inzektors because they punish you for playing cards. Hopefully this would be enough to kill Inzektors in their current form. They might be able to survive by summoning Rank 4 and 5s through Ladybug and Dragonfly plays.

Judgment Dragon – This is probably the best summonable boss monster in the game. While it is not currently played, Judgment Dragon has a long history of being overpowered and it shouldn’t be at any place but 1 on the list.

Karakuri Anatomy - The idea of a themed Pot of Greed that rewards for summoning multiple monsters in a single turn does not need to be at more than 1.

Magician of Faith – With Monster Reborn banned I don’t think there are any spells that warrant this card being banned. Flip effects are traditionally slow and Faith is no exception. It is certainly a good card, but not one that needs to be forbidden.

Mystical Space Typhoon – This card has created one giant paradox over the last couple of formats. I can set 1, but get blown away by Mystical Space Typhoon with a power play follow up, or I could set 2 and get blown away by Heavy Storm. There have been so many power plays this format that someone couldn’t afford to only set 1 since MST was at 3. This made setting 2 the right play the majority of the time. Unfortunately, when your opponent had Heavy Storm you would get punished for making the right play. If MST goes back to 1, this paradox goes away. Alternatives like Dust Tornado will slow the format down as you would have to set it before you could use it. I don’t think Night Shot would be as popular due to cards like Messenger, Skill Drain, and Level Limit.

One Day of Peace – This is the best stall card in the game. Pretty much any deck that is relying solely on stall does not care if your opponent gets to draw a card. To them, they got to stall a turn and the card replaced itself. This card is too good in those types of decks.

Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon – There are 3 reasons that this card needs to be hit. The first is that it will take down Chaos Dragons, though only by a little bit. The second is that it critically hurts Hieratics, something I clearly do not think should exist. And lastly the new XYZ coming out in the next couple of months that you can make with 2 Red-Eyes. It allows for too many OTKs and Red-Eyes being at more than 1 gives you very easy access to it.

Rekindling – Another preemptive strike against future support. Even without any future support I think this card should be limited. Any card that by itself can summon multiple Synchros/XYZs in a single turn should not be allowed in multiples.

Sinister Serpent – I don’t think that if this card came back it would have any real impact on the game. The number of relevant cards that discard to pay costs is small. Even running 1-2 discard cards like Phoenix Wing Wind Blast wouldn’t really constitute adding Serpent to your deck.

Six Samurai United – A themed Pot of Greed does not to be at more than 1. Especially considering the fact that it goes back to the idea of rewarding someone for dropping their hand on the board.

Solemn Warning – This is something I doubt most people would do, but I don’t like that Solemn Warning furthers lock decks and makes comebacks nearly impossible. This is the same reason that I don’t want to see Book of Moon at anything but 1. Does anyone remember back to September 2010 format when both Solemn Warning and Book of Moon were at 3? You literally could not make a play. Every time you tried to, one of these six cards cut you off for sure. This just rewards the player who either went first and began their lock (Samurai in that format and Rabbit in this format)  or the player who’s opponent did not draw one of the six cards and you were able to successfully set up your lock. Either way, once a lock was established, these cards made sure that it was not to be broken. Opening with Rescue Rabbit into Laggia isn’t really the problem. Following it up with another Rabbit, Tour Guide, or setting Solemn Warning or Book of Moon on top of it is the problem.

Super Polymerization – With the Dark Hero coming out this card needs to be hit. If your opponent has a Hero they can Super Poly with any of your monsters once it is released. This goes back to the idea of punishing you for playing cards, something that I don’t believe should exist.

Newly Semi-Limited

Reckless Greed – Multiple Reckless Greeds can really mean game for the player who was fortunate enough to draw them. I don’t think the card was very well designed and for that reason I want to decrease players chances of drawing multiples by decreasing the number a one can play.

Rescue Rabbit – I was hesitant to list this card at all because I think it has a solid design behind it. You have to run bad cards to get a good effect something I don’t think is overly powerful. I think it is only overly powerful when combined with other aspects of the game and I think I have hit enough of these to reduce the impact Rabbit would have on the game.

Solar Recharge - Semi-limiting Solar Recharge helps get rid of future decks that abuse Recharge as a draw and mill engine. As I mentioned above, I don't like the idea of random milling. Restricting the draw card of random milling decks helps cripple the engine.

Tour Guide From the Underworld – This is probably the best card in the advanced format as it can be any one of 10 different cards as soon as you draw it. The reason I put it at 2 and not 1 was because if it is at 2 the intelligent play would be to pull another copy of Tour Guide from your deck instead of pulling Sangan if you are just going to XYZ with it. This means that you will only get Tour Guides effect once if you draw it even though it is at 2.

Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity – Like I said above, I think Wind-Ups would be a very interesting toolbox deck if they did not have Hunter. That being said, Magician and Shark with 3 Zenmaity is still more than 8000 to an open field. I felt that putting the card at 1 would completely kill the deck and there would be no potential for toolboxing and leaving it at 3 would leave too much potential for OTKs. For this reason I think 2 is the best number.

Newly Unlimited

Magical Stone Excavation – As long as Dark Magician of Chaos is banned, this card is pretty awful. I think it is safe to unlimit this card.

Marshmallon – Marshmallon is pretty much a worse Spirit Reaper, a card that is at 3 and is still not played in 3s. So if there exists a better card that isn’t limited in any sort of way and is still not played at more than 1 why would we semi-limit an inferior version of the same card?

Primal Seed – BLS is banned.

Scapegoat – I think that if Scapegoat is put to 3 one of two things will happen. One, it will have no effect on the game and it will continue to be unplayed. Two, it will be played and it will slow down the game. One positive and one neutral. Nothing bad can come of it. The card is essentially a threatening Roar that can’t protect your monsters for the turn. Sure you can Synchro with it, but that’s only okay as you’re still using Scapegoat and a tuner to create 1 card.

Spore – As long as Glow-Up Bulb is banned Plants don’t have any chance of being what they once were. I don’t think this card should have been banned in the first place and putting it back to 3 would in all likelihood have no impact on the game.

Summoner Monk – This card is pretty awful. Pretty much whatever spell card worth playing is going to be better than discarding it for Monk and hoping to not get Veilered.

The Transmigration Prophecy  - Unless I’m missing something, I don’t understand why this card is limited.

Tribe Infecting Virus – It’s a big leap to bring a card that has been banned for so long back to 3, but the reality is Tribe Infecting Virus sucks. Even if Sinister is unbanned, the card is still garbage. It’s got weak stats and Lightning Vortex does the same thing without wasting your normal summon.

A full 4000 words later you have what my ideal banlist would look like and my thought process I used in order to arrive at the list I did. The banlist is a very hot subject so leave me your feedback below. I’d like to have an intelligent discussion so if you disagree with something be sure to say why. Remember, with this list I want to address the problems of the game, not just the ones of this past format and that is why you see cards like Morphing Jar and Limiter Removal being banned. Leave a comment and until next time everyone, play hard or go home!

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

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