The New Day: September 1st

joe giolandoWow. What else is there to say? Honestly, who in their right mind would have seen this coming? We have been playing under the OCG Ban List for a decade. Every single time there OCG list was spoiled overseas TCG players would hold out with that glimmer of hope that something would be different when our list was announced. "They semi-limited [ccProd]Allure of Darkness[/ccProd] that one time! Oh, and we had three [ccProd]Magical Stone Excavation[/ccProd] that one time!" I have heard it all, and sometimes even hoped right there with you. But every single time the Ban List was officially on the Konami website, disappointed. Not today.

For the first time in the history of Yu-Gi-Oh we can stand alone and proudly say - we are the TCG. We will no longer hold the brute of receiving a Ban List catered to a format without our crucial TCG exclusives, such as [ccProd]Tour Guide from the Underworld[/ccProd], [ccProd]Allure of Darkness[/ccProd], Wind-Up Shark and so on. Think about that for a moment. The TCG Ban List will now cater to what we have going on. Not what is happening overseas with promos and entire booster sets in the future. Those small glimmers of hope when cards like [ccProd]Royal Tribute[/ccProd] were semi-limited without Gravekeeper's Recruiter being released in the OCG, can now become reality. And not only have we embarked upon our day as a new TCG, the changes made this upcoming September are reminiscent of what you would see on Patrick Hoban or my wishlist. Now I could go on about the shortcomings of this Ban List, and they certainly do exist (ex. Infernities and Hieratics are just as potent as the decks that were touched), but I want to celebrate today with the rest of the TCG world and talk about our new day in a positive light.

stratosOne of the biggest conclusions I was able to make was the capability of Konami to make changes that had no historic precedent. Like Stratos, seriously? I ban that card on my wish lists because it should be banned. But who would seriously think that Stratos would ever be on the Ban List? Does [ccProd]Elemental Hero Stratos[/ccProd] fit next to Cyber Stein? I think it does, but I know a considerable amount of the Yu-Gi-Oh population does not. What about [ccProd]Gateway of Six[/ccProd]? [ccProd]Card Destruction[/ccProd]? These singleton archtype powerhouses are obviously overpowered and have a tremendously warping effect on the game when they hit the board. But the fact that they were entirely theme-based has seemed to shield them in the past. Instead of touching the glaring problem cards like Gateway of the Six, the other components of the deck were tossed around - such as Shien's Smoke Signal and Legendary Six Samurai Shi En. The fact that Konami is willing to ban these theme-based cards bodes well for the future of this game. It is not out of the question to think that cards like [ccProd]Infernity Launcher[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Limiter Removal[/ccProd] may one day find a place alongside their overpowered brothers. Honestly, take a moment to think about the theme cards that have found their way on the Forbidden List over time.[ccProd]Substitoad[/ccProd]? Zen-Maity? That is just about it. Theme cards never get banned unless they are proven to be an unquestionable problem - which requires stellar performances at YCS events. Fringe strategies, such as Six Samurai, may never truly be a "good" deck again - but they still could draw [ccProd]Gateway of the Six[/ccProd] and blow you out of the game. September 1st is not only the first day we separate from the OCG, it is the day those themed game changers are finally on the chopping block.

But what else does this list do?

Diversity... Perhaps even diversity like never before.

inzektor hornetI have had the desire to build literally endless decks thus far. I am talking Inzektors, Wind-Ups, X-Sabers, Gladiator Beasts, Blackwings, Infernities, Spellbooks, Dragon Rulers, Hieratics, Dragunities, Plants, Plasma Control - the list goes on. And I know I am not the only person feeling this way. People all across the TCG are breaking into their untouched binders to find their old favorites, and in turn, people will be bringing are array of everything to future events. Now I am in favor of less diverse formats, seeing as how they are easier to side deck for. But I know a lot of players are the complete opposite, so this can easily be seen as one of the greatest aspects of the new list. No matter what type of player you happen to be, there is something for you this format. If you enjoy control decks, there are numerous control decks out there. If you enjoy combo decks, there are most assuredly a couple for you to pick from, Infernity and Hieratic to name a few. If you enjoy trap less decks, there are Chaos Dragons and Frog Monarchs. If you want to play Chain Burn, go right ahead and play Chain Burn. You can try and accomplish whatever you'd like this upcoming format. Granted I could go on about how that may be detrimental for adequate side decking, but beggars cannot be choosers and I digress.

The final unique aspect of this Ban List is how much play testing needs to be done. There are endless undiscovered gems out there, cards which were dramatically overshadowed in Yu-Gi-Oh's past. The limitation on relevant trap cards will force players to look further into the trap card selection for replacements. I have even been inclined to main deck triple [ccProd]Upstart Goblin[/ccProd] in most of my decks because I cannot find enough worthy cards. There is endless exploring to new. New combos. New interactions which have never happened. This upcoming format will cater directly to those players who are able to adequately gauge what the consensus of players are trying to accomplish, and then directly countering it. Even with a diverse format like this one, there are still going to be standouts in the crowd, and the popularity  of certain decks will be important to understand close to events. In formats like this there tends to be a "flavor of the month." Never be behind the "flavor of the month." If you find yourself catching up to the metagame shifts, this may be a long format for you. Be ahead of the curb and find out what the next "format fad" may be. Those are the skills this format is going to highlight.

Joe Giorlando

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