Ah, October. The month of Thanksgiving, football, spooky ghosts, and…. YUGIOH!!!! Ok maybe not usually, but this October has plenty of Yu-Gi-Oh in it, with some pretty insane goings-on. That’s right folks, it’s banlist season, and many players are, as usual, wondering if Konami has some kind of plan with this, or if they’re just a bunch of turkeys. Now, let’s take a crack at this piñata and see what goodies Konami’s list has really given us!
So nothing got banned on this list. Awww. Come on guys, let’s be realistic: nothing really deserved getting banned. No, not even Shadolls or Soul Charge. They got theirs, don’t worry.
Now it’s the Limited section of this list that really got people jibber-jabbering, with Konami making some pretty radical-seeming changes to the list. And in case you didn’t realize I italicized seeming, which means that y’all are over-reacting for nothing. I know, Raigeki and Glow-Up Bulb coming back is pretty insane after them being on the banlist for so long, but let’s take a look at what this really means.
I’ll be the first to admit, I love Synchro decks. I started playing competitively around the format after Plant Synchro got hit by the banlist really hard, so the deck’s always been a fan favourite of mine. I’ve seen what Glow-Up Bulb can do, and I can certainly see what it’ll be able to do in the future, which may be just a little more frightening. Obviously the card will be able to do what it does best: make some bad-ass synchro plays. But with all the different decks out there, the possibilities are endless… Lightsworn, Shaddolls, Plants, Dragon Rulers, Burning Abyss; all of these are decks that can utilize Glow-Up Bulb in different and interesting ways, and that’s just the start… Now all that probably sounds really foreboding (I can see your imaginations going wild), but there’s one problem; all these strategies with Glow-Up Bulb involve fast, explosive types of play, with a lot of Special Summoning involved. With El Shaddoll Winda still running about at 3, this kind of strategy might not work. Also, with a rise in Synchro oriented decks (and trust me there will be), there will probably be a rise in Evilswarm players, another deck that trumps heavy Special Summon based decks. But don’t despair, Glow-Up Bulb sympathizers! If you establish a good board before these players bust out their shut down cards, you’ll be in a winning position. Either way, I think the re-introduction of Glow-Up Bulb into the game isn’t a bad thing, since it’ll inject some innovation into the somewhat linear decks of this format.
Now, Raigeki. I’m not going to lie and tell you Raigeki’s a bad card, because it’s not. Any card that lets you destroy your all of your opponent’s monsters for free is an amazing card. The only reason Raigeki isn’t and probably won’t be seeing much competitive plays is because of bad timing. Think about it- all the top decks of this format, Shaddolls, Burning Abyss, and Satellarknights all have monsters that get effects when they’re sent to the graveyard, so Raigeki would really just help these decks get their effects off rather than be the game-winning card that wipes the board that everyone expected it to be. Still, I think Raigeki deserves a spot in the Side-deck, since against any other deck besides the ones I just mentioned, it’s CRAZY.
For the other limited cards, we don’t need that much of an explanation. Soul Charge needed to get hit, one way the other: the card was much too good, and some decks were relying on it too heavily as a win condition. Super Polymerization also needed to get hit: the card was incredible in Heros during their heyday, but in Shadolls, the card was insane. Also, any card that can’t have anything chained to it seems a little too good to me, so I can see why it needed to get hit. Finally, in regards to Infernity Archfiend, I suppose since Infernities won the World Championship the deck needed to get hit in some shape or form, but honestly putting Archfiend to 1 doesn’t hurt the deck as much as you’d think. There are plenty of ways to abuse the card’s effect multiple times in one turn just like before, players just have to find new ways of playing the deck. Maybe now the old Synchro variant will get popular again, only time will tell.
The Semi-Limited section of this list is, I have to say, a little lack-luster, with the only exception being that Gorz the Emissary of Darkness is now at two. I’m not surprised that this new development shocked the Yu-Gi-Oh community, because it sure as hell shocked me. Gorz was once one of the most feared cards in the game, and it’s the reason I still attack directly with my weakest monsters first. Gorz is a game changing card, giving you two high Attack monsters when before you had no cards on the field, but it’s only good in decks that don’t run a lot of backrow, or that use that backrow quickly, since you can’t use Gorz when you have other cards on the field (sorry S-Knights, this card ain’t for you!). Having Gorz will mean players will have to be more careful when trying to beat down their opponents; might not be the most viable strategy now.
Other than that, we have Blackwing, Gale the Whirlwind, Ceasefire and The Transmigration Prophecy back at two. Having Gale is well for Blackwing players, but let’s be honest: in the current metagame, Blackwings don’t have much going for them. Their ace monster can’t be destroyed by battle, which is nifty but not a problem for things like El Shaddoll Construct or Stellarknight Delteros, and since most cards this format get effects when they’re sent to the graveyard, destroying things in battle thanks to Gale or Kalut just isn’t as effective as it used to be. I can see Gale maybe being played in anti-meta decks, but like I said before, getting over cards in battle isn’t as great as it used to be, and since Gale only helps with that, I can’t see Gale being played that much. Ceasefire I think is interesting; I know everyone assumes now Chain Burn players will be having a field day, but when you think about it, Ceasefire would be a great side-deck card against decks that like to swarm the field, like S-Knights or Batterymen. You can deal a maximum of 5000 damage to your opponent with this card (assuming there are five effect monsters on each side of the field), which can win you the game by itself. Even a small amount of damage could help; how many times do people use Gagaga Cowboy to finish games? This card does the same thing, and with even just two effect monsters on the field it deals more damage than one Cowboy effect. Also, notice that it flips monsters face-up without activating their Flip Effects? That’s pretty good against Shaddolls, if you ask me. The Transmigration Prophecy is also a great side-deck card, and now that it’s at two, I’m sure people will be using it more to mess up graveyard based strategies.
Finally, the Un-Limited Section. I’ll be real with you guys; this is the section that made ME freak out the most, for various reasons. First, I hate Fire Fists. I think the deck is absolutely amazing, but I despise when it’s played against me for that very reason. With Coach Soldier Wolfbark coming back to three, FF will be as popular as ever, and this may have some serious repercussions on the current meta, since Fire Fists have a great match-up against every one of the big 3 decks this format. Fire Formation Tensu lets them bypass El Shadoll Winda, and Fire Formation Gyokkou shuts down trap heavy decks like S-Knights and Burning Abyss, and since the deck can play a fair amount of traps, they are a very real contender for one of the best decks of the new format (until Qliphorts come out). Second, I don’t know about you guys, but I can see a pattern emerging from this list; they’re pushing Synchro summoning, and the cherry on the top of the Synchro pushing is the now Un-Limited Formula Synchron. Formula was and IS a great Synchro Monster, helping to solve the problem of depleting your hand that many Synchro decks face, and since it’s also a Tuner, it can make some pretty ridiculous plays. If that wasn’t enough Synchro pushing, look at Reinforcement of the Army: sure, Satellarknights will get a boost from it, the new Heros will too, and Six Samurais and Noble Kights, but think about it… Junk Warrior, Doppelwarrior, Spell Striker, are all Warrior-type monsters that play very well in Synchro based decks, all of which are now searchable through the newly unlimited ROTA. I see Synchro Summoning in our future… The only problem being, like I said earlier, El Shaddoll Winda, but I’m sure Synchro players will find a way to bypass that. I’ll briefly mention Magician of Faith now, just to say that its unlimited status won’t make it any more playable. Setting monsters isn’t as good as it used to be (although Shaddolls do it well), and even though we now have some really good Spell cards to get back with her effect (Raigeki, Soul Charge, Super Poly), is it really worth not doing something with your turn just to get back on one those cards during your next turn? I don’t think so.
So dear Yu-Gi-Oh players, that’s it. The one comment I have to say about this list is that it’s bringing back a lot of different, older strategies, while taking care of the current powerful ones, which is something I enjoy. I love diversity in the game, and when there’s the opportunity to play something that’s different, I think that evolves the overall state of the game, making players adapt to new play styles and try new things. I can’t wait to see what this format brings. Whatever it does, best be prepared.