Busting out the Bugspray – A January 2018 Yu-Gi-Oh!! Banlist Analysis

Arriving slightly later than expected, the first Forbidden and Limited List of 2018 was absolutely worth the wait.  Let’s look at the changes to the list, why they occurred and what they mean for our glorious card game.

Now Forbidden:

Blackwing – Gofu The Vague Shadow

Since the inception of Link summoning, Gofu has become something of a problem card, largely due to the fact that he creates three bodies to link summon with. Hence, it was limited to one copy per deck. With Saryujaa Skull Dread entering the fray in Extreme Victory, it makes sense to remove Goku to prevent Saryuja from being too accessible.

Dandylion

In a similar vein to Gofu, Dandylion had to be plucked from the game before we were able to exploit it into the ground. The OCG saw an increase in Plant Link decks after their release of Extreme Victory several months ago, so it’s a preventative ban, but absolutely justified as cycling Dandylion can lead to some disgustingly powerful boards.

Double Iris Magician

Double Iris Magician searches for two cards that are strong and versatile, with Time Pendulumgraph offering a searchable defensive tool and Space Pendulumgraph allowing you to generate continuous value. Being able to search for one of these cards in a turn is really good, but it can do both very easily and with virtually no cost. This is the first of two dents made into the pendulum strategy, along with Performapal Skullcrobat Joker.

Level Eater

Although it isn’t worth a dime, I called this over a year ago. Level Eater has always been an ‘on the edge of busted’ kind of card, which is probably a bad thing. Infinitely looping level eaters from large monsters and Psy-Framelord Omega used to be particularly annoying and would remove your opponent’s hand from the game. With players steadily gaining powerful monsters to cheat out with tons of little dudes, Level Eater needed to go.

Maxx “C”

This card draws you many cards when your opponent tries to play the game, which isn’t really fair as we like playing the game. This means your opponent can’t play properly and you kill them. Alternatively, you get Maxx “C” dropped on you and you die. This card feels bad to play and to lose against. It only got worse when they Limited the card as it became pointless to play around the 12.5% chance your opponent actually has the card. It either needs to be Unlimited or Forbidden. Good. riddance.

Performapal Skullcrobat Joker

As everyone already knows, you’re supposed to take the Jokers out of the deck. In all seriousness, Joker’s ability to search for several different relevant archetypes made Pendulum incredibly consistent. By removing him these decks need to find another way to search out their pieces instead of just doing what they want. It’s likely that the newly released Heavymetalfoes Electrumite will help fill this hole in consistency, but whether Pendulum will still be the best deck is questionable.

Now Limited:

 

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Apoqliphort Towers

This card used to be a problem because Kaijus did not exist to remove him from the board. Furthermore, arrows are not the same as levels/ranks. Also he dies immediately to Borreload Dragon, which sees play in nearly every single deck. Towers has no power here.

Grinder Golem

Once again, a dumb token card that used to see super niche play is on the chopping block. Having a couple of cute interactions with Akashic Magician makes this a perfectly reasonable limit. This card is only going to become more busted as time goes on.

Performage Damage Juggler

With only a single copy, Damage Juggler is a super fair card. It was only a problem when it was consistently drawn and provided access to high ceiling cards like Performage Hat Tricker and Performage Trick Clown when engines of the time were a bit weak. Now we can just send him off Brilliant Fusion and have some fun. Maybe make Bujinki Amaterasu and cycle him to add more little mage men, there are options.

Firewall Dragon

As co-linking becomes easier and easier, Firewall Dragon becomes progressively closer to becoming a busted combo/stun card. Nobody wants to play into three live Firewall Dragons.

Monster Reborn

This is going to get old very, very quickly. Much like Snatch Steal in early 2016, Konami sometimes likes to test the waters of old banned cards and see if they are still busted. Snatch Steal was banned within three months for being insanely obnoxious even in 2015. OCG players have had Monster Reborn for a while, but I doubt we will. Enjoy it while it lasts, remember that it can take dead Link monsters from either grave and put them in any monster zone. That sounds awfully unreasonable, doesn’t it?

Spyral Resort

Spyrals have been insane since the release of Double Helix, dominating most major events and oppressing a lot of other decks. Luckily their engine is super fragile, so although this doesn’t look like much of a hit to the deck, it really is. With Spyral – Master Plan’s second search effect requiring both a Resort and a Spyral monster in deck to trigger, there are many times when it simply isn’t able to search free stuff. Resort used to be the card you wanted to see every time you opened, now you pray to not draw it.

Much like when Monarchs were hit with Pantheism of the Monarchs and Ehther, the Heavenly Monarch, this change affects the consistency of the strategy severely, and while it maintains access to its most powerful tools it can’t just murder you every game. And much like Monarchs, they might just kind of suck now. Also you can’t just keep jamming Resorts at people for free cards and fuel for your Spyral – Sleeper, which is definitely for the best.

Solemn Judgment

Old men are coming, and they are here to negate our stuff. With three Solemn Strike and one Solemn Warning, this probably isn’t a big game changer. However, one-of blowout cards have never been healthy for the game and this old man can stop any single card in the game at any life total. You’re going to play it because it’s good and you’re going to lose to it because your opponent landed the 12.5%. I suppose it’s not that much better than Solemn Scolding, but it’s nowhere near as niche and can be activated regardless of your life total.

Now Unlimited:

Artifact Moralltach

This card had been busted in slower formats before pendulum monsters were particularly powerful. It’s likely that it will see some fringe play in the Invoked Artifact lists that have been running around, but it’s not a game changer. Scythe just has more impact in most cases.

Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning

BLS has been limited for a very long time and has always been a fan favourite for being so cool. Then he was Semi-Limited and nothing happened. Will he be busted if you can play three copies? Are there any decks out there that can play both Light and Dark monsters that don’t suck? These are all real questions. Only time will tell if a 3000atk man that can remove a card every turn or attack twice is good enough in today’s game. I really, really hope it is.

Card Trooper

Card Trooper’s place on the F/L list has always been attributed to the ‘troop dupe scoop’, whereby a player would use Machine Duplication to bring two additional Card Troopers to the board and hit you for 5700 damage, mill 9 cards and float into more cards aftwerwards. Back in the day, this was absolutely ridiculous. But it’s 2018; Card Trooper is a fine card but he can’t hurt us anymore.

Thunder King Rai-Oh

Floodgates should either be Unlimited or Forbidden; Thunder King isn’t hurting anybody so this makes sense. The release of Inspector Boarder does mean there are now six large men that prevent anyone from playing the game, and Card of Demise exists. This could be a cool deck, but I don’t think it will rock the boat.

Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier

Since the errata, Brionac hasn’t had the same kick that he used to. Combined with Mermail seeing virtually zero play, this is perfectly fine.

Brain Control

Similar to Brionac, post-errata Brain Control doesn’t really see play. Good to see it at three, but it won’t make the cut considering the prevalence of Link monsters.

Mind Control

Unlike Brain Control, this is quite a problem. Being able to take Link monsters, use them as material or create co-links/extra deck zones, this is absolutely bonkers. You want three of this card, it will now occupy three of your Side Deck spaces until it is limited again.

Preparation of Rites

Ritual decks aren’t doing a lot, even with Pre-Preparation of Rites. So this is a good move to push the lesser blue men back into the spotlight, especially with the TCG exclusive Vendread archetype getting some real love in the new set.

Saqlifice

With the Qliphort Link monster now in the TCG, the deck has some real legs behind it. This is a nice change, Scout definitely needs to stay at one, but I am all for more people summoning big dumb spaceship aliens.

Bottomless Trap Hole

Even at one, BTH was never a particularly powerful card in today’s metagame. However, with three of them it’s quite different as you can consistently impact your opponent’s normal summons, which the frequently played Solemn Strike is unable to. This could be good, maybe not insane but definitely good.

Ceasefire

This is great news for burn players, but bad news for anyone that actually likes playing Yugioh. Considering that Konami continues to support this strategy with cards like Secret Blast as well as its 1st place finish at the 2017 Dragon Duel World Championship, there is evidence that the deck doesn’t suck. But please, don’t be that guy.

Ojama Trio

Ojama Tokens can be used by your opponent to make Link monsters. This card is not good. Don’t play it.

Torrential Tribute

Being inferior to Solemn Strike against Pendulum Decks and BTH against other decks, Torrential Tribute struggles to find a place in the game right now, even when it was Limited. With three copies, we can continue not playing it and considering whether or not it is good. When you think the heavy rain is good, consider whether or not the old man is better. Because he often is. If non-pendulum decks start going wide and making big boards this card may see play, but it just isn’t that disruptive most of the time.

Essentially, Spyral are borderline okay now rather than absolutely busted, while Pendulum took a kick to the shin but are still okay. Some unhealthy cards were removed from the game, some cool cards were added back alongside some more potentially unhealthy cards and dark horse Trickstar were completely untouched by the list. Testing some of the now unlimited monsters and trap cards will be a good time, but I do worry for the state of the game with Trickstar not being kept in check by Spyral. Go dig up your old banned cards and go get ’em tiger.

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