Well I've been pretty busy the past few days testing the new format on DN, deck-building, theorizing, and doing some more deck-building. A lot of it has just been adding substitutes to existing decks, but I've also been working on a Plant build featuring Cardcar D's. It's crazy how nerfing Inzektors makes a lot of stuff playable again. In the end I think D-Prison will end up seeing more play than Mirror Force, because let's face it banishing > getting destroyed, has been like that for quite some time now. I'm not sure on the use of Bottomless; I still personally like it, but I've noticed it being taken out of decks recently in favor of D-Prison.
Anyway, I'd like to highlight some of the things that I've seen in terms of what has increased and decreased in popularity due to the new ban list, from my perspective anyway.
1. Thunder King Rai-Oh
TKing, as we all know, sucked last format due to Inzektors. With them out of the picture, this guy becomes relevant again. With the emergence/hype of Plants, increased viability of Agents, and inherent special summons in general, this guy is a very good opening play. There are also still a lot of search cards and tutoring in general. With BLS still legal in the game, this also becomes great Light food.
2. Snowman Eater
Snowman was still pretty popular in most sidedecks last format, and I started to main 1 in Wind-Ups when people stopped playing Inzektors. Now, we still have Dino Rabbit and Heroes, where Snowman is great against. As was last format, it being level 3 is very relevant. I expect to see a lot of him at least in the early part of the format.
3. Maxx C
Mostly due to people wanting to run Plants, I believe Maxx C and Veiler have switched roles in usage once again. It's still fairly useless against decks like DW and Heroes, but now it basically does the same things as Veiler did, but you don't go minus. Most of the times it ends your opponent's turn. If this isn't in the REDU SE, I believe it will be a high money card again.
I find it funny how bringing back 1 Spore and 1 Debris automatically makes Synchros in general see more play, even though the only really good level 6 Synchro left, Brionac, got banned (I know Brio isn't a Dragon but you know what I mean). Samurai will continue to be very popular at least in my area, and Plants are a thing now, so I fully expect to see white cards a lot more often than last format.
5. Dimensional Prison/Mirror Force
Both of these attack-based traps saw very little play last format, largely due to Inzektors and Lyla. Mirror Force going to 2 has a lot of people being like "oh my goddd", but come on, just play the game skillfully. I personally love seeing Force at 2 because it punishes bad players just like Torr to 2 has done, even though I'm not sure if I'd run it anyway as stated at the beginning of this post.
6. Card Trooper
With TKing seeing increased play, and Heroes and their 1900's unscathed by the banlist, Trooper is the perfect "crasher" for the +1. A fine Debris target as well. I will never like "random mill" outside of Lightsworn-ish decks, but it's hard to argue against its uses.
1. Effect Veiler
Last format, Veiler was clutch against Inzektors and Wind-Ups. With those being expected to see less play (still not counting out Wind-Ups myself), 1 less Rabbit and 1 less Guide, you basically don't see 3 maindeck Veiler in anything right now. Still a good card, and it being a 1-star Light tuner is still relevant, but for now TKing has replaced its status as the go-to Light splash for BLS.
2. Soul Taker
This card was great for taking down opposing Shinings and Lightpulsars last format. Chaos Dragon may still be a good deck (haven't tested myself), but it has been hit enough to where I don't think we'll see it as often as we did. Heroes will still be popular though, especially early format, so this card is still great for forcing Shining to miss timing. However, I've still seen less copies of this being used in the main. I like it as a potential side card.
I remember when we started talking about the March ban list 6 months ago, the potential for Tour Guide/Sangan getting hit was on everyone's mind. Danny always mentioned that it would be dumb to hit Tour Guide because they (Konami) were trying to sell XYZ's, which is very true - that's probably why it stuck around at 3 for another 6 months (that and Battle Pack). Now, with her going to 2, coupled with bringing Spore and Debris back and Inzektors and Windups getting hit, it just seems like XYZ's prominence has gone down a bit. Don't get me wrong, Dino Rabbit will still be all about the Evolzar plays, Heroes will beat you down with Excaliburs and Blade Armors, but you know, what decks will regularly go into stuff like Tiras, Adreus, and Bounzer? I personally like the concept of having both Synchros and XYZs be viable even though it is a bitch in terms of space lol. It makes it so you have to put more thought into building your Extra, and thinking is never a bad thing right?
I for one am enjoying this part of the format - there are no set philosophies in terms of what's good and what's bad yet, it's basically all personal theory-oh and results from testing. Is the D-Hero engine not good enough anymore? Some seem to think so, but some are absolutely excited by it. Some think Wind-ups are dead in the water, others not. Is going Tour Guide into Tour Guide, and not using Bus/Assailant at all the right play, or should we have a target besides the other Guide and Sangan? Again, I've read a lot of argument for both sides of the coin. It's these kinds of things that make the game interesting because when you're facing your opponent, you never know how much testing/tweaking they may have done or what innovation/tech they're using, and they might just take you by surprise and think twice about that decktype altogether. It opens the door for skill to enter the game again, which is a huge welcoming change. I just wish Gateway wasn't legal - any idiot kid can go derp, derp, add, derp, xyz, add, derp, swing, negate with Shien, win (etc etc). Unfortunate, because I know if I ran that deck I'd see Gateway once a match, tops, and not in my opening hand like you see kids do seemingly all the time.