Friday, March 20, 2015

April 1 2015 Forbidden and Limited List Analysis & Reaction

Well the ban list came out earlier this morning and the internet is quite abuzz with discussion! I'd like to talk about what I think of all the new changes and how it might affect the game.

The ban list changes, for reference:

Newly Forbidden:
Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos (was Limited)
Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders (was Limited)
Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms (was Limited)
Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls (was Limited)
Snatch Steal (was Limited)

Newly Limited:
Sinister Serpent (was Forbidden)
Tour Guide from the Underworld (was Unlimited)
Dragon Ravine (was Forbidden)
Preparation of Rites (was Unlimited)
Saqlifice (was Unlimited)
Symbol of Heritage (was Unlimited)
Temple of the Kings (was Forbidden)
Crush Card Virus (was Forbidden)
Exchange of the Spirit (was Forbidden)
Ring of Destruction (was Forbidden)
Skill Drain (was Unlimited)
Vanity’s Emptiness (was Unlimited)

Newly Semi-Limited:
Qliphort Scout (was Unlimited)
Nekroz of Brionac (was Unlimited)
Legendary Six Samurai – Shi En (was Limited)
Charge of the Light Brigade (was Limited)
Sacred Sword of Seven Stars (was Limited)

Newly Unlimited:
Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Spirit (was Limited)
Burner, Dragon Ruler of Sparks (was Forbidden)
Gladiator Beast Bestiari (was Limited)
Gorz the Emissary of Darkness (was Semi-Limited)
Lightning, Dragon Ruler of Drafts (was Forbidden)
Lonefire Blossom (was Semi-Limited)
Reactan, Dragon Ruler of Pebbles (was Forbidden)
Stream, Dragon Ruler of Droplets (was Forbidden)
Goyo Guardian (was Semi-Limited)
Hieratic Seal of Convocation (was Semi-Limited)

Dragon Rulers + Babies to 0
Well I guess the TCG followed suit with the OCG and ended up banning the dragon rulers and putting the babies back to 3. This one hits close to home for me as Rulers were definitely one of my favorite decks to play in the game's history. I mean they weren't doing anything recently but all good things must come to an end I suppose. I'm guessing Konami didn't want a potential Dragon resurgence with the release of Dark Matter. I'm not even sure if Dark Matter matters anymore (pun intended), I guess whenever we get the new Red-Eyes stuff people may want it but I know people were excited for Premium Gold 2 just because of Dark Matter, now it just gives them 1 less reason to be excited for it.

Snatch Steal to 0
LOL I guess they realized how stupid bringing back Snatch Steal was, it just doesn't do anything positive for the game and is a sacky card in general, whether it saw much maindeck play is not the point. I haven't played with Snatch in Advanced, and looks like I won't get to anyway even if I wanted to lol.

Tour Guide, Saqlifice, Preparation to 1
I lumped these cards together since these were all 3-ofs and only worked in their respective decks, BA, Qli, and Nekroz. I think this is a fair hit that hits each of the top 3 decks about equally. I mean BA has so many of its own monsters that summoning Dante shouldn't be a problem, now they just have to use 2 cards to do it after the 1 Guide. Saq provided too many effects and even had a graveyard search effect to boot, it was simply too good. Prep is too easy of a +1 and pushed Nekroz' plays too far. Again, all fair hits.

Skill Drain & Emptiness to 1
Skill Drain has been a troublesome card for quite some time even though it was only ran in its own niche kind of decks (Dark World, sometimes Blackwings, Qli, etc). I mean not every deck wanted to run Skill Drain. I actually have thought, for a while now, that all floodgate cards like these should be hit to 1 unless Heavy came back. Glad to see it hit. Still waiting for stuff like Gozen, Rivalry, etc to all get hit. Fuck those types of cards. Emptiness is a rather interesting hit- in the past few formats I'd say it has been too good simply due to the special summon nature of the game. Without it, there is potential now that Pandora's box has been opened for these spammy decks to go ham and otk. Sometimes what kept these decks in check was Emptiness, which is why a lot of people have said it was a necessary evil. The thing with Emptiness is if the game was more about the normal summon like it used to, it wouldn't even be that good. But because every deck can and wants to special out the ass, it became too good. I don't think Emptiness was ever really the "problem", it's because the game became so special summon-based. A lot of people predicted Emptiness to get hit especially after the reprint, it is typical Konami fashion to go hard-to-get reprint (5d's thing) -> easy reprint (Secret Forces) -> hit it.

Sinister, CCV, Exchange of the Spirit, Ring, Temple to 1
As far as I know these have all receive erratas and are basically shells of their former self. I should actually look them all up again cuz I'm not sure what the erratas on Exchange and Temple look like, if they even have any. I'm familiar with the Serpent, CCV, and Ring ones. Not entirely sure to what extent CCV and Ring will be played but we shall see!

Symbol of Heritage to 1
I think the last time this card saw any play was as a combo-enabler for the Fish-Trish Spam deck. With Lonefire going to 3 they probably wanted to ensure no shenanigans could be abused.

Dragon Ravine to 1
With no Rulers in the game this is strictly a Dragunity card again- this gives Dragunities something back, even if it's the 1-of field card. I would think they would need at least 2 to be a deck again but even then they are probably too weak for the meta.

Scout & Brionac to 2
Scout is the "primary" search card in Qlis and Brio is one of the many search cards in Nekroz. I like both of these hits but I don't think they do all that much to either deck. It'll certainly make Brio cheaper, and Scout wasn't too much anyway but it'll hit it a little. Rather than hit Summoner's Art which will help the upcoming Igknight archetype, it makes much more sense to just hit the themed search cards.

Shi-En, Charge, Sacred Sword to 2
The first thing I thought of when I saw Shi-En back to 2 was how happy Shiggs would be about the news. He's happy as a clam and looking for 2 right now lol. Charge to 2 definitely helps Lightsworn's consistency, but without Rulers to banish Eclipses to search and add JD's I'm not sure how that deck will transform. I could see it perhaps going back to the "French Twilight" version that we saw several years ago, but can that deck work in 2015? I think 3 Gorz helps it and Lightsworn in general has nearly all of its old cards back. With Emptiness and Drain to 1 this is exactly what I'm talking about with opening Pandora's box. Sacred Sword can probably be at 3 with no Rulers for the plusses. Now it's simply back to being a pseudo Destiny Draw.

Fire Fist Spirit, Lonefire, Hieratic Seal to 3
All of these going back to 3 shouldn't impact the game. I guess the list gives Sylvans some breathing room but I've never been a fan of that deck and it probably doesn't hold up against the big 3. Even before Rulers Hieratics had some serious punch as an all-in style deck. Again, Emptiness to 1 = more OTK potential.

Gorz, Bestiari to 3
^ Unless Gorz becomes the equalizer to circumvent the potential OTK-ness of the format. I mean at worst it stops their push and gets 1-1'd by Raigeki. And I can still hear all the GB players shouting for joy with Besti at 3. I never thought it would happen, lol. Gyzarus is still Gyzarus but I think the strategy is much too fair for current YGO. Now hopefully all the "gb format" jokes will stop!

Goyo to 3
Besides maybe Blackwings, I'm not sure if any deck would even want to run 3 Goyo. Quite sad that one of the most powerful Synchros to ever be released, is at 3, and barely has a place in the meta. I think if the Extra was brought up to 20 then we'd see like Shaddolls running 2 for sure but Shaddolls have already had a tight Extra deck and they'll soon have that water one to add.

As far as the meta, I think the most impactful change is definitely Emptiness to 1. I can already hear the cries of the game being too sacky and OTK-based, and with it I think we will see an increased usage of hand-traps to combat it. Maxx C, Gorz, and Scarecrow all have the potential to see at least increased sidedeck play. Sacking people with Lightsworn, Sams, [insert random spam deck here], etc is definitely going to be some peoples' gameplans. The best decks should still be the best decks though, and Djinn lock is still a thing, so I think there's potential for this refound hype to quickly be squelched back down once the first few tourneys are in the books. I am curious why they didn't specify an end date to this ban list, whether it being intentional or someone's slip-up. Are these changes enough for a #comeback? Ehh, again, it depends on the local scene. If these set of changes somehow brings back a whole slew of players? Sure. If a $30 Lightsworn/Twilight deck is actually viable and thus wouldn't matter how many people show up? Sure. I know the price of Nekroz goes down with Brio to 2 and the Chain reprint, but I'm still not interested in spending $200+ to play again. Between 100-200? Maybe. Less than 100? Sure. 

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