Kelly’s Thoughts On The April Forbidden & Limited List

Kelly Locke

4/14/2016 11:02:00 AM

Spring Forbidden and Limited Lists typically cement established strategies, as competitive play gears up for the World Championship Qualifier season. The North American WCQ is a mere three months away, so it's understandable that Konami's already locking in the competitive outlook for the year's biggest events. Unfortunately it's this time of the year when the competitive landscape quickly becomes dull, especially if the new List barely touches the format's frontrunners.

Right away I'll say this much: I'm not a fan of the new List. It's by no means worthless, but it doesn't address the overwhelmingly majority of issues facing competitive play. I always look for three things in judging a new format:

1. Does it level the playing field by balancing the best strategies?

2. Does it make new strategies viable?

3. Does it balance individual cards?

Check out the Top 32 from YCS Houston. Draco Performapals, Kozmos, Burning Abyss, Phantom Knights, and Monarchs were the most represented decks of the tournament. They were easily the best strategies of last format, so how did the F&L List address them? Draco Performapals, after having been hit on the Adjusted List, lost even more cards. The restrictions directed at that deck were well-deserved, and some of the hits against it were my favorite changes on this List.

It's easy to get caught up in the massive number of hits to Performages, Performapals, and Dracoslayers. It's a great double-pass at a deck that survived the first pass and needed that second set of hits. I'd love to see more of that in the future, if only so that if a deck doesn't get hit hard enough it can be slightly tweaked again within a month or two. Imagine if the finalized changes had been released instead of the Adjusted List. We'd be dealing with Draco Performapals all the way till July.

 Emergency Teleport
Emergency Teleport115866
Set Premium Gold: Infinite Gold
Number PGL3-EN081
Type Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Gold Rare
Card Text

Special Summon 1 Level 3 or lower Psychic-Type monster from your hand or Deck, but banish it during the End Phase of this turn.

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I'll absolutely praise Konami for their systematic deconstruction of Performapals, but what about the rest of the field? Emergency Teleport's Semi-Limit is a slap on the wrist to Kozmos – a deck that's getting new support in May anyways. Burning Abyss, Phantom Knights, and Monarchs were, for one reason or another, completely untouched. Even after a new List the top decks and best strategies are almost exactly the same. Konami isn't forcing those decks to change or adapt. Instead, they've simply cemented the competitive landscape by establishing last format's winners as this format's decks-to-beat.

Yes, Phantom Knights and Monarchs are relatively new. They don't need the attention Burning Abyss needs. More changes to Burning Abyss would go a long way towards balancing the format, but I suspect the relatively recent reprints in Premium Gold: Infinite Gold are staying Konami's hand. Eventually, when Konami decides Burning Abyss has finally lived its full life, we'll see Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss finally Limited. Until then it will likely be the best deck in the game, unless the upcoming Drifting Ghost & Winter Blossom is that good, or if the new Kozmo support is truly outstanding.

Infernoids And Magicians - Defeated
For whatever reason, Konami decided not to address the top competitive strategies in the game. That's fine, assuming they help balance the format by making less competitive strategies better. Instead they went the opposite direction and destroyed two decks with two restrictions: Infernoids and Odd-Eyes Magicians. Infernoids lost two copies of Reasoning, forcing them to rely on Lightsworns to load their graveyard. It's not surprising to see Reasoning Limited; it wasn't too long ago that an Unlimited Reasoning seemed ripe for abuse. Infernoids and Kozmos played it to great effect, but unfortunately Infernoids are hurt far more by the Limiting than Kozmos.

Did Konami Limit Reasoning to kill Infernoids outright, or were they just collateral damage? Dark Magician of Chaos might have had something to do with it, but its errata makes it far less dangerous. Wisdom-Eye Magician was also caught in the crossfire as Konami took aim at a potential replacement for the Draco engine in Performapals. Its Limitation marks the end of Odd-Eyes Magicians until future support arrives. It wasn't competitive before, and it certainly won't be now that it only has one copy of Wisdom-Eye Magician.

Thanks to the April List there are even fewer viable strategies on the competitive scene. Infernoids made the Top 32 at YCS Houston, but they won't be doing that again for a long time. Whatever potential Odd-Eyes Magicians had with the upcoming support in Shining Victories has been diminished. It'll be harder for the strategy to get off the ground while only playing a single Wisdom-Eye.

 Debris Dragon (UTR)
Debris Dragon (UTR)77988
Set Astral Pack 1
Number AP01-EN002
Level 4
Type Tuner Monster
Monster Dragon
Attribute WIND 
A / D 1000 / 2000
Rarity Ultimate Rare
Card Text

When this card is Normal Summoned: You can target 1 monster with 500 or less ATK in your Graveyard; Special Summon that target in face-up Attack Position. Its effects are negated. This card cannot be used as a Synchro Material Monster, except for the Synchro Summon of a Dragon-Type Synchro Monster. The other Synchro Material Monster(s) cannot be Level 4.

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Meanwhile Draco Performapals aren't much of an option anymore, leaving the format at the discretion of Burning Abyss, Phantom Knights, Kozmos, and Monarchs. It's not all bad news though: this List takes a shot at making other strategies viable. An extra Allure of Darkness is a huge boost to various Dark themes. It's great to see it return to two-per-deck even if Burning Abyss and Kozmos can find ways to abuse it. I'm purely speculating here, but it wouldn't surprise me if the new Kozmos support just happens to work extremely well with Allure of Darkness.

Debris Dragon, Thousand-Eyes Restrict, Advanced Ritual Art, Dark Magician of Chaos, Tragoedia, and Crush Card Virus offer up new options that didn't exist last format. I don't think any of those changes will make any particular strategy viable. In fact, several of them will only directly help existing strategies. I wouldn't say that they make up for Wisdom-Eye Magician and Reasoning, but it's better than nothing.

The Precision Hits
Wavering Eyes needed to go. It decided games on its own, and Limiting it would have added too much potential for random, luck-based blowouts. Konami made the best decision possible here by adding it to the Forbidden List.

Now players are searching for new ways to destroy their opponent's scales, and debating card choices like Twin Twisters or Pendulum Storm. Forcing players to make trade-offs and think about their choices is healthy for the game, which is why I'm also happy to see that Upstart Goblin's now Limited. The minimum deck size is 40 for a reason; why have a card that Shrinks it?

Chicken Game was degenerate and should have never been printed. Everyone knew how it would play out, and nobody was surprised when it ended up in FTK decks. Elder Entity Norden's Limitation was mitigated by the return of Thousand-Eyes Restrict. You can still get away with maxing out on Instant Fusion, and now you have a bit of utility in your card choices. I'm not sure how much impact Thousand-Eyes Restrict will have on the game since so many key cards can't be targeted.

Days Since An Unlimited Dragon Ravine: ~830
Lastly we'll talk about my personal grudge. Dragon Ravine hasn't been Unlimited since 2013 – a long time in the world of Yu-Gi-Oh. The days of Dragon Rulers are long since past, and new Dragon themes seem to avoid any compatibility with Dragon Ravine anyways. There's essentially no risk in moving Dragon Ravine off the F&L List, but Konami continues to drag their feet. It's even worse in the OCG, where Dragon Ravine remains Limited.

So what does the pool of current Semi-Limited spells look like? Allure of Darkness just made its way there from the Limited section, Chain Strike remains on the List because of its potential in Chain Burn, Charge of the Light Brigade sticks at two because it's amazing, Dark Hole remains the second best field-clearing spell in the game, and Emergency Teleport was Semi-Limited on this List despite deserving a much more severe hit. Dragon Ravine's completely useless compared to those cards.

I've tried, repeatedly, to justify Dragon Ravine's continued restriction. There's absolutely no chance that an Unlimited Dragon Ravine would propel Dragunity to some greater standing in the game. The theme's half a decade old at this point and incredibly outdated. If there's a reason to keep Ravine restricted then it has to be some other factor. At first I thought the new Red-Eyes theme would keep it restricted, but those decks never needed it. I then explored Dragunity Busters only to find that it was easily defeated by a single Dark Hole or Raigeki. Now I'm looking ahead to the upcoming Blue-Eyes and Felgrand themes.

At this point it's obvious that Konami either doesn't care, or doesn't have time to bring Dragon Ravine off the list. It's too late now for the card to have any impact on the game, but for me this one case is indicative of larger problems with the Forbidden & Limited List. While Dragon Ravine's the easiest card to point to and say “There's no way that card should be where it is,” it's certainly not the only one that could be adjusted.

My hope, as usual, is that Konami's heavily testing and investigating every single card on the list to potentially bring them back. In my opinion the more options we have, the better. I'd like to see that expressed as much as possible through an F&L List that only hits the cards that are absolutely necessary, and leaves cards like Dragon Ravine alone when other themes – like Dragon Rulers – abuse them.

Until next time then


Kelly Locke is a West Michigan gamer, writer, and college student with too much free time on his hands. Besides playing Yugioh, Kelly posts Let's Play videos of Minecraft on his Youtube channel and plays a possibly unhealthy amount of Destiny. He is currently studying marketing at Western Michigan University, and hopes to graduate before Dragon Ravine is Unlimited.

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