Doug Zeeff On His 2 Favorite F&L List Changes

Doug Zeeff

8/29/2016 11:00:00 AM

After four months of waiting, the new Forbidden & Limited List is finally published, which you can check out on the official site. While some duelists aren't happy with it, I'd say the overwhelming majority feels positive about the changes. It's always a difficult balancing act trying to come up with a Forbidden & Limited List and it's impossible to make everyone happy.

For example, look at it this way: the same people complaining about Konami hitting older decks just to push new product are the ones also complaining about Burning Abyss not being hit enough. See the irony? A rather vocal minority of the players want to have their cake and eat it too, and that's just not realistic. It makes no sense to be mad about Konami only making changes to force you to buy new cards, while also being mad because they let a deck survive for two years.

Anyway, I'll step down from my soapbox.

As you've seen already, there's a whole bunch of stuff to talk about in this new list. Are Monarchs dead? Were Burning Abyss not restricted enough? Why was Kaiser Colosseum Forbidden if nobody was playing it? While those are all valid discussion points, for the sake of brevity I'm just going to analyze my two favorite changes. Let's get started!

The Monarchs Stormforth
If you dig hard enough there's actually a video of me from 2014 where I say “I only want to play decks that can use three copies of The Monarchs Stormforth.” That was right when Duelist Alliance first came out and Pasquale convinced me to play a Batteryman Deck at a Regional Qualifier. Stormforth was miles better than Soul Exchange, its only real corollary. It was non-targeting, non-destruction removal that outed some of the most annoying cards of that format, and I loved every second of it.

Stormforth wound up in plenty of decks before we ever saw the new Monarch support, usually played in combination with Majesty's Fiend or Vanity's Fiend. Tributing away an El Shaddoll Construct or Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss for Majesty's Fiend was huge, addressing a threat while preventing its effect from happening.

The Monarchs Stormforth really didn't become a problem until all of the Monarch support was released, making it one of the most annoying cards in competition in the eyes of many duelists. When combined with Erebus the Underworld Monarch, you'd have two instances of that fantastic non-targeting, non-destruction removal for free. On your opponent's turn you could even use Stormforth to tribute something for Ehther the Heavenly Monarch, ripping apart your opponent's field before it began.

As an unsearchable three-of in Duelist Alliance decks, The Monarchs Stormforth was annoying at best. But Pantheism of the Monarchs and Tenacity of the Monarchs flooded Monarch players with access to one of the best Quick-Play Spells in the game at all times, which probably wasn't healthy. It might have been a necessary evil to keep cards like Kozmo Dark Destroyer in check, but I know it caused a lot of headaches for casual and competitive duelists alike.

 Soul Charge
Soul Charge121504
Set Dragons of Legend: Unleashed
Number DRL3-EN051
Type Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

Target any number of monsters in your Graveyard; Special Summon them, and if you do, you lose 1000 LP for each monster Special Summoned by this effect. You cannot conduct your Battle Phase the turn you activate this card. You can only activate 1 "Soul Charge" per turn.

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Coming from someone who's played Monarchs for the past four months, almost every time I activated Stormforth my opponent mumbled obscenities under their breath. It reminds me a lot of Soul Charge when it was at three, except that, like I mentioned earlier, The Monarchs Stormforth is infinitely more accessible.

While I'm sure that the hits to Ehther the Heavenly Monarch and Pantheism of the Monarchs might have been enough to thwart Monarch pilots, Limiting Stormforth prevented anything cheesy from happening in the coming months. If The Monarchs Stormforth was still at three then Monarchs could transition to the old Tribute Stun strategy, abusing Majesty's Fiend and Vanity's Fiend to prevent their opponent's from playing the game. Someone might find a way to play Monarchs with single copies of the deck's three best cards, but one thing's for sure: it's not going to be the same as it was for the past four months.

Gold Sarcophagus
If you've been in the game long enough you might recall that whenever three Gold Sarcophagus were available they've pretty much always done something stupid. Back when the card was first released at the end of 2006 it was simply too good, immediately getting Limited on the first Forbidden & Limited List of 2007. We didn't have the same amount of searching capabilities as we do today, so whoever owned one of the few copies of the prize card Gold Sarcophagus was at a huge advantage. It was reminiscent of Cyber Stein and Crush Card Virus, in giving winners some of the most ridiculous cards in competition.

After sitting Limited and Semi-Limited for several years, Gold Sarcophagus finally became Unlimited again right around the time Xyz Monsters debuted. It was a near staple in almost every Dino Rabbit deck when Photon Shockwave originally came out, banishing Rescue Rabbit to bring back with Leviair the Sea Dragon. The one-two punch of 2012 was Rescue Rabbit into Evolzar Laggia on Turn 1, followed by Tour Guide From the Underworld into Leviair into another Evolzar on Turn 2. Gold Sarcophagus sped that process up by one turn, ending you with two of the best Xyz Monsters in the game.

That combo eventually fell to the wayside, but Gold Sarcophagus was back in the limelight by the time we got the Dragon Rulers in 2013. Banishing a larger Dragon Ruler like Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos with Gold Sarcophagus triggered its effect, usually getting you to the smaller version like Burner, Dragon Ruler of Sparks. That interaction basically broke the design of Gold Sarcophagus, turning what was supposed to be a two turn delay for a search into an eventual +1. The huge Forbidden & Limited List of late 2013 put Gold Sarcophagus back down to Limited status, where it's stayed for the past three years.

In this article on the European Konami website, Gold Sarcophagus is given this explanation for why it's unlimited: “Gold Sarcophagus was a key card in many combo Decks several formats ago, but the very high consistency of recent Deck archetypes makes generic search cards far less valuable, so even in its Unlimited state, Gold Sarcophagus is unlikely to see any more play than it did in recent years.”

In some ways, that isn't a bad idea. If every deck is packed with search effects then why would you bother playing Gold Sarcophagus? That makes sense. However, I don't think anyone's trying to use it as a searcher anymore; it's a combo enabler. Or at least that's how I'm going to be using it!

 Gold Sarcophagus
Gold Sarcophagus32113
Set Gold Series 2009
Number GLD2-EN040
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

Select and remove from play 1 card in your Deck. During your second Standby Phase after this card's activation, add the removed card to your hand.

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If you think back to what made Gold Sarcophagus so good in early Dino Rabbit decks, it was the ability to banish Rescue Rabbit for Leviair the Sea Dragon to bring it back that made all that difference. While I probably won't be using Tour Guide From the Underworld outside of Burning Abyss any time soon, we now have a generic version of Tour Guide that doesn't require your Normal Summon: Speedroid Terrortop. A huge mainstay of TCGplayer decks, Terrortop has been one of the most versatile cards of the past four months, and Gold Sarcophagus makes it so you can Special Summon any Level 4 or lower monster without using your Normal Summon.

All you need is Terrortop and Gold Sarcophagus, really. If you draw the Terrortop by itself it's still as good as it always was, and if you draw the Gold Sarcophagus by itself you can still get a delayed search for any card in your deck. But there's a ton of fun combos between the two cards that open up new possibilities for a bunch of casual and competitive decks. In Dragunity, you can banish Dragunity Phalanx to revive it for your combos. In Frogs, a hand of Terrortop and Gold Sarcophagus gets you to Leviair and Treatoad without using your Normal Summon or having any other Waters in hand. In Shiranui, you can trigger Shiranui Solitaire and get a free PSY-Framelord Omega in the process.

In all honesty, we're just beginning to scratch the surface of what Gold Sarcophagus can do for modern decks. D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation opens up more possibilities with a steeper cost, maybe even opening up silly OTK decks. Gold Sarcophagus might not be for every player or every deck, but I've had great success in testing it out over the past weekend!

Those two changes might not have been the biggest ones on the Forbidden & Limited List, but from a gameplay standpoint they were my favorites. With The Monarchs Stormforth Limited your monsters are safer than ever, and Gold Sarcophagus is the start of many combos. I'm a fan of the metagame changes we're likely to see at small and large events, and I can't wait to kick off the next year of Yu-Gi-Oh!

-Doug Zeeff

Doug Zeeff hails from Michigan and is currently an English major in college. When he's not found emailing Konami about why there's not a single walrus card in all of Yu-Gi-Oh! you can find him regularly posting unorthodox, unfiltered semi-Yu-Gi-Oh! related content on his Youtube channel, Dzeeff. In his spare time he enjoys eating cheese, Speedroid Terrortop, and, of course, playing Yu-Gi-Oh. Click here to follow him and his adventures on Facebook!

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