F&L List Reactions: Its Been A Crazy 7 Months

Doug Zeeff

3/24/2017 11:00:00 AM
 Comments

I get a lot of flak for it, but I'm a sucker for minimalist Forbidden & Limited Lists. Don't get me wrong: sometimes the game needs a reset button, like the last F&L List where Monarchs, Kozmos, and Burning Abyss all took huge hits. But there are many more times where the game doesn't need that reset button, and just needs a tiny bit of tweaking instead.

I know that's the unpopular opinion. The outspoken majority of players want momentous changes on every list. What I find weird about that, though, is that the same people begging for gigantic, artificially created metagame shifts from an F&L List are the people that are also complaining that Konami only hits cards to make money.

I often bring up the example of Burning Abyss and Shaddolls, because they were both released at the same time. When the F&L List that moved El Shaddoll Construct to Forbidden status came along, there were complaints that Konami was only removing it from the game to push no product. But simultaneously, Burning Abyss were still a viable deck for an entire year after that List, and Konami wasn't making any money on that old theme.

You can't have your cake and eat it too. You can't complain that decks like Burning Abyss and Mermails have gone too long without getting hit, while also complaining that Konami always destroys older decks to push new product.

The other perspective that I like to contribute is how minimalist Lists show the overall improvement of game design. Organic metagame shifts shifts caused by new releases, innovative tech choices, or reads on the competitive landscape for an event - are always healthier than artificially created ones made by slaughtering the top decks.

 That Grass Looks Greener
$59.90
$9.50
$6.75
That Grass Looks Greener127321
Set Raging Tempest
Number RATE-EN066
Type Normal Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

If you have more cards in your Deck than your opponent does: Send cards from the top of your Deck to the Graveyard so you have the same number of cards in the Deck as your opponent.


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Think about all the different decks we saw throughout the end of 2016 up until now. After the World Championship concluded Blue-Eyes decks, Metalfoes, and Burning Phantom Knights were everywhere, with a variety of rogue strategies popping up at top spots in every tournament. Then ABC-Buster Dragon dropped; a competitive trap-based deck that went against the aggressive themes of the time. From there we got a ton of new Metalfoes to re-route the focus heavily on Fusion Summoning, as well as the shakeup Toadally Awesome created by giving new power to all sorts of Water decks. Then there was a two-week period where D/D/D's finally got all their support, followed by what we've been living in for the past month, dominated by Zoodiacs, Infernoids, and Paleozoics.

Do you notice how many decks I just listed? It's a lot. And that's not even counting small, tournament-to-tournament changes like Metalfoes playing three Metalfoes Counter instead of one, or Empowerment and Brilliant Fusion ABC-Buster Dragon variants that were faster than any others. Was seven months a long time to wait for a Forbidden & Limited List? Sure, especially if you weren't playing this game back when we always had to wait six months. But there were never really two consecutive months where the exact same decks were topping every event, and I believe that shows good game design.

The March 31st Forbidden & Limited List
I'm sure you've seen it by now, but feel free to double-check the new F&L List that goes into effect next Friday. While there were thirteen changes made to the previous List, only six of those were restrictions. That's not a lot considering the speculative Lists that were floating around for months, and it's also not much compared to the OCG's recent List, which Forbid Zoodiac Barrage and Zoodiac Drident while also Limiting Zoodiac Ratpier.

The first thing that's worth mentioning is that two of the dumbest Limited cards were finally removed from the game: Majespecter Unicorn - Kirin and Vanity's Emptiness. Nobody liked playing around those cards, and there were certain matchups where either one of them could singlehandedly lock you for the entire game. Kirin's particularly annoying because of a bunch of compounding factors. Its bouncing effect, by itself, isn't too overpowered. Couple that with the blanket protection that all Majespecters have from card effects, and it becomes a little better. Add the fact that you can just Pendulum Summon it again if your opponent outs it? Now you've got something pretty ridiculous.

The Tyrant Neptune was part of an OTK that only required Instant Fusion and Neptune, a card that was searchable with King of the Feral Imps. We don't usually see preemptive moves on the F&L List, but I'm happy to see degenerate combos eliminated before they become a problem.

Next, Maxx C was the only card that got struck down to Limited status. Some people would've preferred to see it Forbidden entirely, and while I wouldn't be surprised if it's Forbidden down the road, I think the issue with it in this format was seeing multiples. Maxx C often created a snowball effect: you'd use it to get a couple draws, and then you'd do the standard Zoodiac Combo to hopefully draw into your second copy, forcing your opponent to essentially skip two of their turns. With Maxx C now Limited, there's never a worry that you'll have to push through two of them in a row. Maxx C also gets worse as the game continues, so Limiting it will affect its overall consistency.

 Interrupted Kaiju Slumber
$4.99
$2.99
$2.00
Interrupted Kaiju Slumber111188
Set Breakers of Shadow
Number BOSH-EN089
Type Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

Destroy as many monsters on the field as possible, then Special Summon in Attack Position, 2 "Kaiju" monsters with different names from your Deck (1 on each side), but they cannot change their battle positions, and must attack, if able. During your Main Phase, except the turn this card was sent to the Graveyard: You can banish this card from your Graveyard; add 1 "Kaiju" monster from your Deck to your hand. You can only activate 1 "Interrupted Kaiju Slumber" per turn.


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I don't think it's necessary to talk about Interrupted Kaiju Slumber being Semi-Limited. There were plenty of lists just playing two already, so expect to see the Kaiju engine a part of a bunch of Main and Side Decks for the coming months.

It's always interesting when we get to see a direct dichotomy of how Konami of American and Konami of Japan deal with problem cards. Like I mentioned earlier, the OCG saw Zoodiac Barrage and Zoodiac Drident Forbidden, and also Zoodiac Ratpier Limited. The initial response of many competitors was something along the lines That's overkill, and I'm inclined to agree. Gutting Barrage forces Zoodiacs to draw their Speedroid Terrortop or use their Normal Summon on the combo, and removing Drident means that the combos don't end on defense. At that point it's barely worth playing Zoodiacs anymore, but they went ahead and also Limited Zoodiac Ratpier, making its effect literally unusable.

But when people saw the only true hit to the Zoodiac cards on our F&L List was a Semi-Limited Ratpier, the reaction was it isn't enough. We still have three Barrage, three Terrortop, three Fire Formation - Tenki, and the two Ratpiers, so there's a bunch of ways to see your combo. All of the same combos still work as long as you have another Level 4 in your hand to Normal Summon, and when the next main set releases we're getting a Zoodiac Xyz that can revive Zoodiacs from the graveyard to extend your plays. If anything, it reminds me of the Adjusted List that knocked down Performage Performapals to being one of the best decks, instead of literally the only deck you could play. I think we'll see the same thing here, and I also think that we won't see Zoodiac Ratpier much outside of dedicated Zoodiac decks.

Why Wasn't X Hit?
With such a small List it's natural to ask why certain things weren't affected. I think that the two biggest ones people have been asking about on a macro level are Infernoids and Paleozoics, inarguably the second and third best decks of this past format. Both have been using That Grass Looks Greener recently to setup insane advantage for no cost, and we've even seen Paleozoics win two YCS's.

I can't say for sure why those decks weren't hit, but one guess would be that we're getting the errata'd Necrovalley on the 31st as well as all the other errata'd cards that they brought back for the new format. Necrovalley now prevents any cards from moving out of the graveyard, when previously cards were allowed to move themselves with their own effects. That means Paleozoics and Infernoids have to draw an out to it immediately, otherwise they can't play the game at all, which could be one possible reason that they weren't hit.

The other card that wasn't touched was Dimensional Barrier. Personally I hate it. I think in some cases it's actually more effective than Vanity's Emptiness because there's really nothing you can do against it once it's activated. The best out to a Dimensional Barrier is diversifying your deck enough to be able to do more than just Xyz Summon or Synchro Summon alone, but there's a lot of rogue decks like Fluffals that simply don't have that option.

Not touching Dimensional Barrier was my only real gripe with this list, but overall I think a lot of healthy changes were made and we'll see a positive impact in the coming weeks. With only four months until the North American World Championship Qualifier, it's unlikely that we'll get another Forbidden & Limited List before that event. I feel that by the time we get to July there will absolutely need to be some more changes to Zoodiacs, so I'm hoping we might actually see a few more adjustments before that tournament.

-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 Yu-Gi-Oh! content on his Youtube channel, Dzeeff. In his spare time he enjoys eating cheese, Overwatch, and, of course, playing Yu-Gi-Oh. Click here to follow him and his adventures on Facebook!


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