The June F&L List: Doug's First Reactions

Doug Zeeff

5/18/2017 11:02:00 AM

I don't think it's outlandish to say that literally nobody thought Konami would drop a Forbidden and Limited List in May, just under two months after the last one debuted.

People were expecting the current March 31st List to stay in effect through July when the North American World Championship Qualifier got underway. That assumption was really easy to make, since we had to wait over six months for the last F&L List.

But then, seemingly out of nowhere, we've got a new Advanced Format effective June 12th. There aren't a lot of changes: just six in total, only three of which are restrictions. But those three restrictions make gigantic changes to virtually every single competitive metagame in the coming months so they're a really big deal.

First of all…

Newly Forbidden: Elder Entity Norden
I don't think there's ever been a time when Elder Entity Norden was legal and people weren't complaining about it. Right off the bat, it obviously found its way into almost every deck that ran even a few Level 4 monsters, so that you could get a one-card Rank 4 off of Instant Fusion. This skyrocketed the price of Instant Fusion and it hasn't really fallen since that initial spike, even when Norden eventually became Limited.

And by itself, using Instant Fusion for Norden just to make a Rank 4 isn't necessarily broken. Even when people started using it to bring back Tuners to make Synchros it wasn't broken per se. As it stands Instant Fusion's only once per turn, so things never quite got out of hand, relatively speaking.

When Norden got Limited it added a new dynamic to deck-building if you wanted to play Instant Fusion. Assuming you were trying to open Instant Fusion in your starting hand you'd be looking to play three copies, but with only one Norden at your disposal there were three routes you could take: relying on recycling Norden with Daigusto Emeral, trying to win the game before you saw your extra copies of Instant Fusion, or playing other targets for Instant Fusion.

The latter never truly saw success, even considering decent Fusion Monsters like Thousand-Eyes Restrict, Sea Monster of Theseus, and Panzer Dragon. Those cards aren't bad by many standards, but they're certainly not even close to Norden level.

 Sea Monster of Theseus
Sea Monster of Theseus127337
Set Raging Tempest
Number RATE-EN081
Level 5
Type Fusion/ Tuner Monster
Monster Zombie
Attribute WATER 
A / D 2200 / 1800
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

2 Tuners

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So what was the issue? Norden's ridiculousness becomes apparent when you start using it multiple times per turn. While Instant Fusion is a once per turn effect, Norden isn't. The most common abuse of this was to Instant Fusion for Norden, make a Rank 4 to push through backrow or monster effects, and then Soul Charge the Norden back to nab a second revival. Prior to Raging Tempest, the most degenerate use of Norden that consistently saw play – unlike a lot of the inconsistent First Turn KO strategies – was with Baxia, Brightness of the Yang Zing bringing it back over and over again.

What finally brought Norden to its knees was the arrival of Zoodiacs. If you didn't see, every single deck in the Top 32 of YCS Pittsburgh was playing Zoodiacs. That's actually insane, and it was largely due to the Lunalight Black Sheep combo with Fusion Substitute. I'm sure you're probably aware of what it does so I won't bore you with the steps, but the problem was that you could now draw upwards of five cards off of just a Zoodiac Barrage, depending on how many Fusion Substitutes you ran. Substitute not only Special Summoned Norden to continue your plays, it also recycled it and gave you a free draw.

The Lunalight combo was bad from a design standpoint for a lot of reasons. If you didn't have a hand trap going second against Zoodiacs you basically lost the game immediately. Zoodiacs are already great at managing resources, but giving them five or so free cards on Turn 1 was simply unfair. Regardless of the strategic advantage, the Lunalight combo was also a strain on competitive play because it took almost five minutes to complete, assuming there were no interruptions. Maybe that doesn't sound like a lot of time, but that's an eighth of the entire match spent on just one opening play. If both players opened with it in all three games, you'd be looking at just 25 minutes left in the match for non-Lunalight combos.

With Norden Forbidden, Zoodiacs are a lot more manageable. They're not bad by any means, but they're nowhere near as powerful as they once were. Part of that is because of the new Limited cards on the F&L List, too…

Newly Limited: Speedroid Terrortop and That Grass Looks Greener
It took TCG players a while to figure out how powerful Speedroid Terrortop was. I can remember playing it in Phantom Knights for a while before Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal came out and everyone ran it in Burning Phantom Knights. That being said, once the cat was out of the bag, Terrortop found its way into hundreds of strategies.

The obvious use was as a one-card Rank 3, but it could also be a one-card Synchro up to Level 7 by adding Tri-Eyed Dice. Sort of like Norden, Terrortop wasn't inherently broken as a card, but the player that opened with it was certainly at a huge advantage.

That was amplified when Zoodiacs came out, because Terrortop was a one-card M-X-Saber Invoker. With Terrortop, Zoodiac Barrage, and Zoodiac Ratpier you would have three opportunities to go through your Zoodiac Combos. The only viable counter to that is drawing three hand traps or Maxx “C”, and that's probably not how Konami wants the game to work. With so much emphasis placed on both player's opening hands, it's no surprise that a deck as consistent as Zoodiacs would take all 32 seats at Pittsburgh.

With Terrortop gone, Zoodiacs will have to look elsewhere for so many shots at their opening combos. I'd assume that Predaplant Orphys Scorpio would be the next place people would look, but only time will tell. I think it's safe to say that it's not worth running one Speedroid Terrortop with one Speedroid Taketomborg.

 That Grass Looks Greener
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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That Grass Looks Greener was interesting from a deck building standpoint, but extremely frustrating to play against. The initial thought was that decks playing it would be inherently more inconsistent because they'd have to play 60 cards, but that misconception quickly went out the window. As Billy Brake repeatedly pointed out in his many YCS and Regional Qualifier Deck Profiles playing Infernoids, That Grass Looks Greener was more of an instant-win button in an already powerful deck.

Some decks, like Paleozoics, could play 60 cards in addition to three Grass, three Pot of Desires, and three Card of Demise. Under no circumstances should someone be able to resolve all three of those cards in one game, and yet we saw it happen time and time again. Less so with Zoodiacs taking over at this last YCS, but I'm sure players would naturally gravitate towards That Grass Looks Greener with the hit to the Lunalight combo.

Or, putting Grass to Limited could have happened because nobody likes watching their opponent mill 23 cards to the graveyard on Turn 1 for free.

Newly Unlimited: Performapal Skullcrobat Joker, Pendulum Call, Wisdom-Eye Magician
Pendulum Evolution comes out on June 23rd, and with it there's a whole bunch of Magician cards. This was originally a Structure Deck in the OCG, but was transitioned to a booster pack in the TCG, presumably to get it to us before Link Summoning takes hold of the game.

So the releases of some of the best Magician support for one last hurrah isn't super surprising. While the deck probably won't be so hot after WCQ season, it'll definitely be a force with three powerful Pendulum Magicians now clear of the Forbidden & Limited List. I don't know if it'll be enough to push the deck into Top Cuts at WCQ's, but it'll be more than enough to score some Regional Top 8's.

At the end of the day, this Forbidden & Limited List took care of some of the most annoying cards in the game today. I've seen a few casual players complaining about how Zoodiacs will still be the best deck because they don't understand how broken the Lunalight combo was, but from the competitive players I've only seen smiling faces.

To many people, I think this is the Forbidden & Limited List that they wanted to see in March, and I'm glad Konami's implementing it now so the North American WCQ isn't going to be spent watching Zoodiac mirror matches going through the Lunalight combo every round. Zoodiacs are still a fantastic engine in terms of resource management and consistency, but the pure Zoodiac deck loses a lot of its power.

It's worth noting that in the OCG, where Zoodiac Drident and Zoodiac Barrage are Forbidden, Zoodiacs are still one of the best decks, but we'll have to see what happens for the rest of the world. I, for one, have high hopes.

-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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