June 2017 F&L List: Better Late Than Never

Kelly Locke

5/19/2017 11:00:00 AM
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When the April 2017 Forbidden & Limited List arrived eight months after the previous F&L List I was certain we wouldn't see another update until after the World Championship. Yet, just a month and a half later we're already talking about new changes that will go into effect on June 12th.

It's a shorter List this time around, and it really only does two things: first, it puts the brakes on Zoodiacs, and second, it bolsters Pendulums ahead of Pendulum Evolution.

Zoodiacs Are A Problem
The Top 32 of YCS Pittsburgh was dominated by Zoodiac hybrids. In fact, every single deck in the Top Cut used the Zoodiac engine. Most, if not all of them, were playing the Fusion Substitute combo to Fusion Summon Elder Entity Norden with two Zoodiac Xyz Monsters. The combo was ridiculously unfair, and generated an obscene amount of card advantage.

Adding Elder Entity Norden to the Forbidden List feels an awful lot like an emergency hit. Watch this clip from the finals of the Chile World Championship Qualifier, where the winner is able to stop his opponent from even playing the game. He ends his first turn with ten cards, and can easily counter his opponent's six. Something needed to be done to prevent plays like that from deciding the North America WCQ, and Konami seems to have taken the exact action necessary to stop it.

It's entirely possible that this F&L List was always planned for June. I don't want to spend too much time speculating, but it's oddly well-timed following two major events where Zoodiacs were dominant.

 Baobaboon
$1.16
$0.17
$0.05
Baobaboon131151
Set Maximum Crisis
Number MACR-EN034
Level 3
Type Effect Mosnter
Monster Plant
Attribute DARK 
A / D 1200 / 1000
Rarity Common
Card Text

If this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can draw 1 card, then place 1 card from your hand on either the top or bottom of your Deck. If this card is destroyed by battle or card effect: You can Special Summon any number of "Baobaboon" from your Deck.


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Meanwhile, Speedroid Terrortop also took a hit. Its Limit makes Rank 3 Xyz that much more difficult to Summon, and promotes replacements like Baobaboon and Predaplant Ophrys Scorpio. It's a hit to the consistency of Zoodiacs, but I don't think we'll see a shift in the deck's popularity because of it.

Fewer blowout duels and slightly less consistent starts are far from actual nerfs to Zoodiacs. On the next List I expect the TCG to take a hammer to the deck and begin to actually demolish the engine's key cards. Until then we're fully entrenched in ‘Zoodiac format' and all of the accompanying several-minute turns, 1-card combos, and obscene disruption that the deck is capable of.

Ending The 60-Card Era
The Limit on That Grass Looks Greener is a deathblow to a number of incredibly degenerate, glass cannon strategies that won duels simply by resolving Grass and beating their opponent in the resource race. In my opinion it's among the worst-designed cards in the game, and it's only purpose seemed to be temporarily breathing life into a handful of strategies where Grass acted as a win button.

Ash Blossom & Winter Cherries is slightly less important now. Don't get me wrong; it's still an amazing card, but it's not required to survive against rogue 60-card decks. Cards like Different Dimension Ground can be switched for more sides against Zoodiacs.

 Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring
$72.65
$44.47
$39.00
Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring131153
Set Maximum Crisis
Number MACR-EN036
Level 3
Type Tuner/Effect Monster
Monster Zombie
Attribute FIRE 
A / D 0 / 1800
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

During either player's turn, when a card or effect is activated that includes any of these effects: You can discard this card; negate that effect.
- Add a card from the Deck to the hand.
- Special Summon from the Deck.
- Send a card from the Deck to the Graveyard.
You can only use this effect of "Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring" once per turn.


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Believe it or not Zoodiacs might be most hurt by this change if players begin to side even more aggressively against them. There are fewer match-ups to be concerned about now, and that fact will be reflected in player's card choices.

Paleozoics, Lightsworns, Zombies, and Infernoids escaped without any new restrictions, but I'm not sure they'll be seeing much play until after the Link mechanic is introduced. Still, they are playable, and that's more than I can say for Speedroid decks.

Strangely, That Grass Looks Greener will remain Unlimited in the OCG for the time being. It's part of the reason why Lightsworns are so successful there. Grass could be a preemptive hit against Lightsworns in the TCG. There's a mass reprint of Minerva, the Exalted Lightsworn coming in July, so this could be a bit of forward-thinking on Konami's part.

Return Of The Pendulums
ARC-V was supposed to be the era of Pendulum monsters, but after YCS Pittsburgh the odds of a Pendulum deck being competitive at the WCQ seemed slim. The June 2017 F&L List is changing that by Unlimiting three key cards that are vital to Magician Pendulum strategies: Performapal Skullcrobat Joker, Wisdom-Eye Magician, and Pendulum Call.

Pendulum Magicians never had their day in the sun. Upon release they were swept aside by Rank 4-spam Performage strategies, and they only barely retained relevance once Breakers of Shadow unleashed Performage Performapals. That theme took several hits in a row on F&L Lists that were practically designed to kill them. Unfortunately Pendulum Magicians were also nerfed as a consequence. Joker, Wisdom-Eye, and Pendulum Call ended up Limited and remained that way until the April 2017 List where Wisdom-Eye Magician was Semi-Limited.

I had been optimistically anticipating the incoming Pendulum Magician support in Maximum Crisis and Pendulum Evolution. There was some chance, even post-Links, that Pendulum Magicians could be competitive as a Vortex Dragon-turbo strategy. Duelist Alliance was the much-needed fuel for the deck to work, but Konami outdid themselves by Unlimiting a trio of vital cards for the strategy. What was once optimism is now a reality.

Performapal Skullcrobat Joker and Pendulum Call add the necessary consistency to put the Pendulum Magician strategy back together. Joker searches everything from the Unlimited Wisdom-Eye Magician to Odd-Eyes monsters, and its list of potential Odd-Eyes targets has never been larger. There's no Performapal Monkeyboard to fetch it this time, but with three copies in the deck there's less reason to play Monkeyboard anyways.

 Performapal Skullcrobat Joker
$34.99
$7.06
$5.99
Performapal Skullcrobat Joker115959
Set OTS Tournament Pack 1
Number OP01-EN007
Level 4
Type Pendulum/Effect Monster
Monster Spellcaster
Attribute DARK 
A / D 1800 / 100
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

Pendulum Effect: You cannot Pendulum Summon monsters, except "Performapal" monsters, "Magician" Pendulum Monsters, and "Odd-Eyes" monsters. This effect cannot be negated.
Monster Effect: When this card is Normal Summoned: You can add 1 "Performapal" monster, "Magician" Pendulum Monster, or "Odd-Eyes" monster from your Deck to your hand, except "Performapal Skullcrobat Joker".


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A full set of Wisdom-Eye Magician lets you load the Extra Deck and Summon Rank 4 Xyz while putting your best Pendulums into play. Dragonpit Magician and Dragonpulse Magician offer the same utility as always, and Wisdom-Eye's overall utility goes up after Pendulum Evolution. There are more cards to activate with its ability, more effects to bring out from the deck, and more Pendulum Monsters to get into play and load into your Extra Deck.

Finally, Pendulum Call does a great job of establishing Pendulum Scales that can't be disrupted by Twin Twisters, Zoodiac Drident, and Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King. Cosmic Cyclone is only a threat when you don't have Sky Iris in play, but in most cases Pendulum Call is astonishingly safe. Meanwhile, there are great targets for Sky Iris these days. Baobaboon might be the ideal fit for this deck.

Like Metalfoes I'd expect to see the Zoodiac engine show up in Pendulum Magicians. Zoodiacs are still the best way to play around Dimensional Barrier, so mixing the two is a no-brainer. I'm excited to see what players come up with. What do Performapals add to the deck, and which ones are worth playing? Is Pendulum Fusion worth building around? Pendulums might be a serious contender for the NA WCQ, though I'm sure plenty of players will be attempting to Summon Supreme King Z-ARC at local tournaments.

Why Wait Until Now?
There's no reason why these changes couldn't have been made on the April 2017 F&L List. Why did Konami wait seven weeks to add Elder Entity Norden, That Grass Looks Greener, and Speedroid Terrortop to the List? They were already widely considered to be problem cards at the time, although That Grass Looks Greener was a recent release. I think this leaves us with two possibilities: either this list was planned to be released later to hit That Grass Looks Greener before the final events of the season, or this List was crafted to curtail growing trends post-MACR.

These restrictions defy player expectations. Launching another round of restrictions so soon illustrates Konami's willingness to fix problems in a format much earlier than expected. The days of waiting six or more months for a F&L List while in the middle of an awful format seems to be behind us, but what conditions warrant a quick-fix from Konami is anyone's guess.

 Duelist Alliance
$31.79
$8.74
$6.80
Duelist Alliance131180
Set Maximum Crisis
Number MACR-EN063
Type Normal Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

If there is a card in the Pendulum Zone: Add 1 "Pendulum" Pendulum Monster or "Pendulum" Spell/Trap Card from your Deck to your hand. You can only activate 1 "Duelist Alliance" per turn.


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Unlimiting Pendulum cards is an obvious ploy to boost interest in the upcoming Pendulum Evolution release. It's slightly concerning. Konami is apparently fine with letting a deck sit on the backburner until new support is released. Joker, Wisdom-Eye, and Pendulum Call could have moved up even two Lists ago. The timing bothers me as I try to guess Konami's priorities. Is encouraging purchases more important than balance? Probably.

On the other hand these changes have raised the price of Duelist Alliance. This is great news for those of us who pulled a copy from a box of Maximum Crisis. It's much easier to pull medium-value cards now. If you were already going to build Pendulum Magicians I'd recommend picking up a playset now. They're likely to go up a bit more when Pendulum Evolution hits.

One Forbidden & Limited List could have covered both April's and June's restrictions. The extra seven weeks of That Grass Looks Greener and Norden weren't worth the wait. We've been given a huge head's up on this List with nearly four weeks of the current format ahead of us. Unfortunately – or fortunately – there are plenty of Regionals between now and June 12th. Your last shot at the WCQ might take place under the current List, and honestly, I'd be frustrated to lose to the soon-to-be Forbidden and Limited cards.

Until next time then

-Kelly


Kelly​​ ​​Locke​​ ​​is​​ ​​a​​ ​​West​​ ​​Michigan​​ ​​gamer,​​ ​​writer,​​ ​​and​​ ​​college​​ ​​student.​​ ​​​​ ​​In​​ ​​addition​​ ​​to​​ ​​writing​​ ​​on TCGplayer,​​ ​​Kelly​​ ​​writes​​ ​​​​personal​​ ​​blog​​​​ ​​covering​​ ​​Yugioh,​​ ​​Destiny,​​ ​​and​​ ​​other​​ ​​hobbies.​​ ​​You​​ ​​can follow​​ ​​him​​ ​​on​​ ​​​​Twitter​​​​ ​​and​​ ​​check​​ ​​out​​ ​​his​​ ​​​​Youtube​​ ​​channel​​.​​ ​​​​ ​​He​​ ​​is​​ ​​currently​​ ​​studying​​ ​​marketing​​ ​​at Western​​ ​​Michigan​​ ​​University,​​ ​​and​​ ​​hopes​​ ​​to​​ ​​graduate​​ ​​before​​ ​​​​Dragon​​ ​​Ravine​​​​ ​​is​​ ​​Unlimited.


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