Returning Favorites On The F&L List

Kelly Locke

9/19/2017 11:02:00 AM

I love Forbidden & Limited List announcements. It's an exciting time for theorycrafters, deck builders, and everyone else who's looking forward to playing strategies that were previously crushed by the top decks of the previous format. Not all F&L Lists are equally exciting. I've criticised Lists from earlier this year for doing too little and not effectively reducing the power of top strategies. The shape of competition since Raging Tempest hasn't changed much even with the addition of True Dracos, and it was past time for a major shakeup.

The TCG has finally delivered on a major F&L List with a highly effective set of changes that, in some cases, pulverize the most competitive strategies in the game. Zoodiacs, True Dracos, and True King Dinosaurs were targeted directly with heavy restrictions on crucial cards: Zoodiacs lost their two best Xyz monsters, True Dracos saw their monster line-up crippled, and True King Dinosaurs were robbed of their ideal opening plays.

But before we get too far into the implications for the competitive scene I want to first address the one change that had friends messaging me online immediately: the return of Dragon Ravine to the Unlimited List.

Dragon Ravine Is Back - And It's Not Alone
I played Dragunity heavily from 2011 to 2013, but at the start of 2014 my adventures with the deck came to a halt. Dragon Rulers had inadvertently landed Dragon Ravine on the Forbidden List – effectively killing Dragunity as a strategy. It remained Forbidden for over a year before finally returning to the game on the same F&L List that destroyed the Dragon Rulers once and for all. Dragon Ravine moved down the List again a few months later to Semi-Limited, where it remained until this week, over two years later.

Did Dragon Ravine need to sit on the Semi-Limited List for two years? Of course not. Blue-Eyes players flirted with it for a brief moment but never came close to abusing it. Ironically, there's never been a better argument to keep it on the List than an upcoming monster in Circuit Break. Destrudo, the Dead Drake of Dead's an extremely powerful Tuner that works wonderfully with Dragon Ravine's send-to-the-graveyard effect. You can Summon Destrudo by targeting a monster, then Synchro Summon Ancient Fairy Dragon. What makes Dragon Ravine ideal here is the fact that it's a Field Spell, so Ancient Fairy Dragon can destroy it to search out Union Hanger. It's a potent play in OCG ABC-Dragon Buster decks, though it's not ubiquitous.

So, it's finally back. I don't have any illusions about the competitiveness of Dragunity in this upcoming format. Yes, there are some fun combos with Firewall Dragon out there on the Internet, but Dragon Ravine's return to Unlimited status seems to be a move to promote Destrudo rather than any kind of mercy to Dragunity. As much as I'd love to see another piece of Dragunity retro support show up I can't imagine it happening anytime soon.

 Trickstar Reincarnation
Trickstar Reincarnation139241
Set Code of the Duelist
Number COTD-EN068
Type Normal Trap
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

Banish your opponent's entire hand, and if you do, they draw the same number of cards. You can banish this card from your GY, then target 1 "Trickstar" monster in your GY; Special Summon it.

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Dragon Ravine's escape from the F&L List draws attention to the good and the bad on this List. Debris Dragon and Summoner Monk were long overdue moving to unrestricted status, and the new erratas on Rescue Cat and Witch of the Black Forest make them unworthy of limitations. They're just not good enough to warrant restrictions. Charge of the Light Brigade, Wavering Eyes, Honest, and Rescue Rabbit seem to be positioned to promote existing strategies. Twilightsworns, Pendulum Magicians, Trickstars, and World Chalice all stand to benefit from those changes.

There are still plenty of cards on the List that could easily be loosened from their bonds with zero impact on the game. Very few people will play Neo-Spacian Grand Mole in the current competitive environment whether it's Limited or Unlimited. How about Night Assailant? Both cards could easily move down the List, and I'm sure there are more undeserving of their current placement.

A handful of cards didn't make it off the List, but they did drop to Semi-Limited. All of them transitioned from Limited to Semi-Limited, and each was greatly underplayed considering their prior status. Of note, Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer and the entire Pendulum Draco engine is much weaker now under Link rules. Brain Control has new errata, Mathematician is likely too slow these days, and El Shaddoll Fusion is fine at two per deck as long as El Shaddoll Construct remains Forbidden. Burial From a Different Dimension's very interesting with Infernoids, and I think that's one deck to watch for in the upcoming format.

Zoodiacs And True Dracos - Good Riddance
The most important changes on this List are the hits to Zoodiacs, True Dracos, and Dinosaurs. They were a long time coming, particularly for Zoodiacs, and I don't think anyone was surprised that those decks were hit. There were multiple waves of increasing restrictions on Zoodaics in the OCG that we've apparently skipped. Whether those decks are dead for good is still a point of debate. Zoodiacs returned from the grave at least once in the OCG.

True Dracos were allowed to keep Dragonic Diagram, but the loss of a key monster will reduce their consistency tremendously. I think the deck's still very playable going forward, especially with a few True Kings thrown into the mix. Mariamne, the True Dracophoenix could be a major player in a Wind-focused True Draco strategy supported by Waterfall of Dragon Souls. Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King remains incredibly powerful and can win duels on its own.

Dinosaurs are still playable under this List too. Souleating Oviraptor, Fossil Dig, and Ultimate Conductor Tyranno remain Unlimited, and even with one Miscellaneousaurus there's room to expand the deck's options with a Rescue Rabbit engine. It might even be worthwhile to reuse Miscellaneousaurus with the newly Semi-Limited Burial From a Different Dimension. Dragonic Diagram is still around, but the card you search may end up being dead weight. Another True King could still trigger Babycerasaurus or Petiteranodon with a few added tech choices.

The loss of Denglong, First of the Yang Zing is a huge blow for dedicated Yang Zing players. Denglong should have never been printed with generic material requirements, and unfortunately it's Yang Zing players that have to pay the price for Denglong's abuse in Dinosaurs. Overall it's a solid hit that destroys an obnoxiously powerful opening play, but I can't help wonder if there was another way to manage that problem.

Wavering Eyes Makes Pendulum Mirrors Absurd
After Clash of Rebellions Pendulum mirror matches came down to whoever could fully resolve their copy of Wavering Eyes first. If you could clear out four Pendulums you'd net a +2 in card advantage while searching another copy of Wavering Eyes. Activate it again and – you guessed it – another +2 was on the way. When both players are using Pendulum strategies and maxing out on Wavering Eyes the game devolves into a race to the only card that matters and the first player to resolve their copy usually wins.

I was so happy to see Wavering Eyes hit the Forbidden List in 2016 so I'm disappointed that it's returning. I think it's degenerate and poorly designed, but I understand why it's back. Konami is attempting to support Pendulums by giving them a card they can use to search out key Pendulum monsters in addition to triggering the effects of cards that activate when destroyed in the Pendulum Zone. You're less likely to run into a Pendulum mirror match than you were in early 2016, but the danger is still there. Nearly every Pendulum strategy will have to run their own Wavering Eyes to counter their opponent's, and that reduces build diversity across many different themes and strategies.

 Firewall Dragon
Firewall Dragon139207
Set Code of the Duelist
Number COTD-EN043
Type Link/Effect Monster
Monster Cyberse
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 2500 /
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

2+ monsters
Once while face-up on the field (Quick Effect): You can target monsters on the field and/or GY up to the number of monsters co-linked to this card; return them to the hand. If a monster this card points to is destroyed by battle or sent to the GY: You can Special Summon 1 monster from your hand.

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Konami did tackle degeneracy with their hit to Grandsoil the Elemental Lord. Grandsoil fueled numerous OTKs and FTK's, and the latest Dinosaur OTK was apparently the breaking point. Firewall Dragon played a role in Grandsoil's long overdue departure from the game, and I have to wonder if Firewall Dragon itself will be on the chopping block in the future. Any monster effect that returns cards to the hand without a hard once-per-turn clause can be abused, but with Grandsoil gone there are far fewer insane combos at our disposal.

This Forbidden & Limited List is astonishingly similar to earlier OCG Lists. It's a step in the right direction with lots of changes, major housekeeping for cards that can move down the List, and aggressive restrictions on top strategies. It's the end of an era for the Zoodiac and True Draco engines, and that may be the most important change here; it's no longer possible to simply toss Zoodiac Barrage into various strategies and see them improve immediately. Dragonic Diagram has lost some of its appeal too, and even the Kaiju engine's been slightly toned down.

There are still other engines easily splashed into decks that are lacking in one area or another. Blackwing - Gofu the Vague Shadow and Brilliant Fusion remain untouched, while Rescue Cat and Rescue Rabbit might give rise to new engines thanks to Rescue Ferret and Emerging Emergency Rescute Rescue. Lightsworn engines are also improved with a third Charge of the Light Brigade, and Windwitches are still very powerful. Best of all, you no longer need to build your decks with the expectation of facing a Turn 1 Zoodiac field.

Kozmos, Infernoids, Invoked Windwitches, and Trickstars may end up taking center stage next month. Pendulum Magicians and new builds of True Dracos and Dinosaurs should also make appearances. ABCs are on their way to the top of the competitive scene with Destrudo coming in November. It's a great time to be a deck builder, as long as you weren't too attached to the Zoodaic engine.

Until next time then


Kelly​​​ ​​​Locke​​​ ​​​is​​​ ​​​a​​​ ​​​West​​​ ​​​Michigan​​​ ​​​gamer and writer.​​​ ​​​​​​ ​​​In​​​ ​​​addition​​​ ​​​to​​​ ​​​writing​​​ ​​​on TCGplayer,​​​ ​​​Kelly​​​ ​​​writes​​​ a ​​​​​​ personal​​​ ​​​blog​​​ ​​​ ​​​covering​​​ ​​​Yugioh,​​​ ​​​Destiny,​​​ ​​​and​​​ ​​​other​​​ ​​​hobbies.​​​ ​​​You​​​ ​​​can follow​​​ ​​​him​​​ ​​​on​​​ ​​​​​​ Twitter​​​ ​​​ ​​​and​​​ ​​​check​​​ ​​​out​​​ ​​​his​​​ ​​​​​​ Youtube​​​ ​​​channel​​​ .​​​ ​​​​​​ ​​​He​​​ ​​​also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.

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