Your monsters? Our monsters! Hello Pojo Readers, Crunch$G here with a review of the Forbidden & Limited List the TCG decided to drop on us before the holidays so we can know what we’ll be ringing in the new year with. We are coming off a post-Kashtira format where Tearlaments came back to a top spot while Decks like Purrely and Labrynth have stuck around, Runick is still ran in several Decks with Runick Bystial just winning a YCS, Floowandereeze winning a YCS just before last format ended and remaining an option for this one, and we saw a boost to Rescue-ACE with the Diabellstar package finally arriving to the TCG, and Fire Kings becoming a contender with the same package and the new Structure Deck. We’ve also seen some interesting stuff to expect with the OCG not long ago banning the Ishizu millers while bringing back cards like Glow-Up Bulb and M-X-Saber Invoker, while Master Duel boosted the Dragon Rulers with Tidal and Redox each at 1 while Tempest went to 2 and Blaster went to 3, and Zoodiac getting the boost of Ratpier finally being legal in that format at 1 and Barrage and Drident going to 3. A bunch of things you could expect heading into this list, so let’s analyze what Konami decided to do and see what the format might look like now.

Agido the Ancient Sentinel and Kelbek the Ancient Vanguard

From Limited to Forbidden

I lumped them together before when they initally went to Limited status at the start of the year, so might as well lump them together again when they both get banned. Really, the only reason these two are ran in the meta is cause of a single effect both have of milling 5 cards from the Deck when they are sent from the hand or Deck to the grave, which gave Decks like Tearlaments a boost with the potential of a mill 5 or 10 to allow their combos to go off. The fact Tearlaments were still a contender after all the hits they initallly took shows the power level of the archetype with the Ishizu cards, so it was about time Agido and Kelbek took the ban-hammer. I don’t expect Tearlaments to do much of anything anymore without their easy mill 5 options in the middle of the milling they were already doing, but TCG is also more friendly to Tearlaments with Reinoheart, Tearlaments Kashtira, and Perlereino all remaining at 3, so it does have a better chance over here. Odds are super low, so if Tearlaments are done, it’ll be highly refreshing to no longer have to deal with it.

Mathmech Circular

From Limited to Forbidden

Now we get to the card whose Limit seemingly didn’t matter too much when players could just play 3 Cynet Mining and 3 Small World to search it. Mathmech Circular is an insane combo enabler for the Mathmech and Cyberse Decks as a whole for sending Mathmech Sigma to grave to summon itself just so Sigma can revive itself and Circular can search Superfactorial for the opponent’s turn for an Xyz that can rip up to 3 cards from the opponent while also getting a negate if you used Mathmech Diameter as material, which you’ll likely search in your combo to do a bunch of Link plays as well. Circular going to 1 seemed like a good consistency hit, and in a way it honestly was, but 3 Cynet Mining and 3 Small World in a Deck that can provide the discard fodder and bridges to get to Circular made it likely going to be too much in a nerfed metagame, so I guess Konami was sick of Mathmech enough to ban Circular and force Cyberse piles to improvise. You know a card is insane when Decks hope for their archetype to get a “Circular” of their own.

Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights

From Unlimited to Forbidden

The last of the four bans for this list is a card many probably could of seen coming since its inception several years back. Ever since Isolde was printed, we’ve seen several different Warrior strategies take off like Gouki, DARK Warrior, and Infernoble, with the latter having a run in the meta twice. Mikanko could also run it with their Equip Spell goods and the combination of Ken the Warrior Dragon and Gen the Diamond Tiger. The ability for a single card to search any Warrior in the game as well as summon any Warrior from the Deck just as long as you have enough Equip Spells with different names in the Deck to send to the grave is highly broken to give to what is arguably one of the best Types in the game. Isolde’s time has finally come to get banned, taking a lot of Warrior Decks down a step and she now joins the long list of Links that have been banned in the 7 years they’ve existed.

Orcust Harp Horror

From Forbidden to Limited

We now enter the Limited section with a bunch of changes of cards coming back and taking a hit at the same time, and we start with a card that has certainly spent way too much time on the Forbidden section, Orcust Harp Horror. Harp Horror is still a strong card for the Orcust archetype, being able to banish itself from grave to summon any Orcust from the Deck, that added with the easy ability to reuse a card like this thanks to stuff like Galatea and Dingirsu. The main thing is that the Orcust combo now doesn’t seem to do enough on its own, and it is fairly prone to hand-traps like an Ash Blossom, especially with Harp Horror. Sure you can get an Orcust Crescendo set on the field and a way to revive Dingirsu on the opponent’s turn, and maybe you can also use Phantom Knight cards for Fog Blades or the Horus engine for Rank 8s now, but most Decks just are more consistent and some can end on just as impressive boards. Orcust is also a Deck that can run several bricks, making it more likely for more subpar hands. Orcust might get some tops at Regionals and smaller events, the Deck isn’t bad. It just feels a bit below what is meta now, and this feels like a card we’ll see at 3 again soon enough.

Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders

From Forbidden to Limited

The third of four Dragon Rulers to be released from the Forbidden section, Redox can now join Tempest and Blaster being Limited as we still await Tidal’s return. Redox is arguably one of the better Dragon Rulers since it does support one of the better Attributes in the game in EARTH, and its discard effect alongside another EARTH to revive any monster is pretty good. I just think the Dragon Rulers are way too restrictive for their spot on the list in the modern game. The effects aren’t that bad really, its just the choice of only being able to use a single effect of each Ruler per turn that makes them feel like they don’t do enough. Redox might see play in some EARTH Decks similar to how you might sometimes see Tempest in WIND Decks and Blaster occasionly in FIRE Decks, but they won’t be what breaks any archetype wide open. I expect to get more Dragon Rulers legal in the format as time goes on with Tidal eventually going to 1 and all of the Rulers in general eventually moving to 2 or 3 each.

Rescue-ACE Air Lifter

From Unlimited to Limited

The first limit to actually be a hit to an archetype, Air Lifter is the first hit for the Rescue-ACE archetype as it goes to Limited status. Air Lifter does have a fairly important role in the Deck, mainly for being a Normal Summon that gets you to EMERGENCY! right away to float into any Rescue-ACE in the Deck, technically meaning you got 6 copies with the card. Add this with the new Diabellstar engine and you got a ton of ways to get your Rescue-ACE combos going. Now you could of argued that EMERGENCY! should of went to 1, but Air Lifter is also a good hit for being able to search for said card. The ability to tribute itself when the opponent uses a monster effect to summon any Rescue-ACE from hand is also somewhat useful, but the hit to this card mainly comes from it being the Spell searcher for the archetype in a Deck that has already recieved a recent boost in consistency even more than before.

Unchained Soul of Sharvara

From Unlimited to Limited

The next hit on the list is for a Deck that seems to have fairly high representation in the TCG despite seeing miminal play in the OCG, that being for Unchained and one of their main new cards: Unchained Soul of Sharvara. Sharvara is fairly strong, with its first effect being somewhat similar to Unchained Twins – Aruha, just a bit better since it’s a Quick Effect and also being an Unchained Soul monster for your Links. The destruction for its Special Summon effect will also likely trigger the effect of an Unchained card to help get an Unchained monster from Deck like maybe Unchained Soul of Shyama to make a Rank 6, or just anything in general to get to Unchained Soul of Rage or Unchained Soul Lord of Yama. The other effect it has to set any Unchained Spell/Trap from the Deck upon being sent to the graveyard is also great to get you to something else you can destroy to help summon more Unchained monsters from the Deck. The Unchained support was great, but it seems to not be what Konami wants in the meta, hence the hit it took so soon after release. If you were to hit an Unchained card, Sharvara was certainly one of the better choices since it is one of two Main Deck monsters the Deck even runs at 3 to begin with.

Sunavalon Dryas and Sunvine Healer

From Unlimited to Limited

Might as well lump these two together as well since they both go to Rikka Sunavalon for the same combo. Now, the Plant Deck might not of been Tier 1 ever since Power of the Elements, but it has remained a rogue option since release, especially in the European regions. This is probably for the same reason as Mathmech, where they hit the best Decks and then the next level down, otherwise hitting Plants make no sense. With that said, the limit to these two does hurt the Plant combo. You do need to go through multiple Sunavalon Dryas in your combo since after you summon the Aromaseraphy Jasmine to start healing LP, you’ll need to summon a Dryas to target with the Healer to gain LP, which is also the monster you’re summoning to start your combos to begin with. With 1 Sunavalon Dryas, it makes it harder to do the Plant combo. With that said, they made sure you really couldn’t do the combo to full power by limiting Healer, since you could summon a 2nd Jasmine and a 2nd Healer to get a 2nd search for a Plant monster, which putting Healer to 1 does settle that issue. Maybe hitting Aromaseraphy Jasmine would of been better, though there is Aroma support on the horizon. I guess this does limit the power of Rikka Sunavalon, whether it needed that hit or not.

Ib the World Chalice Justiciar

From Forbidden to Limited

We get back to the unbans with an interesting choice, as Ib the World Chalice Justiciar returns to the game. To be fair, this card is basically Denglong for World Chalice, and Denglong has done nothing in the meta, so I guess that made them feel like Ib is fine to bring back. Sure you don’t have Level modulation on Ib, but the search gives more good generic options and the monsters you summon from the Deck do have interesting combo potential. I guess right now this card doesn’t have much of a place. The main Synchro pile isn’t using Links, which you need for most of the search targets that Ib has, and there’s no other Synchro archetype I can think of right now that is competitively viable. You could use this in Dragon Link, which has been hit a ton, but it is still playable. World Chalice will love to run Ib again for their combos. It’s a good card still, you just need to find where to put it to get the most value from her.

Snatch Steal

From Forbidden to Limited

Now we get to one of the most talked about returns from this list, Snatch Steal coming back to the TCG after its one format it got to be legal again in 2015. Back nearly a decade ago, Snatch Steal was much easier to steal games with considering there wasn’t as much interruption on monsters, and you really only had 3 MST for backrow removal. Now we see a ton more monsters with protection from targeting, or negation effects that would prevent a card like Snatch Steal from resolving. It’s likely why Change of Heart isn’t that much of a problem now, and that’s arguably better due to being a Triple Tactics Thrust target. Isolde is also banned now, so accessing Snatch Steal isn’t that easy unless you resolve Hidden Armory. We also got Harpie’s Feather Duster back in the format and Lightning Storm was printed, alongside Twin Twisters and Cosmic Cyclone. Now I imagine Snatch Steal would be played since it is another card to steal monsters, plus Snatch Steal lets you keep it as long as you control it for the instances that might be useful to you instead of just Linking the monster away. I don’t think this would break the game like it did last time it came back, it’s an easy negate target similar to Change of Heart or if you’d use the monster stealing effect of Triple Tactics Talent. At the very least, we can see Konami not afraid to experiment with things after the disaster this card caused last time.

Gozen Match, Rivalry of Warlords, and There Can Be Only One

From Unlimited to Limited

Now I’ll just go ahead and lump the three floodgates that got limited together since they are played for a similar purpose, just in different Decks based on what can make use of which one. I’m sure many players don’t like having to sit and watch their opponent flip up a floodgate to stop you from playing the game, it is a highly frustrating experience. If you run a multi-Attribute Deck, you lose to Gozen Match unless you draw removal. A multi-Typed Deck would struggle against Rivalry of Warlords, and the same goes for a mono-Typed Deck against There Can Be Only One. These are some of the most toxic of the currently legal floodgates, especially in the few Decks that could run two of these or even all three. I don’t think you’ll find many players sad to see three of the most prominent floogates in the game go to Limited status, since now that means the backrow removal used on them likely means you won’t have to deal with them in that game again. Now, we could of used a Skill Drain limit as well probably, but these three taking a hit is a great start.

Speedroid Terrortop

From Limited to Semi-Limited

Now we’ve reached the Semi-Limit section for the trio that went to two on this list, with two of the three coming from Limited status for a buff, with the first being Speedroid Terrortop. I do remember the OCG tried to put Terrortop to 2 not that long ago and eventually it returned back to 1, but the game has progressed since then and the TCG has yet to try that experiment for themselves. Now, I’m sure Speedroid plays enjoy the boost of getting their main searcher back that doesn’t have to be Normal Summoned, but that won’t be where the potential impact would be here. This card is great for making Rank 3 monsters without your Normal Summon thanks to its Special Summon effect and searching Speedroid Taketomborg, and now you can make Link-2s with it as well like Cherubini for any Level 3 pile. This will go good with the new Goblin Biker archetype coming out, so a great time to try bringing Terrortop to 2. Making Rank 3s or Link-2s without a Normal Summon is strong, but is it so scary that we had to keep Terrortop at 1? Time will tell, but for now I welcome the card peeling off the list somewhat.

Dinowrestler Pankratops

From Limited to Semi-Limited

The other peel-off from 1 to 2 is the ever-powerful Dinowrestler Pankratops. This is a card I’ve seen a good amount of Side Deck spots being dedicated to recently, since it is basically another Kashtira Fenrir that doesn’t require the opponent to activate anything. The Special Summon effect of Pankratops is easy to do, just as long as the opponent has more field advantage, and the Quick Effect to tribute itself to destroy a card is still very versatile. With that said, going second seems to get a bit harder and harder as time goes on, so I can understand wanting to bring back a popular Side Deck optiton for when a player is likely going to go second in a game. This is also a nice buff to Dinosaurs without bringing back Misc to multiple copies, since this is searchable via Souleating Oviraptor and technically you could summon it with Double Evolution Pill. It would be interesting to see what Pankratops does at 2 alongside Kashtira Fenrir remaining at 3, but honestly I don’t see this being too insane to where it really had to be at 1 like it was before now.

Purrely Sleepy Memory

From Unlimited to Semi-Limited

The last of the Semi-Limits is a card going from 3 to 2, and that is somewhat significant for the Deck the card is for: Purrely Sleepy Memory. Sleepy Memory is yet another Quick-Play Spell for Purrely to summon their monsters from the Deck to get plays going, and the effect it has for being attched to a Purrely Xyz is fairly good since it’s a free draw in the Standby Phase for some hand-traps potentially. The Purrely Deck could also do an easy combo where they could draw up to 6 cards in the opponent’s Standby Phase, giving the player an overwhelming advantage. Now that the card is at 2, at most you can only draw 4 with this combo, but the hit is more significant than that. With My Friend, Purrely being one of the main searchers for your Quick-Play Spells and you needing to reveal 3 cards for the random search, now you can’t just reveal 3 Sleepy Memory and get the card guaranteed, similar to when Delicious Memory went to 1. Now you got a little bit of RNG on if My Friend will be able to get you to Sleepy Memory, which I’d say is far. You didn’t have to hit Purrely too hard since it wasn’t the best Deck, but it was prominent enough to where I think a hit was warranted, so a hit to another of their better Quick-Play Spells is a solid call.

Infernity Archfiend

From Limited to Unlimited

We end in the Unlimit section to see what Konami decides to finally get off the list, and the first card is one that probably should of came back to three a long time ago: Infernity Archfiend. Infernity is a Deck super reliant on you being able to empty your hand to do your combos, which multiple Archfiends could make a bit more of a challenge with no Special Summon effect that you could use with other cards in hand. Infernity Launcher and Dark Grepher are also still at 1 in the TCG, so discarding extra copies can be a bit difficult. Still, there are positives to multiple Archfiend like seeing it more often and not instantly losing to a Bystial when your lone Archfiend gets banished off one. Infernities are also weak to hand-traps and disruption and you really got to open a good hand to be able to do anything. The Deck does do some interesting things once it can combo off, but nothing warranted Archfiend remaining at 1, so we can finally get this card off the list.

Kashtira Unicorn

From Semi-Limited to Unlimited

We now get to a card that could of came back to 3 last list when Arise-Heart got the ban. Kashtira Unicorn is still a great card for the archetype, which does perform somewhat still, but it isn’t at the same level since the banning of Arise-Heart, and the only card in the archetype that feels like it is still an issue is Kashtira Fenrir. I don’t think a 3rd copy of Unicorn is what will make Kashtira this dominant force once again, since it isn’t as versatile as Kashtira Fenrir is. There’s really not much to say here, Kashtira as a Deck is fine to boost as long as we don’t bring back either Number 89 or Kashtira Arise-Heart, so the only thing you could do is put Unicorn back to 3 to make it a bit more consistent, especially when Fenrir likely gets the hit most feel is coming to it.

Mind Control

From Limited to Unlimited

Considering we’ve already brought back Change of Heart and are now also bringing back Snatch Steal, you might as well put Mind Control back to three. At the time this was limited, it did feel deserved since you could just steal an opponent’s monster for easy Link fodder with likely no real resistance, especially since you couldn’t attack with the monster or tribute it, limiting what you could really do with a monster stolen by Mind Control. Now we are in the same position I’ve mentioned with Snatch Steal and likely with Change of Heart as well when it came back, the card is less likely to resove now compared to when it got hit to begin with. More monsters are getting negation effects or some sort of protection, so Mind Control is just another way to bait the negations or can be dead against a monster that would protect itself from the card’s activation. Its still a good card, and I can see it still seeing play. Having more copies just isn’t something that would break the game, and I don’t even know if you’d need to play 3 of this with Triple Tactics Talent and Triple Tactics Thrust both existing for the same prupose or to just search this respecitvely, but playing the full playset isn’t that bad of a call in my opinion in the Side.

Pot of Desires

From Semi-Limited to Unlimited

When Pot of Desires went to 1 initially, many questioned it considering I don’t think many thought the card was so powerful that it had to get it. It’s likely why that very next list, the card instantly came back to 2, which was fine. Now we got all 3 copies again, which again I feel like is fine. Banishing 10 cards is a steep cost, even for a draw 2, but there are still a ton of Decks that don’t mind said cost. The thing is now, Droll & Lock Bird is seeing a rise in popularity, and either this will sit dead in your hand if you search first and get hit with Droll, or this makes a searcher in your hand or one that you potentially draw if this gets hit with the Droll. I still don’t think it’s bad enough to where you shouldn’t play it cause Droll exists, I say it would likely go into the Decks it went in before. It isn’t even the best Pot card legal in the format right now, that goes to Pot of Prosperity, which could see a hit in the future. Desires is fine at three and a solid boost for Decks that can use it, despite Droll, since this isn’t even the worst card to get Drolled on that came off the list.

Spellbook of Judgment

From Limited to Unlimited

I still remember the reveal of Spellbook of Judgment back in 2013 before its release and it being deemed one of the most broken cards ever printed. For the time of its release, it was extremely broken, that’s something you can’t take away. Now, we’re at a point where Spellbook of Judgment feels a bit slow and the payoff isn’t as powerful. For the summon from Deck, sure you can get a Jowgen still, but there’s more options than ever to take care of a Jowgen that was summoned from the Deck to where you could justify using a Dogmatika package instead or alongside Jowgen for something else to offer value. For the cards you search, you only really got Spellbook of Fate for removal/disruption and Spellbook of Wisdom for protection, which neither are great to search in the End Phase compared to with Spellbook of Secrets at the start of the turn. The Spellbook cards aren’t that bad, but they aren’t so powerful to where they can’t have Spellbook of Judgment anymore, hence why the card is at three. It’s a boost to Spellbooks that the Deck needs in 2024 more than anything.

Spright Starter

From Semi-Limited to Unlimited

Just a year and a half ago, I believe Sprights were feared to be a potential Tier 0 Deck. Fast forward to today, the archetype itself is basically at full power minus Spright Elf, which was way too generic and strong for its own good, and the archetype indirectly getting Ronintoadin hit. You might see Spright pop up every once in a while, but not to the same level compared to its release. Konami doesn’t seem to fear the archetype at all, hence why they gave them their third copy of Spright Starter back. I don’t think a single copy of Starter is what’ll make a difference for the archetype at this point. It’s great for generic Level 2 goodstuff, but the TCG just doesn’t favor the Spright archetype, hence the lack of results it has seen in recent times.

Upstart Goblin

From Limited to Unlimited

We end this list off now with what might actually be the worst card to get hit with a Droll & Lock Bird on, Upstart Goblin. Back when this card was limited, players were using it to basically run a 37-card Deck to get a bit of added consistency when they didn’t know what else to throw into the Main Deck. Now it seems players don’t even have an issue filling out the required 40-cards and some even go beyond that to get everything they want in. This is certainly a card you’d want to use after you did your searching, cause the value it offers is fairly lower with more cards in Deck, and it really stings if this gets hit with a Droll in response. It’s a solid card still for Decks that just want to activate Spell Cards and get them in the graveyard like Endymion and Sky Striker maybe, and some might even try to go back to 37-cards. I just don’t think we need to keep Upstart Goblin anymore since it really feels like deadweight against Droll & Lock Bird and Decks don’t really need to force cards into their Deck to reach 40.

In Conclusion

It’s an overall fine list, mostly for cleaning off some stuff that either could of come back long ago, or just to give some cards to try and experiment with in the modern game. Most of the best Decks in the format took a hit as well, and a few lower down also got hit just to be sure. This likely means we move into a format with Sinful Spoils Fire Kings being the best Deck, with stuff like Rescue-ACE and Purrely still being able to compete for sure. I do think the Plant and Mathmech hits were unnecessary still, but that’s just me. I’m glad to see Redox back and hope to see Tidal the very next list to get all the Dragon Rulers off. Harp Horror feels long overdue, and Snatch Steal will be intersting to try again in the current metagame. I do feel like we could of got more back, but I guess you got to save stuff like that for future lists. Overall a solid way to start 2024 more than likely.

Thanks for reading,