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Leon’s South Wall Corner Club
Leon vs. napay Crossfire

September 13, 2005

Welcome to an article I’m sure might have caught your eye on the main page. Technically, this is another edition of the South Wall Corner Club, but it is also drastically different. This article is not only my own work but a collaborative effort between myself and a friend of mine by the name of notasperfectasyou.  

It would do best to start from the beginning to thoroughly introduce the topic. Ken sparked my initial interest by suggesting we do an online debate. In a debate opposing sides discuss and defend different stands on a certain topic. These may or may not be your actual views but they are the case to which you were assigned. Truthfully, I was interested and thought many people that would visit the site would be interested as well. It would be, basically, two featured writers battling it out intellectually. Each case will be stated and defended by us, then an online poll would be set up in which you, the reader, could cast your vote for the winner. 

But what to do this on. The answer came quickly when Ken searched the message boards and discovered this post by UDE representative Kevin Tewart: 

Here's some news to keep everybody in the loop on the upcoming Forbidden List.

As you may be aware, Asia changes their Forbidden/Limited List on March 1 and
September 1. We change ours on April 1 and October 1, 30 days after Asia. This is
because we want to give people more time to prepare changes to their decks,
rather than just a few days' notice.

In Asia, the new September 1 list is currently beginning distribution. The first
place that the information will appear is in publications produced by the Jump
magazine group. Konami will be putting the list up on their web page after the
Jump magazines are in full circulation in Asia, since the Jump magazines get
first dibs on this information.

Over the past couple months, UDE has been in extensive contact with Konami
regarding the Forbidden List. We have been aware that A LOT of players here were
not happy with the current list, and we've been beating Konami over the head
with that, like a big manga mallet.

In the end, after extensive discussions (and far too many nights of Kevin working
until 3 AM), Konami agreed to implement several (but not all) of our suggestions.
If you take a look at the new Asian list (which you can find through
yugioh-card.com in a couple more days), you might be surprised at the extent that
it goes towards curbing some of the more... shall we say, troublesome, elements
of the game we've seen. We were very happy that Konami was receptive to our
points regarding several cards.

HOWEVER, some of the things that we've been discussing with Konami are the
significant differences between the Asian game environment and the environment
everywhere else. There are many cards available in Asia (mostly promo cards)
that are not available here yet. This has a huge impact on which cards are
powerful and which cards are not so powerful. Also, play styles are incredibly
different. There are decks used here that Asian players have never seen before,
and vice versa.

Rather than have the UDE play environment dictate the Asian Forbidden
List, and rather than have the Asian play environment dictate the Forbidden List
in the rest of the world, we may be moving to a system where there are separate
Forbidden/Limited Lists for Asia vs. Americas/Europe/AUS&NZ.

What this means is that we're discussing a situation where some cards might be
Forbidden in Japan but still legal here, or vice-versa. Or something might
be Limited here, but still allowed in 3's in Japan. You get the idea.

Another important element is the Traditional Format, which does not exist in Asia.
Konami may want to allow certain cards again so that players can blow the dust
off of them and pull them out of their binders in order to play with those cards
again. For us this is not a concern, since all cards are usable in Traditional
Format, so we’re not keen on allowing some cards back into Advanced Format just
for the sake of having them playable again. In this respect, Traditional Format is
sort of our "safety valve", one which Asia does not have access to.

This is all still under discussion. We're hoping to get it all settled in the next
week or two. Fortunately, since our list doesn't go into effect until October 1
anyway, we have a little bit of a buffer zone with which to work this all out.

Our goal is to have a fun and exciting game environment. Konami's goal is exactly
the same. If different Forbidden/Limited Lists in different areas will help
promote this, then that is what we will do.

In the mean time, please sit tight. It's gonna be a wild ride.

Kevin Tewart
Game Designer
UDE Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG R&D Lead
Upper Deck Entertainment

True to the promise by Kevin mere days after this post we were first leaked information on the newest changes to the Asian list. Do not forget the rest of the announcement though. Kevin is talking about moving to a system in which Asian and American/European lists could actually be drastically different. In this debate I will be taking the side in saying this is a huge mistake. The Yu-Gi-Oh! Banned and Resticted list should not be any different because of region. The complications would be unnecessary and it will create an environment increasingly difficult to play in. 

We first have to consider the true differences between the Asian OCG and American/European TCG. YGO is a manga originally produced by a Japanese magazine Shonen Jump. Rights to produce a card game reflective of the manga were sold to Konami. A new game was born among Asia. Naturally, both the manga and the card game made there way to our shores. Konami would keep the main rights, but the production and distribution of English cards were to be left in the hands of an organization well known for producing trading cards - Upper Deck Entertainment. Why is this important? We can see that from Day 1 in this game’s birth a couple of things occur. First, a natural  lag was established in formation between Asian and English cards. This lag occurs even to this day. The OCG will always have access to the newer sets and promotional releases before we will. In essence this means that Asian players will always be involved in a more “evolved” game then we are due to a naturally greater card pool. Second, while only one industry was involved in producing and shipping out Asian cards, two separate industries must work together and agree before any card reaches our shores. This means that many cards shipped out directly through Konami never made the cutting room at UDE and hence never saw English print. 

What I am trying to say by all this is that the differences, while apparent, are not severe enough to carry on with two separate standards. Let us take an example. Makyurka the Destroyer was a card known for a long time among the OCG population. It proved a significant problem to that particular audience due to the OTK potential it possessed with Reversal of Worlds (Exchange of Spirit). Hence, a ban was placed upon it in both regions. Due to the lag difference OCG players could justifiably breath a sigh of relief while TCG players were left scratching their heads (since, coincidentally, we had JUST gotten it for ourselves from DB1).  

My opponent may try and argue that this is a real difference worthy of separate lists - OCG players have their problems resolved and we get to play with a new card. 

I would suggest that such a point of view would be terribly short sighted. It was only a lag difference that was presenting the differing stances on the card. Most of us have suspected (and now we know) that Exchange of Spirit must eventually come over to our shores. What happens now? With identical lists a huge problem would have been prevented. In essence we know and assess the situation correctly by observing the Asian market - taking advantage of the lag difference. Having separate lists in this case would have almost seemed irresponsible. UDE would have surely known the problem to be there and done absolutely nothing to prevent it.  

That being said if there were, indeed, separate lists we would see much more frequent updates of our own and the general interest in the market would drop. The game would just become a bit too hard for the target constituency to follow. The OCG would first view an emerging, broken, and overpowered deck due to the unique combination of cards the did not foresee.  Dealing with the problem they would update their lists. TCG list would not change because a) the full card combination was not released yet, b) it has not been discovered here, or c) it is still too new to be a problem. Can you see the complications that arise - especially if the situation is b or c. 

What I am trying to get you to see is that the natural situation of lag differences creates a gaming environment I call the Mirror Effect. When new cards are released in one area people will play test with them and start getting ideas and making new things work with them. Eventually they may evolve that into something winning. Then that may evolve into something that consistently wins. Others will want a bit of the action too and will start going with, what they feel, is the best chance of winning - running this particular card or deck type. In another region people may not have those cards yet, but they are not stupid. The YGO consumer is well informed. He scouts for the insider information on what works best. So now, if the new cards are released, the population does not “rediscover” it all over again. They knew all about it and waited for the day those cards are legal and waited for the day they could construct the deck themselves. In essence, instead of slow growth of the metagame we in the English meta will have quick changes alternating with a period of stalemate. 

That is what our environment is like now. Unlike Asia, who has time to discover new and exciting things slowly, we stick with what we already know through observation as the best and just wait. Just wait until new releases and then jump ship at the speed of light. Did no one see the huge metagame shift brought about by just one tiny battle position rules change? Imagine how it could change with any exciting new releases. 

If we hold this theory to be true you can all see what a colossal waste of time having differing ban lists would be. All of the decks Asia built we will build as soon as we can. All of the problems Asia faced we will face too if unchecked. If the same problems surface the same solutions must be applied, right? So, eventually, if we had differing lists they would indeed be the same, just staggered in the changes. Now we go back to irresponsibility. Konami could be justified in the problems they create in the game. They cannot predict how powerful certain cards could be together and must deal with the problems as they come. We can see those problems even though they do not exist with our environment. How irresponsible would UDE be to do nothing preventive about it? 

Another argument my opponent may make is that Asia does not have a traditional format, so the changes in their list may involve circulating cards back in to give them some worth. That would be something we would not agree with so differing lists would seem the best. No. A better answer is so simple we should smack Konami over the head with it. You do not have traditional? Get it! There is no reason not to. 

In case I could not thoroughly press my argument let us not forget about the interrelationship that occurs between the two regions during the annual World Championship. You cannot have two different standards being played at the same table. That would be a fiasco. The options would then have to be one side adopts to the other or both sides adopt to some twisted hybrid of the two. Regardless of which you would not be being fair to the individual players. These players, who have worked so hard and overcome so many obstacles to get where they are, will be cheated. They will be forced to change and learn a new deck in a ridiculously small period of time and possibly face an opponent with months of play testing under their belt.  

Skewed results = Cheated and disgruntled players = I quit YGO = We all lose. 

In closing, YGO is supposed to be fun. Bottom line. People first take an interest and then are supposed to have fun with it. Being fun is the reason why we all (yes, ALL of us) play this game and buy the product. When you start adding unnecessary complications and twisting around what you can and cannot play at unnecessary frequency then guess what? The game stops being fun. 

Thank you all for taking the time to read this debate. I thoroughly invite you to read the opposing side of the argument in napay’s Daddio Dueling Den. I have nothing but respect for the man and love his work. I then invite you all to participate in the online poll that Pojo will, hopefully, have up to cast your votes. Thank you all. Until next time. 



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