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sHecKii's Take
Adjusting to the New Ban List: Part 1
September 16, 2005

Hey guys, it’s sHecKii from Team Savage with another article. This one is a mix of guideline to “succeed” for the new ban list and my ideas/thoughts on the new ban list. Today, I’ll focus on mostly the ban list itself, some new strategies, and even some of the “broken” cards for this new list. Next article will include my honest opinion on this ban list and what I believe should be included/subtracted for the new ban list. Hopefully you guys will enjoy these articles ^^

1) Recognizing the Different Metagame

Even though it’s not “official,” it looks like we’ll be playing the Japanese Ban List. The major changes in this ban list are banning of Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning, Sinister Serpent, Delinquent Duo, Graceful Charity, and Ring of Destruction (yes I know Mirror Force is banned also but I don’t think its “major”). Also, the ever popular Scapegoats, Metamorphosis, Thousand-Eyes Restrict, Tsukuyomi, and Book of Moon all got restricted to 1 and Vampire Lord returned to its Dark Crisis status.

With these cards out of the metagame, duelists will look forward to not building decks to counter Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning, Scapegoats, and Thousand-Eyes Restrict/Metamorphosis. The “Cookie-Cutter Chaos” and “Goat Control” decks are basically rotating out of our unchanging metagame and hopefully open gates to Beatdown, Machines, Mystic Tomato Abuse, Soul Control, and many other decks. Also, Night Assailant got reduced to 1 and with the banning of Sinister Serpent, discard abuse/recursion is safely out of the metagame.

So now we have to recognize the metagame. This is actually a semi-complicated process because no one can truly guess what will be the new metagame before any “big” tournament like a Shonen Jump Championship and/or Regionals. With a little bit of knowledge and a little bit of luck, we can figure out what cards will be “broken” and “synergetic” with the ban list.

• Cyber Dragon: In my honest opinion, this card is as broken as Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning. Now I understand that’s a pretty big stretch but I see so much potential in this card and it seems like it makes many cards a poor metagame choice. This is similar to when Tsukuyomi became popular; many people backed out of using Enraged Battle Ox/Berserk Gorilla, Monarchs in general and anything with a defense of 1000 or lower. Now because of Cyber Dragons, Airknight Parshath, Gravekeeper’s Spy/any wall under 2100 DEF, and Skilled Dark Magician are not a good metagame call. I have to say this is one of the key cards to think about for the new metagame.
• Creature Swap: A great combo card that can lead to amazing advantage but easily countered by multiple Scapegoats. Since Scapegoats will be restricted to 1, maybe more people will prefer using a combo card over solid removal cards. This card is very synergetic with Mystic Tomato also.
• Spirit Reaper/Don Zaloog/Robbin’ Goblin, etc...: Basically all the discard-causing effect cards. Without the possibility of discarding Sinister Serpent, these cards will be abused to a certain point.
• Enemy Controller/Smashing Ground: Alternate and most obvious replacement for the common Scapegoats, Metamorphosis, and Book of Moons.
• Royal Decree route or Dust Tornado + other traps route: This is one of the most important aspects of the new ban list. Mirror Force and Ring of Destruction are banned, which means a) less removal cards provided and b) the possibility of Royal Decree control. Now the most obvious replacements for the major traps are Sakuretsu Armor, Bottomless Trap Hole, and all the other utility traps like Ceasefire, Magic Cylinder, Magic Drain, etc... It’s hard to guess which route people will prefer: using multiple traps to replace the lack of removal cards or Royal Decree route to go against people running the multiple trap route. No one will really have this answer until people heavily test this ban list and/or look at the top 8 of the next major SJC.

Now those are just the basics (and trust me, there are more things to consider for this new banlist) but it’s a good start to Recognize the Different Metagame. Plus, if I tell you all the secrets, then what’s the point in building creative decks?! dxP

2) Adjusting to the Different Metagame

If you ask most of the duelists, the most common opening play for the “old” ban list was “set one monster, set one spell/trap; end turn.” or “set one spell/trap; end turn.” Now granted every opening depends on either your current hand and/or the match-up you are playing against, but work with me so I can explain my ideas.

Back then, you could safely assume the one set magic/trap is either Scapegoats, removal Trap, Dust Tornado/Mystical Space Typhoon, and maybe even things like Book of Moon, Enemy Controller, or even Waboku. The set monster ranges from everything from a form of D.D. creatures, Sangan, Spirit Reaper, Magical Merchant, etc...this list could go on forever but I won’t waste everyone’s time on this.

Now from the small selection of “broken” and “synergetic” cards, let’s look at Cyber Dragon. Its ability says “you can special summon this monster if you control no monsters and your opponent has 1 or more monster on their field.”

Most duelist prefer going 1st because of it’s obvious +1 advantage on your opponent and ability to use Delinquent Duo and/or any other combo cards to maximize control of the game but think “outside the box” with me for a second.

If you are trying to abuse one of the obvious “broken” cards in this format, such as Cyber Dragon, is going 1st always the best choice? Playing cards like Mystic Tomato, Spirit Reaper, Exarion Universe, D.D.s...monsters that are great for first turn summon/set, are they the way to go? Trying to guess which trap to set opening turn is also harder because you’re not even sure your opponent is playing and/or has Cyber Dragon in his hand.

What I’m suggesting and throwing out there is actually going 2nd instead of going first. Even though you will be -1 in card advantage in the later games, what if you could capitalize on the first attack and achieve control that way? Achieving board position and/or hand advantage going first is harder than going second if you eliminate the +1 factor out of the equation. It’s something to consider in my opinion; I’d love e-mails about this subject from everyone.

Also, what if you still go first but don’t set/summon a good first turn monster so your opponent cannot go off with Cyber Dragon? Even though you have Spirit Reaper, Sangan, D.D. Assailant, why not set a monster if you can’t actually deal with your opponent’s Cyber Dragon next turn? Now this is assuming that there are a lot of Cyber Dragons out in the metagame (which will be a metagame decision) but isn’t this something to think about?

I remember how everyone switched out of the multiple Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer route after Chaos Emperor Dragon – Envoy of the End got banned and even noticed people playing other alternatives like Berserk Gorilla and D.D. Assailants. I remember when Gemini Elf and Goblin Attack Force were in full force and eventually the addition of Rock Spirits. I remember when Sprit Reapers were run in multiples until Magical Scientist came out and made Spirit Reapers a liability. I remember how Airknight Parshath came back into the metagame in full force because of people abusing Scapegoats. People eventually started to play multiple Spirits (especially after the new position change rules) instead of plain effect monsters. There have been multiple metagame changes within Yu Gi Oh history due to new cards and/or ban lists; duelists just have to adapt to these new changes rapidly. To be a complete duelist, I believe you need to be able to play with any deck (from Exodia to Final Countdown) and play with any style (from aggressive to very cautious).

3) Playtesting the New Banlist

In my opinion, play testing for the new ban list is not only challenging but sometimes impossible without knowledge of the most commonly played decks. Everyone play-tests to figure out what cards are “broken” and “synergetic” but some cards are only “broken” and “synergetic” against certain type of cards/decks.

Confused? I’m basically saying that it’s hard to accurately play-test because you can only estimate what’s going to be the metagame. Cards like Creature Swap are broken if you’re going against an opponent who runs only beatdown monsters and not playing the 1 copy of Scapegoat. If you could always exchange your Mystic Tomato with their Berserk Gorilla, Jinzo, D.D. Assailant, etc...then you’ll be in great shape and a great metagame call. But if you’re playing against a deck that plays 1 copy of Scapegoats, always have multiple monsters in play by abusing Cyber Dragon, AND run their own copies of Mystic Tomato/Giant Rat, etc...then Smashing Ground and even Lightning Vortex might be the better alternative.

This is just one situation, here’s another. Let’s say you believe people will run a lot of 1400 ATK searchers like Mystic Tomato. You’ll “tech” out a Trap Hole instead of the common Sakuretsu Armor and/or Bottomless Trap Hole. If you’re going against a player who virtually made Trap Hole a dead card due to special summons and creatures like Spirit Reaper, Apprentice Magician, etc...

See the virtual problem without a good, solid knowledge of the metagame?

Now the good players who has a lot of time and/or a great play-test team/buddy will eventually figure out what cards are “too good” not to run and/or what cards are “over-rated” but for the rest of us it’s only an estimate.

4) Putting it All Together

I’m sure many duelist will enjoy this new ban list and we won’t hear about “My opponent used trinity on me first turn” and “he top-decked Black Luster Soldier and I lost.”

This new ban list is versatile because there’s not a certain deck-type that’s superior to any other deck type. For example, we’d be kidding ourselves in saying that ALL Beatdown decks were better than ALL Chaos decks. Chaos seemed to be the best deck because using Magician of Faith and Airknight Parshath were a great metagame call; its only natural to say include Black Luster Soldier with that monster line-up.

Many creative decks will come out of the woodworks with this ban list. Zombies might see more play, just like when Vampire Lord became semi-restricted. Beatdown might see more play, just like when Raigeki and Dark Hole got banned. Creature Swap/Searcher decks might see more play, just like before Scapegoats were main decked by everyone. The possibilities are endless and hopefully everyone will enjoy the “creative” stage that we’re in.

Hopefully after reading this article, you guys learned a thing or two or started to think about this new ban list in a different mindset. Remember, everyone can always e-mail me at sheckii.teamsavage@cox.net about anything Yu Gi Oh related and I’ll try to do my best to answer it ASAP. Thank you ^^

- sHecKii aka Tony (proud member of Team Savage)


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