Thursday, December 12, 2013

Farewell Thoughts on the September 2013 Format

I just want to get this out fast before the new list comes out, since there's a good chance that it'll influence my hindsight. I'm going to list a few comments describing how I felt about the format.

1. The general progression of the format.

At first, we had a super-diverse format until more people centralized around the newer forms of Dragon Ruler decks. There are honestly a lot of misinformed, time-starved, or just plain stupid people that play this game who probably hadn't realized that Dragons would still be good even after the banlist, and so they switched to them as time went forward after they saw it with their own eyes. As far as Dragons go specifically, Plant Rulers, Blue-Eyes Rulers and possibly even Mythic Rulers died out over time, but "Normal" or "Standard" Rulers and Dragunity Rulers have survived the test of time.

Looking back, I think it's possible that the introduction of Dragunity Rulers created a sort of horserace that forced Dragon Rulers to evolve and adapt more than they might have needed to otherwise, helping the lead-up to several innovations like Trigon / Kidmodo Dragon, Trap Stun, and Terraforming, among others. Looking back at Edward Kuang's 1st place YCS Toronto list literally feels like I'm looking five years into the past.

Anyways, those innovations made Normal Rulers stronger to the point where they began seriously crowding rogue decks out of competition until people got sick of it and decided to get cheap in order to win. Maindecking Iron Walls and Emptiness might not have anything to do with your deck's actual strategy, but if you really want to win an event, then you have to be able to kill Dragons. It doesn't matter if you topdeck Sombre at the right moment and can't even use it because you're sitting on an Iron Wall, because without that Iron Wall there's a good chance you wouldn't have lived long enough to draw the Sombre in the first place. It's an ugly reality of the state of the game right now.

2. How did people think of this format?

How are other people looking back at the format? Well, I've noticed there are generally two different schools of thought on the matter. There was:

a. One group of players who went with playing versions of Dragon Rulers all format, lauding the format as being very good (outside of undeniable problems like Return and Sixth Sense) even if they were a bit tired of the Dragon deck. To these players, the format probably seemed balanced because Rulers allow for skill-intensive mirrors as well as the ability to flat-out stomp many other types of decks. However, if someone flips an Iron Wall and you don't draw Typhoon or Trap Stun, then you're out.

b. Everybody else, who wanted to play decks other than Dragons. To these players, the format probably seemed pretty fucking terrible because it was hard sometimes to get away with playing a deck you actually enjoyed or meshed well with. Not only are you essentially forced to maindeck Iron Wall and/or Emptiness at this point if you're going into serious competition, if you don't draw them or they get answered then you lose like you would have anyways. And if you face literally any other deck, then those cards are usually not going to be as effective as they would be if you were to face Dragons. It's a pretty rough conundrum.

So that's pretty much all I can really say about this format before the next one gets revealed. I seriously hope that Konami does another amazingly good job with the banlist this time around, although it's always very likely that they won't. And even if they do, we may still be in for a shitty format thanks to decks like Bujin. Thanks for reading!

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