Hey guys! I've tried my hardest to wait longer before writing this post, but I honestly just couldn't. Here's my complete discussion and analysis of the January 2014 banlist! I'm warning you now, this will be kind of a long post. I'd also like to remind you that this is all just my opinion (except where noted or where it's just obviously not), so try not to get too upset if you disagree with something I've said.
Firstly, I want to make some general comments about what this list attempts to achieve overall. It seems like Konami's main goals were to utterly destroy Dragon Rulers, Dragunity Rulers, and a few alternate win condition decks, while also touching Prophecy a bit. I get turned on every time I think about how much Konami has to hate
Dragon Rulers in order to kill them this badly for the second banlist in a row (not literally hate,
but you get it). The bad news of course is that the deck may still be very viable if
it relies on its previous version-based cards, like the Blue-Eyes
engine, Mythic Dragons, and Plants (which is ironically aided by
Lonefire becoming Semi-Limited). All I can really say is that I hope
Dragon Rulers don't become "Tier 1" again next format.
Other goals of this list appear to include making recent decks like Bujin, Vampires and Sylvans more powerful, which is of course annoying as always. It's always hard to see the laws of this game helping to create profit potential when you're the person that gets shit on by the changes and doesn't directly see any of the money or the benefit of said changes. Don't get me wrong, I understand that Konami needs to make money and that making even more of it helps Yugioh grow stronger in the long term, but this approach always feels like a pretty underhanded way of making that happen. And even if I manage to build Sylvans or Bujin, that still doesn't mean that the changes are more logical than monetary.
I'm also not happy with how Konami seems to have viewed Dragon/Dragunity Rulers as the only big goal of the list, failing to hit other viable decks that will obviously become more prevalent now that Dragons have been severely weakened again. Think of things like Mermails, Fire Fist, Prophecy, Infernity, Geargia and Karakuri. It's strange how they managed NOT to make this oversight on the last list, but did it this time. I guess either they're okay with the power levels of those decks right now, or just want to give them a Dragon-free format to compete in before they begin hitting them again?
Small note: It looks like we're now doing a four-format year just like the OCG now, except our lists will update at different times. I'm still not sure what caused the breakaway, but I thank Konami for it every night before bed.
Before we get to the specifics, let's talk about how the list stacks up compared to my wishlist:
1. Did Konami hit win condition cards?
Like most of the things on my wishlist, this was a mixed bag for me in terms of what I wanted. Konami did indeed ban Return and Sixth Sense like nearly everybody wanted in addition to killing SDB and Final Countdown decks, but they didn't hit cards like Limiter Removal or Rekindling which kind of sucks.
2. Did Konami hit cards that shouldn't be used in multiples?
Well... as far as Dragon Ravine goes, yes, they certainly did lol. We'll get into that more later. They also hit Sacred Sword and Spellbook of Fate which I was hoping for. But rather unexpectedly, cards like Debris Dragon, Divine Wind, and Final Countdown also met this fate. I'm happy with all of these choices, just really surprised.
3. Did Konami give unnecessary help to any decks?
Boy, did they. Personally, I think Chaos Sorcerer, Mezuki, TG Striker, Tour Guide and Tenki all fall into this category. Initially I thought Lonefire might be as well, but I'm not sure anymore. We'll get into each of these more later to avoid me bursting a blood vessel.
4. Did Konami relax on any of the good hits from the last list?
Not that I can see except for Constellar Ptolemy M7. (By the way, it's a little ridiculous how many people can't pronounce the name Ptolemy. But it's not like everybody speaks Greek or anything.) But I'm pretty sure that whatever they hit Ptolemy for was dealt with by something else on this list, which would explain it becoming Unlimited again. A lot of people really have no idea why exactly this card was hit or unhit at all, including me.
5. Did Konami hit decks that aren't Dragons?
Well yeah, but not exactly what I wanted lol. I would've liked some harder hits on some of the decks I mentioned above, but instead we got hard hits on things like Dragunity, Final Countdown and Self-Destruct Button. Don't get me wrong, I am NOT complaining about those hits, but it would've been a lot more relevant to hit some of the ones I listed. Oh well, it's Konami.
6. Did Konami fix Dragon Rulers with a new banlist policy?
Nope. And while I'm not surprised that they didn't, I'm still very unhappy about it. Yugioh could be so much better if they would just use the damn policy. For those of you who don't know, my solution to fix the Dragon Ruler issue was to create a policy that simply forbids people from using more than two differently named Dragon Rulers in a single deck.
Now that I think about it, this approach would probably lead to widespread use of the Dragons as an engine that would most likely still not be fair, so in hindsight it would probably be better to make it one Attribute of Dragon Ruler instead, while also Limiting the adults and completely Unlimiting the babies. But we didn't get any of that anyways, so I guess it doesn't matter.
Alright, so that concludes how my wishlist turned out. I got some or all of what I wanted from about four of those six wishes, so that's not bad at all. Let's talk more about specific cards.
1. Dragon Ravine: When I first saw this I felt really, really bad for Dragunity players. Initially, I would've rather seen Ravine and Terraforming get Limited instead of Ravine get completely banned (Terraforming is actually really good, you know?). But now, I'm not sure exactly how I feel about this hit. I'm still empathetically upset for Dragunity (as it is a balanced-but-powerful Wind archetype), but this card has been needing to get hit for a while now, and it's probably the best way to destroy Dragunity Rulers (and hurt other Dragon decks) completely.
2. Debris Dragon: I've always been of the opinion that you shouldn't have both this card and Black Rose Dragon higher than one at the same time. If BRD is at 3, then this should be at 1. But I think the actual reason for this change was to counterbalance Lonefire's move, so that's nice.
3. Magician of Faith: Flip Effect monsters are still slow as hell, and what harm could a single copy really do? We might even be able to see this Unlimited someday without doing much harm to the game. Also, I'm excited to be able to play a card that was banned once again. It's honestly a feeling that nothing can compare to.
4. Chaos Sorcerer: I don't believe this card should be over one as long as BLS remains unbanned. I'm not a fan of Chaos decks; they strike me as being really cheap. Dragon Rulers have reminded us that banishing two cards to summon a great monster is often not a fair cost, and things like Wyverburster/Collapserpent being legal and the Limitation of Dimensional Fissure and Macro Cosmos really don't sit well with me, not to mention the change to Tour Guide. I might actually play this deck in spite of my hatred for it though.
5. Mezuki: This situation is very similar to Emergency Teleport to me in that I don't think this card will cause major damage to the format, but I think you can bust some major nuts with it at three. I really think this should've stayed at two or one. I also hate the gigantic Zombie bandwagon, but I guess we'll just have to see how this turns out.
6. TG Striker: Personally, I hate hyperdefensive decks like TG Stun, and I don't want them to gain a power boost without losing something good in return. Long story short: I'm still waiting for Skill Drain to get Limited. Come onnnnn.
7. Tour Guide: I'm really not fond of people being able to Normal Summon Rank 3s, or the boost this could give to Dark World
(which is already better now that Felgrand exists). Not to mention all of the other crappy things this could enable. A lot of people think Sangan being banned will completely control this, but Night Assailant isn't a bad card.
8. The one change on the list that pissed me off the most is of course the unlimiting of Tenki. For the love of god, Tenki should have went in the OPPOSITE DIRECTION. I am really not looking forward to Bujin, Fire Fist, Constellars and Fire Kings (as well as about 17,963 other decks) busting their nuts with this card next format.
Overall, I think this was a pretty good list. Dealing with more Bujin and anything else seems like a decent trade for the near-complete destruction of Dragon and Dragunity Rulers; at least right now it does. There are still many things I would've added, but we'll talk about that some other time. Thanks for reading!