Sunday, July 6, 2014

In-Depth July 2014 Banlist Discussion

It's been a little while since the news became official, so here's my detailed opinion of the latest banlist. If you need to review the list, you can see it here. Spoiler alert: it sucked.

The first thing that needs to be addressed is the fact that nothing got banned. Even for a person like me who is very conservative when it comes to list philosophy, I feel like the decision to ban nothing was not a completely terrible one. While I do feel that there are usually always cards that you can make a very good argument to ban, the fact is that very few of them are competitively relevant right now. In fact, the only one that I can really think of is Judgment Dragon. So missing one card isn't really the end of the world, but it is troubling seeing as Konami has never banned (or even limited? Not sure) Judgment Dragon before. It's kind of scary to think that these people may actually consider this card fair enough to be played, or that outside factors have had enough influence to keep them from banning it.

Next, we move on to things that actually got changed, of which there aren't many.

Personally, I feel like Goyo Guardian was unbanned for two distinct purposes. Firstly, the 5D's Legendary Collection will be out on October 24, and since Goyo hasn't had a reprint in a while, legalizing it should be able to help the set sell a little better since a reprint there is obvious. But that raises a certain question: Why exactly does Konami need to bring Goyo back now when another banlist will become legal on October 1? Wouldn't the hype for his reprint be a lot sharper if they legalized him merely 23 days beforehand as opposed to a few months? Well, look at the rest of the list. This is only my speculation, but I think Goyo Guardian was brought back earlier than necessary because they knew that this list would be an incredibly boring piece of crap and needed something to make it more exciting. So... great? Great in that they at least care enough to not make a list that's completely useless.

As far as the actual card itself, I don't think Goyo is quite as broken as he used to be, so it's very possible that little harm will be done from bringing him back. Not only is he incompatible with Soul Charge and needs to attack to get his effect off, but there's also the fact that both of the cards that got unlimited happen to counter him well. I guess we'll just have to see.

Next, we have Geargiagear. This is a pretty obvious and good choice for a Limitation. As a testament to how incredibly bad this list is, notice how this is literally the ONLY CARD that moved down in legality as opposed to moving up. In other words, only a single 'problem' from this entire format was remedied, and everything else on this list is fluff to make it appear as if they didn't totally waste the format change.

Now we're moving on to Semi-Limits. Magician of Faith was an obvious choice since the card honestly seems to be too slow for modern gameplay. Unless somebody figures out some killer use for it, it could most likely become unlimited without causing any problems, and I'm not really sure why Konami hasn't just done that yet. I think it's funny how they're so careful not to "ruin the game" by unlimiting Magician of Faith, of all things.

Formula Synchron could possibly help the 5D's LC release a little bit, but overall this doesn't seem like a big cash grab. It's just a boring little card that probably won't make any big difference despite rising on the list. I'm not sure what good reason they had to move it, but it's still nice to see cards moving from positions they don't currently deserve.

Reinforcement of the Army is a big change that has far-reaching implications, most of which I haven't even thought of yet. Some of the big impacts will probably be with decks like Lightsworn, Evilswarm, and, of course, Noble Knights and Heroes. Thus, this change seems like an obvious cash grab when you consider the impending releases of the Noble Knights box set and the Hero Strucutre Deck. It's also pretty damn uncool to see "easyplay" decks like Six Samurai and Evilswarm getting a boost. All in all, I hate this change.

Finally, the two Unlimited cards on the list are Dimensional Prison and Mirror Force. Much of the playerbase has found battle traps to be mediocre or even flat-out unplayable for a long time now, but I personally don't think that means you should be legally allowed to play this much of them. This amount of attack defense just doesn't need to be legal in my opinion, partly because a) somebody could always find a deck that they go great in, and b) bad players will still jump on it, often without being punished enough for their bad choices to even realize that they are bad choices.

For a short comment on things that didn't make it on the list: I was very surprised that nothing in Dragons of Legend got hit, especially considering that some of those cards (cough, Hands) seem to directly conflict with Konami's own stated list philosophy. [ "But these Level 1 Plant Tuners and their supporting cards (Spore, Glow-Up Bulb, Dandylion, Lonefire Blossom, and One-for-One) were causing a large number of decks to be played exactly the same. It was reaching a point where deck construction started with these 5 cards, then you added more cards on top of that base. (Sound familiar? It’s similar to what we described at the start of this article….) And that’s the point where we have to step in and take action."] I don't know if they either forgot about that philosophy, changed their minds, or flat-out just don't care anymore, but I think Fire Hand and Ice Hand have definitely been played in enough decks to warrant near-staple status at this point. And isn't that the point where you guys have to "step in and take action"?

I seriously thought that the cards in Dragons of Legend were pumped up in power as a blatant cash grab and that a few of them would be toned down soon afterwards, but I guess not. Not on this list, at least. I still wouldn't be surprised to see Fire/Ice Hand and Soul Charge on a future list, especially considering that it's the right thing to do. I'm also relatively surprised that Bujin didn't get hit, but hey, that's a day in the life of a certified Konami pet deck. What's really scary about this is now that Bujin has taken a hit to its popularity as of late, this could possibly be useful to Konami as an excuse not to hit the deck for even longer. Which would be incredibly uncool.

And that's pretty much it for my analysis. I'm definitely no more convinced about getting back into local tournaments (or playing at all) now that this is the confirmed list, and I really, really hope that these "tweak lists" aren't going to be the norm from now on and that we'll never have big changes ever again. It's very possible that this list avoided making many big changes due to the rule changes that will definitely be responsible for shaking up the game, as well as the impending release of DUEA, but they had a similar excuse last time with the approaching release of PRIO and it's still really discouraging either way. You gotta love how Konami seems to understand how fundamental it is to excite the playerbase when it comes to releasing powerful new cards, but not when it comes to changing the status quo of what decks are being played. At least, not anymore. Anyways, thanks for reading guys.

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