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Thoughts on March 2011 Restriction List

February 25, 2011

March is near, which means the new restriction list will officially kick in soon.

This is the period whereby there are tournaments that use different restriction lists.

To make life harder, Asian Championship Qualifier will adopt September 2010 restriction list (2011-02 list). Players start to prepare for the March list and at the same time prepare for the Asian Championship Qualifier separately. Anyway, the new ruling for priority will not affect the tournament. (Source: Official Asia YuGiOh Forum)

Before I move on to the impact of each change, I will start off with something different.

For a long time, there has been a rotation of staples in each restriction list. What do I mean by staples? I’m referring to cards that are powerful and can be seen in almost every deck. E.g. Dark Hole, Monster Reborn, Heavy Storm. For September 2010 list, Dark Hole and Monster Reborn were rotated out with an extra copy of Mystical Space Typhoon. At the same time, Heavy Storm and Brain Control were rotated into the ban list.

Back then I thought removing Heavy Storm for the first time was a test of its impact, and it might return in the next change. In contrary to the usual rotation, only specific deck cards are being touched on generally for this upcoming March list. Maybe the Konami team feels that the current staples are fine and should stay that way. Or maybe there are already enough changes, like the change of priority ruling and introduction of Exceed Monster. Or probably there is no particular reason for that.

With Dark Hole, players need to be careful not to over commit their resources on the field. By using all (or most) resources to summon quickly and do not have proper support at the back may lose the game simply to just one Dark Hole. However, at the same time players can afford to use their resources then use Dark Hole to come back from the resource difference. There is nothing broken or imbalance about Dark Hole being playable, but it just affects the decisions made. There are top tier decks that do not use Dark Hole at all, e.g. Black Feather. Therefore, I feel there is little to argue regarding the staples, but maybe the current choice of staples just favours certain decks.

Moving on to individual cards.

ゴヨウ・ガーディアン Goyo Guardian
This is a fresh change. It indirectly makes Brionac even more precious, as there is one less powerful universal 6 stars synchro monster. This change also promotes theme base synchro monster, whereby Goyo Guardian simply trumps most of them.

大寒波 Coldwave
It is strong, no doubt. It is important to decks that can do multiple special summons in a turn, especially when Heavy Storm is not available to clear the back row. With Coldwave, crazy one turn play is possible (e.g. Debris Dandy), and opponent can hardly recover from it.

マスドライバー Mass Driver
I’m no fan of FTK or easy OTK.

オネスト Honest
One is alright, two is strong, three is too strong. Mainly it is to reduce the probability to draw into it. When it was at three, the chance to destroy a Light-attribute monster by battle is low.

ダンディライオン Dandylion
I was surprised that it survived at two for another restriction list in September. One is the right number.

BF-月影のカルート Blackwing – Kalut the Moonshadow
I’ve been thinking how Black Feather should be weakened but at the same time playable. I was thinking along the line of Shura and Blizzard, but I didn’t expect Kalut to be the victim. With Kalut down to one, Shura is weakened indirectly. Overall, the deck is still playable, and probably non-BF monsters will be mixed in accordingly. Graveyard BF can do without it.

月の書 Book of Moon
I’m a huge fan of this card. Versatile in every way, it can be used from hand or set. Probably the only draw back is that you loss a card at the point of time when it is being played. But most of the time, the one card difference can be covered up immediately. Most importantly it stops a lot of things, and it gets stronger with the new priority  ruling. Being restricted to one may let players wish to save it for threats that can’t be solved with other traps.

六武の門 Gateway of the Six
A card which everyone expects it to be restricted to one. Nevertheless, Six Samurai is still playable as a beatdown deck. Of course, the chance of crazy opening and overwhelming resource is lower. It will now be harder for Six Samurai to come back once it runs out of monster.

カードガンナー Card Trooper
Good news to grave dependent deck.

大天使クリスティア Archlord Kristya
The impact of reducing it to two is negligible . Most (if not all) Agent Angel deck runs two copies anyway.

魂を削る死霊 Spirit Reaper
A good card. I don’t see significant difference, but probably it affects some match up.

デブリ・ドラゴン Debris Dragon
Two seems right, especially when Exceed Monster will be introduced.

王家の生け贄 Royal Tribute
Reduce the probability of first turn Royal Tribute. Fair enough.

オーバーロード・フュージョン Overload Fusion
Two seems fine.

巨大化 Megamorph
Two seems fine.

神の警告 Solemn Warning
It weakens the advantage of starting first. With three, the chance of drawing into it in the starting hand is 39.43% for a 40 cards deck, assuming you don’t use any draw engine in the first turn. It stops almost every summon, and two copies seems alright. Maybe it may turn into one in the future.

ゴットバード・アタック Icarus Attack
Mainly to weaken Black Feather. No complain.

カオス・ソーサラー Chaos Sorceror
Maybe there will be decks that built around it. Generally I feel there is little difference with two copies.

終焉の王デミス Demise, The King of Armageddon
No comment.

スナイプストーカー Snipe Hunter
It is good for some decks, but that’s it.

氷結界の虎王 ドゥローレン Dewloren, Tiger King of the Ice Barrier
Maybe there will be new FTK deck.

封印の黄金櫃 Gold Sarcophagus
Negligible.

スキルドレイン Skill Drain
Only specific decks will run three, and it’s side deck material.

血の代償 Ultimate Offering
Negligible, unless there’s a new way to abuse it.

The three main metagame game decks (Six Samurai, Black Feather, Debris Dandy) have been weakened. I’ve seen Japanese players still play the decks after the change, click here for examples.

Overall, I feel there will be a change in the metagame, and the previously 2nd tier decks may have a better chance to shine.

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