Approving the July 2022 OCG List

Published 5 months ago by Therarely Article Views 4,332 Comments 1 Estimated Reading Time 15 minutes

We have reached the middle of the year! While we refresh the OCG format for the next three months, I will take this opportunity to determine what we can expect for the future. To the American readers, our format may seem wild to you, but hold on to your Maxx "C"s! This article may help your debates about this foreign format with different limits.

This article will assess the meta prospect for the next three months. I will attempt to break down the several impacts with my experience from the current metagame.

As a final disclaimer, this is about the OCG July 2022 Ban List. Several banned TCG cards like Orcust Harp Horror and Thunder Dragon Colossus are free here.

You can read my previous banlist articles here:
January 2022 / April 2022

July 1st, 2022 Limit Regulations

FORBIDDEN

LIMITED

SEMI LIMITED

UNLIMITED

Understanding the Current OCG Metagame

This picture depicts the 3 – 8 June Metagame. It is not an exact accurate representation of the current OCG Meta.

Frog Splight has almost solidified its status as Tier 0 in the OCG. This deck is able to establish Toadally Awesome under multiple interruptions and still put up multiple negations in return. This hyper-consistent style has allowed Splight to dominate all of their opponents. If anything, Splight is almost always guaranteed to play through any other board.

Naysayers will argue that the upcoming competitor Tearalaments are just as oppressive, while taking a slightly smaller cut of the pie. Tearalaments is a Fusion-based strategy that promises fusion summonings through monster effects from the GY. Due to the ever growing arsenal of Fusion Monsters, Tearalaments have many variants to rely on to combat our level 2 overlords. The rest of the pie chart is comprised of unsuitable rogue strategies that simply cannot compete with the power level of the top two.

The last banlist has not really changed anything; but the inclusion of Splight and Tearalaments have completely overshadowed any issues we had with the previous format. If anything, we would like for this banlist to fix this immediate issue of a budding tier 0 format.

Forbidden 🚫

Toadally Awesome 🐸

Toadally Awesome

Toadally Awesome is one of the reasons why Splight has established itself as a contender for tier 0 right now.

This pair of frogs wield an extremely strong negation effect. Knowing an opponent has a negation ready is one thing, but knowing it can steal whatever card you sacrificed to blow it up is downright disgusting. This is backed up by its GY effect to recycle Waters. Since this is only a once per turn effect, just imagine three of these Toads staring at you across the board! Despite the Limited status, Splight is able to establish Toadally Awesome twice a turn, backed by other Splight cards. You can read about Splight's dominance in the metagame here. In short, Toadally Awesome is just one of the strongest monsters in the game.

You may be wondering, with such insane effects printed, there must be a downside right? That is, not many decks are able to summon it. Requiring 2 Level 2 Aquas means you have to tap into the Frog engine, inclusive of Swap Frog and Ronintoadin. These two aren't bad cards by any means, but Yugioh is a game of synergy. Currently, Splight and Paleozoics are able to accommodate and summon this magnificent beast onto their field. But that isn't the only way! Bahamut Shark, an Xyz way easier to make, can also summon Toadally Awesome through its effect. This extends the mochi frog's usage to any Water decks, like Marincess, Dinomist, even HEROes! So maybe the trouble of summoning Toadally Awesome is not the problem after all.

A monster printed with an insane negation effect will always dominate given enough support to consistently summon it. In this case, Splight has allowed Toadally Awesome to be summoned easily even under multiple disruptions. Since Splight is an extremely flexible deck, this service extends to even more unlikely archetypes like Adamancipator and Melffy. It is truly for the best if this issue is rectified as soon as possible, before Toadally Awesome upgrades into an universal omni-negation. Splight will no longer have access to this omni-negation, and will be forced to rely on a secondary game plan.

Water, one of the least supported attributes, will definitely miss the ability to tap into this treat. However, I won't! Good riddance, and hopefully this is enough to stop Splight's reign of terror in the OCG.

I have compiled some links for further analysis on this card, come check them out!

Crystron Halqifibrax 🤖

Crystron Halqifibrax

Crystron Halqifibrax is the harbinger of many, many combos we all know and love ever since its debut in the OCG's Link Vrains Pack 1.

Halqifibrax is the first of many Link Monsters to summon monsters from the deck; its uniqueness being any low leveled tuner. Although summoning any tuner sounds like a simple effect, this allowed many combos to branch out from such potential. For example, Halqifibrax could summon Glow-Up Bulb, a tuner with no effect on the field, but a great effect in the GY. Link Monsters summoning monsters also introduced the concept of "Link Climbing," where you could use smaller Links to summon more fodder, to eventually summon a stronger Link Monster. In this case, as long you could summon Halqifibrax, you could usually use it as a bridge to summon even stronger monsters like Borrelsword Dragon or Accesscode.

Crystron Halqifibrax's potential was further increased with the introduction of Mecha Phantom Beast Auroradon. As long as you could make Halqifibrax, you could potentially develop it with Auroradon's combo routes to produce devastating boards.

Halqifibrax is also part of the currently trending combo "Baronne Scythe," where you would use Halqifibrax's usually unused third effect to transform it into the Synchro Tuner T.G. Wonder Magician. This summon would trigger Wonder Magician and destroy your own set Artifact Scythe, which in return would resummon itself to lock your opponent out of extra deck summons. And to top this off, Wonder Magician can tune with Artifact Scythe to summon Baronne!

All these combos are further enabled by how easy it is to summon Halqifibrax. All you needed was a tuner and anything else. Since most popular handtraps like Ash Blossom and Effect Veilers are naturally tuners, all you needed was to summon them alongside with any of your other monster. Then start your Halqifibrax combos.

A Link Monster that heralds infinite combo potential, and extremely easy to summon. Halqifibrax has always played a pivotable role in many decks, rouge or meta. There is no denying the impact this card has had on the metagame by itself, both TCG and OCG. As TCG has currently banned Auroradon, we in return have banned Halqifibrax. Since this card could prove problematic for future card design, I feel if KONAMI has finally banned it, it would be difficult for it to make a return in the foreseeable future.

After years of calling for its ban from America, the OCG banlist has finally ended Halqifibrax's place in the OCG.
What does this mean for the game? I only have this picture to show.

The end of all combos

Also see:

Vanity's Emptiness 🫂

Vanity's Emptiness

Vanity Emptiness is arguably one of the best floodgates of the game.

Special summoning is one of the key important aspects of the game. In Yugioh, players are required to make the best of their singular normal summon. So players have to rely on special summons to continue developing their boards. But in this case, Vanity's Emptiness completely shuts that aspect off for both players, which makes it difficult for the opposing player to continue playing their strategies.

Similar to all other floodgates, the idea is just to establish your board first, then set Vanity's Emptiness. If you flipped it early, you could prevent potential issues like Dinowrestler Pankratops or Gameciel. Otherwise, you would stop majority of every deck in the game, with small exceptions like True Draco or Floowandereeze.

However, it can be argued that Vanity's Emptiness is very fragile, as you do not need to directly remove it from the board to destroy it. To counter this, some have tried pairing Emptiness with protective effects like Dingirsu and Master Key Beetle. However, the general idea is that once you activate Vanity's Emptiness, it would take a lot of effort to overcome. Simply adding more flavor to a special summoning lock is just unnecessary.

Like every other floodgate, nobody likes to play against such things. Following the path of Mystic Mine and Imperial Order, one more dangerous trap card joins the list. This card will not be missed.

Limited 1️⃣

Now these cards are single, it only gets simpler! We look at how being at one makes a difference for these cards.

Eva

Eva

Eva is the first step towards hits on Drytron at full power.

This little astronaut has the ability to search up to two fairies, most notably Herald of the Orange Light for disruptions, or Diviner of the Herald to kick start games. Although this sort of support is must appreciated in fairies, ritual decks like Drytron and even the current Ishizu Tearalaments have proven that fairies are flexible enough to be added into any deck. Although a player may only need to resolve Eva once a game at least, this limitation helps identify Drytron as a potential problematic archetype in the OCG.

In my opinion, this hit does absolutely nothing to the metagame. Drytron has proven itself successful even with Eva limit in the TCG. Other Fairy decks like Ishizu and Agents do not rely on Eva. This has to be the most pointless hit on the list. But hopefully, we can see a gradual nerf towards the abuse of angels.

Spellbook of Judgment

Spellbook of Judgment

This is probably the most controversial move on the banlist! Spellbook in its peak was constantly fighting with Dragon Rulers for the larger representation of the pie chart.

Spellbooks is an ancient archetype that revolved around activating multiple Spellbooks in a turn, before converting that into raw resources with Spellbook of Judgment. Judgment is also able to summon Jowgen the Spiritualist from the deck, which prevents both players from special summoning.

Spellbook of Judgment constantly reloaded the players hand with many important Spellbook cards, and can even special summon any Spellcaster from the deck. Normally, this sort of effect is considered extremely broken, but Spellbooks have fallen off in terms of power creep against the current metagame. It feels painful, but even such an insane effect could be considered as simply "not enough" to deal with the current metagame now.

Branded Opening

Branded Opening

Branded Opening is an attempt to nerf the power level of the Albaz package within many fusion decks. This spell allows the player to summon Aluber from the deck, which in return fetches Branded Fusion. This spell is also an important key in the Branded Despia mirror matches, as the protection substitution is absolutely necessary when Mirrorjades activate their end phase destruction effects.

However, this card is not an absolute necessity in decks using Branded Fusion, so this nerf could be ignored. In fact, I would believe that this is KONAMI's message to us, stating that they have the Branded archetype on their radar. Since this is part of the current Dogmatika lore, it may make way for future Despia support.

Semi-Limited 2️⃣

Like it or not, two is the perfect number to be at. We assess the impact of these cards with one less copy.

Genex Ally Birdman

Genex Ally Birdman

Genex Ally Birdman is an ancient participant of many old combo loops, thus the Limit.

Birdman has an effect to select one monster and return it to the hand, to summon itself in exchange. Sounds like a simple effect right? The problem was, this effect was a cost, meaning your monster returned to hand before your opponent was allowed to respond. And secondly, this effect was not Once Per Turn, meaning you could use the same copy from hand multiple times, provided it stayed in your hand. With these two little loopholes, Birdman started participating in various loops, including Gallis the Star Beast and Koa'ki Meiru Doom, or more. The general idea was just to continuously return monsters out of the field with Genex Ally Birdman. This machinal bird got hit with a limited status along with other cards in order to curb such situations from happening, and it has never been seen since then.

Maybe if this card was at two, something similar could be cooked up, especially with the increased pool of cards to toy around with. Conversely, even more cards are able to counter specific combo loops now, like hand traps. This is a cautious semi-limit for Birdman, and we will see if the next three months will spring an unexpected loop just like back in the old days.

Here are some combos to showcase the theory behind Birdman. You can generally find these combos just by searching "Birdman combos" anywhere.

Floowandereeze and the Magnificent Map

Floowandereeze and the Magnificent Map

Floowandereeze finally has their first nerf! And they went straight for the strongest card in their arsenal.

The Floowandereeze is a bird-themed archetype that revolves around rapid normal summons in order to summon bigger, stronger Winged Beasts. As the archetype places great reliance on normal summoning, having that stopped is extremely painful. Thus the Magnificent Map, a card that grants an extension through an additional normal summon, AND banishes another Floowandereeze to retrieve with its own effect is one of their best. Additionally, it also allows you to normal summon (again!) on your opponent's turn. This card by itself promises extension, resource generation and interruption.

Even though this card is only semi-limited, every copy counts for the archetype. I would like to assume this will potentially deter players from picking this back up in response to the Splight nerf.

You can read more about the Floowandereeze archetype and their meta relevance here.

Branded Fusion

Branded Fusion

This card propelled the Branded Despia archetype to meta relevance, along with many other struggling fusion based decks.

Branded Fusion is similar to Shaddoll Fusion in the aspect that it produces a fusion monster with materials from the deck. The difference is that the monsters Branded Fusion summon, Albion and Lubellion, are able to perform an additional fusion summon. So in short, you could summon a majority of fusion monsters from Branded Fusion alone. There are even videos showcasing how to do it!

Although Branded Despia has been severely outclassed by Splights, they have found a home in the preliminary builds of Tearalaments. Branded Fusion is able to trigger the Tearalament monster effects and produce multiple fusion monsters alongside Mirrorjade for seemingly irrelevant costs. This could also be an indication that all new fusion decks would rely on Branded Fusion in the future, and thus I personally feel this semi-limit was necessary to avoid that.

Along with Branded Opening's limit, Branded Despia will no longer enjoy the consistency it used to boast, and will only thrive if used as supplements to other fusion archetypes.

Unlimited 3️⃣

There is a total of eleven cards from this section, all coming out of the semi-limited category. Which ones are okay, and which ones are not?

Orcust Harp Horror, Harmonizing Magician, Thunder Dragonroar, Lonefire Blossom, Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity and Swordsoul Emergence

Orcust Harp Horror

Be honest, did you manage to read all six cards in that title? I know I wouldn't.

Like mentioned earlier, these are unhits to supplement their already out-crept archetypes. Although the increase in consistency is much appreciated, it is unlikely for any of these cards or their archetypes to make a re-appearance in the metagame, even if Splight is out of the picture now.

Harp Horror's Orcust still has Galatea limited, Harmonizing Magician's Pendulum archetype is susceptible to common handtraps. Lonefire Blossom belongs to the plant archetype that does not have competitive support, Thunder Dragonroar has Colossus limited. These cards mentioned in the title may come back, so as long as their strongest card in the archetype is still nerfed. However, this allows players to still pick these archetypes up for casual play, so this is honestly a best case scenario for everyone.

However, this can also be interpreted as a sign of power creep. These archetypes that used to rule the pie charts are now considered as casual decks to mess around with! Maybe we should re-evaluate the game...

Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, Night Assailant and Divine Wind of Mist Valley

Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier

In my previous article, I roughly explained these as significant pieces to toxic loops within the game. Now that they are no longer feasible or playable, these three cards have slowly crept out of the limited status into completely free.

Trishula is the most worrisome of the bunch as it has proven itself part of multiple loops throughout many different formats. However, the only meta appearance it last held was within Zefra, which sought to make Trishula as a disruption tool rather then handloop.

These three cards are no longer dangerous it seems, but we should learn from our history. Maybe one day, a consistent loop involving one of these cards will return. Till that day, I have faith in KONAMI to not design something that abuses the uses of these cards.

Beginning of the End and Raigeki

These were quite frankly, the most pointless thing on the list. Beginning of the End was only used in Danger! variants, which was not even meta relevant at any stage. And the game has power crept past the point to allow even Dark Hole and Raigeki to co-exist at 3 copies each. Shifting these cards out of the banlist will cause less confusion for players in the long run. Maybe one day, Harpie's Feather Duster can enjoy an unlimited status again.

What do I think of this List? 🤔

I have begged for Drytron to be hit since last year, this changes nothing!

Disregarding that, the metagame was shifting towards a dangerous mixture of only Splight vs Tearalaments. Any deck looking to compete had to side against these two exclusively, and there are few cards that could tackle both together. Combined with Tearalament's constant evolution from Branded Tearalament to Ishizu Tearalaments, it was very difficult to keep up with the metagame, unless you were part of it.

With Toadally Awesome and Crystron Halqifibrax slain, Splight will no longer have enough power to stay tier 0. Other aspiring decks ready to take its throne, like Therion PUNK, Branded Despia, Rose Brave Tenyi and Floowandereeze has had their strategies hit within this list as well. Only Tearalaments have survived this ordeal, and will continue to do so with their engine cards being brand new. I suspect Ishizu Tearalaments will be the best deck for the following 6 months to come.

Now that Crystron Halqifibrax is lost, many problematic cards like Denglong, Protos and Auroradon are way harder to access now. This could be an excuse to ignore them now.

In the latest format, I feel Tearalaments will take the tier 0 throne, as all other relevant decks are now curbed. They are not without their weaknesses though, and it will be exciting to see a fresh reset of the format. This is absolutely the best time to experiment with new cards! The king is dead, long live the king!

My Thoughts and Conclusion 💁

KONAMI has certainly surprised me with the speed they took to put down Splight, given their track record of ignoring Virtual World, Drytron and Gouki.

For the first time ever, I cannot predict how this metagame will turn out. We may have relied too much on existing strategies with Halqifibrax, or sitting on toxic cards like Vanity's Emptiness. I cannot even take my True Draco deck out now! I am excited to see the evolution of the meta when Darkwing Blast hits the game in the middle of July. Until then, it has always been a Fusion Metagame, now with Tearalaments. And as always, I am begging for Drytron and Prank-Kid to be hit.

Thank you for reading this analysis! Let me know what you think! Should the list reflect the current TCG's hits, or should Maxx "C" continue staying at three?


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