April heralds the incoming spring season, along with a timely banlist update for our OCG players. To my fellow Asians, this list will be the standard from April onwards. To you American readers, although you may have a lot of aggressive opinions about the state of Maxx "C", please consider reading my article to get a deeper insight.
This article will weigh the impact of the list has on the OCG for the next three months. I will do my best to explain the rationale of certain cards with my thoughts of the current metagame.
You can read my previous banlist articles here:
April 1st, 2022 Limit Regulations
- Fusion Destiny (Previously at 0)
- Water Enchantress of the Temple (Previously at 2)
- Rite of Aramesir (Previously at 2)
- Eldlixer of Scarlet Sanguine (Previously at 3)
- Branded Opening (Previously at 3)
- Pot of Prosperity (Previously at 3)
- Tri-Brigade Fraktall (Previously at 3)
- Night Assailant (Previously at 1)
- Harmonizing Magician (Previously at 1)
- Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity (Previously at 1)
- Orcust Harp Horror (Previously at 1)
- Divine Wind of Mist Valley (Previously at 1)
- Raigeki (Previously at 1)
- Beginning of the End (Previously at 1)
- Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier (Previously at 1)
- Metaverse (Previously at 2)
- A Hero Lives (Previously at 2)
- Memories of Hope (Previously at 2)
- Altergeist Multifaker (Previously at 2)
Understanding the Current OCG Metagame
This picture depicts the 26 February – 9 March Metagame. It is not an exact accurate representation of the current OCG Meta.
Adventurer Albaz is the most popular deck of the format. Branded Fusion spawns the almighty Mirrorjade, a threatening monster that both disrupts and replenishes resources through Albion. Paired with the best engine in the format, Adventurer, this deck trades unfairly against any opposing deck to always win in a battle of attrition. Following closely behind is Adventurer Tenyi, Ignister and Drytron as the format's premier combo decks. Adventurer Tenyi is a OCG-exclusive deck that relies on the Adventurer package to spawn multiple bodies and negation to allow Crystron Halqifibrax to resolve. Often, these decks result in a nasty board, either going first or second by overwhelming their opponent's resources in a single turn. As a result, the ideal decks to target are either Adventurer Tenyi or Adventurer Albaz.
Tempo decks like Tri-Brigade, Floowandereeze and Therion PUNK are equally as threatening, given their ability to adapt and deal with any variety of danger. Therion PUNK is a new concoction developing heavy bodies with individual ridiculous effects through minimal resources.
The last banlist has failed to deter players from using the Adventurer engine. However, this has encouraged a higher percentage of players to try out newer decks, resulting in a colorful range of meta options. Ultimately, the metagame has not largely changed since the introduction of Albaz Strike, so what will this new banlist achieve?
What. The. Fusion.
Following a massive outcry from the TCG player base about the utility of this card, Verte Anaconda finally wilts in this OCG list. Verte Anaconda received its limited status in APR 20, where the card saw universal use in every deck possible.
Verte Anaconda is a Link Monster that supplements Fusion-based strategies. Originally, the presence of this card massively boosted suffering archetypes like Thunder Dragon and Shaddoll. However, the issues with this card lie with fusions like Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon. As long as there was a ridiculous Fusion Monster that only required one Fusion Spell to summon, Verte Anaconda would summon it - as long as you could plant it. This also meant that any deck could tap into an unexpected unfair Fusion monster through Verte. Along Dark Dragoon's ban, came Destroyer Phoenix Enforcer's Destiny Fusion and Mirrorjade's Branded Fusion. This is a very worrisome pattern and greatly limits card design potential.
The removal of Verte Anaconda will finally mean that these Fusion monsters will remain within their specific archetypes. However, existing decks like Thunder Dragon and Prank-Kids no longer have an alternative extender to rely on if disrupted. Niche Combo decks will definitely miss Verte Anaconda's ability to change attributes as well.
I have also written an entire article on Verte's utility (which surprisingly has not aged), along with PlacetMihi's breakdown analysis of this card. Please read them for a greater insight into the applications of this card! Maybe it will be your turn next, TCG!
Following another collective riot from the TCG player base about the unfairness of this card, Imperial Order is finally dethroned in this OCG list. Imperial Order regained its limited status in JAN 17. Quite the oppressive 5 years!
Imperial Order is a very unique floodgate in which it directly shuts off all Spell cards. This effectively shuts off one-third of the game's mechanic. Although this sort of effect is similar to Skill Drain and Royal Decree, Spell cards tend to provide the most impact to the flow of the game. Being able to immediately shut down Spell effects is almost always a game-winning move. As such, this card saw complete universal usage in every single deck not relying on Spells, either in the Side Deck, or the Main Deck if the metagame called for it. Being able to render the game's most important mechanic entirely is not a very fun experience for opposing players, and thus, this tyrant has met its well deserved end.
Personally, I am not a fan of this ban, as Imperial Order has saved me from opposing top decks like Lightning Storm or Mystic Mine. But we can all agree that Imperial Order has definitely outstayed its welcome, and it is time to step down. Let me know what you think about this ban! I personally am quite conflicted.
It's at one, top decks are fun! We look at the newly implemented single status of these cards.
Fusion Destiny met its end just three months ago. Along with Verte Anaconda, this spell was the go-to glue for any deck to add an extra flavor of Destroyer Phoenix Enforcer to their boards. Now that Verte Anaconda is banned, there is no point keeping Fusion Destiny banned. However, this package is still undeniably strong, so a cautious limit is implemented for now. The current TCG list has Fusion Destiny at 2, and still sees widespread usage, so this card is still potentially dangerous by itself.
For the time being, HERO stans will definitely embrace the return of a much needed power card. Especially when the next main set, Power of the Elements, will further add to the HERO roster.
These cheeky references are currently the strongest engine available to the game. By accessing almost any part of the Adventurer pieces, one is guaranteed resources and even negation for almost no cost. Due to their flexibility, the Adventurer gang supports every archetype that accepts its normal summon restriction; notably Tenyi, Dragon Link and Phantom Knights. Even as the recent hit has affected the consistency of this engine, they remain resilient enough for the top decks to continue dominating.
I have written plenty about the Adventurer package in my previous article. But since the package is seeing a rise in popularity in the TCG, please consider reading this article to better understand the basics!
We can only hope that by further reducing their numbers, this party will finally take a forced break from the metagame.
OCG’s most famous section, so typical of them! Why can't they decide already!
These three cards are quite noticeably, minor hits to existing meta decks. Although the hits to Branded Opening and Tri-Brigade Fraktall are almost unnoticeable, Eldlixer of Scarlet Sanguine is a key card in any Eldlich deck. Eldlixer of Scarlet Sanguine being a trap card compared to the other Eldlixers lets it activate in the GY on the opponent's turn, setting a Golden Land quicker. That, and being able to tutor Eldlich the Golden Lord at any given time, is what makes the Eldlich engine so flexible. The Eldlich engine is notorious for being able to outlive other opposition into exhaustion, and Scarlet Sanguine is a key factor. With this semi-limit and the ban on Imperial Order, I firmly believe Eldlich will no longer be that infamous force in the metagame anymore.
Otherwise, these three hits could be interpreted as warning signs by Konami OCG to curb eternal format decks.
Following a trend of semi-limiting useful Pot cards, comes Prosperity next.
Prosperity is a pot designed for players to further dig into their deck for a specific card at the cost of irrelevant Extra Deck cards. This sort of tutoring is always welcome in any deck, especially strategies that require one specific card to go off, or to dig for that counter Called by the Grave. This pot is used in many top meta decks as of now, including Adventurer Albaz, Floowandereeze, and even rogue decks. As such, Konami OCG has decided this sort of tutoring might be too oppressive for the game, but not completely, and thus, one-third of Prosperity is gone.
This is a very weird trend of hitting consistency cards, rather then directly addressing problematic cards in the first place. These sort of hits to universal consistency cards not only affect the meta decks, but even rogue decks looking to achieve satisfying consistency.
These three cards are from archetypes that were previously meta-dominating. But the state of the game has accelerated to a point where it is even laughable to bring these decks out now.
Orcust Harp Horror's semi-limit will grant Orcust decks a bit more longevity should the first get negated. Orcust still suffers from the limited Galatea, so this past titan will continue being a casual rouge deck for now.
Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity is a key component of Wind-Up loops, but as it stands, there aren't many impressive boards to end on, or any oppressive combos to execute with "unlimited resources." I could be proven wrong on this, but I personally think Wind-Ups pale in comparison to other meta defining decks right now. Konami OCG thinks so too!
Harmonizing Magician is the strongest semi-limit on this list, as it belongs to the Pendulum archetype. Originally limited to curb the power of Astrograph Magician and Luster Pendulum, in this era, Harmonizing Magician can turn into a Crystron Halqifibrax or Chaos Ruler to dig for another scale. Even if Pendulums are not very competitive right now, I personally think this is a very risky move on the banlist.
Otherwise, this semi-limits are implemented in order to let these archetypes slowly regain their full strength. Maybe one day, we can see these decks flourish again.
These three are reminiscent of an era where FTK loops were the coolest thing on the block. Even if FTK gets more toys to utilize, other cards have been designed to naturally curb the possibility and consistency of such things happening. In fact, Night Assailant gets an additional errata!
Level 3 ATK/ 200 DEF/ 500
- FLIP: Target 1 monster your opponent controls; destroy that target.
- When this card is sent from the hand to the GY: Target 1 Flip monster in your GY, except "Night Assailant"; return that target to the hand.
Currently, there are no notable archetypes able to use Divine Wind of Mist Valley; even the recently supported Dragunity have been forgone for the more consistent Dragon Link. However, this is a powerful effect if triggered, so we can patiently wait for the day when this field becomes relevant again.
And lastly, Trishula. Oh lord, Trishula. Pre-emptively re-limited again in anticipation of MR5 rules, it turned out that Synchro turbos were so inconsistent that it was difficult to loop it. A successful loop with Trishula would deplete 5 cards from the opponent's hand turn 1. Since this is almost impossible to achieve now, being semi-limited makes no difference from being limited. It is also quite possible for this dragon to return to 3 next list.
Here are some videos experimenting on these mentioned loops. Of course, all ancient relics of the past.
- DuelLog's explanation on how Night Assailant loops
- JBYYX's Divine Wind FTK
- YugiohTube's Trishula Handloop
Beginning of the End was limited to curb the power of Dark World Danger FTK decks. But strangely enough, this archetype would never make the same waves as it did in the TCG. Danger monsters would be phased out for more consistent, reliable archetype specific cards. As the only archetype able to use this card is rendered irrelevant, this Beginning of the End begins to end its limited status. Perhaps we can see this end back up at three copies again.
Raigeki going from a single copy to an arrogant two copies really tells us how much this game has developed. This is a nostalgic single use spell card that eliminates all opposing monsters for no cost. Normally this would sound unfair in terms of resource trading, but monsters these days simply do not care. They either welcome destruction, or are simply unaffected. As a relic of the past, this boomer will slowly reintegrate itself back into the metagame.
Who can disagree, when it's finally at three? Cards in this sections are completely comprised of forgiven cards from the semi-limit section last list.
Metaverse, as mentioned in my last review, was limited to suppress the power level of Mystic Mine decks. Now that its strongest soldier is gone, Metaverse can be considered a funky way to tutor specific field spells, especially floodgates such as Necrovalley or Secret Village of the Spellcasters.
There are a lot of useful field spells out there, so I am excited to see what people do with this again!
This list is released in anticipation of the next main set, Power of the Elements, featuring Elemental HERO cards. So unsurprisingly, maybe this card was unlimited to promote the archetype. Not that it needed any promotion...
A Hero Lives is an extremely powerful starter for all HERO decks despite the LP cost. With three copies, HERO duelists can enjoy their deck at an almost full power level now.
Originally semi-limited to discourage the popularity of Numeron Decks, this card allowed the player to draw 4 cards off the bat. Even though Numeron is not especially threatening nor oppressive, having a powerful draw spell will often overwhelm the opponent in an instant.
The semi-limit hit to Memories of Hope is no doubt an uncertain act, but this unlimit will remove an embarrassing questionable mark off the list.
I really do not want to talk about this. I hate Altergeist. You guys won, alright? Please never come out to any tournament or local scene, nobody likes you. Altergeist has not been able to keep up with the fast paced nature of the current metagame. Adding the final third copy probably will not affect the meta... right?
What do I think of this List? 🤔
For starters, where's the Drytron hit?
While several eternal format worthy decks like Tri-Brigade and Eldlich are addressed, the elephant in the room, Drytron, continues developing unhealthy boards at full power. Prank-Kids now has an additional Into the Vrains! as yet another unfair extender. Floowandereeze is still the best deck to take into grind games. And the Auroradon combos are reaching peak degeneracy with Swordsoul cards and Archenemesis Protos. Very frankly put, I feel this list has not damaged enough decks.
However, the strongest deck in the format, Adventurer Tenyi, is finally no more. The team of Adventurers are finally disassembled. However, they are replaceable, now that the combo lines to developing these nasty boards have already been plotted. All that needs to be done is to find a suitable replacement to summon Halqifibrax safely.
Several cards that has their strengths highlighted, like Denglong, Protos and Vanity Emptiness were ignored in this list. This feeling strikes reminiscent of last year, when Calamities was ignored for an entire year despite the outcry from the community.
Aside from facing an occasional toxic Drytron player, this format feels welcoming enough to play rogue decks. I personally have enjoyed the evolution of Therion PUNK, Predaplant, Ignister and others. If you are an OCG player, feel free to mess around with your favorite decks now! While there are no major events to prepare for, at least.
My Thoughts and Conclusion 💁
Is it too greedy to expect the best after one good list? Or are we returning back to the norm?
Konami OCG has a nasty habit of barely scraping the metagame's problematic cards and interactions, forcing players to dabble in these environments way longer then we should. A great example is the current format of Master Duel right now, where players internationally are forced to compete in OCG's worst banlist last year. Who liked that? This is my very personal wish list, but I hope eternal format decks like Drytron and Prank-Kids will meet their eventual nerf. Please don't take too long!
This has been my very lengthy essay of the banlist, and I hope you readers will understand the thinking behind KONAMI OCG as well.
Let me know what you readers think of this banlist! Did Konami ban too many cards, or did they do nothing?