Starting Over With The April 2023 OCG List

Published 2 months ago by Therarely Article Views 2,796 Comments 0 Estimated Reading Time 8 minutes Article

This format marks the supposed end of an entire era of Yugioh Sets, starting from Rise of the Duelist towards Cyberstorm Access. What a whirlwind of events, formats and memories! This banlist will hopefully usher in another fresh breath into the game again.

This article will detail the latest OCG banlist along with my personal thoughts and opinions, especially how impactful some changes may be. I am an OCG player, and you can check me out here, so hopefully my insight will be a lot more relevant.

As a final disclaimer, this is about the OCG April 2023 Ban List. Some TCG exclusives like Tyler the Great Warrior and Zalamander Catalyzer have not been printed in the OCG yet.

You can read my previous banlist articles here:
January 2023

April 1st, 2023 Limit Regulations







Understanding the Current OCG Metagame


Source: Road of the King

This picture depicts the 23 – 12 November Metagame. It is not an exact accurate representation of the current OCG Meta within all countries.

Tearlaments, despite multiple massive consistency hits from the last banlist, is considered the ultimate winner of the format, simply adopting a more aggressive fusion strategy with King of the Swamp along with remnants of its past two playstyles of Tearlaments Ishizu and Tearlaments Kashtira, amalgamating into a pile of everything Tearlaments has ever stood for. 

Bystial Synchro and Purrely are the next most popular decks, despite this image. Bystial Synchro serves as a natural counter to Tearlaments with their Bystial cards, while pushing out multiple impressive synchros thanks to new power cards like Bystial Dis Pater, Assault Synchron, and most importantly, Chaos Ruler. Purrely on the other hand, seeks to establish Expurrely Noir with multiple materials to overwhelm the opponent with its massive, untouchable presence. 

Kashtira, Runick and Labrynth are the next few popular choices. Kashtira, despite having suffered a major loss in consistency, will still dominate as long as they can tap into Kashtira Arise-Heart, a being so great it threatens any board state. However, it is noticeably more easy to deal with Kashtira now. Runick and Labrynth variants are considered anti-meta picks, where they will resort to maindecking multiple meta-killer cards like Skill Drain and Ra - Sphere Mode just to pull opposing decks into a battle of attrition that they will always win.

Superheavy Samurai variants and Vanquish Soul are two archetypes that are slowly getting introduced into the metagame, towards the end of this format. They have shown potential so far, but things may be different in a new format, especially with the new set Duelist Nexus coming out at the end of April.

Tearlament Hits


Somehow despite getting a huge portion of their relevant cards getting hit in the last list, Tearlaments has managed to scrape together their remaining pieces and still land a spot on the pie chart for the format. I am also guilty for piloting this deck at multiple high-level events. 

These hits now mirror the TCQ equivalent, where every piece is hanging at one copy only. Will this finally work? Results from the TCG has shown that despite the addition of maximum copies of Kashtira Fenrir, the deck is not very consistent or feasible at all! So maybe and finally these mermaids can stay in the Graveyard for good.

Despite that, Tearlaments has very relevant applications in other decks, like Shaddolls and Branded, where their effects can greatly help. At least Tearlaments will hopefully never be a playable deck by itself again, so good riddance! 

Bystial Hits



These hits are in addition to Bystial Magnamhut being at 1 copy last list. Although the main threat Tearlaments are finally gone, Bystial has now found its own specific deck type, Bystial Synchro. Without these hits, I was confident that Bystial Synchro would be the best deck after, but Konami has thankfully preemptively hit these as well. I personally think that the existence of Bystial cards are very unhealthy towards the design of Light and Dark relevant decks in the future, so I am glad to see these go. Bystials will always continue to serve as strong staples against Light/Dark dominated metagames in the future, so reducing these numbers is a great move in my opinion.

Generic Staples Hits


Now we can finally talk about the elephant in the room: Spright Elf's ban. The entire Spright archetype gave a huge power boost to any decks that had level 2s in them. Tri-Brigade, Evil Twins, even Runick, Spright allowed every deck to have additional resources without potentially harming any consistency! Spright Elf's role is to continuously revive Level 2s/Rank 2s, which would usually either mean summoning back a Spright for more adding like Spright Blue or Ipiria, or strong 2s like I:P Masquerena. Spright Elf provided a great deal of value, and was even used for its anti-targeting effects in decks that could barely make it, like Tearlaments. Personally, I thought Spright Elf was a very fun and interesting card to build around, but it is undeniably one of the strongest resource engines out there.

Following on, we have Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos and Glow-Up Bulb unbanned. Blaster, Dragon Ruler is not unsurprising, since Master Duel had unbanned it prior and the upcoming Duelists of Explosion had hinted towards this. Blaster, Dragon Ruler was one of the most important cards of its era, allowing the Dragon Ruler player to fight board advantage with its popping effect. However, it was not used in any other decks that were Dragon-related. That is to say, it never made a relevant appearance in any strong FIRE decks at that time, like Fire Fist. Looking at Tempest, Dragon Ruler, I can honestly say that Blaster, Dragon Ruler will not see competitive usage for the whole of next format, unless Duelists of Explosion proves me wrong. Although it is very amusing that we can finally consider Dragon Rulers, one of the most feared decks of its time, as completely outdated and obsolete now. Once Per Turn effects are very restricting!

Glow-Up Bulb on the other hand, was banned due to Crystron Halqifibrax's presence, allowing the player to easily tutor this card out, and using this card as an easy way to climb Link ratings. In this format where Glow-Up Bulb can not be easily tutored, and synchro decks or Plant decks are not prevelant, this card can easily return to the metagame. However, The Duelist Nexus, the next main set, is promoted as a Synchro boosting deck, which may let Glow-Up Bulb see more play. One thing is for sure: without Crystron Halqifibrax, this card feels a lot more balanced then it used to be.

Ancient Fairy Dragon, Tellarknight Ptolemaeus and Saryuja Skull Dread are all Extra Deck monsters that barely see any play now and possibly in the future. Saryuja Skull Dread was notably limited to curb the sudden strength of Danger! Dark World, but even that deck did not end up placing well at all. That being said, all three are cards that will eventually go back to being unlimited and hopefully irrelevant in the future. 

Stun and Staples Hits




Surprisingly, after being at 3 copies for a very long time, Skill Drain has finally dropped to limited status, and for good reason. Skill Drain shuts down all monster effects, a key element of the essence of the game, and makes counterplay extremely difficult if your deck is not prepared or adapted to this. Many stun decks like Runick or Labrynth rely on flipping this dastardly card against combo decks in order to stablize and drag the game into a battle of attrition. Being at one copy can only mean two things: Konami has either finally accepted this card has to go, or there could be some sort of Continuous Trap tutor in the future. But for now, unfun card at one means more chances of interaction!

Along with this, Runick Fountain is at 2 copies. Runick is notorious for adding a stun element to many decks, but being able to draw up to 3 cards using this card will allow you to replenish resources at an unprecedented record rate! Many cards in the game can barely allow you to draw 2 cards without a major drawback! This allowed Runick to be played in many other decks, including Runick Spright, Runick Plunder Patroll, and even Runick Naturia, where they could easily tap into their Runick side for resources while carrying their normal gameplan out. Runick by itself is a stun focused archtype, where many of the cards both disrupt and shave your opponents resources slowly until their eventual demise. Semi-limiting the card that grants them their resource generation might not severely hinder them, but it is a great start to curbing their power levels.

Nadir Servant, Cursed Eldland and Spellbook of Judgment are all remnants of past formats where they easily flourished. More notably, these cards belonged in archetypes that could be mixed with other decks, like Dogmatika Invoked, or Eldlich Synchro. However, these archetypes are clearly outdated as of now, and their power levels should no longer be able to compete with the current and future metagames. Only time will tell if anything major happens with these cards.

Minor Archtypical Changes




Spright Blue is the only card on this list getting limited. As previously mentioned, Spright is a great boon to all things 2s, so this hit is the final nail in their coffin to prevent overusage again.

The rest of the cards here are all outclassed archetypes with key cards of their archetype slowly releasing restriction. Salamangreat Gazelle in particular could be a nod towards the Duelist of Explosion set releasing in May, though we will see how that happens as more news comes out. Sky Striker could potentially be relevant again, as they only have Sky Striker Mobilize - Engage! at two copies now, slowly re-embracing the possibility of full power Sky Strikers again. Are they any good? Only the best Striker players would know.

What do I think of this List? 


Tearlaments is finally no more. (Cue the crab rave.)

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