Maxx “C” was a long-time staple and fan favorite. On the surface, it is a way to control combo decks by limiting their tempo. Thus, it’s a common inquiry as to why Maxx “C” is still banned. To answer this, let us examine past formats to understand what factors make Maxx “C” tolerable in a given format. In answering this question, it will provide insight into the factors that make up “tempo” in Yugioh.
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Maxx “C”‘s Format Viability
The cockroach has gone up and down in decks depending on the popularity of combo decks. It’s obvious to play it in formats such as when Legendary Six Samurai were around. However, I would like to look at two formats that weren’t as frantic: Plant Synchro and Dragon Ruler format.
But First, What is Tempo?
Tempo is the amount of worthwhile plays you can make in a turn. This factor is limited by your own deck’s potential, combined with the opponent’s ability to disrupt you. Maxx “C” thrives on tempo. Against a deck that can Special Summon like crazy, it’s great. In that way, the pest is conditionally good depending on the format. It’s humorous to think that if Maxx “C” existed in early Yugioh, it would be a terrible card.
Maxx “C” in Plant Synchro Format
Around 2011, a mishmash of good cards that enabled Synchro and XYZ plays was the most prominent deck, aptly named Plant Synchro. Maxx “C” was a tech choice popularized by Billy Brake’s win at both YCS Toronto and Ohio. Maxx “C” was powerful in that combo pieces usually lose potency after the turn they are summoned. For example, Tour Guide from the Underworld could summon Sangan in response and sit on it… but you would rather not.
In later formats, you could take the Maxx “C” ‘Challenge’ to try to OTK your opponent despite having many cards in hand. But barring a stray Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning, this wasn’t common here. Also, the only hand trap at the time was Effect Veiler. All in all, it wasn’t terrible being under its effects.
While on the topic of tempo, Plant Synchro decks relied on their Normal Summon to get going. If you have traps like Bottomless Trap Hole, you can play a legitimate defense if you’re under Maxx “C”. This is an important factor in determining whether Maxx “C” is detrimental overall.
Maxx “C” in Dragon Ruler Format
For reference, I will be talking about pre-baby Rulers ban. This format was dominated by Dragon Ruler and Spellbook. This dichotomy introduces a dilemma for Maxx “C”, because it will draw one card at most against Spellbooks. Despite that, Maxx “C” and Effect Veiler were present in at least ratios of two copies each. This suggests that it will see play in a format as long as there is one deck weak to it present.
Dragon Rulers can adapt to getting hit with Maxx “C”, just like Plant Synchro. They can make a level eight Synchro, or, more commonly, summon Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders in Defense. With a solid defense, you weren’t likely to be OTK’d in this format. Otherwise, there wasn’t a board to make that was justifiable in taking the Maxx “C” challenge.
Differences in Tempo Today
Obviously, as of October 2020’s format, decks can Special Summon an incredible amount of times. To translate in the context of this article, modern decks have crazy tempo. Even control decks like Eldlich had adopted Crystron Halqifibrax combos before its F&L hit.
Maxx “C” both hinders and increases the potency of high-tempo decks. In the previous examples, if you gave Plant Synchro or Dragon Rulers 20 cards in hand, they would still be limited by their own average tempo. They cannot use all the cards in their hand for a combo. Today, cards compress multiple functions, such as being an extender and a board breaker. This also leaves room for more hand traps in the Main Deck. This means if you take a modern Maxx “C” challenge, you will face off against a multitude of ghost girls, and will likely be OTK’d next turn.
Speaking of OTKs, those are more accessible as well. Borrelsword Dragon is the quintessential generic OTK maker. Otherwise, decks like Infernoble Knight and Dragon Link can put a ridiculous amount of damage on board by sheer number of monsters.
Putting all of these factors together, being under Maxx “C” is no longer of choice of giving card advantage. Rather, it’s a death sentence, since there isn’t any board you could make that could compete against a combo deck with so many extenders in hand. Using this observation on how Maxx “C” can be used to analyze the tempo of a given format, we can determine that it will likely continue to remain in chains. Normal Summon dependency, disruptions and viable defense all contribute to that. In the comparisons here, it is clear that tempo will continue to ramp up. It will be interesting to see the relationship between card advantage and combo tempo continue to blur.