The September 2020 Forbidden and Limited list has more impact than the other lists this year. It took away power plays and resilience from the top decks. It also gave some interesting options back to older decks. Which decks are most impacted by this list, and how?
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What was Lost
I believe it is time to shelf this particular variant. While it is still possible in some capacity to do one card Crystron Halqifibrax combos, they will not be as powerful or as easy to do as when Jet Synchron and Mecha Phantom Beast O-Lion were available.
But don’t feel too bad for them. Eldlitch has other powerful variants like Numeron ZEXAL and Invoked. Eliminating Synchro Eldlitch variants reduces the need to see both monster and trap removal going second. However, it doesn’t reduce the paradoxical nature of deck building that our second subject presents us…
The tuner restrictions hurt Adamancipator as well, but I would like to talk more on Block Dragon. The resource-returning lego provided everything you want in a combo-heavy deck – protection, resources, and extension. You will still have to fight through an atrociously annoying board, but the Adamancipator player will have a much more feeble hand in return.
Weaker Combo Decks
While Adamancipator was the big bad combo deck, any kind of combo deck loses much more. Halqifibrax provided an easy combo to a deck that can provide its lax material. Not only are those decks significantly weaker, but they cannot rely on Called by the Grave to save them. Called by the Grave may have been losing steam because of Infinite Impermanence and Nibiru, the Primal Being, it still functioned as a trap against Eldlitch. The hardest hitters took some hits, but weaker combo decks are much more fragile with their limited tools to extend and fight handtraps.
What Was Gained
While it seemed that Konami had it out for Pendulums for a bit, they have received two incredible gifts on this list: The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche and Double Iris Magician. Rusty Bardiche is a boon to any combo dark deck like Dragon Link. Decks that don’t want to run Predaplant Verte Anaconda and Dragoon because of the bricking potential of Dark Magician and Red-Eyes might consider Bardiche instead. Drawing into Fog Blade isn’t the end of the world!
Double Iris Magician is an incredible addition to Pendulum Magician decks. Star Pendulumgraph protects against Forbidden Chalice and recurs resources in the event of removal like Lightning Storm. Time Pendulumgraph is a unique one-of that stops Infinite Impermanence and functions like Zoodiac Drident disruption. Double Iris’ search is not once per turn, either!
Finally, Double Iris allows the (easier) fusion of Supreme King Z-ARC. This is especially relevant against control match-ups with its full board destruction that is likely to go off due to its protection against targeting.
Burning Abyss gains back one copy each of Cir and Graff, their most powerful assets. That means you can get rid of some of the less impactful Malebranches, like Barbar or Libic. Tour Guide from the Underworld is fully freed as well, finally giving the deck their preferred Normal Summon back. BA in this format is interesting in that it doesn’t rely on Halqifibrax or activated effects other than Tour Guide. This makes it much more resilient to handtraps. But you should still watch out for falling rocks.
ABC decks can now… function. While I do not think that decks that only rely on ABC-Dragon Buster can function, they can still be used as an engine. Time will tell whether being limited to one instance of tagging out will be enough to validate running three to nine slow cards.
Monarchs are at full power! It seemed the F&L list makers were flirting with the idea, but were hesitant to give Monarchs back its consistency with Pantheism of the Monarchs. In this meta – against decks that play traps like Eldlitch – they may not see much success using Domain strategies. Synchro variants did pop up in the late stages of its own meta, so perhaps a combo variant is more appropriate now. I could see Domain builds much later in the future stealing wins if the top tier decks are all Extra Deck reliant!
And finally, Sky Strikers. They haven’t seen a high level win in about four months. Their break-up with Engage was too rough! Despite having its most powerful disruption in Sky Striker Mecha – Widow Anchor back, it won’t have the consistency or draw power to keep up with the other resilient, low-monster decks of today.
Harpie’s Feather Duster was a shock! However, I do not think this has much impact on S/T reliant decks. Lightning Storm has exemplified the modern day removal role, providing an answer to any type of disruption board. While HFD can be activated under no limitations, other side grades like Cosmic Cyclone outshine its niche. Frankly, I’m not sure if you would even side it against Eldlitch. While exciting, HFD’s impact may be minimal.
We can all let our breath go – until December 2020. Halqifibrax continues to throw every good tuner under the bus as it evades arrest. Until then, decks that already play tuners will enjoy a powerful boost in consistency. An interesting point is that Dinosaurs, the deck that won Konami’s Remote Duel Invitational, did not get hit at all. This suggests a higher surveliance of the meta by Konami aside from their official tournaments. This list gives great insight into the thought process of the F&L list about their stance on banning an issue card against the cards that enable it, and whether they are purely reactive in their bans.