Table of Contents
There have been a lot of amazing Xyz Monsters printed so far, from the start of the Zexal era all the way up to recent times. This article serves as a prologue to a future three-part special that talks about Xyz that aged well competitively! Today’s topic focuses on the banned ones, and how they hold up to today still.
Chains of the Past
Lavalval Chain leads the banned crusade as a contender for one of the best Rank 4 monsters ever created!
Sending any card from the Deck to the GY is a very powerful effect and usually isn’t accessible. Note: not just monsters, but ANY card. Honestly, it would be impossible to do this card justice even with its own dedicated article. That’s how good it is, and its creation being in the early Zexal era is simply insane.
All other alternatives to Lavalval Chain are either much harder to get to, aren’t as versatile, or require more setup. Finding a way to summon two level 4 monsters is easy and the lack of a hard once-per-turn on it says a lot.
Chain was responsible for a lot of degenerate tactics such as infinite loops and First Turn Kills and only continues to age better over time. This Sea Serpent rightfully remains banned and chained up in the F&L list.
Slick Summoning Sorcerors
Deck summoning is quite the mechanic in Yu-Gi-Oh, remaining as a strong option in most decks that can abuse them. These three were responsible for quite the ruckus in their prime.
M-X-Saber Invoker certainly had a slow start, but picked up the pace during the Zoodiac era and showed why it wasn’t a good idea to make it so generic. It allowed easy access to Zoodiac Ratpier, the main star of the show. Outside of that, its ability to access a huge pool of warriors (Gouki) is a plus. It’s unlikely that Invoker sees the light of day again, especially while Isolde remains legal. This warrior aged well as one would think, thanks to its timeless effect.
Zenmaity is another big one that caused lots of grief when it showed up.
This banned Xyz terrorized the game with Wind-Up Hunter as its partner. “Party Boat” looped the hands of countless players with the help of hunter to great effect. It also has a crazy amount of loops to work with thanks to its design. Shark + Magician is one heck of a combo, that’s for sure! This boat aged well and is unlikely to set sail again.
Salamangreat Miragestallio is one of the more recent bans and feels a bit out of place. However, the card does too much for little, grabbing key cards such as Gazelle or Jack Jaguar with ease. Its array of effects with minimal restrictions prove to be quite the force as shown with the deck’s multiple high profile victories within the past two years.
While it’s possible for Stallio to get off the banlist, it’s gonna stick around there for quite some time. The deck would’ve most likely remained a top metagame contender had this card stayed.
The Lockout Squad
Yu-Gi-Oh thrives on interactivity from both players, which is why floodgate effects are polarizing. These three are some of the worst offenders in history.
Number 86 is quite the formidable monster, turning into a massive threat once fully loaded. It being housed to one of the strongest types in the game (also cough Gouki) and having access to so many extenders made it an underrated and destructive force, never doing anything fair when it did show up.
Locking out your opponents out of Special Summons is already huge, but also counting Normal Summons is salt on the wound. The other effects made it near immovable. It had immunity to nearly every card, outside of very niche ones like Share the Pain. You also couldn’t out it with the likes of Kaijus, Lava Golem, or Sphere Mode. All because you are unable to normal or special summon.
The release of Bamboozling Gossip Shadow broke the straw on the camel’s back, making it easier to get Rhongo to full power. Sometimes you were able to weather the storm, but it was usually an uphill battle from there. It was much better to stop it from popping up in the field in the first place or negate Shadow.
This card has aged well and is likely to never come off the list thanks to its ease of use and insane effects.
Game Breaking Abomination
Outer Entity Azathot is another threat that halted many duelists in their tracks. Unlike Shock Master or Utopic Zexal, Azathot does NOT activate. Once it hits the field and you didn’t stop the summon, it’s lights out. No Veiler, no Imperm, no Gamma. Nothing stopped it if the summon went through. This meant your opponent had free reign to do almost anything as it blanked 90% of all hand traps. Impermanence could still be used, but it wouldn’t stop this card either.
Any two level 4 monsters lead to Nyarla, which you then laddered into Azathot. For the price of two cards in your extra deck, you could seriously remove nearly all of your opponent’s chances of responding to your plays. Lunalight abused this card to the fullest, winning several high profile events and demolishing the competition.
As if that wasn’t enough, there were quite a few ways to summon the beast during the opponent’s turn, making them unable to play the game entirely! While spells and traps are still available, monster effects are what almost every deck relies on to function, and dropping Azathot when it’s their time to go essentially ended their plays. The Phantom Knights Launch was the most popular way of doing this, all accessible thanks to Rusty Bardiche.
Azathot cannot come off the banlist. Its effect aged well and forever remains timeless and its impact in the game will be remembered. Quite arguably one of the strongest Xyz Monsters ever printed, on par with the last member of the Lockout squad which is…
The Win Button
Number 16 can be argued as one of the best monsters in the game. It can lock out Monsters, Spells, Traps, and is flexible in what it wants to stop. Certain decks are able to output the required material and drop the Shock against the opposition and win outright! You do have to jump some hoops to make it, but it’s more than worth it.
The effect also isn’t hard once per turn, so there were a few ways to loop and abuse the card even further. This card gave the Rank 4 toolbox an absurd edge that wasn’t replicated much later until Azathot in the TCG a few years after its ban.
Shock Master oftentimes remained on the field to keep locking for another turn, making for high amounts of versatility. Denying Spells and Traps is a rare trait that’s hard to come by for most strategies. Due to this, Number 16 crushed and preyed on both Combo and Control matchups, a feat not many cards can boast.
Shock was the flagship of the short-lived deck of Performapal Performages (PePe or EmEm). Locking out an entire type of card alongside its other board threats was simply too much for the time. Unlock the Shock? The answer would be a resounding no. It’s definitely still too good to come off, and even if there are ways to respond to it such as Effect Veiler, the monster is overall unhealthy for the balance of the game. This electric ruler aged quite well and rightfully remains banned, no doubt about that.
Victim of the Link Era
Tomohawk was a card that never really saw any play during Master Rule 3 due to its very niche effect and limited applications. The Link Era skyrocketed the card and instantly broke it, seeing play in a lot of combo heavy Danger?! or FTK piles and the likes of Dark SPYRAL thanks to their level 7 access.
It doesn’t take too long to realize why vomiting 4-5 tokens for free with an irrelevant restriction is completely busted in relation to Link monsters. This aircraft is better off not flying again.
The King of the Zodiac Beasts
Broadbull proved to be such a terrifying force when Zoodiac was at full power, generating obscene advantage and was the catalyst for pulling off the Norden combo. Even outside of that, tutoring from the Beast-Warrior pool from a generic R4nk is a bit too much. The type has become one of the best in recent history, and Zoo is proving to be a strong choice once Phantom Rage drops in November.
In regards to what it can fetch, even if two of its best targets have been axed by the banlist (Black Sheep due to Norden) and Lunalight Tiger, it’s still a huge threat. Free cards are scary, especially when you’re getting high-value power plays from it too. There’s not a lot to say about it, just a busted card that’s part of an amazing archetype. Broadbull continues to age well and will not cease to do so in the future.
Milling three dragons for cost is simply unheard of, and Number 95 abused this to the fullest, with its short-lived run in Dragon Rulers, then slowly heading to both Blue-Eyes and Thunder Chaos Guardragon piles a few years later down the line. Dark Matter Dragon lasted for quite a long time, thanks to not a lot of decks being able to fully abuse its might. But make no mistake, this thing is a monstrous force and rightfully remains banned. It aged way too well, as dragons continue to get better and better over time.
Rank 5 “Gatekeeper”
Ptolemaeus proves to be the odd one out of the rest of the banned monsters, as its strength is solely dependent on the Rank 5 toolbox itself.
While it was the best way to get to Outer Entity Azathot (shown above), if it ever came back its utility would take quite the hit. There are still lucrative options such as Cyber Dragon Nova (to make Infinity), Constellar Pleiades, or Artifact Durendal, it’s a bit too much investment for not so great payoff.
The card was historically a force to be reckoned with, but if it ever came back it wouldn’t be as good as the others should they be freed. The turn skip effect also doesn’t come up a lot and is considered gimmicky.
However, we can also consider that if Ptol existed in the game, it potentially gatekeeps the design of more powerful Rank 5 monsters, but it’s hard to say.
This one aged the worst out of the bunch available, but is still a fine card at the end of the day.
And there you have it folks! This concludes the prologue for the Xyz Monsters that aged well retrospective! Join us next time as we take a look at the Xyz monsters from the first few years of the Zexal Era. A certain blue creature of the deep awaits us, and his eternal reign over the game shall be explored deeper. Other fine monsters will also make an appearance, so stay tuned!
Let me know what’s your favorite out of the banned monsters down below!