Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Forbidden & Limited Card List: What Needs to Happen

In an ever increasing attempt to bide time for final testing with the Chain Infernity variant, I thought I'd post a rather unorthodox take on the Forbidden & Limited Card List (or FLCL for conciseness' sake). What I find is people tend to have a habit of creating rigid lists with loose reasoning behind them, but the general state of the game itself seems to be ignored and dead fads also seem to get ignored.

What I'm going to do instead of the norm is divide cards into groups and discuss them rather than ascribe a position to them. This will be based around and idealised model rather than any sort of prediction. The model itself is rather straightforward. There are three primary problems with the game as it stands:

  1. The game is extremely luck based, more than it has ever been in the past.
  2. The game is very fast. Not as bad as Airblade or September 2009, but it's an issue.
  3. The game is limiting player interaction.

Alongside this, there are the two regular issues:
  1. Some cards or combos are broken.
  2. Some cards or decks are overpowered.
Note that there is a difference between the two. A broken card is one that abuses other cards or mechanics, or a card that simply isn't fulfilling the purpose it ought to. An overpowered card is simply a card which is too good.

Also, there are a few cards which are arguably poor design and should have restrictions placed upon them simply because of their functionality, not their actual usage.

I'd also like to point out that popularity isn't a valid reason for anything to be hit, which is tragic considering this is how Konami makes 50% of their FLCL decisions.

Onto some of the actual categories:

Cards that are abusing game mechanics

This is quite the issue and one that I rarely see addressed. Konami gets a bit carried away when making cards and often disregards the functionality of game mechanics themselves. The prime culprits right now are:
  • Leviair the Sea Dragon
  • Daigusto Emeral
  • Pot of Avarice
Leviair the Sea Dragon: Removal has always been an important balancing factor in this game, even in the days of Goat Control. Removal has always been the end of the line for a card and that alone induced a substantial amount of fear, forcing people to play conservatively or run the risk of losing their card for good. Giving these cards a second chance was always reserved for very specialised decks which had their own drawbacks to compensate. What Leviair does is grant universal access to the RFP. As we've seen in the past with Return-DAD and in modern times with Dino Bunny, this only leads to the abuse of cards that have removal as costs or restrictions. It also removes the fear of removal meaning there is reduced incentive to conserve cards. Regardless of how effective Leviair is at his job, this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Daigusto Emeral & Pot of Avarice: In this case, the area being abused is the Graveyard. The Graveyard has always been a little bit loose, but with the speed of the game on the rise these two are not only removing the need to conserve resources, they're actually giving an incentive to burn through them as fast as possible. There's no need to keep cards in reserve because these two are essentially letting you do everything twice. Again, this isn't an issue of how good the cards themselves are, it's about the gameplay they allow for.

Cards which are or have become broken
  • Future Fusion
  • Lavalval Chain
Lately Konami seems to have been rather strict about this. This is a fairly straightforward example of what it is to be broken. This was a card designed to give a more effective option to fusion summon that wasn't as redundant as Polymerization. Right now, its sole function in the game is to act as a super powered Foolish Burial or a mini Painful Choice.

Oddly though, I think the correct way to handle this card is to give it the Prisma treatment: make it so that it's only valid for monsters with specific materials.

Lavalval Chain needs to be dealt with also. There are already decks abusing the ability to determine their own draws indefinitely. The culprits are Infernity, and to some extent, Lightsworn.

Cards which are overpowered
  • Judgement Dragon
  • Dark Armed Dragon
  • Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning
  • Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
  • Grapha, Dragon God of Dark World
  • Infernity Launcher
  • Rekindling
  • Limiter Removal
  • Royal Tribute
  • Return from the Different Dimension
There's been quite the build up of these over the years. Regardless of how good the deck that supports these cards are, these cards are quite frankly far too powerful. They more or less hand wins to the user on a silver platter. The majority of these are boss monsters, which have proven time and again to have no positive effect on the game whatsoever. I'm not certain why the player base seems to have such a fetish for them.

Cards that limit player interaction
  • Cardcar "D"
  • Evolzar Laggia
  • Final Countdown
  • Skill Drain
  • Chain Burn in general
I've reserved some cards that should be here for another section. This is a fairly straightforward one. Cards like these are removing interaction between players and are making the game more solitaire like.

Regarding back row in general
  • Heavy Storm
  • Solemn Judgement
  • Solemn Warning
  • Torrential Tribute
  • Dimensional Prison*
This chunk of cards here are fairly controversial. Personally, I think they should all get the axe and be taken down a few notches.

Heavy Storm: I won't deny that this card has served the game well in the past, but realistically speaking this card has had so many ill effects on the game lately that denying it is, to be frank, ignorant. It's been the golden ticket for OTK decks and it's been letting players get away with overextending their monsters for a very long time. I won't deny that back row needs to exist in moderation, but as it stands back row simply does not exist. There's no reason to think twice with monsters any more. How is one face-down (if any) meant to handle an obscene number of monsters? The monsters have been taken up a notch over the years and for proportionality back row needs to be made more present also. This cannot happen with this card legal.

The Solemn Brigade: Inversely, without HS legal these two acted as the golden ticket for stun decks. By definition, stun decks limit player interactivity. The Solemns turned attrition based gameplay into flat out stalemates. Summons need to be restricted, not made impossible. There are more balanced conditional options in existence. These needn't be legal.

Torrential Tribute: This is a testament to HS's detrimental effect on the modern game. This card was raised up because one back row was not sufficient in dealing with a swarm of monsters. With HS gone, this can be taken down.

Dimensional Prison: A bit of a miscellaneous hit here. Arguably it isn't a problem, but we saw how hideous the game becomes when people main 3 of this. This card ought to stick around just as an attack deterrent, but like with SW we don't want stalemates. I'm not completely certain as to what to do with this one, though. There are attack deterrents in the game which are much more balanced and perfectly useable.

Effect Veiler

This is a card that bothers me often with its design. I don't like the idea of having cards that have no risk attached to them in this game. I'm not settled on this card.

Miscellaneous Decks
  • Inzektors
  • Wind-Ups
If all of the prior are dealt with, these should be the only issues left. I'm not particularly bothered about how these decks are dealt with, so long as they are.

I think that's everything summed up. This is opinion based, but I hope this at least conforms to my model. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.


  1. Really nice.

    I think Heavy storm is a problem too.

  2. You missed Monster Reborn :(

  3. Very nice, IMO Heavy need to remain once more, typhon need to be limited then Night Beam can be used