The forbidden section welcomed just one card, Zoodiac Barrage. The Zoodiac theme can now be unsleeved and placed in the binder to gather dust for at least three months. Though I guess someone could decide to play a dedicated going-second ZEUS build. Zoodiac was already more or less unplayable again after Zoodiac Drident was banned with the previous list update, but now with Barrage gone, Tri-Brigade will most likely drop the Zoodiac variant and focus on the pure version or any other variant.
Let's start with the second indirect hit to Tri-Brigade, Fire Formation - Tenki. Not only does this hit make players unsleeve their Zoodiac decks faster, but it is also a second nerf for Tri-Brigade aimed at the deck's consistency. With no strong Beast-Warrior themes getting printed in the near future, we can generally expect what Konami is going to do to Tri-Brigade eventually. It is the fate of every deck that sits atop the deck chain for some time.
The other deck that got indirectly affected is Drytron. One can consider the limitation of Eva a very minor hit to the deck. Most lists generally include only a single copy anyway, so it is not a really big deal but there were some versions that ran two. While this constitutes a minor impediment, it does show that Konami isn't preemptively trying to prevent the deck from gaining any momentum for the moment. I believe Drytron is still one of the format's best decks.
The deck actually suffering a direct hit is Prank-Kids. The limiting of Prank-Kids Meow-Meow-Mu is definitely the worst-case scenario for the deck as it turns it into some sort of glass cannon. If Meow Meow is summoned and the opponent chains a card like Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring to stop any further summons, the trick cannot be repeated again, making that one-of Meow Meow incredibly precious as you have to ensure that it will go off. And yet more often than not, you will not be able to recycle it during the duel.
I expect many players to shy away from Prank-Kids now and pick up other more resilient strategies in its place. Though the deck is by no means finished. It has space to play Crossout Designator to ensure that Meow Mewo will go through, but does it have the stamina to play the grind game? Personally, I hope so.
The semi-limited section feels crowded all of a sudden with the addition of three cards at once to make its grand total reach four! Danger! Nessie! is the first card that was moved from the limited section to this section. The Danger! package has not been doing anything at all lately, so it is possible that Konami is experimenting to see if it can clean up the list a little. It would sure give a boost to strategies utilizing the Danger! engine as it can search others from the deck. Just how viable the change is remains to be seen.
The other major change is Emergency Teleport. Finally, after all these years, more than a single copy of the card can be played. This benefits some forgotten decks such as Ritual Beasts. It might also encourage the use of the Psi-Reflector engine to field some big synchro monsters. As for its meta implications, Virtual World players may welcome it with open arms as it gives them a bit of a consistency boost, and we all know they need every little bit of consistency.
Lastly in this section, we have the one and only—or in this case two and only—Performapal Skullcrobat Joker. Together with Double Iris Magician, which was unlimited, both present a welcome breather for pendulum decks. I do not expect them to do anything crazy, but pendulum variants might end up being a rogue contender now that they are gaining some of their key cards back. Of course, the best pendulum-support card, Heavymetalfoes Electrumite, remains safely locked away in the forbidden section of the list.
This update was rather disappointing honestly. Apart from nerfing Prank-Kids and giving Tri-Brigade a little bit of a consistency headache, the list has not done much except for giving pendulum players a bit of hope that one day they will be able to dust off their decks and actually manage to compete with them. But what did the list miss? Well, for starters, it left the Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon package unchecked as both Dragoon and Predaplant Verte Anaconda avoided the ban hammer.
Also, it seems Konami did not want to hit decks that are getting a reprint in the 2021 Tin of Ancient Battles. Nadir Servant is certainly a big contender for a place on the ban list, while Tri-Brigade might warrant a direct hit eventually for Tri-Brigade Revolt in some form or capacity. Virtual World too—although it received a slight buff now—might be in for a bit of "restructuring" after the next list drops. Maxx "C" is also nowhere to be seen, but there's a small chance that Konami will surprise us in January in order to balance the most sought-after card from the upcoming Megatin, Crossout Designator.
As for my personal wish for a list update, Denglong, First of the Yang Zing is still banned. It's been too denglong already!
What are your favorite and least favorite changes this time around, and why? Are Prank-Kids out of the picture? Which deck is the deck to beat now? What do you plan on playing this format? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
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