Why Is Lavalval Chain Banned?
- Robin Schrecklinger
Lavalval Chain is one of the most powerful versions of Foolish Burial ever printed, and it was banned for good reason. It was used in a variety of decks and to great effect, and many decks today would love to have it. That said, it's worth looking at whether the card would command the same fear today.
Today, we will look at one of the many xyz monsters that are prohibited from competitive play: La-valval Chain. This card that has enabled many degenerate plays in the past. We will analyze the rea-sons that led to its ban and come to a conclusion as to whether Lavalval Chain could be unchained again in the future.
Lavalval Chain was initially released in September 2012 in the Duel Terminal 7a expansion. It is a rank four xyz monster card with the following card text:
What we observe first is that Lavalval Chain's summoning requirements are generic. There are no restrictions involving the xyz materials required for the summon. Any two level four monsters will bring it to our side of the field. Lavalval Chain has two effects which both require 1 xyz material being detached from it. The first effect lets us send any card from the deck to the graveyard. The second effect allows us to stack a monster card from our deck to the top of our deck.
Why Was It Banned?
Before we thoroughly discuss Lavalval Chain's effects and how they work today, we must first look at how the card was used when it was still legal. Lavalval Chain requiring generic rank four xyz monster allowed players to splash it into any deck that could summon rank 4 monsters. One deck that made use of Lavalval Chain was Nekroz. Nekroz used Lavalval Chain to send Djinn Releaser of Rituals from the deck to the graveyard. This granted a relatively easy access to the infamous Djinn lock, which pre-vented the opponent from special summoning monsters.
Another deck, Infernity, used multiple copies of Lavalval Chain. In Infernity, La-valval Chain was often used to send Stygian Street Patrol from the deck to the graveyard. The Street Pa-trol then let you special summon your Infernity monsters from your hand to the field. By making additional copies of Lavalval Chain you could repeat this process since Lavalval Chain lacks a hard once-per-turn-restriction, which is not uncommon for fairly old cards.
Lastly, Lavalval Chain has enabled FTKs in many an FTK strategy. Even though it was never the actual rea-son for the "kill" in the FTK, it helped those decks to get their combo pieces together for the FTK to work. We don't need to go into the individual FTKs t enabled, but it's important to keep in mind that this particular xyz monster enabled several different FTK strategies.
Its splashability and just generic value in all sorts of decks were the main reasons why Lavalval Chain was banned in July 2015. I already discussed that generic, splashable cards cause serious problems with cards in one of my other articles. The fact that Lavalval Chain can be easily used outside of its own archetype paired with its ability to facilitate all sorts of combos, loops, and even FTKs were plenty of justification for Konami to give the card the axe. That being said, would it still be so toxic today?
Can It Be Unbanned?
With Djinn being banned and Infernity Archfiend and Infernity Launcher both limited, the primary strategies that exploited Lavalval Chain back in the day do not exist in modern Yu-Gi-Oh! So, it is quite natu-ral to ask if Lavalval Chain could be unchained again. As mentioned, the most problematic aspect of Lavalval Chain is that basically any deck can play it and use its dangerous first effect.
Foolish Burial can send any monster card from the deck to the graveyard and it is currently limited to one copy per deck. Lavalval Chain, however, is not just a Foolish Burial. It is a Foolish Burial AND Foolish Burial Goods combined in a single card that is, moreover, easily accessible because of the extra deck. It doesn't really matter that the old strategies aren't around anymore, as there are plenty of new strategies that could exploit the ease-of-use Lavalval Chain offers.
One argument for its release from the banlist could be the fact that there are other monsters with the same effect, namely Curious, the Lightsworn Dominion and Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal. Beatrice even works at spell speed 2 and finds itself on the limited list. However, both Curious and Beatrice are harder to summon than Lavalval Chain. Curious requires three materials with the same attribute and different types. Beatrice, on the other hand, requires two level 6 xyz monsters. Rank six xyz monsters are harder to summon than a rank four monsters, so Beatrice is still much harder to summon. Level 4s are among the (if not the) best supported level monsters in all of Yu-Gi-Oh! Moreover, newer cards like Parallel eXceed make summoning rank 4s easier than ever.
Furthermore, such a generic card as Lavalval Chain also has an impact on future card design. Konami would have to make sure none of their new cards could break Lavalval Chain again. For example, any new card with a strong graveyard effect could fairly easily be sent to the graveyard via Lavalval Chain and, thus, bring Lavalval Chain right back into the problematic territory that led to its ban.
Lavalval Chain also lacks a hard once-per-turn-restriction. However, I do not think that a hard once-per-turn-errata such as in the case of Firewall Dragon recently would make much of a difference here. If Lavalval Chain were to be released from the banlist, it would be limited and not come back at three copies per deck. Thus, you would only be able to use it once anyways.
It might very well be that a release of Lavalval Chain from the banlist could facilitate new FTKs or degenerate loops and combos. One could, however, discuss whether it would not make more sense to just ban the cards that cause the actual problem (such as Djinn in the Djinn-lock) or the cards respon-sible for the FTK rather than a card that just helps you to get there such as Lavalval Chain. I could probably dedicate an entire article to this discussion. Personally, I would be more in favor of banning those problem cards which Lavalval Chain could give you access to. However, I can also understand everyone who does not want such a strong generic card to be a part of the game.
It's tough to say whether Lavalval Chain deserves to be freed. I, personally, am inclined to say yes and no at the same time. I see the potential problems Lavalval Chain's release from the banlist could cause. Still, I would be interested to see what would actually happen if we were allowed to run a sin-gle copy of it again. It might be an interesting experiment to release it from the banlist for a single format and to see how it would play out.
What are your thoughts on Lavalval Chain? Would you like to see it back at one copy per deck? Or would you rather play it safe and have it stay were it is: in chains and prohibited from tournament play?
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmar-ket.