How to Clean Up the Forbidden and Limited List


As of March 2021 there are 185 cards on the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG's Forbidden & Limited List. Konami has made some efforts to remove surplus entries from the restrictions, but there is much more that could be done. I think it would be possible to clear out 20% of the cards with a single sentence.

Phoenixian Cluster Amaryllis

Errata in Yu-Gi-Oh!

For anyone who may know how I typically feel about errata, it seems strange that I might be suggesting, let alone advocating, that Konami should alter some 40 or more cards. In general I am strongly opposed to any card being changed, even if it clears space on the Forbidden & Limited List. However, my distaste for these alterations typically arise from forbidden cards being changed so drastically that they no longer do what they were originally known for. We have seen several cards being downgraded to a shadow of their former selves. From forbidden straight to unplayable.

crush card virus crush card virus
One wins championships, the other gets sold as bulk

Those that have suffered the worst are Crush Card Virus, Destiny HERO - Disk Commander, Exchange of the Spirit, Makyura the Destructor, Dark Magician of Chaos, Brain Control, Sinister Serpent, and Chaos Emperor Dragon - Envoy of the End. The updated text for these cards has essentially deleted them from the game entirely. It seems such a shame that some of the game's most iconic cards of all time can be cast aside so recklessly. Every text update given to this group should have been remade as a new card, instead of destroying their legacy.

There is, however, another group of cards whose updates have been managed more tastefully. Several have been successfully reintroduced to the pool of playable cards through careful adjustments. Temple of the Kings, Sangan, Witch of the Black Forest, Rescue Cat, Grandsoil the Elemental Lord, and most recently Dewloren, Tiger King of the Ice Barrier have all been reborn from forbidden with small changes and, most importantly, they remain viable cards.

rescue cat tiger king of the ice barrier
Sometimes changes are implemented more carefully

One change that all of these cards share is known as "Hard Once Per Turn" or "HOPT."

Hard Once Per Turn

For anyone who may be unfamiliar with the term, it is a clause we see regularly on newer cards, but was rarely included on older ones. There are a few subtly different wordings that the clause can take, but generally it reads something like this: "You can only activate each effect of *this card's name* once per turn." Each player can only ever use that effect once each turn regardless of how many times they can draw/summon/play the card in question.

I think that HOPT errata are the most reliable way to return cards to unlimited status without harming their identity. Many entries on the Forbidden & Limited List are there by necessity because they can be abused in combo decks that activate their effects multiple times per turn. This small change removes that problematic use case with minimal impact on players who wanted to enlist those cards for a more fair application.

I've put together a list of cards that I believe would be fine to be unlimited with Hard Once Per Turn updates, and no other changes. This would also have the neat side effect of completely removing the now unnecessary semi-limited section of the Forbidden & Limited List.

Fishborg Blaster
Grinder Golem
Level Eater
Lunalight Tiger
Magical Scientist
Mind Master
Phoenixian Cluster Amaryllis
Samsara Lotus
Supreme King Dragon Starving Venom
Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity
Butterfly Dagger - Elma
Card of Safe Return
Chicken Game
Mass Driver
Premature Burial
Royal Oppression
Danger!? Jackalope?
Danger! Nessie!
Danger!? Tsuchinoko?
Genex Ally Birdman
Night Assailant
Gem-Knight Master Diamond
Cyber Angel Benten
PSY-Framelord Omega
Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal
Daigusto Emeral
Gateway of the Six
Infernity Launcher
Into the Void
Symbol of Heritage
Trickstar Light Stage
Upstart Goblin
Destiny HERO - Malicious


First there are cards that figured as a fundamental component in first turn kills: Mind Master, Phoenixian Cluster Amaryllis, Samsara Lotus, Substitoad, Supreme King Dragon Starving Venom, Butterfly Dagger - Elma, Mass Driver, Genex Ally Birdman, and Gem-Knight Master Diamond (although Lady Lapis Lazuli would actually be the better candidate for the HOPT update).

Phoenixian Cluster Amaryllis samsara lotus
Only played as FTK enablers

Second are those cards where a single copy can simply generate way too much value when used multiple times in a turn (some of these have been in FTKs too): Fishborg Blaster, Grinder Golem, Level Eater, Lunalight Tiger, Magical Scientist, Card of Safe Return, Premature Burial, Cyber Angel Benten, Gateway of the Six, Symbol of Heritage.

grinder golem cyber angel benten
How many times are you going to use that same card?!

The third major group are cards that are completely fine the first time, but become a problem when multiple copies get used in the same turn. Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity, Chicken Game, the Danger monsters, Beatrice, Daigusto Emeral, PSY-Framelord Omega, Night Assailant, SPYRAL Quik-Fix, Trishula, Infernity Launcher, Into the Void, SPYRAL Resort, Trickstar Light Stage, Upstart Goblin, and Destiny HERO - Malicious.

Danger! Nessie upstart goblin
Please don't draw your entire deck

Last is Royal Oppression, which doesn't fit into any of the above groups. It becomes a fundamentally different card with a HOPT effect. Once a floodgate, it would become an interesting double-edged interaction.

royal oppression
This could actually become an interesting card

Other Candidates

T.G. Hyper Librarian and Infernity Archfiend could also have been included on my list. They could definitely both go to three with HOPT errata, but they're actually better off staying at one without that change.

T.G. Hyper Librarian infernity archfiend
Better off limited

There are a few other cards that I considered but that probably remain too powerful even with a HOPT limitation. Dandylion, Elder Entity Norden, and Zoodiac Ratpier would certainly be much more manageable if they couldn't be reused, but arguably even the first activation is too strong.

dandylion elder entity norden
Still too strong?

Closing Thoughts

I think that the spirit of the cards would be maintained if once per turn limitation was the only way in which they were updated. Would you be happy to see all of these cards back at three with this change or are there any that should never come back? Let us know in the comments!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.


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MeadowsYGO(28.04.2021 10:52)

If they start to errata cards there is no need for a banlist. Why not just errata every overpowered card because why not.

TeeMouse(28.04.2021 18:48)(Edited: 28.04.2021 18:48)

MeadowsYGO many cards would need to be fundamentally changed to find a healthy place in the meta. HOPT is often a soft-touch approach that removes the abusable use-cases without damaging the intent for how the card should be played.

In general I'm against errata, but I think it can be beneficial when used carefully.

neonrideraryeh(26.04.2021 16:06)

I like this article. I am a believer that the forbidden and limited list should be as small and tight as possible (things like don't ban multiple around a problem when you can ban one). While the bad Crush Card type errata have soured people on the concept in general, I'm not bothered with smaller ones like this. So something like this to shrink the list significantly would be nice and I like that you have compiled the list of which ones that could be done with. I'd like to see this done and we get a big Unlimited additions section from it on a list update.

anteroso1954(25.04.2021 13:18)

HOPT is not enough for certain cards to be removed from the banlist in general, either as banned/limited/semi limited.
One thing I do know, you can easily remove Destiny HERO- Malicious from Semi to Unlimited with 1 Errata option: "You cannot special summon monsters from the Extra deck except HERO monsters during the turn you activated this card's effect." Same restriction Xtra HERO Cross Crusader has. Putting it For the rest of this turn, doesn't solve the problem because you can setup a board prior activating, putting it at 1 would put people in rage, I believe hard restriction for summoning nothing except HEROES would be a problem solver and remove Semi-limit of the grid once and for all.
As I stated before in some replies: Pendulum players got their new link 2, Doremicord, which is better electrumite for the long run, resets ur scales, that is plenty. Even if you move Monkeyboard, plushfire skullcrobat from the banlist, with HOPT restriction, it's still a 1 card scale turn after turn, normal summon joker search monkeyboard search plushfire, which is a huge NO in my honest opinion. On top of that if u have electrumite with that included, Pendulums are breaking into the format as a new tier 0, again, remember PEPE format? Yea, I don't want to live throught that once more.
Astrograph even with HOPT isn't gonna solve the issue card has, huge amount of consistency and board pressure. Staying banned or hard Errata on the card, for example, You cannot draw cards from your deck during the turn you activated this card's effects, is one of the solutions I have in mind for this card to be balanced.

TeeMouse(26.04.2021 15:36)

This article doesn't mention Monkeyboard, Plushfire, Skullcrobat or Astrograph.

I'm not suggesting that every card can be unbanned with a HOPT.

Calista(23.04.2021 18:44)

Why is Trickstar Light Stage at 1 again? I'm pretty sure searching both Lycoris and Candina in the same turn is not a game-breaking play in 2021.

anteroso1954(25.04.2021 13:09)

It is, 1 card Verte anaconda Turbo decks would get more support if lightstage is back at 3, huge amounts of consistency to those. I'm honestly tired of seeing Dragoon turbo decks right now and this is one of those types unlimites taht would just make it unbearable to watch.

Calista(25.04.2021 20:01)

Anteroso1954 I dislike Dragoon as much as the next guy, but I don't see how Light Stage or the ability to activate it multiple time per turn is the problem here.

TeeMouse(26.04.2021 15:40)

Whilst only speculation, I believe that the card is only limited because it was being splashed as an engine to generate generic bodies on board with s/t removal rolled in for free.

Trickstar decks definitely aren't an issue in 2021, so why not slightly reduce the splashability and get it off the list?

Azdrerios(23.04.2021 16:50)

I can agree with more or less everything said here... With the exception of HOPT being enough to unban Chicken Game.

That card is a physical manifestation of horrid game design and its existence should be erased from the timeline.

TeeMouse(26.04.2021 15:41)

Yeah, it's definitely a contentious one, but personally I don't mind what it does outside of FTK decks. Healthier card than Mystic Mine...

Elyesa(23.04.2021 16:46)

Nice list but I couldnt see any pendulum cards...
Do u know these cards "Astrograph Sorcerer" "Skullcrobat Joker" "Double Iris Magician" "Monkeyboard" "Plushfire" "Kirin" "Servant of Endymion" some of them needs a HOPT like Astrograph give this card a HOPT errata and Konami let this card unbanned from the bannlist. And I think Joker, Double Iris, Servant of Endymion without Electrumite are not so powerfull currently in MR5, also let them unbanned. And 100% Pendulum Players need Electrumite, also get this card to Limited to 1 and they are happy.

anteroso1954(25.04.2021 13:12)

Elyesa Pendulum players got their new link 2, Doremicord, which is better electrumite for the long run, resets ur scales, that is plenty. Even if you move Monkeyboard, plushfire skullcrobat from the banlist, with HOPT restriction, it's still a 1 card scale turn after turn, normal summon joker search monkeyboard search plushfire, which is a huge NO in my honest opinion. On top of that if u have electrumite with that included, Pendulums are breaking into the format as a new tier 0, again, remember PEPE format? Yea, I don't want to live throught that once more.

TeeMouse(26.04.2021 15:43)

Elyesa, it's not that I don't think some of those cards could be removed from the F/L list, but they are not mentioned here because I don't think giving them HOPT restrictions would make much difference. They can either come back, or not, based on their strength as written.

Yshax(26.04.2021 18:58)

How could i search performage plushfire with performapal monkeyboard?

ASSASSINxTOMATO(23.04.2021 13:14)(Edited: 23.04.2021 13:15)

I don't agree that using the clause HOPT in all cards solves the problem, in some old decks putting a HOPT kills their plays and mechanics resulting in a same unplayable state.

What I think what they have to do is study if a HOPT makes the card/deck viable and if it's not the case create a new support card that balance the deck without killing it and they don't lose sales as we don't lose our favourites decks.

TeeMouse(26.04.2021 15:45)

ASSASSINxTOMATO the list of cards in this article were specifically chosen as examples where HOPT does not damage the intention of the card. (aside from a few which would otherwise have remained forbidden forever)

I even noted that cards like T. G. Hyper Librarian and Infernity Archfiend are better off remaining limited, without the errata.

Yu-Gi-Lars(23.04.2021 11:02)

Destiny Hero - Malicious can go to 3, without errata, and it would barely do anything.
( yes, it will make Hero decks a bit stronger, but it's Hero's... So who cares )

anteroso1954(25.04.2021 13:21)

Yu-Gi-Lars It's not hero decks why taht card was banned/limited/semi limited
It's because of how easily you can link climb with it, giving you extra fodders for free. Prior to that, first reason it was banned was TELEDAD, and it was on the grid for the most part still because it was a free fodder for either tribute, synchro, even xyz plays, nowadays free link fodder.

Yu-Gi-Lars(25.04.2021 13:45)

Anteroso1954 literally no one besides hero players, plays malicious.
So it may have been used that way, but it isn't anymore.
And if it is so good and easy to link climb with it, why is no one playing it anymore?
( except for maybe some niche deck or something like a casual deck )

TeeMouse(26.04.2021 15:47)

Yu-Gi-Lars nobody is playing it anymore because it is semi limited.

There is a huge difference between the value of playing it at 3 vs at 2. It was used in other decks for link climbing when it was unlimited.

Yu-Gi-Lars(26.04.2021 16:01)

TeeMouse But that's what i am saying.
If it really was THAT good, than people would still be playing it.

Heck, there are cards at 1 that give less advantage and still see more play than malicious.

TeeMouse(26.04.2021 17:48)

Yu-Gi-Lars that's exactly what I'm saying. It isn't THAT good at 2. It was THAT good at 3.

Theres a huge difference between a generic +1 and a generic +2.

Yu-Gi-Lars(26.04.2021 19:24)

TeeMouse i am willing to bet on it, that it won't see play at 3 in this format ( and the coming )
There are better options to link climb ( most, if not all are in archetype extenders )

And it would be a waste to put 3 ( maybe 4 ) cards in your deck, just for this possibiity for extending your plays.
It is a complete dead card in your hand, and you have to send 1 to your grave to even make it possible to extend.

I think you are underestimating how good the extenders are right now.

Also, there is NO WAY it is ''weak'' at 2 but OP at 3. ( weak as in, not strong enough of an extender )
That wouldn't make any sense.

TeeMouse(28.04.2021 18:46)

Yu-Gi-Lars I'm guessing that you didn't play much back when Reborn Tengu was one of the best cards in the game at 3, but became instantly unplayable when it was Semi-Limited?

Yu-Gi-Lars(28.04.2021 19:23)

TeeMouse no i didn't
But now nobody plays it.
( sure one of the combo pieces might be banned or something )

But that doesn't mean the same counts for Malicious.

I mean, before harpie's feather duster came to 1 everybody was saying it wont come to 1 because it's too strong, or that it is too broken of a card, and stuff like that.
And it rarely sees play.

Before pot of avarice came to 1 everybody said it is too broken, or too powerfull of a card to come off the banlist.
And now that is at 3 and nobody plays it.

Just because a card seems too broken/powerful to go to X copies per deck, doesn't mean it is.

TeeMouse(28.04.2021 21:57)(Edited: 28.04.2021 23:25)

Yu-Gi-Lars the issue with Tengu in modern YGO is that it you have to get the first copy onto the board. Putting a Malicious into the grave is much more manageable, as it doesn't use your normal summon.

The difference between semi limited and unlimited is directly comparable however. In both cases 3 copies is literally twice as much value as 2 copies.

It's very easy for a card to go from unplayable to broken when it becomes literally double the power.

Yu-Gi-Lars(04.05.2021 14:50)

TeeMouse How is it twice as strong then?

Again, there are far better in archetype extenders nowadays than back then.
OR the archetype/deck locks itself into X type monsters, or X attribute monsters rather quickly.
So malicious will have a hard time fitting in ( except for the casual decks, such as cubics or something else that rarely sees play that doesn't have a archetype,attribute/type lock on it. )

TeeMouse(06.05.2021 18:09)

Yu-Gi-Lars with Malicious at 2 getting the first copy into the grave gives you 1 free link material.

With Malicious at 3 getting the first copy into the grave gives you 2 free link materials.

2 free bodies are twice as good as 1.

Phyxium(23.04.2021 10:05)

Probably an unpopular opinion, but I've always wondered how the state of the game would be if we followed the rules of Duel Links' ban list. I believe the ban list would be much smaller compared to what it is currently.

RoyalClasher(23.04.2021 09:57)(Edited: 23.04.2021 09:57)

Upstart with a hard once per turn wouldn´t change anything, you could play with a 37 card deck if you want (if you have trouble finding the last cards)

Benjii96(24.04.2021 10:01)

RoyalClasher and where would be the problem here? It would make some decks much more consistent while making FTKs impossible with it.

Yshax(23.04.2021 09:36)

Skullcrobat Joker have a Hard OPT and is still forbidden... And you forgot electrumite

TeeMouse(26.04.2021 15:50)

Skullcrobat doesn't have a HOPT, but that isn't why it is banned anyway.

Similarly Electrumite isn't really any different with that errata. Neither was forgotten, they just don't change with HOPT.

Yshax(26.04.2021 18:53)

Yeah, skullcrobat is not hopt cause of the normal Simmons.. I know Joker is the Stratos (or the Joker) dir 3 different themes.. But we have cards Like tenki, meltdown,alleister, Stratos, quick Lunch at 3 who does more or less the Same..

Yeah, electrumite ist a ruff one but i think this Card is mandatory for pendulums with the current rules.

ThDragonColossus(23.04.2021 08:15)

I think ratpier to 2 would be quite nice, because then you could use its effect when attached to an xyz monster, that would be really interesting to see, what the players would do

RoyalClasher(23.04.2021 09:55)

ThDragonColossus What players would do is Zoodiac being tier 1 instantly

KenowaX(23.04.2021 07:23)(Edited: 23.04.2021 07:24)

You put the image of the wrong Infernity Archfiend in the article. :)

Also, side note, a lot of cards could just be removed from the F&L list without making a huge impact on the game...

TobiHenke(23.04.2021 09:27)(Edited: 23.04.2021 09:28)

Image fixed. Thanks!

Skystriker(23.04.2021 05:58)

Just slap HARD ONCE PER TURN on cards. It should fix most of issues. Also upstart should be at 3.

zachiruhirosaki(23.04.2021 05:24)

Damn those errated iconic cards hit hard. Ced is my favourite monster. It hurts my heart and soul with these complete effect changes of cards. I always wondered if konami could re errata them. Back but with restrictions. But why would konami listen unless it would. Make komoney

TeeMouse(26.04.2021 15:53)

I don't think this is likely unfortunately. It can look bad for physical TCGs to errata cards multiple times. This is a big advantage to digital card games than can revert bad changes without leaving as much evidence of their mistake.

Olinnae(23.04.2021 03:31)

Level Eater just need this simple errata: "This card cannot be used as a Link Material.

Cyberlord(23.04.2021 08:42)

No.. We are not in MR4 anymore.. There are enough Synchro Negate Monsters arround these days.. The Card can never come back.