Although the information we have on these is rather limited and restricted to one page from a leaked OTS news email, we still know enough to make some informed guesses about what these new formats will bring to the table.
This is the one that got people excited the most. And how could it not? Miss playing the 2014 HAT format? Maybe the 2019 TOSS format? Perhaps you want to play a Goat or Edison tournament with actual support? Well, we finally have an option. Back in September of 2019, ex-Konami representative and product manager Matthew Bell mentioned in an interview that, while they were aware of the existence of alternative formats and their popularity, they wanted to "let the community decide on the rules and the way it should be played." This is a reasonable decision, since there still are arguments over card legality in Goat (mainly concerning Exarion Universe). Hence they left card legality, rulings, and all the minute details at each Official Tournament Store's discretion.
All in all, this is a great idea in my opinion. Legacy formats such as the aforementioned Goat, Edison, or HAT are incredibly popular. They're a good starting point for new players who want to learn more and get better at the game too. Not least, they're a great way to keep part of the game's history alive even after so many years. Leaving the community in charge of these events ensures their fairness in terms of rulings and set legality, while still supporting actual events.
One small downside is that this might cause certain cards to spike in price. These cards had been staples in their respective formats but haven't received a reprint in years. Metamorphosis, Delinquent Duo, Mist Wurm, or Mermail Abyssgaios all see widespread play in legacy formats and demand a high price because of it. While the Edison format (about which you'll be seeing a new article soon enough) is surprisingly affordable, certain Goat staples can be quite expensive. Before now, you could just proxy these cards or play pretty foreign rarities, but since you will want to play Konami-sanctioned tournaments, those will no longer be allowed.
All in all, this is an ace in my book, so I guess I should give them a score? Time Wizard format: 10/10.
Ohhhh boy, this one's a big can of worms. Heart of the Underdog is a format designed to bring under-represented or lower-powered decks into the spotlight. While this is a great idea, as playing against Tri-Brigade Lyrilusc five rounds in a row isn't exactly fun, it comes with a lot of downsides. The document states that Official Tournament Store will decide what deck types are banned, in order to create a more casual field of play. This sounds great, doesn't it? Finally you'll be able to play your underpowered Gene-Warped Warwolf control deck, right? Well, no.
Yes, you won't see Invoked (thank god), Swordsoul, Tri-Brigade, et cetera. But you will see the next best decks. Depending on what your local store decides to ban, your Heart of the Underdog event might include decks like Unchained or Magical Musketeers. This is good if you like decks that, while good, are not up to the level current meta decks boast. It's not so good if you intend to win with your mishmash of random cards that Yugi played in the anime. There's always going to be meta decks. No matter how many decks or cards you remove from the game, there will always be strategies that are better than others and that will win most tournaments. If you remove the top end, then something else will be on top. If this is what you want from the format, great, it's the purpose it was intended to serve. If what you want is to win without putting any thought into your deck building or without knowing what your local metagame is like, well, too bad for you.
This can either be a great format or an absolute mess. These sort of tournaments have already been happening sporadically in some local stores, but not with Konami's backing. From these tournaments we can deduce what some of the bans needed for a healthy format are, if you really want Underdogs to shine.
Pretty good idea, but execution will vary greatly between individual stores. 7/10.
I love this. It's going to be awful. For those familiar with MTG's Pauper format, this is the same but for Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments. You have to build a deck using only cards of the common rarity and nothing else. This is an excellent limitation that can lead to amazing deck ideas and fun interactions. However, as it stands, Yu-Gi-Oh! Pauper is a tier zero Gouki format. The entire Gouki archetype being reprinted in common makes it incredibly easy to combo off. Any two Gouki monsters will net you a board of double Gouki The Powerload Ogre, an incredibly strong towers monster. The power Codebreaker Zero Day and its link variants bring to Gouki is insane.
Still, this is not the only strong deck the format has. Tenyi basically does the same thing Gouki does, but possibly better, considering Tenyi Spirit - Sahasrara is a common now. Gren Maju Da Eiza at common matches up with Pot of Desires and Eater of Millions, staples in this banish-heavy strategy, for a very powerful beatdown/one turn kill deck. Also every single Paleozoic card exists at common, just leaving this here.
But Konami seems to have made what I believe to be a huge mistake in card legality for these events. You can only play common cards. Period. That means that even if you own an extremely pretty ultimate rare Solemn Judgment, you won't be able to play it in Common Charity, even though a common printing exists. You actually need to use such a common printing. Granted, this has not been fully clarified as of yet. But in the document they link to an explanation of the past Pegasus Challenge with a similar gimmick, so it's expected to work like it did there. This is a massive mistake. Magic's Pauper format lets you use any printing of a card as long as it was printed as a common, which is pretty intuitive.
In Yu-Gi-Oh! this is an even bigger issue, honestly. In case you didn't know, Portuguese OTS packs include some common reprints of cards that are not included in any other language's packs. Cards such as Inzektor Hornet or Scrap Chimera have only one common printing, and it's in Portuguese OTS packs. This makes them not only incredibly hard to get your hands on but also begs the question if they're legal in the first place, as they're not available in every territory.
All in all, I'm very excited for this format. I expect local stores not to care for the rarity of your cards as long as they have a common printing. But if Konami says no to that, it might be an issue. If you can play any rarity: 10/10. If you can only play commons: 6/10.
Okay, this is terrible. While a cool idea at first, this format is going to be literally unplayable. In the Deck Master format, you follow in the footsteps of the anime, where the protagonists had to choose a Deck Master and play with Deck Master rules. You can choose any monster in the game (main or extra deck monster) to begin the game outside the deck. Any effects the monster has apply as if it were face up on the field. You can normal summon your Deck Master to your field ignoring any sort of summoning restrictions, and in the case of extra deck monsters, you don't use any materials. If your Deck Master is destroyed, you lose.
This … sounds fun. But, it comes with a lot of questions. Can you have three copies of your Deck Master in your deck and an additional one as your Deck Master (henceforth referred to as "DM")? Can you use your DM's activated effects or do only continuous effects apply? What if your DM leaves the field but is not destroyed? While I expect these questions to be answered in due time, I'm convinced this format will be hell.
Nothing's stopping you from having Vanity's Ruler or The Last Warrior from Another Planet as your DM. Truth is, there are a lot of dumb floodgate monsters in this game. While most of these are incredibly easy to out or extremely hard to summon, that's not an issue if they are your Deck Master. Cards like Aurora Paragon, which are unplayable, become game-ending, un-outable threats. I've compiled a "ban list" of Deck Masters that your locals should probably follow. You can find it on my Twitter. It contains a whopping 53 cards, all of which restrict a basic mechanic of the game.
I have mixed feelings about Deck Master. I think something in this style, a parallel to Commander in MTG, is a good idea, but I don't think it's been implemented adequately, if it even can be. Perhaps introducing a 60- or 100-card deck size and a singleton rule would make it more enjoyable, but still, having any negate as your DM is just pure insanity. I believe that this could hypothetically succeed as a very casual format, where you build a dumb fun deck with something like Superancient Deepsea King Coelacanth. Talking with your play group and having your own dos and don'ts seems like the best way to implement this.
But hey, if you wanted to play Slifer the Sky Dragon and have it be good, it's absolutely broken as your DM. All in all, it's a 5/10 but has high potential.
This is the last format mentioned in the document and the one we know the least about. It's described as "A fun and easy way to introduce Duelists to themes that they may not have commonly played." Also it's referred to as a "program," so I'm curious to see what they mean by that. If I had to speculate, I would say that this could be events where no more than one person is allowed to play a certain deck (only one Tri-Brigade player, only one Duston player, et cetera). But that sounds incredibly toxic and unfun, so we'll have to see what this mystery format is. What do you think it could be?
Concluding this lengthy article, in my opinion, the good people at Konami have made one of the best decisions they've ever taken. Yu-Gi-Oh! lacking any sort of alternative for when the format gets stale or just to spice things up was always a huge downside, but that's soon to change!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.