Why Crossout Designator Is a Bad Design

It's everyone's favorite time of the year: spoiler season. The 2021 Tin of Ancient Battles is upon us, and amidst a sea of big money reprints, rarity upgrades, and Sacred Beast reprints, Konami has included a card I hoped would never see the light of day in the TCG: Crossout Designator.

crossout designator
Just look at that smug look

No One Gets to Play

Released all the way back in May 2019 in Japan, as a promotional card included in the July 2019 issue of Vjump, Crossout Designator instantly warped the metagame around itself. For those out of the loop, here's Designator's text: "Declare 1 card name; banish 1 of that declared card from your Main Deck, and if you do, negate its effects, as well as the activated effects and effects on the field of cards with the same original name, until the end of this turn. You can only activate 1 'Crossout Designator' per turn." So yeah, pretty powerful effect huh? Powerful enough that basically every single OCG decklist ever since has run three copies, together with two Called by the Grave in order to stop not only every single hand trap imaginable.

crossout designator

Still, you might not realize at first glance why this card is so unfair, so let me present you with some examples of what it can negate: every single main-deck card in the game. That's a lot of negates for a single card, right? No need to pendulum summon five to stop Dark Ruler No More, or to think about playing around Nibiru, the Primal Being if you draw Designator.

However, the OCG found something akin to a "balance" (a very messed up balance, but still) by also having Maxx "C" legal. Why does this matter? Well, if your format is going to include a hand trap that instantly wins the game, it also needs to include a sizeable number of outs to said card. Here in the TCG, however, we did not have that issue. We realized that Maxx "C" was a bit too good past 2015, never worrying about the decision between passing on a normal summon or making our opponent draw eight. But in Japan they weren't so lucky. The way Konami decided to fix this powerhouse in the format was not by banning the card, but by introducing two extremely powerful omni-negates that any deck can play: the aforementioned Called by the Grave and Crossout Designator.

Maxx Called by the Grave
In the OCG, these two form a precarious balance with Designator

For better or worse, we do not live in Japan, thus we now have to deal with these two high-impact counters to a card we don't need to counter. What exactly does that mean? Well, if it's not going to counter Maxx "C", it's going to counter everything else in the game. Picture the following: you are going second, and your opponent is playing a very powerful combo deck, doesn't matter which one. They have opened full combo, but you have Nibiru, the Primal Being and know the best spot to stop them and turn this around. They summon a monster, and you chain Nibiru, happy to put an end to this long, long turn. They do not react, however, and simply activate Crossout Designator, say "Nibiru, the Primal Being," and banish a copy from their deck. They then proceed to continue their combo uninterrupted and win.

Does that sound like fun? Actually, your answer doesn't matter, because we're getting it, like it or not. And you might say, "Well, this is not necessarily a bad thing. If hand traps are now much worse, people should play more going-second or defensive cards in order to build around Crossout Designator, right?" Sure, that's great, the game would be really fun if that were the case, but it is not. Picture the same example as before, but it's already your turn. It's game two and you sided in Dark Ruler No More so you can play through your opponent's crazy good combo. You activate it, but they flip Crossout Designator, naming "Dark Ruler No More" and banishing a copy from their deck. Same applies for running high impact traps like Torrential Tribute.

dark ruler no more nibiru

Are you picking up what I'm laying down? If this is not the change Crossout will bring, then what is? I'll tell you: every deck running random one-of hand traps. You'll see Drytron play one Droll & Lock Bird, Prank-Kids include a single copy of Nibiru, the Primal Being, or Invoked doing the same thing as Drytron. What Crossout Designator causes is not balancing, interesting ways to play the game, or 500 IQ play-arounds. It incentivizes bad deck building. It forces you to run not just more hand traps, as you always have to take into account they're going to have Crossout, but to run a bunch of cards your deck loses to. Not to use them in a mirror match, but to name them with Crossout Designator.

Mirror, Mirror

It's mirror matches what I want to get into next. In case you do not know, a mirror match refers to the situation where you play against the same deck you are playing yourself. In these situations, Crossout Designator is simply unfun. You obviously know what the weak spots of the deck are and will always be able to hit them, since you have Crossout. Naming Sky Striker Ace - Raye in response to your opponent's effect, making it so they miss out on their link plays, is something you'll always have access to in the mirror match. The same applies to every single card in the game. Invocation? Nope, negated. Meteonis Drytron? Nah, ritual summoning is overrated. What this all boils down to is that you will not be able to play your deck properly if you happen to face a mirror. You'll always have to assume they have Crossout or you will just lose.

In the end, this will cause decks not to adapt at the deck building stage. Doing so would mean changing the deck's basic ratios, decreasing not only its consistency as you have to allocate Crossout Designator targets, but its power, as you will need to remove some engine cards to make room for all these cards you don't even intend to use. This means you might just get hit with Droll & Lock Bird game one against Drytron simply because they have to play it as a Crossout target, making that deck's mirror even more annoying.

droll & lock bird infinite impermanence

All in all, Crossout Designator is just another piece in the long line of cards that Konami just has to deal with eventually, even though I'm sure they are aware of the card's troublesome nature. Called by the Grave has been the prime hand trap hate tool ever since its release. At first its addition seemed like a good change that made decks less reliant on powerful cards such as Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring. But it caused Konami to print cards like Infinite Impermanence and Nibiru, the Primal Being. It also changed deck design to the point where not playing nine or more hand traps is wishful thinking. What's more, with it being limited to one, it just feels so much worse getting hit by it.

In conclusion, cards like Crossout Designator and Called by the Grave have no place in the game. While they may seem like they work to stop reliance on hand traps, they instead force players to run even more of these cards, Crossout even more so, forcing you to play "bricks" in the form of one-of hand traps your deck loses to. Overall, I believe these are toxic and unhealthy game pieces that promote all the negatives already discussed. I'll obviously be buying Designator because I want to have a chance at competing. But I hope it gets banned as fast as possible. There really is no reason for the game to have this card.

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


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TeferiOfZhalfir(31.12.2021 14:50)

Lmao, nice article, you sure were right, Crossout Designator is in every deck list ever.

AeonsThorn92(10.11.2021 13:24)(Edited: 10.11.2021 13:42)

The thing is, before crossout and called there was already a "fair" way to stop plays from hand that could hit most handtraps with a balancing draw back, known as Mind Drain.
Sadly the game hasn't been kind to traps...

On the financial side, another big issue that crossout has brought with it, as does every game-breaking, meta-warping and wallet-draining generic staple chase card, is (as many might have guessed) card availability.
Hard-to-get shortprints make for a bumpy ride for those that try to be more budget friendly while playing competitive, evenmore so in this particular case, so until it gets reprinted (or banned/limited) to oblivion Komoney will be getting even bigger bellies for years to come XD

GravityI(06.10.2021 17:32)

This is not bad design, it's just powercreep.
I assume this card was made to weaken decks that run 9-15 1 card combo starters and fill the rest of the deck with handtraps, which forces them to either run 3 CDs + whatever handtrap they need to be able to counter (which favors Konami's business since they will be selling a lot more tins because of this card since almost every deck wants to run it as a 3-of) or alternatively forcing players to run a more varied suite of handtraps or play another strategy, which in this case promotes deck diversity and could actually be considered a good game design choice.

Mr-Volcano(01.10.2021 00:51)

Engraver of the Mark

Minouchtik(23.09.2021 09:43)(Edited: 23.09.2021 13:35)

A lot of whining, but there are plenty of cards in this game, why needing to have everyone have the same handtraps, i like that this card will shake things, make people hesitate to load their deck with over used handtraps and make player think and search less used cards, but it seems like thinking more during deck building is not to everyone's favor

BesterRanX(22.09.2021 22:38)

The damage has done. We have to deal that card for very long time.

Bitmail(22.09.2021 20:26)

Basically saying "parry this you filthy casul" in YGO lol

Ptolemaeu5(22.09.2021 20:11)


Doublecharizard(22.09.2021 15:07)

Toadally agree

Wassmann(22.09.2021 15:04)

Just chain Lancea and crossout is unable to resolve.

Mr-Volcano(22.09.2021 17:23)

Wassmann lancea becomes a side deck necessity

MrQ-P(22.09.2021 10:26)

I do agree for the most; CD is a terrible card and I wished it would never come here. Fact is, however, up until konami will keep the rythm as is, cards like those are just inevitable. It's not really about adapting at this point, more like a whale on whale competition to many extents, because if someone thinks that CD is not going to be shortprinted to death and beyond, well, I have bad news. Yet, CD also has the potential to fix many of the game's fault, and it opens up new possibilities. It's a 50/50 situation for me, although yes, I would have preferred for it to never came into the game at all

Anchewkas(22.09.2021 20:25)

MrQ-P What have card destruction done to you :( ?

Mr-Volcano(22.09.2021 05:03)

I'm happy that "Crossout Designator" is available and at 3. Duels will have even more variety to them. Imagine Running a Deck with archetypes or engines only few players use.
Don't forget Designator against Designator!
This card is not Toxic. Either you are already bad at this game, because you can't adapt to new situations like this or hate change in general. I think it's great and this article should be on the ban list.

Throrma(22.09.2021 06:32)

Mr-Volcano well he had some points, but yes: calling it toxic is a little bit toxic

yashiro123(22.09.2021 07:08)

Mr-Volcano i agree with you. Now people can choose in top tier to run the same staple interruption cards at max capacity, or just shake it up a little by playing great, but not as popular cards to avoid being negated by Crossout.

Flitze(22.09.2021 18:41)

Mr-Volcano: totally see your point and quite happy about this card.

Endriu96(25.09.2021 12:18)

While the "this article should be on the banlist" bit was excessive, I do agree on the fact, that Crossout isn't a toxic card. Heck if that were the case, then CbtG should be at 3 and this card at 1 or even 0, because in that regard it can negate more stuff overall, so it's better than CbtG. Nontheless I'm happy to see this card, because now you'll have to think twice before you load up your deck with 15 Handtraps. If somebody has the time to complain, then they should invest that time on figuring out how to adapt instead, like all pro players do.
You spare yourself the nerves and others the hassle that comes along with it.

GeroldVentura(26.09.2021 18:18)(Edited: 26.09.2021 18:29)

"I hate your opinion, meaning you're shit at the game".
Insane logic is being used here.
I just really cannot understand how someone that an absolute staple in literally every singular deck which has the capacity for it grants the game more "variety". We've already seen it in the OCG. Every deck is running the same package, consisting of 3x Designator and 2-3x Maxx "C", in combination with the usual 6-12 handtraps. It's like copy-paste.
Without a doubt the same will happen in the TCG.
And that is supposed to give the game more variety, and not make deck building even more stale than it already is?

Mr-Volcano(26.09.2021 18:51)

GeroldVentura then please state your comment to Konami and why they should take out "Crossout Designator". If they listen to you, I'll happily delete my comment.

GeroldVentura(26.09.2021 19:15)(Edited: 26.09.2021 19:15)

They won't "take out" Designator you absolute genius, no matter what anyone says. It'll get them money, that's literally all they're after.
Please, if you want to argue, at least make good arguments, because that was an embarrassing attempt.

Mr-Volcano(26.09.2021 19:18)

GeroldVentura I don't want to argue with someone who is clearly butt hurt by this card. If you are going to hate on anyone, just hate on the makers of this card.

Venonat(22.09.2021 00:52)


YanM01(22.09.2021 00:16)


JonathanRA(22.09.2021 00:10)

It has been a great article with very good points exposed

Saldrath(22.09.2021 00:07)

Good job! Continue with articles like this! :D

BryanBuck(22.09.2021 00:04)


JustARC(22.09.2021 00:03)