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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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