The Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game (TCG) has seen a massive shift in the card pool. This change to the Forbidden and Limited List, which goes live on February 13th, will shake up the game. These changes will likely significantly impact gameplay and translate to the popular Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel in the future.

Tears for Tearlaments

Tearlaments Kitkallos, the former centerpiece of the Tearlaments deck.

It is no surprise that Tearlaments were the most significant part of the most recent changes to the Forbidden and Limited list. Ever since the release of the Ishizu monsters in Magnificent Mavens, the combination of these two strategies has been crushing the rest of the game.

The recent changes to the list were mainly geared at weakening this “Ishizu-Tear” deck, and they seem to have done exactly that, doing massive damage to the deck. The changes to this strategy are as follows.

  • Tearlaments Kitkallos – Forbidden
  • Spright Elf – Forbidden
  • Agido, the Ancient Sentinel – Limited
  • Kelbek the Ancient Vanguard – Limited
  • Keldo the Sacred Protector – Limited
  • Tearlaments Schieren – Limited
  • Mudora the Sword Oracle – Limited
  • Tearlaments Havnis – Limited
  • Tearlaments Merli – Limited

These restrictions to one deck have not been seen in over a decade since 2012. In 2012, a deck known as Dragon Rulers was on the scene. Much like Izhizu-Tear, that deck ruled the game with an iron fist. When Konami changed the Forbidden and Limited List regarding that deck, many of its key cards were banned, with many others being Limited.

With these much-needed changes, a large number of decks will finally return. Many decks were held back by the sheer amount of disruption that Ishizu-Tear had, as well as its resilience. Not anymore!

Expect an explosion of variance in the game, as the decks formerly held down by Ishizu-Tear will return. However, also expect that some form of Tearlaments will still be playable. Even without the Ishizu cards, the Tearlaments cards’ resilience will ensure they are playable.

The Rest of the List

Wow, the tuners are coming back! Nature is healing.

Surprisingly, the Forbidden and Limited List was not only about Ishizu-Tear. Several other cards were also moved around on the list. Firstly, both Barrier Statue of the Stormwinds and Artifact Scythe were Forbidden.

Floowandereeze decks used the Barrier Statue to lock opponents out of the game as early as turn 1, while several combo strategies did the same with Scythe. Expect to see a lot less of Floowandereeze and Artifact decks. Playing against both of these cards was awful and was a net negative across the game. Good riddance!

Without Crystron Halqifibrax, Tuners such as Jet Synchron, Destrudo the Lost Dragon’s Frisson, and Mecha Phantom Beast O-Lion are no longer a problem in the game. They have all been Unlimited, as have Servant of Endymion, Spyral Resort, and True King Lithosagym the Disaster. However, I do not expect any of these to start seeing play.

Yata-Garasu has also been Unlimited. While I am skeptical about how safe of a move this is, the card has yet to impact significantly its return to playable status so far. This is probably fine.

It is a good thing to see so many cards come off the list like this, and I hope this becomes a trend for Konami moving forward.

The Rise of Kashtira?

Kashtira Arise-Heart – The centerpiece of the Kashtira deck.

A major change to the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG is coming, but not from the changes to the Forbidden and Limited List. Instead, it is coming from a set that is due to release this very week. Photon Hypernova arrives on Friday, February 10th, and with it comes the release of the Kashtira archetype.

This deck is very powerful, with the ability to banish cards from both the opponent’s Main and Extra Deck. On top of that, it can lock down the opponent’s card zones, making them unusable.

The Kashtira deck was initially set up to be a force in the game, but ultimately a player of second-fiddle to Ishizu-Tear. With Ishizu-Tear having been essentially removed from the game, this sets the stage for this deck to rule the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, right?


Kash-Tier Zero? Not Quite.

Kashtiratheosis, another major element of the Kashtira strategy.

Firstly, the deck’s game plan is very telegraphed and fragile. Therefore, cards with disruptive effects that activate from your hand, also known as “Handtraps,” will be heavily played.

Ishizu-Tear was a deck with enough tools to play through disruption that you could never draw enough of them to slow down your opponent. However, with Ishizu-Tear gone, hand traps will return to the game in force. Combined with board-breaking cards such as Lightning Storm and Evenly Matched, these cards pose a massive threat to any Kashtira field.

Secondly, their ability to mass-banish cards is not as effective against many of the other decks that had been kept out of the game by Ishizu-Tear. Decks such as Branded and Swordsoul can get around their cards being banished relatively easily.

Ultimately, Kashtira, much like Tearlaments, will be a playable deck. However, I am still determining if it will dominate the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, like other decks have in the past. More answers to this deck will be viable in the game, and those answers will hamper the deck to the point where it will be kept in check.

The Rest of the Field

The Bystial Lubellion. Watch out for him and the rest of his Bystial brethren!

With Ishizu-Tear being removed from the format, many other decks will appear. Spright may be a contender, though losing Spright Elf may be too much to recover from. Time will tell whether the Spright deck can see play without that essential combination.

Before the release of Tearlament and Spright in Power of the Elements, there were various decks in the TCG to play. Expect many of these old favorites to return and new decks supported by cards released in Power of the Elements, Darkwing Blast, and Photon Hypernova.

The Bystial cards released in Darkwing Blast are potent, and two decks will take full advantage of those cards.

Dragon Link is one of them and uses the Bystial cards as powerful extenders that work well with the cards they already play. Branded is the other, and uses the Bystials as an interruption, as well as free fusion material and card advantage generators.

With the Bystial cards not suffering a single hit on the Forbidden list, decks making the most of them will thrive.

TCG Present, Master Duel Future

With all of this in mind, let’s look to Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel for a moment. Many leaks are suggesting that Master Duel will be releasing the Spright deck with the upcoming 1st anniversary. After that, it is more than likely that Tearlaments will be shortly after in the following months. What do these changes mean for the game?

Recently, Master Duel has seen a few preemptive hits on Spright, expressly forbidding Toadally Awesome. Spright will release in Master Duel as a much weaker deck than in the TCG due to this change. This also puts the recent hits on Tearlaments in a new light.

I suspect that Tearlaments will be the first deck in Master Duel to suffer a preemptive hit on their own deck before release. Konami clearly understands the power of this deck, and is not about to take chances on it dominating the game for a third time.

My prediction is that Tearlaments will release with Tearlaments Kitkallos preemptively Forbidden. If not, then we will likely see the main-deck monsters be Limited across the board.

In Conclusion…

This shakeup in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Forbidden and Limited List are going to have a considerable impact. With many decks becoming playable, how the game will develop have yet to be discovered. These changes foreshadow a similarly impactful shakeup in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel.

Any number of decks could rise to the top – which ones do you think will claim the top spots at your local tournament? Which ones will you be playing? Do you believe Kashtira is going to banish the rest of the metagame? Or will a new deck burst into the top spot?

There’s only one way to find out. Good luck out there, duelists!

Matthew Blair

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