The Yu-Gi-Oh! December 2023/January 2024 banlist aftermath

For those not in the know, I did actually write a prediction article preceding this, but it was made utterly redundant about 2 hours after I finished it, as the banlist dropped waaayyy earlier than anticipated. That was the first surprise regarding this banlist update, the second being of course that the changes made this time around were really good. No, I’m serious; 25 alterations were made to the F/L list and there’s almost nothing I can complain about. I’m not even going to consider the fact that Konami didn’t hit Calamity and Fenrir a violation of the Geneva Convention. That’s how good this list is.

I’ll have a quick whinge about the few things I didn’t like before I go any further, because if I don’t have a good whine about something, I’ll spontaneously combust. First of all, where are the Runick cards? Tip to one? Fountain to one? Anything? No? If that’s the case then, I look forward to every other deck I play against for the next few months being another fucking Runick variant. Whoopiee. Secondly, I know Centur-Ion isn’t ruining the game, but do we really need to endure another format with King Calamity in it? I mean, surely there must be something else Certur-Ion can do that isn’t just turn-skip turbo, particularly with new support on the horizon? I guess Konami really thought no-one would buy Valiant Smashers if they didn’t milk the shit out of the only playable archetype in the set. A fairly correct assumption, to be honest. And lastly, I’d like to remind everyone that the TCG is the only current Yu-Gi-Oh! format where Kashtira FUCKING Fenrir is at more than one copy, which is too fucking many.

Okay, complaints over, so you better strap yourselves in, ‘cos this is a big one:


Kelbek the Ancient Vanguard and Agido the Ancient Sentinel

We have thus acquired Agido, and will therefore use this as a prime opportunity to exclaim his name triumphantly! Ok, but seriously, fuck these cards – having these things legal even in the same reality as any Tearlament card was such a gargantuan oversight, I genuinely believe no play-testing occurs at Konami during the card-designing process, leading me to believe Yu-Gi-Oh! is just some kind of social experiment to find out if nerds will really murder each other over pieces of cardboard. If that’s the case, then mission accomplished! Now give me a moment to clear out the basement.

Mathmech Circular

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Wait this is real? Let me laugh a bit harder: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Ok, but let’s take this seriously for a second; was this ban completely unwarranted? Absolutely, but am I particularly sad that Circular is now banned? Fuck no. Why, you ask? Because Mathmech Circular turbo-charges the problem with every Cyberse deck, in the sense that they’re all a generic mish-mash of mostly the same cards that all aim to do exactly the same shit. I mean, what’s your favourite Cyberse deck? Is it the one with a one-card combo that generates generic link material to make either a towers, Heatsoul and then push for game by making an Accesscode Talker boosted by Update Jammer? Yaaaaaawn.

Yeah, so I’m not shedding any tears of Mathmech Circular, being hit by 4 hand traps and Cynet Mining into a full OTK is not an experience I care to relive. Rest in piss.

Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights

You. Have. No. Idea how much restraint it took me to not add Isolde onto my banlist prediction article. I was BEGGING for this card to be banned for the longest time, but a few of my friends (you know who you are), tried to convince me that Isolde wasn’t banworthy and that banning it would be too unfair to Infernoble – the main deck that abused it. But once again, I’ve been reminded that I should really trust my instincts more that I’m smarter than everybody, and that everyone else is a big stupid poo-poo head.

So why did Isolde get banned then? It’s only a generic Link monster that special summons from the deck, just like all those other definitely very legal generic link monsters that special summon from the deck? Also it’s a ROTA for any warrior. And a Foolish Burial for a bunch of equip spells. Ok but for real, why didn’t we ban this card about 5 years ago?


Unchained Soul of Sharvara

Oh, how I umm’d and err’d on whether or not to include Sharvara to one on my banlist prediction article. I decided to against it at the last minute, because even though Unchained has a few YCS’s under its belt, it had been falling off somewhat at the last few events. Well, Sharvara is limited now, so who gives a shit about what me or anyone else previously thought about it? But I think we all agree that this isn’t an unreasonable hit, ‘cause Sharvara was so good that it basically turned a mid-tier rogue deck into a tier one monster. Konami will really print anything on a card, won’t they?

Rescue-ACE Air Lifter

As expected, this hit to R-ACE screams “we should probably nerf this deck but don’t want to hit the Sinful Spoils cards which are actually the problem”, but it’ll have to do for now. Was this the best way to nerf R-ACE without touching Diabellstarr and friends? No idea, but expect this change to become completely irrelevant when Phantom Nightmare rolls around.

Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders

Now we’re just waiting on Tidal and then the whole gang will be reunited at last. Though the general consensus on these cards is that they’re unplayable powercrept garbage, I still think there’s gonna be something someday to take advantage of the Dragon Rulers. What that would be, I have no idea, but all I know for certain is that Gage is going to shit.

Orcust Harp Horror

Of course, the ONE TIME I don’t include Harp Horror on my prediction list is when it finally gets unbanned. Understandably, Yu-Gi-Oh! players everywhere are rejoicing now that Orcust is a playable again deck, but definitely not because it will actually be any good by modern standards.

Rivalry of Warlords, Gozen Match and There Can Be Only One

Wait, this is real right? I’m not dreaming this? Is Konami finally admitting that these cards are cancer and have no place whatsoever in the game? If I wasn’t completely emotionally jaded, I could cry tears of joy right now. Ideally, I’d like this pushed a bit further, by including cards like Skill Drain, Anti-Spell and D-Barrier in this culling. But you know what? I’m not going to criticise. As much as it hurts for me to say this: good job Konami.

Sunavalon Dryas and Healer

Alas, Europe has fallen. Ok, but these hits are a little perplexing; I sort of understand of limiting Dryas, solely because it’s a generic link 1 that interacts with the deck and these kinds of cards always end up on the F/L list eventually, but Healer as well? I have no idea what this even means for Rikka, but it really feels like jumping through a lot of hoops just to not ban Arosemaseraphy Jasmine.

Ib The World Chalice Justicar

I’m not even going to pretend I know what unbanning Ib means for the TCG. No really, I have no clue whatsoever on what I’m supposed to do with this information. From what I gather, she seems to fall into the category of “might be broken in something but no-one knows what”. People will probably cook something up, but it’ll likely be some janky Table 500 garbage. But who knows?

Snatch Steal

So you’re probably well of aware of what happened the last time Snatch Steal got unbanned. Long story short, it was a colossal mistake and it got immediately banned again on the next list. However, that was about 8 years ago now and a lot can change in that time, such as Snatch Steal–type cards becoming kind-of ass. Reminder that Change of Heart has been legal again for over a year and sees virtually no play.


Purrely Sleepy Memory

This is one of those rare occasions where semi-limiting a card actually makes sense. Limiting Sleepy seems far too harsh on a deck that’s not even performing that well, but with that said, I don’t like watching my opponent draw into 6 hand-traps during my standby phase, whilst I have to also contest the cute version of The Arrival Cyberse @Ignister.

Dinowrestler Pankratops

No Konami, this doesn’t make up for not limiting Kashtria Fenrir. Fuck off.

Speedroid Terrortop

Speedroid players have waited long enough for Terrortop to stop being good in other decks that it can finally come back to 3. I feel like Terrortop is one of those cards that was really good as a splash in a multitude of decks once upon a time, but sadly there are about 50 other better generic engines you can run now. Alas, another victim of constant powercreep.


Infernity Archfiend

Whilst there’s definitely some Yu-Gi-Oh! players out there convinced that bringing Infernity off of the list will cause the apocalypse, I can’t say I’m convinced. I’m trying to picture what Infernity could possibly do in 2024, but all I can envision is a worse version of Mannadium that gets hosed by every hand-trap under the sun and can’t run any non-engine. Can you even run Ash Blossom in a deck that requires you to have no cards in your hand?

Kashtria Unicorn

Retrospectively, I’m in awe that Unicorn was the main-deck Kashtria monster that ended up on the F/L list and not that other one (no, I’m not talking about Ogre or Tear-Kash). Unicorn to 3 is absolutely fine though, because Kashtira can have all the one-card starters it wants now that the deck no longer makes anything. Just so you know, when I eventually meet Ariseheart in hell I’m throwing my shit at him. You’re welcome.

Mind Control

Read that paragraph I wrote about Snatch Steal again but mentally replace “Snatch Steal” with “Mind Control”.

Upstart Goblin

37 card decks are a thing again now, as long as you don’t mind getting Drolled after you activate the first copy of Upstart.

Pot Of Desires

Originally limited to stop the tier 0 meta deck known as Gren Maju OTK, Desires is now back at 3. I suppose Konami doesn’t need to push sales of Prosperity now that it’s finally affordable.

Spellbook of Judgment

Remember when people said that this card was so strong it could never be unbanned?

Spright Starter

Turns out that Spright is basically just fine in a post Elf world. Besides, if you ever want to hit Spright, just fucking ban Gigantic.

We did it! We got through all 25 changes together! I’ll end this article quickly now, as it’s wasting too much time that could be better spent cartwheeling over the fact that Isolde is now banned. Peace.

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