As the calendar turns, the announcements have been fast and furious. Not to be buried by the card reveals and OP results, the new banned list has taken effect and some of the most critical cards in the format have been shunned from the table. Let’s take a look.
As the last time we saw an update to the banned list was six months ago, it was about time. The format has evolved, and it’s clear what decks are head and shoulders above the pack. Some players were calling for a ban to Tsuyu Asui I, as she is the only character to take down more than two events and has seemed to run away with the top spots, even though she isn’t the most played deck by any means. Aside from Asui, the Tokoyami slot machine seemed like a worthy target of Jasco’s ire. While The Bird hasn’t taken down a ton of events, his overwhelming aggression can lead to negative play experiences, especially when newer players don’t have a chance to play turn three.
There’s no need to speculate any longer, however. The banned list has dropped and while no characters were banned or limited, some critical cards were touched. First up, Frog Lashing was banned. While most people were caught off guard by Jasco banning one of Asui’s best attacks, it makes sense. Froppy is one of the more fun decks to play in the format and is nowhere near the broken level reached by Kirishima I. On the other hand, Frog Lashing gives a lot of resources to players for free and is bolstering other decks.
They say misery loves company and Lashing won’t have to sulk in solitude. Amphibious also hit the banned list on August 19 and is no longer legal for play. This feels much more like a direct shot at Asui. While Frog Lashing could have some broken synergy with future cards, Amphibious feels like a balance issue. Jasco is saying we just want to make sure that while we want Asui to be playable, we’re going to need some other Characters to start winning these events.
I applaud the foresight to keep the format open and make sure that one Character or Symbol doesn’t garner too much power. However, I also have to add that Asui herself hasn’t been an overwhelming force. She’s been piloted by some of the best players in the land, giving her a bit of a boost over the field. If the crew from UnFunStuff or Omaha choose, they have the power to tilt the format to certain leaders as most of the champions so far have been known OG Universus players. Just some food for thought.
We round out the list with the last banned card, and definitely the most eye-popping, Unwavering Slash (US). Now honestly, when I saw US on this list, I thought “Ha ha. Good list whoever made this… oh wait, I’m on the official Facebook page. Noooooo!” US seems like such a critical card in the format right now. It allows decks that use Assets, like Momo I and Hatsume I, to be playable. None of the decks with US have been unbalanced or caused a NGE (negative gameplay experience), so why the ban? Lucky for us, Jasco took to Facebook to answer that very question.
“In a similar vein, ‘Unwavering Slash‘ is a card that accrues a large amount of value currently in the game and imposes game design restrictions with future sets. We feel strongly that taking a proactive approach to what will likely be outlier strong competitive decks of the format will lend to a healthier, more diverse meta.”
Now, it’s hard to argue with the facts of that statement. US does let us ready a card, draw a card and build an Asset without checking it for almost free. There’s a reason so many decks run a playset of it. No one argues that it’s a strong card. And if the cards in this next set will make US too strong of a card, then by all means, toast it! Just remember that by banning US, Jasco saying that they are freed up to print cards on those symbols that would have broken the game with US still around. I, for one, am on the edge of my seat to see these support kits for decks like Momo and Hatsume. I enjoy both characters and would love to play them at the highest level. Well until next time you guys, I’ll see you on the tables.