10 Totally Broken Yu-Gi-Oh Cards They Had To Change For Being Too Powerful
Unlike most TCGs (Pokemon, Magic The Gathering), which use a set rotation system to prevent power creep, since 2004 Yu-Gi-Oh! has used ban lists to keep its most powerful cards out of play. In the game's (relatively) early days, Monsters like Chaos Emperor Dragon and Yata-Garasu, as well as powerful Spells Harpie's Feather Duster and Graceful Charity (both of which are still OP to this day), became staples in almost every deck hoping for competitive play, leading to a stifling meta-game that restricted imaginative deck building.
Ban lists are still a point of contention amongst the game's fans, with Konami's quarterly updates being met with a flurry of fanfare and controversy each time they're dropped. Players are loathe to see their favourite cards go, or their tournament-winning combos rendered useless or unreliable.
In a controversial move, Konami chose to gradually take some classic and fan-favourite cards off the ban list, altering their card text significantly to make them suitable for play in the modern metagame. Changing a card's text, usually to weaken their effects, is significantly different from retraining (creating a new card with a different name based on an already existing card). While classic Monsters, Spells and Traps such as Ring Of Destruction are playable again, many fans are unhappy at Konami's decision to alter the legacy of these iconic effects.
For better or for worse, here are the 10 cards that have seen the most dramatic changes, all in the name of tournament play.
10. Crush Card Virus
Once a game-winner, Crush Card Virus -- Seto Kaiba's infamous Trap -- has been altered to such a point it is no longer recognisable as the same card.
Its original text allowed the player, at the cost of one measly DARK Monster with less than 1000 ATK, to destroy all Monsters with 1500 ATK or more in the opponent's hand and field for up to 3 turns after its activation.
Unfortunately, the 2015 version of the card, released in Premium Gold 2, turned it into little more than a run-of-the-mill Trap that takes up more space in the deck than its worth. While the Virus still lets the turn player destroy their opponents' field and hand Monsters with 1500 ATK or more (no doubt useful in such a fast format), the opponent now gets a two-turn shield from any battle or effect damage for free.
Moreover, the three-turn discard has been swapped out, with opponents now able to choose three suitable Monsters to send to the Graveyard from their deck. In a metagame where Monsters are often more useful and accessible in the Graveyard than the deck, giving the opponent essentially three Foolish Burials is a Yu-Gi-Oh! equivalent of shooting oneself in the foot.
9. Dark Strike Fighter
This Synchro Monster was a force to be reckoned with in the early 2010s. A Level 7 card requiring no specific Tuner monster, it was one of the easiest of Yu-Gi-Oh!'s shiny new white card type to Summon, and had a bombastic effect to boot.
The card's original effect was straightforward and damning in its simplicity, allowing the player to "Tribute 1 monster to inflict damage to your opponent equal to its Level x 200". No specifications, no restrictions: this was a Cannon Soldier on turbo, able to do some serious battle damage with its mighty 2600 ATK.
Tributing Dark Strike Fighter itself would directly cause 1400 points of damage to the opponent -- not much in itself, but when paired with a tribute of other Monsters of the same level, this quickly becomes a whopping 7000 Life Points in one turn -- and that was in the days before the Extra Monster Zone.
Dark Strike Fighter had the potential to inflict so much burn it ended up on the ban list, and its updated version is hardly worth the effort to Synchro Summon. The Fighter can now only use one Monster as a fodder per turn, and its effect can only be activated in Main Phase 1 -- meaning it can't use its effect to launch a fatal blow after an already devastating Battle Phase.
Itself a retrain of Yugi's famous Dark Magician, Dark Magician Of Chaos gained a reputation in the game's early days for its ability to recycle Spell Cards. While the ability to add an already-used Monster Reborn, Pot Of Greed or Graceful Charity to the hand from the Graveyard during the Main Phase could prove fatal enough, this even Darker Magician had another secret trick up its sleeve.
Any monster the Spellcaster destroyed by battle was removed from play instead of being sent to the Graveyard, back in the day when cards that were banished really were banished, with few to no cards out there to bring them back into play.
The card's erratum has weakened the Magician considerably. While it still adds Spell cards from the Graveyard to the player's hand, this now happens at the End Phase of the turn the Monster's Summoned, meaning players need to wait an entire turn before casting their Spell. And while the ability to banish Monsters is still useful, tributing two Monsters for the sake of a 2800 ATK creature in a metagame focused around the ability to easily and efficiently swarm Extra Deck cards is barely worth it, especially when there are few truly powerful Spells out there.
Another powerful Trap that saw tonnes of play in the first Yu-Gi-Oh! anime, Ring Of Destruction was feared for its ability to inflict extravagant amounts of damage to both players. Coupled with an effect that allowed players to take out their opponent's biggest Monster with ease, Ring Of Destruction could prove fatal. Losing 4500 Life Points and using your treasured Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon you went to great pains to Fusion Summon was nigh-on impossible to come back from in early days of the game.
While it boated a powerful effect, Ring of Destruction was likely banned due to its ability to force draws, leading to a whole host of un-sportsmanship moves in tournament plays in order to secure a Match after winning just one duel.
While the new Ring Of Destruction quite rightly corrects this loophole (in the card's original text, both players lost Life Points simultaneously; in the re-release, damage is inflicted to the card player first), the card is not quite as destructive as it now was. The modern Ring Of Destruction can only be activated during the opponent's turn, and can only destroy Monsters whose ATK is equal to or less than the opponent's Life Points, making OTKs more or less impossible to pull off.
A rare example of card getting more powerful after its release, Temple Of The Kings could sacrifice itself along with Mythical Beast of Serket to Special Summon one monster from the hand, Deck, or Extra Deck. While the Extra Deck was only comprised of Fusion and Synchro Monsters at the time of the card's original Western release (it was released in 2001 in Japan, when only Fusion Monsters existed in what was then the Fusion Deck), in modern play the card could bring out a whole host of Xyz, Pendulum and Link Monsters with ease -- were it not for the card's errata.
The 2020 version of the card specifies the Temple can now only bring out a Monster from the deck or Fusion Monster from the Extra Deck, aligning the card closer to its OCG intention. While this already makes Temple Of The Kings less viable in modern play, its second effect suffered more from this errata.
Originally, the Continuous Spell allowed players to activate Trap cards from their hand, completely shifting the balance of the game. While such a broken ability would never fly in tournament play, the new version only allows the player to activate one Trap Card on the turn it was Set, in the entire Duel. Still a useful effect, but would have been better as a brand-new one-off Spell effect than part of Continuous Spell that takes up space on the Field.
Future Fusion was once one of the most effective ways to bring out a powerful Fusion Monster with ease. You simply had to activate the card, send from your Deck to the Graveyard the Fusion Materials for your chosen Monster, and voila! Your powerful Fusion Monster would be Special Summoned during the 2nd Standby Phase after activation, with the only drawback being that if Future Fusion was destroyed, so too would be the Fusion Monster.
While this was by no means an instant Fusion Summon (such an effect would be even more powerful than the rightly-banned Cyber-Stein), this was a sure-fire way to bring out Fusion Monsters without having to rely on having the necessary Materials in your hand or on the Field, thinning your deck in the process.
The new erratum on the card, however, slows the process further, with the player only being able to select their Fusion Monster on the 1st Standby Phase after the card's activation. Waiting an extra turn means giving the opponent another opportunity to Mystical Space Typhoon the Continuous Spell or destroy it in other ways, making it less likely your Monster will even hit the field.
Like all the best Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, Brain Control is beautiful in its simplicity. For the measly cost of 800 life Points, the player could take control of an opponent's Monster until the End Phase. While it's always fun to wreck havoc with your opponent's favourite Monster, Brain Control was most useful in providing a convenient way to get rid of nasty threats.
You're facing up against an absolute powerhouse you can't destroy? Activate Brain Control, and tribute it for a measly Level 5. Your opponent has a Stardust Dragon out and you're looking for an easy way to Summon your Shooting Star Dragon? You can't destroy Stardust Dragon with a card effect, but you can Brian Control it and use it as a Synchro Material.
Well, you could. The new version of Brain Control specifies that you can only use it to take control of your opponent's Monsters than can be Normal Summoned or Set. This effectively means Brain Control can no longer take over your opponent's Ritual, Fusion, Synchro, Xyz and Link Monsters, as well as being unable to possess any of the multitude of creatures that require Special Summoning mechanics to be brought forth. While Brain Control could be a decent Side Deck choice, there are few Normal or Effect Monsters worth controlling, rendering this card redundant.
3. Chaos Emperor Dragon - Envoy Of The End
The counterpart to Dark Magician Of Chaos, Chaos Emperor Dragon - Envoy Of The End was another Monster awarded an early position on the ban list.
While the Dragon's infamous field-clearing effect has still been retained on the updated version, and continues to inflict 300 damage to the opponent per card sent to the Graveyard, since 2018 this ability has come with a restriction. The turn player "cannot activate other cards or effects during the turn" they activate Chaos Emperor Dragon's effect, meaning that, after clearing the field, they are more or less forced to end their turn, leaving their opponent with a blank slate on which to play.
On the surface, it seems as though there's little difference between this updated card and the original effect. After all, the Envoy Of The End clears itself (and the turn player's hand) after destroying the board, meaning players would have previously struggled re-setting the Field after using its effect, anyway. However, this argument ignores the increasing amount of effects that can be activated from the Graveyard, often involving the Special Summoning of Monsters to the Field. Moreover, players are no longer able to use Chaos Emperor Dragon's effect after using other effects in the same turn, meaning that, besides from attacking, if a player chooses to use the Dragon's effect, that can be the only thing they do that turn.
2. Sangan And Witch Of The Black Forest
While these are evidently two separate cards, they have long been considered counterparts, and their effects are so similar they both received identical errata to make them more suitable for contemporary play.
Sangan and Witch of the Black Forest have always been amongst the most diverse cards in all of Yu-Gi-Oh!, and are both able to seamlessly slot themselves into any deck. Upon hitting the graveyard, the DARK Fiend lets the player add any Monster with 1500 ATK or less to their hand, while its Spellcaster foil allows for players to out any creature with 1500 or less DEF.
While these numerical restrictions seem tight (new players would be forgiven for thinking that it would be better to search out Monsters with higher stats), between them the cards offer a vast search potential, and are often able to seek out the perfect card needed for almost any situation.
While Sangan and Witch of the Black Forest still retain their search abilities, they now come with the stipulation that the added card cannot be Summoned for the rest of the turn, and existing Monsters on the Field that share its name cannot activate their effects. While the pair are still near-perfect face-down cards, now that the ability to attack into a more powerful Monster for the sake of searching and Special Summoning a vital card has been taken away, these DARK creatures have become shadows of their former selves.
Much like Dark Strike Fighter, Catapult Turtle was banned due to its ability to inflict unholy amounts of damage to the opponent, with players clearing out their own Field to take out their rival's Life Points.
It is no surprise, then, that Yugi's iconic Monster has received a similar restriction as its later Synchro cousin, in that its ability can only be used once per turn. However, due to Catapult Turtle's stats (which themselves can be blamed on the card's age), the Aqua Monster has been hit a lot harder than the Machine.
For context, Dark Strike Fighter's ability to self-sacrifice inflicts 1400 damage to the opponent. Catapult Turtle's, which inflicts damage equal to half of the tribute's ATK, would cause a mere 900 points of damage. Even if the Turtle tributed Dark Strike Fighter, it would cause 100 less damage than if Dark Strike Fighter tributed itself.
Moreover, Dark Strike Fighter is a Synchro Monster, making it a relatively flexible addition for any deck that still runs Tuners. While the Extra Deck is limited to 15 cards, often these aren't chock-a-block with repeat copies, as tends to be the case in the main Deck. DSF can therefore fit in an Extra Deck and be used when the situation allows, while a 1000 ATK 2000 DEF Effect Monster that requires one Tribute will be seen by many players as a waste of a draw, and not worth being included in a Deck at all.
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