Monday, December 10, 2012

News: Restricted List Additions, National Championship Information

This morning the Japanese format's restricted list was updated, with the effects of the modification taking place on January 1st 2013, to coincide with the coming of the new year. While the previous version of the list only restricted Barcgal from being the first vanguard, and up to four him could still be included in a deck, the new list also restricts all of the following cards to two copies in the deck, including if they are the first vanguard. This means that any combination of the following cards can only exist at a maximum of two.

Royal Paladin
  • King of Knights, Alfred
  • Majesty Lord Blaster
  • Wingal Brave
  • Lizard Soldier, Conroe
  • Dragonic Overlord The End
Oracle Think Tank
  • Silent Tom
  • Godhawk, Ichibyoshi
  • Goddess of the Full Moon, Tsukuyomi
As an example, one copy of Alfred and one copy of Wingal Brave would be allowed, but two Alfred and one Brave would not. One Ichibyoshi and one Full Moon could be included, but that deck could not have Silent Tom in it, and no other combinations which allow for Tsukuyomi to retain her 11000 power is permitted because she requires Ichibyoshi to be in the soul.

Widely seen as a move to realign older cards with the reduced power scale of new ones, this has drastically cut down the viability of many top decks of the past, by preventing The End's persona blast from landing multiple times, hurting the ride consistency of the Alfred-based decks that have swarmed the format following the rise of national champion Gotou Kiyomi earlier this year, and preventing Tsukuyomi decks like those of Tanaka Shouta from using the Goddess of the Full Moon as the deck's only grade 3. The restriction on Godhawk also completely prevents two or more Full Moon from being used in a deck. Conspicuously, the Galahad line with skills very close to Tsukuyomi's is not restricted, meaning that the Oracle Think Tank restrictions are solely to prevent play of the Tsukuyomi series and encourage fighters to convert to CoCo, Battle Sister or the Goddess of the Sun deck.

This is the first time that the restricted list has been updated for the Japanese format since September of 2011, and the changes are already being met with criticism as a means of artificially forcing fighters to convert to newer decks. Overseas, Japanese cardfighters on twitter and on blogs are simultaneously praising the list, saying farewell to The End, while also mourning the loss of Tsukuyomi and Majesty Lord Blaster. The current prediction over there is that the new format heavily favors Gold Paladin and CoCo, with those two decks potentially reaching the same level of proliferation as The End once had. As FR2013 does not start until May, our best bet for examining this for the time being are minor events and team tournaments, which Bushiroad tends to hold before the Summer championships. Viewers of the anime dislike the list because it appears as though the main character's cards are being sealed again, much as they were in the Asia Circuit Stage side event.

In other news, Japan's senior national champion for Winter 2012 is Nakamura Seishirou, whose Royal Paladin deck has continued an unbroken chain of Royal dominance at the national level. This is the first time that a Majesty Lord Blaster deck has taken the championship title, as in the previous tournament Kiyomi's Alfred deck took the cup. Neither of their decks, nor those of their predecessors Masuda Yuusaku and Shitakawachi Kouta, will be viable in the January-on format.

If and when these restrictions will apply to the English format is uncertain, but the release of the fifth booster set, Awakening of Twin Blades, is a very likely possibility. While the official Facebook page claims that there are "no plans" to implement these changes to the English game, this could be seen as taking the English-language pro scene "hostage," as if these decks do perform as well in the EN format as they did on the JPN side, the restrictions could be implemented in the future, enforcing the existing Gold Paladin dominance.

Furthermore, back in May a similar claim was made by them regarding the now-infamous Barcgal, who was still restricted around the release of VGE-BT03, just as he was for the Japanese release of Demonic Lord Invasion. Overall, neither the English nor Japanese player base is very receptive to the changes, with some shops already preparing to adopt house rules that abandon the restricted list as illegitimate. Fearing an eventual rise of the new list abroad, a petition against the restrictions emerged within 24 hours of the announcement, operating under the slogan of "Don't Make Her Cry" with regards to the restricted Goddess of the Full Moon, Tsukuyomi.