Every few months, Konami releases an updated Forbidden and Limited card list that works to make sure Yu-Gi-Oh! maintains a balanced competitive meta as more sets are released into the game.
Konami typically spaces out its ban list updates by about three months, giving players time to implement new product releases into their strategies and create new decks, while also allowing the company to gather more data and make informed decisions about which cards to hit next.
Any card that appears under the Forbidden, Limited, or Semi-Limited categories on the list is going to be something that heavily impacts the competitive meta of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, and the July 1 list absolutely shows that.
One of the most prominent decks over the last year and change is the powerful Dragon Link toolbox that can run a variety of styles and swarm the field with powerful boards of Link Monsters or Dragon walls. However, this deck was dealt two massive blows on the new banlist in the form of Guardragon Elpy and Striker Dragon.
Both are powerful Link 1 monsters that can easily be brought out and used to dig deeper into your deck or facilitate bigger plays with their summoning and searching effects.
Elpy has long been a thorn in non-Dragon Link player’s sides and was a card that many expected to be banned on this list. It will severely limit the usual go-to combo of the powerful deck.
Striker Dragon was only Limited, but was a bit of a surprise and will further hinder the ability of one of the most dominant decks in the game. It still gives Dragon Link players access to an early combo, but it will limit plays later in the game when resources become scarce.
Likewise, Zoodiac Drident was banned in both the OCG and TCG this cycle, and will likely signal the end of any pure Zoodiac decks that were on the come-up recently. It will also hurt the Tri-Brigade/Zoodiac builds that have been steadily growing in power, though not by much.
Dinosaur caught a stray bullet on the list too with Miscellaneousaurus being Limited. This will make the deck easier to counter since players will need to expend more resources to access the card. It won’t kill the deck by any means, but new builds are going to pop up with this beast hindered.
Arguably the biggest change on this list outside of Dragon Link getting nerfed twice is Sky Striker Mobilize – Engage! coming back to one copy. This is arguably the core of entire Sky Striker builds, with the ability to add a Sky Striker card from deck to hand, and then letting the player draw a card if they have three or more spells in their Graveyard.
This might not break the archetype or bring it back to anywhere near full-power, but it will provide another stabilizing agent to make the strategy more consistent.
Outside of that, most of the key changes only impact fringe decks like Salamangreat or Pendulum that could see some improvement, but likely won’t push them up from rogue unless something new comes out of the list shifting.