Welcome to the first article of lankyspirit.com, the place for Japanese card games. I am going to start the website off with a bang by breaking down Bushiroad’s recent ban list, or lack thereof, which seems to have the community up in arms.
Yesterday (02/02/2016) marked the release of the latest Weiss Schwarz ban list, to which no changes were made to Neo Standard. In fact, the only changes made were to Standard were the additions of the new purple colour cards in Puyo Puyo. The community went ballistic and there were complaints a plenty. However, if we take a look at it logically Bushiroad have made a series of smart decisions. Lets take a look over their reasoning at the current Weiss Schwarz deck rules page and I will explain why. Firstly, I will explain the pie charts.
The above pie chart shows the play rate (%) of each title in the WGP 2015 Preliminary rounds. The pie chart reads as follows (clockwise from the top):
Girlfriend beta 14%
Idolmaster Cinderella Girls 11%
To LOVE Ru 10%
Kantai Collection 5%
Toaru Majutsu no Index/Toaru Kagaku no Railgun 5%
Sword Art Online 5%
Guilty Crown 4%
Senki Zesshou Symphogear 4%
Love Live! 3%
Other 27% (Other consists of sets with a play rate of 3% or less)
This chart shows the percentage of qualifying decks that qualified with 1 or more losses (set positions are the same as above).
Lastly, the above chart shows the percentage of decks that qualified undefeated (again, set order is the same). As Bushiroad point out, “it is clear that Girlfriend beta and To Love Ru have a higher percentage of qualifying undefeated whilst those playing sets categorised as ‘Other’ have a lower percentage.”.
They used these statistics alongside the types of decks being played right now to make their decision to not change the ban list. I believe this is a wise choice. Yes, those playing GFB and TLR have a higher X-0 top cut rate, but there is still a lot of variety in there. It is not like the dark days where everyone only played Kantai and Nisekoi, or when everyone played Railgun Under one Roof, or Haruhi alien…. Each set shown in that pie chart stands a fighting chance at winning its games. With such a nice balance, there is currently no reason to knock any one of them out of favour.
They then go on to talk about the sets that they believe players thought would see bans, and why they have been left alone. The first set is To Love Ru:
“The results shown in the statistics are within an allowable range, so we have decided not to limit the title. However, there is a noticeable bias overall and a high percentage of undefeated qualifications. With a future release on the way, we will watch this title closely”
After that they mention Girlfriend beta:
“This title has been closely watched due to the high play rate in tournaments. After comparing the current usage against the other titles, we determined there is no need to use restriction at this stage. However, similarly to To Love Ru, based on the percentage of undefeated qualifications and bias we will continue to watch the title closely.”
In a nutshell, as neither of these sets showed any clear dominance during WGP 2015, they have not seen any bans. Again, I believe this is a fair judgement based upon the above statistics. As strong as Yami and Pumpkin are, they are not guaranteed victories like Marika used to be. In the current environment, to deny cards from these sets would just knock them out of favour for no reason.
Finally, Bushiroad mention some sets that are under consideration for future ban list changes, but believe that removing their restrictions right now would have a negative effect on the play environment. These sets are: Disgaea, Index/Railgun, Kantai Collection and Nisekoi. As fun as it would be to play 4 copies of Under one Roof Mikoto and Kuroko, go back to no fun Kantai and loop multiple copies of Supreme Overlord Laharl again; we just aren’t ready for it yet. Lets look at each set individually:
Disgaea – WGP 2015 play percentage N/A
The amount of advantage gained from Supreme Overlord Laharl is insane. You get a heal, then put it to memories to get two more copies of itself and heal 2 more, or 1 copy and a free fresh or counter. You have the ability to salvage pretty much anything that you need and suddenly swing the game in your favour. With anti heal being less prominent right now as well, no fun Kantai is on a pick 3, there are not many titles stopping the heal train in Disgaea.
Toaru Majutsu no Index/Toaru Kagaku no Railgun – WGP 2015 play percentage 5%
Having more copies of Under one Roof Mikoto and Kuroko would make Railgun decks too reliable again. With Froggy Man, the Kiyama level boost and the Pyjama change all being unbanned; Under one Roof can very reliably be played early, be huge and be difficult to get rid of. The other possibility is that the currently already strong Index deck, that revolves around the recent comeback campaign promos, will just gain 2 more copies of Under one Roof. This would increase the strength of an already very competitive deck, possibly making it too favourable.
Kantai Collection – WGP 2015 play percentage 5%
Kantai is in a very nice place right now. For the longest time, this title filled all of the tournament lists due to its large amount of hate (hindering your opponent from performing the actions they want, such as healing and salvaging), ability to soul rush and have a strong reliable late game. The current restrictions limit the set to only gaining advantage and easily setting up a hand for late game. There is no bigger frustration than not being able to heal or salvage without paying a big cost; no fun Kantai was the king of that feeling. I believe Bushiroad’s decision was based upon player’s having that feeling after playing against Kantai. It would lead to the situation we used to be in, play Kantai or go home.
Nisekoi – WGP 2015 play percentage 7%
For similar reasons to Kantai, Nisekoi does not see any changes. Although not played for its hate, Nisekoi spirals out of control in a different way. Back in the UK we had a saying – “Nisekoi, the deck that plays itself”. This was true, unbanned Nisekoi just let you gravitate cards into your hand. You didn’t need to try to do anything, as anything you did gained you advantage. To top it all off, the Marika level 3 just wins games on its own. It deals so much damage by attacking twice and pinging on attack, that often only having 1 to attack would win you the game (please note I do not say this out of malice, I used to play this deck and felt dirty about it for these reasons ‘^^). With only 1 Marika and reductions to the reliability of getting pendants to your hand, you at least have to try now when playing Nisekoi. It goes without saying that messing with this balance right now would be devastating.
To summarise, Bushiroad are currently happy with the tournament scene that we have (here in Japan at least) and I am too. I have a handful of decks that I can cycle through that have legitimate chances at winning serious events. I don’t need to go out and spend ¥2000+ per Pumpkin or Yami in order to stand a chance. I believe we are in a golden age of WS right now and we need to enjoy it whilst it lasts. Right around the corner we have more releases for To Love Ru and Cinderella Girls, 2 already very strong and competitive decks. Who knows what potential darkness is looming around the corner…
Thank you for making it to the end of my comeback article. Please look forward to regular WS articles and news updates. Until next time, ta-rah~