Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel’s been out for over four months now, and allows players the freedom of making their own decks and taking them online to Konami’s servers to battle millions online. Playing online comes in three forms; the game’s Ranked Queue, Room Duels (which are private lobbies), and if an event is going on, then, Event Duel.
There isn’t really a long point where Master Duel goes without an update, as the game’s Notifications tab almost always keeps you updated on when new Solo chapters release, banlist updates, events, or more, are going on. Those things said, with the way Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is right now, there’s a few changes that could happen to it that, in my opinion, could help the game a bit.
Siding and Ranked Duel Changes in Master Duel
First and foremost of what should be added to Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, though, would be the addition of the Side Deck system, and subsequently, changes to the Ranked Duel format; a best two-out-of-three setup instead of one Duel sets.
The reason I mention this is because with how some decks are meant to OTK or FTK you (one-turn kill and first-turn kill, respectively), you could use the Side Deck to potentially out such plays from happening, or set yourself up to do one. Have an opponent that loves Special Summoning? You could throw in a Maxx “C” and profit from them going off, for instance.
Adding in a siding system would also make it a bit closer to its real-life counterpart, where, in between duels, players can swap cards from their Side Deck into their Main Deck (and in this case, use outs to problematic plays), like how the Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series uses the Side Deck.
Master Duel’s Banlist Consistency
The second, and probably far more important situation to address, would be the banlist and its consistency. Back at the end of April, Konami released an updated banlist for Master Duel, set to go into effect on May 9th, changing the legality of some cards, which you can see below.
A new Forbidden & Limited List has been announced for Yu-Gi-Oh! MASTER DUEL – Going into effect on May 9th!#MasterDuel #YuGiOh #YuGiOhMasterDuel #遊戯王マスターデュエル pic.twitter.com/lv388N1CZs
— Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel Guide (@MasterDuelSite) April 25, 2022
One such “hit” in the updated Master Duel banlist was limiting Cyber Angel Benten to one copy, a core part of running a Drytron/Heralds deck. But Konami completely ignored another card that’s problematic, named Eva (shown below).
This card, in essence, is discard fodder for the Drytron/Heralds deckset, but allows you to banish two Fairy-type Monsters from your Graveyard or field to add the same number from Deck to your Hand. The reason this is an issue is from a Ritual Monster this deck loves going into, Herald of Ultimateness. Herald’s card effect will be below, but to summarize; if you have a Fairy in hand, discard it, and you’ll negate any effect your opponent activates.
The reason Eva is important here is that discarding it is giving you two extra negates for Herald at virtually no cost other than banishing things you’ve already used, and sometimes, one negate is all it takes to completely cripple a deck (I play one such deck, so I’d know), but having several negates can also completely counter an early Maxx “C” activation. It’s probably for reasons like this, among others, as to why Eva is banned outright in the official Trading Card Game (TCG) format.
Here in Master Duel, though? Eva is Unlimited (meaning, players can run three if they so choose), and if one gets removed from the hand, negated or Banished, you can always run the chance of drawing into another one and discarding it then (as Eva’s effect works when it’s sent to the Graveyard).
That’s only one such scenario, but when you compare Master Duel’s banlist and the real-life card game’s banlist, there’s the usual banlist mainstays, like Giant Trunade, Pot of Greed, and Level Eater. But Maxx “C”, among other problematic cards like True King of All Calamities or Vanity’s Emptiness, unironically, are allowed for use in Master Duel, but are completely banned in the TCG, like Eva.
The point I’m getting at is that the banlist could use some work, but for the purposes of why some cards are banned (or should be banned), a fair amount of context is needed.
Other Bits and Closing Thoughts
Finally, and this is purely preference, but some cards have unique animations upon activation, like, say, summoning Dark Magician or activating the trap card Solemn Judgment. I’d just ask Konami to add more of them, such as for the three Egyptian God Cards (Slifer the Sky Dragon, Obelisk the Tormentor, and The Winged Dragon of Ra).
Overall, Master Duel’s free-to-play state and its general freedom for deckbuilding and playstyles make it an excellent alternative to spending hundreds of dollars on a single TCG deck, and its inherent crossplay nature allows you to play your friends on whatever device they have Master Duel installed on, beit phones, computers or consoles.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is free to download on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC via Steam, iOS devices and Android devices.