English Banlist Thoughts: How About You Just Don’t Do Anything?

See this card? I like this card.

It’s unique, it’s funny, it’s a two second power trip of hope for an otherwise very sad Haruhi player. It’s a good card – but I say this today, not necessarily back when it was first released in Japanese.

In an era of Weiss when a fair few Climax Combos are still reasonably deadly even when forced into two or three side attacks (if they can even be forced at all), this is a good card because it poses a credible threat which can be dealt with via game knowledge and good playing. It is a good card because it raises the stakes, and in doing so, also raises the quality of the game being played. It is a good card because it’s a challenge that your opponent can accept.

But what if we’re not in that era of Weiss?

What if instead, we’re in an era when the prospect of losing a Climax mid-turn is a death sentence that’s significantly harder to do anything about? Well, then if you ask me, this is not a good card. Because it’s not a challenge being offered to you anymore, it’s just something that happens to you. It’s a card that looks at the opponent and asks one simple yet game-ending question.

How about you just don’t do anything?

Was Weiss in that kind of era when this card got put on the Japanese banlist? I don’t think so. If anything, it was somewhere between the two, but definitely already speeding towards the future in which this is a good card, or at least a non-problematic card. Still, there were good arguments made back in the day that adressed not just the implications of this card in particular, but rather the concept of such invasive, non-interactive game disruptions as a whole. And the core of those arguments was that this is a game with two players, so both of those players should be able to play. To rise up to the challenge. To answer threats. So things that just happen to you shouldn’t exist. How about you just don’t anything is a question that shouldn’t be asked.

But this isn’t about that time, or the Japanese banlist. It is merely to illustrate the general pool of thought from which I will be scooping my grievances as this rambling continues. So … the April 2023 English banlist, eh? I follow a good amount of Weiss players and content creators, so you can rest assured that I have seen more takes in the last few days than an underpaid intern on a B-list movie shoot where one of the actors is an out of control duck. But I’ll get to that later. For now, see this card?

Card Image

I do not like this card and its entourage. Because they open up a direct attack with 5 or 6 pings for 1, and as the Choice Climax falls on the field with all the grace of a cold blooded killer, the same question returns.

How about you just don’t do anything?

And look, I play with underutilized Bang Dream cards all the time, I’m no stranger to dishing out burn 1s to close games. But on several different occassions, as I was setting up my triple Rimi board for end game, I’ve gotten the same kind of sentiment from several diferent opponents: this is kinda scary. This is not that pleasant to sit across from at late level 2 or, RNG forbid, even 3-0. And that’s for a finisher which does burn 1 twice. A finisher that can do 6 burn 1s if you have three instances of combo that you can pay the cost for. So yeah, burn 1 six times from one card? That’s not nice. And with little to no counter play available? That’s a problem.

If how about you just don’t do anything is the question, what are the answers?

Well, anti-damage, rest and minus soul counters, obviously. Except, if I may erratically gesture to the Gil bouncer once more, they’re not an answer at all. Congrats on hypotethically dodging one or maybe two Escanor – will that still matter after you get burned for 6×1 with the first one though? Because let’s be real: these counters are usually expensive, so it’s not like guaranteeing two of them in one turn is ever feasible without significant sacrifices, if at all.

And avoiding the direct attack by presenting a full hexproof board is hardly more than a pipe dream too, unless you’re AOT or Bang Dream, I guess. But even then, those decks have better things to do than striving for double Armin or triple Chu2 with Pareo as their endgame.

So the answer is that there is no answer. The question is entirely rhetorical, because all rasonable avenues of response have been squandered in advance by design. You will do nothing. This will just happen to you.

To Ban, Or Not To Ban?

I don’t think there’s much disagreement left between players as to whether Escanor is OP or unfair or unhealthy for the game or whatever else you wanna call it. But there is a lot of disagreement about the new banlist, and I understand why.

On one side, there are players who believe that unhealthy cards like these should be removed from the game at all cost. And I absolutely agree with them.

On the other side, there are players who believe that if you’re gonna make a new ban, it should be based on more than just one world finals and two team regionals. And I absolutely agree with them too.

So between this back and forth waffle of “this should have been hit harder” versus “this shouldn’t have been hit so soon”, I’d like to take a step back and say that we shouldn’t even be talking about the banlist here at all. Escanor simply should have never existed to begin with. In good game design, the question how about you just don’t do anything should never have been asked as a mere rhetorical taunt in the first place.

The solution to this problem isn’t on a banlist, it’s months back on a dusty shelf in the QA and testing department. A banlist is a ‘solution’ for Escanor the same way me putting a bag of frozen peas on my head is a ‘solution’ for banging my head into an open cabinet door, again. And evidently, if it isn’t already clear from the outpour of critisim and concern, the Weiss Schwarz community isn’t all that happy when banlists are used as reactive QA measures.

So I don’t know. Maybe such an early resctriction is for the greater good of the game. But maybe that’s only true if one is not an Escanor player, nor have they spent too many hours of their life plotting a counter for it. I understand those who are celebrating this, just as much as I understand those who are upset about it. I just wish that I wouldn’t have to understand either.

Because it would be better for everyone if the question how about you just don’t do anything wouldn’t need an answer.

3 thoughts on “English Banlist Thoughts: How About You Just Don’t Do Anything?

  1. From what I’ve heard escanor isn’t the first of its kind, I don’t remember what the card that was similar to it was called but doesn’t that fact mean that it isn’t an inherent fault of the effect?

    1. Yes and no. The other notable effect of this kind is Shiki from Summer Pockets (SMP/W82-003), with a few key differences. It has one base soul, and her threshold for getting the effect off is 3 or less soul on attack. Unlike Escanor, which is 2 base soul, and has a threshold of 4 or less soul.

      Worth noting, Summer Pockets doesn’t have an enabler like Gil to open lanes and set up triggers, and it also doesn’t have good combos with 2Soul triggers. The usual Shiki deck was Door/Choice, using the 1/1 Support (SMP/W82-007) to pump two finishers to three soul, and then praying for the best. I played against it a fair bit for locals, and it was annoying, but not suffocating. Counter play was much easier, and assuming you had a full board on defense, there was no way they’d hit you for more than 4×1 per attack – and you could counter every attack there.

      The concept of splitting damage into burn 1s isn’t a problem on its own. But they raised the threshold with Escanor, and then gave him all the tools needed to stretch that even further.

  2. Thankfully the SDS player now has to work a little harder to both open a lane and top check. It probably isn’t enough to hamper the deck heavily.

    The design team should have definitely looked at previous releases. However, with EN exclusives being somewhat of a dud half the time and memes in the early days, I can understand their desperation to try to create a strong product that sells. That’s bound to have repercussions on their game environment at some point.

    Pa-Chin is a mistake, juiced up Shiki(which Shiki never killed anyone) is a mistake, and game companies introducing power creep to keep the game fresh and not stale is a “mistake”.
    Bring Kurumi and 8 Standby DaL back and print the 2/0 Haruhi event more in sets.

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