10 Largest Banlists In TCGs, Ranked

Trading card games have been around since the early ‘90s. They’re a fun way to pass the time, but for some people, they represent a way to challenge one another in tests of deckbuilding and skill.

Competitive play inevitably causes many games to create ban lists to keep particularly overpowered decks and degenerate play to a minimum. Some card games have tiny banlists, but others have ones that contain dozens of cards for players to remember.

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10 Flesh and Blood Tries To Keep Its Banlists Small But Useful

A few Flesh and Blood TCG cards displayed on a white background

Flesh and Blood is one of the newer card games, surfacing in 2019. The entire purpose of the game involves players battling it out with Heroes, using weapons and armor to defend themselves against their opponent.

Despite being such a young game, Flesh and Blood offers multiple formats to keep things interesting for players. Each format has its own separate banlist, ranging from non-existent to large, such as when they have a format emphasizing young Heroes and thus all Adult Heroes are banned.

9 Pokémon Doesn’t Ask Its Players To Remember Much

A wide array of Pokemon TCG cards fanned out

Pokémon has been one of the most popular trading card games since its debut in America. Admittedly, some of this is because people just like buying the cards because they look good….and because they can be expensive. However, there’s a vibrant scene of people playing the actual game.

With Pokémon, there are two formats: standard, which includes only sets going back to Sun & Moon, and Expanded, which includes older sets. Standard is managed well enough that no cards are banned, while Expanded contains a banlist of around two dozen cards.

8 My Little Pony Features A Surprising Number Of Banned Cards

Cards from the My Little Pony Tabletop Card Game

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At one point, My Little Pony was one of the biggest cartoons of the 2010s. Not only did it create a large fanbase among its target audience, but among adult males as well. Unsurprisingly, this means its merchandise expanded outward, creating a card game for kids and adults alike.

With a card game that released multiple sets, naturally they had to create a banlist. With three major formats in Harmony, Core, and Block, there’s a different list for all of them. It’s a surprising amount of keeping up given the show’s humble origins.

7 For A Young Game, Dragon Ball Super Has Banned A Lot Of Cards

Dragon Ball Super Card Game Field
Dragon Ball Super Card Game Field

Dragon Ball has had card games in the past, dating back to their first CCG in 2005. More recently, they’ve gotten a new card game in 2017 following the appearance of Dragon Ball Super, which means more ways to see some of the strongest Z-Fighters of all time.

Despite this game being fairly young though, its banlist is massive. There are over 50 cards banned alone, with another dozen restricted to a single copy. Still, if nothing else ideally that means there isn’t too much degenerate play happening in games.

6 Cardfight Vanguard Offers Plenty Of Variation

The card game field for Cardfight Vanguard Dear Days

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Cardfight Vanguard has been going for over a decade now, with one of the most successful card game anime backing it up. The main game splits between three formats: Standard, V Premium, and Premium. Each format serves a different purpose for players and allows them to play the game how they want.

Cardfight’s Standard banlist is rather light compared to most games, with only a handful of cards on it. The Premium format however contains bans and restrictions for many of the game’s clans. Beginners fortunately only have to keep track of what’s banned within the clan they’re using.

5 Force Of Will Maintains Two Big Banlists

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Force of Will has quietly maintained popularity since its introduction in America in 2013. The game has been running for years now even as others have faded away. Currently, the game is split between two major formats: Wanderer format, which allows play of every card aside from those from the Valhalla clusters, and ABC Format, meant to allow more players in one game.

In the main Wanderer format, there are two banlists, a normal banlist, and a combination banned list. Across both banlists are over 60 cards; a moderate amount of new cards for players to adapt to. If nothing else, they do explain their reasoning behind banning cards in every list.

4 Battle Spirits Maintains A Huge List Of Bans And Limits

An image of Battle Spirits.

Battle Spirits was another game brought from Japan to the West in the 2000s. The game was incredibly popular in Japan but wasn’t given the proper support in America, which led to Bandai giving up on it in America fairly quickly.

With an unofficial online version and English translations of the cards, fans can still enjoy the game. Keeping track of the ban and restricted list though, is another challenge entirely. Combining both lists, players will have to remember well over 100 different cards.

3 Duel Masters Features A Massive Hall Of Fame

Cards from the TCG Duel Masters

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Duel Masters was a popular card game Wizards of the Coast brought over to America in the early 2000s. What helped the game stand out was being uniquely designed for two-on-two matches.

In America however, the game was discontinued after only a few years. In Japan though, it continues to run in the present, with a ban list known as the “Hall of Fame.” The Premium Hall of Fame, which is a complete ban, contains a few dozen cards, while the regular Hall of Fame acts as a restricted to one list, containing several dozen more.

2 Magic: The Gathering Has Multiple Banlists

Magic: The Gathering cards in hand

Wizards of the Coast’s Magic: The Gathering is the grand-daddy of them all, the TCG that made TCGs so popular. Because of the game’s age, it’s all the more imperative that the company keeps tight control on its restricted and banned cards, which can become so powerful they have to be banned.

One thing that makes Magic stand out so much compared to other games is the sheer number of formats it has. Standard, Modern, Vintage, Commander — they’ve got formats for every type of player. And all of its formats have their own restricted lists, often with dozens of cards on them. Even experienced players might have trouble keeping track of them all.

1 Yu-Gi-Oh! Has The Largest Banlist Ever

Yu-Gi-Oh might not be as old as Magic, but it does have a sizable list of banned and limited cards. A large part of this is that when it comes to the physical card game there’s only one format. Games like Master Duel and Duel Links add more, and Rush Duels are a thing in Japan, but for the physical game in the West, there’s just one massive, constantly running format.

With that in mind, they’ve got cards dating back twenty years prior. There are dozens of banned cards, and even the limit and semi-limited list to keep track of. While long-time fans might not have much trouble keeping up, anyone else might have a bit of a challenge to deal with.

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