A couple of weeks back, two cards were announced as being banned in the Japanese version of the game – which is currently deep into their OP-03 meta. As expected, those bans have now made their way to the Global release – but not quite yet.
Though both of the cards banned are from OP-02 Paramount War, Japan was actually two months past their OP-03 release, which was On February 11th, 2023. The ban for these two cards came into effect on April 1st in Japan, following quite a dominant run of both Whitebeard and Nami in the meta.
Given the history of other Bandai card game bans coming from Japan to Global, we expected an announcement to happen before the next set release for Global.
Global Version Ban Announcement
Both the Red stage card OP02-024 Moby Dick, and 2-cost 3k Blue OP02-052 Cabaji will be completely banned from play, effective from the OP-03 Pre-Release date and until further notice. That means no use in the Pre-Release, or constructed play of any sort going forward.
The cards were banned simply because in the OP-03 meta, Whitebeard
(Edward.Newgate) Leader decks with Moby Dick were so common that most decks had to be based around defeating Whitebeard.
Though Whitebeard was already a top-tier deck in OP-02, in OP-03 there is a 1-cost Red Izo that searches the top five cards for a Whitebeard card and places it in your hand. That means getting Moby Dick at some point in the game went from very common to almost certain.
Cabaji’s ban is a little more complicated. in OP-03 there is a Nami Leader that adds a condition that when your deck reaches 0 cards you win the match instead of losing it. So the whole point is to mill cards by discarding as many as possible at every chance.
However, when Cabaji is used with OP01-086 Overheat, OP03-047 Zeff, and others – it can be very hard for the opposing player to keep their characters out at all. Your strategy is draw, return the opponent’s characters, trash cards, and win. However, that’s what Nami was designed to do.
The explanation for the bans on the official restriction and ban list are: –
OP02-024 Moby Dick Ban
“This card has proved to have much lighter demerits than intended when played with “OP02-001 Edward Newgate” and meets the condition “If you have 1 or less Life cards~”. Also, since it is a stage card it is difficult to remove from play, and if the conditions remain met it tends to drastically quicken the match.
In addition, when played with “OP03-003 Izo” the required condition becomes very easy to recreate.
This makes it commonly used in tournaments and raises the chances of winning too much, which unfortunately reduces the range of tactics that makes the ONE PIECE Card Game fun. For this reason, this card is being placed on the Banned Card list.”
OP02-052 Cabaji Ban
“When played with “OP03-040 Nami” this card promotes play-to-win tactics without making any attacks and ignoring the offensive and defensive tactics an opponent can use.
Also, this card’s effect to draw cards based on trashing cards allows players to reduce the number of cards in their deck more than expected when paired with other cards like ”OP01-086 Overheat”, and ”OP03-047 Zeff”.
It’s been confirmed that decks that use “OP03-040 Nami” can be set with other cards as well and not cause problems. In the end to maintain a healthy playing environment into the future this card is being placed on the Banned Card list.”
Should These Cards Have Been Banned + What This Means For Players
From the jump, Moby Dick was a very good card that sees a lot of play in the OP-02 meta. Whitebeard decks had a fairly easy time finding it as a turn-one play was good, but not totally necessary.
However, the card was really integral to many Whitebeard decks as losing life each turn means the late game becomes very hard for the leader without it. With lots of hard-hitting vanilla characters and the Edward/Newgate character card, it meant that getting to the late game and surviving one extra round to deal out big attacks felt very good.
What we’ll likely see is more rush Whitebeards using the Straw Hat crew cards from ST-01, OP-01, and the Uta promo pack – aka Strawbeard. This is really just a variation on the popular Zoro leader rush strategy which gives a more consistent card draw but less overall attacking power.
With Cabaji’s ban, the justification to ban a card because it uses “play-to-win” tactics is an odd one, or possibly just a bad translation. The game is of course played to be won.
The Nami deck is specifically designed as a gimmick mill deck, and it’s strange to think the designers wanted this type of play in the game but then decided after the fact that it wasn’t fun. Banning just this one card that made drawing enough on-play cards somewhat makes it a little fairer on the opponent.
Playing a game where every character you play is sent back to hand is a very Blue deck thing to happen, but not being able to counteract it at all can be frustrating. Overall, it just feels a bit like a poor decision.
It probably won’t mean many people playing Nami for the fun of it will stop but will lessen the wins without having to interact at all – which will make opponents feel a little more like they are playing the game rather than just being at the table.
Frankly, the fact that two cards were banned in the very next set after release seems worrying. It highlights a possible lack of playtesting and forethought.
They are both common cards, which in one sense is worrying that a common can be overpowered. In another, it means we haven’t seen people paying a lot for Super Rare or Secret cards and then having them banned – which can be very controversial.
On balance, we’d say this is generally a good thing for healthy gameplay. Having one deck or a few cards dominate a meta is not fun for competitive or casual players. A healthy mix of high-level competitive decks and builds is better than just two or three.