Konami unbans Yu-Gi-Oh! card that's been in the doghouse for 17 years

Art from the Change of Heart card.
(Image credit: Konami)

Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel recently launched on Steam to great success, but back in the real world the physical version of Konami's card-battler is as popular as ever (here's our guide to getting started). As with all of these big card games, competitive rules change over time and certain cards that are deemed too powerful are banned from competition or limited in their use.

And now, after 17 years, Konami has unbanned one of those cards. It's called Change of Heart and is much-beloved by players because it lets you be a prime dick to your opponent: the card gives you control over one of your opponent's monsters and lets you use it against them for a turn (thanks, Polygon). Doubtless its biggest fans also play Priest in Hearthstone.

The news came as part of a wider update to the forbidden and limited card list for competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! play. Change of Heart has been forbidden since April 2005, but is now limited: meaning players can have one of them in their deck (confusingly enough, Yu-Gi-Oh! has three types of deck: you can have one between them all).

Yu-Gi-Oh! fans seem to be mostly pumped about Change of Heart's unbanning. I haven't watched the anime, but apparently the card plays a role in the story. Even from the outside though, it's clear why such a card would have been outlawed all those years ago. Balancing around a card that can flip your best monster against your own life points sounds like a nightmare, but maybe 17 years of subsequent card releases have dulled Change of Heart's bite.

Mostly, the news is making folk nostalgic for classic Yu-Gi-Oh! The consensus seems to be that this card has such good basic utility that it's essential for certain decks, and that the half-demon half-angel art is completely baller. Or as Redditboisss put it: "Change of Heart is crazy. Apollousa with 3200 attack? Mine now."

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."