A Brief History of Goat Format
April 2005 - Ban List is released (04.01.05)
June 2005 - Battle Position rule is changed (06.01.05)
July 2005 - Max Suffridge wins the US National Championship with Goat Control (07.03.05)
Aug 2005 - Miltiadis Markou wins the World Championship with Goat Control (08.07.05)
Aug 2005 - Nareg Torossian wins SJC Indianapolis with Goat Control (08.21.05)
Aug 2005 - Exarion Universe becomes legal (08.27.05)
Sept 2005 - Cybernetic Revolution becomes legal (09.01.05)
2012 - DuelingNetwork.com launches
2013 - Goat Controller tournament series on DGz
2014 - Kris Perovic wins the Goat Format War League with Goat Control
2015 - Allen Pennington publishes a treatise on Exarion Universe
2016 - DuelingNetwork.com goes offline
Feb 2017 - DuelingBook.com launches
June 2017 - DGz hosts Goat Format warring Season 1
Nov 2017 - GoatStats launches
Feb 2018 - Format Library Championships begin
May 2018 - Luxury Gaming tournaments begin
Dec 2018 - GoatFormat.com launches
The April 2005 ban list set the stage for Goat Format. Most notably, Graceful Charity and Delinquent Duo were unbanned to form the Trinity alongside Pot of Greed. But perhaps just as important are the many powerful and high variance cards that were banned, including Confiscation, The Forceful Sentry, Painful Choice, Change of Heart, Mirage of Nightmare, Magical Scientist, and Fiber Jar. Additionally, Sangan and Mirror Force were unbanned and D.D. Warrior Lady was limited to 1. These changes brought about considerably more balance and led to more methodical gameplay.
In June 2005, a major rule change occurred in the TCG, known as the Battle Position rule change. This change allowed players to manually change the battle position of a monster the same turn it was changed by an effect. Before this change, a monster that had its battle position changed by an effect could not have its position manually changed by the turn player afterwards. This change unlocked the full potential of cards like Tsukuyomi, Thousand-Eyes Restrict, Magician of Faith, and Book of Moon, making Goat Control a more effective strategy.
From June 1st, 2005 through August 21th, 2005 the card pool was relatively stable, and that is reflected in the decks that topped premier events. It includes up to the booster set, The Lost Millenium. This period included 4 Shonen Jump Championships (New Jersey, Charlotte, Seattle, Indianapolis), the U.S. National Championship, the Canadian National Championship, and 2005 Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship. This period is known as Goat Format.
Exarion Universe was scheduled to be released on September 1st 2005, the same day that the new booster, Cybernetic Revolution, became legal. This card pool was available at SJC Boston on September 1st, 2005. This was the final SJC that used the April 2005 ban list. Most people do not play with this card pool. Personally I don’t think SJC Boston can even be called “Goat Format” as the viable card pool is quite different and it does not revolve around Scapegoat as much as the June-August 2005 period did.
Many people mistakenly believe that Exarion Universe was released before Cybernetic Revolution. There is evidence that Exarion Universe was erroneously released by a few rogue department stores ahead of the official September 1st release, but it was not widely available. If you were one of the lucky few who got their hands on Exarion Universe, you could use it at an official TCG event, since it was considered a promo card. It appears that a few people had access to Exarion Universe for Regional tournaments on the weekend of August 27th, 2005, but no premier events occurred where one could use Exarion Universe before Cybernetic Revolution was legal.
In October 2005, the next ban list came out, eliminating many of the power cards that are iconic to Goat Format. The following cards were banned: Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning, Sinister Serpent, Tribe-Infecting Virus, Pot of Greed, Delinquent Duo, Graceful Charity, Mirror Force, and Ring of Destruction. In addition, many key cards used in multiples in the Goat Control deck were limited to 1, including Magician of Faith, Tsukuyomi, Thousand-Eyes Restrict, Metamorphosis, Scapegoat, Book of Moon, and Nobleman of Crossout. These changes had a devastating consequence on the quality of gameplay. Players began to refer to the ensuing format as the “1-for-1 Format” because the primary card advantage engines we enjoyed had been removed. As the years went by, it became clear to us that Goat Format represented the pinnacle of gameplay from the early period of the game.
Over the years a handful of players continued to revere Goat Format and found time to play a few games on the side. In 2012, the launch of DuelingNetwork.com sparked the revival of Goat Format, linking such players from across the globe. During this time, many old players returned to the scene, and many new players were introduced to the format. One of the best archives for this period is the Official Goat Format thread on DuelistGroundz.
At this time, the DuelistGroundz and Nostalgic Duelist communities began hosting tournaments. DuelistGroundz hosted an annual Goat Controller tournament during this time. These tournaments were won by some great players: Matt Bishop, David Piercy, and Michael Bonacini.
In 2014 we revived the Goat Format War League on DuelistGroundz. This was the first major warring season played under Goat Format since 2005. Hundreds of highly competitive matches were played. When the dust settled, Kris Perovic’s team emerged victorious. This tournament debuted Perovic’s standard Goat Control list that has subsequently become the single most copied deck from the Revival Era.
The following year Allen Pennington published an article on Exarion Universe that rocked the community. Allen proposed that playing with Exarion Universe was not only historically inaccurate but that it created an inferior playing experience. This caused a notable rift between DuelistGroundz, which largely moved away from Exarion Universe, and Nostalgic Duelist, which largely stuck by Exarion Universe. As the years have gone by, more online communities are rejecting Exarion Universe but many local tournaments still allow it. There is some debate over which version of the format produces better quality gameplay, but it’s largely agreed upon that Exarion Universe is not historically accurate, as it was not available during the major tournaments of the Historic Era.
The first period of the Revival Era is generally acknowledged to end with the shuttering of DuelingNetwork.com in early 2016. Without this website, there was little tying the Goat Format community together online. Much of the theory and the community aspects were left to local live tournaments.
In early 2017 DuelingBook.com launched to much fanfare, sparking innovation and new competition among Goat Format players. Notably, DuelingBook.com included a Goat Format lobby that disallowed Exarion Universe, forcing many players who picked up the format in the Revival Era to try the format as it was originally played. DuelistGroundz revived a large scale warring season, bigger than any Goat Format warring season previously. Many new decks, cards, and strategies were implemented in an attempt to solve this version of format without Exarion Universe. It turns out Goat Format is much, much deeper without Exarion Universe, and many new decks and cards were very successful in this metagame. The best player in the Summer 2017 warring season was Brian Richardson, who took the game by storm with his unique Chaos Recruiter list.
In early 2018 Format Library launched a discord server and a tournament series known as the Format Library Championship series (FLC), modeled after the historic Shonen Jump Championship series.