All Legal Sets up to April 1, 2005:
This format had a number of key ruling changes and product releases that make it difficult to pinpoint a single point in time to "go back to" in order to play it retrospectively. This is an abridged timeline of these changes and releases, as far as 2005 premier event play was concerned, along with the dates of every SJC event that took place during the format:
That's a lot of changes! Fortunately, it's not quite as complicated as it looks. Broadly speaking, the history of the format is typically broken up into three phases or "versions." The "battle position change ruling" mentioned on June 1 was the change in mechanics that allowed a monster to change its battle position manually after having its position changed earlier in the turn by a card effect. Prior to June 1, if you Normal Summoned a Tsukuyomi at the start of your Main Phase 1 and targeted your own Thousand-Eyes Restrict, you could not flip the TER back up to Attack Position during the same turn. Similarly, if your opponent used Enemy Controller on your Gemini Elf during your own turn to shift it to Defense Position, you would not be able to turn it back to Attack Position during that same turn. The version of the format with these mechanics is colloquially referred to as "Wilson Luc Goat," and two SJCs were played in it: SJC Pomona and SJC Houston.
SJC New Jersey (June 10-11) is considered the first traditional Goat Format SJC event. However, a number of set releases occurred afterwards that affected the format in various ways. The Lost Millennium (June 15) adds Brain Control, amongst other things, to the format, and Dark Beginning 2 (July 27) made no notable original contribution to the cardpool but made Morphing Jar and Cyber-Stein available to the general public, each of which are hugely impactful to the metagame. Most people at casual and competitive levels choose to play Goat Format with the cardpool and mechanics of SJC Indianapolis (August 19-20). This is typically referred to as "pre-Exarion Goat" or "Standard Goat."
Indy was the last event before the release of Exarion Universe and Cyber Dragon, both of which were legal for the final event of the format, SJC Boston (September 9-10). Cyber Dragon and Exarion Universe are both notoriously format-warping, but the three set releases between Indy and Boston each had more to add to the format than those two cards alone. Nightmare Troubadour (August 30) was a video game that came with three promotional cards, two of which (Silent Magician LV4 and Magician's Circle) are relevant to fringe strategies in the modern format such as Chaos Recruiter and Gravekeeper. The second wave of Collectible Tins (September 1) added Rocket Warrior, Vorse Raider, and Panther Warrior to the mix in addition to Exarion Universe. Finally, Cybernetic Revolution (legal for premier events on September 1) changed the entire meaning of Metamorphosis with the release of Cyber Twin Dragon, and added a host of other fringe cards that often fly under the radar of modern casual Goat players such as Drillroid, Goblin Elite Attack Force, Dimension Wall, and Magical Explosion. These versions of the format are typically seen as fast at best and degenerate at worst, but nonetheless, there are still many communities who play "Exarion Goat" and/or "CRV Goat" at casual and even competitive levels. I haven't heard of anyone playing "NTR Goat" yet, but I'm sure there's someone out there who insists that they're able to play Magician's Circle while other people can't play Exarion Universe. Technically, you can argue for a version of "CRV Goat" without CT2 as well, since CRV was available and used at local and regional levels for about two weeks before its premier event legality date.
More recently, there have been movements to begin modified, custom formats based on some of these versions of Goat Format. The most notable, Newgioh, developed a cult following up until its discontinuation in 2016, and many of its players have moved on to successor projects such as Format Library's Nova Format or Relapse's Goat Minus Format. Many of these formats are designed with specific visions in mind that attempt to go beyond the limits of traditional Goat Format while retaining the "feel" of various fan favorite aspects such as grindy control mirrors or the occasional beatdown-based matchup. Those that begin with initial modifications to the Forbidden/Limited list with new additions to the cardpool are broadly termed "Goat Plus" formats, while those that limit their changes solely to Forbidden/Limited list additions and adjustments are typically called "Goat Minus" formats.
Goat Control has been kept alive to this day by a rich and storied grassroots community. DuelistGroundz has been at the core of this community from the very beginning, with our very own Max Suffridge (all RIP) taking the crown of U.S. National Champion with a Goat Control deck that is still netdecked by new Goat players to this day. In 2012, DuelistGroundz hosted its first Goat Controller Tournament, which kickstarted the so-called "post-historic" eras of the format and inspired other independent TOs such as HobbyTown USA and ToyWiz to host their own, in-person Goat tournaments throughout 2013 and 2014. That wave of Goat hype peaked in the Golden Goat War League hosted once again on DuelistGroundz in the summer of 2014, the tournament that put Kris Perovic's now-famous Exarion Goat decklist on the map.
Today, Goat activity on the internet centers around three major and loosely-connected communities: DuelistGroundz, Format Library, and Nostalgic Duelist. All of them have run at least one circuit of online tournaments in the past year. DuelistGroundz continues its War League/Seasonal Playoff program to this day, and this year that program was joined by the returning DuelistGroundz Championship Series in DGz's thick lineup of Goat competition. With a lot of hard work from Jazz, Ynusgridorh, and MMF, Format Library began its own independent series of Format Library Championships this year as well. Europe even has a semi-recurring live event circuit in the form of Card Sports League's Challenge Tour Stops, which have enabled European players to qualify for CSL's annual Invitational by playing in regional-tier events that are occasionally hosted as side events in Goat Format at larger YCS/CSL events. Lastly, GoatStats now provides a centralized hub of resources and statistics for players both new and old as well as a community-run ranking system mirroring what ChampRank once was for advanced format TCG players (RIP).
List of Resources