Why Yugioh (and honestly card games) died for me in 2018. Post YCS Secaucus and NAWCQ Experience

I’ve been putting this off for awhile. Days, then weeks and finally months because I didn’t want to admit it to myself. Like a spouse in an unfulfilled marriage, I just kept going along because I feared change more than a stagnant lifestyle. While melodramatic that’s basically how Yugioh has been for me since YCS Secaucus way back in May of this year. Konami made the correct decision to ban Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King and with it killed my ability to win at the game with relative ease. Ever since then I grew more and more frustrated as my tier one deck became a high functioning rogue deck. To make matters worse, the community further deteriorated due to new time rules at events, toxic gameplay and unsurprisingly far greater powercreep. However, I’ve been feeling hostile to not just Yugioh, but Magic the Gathering also. I feel obligated to force out an event summary for the last three events I went to because they both changed my opinion on the game. That being said as a basic TLDR for everyone in case it was not obvious: this blog is probably dying because I’m tentatively done with card games.

Also disclaimer: I wrote this as I thought it so instead of prose it just sounds like how I talk. I apologize for how awkward it may be. Also I wrote this under a lot of stress so there may be some typos and such… Yeah I’m doing a great job hyping this. Woohoo…)

 

Event Summary

Well after dropping that casual bombshell I’m going to fly through these event summaries because they can all be summed up in 3 short words:

“I scrubbed out”

And while you can easily just say “ah you’re quitting because you’re bad at the game” I don’t see it that way actually. I see it as I have a ceiling with which I’m willing to play the game. I  never play-tested online since coming back into the game competitively a few months ago because it’s not fun for me. I never go to locals because the uber ride is expensive and I honestly have disdain for the players at said locals. For these reasons I admitted to myself that I would have a hard time beating players who made this game their life. I got as far as I did mostly from a solid understanding of my deck and frankly in hindsight luck. Masterpeace was a win condition. Most games pre-banlist were basically just… did they have an out? Without him everything became hard. Maybe my lack of practice finally got me, but I definitely didn’t win as often playing floodgate control despite how good Dinomight Knight is. Anyway, I should turbo through these events already. Luckily, since they maybe my last post I have pictures to offer!

YCS Secaucus

fixed venue

This was an event that we drove too following the release of Dark Saviors. Two of my friends had the deck while I was playing True Draco. I won’t lie. I really wanted to play Sky Strikers. I think the deck is really cool, but I was not willing to pony up the $500 needed to get 3 copies of Sky Striker Mobilize Engage and 3 Sky Striker Mecha Widow Anchor. This tournament (right in my home state actually) would be the beginning of my downward spiral toward hating this game.

 

Round 1: Vs Chain Burn…

No Yugioh player ever wants to play against Chain Burn. Much less in the first round of an event when you’re not expecting it. Game 1 I lost to getting burned out. Games 2 and 3 I made a lot of cute plays to avoid burn damage (like using Waterfall of Dragon Souls to sack off my targeted monster to draw cards!), but game 3 he still managed to ruin my day.

Loss 1-2

Round 2: Vs Sky Striker Pure

This matchup was my first time seeing how hard the pure sky striker matchup was. Basically if they resolved Afterburners the tempo loss actually just wrecked me. Anti-spell wasn’t even good enough since my deck couldn’t even OTK. Game 1 he wipes out all of my cards so I lose. Game 2 I somehow outgrind him and win. Game 3 I narrowly beat him in a simplified gamestate.

Win 2-1

Round 3: Vs Altergeist

This was a horrible match or rather game. This guy was playing the trap Scrubbed Raid (named appropriately for any player actually using it) he was able to engineer a gamestate totally by accident due to his annoyed demeanor where I could never attack, but he could never out my board. In hindsight I should’ve surrendered because we started game 2 as they called time in the round so I lost.

Loss 0-1

Round 4 No Show…

Round 5: Vs Sky Striker Dark Magician

Game 1 I utterly rekt him with floodgates. Game 2 he draws half his deck with Spellbook of Wisdom into Sky Striker Mobilize Engage and I die. We draw due to the new time rules as we start game 3 in time…

Draw

Round 6: Vs Sky Striker Lair Monarchs

This was the only match of the event that made me happy. I was able to resolve Mettatron the 12th the true dracocombatent to summon Superheavy Samurai Steam Train King. He ran over his Ether, the Heavenly Monarch and then banished my opponent’s graveyard for over 4000 damage total.

Win 2-0

Round 7: Vs Pure Sky Strikers

I got outgrinded twice…

Loss 0-2

Round 8 Another No Show…

Round 9: Vs Altergeist

There was somehow a repair this round as if to add insult to the injury that we were playing Yugioh at 9pm despite the new EOM procedures. I beat my opponent in 2 fair back and forth games. Nothing much to say here.

Win 2-0

fixed results

Somehow with my stellar record of 5-1-3 I got around 260th place out of 1306 players. This is the crutch I still use to try and justify how terribly I did at this event. I got 2 whole byes, which while they helped my score only left me feeling that I didn’t even earn this paltry score…

I might as well give my thoughts on the end of match procedures now since they were first tested at this event and I sent the day discussing them with many players and even a judge. Every player I spoke with hated them. The judge liked them. I felt that they had a good intention, but failed to do their job. Matches still went into overtime that lasted up to an hour. Players began to side deck burn cards just so they could win in whatever phase time was called in. The worst part is that they caused players to game the system by slowplaying. I agree fully that something has to be down to make Yugioh events not end at midnight, but that the new rules at their onset totally failed to do so. My opinions actually changed as I write presently, but more on that later.

As a final aside I want to shoutout my friends at Drexel who won the School Duel on Day 2 of the YCS, my parents for letting us spend the night at my old house after day 1 and this one dude I ran into cosplaying Weevil Underwood at the venue.

fixed novelty

 

ARG Atlantic City

Following Secaucus, my group united to go to ARG Atlantic City since one of our friends had a contact who could get us a free hotel room for one night. We went in Friday night and had one of most fun nights of Yugioh goat control, beer and debauchery that I’ve ever been a part of. It was truly superb.

fixed goats night 1

I don’t think I’ve ever posted about it on the blog, but I love Yugioh goat control. It’s all that I love about the game. It’s a back and forth, slow grindy format where card advantage and value matter the most (or just jamming like a madman and hoping you win). I would go more in-depth, but this is already likely going to be my longest post so let’s just call it “old school” Yugioh, but an actual competitive format. My friends and I play it often to unwind and gamble a few bucks!

fixed goats 2

 

The Actual Event:

fixed neos

So by this point the format was solved with Gouki and Trickstar Sky Striker as the two best decks. My draco deck on the fringes once more, I tried to jam as much hate for the meta decks as possible.

fixed decklist

Round 1: Vs Gouki

Game 1 my opponent Extra-Linked me and I surrendered. Game 2 we grinded and I beat him. Game 3 we grinded, but they called time while I had more life so I won. My opponent refused to shake my hand after the match lamenting that the new time rules stole the game from him. Admittedly had our game dragged on he would’ve probably won. Still this made a lasting negative impression on my since the new rules were in turn leading to poor sportsmanship…

Win 2-1

Round 2: Vs Pure Sky Striker

Game 1 I did beat my opponent off the back of floodgates. Game 2 we entered a grind game and I lost. Game 3 I made a single misplay by killing my opponent’s Decode Talker instead of their hornet bit token (which I thought was a Phantom Skyblaster token). This gave them the ability to out my board and beat me. This match taught me that the Sky Striker match-up was indeed winnable, but that I could not make a single mistake at any point or else I would auto-lose.

Round 3: Vs Mekk Knight Invoked

Game 1 bricked opening Inspector Boarder and all Draco spells so I lost without any counterplay. Game 2 I bricked again. This was both mentally excruciating and also funny since my opponent was the same Mekk-Knight Invoked player I gave the win to at the last Philly Regional so he could get his invite…

Round 4: Vs Trickstar Sky Striker

We grind game 1 and I won in the end. He takes game 2 and ultimately beats me in time game 3.

Loss 1-2

Round 5: Vs The Most Confident Gouki Player in History

Game 1 he Extra Links me and I scoop. Game 2 we grind and I win. Game 3 we both open unplayable hands and I make Beelze and hit him until he loses…

fixed brick

This was my opening hand and my first two draws…

He opened double Gouki Rematch and his own Cherries, which he used to removed MY ISOLDE…

Despite winning this match I was so frustrated I dropped from the event after this round.

Win 2-1 -> Drop

 

ARG Win a Mat 

I was given access to unlimited side events so I ended a win a mat while my friends continued in the main event. I think I tweaked my deck, but all I remember is putting Inspector Boarder in the side deck.

Round 1: Vs Tramids

I gave my opponent the utmost respect and did everything in my power to utterly destroy him. He was taking advantage of Neo Spacian Grand Mole at 3 and used it to bounce my monsters, but he couldn’t keep up with me in damage output both games.

Win 2-0

Round 2: Vs Gouki FTK

I had the most outlandish talkative opponent this round (which I only won due to the dieroll). Game 1 we grind and I win. Game 2 I flip Rivalry of Warlords and he fails to out it. We had so much witty banter that you would think we were old friends and not tournament rivals. He said and I quote, “I thought we were friends!” in response to me flipping up Rivalry. It was a surprisingly fun experience that never expected to have playing against an FTK deck.

Win 2-0

Round 3: Vs Altergeist

Game 1 he starts to out advantage me so I scoop. Game 2 I beat him using Inspector Boarder which locked out his monster effects. Game 3 he plays right into my Evenly Matched and never recovered from it.

Win 2-1

And so I won the event and received the 2016 ARG mat!

fixed mat

I actually really like this mat (I’m a sucker for stained glass!). This was my highlight of the actual ARG and my best tournament result in the last three months of Yugioh).

Last thing to note was that after my friends also scrubbed out we had another night of Yugioh, beer and goats (in a new hotel room) which was once again amazing!

fixed goats night 2

We ended up playing goats so late that night that we gave up on attending the Day 2 of the ARG and went back to Philly after sleeping in.

 

NAWCQ

And we’ve reached it the highest tier of Yugioh and personally I first time in my life I really traveled for it. We went to Fort Worth Texas for the World Championship Qualifier!

fixed trip

While there I ended up making a crucial mistake which allowed me a major insight as a Yugioh player and as a human being.

fixed venue texas

So one of friends after failing to win the Last Chance Qualifier at YCS Secaucus allowed me to borrow his expensive Trickstar Sky Striker cards so I could play the deck. Basically to make a long story short I was awful with the deck (that I picked up the Thursday night before we left for Texas. I couldn’t win a single game and got overly frustrated even trying to play the deck. My lack of playtesting combined with my disdain for the deck’s playstyle got me burned out (no pun intended) on it after barely an hour of practice.

 

Round 1: Vs Light of Sekka Burning Abyss

Game 1 he beats me quickly. Game 2 I beat him. Game 3 I had game through his board of Dante, and double Black Luster Soldier, but I forgot my own Psyframe lord Omega return effect which prevented me from making Borreload Dragon…

So I lost…

Loss 1-2

And then after round 1 of the North American World Championship Qualifier I dropped from the event and sold all of my expensive cards to the vendors.

.

..

Crazy huh?

Travelling halfway across the country to play Yugioh and then basically rage quitting immediately? I know it sounds pretty bad, but I realized that if I wasn’t having fun there was literally no reason to play. I wish I had just played True Draco wherein even if I lost I’d at least enjoy the deck that I was playing. Trickstar Sky Striker with proper practice would’ve likely allowed me to do well at the event, but as I never bother to practice anyway there really was no chance of that. And with my Ash Blossoms, Borreload, Isolde and Saryuya Skull Dread all sold my foray into competitive Yugioh had at last ended.

 

The Aftermath

So you might be thinking that my Nats trip was a disaster after dropping so early. Quite the contrary in fact, I had a blast. While I was saddened by my mistake I made the most of it and indulged in pure Yugioh madness.

First of all I got pretty decent prizes for… well just showing up actually (not the card though, I bought that).

fixed swag

I received the qualifier mat, a pack of sleeves and…

\fixed swag 2

A Millennium item die!

Now these may not seem like much, but the whole event people were trying to buy and trade for them. The vendors were offering $65 for the mat, die and sleeves. Some of the better Millennium items like the Puzzle were selling for even more. One of my friends opened a misprinted gold Puzzle which he sold for $150!

Here are some the things I saw at the event:

fixed big card\

(Giant card structure deck duels)

fixed jaden

(Character pillars)

fixed DL

(Duel Links Previews)

fixed table 500

While a terrible meme I was amused to find Table 500

fixed hoc

I got a card autographed by House of Champs’ John Moore! (I wish I brought a sharpie for more autographs…)

 

Duelist League…

I also entered a few side events!

Which were run HORRIBLY!

I entered a $2 Duelist League tournament, but it started without me. Annoyed I entered another one (receiving an entry card for each attempt) and got to have some meme matches with my beloved True Draco deck.

Round 1: Vs Trickstar Burn

My opponent was the girlfriend of a guy I traded with earlier while wondering the venue. He was cheering her on along with her other friends during the match. She did not seem to know what she was doing playing a burn focused Trickstar deck with Contract with Don Thousand. I beat her game 1, but our game took forever. Game 2 she used Trickstar Reincarnation to banish all of my Draco monsters, but Dinomight Knight preventing me from actually closing the duel so we drew in time as she had much more life.

Draw

Round 2: Vs Cyber Dragons

I 2-0’ed this guy so fast that we kept playing for fun afterwards until he finally beat me with Waking the Dragon (which I had no outs to the Raid Raptor Ultimate Falcon).

Win 2-0

Round 3: Vs Gouki

Game 1 he makes a weird board (funny how anything less than an Extra Link just seems quaint), but he sniped my hand with Neo Spacian Aqua Dolphin so I couldn’t break his board. Game 2 he twin twistered my Rivalry and OTK’d me through Shared Ride…

Yugioh is a fun game…

I kid you not…

At the time of writing this I haven’t played it since.

Loss 0-2

Anyway the reason the side event was so poor was that our Judge was also judging 3 other events all running at the same time so he was not there to give rulings or ensure that the  rounds progressed…

 

VA Duel

fixed va duel

The high point of the weekend was watching the incredibly bizarre Voice Actor duel between Jean Claude Magnum and Zigfreid Von Schroeder. Yeah you heard that right. The guy who lost to Mai Valentine in ep 80 and never seen again vs the villain from the filler arc who tried to hack Kaiba’s computer. Somehow they were able to make this a very engaging, funny and epic duel.

And that was it…

My friends all scrubbed out and we went home.

 

Final Thoughts 

So I should close this nonsense by giving a final explanation of what I learned. I didn’t enjoy playing Yugioh after Master Peace got banned and I couldn’t win anymore. I only enjoyed hanging out with the friends I made through the game (and still do) because I really enjoy these people. Yugioh is a part of my life. I’ll never truly quit it (at worst I’ll keep playing Duel Links on my phone) . I also don’t want to risk the friendships that the game has given me. So I’ll keep my True Draco deck or some other semi-functional jank deck together that can steal a game off a meta deck if the stars align. Maybe if the game got cheaper, the format became less stale or they printed a new archetype that I wanted to play I’d be more excited, but right now the future seems  pretty bleak. Granted as I write this, it’s the off season with no events, but I can’t see myself running back to competitive Yugioh even when they finally reprint Ash Blossom as a tin promo finally crashing her insane price.

Oh and as for the EOM procedures, the Yugioh community despite hating them have gotten used to them now so there’s no reason to really complain. The format has shifted to decks that can win while wasting time (Gouki) or deal at lot of damage quickly (Trickstar Sky Striker). This has just made life harder for trap card based decks, which doesn’t do me any favors since I like playing those type of decks.

 

Why are cards games dead for me overall though? 

Well it’s pretty clear that the only ones I play are Yugioh and Magic. And I realized long ago that I was only playing Magic because I had a few friends who played it. If my buddy doesn’t go to Friday Night Magic I don’t go. It’s that simple. I never edit my deck except for an hour before heading to FNM. I never even bothered to learn my deck’s own combos because I really don’t care. I’ve lost many games of Commander due to simply not knowing how to win. And even if I stop playing Yugioh there’s no reality that I would replace it with Magic. To be clear I feel the same way I do about Goats as I do with playing Commander with my friends, it’s a blast and I enjoy it. That being said I have even less desire to play against strangers or even consider playing it competitively.

Also I realized recently that for too long my life as been completely linked to trading card games. That’s all people would say there is to me. That upsets me now and makes me want to change myself… or at the least try to.

Nothing is 100%. Maybe I’ll want to play competitively again when Ash is a tin promo, or when Firewall Dragon is finally banned (Decode Talker is the real Vrains ace monster after all!). But at the moment I’m going to try and find a new direction for my life. I’ll still have decks to play, but it’s no longer something I’m really actively thinking about.

I don’t expect anyone to have read this far (nor do I really want anyone to). Though if you did thank you sincerely for patronizing this blog which many times I did want to make into a real thing. A mecca of many card games coming together because there is no reason you can’t love many of these games. But time drags on and what was once a fun use of time has now become a tiresome chore. I’m probably going to let the blog die this year. It’s not fun to write about something you have no passion for.

Thanks for coming though. Especially if I change my mind and end up looking like an over-dramatic tool. Seriously though.

Thank you.

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