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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WHY I HAVEN’T POSTED IN MONTHS: SUMMER 2017 AND THE DEATH OF TOOMANYCARDGAMES?!

It’s only due to a mix of sleep deprivation, extreme happiness and slight intoxication that’s finally getting me to address the elephant in the room. I haven’t posted here in almost 2 months. The world of card games has changed while I remained inert and silent. Banlists dropped, formats changes and did buy plenty of product, but I did it all in silence. Why you may ask? Well I realized something pretty important. Trying to play and collect all of these card games was already a pipe dream. Maintaining interest and following set releases is really hard. That’s why I started to branch out and hire guest writers (who I actually paid) to specialize in each game. Still even that was impossible to keep up. What happened to make things so difficult? Well it was quite simple really. I finished college.

During my time in school I could devote my money and far too much of my time to all this card game stuff. Summer 2017 brought me into the world of adulthood wherein even following ONE card game is a challenge. When you combine that with how honestly on the fringe I was with most of these games, it became pretty likely that I wouldn’t be able to follow them. That being said there was a time when I truly cared about this blog. It would be wrong to just let it die quietly.

So here’s:

  • My 5 AM unfiltered thoughts on each card game as of right now
  • Literally every major card game event/thing that happened to me since my last post
  • My thoughts on the recent Yugioh banlists (Can you believe I missed those? Geez)

 

Unfiltered Thoughts: 

Yugioh

My fanatical love of this game and franchise is unquestionable. The floor of my apartment has been coated in Yugioh cards for weeks at a time.

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My collection of anime decks has long surpassed 100 completed decks. I’ve got them all organized by series in the corner of my room now.

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It’s a 100% established fact that Yugioh is my favorite trading card game. I’ve even been dabbling back and forth with meta…

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(aka bricking) but I still consider myself  both a very die-hard and eccentric collector.

Status: Actively Following, Buying, Collecting, Playing

 

Magic the Gathering 

Magic will always be my second favorite game. It has a richness and depth that both intrigues and terrifies me. I know almost every Yugioh that exists. I don’t know half of the Magic cards that exist. Since I moved to my new apartment my Yugioh cads have littered the floor while my Magic cards have gone untouched. I like watching Magic (especially StarCityGames replays) that much I know. However when it comes down to playing it I barely do or try to. All of my passion for

Status: Actively Following Standard and Modern, Infrequent Play due to Yugioh

And now for all of those other games…

 

Pokemon

I have never liked that in Pokemon it feels like comebacks are infrequent. Once you’re losing in prize cards it feels impossible to catch up. And yes I know there are supporter/trainer cards that support the losing player. They just don’t feel like enough to me. Also actually watching Pokemon feels like Legacy or Vintage Magic to me. I just can’t play the game anymore and I haven’t followed it in months. My deck has long since rotated.

Status: Has 2 rotated decks and half a binder, Not Collecting or Playing

 

Force of Will

I honestly loved this game. I gave it a lot of time, money and attention all for it to completely fail me. I sold all but my most beloved cards from the era in which I played. Some swell chap in Germany bought my whole collection on Ebay. I pray those cards are serving him well. I occasionally see spoilers for new cards and to be honest I loved playing Force of Will (my decks still exist), but I don’t think I’ll be playing it ever again.

Status: Morally opposed to it in every way, has a binder and 2 decks as a keepsake

 

Naruto 

Naruto was a weird mix of Pokemon and Magic that I honestly found very enjoyable. Unfortunately Naruto died in like 2013 and there’s no changing that. I only ever had one friend (after Middle school) who played/collected the cards and he’s back in New Jersey. These cards now rest in half of a binder while I ponder how to get rid of my bulk.

Status: Half of keepsake binder and 2 tins of unwanted bulk left

 

My Little Pony 

I never gave this game a fair attempt. We played it incorrectly a few times (trying to force multiplayer), and I think I only played it normally twice. This game was just a bit tedious and the only novelty was that concept of “fighting” with the ponies. Oddly enough all my decks are still built, but this game is likely to waste away in my storage box.

Status: Like 6 decks just lying around

 

Cardfight Vanguard 

I don’t like playing this game. I really like the artwork of certain cards and I enjoyed collecting those cards (back when I had money to throw away). However, now I can’t say I would ever willingly play Cardfight. The gameplay just upsets me and I don’t know if that will ever change. I do still love the Bermuda Triangle and Angel cards. Somehow I never made a binder for them though.

Status: 2 large piles of cards that really need a binder

 

Wixoss

Wixoss died when my friend Kenny vanished. He was the biggest advocate for this game. Without him I lost all interest as did my friend group. I stopped following the show and the sets. My decks are still together, but Kenny took all my other cards so those 4 decks are all I have left.

Status: Selector Abandoned Wixoss

 

Weiss Schwarz

Weiss is the best card game to not play. I love getting cards of my favorite anime characters because I’m a colossal nerd. Just having the cards makes me happy. Actually playing the game however has never worked out. With the exception of one Sword Art Online player, EVERY PERSON I’ve ever played Weiss with has gotten incredibly mad during the course of the game due to a bad card flip or pull. Like they would get so angry that I would feel uncomfortable. This made Weiss increasingly unpleasant to play so I dismantled all my decks. I still love the cards, but adding to a Weiss binder is all I plan to do if even that.

Status: One binder filled to capacity (also these status posts sure have degraded over time huh?)

 

Fire Emblem Cipher

Uh I learned how to play this at 2 AM. I remember nothing about how to play. I’m not a Fire Emblem fan, THOUGH I am enjoying the phone game so that may change. I can’t really comment on the game.

Status: I swear I have these cards somewhere…)

 

What happened:

Philly Regional

I attended the Philly Regional on September 9th. I borrowed a friend’s True Draco Demise deck. This is a chunk of it.

20170908_205027I went 4-4-1 and placed 140th out of  roughly 500. While not great this was the highest I’ve ever placed in Philly.

 

Ixalan Pre-Release

I attended the Ixalan Pre-release immediately before writing this post. I went 3-0-1 running Jund Dinosaurs (because I do what I want).

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I split with round 4 opponent so we could each get the most packs.

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This is the second time I’ve ever done so well at a pre-release. I haven’t gone 3-0-1 since Dragon’s Maze.

I’ve constructed a number of yugioh anime decks.

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Along with buying The Ur-Dragon Commander 2017 pre-con. Ur-Dragon has since replaced Progentitus as my commander.

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I bought a box of Battle of Light’s Revenge and multiple 2017 Starter decks.

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I opened Triple Dimensional Barrier in 3 Mega Tins. Honestly it was a good haul all around.

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I’ve bought the entire Yugioh collections of two people and absorbed most of the cards from a third person.

 

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And I got to watch a Hane-Hane get hit by Raigeki

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There is probably more, but I can’t think of anything else right  now.

 

Yugioh September 18th 2017 Banlist (TCG) 

Zoo died the death it deserved ages ago finally opening the format up to new strategies. True Draco is still viable as Master Peace Turbo. Dinosaurs are now OTK or bust. Lightsworns can sack better. Most of the other hits are irrelevant. There are tons of cards that should’ve been hit also, but I still like this banlist.

Whelp my eyes hurt…. like a lot. It’s time to stop.

What’s next for this blog? I honestly don’t know. I doubt I’ll have time to give it the attention it deserves. It may die. It may not. I thank you regardless for following the mad adventures of one man in his quest to perish suffocated under cardboard.

Thanks for reading as usual.

Why My Friend Left Yu-Gi-Oh (Link Format Woes Part 1)

Introduction

I’m going to try to keep this organized and focused, because there’s way more that I could say than anyone actually wants to read. But I feel like I need to get this written down.

When Link format hits, I’m not playing Yu-Gi-Oh anymore.

I already stopped playing in paper, dissolved my decks, and sold some of the more expensive stuff. I’ve kept playing a bit on YGOpro, because some habits are hard to break. But by the time this article is posted, I’ll have uninstalled that as well.

To understand why, I have to get into why I was playing the game. In terms popularized by Mark Rosewater here, I am a Johnny with a bit of Spike. That means that the enjoyment that I get out of card games is focused around creating something that is my own, and more specifically, something that is at least a little competitively viable.

For most of the six years I’ve played this game, that’s been possible. It’s certainly been difficult, and easier at some times than others (compare HAT format to Dragon Ruler format). On the whole, though, I’ve been able to play something that’s able to take games from top decks, and it’s been something that was wholely mine. I’m going to briefly talk about what I’ve played, because it might be relevant later. If you already know, or just don’t care, feel free to skip the following section.

Potatoes and Ghosts

In recent years, I’ve focused on two decks that I considered competitive. The first was originally created in the summer of 2014 as a Monster Mash deck. It’s progressed a lot over the subsequent years, but some aspects have persisted. I gave it the name “Potatoes” (Monster Mash > Mash > Mashed Potatoes).

When I finally stopped playing it in paper, it looked like this. It had transformed into an all-in OTK deck. I truly believe that this is the only form this deck can take. Any combo-oriented deck like this that isn’t meta probably can’t set up a strong enough turn 1 board consistently, because if it could, it would be meta. It probably also can’t play the long game, because you don’t have the resources to beat tier 1 strategies. As a result, the optimal way to win is to do it in one turn.

I didn’t like doing that. It generally is solitaire. The times when your opponent has interaction that it is possible to beat but non-obvious are few, so with enough practice I can essentially just play on auto-pilot around 90% of the time. It was the only way to stay viable, though.

To contrast with this strategy, I had made Ghostricks. This deck is generally considered a gimmicky stall deck, and I agree that it is often built that way. I think that’s very incorrect, though. I built it as a tempo deck, keeping your opponent off-balance for long enough to swing in with your Ghostrick Angels and the occasional beater provided by Rank-Up-Magic: Limited Barian’s Force. Somehow, when building it, I always ended up about 15 cards short, and there were a number of engines that could slot in. I liked Darkworlds, seen here.

Matchups varied widely. My favorite was against Shaddolls, pre-Construct ban (so 2015). The games tended to go into time, as both decks ended up playing the grind game, but I considered myself generally favored, with better recursion and innevitability.

Both of these decks are fun to play. I made both very much my own. I spent months on Ghosts, and years on Potatoes. And once the Link rules become official, neither will be playable anymore.

The Rules Change

So what’s so bad about Link summoning, anyway? I lived through Pendulum without quitting; what makes this different?

The difference is the rules change that’s accompanying the introduction of Link monsters. There are a number of subtleties, but the important point is that it is now basically impossible to have two extra deck monsters on your field without Link summoning. If you’ve ever seen a Yu-Gi-Oh video I’ve made, that’s kinda… all I do. Both of those decks and most of my others, my favorite things about this game, are dead to the rules change.

Now, I could work around it. Maybe I could update the decks to incorporate Link (which would involve drastic and difficult changes), or maybe I can make something new that’s my own in this new format. Personally, I find both those options very unappealing. Let’s talk about why.

Konami’s Precedent

As much as I can’t stand Konami’s policies and strategies when it comes to creating and banning cards, I have this to say for them. If you are a casual player, you’ve largely been left intact. It’s the competitive players, the tournament chasers, who get hurt by the banlists, by the poor card design and worse balancing. They know what they’re getting into. If you’re playing kitchen table Yu-Gi-Oh so to speak, the game is basically unchanged. Maybe it was hard to get used to the first-player-doesn’t-draw thing. Maybe it was confusing when a card that you used fairly got banned. What Konami has done here is far, far different.

There’s very little precedent for what they’ve done here, so it isn’t easy to evaluate all the implications, but it doesn’t look great.

What Could Have Been

Let’s pretend for a second that this change wasn’t purely profit-driven.

It’s nice, right?

One could imagine this being a way to slow the game down. Properly executed, Link rules could have made OTKs, extra deck lockdown fields, and similar completely impractical. I might have supported such a change. Make no mistake, though, this is not that. All the things that have sped Yu-Gi-Oh up over the past years are still present; the difference is just that in order to play them, you probably have to buy some link monsters. (As a side note, I know that not all tier 1 strategies use the extra deck. I’m mostly talking about those that do.)

The Power Gap

I don’t really mind power creep. The OTKs, the hard control decks, the combos… they’re all basically fine. What bothers me is the power gap. This is the difference in power level between tier 1 and tier 2, the difference between netdecking and brewing. It’s been widening. The prices of staples has gone insane in the past year, thanks to Konami’s tendency to push staples to secret rarity here in America. The power level of splashable engines hit a new high with Zoo, dominating the tournament scene and asking every duelist the question: “If you aren’t putting Zoodiacs in your deck… why aren’t you?”

For someone trying to do their own thing on the cheap, hoping to keep up through clever deckbuilding, tight play, and a bit of luck, this is a nightmare scenario.

Does Link summoning help the situation? I think not. Maybe I’m wrong. I hope I’m wrong. But I’m not sticking around to find out.

Homogenization

I’ll preface this by admitting that I haven’t really read most of the Link monsters. Hopefully that’s understandable. My understanding, though, is that the generic ones are… very generic. Requirements like that of Decode Talker (2+ Effect Monsters) and Proxy Dragon (2 Monsters) are additions to a trend of generalization that’s been active since 5Ds era.

Fusion monsters generally require 2+ specific monsters.

Synchro monsters are more generic, but have level requirements and must include a tuner.

Xyz monsters are more generic, doing away with the tuner.

Pendulums are more generic, replacing the specific level with a level range.

Why is this a problem? Well it isn’t really, but it is to someone who plays the game to create something for themselves. When the requirements to play the most powerful extra deck cards in the game are relaxed, there is little reason to play any but the best cards in your main deck. I consider this a more long-term part of why the power gap is widening. Compare the simple, brutal efficiency of rank 4 toolbox decks against the closest equivalent deck in the synchro era, Plant Synchro. The hoops the plant pilot had to jump through, and the delicate tuning of deck construction, far outweigh the considerations of the rank 4 player.

Again, I don’t really know if this will happen in the TCG metagame. I hope it won’t. But I’m still not sticking around to find out.

I’m Out, But You Don’t Have To Be

Listed out like this, there’s… a lot that can go wrong here. The thing is, though, most of it isn’t a problem for a lot of people.

I’ve kinda pigeonholed myself into the Johnny/Spike demographic, and looking back on it, Yu-Gi-Oh isn’t really the place for that kind of player. In retrospect, I’m surprised I lasted this long.

Most of the people I played with in person consistently are close to pure Spikes. They care about the competition, about getting the better of their opponent, proving themselves. For them, I expect Link format will be a lot of fun. The one outcome of the rules change that I consider positive is the drastic rise in complexity to the gameplay. Outside of deckbuilding, piloting a deck in this new era becomes more difficult, which provides more room for improvement, which provides a way to prove superiority through gameplay.

I wish them the best of luck. I’m not that kind of player.

The last thing I’ll do before uninstalling YGOpro is make a video as a summary of my Yu-Gi-Oh career. It’s been fun. I want to remember it. You can find that video here.

A Few Comments Regarding the Upcoming Changes to the Yu-Gi-Oh! OCG (What does Link Summoning mean for the game?)

Starter Deck 2017 is scheduled to be released in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Card Game on March 25, 2017. Along with new cards that will be featured in the upcoming Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS anime, the release of Starter Deck 2017 introduces changes to the rules of the game as well as the introduction of a new Summoning type, Link Summon.

For many, what has just been stated is old news, and the introduction of the new rule changes have been met with mixed feelings from players. However, I will attempt to briefly address some of the ways the changes to the rules and the new Summoning method will affect game mechanics as well as mention some things we need to keep in mind when moving forward with the new rules.

I will be going forward with the assumption that you have at least heard about these changes to some degree, if you have not, please refer to this external source for a light catch-up: https://ygorganization.com/reallypendulumswereverysorry/

I will begin with the concept of “Extra Deck Monsters”. In order to help with adjusting to the new rules, I encourage you to think of monsters not as “Extra Deck Monsters” but as “monsters Summoned from the Extra Deck” and “monsters not Summoned from the Extra Deck”. Monsters Summoned from the Extra Deck must go into either the Extra Zone or a Main Monster Zone Linked to a Link Monster. Monsters Summoned from the Hand, Main Deck, Graveyard, or from being banished would be Summoned to any Main Monster Zone. It is permissible to Summon any monster into a Linked Main Monster Zone, not just monsters summoned from the Extra Deck.

This does raise the question of how the Returning a banished monster to the field would work. For example: if I have a PSY-Framelord Omega which was Summoned from the Extra Deck and I use its effect which would involve banishing itself, could I place it in a Main Monster Zone that is not Linked? Official clarification would be required to answer this question, but my guess based on my understanding of how Returning a banished card works, is that the process of Returning seeks to preserve the game state as much as possible, therefore the Return of a monster Special Summoned from the Extra Deck must be to a Zone that it would be able to occupy based on the rules of the game. Therefore, if no available Extra Monster Zone or Linked Main Monster Zone exists for the PSY-Framelord Omega from the above-mentioned scenario is available; I would conjecture that the correct action would be that PSY-Framelord Omega would then be sent to the Graveyard, and not placed in a Main Monster Zone that is not Linked.

With the introduction of Link Summoning, every single one of your monsters will count, even after they have been used as Link Summoning Material. Remember that Link Monsters can also be used as Link Summoning Material, and the indicated Link value of a monster also indicates how it can be used toward the Link Summon of another Link Monster. Keep the directional arrows that indicate which zones will be Linked by your Link Monsters in mind as each of those will play a part into how you can Link other Main Monster Zones. Link Monsters Summoned from the Graveyard into Main Monster Zones will still Link the Main Monster Zones which their arrows point to. So take advantage of cards that Special Summon monsters from the Graveyard, such as Soul Charge, and Link your Main Monster Zones so that you can utilize Fusion, Synchro, Xyz, and other Link Monsters.

Take advantage of cards that allow you to summon multiple monsters at once, such as Brilliant Fusion, Zoodiac Barrage, and Blackwing – Gofu the Vague Shadow, in order to bring out Link Monsters as fast as possible.  Cards such as Ground Collapse or Zany Zebra may have an interesting role to play when it comes to impeding additional Summons from the Extra Deck. Cards like Dimensional Barrier and Artifact Scythe will also be very strong as we can certainly expect Synchro, Xyz, and Fusion Summoning to become intermediate steps to Summoning the first Link Monster for any game.

I certainly have not touched on every possible scenario that can happen with these new rules, but that’s where a lot of potential lies. Think about the cards that exist and consider how they will change their roles once the new rules come into effect for the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, and enjoy! After all, the theme of Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS is “Take a step forward, and try!”

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments, and I will do my best to respond.

GaiasabertheVideoKnight-COTD-JP-OP

Submitted by a friend.

Yugioh Rogue Deck Analysis: Yosenju (Beating Vanity’s Since 2015)

(Submitted by a friend)

Relevant Rogue: Yosenju

Formats in Yugioh tend to change every couple months with new decks controlling the meta.  I started playing in Nekroz format and have continued to play through several formats dominated by shaddolls, monarchs, burning abyss, kozmo, pkba, pepe, blue eyes, paleos, and metalfoes.  Throughout most of it I have played the same archetype: Yosenjus.  I originally chose to play Yosenjus for three reasons 1) I wasn’t sure if I was going to commit to Yugioh and did not want to spend too much getting into the game 2) they were reminiscent of the spirit archetype I used to play as a kid and 3) they were secret rare.  What was surprising to me was that I was able to have success with the deck across all of these formats.  I will try to explain why I think that is below:

Nekroz Format (Nekroz, shaddolls, qli’s, tellars)

Nekroz of Unicore and Shaddoll Winda were cards that dominated the meta because of their ability to limit a player’s extra deck strength.  Though neither monster was that big, it was difficult to find a way to eliminate them without using an extra deck.  The Yosenjus, however, almost never special summon and were able to play through these locks in main phase 1 and follow up with xyz plays in main phase 2 if necessary.  Similarly, when Qli’s were maining triple vanity’s, Yosenjus were able to play through it without any problems.  The fact that Yosenjus could also play limited cards like Macro Cosmos and Dimensional Fissure without any drawbacks further improved the pendulum matchup (as well as several other matchups).  Finally, since tellars usually consolidated resources into an xyz monster, Yosenju Kama 1 could easily cause your opponent to lose lots of card advantage.  In this format I played pure Yosenjus with floody backrows, basically Yosenju Demise without the Demise.

Pepe Format (PePe, pendulum magicians)

This format lasted all of 2 weeks.  However, I believe it provides a good example of how versatile Yosenjus can be.  Yosenjus as an engine is roughly 9 cards (playset of each Kama, 12 if you include Tenki).  Because of this, it can be combined with several different archetypes.  The combination that I had found to be successful in this format was Baby Raccoon Yosenjus.  Pendulums dominated this format and the raccoon engine opened up Naturia Beast to cut off the entire mechanic.  The Yosenjus could easily remove scales to make Naturia Beast even more terrifying.  The raccoons could create a soft lock with Ronin Sandayu.  It was easy to control how many cards you had in your hand with the Yosenjus in order to easily negate cards with Fabled Unicore.  You could use Diamond Dire Wolf to remove problem cards by targeting your own Ronin Sandayus, making Diamond Dire an extremely powerful option.  Furthermore, Ronin Sandayu opened up more OTK’s with the Yosenju monsters.  The synergy between the rank 2’s and 4’s doesn’t end there however.  Cat shark could create OTK’s with Dark Rebellion XYZ Dragon if you didn’t already have a Daigusto Phoenix on board.  Though Pepe was the undisputed deck-to-beat, I believe Baby Raccoon Yosenjus was a good counter to the deck, going first or second.

Monarch Format (Monarch, BA, Kozmo)

Around Pepe format was when we first got Kaijus.  At the time we only had Kumongous and Dogoran and there was an obvious gimmick that could be abused with the Yosenjus (kaiju a monster, bounce it back).  At the time I considered it to be a fun tech to put in my pure Yosenju build.  However, when Breakers of Shadow released Interrupted Kaiju Slumber, I completely changed how my deck was supposed to run.  Instead of opting to go first and setting floodgate cards, I opted to go second and wipe boards for OTK’s.  The deck became nearly trapless.  The only floodgates I kept were Dimensional Fissure and Necrovalley.  Both of those cards could be activated before using Slumber to ensure that your BA, Monarch, and Kozmo opponents negged as hard as possible.  If you didn’t win that turn, there was good chance that those floodgates prevented your opponent from recycling resources to threaten you the next turn.  Kaijus were an absolute godsend for Yosenjus.  They didn’t count as tribute summoned monsters, so you could turn off Domain.  They didn’t trigger Beatrice’s effect.  They didn’t trigger Kozmo ship effects.  They also shut down Kozmo pilots’ ability to tag out as well as making set Kozmojos dead.  Kaijus also removed Kirin, Cyber Dragon Infinity and Vortex Dragon, cards that used to give us trouble.  Since almost nobody played traps this format, Yosenju Kaiju had free reign to just wipe boards and OTK all the time.  The deck was also extremely unpopular during this format and almost no one realized that I actually wanted to go second every game.  To be honest, I believe this was the easiest format for Yosenjus.  OTK’s were way too easy.  Everyone would overextend (since Exciton got banned) and consolidate all of their power into a kaiju-able boss monster.  The only hard matchup was Mermail and it honestly came down to the die roll.

At this time, Yosenju Demise was pretty popular.  I still think that deck sucks in comparison.

ABC Format (ABC, Metalfoe, Paleo)

I wish I could say more about this format.  Unfortunately, I had picked up Paleozoics during this format and left Yosenjus in the deck box.  The sheer number of trap cards in this format scared the hell out of me and I didn’t want to deal with never being able to summon any Yosenjus.  I thought Yosenjus wouldn’t be viable this format.  However, I was proven wrong when Yosenju Kaiju got first place at the Portrush Regional.  As I said, I thought backrow was the death of the deck.  The person piloting the first place deck must have also realized that since his deck profile listed 3x twin twisters, 3x MST, and 2x Nightbeam.  I only wish I had the balls to try that first.  That being said, I am not upset about playing Paleozoics…the deck is just too good.  It just feels so powerful playing a meta deck.

Looking Forward (Zoodiacs)

Add zoodiacs.

Closing Remarks

Through my own playtesting and tournament success, I would confidently say that Yosenjus have been a relevant rogue option since 2015.  The fact that the Yosenju engine is extremely small makes it incredibly flexible when mashing it with other engines.  The reliance on normal summons is a huge weakness, but it makes for that in its ability to swarm without the use of special summoning.  The fact that they return to hand means it becomes much harder for your opponent to remove your card advantage with board wipes, and makes it even more profitable for you to use board wipes like Torrential Tribute and Dark Hole.  Yosenjus play using game mechanics that are outside the set used by meta decks, while also providing enough wiggle room to include answers to the problems that meta decks can put up.

I realize I had forgotten to write about Blue Eyes.  The only matchup that was easier than Blue Eyes was Kozmo.  Your opponent would lose so much if you kaiju’d their spirit dragon.  Even if they used soul charge on turn 1, you could break the entire board with just 1 kaiju and 1 slumber.  Out of all the events I went to, I only lost to 1 Blue Eyes player ever and he was playing the cheesy Chaos Max turbo version.  To be fair, the Blue Eyes matchup was also a matchup I had had plenty of practice with.  Outside of events I would playtest with a friend who loved the deck.  He’s a good player, but I believe that he was only able to take a couple matches from Yosenjus because he became very familiar with what options Yosenjus have (while the typical Yugioh player at a regional, at the time, had no idea how the deck worked).  Therefore, I could abuse the fact that my opponent didn’t know how to stop me.  At an event, a match against blue eyes, kozmo, or BA was a free win.

yosenju

Thanks for reading.

The Tragic Invasion of Vengeance (One of the Worst Yugioh Sets of 2016)

So to distract myself (and hopefully you too) from the impending potential end of America here’s some mindless drivel about Yugioh cards.

The Box, The Story and the Future…

sdc19009

So I’m about to make the questionable business decision of telling you all the reasons why not to buy the product I’m about to sell.

So I pre-ordered a box of INOV when Toadally Awesome and Dimensional Barrier were spoiled. However, after looking at the prices of the rest of the cards in the set I realized that this set has very little value outside of the those specific secret rares. I’d liken this to the Secrets of Eternity set in that:

  • It’s value was limited to a few secrets: Qliphort Monolith, Soul Transition, etc.
  • It primarily introduced non-meta archetype(s):  Infernoids out of SECE were not a deck and neither are these Crystrons or Chemicritters (and worse yet neither are likely to become meta decks down the road)

Now to be fair, this set has one huge advantage over Secrets and that’s Dimensional Barrier.

124795_200w

This card is playable in literally any deck. It’s a viable sideboard card that can effortlessly win games against certain decks. Currently, this card is your best chance at profiting off your box.

capturedb

I don’t like those odds so I’m selling my box. I’ll be the lowest listing on tcgplayer in a matter of minutes.

I bought all of the cards pictured from friends who cracked their own boxes. Most if not all of them are new pieces for my much beloved jank decks. I don’t regret this decision especially since I’m stuck in a rut in competitive Yugioh at the moment. Anyway that’s a post for another day.

Anyway, it’s time to hope that the country is still here when I wake up in a few hours.

Thanks for reading as usual.

Why I’m Quitting Force of Will and why you should too!

So as I alluded to yesterday I’m pretty much done with Force of Will. I’ve had 0 desire to invest anymore into this game, much less play it on any competitive level and barely can resist selling my collection. I place all of the blame for these feelings on the terrible decisions that the company managing the game has made over the course of the last year or so, specifically in regard to one obvious card. Let’s take a quick look.

 

Disclaimer: The following is actually just a rant. Read at your own peril

 

Tackling the Nightmare of Reflect/Refrain

ruler-reflect-jruler

Problem 1: Too Many Abilities 

I wasn’t kidding when I said Reflect ruined this game for me (and I assume many others). This card was (and probably is) too powerful for the game. It provides more free utility than any other J-Ruler. While some rulers if they’re lucky have 1 effect on their Ruler Side, Reflect here has 3. Did I mention it J-Activates for 0? Did I mention it can return to the Ruler side also for 0? They had to print a card for the other rulers to have such a luxury. Forget that everything Reflect does it already amazing, Refrain bounces creatures, counters spells and tutors any card from the deck. Sure you need a few magic counters to do it, but we cares? You get counters for using Reflect’s busted filter ability to fix your hand. If you’re not convinced that this is the broken, let me tell you it’s gets worse. They had to errata this card mid-season just because it was so overpowered.

errata

Now I want you to recall all of the stupid abilities I just mentioned (on Reflect) can you imagine doing them on both player’s turns? Then take it a step further and imagine both players using Reflect both tossing broken effects back and forth racking up counters for Refrain. I played this format, it was the highest form of card gaming cancer.

 

Problem 2: A Community Divided, A Meta Controlled 

Reflect warped the competitive scene of this game. The “Wonder Twins” became the only general to consistently win any tournaments (here’s some anecdotal evidence however, please keep in mind that Reflect taking 15 of the top 16 slots at a tournament is a fairly common occurrence). Soon every event was generally 70% Reflect players who easily crushed the one to two scrubs still playing Grimm, Slyvia or Lumia.

Now other rulers saw play and still topped, but an incredible wedge grew in the community. There were the people like me who saw one ruler controlling the meta as a bad thing and called for a ban on Reflect (probably all of those with a ygo background can understand that feeling). However, the rest of the community was divided into players who either didn’t care and wanted to play with their broken ruler or players who thought that Reflect could be beaten by simply “brewing” a better deck. The problem was that Reflect can’t be beaten by “brewing”. Reflect just provides more free utility than any other ruler making it the safest choice for competitive play. Also due to Force of Will ingeniously not putting any freaking mana costs on anything Reflect does, you can play it in any deck shell. Aggro, cool Reflect pumps Lancelot. Control? Cool Refrain bounces creatures and counters spells! Combo? Refrain tutors your combo piece for you.

 

Problem 3: We screwed up and can’t fix it…

If all of this wasn’t enough for you understand why Force of Will is dying then let me show you the lasting effects of printing Jace, the Mind Sculptor in a Standard set and quietly walking away. No ruler has been as popular as Reflect on the competitive scene nor have they printed a ruler close to Reflect’s power level. I still remember the night my playgroup first read Gill Lapis. We all thought he was broken. I mean he taxes regalia essentially taking 28 regalia out of the meta and he steals up to 3 cards from the opponent’s deck?! That’s broken! He’ll be tier 1 right? No. Gill Lapis is and has been garbage alongside almost every ruler since Reflect. I’m not saying I dislike any of them as cards. I love all of the rulers from Alice block for their flavor and effects, it’s just that Reflect is better than literally all of them.

So maybe Force of Will could print a card that hates on Reflect to give the other rulers a chance? Well they tried that to…

and what we got was this nonsense:

Black_Moonbeam

So on the plus side this can kill Refrain and she can’t flip back! 😀

But it also kills every… other…J/Ruler…

So when we finally get a card that could stop Reflect (by which i mean literally just Refrain if the player using it has gone completely dumb) it comes with the caveat of making literally every other ruler unplayable as they all just auto-die to this trash. I don’t know what on earth they were thinking printing a card like this. It actually makes Reflect better as you can just use the ruler side abilities and never even bother flipping.

And so I’ve come to decent stopping point as to why this game is awful, the direction its taking is awful (This can be a rant for another day as to how all of the new art designs and mechanics are just a joke) and why I no longer want to collect it.

Now just to be clear I really liked this game and still do like it. This is basically just Magic the Gathering with no mana screw and cuter  characters. Still I can’t overlook the damage that one poorly thought out card managed to the entire game as a whole. I hope to continue to play this casually, but that’s about it.

CaptureSP