Hey everyone! As I write this the participants of the 2015 Yu-Gi-Oh World Championship are sleeving up their decks in hopes of being crowned King of Games. As if that weren’t enough excitement, this weekend also plays host to the ARG Circuit Championship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This tournament will be giving away $25,000, the most prize support given for a single tournament in the history of this game! We are on the dawn of Yu-Gi-Oh’s biggest weekend of the year and I couldn’t be more excited!
In addition to the amazing prize support, three legendary duelists will be inducted into the second annual ARG Hall of Fame. Last year’s Hall of Fame inductees were Jerry Wang, Lazaro Bellido, and Jeff Jones. While Jerry Wang and Lazaro Bellido haven’t been to many events as of late, Jeff became a three time Champion this year after he won ARG Indianapolis with Burning Abyss. These Hall of Fame Inductions are among my favorite events of the dueling year, as I love and appreciate the history of this game. Having actively followed almost all of the game’s history as it was happening, I offered to give my opinion on who I think should be inducted into this year’s Hall of Fame class. Here are the five players I recommended be inducted.
Samuel Pedigo – A YCS Champion and World Championship participant who is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. I think he was among the first players to take a scientific approach to the game. Many of the top players before him relied heavily on empirical observations to make decisions about their deck and technical play, but Sam placed great emphasis on theory. Sam signifies an enlightenment of thought regarding how the game is approached. His dedication to the game also speaks volumes to the kind of player he was. He and I would exchange dozens of essays on the game that were each thousands and thousands of words. Sam would create spreadsheets with pages of combos that were notorious throughout the community. He would find all possible combos and list how to do them in these spreadsheets. Often times these combos would be extremely difficult to think through the many steps that were possible, such as an Inzektor combo in 2012’s card pool that was capable of OTKing through Gorz. All of this leading to the culmination of Sam’s Yu-Gi-Oh career where he was crowned the 125th YCS Champion in Turin, Italy, piloting Geargia in a format where 13/16 decks in top cut were typically occupied by Dragon Rulers.
Brady Brink - I saw Brandon Wigley suggest this when recommendations were initially requested. At first I didn’t take the suggestion seriously, but after thinking about it I realized how fitting it really was. The online side of Yu-Gi-Oh is something that is rarely emphasized, but is very impactful. For instance, Max Suffrage, the 2005 National Champion was a player who had never been to any event bigger than a regional. Despite his lack of credentials, he was far from unskilled. He was on the most dominant online team ever and went on to dominate that year’s nationals. While Brady may have only ever topped one event, he’s a household name in the arena of online dueling. He brought together lots of players, myself included, and managed top teams for close to a decade now. Without him, I don’t know that players like Mike Steinman, Jonathan Weigle, Brandon Wigley, Dalton Bousman, Jono, Bodan or myself would have ever become top players. I honestly think he would make a great choice for the Hall of Fame and including him would showcase an import piece of the game’s history.
Dale Bellido –The name “Bellido” is synonymous with success in Yu-Gi-Oh. Dale and his brother dominated Yu-Gi-Oh, claiming top after top and innovating decks in many different formats, from 2005 through when they stopped attending many events in 2010. Dale is widely known as the innovator of Tomato Control, which he piloted to becoming SJC Chicago Champion in 2005. Both of the Bellido brothers are also known for their level of clean play, where this game’s history has often been spotty. Dale is truly a legend in this game and should be an obvious choice.
Alejandro Reyes Vivaldo Suarez - Someone you’ve likely never heard of, but that is only because of where he is from, not his level of play. He lives in Mexico and is the only player to have ever won a SJC, YCS, and WCQ. With his earliest win coming in 2009’s Tele-Dad format, known to be one of the most skillful formats, a second win coming at the Dragon Ruler WCQ in 2013 (again known as one of the most skillful formats), and his most recent win coming at last year’s YCS Mexico City, he has consistently dominated the game over many years of the game’s most skillful formats. If this weren’t impressive enough, he has also qualified for the World Championship two times!
Galileo De Obaldia – The topic of the World Championship can’t come up without Galileo De Obaldia’s name coming up in admiration. Galileo won’t be in attendance at this weekend’s Circuit Series Championship, because he is currently in Kyoto, Japan for the World Championship for an unprecedented third time! In 2010 Galileo became the Panamanian National Champion (one of three times he has won this title), but lost in the Top 8 of his Latin American WCQ. Having finished 7th overall, Galileo didn’t expect to be going to Worlds, as only 1st place of this WCQ received an invite. Amazingly, 1st place through 6th place all had trouble getting passports and visas to make the trip to Japan. Galy was the highest ranked competitor, who was able to make the trip and represent Latin America. With each turn having hundreds of decision trees, he piloted Frog FTK, possibly the hardest deck in the game’s history, to become World Champion. This re-qualified him for the 2011 World Championship, where he placed in the Top 4. In what can’t be described as anything other than an utter show of dominance, Galileo went a flawless 16-0 at this year’s Central American WCQ to earn a seat at the table one more time. Galy’s dominance is nothing short of astonishing and I wish him all the best in becoming the game’s first two-time World Champion.
We have an exciting weekend of dueling ahead of us and I can’t wait for tomorrow’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony! By the time this article has been posted, this year’s Hall of Fame inductions will have occurred, so who do you hope to see in next year’s ARG Hall of Fame? Leave a comment down below letting me know. Until next time, play hard or go home!