Ancient Rules

Frazier SmithHello, duelists! It’s been a while since I’ve written an article for you, but I’ll have you know that I’m back and better than ever. So much has happened in the dueling world over the past few months, including ARG starting its own successful tournament series, Konami changing the length of the formats to 3 months instead of 6, and the Top16 of YCS tournaments changing to Battle Pack draft. If that weren’t enough, Konami just dropped another bombshell on the OCG this week by announcing two huge rule changes:

  • The player who goes first cannot draw for his turn.
  • Each player is allowed to simultaneously control a field spell card.

Both of these changes have a huge impact on the way the game is played, especially from a strategic standpoint. In this article, I’m going to discuss my first thoughts on these changes and how I think they will impact the game.

spellbook towerLet’s just start with the major change here, which is not drawing when you go first. This is such a huge twist that I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it, even as I write this article. Players all over social media and forums are arguing whether or not going first will still be the end-all be-all that is has been since the dawn of Yu-Gi-Oh. Many players, including myself, think that it could depend on which deck you’re using and how much setup time you need to get started. I can tell you from experience that my Prophecy deck has no problem bricking* with a full 6 cards, so I don’t need any less to help me out.

*Bricking: drawing completely unplayable. For example, in Prophecy, a brick hand would look something like [ccProd]Spellbook of Fate[/ccProd], [ccProd]Spellbook of Eternity[/ccProd], [ccProd]Solemn Warning[/ccProd], [ccProd]The Grand Spellbook Tower[/ccProd], [ccProd]Spellbook of Wisdom[/ccProd], [ccProd]Torrential Tribute[/ccProd].

Combo decks, like Mermails or Hieratics, would also appreciate a full 6 cards because they play well under complicated gamestates, as opposed to simplified gamestates where decks like Fire Fist thrive. This means that under the new rule change, combo decks would more than likely prefer to go second, too. And not only that, but going second allows these decks to attack first and deal damage. I’m sure we all know that Mermails and Hieratics have no problems dealing massive amounts of damage in just a few short turns, including their very first turn, with no real setup.

On the contrary, this rule change could be great for a deck like Infernities, as it always wants to go first, and having only 5 cardsInfernity Barrier can work in its favor. It will slightly decrease the chances of drawing too many monsters, which is one of the biggest problems with the deck. It also doesn’t care about being short 1 card because once it goes off, it has a 99% win ratio, assuming the backrows are played correctly. Another thing to consider is that the player who goes second will be vulnerable to [ccProd]Evilswarm Exciton Knight[/ccProd] since he will have 1 extra card. The player who goes first will naturally be playing from behind, so that’s a cool interaction to think about. I can see people who go second reserving some of their backrows, fearing that they will lose them all if they commit too much to the field.

Decks whose best first turn play is setting a monster, like Gravekeepers and Geargia, will probably want to go first still. Getting that [ccProd]Geargiarmor[/ccProd] flipped and abused is nearly game by itself, and it’s a +1 anyways. I can’t see them opting to go second too much, even with the allure of a free card. They wouldn’t really be making the best use out of the very first battle phase, either. Decks like Evilswarm or anti-meta/stun would also want to go first, as establishing a soft lock on the game is crucial before the opponent can play their cards. This could also be particularly interesting if you know you’re playing against something like Evilswarm, and you happen to be using a deck that is weak against [ccProd]Evilswarm Ophion[/ccProd]. You might have to go first, taking 1 less card, just so that you can get a foothold in the duel before the game’s most annoying Xyz hits the field.


The other rule change is one that I highly agree with because I thought it was annoying to have field spell battles, which simplyhuntingground meant waiting for your opponent to play his first. Under the OCG, both players are allowed to simultaneously control a field spell. This means that I can have my [ccProd]The Grand Spellbook Tower[/ccProd], and you can have your [ccProd]Harpies' Hunting Ground[/ccProd]. Honestly, I wish this rule were enacted back in Dragon format, because I remember how the last person to control the field spell zone was always the winner. [ccProd]Dragon Ravine[/ccProd] was so critical to winning the mirror match that you could watch a game and see both players withholding several copies in each of their hands, just to avoid losing the war. I used to do it myself, actually, unless I really needed to use its effect and it wouldn’t matter if I lost my field spell. It’s also incredibly annoying to have to wait until you draw one of your [ccProd]Mystical Space Typhoon[/ccProd]s before you can feel comfortable activating your field spell. This type of change will benefit Prophecy, Gravekeepers, and any other deck that NEEDS to play its field spell first. Harpies had an unfair advantage over other field spell-using decks because it didn’t have to play Hunting Ground first. It could naturally wait until you played Tower or Necrovalley before playing it on top of yours.

closedforestIt seems to me that Konami has plans to make the field spell zone a bigger part of competitive Yu-Gi-Oh, especially since several archetypes now rely on it. I can still recall the days where it was unsafe to use any deck that had to use the field spell zone because they all felt like -1s. However, the newer field spells are absolutely ridiculous, and keeping them on the field can be the difference between winning and losing. A card like [ccProd]Closed Forest[/ccProd] might become even better as a side deck card now, since I’m thinking that field spells are going to be a future problem. Only time will tell! What do you think about these new rule changes? Leave a comment below.

The Circuit Series makes its next stop in Viva Las Vegas on March 15-16! Click the picture at the bottom for all the details! Until next time, duelists! Remember, Play Hard or Go Home!

-Frazier Smith

-The Dark Magician


Frazier Smith

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