Battle of the Minds – Part 1

What's up Yugioh players? Before I start getting ahead of myself and jump right into the article I want to introduce myself. My name is Tyree Tinsley and I have been playing this game since right after Pharaoh's Servant was released. I didn't, however, start getting into the game competitively until around the time Cybernetic Revolution came out. Since then I have had some success in the competitive circuit winning YCS Rhode Island 2011 and a top 8 finish at YCS Atlanta earlier this year. I also have gotten almost 20 regional top 8's, however, despite these accomplishments, I am still trying to better myself as a player, and I have now gotten the opportunity to help others through writing articles thanks to Alter-Reality Games!

Today I want to talk about some things that a lot of Yugioh players don't think about while they are in a match, whether it’s at a local, regional, or YCS. The things I want to talk about today are body language, player tendencies, and getting information based on your opponents actions. This all begins when you sit down in front of your opponent and you get ready to face them in a match.

First, I would like to start off on how you can get some key information from an opponent. One good way of getting information is simply by your opponent telling you from where they came or how far they traveled to get to the YCS, you might be able to deduct what kind of deck they are playing just from that. A player who has traveled to a YCS from, let’s say, California all the way to Florida isn’t going to be playing a “fun” deck they are most likely playing the deck that gives them the best chance at topping and/or winning the event.  Another example is when your opponent sits down to play you and breaks out the double anime deckbox, the 2-player Spellground mat, the TI-84 calculator, and Player’s Choice sleeves. You can pretty much tell from that they mean business and they are most likely also coming in with one of, or the best “tier 1” deck in the format.

Body language also plays a key part in playing Yugioh. Your opponent could make a simple expression or notion after they make a play or draw a card such as a frown, grunt, or them roll their eyes and from that you might be able to tell that the play didn’t go how they wanted it to or they didn’t like the card they drew. Of course, this could also work against you as they might be trying to bluff you, but learning when your opponent is and isn’t bluffing is all part of the game and takes practice, but eventually you will get the hang of it.

Many times during a game or match, a good amount of players tend to do things that they are unaware of, such as placing cards in a certain order in their hand. When they have multiple set cards their eyes tend to look towards the one(s) which is the best for the situation or that will shift the game in their favor.  It’s very hard for some people to change the way they do things because they have done them for such a long time and don’t notice them, so you can take advantage of that during a match and use those tendencies against them and gain an edge.  You can practice doing this at your weekly locals when you’re in a tournament, as facing the same people week after week will help you point out small things that they do time after time and you can apply that to higher level events such as regionals and YCS’s when you are experienced enough at it.

There are many other small and basic things that you can pay attention during a game that can help you to your advantage, simply like how often your opponent is checking their graveyard, I was in a situation at YCS Rhode Island last weekend where I used this to help me. My opponent was playing Inzektors and I was playing Wind-Ups, we were in game 2 and I was pretty low on lifepoints while my opponent still had 5800 left. He had been looking through his grave quite a bit last turn (he had 2 darks in grave mind you). It’s his turn; I have a Tiras with one material, a Temtempo at 2700, and Soul of Silvermountain with zero cards in hand. He activates Monster Reborn and summons Card Trooper in attack mode and mills 2 cards which were Duality and Bottomless and passes with 3 cards in hand. This let me know at least 3 things, one, that he had an obvious Dark Armed Dragon in hand he was attempting to make live and wanted to go for game, two,  that he had no other monsters in hand and three, that he didn’t have Gorz. If he had Gorz, he could have just waited and see if I would have attacked him directly next turn, and if I did, he drops the Gorz and I destroy it and the token leaving him with the necessary 3 darks in the grave and a Reborn still ready to go. Luckily he didn’t mill the 3rd dark he needed and I won on my next turn. Simple things like that can give you information on what cards your opponent does and doesn’t have which can be the difference between you losing and winning a match!

The techniques, alongside other similar techniques I’ve presented in this article is what separates the good players from the great players such as Billy Brake, Joe Giorlando, Frazier Smith, Jeff Jones, Samuel Pedigo, and many more who consistently top and have great showings at premier-level events. I believe most people, if not all people, have the capabilities to use these techniques in combination with practice to better themselves as players and get the results that they want!

I’m going to cut off the article here, but I will cover more on this on topic in another article in the near future if you guys wish me to do so! Leave comments below on some other things you guys do to get information from your opponent. Until next time guys, thanks!