Beginners Guide to Improving your game: Some Food for Thought – Part 2

Hey everybody, I hope you enjoyed your week! I know a lot of you have been back in school for a while now, but for myself I just got back to college this week and man it’s hard to adjust after been gone for a month. So let off some of your steam and enjoy the weekend once again by kicking it off with this article. This week I’m back with part 2 of Beginners Guide to Improving your game: Some Food for Thought and I’ll pick up right where I had previously stopped by continuing with deckbuilding and then move from there. If you missed out on my last article, here’s a link to check it out!

Beginners Guide to Improving your game: Some Food for Thought – Part 1

Also, I have a question I’d like you all to answer after reading, just go to the comment section and voice what you have to say: Has this article helped to give you some insight on what you should be thinking about when improving your game?

Anyway, back to the article.

In my last article I left off by talking about consistency and went on a little tangent about that, now we’ll go a little more in depth. Consistency is more than just avoiding poor card interactions though, it’s creating good ones. My personal belief on what truly makes a deck great is CREATING WIN CONDITIONS! This means that at any given point in time, if X or Y happens, I will win 90% of the time (maybe a bit less than that). The three decks I topped with (Gk’s, Final Countdown, Windups) all shared one very unique attribute: they always (or the majority of the time) beat Chaos Dragons. This isn’t a bragging point at all, just an example to explain to you all why I had chosen the decks I did. Win conditions can either be individual cards, cards in conjunction, or simply a specific matchup. I went into each event knowing I had a very favorable Chaos Dragon matchup. This was actually very important because when you’re certain to play a given deck, it means everything to have hard statistics that you will probably win that match. Gk’s and Windups was not so much “auto win” rather than simply a favorable matchup, and countdown was essentially an auto win again Chaos Dragons. With Chaos Dragons being a huge factor in the meta, it gave me a big edge knowing that I was actually most likely to win those matches when they come around, as opposed to a Dino-Rabbit player praying he draws Macro at the right time.

The other form of win condition is a drawing certain cards in conjunction, which in turn create an overwhelming amount of advantage. Gk’s had royal tribute or maybe even set spy and 4 backrow. Wind Up’s had the hand loop. Why is the hand loop so important? It doesn’t mean you’re going to get it every time, that’s for sure. But do you know what it does mean? At any point in time, you have the ABILITY to perform the loop. One cannot comprehend how hugely advantageous it is so simply win any given game a relatively high percentage of the time, simply because your deck is able to. Being on par with other meta decks, or close to them at least, on top of having such high potential, is what makes decks like these succeed. We’ve all had our share of seeing a Dino-Rabbit player get Rabbit and Tour Guide as we roll our eyes and quickly move into the side deck. That’s not very often though, so being able to be a top contender while still using your win conditions to ‘steal’ a lot of games will make the deck an amazing one, and the difference between make or break. I was fortunate enough to not often have to play a few game 3’s at nationals simply because I drew the loop. I’m not saying that took much skill to loop the times I happened to draw it, but it was important that I picked a deck that had that ability. I love to pick decks that have win conditions via matchups and inherent advantages of drawing the right cards. This is why Frog FTK was probably one of the most competitive decks of its time, not only was it on par with the meta, but you automatically win over 50% of your game 1’s, just because that’s how the deck works. If you play a deck such as Heros, what is your win condition? It’s a consistent deck, that’s for sure, but are there any inherent advantages that you can capitalize on or assure wins from? You can provide an argument against this, but for the most part, no, there is not. That’s why I don’t personally like straight Hero’s, not because it’s bad, but because I believe it lacks to potential power of multiple win conditions.

That’s all I have for now on things to consider when choosing and building your deck. The next point I’d like to touch on is game play. I’ll start it off from a simple start, where most of you trying to reach the next level are probably coming from. I apologize if some of this may seem a bit obvious, after all it’s only meant to get you thinking. My first example is as simple as it can possibly get, what monster do I summon turn one? Far too often do people have Thunder King Rai-Oh turn one along with another first turn monster, and summon the ‘wrong’ one, and proceed at the end of the game to complain about why they lost. What really irks me personally as that people complain so much in this game, when in reality a series of small changes in their plays could have actually changed the entire course of the duel. What if you had summoned Thunder King turn one instead of setting that Ryko? Maybe they couldn’t have used their search cards first, or their Bottomless Trap Holes and Solemn Warning’s would have been dead. On the opposite spectrum, maybe Thunder King shuts down their deck mid game as well, so you might want to save it (this is an extremely broad example). It’s just a matter of pinpointing each decision and why you’re making those decisions. Another example is if you have Stratos and Thunder King, if you summon Tking first, is it worth the potential benefit of slowing your opponents pace down as much as it is to slow your own pace as well? It just depends on what you’re playing against and if you can handle X situation with Y cards in your hand. I wish I could give set rules to go on, but that won’t make you a better player, because it always depends on the situation. However, if you have a general idea on what you should be thinking, I fully believe you all can propel as players.

I can’t stress this enough: Think about EVERY play you make. Don’t burn resources just because you can. Far too often players waste cards such as Bottomless Trap Hole, Solemn Warning, and Mirror Force just because they are able to use them. It’s very common to ‘bait out’ these traps to make it safe for a stronger play, and time and time again players burn their key resources on bait when they could use other cards to answer the bait, while holding onto their power cards. For example, if I’m at fairly low life and have a Dark Hole and a Mirror Force and my opponent summons a Thunder King into my open field, I would generally opt to allow the summon and take the damage, and then use Dark Hole on my following turn. The reason being isn’t too complex, however I see mistakes like this far too often. Mirror Force doubles as protection for my monsters on top of being destruction, and I have no need to waste protection on a monster that is not threatening to end the duel immediately, so I would rather use my Dark Hole since it only has the ability of destruction and that’s all the given situation calls for. Another point is if you’re fairly low on lifepoints, chances are that any attempt at your lifepoints would end the duel, thus making your Dark Hole dead. The key point to pick up on here would be: Allocate your resources accordingly and intelligently.

There’s definitely luck in this game, but not nearly as much as the YuGiOh community would like to believe, and simple changes in your plays can make all the difference. Hopefully all you duelists try to employ more strategy (rather than impulse) to your game and got some more helpful points of advice. Stay tuned for next week’s article guys, and remembers, play hard or go home!