While Magic the Gathering is a completely different game from Yu-Gi-Oh, both games share very similar concepts; card advantage, tempo, momentum, etc. Because their game is a few years older than ours, they’ve had some extra time to nail down some concepts that we may not yet understand. For this reason, I find it helpful to read some of the more well-known articles from the game despite me not actually knowing how to play the game. I recently read an article by Sam Stoddard called “Creating a Fearless Magical Inventory.” The idea behind the article was basically that you might often times convince yourself that you’re better than you really are to help you feel better if you are not performing as well as you might like. This, in turn, hinders you improving your game as you are telling yourself that you are “good enough” and you are not actively trying to improve. Stoddard had this problem and came up with the idea of posting a list of things he knew he was doing wrong online. This way, he could not hide from himself anymore and tell himself that he was better than he actually was. This way, everything would be out in public. I thought this was a great idea which is why this week I’m going to be doing a Yu-Gi-Oh version and creating a fearless inventory of myself. You can check out Stoddard’s article in full here.
Misplaying – This is probably the most basic thing, but it should probably be on everybody’s list seeing as how everyone does it. If you know anything about me, you know that I try and attend every YCS that I can and while I’ve topped a few, I have a habit of coming just short and losing out on the bubble. After the YCS, I’d try to see what I could have done differently, but I generally am focusing on the last round more than anything else. More often than not, it there probably was nothing I could have done to achieved a different result when I lost at X YCS on the bubble. However, had I played slightly better throughout the tournament, I may have never been on the bubble and may have been x-1 going into the last round. This would be my number 1 thing as I would like to improve it over anything else because playing a flawless game will win you more games than anything else.
Another small thing on misplaying is something I realize that I do all the time. Someone might ask me why I made a certain play over another one and I will give my reasoning. Then they will offer up something that I had not thought of as to why they might be right. Then I will think about what they said and one of two things will be happen. They will either simply be right and my play was in fact a misplay, or I will offer up a legitimate reason why my play was still in fact better. The problem with the second one, however, was that when I was deciding what play to make, I had not considered what they said and even though I may have ended up being right, I still think that was a misplay, just one that worked out. This is something that I feel would go unnoticed by most people and it would be easy to overlook if you were analyzing your games for misplays after the fact. I think that any time you find yourself in a situation like this, you should count it as a misplay.
Deck Building – I am fully aware that I am not the best deck builder in the world. Every YCS I’ve done well at has been in an established format. If I could learn to become a better deck builder, I might have more success at early format YCSes.
Admitting I’m Wrong – This is something most people don’t like to do and I am no different. If I am wrong, I don’t like to admit it. I’d rather offer up an illegitimate reason as to why I was right when in fact I was wrong. This is something I’ve been working on and am getting a considerable amount better at it, however, if you don’t admit you are wrong you are only hindering yourself. When you analyze your games and won’t admit that you misplayed in a situation, you won’t learn from that misplay and are likely to make the same mistake again.
Cards/decks that I don’t know what they do – I am extremely ignorant when I am playing against a deck that I don’t know what does. In the game I’ll often have an “I don’t know what’s going on attitude.” This hurts me as I don’t really take in their strategy. Because of this, I still don’t know what they’re trying to accomplish the rest of the match even when they did their combo in full game 1. In the 3rd/4th playoffs of SJC Nashville I was playing against Roy St. Clair. He was using X-Sabers, but it was before the release of Darksoul, Boggart Knight, or Pashuul. He activated Heavy Storm to clear my field, told me he had the Gottoms loop, flashed me 3 or so cards, and asked me if I wanted him to play it out. I looked at him and said “What’s Gottoms?”
Getting frustrated in the Game – If someone misplays against me, if the clock is quickly approaching 0, or sometimes if things are just generally not going my way I will often get visibly frustrated. If my opponent was unsure before, this gives them the “go ahead” sign to proceed with whatever play they like with little fear as to whatever I might have. This also makes me go on tilt and undoubtedly misplay as a result. This is something I desperately need to work on.
Choke Under Pressure – This goes back to the whole “losing on the bubble reputation.” I may have convinced myself that I didn’t do anything wrong on most of those games, but that would be one giant coincidence that I continuously lose round 11. I also have an awful record in feature matches, something like 1-5. If I could kick this habit, I would be in a much better position to top any given event.
Forgetting Games – Specifically at locals in the weeks leading up to a YCS. Someone might ask me how my last game went to which I would respond with a short “I won” answer. I don’t really take the time to think about my games when I am testing a deck for a YCS. This really gets back into me not being a great deck builder. When I test a deck I will usually just remember “Oh, I went 6-0 in swiss on Tuesday so it must have been a good deck.” I don’t think about how the individual cards interacted with each other or think back to what misplays I might have made. This, in turn, leads me to enter a YCS with subpar card choices as what might have been “good enough” at locals isn’t necessarily good enough at the premier level.
This about wraps up what I think to be my top weaknesses in my game. In the down time between now and the next ban list I plan on specifically working on these 7 areas. Hopefully this will improve my game and hopefully the results will show come Toronto in September. As a last notion, I would like to leave a challenge for everyone reading this. In the comments below, leave your FULL name and create your own fearless Yu-Gi-Oh inventory. This way everything will be out in public and you can no longer live in denial. Until next time everyone, play hard or go home!