What’s up, duelists? This week I’m taking a break from my Origins story to do my monthly Q & A segment. I’m sure this is sad news to most of you who are looking forward to the next chapter of Origins, but try to be patient as we take a minor detour. I promise to deliver your fix next week. Until then, let’s check out the Q & A!
Q: How can someone get better at reading the cards the opponent has?
A: What I like to do is think about what a card isn’t before I think about what it is. For example, if my opponent has a backrow, and I summon Atlantean Marksman and the summon goes through, I can safely assume that it isn’t Solemn Warning or Torrential Tribute. Now we move to the next step—the battle phase verification. If I declare an attack with Marksman, and that goes through, I can assume that the card isn’t Dimensional Prison, Mirror Force, Fiendish Chain or anything of the sort. This now brings up the question, “what could it be that he wouldn’t activate on the summoning of Marksmen, or the attack?” Well for starters, I would think about what Marksman is. Marksman is a monster with 1400 attack, which means that it gets under Bottomless Trap Hole. That says a lot in this situation because there was never an opportunity for them to use Bottomless Trap Hole. Surely they wouldn’t willingly take 3200 damage (Marksman + Dragoons) if they could help it. Next step is to finally consider what the card could be. It could be Mystical Space Typhoon, Solemn Judgment, Heavy Storm, Forbidden Lance, and in specific matches, it could be something like an attack-boosting trap for Fire Fists, a Call of the Haunted for something less than 1400 attack for Agents (Trooper, Sangan, etc), or a Safe Zone for Inzektors. As the duel goes on, you need to keep thinking about what your opponent doesn’t have based on what you do. Start off subtly; don’t just run into Torrential Tributes and Mirror Forces. Push your opponent to respond to something small and see what happens. Summoning Marksmen is a very small play but it will definitely receive a response if they have one.
Taylor H. Sims Jr.
Q: What is your opinion of the new format?
A: It looks exactly the same as the September 2012 format, except Wind-ups are way worse. I think Dino-Rabbit just got infinitely better since it doesn’t have to worry about Wind-ups punishing it for running Macro Cosmos. There’s also 1 less warning to stop turn 1 Rabbit, turn 2 Tour Guide. I guess on the plus side, I don’t have to worry about losing the game outright on turn 1 from Magician Shark, but obviously there are still some very powerful openings that should not have been left unlimited. I also feel as though Agents, Samurais, and Chaos Dragons will be sleeper decks come next format, especially Chaos Dragons.
Q: Will you ever play Gravekeepers again?
A: I don’t see myself playing that deck again for quite some time. It’s so boring to use and there’s so many new things that I want to try. Perhaps if it ever becomes a good meta call, I’ll play it, but as it stands, it just reminds me of Gladiator Beasts—a deck that people wish would come back but it never really does.
Q: With the new format coming up, what decks are you expecting to be tier 1 at the beginning?
A: The obvious picks are Mermails, Dino Rabbit, and Fire Fist/Kings. The other decks that could easily become tier 1 are Agents, Chaos Dragons, and Heroes.
Q: What’s your opinion on Dark World?
A: Well I still believe friends don’t let friends play Dark World, and with the possibility of more main decked Macro Cosmos going around, I don’t think it’s going to be that much better than it already was. If anything, it’s probably worse. The deck still has the issue of beating itself. It needs a card that links the discard outlets to the monsters to make it more consistent.
Jacob Reed Theimer
Q: Do you believe Undine will become obsolete in the water deck?
A: Absolutely not. The Undine build is still very good, but the Mermail build is much sturdier. What I mean by that is that you obviously don’t have the issue of opening with Controllers in your hand, and you aren’t as open to being OTK’d in the mirror match as you are when you play the Undine build. The Undine build can consistently drop Moulinglacia, which I think is a very big strongpoint for the deck, especially in the mirror match. They both have strong early games I would say, since both decks can kill on turn 1 and 2 consistently, but I think what seperates them is the ability to go into Rank 7 monsters so easily. Straight Mermails can make Rank 7s as early as turn 1, and drop a card from the hand with Abyssleed at the same time. Abyssgaios is pretty absurd in most matchups so there’s that.
Q: What’s your favorite deck of all time? Favorite format?
A: My favorite deck at this point is probably still Diamond Dude Turbo. I absolutely loved that deck. I actually got my second regional top with that deck, too. It wasn’t easy to play, and you had to do some probability to play it correctly, which I have an appreciation for. My favorite formats are between March 2011 and September 2011. I enjoyed the game a lot more when Heavy Storm was banned, and in September, when it first came back, it wasn’t so bad then either. Now that the game has gotten so much faster, the card (Heavy Storm) has become a real thorn in my side. What I really enjoyed was the Plant vs. Agent matches and the Plant mirror matches from 2011. They were so skill intensive most of the time, and you had to really play Yu-Gi-Oh. I felt like there was an actual gap between me and the person who sat down in front of me each round.
Q: What is your overall experience with your past YCS participations?
A: A combination of Magician Sharks, Heavy Storms, and Rabbit Tour Guides have made my past YCS participations not so fun. The game is way too fast. There are so many power cards to topdeck now that you can’t really establish a strong position in a game unless your hand is nuts. There’s always some combination of cards that can crack your board, and not a hard combination to amass. Yu-Gi-Oh used to at least have soft locks, but now, the closest you can get to a soft lock is a Thunder King and a Veiler. Anything else can be easily dealt with. Actually, even that can be easily dealt with now. One of the things I’ve noticed about the game in the past year is the amount of apologies there are. You often hear people say “I’m sorry” after they win because of some form of luckiness involved with their victory. I wish we could go back to the days where we both say “good game” and mean it.
Efrem Evans Jr
Q: What is your view on creativity? And also, how do you feel when someone beats you with a creative deck?
A: Creativity seems to be a little stymied by prepackaged decks or themes as we might refer to them as. I’m not a fan of the game becoming strictly theme decks. It takes away from the deck builders. The most you have to do these days is distinguish between the good cards and the bad cards in each deck. The last creative deck I can recall is Jeff’s second place Psychic deck, and even then, people still prefer to play themed decks because they get better results and are much easier to use. You might say to yourself, “but he got 2nd place at a YCS with it,” and I say to that, “Yes, because he’s Jeff Jones, and people don’t understand how to play against things they’ve never seen before.”
Q: What do you (Frazier) feel you need to do to become better? A lot of people view players such as yourself, Billy, and Alistar as the best, but obviously you want to become better. How do you go about improving yourself?
A: I continue to discuss the game with the best players, playtest random and crazy deck ideas that I know the average duelist will not try, debate about the validity of cards over other cards of the same category (mirror force vs dimensional prison), play seriously at locals every single week, judge regional tournaments to get a grip on several different scenarios at one time, ask my local head judge about obscure scenarios that do not come up often but could win a game single-handedly, memorize my misplays and make sure to never make them again, and continue to read, read, read!
Q: What is your most embarrassing Yu-Gi-Oh moment?
A: I made a huge misplay in a feature match during my YCS Rhode Island Top16 game 3.
Q: I notice that several pro players top several events using “meta call” decks like how you and Tabman did at nats with Wind-ups. Is there some method that is used to determine when you can make a good meta call deck, or is it something that takes experience, trial, and error to do?
A: It’s much easier to do when the format is defined, as it was for nationals of 2012. Dragons had just won YCS Philly, which meant that a lot of players would be using it. It was a great deck that wasn’t hard to play, had an auto-win card, and could stand up to Dino Rabbit. Then, you had Dino Rabbit decks maining Macro Cosmos instead of hand traps because they wanted to beat their worst matchup—Chaos Dragons. Inzektors weren’t a popular deck, Wind-ups were thought to be terrible at the time because Billy Brake failed with the deck so many times and it didn’t have many YCS tops, and Heroes and Agents were just kind of lackluster. This meant that the field would be mostly Chaos Dragons and Dino Rabbit maining Cosmos. I noticed that Wind-ups have an amazing matchup against Chaos Dragons because they don’t play backrows, so once they run out of hand traps, their hand was mine for the taking. This led to several auto-win rounds (at least 4 for me). Then, Dino-Rabbit wouldn’t be too hard to beat as long as I sided heavily for it and perhaps even mained a few cards to beat it. I ended up maining Soul Takers because it was good vs both Chaos Dragons and Dino Rabbit. I also noticed that Messenger of Peace and Level Limit Area B were phenomenal cards vs. both decks and Wind-ups happen to be unaffected by both. So basically, the deck had a strong game 1, and a great game 2/3. It was easily the best deck for the event. I use this type of process before each event, though every now and then I will play whatever I want because I’m weird like that and like to challenge myself…or just be a troll.
Q: Why isn’t Heavy Storm banned?
A: I really wish I knew. It’s so overpowered and noob-friendly. I think the effect should be errata’d to “Player who is not winning the game, now wins the game. Any player who is already winning the game and activates this card is a jerk.”
Q: How was the Miami meta? How were the judges? What did you run at Miami?
A: The Miami meta was EXACTLY what you would expect; there were plenty of Wind-ups, Fire Fists/Kings, and Water decks. There were a couple of Dino Rabbit decks as well but not as many as the three aforementioned. The judge staff did a great job in my opinion. I didn’t have to appeal one time, which is a huge surprise to me because I often end up with wrong rulings from floor judges. I ran Wind-ups with 3 copies of Onslaught of the Fire Kings and 2 copies of Garunix in the main deck. I wanted to try something that I had been trolling with on Dueling Network because it worked so well with the deck. Basically, the idea was that Wind-ups can create a field of “immortals,” as I call them, or monsters that cannot be destroyed easily, such as Zenmaines, Tiras, Maestroke, and Wind-up Rabbit. Also, Wind-ups tend to lose games where their summons are negated. So it only made sense for me to add a card that both special summons a huge boss monster and doesn’t conflict with my deck in any way other than drawing Garunix. Lastly, if you’ve ever played with Wind-ups, how many times have you won without having to use all 6 of your cards? Many times, correct? So drawing Garunix wasn’t really that big of a deal, and if I ever had a Rat coming back off of Rabbit, I could just tribute summon for it, which is much better than having to go into Acid Golem. I think Onslaught is a very splashable card and I’m sure it will be successful in something other than Fire Kings and Fire Fists. Someone just has to pioneer it.
That’s all for now, duelists! If I didn’t get a chance to answer your questions this time, please don’t feel discouraged. There’s always next month. Check back in for my March edition of Fray’s Q & A!
Until next time, Remember, Play Hard or Go Home!
-The Dark Magician