Fray’s Q & A: January 2013

Hey Duelists and Duelettes! Today marks the beginning of my new article segment where you’ll get the chance to ask me Yu-Gi-Oh related questions via Facebook once a month and have them answered here on! I’ll be choosing roughly 10-15 of them and then putting it all together into article form. So here goes nothing!

Q: Patrick Neary- What do you think sets you apart from other players? Like what about you makes you different and more successful than others?

I’ve been playing the game for very long time so I have a lot of experiences with card interactions that other players simply might not understand. For example, I remember when going first and setting Torrential Tribute with nothing else on board was a great opening play. You probably won’t get full value out of the Torrential but it guarantees that none of your other cards get wrapped up in the destruction. Think of it like this, if you open with Sabersaurus and Torrential Tribute, why summon the Sabersaurus and risk having to use your Torrential while he’s on the field? It wouldn’t be hard for them to force the activation either; something as simple as a Tour Guide would make you flip it since they could possibly go into Zenmaines or Leviathan Dragon. On the other hand, if it’s Thunder King Rai-oh and Torrential Tribute, you could safely put both of those on the board because anything that deals with Tking will most likely be negated by his effect which means he can protect himself. Setting the Torrential in that scenario is just in case they have Dark Hole or something of the sort. These interactions translate into every format in one way or another. I also think that all good players have a killer instinct, which is just a term I use to describe how we know when to overextend. There’s also the whole, “I don’t need to activate this card (Solemn Warning) because I can deal with that summon.” Most players activate their spells/traps simply because they drew into them. You don’t have to Bottomless the first 1500 ATK monster summoned. The longer you can hold such cards, the more devastating they become. And another thing that distinguishes me from others is my willingness to discuss plays with other players. If you lost a game and can identify the one play that might’ve changed the outcome, you should ask someone else--hopefully someone who’s good in your area—if they would have done the same thing in that situation, but don’t tell them which specific choice lost you the game. Just give them all the options you had available at the time and say, “what would you have done there?” That way, there is no hindsight bias.

Q: Jack Henderson Question- What has been your favorite format since you've been playing Yu-Gi-Oh? And what was the deck you most enjoyed during that time and or what did you use?

My favorite formats were March 2011 and September 2011. I feel like the game was at an all time high as far as competitive play goes. In March 2011, Heavy Storm was banned and players had to make actual reads on backrows. You had to set up future plays with Seven Tool of the Bandit and Trap Stun before you tried to make a push. Nowadays I feel like I can just throw my Magician Shark into any amount of backrows because there are so many other power cards to get me back into the game if that fails (Tour Guide, Wind-up Rat, Wind-up Factory, etc). Games were much slower paced back then. I felt like I was actually playing Yu-Gi-Oh and not just derping my hand onto the table. I also liked the fact that you weren’t forced to main deck hand traps. It’s really annoying when you’re forced to play cards that have 0 synergy with your deck. There was also a good deal of diversity in that format as well. You had Gravekeepers, X-Sabers, Plants, Six Samurais, Dragunities, Heroes, Scraps, Agents, and Fish OTK. As for Giant Trunade, I feel like I rather have that card in the game over Heavy Storm. My argument being that you cannot mess up a Heavy Storm the way you can mess up a Giant Trunade. If you play your one Trunade and do not kill the opponent, they will set all their backrows again and now you have to deal with them one by one. If you play your one Heavy Storm and do not kill the opponent, you still have the plusses granted to you from destroying all their backrows at the expense of your ONE CARD. There really isn’t much of a drawback to Heavy. During the March 2011 format, I used Dragunities, X-Sabers, Agents, Plants, and Scraps. It was cool to be able to top with so many different decks.  

Q: Stephen Roger Escobedo- What are your thoughts on the current state of the game from a competitive aspect? Thoughts of the Madolche theme and its viability in the current meta?

As of right now, the game is way too fast. Water and Wind-up decks can win on turn one and it’s not really a surprise. Last Sunday, I played a Water mirror match in the top8 of my locals in which the entire match, all 3 games, was 6 total turns. That’s 2 turns each game. That is not okay. It’s really stupid for a game to have decks where you just win like that. And the most annoying part is that almost every deck can do stupid plays in the first 2 turns that essentially win the game immediately. Two monsters should not turn into 5. Period.

As for the competitiveness of the Madolche deck in the current meta, I’m just going to say that Yu-Gi-Oh is far too fast and overpowered for a deck like that to thrive. You don’t get enough turns to set up your plays these days. Madolche would be a very good dueling deck in, let’s say, the September 2011 format, but right now, both that deck and Prophecy are just outclassed by the other blazingly fast decks. Of course they could easily just make it competitive by giving them their own Wind-up Shark, but is that what we really want? Another derp deck with 3 Factories? I hope not.   

Q: David Mendoza- Are power cards good or bad for this game, and would we see a more skillful format without them?

Power cards are not bad for the game. They are needed for balance and stability so that players are less inclined to play all of their cards in one turn. However, the problem is the number of power cards that exist right now. We have entirely too many at our disposal. Heavy Storm, Dark Hole, Monster Reborn, Solemn Warning, Torrential Tribute, Pot of Avarice, BLS, Tour Guide, the Wind-up deck, the Water deck, the extra deck, etc. Also, every individual deck has its own power cards like Wind-up Rat or Deep Sea Diva. These cards are all on 3 for a reason that I just don’t understand. Would it hurt to get an emergency banlist? With less power cards, there are less chances for a bad player to beat a good one. So formats would be more skillful as you cut down on the sheer number of them.

Q: Charles Lundy IV- Why do you feel anti-meta decks never do as well as meta decks in official tournments?

Yu-Gi-Oh is too diverse right now. Your deck cannot be anti-meta against the WHOLE meta, and that’s the problem. You may have cards like King Tiger Wanghu which completely destroys Wind-ups, but it doesn’t do anything to help you against decks like Chaos Dragons, Heroes, Dark World, or Inzektors. And who’s to say you won’t run into those decks in a 10 round tournament? Your Banisher of the Radiances will do little to hurt that first turn Stratos or Alius. And so the point that I’m trying to make is that when the format is concentrated on 1 or 2 decks, you can legitimately make an anti-meta deck and possibly do well with it. Alistar was able to top YCS Dallas in 2011 with my friend Sean McCabe’s anti-meta deck because the format was strictly Samurais and a little pop of Blackwings here or there. It was possible to play 6-7 rounds of JUST Samurais. Now you’d be lucky to play the same deck 3 times in any given YCS.  

Q: Sean Birmingham- what was the best match you ever played and why? As the dark magician, you must be the protagonist of your yugioh story. In all seriousness, who (if you had the opportunity to pick) would be your antagonist. I suppose staying with the theme, who would be your blue eyes white dragon?

The best match of Yu-Gi-Oh I’ve played would probably be between my good friend, Sean McCabe, and I in the finals of YCS Atlanta. We’d never discussed the mirror match before the tournament but we both sided out the exact same cards and put in the exact same cards. It was a battle of holding back your resources and knowing how to win out in a game of one-for-ones. I’d have to say that he’s my rival, too. He always has been. We go back and forth every week at our local tournaments.

Q: David Quigley- My question is about prophecy do you think the deck is playable and if so how would u make it so?

I don’t think the deck is playable yet. The game is not slow enough for you to set up your plays. The problem I had with the deck was surviving the early game. If you don’t draw Trageodia in the first 2 turns, you will most likely die. If you play a lot of trap cards to defend yourself, you will slow down your engine. It’s a very annoying paradox.

Q: Ben McDowall- I've noticed a trend where decks that are considered to be bad for the game like Samurai, Dark World, and Dino-rabbit also put a good checks and balances on the game and prevent decks like Hope for Escape Exodia, Countdown, and other solitaire decks from being viable. Do you believe this is accurate and it makes those decks a necessary evil, or do you think Konami could handle it better with the banlist.

While it is true that decks like Samurais and Dino-Rabbit put a check to degenerate strategies like Exodia, Countdown, Explosion, Empty Jar, and other solitaire decks, I do not think that they should continue to exist for that reason. You don’t put out a fire with gasoline. Samurais and Dino-Rabbit are extremely degenerate themselves. What separates them from Empty Jar, Countdown, or Exodia? Is it just the fact that they have to attack for game and the other decks don’t? Opening with Rabbit and Tour Guide is just as unfair as someone decking you out on the first turn. A lot of the time, when you lose to Dino-Rabbit, you feel as though you didn’t need to show up to your match for them to win. They could’ve drawn their opening hands and saw that it was over from looking at the six cards. If Konami really wanted to check those decks, then why not put a limit on cards like One Day of Peace, Hope for Escape, Final Countdown, Book of Taiyou, etc.

Q: Sam Bentham- Why did you choose to play Yu-Gi-Oh and not another card game like MTG or Pokemon?

All of my friends play Yu-Gi-Oh so naturally I’ve stuck to it. I tried to play MTG but the people are so much different and I couldn’t rally up a sizeable travel group. I’m not playing either game for the prizes, so that’s never been much of a motivator. If I wanted to make real money playing cards, I would learn Poker. It basically boils down to getting to travel the world doing something that I like with people that I like to be around.

Q: Rodney Dede- How do you deal with Rouge Decks? When you play against meta decks, you kinda have a feel of what to expect and what the deck contains.

There are a couple of players at my local who tend to use any and everything. Because of this, I’m always acclimated with every deck in Yu-Gi-Oh. Therefore, if I play something “Rogue” at a tournament, I already know what makes the deck tick. Most Rogue decks are dependent on the opponent not understanding how the cards interact in enough time to stop the strategy.

Q: B Ra Voice Carter- As a person contributing time towards this game (traveling, playing, writing) what do you personally take back that keeps you wanting to be involved in the Yugioh community?

I thoroughly enjoy people reading our articles on Alterealitygames and learning something from them. I remember reading the old Metagame articles every week and being fascinated with all that there is to know about Yu-Gi-Oh. I want people to feel the same way when they read our content.

Q: James Andrew Patterson- Does shuffling a deck in a particular way a certain number of times increase your chances of drawing main pieces of a strategy? If so, would that be considered "stacking" in a sense?

Well…as long as the cards are all completely face-down and you have no way of knowing which cards are which, I don’t see how shuffling in any particular way could help you draw better. Shuffling randomizes the deck (or at least attempts to since human hands cannot achieve actual randomization). If someone believes that they draw better with an 8 card pile shuffle over a 6 card pile shuffle, then it is merely superstition. Also, the opponent will be the last person to shuffle and cut the deck, so I don’t see how YOUR shuffle will help you to draw better if your hands aren’t the hands that determine your opening 6. If anything, I would just pay close attention to the way my opponent shuffles my deck. 

Frazier Smith

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