How to Get Back in the Current Game and Balance Your Budget

Hey, ARG readers! My name is Nicholas Wong. Not many people know me because I have never visited a Regionals event nor have I participated in any large tier events like the YCS, but I would like to share with you how I got into the game after years of absence, and be sure that people like you can get back into the game, too. Before I begin, I would like to share you my personal history with YuGiOh!

My first experience was in 2002, when I was in elementary school; I saw many of my classmates having YuGiOh! cards, and thought it was pretty cool since I was influenced by the TV show. After my mom bought me a Yugi Starter Deck, I started collecting cards from the booster packs, and jumbled my deck in a random fashion since I was a naïve elementary schooler back then. YuGiOh! was fun to play casually for me until YuGiOh! GX started playing on TV, introducing the concept of Elemental Heroes. Because of the fast meta change, I ended up quitting the game, thinking E-Heroes were stupid (Which of course, was a stupid move. Yet again, I was in late Elementary School when it happened, so I was quick to take action, and slow to thinking.).

YuGiOh! was basically non-existent to me until at high school in 2009, when a friend introduced to me a new trend that changed the way we play the game known as Synchro Monsters. When I was getting a glimpse of cards like Goyo Guardian and Stardust Dragon, I was mindblown by the powerful effects Synchro Monsters gave to the game, which made me want to keep playing, and realizing meta changes are what the makes the game fun.

One thing I had to do in order to get back into the game was to know the new meta. This was done from the help of friends (who are in fact, VITAL to helping people like you and me play this game right now, since YuGiOh! should not be done alone) and looking up articles and forums in various websites. Since I was practically starting over, I had no idea how to get back in the game. Since the Duelist Pack: Crow were being released, my friend and many other fellow players (who unlike me, played competitively) suggested I work with Blackwings for now, which seemed like a cool idea for now. So after picking through my collection for staple cards, trading in to our local card shop for store credit, getting two Wave 1 Tins for Pots of Duality, buying over 20 Duelist Pack: Crows, and betting on some singles on eBay, I was finally able to get myself playing with other people. The Blackwings I had were really fun, but I was pretty unsatisfied with the fact that they could not keep up with the strategies today. Trust me, Blackwings were good for teaching me the concepts of Synchro Summoning and giving me basic strategies for the meta, but I felt myself ready to try decks that run outside of the basic swarming.

I then tried to think about a budget deck that may work with today’s game style. After times of budget research and play testing on Dueling Network, I found myself liking the concept of Tech Genus, since they had an “anti-meta” feel to the game field (I’m an Anti-Meta type), and they had the potential of beating decks such as Plants. By this time, the new Wave 2 Tins were released, so my friends and I bought 6 of them. Though we did not pull any “bank-breaking” cards such as Tour Guide From the Underworld or Steelswarm Roach, we had enough store credit, trades from other players, and good pulls to help me finish my Tech Genus deck. Reborn Tengu was also a difficult card to get, but thank God that eBay has good deals. Here is my current deck list (I am still in need of a few revisions), and feel free to leave any comments below for any suggestions.


2x Beast King Barbaros

2x Effect Veiler

3x Reborn Tengu

3x T.G. Rush Rhino

3x T.G. Striker

3x T.G. Warwolf


1x Book of Moon

1x Dark Hole

1x Heavy Storm

1x Monster Reborn

2x Mystical Space Typhoon

1x Pot of Avarice

3x Pot of Duality


2x Bottomless Trap Hole

1x Call of the Haunted

3x Horn of the Phantom Beast

1x Mirror Force

1x Solemn Warning

1x Solemn Judgment

3x TG1-EM1

1x Trap Dustshoot

1x Torrential Tribute

Now I am going to the climax of the article: How to start over again if you quit for a long period of time like me. Here are some key factors.

The first key is to know the meta. This makes sure you know what to buy, and how the game is currently played. Since I was only familiar with the old school beatdown and small combos YuGiOh! introduced before Synchro Monsters came, I had to keep reading various articles and forums on the internet to learn what people are playing, and how they were playing it. My favorite website to visit is As being the official YuGiOh! blog, this website gives you coverage of the latest YCS events so you can figure out how the professional competitive players play. The best part about this website is that it shows the decklists of the Top 32 players at each event, so you can figure out how the game progresses with each event.

The second step to getting back in the game is also one of the most important: learning your budget limits. YuGiOh! is a hobby, and not a lifestyle, so don’t invest your lifesavings on these types of things unless you plan to make it a lifestyle. Of course, there was no way I was going straight into buying 3 Tour Guides From The Underworld and 3 Maxx C’s without mainting my spendings step by step. I had to research which decks were good for today and the cheapest to make without spending too much. Some examples of archtypes I can tell you that don’t kill your budget are Blackwings, Tech Genus, Dark World, Agents, and Karakuris. These decks are actually competitive, and are cheap to get single-wise, and easy to pull from the booster packs (Dark World and Agents already have their own Structure Decks!). Don’t even try to get the highest rarity of cards out there, since those can come later after you’re done with your deck.

The third tip I’ll share with you is to keep playing, in your local store, casually with friends, or simply on Dueling Network. Get a bunch of friends that have already been in the game for a long time, and play their decks for a while (which I have done) until you’re ready to start anew for yourself. Also make a million decks on Dueling Network that follow the game well so you can understand each deck style and which ones feel right for you. I even netdecked a couple of the YCS players in the Top 32, in which there is NOTHING wrong with that, since all you’re doing is getting into the new concepts of the game. Test decks online you also may plan to buy later. Also, if you’re only playing casually, don’t be afraid to proxy expensive cards against your friends. Aside from the Blackwing Synchros I pulled from the Duelist Pack: Crows, the only Synchro Monsters I own at home is a Stardust Dragon and a T.G. Wonder Magician, so I’m still working my way to making my Extra Deck. I also have friends that let me borrow their Synchro Monsters when I need them, so this also goes under “playing with a budget”.

And also, you don’t have to play with today’s game style. I have a friend who likes to “rebel” against the game style, and created a Burn deck that plays specifically against it. He makes a well-defined algorithm that consists of a basic theory, which is “Archtype+Draw/Search/Graveyard Power+Extra Deck Choice+Staples=Deck”. He actually does pretty well against other meta decks (He’s not looking to play competitively, but only casually) for having a budget deck that only costed him less than $40.

Playing to this day when you have little to no money is a difficult thing to do. Even I still struggle maintaining my budget as I try to get myself some Synchro and XYZ monsters that may come in handy for my deck. And because of the lack of Synchros and XYZ, I am not ready to play in the competitive area such as the Regionals events or YCS’s, but depending on my future after I graduate high school, I may do so. And if I do play and gain enough experience competitively, I may continue to write articles for ARG.

In conclusion, knowing you don’t HAVE to play Plant Synchro or Dino Rabbit to be as good as anybody else is something you should take from this article. All you have to know is today’s gameplay as best as possible, and someday, you may innovate your own keen strategies in the meta. Enjoy Dueling!

Nicholas Wong

Bay Area, CA

Legends: Comics & Games and C&J's Collectibles