Hello everyone! I hope you’re all excited for the Circuit in Atlantic City this weekend! It’ll be the first event with Duelist Alliance legal. With Satellarknights, Yang Zings, and of course Shaddolls being released, I’m sure it’ll make for an interesting and highly competitive weekend.
This week I want to bring you something a little different than I usually do. If your locals are anything like mine, the people love playing all different types of Yu-Gi-Oh. Of course people play the regular advanced format, but old formats like Goat format and Tele-DAD have really caught on as well. While Battle Pack drafting hasn’t really taken off where I’m from, there are at least two people at my locals who have a cube to draft with. Cube drafting is essentially more than 400 of the best cards ever printed combined into a giant pool of cards, split up into packs, and then drafted by either four or eight players into decks. I’m a fan of both older formats and cube drafting, but today I want to present to you the newest wave in alternative formats; Imaginary Yu-Gi-Oh. In this article I’m going to explain what it is and how to play a couple different variations, why you should give it a try, and give some examples so that you can get the hang of it.
Imaginary Yu-Gi-Oh! – The Rules
- Get together two piles of commons with 40 cards each and a predetermined ratio of Monsters, Spells, and Traps. A common ratio is 20:10:10, but it doesn’t matter as long as both decks have the same ratio.
- Shuffle up, determine who is going first, and draw your hands as you would in any normal game of Yu-Gi-Oh.
- You can play any drawn Monster card as any Monster card, any drawn Spell as any Spell, and any drawn Trap as any Trap.
- The Monsters do not have to be the same level, type, or attribute as the drawn Monster.
- The Spells/Traps do not have to be the same type as the drawn Spells/Traps. For example, if the card you draw is a Quickplay Spell, you are still allowed to activate it as a card that is a Normal Spell.
- You may only choose cards that are unrestricted on the Forbidden and Limited List. If the card is banned, limited, or semi-limited in the advanced format, it is banned in Imaginary Yu-Gi-Oh.
- You can only activate one of each legal card per game. For example, if I make my Trap card a Reckless Greed, I cannot make my other Trap card a second Reckless Greed.
- There is no Extra Deck.
- Once a card is used, it must remain that card for the rest of the game. If I summon Asura Priest and it returns to my hand during the End Phase, I cannot resummon that same Monster as a different Monster.
- Cards cannot activate in the Graveyard.
- Cards in the deck and cards sent from the deck are blanks. For example, if I mill a monster off of Lyla during the end phase, I cannot choose to make it Wulf and Special summon it. Additionally, under this rule I cannot activate Artifact Sanctum since the cards in my deck are blanks and not Artifacts.
- Additional limitations besides only unrestricted cards. Some cards are simply too good in this format so you might choose to not play with a card like Bountiful Artemis or Soul Charge.
Why You Should Try Out Imaginary Yu-Gi-Oh
It’s a great test of knowledge – The name of the game is knowledge. Whoever has a bigger card pool in their repertoire will be at a huge advantage.
It’s skillful! – You literally have thousands of cards at your disposal in every single card drawn. Making the most of them and picking the best one is what I’d consider the definition of skill.
It’s a nice change of pace – Tired of Dragon Rulers or Shaddolls running amuck? Imaginary Yu-Gi-Oh gives a nice break from that as every game is incredibly different.
Problems are easily fixed – Find out a broken card or series of cards? You don’t have to wait months hoping for Konami to ban the Return From the Different Dimension of the format. Under additional rule number 3, you can ban it yourself!
It’s cheap – A couple of old format decks or a cube are a lot of fun, but they’re also a lot of money. Since Imaginary Yu-Gi-Oh is only made up of commons that you can find on the table, it’s not really going to cost you anything to play.
Example 1 - Your opponent activates Mystical Space Typhoon on your facedown Spell Card. You make your facedown Miracle Synchro Fusion so that you draw a card.
Example 2 - Your opponent summons Breaker the Magical Warrior. You respond with Trap Hole. Your opponent responds with Forbidden Lance. You respond with Accumulated Fortune. Your opponent responds with Wiretap. You respond with Counter Counter.
Example 3 - Your opponent activates Nobleman of Crossout on your set monster. You make your set monster Big Shield Gardna to negate Nobleman’s effect.
Example 4 - You draw a monster with no cards in hand. You make it Elemental Hero Bubbleman to draw 2 cards.
Example 5 - Your opponent attacks you directly with Spirit Reaper. You discard Goldd, Wu Lord of Dark World to summon and destroy Reaper and another card on their field.
Example 6 – Your opponent attacks your facedown defense position monster with Mystic Swordsman Lv 2. You make your facedown monster Sand Moth and Special Summon it.
Use Cards That Replace Themselves – Cards like Des Lacooda and Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive are great. If you use cards that don’t replace themselves such as summoning Elemental Hero Wildheart to get through your opponent’s many backrow, you’ll lose out when they kill the monster. If you use Dekoichi to get through their backrow, you’ve already gotten it to replace itself so it won’t matter if it dies in battle and if they use a card on it you’ll gain a +1.
Whoever Controls the Backrow is Winning – There’s a trap that will stop anything. If you’ve got two traps and your opponent has got four, they’re going to win whatever the interaction is. Example 2 demonstrates this. Bait their backrow with monsters and save your backrow until you have more of them than your opponent.
Be Wary of Mass Removal Cards – It may seem like you’re winning if you have four monsters to their one set, but keep in mind that they could make their one set Needle Ceiling so make sure you have a way to play around it.
Mitigate Bad Hands – Only drew one spell and four monsters? Use the spell as Cards of Consonance to see what kind your next couple of cards is.
Lockdown Strategies Don’t Work – There are plenty of outs to all of them and since your cards can be literally anything, they’ll always have them.
Don’t Trade One For Ones Unless You’re Winning – If you’ve got three cards to their four, why would you use Smashing Ground to clear their Monster? You’re still down a card. You need a card to get your advantage back. On the other hand, if you’ve got the four cards, you’re going to want to take away as many of their options as you can so feel free to trade one for ones. Remember that cards like Miracle Synchro Fusion exist though so don’t use something like Mystical Space Typhoon.
That wraps up my introduction to Imaginary Yu-Gi-Oh. The game is a ton of fun and I highly recommend that you give it a try in the near future. If you see me this weekend in Atlantic City for the Circuit Series, I’ll happily take on any challenger for a quick game of Imaginary Yu-Gi-Oh! I hope to see everyone there. Until next time, play hard or go home!