This week I’d like to discuss something that has a massive influence on how most games are decided. Lets face it, everyone misplays when they are in game, whether they notice it or not it happens. A misplay can determine if you or your opponent will make it into the top cut of an event; naturally that should motivate you to want to eliminate misplays from your game entirely, but that is not easily done. There are many different forms of misplaying and some of them are near impossible to prevent from happening. I have broken down the various forms of misplays into these categories.
You Weren’t Paying Enough Attention
You Were Unaware of a Certain Card Interaction
You Didn’t Have a Millennium Eye
This is one of the most common misplays that people commit and it’s something that is very easily corrected. Lets set up a scenario to visualize where a misplay might happen due to lack of attention. Your opponent is playing Satellarknights and you are piloting Qliphorts. You have a Qliphort Scout and Performapal Trampolynx in your Pendulum zones with a field full of Qliphort monsters. You set a Compulsory Evacuation Device facedown and end your turn. At this point you have a firm grasp on the game but you have still left your opponent with a chance to fight back. The Satellarknight player normal summons Satellarknight Altair and uses Altair’s effect to special summon Satellarknight Deneb, who will then search another Satellarknight monster (For this example it doesn’t matter what card is searched). The cards on your opponent’s field are now Satellarknight Altair and Satellarknight Deneb. At this point in time your opponent will ask you if you have any effects you would like to activate before the gamestate closes. A player paying close attention to the game would be able to identify that the only way the Satellarknight player could get back into the game would be through Evilswarm Exciton Knight’s effect to destroy the entire field. Naturally the player who was paying attention would activate the set Compulsory Evacuation Device and return the Deneb back to the Satellarknight player’s hand to prevent a huge swing in tempo. However, the player who was not paying enough attention would not read the situation correctly and lose control of the game.
Paying close attention to detail is one of the easiest and most important things you should be doing while you play a match, because most of the information you need to solve a problem is given to you. A really effective way to make sure you don’t forget any important details pertaining to the match is to perform the Seven Second Rule. The Seven Second Rule is a mini procedure that should be done after your draw phase. Before you make any other plays set your hand down and look at both players graveyards, account for how many cards your opponent has in hand, and identify all the cards on the field. This will allow you to visualize everything and help you make more crisp plays. The Seven Second Rule will diminish the amount of misplays you make in a turn and allow you to properly assess your current problems in game.
I have experienced and witnessed this particular misplay multiple times; there are often times when you are completely ignorant to how cards interact with each other and as a result you or your opponent will misplay. Knowing how your cards interact with others is integral to avoiding misplays because without this knowledge you run the risk of misplaying in unfamiliar situations. Lets examine a situation I witnessed way too many times this past weekend while I judged the Wisconsin Regional. A player would call for a judge and I would scurry over and ask what the problem was and ask how I could help. For this example I’ll refer to the players as Player A and Player B. Player A shows me a card in his hand and asks, “If I activate Mystical Space Typhoon when he activates Qliphort Scout what happens?” Now keep in mind no play has actually been made yet, Player A was asking a theoretical question, which of course I’m not allowed to answer until he actually makes a play. After the theoretical question was asked I waited by the table for a few minutes expecting to see Player A chain Mystical Space Typhoon to the activation of Player B’s Qliphort Scout, but Player A made no such play. Frustrated with what had happened I walked away from that match and found Player A later that day. I asked him why he didn’t use his Mystical Space Typhoon on his opponent’s Qliphort Scout and he replied with, “I remembered Mystical Space Typhoon doesn’t negate so I decided not to play it.” Had Player A used his Mystical Space Typhoon on his opponent’s Scout he would have probably had a much better chance at winning the corresponding game. Hands on my head I told him that in that particular situation Mystical Space Typhoon would “negate” because Qliphort Scout would have to remain face-up on the field to resolve the effect. This situation didn’t involve any advanced rulings but it still illustrates how understanding card interaction will help decrease the amount of misplays you make in a game.
Being oblivious to card interactions is an equation that is very easily solved with the help of Yugioh Wikia. You can use Wikia to research rulings on your cards that you aren’t positive you understand and with the help of Yugioh Wikia you will decrease the chances that you misplay due to lack of knowledge. If you don’t want to use Wikia you can ask another player that you know has good knowledge of the game, most players are happy to answer questions and help people get better.
You might be asking yourself what does it mean to not have a Millennium Eye? In the first series of the Yu-Gi-Oh show there was a character by the name of Maximillion Pegasus. Pegasus has an ancient Egyptian artifact called the Millennium Eye, which let him read his opponent’s minds. This proved to be quite advantageous for Pegasus because he knew everything his opponent had and what play they were going to make, which of course meant he never misplayed. Now I’m sure you’re wondering what Maximillion Pegasus has to do with you misplaying on occasion and I’ll get right to that! A lot of players end up losing games because they don’t have perfect information and that is something that is almost impossible to obtain. Without perfect information it is nearly impossible to play without misplaying, because most plays we make are based off of reads we have that might not be 100% accurate.
A very common misplay that a lot of players make is they believe they have a read on someone’s backrow and then they play into a completely different backrow and lose because of their own miscalculation. A prime example of this happened at the regional I judged this past weekend. It was the last round of the tournament and two of my friends were playing each other and the winner would make it into the Top 8. My friend Nik Igel was playing against my friend Dan Carton and both players were very committed to winning. Going into game three of their match, Dan expected Nik to side out his Vanity’s Emptinesses because he was playing Qliphorts and knew that most people side out Emptiness against Qliphorts because it isn’t very good against them. As game three progressed Dan read that Nik’s backrows were irrelevant because they weren’t doing anything all game. Dan then set up his Pendulum Scales and then Nik flipped up a set Vanity’s Emptiness which infuriated Dan because the Emptiness should not have been in Nik’s deck in Dan’s eyes. Dan ended up losing the match due to Nik’s Vanity’s Emptiness that he believed should not still been in Nik’s deck after game one. Often times players lose games based off of assumptions that aren’t always true. Without a Millennium Eye it is very difficult to make a perfect play because obtaining perfect information is very difficult.
Misplays shape the mold of every game that’s played, and they will continue to mold the outcome of games until Yu-Gi-Oh dies. I’ll leave you all with some wise words Jeff Jones has taught me; “Never forget to kill your opponent, because then you get Honest’d for game.” I hope to see everyone at ARGCS Chicago on November 29th-30th and hopefully there will be a lack of misplays and only good games! And as always, Play Hard or Go Home!