Patrick Hoban: The Best Deck

hobanPeople ask me all the time about how to get better. The first thing I generally ask them back is what deck they’re playing. They almost never reply back with Dragon Rulers or whatever the top deck happens to be at the time. They’ll reply back with anything from Evilswarms to X-Sabers, Madolche to Blackwings, or worst of all, Gladiator Beasts. They’ll be playing seemingly anything but what they should be playing at that point. And why is that? Why do people have this preconceived negative connotation about playing the best deck? In this article, I hope to debunk this myth that there is something wrong in playing the best deck. In fact, I hope to convince you that there is something wrong with playing anything other than the best deck.

I’d like to clarify two things at the beginning of this article. Firstly, there are two kinds of players; competitive and casual. As with most of my articles, what I am speaking about pertains almost entirely to the competitive players. If you’re a casual player, go on and play your Fabled deck, but understand that you are a casual player and don’t fault others when they have more of a drive to win than you do. The second thing I want to talk about is money. Sometimes the best deck comes with quite a price tag and that’s something that’s not likely to change anytime soon. If you can’t afford it, that’s fine. That’s the only legitimate reason to not be playing Dragons or Spellbooks right now. If you can’t afford the best deck, but still want to be a competitive player, use the best deck available to you. I doubt Evilswarm are that much more expensive than X-Sabers, but would obviously yield better results in this format.

dark armed dragon“The best deck doesn’t require skill”

One of the most common things you’ll hear people say when they talk about the best deck is that it doesn’t take skill. Well, that’s outright wrong. Some of the decks people most closely associate with being very skilled were also the best deck of their time. You name it, Goats, GBs, Tele-DAD, Plants, Wind-Ups, etc.  You’d also be kidding yourself if you think Dragon Rulers aren’t going to join that list very shortly.

Also what exactly makes a tier 3 deck more skillful than a tier 1 deck? I’m not sure what you’re trying to prove when you go into a tournament with Blackwings. Giving yourself a significant disadvantage doesn’t prove anything other than that you didn’t adequately prepare.

“I still win”

Joe Giorlando was the most consistent player in the game last year, and in his signature on Duelistgroundz he has a quote from Aristotle that says “"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

The thing about the “I still win” mentality is you don’t. At least not consistently. Beating Dragon Rulers one time with your Scrap deck hardly constitutes as consistently. If you play that matchup 1000 times, I guarantee it’s going to be heavily in Dragon’s favor.

legendary six samurai - kizanEvery now and then some tier 3 deck will make its way into Top 32 of a YCS and people will think that the deck is good. Perhaps it was a good meta call, but seeing a deck top and automatically associating it as a tier deck is a mistake and is results oriented. A much more realistic outcome is that someone takes a deck that they’ve been playing forever to a YCS and it happens to have a good matchup against the meta. A perfect example of this is YCS Indianapolis last year. Samurai had an amazing Wind-Up matchup where Wind-Ups were expected to be the top deck. The winner, Junior Dorcin, would have played Samurai regardless of what the meta was, it just happened to beat it. You can see similar examples in Frog Monarchs this format with having a good Mermail matchup. And yes, this does happen from time to time, but every time 1 rogue deck makes top 32, there are 31 other meta decks. Consistency is what we should strive for, and you’re not going to consistently win playing with a handicap.

The classic counter example to this argument is Jeff Jones. He has consistently topped with a variety of rogue decks over multiple formats. The bottom line is you’re not Jeff Jones. It’s not realistic to think that someone trying to top their first regional is capable of replicating that and you’ll lose a lot of games until you realize that.

“My deck didn’t work”

Another thing I see a lot is players blame it on their decks when they don’t do well. This is quite possibly true. You probably didn’t draw a comparable hand playing X-Sabers to any average hand Dragons have. By definition, you’re playing an inferior deck. If X-Sabers were as consistent and powerful as Dragons, they’d be a top deck.

Another problem that this creates is that it gives you a ceiling. Any time you lose, you now have an outlet. You were playing an inferior deck, thus it should be expected that you should lose and you can blame it on the inferior deck when you do lose and when you win, you exceeded people’s expectations. This kind of situation creates a ceiling for you as a player. You now have something else other than a lack of skill to blame your losses on and thus have little incentive to improve. If you’re playing the best deck and still losing, at some point you’re going to have to admit that you’re not as good as you think you are.

HighPriestessofProphecy-REDU-EN-ScR-1EMeta Calls

The last thing I want to talk about is making meta calls. Sometimes it’s appropriate to do so and play something other than the best deck. This should be a rationalized process backed by legitimate reason why you think that your deck consistently beats the meta decks and all the rogue decks you’re likely to face in the first few rounds. It’s a delicate art and not something that will likely yield consistent results. For example, most of ARG decided to play Spellbooks (before Judgment) in New Jersey, yet not a single person playing them from ARG topped (although Frazier got 34th). In all likelihood, if you went to 10 events and tried to beat the meta and 10 events where you just played the meta, you’d probably have a lot better results at the events you played the meta. Making meta calls generally works best when there are 3-5 top decks as opposed to 1-2. Spellbooks and Dragons are that much better than every other deck right now that it’s unlikely that you’re going to find a deck that will consistently beat both, and still do well against the rest of the decks.

Traditionally, one deck formats are the most skillful in the game. Embrace them rather than falsely criticize those who want to give themselves the best tools in order to consistently do well. It seems that people who choose not to do this are guided by rules that don’t exist and false moral codes against playing the best deck. Ultimately there is no glory in losing so give yourselves the best tools you possibly can in order to consistently win. Until next time, play hard or go home!

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

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Discussion

comments

  • Brofest751

    Hmm so you think everyone who has an opinion sucks dick? top a wcs before trying to be a troll. You are one of the reasons the yugioh community is suffering from immature noobs. Do the community a favor and quit being a bitch.

  • TheOppositeOfAScrub

    You both are idiots.However, Mura is the bigger idiot. Not only are you asking for a man to get assraped, but you are trying to go up against a sad fact of this game. People want to win, so they will play the deck(s) that give them a better shot. AND you say that the meta takes no skill? Even in march 13 it took skill to play E-Dragons and Spellbooks, It takes no skill for them to rip apart your tier 9 ice barrier deck of course but against another E-Dragon or Spellbook player the skillfullness of those decks shine. I will assume that you are one of those budget casual players. There is nothing wrong with that, until you do what you did in your comment: attempting to criticize the competitive game. If you are a casual, stay that way and don’t try to attack what you can’t even comprehend. I know that a year has passed, but this needed to be said.

  • Aaron Doucette

    Playing the least balanced deck of the format generally doesn’t require as much skill as it does forming muscle memory with combos. I won’t listen to someone tell me Dragon Ruler took skill, for fuck sake they just worked and hell they made decks like Mecha Robo Beast, Stardust Assault Mode, and a handful of other decks that are without Dragon Rulers at 3 garbage fully viable. One shouldn’t feel bad about playing an imbalanced deck( konami makes those archtypes and staples to make sure sets sell), however don’t feel good unless you built a non pre made theme and made it god tier completely defying the way Konami geared the Restriction List to make sure old product gets hit and new product runs unchecked to make sure a set sells for its distribution duration which sits between 3-4 months after its official release date. Dragon Ruler Format was a tier 0 format for the two months we got access to it.

    I won’t disagree with going to an event ill-prepared either with the mindset you’ll do poorly or failure to playtest with one of the many free outlets online long before an archetype is released. But to say going there with a tier 2 deck with good meta calls is a bad idea thats a mentality of someone who can’t play with anything that doesn’t do the work for them as long as they don’t poorly play the imbalanced as fuck hands decks like Dragon Ruler will give you.

    The only real skill left in this game in terms of what people should universally agree with is deck building for the current state of the meta, and effectively utilizing spam combo decks without misplay. I really hate the mirror match is skill statement, the way I see it, if you gear your deck to do well in mirror matches and barely make top because you had poor matchups against everything else then that’s not really skill as much as preparing for one deck properly( which is bad considering no matter how popular a deck is, it’s not the only matchup you’ll face).

  • Noah LaRosa

    Really? That’s your reply? Cute. Why not actually log-in and show the world what a Joke you are for coming up with that childish response?

  • Kevin Wilber

    i kinda agree if your gonna go to the trouble of going to a ycs or worlds etc… your probably should play the top deck… if your obviously that serious about it …. but if your just doing locals or even regional you can get away with playing tier 2 decks like constellar or evils… lavals personally i dont have fun with dragon rulers, never had fun with mermails ,evil, prophecy, and having fun is probably the most important reason to play the game or any deck for that matter otherwise whats the point …i dont fault dragon players for playing the best deck but dont fault me for picking the deck i like in return ya know

  • David Bannister

    I liked this game more when it was called Yata-Lock! The musical.

  • Barby007

    I feel this article isn’t being fair on several points.

    1. This game is “geared” towards a younger audience. Therefore, needing 3 copies of Draccosack at about $140 each is ridiculous for young ones to get. Adults have to choose between putting that money into their house, car, kids or into the game. I feel it is absurd. It’s not about affording it, it’s about inflation just to get cards banned in a couple of months.

    2. The reason why people are stealing other people’s things and why Yu Gi Oh players are getting a bad reputation, is because of the value of the cards. The gaming atmosphere would be much calmer, funner, & better if price wasn’t an issue. My card shop needs to hire people and refuses to hire Yu Gi Oh players because of the bad reputation we all have just cause several players have decided to steal.

    3. The fact that every 6 months or so you have to change your deck because it’s the ONLY
    way to win, is ABSURD! I can understand changing a couple of cards but not ruining an entire deck which doesn’t cost $10.

    4. Gaming for about 80% of us is suppose to be a de-stresser, time to relax, and time to have fun. Playing 10 people with Dragon decks and 5 prophecy and all of them playing the same way is BORING, frustrating, & not fun not competitive.

    5. The game is now all about NET decking! People are buying the winning decklist and doing the same combos over and over again. No originality whatsoever. It’s all repetitiveness.

    If you wanted to comment on the current metta, that is fine but don’t insult people by calling them poor losers, complainers, or broke. The reality is that it’s all about money and Konami is taking all your money by creating these cards, and you are all falling from it. I have 2
    decks, and that is all I choose to play because I play for fun and I play those decks competitively but I refuse to give away my money for paper when I can put all that money into a car, house, or my family. Get your facts straight and watch they audience you are talking to. Not all of us are kids, there are grown men and women in this game too.

    • theOptimus

      He stated in the article that he was not talking to you, Mr. Casual McRighteous. Your entire missive is a laundry list of the same hackneyed excuses that every kitchen table contender has been moaning since Jinzo and MEB were beating BEWD and Lord of D. Oh the blindness of all these people that are falling for Konami’s ” profitability trap ” designed to keep the game in existence as opposed to what happens to 95% of all other TCG’s. If only players would wise up and take your advice, maybe Yugioh could be yet another casual game that exists only in closets and shoeboxes, instead of store shelves and tournaments.

  • Barby007

    I feel this article isn’t being fair on several points.

    1. This game is “geared” towards a younger audience. Therefore, needing 3 copies of Draccosack at about $140 each is ridiculous for young ones to get. Adults have to choose between putting that money into their house, car, kids or into the game. I feel it is absurd. It’s not about affording it, it’s about inflation just to get cards banned in a couple of months.

    2. The reason why people are stealing other people’s things and why Yu Gi Oh players are getting a bad reputation, is because of the value of the cards. The gaming atmosphere would be much calmer, funner, & better if price wasn’t an issue. My card shop needs to hire people and refuses to hire Yu Gi Oh players because of the bad reputation we all have just cause several players have decided to steal.

    3. The fact that every 6 months or so you have to change your deck because it’s the ONLY way to win, is ABSURD! I can understand changing a couple of cards but not ruining an entire deck which doesn’t cost $10.

    4. Gaming for about 80% of us is suppose to be a de-stresser, time to relax, and time to have fun. Playing 10 people with Dragon decks and 5 prophecy and all of them playing the same way is BORING, frustrating, & not fun not competitive.

    5. The game is now all about NET decking! People are buying the winning decklist and doing the same combos over and over again. No originality whatsoever. It’s all repetitiveness.

    If you wanted to comment on the current metta, that is fine but don’t insult people by calling them poor losers, complainers, or broke. The reality is that it’s all about money and Konami is taking all your money by creating these cards, and you are all falling from it. I have 2 decks, and that is all I choose to play because I play for fun and I play those decks competitively but I refuse to give away my money for paper when I can put all that money into a car, house, or my family. Get your facts straight and watch they audience you are talking to. Not all of us are kids, there are grown men and women in this game too.

  • Zach Burnz

    I love everyone who gets salty when they lose to dragons or spell books 🙂 I love destroying tier 2-3 decks and watching them get mad. I Look at them like speed bumps in my way to other dragons and books.

    I hope everyone that gets mad at Pat, loses to dragons and spell books all day and your comments of “skill = deck building tier 2 shitty decks not broke enough for Konami’s tier 1 decks” gets face planted when you accomplish nothing with your inferior deck choice and goal to have fun in a competitive environment overlaps you wanting to win.

    This game should only cater to people that want to play it, that want to do their best that want to win and play whatever it takes to do so.

    At nationals I hope its top 32 = 20 dragons and 12 spellbooks

  • joseph w

    “I’d like to clarify two things at the beginning of this article. Firstly, there are two kinds of players; competitive and casual.”

    I should have stopped reading here in reality. There is a group in the middle that nobody wants to admit exists. Semi competitive players is what I will call it. These are players that will test for hours and hours and put just as much preparation as competitive players into their decks. These players tend to not use the “best” decks not because of false claims such as “skilless” or “brainless” but because the deck does offer so much power that games are often won with little skill. Semi competitive players enjoy the game the most when they can take a less powerful deck to the top with really good meta insight and great techs.

    There are a lot of people in this game (in life in general) that will blame their deck for not winning a tournament or getting their invite. Most people in this bracket, though, will usually look at the duel and ask themselves what they could have done differently. This basic notion is what separates their group from casuals. Also, their are often games of blowout where you couldn’t have done anything but that could also happen if you are using the “best” deck.

    This group tends to be just as competitive as the competitive class but has a different way of viewing success in this game. To us, success = accomplishments. Most in this group will say you haven’t accomplished a lot if all you do is use the powerhouse consistency deck that konami handfed you.

    I will admit that in a one deck format (plants, etc) there is a little more respect for using the best deck, for obvious reasons.

    • theOptimus

      He did address you, and he called you a casual player. You make great points about meta-insight, accountability being the distinction between the casual and the competitor, and true accomplishment as the glory of being enough of a boss to take something different to the top, but that is the same philosophy that I have been playing with since PSV, and the end result for me has been failure. ” Do or do not, there is no try.” There is no such thing as a third class of semi-competitive players. There are the competitors , the casuals who know what they are, and the casuals who think they are competitive. Thanks to this article, I know now that I am and always have been a loser at this game. My acknowledgement of this is the first step in having any chance to be something more.

  • Anon

    Obviously the deck has alot to do with success. But when this dude claims everyone should be playing Drags in order to be successful is completely absurd. It’s annoying when I show up at my locals, and more than 50% are playing Drags, the other 30% are playing Prophecies, and the last 20% actually try to play rogue/tier2 decks. I find it frustrating, everyone has the same exact decks, no uniqueness, no originality; absolutely none. And that’s when dueling lost it’s spirit, when everyone plays the same decks, pointless.

  • Alexander Hofstetter

    Aside from the last line about 1 deck formats being the most skillful (I think they’re not because deck building should be as important to the skill of the format than just the game itself), I will agree with everything you say.

    only reason to play with non meta aside from money is if you think there is an advantage against the meta playing it and can show results with it. (like I would test frogs in this meta if only because caius and trifortressops are big bombs this format, IMO)

    Also, Skill Drain: the side more drags should be running.

  • Michael

    I generally agree with this article and I appreciate that Pat was conscientious about budgeted players. However, I don’t think Pat’s entirely right. For one, in the beginning Pat seems to imply that it’s flawed to expect to get better using a bad deck, but I think to get better you’d rather play a worse deck than a good deck.

    To invoke Joe Girolando, he once wrote an article talking about playing Dino-Rabbit (and if anyone’s qualified to speak on Dino-Rabbit it’s him). He suggested playing games with a Dino-Rabbit deck without Rescue Rabbit because then every single game you play, you would be drawing poorly for the deck (hands with vanillas, no possibility of even getting Rabbit). His point was that you have to be able to win with bad hands. This isn’t a 1 to 1 comparison to playing with a bad deck, but if you’re only used to playing when you have an advantage and you never need to push your skill to the limit, how will you be good enough to win a tournament? If you’re only used to playing the best deck with a clear advantage, how will you be good enough at the game?

    Now, this does feed into the point of how skill intensive the mirror match is because if you’re playing Dragon Rulers you have to push your skill to the limit for the mirror, but you can get better from playing a mirror match of the best deck AND playing “worse” decks.

    If Dragon Rulers are the best deck, then holding skill level and luck equal you can play worse than an opponent not playing the deck and still win. Here, you have not furthered your skill in the game or learned to even make the one true correct play and play perfectly (something Pat believes, that there’s always one perfect, ultimately correct play). So, playing the best deck only requires the highest level of skill or pushed you to become a better player, when you ply the mirror match.

    I’ve spoken enough on that, which I’m sure no one has read, so I’ll make this part short. Lower tier or worse decks can’t just be written off as worse decks and even though isolated incidents of them winning happens, I don’t believe a best deck is that much better than any other deck. Tech choices exist and deck building can severely change outcomes. It’s why Jeff Jones tops with rogue decks, but you don’t have to be Jeff Jones to consistently outperform the best decks with lower tier decks. But, if there’s one or two distinctly better decks and even other top decks that share similar qualities you can build the deck to perform well.

    http://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/article.asp?ID=3177 There’s an example of a deck consistently beating the “Best” Deck because it was made too. It happens all the time, Evilswarms are often built to beat the best deck and they’ve been topping consistently in the OCG and here, probably fairly proportionately to the amount of skilled players playing each. The best decks of the format will usually see more play than any other single deck and will be used by the best players. Those factors skew the winning results of tournaments. To say because 31 of 32 decks that top (say a YCS, and losing twice means you don’t top) are Meta just means that if there were 500 of the supposedly best deck at the event and 10 of a just as good deck, but played by much fewer people, all the “best deck” had to do was get lucky and draw better 20 times for that other deck to see no success. It’s not a perfect example, but it shows how easy numbers affect the top tournament results

  • Dustin Decamp

    alot of this is untrue if you play other tcg’s youd be aware of that

  • stephen

    This article blows. You seem to have a good concept of what the top decks are but you dont have a firm grasp on what a meta is. the current meta is searching and special summoning with effects. Thats why everyone is running maxx c and droll and lock bird. if you could find a deck that stops summons and searches while still putting out damage, it would crush the meta. decks arent the top decks just because they are. somebody had to find a combo and prove that it was good. creativity is what keeps the meta moving forward, and this article is basically saying screw creativity. now your weird comment groupies can have at it. theyll probably call me a noob and say that pat would die for our sins. its weird guys.

  • Eric Gray

    I wonder how many negative, “interesting”, and ignorant comments did Patrick expect to receive with this article?

  • Marth457

    I see a clear problem here, people think that ‘deckbuiliding = playing skill’, wich is totally wrong.
    Also emotional attachment to a particular deck sounds really weird to me, I think of cards as weapons that assemble your arsenal(deck), if you go to war you want the best avaible equipment right? its the same for yugioh, If you think cards are your friends like Gayden Yuki used to say in the anime or talk to your kuriboh card you need serious psychiatric help. As a competitive player I only care about the lower part of the card and not about cutecool graphics, Its logical to choose a prime level deck por a big event, or a solid antimeta deck that you know would do well. Before a tournament I always do research of the meta and what decks would be the best choices then see if my sponsors have any of those avaible, if not I just dont play, its ilogical to enter a YCS or Nationals with a deck you know wont have a chance to top. I totally agree with Hoban and really dont see why playing a T1 deck is satanized by some people, if you cant afford a $1000 deck just play the antimeta counter to it in this case evilswarm or just switch to a cheaper TCG like MTG or Pokemon, theres nothing wrong with it, I start to believe several YGO players here are masochist at some level, if you doesnt enjoy the game anymore and it causes you nothing more than negative feelings, then why not just take a break from YGO and try some other hobby? Maybe another TCG or Video Games can be very competitive too. At least you are lucky bastards and live in the States while Im trapped in this small country with nothing more than YGO fanboys surrounding me and a minuscule MTG comunity 10 hours away from where I live.

  • Gravekeeper Peasent

    You’re a smart guy Mr. Hoban, and I enjoy reading your articles. However, cost is a HUGE problem for me (don’t get me wrong I’m still an average-skill player and my deck isn’t my only problem). You make a lot of good, solid points that I completely agree with, but I think you only scratched the surface of Yu-Gi-Oh’s cost-barrier. I would be very excited to read your thoughts on why I have to choose between a car payment or a Yu-Gi-Oh deck.

  • Alex Alcasid

    I never understood why people held the attitude of “higher tier decks take less skill to play”

    Just because they shit on every other deck in the meta doesn’t make them skillless.

    I’d even argue that most lower tier decks are less skillful than most of the higher tier decks; higher tier decks, especially at the moment Dragons and Prophecy offer a multitude of options, where as in lower tier decks, the most optimal play is usually pretty obvious, it’s just it’s usually not good enough.

  • Nick Habeeb

    Did u ever considered money to ever be an issue pat… Not everybody is a fat pampered self absorbed brat like you who can pull money out of his ass for expensive decks. You obviously don’t see the game from a tier 2 spectrum like we do. Players play the decks they love and will constantly find ways to counter meta decks( Robbie Kohl with gadgets is a good example). I’m not saying that you shouldn’t play the best deck, but put your damn inflated ego away and stop crapping on those beneath you

    • yolo420cashmoney

      Another idiotic comment from the kid that admitted to cheating on Frazier’s older article… you know he addressed that in the article? If you could read, he made that and the competitive distinction at the very beginning of the article.

  • Noah LaRosa

    I feel that Pat has made some very good points in this. Though the only thing i do not like is the fact that you feel that only Dragons and Spellbooks can be the top decks. Now what i will add to that argument, is that not many people play the same decks in order for something to be considered a top deck.

    Say, there was 800+ people at an event. a solid 300 each play Dragons and Spellbooks. Yet the last amount is Evilswarm, Fire Fists, Monarchs, etc. Not much to really go on if one huge amount is oriented around 2 decks. Of course there is going to be a large percentage of Dragons and Spellbooks topping. Whats there more of?

    Equalize those amounts. Say there’s a limit to how many of one deck can be entered at an event. All totally equal, same amount. There is, in all likely-hood, no bias or larger amount of the same deck. What would be considered a top deck then? With every deck being at an equal playing field so to speak, you will most definitely see a different amount of whose playing what.

    It should never really be about 2 deck formats. I hold many players in high-regard for their opinions just like yours Pat, but I don’t always agree. Its a very one-sided argument if the person stating their opinion on something, when they’re the ones playing the “Top Deck.” I certainly don’t want another Tyler Tabman running around, that’s for sure.

  • alex titcombe

    Id probably play dragon rulers at this upcoming euros but I blew all my money on fire fists lol I cant even afford evilswarms -_- aside from that though I love playing dragon ruler mirror matches on dn they are some of the most intense games ive ever had i get sick of people on dn going when I beat them “omg i just had a bad hand thas all” or “at least my deck is original not from the internet”

  • mura

    to this guy is a fucking faggot. You want everyone to play the same shit? you want the game to consist of three of four decks in the top 32? how is that competitive? It becomes all about who draws their combo first and not skill. People shouldn’t really complain about the decks that are doing the top right now either, what they should complain about is the fact that there are only a few decks that can remain competitive. there should be more variety, deck structures should be more balanced. why is it one deck is better then another? it should be about one player being better than another. Pat can suck a huge dick. and maybe even be raped to death by one.

  • Ikaxas

    I think a lot of the hatred for “the meta” comes from the fact that lately, whatever konami’s newest archetype is automatically becomes “the meta.” if the meta was decks that have been out of contention for a while and come back, or someone’s original creation, it wouldn’t feel as much like konami is dictating what we run. also, as someone else said, the fact that the meta is miles ahead of everything else is a little unfair. basically konami is saying “play our newest product and give us money or have no hope.” and yes, i am aware that konami is a company, it’s been said many times, but that doesnt mean they should have the right to constantly up the power level to force us to play their newest product. and you can say that they lowered the power level with dragons by making them less otk and lock oriented, but if the cards are unfair, they are unfair, this is just a different kind of unfair: unlimited resources. same with prophecy. previously if you could get an otk-oriented deck out of its comfort zone by prolonging the game, you had a chance. now, if you prolong the game you will be overwhelmed almost for sure. the other problem with one- and two- deck formats is when they become expensive. i know that this is a common gripe, but just because it’s common doesnt mean it’s unjustified. you can say that a one deck format is more skillful, and that is true in a perfect world where everyone has access to the best deck equally. but if the most skillful player has no way to obtain the best deck, their skill doesnt matter in the slightest because they are at an automatic disadvantage through no fault of their own. how skillful is the format when money starts to become a factor?

  • Jack Huang

    Patrick I think much of the hate people have for Dragons and Prophecy is that they deviate so much from Konami’s previous designs and they just beat everything that is out right now so hard, that it triggers people’s thematic and emotional attachment to their decks. The problem with th new meta is that Konami has made 2 super expensive decks tier 0. Not tier 1 mind you, but tier 0. That is why I think people hate “the best decks” more this time around.

    • Jack Huang

      and generally my gripe against 1 deck formats is that I don’t like the feeling of Konami getting to dictate what to play. I like it much better when players themselves think of the combos that make the best decks.

    • Alexander

      I understand that this is 2 years late. But Konami doesn’t make decks that are super expensive tier 0. Tier0 decks are super expensive. It’s not Konami that makes them cost so much, it’s the secondary market thatdoes

  • Jesse Francis

    This Johnny Li guy is a complete asshole. Everyone is entitled to their opinion are they not? If they have a problem with Pats article then by god they have a problem with it and they have the right to voice that. As a competitive player for 3 years I agree with the points Pat made for the most part. But don’t be an asshole to all these people just voicing their opinions. If pat has a problem with what these people say he will address them. If not, oh well, it doesn’t affect you. I really hope that you are not a part of ARGs website or affiliated with them in any way because you are acting completely unprofessional and quite frankly embarrassing in your constant comments and replays to comments that don’t pertain to you.

    • Jason

      I agree, the article has valid points, but gosh this Johnny dude gets on my nerves from just reading his comments. What is he, a bodyguard of ARG writers?

  • Theshockmaster00

    Tho I agree that if you are going to major event it would be foolish of you not to be running dragon rulers but if you are at locals I doesn’t really matter what you play its locals really doesn’t matter I’ve seen people build a deck out of a free box and top at locals so “winning locals”really doesn’t mean anything

  • joey moorhouse

    the problem is, when konami releases such powerful archtypes as dragons and spellbooks, all neatly packaged and ready to win tournaments, originality dies. other than 1 or 2 “tech” cards per deck there is no originality, no creativity. so if there is no creativity or flexibility in deck design then essentially, the player who won the tournament isnt the best player that made the best deck, etc. it is simply the person who used the same deck as everyone else, but just got better draws (and didn’t make too many mistakes). so when half of skill is in deck building, and deck building and originality are dead in a two deck format, i’d say that half of the skill required for yugioh is lost for the duration of the format. that’s my complaint about two deck formats

    • Bryant Greaves

      The very practice of not making as many mistakes as everybody else is inherent in the definition of skill.

      We’ve had some sacky YCS winners over time, don’t get me wrong. But a tournament isn’t always guaranteed to be won by the absolute best player. Luck is omnipresent.

      • joey moorhouse

        still there is the fact that when decks come practically pre-made, entirely half of the skill involved in winning a tournament goes right down the drain

  • Gabe

    Pat is actually right
    The best deck is always going to win and you have to be smart to know when are you going to be in disadvantage.

    Playing any tier 3 deck doesnt mean that you need more skill, you need a better strategy because chances are totally against you but that doesn’t hide the fact that tier 3 decks like Lightsworns, GBS, Scraps etc. are also very easy to use

  • Philip Kampa

    Great article Patty, and I couldn’t agree more.
    Also, big shoutout to Site Li shutting hoes down in the comment section!!!!

  • Sampo Tervomaa

    I’m surprised that I don’t see more hipsters when playing in tournaments because you guys sound like that.

  • Giovanni Llamas

    Great article ^^ i’ve personally been there /: i used to play ninjas thinking i could get better when i started but after a while i realized my deck couldn’t compete with mermails or even heroes at the time and later went to hieratics not the best deck either but better than ninjas had better success in that aspect but still wasn’t enough now running evilswarms cause still cant afford dragons or prophecies i know my deck isnt the best but has the best outcome regardless sometimes lose to random rogue decks but however i have the highest win ratio with the deck

  • Manny Gonzalez

    Noobs just get mad they can’t afford the decks and call going with meta “dickriding” if you loose to the deck then play a better deck instead of saying that the meta takes no skill. This was a pretty great article not much into articles but this one was pretty good.

    • joey moorhouse

      how much skill does it take beat a $150 gravekeeper deck with a $1,000+ dragon deck? people aren’t saying the meta is skilless (dragon vs. dragon is very skill intensive) but meta vs. non-meta is unfair, and it is unfortunate that overpowered meta decks make it impossible for people to play (and win with) the decks they really enjoy. so is there skill in the meta? yes. is there skill in beating non-meta with meta. no. thats what people dislike

      • joey moorhouse

        no but $1000 vs. $1000= skilled person wins. $1000 vs $150 = rich person wins

  • Tiffany Marie Junk

    I highly agree with this article. Unfortunetly I wont be playing either of the two top decks at nationals due to money, but I shall be there with my very first invite and playing Bro Fist or Dark Worlds (currently undecided) and trying my best to have fun. And to all the people being just plain hateful in the comments, this is the reason why females don’t like to play this game. Assholes, stop picking on Patrick and grow up. This is children’s card games for goodness sakes!

  • Tyler Gallinaro

    I have only been playing this game for a little over a year, so pardon if my inexperience in the game means you’ll disregard my comment.

    I have spent a lot of time over the past year learning the ins and outs of most of the tier, or once tier, decks, following the American and Japanese meta closely, and following the track records of YCS tops and Regional tops. I was once always in favor of the underdog deck, and still am in a lot of cases. That players who won with a tier 2 or 3 deck were obviously more skillful in the game than everyone else who played tier 1; that was of course until I played tier 1. There is a reason people tend to gravitate towards tier 1 decks and that’s because (I speak solely to competitive players) winning is the most important thing in this game, and why wouldn’t it be? Do you travel to regional’s, YCS’, and maybe even nationals to play a tier 2 deck to prove something to everyone? You came to win. So don’t hate on competitive players who go towards the subjective “best deck”. They are playing the game how they want to play it. If you want to go to a regional with chain burn then go for it, just don’t be salty when you lose to a dragon matchup round 3, and a prophecy matchup round 4, and another dragon matchup round 5. They aren’t trend hopping, less skilled players. They just probably want that top more than you do.

    I do play Dragon Rulers and I’m not a shitty player, I also didn’t spend more than a dime on this deck. I got the cards by topping locals and case tournaments with a slightly lower tier deck that I knew could win. You don’t have to drop your bank account on this game, just play it correctly and eventually you’ll be playing for free.

    • Cody Mullis

      Just because somebody won with a Tier 2 deck, doesn’t make them more skillful than anyone else. A perfect example being YCS Seattle. Read his feature matches, and then tell me you think he’s more skillful.

      • Tyler Gallinaro

        exactly my point

        • Cody Mullis

          I just want to say that I was trying to reinforce your comment. I re-read my post, and it seemed like it could come off as the opposite.

          • Tyler Gallinaro

            I realize that now, thanks buddy

  • JDude042

    Honestly I think this was a poor choice for an article. You can just look at the flood of comments below and tell that all it’s done is create a flame war with people arguing at each other. How is this supposed to be constructive again? All I got from the article was, if you want to play at a YCS level, either play Elemental Dragons and/or Spellbooks or GTFO. Ok, we get it, they’re the best two decks of the format because they have more powerful cards and combos that other decks don’t have access to. Does that mean I should just suck up my pride and be like everyone else and play something just to win? What’s wrong with aspiring to be different from the crowd and play something other than what’s labeled “the best 2 decks of the format” as long as:

    1) You know/have played your own deck well enough to know it inside and out.

    2) You’re a good player who knows the card pool and how other decks work.

    Why can’t I have fun playing the game with a deck type I enjoy and yet aspire to play at my very best with what’s available to me? Is it really that enjoyable riding the bandwagon of the current fad and then moving on to the next big thing once the former decks get phased out and are no longer considered the best decks of the format? Honestly I could really careless about consistently winning against something like Spellbooks when we’re all well aware that they have access to probably one of the most unfair first turn plays in Spellbook of Judgment. Should I really blame myself for losing in a situation like that, or should I be blaming Konami for creating a obscenely overpowered card that makes Pot of Greed look tame in comparison, not to mention let the Spellbook player have access to 3 of said card? Not every great thing lasts forever, as I recall Infernity Launcher going from 3 to 1 in the span of a few months if I remember correctly, but I may be wrong on that one.

    • Cody Mullis

      I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. This article was written and intended for COMPETITIVE PLAYERS. He is not telling you that you have to play these 2 decks or else quit Yu-Gi-Oh! Just don’t expect to play any other deck and do well! What’s so ungodly hard to understand about that?!

      • Colton Young

        Adding to this, in response to jdude, Pat is also saying that if you play a deck which is not considered “meta”, than you can not blame your losses on playing said deck.

    • Barby007

      I agree with many of your statements JDude042. Good response.

  • Johnny Site Li

    Yugioh players freak out over 2 deck formats! You need to realize how lucky you are to have as many options you do. You not only have two best decks, but lots of room for personal preference in card choices in these two decks, plus many other rogue decks that you’re more than likely to face in the first several rounds of a premier event. At any given event, you are going to face at least 4 different decks on day 1 alone, and the repeats will have different card choices!

    Look at chess players. They have only one matchup they ever get to study and prepare for: the mirror. But they don’t complain; they just strive to get better and better at that matchup.

    • Cody Mullis

      People don’t understand that during 2 deck formats, there is actually more potential for you to do better! There is a significantly smaller chance of playing a deck repeatedly that you have a god awful match-up against. This format is wonderful compared to past formats! E-Dragons especially take an incredibly amount of skill to pilot correctly, and there are fewer chances of being completely blown out turn 2 due to them opening up the OTK/Lock. This format isn’t even particularly expensive! I remember a time when people spent thousands of dollars on their decks, and in this format, you can build the best deck for under a grand! Does it suck if you can’t afford the best deck? Yes, of course it does, but Yu-Gi-Oh has always been that way, and so long as the game exists, it will continue being that way.

  • disqus_WBgnBPXXVZ

    To me, this article just stands out as inherently wrong. I disagree with the basic idea, that only the “best” and “top-tiered” decks will ever have a chance of winning tournaments consistently. Of course, right now the great decks (mostly E-dragons) are only good because Konami broke them. For most people, it’s just easiest to drop cash on this insane deck and sweep tournaments. The problem that I have with this is that you are encouraging people to stop thinking, and instead hop on to the bandwagon of these “amazing decks.” What makes a Yu-Gi-Oh player great isn’t just his ability to duel, it’s his ability to create a deck on his own, without copying it from the most recent YCS. The decks that are good at any time are only good because, at some point, one great player put in the time to find the cards that synergized best with the archetyped cards to make a great combo. Then, all the other “weaker” players copy that deck, add one or two cards, and call it their own. However, there’s about 10,750 cards. That makes around 1.2 * 10^178 different combinations of just 40 card main decks. There is going to be at least one combination of cards that can beat the “top deck,” someone has just got to put the effort in to find it.

    • Cody Mullis

      Wait, let me get this straight… You disagree… that the BEST decks… have the best chance of winning consistently…

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/best

      I think you need this…

      • Cody Mullis

        1: excelling all others

        2: most productive of good : offering or producing the greatest advantage, utility, or satisfaction

        Now, what about this definition doesn’t scream E-Dragons?

        • joey moorhouse

          god you are a pretentious douche-bag

          • Colton Young

            You are oblivious to the truth.

          • Cody Mullis

            I may be a “pretentious douche-bag”, but I’m not wrong.

  • Carl Frodge

    I would also say that winning at locals or at a big event like a YCS, National or even just a regional, with a deck that has, time and time again, proven to win, takes a huge chunk of pride out of that win. If, for instance, I took X-Sabers to Nationals, and won, I would feel a hell of a lot more pride from that win than if I took Prophecy or Dragon Rulers to that event an won, because no shit. Dragon Ruler’s or Prophecy is gonna win events, there’s no question. Whats so special about it if I win with Dragon Ruler’s rather than one of the hundreds of other people playing the same deck? Its just not something to brag about (the win yes, but the deck used for the win, hell no), and its not something I would be extremely proud of either.

    • Cody Mullis

      Because you winning Nationals wasn’t so much a matter of skill than a matter of luck. An excellent example of this is Johnny Site Li’s comment below.

      • Carl Frodge

        That wasn’t my point at all. Of course it will take skill to top or win a major event. I’m just saying its a lot less impressive to win with a deck that has been proven to win in each particular format. Whereas if a deck like Gravekeeper’s or Blackwings won the event, it would be a lot more impressive. And I would be a lot more proud of the deck choice.

  • Carl Frodge

    I think people reply with affordable decks because they don’t want to dish out a lobster at a 5 star restaurant to play a card game. Not because they have a negative opinion on the decks. Believe me, if I had an extra couple thousand dollars laying around that I absolutely had nothing better to do with than buy Prophecy or Dragon Ruler’s with, I would do it. I play affordable decks not because I hate top tier decks, but because I don’t have to dish out a load of cash just to play a game. I understand some people feel differently, but that’s just how it is. And I’m sure a lot of people are in the same boat as me.

  • _Accelerate_

    Salt everywhere

    • Cody Mullis

      Indeed

  • Matt Sprecher

    It still comes down to money. If you do not have the money to spend in one shot on all copies of the expensive cards (Dracossack, Big Eye, Spellbook of Judgement) you won’t. Most people will buy packs in hopes of pulling thoes cards, but most sell or trade them.

    All this article does though tell players is that if you want to win, spend the money.

    • Cody Mullis

      Welcome to Yu-Gi-Oh, you must be new.

      • Matt Sprecher

        Just suming up the article.

        • Cody Mullis

          I heard Evilswarms were a good deck…

  • Moolah

    Patrick, the new meta decks are 1500$ roughly, thanks for convincing me to pay a downpayment on a car for some cardboard?

    • Cody Mullis

      Evilswarm cost less than $200 to build, Dragon Rulers cost about $750. Do Research.

      • Michael

        Dracossack $130 (lowball) x3= 390.
        Big Eye $100 x3= $300
        Dragon Rulers (let’s say $5 which is low, but simple) x12 = $60
        Gold Sarc $7 x3 = $21
        Maxx “C” $5 x3 = $15
        Effect Veiler $9 x3 – $27

        That’s over $800 without Synchros, Super Rejuves, or a side deck. You’re looking at closer to $1000 than $750. I even lowballed some of them.

        Evilswarms
        Kerykeion $20 x3= $60
        Ophion $10 x2= $20
        Ouroboros = $12
        Cowboy, Blackship $20 each = 40
        Forbidden Dress $10 x2= $20
        Thunderbird + Infestation (3 each) $4 x6 =$24
        Diamond Dire Wolf, XYZ Reborn, Abyss Dweller, Maxx “C”, Safe Zone. Imperial Iron Wall, other Rank 4’s, assuming a player only uses some of those, it will put the deck over $200 for sure. Plus Mandragoras, Castors, Heliotropes, etc

  • Cody Mullis

    It’s honestly hilarious seeing how many people state that they “disagree” with you, and then list reasons that were either stated exempt at the beginning of the article, or actually agree with your premise. It’s never been a secret that 99% of the Yu-Gi-Oh player-base is a bunch of morons.

    • joey moorhouse

      it’s just you hostile fuckers in the comments section that keep fanning the flames of these “morons” maybe instead of making poorly reasoned arguments you should just stfu. then all the “morons” will have nobody to argue with. simpleton…

  • Al

    Not even worth finishing to read. This article basically says “Don’t
    play bad decks and hope to win, it’ll be your own fault when you lose,
    because you play a deck that you care about.” Not saying that playing a
    non meta deck competitively is going to give you a lot of wins, but when
    Konami says “Play these 3 decks, and nothing else” what fun is that? But it is those decks that people care
    about the most, THAT is why when something like blackwings, psychics,
    infernities, or karakuris tops during a format, people get so excited.
    You notice how THOSE are the decks people flock to, and give attention
    to, because it gives people hope for their archetypes in the current
    meta, and sparks CREATIVITY, which is something this game sorely lacks. This article is nothing more then
    the ramblings of a “pro” trying to relate to other “pros” in a response to players who share the same disappointment with where competitive yugioh has fallen to.

    • Cody Mullis

      1. You should seriously consider reading an article before criticizing it, lest your idiocy show.

      2. He CLEARLY stated that this article is for COMPETITIVE players. If you fall into this category, then you willingly forsake using a “fun/creative” deck for the sake of winning.

      Not that I expect you to understand any of that, you’ve already thoroughly proved your incompetence.

      • Al

        Why is the definition of a competitive player now “he doesn’t play Dragon rulers or Prophecy?” You can’t be competitive without playing these decks?

        • Cody Mullis

          That’s the way Yu-Gi-Oh has always been. You’re acting like have 2 best decks is a foreign concept.

          • Al

            Good point, and I realize the need for a meta in the game, I guess what I’m saying is I wish the top tiers weren’t designed to be so powerful they steamroll over all other decks with absolute ease.

          • Cody Mullis

            That’s an issue with Konami, not Pat’s article.

          • Al

            Another good point, I guess I saw it as why post an article like this trying to justify playing the best deck, if you don’t feel that it NEEDS justification. Also, It stung a bit, as this article basically shits on creativity in the competitive world. As someone who realizes that real life costs money and I can’t afford to be on the competitive scene of yugioh, my only joy in this game comes from original deck building. I don’t care who you are when you build a deck you try to make it so that your idea can compete with the meta, even when it cannot. You also take a lot of pride when you can beat that meta deck with your work of art, even if it is just only once or twice.

          • Al

            PS Cody, that was a harsh and pointedly personal response you first gave me 😛 None of that was directed at you! I can realize you wanting to come to Pat’s defense, but even then my frustration was more directed at the sentiment expressed in the article, not necessarily the articles creator. I wouldn’t hate a guy who wrote a book about Hitler before meeting him 😉 We cool Cody?

          • Alexander Hofstetter

            I think the issue is their level.

            If they were level 9, they’d be no problem. Level 7 just has too much good stuff, and it’s likely other levels would as well.

  • Aj

    I respectfully disagree with this article. We know what the best decks are, but being a better duelist has nothing to do with Dragons. I have no problem beating them with GKs.

  • Matt Sprecher

    It still comes down to money. If you do not have the money to spend in one shot on all copies of the expensive cards (Dracossack, Big Eye, Spellbook of Judgement) you won’t. Most people will buy packs in hopes of pulling thoes cards, but most sell or trade them.

    All this article does though tell players is that if you want to win, spend the money.

  • anthony wasser

    its very obvious that this format is a considered a 2 horse race being prophecy and dragon rulers. you have the “anti-meta deck” in evilswarm that can effectively shut down both top decks if built and played right. The sad thing is that many players believe that playing a tier 1 or tier 0 deck is somehow evil. Coming from a sports background its easy for me to sum it up in this way. If you want to win at a sport, you have to give yourself as many advantages as possible; watching tape, practice, weight room, etc. The teams or players who do that almost always come out on top, barring genetic freakery. The fact of the matter is, if you want to be competitive at yugioh, than you need to give yourself every advantage you can. If you can afford a dragon deck and can play it with minimal to no mistakes and you prepared for a major tournament and you walk home with a top cut finish or even better, a win than you deserve it. you had the skill to best the competition. negative feed back of this article just states how ignorant most players are when it comes to actual competition. If you can go to your locals and top with a tier 3 deck, than either youre a good player, you made a good call, or the other players were just that bad. there is a reason why the tcgplayer site that contains so many decklists is flooded with dragon ruler and prophecy lists from top cuts at many regionals. its clear they are the best decks.if you want to win in this format, either play the best deck, come up with an anti-meta deck and hope you make a good meta call, or quit complaining about the format because you’re giving yourself a disadvantage by thinking that some how playing a tier 0 or tier 1 deck is in some way evil.

  • Aaryn

    I agree that people need to adapt to the meta however many do not like using the top tier decks. Many would argue they play their tier 2 deck because they like it and its more fun to play. They might not win at big events but this children’s card game is just a hobby. It feels better to say “I won with won of the best decks” than to say “I beat the meta with my unique deck and sent players home crying” in my opinion.

  • David Zephystos Meyers

    I love this article. I just recently built my Dragon deck, and a lot of people might like to give me crap for it but my other decks I want to play just won’t cut it this format. I am a competitive player, so I say play competitively.

  • disqus_sKppB6nsR1

    says the guy who played infernities..i guess that was the best deck..right?

    • Johnny Site Li

      “The last thing I want to talk about is making meta calls. Sometimes it’s appropriate to do so and play something other than the best deck. This should be a rationalized process backed by legitimate reason why you think that your deck consistently beats the meta decks and all the rogue decks you’re likely to face in the first few rounds.”

      Infernity was an excellent illustration of this principle in the pre-ltgy format, in fact probably one of the best examples of a meta call that wasn’t the best deck in recent history. Silly me, why should I have expected you to actually read the article.

      • Anonymous

        Do you have a life?

        • Brian

          i don’t get the point of this comment. whoever authored this should be asking themselves the same question because all they’re doing is personally attacking someone they probably don’t even know on the merit of disagreeing with some previous posts on a yugioh strategy website. kinda self-defeating if you think about it.

        • Johnny Site Li

          Good argument?

  • Byron Harris

    I grinned when I read the scrap deck part haha. I play spellbooks and I decided to build scraps as a fun deck on the side. Pertaining to the article, I completely agree with what you are saying. People are foolish when heading into competitive yugioh situations such as ycs, regonals etc.Its very disheartening to think that someone has full faith in their battlin’ boxer deck when the entire field is Prophecy,dragons and Evilswarms. I greatly enjoyed this article. Keep it up sir!!!

    • Colton Young

      however, battlin’ boxer’s heave a great matchup against evilswarms and a decent matchup against dragons.

  • Bryant Greaves

    I do have to disagree with your first point a little bit, Pat – winning consistently with “low-Tier” decks against players with “high-Tier” decks DOES indicate a higher amount of skill in the player in my opinion. Like you said, it doesn’t inherently mean that worse decks are harder to play, but it DOES mean that they’re harder to win with. Somebody who can pull that off consistently (like Jeff, as you mentioned in the next paragraph) is likely a great player.

    • Johnny Site Li

      You aren’t in disagreement with Pat. Pat is arguing against using isolated examples from experience to justify a low tier deck as competitive. For example, “I beat Dragon Ruler with Scraps once, it must be a good matchup for me.” If a player is consistently beating the meta with something seldom played, then of course that player is good. Pat is not addressing such a player; he is addressing those who use narrow experiential evidence.

      • Anonymous

        you must love riding Pat’s dick. Why not let him defend himself?

        • Cody Mullis

          Pat doesn’t have time to deal with morons, he’s too busy actually being good at the game.

        • Johnny Site Li

          He already has defended himself, but the commenters are such poor readers that I am left translating. Hide behind anonymity some more.

          • Holden Hawse

            Pat isn’t even good at the game! That’s the funny part! LOL!!

  • Johnny Site Li

    I’m calling it now: page full of ignorant comments from people who aren’t near Pat’s level.

    • Anonymous

      because you are? shut the hell up and get back to riding Pat’s cock.

      • Johnny Site Li

        I mean, you could actually make an attempt to supply some sort of rational counterargument to any of the points he’s made. Your comments so far have been of the pattern “stop dickriding” and “do you have a life,” which not only demonstrates that you are incapable of making any intelligent points on the subject in question, but also hurts anyone else who might actually have good counterarguments to Patrick. You aren’t only making yourself look bad, but you’re making your entire SIDE look bad, which does a disservice to someone who might want to debate the topic with seriousness and civility. But I suppose that’s really easy to do when you’re hiding behind Anonymity.

        I’ll issue to you the same challenge I issued to Nick Habeeb in reply to Frazier’s article, who, like you, tried to argue that tier 1 decks are brainless. I’ll be in Chicago during the weekend of nats. I have a recognizable face and name, and I wear an ARG shirt. Play me in the dragon mirror for 12 games. If you win 50% of them, I’ll hand you $100 and even record myself apologizing and admit that (based on the evidence of our game outcomes) the meta is truly devoid of skill and is a coin toss. Because if what you say is true, anyone should be able to pick up the deck and go 50-50 with anyone else. Or, you know, don’t and just keep posting anonymously with personal attacks instead of rational thought. Because obviously that does a great job disproving Pat’s arguments.

        • Jordan

          I think that meta vs. meta match ups take a tremendous amount of skill especially in formats such as this one where the top tier decks are so ridiculously consistent and almost never open bad hands. I also agree that the best way to get better at the game is to start using tier 1 decks. However, when meta decks are going up against tier 3 decks it’s so incredibly easy to win that I would say it is almost brainless. There is very little skill needed to beat a junk doppel deck with spellbooks or beat a GB deck with dragon rulers. In those scenarios the person using the tier 3 decks needs to literally play perfectly to even have a sliver of a chance at winning while the dragon/spellbook player can misplay a couple times and still get an easy win. In the context of those duels (which are very common on DN and at local tournaments and are where the majority of casual players do their playing) I agree with the people who say that winning with tier 1 decks take no skill. Tier 3 decks have much less room for error and typically don’t have explosive auto-pilot plays like tier 1 decks which is why people say that tier 3 decks take more skill than tier 1 decks. I can also understand the frustration and anger people have when they are dueling perfectly with their tier 3 deck, making all of the right plays and on the verge of winning and then people like pat say, “oh hi i’m going to make a dracosack and a big-eye, destroy your field, and draw 6 cards gg. Oh and by the way I wrote an article explaining why your deck sucks and why you’re bad at the game.”

          • JDude042

            I agree with this. I don’t think someone who is playing Dragon Ruler or
            Spellbooks should be so proud about completely demolishing someone, who for all we know plays like a pro, but is using a lower tier deck. The decks are only as broken as Konami wants them to be.

            Now for instance, I was dueling a person on Dueling Network who was using Dragon Rulers and I was using Constellar. I’ll admit that I won purely on luck because I drew the right cards I needed to win. Game 1 I shut him down with Vanity’s Emptiness when he tries to make his plays, he gets incredibly angry and starts calling me a scrub for main decking a card that most people would side deck. Game 2 he goes first and opens with Light and Darkness Dragon & Dracossack. My opening hand was Breakthrough Skill, Mind Drain, Vanity’s Emptiness, Constellar Kaus, Constellar Algiedi, and Constellar Sombre. I summon Kaus, activate his effect twice to knock LADD down to 1800 and then suicide into it to wipe his field and he brings back Redox to the field. I set all my trap cards and end, Redox goes back to his hand. I flip Mind Drain in his draw phase and he gets noticeably bugged about it. He tries to banish two of his Dragon Rulers from his grave to special summon Tidal from his grave and I chain Vanity’s Emptiness. At this point, he flips out, tells me to go suck balls, and rage quits. Now how could I not be proud of watching someone who is playing “the best deck” of the format get totally demolished and be a sore loser about it?

    • Gabe

      Pat’s level?

      is he a pokemon or what? how many YCS has he won compared to all the travels he made since he start playing?

      I know A LOT of people who have from 1 to 4 YCS tops and they are still not famous because they do not have any title.

      Just look at Angel Ascensio, he topped like 4 YCS before San Diego, before that no one knew him.
      And also consider that he only plays at Cali events.

      Same for Angel Flores, he only played Cali events before guatemala and still he won 2 events .

      You are not a pro until you actually win something.

      • David Hails

        Somesort of Bane meme. Anyone? Go onnnn

  • Anonymous

    Not gonna lie, this is a load of bull. This format is more varied than 2 decks. And the term ‘best decks’ is completely relative to the environment you’re playing in, further than causal or competitive. There is no skill at all in playing the same deck as everyone else, and repeating the same moves as everyone else, because that’s what everyone else is doing. It’s pathetic really. To be 100% honest, it’s people like you that spew this BS that make people think they need to change their deck to be ‘good’. It’s a lie, and has been proven over and over. You work on theory, and that only goes so far in reality. You plan SO much on facing only ‘good decks’ that you lose to smart meta choices. And for you to shoot those decks down, and call them luck based is even more asinine. I certainly hope no one takes this article seriously. You’re doing damage to the game by even thinking this filth is worth the time it took you to write it.

    • Johnny Site Li

      Good job countering rational argument with unfounded opinions?

      • Katsumi Michishige

        How about this: I have, on 2 separate occasions (which happen to be the only 2 tournaments I’ve played in a year), I have walked into my local (Louisville), played Watts in field of Dino Rabbit, Fire Fist, HERO, Mermail, Wind-up, and Samurai, and managed to top (in one case X-0). Is this due to me “playing the best deck”? Obviously not. Is this due to me making a good meta call? Again ,obviously not. Is this due to me being good at the game? Well, you don’t see me topping YCS/Regionals anywhere, do you? This is a game of Skill, Luck, and Preparation. Any deck that is at least decently well built can do well in the hands of a player who has learned it inside and out. If that means you play E-Drag/Prophecy, sure! If that means GBs and GKs, again, sure. I honestly feel I have an advantage playing against players who swap their deck at the drop of a hat (or a regional/YCS result) simply on the fact that I’ve been playing and fine-tuning my version of Watts till I felt it was right. Another person in my area played Blackwings all the way from March 2010 format through March 2012, and consistently did well, long after BWs were no longer “BDIF”.

        The premise of this article is that you shoot yourself in the foot by not playing the latest-and-greatest deck that puts up the best results. I submit that by changing your deck frequently to keep up with those best decks changing every month, you put yourself at a great disadvantage to those who know what they are doing with their deck. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve won because my opponent was unfamiliar with their deck/cards (and this is across MULTIPLE game systems).

        Rational Argument met with Rational Argument.

        • Brian

          first off, you topping your locals with your not-the-best-decks does not really prove anything because:
          a) they’re locals (casual environment, players enter for fun, little kids go to these to play their yuma-xyz/yusei-synchro/random crap decks)
          b) anecdotal evidence is no excuse for a solid reasoning.

          secondly, your premise of “knowing a deck inside and out” because someone has played it forever precludes the notion that people can learn new decks inside and out without having stuck with it since the march 2010 format or whatever. like why is it so hard for someone to be good with e dragons just because they were playing, say, mermails only a couple weeks ago? the top players of this game often do invest a lot of time and effort into tweaking their meta decks “til they felt it was right”, so i don’t know why them playing the new top deck would make them inherently less in-tune with their card choices and interactions than some kid who’s bent on playing watts/gravekeepers/gladiators/etc for the last couple of months.

          i’m sure the “quality over quantity” trope would apply here in regards to playtesting and practice games, and i don’t see why someone who wants to strive competitively would limit themselves to an objectively inferior deck in terms of consistency, card conservation, and sheer power when decks like dragons and spellbooks exist.

          • Josh Reynolds

            Some people still have kids at their locals?

            We haven’t had a kid in years because we beat everyone so badly that they never come back.

            I kind of envy you. All we have here are like 30 16-30 year old tryhards.

        • Johnny Site Li

          The experience you shared demonstrates the importance of preparation and knowledge over deck choice. Nowhere is Patrick arguing that deck choice alone paves the way to success at this game. Patrick is comparing the potential success of meta decks vs. non meta decks. To make it a scientific comparison, you have to hold all variables equal except for the one variable you are testing. In this case, that variable is meta deck or non meta deck. While a player may beat up on unprepared pilots of top decks with something rogue, such an experiment doesn’t hold all variables equal; namely, you’re letting the rogue player have greater skill than his opponent, the meta player.

          On a practical level, if you’re going to nats, it is unreasonable to expect to get through round after round of the dragon or prophecy matchup by virtue of being more prepared than your opponent with your rogue deck than he is with his meta deck. Sure, there are always those spoiled rich kids who always get mommy/daddy to buy them the best deck and then they wonder why they keep losing since they don’t actually master said deck, but realistically you will not face such a player round and round after round. And so when you hold skill equal, the most reasonable thing you can do (if your goal is to win the event), is use the best deck possible, knowing full well that you won’t get away with punishing rich kids who don’t know how to use their expensive decks (as the further you go into the rounds, the probability of playing someone like that is effectively zero).

          • Cody Mullis

            Nothing quite like good ol’ fashioned facts.

      • Anonymous

        Have any other 8 word sentences?

    • Colton Young

      do u even realize that a mirror match is the most skillful game you can play? Generally the person who is more comfortable with the deck will win. Your argument is invalid, and you obviously are not going to improve as a player with this mindset.

      • Al

        I don’t get why everyone says the mirror match is so skilled. In any other game, video or card, one’s skill is not indicated by such things. That would be like
        making a Street Fighter game with 1 character. Mirror match only shows me who
        drew better. Yugioh is largely luck based. You get a hand, and you make due with what you have. Dragon Rulers epitomize that, it’s whoever goes first, has the better hand, goes off, then fills their hand with all the answers they need for when their opponent tries anything.