The Future of Yu-Gi-Oh: The ARG Circuit Series

joe giolandoSo I was on the fence about writing an article regarding the Alter Reality Games Circuit Series. Obviously there are countless things to write about concerning how monumental of a moment this can be for Yu-Gi-Oh, but I felt some hypocrisy in the fact that I will not personally be attending the first couple events. Granted I will be in attendance for the third installment of the Circuit Series, seeing as how it will be right around the corner from me in Worcester, Massachusetts. But one way or another, I think it is something I want to get off of my chest and hopefully my position is not hindered by my inability to attend the first few ARG Circuit Series. Unfortunately with student teaching and my final courses in Grad. School coming up - I may have to put Yu-Gi-Oh on the backburner a bit, including YCS events let alone these.

Anyway, for those who are not aware Alter Reality Games has put in motion the plans to hold what will be known as Alter Reality Games Circuit Series. The first event is in a mere few weeks in the great state of Texas. For those of you who follow Magic the Gathering, the closest comparison would be what Star City Games has been able to hold virtually every week of the year. Obviously the structure of our events will not be able to replicate what SCG accomplishes each week for the sheer nature of the support SCG already holds. There are players who regularly attend every SCG Open, and while we are hoping that can be the protocol for the ARG Circuit Series, it will come in time. Holding the ARG Circuit Series to the measuring stick of what SCG is able to accomplish from day 1 is a bit of an injustice and impractical expectation. Now do not get me wrong. That is the ultimate goal down the road. But SCG has had years of experience to perfect their production and it should be expected that we improve from event to event. From what type of coverage we have, to the format of presenting tournament coverage, these are things which can improve but rely on you the fans. For example, SCG already has perfected the immense responsibility of providing live video coverage. That is something we would love to accomplish as a company. But undertaking an event of this magnitude, and trying to replicate a model which took numerous attempts to perfect, would be a poor endeavor. Though I can promise you, everything you wish from the ARG Circuit Series is a possibility. We want live video coverage with commentators. We want deck profiles in between the rounds. We want interactive camera angles on feature matches. We want detailed analysis of the tournament field. We want it all. But trying to strive for it all in the first few productions would hinder our ability to adequately achieve each of those goals. But you have my word - we want it. We want it bad.

If you have suggestions after the first few events as to what can be done in order to improve the product, you should speak up. It is in the better interest of all of us to produce the best possible product.

Can you believe that competitive Yu-Gi-Oh started over ten years ago? Over a decade and there has yet to be a consistent string of competitive level tournaments outside of what Konami has run? Sure there has been a 1K here or a case tournament there, but nothing consistent outside of regionals and YCS/SJC tournaments. That is why this is a big deal. Can you imagine what would happen if the ARG Circuit Series could consistently get 300 person tournaments every week? 400? 500? 1000? One of the most fascinating aspects of Magic the Gathering is how fast their formats develop. Because of tournaments like SCG, on top of the Wizards run Grand Prix series, there is always a competitive tournament to analyze the results of. Did you see how much influence each World Championship Qualifier has on one another? Well just throw a tournament between every week and watch how fast things can develop. That is exactly what divides the metagame progressions of Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic the Gathering. Metagaming for certain tournaments exists in both games, but you have almost a month between significant events in Yu-Gi-Oh to prepare. This volume of tournaments could speed up the process of metagaming to a level never before seen. Tech choices are discovered and deemed old in less than two weeks because the player base has moved on to the perfect counter or more ideal card selection. It could be some pretty amazing stuff. Hyperspeed metagaming has the potential to develop interesting trends in stale formats. Who knows. Maybe that Madolche deck from the North American World Championship Qualifier is a sufficient enough counter to what Dragunity, Dragon Ruler and Prophecy is trying to accomplish. If there were enough events each month, the player base would have found that out and made a conclusion a week ago.

The most obvious advantage of these events is the dramatic leap in terms of prize support in comparison to what Konami provides the player base at their premier level tournaments. Now I totally understand why that is. I have sat down and spoken to members of Konami as to why their prize structure is the way it is, why there are no YCS events at GenCon each year and other gripes I have with the game. There are legitimate reasons confronting Konami and the Yu-Gi-Oh trading card game in terms of providing the prize support that the player base probably deserve or the style of tournament we have been so eagerly requesting (remember when I wrote that article salivating over the Magic World Cup? how about 3 v. 3 YCS?). Konami of Japan and their image of Yu-Gi-Oh presents an obstacle that will probably never subside. And because of that, Konami of America has their hands tied with what they can actually present as prize support. Unfortunately nothing on that front is going to change in the future, and the ARG Circuit Series is the closest thing we may ever get to legitimate prize support. But ARG Circuit events may also be the avenue to the equivalent of 3 v. 3 events, or eventually some type of annual World Cup. Who knows what the future may hold. But all of those things Konami fails at providing, maybe, just maybe ARG Opens can be that hope.

circuitfortwortheventpagephotoIf enough players treat these events like they are YCS events, then they will replace YCS events in terms of importance. They have better prizes than YCS events, and the potential to break the barriers which hold Konami back. Honestly, if the articles posted by Sam Pedigo, Kris Perovic and myself did not change Konami's perspective on Yu-Gi-Oh last year - will anything? Will Yu-Gi-Oh ever reach the level it should? Nope, 100% will not. Konami of Japan is not ruling over ARG, and we do not view this as a children's card game. The potential is there people. Let it happen. Attend these events. Watch as we grow our brand and the product we present. Watch us improve from event to event. The future may finally be upon us.



Joe Giorlando

Latest posts by Joe Giorlando (see all)



  • Eric Ortiz

    All I can say is.. more premier events is the best thing I’ve heard in a long time. I like the 4 banlist a year thing and now if ARG can visit California.. now that would be great. Our regionals are easily 1000+ with many getting sent home because they can’t take in any more players. Konami should bring us more premier events, I know that SJC’s in Anaheim or Los Angeles were extremely, record-setting successful. With such a large player base here, I hope that ARG can bring us some large scale tournaments more often than once every 3-4 months (and by large scale i mean anything above hobby league level) because quite frankly we don’t get any YCS tournaments here and I don’t know why.

  • Merik Lobo

    I’m 100% behind this idea. Though, I’m unsure about the idea of 3 v 3 duels. 2 v 2 Definitely works, however. I’m sure you’re aware, but it’s called “Tag Dueling” and a working version of it has been in the video games for ages now.

  • Hobomagician

    PLEASE get some events in Florida. We need them bad. We won’t be having any major events for a long time so I’m hoping an ARG open will be held in Florida at some point.

  • Jason Aaron Williams

    The problem I see with these tournaments is. With out Invites all these tournaments are is Over size Unofficial Locals. Really I do not see what the point is yes we players belive we deiserve better prizes but given the fact It is Konami’s game it is their call yes I do think Konami should have better prizes but because the finally desison’s rest Konami.

  • Johnny Site Li

    If this series grows, I hope it can get to a point where we can have a petting zoo with live animals for people to visit in between rounds.

  • Andrew Barner

    I can see a tag duel YCS or 4-player battle royale

  • 92blueblood_la

    Itd be smart to set up events in large areas, such as anaheim ; )haha.i don’t see why we wouldnt respond well to superior prize support. Word does need to spread though

  • Bryant Greaves

    Hell yes ARG. I hope you guys get the support to rock this game and provide a truly competitive experience beyond what Konami wants to do.

  • spencer johnston

    i think this is a genius revelation that can easily forever change the game for the better. i’m incredibly excited to see the results of it. i unfortunately will not be able to attend the first few due to my job (military deployment)

    i hope these events grow larger than a YCS event and look forward to attending one when given the chance to do so.

    i would like to suggest one is placed in the California area. i think in the past it has always had large turnouts for events, even regionals. if i had to pick a place to start growing these events i can’t think of a better place. although Texas is a close second.

    GOOD LUCK ARG, help us make this game what it should be!

  • Andrew

    isn’t the no cash prize thing something that konami of japan follows because it was kazuki takahashi’s wish or something like that?

    • Jason Aaron Williams

      Yes he made it clear No Cash tournaments it was one of the few things that led to Bandai losing their rights to the game because beside their idea of how to run the game they wanted to do Cash tournaments.

  • Tyler Condrey

    I think getting payed to play yugioh is stupid. It is a hobby that is why most people play to do something with there time that they enjoy. When you pay out prize support people are going to be more likely to cheat at this game then people already do. This will ruin yugioh if something like Star City Games is started if you want cash tournaments go play Magic. The game of yugioh is not designed for that. I agree the prizes need to be better but then after all if it was that big of a deal no body would play.

    • Ikaxas

      This isn’t about cash prizes. Prize support is just one aspect of Konami’s tournament system that is lacking. Frequency and coverage are also major, major faults. We don’t get deck profiles from them, we barely get top cut layouts. There’s maybe 1 or 2 feature matches a round, even during top cut. There’s no live coverage whatsoever. And YCS’s only happen once a month or so, and in six month (now four month) formats, that’s not enough premier-level tournaments.

    • Jonpierce

      How is Magic designed with cash prize support mind, more so than YuGiOh? Pretty sure I’d love to get paid to play I game I enjoy ._.

      • Jason Aaron Williams

        Because unlike YGO Magic is not controled by so many people. YGO is controled by more then just 1 compy

        1. S Jump and its Japan Counter part
        2. Takahase
        3 Konami of Japan
        and I think there are 2 others

        Magic is controled an done by
        Wizards.and Hasbro

        • Merik Lobo

          I fail to see how that furthered your side of the argument.

    • Michael Woods

      Not true, you forget, theres more than players who just play for fun. Your argument is 1 sided. So many people play competetively bc its been thier dream to be noticed as a good player since they were young. I play this game 2 ways. For fun, and also competetively. If im not at an event, I have fun with it. But as soon as I go to an event, I put my game face on and show no mercy. I play to win. Im very competetive when i go places besides a friends house, or locals to play. This is MUCH needed for the game. If they were closer to TN id go.

  • Matt

    We need these in the UK and Europe lol