Whats going on yugi-world? First off, im going to apologize once again for my absence in writing and traveling to YCS Seattle, I had some personal things to handle but those are better now so im back! I hope everybody had a wonderful holiday and got everything that you wished for. I know the holiday season is a time for joy, family, and all that other festive activities. But there is also Yu-gi-oh! I know for myself, playing cards is a stress reliever from my everyday life and takes my mind off things that are going on. I know there are many, MANY other reasons why people play the game ranging from: traveling, seeing friends, making money, Etc. But thats not exactly the reasons why I play the game. Granted those reasons are factors why I travel to just about every YCS I can (which will be alot more this coming year!) in the past, but there is more to the story then just that. There is more to playing Yu-gi-oh then just that. There is more to Joe Bogli then just that.
So lets hammer the nail right off the bat and get into how I started playing Yu-gi-oh. I was 11 years old in 6th Grade at Windsor Locks Middle School (my hometown in Windsor Locks, CT), and I saw one of my close friends playing with these cards during our math class. Right away, I became interested because it reminded me of Pokemon! I mean, what 10-11 year old kid didnt grow up with Pokemon cards or Pokemon Red or Blue for the gameboy?? I sure know i did! But when Pokemon slowly faded out in my school due to the banning of Pokemon cards because of fights and stealing, I noticed other kids bringing Yu-gi-oh cards to school. There was no ban on those! Take that administration! Anyways, during that math class I asked just about every question I could involving the game my mind could think of. Sure enough, that same night after Karate class(yes Karate, im a 3rd degree black belt in Shaolin Kempo and recieved my black belt at 9 years old) I went to the local Wal-Mart and bought myself Starter deck Kaiba and Yugi. The next day at school, I brought my new cards thinking I was hot stuff with the mighty Dark Magician and Blue-Eyes White Dragon. But my school mates were beating me down REALLY bad. *Note: Something people don't really know about me is, I take losing with a grain of salt and I get over it rather quickly. But that doesnt mean I dont get upset over it. That night, I remember this conversation with my mom perfectly. Me: "Mom, I kept losing today at school with these new cards". Mom: "Well what cards allow you to win? What cards give you the edge?" Those two questions puzzled me. I did not know the answer! So what does an 11 year old do when they want to know something? Go on the computer of course! That is when I found out what cards gave me the edge and allowed me to start winning. What cards do you think i found? Exodia the Forbidden One and his pieces of course! I remember I was ecstatic when i saw the text "an automatic victory" because I could win finally! Im sure we all remember, when Exodia pieces were very pricey and expensive to have back in the days and having complete sets of them was hard to find as well. Until this very day, I have never asked my mom this (which i might do after im done with this article) but I came home that Friday from school and the 5 pieces of Exodia were sitting on my bed with a note saying "Go win, Love Mom". The next day, won just about every game at school with Exodia 🙂 And those same 5 pieces of Exodia stay with me at all times and are inside my Calculator Case whenever I play. Theres the starting point of my Yu-gi-oh Career! Want to find out more? Well theres plenty more where that came from!
Getting a few years down the road, im 16 years old and just got my drivers license. Mind you, this whole time ive been playing at local areas to pass the time whenever I did not have a Karate event or a baseball game/practice(played baseball since I was 4 years old, all conference/all state in high school during high school). So now that I had my license and a car, the thought of traveling to farther events since I heard about regionals and Shonen Jumps. But that didnt happen, I got more involved into baseball and my schooling that I barely even played because the time was simply not there. So I stopped playing the rest of that school year. That summer came, and guess what came back into my life? Yu-gi-oh of course! Started playing more serious at locals and went to my very first Regional! and the best part about it, I scrubbed hardcore! I dont remember much about the tournament, but I remember walking out of the building and smiling almost the entire car ride home because I had fun! It was a new step I took in my life because it opened new doors I had never opened before. After that summer was over, school came back and had to put up the cards on the shelf once again. Basically the story is the same as before, when the summer comes I get back into the dueling scene and try to travel alot more around my summer baseball schedule. But needless to say, that summer came and I got into a very bad car accident and hurt my throwing shoulder badly. Almost to the point where the doctors said I could possibly never throw a baseball EVER again. That news crippled me. Baseball was my life at that point. I was currently getting looked at by numerous schools and had my whole summer planned out for going to showcases and everything. Those were obviously put on hold due to my injury and I began my rehab to get my strength back. Over the course of a few months, I got my arm strength somewhat back and proved the doctors wrong. I was playing baseball again and throwing the ball just fine. I was a Catcher, so i had to do my fair share of throwing during the game. During my rehab though and my time off baseball, I found a even greater appreciation for the game of Yu-gi-oh because it was something to take my mind off the stress going on in my life and take me away from all the problems and everything surrounding me.
Move onto a few-ish months later when I become 18, finished off High school and everything school related and get ready for the real world ahead of me. Got one of my last summer baseball leagues I can play it because of the age group/collegiate rules. I had planned on attending Eastern Connecticut State University and play baseball for them. Everything seemed to be going well, but then, another injury game. I tore both of my Quad muscles rounding first base during one of our night games. There I am again, back into rehab and having doctors tell me I couldnt play baseball again due to the degree of my injury. Well, once again, I proved them wrong and was back on the ball diamond yet again playing the game that I loved. Not to my full potential and ability of course because of my injurys, but I was still doing work. When it came time to get into contact with my school for housing and everything, I had been denied. This puzzled me, I contact my coach and everything since I was to believe everything was fine and dandy. Come to find out, I wasnt allowed to go to that school because my transcripts were not sent out properly (thanks guidance counselors!) and because I would not be allowed to play baseball to the best of my ability before my injuries. Cant dwell over that at this point, I was content with how my life was evolving. After this all was going down, I was still involved in Yu-gi-oh playing only at local areas and regionals from time to time when I got the chance too. This was when I believe it was the end of Lightsworn format (i could be wrong but I think my time frame in my head is correct) so I didnt travel to any Shonen Jumps at this time due to funds and because I knew how hard I would get out-sacked at a major event. So I took some time off baseball and everything to focus on College and get my foot in the right direction in life. First and second semester down, and it was back to Yu-gi-oh of course!
This time was different though for some reason, it was the fall/winter break at my school and I didnt have classes until the Spring semester started because I decided to take some time off, get some money saved up, and look into buying myself a new car. This whole time passes over, and back to school I go, I still followed the game of Yu-gi-oh VERY closely and followed the meta, banlist, etc about the game so I was not a complete stranger. I still have yet to attend a Shonen Jump. But however, they were now being called Yugioh Championship Series(YCS) and I had net decked Jeff Jones Quickdraw Dandywarrior deck he used for his victory and used it at locals. The semester at school ends, I get another break, and I get invited to attend YCS Virginia (Chantilly) with a group of friends from my local area. So of course im going to say yes! Im sure if you check out the coverage on the website, you see I got a round 2 Feature Match vs Jessy Samek playing his Herald deck. I was mainly a scapegoat to fall victim against his deck, and I did. I got savaged game 2 and 3 causing me my first loss of the tournament. After that, I was on tilt ever since. *Note: sometimes during a tournament, going on tilt is a negative thing. It causes your mind to overcome itself and can cause you to make decisions during game state that can cause a misplay), I finished my first YCS ever going x-4. I know, not the biggest accomplishment but I was certainly pleased with myself because it was my first big event ever! Fast forward down the road, I attend YCS Virginia, Philadelphia, and Rhode Island before my first Nationals in 2011. I did not travel to many big events that were not close by due to my job at the time and finishing up school work but National season was approaching and the road trip was underway! Lets get into where my Yu-gi-oh Career really took off.
Steffon Bizzell, Tyler Tadeo, Pedro Clemente and a few others from my locals took the travel to Pennsylvania for the event and prepared ourselves mentally also. *Note: preparing mentally for an event is also key. It gives your mind extra time to ready itself for making the right plays during certain situations during game state. So the friday morning of Nationals 2011, Tyler, Pedro and myself enter the 3v3 tournament to mainly pass the time. But we also did it to test out decks and card choices we each made. They both played X-Sabers and I played Tengu Plants. Our team went undefeated during that event and got 1st place and the secret rare uncut sheets given out. A pretty good start to the weekend if I do say so myself! Next morning, Nationals starts, I finish day one off x-2 and prepare myself for day 2!. Im the only one in our hotel room who made day 2 so while everyone else stayed awake and did whatever, I got some MUCH needed sleep to relax my mind! I arrive in the morning for Day 2, win out all the rest of my rounds and find myself topping my very first event and my very first Nationals! Got much congrats from all my friends, took some time to calm my nerves and get ready for top 64. Needless to say, I win in top 64 vs Gravekeepers(Scott Page), top 32(Chris Biswell), top 16 (Jordan Williams), and find myself in the opportunity to make it to Worlds if I win my top 8 matchup! Top 8 begins, and it became another feature match that I eventually lose. I was devistated that I was just there at the point to make it but just couldnt overcome the obstacles infront of me. I then find out we are having a playoff for 5th and 6th place to make it to Worlds that year. I collect all my thoughts and get ready to play out. I sit down infront of Justin Womak and I honestly had NO idea what he was playing. I lost the die roll, and he goes first playing Upstart Goblin then discarding Gravekeepers Commandant for Necrovalley. In my head, I was skeptical about the GK matchup since my Tengu Plant build handled them very well (did not lose to any during swiss/top). But then i see him throw down a Geartown. My mind was extremly boggled at this point. I had NO idea what was going on. Two turns later, I get OTK'd and felt everything crashing around me as I was side decking. I won game 2 (Dont really remember how) and game 3 I won by Giant Trunade and summoning Thunder King. Just like that, I was going to Worlds! Theres where my Yu-gi-oh career started and I got my name somewhat more out in the open then just a local known player.
There you have it, the backbone of where Yu-gi-oh really came into my life and where I started to progress myself as a player. You got a little bit of my personal life into the mix and got some knowledge not alot of people know about me! Im sure other players have similar stories so comment below and ill be sure to respond! Be sure to look out for future articles by myself and fellow ARG members with the new year approaching and also video content during YCS Events! If anyone has any questions or concerns, or anything they wish to see me write about in future articles be sure to also comment below and ill be sure to look at them! Until next time, Play Hard or Go Home!