Yu-Gi-Oh! to the Third Power

Hey everyone welcome to the brand new March 2012 advanced format! Luckily this article is not going to jump on the failures of the recent Forbidden and Limited List, and instead is going to offer up a positive approach to handling your weekly Yu-Gi-Oh fix. Before I get too involved in explaining where I am going with this I feel it would only be appropriate to give an adequate introduction. As you can tell my name is Joe Giorlando and I’ve been playing this lovely game since the days of Jinzo and Gemini Elf. More recently I’ve found myself a common fixture of the YCS scene and have been able to place in the Top 32 of YCS Dallas, Orlando, Toronto, Columbus and Atlanta. Others might recognize my name from the first Alter Reality Games article contest where I placed in the final four with an article analyzing the effects of a diverse format. Well it seems as though the opportunity to write articles far more often has presented itself and I am excited to get started!

It might seem weird to say this, but a few weeks ago at YCS Atlanta the most fun I had at the event didn’t actually take place in the 11 rounds of Swiss, or Top 32. In fact my true satisfaction occurred hours after being ousted from the Main Event when I was able to sit down and participate in my first ever Cube Draft. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what I am referring to, just sit back and listen to how awesome this sounds.

In a group of four players (although eight is preferred), a pile of 440 of this game’s greatest cards were rifled through and drafted leaving us all with unique configurations of power, control and structure. I sat staring at my 40 card deck marveling at the idea of being able to play a combination of Raigeki, Dark Hole and Heavy Storm, yet all the while fearing the person sitting across from me who was able to align the dreaded Yata Garasu, Sangan, Chaos Emperor Dragon – Envoy of the End Combo. So how did this magnificent endeavor come together? Well let’s take a look at the dynamics of Cube Drafting.

As previously stated you are going to need at least 4 or 8 players to begin your draft, the numbers end up working out either way. The next thing you are going to need is a collection of 440 of the games most unique, powerful and entertaining cards (credit to Allen Pennington for coming up with the numbers and dynamics here). I’m talking everything from Destiny Hero – Disk Commander to Arcana Force 0 – The Fool to Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning. Cards on the Banned List tend to make the most exciting game states, but finding hidden gems such as Fairy Box can make for some incredibly unique matches. Once you have your players and collection of 440 different cards there are several approaches to drafting.

Rochester Draft

This style of drafting is most appropriate when you are only able to find 4 players because it can become time consuming, but is entirely worth it. In order to draft in this fashion you will need to divide your stack of 440 cards into 4 equal piles of 110 cards. From here you simply lay out all 110 cards in a given pile out so each card is viewable for all players in the draft. Now alternate the first overall selection in each pile and draft 15 cards per pile (leaving 50 undrafted per pile) and you suddenly have a pile of 60 cards! Watch as Painful Choice is flipped over in the pile you get to select first in, or Delinquent Duo is snatched up by the player picking before you!

After the 4 piles you are going to be able to put together a 40 card minimum main deck and even have 20 places open to prepare for the decks you see the players around you are drafting! So it is even important to toss a Mask of Restrict and/or D.D. Crow into the pool or be warned – the intelligent

Treeborn Frog abusing player can be tough to beat!

Pack Drafting

This style of drafting can work with either 4 or 8 players but unlike Rochester style – this works best with 8. Instead of dividing the pile of 440 into 4 equal piles, here we want to randomly construct packs that each participant will be given at the beginning of each round of drafting. In order to make the numbers work we are going to need 16 piles of 18 cards and 8 piles of 19 cards, totally 440. Once our piles are randomly divided up we can begin our pack draft!

For those familiar with the drafting styles in Magic the Gathering this is virtually identical to what you see on Friday Night Magic. All 8 players sit around the table and in the first round of drafting are given a randomly assigned  pack of 18 cards. Each player then selects one card and passes the pack to their left. This process is continued until no cards remain in the pack bringing in the second round of drafting. The second pack continues the same drafting process, but instead is passed to the right upon selection. The final pack (this time the remaining stack of 19 cards) is then again sent back to the left after selections.

Unlike Rochester style the picks of each participant are secretive and add another dimension to the actual game play. Instead of watching one player plunge into the array of Gladiator Beasts in the pool like the Rochester style allows, this drafting style rewards players for acknowledging openings in themes and strategies.

What to do next?

Well as the clocks ticks toward YCS Long Beach and you just cannot stand another Dino-Rabbit mirror match, or roll of the dice against the potential of a Wind-Up Hunter loop, why not try and enjoy the beauty that the game of Yu-Gi-Oh still has. Limited formats have never truly been supported in this game and in all honestly – it is quite a shame. I cannot tell you how much fun I had sporting my Gladiator Beast Apprentice Magician Removal Deck in the few hours I had left before leaving the convention center Sunday night in Atlanta, so please try and design the first cube in your area!

For reference this is the deck I ended up with in my first Cube Draft!

1 Gladiator Beast Laquari
1 Gladiator Beast Bestiari
1 Gladiator Beast Retiari
1 Gladiator Beast Hoplomous
1 Gladiator Beast Darius
1 Gladiator Beast Equeste
1 Gladiator Beast Andal
1 Gladiator Beast Lanista
1 Apprentice Magician
1 Crystal Seer
1 Old Vindictive Magician
1 Magician of Faith
1 Night Assailant
1 Exiled Force
1 Spirit Reaper
1 Card Trooper
1 Cyber Phoenix
1 Greenkappa
1 Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer
1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
1 Light and Darkness Dragon

1 Graceful Charity
1 Dark Hole
1 Raigeki
1 Heavy Storm
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Change of Heart
1 Snatch Steal
1 Ekibyo Drakmord
1 Last Will

1 Trap Hole
1 Bottomless Trap Hole
1 Dimensional Prison
1 Solemn Warning
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Swift-Attacking Scarecrow
1 Fairy Box
1 Ring of Destruction
1 Waboku
1 Mirror Wall

If anyone has any feedback for this article, other forms of drafting you might already do or any stories about how the first Cube Draft in your area went please comment and let me know! I’m hoping to start jumping into some Yu-Gi-Oh Theory articles soon, so if you have a burning passion to know something all the more reason to comment down below! Thanks guys!

- Joe Giorlando

Joe Giorlando

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