You enter you’re first locals after casual playing with your friends. The pairings are posted and you sit down. You’re heart is pumping hands are sweating and he looks calm, collective and more experienced. You think to yourself, “there’s no way I can win” and that is when you have already lost.
Hello, my name is Michael and I have been around the Yu-Gi-Oh competitive gaming scene since 2008. Since then I’ve topped a regionals, made two very close SJC top 8’s (placing 15th at SJC SF and 26th place at SJC LA), and have qualified for nationals since then. But like many if not all of Yu-Gi-Oh players did not start out strong. My first locals I was dominated by Lightsworn players, I didn’t even stand a chance and the whole tourney I didn’t get one win. It was discouraging but I didn’t give up and entering tournaments.
Since then I’ve learned many and important tips for beginners and some for veterans and I would like to share them with you now.
1. Test deck frequently- Now the first tip sounds obvious. To test your deck against the meta or what you believe will be popular. Now if you’re just starting then test your deck with a few people at your locals. Make new friends and learn basics from them. Ask for tips, play frequently, and you will gradually get better and will start winning in tournaments. For more veteran players play test your deck until you have it memorized. Knowing what’s left in your deck and simple math can be the deciding factor of whether you make a certain play or not. For example, last regionals my opponent and I were top deck decking. He is at 2000 life points and I am at 4200. He top decks a Blackwing- Shura the Blue Flame and hits me for 1800. I draw my card, a dead Soul Exchange. Now I know I’m playing against a Blackwing player so if I special summon my treeborn frog and leave It on the field his Shura will get a free monster. However, I am at only 2400 lifepoints left, if he draws any monster he will take the win. A quick scan of my graveyard shows that I haven’t used that many monarchs this game. I have a 41 card deck and I count my graveyard to show that I have 16 cards left in my deck. I only used 1 Caius the Shadow Monarch the whole game leaving 2 left in my deck along with 3 Raiza and 1 Dark Dust spirit. So I have 6 cards I can draw to win. Therefore, I have a 37% of drawing into a monarch. Now I also noticed that I haven’t used a monster reborn either. So I pitched my dead soul exchange reviving my fishborg blaster, synchro’d for Formula Synchron and drew a Raiza for game. Learning your deck and its weaknesses is key to victory.
2. Try other decks- Something I didn’t learn until much much later in my Yu-Gi-Oh career. Play other decks, learn them just you would do your own deck. By playing other meta decks you learn how to beat them. You learn their weaknesses, their play style, and how they adapt. Think about driving a car. Yes you can read about its specs about it online but its different from actually driving the car. Know your opponents inside and out and you’ll have an edge
on the competition.
3. Never and I mean NEVER underestimate your opponents- You sit down, your opponent sets down a structure deck paper mat, most people would be thinking “I’m playing some scrub”. Never do that, I have a friend who uses that to his advantage. Just because they’re young or appear to have nothing does not mean that they cannot beat you.
4. You will lose learn from it- As a player one must realize that there will be times where you draw really bad or your opponent draws the nuts. Accept the fact that not all decks are 100% consistent there will be bad hands. But see what in your deck isn’t working and replace it with something that would work.
5. Always keep track of your own lifepoints- Let’s be honest not everyone in the Yu-Gi-Oh committee is honest and will do whatever they can to win. If you let your opponents keep track of lifepoints then you risk the chance of them tampering them for their own gain. Have a pen and paper at your side or at least a calculator to keep track of BOTH you and your opponent’s lifepoints.
That’s about it. I hope everyone learns something and continue to grow as players. This is Mike signing out.