European Yugioh and American Yugioh – What is the Difference?

Hello Yugioh Community! Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays to all of my fellow duelists! I am back this week having just returned from my transatlantic trip to YCS Brighton. Sadly, I was not able to capture a spot in the top 32, but it was still a great experience. Being an American duelist I was not sure what to expect, but I assumed a YCS was a YCS no matter what country it was being held in. This proved to be very true, but there were definitely some pretty significant differences in the European game and the American game. Today I want to look at the differences between the European and American game and dispel some of those stereotypes on one country being more skilled at the game than the other.

Question of the Article: If you could play in a YCS in any country which one would it be?
Don’t forget to answer the question of the article in the comments below!

Different Legal Cards

When I sat down to duel my round one opponent at YCS Brighton, I chatted easily with all of the players around me and came to find out that since cards like Dark Highlander and Elemental Hero – The Shinning had not been mass released over in Europe they were not legal for player’s to use in sanctioned events. This was a startling revelation. Both of those cards see a decent amount of play in America and with not having access to Elemental Hero - The Shining, it completely ruled out a whole deck type from being run at this European YCS. It may not seem to have a big impact on the overall outcome of the YCS, but I took a loss to the Elemental Hero Anti-Meta deck during the swiss rounds of YCS Columbus, so I was more than relieved to find out I would not have to go up against this deck.

Dark Highlander has been becoming more popular ever since the release of the Dark World Structure deck. Being able to use Fabled Raven, Discard Beigge, and synchro for a Level seven Dark Highlander has been a key play in many American Dark World decks. All the Dark World players not having access to this Krystia like Synchro Monster might be why Fabled Raven’s popularity in the European Dark World decks was so low. As you can see just having a couple cards not legal can create a pretty drastic change in what decks are run and how they are built.

The Atmosphere

I have attended many major events over my Yugioh career, but I can say without a doubt that I have never seen as many friendly players as I did this past weekend at YCS Brighton. In America there is a pretty obvious smell of competitive spirit in the air and this can sometimes result in a fairly unfriendly atmosphere. At YCS Brighton this was just not the case. I am not saying the player’s were not competitive, because everyone wants to win of course, but it just seemed as if everyone was just happy to be there. There are a couple of factors that I think can contribute to this friendly atmosphere. In Europe they only get around 3 major events a year so when they are able to hold one it is a pretty special event as opposed to the USA where we have a YCS almost every single month. The other factor was probably the production of the event which goes hand in hand with my previous statement. Since they have such few events they are able to put much more into holding a YCS. The production of YCS Brighton was comparable to that of the World Championship Qualifier this past summer. The feature matches were projected on to a screen, there was a life size Stardust Dragon, the prizes put on display, and Banners everywhere. It’s pretty hard not to have a good time no matter what your record is when you see so much effort put into the tournament itself.

A look at the Judging

This topic was probably one of my biggest concerns going to the European YCS. Since I have attended almost 50 major events I have become very familiar with how the judge process works with appeals, warnings, rulings, disqualification, etc. I knew that they did not have few events so I was not sure if these procedures would be carried out the same way as they are in America. I can say that some of the lower level Judges did not have the greatest knowledge of how things are supposed to work, but the head judge was on top of everything as far as I could tell. I was certainly pleased with how smoothly things went with most player to player altercations.

Something new that I got to see dealt with was language barriers. In America this is very rarely a problem as most players speak English, but being in Europe there were many player’s from many different countries all speaking different languages. I thought the judging staff handled this amazingly having translators help figure out situations and come to the most logical conclusions. This aspect of the tournament was pretty impressive.

The Top Players and Level of Skill

At an American YCS there are a lot of well known players who attend these events, but since Europe has so few major events it is much more difficult to know when you are sitting across from a really good player or someone who doesn’t know how to use their deck to the best potential. Poker and Yugioh are quite alike in this sense. If you are a very good player and your opponent doesn’t know it, you can catch them off guard and take advantage of this fact. I know from personal experience at YCS Brighton, I had to sit down everyone I was playing against was on the skill level to win a YCS Championship. This hurt and helped me. It insured that I never underestimated my opponent, but when I did play against players who skill level was not as high as it could be, it would be much harder for me to take advantage of this fact.

On many Yugioh online forums it is easy to see that there is this “war” going on between which parts of the world has the best Yugioh Players. After attending YCS Brighton I have come to the conclusion that there is no answer to this question. During my stay, I saw some players who were not as good as they could be, but at the same time I was enlightened by some play styles of their players. I would watch Claudio Kirchmair wielding his Dark World deck and be blown away. He would have something like 2 cards in hand( a Dealings and a Snoww for example) with one card to his back row, he would remove his glasses, wipe his eyes, and then “let Grapha take over”. In a matter of a few moments he would have turned his field into a couple copies of Grapha, a few back row, and 5 cards in hand. It was really quite the sight. Claudio and many other European players really impressed me with how well they could play the game. Even though they are so limited on the amount of major events they can attend, it is easy to see that they also have their fair share of top notch duelist just like we have here I America.

Conclusion: YCS Brighton was an eye-opening experience for me. I did not do as well as I had hoped, but had an enjoyable Yugioh experience at the same time. I learned that even though we are playing the same basic card game there are some key differences; these differences range from which cards are even legal to play, the overall atmosphere of the tournament, to judges having to deal with language barriers. I was thoroughly impressed by the level of skill of many European duelists and think they have a lot to offer the game of Yugioh.

Thank you for reading I hope you enjoyed what I had to share from my experience at YCS Brighton! Play Hard of Go Home!

Stay tuned for next week when I write about how to beat the new up and coming deck Inzektors!

-Billy Brake
-YCS Columbus and Toronto Champion