Knowledge and Action: The State of Yu-Gi-Oh

“Knowledge must come through action; you can have no test which is not fanciful, save by trial.”

Sophocles, (496 BC - 406 BC)

One way or another, I think it is safe to assume you have come across Kris Perovic’s pair of articles from last week. His first article can be found here: and article two here: From the perspective of a Yu-Gi-Oh player, these two pieces of work surely ignited a spirited response from the community, and in turn, have sparked an endless debate regarding its content. Regardless of my opinion on the entirety of his work, the fact that this debate has spurred is beneficial to the game as a whole and I want to make that point clear before I explore my own criticisms. I am going to try and put my best foot forward in articulating an educated response to Perovic’s work, analyzing the areas where we are in agreement, but vividly refuting the things we disagree on. It is my hope that at the conclusion of this article that there is a better understanding of the role of Alter Reality Games, the concept of a superstar, but also a profound commitment by those who care about this game to seek improvements from Konami.

Where Kris got it wrong

It needs to be understood that there are two dramatically different pieces of writing in question. Perovic made an effort in his second article to acknowledge the tone of his first, but did so without relinquishing the premises of his first. In the second article Perovic says:

I understand how unfair it was of me to criticize some folks without paying any homage to their good intentions or the good they do in areas unrelated to my criticism; however, I still stand by most of my criticisms and what follows will serve to reaffirm my views in a more appropriate manner.

Had Perovic been more emphatic in his second article to retract on statements in his first, I may be less inclined to write this article. However, that was not the case, and while the second article was delivered with a far more appropriate tone, the emotional response he elicited from certain statements in the first still stand.

Do superstars exist today?

One of the major themes that is present between both articles is this illusion that the there no longer exists superstars in the game of Yu-Gi-Oh. Perovic even opened his first article by stating, “So let me tell you what I know: once upon a time, YGO had superstars.” I think it is safe to say what Perovic meant when he used, “once upon a time.” From there Perovic elegantly takes you back through a tour of old Metagame coverage, picking out events where legendary players such as Theerasak Poonsombat hoisted the Shonen Jump trophy. His hyperlink to Shonen Jump Phoenix 2007 is then coupled with the finals from our most recent Yu-Gi-Oh Championship Series in Providence. The dynamic that Perovic is trying to portray is that the game was once dominated by a breed of players inherently superior to those of today, for why else would a relative unknown walk away with the championship gold in today’s day and age?

The fundamental issue I take with this type of assumption is the failure to understand how much the game has evolved since the days of Theerasak. You see, Perovic is wrong when he says there once existed a day when Yu-Gi-Oh had superstars. A more appropriate statement would resemble something like the following. There once existed a day where the game of Yu-Gi-Oh encouraged superstars.

The game does not suddenly lack superstars like Perovic seems to imply, Konami has just done everything in their power to drown their significance out. The days when Max Suffridge was winning Nationals were dramatically more in his favor than the ones we current play under. I wrote an article entitled, “Slicing the Top Cut,” where I made an argument that the possibility of the North American World Championship Qualifier cutting to a Top 128 was laughable. However, the sheer possibility of that happening should go to show you where Konami puts their efforts as a company. Perovic was sure to call out Konami as being the primary bane of Yu-Gi-Oh’s existence, and he most assuredly was correct, but he failed to illustrate how influential they are in defining the roles of superstars.

Unfortunately, the days of Goat Control and tempo based Monarch decks are long gone, and as a replacement we see overpowered and mishandled abominations as their replacements. But make no mistake about it, this was most certainly a coordinated effort by Konami to expand their brand, and with YCS attendance numbers where they are, is anyone in position to fault them? The potential for decks like Six Samurai, Wind-Up, Dino-Rabbit and so on, to establish game sequences that would allow the average-Joe to defeat the likes of Jae Kim, without ever taking into account skill level, is a nightmare for the competitive Yu-Gi-Oh player, but perfect marketing for a business like Konami. I think I have written about this element of the game countless times before, but this article could not be written without acknowledging it exists yet again. Konami is a business, and at the end of the day the casual fan base is always going to out number the competitive player base. As much as I would enjoy the game, if the majority of the player base knew they had little opportunity to sit down and defeat superior players, why would they play? I would love to argue this is more of an indictment on the individual player, but Konami would just not agree. So instead they have designed formats specifically intended on bridging the gaps between luck and skill, with the hopes that enough casual players will invest in their product, knowing a fully armed Wind-Up deck can take down even the pinnacles of the game.

Yet, even with the undeniable effort of Konami to stack the deck (for lack of a better phrase) against highly skilled players, there have been a crop of players that continually persevere past the blockade and excel on the YCS circuit. There is a reason people knew who Billy Brake was long before Alter Reality Games came about, and the same goes for countless other players. Not to mention the opportunity players have had to stake out a name for themselves in the midst of such a volatile tournament environment (ex. Sam Pedigo).  Perovic himself included the following definition of superstar in his second article:

A high-profile and extremely successful performer or athlete.

What exact aspect of this definition do the players of today fail to meet? Not only do the superstars of today qualify under the definition Perovic offered, they do so under circumstances where they are meant to not. Dale Bellido won a Shonen Jump Championship in a format where he had a tremendous amount of influence on the outcome of each and every game he played. The players of today enter each event full well knowing they are going to loss rounds because of the irrationality of the format. That leaves virtually no leeway between having a successful tournament, and walking away disappointed with your finish. Trying to argue that superstars do not exist in present day Yu-Gi-Oh blatantly ignores the definition of the term, while evaluating the game during two entirely different time periods. Not only do superstars exist, they exist in spite of the best efforts of Konami and the formats they create, as opposed to the days where superstars existed because of the format.

Do superstars exist today? Answer: Yes

So if superstars still exist today, what else did Perovic argue in his article? Upon reading both of his articles, it is impossible to ignore the part of his writing that pertains to this idea that superstars of the past innovated and inspired to an unmatched degree. Take this line for example:

Superstars have traditionally influenced others and earned their admiration by performing well at events, innovating in deck building, or sharing some of their insights with the community directly.

Or perhaps:

Ordinary duelists admired all of these superstars and generally aspired to be just like them. But then something happened. The superstars moved on with their lives and their admirers, lost in the shuffle, eventually moved on to new and pointedly inferior sources of admiration.

Are the superstars of today inspiring?

This happens to be a question I take to heart, because; do you want to know the truth? Kris Perovic was my favorite player when I was younger. Go figure. Anyway, what is important to understand is that the inspiration Perovic speaks of; is exactly what motivated me to become the player I have today. But what Perovic fails to understand is exactly what his generation did to inspire the Metagame followers,  and what the current crop of superstars are doing. Perovic was among a laundry list of successful players from the days of Metagame, but their name was recognizable because of their consistent tournament success. The sheer definition of a superstar, as we previously discussed, is what quantified how inspirational these players were. The issue I take up with Perovic’s criticism of today is how this dimension of the game has suddenly eroded in his eyes.

The superstars of today certainly perform well at events, as Perovic stated was a dimension of inspiration. But what about their deck building innovations? This seems to be a tremendous factor in understanding how inspirational players are, or at least is included amongst Perovic’s definition.

Comparing the innovations of 2007 to 2012 is an inherently flawed process. During the days of the Comic Odyssey/Team Overdose rivalry the card pool was limited to an array of versatile options, which in turn corresponded with the types of decks that were played. The major development in the last few years has been the emergence of themes. Themes have allowed Konami the ability to readily adapt their metagame, understand the role they have in competitive play and better gear products for sale. For example, the Blackwing archtype has been one that Konami has manipulated to extraordinary extents over the last handful of years. There was once a time you could sleeve up three copies of Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind with three copies of Black Whirlwind. The existence of these strictly themed based cards has allowed Konami to monitor the strength of the deck in relation to the rest of the format. This has then allowed Konami to properly handle any limitations they deem necessary, that would specifically harm the Blackwing archtype. Other examples of these themes in the current format can include Inzektors, Wind-Ups and Dark World. As a matter of fact, the majority of the metagame over the course of the past several years have been theme-based decks.

The major flaw with these themes is that it dramatically limits the room for innovation. When constructing a Wind-Up deck, you certainly have the options of Compulstory Evacuation Device or Dimensional Prison, but no one is going to call you an innovator for fitting in a Forbidden Lance. Occasionally you see the likes of Jeff Jones take a Psychic deck to the finals of a YCS, but more often than not, there truly is no room for dramatic innovation.

The days that Perovic is comparing the current crop of players to, was the complete opposite. Theerasak’s T-Hero deck from the summer of 2007 became so popular, people will literally use it to refer to the format. But would he be able to do the same in the current format? Now don’t get me wrong. If Theersak were to consistently play today, I have no doubt in my mind he would be a successful player. But are you going to tell me he wouldn’t be using some types of themed deck? Or for that matter, if he had been playing the past three years, how often would he have strayed from themes? With no disrespect to Theersak, something tells me he would be registering a theme the vast majority of the time.

Now even with the daunted existence of themes, there have been a few opportunities for the current crop of players to do some innovating. Heading into YCS Toronto 2011 there was a tremendous amount of hype behind Agents. Upon the limitations on Lonefire Blossom, Pot of Avarice and Debris Dragon, a significant portion of the Yu-Gi-Oh community brushed off Tengu Plants as a viable deck. Isn’t it funny how we now often refer to this format (before the release of Rescue Rabbit) as Tengu Plant format?  Go back and look at the top cut from YCS Toronto 2011. You will see names such as Billy Brake, Alistar Albans, Frazier Smith, Sean Montague, Jessy Samek, Matt Bishop and myself. Guess what we were all running? Tengu Plants. Most of us had some minor preferences in terms of the number of hand traps, but the core of the deck was consistent throughout. I will be the first to say that there was an incredible amount of discussion going between us in the weeks leading up to Toronto. Would this be considered innovating? I guess that is for you to decide. But in the current game, this is about as close as you’re going to get.

Let me even bring up an example that will be near to Perovic’s heart. I don’t think anyone is going to deny he was the architect behind all versions of Diamond Dude Turbo that existed once Dimension Fusion and Elemental Hero Stratos were limited to one. He took his first version to the finals of Shonen Jump Houston 2007, when everyone thought the deck was dead.

Would a comparison of his success with DDT be similar to Billy Brake from YCS Indianapolis? I’m not sure about you, but I certainly wasn’t hearing a lot of noise from the Yu-Gi-Oh community about Inzektors. They seemed to have lost two of their vital pieces (Hornet/Dragonfly vs. Dimension Fusion/Stratos) and both deckbuilders needed to find a way to compensate for the changes. I guess that is also for the reader to decide.

So if players today are as consistent as those of the past, and innovate to the highest degree they possibly can, what was the last part of Perovic’s statement? Oh yes, sharing thoughts or insights directly to the community.

I was a little confused with this tidbit of information. Now I don’t doubt that Perovic and other superstars of the past may have shared their information among certain groups of people, but to the entire community? I’m sorry but I was scouring Metagame and various forums during those time periods for as much information as I could absorb. Certainly there were the select individuals like Jae Kim and Evan Vargas who wrote weekly articles, but I never recall someone like Kris Perovic explicitly sharing his information to the public. As a matter of fact, I have personal experience with the exact opposite.

As I just mentioned, I happened to be quite the forum extraordinaire back in the day. Let me tell you a little story from December of 2006. Upon the emergency banning of Cyber-Stein, the Yu-Gi-Oh community went into an uproar. Just a few weeks before Shonen Jump Orlando, the dueling community had no idea where to turn. Suddenly the bane of the game’s existence was nerfed, and the release of Gadgets were days away. My 15 year old self used some common sense and realized that the lack of Cyber-Stein in the metagame may open things up for other types of OTKs. The OTK I was specifically considering was Ben-Kai. Seeing as how people were less likely to be siding things such as Waboku or Threatening Roar, the time seemed just ripe to post a Ben-Kai deck on

Three days later I received an unusual instant message from none other than Kris Perovic. I vaguely remember the conversation, but I most assuredly remember the reason he messaged me. He explained to me that he was searching around Pojo in hopes that no one else had put two and two together regarding the banning of Cyber-Stein. He had come to the same conclusion I had. He had been considering a Ben-Kai OTK deck at the upcoming Shonen Jump Orlando, but his plan would most certainly be foiled if there was a sudden spike in the amount of OTK hate out of the side board. He kindly asked me to remove my post on Pojo in exchange for the heralded OD Burn decklist that decimated the previous New York regional. So as you can see from my edit on December 28th, 2006: My Ben-Kai decklist went down.

So I am confused how Perovic can list insight contributions to the public as a perimeter in order to grade one’s inspiration. Now I am not going to sit here and tell you that every player, from every generation needs to open their book of secrets. As a matter of fact, I believe the contrary. But members of Alter Reality Games could have kept quiet about Needle Ceiling, Soul Taker, Messenger of Peace, Level Limit – Area B and so on, but guess what? We opened up about them. Billy could have kept his Inzektor decklist secret at the conclusion of YCS Indianapolis. But yes again, you found an article the day after the event. Konami doesn’t even post Top 32 decklists any more. Jeff could have kept his Psychic deck a secret forever, but you found his decklist up on ARG before Day 2 even began. So with that I am not sure where Perovic can get away with the following statement: My view is such that the new generation of YGO superstars have proven themselves unable or unwilling to supply these answers to the community, or at least inspire the community to answer these questions for themselves.

Do you want to know what is inspiring? I will tell you want inspired me about the old superstars. Their ability to show up to every event and be the first person I wanted to watch. I cannot tell you how much I learned about this game by standing over the shoulder of someone like Jerry Wang or Lazaro Bellido. There was once a time in this game where you could go to any given YCS or SJC and almost guarantee a list of names that would be in attendance. I remember the days where I wasn’t able to attend every single YCS, and I was almost more excited to watch people play than anything else. That was inspirational to me. Perhaps I might be the only one, but something about the word inspiration needs to be understood. What was inspiring to Perovic (Comic Odyssey and their ability to collect every Cyber-Stein) and I are going to be two entirely different things. If Perovic wants to state that Theerasak was more inspiring to him than Billy Brake, that is his prerogative, but he simply cannot make a blanketed statement for the entire community. It is up to the reader of this article to determine what inspires them, certainly not Kris Perovic.

Are the superstars of today inspiring? You decide.

There seems to be this misconcept in Perovic’s mind that people actually play Yu-Gi-Oh for some financial benefits. He actually tried to paint this idea in the readers head that the Alter Reality Games writers are strictly financially motivated. You can see him expand on this argument here:

But with few exceptions, this new generation of superstars have no insights. Jeff Jones and Billy Brake are such exceptions, but today they are among the rest in that they (motivated by dollars, not fame) produce content that oftentimes contain nothing noteworthy and so the YGO community learns nothing, produces nothing, challenges nothing, advances nothing, and in turn, either admires the undeserving or deservedly dislodge the unadmirable from their collective consciousness


Without a useful coverage page or any of the original superstars to turn to, all the second-rate lovable losers of 2009+ suddenly started looking like good prospects to solicit advice from. These once-modest admirers also suddenly found themselves performing well at events and in positions to enjoy fame and fill their pockets with dollars.

And here:

We have to get it through our heads that ARG is not some pillar of wisdom to gather around but merely a street corner where popular players are pimped out.

Are superstars today motivated financially?

I am not sure what Perovic’s deems as luxurious living, but I am most certainly not living it. Stop for a moment and ask yourself this question: If I wanted to make substantial financial gains, which trading card game should I play?

Have an answer?
I bet it isn’t Yu-Gi-Oh. Chances are you said Magic the Gathering.

My good friend Matt Hoey is living proof of an individual taking his skill set to an arena that will reward him financially. With multiple Top 8 finishes at Star City Games events, including a victory just a few months ago, Hoey has racked up thousands in winnings. When I was in Providence playing for an unplayable prize card, worthless playmat and mediocre electronics, Hoey was grinding his way through Pro Tour Return to Ravnica in Seattle. Unfortunately the final three rounds were not kind to Hoey and he lost out on his chance to win $40,000 and had to settle for a mere $1,000 for his 68th place finish. Do I need to repeat that? One-thousand USD for coming in 68th place. You could add up all nine of my YCS Tops and you might reach $1,200 in cash value. Who is filling their pockets here?

There was something about Perovic’s writing that I found incredibly hypocritical. While it is never clearly stated, I got this vibe that Perovic was trying to portray current superstars as being more financially motivated than those of his time. Something doesn’t seem to add up here. Back when Perovic was winning prize cards, he was walking away with copies of Crush Card Virus and Gold Sarcophagus. Do you have any idea how much those cards sold for back in the day? I sold the one prize card I have won for $175. It would take ten, if not twenty super rare Blood Mefists to total some of the prices that Crush Card Virus sold for. One Crush Card Virus and any normal Yu-Gi-Oh player could pay for travel expenses for a few years. You’re lucky if a single prize card can cover a one-way flight ticket home, let alone hotel and food costs.

So excuse me, I am going to go get “pimped out” at this street corner over here so I can experience the same luxuries of travel the old superstars got to. I don’t know about all of the readers out there, but just like other members of Alter Reality Games, I am an every day college student. I go to school full time with a part time job. Seems like the standard for most, right? I just so happen to have had an opportunity to receive support in some of my travel expenses. But to be completely honest with you, I still lose money at the end of the year. I could Top 32 every event I attend for an entire year, win a prize card and receive significant travel support for a handful of events and still walk away in the negative.

Do you want to know one of the major reasons the old superstars stopped playing? Obviously aging is one of them, but the horrific prize cards is another. I vividly recall older superstars looking at the prospect of winning sets of Darklords with disgust. Why would anyone be motivated to attend every event, innovate new decks, and playtest religiously if there was nothing to win? Do you want to know the answer? The burning passion to hold the championship trophy is the motivating factor.

If you think for one minute money is the reason I, or any of my peers play this game you couldn’t be more wrong. I want to win. That is it. That is the reason.

Are superstars today motivated financially? Answer: No, but if so, certainly not for profits.

Where Kris got it right.

Once you look past the attacks on Alter Reality Games, my peers and my writing, there is actually quite a significant amount of Perovic’s writing that I agree with. I have openly criticized the decisions of Konami in the past, and here is yet another opportunity to do so. In the opening of my article, I made it clear that I thought Perovic’s articles had the potential to have a positive impact on the community and this is exactly why. If people want to galvanize behind the cries of Perovic to e-mail Konami, I am more than willing to be a catalyst of that movement. I think my previous sections make it clear that I wholeheartedly disagree with Perovic in his method of execution, but I am not going to ignore the shortcomings of Konami.

The lack of a website like Metagame is comical. Independent Magic the Gathering websites have better coverage of their several hundred person tournaments, such as Star City Games, than does Konami and their YCS events. The following measures are absolutely essential:

  • An easy to navigate domain solely dedicated to event coverage
  • Live video Streaming with deck profiles, player interviews, feature matches and analysis
  • A Konami run YouTube account to post these videos on upon the conclusion of the even
  • Emphasis placed on players who consistently place highly in YCS events
  • Obviously the Top 32 decklists
  • Design an efficient ranking system
  • Institute a Yu-Gi-Oh Hall of Fame
  • Create annual events similar to the Magic World Cup, Magic Players Championship and Team Events

A New Domain

I am not going to lie, I laughed when Perovic made reference to needing a search engine to find the Yu-Gi-Oh event coverage website. He could not have been more on the money with that statement. I cannot tell you how many times I have searched, “Yu-Gi-Oh EN” on Google, seeing as how I would not have any other idea how to come across the event coverage.

There are a lot of things that Konami does that I disagree with, but in the same respect, I understand their reasoning. This is simply not one of them. Other than not having the motivation to construct a website that offers adequate coverage, what is stopping Konami from designing a Metagame 2.0? A well put together event coverage page is only going to be economically beneficial to Konami, and seeing as how that has been the motivating factor in virtually all of their recent decisions; I just don’t understand why we still lack one. Have you tried looking back at coverage of previous YCS events? The coverage of YCS events are organized worse than a cheap blog site.

For those of you who don’t know me on a personal level, I am a semester away from going into Graduate School and a little under two years from being a history teacher. If there is one thing I have a deep passion about, it just so happens to be history. Metagame use to stand as a well designed depiction of this game’s history. From format to format, we were able to relive memorable feature matches and understand how the game has developed. Stop and think for a moment how long it would take for you to look back over the past year of event coverage. Imagine how many times you would have to click that frustrating back button on the bottom of the Konami website. Laughable. It would take a mediocre web designer to put together a website where the coverage was separated in such a way that we don’t need to waste an hour clicking back buttons to find the single event we are looking for. The history of this game is important, and it needs to be properly shared.

Streaming and YouTube

If you go on YouTube right now, you will be able to come across the Wizards of the Coast YouTube account. Upon the conclusion of Grand Prixs and Pro Tours, you will be able to find the video coverage they streamed live on their event coverage page. This single-handedly attracted me to the Magic the Gathering scene. When I watched the Blue-Black Control mirror matches from the 2011 Worlds Events, I could not help but be amazed by the game. I sat with another tab open so I could look up card effects as the coverage went on, but upon watching the entire Top 8, I was hooked. Yu-G-Oh has the same potential. Imagine if there was a video of Nicky LaCaille extending the hand to Billy Brake with the legendary words he echoed? “You’ve won your first YCS.” Wouldn’t that just send ghost bumps down your spine? Or when Theersak flipped the Ring of Destruction that sealed his first championship. Could you imagine rewatching those moments in Yu-Gi-Oh history? It is a bloody crime to the community that we have lived without this ability.

Wizards of the Coast have absolutely nailed the way they cover Pro Tours. I have skipped out on attending Yu-Gi-Oh locals to sit on my computer at home and just watch the coverage. Not only do you get to watch matches between the games greats (with commentary may I add), breaks between rounds are spent examining the decks that are both doing well, and are being piloted by well known players. How incredible would it be to see Jeff Jones go over the contents of his Psychic deck between the coverage of Rounds 7 and 8? Even Star City Games is able to put together this kind of coverage on the independent scene. What is stopping Konami from being able to do the same?

The only time we have ever seen this type of coverage was during the Worlds event this summer. And even when they put forth the effort to try and provide video coverage, they failed at providing English commentary! How much of a joke is that?

Ranking System

Do you know that a 10-0 record at YCS Seattle will grant you as many points under the current ranking system as a 10-0 record at your next local? Something seems to be a little off here. There has to be a way that Konami can put together a ranking system where YCS and other premiere events are weighed more heavily into your rank. In doing so, we would be rewarded with a similar system that Magic the Gathering has. From that point, we would be able to gauge the top players across the world, based on their individual tournament success, as opposed to the seemingly arbitrary way in which the rankings are construed now.

Hall of Fame

Unfortunately, I don’t doubt that there is a portion of the Yu-Gi-Oh community that has no idea who Hugo Adame or John Jenson are. The fact that Metagame no longer exists in a readily available format (short of what is left on blogs such as Perovic’s) is obviously a contributing factor. But what is stopping Konami from doing something to show reverence to individuals who have been the flag bearers of the game? Magic the Gathering has a well put together and methodical method in inducting players in their Hall of Fame, I simply do not comprehend why this idea has never been brought up by Konami. You are talking about wanting something to motivate yourself to succeed in this game, imagine if you had the chance to one day be inducted into a Yu-Gi-Oh Hall of Fame. Magic players who are inducted receive a unique ring indicating that they have been granted entry into the Hall. Players like the Bellido brothers should be honored for their success in this game, and the contributions they made for the Yu-Gi-Oh community.

Alternative Tournaments

If there is one thing about Magic the Gathering I am jealous of, it is how many different types of tournaments they have. Obviously the fact that their formats are broken down into blocks allows for them to have an array of different tournaments. But beyond something as simple as a Modern Pro Tour or Standard Grand Prix, are a few select events they hold each year. The first of which is the Magic World Cup. The Magic World Cup brought representatives from around the world to one location in hopes of honoring their country against the rest of the world. Unlike the 32 person Yu-Gi-Oh Worlds tournament, the Magic World Cup was designed in such a way that the success of your fellow teammates was pivotal in your success. Hear me out here.

Each country at the Magic World Cup had four representatives, determined by four separate Magic World Cup qualifier tournaments from around the country. These four individuals arrived at the location of the Magic World Cup and played in a handful of Swiss rounds against players from other countries. Upon the conclusion of these Swiss rounds, the tournament moved into the second stage, where each country would be broken down into teams of three. The three players, who ranked in the highest seeds out of the team of four, would proceed into a series of 3 v. 3 Swiss rounds. For example, if the United States was represented by Paul Levetin, Frazier Smith, Sean Montague and Jessy Samek, and they finished in Swiss seedings 2nd, 12th, 21st and 35th respectively, a team would be formed out of Levetin, Smith and Montague. These three individuals would then be paired up against the three person teams from other countries. For the sake of this example, let’s say the United States was paired against Team Canada. After the Swiss rounds a team consisting of Bo Tang, Sorosh Saberian and Matt Peddle would play against Levetin, Smith and Montague. Catch where I am going with this? At the end of the Swiss rounds, a Top 8 bracket would be formed consisting of the Top 8 teams based on Swiss standings, ultimately leading to a winner of the World Cup.

Another tournament structure I found amazing was the Magic Player’s Championship. This 16-person tournament had a prize pool of over $100,000, but that aside, how amazing would an annual event like this be.

The winners of all the YCS events and Worlds plays in a tournament against the highest ranked players from each region of the world (see how a well put together ranking system can come into play?). This type of tournament would reward those players who had success over the course of the year, but may not have walked away with a championship trophy, but at the same time showcase the champions of the year. This is something I might have to ask for work off just to watch a video stream up.

Look at the potential this game has.

Perovic was vocal about going out and e-mailing Konami about your own issues with the company. I am more than in favor of this continuing, so please, perhaps add my own suggestions to your e-mail.

Alter Reality Games

I am not sure if it was best to leave this part for the end, but I am going to go with it. It is impossible to ignore the amount of volatile energy directed toward Alter Reality Games (which I will refer to as ARG from now on) in Perovic’s articles. How can one look past:

Before I get into that, I want to point out I recently came across an old article by Allen Pennington and I was inspired to write this piece after reading it. Here, Pennington made no attempt at theory-Oh! yet he succeeded where all of Alter Reality Games and their legion of second-rate know-nothing wannabes have failed.

And of course:

My view is such that the new generation of YGO superstars have proven themselves unable or unwilling to supply these answers to the community, or at least inspire the community to answer these questions for themselves.


ARG might have a few quality players on its payroll but for the most part, they can’t write for shit and ARG editors (if there are any) don’t seem to care at all. The community needs editors who are able and willing to turn down submissions from popular players if they aren’t of sufficient quality.

Now I am going to say something that might seem surprising, coming from me. ARG has a lot of room for improvement, but something needs to be understood.

ARG began as an experiment, essentially a response sparked by competitor’s creation of their own article sites. Perovic took the time to look back over an article written by Allen Pennington, but want to know something Pennington and that site? They no longer post articles. As a matter of fact, other than sites like TCG Player that has always posted articles, where exactly are you going to find a website that has stuck with their article posting commitment. You’re going to be hard pressed to find one.

ARG is the exception.

There was something about ARG that has allowed it to maintain a successful following over the course of the last year. But I am speaking for the entire staff with this; none of us had any idea where this was going when we signed up to be writers. Nor did Jim, the owner of ARG, truly understand how successful ARG was going to be.

One of the issues Perovic brought up was the lack of an editor for our articles. To be completely honest, I agree that we should not be producing articles with egregious grammatical mistakes. Does that mean we need to hire an editor? Well, perhaps it does. But when ARG started, there was never going to be the need for editor. The article site was put together as a business decision to counteract the competitors in the market from establishing a monopoly on Yu-Gi-Oh content. ARG just so happened to put together a staff of writers that was committed enough to produce information every week, and at the same time be persistent enough to expose our brand to the Yu-Gi-Oh world.

ARG never intended on being the Yu-Gi-Oh equivalent to Star City Games or ChannelFireball, but at the same time, I think it worth acknowledging the potential here. Regardless of what Perovic said about one of Hoban’s articles, or a collection of Billy’s, I think ARG has an immense amount to offer the Yu-Gi-Oh community. Where else are you going to find consistent material, every week, from a collection of players who have done well at major events? If Perovic and the members of Overdose wrote articles five years ago, I damn sure would have been there at midnight refreshing my browser in hopes of reading their latest content. Just because Perovic picked out a handful of articles he found to be subpar, does no in any way shape or form discredit the majority of our work.

ARG is still a young experiment, and behind closed doors we are always talking about ways to improve our content. ARG has all the potential in the world to be the Yu-Gi-Oh equivalent to ChannelFireball, but reaching that level does not occur over night. A collection of writers for ChannelFireball literally moved away from their homes to live close enough to the other writers, ARG is in no position to do that right now.

I would love to see ARG produce content on par with ChannelFireball, but expecting that type of content in the early stages of our website is impractical. Even ChannelFireball, who also offers free content, hears from their followers on a consistent basis about article inefficiencies or their videos having ads.

ARG has gradually been presented the opportunity where our brand has become a recognizable feature on the YCS circuit, and with that has come a ton of criticism. You never know what the future holds for ARG, but please be aware we are constantly exploring new ideas amongst one another. What benefits do you think we got from holding the live call in shows, or streams of us playing? The benefit was for you, the reader. And I promise you, we will continue to improve the content of our site with the hope of far surpassing any and all expectations you have of our website.

Joe Giorlando

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