I’m sure many of you out there watched the Super Bowl about a week and a half ago. The Ravens started with a very strong lead in the first half and even returned the kickoff in the second half for a touchdown. This gave the Ravens a 28-6 lead. Immediately after this, the power went off and except for the one play between the end of half time and when the power went off, there was no play for a solid hour. During this time, the announcers were questioning how this would affect the momentum of the game. After all, the Ravens already had a huge lead and then followed it up with another big play right before they were forced to cease play while the power came back on.
During this time, the announcers and analysts said that they thought the power outage would be beneficial to the 49ers as it would take the Raven’s momentum away. At this point, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with Yu-Gi-Oh. Well let’s say that you’re 3-0 at Miami this weekend and you win your fourth round within 20 minutes. At this point, there’s still 20 minutes left in the round. Anyone who has ever been to a YCS knows that the next round does not start as soon as the last one ends. It can be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour after time is called in one round before the pairings for the next round go up. It would not be uncommon for you to not play for an hour at a time during several rounds at a YCS.
If you watched the Super Bowl, you would know that before the power outage the score was 28-6 in favor of the Ravens, but the score starting from after the outage was 25-6 in favor of the 49ers. That’s a huge difference. That’s a huge difference and it certainly seems like it is worth discussing. Essentially, the Ravens had a huge lead and then there was no play for an hour and they lost their huge lead. In our situation, we had a good start in the tournament, similar to the Ravens, but we don’t get to play for an hour at a time, similar to the power outage.
When I was watching this live, I thought about the down time we have in between rounds. All the announcers and analysts seem to think that they Ravens had lost momentum because of the power outage and that was what caused the comeback for the 49ers. At this point, I began wondering what kind of role momentum plays in Yu-Gi-Oh. Clearly, if it played a big role as it appeared to have in the Super Bowl, not playing a tournament match for a solid hour could certainly negatively impact our performance just as it seemed to have done to the Ravens.
Immediately following the game, I messaged teammate Sam Pedigo with my concerns of losing momentum in between rounds at a YCS and explained my comparison to the Super Bowl. Sam was not online at this time, but responded the next day telling me to check out an article written by Bill Barnwell.
Before you read any more of this article, I highly suggest you read Barnwell’s article here. While I suggest reading the whole article as it’s very well written and other areas such as the part where he talks about football being very limited by the number of games played when it matters (the winner of a YCS only plays 16 matches), I want you to specifically look at the section called “Nomentum.”
In this section, Barnwell questions whether it was actually momentum that caused the score difference in the second half, or if it was simply sloppy football on the part of the Ravens. He goes on to give examples of the sloppy football that he is talking about. There’s certainly something to be said about this part in relation to Yu-Gi-Oh.
Reading cards, reading your opponent, playing mental games, and forcing your opponent to do what you wanted them to do are the things you’re going to remember about the games that you successfully do them in. “I had a great read on Bottomless Trap Hole.” Your opponent ended up having Bottomless set, and you were able to win the game partially because you played around it because you had the read that it was there. When you walk over to your friends after the round to explain how things went, this is probably what you would tell them. Making a good read or forcing your opponent to do something that they would not have normally done is certainly a good feeling and can definitely be beneficial, but it is nowhere near as important as simply playing your cards right. As a matter of fact, playing your cards right is the single most important factor by a long shot. It is more important than every other factor in the game combined. Doing this is going to win you more games than all of these other things will. By the same token, playing your cards poorly will lose you more games than all of these things combined.
This is why playtesting is so important. In a 40 card deck, there are millions of combinations of hands. Combine that with the 40 cards your opponent has, and there are close to infinite amount of situations that can come up. Some of them will come up more often than others. For instance, let’s say that you have a Rat returning with a Rabbit in graveyard and you just drew a Magician. Do you know what you would do in this situation? In the past I wrote an article on the importance of shortcuts in the game. Essentially, if you’ve been a situation before, you’re much more likely to know what to do when it comes up again. Without thinking about it, I know that this would give me a Rank 3 with a Rat and Magician returning the next turn or it would give me a Diamond Dire wolf, something to pop with it, and a Rat returning next turn, or it would give me a rank 3 and a rank 4 with a Rat returning next turn (generally only if they don’t have backrow because this gets destroyed by Torrential). That’s three shortcuts I’ve learned from being placed in this situation multiple times. Certainly this situation would allow for other plays, but ultimately these are going to be the most common. This is the reason playtesting is important. It puts you in hundreds of situations per game. Often times they will be quite similar to previous experiences you may have had.
Realistically you don’t want to be too concerned with external factors such as momentum. Feeling good about your last win or salty about your last loss doesn’t have much of an impact on the current game. You don’t really want to allow these things to affect you. Instead, you should be looking at the game going forward. Each play is independent of the last one. Let’s say you had a Magician set and you summoned Rat and had Shark in hand. You realized while you’re comboing out that you could have had game with Shock Master, but now you’ve missed your chance. At this point, yes you’ve misplayed, but it is important to not let that get to you. Reflecting on misplays is an extremely important part of the game, but is best done after the match is over. Even if you realize that you have made a mistake, don’t let it affect you and create the best field from that point on that you can. Remember, good play wins more games than every other factor combined. Because of this, your goal should not be to win. Instead it should be to play perfectly. Winning will be the result. Don’t let an unfortunate loss or a poor play affect you more than it should. Each play is independent of the previous one. Make the most of it going forward and don’t think external factors such as momentum play a large role. Instead spend your energy making sure you make the correct play.
That about wraps it up for this article. I’m extremely excited to head to Miami in the morning and I hope I get to see a lot of you there. After that it’s off to Germany to make a series of back-to-back YCSes before the new format. Hopefully I can end this format on a great note! I’ll be back next week with another article. Remember everybody, play hard or go home!