Nationals Season: Control and Composure

joe giolandoFor some unforesaken reason, Konami has perpetually decided to develop formats during Nationals season with a plethora of decks with alarming power. Some of the strongest decks of all time have only existed in the format during which National season was being held. Need I go any further but to remind everyone of the formats with three[ccProd]Substitoad[/ccProd], three [ccProd]Infernity Launcher[/ccProd]s, three [ccProd]Cold Wave[/ccProd]s, three [ccProd]Wind-Up Zenmaity[/ccProd] and so on? It is almost like clockwork that you just assume the sets in the months leading up to Nationals are intentionally going to release collections of cards which could easily make someone faint. Then amazingly Konami fixes to a certain extent the injustices of their summer format, and for at least a small period of time - we have enjoyable formats (ex. 1 Lonefire Tengu Plant Format). Anyway, enough dwelling with the negatives of the past - we have the future to look forward to. Yeah!... or not.

abyssmegaloAs we all know, this upcoming weekend if not only YCS New Jersey, it marks the sneak preview of Lord of Tachyon Galaxy. Jeff and other writers have written about the likes of Spellbook of Judgment and even a little about the new Elemental Dragons, so I am not going to write about each archtype or individual card in the set. What I am going to bring to light, is that as we all now know - the "Baby" Elemental Dragons have been confirmed as part of the new set. For anyone who has been playtesting for Nationals, or perhaps has an understanding of what these archtypes do - they full well acknowledge what we are about to experience. Needless to say, the ludicrous amount of sheer power from the Mermial, Prophecy and Elemental Dragon archtypes is about to warp the entire format. Take into consideration the potential turn one existence of Infernities, and suddenly "fair" decks like Fire Fist and Evilswarm even seem to be left behind.  Nationals has the potential to be quite depressing this year. The concept of card advantage might literally not matter more in this time period of Yu-Gi-Oh than ever before - and that is saying something.

So if we are about to head into another Nationals season like the past, it really is important to sit down and realize what you can do to prepare. Mentally speaking, we all have to admit now - we are going to drop countless games because of the design of cards. Unconditionally, we cannot let that bother us. It exists in every format, but we are just about to amp that up to a whole new level. So close your eyes and pictures yourself playing round 5 of Nationals. Doing it? You lost the roll. Spellbook of Judgment. [ccProd]Toon Table of Contents[/ccProd]. Have a good day.

needle ceilingSo what can we try and do to improve our play, and deal with the upcoming Nationals format? There are a considerable amount of different skillsets in the game of Yu-Gi-Oh. Technical play is the most obvious one, but being able to pinpoint effective tech and card choices may be just as important. You may never enjoy a turn to play a certain card tech, but, hey - best you can do right? Might as well be drawing to the perfect counter! [ccProd]Needle Ceiling[/ccProd] at YCS Toronto was just about the most affective across the board answer to Magician/Shark. Those type of card exist today. This is about the time of the year that we should be flipping through pages of Dueling Network cards, and through each box of commons we have laying around. If we want an advantage in a format which may not give you much in the line of game play - that is the best way to do it.

The next thing is coming to grips with playing perfectly - yet not walking away the winner. Like I said earlier, unwinnable games are impossible to avoid. And in order to do exceptionally well at Nationals, or even a local this upcoming format, it needs to be your day. Point blank - you need to have a lucky day. The person who dodges enough bullets, will be far and away in position to do well as opposed to the person who drops three rolls and sees three turn one Spellbook of Judgments. That means you need to be playing near perfect Yu-Gi-Oh in every game you have the ability to alter the outcome. The elevated levels of games without player interaction forces you to capitalize on every mistake your opponent makes, and be spot on with every read you make. And even if you play perfect Yu-Gi-Oh from round one until you check to drop, chances are - you still won't do well.

number 11 big eyeBut the format will change, cards will move to the ban list and normalcy will eventually return in some capacity. It will be incredibly easy to become frustrated with the upcoming format, looking at your perfect play and lack of sufficient results.  But that is why we are coming to terms with reality weeks ahead of time. People haven't even cracked their Spellbook of Judgment, or shipped $100 bills across paypal for them. And we are mentally prepared for what Yu-Gi-Oh is about to bring. Numb. Emotionless. You already played three Big Eyes? Impressive. What was the count on Judgment? Seven? Do you have Diva for game?

Keep your composure. It will be easy to lose focus early in an event when the format shifts, and that there will be enough to stop your perfect play. If we are numb to the card interactions, full well acknowledging what can happen - we can never drop our composure. We can only focus on what we can control. Nothing more, and you're short changing yourself if anything less. What can we control? Control it.

Joe Giorlando

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