Strategies In Yugioh Part 1 of 2: In depth look at fundamentals.

When playing yugioh, after a certain degree of test play/competitive/even local play, a person plateaus in the way they feel about how they can approach the game.  This is article is ideal for the experienced player, but a new comer can take this as a guideline for their journey in bettering themselves.  Just because a person has been playing for 8 years doesn’t mean a new comer can’t beat them.  This is a breakdown of the growth a player will make from start to anywhere they want to be.  I will start with a progression from the baby steps to a full sprint in what a player needs to know.

1)    Deck Ability:

A player needs to know the full limits and ability that their deck is capable of.  When selecting a deck, the player has a couple options on why they reached that conclusion. Whether it be that they are already comfortable with the deck, it’s the most “popular metadeck”, or for some off reason. Knowing all the abilities of the deck gives you the upper hand in never being caught off guard in any situation.  This helps when a player can see a situation, and respond immediately without needing to think 2mins per move, because in a 40 min round, every second is crucial.

A) To every coin there are two sides, so you have to know your own deck AND all the relevant decks out in the current Meta.  This gives you an understanding in how your match ups will be, as in strengths and weaknesses.  A way of approaching this milestone is to ACTUALLY PLAY THE DECK.  In doing this, it shows how you would play the deck and on how you see others play a deck.  Usually the first 3 turns of any deck are played the same wielded in any player’s hands, but after that, it’s a personal matter.  This gives you full in depth understanding of every deck.

2)    Card Pool:

Now that you have a grasp of what your deck does and your current surroundings, or the Meta, you now want the upper hand when playing.  Next step is what is popularly known as tech cards.  The average player will find the most popular deck and complete step one of Deck Ability with it. To be better, one needs to find tech cards to assist that deck whilst giving you the upper hand in bad match ups.  Knowing the full card pool gives full advantage.  Most popular decks have about 30 give or take staple cards in that deck according to their respective themes. That gives room for players to have certain cards that are in their preference or certain key tech cards that are used to battle the Meta.  Again, armed with the knowledge from step one and the tech cards with play testing, you have a slight upper hand against the current Meta.  Card pool grows about 100 cards every couple months with releases of a new set, video games, and special editions. Keeping up with everything is quite key in this step.  The oldest cards have a trend to come up over and over again in new Meta.

A)    Understanding your field of play is of the utmost importance as well.  Your local is not going to be the same Meta as a regional.  Keep up to track on what can be classified as “Fun Deck” vs. a “Competitive Deck”  Your local tournaments will have a lot more fun decks as the stakes aren’t as high in compared to a Regional or a YCS Event. Thus build your side deck and main deck accordingly.

  1. For Example, you side deck in your local tournaments can have cards that battle against the random decks. General answers against non themed specific decks. Cards as such are, dust tornado, mobius the frost monarch, etc. There is a plethora of cards that will adhere to any local.
  2. Cards for larger events should be in typical suit to battle against the Meta.  Typically these events have a lot at stake so whatever wins the last big event, or tops the last big event; you can expect to see variations or copies of that deck floating around.  Armed with that, you should use specific themed cards to battle against them based on the general understanding of the popularity of each deck in the current game.

i.      For example, Six Samurai lost popularity due to the fact that plants have grown in popularity with the release of T.G. Hyper Librarian.

  1. Tiers are something used to categorize the decks that are relevant in a competitive Meta. The Lower the tier the better the deck should do.  For example, a deck that has the most showings in a YCS Top 32 would be considered tier 1.
  2. Don’t expect you to have an easy match up when facing against a tier one deck while you’re playing a random deck.
  3. A tier one deck has been played tested in many tournaments. Every time a deck is “net decked” and slight alterations is made, and it tops again, that new deck is copied. So the final product is a group work of people who play tested the deck from all across the country, battle tested in many of Metas and found the “best version” of that deck possible. This usually happens near the end of a format.

3)    Side Deck:

The side deck serves as a tool to accommodate what your deck lacks.  This is where things get a bit tricky, as a side deck sometimes isn’t as easy to copy as a main deck and get the same results.  The side deck is left to preference a lot of the time, so unusual cards will pop up from time to time.

A)    Side decking is something that needs to be focused on as much as main deck building is.  This means, you must know from step one, what cards are not the most reasonable in your deck for certain match ups, plus, you must know what is beneficial to your deck in those situations.  This is where the side deck plays role.

B)    Knowing this, you must create a side deck that is universal enough to battle against the Meta.  With only 15 cards in your side deck, you don’t want to have unnecessary cards floating around while they could be something of use.  Combining step one with step two, this is where you can use the tech cards to battle certain match ups to your absolute favor.

C)    Next, know what cards are good for how the game is played.  Game 2 and 3 are completely different from game 1.  With this, you have to know that the element of surprise is still at work.  It’s like you and your opponent was given a chance to change your deck to beat each other. Some card choices are not the best for game 2 if you are going first, for example trap dustshoot.

As we review what we have covered in part one, we have learned how to fully use our deck, have a general knowledge of the cards available to know what cards that were fully forgotten are now relevant, and how to side deck.  Armed with all this, you have reached a level of where you know how to play this game with success, but there is more to it. There is a game being played above the field zone, between you and your opponent. Be sure to read my next article as I cover, Strategies in Yugioh Part 2 of 2: The Game above the board.