The Power of Bluffing

Hello Yu-Gi-Oh! Community. My name is Aurelio and I decided to write an article for the writing contest on the subject of bluffs. It is very underrated and most players don’t use it or don’t use it correctly. This technique demands a lot of skill to be used properly, but it can win you several games even when your opponent has possible game. In the next lines I’ll try to explain a few of the basic concepts and applications of bluffing. I hope you enjoy it.

What’s Bluffing

When you bluff in Yu-Gi-Oh you are making your opponent change the play that he would do, based on a read he has, that was induced by you. The basic concept is that you want your opponent to think he is reading your play, and not bluffing. Bluffs are a very strong asset and can make the difference in winning or losing when used at the proper time.

When to Bluff

As of rule, a bluff should only be conducted in a very critical situation where a certain possibility could completely reverse the flow of the game. A player should never bluff in situations that they don’t need to because when he does, the opponent will know that he is just bluffing.

But bluffs can also be used in slighter versions throughout the whole game to make a player look better at the game and create physiological impact on your opponent, possibly forcing him to misplay.

A few other situations may need bluffing but they are far too specific and usually exclusives to some determined scenarios to be mentioned in this article.

How to Bluff

For a bluff to be done correctly, you need to trick your opponent into thinking they have a read on you, and not not that you’re trying to make them fall into your bluff. Things like saying:” A mirror force would screw you” or “if I have gorz you lose. You know that right?” are not recommended, even though sometimes it may work; most likely your opponent will see through you and think you are bluffing. That should only be used when you really have the gorz, working as an inverse bluff and make your opponent attack.

When you do want to bluff with gorz, just a clear field will make your opponent think that you have that gorz. And that’s what you want to aim for: where the cards indicate the game changing possibility but not the bluff. Actions like looking discreetly at a certain cards and also looking a bit more nervous can also indicate your opponent that you have that Gorz in hand

Here are some more examples of bluffs.

-Gorz Bluff

This is a very common one but usually it is not done properly. To use this bluff you just need to have a clear field, if you’re facing a decent opponent he will automatically think of you having Gorz in your hand, but it is useless if your opponent has a BLS or any other out on the field. Use this bluff when a Gorz would be a game changing situation and the risk would be too big for an attack.

A few misuses of this bluff are raising a card in your hand or saying a “Gorz would kill you right now”. These behaviors will make your opponent think that you’re trying to make them fall into you bluff, something that as I said should be avoided.

-Summoning a monster and setting a back row

This bluff involves your opponent having a stronger monster that yours and both are low on cards. Summoning a monster in attack and setting a card will suggest you have an answer for his monster (Mirror Force, D. Prison) forcing him to not summon or attack because if he loses his monster he loses the field control. Whereas setting a monster would just show weakness and your opponent will attack you, this should only be done if you actually have the answer for his monster. This bluff is one of the most effective and can win you lost games.

-Setting Spells as Traps

This basically involves setting spells as if they were traps cards. It could be very risky to do that if heavy storm is still in the game but the fact that you have 4 back rows can really scare your opponent off. To perfect this technique you also want pretend that those spells are traps with actions, for example looking at a certain card when the opponent summons a monster, this will make your opponent think of cards like torrential, warning and bottomless and he will play accordingly by either playing conservative or misplaying.

There exist a lot of other bluffs but you can infer most of them by the state of the game. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to say that you’re bluffing but make them think they are reading you cards and plays, while you are the one in control.

The Importance of bluffs

I want to address this section to players who scoop or give up before they’re life points hit 0. This is one of the things a player should never do. Even if you are facing a board of big monsters with almost no life and you top deck into an MST, setting it with confidence can trick you opponent into not attacking. This scenario has happened to me a few times and I managed to come back by bluffing, since my opponent would be too scared to do anything.

One good example was at the top 8 at a regional last year, where I was running GBs. My opponent had a Chaos Sorcerer on the field and one card in hand. I had a Laquari in hand a face up D. Fissure and a useless back row. Last turn my opponent had not attacked. I drew into another D. Fissure, summoned my Laquari, set my fissure and passed. He did not attack or used Chaos sorcerer’s effect, afraid of a Chariot or a Dimensional Prison (he knew I ran 3 of both). I ended up winning that game and the whole championship all due to a well timed bluff.

To sum up, even when there are no outs and it seems like all is over, bluff!

I hope I managed to fill you in with some bluffing techniques that I have used and have helped me throughout numerous championships. Thank you for reading and leave your comments below,

Aurelio Ribeiro

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Aurelio Ribeiro

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