Hello boys and girls, it’s T-Time! Have you ever wondered if there was something you could do in a match to give you an advantage over your opponent outside of the physical game itself? Well there is. There are a few tricks that many pros and advanced players use in big tournaments to catch a slight advantage over their opponents. There are no smoke and mirrors, just basic thought processes that allow for an edge in many situations. I will now proceed to unveil some of these techniques one at a time, as some will seem so obvious yet so few people do them.
1. Sitting Facing the Clock
For thoughs long time subscribers of my youtube channel, you have heard me talk about this in one of my older videos. Facing the clock is one of the biggest advantages you can have in a game before even picking up your deck. This is not a paragraph telling you to stall, but rather to be aware of the time left in the match. It is highly incontinent for someone to turn around and look at the clock. Many people won’t do it for the fear of taking their eyes off of their opponent. In addition, it makes it look like the person looking back is trying to stall or hasten the game. If you were looking directly at the clock, you can do so nonchalantly.
The ability to avoid or force a tie is great, but it also gives you the advantage of having the last turn. In the five turn time procedure, there is turn zero and five turns that follow. Turn zero falls on the player who is currently conducting their turn when time is called. You never want to be the person with turn zero because it gives your opponent the fifth turn in time. Having the last turn can make or break a match. It is a huge advantage to be able to recklessly assault your opponent, knowing that an over extension can result in no ill consequences, since there is no next turn. Knowing that even a 100 Life Point advantage will spell victory is huge. Facing the clock allows you to make turn zero fall on your opponent by stretching your turn and switching to your opponent’s draw phase with too little time for them to make any reasonable plays before the time is called, giving you the last turn in time.
2. Pile Shuffle your Opponent’s Deck
Shuffle your opponent’s deck in many different ways, but a pile shuffle can be a big advantage. During a pile shuffle, it gives you the opportunity to count your opponent’s deck. Knowing how many cards are in their deck can help you figure out what deck they are or are not playing. If they are playing 41 cards, they are probably not playing a fast paced OTK type deck. It also means they are probably not playing Six Samurais and probably not Gravekeeper’s, since both are combo based decks. If they are playing 42 cards, you can be certain that they aren’t and are probably playing something a little more control based. It isn’t fool proof but if nothing else, it puts your opponent a little on edge to see you counting out their deck.
3. Stay Calm
Getting nervous on the bubble or in any high pressure match can cause a huge riff in your game plan. Simple mistakes are often made, such as attacking out of order into an open field where a Gorz could be dropped or missing game by bringing out the wrong synchro. Your opponent may be able to sense nervousness and could use it to their advantage. Whenever I see a player is getting nervous, I try to advertise that I am in control of the game, even if I’m not. Setting bluffs and making them over analyze situations when really they have me on the ropes. It’s amazing how often people will choose to simply not kill you when they have game.
4. Don’t Over Analyze
Reads are not usually made by the way a player is holding their cards, the look in their eye, or the way they wince. They are made by considering the plays that have been made in the game. Every action creates a reaction. A backrow that has been sitting on the field since turn one is probably a Mirror Force or Dimension Prison if you haven’t attacked with a reasonable monster yet. Also, remember that people tend to not set more than one of a card that does the same thing. An example would be, most people wouldn’t set two Bottomless Trap Holes. Also, consider WHY your opponent is making plays the way they are. If you can tell that they are clogged on monsters and are trying to load the grave, it may be a good idea to make Brionac and lose card advantage to put them in an unwinnable game state. The monsters that they set should tell you the way their hand looks, so be sure to take note. If they are setting things like Spore, you should know that they have a slow start, so a fast push could give you an advantage.
5. Never Give Up
Even if it seems like you have lost a match, don’t give up. By playing on, it could cause your opponent to make a mistake and result in you winning. I have probably won over a hundred matches that I should have lost by simply not scooping. Sometimes setting a bluff could make them overanalyze and not attack. Also, in a losing situation, don’t always set yourself up for what will make you live the longest. Set yourself up for what will allow you to WIN the game. If you are out of cards and your opponent attacks with Gorz into your Sangan, consider your outs to the situation left in your deck. Don’t just get the monster that will make you last the longest, but the one that will let you win if you draw an out. You can’t be a luck sack if you just scoop =p.
Hopefully these small advantages will help you pick up a few extra wins at your next Regional or YCS. They have certainly helped get me out of some hot situations and let me win when winning seemed like it wasn’t an option. Until next time, just play smart.