“Through the Eyes of a Yugioh Pro” Pt.1

Hello Yugioh Community! Recently there has been some talk about the non-existence of the “Pro Player” in this card game. It is a valid argument that because the way Konami runs their events and manages their coverage of these bigger tournaments, there is no such thing as a ‘Pro Player”. I am here today to defend the other side and explain why I think there is such a thing as a Yugioh Pro. This article is not an attack on anyone that may think otherwise, but merely the other side of the argument. I am here to defend the title that so few players out there have earned and deserve. I should also mention that I do consider myself to be one of the better player’s out there so if I refer to myself in some of the following situations please do not take it as my arrogance, but just trying to get my point across.

First, let me clarify my vocabulary so that we are all on the same page. The term “Pro Player” from a majority of Yugioh players is someone who does well at events multiple times through many formats with different decks. Mounting these feats is what makes many people remember players' names and brings fear into the opponent when they see their name across from the name of a well known player or Pro. While the prizes one wins from a YCS may not be enough to pay them to go to all the events, I do not believe this means there cannot be Professional Yugioh Players. A Pro is someone who has a special skill at the game that we all love in play, this skill may not be able to be learned, but it separates these great players from all of the other good players. It is the reason why there are players out there who have done well so many times over the others that attend events.

If Pro Players don’t exist then why do you know these names!?
Thanks to a certain Yugioh Forum they have created a list of players with the most amount of tops at major events over the lifespan of competitive tournament play. Let’s take a look at the top 15 player’s names from this list.

North American Premier Event Top Player’s list
20 Adam Corn (1 SJC Win, 1 Nats Win)
18 Lazaro Bellido (2 SJC Wins, 1 Nats Win, 1 YCS Win)
17 Jerry Wang (3 SJC Wins)
16 Dale Bellido (1 SJC Win)
15 Chris Bowling (1 SJC Win, 1 Nats Win)
14 Fili Luna (4 SJC Wins)
13 Matt Peddle
12 Paul Levitin (2 SJC Wins)
12 Theerasak Poonsombat (1 SJC Win, 1 Nats Win)
11 Cesar Gonalez (2 SJC Wins)
11 Jason Holloway (1 SJC Win)
10 Roy St. Clair
10 Ryan Spicer (1 SJC Win)
9 Billy Brake
8 Anthony Alvarado (1 SJC Win)

If you have ever followed coverage of events there is a good chance that you recognize every single name that is on this list. If the Pro Player did not exist then there would be no such thing as name recognition. You would not have anyone to look up to when you are considering what deck to play for your next regional. There is and has always been an elite class of duelist that usually set the standard for what the competitive decks will be for the rest of the format. For example: Shane Scurry’s Return deck, Adam Corn’s Monarchs, My X-Saber Deck, Jeff Jones’ Quickdraw Plants or Diva Zombies, and more recently Fraizer Smith’s Gravekeeper’s deck. It is easy to see how these decks created by these player’s helped to define formats. They are the decks that have been netdeck’d till kingdom come! It is what makes the anticipation for the posting of the top decks so great! These well known Pro players’s have been around since the beginning and continue to be a major presence on the tournament scene.

The Luck Factor
One argument for the non-existence of “Pro Players” is that luck is just too much of a factor in Yugioh therefore no Pro players can do well on a consistent basis. I find this statement to be false, but by results it may seem quite convincing. I have had my fair share of playing opponents of far less skill then myself only to be sacked out of a match, but sadly that has always been a part of the game. No matter how lucky a player gets it does not change the level of skill that is involved in the match that was played. I think the best advice I have ever given to a player that I have seen grow from a trashy local player to someone who has now topped multiple events was this,
“It is not always about making what may seem to be the right play at the time; it is about putting yourself in a position to win. You need to give yourself the best opportunity possible to come out as the victor, your opponent may get lucky and beat you anyway, but at least you made every possible move you could to make sure you would get the W.”
-Billy Brake

The Pro Player is a Yugioh Player
While there may be some well known player’s out there who can act rude at times, this is not true for most of the Pro Players. I am fairly good friends with many well known player’s and as a rather well known player myself I must say we are actually pretty nice people! We started out playing this game just like everyone else and while at one point in our lives we may have spent more time than the average person to become extremely better at this game, we still appreciate every aspect of it! The “Pro Player” is not someone who looks down on every other Yugioh player as an inferior, but merely as familiar competitors. Even just this past weekend at the North American WCQ in-between rounds I saw Yugioh Pro Dale Bellido accept almost every challenge that came up to him for a fun duel! Keep in mind this is in the middle of rounds of probably the most important tournament for all Pro Players! If you are under the impression that all Pros are jerks and don’t want to have anything to do with you, then you are quite wrong! Just like any other player we travel to all the events to compete and most importantly have a good time! It is important to remember “Pros” are people just like you and if they turn you down to a duel it might be because they have already had a couple hundred request and it is hard to say yes to one but no to everyone else.

This is going to wrap up the first part of my discussion of being a “Pro Yugioh Player”. The title “Pro” is one that has always been around in Yugioh and should only be given out to those players that deserve it. A Pro can control and dominate a format or help innovate a deck that will lead many people to success! The title still applies to players today and I believe it is here to stay! Next week I am going to talk to other well known Pro Player’s and get their insights on what it means to be a pro! I will also share some insight to what goes on in the mind of a Pro Yugioh Players and how to achieve this status! Thanks for reading!
Don’t forget to answer the question of this article!

Question of the Article: Do you think the Yugioh “Pro” exists?