Hello once again everyone young and old and in between of this game. I decided to do another article while this special is on, simply because this singular idea came to my head while reading another article on this site that sparked my curiosity to how people judge what a good player is in this game any more. Does this include having lots of credentials? Many people seem to think so. Or does it simply mean making the right play all the time or most of the time, and when you DO NOT make the right play, you realize it for future reference in similar situations. It's very hard to say now a days to the common eyes, even to the experienced players sometimes.
Let's start out by getting one thing straight, everyone in this game, no matter their experience want to think of themselves as good and sometimes even "great" players. However, this is not always the truth of the matter. You cannot become a good and certainly a great player over night...most of the time. I say most of the time, as when someone suddenly wins out of the blue at a large event (such as WCQ or YCS events), suddenly this person is a good player. I know I seem to be knocking a lot of people who have only won a single event, so I won't say win even, let's say someone who TOP 32's one event. After you do so, you feel great, confident about your skills. I should know, I have done so a while back. Was I cocky afterwards? Beyond a doubt I was. But I had to take a reality check, one top, especially top 32, no matter the size of the tournament does not make you a great player. It shows that your skills are in check with everyone else, and it shows that you are well developed in the format for the time being, but not a great player necessarily.
So what does make a good player? In my humble opinion, it's consistency. If a player tops one event, one regional, one YCS, one WCQ, that makes them good for the time being. But only time tells if that player is truly great and remembered for years to come. Players that stick out in your min when the word "pro" comes across message boards may be people such as: Adam Corn, Dale and Lazaro Bellido, Kris Perovic, Anthony Alvarado, Jeff Jones, Billy Brake, Ryan Spicer and some of the more recent consistent winners and high placers. To many, some of the specific names I listed probably don't even ring a bell at all. However, in their own right they are known as "pro" or great players. Players that have achieved more in their times then many fresh blooded toppers. Yes I included Billy Brake who is still high on the charts of topping two championships back to back, but he has been on the scene for a long time now.
The players formerly mentioned to me, and many more that were not mentioned, have cemented their integrity into the game by accomplishing amazing feats at large scale tournaments. Another thing they all have in common is that they have all played innovative decks at some point or another. Something that is hard to do now a days. But to the real point of this article. You don't have to be a "pro" to be a good player, or to even be a great player. Many great players are not able to even go to large events, and remain nameless faces in the crowd of many hoping to break through the spot light. Being categorized as a great player now a days is a very difficult thing to achieve. Many say, in the days of old that it was even more difficult.
Players do not grasp the fact that consistency or innovation can lead to your name being immortal in the game's long and ever flowing status. But if you just want to be another face in the crowd of top 32 contenders at the latest event, running something you saw on the internet and topping once with it is your best bet. Five minutes of fame doesn't last long in this card game, it barely lasts a couple days to many. However if you are able to repeat the process of topping consistently, even if you do not win, but to where people recognize you or your name at least when you go and sit across from them, that is achieving something. That is when you know you've become something more in my opinion.
In the game play itself today, many things can contribute to what makes a good player good. One major thing that is overlooked many times is where it all beings: Deck Building. If you are truly a great player you should be able to analyze, interpret and motivate yourself to realize what is going on right this moment in the game or in the future events to know what to main deck and what to side deck against the top decks of the format. Going a step beyond that, if you do well at an event, you must realize what you will have to do to win against the deck that YOU did well with. As it goes, many people out there will see your deck list on the internet. If it's innovative, they'll copy it, take it to the next event and compete with it themselves. Somehow I think that's how Billy felt sitting down at YCS Ohio and again at YCS Kansas City.
But all this is up for user's interpretation. Everyone has their own idea of what a good player is. Consistency in topping large scale premiere events, innovative deck building that leads you to countering the meta now and in the future, and one of the most important skills that many forget, playing to your play style and who YOU are as a person, not who someone else who topped is as a person and player. Keeping this in mind, the YCS in the U.K. is taking place very soon. Will a GREAT player rise to the top, proving their consistent and unique play style is the best? Will a new face win it all and possibly start on their way of being the next big thing? Or will it be another person wanting just 5 minutes of fame and gloat? Only time will tell, but whatever does happen, the prediction is up to one of the past 3 questions in the opinion of this writer, and duelist.
Til next time! Play hard, and happy holidays.
~"Crazee" Adam Block~