This is another self-reflection type post.
I have been thinking about this issue over the past several weeks so I'm glad I can finally talk about it. Speaking as a Yu-Gi-Oh player, I came to the realization that I know that I will never be able to travel to the various YCS tournaments across the country, or even Nationals if I ever qualified. As Mike Bonacini pointed out in his last blog post, you only walk away with a few grand for winning a YCS anyway. I think that is why attendance in the YCS's the past few years have been so low; poor prize support. At the end of the day, the amount of what you can get has to be a lot more than what it costs to go. They should make it like how it used to be where only first got the prize card, and the prize card was broken. Or, have like 2 or 3 different prize cards for 1st - 3rd, each decreasing in broken-ness. What's the price on a Blood Mefist? Probably nothin' compared to Stein, Gold Sarc, CCV, and Doomcal in their peak. We saw the same thing with the Darklord cards, they were pretty meh in playability and thus in value, and attendance decreased. They give out a lot more copies of the prize card (does anyone really care if it's Ultra or Super?) too, thus decreasing its value. Yes it becomes unfair if only former YCS winners/people with a lot of money got to use the broken prize cards against others in future YCS events, but Christ, people need to get back that competitive mindset of "I don't give a crap, I'll beat you either way." Did only the people that had prize versions of Stein/CCV/Gold Sarc/Doomcal/Dark End ever win Jumps? No, well, CCV maybe a little if you could always stack Sangan/Necro + CCV, but you know what I mean. Did people just say "eh I'm not gonna play anymore" in the Dark Armed era? Some, sure, but from what I remember there was a huge boom in YGO around that time.
Realistically, for the remainder of my time in Yugz, I will be a simple locals guy with the occasional trips to regionals. One could argue "what's the point of going to regionals if you know you aren't gonna go to nationals?" I dunno, probably for the trading/buying/selling aspect of it and team pride if I do well. The problem is that back in the day the Seattle/Tacoma area used to have a regionals like every month to 2 months, now it's once per season. There are none on the east side of the state and none in Idaho. I don't think Portland gets any either, so it's basically a regional once a year for everyone in the Northwest. Will we ever get a YCS Seattle? Probably not, the turnout for the previous Seattle Jump was pretty poor. It was basically just an average-sized regional.
So if 99% of my playing time is restricted to locals, I thought, what is the point of me having these super-expensive cards (ie Tour Guide)? Danny and I are the only people that play to have a set, and I feel that my skill alone can still win me locals. We both only get to play at most once a week, and with their $450+ price tag, $8-10 in store credit per week at a $5 tourney entrance expense per week+ gas money to drive out there just doesn't justify it. For me, the point of having expensive cards is to win enough so they pay for themselves in winnings and that way you obtain more cards to continously do well and sell/trade the excess of what you obtain. That is why I have been considering playing at a closer location, to reduce my gas cost. Unfortunately Shiggs told me that the Saturday Uncle's tournament only gets like 6-8 as well. If they have better prize support though, I have to really consider that option.
Yes, Tour Guide adds consistency and is a great tool-box for Leviathan and Leviair and soon Zenmaines, and will only get better with Darkworld and future Rank 3's, but I just think "I'd probably do just fine anyway." I think the thing that makes me hesitate in selling them off is the competitive mindset I have from being on Team O. I have always felt that we represented a group of the best players that are in our area, and in my opinion to be the best you have to have the best in terms of skill and in cards. Without Tour Guide, I could not say I have the best cards in the game. I would be settling on "this is good enough" rather than go for "this is the best". I am pretty much at a crossroads between keeping my Tour Guides and playing only Yugz, and selling them off to play Magic as well. I'm not willing to pick the alternative of keeping the Guides AND picking up Magic. Too expensive. If I sold them off I would just have to make a few alterations as to what I'd play, but then I'd also have the money to probably have a tier-1 Magic deck. I'd most likely still win out in Yugz and then also in Magic. Sounds like the best of both worlds right?
Between Yugz and Magic, I've always said that I would play the most popular game in the area. Especially being military and moving around so much the past few years, there'd be no point in keeping all my Yugz stuff if no one played it, and vice versa. Pensacola FL and Corpus Christi TX were great places for Yugz so I stuck with the game. Now, in Spokane, I'm not certain. I have to consider all the places that currently run Magic tournaments and see how the attendance is in those locations. I would not mind having a brief Magic stint if it forced players back into Yugz, since I think that the love I have for this game is more than I have for Magic, even though I have achieved more in Magic than in YGO.
Over the next few weeks I will try to get numbers as to how the local FNMs are in attendance, the next couple of Yugz tournaments in the area, and consider how many people show up for the PHSW sneak. My mind says to sell Tour Guides after YCS Columbus since they will undoubtedly be in like every top 32 deck and thus increase in price even more. Regardless of what I do, I will still play YGO. My main deck will simply be $450+ lower in value but I'd also have a top-tier Magic deck. It may be a good move since eventually it will get reprinted, so might as well cash out now than gamble it all in the future. Mike Bonacini and Allen C. Pennington have made the transition to Magic, and I'm sure countless other people have as well. It's pretty apparent in our area when even at YGO tourneys the YGO players casually play Magic with each other rather than play in the actual YGO tourney. Like I said, in the best-case scenario I want to dominate in both Yugioh and Magic. The things in my top considerations are 1) the number of players 2) prize support 3) quality of players. The larger the attendance, the more opportunity there is to plus off trades and sells. The better the prize support, the more reward you get from doing well. The lower the quality of players, the easier it is to do well, but that comes down to personal satisfaction and desire - do you want to play against harder people to improve your own game, or dominate worse people and get that prize support? I like a mixture of both, but if I had to decide on one I would go with plus'ing from prize support and trading with nubs all day every day.