I wanted others to get a better idea about the other members of the team rather than just myself all the time, so I came up with a set of questions for each member to answer. Since it's easiest for me to answer my own questions, I'll start with my own and as I get back answers from the other members (just e-mailing them out) I'll post them up.
1. How long have you been playing this game, and when did you start playing competitively?
I have been playing this game ever since the first Yugi and Kaiba decks came out. My best friend at the time and I were in to Magic but watched the show, and when the starter decks came out I bought one of each and we played against each other with them. We had no idea what the rules were and just went by how they played on the cartoon. We soon realized that it was BS to just summon Blue Eyes for free so we looked through the rulebook. My first tournament was around when LON came out, but I didn't get too competitive until PGD.
2. What "kind" of player would you consider yourself, or what is your particular play style? Aggressive vs conservative vs mixture, original vs strict net-deck, budget vs "money is no object", bling vs everything common, etc.
I'd say I have a very conservative play style. I won't summon or waste removal if I don't have to. I'll generally always go for guaranteed damage first, like attacking with my monster before tributing it for a Monarch or something like that. Being so conservative, I'd say I can't really play aggro decks well, especially so in a game like Magic.
Ever since SJCs started and decklists were revealed, I've pretty much always net-decked and then made slight changes to meet my justifications. My rationale is that I simply don't have the time to come up with all-new strategies or top-tier strategies and stuff like that. I leave that to the pros since they have the dedication and ability to play test all the necessary hours required to create a top-tier list.
In general money is no object, but I never want to pay full price on an expensive card. I got my 3 Tour Guides for basically $100 total. I highly doubt I'd pay the current price for them if I didn't have them already.
I tend to go back and forth a lot when it comes to bling'ing my deck. One period of time I may be gung-ho about it, while the next be like "no, I'm making everything lowest rarity." In general though I say I prefer to have common versions of everything, because if you get your deck stolen it hurts a lot less monetarily. I can appreciate an all-bling'ed out deck though.
3. What do your think about net-decking? Does it hurt or help a player's ability to play the game?
I have no problems whatsoever with net-decking and those that net-deck, since I do it too. Honestly I think those that are 100% adamant about not doing it are only hurting themselves. Who knows, they may be a player that always does poorly at tournaments, but if they had just changed 6-10 cards to emulate a deck that did well and make it more viable, they may top 3 their tournaments on a weekly basis. I always have a problem with people that play X deck, and say that their entire monster line-up and a good chunk of their spell/traps have to be of type X. Your Zombie deck doesn't need to run sub-par cards like Call of the Mummy and god knows what else.
This is a double-edged sword though, because the more that people rely on net-deck'ing to make their deck, the less prepared they are at the start of new formats and when a new set is released. I believe it's important to be able to look at a card and be able to deem how playable it is currently and potentially in the future.
4. What do you think of the current format? If favorable, what do you like about it? If unfavorable, what is it you don't like about it?
Personally I love this format. I love Heavy Storm being back so not every deck just goes "set mon, set 5, go". There is still a lot of variety as well, even though Plants do have the YCS results dominated. On the local level, almost everyone runs something different than the next person. This makes siding difficult, but basically as a locals-only player, I only side for the top players at any given tournament anyway. I wish that Royal Oppression was still legal, but I think that Maxx C is basically the legal version of RO now.
5. What is your current main deck and why do you run that deck?
My main deck for the majority of the format so far has been TGU Agents, but I'm going to give Karakuri an honest effort, hopefully for the rest of the format. I feel that I need to prove to myself that I can win in this format without Tour Guide, and I feel that Karakuri is the best non-Tour Guide deck at the moment. I feel that it generates advantage just as well as any of the other decks, and also has consistent OTK ability. I always dismissed Karakuri as "just another deck that'll fail" but I've been able to see that it's far from that.
6. What was the first holo you ever pulled out of a pack?
I think it was a Tri-Horned Dragon out of LOB. Even though I was just starting out, I could easily tell it was trash since Blue Eyes had more attack. I think I ended up trading it for a Premature Burial and Snatch Steal or something ridiculous like that.
7. What is your favorite format/deck of all time?
My favorite deck is a toss-up between Magical Explosion OTK and the first iteration of DandyWarrior. I also have a soft spot for Gadget Monarchs and Blackwings. I have a lot of good memories with all the different decks I've done well with so it's hard to pick just one. As for format, it's probably actually DAD Return. That format separated the men from the boys.
8. What do you think of reprints of expensive cards/reprints in general?
I like it but at the same time I don't. I like it since in the end it means I can sell my expensive card to have more money, but it's annoying always having to "watch your back" for reprints. I hate being in the situation that "you have to run this expensive card to do well" and then it getting hit on the list or reprinted soon after and losing money on it. Now I just follow the "1-year rule", where you can basically just assume that a card can get reprinted a year after its release. I say if you keep an expensive card beyond that 1 year point and it gets reprinted, well that's on you and have no reason to bitch about it. If it helps you win though, then more power to ya.
9. If there was one thing that you could change about the game, what would it be?
There are a lot of things I could list, but if it's only one - better prize support at the Regional and above level. I think the reason attendance at YCSs have seemed to have gone down (overall) is because of decreasing prize support and the viability of the prize cards. At the end of the day, people need justification for spending hundreds of dollars to travel to an event, and usually that justification is in the form of prizes. When you have crappy prize cards, they end up not selling for as much, and thus the money potential goes down, and attendance with it.
10. If there was one thing that you could change about your own ability to play, what would it be?
Having a better idea of knowing when to push/go aggro. I tend to fall for bluff S/Ts a lot because I generally never set bluff S/Ts. I assume it's a live card, so I'll just attack minimally, giving my opponent more turns to potentially make a come-back. I've had some games where I would've won had I just summoned one more monster and attacked for game, but I guess the fear of walking into a Torrential or something just holds me back.
11. A lot of players online raged at the news that Black Luster Soldier and Heavy Storm were coming off the ban list. How do you currently feel about both of them being back in the game?
I love Heavy Storm being back. It seems to have brought back some amount of normalcy to the game. BLS is still cheap and I get salty losing to a top-deck'd BLS, but it is a lot more manageable now than it was in the past. There's a plethora of removal, and stuff like Catastor and Hyperion deal with it easily.
12. Do you think Black Luster Soldier will be re-banned in March? Why/why not?
It should be banned, but I don't think it will. Konami will want to push their Light/Dark Dragon structure deck, and BLS is an auto-include for that, thus making the deck more viable, at least in consumers' minds.
13. If you could play against any one "pro"/big-name YuGiOh player, who would it be?
Jae Kim. He has always been my favorite "pro" and I wish that he'd come back to the game after his suspension but most likely won't. He's the one that started us on the whole CrushShoot thing, and Magical Merchant. I think he also pioneered Warrior Toolbox. It'd be great to play against someone that has that kind of mindset.
14. What do you think of the current state of Spokane-area (Spokane, Valley, CDA) YuGiOh?
It's a shell of its former self. It'll never return to the glory days when we had 80+ people for Sneak Peeks, but it is what it is, and I can appreciate a 10-15 man tourney nowadays. When it gets to 8 or lower though it's rather disappointing. Andrew had a good thing going at Uncle's. Even though no one wanted to play in the mall, he still had the highest turnout for tournaments and was basically the event where everyone in the area went. 16+ man tourneys every week. After burning the bridge with Team O though, he's only got his loyal guys, but you can't run a 5-6 person tourney. He's made it so everyone is scattered, causing attendance everywhere to be lower.
15. If there was one thing that you could say to the Spokane-area playerbase, what would it be?
Don't be scared, and play! There are sooo many people that collect cards and are fairly decent players, but they just don't play in tourneys. The best way to improve your game is to get your share of ass-kickings and come to that "aha" moment on your own. In Texas I whooped up on Mikey every Friday for like a month for 3+ hours at a time, and he came to the realization on his own of the way to play correctly and advantageously. Now he's the best down there. No one starts out as the best; it takes time, dedication, and an open mind to do so. Make it to your locals and support the game that you love.