Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Resolution, Decisions, Advice, 100th DN Game

I know I'm slightly early on the topic, but I thought I'd talk about my New Year's resolution for the coming year. In the past I've always had the traditional resolutions that virtually everyone has such as losing weight, drinking less, spending less money, and what have you. It seems like resolutions are all about giving something up; why should I have to give anything up? This year rather than picking something that I know I'll simply give up on later on in the year, I decided that I'd pick a realistic yet meaningful one (at least for me), and that is to: play more Yugz.

I admit that sounds kinda funny, but again I wanted a simple one that I thought I could reasonably do. With my current workload and simply being married, I really couldn't/can't play all that much. About once a week tops with very minimal testing in between. I'd like to change this and say I'd like to play in real-life tourneys twice a week and utilize Dueling Network a lot more during the week. The primary alteration I need to do is simply bring my laptop to school and hop on DN in between classes. I still get a lot of joy out of playing this game, so why not enjoy it on a more regular/frequent basis? I won't allow it to get to the point of where I used to be when I played in tourneys like 4 days a week though; that negatively affected my school grades and stuff too much. I'll probably also do the usual crap like "lose weight" and "spend less money", but those are back-burner resolutions for me.

So last night I checked Uncle's websites to see if either location was going to be starting tourneys again. I noticed on the Valley one that they'll be starting them back up on Monday. What's really annoying is that this tournament is the exact same time and day as the Northtown one. Why can't one of them wise up and simply shift it a day instead of directly competing with each other? All that's gonna do is make the attendance of each tournament lower, since the likelihood of there being a unanimous decision among the players to play at one place over the other, virtually non-existent. You'll probably get a majority of people switch back to Uncle's, while the stragglers hold on to playing at Northtown because it's closer to them or whatever. Good job, instead of running potentially two 20-man tourneys during the week, there's gonna be one that'll be like 14 and the other around 6, struggling to get those last two people to hold a full tourney. See how this was even more problematic when BGN was around, who also had Monday @ 5 tourneys? Is there something about Monday that just screams "Yugioh tourney!!"? Speaking of BGN, I checked on their facebook page and sure enough they officially closed down on Christmas Eve but the guy is gonna have "Thursday Board Game Night" or some crap while he's trying to sell the building off. Such a shame, that store had a lot of potential to do really well but poor location (next to a used car lot with really nothing else nearby) and a poor business mind-set caused another closure of a game/hobby shop for Spokane/Valley.

So with that being said and trying to fulfill my new 2-tourneys-a-week resolution, I obviously have to pick between Uncle's and Northtown. Naturally this leads to a pro/con list. I'll continue going to Lightning on Saturdays.

Pros: likely to have more people, is much closer to where I live
Cons: more than likely Andrew will be running it, very close to where my wife works (ie if she happens to see me I'm dead)

Pros: realistically no chance of my wife seeing me
Cons: farther away, may not have as good turnouts

I know I've talked a lot about my wife in the past, usually in a disgruntled manner, so I should probably elaborate a little. Long story short, as far as my wife knows, I don't play Yugz anymore and haven't for the past year + some months. When I was living in Texas she essentially forced me to quit and throw away (literally, in garbage bags into the dumpster) my entire collection (worth ~$2000 at the time), so now I simply play behind her back and hide all my cards/binders/etc. I didn't even really care about the cards themselves, but the one thing that had sentimental value to me, the team mat that I received the day before I went to boot camp, I had to throw away as well. I know it seems kind of shady/sneaky and it's kind of a terrible way to live, but she simply isn't a rational person when it comes to the game, or actually, a lot of things in general. I have never told her once that she couldn't or isn't allowed to do something that she truly enjoyed because it differed from my beliefs/interests, but I guess she thinks it's ok for her to do that to me. I could easily say "well I have no interest in going to church so you're not allowed to go anymore" but I obviously don't. I don't cheat on her, don't hit her, don't gamble all our money away, not an alcoholic or anything like that. I pretty much wait on her hand and foot and do things a lot of men in general will outright never do, so she doesn't "have it bad" in the slightest. So for me, it's not about doing anything out of spite and "playing behind her back", it's simply "doing what I have to, to do something I enjoy." I don't have the widest range of interests and hobbies, never really have throughout my life, so this is why I have to put so much focus and worry on her randomly seeing me at these mall-based tournaments.

Pro-tip: don't get married. Women change almost instantaneously pre and post-marriage. I don't know what it is, but there must be some kind of built-in "nag" switch that gets flipped on when the ring comes on. Like most other guys, I too thought "nah there's no way she'd change like that, she's so cool and everything is chill". Uh no. Trust me that shit goes away in a flash, and it's obviously more than a coincidence when every other married guy I've talked to has said similar things. You even hear about these stories from time to time where a couple lives together for like 10+ years, very happy, then once they get married it all goes to shit and they get divorced. Wtf? It doesn't happen "just because"!!

I finally got in my 100th Rated game of DN today. I know that isn't really a feat or anything since so many people have hundreds upon hundreds of games, but like I've said in the past, I can only tolerate that shit for so long until I just have to log out. My win-loss ratio is 72-28, which I'm happy with since I've always wanted to maintain at least around a 3-1 ratio. Some of those losses I had to incur upon myself when I was playing and my wife almost walking into the room so I'd have to exit out without hesitation. The last time I did that I Trish'd and was +3 on him, obviously going to win that one, but had to exit out in a heartbeat. That and losing to some crazy OCG shit, or other random lucky OTK crap. I've gotten quite a few wins off scrubs too so it probably all evens out in the end. Oh DN, how I love to hate and hate to love thee lol.

Still waiting on Turbo Pack 7 reveals which were supposed to happen today. I'm sure we'll be getting them within the day or so. Anyways long post, but hey that's nothing out of the norm right? lol. Happy New Year to everyone and stay safe :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wow Computer Viruses Suck...

So the past day and a half I've been battling the "XP Home Security 2012" virus on my desktop (yes, which I still run XP on. It's old.). It all started when my wife told me that I should consider making a LinkedIn account. I was like alright. Later on I check my hotmail's spam folder and notice I got a thing that said someone sent me a message via LinkedIn. I thought maybe it was an invitation e-mail or something so I opened it, clicked the link to view my "message", and sure enough nothing happened. I was just like "great", and pretty much knew what I had walked into. [So no, I didn't get the virus from looking at porn. I think after 15 years of that, I'd have gotten the hang of it by now lol] About an hour later I keep getting pop-ups that say like "your security has been invaded" blah blah blah and this thing pretends to be your Windows Security Alert thing everyone running Windows has. I was still able to use the Internet and all my programs just fine, but I was a little skeptical about someone stealing my information somehow, so I disconnected myself from the Internet and proceeded to use the anti-spyware stuff that I had. I ended up using: AVG, Lavasoft Ad-Aware, SpywareBlaster, Spybot, CCleaner, and ComboFix, both in and out of Safe mode, but nothing was getting rid of this virus. My browsers got to the point where every time I opened them and inputted a URL, the virus had displayed some crap about "it's not safe to go to this site your security could be at risk" and wouldn't let me go anywhere. Last night I was like "alright, I'm just gonna use my laptop and try and find a solution." It was pretty easy to find, as it seems like lots of people have experienced this as well. I downloaded the necessary programs and registry edits that the site recommended and went to bed.

Once I got done with my errands and giving Zach his Rabbit stuff today, I came back and went through the solution that I had found the night before. At the end of that series of steps and with a download of Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware (huge shout-outs), I had finally gotten rid of the virus, but now none (or very few) of my executable (exe) files would work, even in Safe mode! I couldn't run Firefox, command prompt, regedit, or even msconfig. SO, again I went on my laptop to try and find a solution to my new problem of not being able to open any exe files. Once again I found a registry edit, loaded it into my registry, and with a reboot my computer is now finally fixed. A lot can happen with one simple click of a link, holy cow. All this time I was gonna put toward testing on DN too, what a shame lol.

These people that spend their time writing these things piss me off so much, it's not like I'm going to be dumb enough to put in my credit card info and buy this fake software that's telling me I have a privacy invasion when clearly the program itself is the problem. Unfortunately lots of people get sucked into these kinds of things, the virus isn't gonna go away, they gave their info to some entity thinking they were buying this software to get rid of the problem, they're probably gonna have to pay someone to fix their computer, and now they have to deal with the hassle of calling their credit card companies just in case.

Looks like nothing much has happened in Yugz between my last post and this one; no ORCS SE info, no Turbo 7 reveals, nothin'. Langbanger mentioned on DGz that the turbo pack may be in stores this weekend, so that'd be cool. Unfortunately I'm probably still not going to be able to get away to play this weekend since it's New Year's and all that but I'm hoping, crossing my fingers, that I'll get to play on Jan 2nd at Northtown. Just to see who all's playing there, how many show up, get some games and trades in, etc. It's been too long and DN only satisfies me to a certain point lol.

Speaking of DN, I eventually want to test Inzektors and Wind-Up hybrids cuz I really don't know how they work specifically. With me, I need to physically test something out before I "get it"; just reading about it (which I've done) doesn't stick with me for some reason. I may get the gist of it, but it's totally different when you're testing something out for reals. Nate's testing with X-Sabers inspired me to build and try out a current meta-oriented Blackwings, but I only got one game in against a guy running GB's, which I had answers for all his plays for the most part. It was fairly back and forth but I was always usually a move ahead in terms of advantage and board presence. I can already pretty much tell that like Sabers, their tools just don't match up to the things available in the current game though, especially when some of their best tools (Whirlwind, Kalut, Gale) are all at 1. They were also one of the decks that hardly got hindered by main-deck Royal Oppression, which is obviously now gone. It's kinda sad cuz they were one of my most favorite decks to play when they were top-tier and they've just kinda faded away into nothing now. Such is the cycle of Yugz, lol.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry X-Mas, Tour Bus, X-Saber Analysis from Nate

Merry Christmas everyone, and if you're Jewish or celebrate Kwanzaa; well Happy Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. I'm not exactly sure when those holidays are celebrated but hey I get an A for effort right? lol. Anyways, not much is happening for me for Christmas - all I wanted was Batman Arkham City and Uncharted 3, which I bought for myself on Black Friday so I'm set. Other than that all I need is a new watch (cuz the band thing broke) and a hand vacuum since they are convenient. My wife and I are deciding to celebrate Christmas at a later date because we've just been so busy with the house that we haven't had time to do shopping for people or each other or write cards and that kinda stuff.

As everyone expected, yesterday we got the effect of Tour Bus. I'm not gonna post the effect since I'm sure everyone has heard/read about it whether from the actual Article page, Youtube, forums, or word-of-mouth. At first I was like holy crap that sucks, but like most people, I was expecting something really broken. I think the general constructive consensus with the card is: 1) it'll get played as a 1-of if Sangan gets banned and 2) it's a decent sideboard card. Everyone else is like "blah it's garbage blah". I like that it's kind of like a built-in Transmigration, you get to still XYZ with it, and it gets its effect regardless of how it ends up in the grave. Good, not broken, not bad. I'll probably do what I can to pick up a copy for myself when ORCS is released. I don't expect it to be a very expensive card. As for the SE for ORCS, there is still a lot of speculation as to what the promos may be. Lots are obviously hoping for Tour Guide and justifying that it will be in there because of Tour Bus. I completely understand this logic. On the flip side, I can't think of very many instances (then again I'm not trying hard) where we got a reprint of a certain card, let alone an exclusive, before the OCG got it in the first place. This leads me to stick to my original guess that it won't make it as one of the promos for this SE and will be used to push some other product that costs more. Why waste arguably the most sought-after card in the game on a $9.99 per-unit product, when it could go toward either a $20/$30 product like a tin or a pack of Gold Series (assuming they stick with the $30 price that Gold 4 had)?

Apparently the Northtown tournament is now the "place to play" in the area since BGN isn't running tournaments. I played against Link on DN the other day and he mentioned that they had around 20 people last Monday and people were desperate for a place to play. I'm glad that at least people have come to some kind of consensus on where people should play. I won't be able to go tomorrow but once school gets rolling again I should be able to make it out there. I'm not sure how this will affect me playing at Lightning. Danny brought up a good point when he said he'd just play at Lightning, and that was the matter of consistency. Lightning has the same people show up week after week, while it's hard to tell how often the people at Northtown may show up. I'd rather go to a tourney that has a consistent number around 10-12 than have some turnouts be 20 and the next week be 7. Not sure how likely this would be, but something to consider.

Anyways, Nate did some testing with X-Sabers on DN and wrote a mini-article/conclusion about it and I will post it below:

Are Sabers Still an Option?

Hey, this is Nate from Team O. I’ve always enjoyed writing articles so I figured I might as well write some for Mike’s blog. [My note: to be frank, this is the whole team's blog :)]

I recently was able to get back into the game after losing all my cards in an unfortunate backpack incident. Anyway, with not that many resources I am a little limited to what I can make so I have been spending a lot of time on DN testing out decks, and I thought that I would record some of my progress with different decks. Why not start with Sabers?

After a couple games of playing with X-Sabers I realized how good they can be if you play them right. I decided in order to fully test the deck out I would have to play a total of 50 games, making any necessary changes along the way. 

Here is my starting list:

Monster: 21
2x Maxx “C”
1x Sangan
1x X-Saber Airbellum
2x X-Saber Pashuul
3x XX-Saber Boggart Knight
3x XX-Saber Darksoul
3x XX-Saber Emmersblade
3x XX-Saber Faultroll
3x XX-Saber Fulhelmknight

Spell: 9
1x Book of Moon
1x Dark Hole
1x Heavy Storm
1x Mind Control
1x Monster Reborn
2x Mystical Space Typhoon
2x Pot of Duality

Traps: 10
1x Gottoms’ Emergency Call
1x Mirror Force
2x Reinforced Truth
1x Solemn Judgement
2x Solemn Warning
1x Torrential Tribute
2x Trap Stun

With a deck made, and Pandora playing in the background, it’s time to get started. Hold on, it’s gonna be a long one.

Game 1: Lightsworn (chaos)
GOML HAND. I otk turn 2. We agree on a rematch

Game 2: Lightsworn (Chaos)
He just drew too good. Not much I could do. Sometime LS just get lucky.

Game 3: Lightsworn (Chaos)
Went back and forth, but he started out his first turn with a DAD, Catastor, Ehren, a backrow, and 3 cards in hand… He DAD’s through my backrow, and Ehrens over my sangan. I’m down 4 cards and there's not much I could do.

Game 4: Plants
I play super conservative and eventually clear the field and empty his hand. But playing him reminded me of something; Super-Nimble Mega Hamster… I decide to try it for a few games.

The New List:
Monster: 23
2x Maxx “C”
2x Super-Nimble Mega Hamster
1x Sangan
1x X-Saber Airbellum
2x X-Saber Pashuul
3x XX-Saber Boggart Knight
3x XX-Saber Darksoul
3x XX-Saber Emmersblade
3x XX-Saber Faultroll
3x XX-Saber Fulhelmknight

Spell: 9
1x Book of Moon
1x Dark Hole
1x Heavy Storm
1x Mind Control
1x Monster Reborn
2x Mystical Space Typhoon
2x Pot of Duality

Traps: 8
1x Gottoms’ Emergency Call
2x Reinforced Truth
1x Solemn Judgement

2x Solemn Warning
2x Trap Stun

Game 5: Rabbit
Not a good representation of the format. He brings out this verz card that I cant get around. Verz Ophion, its effect is that neither player can special a lvl 5 or higher monster. From then on I decided to only record TCG duels.

And after some help with the deck list this is what I came up with:
Monster: 20
1x Gorz
1x Super-Nimble Mega Hamster
1x X-Saber Airbellum
2x X-Saber Pashuul
3x XX-Saber Boggart Knight
3x XX-Saber Darksoul
3x XX-Saber Emmersblade
3x XX-Saber Faultroll
3x XX-Saber Fulhelmknight

Spell: 10
1x Book of Moon
1x Dark Hole
1x Heavy Storm
1x Mind Control
1x Monster Reborn
2x Mystical Space Typhoon
2x Pot of Duality
1x Enemy Controller

Traps: 10
2x Bottomless Trap Hole
1x Gottoms’ Emergency Call
2x Reinforced Truth
1x Solemn Judgement
2x Solemn Warning
2x Trap Stun

Game 6: Plants
He wins game 1 with some crazy tops and we decide to play best 2/3.

Game 7: Plants
I open broken and win easily

Game 8: Plants
I’m pretty sure he sides into pretty heavy anti-meta, I mind control his t-king and go for game.

Game 9: Dark World
Long game, which is when dark world is usually best. Got him down low enough to attack over a monster for game.

Game 10: Agents
I open fairly well, and win turn 4. We decide to play a match.

Game 11: Agents
Turn out this kid a fucking retard and cant take a loss so he practically cums when he wins game 2. My deck pooped on me :/

Game 12: Agents
This game is pretty close but he opens very well. I wind up losing.

…… wait what? 6-6? Turn out we don’t need 50 games. I got a good feel of how it plays against the meta and I’ve made my mind up. For me, Sabers are not an option. Lets go through some things that I noticed:

1- The deck is extremely combo based, as it always has been. In slower formats this is fine but with one card combos like Rabbit, Tour Guide and Hyperion, its just too hard to keep up.

2- Having to run so many sabers, just to get a consistent build means not much room for cards like maxx “c” or veiler, which I feel are needed.

3- Most of the time the combo isn’t enough to win. Because Darksoul only gets it’s effect once the deck really just doesn’t have the power it used to.

Some quick notes:

· Reinforced Truth was amazing. Cards too good.
· Gottoms e call didn’t help once.
· Extra deck is extremely tight. You’ll never have enough room for everything, but Landoise isn’t worth the space.
· Enemy Controller was meh.
· Hamster was good whenever I drew it. Good comeback card.
· 2 duality was the right number.

All that being said, I believe it is possible that someone else might have more success than I did. But as for me, I need to keep looking (I hate this format).

Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011 Year in Review, Testing Updates, DN Hate

As you can see at the top, I uploaded the logo that Danny's wife drew for our t-shirts. It was originally black and white, and due to the scanning I had to do a lot of editing by hand to make it clear that what she drew was black and the rest was white. Paper itself tends to scan gray with a lot of little dots. I have no idea how to use Photoshop, so I pretty much did all of the work on basically a per-pixel basis on MS Paint. I decided to fill in the white with red because after uploading the black and white image, I realized the entire blog was black and white and needed some color. Again I had to work for about another hour and a half to get it to fill, but now I can interchange colors very easily. Danny wants a black and yellow logo for his shirt; I told him I thought it looked like a Pikachu with that color scheme but he was alright with it lol. I'm not sure if the logo itself is supposed to be something, I think it looks a lot like Cyber Dragon lol. I like it a lot.

So after doing some more testing with Vargas' XYZ Chaos deck, I've decided I just don't like it enough to run it. Something about Photon Sabre Tiger just seems too slow for me. In most of my games I always seem to have useless Tigers in my hand in the late game. Snowman Eater is good all-around tech though and has been for a while, seem like all decks in OCG side 3 and as we get more and more Rank 3 XYZ's, they get better in playability. 1900 DEF that destroys a monster is pretty decent too obviously. I got to test a couple games using that Six Sam deck as well; I OTK'd a guy running Sacreds all thanks to Gateway. Before that I was in pretty bad shape until I Black Rose'd via Kagemush and Grandmaster, then DEST got the ball rolling. One other guy just quit to Gateway+United, so need to play a few more games with it, probably in rated.

I forget what this guy's name was exactly, but I joined a rated match against a guy with about 800 rating with my Agents. I took out a 3rd TKing for a Reaper and wanted to try it out. He ran TGs. He opens with King Tiger Wanghu and 3 backrow and I have a hand that I can't do a whole lot with due to the Tiger. I have a BLS, Earth, 2 Maxx C, Tour Guide, and Warning or something like that. Not too important, but I summon Earth so I can search Venus. I summon, say "ef", wait for a response and get nothing, so I proceed to search my deck. He goes "dude" and I go "?" and tries to tell me that I won't get Earth's effect because it got destroyed, and he ever so helpfully copies and pastes Tiger's effect text into the chat. I'm like "I understand that it gets destroyed, but I still successfully normal summoned it, and it doesn't negate the effect." I grab the Venus, send Earth to the grave, and he was like "you clearly don't know your rulings and how continuous effects work but idc we'll play your way go ahead" and proceeds to call me a noob and whatnot. At this point I'm like alright I'm gonna find that I'm right about this, pass my turn while I quickly go to Pojo Q&A and search "King Tiger Gadget" since I figured there'd be a good chance that people had asked about the interaction between Wanghu and Gadgets. I find the answer in the first hit for which I was right (still get searches), then I copy and paste a reply that someone had posted, then I copy the URL so the guy can look at it himself. He's like "yea you just typed some crap up idc". I'm like "no, I posted the god damn link that shows what happens and the correct ruling. At least I can show my justification for my reasonings." On my next turn my plan is to summon Tour Guide so I can get the dark I need for BLS and get a free Sangan search off the Tiger being there. I go "alright let's try this again" and I summon Tour Guide, wait for a response, and search for my Sangan. Again he's like "blah blah blah noob blah" and I'm just like "what, I just posted a link so you can see how it works for yourself." He Warnings my BLS and I proceed to get Horn'd to death, but at that point I didn't even care and just wanted to stop playing this moron.

Now I can openly admit I ain't no rulings guru or anything, far from it, but when there's a dispute and I FIND PROOF for why I'm right and you DON'T do a damn thing to justify your reasoning, especially when you're wrong, who are you to call ME a noob? I just completely hate this kind of attitude that people have, like "I'm right because I just know and you're bad cuz you don't agree (with my incorrect ruling)". Show them proof for why they're wrong? They're still adamant that they're "right". Most rational people can just be like "ah ok, got it" and admit that they're wrong when you show them proof for why you're right, and all you can do is just hope they remember the correct ruling for the future. Again I don't remember the guy's name, but dude if you happen to read this: fuck you. You're a dumb, ignorant, fuck. That's really all that needs to be said.
2011 Year in Review

As we get closer to finishing out 2011, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect back on everything that happened in the game this year on both local and global scopes, and think about what we can look forward to in 2012. I don’t remember exactly when things were announced and that kinda stuff but I’ll do the best I can.

- Duelist Pack Yusei 3 was released. I don’t remember anything special coming out of it.

- Storm of Ragnarok was released, providing much support for Six Samurai, and gave us Maxx “C”.
- YCS Dallas takes place, which is the last YCS until the new March ban list. Nizar Sarhan wins with Six Samurai.

- The March ban list became official, finally banning Cold Wave.
- The Dragunity structure deck was released, but nothing too note-worthy came from it in terms of reprints. I regrettably bought 3 of this deck, getting sucked into all the hype.
- Storm of Ragnarok SE was released, giving us reprints of Hand of the Six Samurai and Light and Darkness Dragon. I purchased a few boxes of this.
- The first YCS of the March format took place in Charlotte, with Sean Coovert (Sams) beating Nicky Lacaille (Fish).

- Hidden Arsenal 4 was released, most notably giving us Trishula. I didn’t buy too much HA04, had to end up ordering a Trish as a single.
- We received Turbo Pack 5, giving us common Miracle Fusion, rare Puppet Plant, Super Six Sam United and Snowman Eater, Ultra Dark Hole, and Ulti Colossal.
- Angel Flores (Gemini) beat Jonathan Weigle (Gravekeeper) at YCS Anaheim, with much joking about winning with Penguin Soldier.
- The Duelist Pack Collection Tin came out, with the debut of Frozen Fitzgerald along with reprints of Zeman, Hundred Eyes, and Underground Arachnid. This product was fairly popular for the Veiler reprint and just having DREV packs.

- Extreme Victory was released, introducing the game-changing TCG exclusive cards of Reborn Tengu and Tour Guide from the Underworld. I didn’t buy any boxes of this, but picked up 2 sets of Tengus at the Sneak for almost nothing.
- Juan Morales (Tengu/GK/Birdman deck) beat Traviis Massengale (Debris Zombie) at YCS Orlando.
- Duelist Pack Crow was released, giving us very easy access to everything Blackwing and contained the debut of Zephyros the Elite.

- The Lost Sanctuary structure deck was released, giving us reprints of Solemn Judgment and a few old Secret Fairys. Many were upset at the exclusion of Archlord Kristya since the OCG had her in theirs. I ordered a box of this.
- Tyree Tinsley wins YCS Providence with Plants.

- Gold Series 4 was released, but not many were looking forward to the set due to the increased price and overall lack of desired reprints. There seemed to be a pretty dividing line between those that were very enthused for the set and those that weren’t. Doomcal was the highlight of the set. To this present day this is the first Gold Series that I haven’t purchased multiple boxes of.
- The 2012 Starter Deck “Dawn of the XYZ” was released, introducing us to our first XYZ monsters. I bought 2 of this deck I think.
- The much-hyped TG Hyper Librarian became legal, catapulting “Plant Synchro” to the top. I ordered 2 Shonen subscriptions just for this card.
- Hidden Arsenal SE was released, which gave us a reprint of XX-Saber Emmersblade. I haven’t bought any of this.
- US Nationals takes place, with Hansel Aguero (TG) beating Sam Pedigo (Plants).

- Generation Force became available, which was the first booster series to include the XYZ mechanic.
- The 2011 Collector’s tin (Wave 1) was released, which gave us much-desired Pot of Duality, E-Hero Gaia, and Archlord Kristya reprints. I ended up buying 12 or 13 of these.
- We received Turbo Pack 6, which gave us easy-to-get Armory Arm, rare Stardust, Super Chain Disappearance, Ultra Sangan, and Ultimate DAD.
- Robert Boyajian wins YCS Indy with Plants.

- The September ban list became official, and to much surprise Black Luster Soldier and Heavy Storm were no longer banned. BLS’s price tag following the news was around $50-60. Many thought Lonefire going to 1 would kill off Plants, and Reborn Tengu wasn’t used a whole lot at the start of the format, as evident in its value dropping to around $8-9. The banning of Fishborg and the limit of Formula basically killed off the Frog Monarch and Water Synchro decktypes, as well as Fish FTK/Trishula Spam.
- We received GENF SE, which contained reprints of E-Hero Absolute Zero and … Spore. I’ve gone through several boxes of SE’s.
- Billy Brake wins YCS Toronto, the first YCS of the September format, with Plants.
- Gale Orbea wins YCS Ecuador with TG Agents.

- We received the much-hyped Darkworld structure deck which contained reprints of Tragoedia and Battle Fader. I split a box of this with Danny.
- We also received Legendary Collection 2, bringing many rarity upgrades to various cards and decks. Notables (for me) were common Thunder-King and the legalization of Gallis the Star Beast. I purchased 1 binder in total, and pulled crap.
- Dark World failed to take any top spots at YCS Columbus, leading many to believe the deck was just “Dragunity hype”.
- I started our team’s official blog site, Team Overload Blog.
- Mike Bonacini, of Death Aspect Blog, retired from blogging.
- Billy Brake takes YCS Columbus with Plants to become the second back-to-back YCS/SJC Champion.

- Wave 2 tins were released, and players received their long-awaited reprints of Solemn Warning and Fossil Dyna. Other reprints like Darksoul, Ehren, and Eatos were appreciated as well. I ended up buying 6 or 7 of these.
- ORCS was released, and we received our rarity-bumped Rescue Rabbit along with new Dinosaurs for various Laggia/Dolkka-based decks. Danny, Zach, and I ordered a case of it and did OK with it; we were able to pretty much break even.
- YCS Kansas City took place, where Courtney Waller won with Chaos. This was the first YCS for Dino Rabbit to debut, and they did pretty well, occupying 3 spots in the top 8. Dark World also cracked into the top 32, taking 3 spots.
- Jarel “Pro” Winston started his “The Winston “Pro” Files” Youtube interview videos, featuring many of the game’s top pros including Dale Bellido, Cesar Gonzalez, Hector Heras, Billy Brake, Jae Kim, Shane Scurry, Claudio Kirchmair, and Robert Boyajian. He said he’ll be getting more interviews from more pros such as Jeff Jones, Emon, etc.

- ORCS and Ra Yellow Mega Pack were announced, along with the partial reveal of Tour Bus of the Underworld.
- Hidden Arsenal 5 and Samurai Assault SE were released; however there was not much hype for either product and will most likely be ignored.
- The first UK-based YCS takes place in Brighton, with Ping Xiao winning in a Dino Rabbit mirror-match.

Reprint Re-Cap (Notables)
Here is a list of cards that got reprinted, which either caused a significant price decrease to obtain, or was just a reprint of an old playable card in general.
Archlord Kristya
Armory Arm
Black Luster Soldier
Burial from a DD
E-Hero Absolute Zero
E-Hero Gaia
Fossil Dyna
Hand of the Six Samurai
Judgment Dragon
Pot of Duality
Solemn Warning
Solemn Judgment
Thunder King

Here is a list of things that I think Konami did right this year, and what I think they did wrong (not in any particular order):
“Easy-to-understand” card text and subsequent reprints
Reborn Tengu (not exactly “balanced”, but not broken)
2011 Collectible Tins and all of its reprints (both Wave 1 and Wave 2)
Legendary Collection 2 (even though it was pretty expensive)
Quickness of putting YCS Kansas decklists up
Taking Heavy Storm off the list
Putting Fishborg on the list (was just too good)
Maxx C (almost necessary to slow the game down)

Gold Series 4 (too weak of a product imo for the increased price [don’t give me that mat crap as justification])
Not acting sooner and more officially on the Tengu/Sangan/XYZ ruling issue (Facebook shouldn’t be used as a source for official rulings)
Censoring Alter Reality Games’ players’ shirts on event coverage (simply put they’re promoting the game, their articles are a helluva lot better as well)
Putting Royal Oppression on the list (blatant push for XYZs since they brought back Heavy AND put MST to 3)
Making recent sets where (basically) only the Secrets and a few Ultras are playable
Still not giving us the OCG Priority ruling (I’m a supporter of it)
Tour Guide (blatant push for XYZs)
Errata’ing Darksoul only when OCG got theirs
Blood Mefist (not good enough of a prize card)
Taking forever to put up YCS decklists (besides Kansas)
Decreasing quality and quantity of event coverage
Rarity-bump Rescue Rabbit
Samurai Assault SE

So what do we have to look forward to next year? A lot of it I touched on in my “Looking Ahead” post, but in regards to just looking at the first part of the year, I think we can basically anticipate Inzektor as a new and playable archetype. Determining to what extent they will affect the meta is of course hard to tell, but at the very least they are very hyped and will only continue to get more support. They have recently won a 300+ man tourney in Japan and another in the 130 range, which is fairly impressive. The broken-ness (or lack thereof) of Tour Bus will also play a strong hand in the January to March time period and potentially beyond until next September.

We also have the March ban list, and it’s hard to tell what cards or decks will get hit or benefit. OCG results lead many to believe Agents will get hit, but I see it going either way for Agents or Plants. Plants have been around for many formats now, time to force us to play something else right? Regardless of how Plants get hit, there will always be some kind of “good stuff” deck that is just always viable. Tour Guide, Tengu, T-King, Maxx C, Gorz, BLS, you basically got half your monster lineup right there lol. I wish they would let up a little on some decks like Blackwings; give them a 2nd Gale, a 2nd Kalut, and/or a 2nd Black Whirlwind to help with their viability. But, they’re not a “current anime” deck anymore so I can see why they’d shove them down in the ground and leave them there (even though I still like the deck tbh).

We will most likely get a Gold Series 5, a few more Turbo Packs, 2012 Collection tins, and the promos for ORCS SE haven’t been revealed yet so we can look forward to getting more reprints! Lyla and Ryko are in the next Dragon structure deck, so those will finally be really easy to obtain. Speaking of Dragons, they may also be something to consider next format; I hope they just ban Future Fusion, that card is too good for them lol. We should probably get the dark E-Hero guy, Escuriado or something, which may finally get more people to run Heroes. This deck also warrants Future Fusion’s ban, as made famous by Allen C. Pennington. 2012’s Hidden Arsenals will probably get us to Gemknights and maybe The Sacred archetypes. I don’t follow DT sets as closely as I probably should. I played against a few people running Sacred on DN; their XYZs are pretty good. It’s annoying playing against people running OCG cards on DN though. Truth be told I wish DN would have a separate column(s) for OCG. Include a single OCG-only card in your deck? That should restrict you from joining TCG matches. 

All in all I'd say the last 3 months of 2011 have been good for Yugz and I'm looking forward to finishing out this format. Historically Spring/Summer formats have always been very fast and considered "crap" to most players, but each and every year we all deal with it and move on. I say "bring on the mayhem!" 

Enjoying some freedom, testing, updates

So I'm down visiting my parents and sister in Walla Walla (yes it's a real town) for the next 2 days. My wife stayed home due to her allergy to my parent's cat so this gives me the perfect time to just relax, organize and mess around with my cards, play on DN, and what ever else. I'm gonna hit up the taco wagon tomorrow, as it's the best Mexican food I've ever eaten.

Being in Walla also allows me to pick up any Yugz product I may be interested in, since I can generally find a larger variety of stuff down here since basically no one plays. I remember being able to pick up 3 Machina decks about a year ago, when the decks were really hard to find. I just strolled by Shopko, saw them chillin there, and was like "holy shit" so I bought all 3. This one time at Wal-Mart I picked up a Black Rose tin when those were very scarce too. I went by Shopko and Wal-Mart and picked up 3 STOR SE's from Shopko as they are getting hard to find in Spokane. Pulled a god damn Chaos Hunter. My recent STOR SE bouts I've pulled 2 Golden Apples and the Chaos Hunter. Obviously I'm going to pull all the Secrets besides Maxx C lol. They have a bunch of Duality tins as well, but I'm probably not gonna pick any up since those are still somewhat readily available back home. Duality values haven't really gone anywhere either, so if I were to get a tin it'd still be Warning ones just for the sake of the extra EXVC pack. Also at this point having more Warnings would be more useful for me than Dualitys. Tomorrow I'll hit up Hastings and K-Mart and see if they have any hard-to-find product. Unfortunately there isn't a Target down here :(

So I decided to play around with the XYZ Chaos deck that Evan Vargas posted on his Youtube channel. When I first saw the video I was pretty hyped about it since it seemed pretty solid in theory, so I figured I'd try it out a bit on DN before I ordered the Photon Sabre Tigers and the 1 Snowman Eater I needed to play the deck. Kind of off-topic, but Dragons seem pretty popular on DN nowadays, and of course they always turn 1 Future Fusion. Lightpulsar Dragon is pretty beast too; Snowman Eater doesn't do a whole lot when they're continually recursing Lightpulsar and REDMD's. I consider that OCG though, so talking about that match is rather irrelevant imo. My TCG matches were about even. I got dominated by blackwingEX's DW, but I also sided poorly game 2 and didn't have much for DW in my side in general. The thing I like about the deck is it seems to have a lot of good opening plays and it has the potential to generate a lot of advantage. I think he designed it to primarily be good against the Plant match-up, but of course I don't get to play against any of those. For now I'd like to test the deck a little bit more before I reach a verdict on it, as I'm sure a part of it is just "playing the deck right". But for now I'm not ordering anything for it, regardless of how cheap the Tigers and Snowman may be.

I'm also interested in testing the Six Sam deck that MegaCapitalG posted/profiled on his Youtube. Realistically it's not something I'd play in real life, but on the plus side there's probably no chance that Sams will get hit on the next ban list. Realistically they'd have a much higher chance of get something of theirs back, but who knows what Konami will do. I could see them just leaving Sams where they are so people will just forget about them over time. I think I just need 2 Grandmasters and a Shi En to play that deck in real life but again need to test it to see if the purchase would be worth it.

Tomorrow I'm going to work on scanning the Team O logo pic and uploading it as the new logo for the blog. Hopefully my parent's scanner works decent and it turns out good. I'm excited for team shirts, as that's something we've never had before.

Word on the net is that Tour Bus' effect will be revealed on the 24th, but I haven't been on the forums enough the past few days to see where this info came from or originated. If it's true, I'm guessing it's something Kevin posted on Pojo as I haven't seen anything on the Product or Article pages for Konami.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

YCS Brighton Results, TP7, Updates

Sorry for the lack of posts the past couple of days, between family get-togethers, holiday stuff, and unpacking in general, been totally swamped. Doesn't help that when my wife is on vacation she's pretty much my siamese twin and doesn't let me get any breathing room.

So once again the European coverage is phenomenal, with them putting the decklists up basically right after the event. I couldn't follow the event as closely as I normally do (because of the reasons above obviously) but was able to check on it for a few minutes at a time throughout the weekend. I was surprised to see all of the US players pretty far down on the list at the end of Day 1. I was hoping for "dream matches" like Billy Brake vs Michel Gruner and Alistar vs Claudio in the top 32, but then again I haven't even read any of the matches yet lol.

Dino Rabbit takes 3 out of the top 4 spots, with Water Synchro taking the last. I was very surprised to see this outcome as I was expecting Plants to take it. I'm glad other stuff like Agent, Karakuri, Anti-Meta, and  Chain Burn showed up in the top 16 as well though. All in all it seemed like a good event, but most US players will probably dismiss it by saying like "oh it was just Europe, it doesn't matter". I can agree with that to a certain extent, but you still got some of the best players in the world in Europe and some of the best US guys showed up to play as well, so the results should be seen as relevant. I'm curious to see if the Rabbit decks winning will impact their prices on eBay or not and if the builds that topped will affect what the builds look like over here. In general they're the same, but the overall lack of maindeck D-Fissure is the biggest difference I saw.

I drove past BGN the other day when I had to go run some errands, I noticed they had a sign/post in front of their door like one of the kind that you see for businesses that are for sale. Danny also mentioned like "yea, Board Game's not doing Monday tourneys anymore." I talked to Rob a bit and I was just like "this is ridiculous, Spokane is a bigger city than Coeur d'Alene but I guess we're gonna have to go there if we want to play" which is really sad. Spokane used to be such a great place to play Yugz but slowly but surely it is dying out and it all went down hill because of the way Andrew ran things at Uncle's. On the somewhat bright side, at least it does force players to basically play either at Lightning or Uncle's, which theoretically helps the attendance in either place. Not saying I want Uncle's attendance to go up, but I am in favor of there being fewer places to play. Too bad BGN had to be the one to go. Unfortunately Lightning and Uncle's are weekend tourneys, and not everyone has them off due to work. I think Uncle's has a weekday tourney though, dunno. Not everyone is able to drive/be driven out to CDA as well, so I guess we'll see what happens with Uncle's attendance once they are running tourneys again. At this point I don't really care where I play; I just want TO play, do the best that I can, and represent Team O. That's really about all I or anyone else on the team can do. If I could buy some cheap discounted product from BGN that'd be pretty cool as well lol.

Speaking of product, Turbo Pack 7 has been made official, with a late December/early January release. I don't remember when I predicted this to come out, but now is about the right time since the last one came out in August. I don't think any of the contents have been revealed, but I'm seeing "Goe Goe the Gallant Ninja" make the rounds, most likely as a common (hopefully lol). The new Duelist League cards have some Ninja crap as well, so looks like they're doing what they can to promote ORCS. It'll probably end up being another crappy Turbo Pack but who knows, they may delightfully surprise us. To be honest I'd like it if they just gave us common Sabersaurus and Kabazauls. That way I wouldn't have to order any lol. I bet I'd get my playset of each at the first weekend of release. Or maybe 2nd, since people know they're somewhat sought-after now.

Out of all the decks, Epler wants to build Infernity now. I'd personally wait till a Barrier reprint came out before I went off and decided I'd run Infernity. That and Grepher; that card is long overdue for a reprint and it still has decent value and is hard to find. It hasn't exactly been the top-tier of competitive the past few years, so I'm not sad about it or anything lol. I admire Epler for wanting to running something that's not popular but can also be high-tier. It's not a challenge that I'd personally want to endeavor, and I'd try to hold out for reprints at least until we know what's in ORCS SE, but to each his own.

I got the sketch of our Team O logo from Danny's wife Nat the other day. I'd like to get a chance to take a picture/scan of it and make it the blog's logo before I send it to Mikey to make our team shirts. That reminds me I need to get everyone's sizes.

I noticed the blog finally hit the 10K views mark, and I never would've imagined that we'd get so many. Shout-outs once again to LFN as he was the first blogger to add this blog to his list which led to more site-traffic, more networking, Google search hits, etc. I just wanted to say thanks to anyone and everyone that's read the blog and I hope that you've found some content interesting/entertaining/informative between when I started and now. If I informed you of an upcoming reprint or something and you were able to save some money or profit from it, well I've done what one of my goals are - help you in not getting screwed in the reprint game. I want to thank the readers that view our blog each and every time I post something regardless of what it is. Looking into next year, I'd like to get some of the team to put up content/articles, do more tourney reports, and get up some duel videos. I don't know what a good free recording software/program is, as I'd like to put up some videos of me on DN against some of the team or against my Corpus friends from Team Manifest Destiny, but yea, dunno what people are using.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rabbits, Deck Comparisons, and some Math

Yesterday I finished up buying the cards Zach needed for Rabbit; basically the Rabbits, the XYZs, and Lances. He needs the low-end stuff like Kaba too so he has a ways to go before completing the deck lol. Pretty much no one in the area has them, as the only ones I could find were 2 really beat up ones I got from Colin, one of which I gave to Danny. I'll probably end up ordering them since they aren't too expensive. A part of me is considering picking up the deck as well now. I figure it's a good deck to go into the March format with, since it'll most likely not get touched at all since it's a brand new deck. Under the assumption that Agents and Plants get hit in some way or the other, I think this deck and Karakuri are safe bets for early next format. At the same time though I'm not 100% confident in this investment at the moment, since I don't know how ORCS will change the game. After GAOV, will Evoldars or whatever they're called eventually get enough support to the point where it's more optimal to run a straight Evol deck over Rabbit and normal monsters? Will Inzketors be broken? I don't want to invest $240 in 3 Rabbit for it to be out-classed in a short amount of time. I'm actually really curious what the DinoRabbit v. Inzektor match-up is like as well. I gotta hop on DN sometime and try to see if I can find people playing that particular match-up.

I've been checking out the forums a lot the past few days on Karakuri and Dark World. Seems like the trend for Karakuri now is to run 2 Kuick and 1 Soldier, and also cutting out the lone Strategist. I can agree with cutting the Strategist; it never really served too much purpose other than being another tuner and a draw trick with Bureido. A hand of Komachi+Strategist kinda sucks, and it's happened a lot. I'm still not entirely sure on the lower count of 4-star Karakuri, but I can admit that 3 Kuick led to some dead-draws. I may actually include a Haipa as well, as it runs over T-King, you can grab it with Soldier, is another 4-star, and lets you easily draw with Bureido. I haven't tested any of these things, just stating the trend I've been seeing on the boards.

As for DW, DGz DW folks are still in love with Claudio's turbo build, even going to the extent of saying it's the best deck this format. Maybe it is, but then again, most people say the same thing with what ever deck they happen to see success with or looks really great on paper. I kinda like Marcus Carisse's build as well, so I may tweak the build I have to find a happy middle between the two. I know I was playing the deck completely wrong in my testing with Danny, so I'm willing to take a look at the deck again. The one thing I don't like about either deck game 1 is that it pretty much rolls over to a turn-1 Laggia + D-Fissure, or hell even D-Fissure itself, since the decks don't main any copies of MST. Neither deck can go off if the DWs don't hit the grave. Sure there's games 2 and 3 when you can side the S/T removal in, but it seems unwise to play something where you're willingly OK with auto-losing game 1 against a particular (and in a larger tourney, popular) match-up if they open with a 3-of card. Even if no one's playing DinoRabbit besides the team, in my randy locals, rogue stuff like Macro pops up from time to time as well.

So for the moment I've decided to switch back to TGU Agents for my main deck so that I can utilize the Tour Guides I have. I ran some numbers to compare it with Karakuri, at least my particular builds, and each criteria that I considered and compared was in Agents' favor or a tie depending on how you looked at it. My categories were "first-turn plays", "deck-thinning cards", and "monster removal" since I thought those were some of the more important aspects of any deck, and those are also easy to calculate. I did these with the intent of not being biased towards either deck.

First-Turn Plays
For first-turn plays, I assumed that I was going first and the match-up was a non-factor. If it was a reasonable and potential play, I included it. For example one may say that setting Sangan and passing is a bad play, but it is still a reasonable play nonetheless and is only hindered by TKing, which only the team runs maindeck anyway locally. I also didn't include trap-based plays since basically the same traps get played in both decks, and most people don't say "oh yea my ideal first turn play is to set Warning and say go."
It was in Agents' favor, 12 to 10.
Agents have: 3 Venus, 3 Earth, 2 TKing, 3 TGU, and 1 Sangan (assuming the play is to set Sangan).
Karakuri have: 3 Merchant, 2 Neutron, 2 TKing, 2 Duality, and 1 Soldier (set).

Deck-Thinning Cards
In this category, I gave a point for every card that either thinned the deck, digged for cards, or gave you an immediate +1 upon successful resolution and assumed its effect was not negated in some way. I also assumed that there would be legal targets for Stratos-like cards. I also didn't include extraneous things like Synchros, but in retrospect it could and probably should be, since Burei and Bureido are important aspects to Karakuri.
Excluding Synchros, Agents' favor 13 to 11. Including, a tie (1 point each for Burei and Bureido)
Agents: 3 Venus, 3 Earth, 3 TGU, 1 Sangan, 3 Maxx C
Karakuri: 3 Merchant, 2 Neutron, 1 Soldier, 3 Maxx C, 2 Duality, (Bureido), (Burei)
Even though most builds run 2 of each, I'm only giving one point for each since they require some kind of 2-card combo. I wanted the comparisons to be done as single, stand-alone plays.

Monster Removal
Here, I didn't include Synchro-based removal like Orient, Black Rose, Scrap, or Trish. I also assumed that all cards would not be negated or destroyed.
Agents favor 13 to 9.
Agents: 3 Hyperion, 1 BLS, 1 Sorcerer, 1 Hole, 1 Torrential, 1 Force, 2 Warning, 2 D-Prison, 1 Bottomless
Karakuri: 1 Hole, 1 Smashing, 1 Torrential, 1 Force, 2 Warning, 1 Prison, 1 Bottomless, 1 Judgment.
Honorable mention to Fiendish Chain for Karakuri as it is pseudo-removal, but I didn't feel that it was quite enough to be counted here.

Of course all of these things depend on build, but I tried to do it in an "in-general" fashion as well as considering my builds. I don't buy crap like "well you could max Neutron, add 3 Cash Cache, 2 Smashing, 3 Fissure, splash the TGU engine and some lights and add BLS to increase the counts for Karakuri." Those would lead to false and skewed calculations. 3rd Neutron and 2 Smashing is reasonable, sure, but it's not what I'm running and I ain't seen the TGU engine and the rest in YCS-topping Karakuri yet.

Moving on, I've always been curious to see the exact number differences between 40 and 41-card decks, so I set to find that out after reading Pat Hoban and Claudio talk about the subject on DGz. I took stats and all but was never really exposed to finding out how I could specifically find and calculate the differences. It was actually pretty easy via Google search, and I found this site that has a handy hypergeometric distribution calculator:

Below is an Excel shot of calculations:

I guess that explains why I draw 1 Shine Ball in my opening hand so often, lol. I also had no idea that opening something like double Tengu/double Ball etc was only in the 5% neighborhood. Why is it that it seems to happen to me a hell of a lot more often then? lol. As you can see, the difference between a 40 and 41-card deck and drawing things is pretty negligible, but it was enough for me to decide to cut my decks to 40 instead of my go-to 41 I've been doing as of late. My reasoning is that while drawing into my powerful 1-of cards (Dustshoot, Heavy, etc) only goes up by .4%, trying to decrease my chances of opening double Ball is only a factor of .24%. Statistically adding the 41st card is hurting more to open with cards like Dustshoot, than it is helping to not open doubles. The small benefit of 40 is larger than the small benefit of 41. I'm hoping that I ran the calculator correctly as well...

Unfortunately my wife is making me go to a family get-together of hers this weekend, so that rules out the possibility of playing this weekend. Next weekend is Christmas as well, so looks like I'm screwed for playing in tourneys until next year. FML. The whole BGN thing is really crampin' my style lol. Oh well, there's always DN :/

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Well That's Unfortunate

So after being so hyped for being able to play at Board Game Nation again, I found out yesterday that one of the managers/store-owners quit, so they're only open from like Thursday to Saturday or something. Nate called and offered to send them an application to work there, that'd be cool if he got it. In the mean time, oh well, at least I'm closer to Lightning now... I'm not exactly sure what the issue is between the two store-owners, but I'm guessing it's lack of business and one of them jumping ship. They don't really seem to have a business mind-set when it comes to selling stuff. Card/game/comic shops really only appeal to a certain niche of people, and it is hard for them to survive in most non-metropolitan areas. I have seen countless comic and card shops close from the various parts of the U.S. I've lived in.

Here's a few things that I think BGN should change or do to help ensure their business stays top-side. Please note that I'm not a business major nor have I ever owned a business, but I'm simply speaking with good intentions and my experience from what I've seen from other similar businesses.

Sell Online
I think the most common flaw that these failed businesses had was the belief that in-store customers would be enough to support their business. If I were to run a card shop, I'd take the opposite standpoint - assume that most of your sales will come from outside sales (ie via the Internet), and whatever you sell to people that come to the shop is just a bonus. Think about it this way - if you only sell locally, then you are hitting only a very small population of people. Expand to sell online, and you potentially have the whole world of customers at your fingertips. I have sold cards to people on eBay all around the globe, including countries I've never even heard of before. BGN's site literally only has contact info and store hours. If you want to be anything like the "big guns" like Ideal808, DACardWorld, etc, gotta work on that online selling aspect.

Run Box Tournaments/Larger-scale Events
I'd also run more larger events like box tourneys; I don't know what the cost is per box at whole-sale rate, but considering it's easy to get new booster boxes for ~$60 from most big online stores, surely it must be cheaper for the businesses so that they can make a profit from selling it at that price. Running something like a box tournament for a slightly-above-normal-entry fee would not only help for a per-box profit, but it also potentially generates interest from outside people in neighboring cities. Hell even 2 old teammates and I drove all the way to Tri-Cities (about 2 hours away) for a CRV box tournament back in the day, surely people would be willing to travel a bit for a well-advertised box tournament. That, and it helps in getting rid of product. Most competitive players don't buy packs, so it would help in moving the product in general. Interest and word-of-mouth are priceless and essential aspects to a successful business. Unfortunately I don't think they have quite the space to hold a Regional, but to be fair the Tri-Cities shop wasn't exactly huge either and they held two, so something to consider.

Sell More Singles, at Better Prices
I would also sell a lot of singles right under eBay price. The problem with a lot of these small stores that sell singles is that their prices compared to things like eBay are just ridiculous. Why is anyone going to pay significantly more to you for a card that they could get on eBay? From my experience, people are willing to buy singles, in fact they're always looking for just semi-decent deals, but it's just not economically logical to pay 25%+ more for a card that they could just simply order online and wait out the shipping for. Currently BGN only has a limited selection of Magic singles they sell, a little bit over full eBay value, and most of the cards have sat there as far as I know. Include more games and shave it off to just like 5% under full eBay value, and you'll probably sell a lot more singles. It's also a lot better than selling on eBay itself since you got all those seller fees and shipping.

Buy Singles/Collections
Remember how I've said that I think buying collections is one of the best ways to make money off card games? Well, that should hold true for stores as well who should have more money to do that kind of thing. Incorporate something like a Buy List similar to what Troll&Toad and Alter Reality Games do. Gamers are always needing cash for all kinds of stuff, so be in that position to buy their cards and just re-sell them for profit. As far as I know none of the local shops around here openly buy cards from people.

Sell Food
I'm not exactly sure how this would fly in Spokane, but having played in a local in Pensacola FL for about 5 months, I saw that this aspect was huge for that store. This shop had a somewhat decent menu of different foods that you could buy; stuff like Hot Pockets, egg rolls, pretzels, nachos, mini-burgers, all that kinda junk food that's not too expensive, is easy and quick to eat, and you can store for long periods of time. Set up a microwave and you're good to go. I paid a dollar for a frozen egg roll one time (and microwaved it obviously lol), it was so good that I bought another right afterward. That itself probably paid for half the entire box of egg rolls, which equals profit for you. I think the store actually had a small oven that they baked pizzas in as well - that smell will drive anyone to hand you their cash. In a 4+ hour tournament, and especially with us gamers, we get hungry and it sucks if there are no places to pick up food near by. For crying out loud capitalize on this and sell food, you got drinks!!

Computer/Net Access
Again not entirely sure how this would go in Spokane, but at "Gamer's Den" in Corpus Christi TX, they had about 6-7 computers set up for Internet and gaming access. People were constantly on there for the entire day playing Warcraft, online poker, Starcraft, and god knows what else. I don't remember exactly what their prices were, but it was something like $4 for the first hour and $2 for each hour after that and they created a user account for everyone that paid to use the Internet. I myself ended up buying like 3 hours worth of access, just to look up things like eBay values, rulings, YCS coverage, and that kinda stuff during a tournament. Not everyone has fancy phones with Internet or carries a laptop with them around at all times; I think this has a lot of potential and I know firsthand it does well at Gamer's Den.

Grab Bags/Raffles/Other Gimmicks
My examples for this also come from Corpus Christi. When Eric was working at the Den, one of the first changes he made was to sell grab bags. After one person pulled one good card (don't remember what it was exactly, but some $10 card), there was basically a flock of people that went and literally bought out all of the grab bags that he had made. I was actually his supplier of jank holos (gotta love Hidden Arsenal) and commons for that initial run. It kinda died out after that, but it's just an easy way to appeal to the gambling side that people just inherently have.

Another gimmick that "Cool Cats" did in Corpus was that they constructed this large wooden board that had 25 spots, each having some kind of prize (a card, pack, store credit, etc). The objective was to pay like $2, take 5 dice, roll them, and see what sum you got and you'd get whatever prize that amount ended up being on the board. So for example if I rolled a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, I would get whatever prize was on spot #15. I believe they put up an Ulti Judgment Dragon (when it was brand new) on the #30 spot, and something else highly sought after on spot #5. Those of course are statistically almost impossible to roll (need to have all 1's or all 6's), but just presenting the illusion that people had the chance to win it, caused people to roll and pay for hours. In the numbers between like 12 and 24, the prizes were obviously much less in value. I guess it's kinda like Duel Terminal but even less fair.

Buy the Stuff that People Want, and Have it Ready on Release
I completely forgot about this one and the next since it was such a no-brainer to me, but it's not to some of these stores. To put it simply, you have to research the game at least enough to know what products people are hyping and which they aren't. For example BGN has/had really random product they're selling, I'm talking stuff like EEN Special Editions, Force of the Breaker promo blister things, and that kinda jank. No one's gonna buy that crap. No one buys stuff like Hidden Arsenal 2 any more either, so come up with a way to get rid of that kind of product and get the hot/in-demand product. It's just taking up space in the shelves. BGN also dropped the ball hard on the Wave 1 tins, which you all know were extremely hyped. I actually had hoped that BGN had them in stock on release, but since they didn't, I ended up buying 6 from Wal-Mart and I know others resorted to buying from Wal-Mart/Target/etc as well. I think they got them like a full week after release. I'd rather give my $120 to a local shop than a large corporation any day of the week, but if you don't got it when it's out and I want it badly enough, I can't really do much.

Price Accordingly
Make the prices of your product match demand, and most importantly don't exceed the cost of what one could get it from a store like Wal-Mart. This happens a lot, whether the local store charges $4.25+ per pack, $12 for a SE, or $22 for a tin. No one's going to buy that product from you when they can simply go to Wal-Mart/Target, buy it for less, and also knock out some random shopping as well. At the very least you have to match their price, if not be willing to sell for like $1 less.

So those are some of my ideas for things not only BGN can do, but other small stores as well. I don't know the logistics that go into doing some of these things (like having a Food Handler's Permit?), but again those are things that I've seen at some successful stores/things that I'm not seeing at BGN.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Team O Player Interviews - Part 7 (Nate)

Well we finally got somewhat moved in; our entire house and most of the garage is pretty much just a sea of boxes that need to be unpacked though. It's ridiculous how much stuff my wife has amassed over the past 2 years, but then again she pretty much has everything she has ever owned at the house too, as well as a ton of stuff her grandma owned. I still have a bunch of stuff at my parent's place but I'm not even wanting to get it all that badly. I'm just not that materialistic tbh (as much as a tcg player can't be I guess lol). Half the crap she's got I just want to throw away because I know she's never going to use, wear, or do anything with, but almost everything she has she can justify as having sentimental value. It's so frustrating. Personally if I don't use or wear something for like 9 months, I figure I'll never use/wear it so I don't mind throwing it away or selling it. The move itself was ridiculous since our washer and dryer weigh like 350-400 pounds each (carrying up and down stairs is not fun), and her parents decided to give us a very heavy bed set, a very heavy oak desk, and some other heavy crap. My whole body is so freakin sore lol. Fortunately some of her friends helped us, which ended up helping out a lot.

So I'm not sure what has happened with the game over the weekend, hopefully I didn't miss any bombshells in terms of news or reprints but I'll look into that stuff later. Without further ado here's Nate's player interview; I think all we have left is Alan's, and maybe Dwight's (not sure on his status):
Nate is an incredibly self-less and nice guy, he's the type that will help you get stuff for your deck even if he doesn't own it. In that case he'd trade his stuff to get it from someone and give it to you in most reasonable circumstances (no free Tour Guides lol). I actually hadn't met him before I left for boot camp, but now that I am back, I am very glad to say he is a part of Team O. Danny did a good job picking Nate.
1. How long have you been playing this game, and when did you start playing competitively?
I started playing about 3 years ago, around May 2008.  I would say that I started to at least try and play competitively a little over 2 years ago, but it wasn't till september of 2010 that I made it on Team Overload.

2. What "kind" of player would you consider yourself, or what is your particular playstyle? Aggressive vs conservative vs mixture, original vs strict net-deck, budget vs "money is no object", bling vs everything common, etc.
My playstyle would be a mixture, but isn't everyone's?  A good player can't always be aggressive or conservative, it's going to depend on the situation.  But in general my playstyle is conservative until I feel confident enough to push for control, and feel that I can keep it. 
-As for if I net-deck, that is also a mixture.  I generally netdeck something, just to get a good starting point and learn as much about a deck as I can before I even build it.  After that I proceed to make a deck my own, making changes here or there, some big some small.
-I would have to say that I am a budget player.  I wish I wasn't, and that money was no object, but it is. I wind up playing Machina Gadgets a lot because that is what I can afford.
-Lastly, I don't usually have the ability to bling out a deck but when I can then I do.

3. What do your think about net-decking? Does it hurt or help a player's ability to play the game?
I believe that net-decking is what each person makes of it.  But overall I believe its good to get ideas out there.

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?
The current format is ok.  Tour guide is too expensive, and if it weren't for cards like effect veiler and maxx "c" the format would be awful.

5. What is your current main deck and why do you run that deck?
I run Agents right now, but only because it is all I have.  After I lost my cards tyler gave it to me, so its what I'm playing with.  If I could choose a deck to run it would be Gemini beat.  I think that it is an extremely strong deck right now, it just doesn't have the number of people playing it like other decks do.

6. What was the first holo you ever pulled out of a pack?
Not sure, all I remember is that it was a dinosaur.  Obviously it was pretty good.

7. What is your favorite format/deck of all time?
My favorite formats were fish FTK (way too much fun) and the first plant format.  I love plant synchro.  It's crazy how seemingly random cards can work together so well.

8. What do you think of reprints of expensive cards/reprints in general?
I think that reprinting expensive cards is a great idea, and not just because I'm a budget player.  It makes Yu-Gi-Oh a better game for more people.

9. If there was one thing that you could change about the game, what would it be?
It would have to be how hard it is to pull anything good out of a pack.  That is one advantage pokemon has, and is why it is so much cheaper.  But other than that I think it is an overall great game.

10. If there was one thing that you could change about your own ability to play, what would it be?
It would be money.  If I had more money I would be able to play with whatever cards I wanted to, and travel all over to the big tournaments.

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?
Heavy storm is good for the game.  It causes players to play more conservatively and help separate the good players from the bad.  And BLS is an amazing card, but I have no problem with it being in the format.  Just like any other card, all you need is to know how to play around it.

12. Do you think Black Luster Soldier will be re-banned in March? Why/why not?
I can honestly say I have no idea.  If I had to choose I would say yes, because konami has made their money off of it so why keep it around?

13. If you could play against any one "pro"/big-name YuGiOh player, who would it be?
If I could play against any pro it would be Alex Vansant.  From his creativity to his playstyle I think he is one of the best players out there.  That and he's not a dick about it.

14. What do you think of the current state of Spokane-area (Spokane, Valley, CDA) YuGiOh?
I don't get out to Spokane much, especially lately.  But as for CDA, Team O decides what the format is.

15. If there was one thing that you could say to the Spokane-area playerbase, what would it be?
Find someone good to help you.  Mentoring is huge in Yu-Gi-Oh, best way to improve.  That and read the feature matches from the YCS' and learn from them.  The people at the top tables know what they are doing.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Team O Player Interviews - Part 6 (Link)

My name is Brandon Link, I'm 18 years old, I'm gettin back in the game after being out for a bit. I've been to two regionals in my life topped in Portland and went X-2 in the other.
1. How long have you been playing this game, and when did you start playing competitively?
Well I started playing from the first starter decks when I was little and picked up again when I was 16 and started playing competitive, so 2 years now.

2. What "kind" of player would you consider yourself, or what is your particular playstyle? Aggressive vs conservative vs mixture, original vs strict net-deck, budget vs "money is no object", bling vs everything common, etc.
I conserve most of the time but I think I know when to make a push or an aggro play so some of both.
Net deck for sure. I've done a lot of original stuff too but net decking wins plain and simple and I want to win.
I go back and forth I try to trade my way up an win my way into a deck and it's worked for me but I have bought duality and emmersblade so it goes back and forth. 
Bling - I try to get what I need first but after that I love my decks looking sexy.

3. What do your think about net-decking? Does it hurt or help a player's ability to play the game?
Helps because net decking doesn't teach them how to play they still have to learn. It just gives them the right tools to be good; they still have to get better or be good already and make the right plays.

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?
Idk I kinda dislike it it's just so many decks and usually it's one or two decks that are the top and I like that when everyone is playing the same deck. It really shows who's better cuz you can't make excuses and I dislike that every deck goes 3 max c, it's just an annoying card to me.

5. What is your current main deck and why do you run that deck?
Karakuri because it's the only deck that can do good without tour guide. It has a lot of good plays and is cheap. If I could play any deck it would be rabbit.

6. What was the first holo you ever pulled out of a pack?
Bls. Back in the day got a pack after school it was the coolest thing ever then I got ripped for it I think.

7. What is your favorite format/deck of all time?
X sabers with cold wave and rescue cat. I loved that deck it was my babe I felt like no one could beat me that format and I won a lot. The deck was just so fun to me.

8. What do you think of reprints of expensive cards/reprints in general?
It's good and bad for the game. It helps all the players that aren't willing to spend money to be good and helps everyone get decks, but then the people who are good who get the card before suffer. So I think it's needed but too much is terrible. Need to keep value in the game.

9. If there was one thing that you could change about the game, what would it be?
I want a new one where there are a few good decks, not a lot, and where you can't splash tour guide in anything and win.

10. If there was one thing that you could change about your own ability to play, what would it be?
I like my style of play so I really wouldn't change anything.

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?
Heavy is amazing it is broken but the game really needs it so people can't set two warning and control the game that way anymore. Bls is way too overpowered its cool that's it's back but way too good.

12. Do you think Black Luster Soldier will be re-banned in March? Why/why not?
Yes look at all the people in ycs feature matches. People win because of bls a lot it's way too good. I think it's not staying around.

13. If you could play against any one "pro"/big-name YuGiOh player, who would it be?
Jeff jones that dude tops every ycs. People say all the time he created this deck and this one. He doesn't make mistakes I just think right now he is one of the best players and best minds in the game.

14. What do you think of the current state of Spokane-area (Spokane, Valley, CDA) YuGiOh?
Terrible we need bigger tourneys we all need to stop being separated and play at one place so there can be more prize support.

15. If there was one thing that you could say to the Spokane-area playerbase, what would it be?
We all need to get together and make bigger tourneys yes team o is going to take them but you need to try and stop us.