Thursday, May 24, 2012

Analyzing Sealed in YGO

I must admit, my excitement for Battle Pack has been increasing over the past 48 hours, after seeing a few box opening videos on Youtube (Europe got it early). I found it funny that the measure of "goodness" of a box is directly linked to the number of Tour Guides pulled. For example I've seen 2 videos now where 0 were pulled, and thus the box was considered bad, regardless of how many Forbidden Lance/Chalice, Fiendish Chain, Duality, Adreus, Tiras, etc were pulled. I've seen 1 video where the guy pulls 2, and obviously that was considered a good box. The rest of the cards could've been Skull Servants and it probably would've still been considered a good box lol.

Sealed is kind of a mixed can of worms to a lot of people - some believe that it is very skill-based, whereas some people think it's completely based on what you open. To be honest I believe it's a combination of the two, because I've seen horrible players beat out better players due to their bombs, and I've seen good players win out with a weaker pool against bad players with a great pool. I can ensure you though that the people that top 8 PT/GP Magic Sealed events consist of more "good player, bad pool" types than "bad player, awesome pool".

I've been thinking of the viability of Sealed in YGO from a Magic Sealed point of view, and it just makes me realize that I don't think doing good in YGO Sealed will be any more of a measure of skill than it would be in Advanced. Yes it does help "level the playing field", but I wouldn't say a person that wins a particular YGO Sealed tourney should be considered the "most skilled" player. To understand where I'm coming from, I'd like to explain how Magic Sealed works - out of 6 packs, one is expected to build a 40-card deck. At 15 cards per pack, that comes out to 90 cards to choose from. When you factor in you'll be running around 15-18 land, you only actually have to pick around 22-25 cards from your pool. This is the point where deck-building skill is measured and there are numerous possibilities in which you can go with your pool. There are many instances where I've built a deck, and after the tournament gave my friend my pool, and asked what they would've done. In most cases they decided to do something completely different. The decision to go one-color or multi-color can be huge; do you potentially sacrifice consistency to splash a color because you have some removal cards or a bomb or two in that color? Is my color pick completely based on that one bomb I opened? Or do I just go with these colors because the pros said they are the best for this set? The ability to analyze your card pool and establish your manabase may sound simple, but in practice can be quite difficult, especially for those just starting out. Magic, a game where you have to take into account colors, casting cost, and mana, naturally lends itself to Sealed play.

Let us compare this with YGO Sealed with Battle Pack. Given 10 packs at 5 cards per pack, you have a total of 50 cards to make a 40-card deck. I think one of our locals is going to run it at 9 packs per person (for an even 4 people per box), so that will only be 45 cards. Soo, what the hell happens if I end up pulling 6 XYZ's? Run an illegal deck? I've seen a lot of Zenmaister, Utopia, Greno, and Perl pulled from the videos I've seen. The likelihood of pulling 10 XYZs out of 10 packs seems much less likely, so the 10-packs-per-person configuration would naturally tend to work. This 9-pack thing is going to fail in practice fast, and even the rules state each player is to receive 10 packs. So let's say I have my 50 cards, and I have 5 XYZ's which will go into my Extra deck. I have 45 cards left and want to cut 5. I don't mean to be crass, but any idiot would be able to make 5 cuts. Most likely you'll be cutting the double-tributes if you didn't pull multiple Change of Hearts or Snatch Steal, or the most situational cards you have in general. I think they did a pretty good job in constructing the set, but realistically only having to cut like 5 cards? That's not tough. I can even imagine some people just being like "screw it" and running all the cards they opened. So we're basically completely taking out the "skill-based deck construction" aspect of Sealed out of the equation.

From here, it will just be same ol' Yugioh but the effects of luck will be felt even greater. We'll remember why the broke cards are banned as your effort to bring out Super Conductor Tyranno get completely durrrr'd by a Raigeki. I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer about the format, as I really am looking forward to playing in it, if only to experience something different in Yugz. The set looks good, and I need to re-obtain Dualities, Tiras, Adreus, Forbidden Lance, and of course I want me some Tour Guides :) I'll probably be playing in as many Sealed events that are held, and considering the cost to play in one of them, I'll probably be playing in more than the majority of people that play in my area.

It seems Konami is all like "hey, we have Sealed too, and here's why it'll be fun and important!", but realistically their set-up is still flawed. The simple solution would be to cut the deck size to maybe like 30, so you have to actually pick through what you will and won't play. That's about as skill-dependent you can get for deck construction for this I suppose. A lot of it is simply due to the nature of the game. Whether Sealed becomes more-supported on the Regional and above level, I highly doubt it. Would you do a considerable amount of traveling for a Sealed Regional or YCS? I don't think most players would - it will always be more of a side event sort of thing.


  1. I know what u mean 1 of my local stores here in vegas is having us make 30 card decks.

  2. I agree any dumbass can cut 5 cards and who's to say that the other 40 cards will have any synergy anyway (yes I am aware of how the pack was designed). Personally I think a 30 card minimum would be best or maybe even 20, hell the minimum of amount for sneaks is 20 and you only get 45 cards so I see no reason why this should be any different. Stereotypical konami horse shit.