Friday, June 22, 2012

Playing on the Extreme Budget

After several months of witnessing this phenomenon occur in our area, I've finally decided to write on this. As usual, I don't mean to cause any personal offense in my writings, but I just wanted to bring up the matter, talk about it, and offer solutions.

The subject that I'm talking about is budget. Extreme budget. Now I completely understand that people have bills to pay, kids to feed, the economy is crap, gas is expensive, girlfriends are expensive, and all that kind of life stuff. I have to deal with that too, just like anybody else. But the extent that this conflicts with YGO, in our area, is bewildering. Players may have a deck completely built and good-to-go for a tourney, but when having to pay a mere $3 for entry fee, they "don't have it" and can't play. $3. That's like two 20 oz pops, or two crisp meat burritos from Taco Time on Monday, or a Battle Pack and a half, less than a gallon of gas, or about equal to a gallon of milk. I've always felt that YGO was the most expensive TCG to play in the Advanced/Standard-like format; so you play YGO, but can't afford a $3 entry fee? Doesn't that just seem like an oxymoron?

If you're young, I can somewhat sympathize. When I was in elementary school and throughout junior high, my dad gave me $3 a day for school lunch (I went to private school). What I'd normally do is just spend half, and save the other half during the week or two to buy what I wanted to. When I was in 2nd grade he used to give me a dollar a day to do the dishes, which I did do every day. I never had a separate allowance so if I wanted money, it was always eat less and save, do chores, have birthdays, or get good grades.

Some kids never get any money from their parents though, so what then? And what about the slightly older group that are beyond this means of obtaining money? Well, since you're going to a card shop to play cards, I'm guessing you'd have extra cards which you either don't have much use for or just aren't using. Chances are, like me when I was younger, you went out to the store and bought booster packs at full retail+tax, and pulled absolute janky poop the majority of the time and have a stack of crap commons and rares. A lot of people that go to tournaments are always looking to buy cards, and you know the price of certain cards in the game, so, SELL A CARD! Multiple if you have to - it shouldn't be too hard to accrue $3. You have to take into account that you're not going to get full eBay value for cash from most people these days, so if you're fine with a 10-15% undercut, then chances are your buyer will be happy to help you out. For a cheapy card, you'll probably have to undercut a bit more.

Now I know, you're gonna say "but all I have is stuff that nobody wants. Just these commons and rares." Fortunately, I buy commons - crap commons! My current buyprice for commons is 1.5 cents per, or 2 cents per in trade value. It doesn't matter what common it is, as long as it's in near-mint shape. I know this doesn't sound like a lot, but if you think about it in a larger scale, that's $15 for 1000 commons that you couldn't trade away anyway, which would pay for 5 weeks worth of tournaments. 200 commons for your entry fee right there. I'm not talking about cards like Dark Hole or Book of Moon; stuff like, I dunno, Bounzer Guard (don't even know what this does lol). This is more than what stores like Trollandtoad offer for bulk commons, as well as others in the "points" business where the standard is 1 cent per common, on top of the fact that shipping would eat up half the value anyway. So seriously, if you need money for entry and you "don't got shit", well I'm sure you have commons laying around you wouldn't mind getting rid of. I'd be happy to take 'em. Likewise if you're looking to improve your binder or deck, at 2 cents trade value per common, that's $20 for 1000. Who else do you know in our area that would do that? No one.

Other than that, always remember that structure decks are your friend and buying singles is always the way to go. If you don't have means of ordering singles, ask me. Buying boxes in YGO is unfortunately usually a "minus'ing" endeavor for most, and paying $20 for a sneak peak entry is almost never worth it, unless the promo card is sick (*cough*tengu). Buying loose booster packs from the store is just about the worst thing you can do in the long run. If you're wanting to buy like 3 of a certain structure deck, talk to me about splitting a whole box of one (8 per box), cuz it's easily possible to pick up structures for around $7 each this way, rather than having to pay $10 + tax on each. If you wanted to split one between you and a friend or something, that's fine too; I'm just trying to save y'all some money so this "no money for entry" thing becomes a thing of the past.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What Locals Mean to You, and What You Mean to Locals

This post will serve as a discussion/reflection on the locals for our area. This subject has been on several players' minds for several weeks now, with most discussion happening after the previous regional. Danny gave a great speech at last Tuesday's Gamer's Haven tourney, and I wanted to expand on it and talk about it from my perspective. After thinking about locals in general, there are so many different aspects of it to touch on, but I will do my best to talk about each. While I am personally thinking about our local area in writing this, I'm sure certain aspects may be applicable to all players of all areas.

I'd like to first start by talking about the significance of locals to players. Naturally locals can mean different things to different people, and each stance is equally valid when you think about it. For example, to one person, a local may just be another place where they make money by buying/selling/trading cards. To them, a local is a dime a dozen; as long as they can make money they are happy. If that local shop closed down, who cares, there are a bunch more. And conversely, a local may be as significant as being a "second home" to someone. Maybe they come from an abusive household where all they have to come home to is a drunk parent, and going to the local card shop after school instead is their safe haven to be themselves and do what they enjoy doing. For these people, their world would "crumble" if that shop closed down and have a great sense of loyalty to that local. For a lot of people though, in general, locals are simply where they go to hang out with their friends and partake in some friendly card game competition.

For me personally, I don't have a particular "allegiance" to any one single local. I've promoted every single local in the area at one point in time or another and tried to get people to come play in general, to all our locals. I've put countless miles on my car traveling all over the Spokane area. I always found it very interesting when certain people will be like "I'll only play at this place, screw the other place." I think these people seem to think that if they play at a different local they're doing some kind of "disservice" to their favorite local, which I just can't comprehend at all, especially if tournaments are held on completely different dates. Ever since Danny and I started up the first box tourney at Gamer's Haven, our area tends to do box tournaments quite frequently now. So when there's a particular date where let's say "the other" local has a box tourney and "yours" has a regular tourney, is it considered "abandoning" your local to go to the box tourney at the other place? In a sense, sure, it is. But in the grand scheme of things, what does it matter? Is your local going to go out of business because for that particular date you decided to go elsewhere for a bigger tourney, instead of the regular tourney and paying your $5 for a Turbo pack and 75 cents for a pop/soda? I highly doubt it. I would think that showing support in the community as a whole would be an act of greater purpose, but that's just me.

While locals can mean different things to players, we can easily talk about the different things that players mean to locals and their staff. To some staff and managers, they know that players are the life blood of their store and serve in any way they can for them and their game, even if they take in less profit in doing so. They're willing to put in 95-100% of entrance fee toward prizing, order what ever product you're in need of, make you feel welcome, etc. To others though, profit is the name of the game and through your wallet is how they play it. Stores like these tend to give out 50-70% of entrance fees toward prizing, significant mark-up of prices on packs, do last-minute changes for entrance fees, or pull shenanigans in general. Staff tends to not give a shit and play computer games in the back while you're standing up front waiting to buy something. I've even heard a story where one manager outright told a customer "if you're not buying anything, please leave." And yet players show up to these locals that have that mindset week in and week out, with fervid loyalty. Why- because it's 10 minutes closer than the other? Your local doesn't give a shit about you and just want you for your money, but you go anyway. OK THAT MAKES SENSE!

I'd like to mention the past box tourney held at Uncle's - entrance fee was $15 as always, and I believe attendance was 16, for a total of $240 worth of entrance fees. Prize support was all Battle Pack, and I believe it was a box for 1st and three-quarters for 2nd, while Shiggs and I ended up splitting 26 packs for 3rd and 4th. 5th got like 5, and 6th ended up getting some but I don't know the exact number of packs. So in terms of pack count, it went 36-24-16-10-5-and maybe 3? So we have 94 packs, or 2.6 boxes of Battle Pack. I personally could've ordered boxes of Battle Pack for $45, I'm sure the store less, but we'll say $45. Multiply 45 by 2.6 and you get 117. That comes out to about 48% of entrance fee going toward prizing. At full retail price at $2 a pack, that'd come out to 72 x 2.6 to equal 187.2, about 78% of the entrance fee total. Either way you look at it, talk about holding a tourney for profit. On top of this, Uncle's was supposed to hold a Sealed tourney on Thursday but ended up just doing a regular tourney because no one wanted to shell out $20 to play in that. When the idea of having a box tourney with a $10 entry was suggested, the best they could do with a 10-player attendance was to have 1st get a box and offer no other prizing. Now I know a box of GAOV don't cost no $100, more like $60 - get the fuck outta here.

What players in our area need to realize is for true growth to occur, both from a skill-level point of view and player attendance, there has to be unification. Let's say Timmy goes to Northtown, which is, I'm sorry, very notorious for being full of bad players. How much will he improve by playing the same fellow bad players week after week? Probably not very much. Likewise if he just gets stomped by that one "good" person that is only out for himself, where giving advice is against all of his best interests. That "good" player is also going to have a heightened sense of "being good" since he's won his locals for 2 months in a row. He's the top dog, so why shouldn't he? Well, what happens when that guy goes to a regional? Probably drop after the 3rd or 4th round and says "screw going to regionals" and never goes again. All he's done is play bad players and thus doesn't actually improve his game. No growth in terms of skill occurs in this situation among all parties. Having the majority of the playerbase play in one location, where you have a good representation of good players willing to help, and bad players just starting out or not really understanding the underlying fundamentals of gameplay, is important. It would bring a much-needed sense of community to this game for our area.

While I did say I don't have an allegiance to any one single shop, and hey I just went to Uncle's on Monday just to turn around and go back to Haven due to lack of people, I truly believe that players in the area should put in their best effort to make it to tourneys at Gamer's Haven for these reasons:

- First and foremost, Bob is a fantastic manager that truly cares for the "community" and always does what he can to provide us with what we need. Since day 1 of walking into the shop I always felt welcome there. He's always tried to make YGO work, unfortunately with our small playerbase and sheer number of places to play and different days of the week, it hasn't always been easy and still isn't.

- Second, is convenience of parking and nearby food. Let's compare this with the Downtown Uncle's tourney, where parking is very limited and the parking meter ninjas are always looking to snipe you down with a ticket. It seems like I have to spend like $5 or 6 just in parking, and if I ever mess up by not running out there after a round to feed the meter since they're only an hour and a half, I risk getting a $15-20 ticket. That ain't worth it. If you take the bus or get dropped off, well lucky for you. There's also nowhere to get food nearby that I know of, so you're SOL besides soda/pop. Gamer's Haven has a Subway basically next door and a 7-11 just a short walk away, and ample free parking so that it's basically not an issue at all.

- I don't know about you, but space (and the lack thereof) has always driven me crazy with cardshops. Downtown Uncle's is so crammed that having a 10+ man tourney just feels difficult. Everyone that's been to Gamer's Haven before knows it's basically a castle with the CCG room and the large Warhammer room downstairs (when we're lucky enough to be able to play in it).

- Not trying to sound incredibly lazy, but how inconvenient is it that you have a 5 minute walk just to use the bathroom at a Valley Uncle's or Northtown tournament? To me, a lot! Haven has 2 bathrooms which I have very rarely had to stand in line for. If worse comes to worst you could always run to Subway or 7-11 which are both closer than walking to the bathroom at the mall tourneys lol.

- Prize support is always fair and basically maxxed out. No one expects a store to go minus due to prize support (which is what happened to T&M), but going 50-75% like Uncle's is ridiculous. Bob has always said that entrance fee is never intended to be part of profits and it has shown in every tourney I have played in there. It's unfortunate that YGO players generally don't "buy product", but like I've mentioned before, it's just that the product is just too bad.

- The hope of a Spokane regionals. Being the only place in the area that could hold the potential number of people for a regional, this one is my personal biggest reason. Unfortunately I think 70% of the playerbase in the area actually doesn't give a shit about having a regional here or not. Sure, one could just say "why don't you just run it anyway? People will come" but there's no guarantee of that and the last thing I'd want is a bloated amount of product ordered for the event and compensation for judge staff, just for there to be only 50 people to show up because the local support/interest isn't there. Simply playing in a regional has made me a better player each time I've played, regardless of how well or bad I did and I know that's how it is for everyone else that makes it to one too. Players around here just don't get that, and sit and wonder how to get better or why they're always losing. It's the lack of experience in high-level play. How convenient would it be to be able to have access to this in your own neighborhood as opposed to having to travel all the way to the other side of the state, which most players don't have the means of doing so in the first place? Our goal as duelists should be to always get better and never settle for "oh well, whatever." I watched a match at Uncle's once where one guy made huge misplays like 2 or 3 turns in a row to cost him the match, and when he got called out on it he was just like "oh well, nothing I could've done, whateverrr, it's just a game" and just shrugs it off but you can tell he's embarrased. This is exactly what people should NOT be doing, and instead be able to realize their mistake, take it in, and make sure you don't just repeat it in the next match.

For those in the area, I'd like it if you took a moment to reflect on what your locals means to you, what you think you mean to it, and what you want out of the game/what you hope to accomplish. Don't ever feel that you "owe" it to your locals to vehemently and loyally show up to theirs and only their tournaments. Don't feel that you need to buy their entire inventory if they're closing down, especially if you can't afford it. If they're going to throw out statements like "if you go to that tourney you're banned from here" or "if you don't like it, you can just leave and play somewhere else" bullshit, well that should be painfully obvious how much you really mean to them and how much they respect you. Don't settle for "good enough", because having that attitude toward the game and life in general will only get you so far. Make small realistic goals for yourself and do what you can to achieve them. There is a ton of support from all of the players at Gamer's Haven to help you do this, moreso than any other local in the area. Take these things into mind when you think to yourself "I wonder which store I should go to today?"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Age-Old Debate: Set Rotation

During locals yesterday, we had an interesting mini-conversation about the age-old Magic vs YGO issue, with the majority of it being about the issue of set rotation. For those unaware, set rotation is when a certain number of sets become unplayable after new sets are introduced. For example in Magic, you'll generally have 2 "blocks" (3 sets per block) and a core set (which comes out every year) that are "Standard" legal. Standard is the equivalent to YGO's Advanced. As a new block is introduced, the oldest block will be "rotated out" so the card pool is ever-changing. Obviously we don't have this in Yugioh, but we do have a banned list that dictates what we run/don't run, moreso than Magic's.

People have very different opinions on set rotation, with some making assumptions about it when they actually don't know all the facts behind it. Many people who haven't played Magic believe that once a card is rotated out, it'll never be used again and it basically becomes garbage. Well this isn't necessarily true on two different accounts: 1) reprints do happen and 2) Magic supports multiple formats.

In terms of reprints in Magic, it's not exactly the same as it is in Yugioh. The purpose of reprints in Magic, generally, is to allow the particular card to be legal for Standard play. In Yugioh it's an issue of accessibility. Almost every Magic set has a reprint of some kind, some of them being simple commons/cheap cards (Naturalize, Oblivion Ring), while others are old Rares that haven't seen play in varying lengths of time. When I saw that Vampire Nocturnis was coming back, I let out an "ohh snap" since I ran Vampires as a cheap deck back then (and yes I did fuck up some evenings). Furthermore Magic has a yearly Core set where you find a lot of reprints of various commons all the way to Mythics. These reprints dictate what will or won't be legal for play, hey sounds a lot like our banned list. Something that a lot of people also don't realize is that you're allowed to play with an older version of a card if it was reprinted in a newer set. For example if you have a Birds of Paradise from Ravnica (a 7 year old set), you don't have to get the newest printing of it from M12 to play it. This makes it so you don't have to keep buying new cards, at least the ones that get reprinted. Yearly reprints such as these also help keep costs of bomb rares down, at least to a certain extent. In general, Magic cards have a shelf life of 2 years for Standard-legal play.

When you look at Yugioh's formats, it basically boils down to Advanced, Traditional, and I suppose Pegasus league. Traditional is basically unsupported on all fronts, and I have yet to see a Pegasus league tournament go down. In general, Advanced is the only truly supported format in Yugioh. When's the last time you've read coverage of a Traditional format YCS? Or a Pegasus league regional? Oh yea, never. Magic, however, has always had multiple formats that are supported on the Grand Prix and Pro Tour (and qualifier) level. You have Standard, Block Constructed, Sealed, Draft, Modern, Legacy, I don't even know what else. Their Sealed and Booster formats have always been popular, and the measure of a pro's skill is never completely dependent on their Standard deck alone. A true pro in Magic has to be capable at these other formats as well, otherwise they have to be choosey with which events to attend or just scrub out. As for using older cards, Magic has a format called Modern (called Extended in my day) which allows for even more blocks (several years' worth) to be legal for play. Who knows, your local may not have tournaments that support this format and all, but they do hold bigger events for these formats, which is a lot more than what Yugioh's doing.

So what are the up-sides and down-sides to set rotation? Naturally, having to buy new cards to be able to play the most popular format, Standard, is probably the biggest down-side. This alone has made me quit Magic several times, because rotation was something that was always on the back of my mind and gave me that sense of "oh no I have to get rid of this card before it goes down in value" all the time. I didn't want to always have that feeling and it's something that one shouldn't just ignore. If you play at one period of time, take an extended break and decide to come back, well chances are 98% of your cards aren't going to be legal besides the basic lands unless your whole deck was made from a Core set. If you want to play in Standard, you'll basically always have to keep obtaining new cards. Compare this to YGO, where I've seen a few instances of people coming back, making a few slight revisions to cater to the list at the time, and at least their deck is legal for play and can enter the tournament.

An up-side to set rotation, in my opinion, is that it keeps the game more fresh and broke cards/combos eventually find their way out. The game will always have color-based decks that will see play like White Weenie, Mono-Red, Red/Green, Blue/Black, Blue/White, etc, so in a sense it may not seem like the game is fresh at all, but it's not like in Yugioh where half to 3/4 of the cards in your deck are just staples that have always been around to some extent or another.

What a lot of people don't understand, is that Yugioh basically does have a form of set rotation that is enforced by new sets coming out and via the banned list. Sure, you can run that Soul Control Monarch deck that you've been playing since 2007, but is that going to be competitive enough to handle all the new cards and mechanics that have come out? In most instances, no. To play the broke decks of today like Dino Rabbit, Inzektor, Chaos Dragon, etc, you need to have the new cards from the newer sets to be considered competitive (even though, yes, Chaos Dragon is cheap). Are any competitive decks that were played 4 years ago competitive today? I can't think of any. What happened to decks like Blackwings, Infernity, and X-Sabers? How many cards from the sets which those decks came from are played now? Present to a certain extent, sure, but between the list and new sets, they're basically phased out. In this way, Yugioh does essentially rotate sets out to where players need new cards to stay competitive. In both games, you basically have to buy new cards to play competitively. The only difference is that in order to play Standard Magic at all, you have to, whereas in Advanced Yugioh you don't necessarily.

When I was younger I used to always wish Yugioh had set rotation, but as I got older it became more obvious to me that we basically already do. I always feel like I'm having to pick up new cards, but thankfully I know my staples are safe for the most part. Sure they may ban random staple X and bring staple Y back, then flip-flop a year later, etc, but it's never like "well all this crap's useless now." That just happens to decks in general, but hey that's just how Konami ensures their cashflow. On the surface it doesn't seem like there is set rotation at all, and a lot of players find solace in that; there's no page on their site that has a list of what sets are currently legal for play, so we basically have "freedom" to run whatever we want. However the power level of new cards, the ban list, and the drive to play competitive decks makes it unattractive to actually "run what we want."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chaos Dragon Sidedeck Picks

An article from Nate, our Idaho branch's co-captain :)

Hey it’s Nate, I haven’t written an article in quite a while so I thought I’d go for it once more. This time I’m going to discuss how to side deck in chaos dragons.

Usually I prefer to keep my side deck choices to myself, only because I feel that the side deck is one of the most skill based parts of this game. Any dragon deck can go derpy and win game one, but what about the next two? Unless you can side, the first game won’t even matter.

With that being said, just because the side deck is the ultimate way to alter a deck to your own play style doesn’t mean that people don’t sometimes need help. I’m going to go down a list of a few key cards in the dragon side and why they are important.

Marshmallon/Spirit Reaper:
Of all of the cards to side these two seem to be almost mandatory. It’s great for the mirror, rabbit, six sams and any other deck that can OTK. When piloting a chaos dragon deck against another deck which can OTK it is important to have defense. There is no way to guarantee that you will draw better than them so use one of these, and stall until you get the cards you need. Try it out, it will make a world of difference in tournament play.

Doomcaliber Knight:
This side deck option is a little less obvious than the first. Many people have been counting this card out for quite a while, but after reading Thunderpants’ article on ARG I decided to reanalyze it as a side option in this deck.

The first important thing to note is that any monster in the side deck should be able to stand on its own without issues (considering you run zero traps). With amazing stats of 1900/1800 I would say Doomcaliber Knight easily fits this criteria.

The second thing to pay attention to is the number of potential problems that this card can solve for you in games two and three. With the majority of veilers, if not all of them, having been pulled out of your opponents deck he should force out the negate that makes him good. The most obvious problem he solves is any inzektor deck will have a hard time baiting him out without the use of a normal summon. A couple more important possible decks to side it against include both rabbit and wind-ups, whose power plays are based around monster effects.

The last point that I want to make is that in chaos dragons it is entirely possible to OTK with a Doomcaliber Knight on the field the entire time. All of those combined make him an excellent choice in my opinion.

Soul Release:
Of all of the cards I’m discussing, this one is most likely the most… rogue. For a long time Soul Release saw little to no play because D.D. Crow was simply better. It is a ss2 hand trap, and that alone has made crow a better choice in many situations, until now.

I don’t know if you have tried playing D.D. crow against chaos dragons, but it is rarely very effective. Removing one monster just is not enough when it fills the grave with new light and dark monsters so quickly.

This is where Soul Release finally has the upper hand. Taking either five light or five dark monsters out of your opponents grave can give you those needed few turns to gain field control and deal enough damage for game. Another important thing to note is that the text reads “select up to 5 cards from either you or your opponents Graveyard and remove them from the current duel.” I am pretty sure you can figure out why those two phrases are so important.

Well thanks for reading, I hope it helped in some way.

On a side note, I recently got another video camera. I’ll be posting videos very regularly regarding Team Overload, and everything that yugioh has to offer. Check out OverloadYGO at

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The New Inzektor Standard? + Thoughts on Skill, local updates

After only placing in top 4 at the box tourney that Uncle's had on Monday, I've finally decided to give up on Inzektors. Top 4's not bad considering the other 3 were Chaos Dragon, but the way I lost game 3 of my top 4 match just left a really bad taste in my mouth. Actually I had already made up my mind that this tourney would be my final run with the deck, but the tourney just backed up my decision of doing so even more. No matter how "focused on consistency" I made my deck, I was still having occasional problems of "not having the pieces set up." Such is the fate of decks that rely on any sort of 2-card combo in my opinion. Granted I did run it completely different than my regional deck, but I just wanted to try out a few things before I gave it up. In theory the changes I made should've increased consistency, but again, still had problems.

As I talked about in my previous Inzektor post, I feel that the deck has the highest probability of getting hit the worst come this September. Even if the end result is that they don't do a damn thing to the deck, when you take into consideration the OCG meta, there's little reason to believe any other deck would get hit harder and thus why I'm selling it off. After speaking with a few people, there is general agreement on this matter, even though a lot of people think Chaos Dragon will still get hit somehow. Realistically Future Fusion or FHD to 0, tops, but with the deck doing nothing in OCG, who knows. The difference between Agents last format and Dragons this (both, structure decks) is that TG Agent was everywhere in the OCG, while Chaos Dragon isn't. At the very least, with Tengu getting hit, we know they are paying attention to the TCG.

Even though I am giving up the deck, I would like to discuss what I've seen become the new standard for it, at least from an OCG standpoint. In a nutshell it boils down to: 2 Hornet, no Cardcar, 3 Call, and 2 Trooper w/ DAD and/or BLS. I've seen the use of only 2 Hornet for a few weeks now - at first I found it crazy because most games I would personally have enough of a struggle getting 1 out of 3, but it is a trend that seems to be the norm now. In recent bigger tourneys it is evident here and here. My rationale to explain this is that Lavalval Chain helps in getting Hornet set up for the rest of the game, and it's not something that you'd want to draw into later on. The use of Card Trooper can also help, and while I don't like "random mill" outside of Chaos/LS-ish decks, the use of 3 Call justifies it in my opinion. I find it very interesting how all Inzektor decks ran 3 Cardcar earlier in the format, and now it's basically 1 or 0. I personally still really like running 2 - bait Warning, Veiler, Torr, or get the plus. Usually the 2 cards I'd draw off Cardcar only cemented my successful plays for next turn. If they Veiler, great, 1 less for Inzektors to deal with. I tried this 2 Hornet thing at the box tourney, and overall I agree with it. 

After a week with Chaos Dragon, which is what I run now for the time being, I find it crazy how much more often I have a turn 1 Future Fusion than I did having a Dragonfly/Centipede + Hornet play. It doesn't seem to mathematically make sense that I'd get a singleton card out of 40 or 41 on the first turn more often than I did getting either 1 of 6 Dragonfly/Centipede, 1 out of 3 Hornet+1 Foolish, and also taking into account 3 Duality/2 Cardcar. I haven't done the math, but again, seems like the flaw of 2-card combos. As for Dragons, I don't care what anyone says about the deck- resolving a Future Fusion within the first 2 turns of the game puts the player in an outright much better position to win the game. This is why so many "average/below-average"-skilled players can squeak wins away from someone who is much better lately. I wouldn't say that the deck is skill-less though as I had originally thought. Yes, plopping down Future Fusion is skill-less, and players can play the deck in a skill-less manner, but the same can be said for any deck. Turn 1 Rabbit, turn 2 Guide, sure, any derp can do that. But what do you do if you don't have those obvious plays? That is what distinguishes good players from bad right now. I think there is still room for skill to win out, it's just that some of these early-game setups and overpowered cards in general can be impossible to overcome right now, no matter how good you are.

Locally, the word from the grapevine is that T&M's has very little support now, from both the Magic and YGO community. Baptist church basement, 'nuff said. I've also been informed that they are doing a 50%-off all Magic singles sale now. I would expect the FNM attendance for Gamer's Haven to go up many-fold, so be prepared for the surge :) As for YGO, Gamer's Haven is doing Advanced for Sunday and Monday, and Traditional/Advanced-weekly switchoff on Tuesday. Between Haven, both Uncle's locations, and Northtown, that's a lot of YGO lol.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

RIP T&M Cards + Helping the Players

While I was working on homework yesterday, I received a text from Lewis saying that apparently T&M's (one of our local shops) grabbed all their shit and left. I was very confused, as I was just in there last week and have never gotten the vibe that the store was struggling or anything like that. They are quite notorious for giving out ridiculous amounts of prize support and ordering pizza for players for FNM, but since they had the highest numbers in attendance for Magic in the area, I figured they were making enough to stay afloat. I think Magic players tend to buy boxes of product moreso than Yugioh, but I don't blame them as buying a box of Magic isn't necessarily the worst investment one can make. Like I've posted on Facebook before, I think it's fairly easy to break even on a box of Magic, but you have to be lucky just to break 75% on a box of YGO. After getting a few more texts and reading FB messages, my mind was blown when it came to the background circumstances for why they closed up shop. Apparently the store has moved to a new location, a basement of a church, but I haven't seen it with my own two eyes. Earlier today Danny and I drove by the old store, and sure enough everything was emptied out, even though their signs and stuff were still on the windows.

Usually I feel bad when learning about the closure of a hobby shop, but overall I feel that this will help the local YGO community grow and become better. I feel that to some people, T&M represented a "safety net" where they didn't have to learn the game represented by the Advanced format, and could "hide behind" the banned cards in their own pseudo-Traditional format to make their fun-decks more viable to play with. It's like if you had the option to stay in Never-never Land and could always stay young vs growing up and facing the real-world. Sure, you can stay in Never-never Land, but you will never learn the skills needed to survive in the real-world. Learning how to survive can be a tough lesson for some people though, so I can understand why the thought of T&M going away can be disheartening to people that don't want to play Advanced. In any form of Traditional, an all-Spellcaster deck with Chaos Command Magician and other garbo can be viable if you throw in broke cards like Scientist, Brain, Snatch, Painful, Pre, CCV, etc especially if all the other players are playing fun-decks like that too. In Advanced, there's just no room for that kind of stuff since you don't have nearly as many power cards to rely on getting you out of a jam.

To help players adapt to Never-never Land T&M going away (and it will, since who the hell wants to play in a church basement), I will open myself up to help those that genuinely want help to get better. Whether it's just general advice, deck advice, or what have you, I'll do my best to give it and explain my rationale for why I'm giving you that particular suggestion. I'll most likely steer you away from your "situational funsy tech" stuff and more toward what meta decks look like, but if you genuinely want deck improvement and to see better results, in most cases that's what it'll have to be. If you hand me your "Gemini Neo-Spacian Cloudian" deck (you know what I mean) and ask me to help it out, well I'm probably not gonna be able to do jack shit. My blunt advice would be to "play a real deck." I have also asked the team to help players out as well. The majority of the team has played the game at a pretty high level for several years now, and every person on the team that has gone to a regional this year has received their Nationals invite, so it's not like we don't know how to play the game. In fact the only people in the area that have received invites at all are our team members.

I'm also willing to take on one pupil/"apprentice" for direct testing, advice, sharing of theory-oh/game concepts, and the general perks of being associated with me (ie having access to virtually any card(s) you need/want). I know it may sound silly, and I don't mean to "toot my own horn" in any of this, but my latest pupil from Texas, Mikey, went from playing his funsy Necroface-Soul Absorption-DD Survivor deck (and always losing) to topping both a Magic and YGO regional and winning his locals on a weekly basis. This has spread on, after I had left the area, to one of his teammates getting top 10 at a San Antonio regional, and another player from that local making top 8 at a later San Anton regional. Before I had come along regionals wasn't even in the vocabulary of most players in that area, now 3 of them have gotten top 10 or better.

My pupil before that, Zach Elton, went from playing his janky E-Heroes (you know how that goes) to Tele-DAD and doing very well. He's been done with the game for several years now, and many will say that he was only good with Tele-DAD, but going from bad to good in any scenario is better than just always being bad. When people look back on Tele-DAD format these days, many say it was one of the most skillful. When he was little he was annoying as fuck, but I took Elton on because I felt that he had that inherent skill and I knew if he was able to move away from his E-Hero shit and played good decks he'd do well, which he did. I have at least somewhat of a track record of helping people improve in the game drastically.

Usually I am extremely picky with who I take on as an apprentice because I have to be able to see the underlying potential there and know that my time will be worth it, but I'll be a little less picky nowadays. If all you want to do is do better at locals, well I'm fine with that. I have a few people in mind who I'd love to coach if they wanted me, but I'm not going to say who and it's up to people in general to come to me for this help. Most people know I generally don't say no :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Dry Spell/Catching Up

I actually had a long post typed up today, but unfortunately I hit some keys which caused my entire post to be deleted, and the auto-save kicked in and I lost my entire original post, so this is me re-typing lol. I apologize for not posting in a while, I've been on "regional letdown", just trying to relax with the game but keeping up with everything I need to do like life stuff, buying/selling cards, doing a whole bunch of yard work, etc. The last time I topped a regional I quit a game (Magic) since I felt that I had nothing more to prove/accomplish. I have a bit of that mindset with Yugz at the moment, but fortunately YCS Seattle is coming up, so I'm able to step my next goal to be topping a YCS. Even just top 32, I would be ecstatic. I did get 22nd at the last Seattle Shonen, so I know it's certainly a possibility. I spent a crapload of time prepping for regionals, so you know I'll go even harder for YCS. Of course it'll be a completely new format by then, so who knows, maybe we'll all be playing Water decks lol.

I've seen/heard/read quite a few rants about the current state of the format, but as is the yearly tradition, summer is always the "apex of derp" of the March format. I can't remember the last time the game was "healthy" during Nationals. Dragons, Inzektors, Samurai (plus new buddy), and Hieratics can OTK you, Dino Rabbit can lock you down, and Wind-Ups can loop you. What an enjoyable field of diversity! Something pretty big needs to happen with the upcoming list to set the game back to a healthy state, but you know within 6-8 weeks it'll all go to hell again. Always has, and most likely always will, but we still keep playing right? 

I've been surprised at how excited people have been for Battle Pack, I know it's been selling pretty well at locals. In all honesty a lot of the set is crap, but there's juuust the right amount of good cards in it and because it is very cheap, I think a lot of people look past this. I have yet to buy any of the product but I won 8 packs of it last week, and because I'm getting a set of Guides from Trong, I probably won't buy any. I almost impulse-bought one of those Walmart things that includes the mat today, but decided I should just keep my money. The first Sealed tourney is happening tomorrow I believe, but again I'm probably going to pass on it. Advanced tourney for Battle Packs for $3? Sure. Sealed tourney with Battle Packs to win more Battle Packs for $20? Nah. Funny how my opinion basically did a 180 in a matter of a week lol. I'd be surprised if there were 8 people that had $20/$25 to enter in the first place, considering who all goes to the Uncle's tourney.