Monday, July 23, 2012

Waiting it Out

I haven't blogged in quite a while, partly due to being busy but mostly due to it being the end of the format. At this point I don't have any tier 1 deck to run so I've just been waiting it out and having patience for the next ban list. The only tourney I make it to anymore is Tuesdays at Gamer's Haven, but I'd like to start going to Sunday Northtown since apparently a lot of people go there now. I built Darkworld but don't really like it so I've moved on to something else which I haven't played in a real match yet.

Unfortunately I haven't hopped on to the Goat Control bandwagon even though it does seem like a lot of fun. I wish our Tuesday "Mayhem"/pseudo-traditional tourney would be Goat format but I think it'd be confusing to explain to most people that went there. Everyone should be going hard for Advanced anyway once we get the list in like 3-4 weeks since the Seattle YCS is getting closer. I've been working on the next ban list for the Mayhem tourney and it was my goal to make "rotated-out" decks like Blackwings, Agents, and Plants to be able to be played again, and get rid of the "too broken even for Traditional" cards, so hopefully people enjoy the upcoming list. Just gotta run it by Danny, see what happens on the real list, and it should be good to go.

I think it's pretty sad that Advanced is so bad that a lot of people have been playing these "other" formats like this, to be honest I have more fun playing in the Mayhem tourney than Advanced even though there are a greater number of broken cards. It all seems to even out somehow so you can still come back from the usual broke plays you'd see in Advanced.

Other than that, Advanced YGO seems pretty much at a stand-still; not much to talk about besides product news that may come about and of course the ban list when it arrives. I've seen a lot of prediction videos on Youtube, and it's nice to see all the similar thought processes with the ones that I had in my banlist post. It's fairly easy to see what the problematic cards are in the game, hopefully Konami touches at least half of them for the overall betterment of the game.

Friday, July 13, 2012

One-Year Rule, No More?

With Comic-Con happening this week, it has been a helluva week for YGO product news, which I'm sure everyone is aware of by now. Although the official product page hasn't been updated to include all of this, enough pictures have surfaced which clearly show what upcoming products we have in store and content details. The various images/videos can be found by looking around Pojo, DGz, and Youtube.

- Wave 1 Collectors tins -
Evolzar Dolkka tin:
- Evolzar Dolkka
- Wind-Up Zenmaines
- Dark Highlander
- Scrap Dragon
- Genex Neutron

Excalibur tin:
- Excalibur
- Zenmaines
- Blizzard Princess
- Wind-Up Rabbit
- Evolzar Laggia

- Wave 2 Collectors tins -
Heliopolis tin
Hanzo tin
No promos known for either tin

- Legendary Collection 3 -
Notables: Secret versions of many staple cards, Ultras of many GK cards, Ultra Morphing Jar and Decree, common Chain Disappearance, Solemn Warning, Gold Sarc, and Soul Taker. Each box comes with a Seal of Orichalcos, Five-Headed, and a Gorz token among other things.

- Return of the Duelist SE -
Promos still unknown

- Abyss Rising SE -
Promos still unknown

So looks like we *finally* got the Scrap Dragon reprint that people have been waiting for for several years now. Too bad not many decks would run it these days anyways, so it's kinda late to the party. Besides that, it looks like basically everything good from PHSW is getting reprinted besides Rescue Rabbit, which kinda makes it redundant to put PHSW packs in the tins themselves. Abyss Rising having a Special Edition is an unexpected surprise since it breaks the traditional "every other set there's an SE" model. I've always liked Special Editions though so I'm pretty happy about this one.

There has been a lot of discussion in the forums about Konami's business model of releasing broken must-have-to-compete Secret rares and then reprinting them a year later, or earlier in some cases (like with these PHSW cards). The "general rule" of the "one-year rule" seems to have basically been thrown out the window, with PHSW coming out in November of 2011 and these tins coming out in August, for about 9 months total. One can bring up the old examples of Battle Fader and Drill Warrior getting quick reprints, but to my knowledge both were anime cards so they had "justification" to reprint those earlier than expected. Surely cards like Dolkka, Wind-Up Rabbit, and Zenmaines, all exclusives, aren't in the anime though. Maybe they are, I wouldn't know though since I haven't watched the show since the very early part of GX.

As a competitive or even semi-competitive player, what are we to do? It's not feasible to play the waiting game and be left in the dust by not running the broken Secret rare cards that Konami releases. If you do, you're basically at a huge disadvantage for the majority of the format. This makes it tough for the casual/budget players. And if we do invest to obtain them, we are always at potential risk of it getting reprinted in something and losing value of what we had to put in. It has basically gotten to the point of asking yourself "will I be OK with investing in this if it gets reprinted in 6 months?" It is an unfortunate Catch-22 but one that surely makes Konami a lot of money. They wouldn't do it if it didn't. After seeing that Wind-Up Rabbit was getting reprinted, I listed my deck on eBay a few days later. I made up my mind that for the rest of the format I'd just run something cheap and chances are wouldn't get hit. Even if it did, it wouldn't really hurt in terms of value anyway.

Between reprints and the ban list, you basically have to sell everything off or risk taking a big hit if you have various expensive cards. I've always made it a point to minimize the hits I take, so I suppose I have to play by Konami's rules around this time of the format.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The September Banlist - Hopes & Expectations

As we all know, this format is one of the craziest (worst, to some people) ones we have ever had in the game. Virtually every high-tier deck has some kind of OTK spamming potential, or can eliminate an opponent's hand if they don't open with a handtrap. Each of these decks has some kind of element that can be viewed as "unfair". Any deck without this factor is generally lower tier. Now usually I don't do these kinds of things, where I'm going to list what I think should be on the ban list and my explanations for things. This is a mixture of predictions and my "wishful expectations". I can't say I could come up with a "good" list if my life depended on it, but it's clear what the problems are with our current format, and by making the appropriate adjustments, we may have a decent format for at least like the first half of it. Regardless of what the list is, people will always have something to bitch about it. I took inspiration in putting actual thought into making this after watching GreatFailsMontana's video talking about the ban list, and how there basically needs to be a mass ban of all decks to bring some order back into this game.

Note, there may be some unconventional cards/strategies that I overlook when suggesting these changes, as I'm not a card database, which would null and void the particular change. I'm not trying to suggest retarded changes that would break the game, so excuse me if I suggest something that would.

BLS - I don't care what anyone says. Regardless of how many Veilers, Bottomless, or Torrential may exist in the game, BLS is BLS. The king of easily-summonable boss monsters. The summoning condition is a joke, and his effects and stats are simply too powerful.
Wind-Up Hunter - Generally decks that can wipe out an opponent's hand don't last long, and this is the one card that makes Wind-Ups over the top.
Card Destruction - While it really only gets played in Dark World, this is the one card that makes the deck unfair in my opinion. Originally designed as a card with a "drawback" (the -1 you take), can easily turn into ridiculous advantage in Dark World. The deck would still be completely playable without it.
Future Fusion - This is the legal version of Painful Choice for Dragons; any form of Painful Choice should not exist in Advanced. If something like Five-Headed was banned instead, I still think Future Fusion is the type of card that can be easily exploited in some kind of deck at some point in time anyway.
Gateway of the Six - Even without this card, Samurai can easily "go off". With this card though, they do so just way too easily. The one card that makes the deck unfair, but still good without it.
Monster Reborn - When you compare this to the other recursion cards we have, this one takes the cake. No drawback, no cost, no setup (compared to Call), no restrictions on whose graveyard. This card outright wins games in a lot of occasions and I think it's time for it to go.
Pot of Avarice - Back in the day, it's restriction on putting back 5 monsters was seen as a bad thing. In decks today, getting to re-use extremely powerful monsters isn't a bad thing at all, with a free +1 on top of it. Too good.

Inzektor Dragonfly - This is the card that makes Inzektors ridiculous. Getting to easily summon 2 monsters from the deck, which are going to net even more card advantage, and potentially for the OTK, is unfair. Leaving this at 1 still makes the deck playable, just not so ridiculous to the point where "topdeck Dragonfly for game" would be a regular occurrence.
REDMD - This is sort of a dual-purpose hit. One, is to settle down Dragons a bit, and the second is "preventative maintenance" for the card that is Gustaph Max. One Red-Eyes is fair I think, especially with banning Future Fusion. If you can get rid of the 1 REDMD, that makes Pulsar much less scary.
Rescue Rabbit/Evolzar Laggia -  I'm not sure which deserves the hit more, but realistically it should be Rabbit. Rabbit is a 1-card Laggia, while other decks like Evols have to "work" for their Laggia. I think Evol is a fair deck, while I don't think the concept of Rabbit into Laggia is. Even Konami admitted that they knew it was powerful before it was even released.
Super Polymerization - Like the REDMD case, this is also preventative maintenance for when Escuridao gets released to us. A lot of Hero players would love to maindeck this card, but the lack of Escuridao makes it a potentially dead card. A card that is unstoppable, and takes your opponent's monster and turn it into a beater of your own, is kinda crazy, regardless of the cost. The purpose of hitting it to 1 is to reduce the probability of it being drawn. Heroes in general aren't broken, but any card that doesn't give the opponent a chance to respond to at all is pretty dang good.
Tour Guide - When you take into consideration Konami's article about how they don't like auto-include splash cards (which is how they explained nerfing the Plant engine), the Tour Guide engine takes the cake. Almost any deck you make these days starts out with 3 Tour Guide 1 Sangan without thought. Konami has made their money off the card in Battle Pack, so I think this would be a realistic hit. Obviously it being a TCG exclusive doesn't even matter, as we saw with Tengu.

Gemini Spark/Miracle Fusion - Neither card is too broken per se, but if people flock to Heroes due to the list, they should have some aspect be hit.
I can't really think of anything more that deserves to be put down to 2 this time around, but a few that can go back up, to 2.
TG Striker - Coupled with the below card.
Agent Earth - Clearly putting both of these cards to 1 basically made them stop being played. Whether it's just TGs, just Agents, or TG Agent, none of those have been making an impact in the meta and I don't think either going to 2 would make either deck over the top.
Formula Synchron - There are basically no 1-star Tuners left to be abused, who knows it could probably go back to 3 with Fishborg, Bulb, and Spore all banned.
Black Whirlwind - Time to give Blackwings something back. Leaving Kalut at 1 makes this card fair in my opinion, and even with BWW at 2 I don't think the deck would see much play. It just makes it so the deck still has a tool after a single MST.
Final Countdown - I think putting this at 2 is enough for the deck to not get played, simply because it lowers the probability so much of drawing it turn 1. It doesn't need to be straight-up banned, but I think it going to 2 would make players more hesitant in running the deck at all.
Scapegoat - Why is this even at 1? There's no Morph, you can't XYZ with tokens, and you can't use them to tribute. Buys you a few turns, you can Synchro with them, cool with Creature Swap, sure, but so what. Goat is actually one of those cards that punishes Swap just as much as it helps it.

I don't think these cards going back to 3 would make the game ridiculous. Changes in the list also can warrant these being taken off.
Archlord Kristya - Even when Agents were played, 3 Kristya was never ran anyway. 
Lonefire Blossom - Spore and Bulb are banned. With Avarice banned, what would Lonefire into Lonefire into Lonefire get you? A Tytannial or Dandy? So what. Sure you get some deck-thinning, but no Avarice makes it kinda pointless in my opinion.
Emergency Teleport - For the most part, this card flopped at 2. With Hunter banned, I doubt 3 would be ran in anything anyway.
Magical Stone Excavation - Does any deck exist that runs 2? Would any deck exist that ran 3? Probly not.
Primal Seed - Even with BLS in the format, no one runs this crap. With BLS banned, there's no reason for this to still be.
Swords of Revealing Light - Messenger of Peace and LLAB are much better cards, and I can't recall seeing any deck play 2. It'd probably be the same if it was at 3.
Mind Crush - Not ran at 2, can't see it ran at 3.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Box Tourney Recap + Ban List Hopes

So Sunday was our monthly box tourney at Gamer's Haven, where attendance was much lower than anticipated. Even with it given a week extension and a lot of word-of-mouth, for what ever reason, not a lot of people showed up. At one point I was sitting next to Danny and he was just like "it's the team, Jo's crew, Paul and Roy, and that's basically it." Mike H and Seto were also there, but considering the number of people that do play the game around here, that's pretty bad. Like I said, I'm not sure on the exact reasons, but it has to be one of or some combination of: price of the entry, day of the week, lack of interest in Battle Pack, or fear of competition. Now when it comes to the entry fee, at $10, that's not too bad considering Uncle's charges $15 and they've had similar turnouts, if not better, when you consider that Jo's crew doesn't show up for those. Sunday has never been a problem for most people in the past, so not sure why it would now. I know some people have work on Sundays, that's just something that happens. I try to come up with an excuse by saying "4th of July", but it just seems too early for most people to be heading off for vacations and whatnot. Battle Pack, which was the prizing for the event, has become pretty saturated since a lot of people have bought/acquired a lot of it. Perhaps they didn't want to play in a tourney where that was the prizing since they've acquired so much of it. Hopefully our next box tourney will be for Return of the Duelist, which will be brand new and hopefully people get excited for the set. And last but not least, unfortunately, I still feel that a lot of people don't come because they are scared of doing poorly and investing $10 into it at the same time. I've already talked about the importance of playing in more-competitive tourneys and how to improve many times before, so I'm not going to beat the dead horse anymore about it.

As for the tourney, I decided to give Inzektors another run after not having played it for a month, and changed my list in an effort to deal with Chaos Dragons better (ie maining 2 Reaper and dropping Veiler to 1). I unfortunately wasn't at the comfort level I wanted to be at with Wind-Ups so I made up my mind about a week ago that I'd run Inzektors for it. Since the deck isn't really ran around here anymore, I was also hoping that people had less hate for it in the side and fewer Veilers were being maindecked.
What I thought would happen: I'd make a glorious comeback with Inzektors and tear it up like I used to with the deck.
What actually happened: The deck pretty much pooped on me in all different forms, and then I got derped on by the others I faced. I experienced: all monster hands (only had 18 main), never drawing a Centipede/Dragonfly, Sabersaurus + 5 backrow one of which being Macro with me not having removal, and Chaos Dragon derp in general. In the Macro scenario, when I tried to run over by equipping Mantis, I got Compulse'd. Vampire fuck up my evening.
I saw similar BS happen to other people all day, where skilled players lost out to outright bad players simply because of opening hands and draws. It made me really disgusted at what the format had degenerated into, and the thought of 2 more months of this crap is kinda depressing. I know summer formats are bad and all, but holy cow is it just me or does this one just seem exponentially worse? It's also that time of the format where spending a lot of money on any one deck is just a bad idea cuz you never know what will happen with the ban list. My vote has to go to selling the majority of my stuff off and sticking with a deck to ride the format out with, preferably one that is cheap and has the lowest chance of getting hit.

Before Wind-Ups won Nationals, I thought that it would be the deck that fit into this category. It was always good, but the spotlight had moved away from it and it doesn't top a whole lot in the OCG since they don't have a lot of the cards. Now it seems that theoretically any deck has justification for why it should be hit/what aspect of the deck should be hit. In most cases, rightfully so. For example a lot of people think Card Destruction should be banned because it gives Darkworld crazy advantage, even though DW isn't really all that played right now. Should Card Destruction be banned? Yea, I think so. The problem with our current list is that for the most part, it only dealt with the the early part of what we were going through in the previous format. They hit TG Agent and Plants, and everyone was scratching their head thinking "what about Rabbit, Wind-Up, and Inzektor?" Due to the desire to sell product though, it was clear that they didn't want to hit the decks that emerged from the latest couple of sets and they went virtually untouched. I'm hoping they do more than just nerf the hell out of Inzektors and will actually be able to solve some of the problems we've seen this format. I know a lot of people would bitch about it, but I kind of wish that we'd have a ban list every 3 months because the tendency always seems to be we have a good first half, then a shitty second half. This usually occurs with the release of a new set, new broken combos/decks are formed, and they don't get dealt with until 3 months later. This seems to be exactly what has happened with this format, I thought overall the first half was good, now it is just terrible. I remember previous formats having similar patterns.