A list of 40 mistakes players can make when first entering Goat format.
Being unfamiliar with older rules. Especially for new players: First turn player conducts their Draw Phase. Two players share the same Field Spell. Priority is in effect; monsters with optional effects can use their effect before the opponent activates a trap card. Traps can’t be activated during the damage step.
Unnecessary use of removal. If you can destroy a monster in battle, don’t waste removal on it (unless you inflict a very high amount of life point damage).
Not checking the graveyard often. Especially in an era of internet dueling, it’s easier than ever to check graveyards. As a habit, I at least check both player’s graveyards during all of my Standby Phases. For example, if the opponent has Mystical Space Typhoon in graveyard, you can feel more at ease in activating Premature Burial or if the opponent has Torrential Tribute in their graveyard, you can swarm. You can use process of elimination to determine a probability of what the opponent’s cards hidden cards are based on their graveyard.
Attacking directly with the weaker monster first. Instead, attack with the stronger one to force a Scapegoat play so you can take out a 2nd token with the weaker monster.
Sub-optimal use of Sinister Serpent. While it could be used as a defender at times, that comes at a big opportunity cost. You need it in hand to neutralize your opponent’s Delinquent Duo, as well as to utilize cards such as Graceful Charity and Tribe-Infecting Virus. If your opponent absorbs it with Thousand-Eyes, uses Nobleman on it or doesn’t attack it, then you’re missing out.
Using tech without context. A Chaos/Goat player running only 2 Scapegoat might love Magical Merchant but that doesn’t mean it will work for a Zombie player who just wants a bigger graveyard. Or perhaps someone using Don Zaloog is able to protect it and set it up, but your deck might not be able to accommodate it.
Situational tech choices. Dark Magician of Chaos, Autonomous Action Unit, Brain Control and Giant Trunade are examples of potentially devastating tech cards that are still not worthwhile for most players to use because they’re useless in numerous situations. Decks in this format already have plenty of combo-reliant power cards which are bad early game: tribute monsters, BLS Envoy, Tribe-Infecting Virus, Premature Burial, Call of the Haunted (without Sinister Serpent), Metamorphosis and Snatch Steal among others. And keep in mind that there are other cards that players like to save for later such as Graceful Charity or Heavy Storm. The more opening hand dead draws you run, the more you are pressured to use up your power cards.
Setting Sangan. It can easily get hit by Nobleman and you don’t want that to happen if you haven’t retrieved Sinister Serpent yet. Plus, Sangan doesn’t add much field presence in DEF. Its best used aggressively to push direct attacks and take out goat tokens because the opponent would not waste trap cards on a floater.
Running too many Tributes. 2 is the standard count. 3 is plausible, if not pushing it, but more than that can be troublesome. Tribute monsters can clog the opening hand early game. Monster Gate and Monarch decks get away.
Locking your monsters via Thousand-Eyes Restrict. Keep in mind that you cannot flip your Flip Effects while TER is face-up. You will need Tsukuyomi to set it down first.
Using Thousand-Eyes Restrict without a target. If you’re putting it on the board just because you can, you are not fully utilizing it. In order to pay for itself, wait until the opponent has a strong monster on the field to use Metamorphosis (or if you highly suspect they just set a Magician of Faith or Morphing Jar) it can be worth it.
Using Thousand-Eyes Restrict without pressure. Make sure the opponent can’t use your own TER as an opportunity to buy themselves time and set up their combos. When using TER, you need to apply pressure. If you suck up set monsters or low ATK monsters (unless you can combo with Tsukuyomi) you won’t be threatening the opponent to try to remove it ASAP. Summoning TER while Airknight Parshath is in hand is a good way to preclude Scapegoat from stalling.
Running too few Tributes. Decks like Zoo don’t use tributes because they’re focused on a strong early game. However, running 0-1 Tribute monsters limits some of your card interactions. Without tributing, you no longer have a way to ditch Thousand-Eyes Restrict when it’s slowing you down or a way to prevent the opponent from counter your Snatch Steal play. Also, Premature Burial and Call of the Haunted are less effective too.
Having two face-up monsters with the same ATK. It gives the opponent the liberty of using Snatch Steal to kamikaze both of them with one card. Or, they use Thousand-Eyes Restrict to kamikaze them both (and the opponent still keeps their monster).
Being stuck in the beatdown mentality. In Goat Format games 10+ years ago, decks used high-ATK LV4 monsters to beat down other high-ATK LV4 monsters. However, currently, most decks instead rely on small monsters to generate advantage, removal to out threats and a few big monsters for power. Moral of the story: There’s not a big difference between a 1700 ATK monster and a 1900 ATK this format. Effects are more important.
Thinking that Jinzo is a staple. Just because it was a staple back then doesn’t mean every Goat player now has to use it. It still does have its uses (especially for offensive OTK-ish plays) but it’s not for every deck. It is blocked by Scapegoat and Book of Moon (of course) and stopped by a litanty of monster effects. And it could block your own traps.
Misuse of Gatling Dragon. It only destroys monsters. It will destroy itself if there are not other monsters you can destroy with the effects. Be aware of this especially if you are Snatch Stealing it.
Running too many low DEF beaters. Tsukuyomi is common and recyclable; any monster with <1100 DEF is at risk of being a liability. You should be running some (such as Breaker and Tribe), but you also need several monsters that (a) won’t die that easily and (b) will put your opponent on the defensive if Tsukuyomi is the strongest monster in their hand. Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer, Berserk Gorilla, Enraged Battle Ox and Blade Knight are all vulnerable so run them with caution.
Not having an out to major cards. Scapegoat, Tsukuyomi and Thousand-Eyes Restrict are the big cards in this format. Before dueling, check your deck to make sure that, in all three cases, you have at least a few cards that can counter them.
Blindly using Mystical Space Typhoon. Unless you are setting up a major play, avoid using MST just as a way to clear their set spells/traps. Often, you should be saving MST for a power play such as Snatch Steal, Premature Burial or Call of the Haunted.
Using Heavy Storm when it’s not critical. When you use Heavy Storm, you should be setting yourself up for a power play. The end result should be (a) you deal a lot of damage, (b) you gain significant field advantage or (c) you destroy an opponent’s Premature/Snatch/Call.
Using Call of the Haunted defensively. Of course, it depends on the situation. Sometimes you can afford to (or absolutely must have to) protect your life points. But otherwise, Special Summoning a monster during the opponent’s turn allows them to get rid of it that turn or set a spell/trap to counter it next turn. Otherwise, it’s best to be aggressive with it (i.e. opponent uses up their Sakuretsu Armor to protect their goat tokens against your Asura Priest and then you use Call of the Haunted to get a clean shot.
Being unfamiliar with rulings. http://formatlibrary.weebly.com/rulings
Negative synergy with Goats. If you’re using 2-3 Scapegoats, then cards such as Blade Knight, Gravekeeper’s Spy and/or King Tiger Wanghu should be used with care if at all.
Letting Trap Dustshoot fizzle out. If you activate it on the opponent’s turn, when the opponent has exactly 4 cards in hand, they can chain Mystical Space Typhoon or Book of Moon on an appropriate target to nullify Dustshoot’s 4-card requirement.
Forgetting Scapegoat’s summon restriction. Don’t use the card on your turn. If you plan on using it during your turn, chain it during the End Phase. Also, keep in mind, that if you Summon during the turn at all, the Scapegoat you have set is no longer chainable.
Running (most) cards in 3’s. Yes, there are some exceptions (cards which are versatile enough). However, most of the time, it reduces the variety of the cards in the deck and results in clogging. Running 3 Dust Tornado, for example, might result in an opening hand where you have plenty of outs to Spells/Traps but little to no monster removal.
Wasting removal on walls. LV4 monsters with high DEF are used to eat up your removal, especially the Gravekeeper Spy engine, so that you have less tools to destroy their beaters. Find a way to remove walls without negging on card advantage: Tribe + Sinister or Thousand-Eyes Restrict + Tsukuyomi or a high ATK monster like Jinzo.
Vulnerability to Snatch Steal. If you have a powerful monster such as Airknight Parshath or BLS – Envoy out, and the opponent has not used Snatch Steal, you are very vulnerable. Just because the opponent hasn’t used it doesn’t mean they didn’t draw it. Have an out to it such as Dust Tornado, Mystical Space Typhoon or maybe Book of Moon. Also, if you have a Breaker with the counter still on it, watch your set cards.
Main-decking Bottomless Trap Hole. It’s not a great card in this format. Chaos and Goats pack very few beaters nowadays. It fails to stop Tsukuyomi and Thousand-Eyes Restrict. BLS Envoy, Chaos Sorcerer, Monarchs and Tribe-Infecting Virus get to activate their effects anyway. However, side decking it against Zombies/Zoo/Phoenix is definitely viable.
Not spotting Morphing Jar plays. Everyone is expecting the obvious “Set 4 Spells/Traps and Jar” play. But good players use Morphing Jar much more seamlessly. They might set their cards one card at a time to make their field build-up look more organic. Whenever the opponent has less resources than me, I have a suspicion and start to scrutinize how they set
Using Graceful Charity immediately. Typically, unless you are in a desperate situation, save it for when you have Sinister Serpent to +1 rather than using it as soon as possible and not plussing at all. Otherwise, a revivable high level monster, a card that isn’t useful for the matchup or a LIGHT/DARK for BLS. Try to calculate what you will draw. For example, if you run 3 Metamorphosis, it’s mid-game and you haven’t drawn any of them yet (and you need one), it’s well possible that Graceful Charity can lead you into it.
Using Delinquent Duo immediately. If the opponent has Sinister Serpent in hand, you are not advantaged in playing it. Wait until the opponent’s Sinister Serpent in in the graveyard. With decks that activate Thunder Dragon, you may need to wait until they get rid of their Thunder Dragons. Against decks which have an active Night Assailant, I may just try to use my Duo as a bluff and then side it out in round 2.
Always using Delinquent Duo first turn. Using it on turn 1 is a tough call. If your hand is good enough to gain a decisive early advantage through attrition or bad enough to where you need to prevent the opponent from taking the lead, it’s probably a good idea to use it turn 1 (the chances of the opponent having Sinister are only 1/8). However, the most effective use of Delinquent Duo can be mid-game. Once you’ve reduced the opponent’s hand to <4 cards, they have less discard choices to choose from. Players often save cards like Snatch Steal and BLS Envoy for later. As a result, you’re more likely to hit those cards if you are patient.
Using Ring of Destruction as ordinary removal. Ring of Destruction is really unique in it’s speed, chainability and versatility. You can destroy those elusive Spirit monsters and take care of BLS Envoy before it attacks you. Ring’s use depends on the game. If you plan on winning through attrition, use it against a Thousand-Eyes Restrict. But if you can win via life point advantage, save it for a bigger monster.
Giving the opponent a free Torrential Tribute. If you use removal on the opponent’s monster(s) and then summon, they have an incentive to use Torrential Tribute. If they haven’t used Torrential Tribute yet, Summon your attacker first before you remove the opponent’s threat.
Niche side deck choices. The problem with very specific side-deck cards like Mask of Restrict, Kinetic Soldier and Des Wombat is they’re clutter most of the time. Even if you did side deck a few cards that are devastating, there’s no guarantee you’d draw them. The best thing you can do for your side deck, unless your deck specifically has trouble against a certain matchup. is just allow it to replace the less useful cards in any given matchup with more useful cards. You want to make sure that all of your side deck choices work well against at least one of the following decks: Zoo, Chaos Turbo, Recruiter Chaos, Goats/Chaos.
Not siding against their side. Zoo players need to be prepared for cards like Bottomless Trap Hole and D.D. Assailant. Chaos players need to be prepared for the possibility that Zoo might start setting with Nobleman presumed to be out of the pictures. Don’t side against cards the other player might be siding out. For example, if you are siding in stall cards, your opponent might be siding in their Mystic Swordsman LV2 and Mobius.
Having sacred cows in side-decking. A staple is not a staple against all match-ups. Delinquent Duo may not be great against decks with hand-floaters. Airknight Parshath may not be great against decks which don’t use Goats. Book of Moon is a good card but won’t matter against a Chaos Turbo deck with only Flip Effects and 2000+ DEF Chaos monsters. Premature Burial and Call of the Haunted may not be effective against a Zoo deck which focuses on early game domination.
Counting on monsters to stick around. Almost any monster you could be absorbed by Thousand-Eyes Restrict or banished by Chaos Sorcerer. Monsters like D.D. Assailant, Mystic Tomato and Vampire Lord, for example, have they’re uses, but if they’re swallowed up next turn, then they may as well have been vanilla monsters. This is largely why Goats left the beatdown paradigm behind.