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 Trading Card Game Tips from fans

 

July 2007

Goodbye- Matthew Murphy (cakepie)

 

Well I've been practically dead. But hey, whatever.

So yeah, as a basic introduction, I'm Matthew Murphy and I rotated into Metagame.com with a huge changing of the guard, so to speak. And hell, it's been a while since I graced (or cursed) you with my writing talent (or lack thereof) so I'll dote you in what is both a curse and a blessing.

I will start by announcing my resignation from competitive play. I had decided in December of last year that I was done playing the game competitively, simply because I had figured, going to Gen Con, that I would have broken even and been much happier playing the World of Warcraft TCG. There were a lot of events leading into this. To start, I had never enjoyed much success in the game... While I did have one Regional win and another Regional top 8, that isn't much to the credential-mad crowd of players in this game. After Gen Con So Cal, I lost interest in the game... But for one deck. Chain Burn, the first thing that earned me recognition besides my casual writing, earned me a 7-2 record and a qualification to 2007 Nationals (though I didn't know until April). That deck was the best deck I have ever piloted, and I can say without a doubt that it was the second most skilled deck this game has put forth. While at San Jose, I realized that there were plenty of reasons to stay in the game, many of which I wasn't really supposed to know or tell (keep in mind that this was when I started motions to get onto Metagame.com, and I was going to keep that confidential until it was public information).

Despite all of these reasons, many of the concerns and issues I had with playing the game still existed. I still did not like the directions Konami was taking with the game but had to recognize how useless it was to complain. I still didn't like the players and the drama that exists to this day. But, in February or so of this year I decided to make my way back onto Team Enigma after personal issues and lack of time forced me to leave the team nearly a year ago. And, having gone to Nationals and played a Gravekeeper deck to a fair record of 6-4 against one of the most competitive and diverse environments the game has seen, I felt that I had proved enough of what I had always wanted to prove... That I was capable of winning, and doing so with something interesting and fun. I still hold some disappointment at not having gone 7-3, but I must say that placing 140th in the most competitive tournament in the world with the deck that I was using felt good.

I simply do not have enough time for the game to actively play and keep up with the environment. Money is stretched thin as I enjoy more and more things in life and move on to college. I can't mooch off of my parents much and any job I take doesn't leave me enough time to play Yu-Gi-Oh! I will still play casually and represent Team Enigma, the best and only team I have ever (or will ever) bear the badge of, but I simply do not have the time to make my way to multiple Regionals, gather cards by buying and trading, and still have time to playtest and dissect the environment, especially with another game taking time from me. It is simply time to give up the ghost, as it may be. I will always like this game, and I still have many great stories to tell, but I don't want to have to compromise how much I like the game by introducing competition to it.

One downside is that I will no longer be able to enjoy playing against some of the best players in the game. Many years ago, I held that California (in particular, Southern California) was the hardest meta in the world to play in, and I can't say that I have changed my mind. Your average Regional will have five Shonen Jump winners and some amazing amount of top 8 competitors, as well as two National Champions and some of the most famous names in the game. I have since decided that Florida has the coolest players in the game, since one fateful dinner with John Jensen and the rest of the straight-up players from Team NeXus that involved more funny things than I care to impart. I cannot make a list long enough to put every single awesome player of this game on it.

But sadly, both the drama and general ignorance of your average player as well as my lack of income donations accepted through paypal =D ... =P) contribute to some negative emotions that turn me off from the game. So I am leaving the playing to those of you who are still enamored with sending Cyber Dragons into your opponent's head, believing in the Heart of the Cards and talking more about how nice an idea is than how bad an idea is. I fear that I may no longer be able to look at decks like Chain Burn or Gravekeeper's without worrying about how anti-meta it is or looking at inconsistencies with it or figuring that I could simply run a different deck. When the only thing you understand when you look at a deck is how it's inconsistent or makes inoptimal choices... Well, it turns fun into work. So I stop competing, and simply have fun.

That prolix point put up for preponderance, I move on to my next point. And that is the events of Nationals. It may be a bit late and out of people's minds, or it may still be a topic with more heat than the temperature of Arizona. It doesn't matter.

Without even discussing the events that actually occured, I noticed several disturbing things this weekend. The first was that cheating was rampant. I experienced it firsthand with one of my opponents, who was making stupid calls with Snipe Hunter that would not have been worth making if not for knowledge that his success was certain. It hurts my sense of chivalry and love for the game to know that the same cards I am playing with are stronger in the hands of someone with fewer morals. John Jensen is the absolute best player in the game and has not cheated to win any one of his many titles. He placed 19th at Nationals, with people I *know* to be cheaters placing in the top 16. I have seen Emon play and I know he is capable of making better decisions than most self-proclaimed "teh nutzZ" players will make given the same scenario. He may have cheated, he may not have. That is not important.

What is sad is that during the most important event of US competition, a player was disqualified in the quarterfinals. What is sad is that several disqualifications were made, and several people who honestly deserved to place well were pushed aside by cheaters, and the judging staff was blamed for making bad calls. My question is this: Jerome McHale made one bad call during the entire weekend. One incorrect call in a tournament of ten rounds and nearly 700 players playing a diverse selection of cards. Yet the judging staff is criticized... So, here is my opinion on players and judges.

1) Respect judges. I am a level 3 judge and will be using my rules knowledge more often with less time to play the game, and I know very well how hard it is to work many rounds with demanding players who have some misconception of the rules of the game. I once had to tell a player, playing TP6 copies of Needle Worm when that was the lowest rarity Needle Worm held that they did not work with his TP5 Magical Thorns. Naturally, he was upset. The rules of this game are extremely complex and judges try to work that into something tangible for players, but three things you can do to make yourself a better player, make tournaments more workable and also prevent scenarios where you have an unnecessary conflict with the judges follow this sentence.

- a) Know the rules in and out. Really, you should already know this, but I had to correct someone at Nationals about how his cards worked. When you are at a competitive level, knowing the rules works to your benefit. Always appeal to a head judge if you disagree with a ruling; just because judges wear a shirt doesn't mean they're infallible. This also applies to tournament policy, too often smart players screw themselves over by not tracking the life points on paper.

- b) Be a calm player. If you disagree with a call, please take time to explain yourself slowly and rationally, because judges are recommended to follow the tournament policy to the dot. This includes disqualifying players who use profanity or are unable to keep their cool. It also makes you a more pleasant person to play against.

- c) Don't blame the rules or the judges if you get "screwed over". More than once I hear people mouthing off judges for making a correct call. Judges aren't out to get you, and if you feel they are then there are plenty of options. You can talk to the tournament organizer and rationally explain why you feel the judge or judges he selected are not capable of performing the job. Or, if you want to be direct, there is a judge manager at Upper Deck. His name is Alex Charsky, and he can be reached at alex_charsky (*at*) upperdeck (-dot-) com. Do not bother him with unimportant things or he may murder me (Hi Alex, I love you).

2) Respect players. Don't cheat, and don't go around badmouthing people when you are uninformed of the circumstances surrounding them. I hear people badmouth Kirk Leonhardt, and I hear people badmouth Adam Corn, and I hold equal dislike for both parties. It's unfair to hold any opinion about any person without knowing about them, and I apologize to all players (in particular, Evan Vargas and killswitch) who I have done this to. I have my opinion about Emon, and I've had sushi with him and I've played him and I've seen him play. But my opinion stays private because I don't want to ruin a person's reputation or start YGODRAMAZOMGZ!

Understand that there's more to life than this game and that being too obsessed with it will bring you some degree of regret.

Now if you'll excuse me, I am cutting short what is already some grand betrayal of brevity to enjoy the rest of my time with a friend. I was going to go to Mesa, Arizona to play, and then I found out one of my closest friends was on leave. So rather than charge people for a ride down there and play, I drove another friend down there so the three of us could chill, and I met one of my best friend's closest homies. We got along very well. Why I didn't play? Well, I didn't wake up until noon-ish because I had so much fun the night before. This ties into the age-old rule... Bros before YGO's. And as I finish this up at 3:30 AM, I will enjoy the remainder of my time. Who knows, you might see me play in a Jump again. But hell, I think I'm actually going to have more fun judging and writing now.

Goodbye out there in Dreamland!

- Matthew "Coin Flip" Murphy


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