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 Trading Card Game Tips from fans


May 2007

Skill and luck In Yu-Gi-Oh
By Tony Mera

Luck is part of the game and people should start accepting this now if they have not already. This game has little to no skill. Each player makes a deck consisting of at least forty cards, which play out the cards they are dealt. If both players are decent players, they will obviously know how to play each move correctly during each situation. It is pretty much assumed the better player with the best hand against the other player is the winner. The part which separates what some people will call professional Yu-Gi-Oh players from the average Yu-Gi-Oh players is playing your hand out perfectly in each situation, and not making any mistakes. A lot of people can crack under the pressure or not know how to play a perfect move which causes a player to lose.

If you're a good player then you will know how to play each hand correctly and play to the decks ability. If you don't play very often or do play a lot and still make mistakes while you're playing than it could be why you are losing. Let's just say both players are both very good players that are on the same level. The better player with the best hand and draws after each turn will win the game, if they play out each turn correctly. If the players switched decks and the decks drew the same way switched, the deck that won would win again with the other player using it.

It does not matter who draws the hand—it’s how you play the hand. If a five-time Shonen Jump Day Two maker and a player who only wins locals plays a hand the same way to win the match, he’s just as likely to win as the top-eighter. You might ask, “Why do we see the same players make day two?” It's simple, they make good decks and sides, play good matchups, and make vitually no mistakes at all. They may go to a lot of Shonen Jumps, but it still does not change how solid they play.

They just play very well, get good hands, play good match-ups, and side deck wisely. If everyone would do the same as they did, it would be the same result. Anyone can beat a player who has made many good finishes at events if he gets the right hands and makes the right plays. This leads me to believe this game does not have as much skill as people want to believe it has. If we have a computer which was simulated to be on the same level, the computer with the better hand would win. There is usually little to no “outplaying” in games where the players are of equal skill-level. If there is any outplaying in a game it's usually because of the differences of how good they are.

What skill may the game have? The game has a few skills which are what I mean by playing your cards perfectly. If you play every card in your hand in the right time and order, than it does not matter how it turns out, because there was nothing you could do differently. There is also bluffing and reading people, but it is very limited, and players usually just end up playing their hands, because you really can not do anything about it if they check their grave and you know they have a Pot of Avarice or a Premature Burial. Even if you know that, you can't really do anything about it, except by trying to prevent them from having another monster in the grave for Pot of Avarice or preparing for a premature burial which is only minimally effective in the long run.

When you read people you can figure out what they have in their hand and try to play around what they have and beat them. In most cases you usually cannot do too much and lose anyways because you cannot stop what they have when they play the cards you knew they had. In the end I think bluffing and reading give you a decent advantage, but it still has not proven to be effective. This is not poker where you can read your opponent and fold your hand because you know they have a better one. Bluffing only works when you actually think the person who you are playing knows how to read. If say you want them to think you have a Pot of Avarice you can count your monsters. If you want them to set two so you can pro heavy you can do something like set ring to kill a monster, and later pro heavy because of when you set two cards. They usually would not think you would have storm down and which might make them set another.

Side decking is one of the main skills I think are important. If you face any kind of deck you want to be able to side appropriately against them. During a match, you need to know what to side out and what to put in against whatever you are playing against. If you do not know what to side in or out, you will be in a lot of trouble. Also consider whether or not you even have the correct things to side against the deck. Not every deck has everything it needs against the whole field because there are so many playable decks, so picking out the cards you think you will need the most is very important. This makes it part of the game’s skill when you’re playing in a match for game two and three.

Even if Side decking is helpful, its still based around luck because you can not always draw everything you need to beat them, which makes you unlucky. Most decks that are easy to side deck, have a hard time side decking properly. In this case decks like those can side a bunch of stuff which they may or may not draw which makes it luck based also. All in the end, which ever deck you decide to run with which ever side you made, playing agianst decks you need to side for and decks that need to side agianst your side game two and three make it the first one to draw the person out.

Also one of the last things you can usually see which can be called skill is playing the odds correctly. If say you want to play a card now, but it would be better if you would draw out certain cards for the combo to bring down game, you can save it for the big swing. Instead some people play it safe and do the obvious play. While some people calculate the odds of a certain draw and take the risk for a chance of winning the match. People may play demise when they do not have game just because they might not get the combo. They have bet on the odds against them and see that they have a better shot clearing the field, while people may think they have a better shot waiting for game, because they have a lot of outs in the deck.

Deck building is the best skill asset in this game, because the best chance you have to win events in this game is to bring a unexpected deck people do not have a side for. If you do that, then it will increase your chances of making a shonen jump day two. We usually do not see anything that good pop out, until a new set comes out. People will usually run a decent deck that no one has made a side for and take it to a shonen jump and try to take it to the top finish because of how unexpected it is. After it does that, everyone will usually side for it and it will be back to which ever deck draws better.

There could be one or two more ways that skill could be a factor, but I think these are the main ones. Luck is very important in this game, and you cannot do anything about people drawing better against you. You can use what skill is in this game (which is not a lot) and use it to your full ability as a player. If you use what skill is in this game, get lucky, and play favorable match-ups, then you will start winning more often. What makes this game so difficult is when you have two players on the same level of ability playing each other, because most likely the player with the best hand will win. Few solid players make mistakes, and if they do, they lose.

In conclusion, do not go around complaining every round of a tournament saying you got luck-sacked, because if you didn't side for the deck which drew well against you and didn’t prepare properly, then it was your fault. But if you played well and did everything you could and he just got the better hand, then you just have to admit that it is just part of the game after all.

The game is not perfect and it never will be. This is a card game which will involve luck and decks that get lucky to win. People can run what ever they want to, because even if it is cheaper than the average deck, it's still the same as if you just got a better hand with a completely different deck. Your main objective in this game is winning the game by the rules, even if you have to resort to a deck that revolves more around luck.



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