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Jae Kim: Theory and Practice
JK6: Before Minnesota

April 11, 2008

Evan Vargas’s thread on cheating- http://www.pojo.biz/board/showthread.php?t=503217


I'm currently in my hotel room, waiting for Shonen Jump Minneapolis to start. I have been getting an unruly amount of feedback for my last two articles (thanks for the e-mails guys, I’ll try to answer them all after this weekend!) regarding cheating. I wanted to talk about what inspired me to write this article.


I’ve always been supportive of the concept of the “celebrity” Yu-Gi-Oh! player. The reasons for this are quite simple actually. Because of the lack of money in competitive YGO play, any amount of success found in the game can only be measured through intangibles. Nebulous concepts such as celebrity, renown, respect from the community, respect from peers, and the ability to feel like one of the best in a competitive circuit are far more important to me than money.


Propping up certain “star players,” while exposing them to the public, can only create good for the community. It creates a buzz, generates viewer interest, leads to more people wanting to become great at the game, and can potentially increase sales of the product itself (which never manifests itself in prize support, but hopefully one day it will).


While many deride me as having a big ego, it’s just a natural product of the circumstances I’m in. Writing for a large website, while trying to maintain a confident tone and a stark realization of the assets I bring to the community (look at the other writers), leads to both love mail and hate mail alike. However, I want to talk about what my goals were a few years ago.


Most of my work involved “shilling” (although I don’t view it as such), in a sense, of some of the top players in Yu-Gi-Oh! This is before Metagame caught the bandwagon, ruthless stripping and stealing numerous ideas, terms, and concepts from me (a writer), after forcing me to sell out to a seedy company handbook of proper terms and usage. I focused on writing numerous team battles with insightful coverage, player profiles, and reviews of unofficial events between the star members of Team Odyssey and Team Savage.


Many of the dueling world’s first introductions to established stars today, such as Sang Bui, Team Superfriends, and online sensations came through the articles that were posted on Pojo.com. The concept of the star player was pretty much born on Pojo.com, and has now ballooned out of control.


Seedy Players Begin to Emerge, Hoping to Shore Up Their Pathetic Insecurities


Of course, the natural result of much of the dueling community has been to grow jealous and lustful for the success afforded to these newly crowned stars. Now jealousy is a natural human vice, as is cheating under certain situations to gain an edge. However, the cheaters and thieves are definitely ruining the game.


Back in the day, a Shonen Jump Championship top eight performance meant something. Now, through cheating and shady players, the achievement has been diluted to the point of meaninglessness. Certain players are not even able to keep track of their SJC day two’s any more. Cheating leads to complacency, which leads to a lack of appreciation for accomplishments.


Many players, even a year ago, would become a hometown hero for placing in the top eight. I saw this in Arizona, I saw this in Northern California, and I saw this in Southern California. Placing in the top eight with a cookie-cutter deck led to immense respect, while placing with a unique and innovative deck led to immortality (this is why Team Savage never played CC).


Lately, the players who have stormed the field are almost all illegitimate. Every player I have ever suspected of cheating (due to their consistency), has turned out to be a fraud. When players step out and place in the top eight of four SJC events in a row, they are cheating (especially back then before the top sixteen). Yes, any name you are thinking of probably did.


Now many players have grown smart and have stopped cheating (this is confirmed on their end). After all, they already have the credentials and SJC wins, why risk all that? There is a diminishing returns placed on Yu-Gi-Oh credentials. Why cheat after achieving fame and respect?


Unfortunately, many hungry grinders and certain established players continue to cheat, especially at huge events such as Nationals. I boldly predict at least one big-name player will be caught cheating at Nats (the stakes are too high). Enter Sandtrap Vargas.


A True Hero of the Yu-Gi-Oh Community


Evan “Sandtrap” Vargas is the first celebrity player in the game. Many have forgotten, but the true fans of YGO have not. If you don’t believe me about being the first superstar, look at the very first SJC Gencon. Who got the profile?


Evan has always been an original stud who played decks like Fairies (he calls them angels, sorry Evan they’re Fairies) to regional top eights, invented King Tiger Wanghu tech, and pioneered Soul Control.


He has stopped playing competitively (undoubtedly disgusted by the cheating), but created a thread that inspired me to rid the game of cheaters. It is required reading for any player who plans to attend a Premier event. It is also free, due to it being on Pojo’s forums!


http://www.pojo.biz/board/showthread.php?t=503217- Visit this link!


Thank you, Evan, for being a hero and inspiration to us all.


Jae Kim is a creative contributor to Pojo.com. You may contact him (every e-mail will be answered) at JAELOVE@gmail.com. He can also be found contributing to the Message Boards and the Card of the Day.




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