The love of Yu-Gi-Oh! refuses to die!
During this weekend, which marked the 24th
birthday of my life, I came to many realizations. My
break from the game made me realize that I had
become paunchy and complacent, and never really had
the same hungry passion for the game ever since
going to college.
It took a lot of practice, playing online and in
real life, to unlock this latest format and get up
to speed with the state of the game. I vowed to
myself I would practice, actually become good at the
game again, perform well at a Shonen Jump, and then
start writing articles to share my observations
during my growth as a player.
I generally feel I have been a failure to my
readership and to myself during the past few years.
I've constantly picked up writing articles without
actually actively practicing the game, then suddenly
dropping off the face of the planet (thanks to
PojoBill for his continued support of my musings!).
I was foolish enough to believe I would understand
formats without practicing, while the general
populace has been growing incredibly adept.
There are numerous players that have transformed
before my very eyes during my breaks. Adam Corn went
from young locals player to the best duelist in the
USA (with the exception of two or three players, at
most). Kirk Leonhardt went from kind old gentleman
to Shonen Jump day two competitor. Mario Matheu went
from being a locals player at Legacy to winning a
Shonen Jump Championship and becoming a runner up at
two others. Lazaro Bellido went from Dale's little
brother to arguably the best duelist in the history
of Western civilization. Cesar Gonzalez went from
grungy to glamorous (glamorous glamorous). And so on
and so forth.
Nothing has illustrated this difference more than
Texas. Back in the day, Sandtrap Evan Vargas WAS
Texas. Nobody would play him for cards, he owned
Emon Ghaenian's soul, he was probably the best and
most famous duelist in the free land, and even Julia
Hedberg had a soft spot in her heart for his curly
Now you look at duelists such as Chris Bowling, Ryan
Spicer, and Jason Holloway who have all surpassed
the original in accomplishments and see the growth
of Yu-Gi-Oh. While working for Metagame, mailing in
weekly articles without even actively playing the
game, I had become a fraud. I was out of touch with
top tier competitive play.
Returning to Yu-Gi-Oh! Monsters
When I returned to the game for SJC Columbus and SJC
Minneapolis, I noticed a huge problem with the game.
It was becoming overrun with cheaters and thieves.
And while I was able to secure decent finishes at
the events, it dawned on me that my skill level was
lacking. Hugo Adame, my benchmark since the start of
the game, had always been one of the best in the USA
but was now heads and shoulders above me. Instead of
approaching him as an equal, I approached him like
an apprentice seeking knowledge. And suddenly, I was
faced with the fact that I had a lot of catching up
to do with the competition.
I stopped writing because I had grown frustrated
with the state of the game, and realized I was
ashamed of writing strategy articles for a game that
I hadn't actually played seriously since 2006. After
a disappointing finish at nationals with a terrible
deck, I dropped the game “for good.”
However, the urge to play always returns. On a
random whim four days before SJC Detroit, I decided
to start playing to see what developed. I practiced
online, got cards from Comic Odyssey (watch for a
new online store with details to come) and arrived
at the event with little to no understanding of the
format and how to play.
Watching Lazaro and Cesar play their day two match
at a very high level, and realizing I was making one
to two misplays per round during swiss, made me burn
with fiery shame. I resolved I would not start
writing strategy and opinion columns until I
returned to top playing form and made a day two at
an SJC event. So if you hate my articles, you can
blame this last event.
I hope to provide the same sharp content you have
seen on these pages in the past. You can expect
interviews, team battles, tournaments, strategy,
analysis, and other such stuff from this column once
again. I am still practicing, still learning, and am
utilizing a serious face while having made it my
goal to win a Shonen Jump Championship this year.
I feel a lot of voices online have grown very
obnoxious and egotistical. Numerous sideline
spectators with no clue about the game post
critiques of other players, or downright flames,
trying to assert superiority. It is a lawless land,
and I aim to plant a Justice Fist! into the gut of
this land of the lost.
E-mail me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. To people who remember
me from the past, hello again and thanks for your
support or hate. To those who don't know me at all,
hello and welcome!