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Jae Kim


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Jae Kim: Theory and Practice
JK9: Hello Again

January 12, 2009

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 curls.

 

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 jaelove@gmail.com. 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!

 

 

    


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