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Jae Kim: Theory and Practice
JK15: A Few Realizations
and My Ideal Forbidden List

February 10, 2009

I wanted to start off this article by apologizing to a few people with this article. I think the (temporary) death of premier tournament Yu-Gi-Oh! has made me rather pensive and reflective of my experiences with the game. While I feel I've conducted myself to a reasonably high standard during my time here, there are quite a few mistakes I made and two in particular I would like to apologize for.


My first apology is to Jason Holloway. This has been on my mind for a long time, but at this point in time, with more maturity, I don't feel it was right at all for me to call his name out in public. While I wouldn't have published it if it wasn't the verifiable truth (and not just my personal opinion), the article really wasn't fair to him. Even without cheating or shady tactics, he would likely have been in the list of top ten or so players in the game at the time (and certainly better than me in my rusty state).


The reason for writing the article, of course, was to try to inhibit future cheaters who wanted to follow in the footsteps of a player like him or others on their way to Yu-Gi-Oh! glory. But it was highly inappropriate and borderline an abuse of public position to direct such a widely-read article at someone, no matter what the circumstances. Sorry Jason, and if we meet again I would like to buy you a frothy beverage and some stuffed animals (you pick) to atone.


My second apology is to Upper Deck for my (quickly locked) thread about Upper Deck Day being a scam. I was not aware that attendance would be so low, that door prizes would be given out, and that raffles would be given to ensure everyone would win something.


While many of my objections to the event turned out to be true:

1)      TAEV and GLAS packs with no retail value were dumped off in alarming amounts

2)      In areas such as California, Indy, and New York that attracted 250+ players prizes to only the top 16 was a bit unfair....


The overall value of the prizes UD and the TO's gave out and such far outstripped the expected profit margin leeway we would give a company. Every company has a right to profit, as long as that doesn't involve completely butchering and fleecing the customer. I incorrectly assumed UD was doing this without even realizing the other prizes given out. Sorry, and thanks for the wonderful event.


Moving on to Matters Not Involving Atonement for my Failures


For the first time in a long time, there is no premier event to look forward to. With UD Day done and in the rear view mirror, I suppose I have a lot of free time on my hands. So let's take a look at an ideal forbidden list for me.


Good friend Matt Peddle, a featured writer for Metagame.com and a top-tier duelist (contrary to popular belief these terms aren't always mutually exclusive), recently made a post that stimulated my intellect. He stated that while many of our ideas are in agreement (regarding floaters and card power levels), the difference lies in what we would ideally want from the game.


He correctly pegged me as a rabid pro-subtype and pro-themer. This means I favor a game where a deck such as Zombies, with access to Zombie-specific support such as Zombie Master, Book of Life, and Pyramid Turtle does battle with a deck like Hopeless Dragon, with access to Dragon-specific support. The winner of this would battle with a deck like Gladiator Beasts, and so on.


Matt Peddle happens to be a frothing, rabid anti-subtyper (and anti-Dentite). The previous sentence isn't true. Actually, he feels the game is most thriving when one dominant cookie-cutter build controls the format. Here, duelists are forced to make minor (but significant) tweaks and revisions to the infrastructure of the established CC. Players are then forced to engage in a battle of skills versus decks that are constructed nearly as well as his or her own.


After assuming mastery of this format and seeing how every play/deck-building decision matters, I am beginning to see the merits of his stance. In fact, I am beginning to agree with it entirely. I am slowly realizing that my dream of a pro-subtype game has been destroyed for a few reasons. The first is that Konami and design don't actually favor subtype or Type support persay. They actually support something else which is slightly different.


Rather than support generic subsets or Types such as a Dark deck or a Spellcaster deck, design has moved towards supporting “casts of characters” such as Six Samurai, Gladiator Beasts, Gravekeepers, Lightsworn, or other themes. This is fine, but it also means that cards like Honest, Rising Air Current, and Mystic Tomato are likely not going to be released in large enough quantities in future sets to make my pro-theme dream come true. Rather, design is focusing on casts of characters such as Black Wings and Psychics.


So a realistic forbidden list would focus on the pro-CC school of thought put forth by Mr. Peddle. And because I am beginning to realize my ideal form of Yu-Gi-Oh! will never come true (largely due to set design), I am beginning to see the glory of his approach. So let's make a balanced forbidden list.


I Cannot Succumb Completely to the Devious Allure of Matthew Peddle


While I agree with his assertion that one dominant CC does indeed improve the quality of play by every player, I would like to make a slight modification to this. I currently feel the trend towards “Boss Monsters” and such cannot really be reversed, so we should actually resurrect an ancient dinosaur to fight the evils of Dark Armed Dragon and Judgment Dragon.


Ideally, the format should reward the player who makes the last substantial push to the field. For example, you should generally be punished if you are making a play such as double Synchro Summons without game shot; indeed, you frequently will be punished if you do such a thing against a good player. You should also be punished for foolishly summoning your “boss monster” without generating field advantage from it. And finally, you should be punished for taking money from your mom's purse.


Ideally, I would like to see all of these cards banned. But with cards like the Six Samurai, Red Eyes Metal Darkness Shining Black Dragon of Doom the Swordmaster, and Summon Priest coming out with numerous means of special-summoning and swarming the board, I have to simply accept that these “boss monsters” are a part of the fundamental fabric of the game.


However, I hate ensuring that only one form of CC is out there. It's time to make a few modifications to the list. In my mind, the goal of any format and any game is to reward skill. In my eyes:


The Golden Rule for Yu-Gi-Oh!: More options equals more possible results which equals more decisions to be made which rewards skill.


Currently, games are decided because players make a gradual trickle mistakes that lead to a loss. If I were to observe an average Tele-DaD player, I would probably see 4-5 minor or major misplays per MATCH. Cards like Solemn Judgment, Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, and the Synchro Mechanic are so versatile that it becomes difficult to make every play an optimal one.


This makes the skill edge incredibly huge from skilled “pro” to average, or even good player. Playing at two UD days, I lost one match over 18, and there was no player who rationally believed they would beat me when we sat down to play. The reason is I would consistently exploit their mechanical errors and slight misplays to further a superior game position, winning with intentionally inferior decks (I did not main Royal Oppression and played off-beat cards I theorized would do well).


But the problem with this format is that you can't play any deck other than Tele-DaD if you want to win. So let's make a list that gives more options to every player, makes players less likely to lose to “god hands,” and helps further deck diversity WHILE holding true to this idea:


A dominant Cookie-Cutter, in a non-OTK format, rewards the player who properly conserves resources and consistently forces the Opponent to overextend first.


An example. If I'm playing against Matt Peddle, and I put a monster on the board that forces him to summon his Dark Armed Dragon first, I should be rewarded for this (assuming I have a DaD in hand). So the game-within-a game for good players is to force their opponent to extend first.


With these tenets in mind, let's get to work constructing a list.


A Sneak Preview of Next Ban List Article:


ü  + Chaos Sorcerer

ü  + Black Luster Soldier- Envoy of the Beginning

ü  - Crush Card Virus

ü  + Graceful Charity

ü  - Gorz the Emissary of Darkness


If you are thinking I am off my rocker, rest assured I will explain within a few days. I might almost have you agreeing with me by the time I'm done.


As always, e-mail me at JAELOVE@gmail.com with feedback. Thanks.




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