I'll start with the P.S. to my open letter in JK12
P.S. Hey Upper Deck, please stop promoting
your terrible new trading card game (Hunty's Magical
Kingdom) and your terrible fading card game (World
of Warcraft- “hi our game can't sell with the best
license and money pulls in the history of TCG's) on
your website. It makes the other content a real
eyesore to get to. Thanks.
For this article I want to bring up my thoughts on
the Forbidden List and the state of Yu-Gi-Oh! Based
on conversations I have had with Konami, they seem
to have a very strong plan in place for the
development and betterment of the game. Of course,
most of this rests on the shoulders of a new
The complaints of many people can actually boil down
to two main (legitimate) gripes:
has grown far too expensive and spending upwards of
800 dollars on a top tier deck just is not feasible
both for new players and less fortunate regulars.
has grown far too luck-based with one-turn-kill (OTK)
set-ups happening with frightening regularity in the
mirror match between Dark Armed Dragon (DaD) decks.
Problem One: The Price of the Game
I fully agree with the first sentiment. I do feel
stable, high card values are actually good for the
game (I mean 40-50 dollar chase cards), because it
increases the perceived value of the game to any new
or continuing player (it is very demoralizing to see
your entire collection become worth 1/10th
of its purchase price a year later). However, cards
that have moved up to the 125 dollar+ range
(Judgment Dragon, Dark Armed Dragon, Crush Card
Virus) are simply ridiculous.
Here's to hoping that the new wave of prints from
Konami include reprints of common deck-building
staples such as Solemn Judgment, Royal Oppression,
Mirror Force, and other cards. I have no qualms with
reprints of those older cards, but reprinting new
collector's items so quickly (like Goblin Zombie and
Necroface) is not the best approach because it makes
people wary of buying new sets.
How about gradually reprinting everything older than
say, PTDN, including Destiny Draw and Malicious as
commons, and leaving the newer stuff frozen in time
for a year or so? (This will spur players on to buy
lots of packs of new sets, knowing they are safe for
a year and a half or so). It's not like anyone is
opening boxes of Metal Raiders any more to pull
Solemn and Mirror Force, right?
You can then anchor new product lines like Dark
Legends with promos such as Gorz. I bet if Gorz was
a pull from the set rather than a throwaway hobby
card, you would see far more people buying the
packs. This is balanced by the reprints from way
back becoming commons.
Currently, there's no rhyme or reason to reprints.
Every new announcement leaves collector's scared as
all hell ready to dump their inventory at the drop
of a dime. Why not make things more consistent?
Problem Two: Adjusting the Forbidden List
Now the main problem with the game, the Forbidden
List, actually runs deeper than you may think. While
average to bad players feel they are losing because
they have bad luck, the consummate professional
player realizes this format has the largest skill
gap between great and good/average ever seen in the
history of the game. The cards that have seen
popularity in this metagame are renowned for their
versatility (handling Monsters, Spells, and Traps).
Games are far more explosive so more planning and
math are required, along with reads of your
opponent's hand and sets. Finally, summons are far
more important, namely because of two important
factors. First, you only get a limited amount of
normal summons per game so you have to make sure
every single summon is the right monster for the
situation. Second, the Synchro mechanic has led to a
wide array of options from the Extra Deck. In a
format where game can happen any turn, you better
pick the right monsters every time to have an edge.
Consistent errors players make (I get into these
more in-depth in actual strategy articles, not
opinion columns like my Pojo work):
out the wrong Synchro
brief example (SJC SF): “I read your PWB set,
and I have 5600 life points, so I will bring out
Thought Ruler Archfiend and attack your Stratos.”
knowing when to push game-ending damage
brief example (SJC Houston): I am
at 4000 life points with Stratos and Malicious. My
opponent has Malicious in the graveyard. He
summons a Malicious, teleports a Krebons, and
Brain Controls Stratos. Rather than sync Malicious +
Krebons and swing for game with Stratos +
Colossal, he syncs Stratos for Goyo Guardian (???)
PWB, Solemn, Grepher, Allure, Storm, etc. etc.
knowing when they aren't safe at all
brief example: You have Scapegoat and Solemn
Judgment set versus your opponent's one spell or
trap card and you both have five cards in hand. When
he draws and sets a second spell or trap card, you
are NO LONGER SAFE. Realize this and do something
about it your next turn, or you will lose.
Note: I have been talking with TCGPlayer's
Yu-Gi-Oh! team again to provide strategic insight
about the game. We're running a series right before
Upper Deck day that should hopefully help a lot of
players. Check it out (my name is Jae Kim).
So since the best players have such a remarkable
skill edge, they are both consistently placing in
the top sixteen (or top eight) of every big event
and *more importantly* refusing to play anything
else because Tele-Dad is the most powerful
archetype in the history of the game.
This clearly needs to be addressed. Join me in a few
days when I post my ideal Forbidden list (it will be
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