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Vs. System

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Tomas's Duel School
Crossing Over Between Games
The Transition of playing
Vs System and Yu-Gi-Oh!

July 23, 2007


            Vs System and Yu-Gi-Oh! are two very different games. Prizes, mindset, everything about the games vary by the player. I was able to really get into both of these games and do quite well at both. Both games do require skill and luck as do all card games, but what you do with your cards is more important in the game of Vs System. In Vs System, if you mess up one formation with characters, you can lose the game or be quite crippled. In Yu-Gi-Oh! That doesn’t happen quite as often unless your opponent has the nuts draw.

            For me playing Yu-Gi-Oh! was serious business until I was introduced to the game of Vs. I was at a friend’s house when he showed me the cards and told me that he used to play and that since the game didn’t flourish as much, he stopped playing. I was really intrigued at the fact that you could win money playing Vs System. Which at the time, I wasn’t really a good Yu-Gi-Oh! player at all. I would usually go x-3 at regionals and just not be able to do as good as I always wanted. To now, I know I’m a better player in Yu-Gi-Oh! But I’m not even close to being as good as some of the games greats.

            When I first got into Vs System I really got the concept of the game quite easily and won my first ever game of Vs System playing against a player at my local store who many said was good. It was a really good start to my Vs Career. But there was a big price to play Vs, I had to give up Yu-Gi-Oh! And for me at the time it was a really hard decision, but in the end I said goodbye to all my Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards and started getting Vs cards and was on my way. It took me a while to research all the formats and what good combos there are out there, with the help of the Vs section of TCGplayer and then later on VsRealms.

            My very last regular regionals I went x-2 losing on the bubble to Andrew Novoa. It was the most pressure filled matches I’ve ever played with so many people watching the top tables at the regionals, I was shaking and made a lot of mistakes. Though this was in 2006, I still remember that regionals like it was yesterday. It was heartbreaking because I wanted to qualify for US Nationals because US Nationals was in San Francisco, CA only about 45 minutes from where I live. From there I pursued the game of Vs System. I started to really get into the game more, played local tournaments every weekend and always looked forward to qualifying for Pro Circuit. Thought he fields were smaller in Pro Circuit Qualifiers, I feel like they were harder to play through with some of the really good players that are around the Northern California region, like Brian Eugenio, Walt DeNatale, Nian Perion and many other players. PCQ’s were always tough and I scrubbed my first two Sealed PCQs because it was hard for me to see combos so easily when I first started.

            Then came my first PCQ for constructed, it was the DC Modern format, and from there I started learning the hard way of how to play Vs System effectively. I finished 5th, and because of the small field, the cut was to top 4, so I missed my shot at winning right off the bat. I was rattled, but I started by putting the standings on my wall to tell myself that I would have to do better to finally get over the hump and get those 10 Pro Circuit Points.

            I played more and more, looked for even more combos, but I never checked my rating and if I earned a ratings invite for Pro Circuit. Which came to haunt me as I went to US Nationals weekend in San Francisco, where Pro Circuit was being held. On the Friday, I played in Last Chance Regionals for US nationals and it was the top 4 would get an invite, and I finished in top 8. It was rough, it really was. The next day I ended up playing the Scholarship Series and another PCQ. That PCQ, I was using the same deck I used at $10K San Francisco, Anti-Green Lanterns, which my friends called the Auto-Loss deck of the format with the brand new Arkham Discard deck just being used at Pro Circuit Day 1, getting much attention. I played against that matchup on the bubble, I took a risk to attack for exactly 0, and I did that winning that mach making top 8. Though to no avail, I lost in the semifinals, and it was at 1:30 AM that my match concluded, I went home without the 10 points that I seeked.

            During all of this time, I played Yu-Gi-Oh! On and off just for fun, just to get back to the old times. I didn’t think I was getting better yet, but still having fun with Yu-Gi-Oh!  While I took a break from Vs System. I was able to take a 4 month break from Vs System when the format changed to Marvel Modern Age, which was my least favorite format so I sat out and just played Yu-Gi-Oh! I played a few regionals, didn’t do so well in those, and playing unqualified friends didn’t help me either. So most of my friends got wins from me because I wanted them to succeed. It was fun, but not as serious as it used to be for me.

            Finally I got back on track for Vs when it became Silver Age. I got a lot of help from my friends on TCGplayer and my friend from Virginia was always telling me how he makes these really good decks and that his teammates did well at PCQs with a deck. The deck was X-Statix Stall. I don’t remember the name my friend gave it, but it was a really complex deck that needed you to have 1 character on the field. I was able to barely make top 4 that time. My tiebreakers held up and the people I needed to lose, did lose. From there I was able to win the PCQ. I give a lot of thanks to my friend Michael from Virginia for the deck, it really helped me. The thing that was really eye opening about the day was that after every PCQ, I would have the standings after swiss to motivate myself to do better. When I finally won and printed out the standings from UDE and seeing my UDE number there was so nice. On my wall I had just one space left for one more standings paper, and it just happened to be the slot for the PCQ I won.

            From there I started playing more Yu-Gi-Oh! And stopped really playing constructed PCQs and just went for sealed and did okay, finished 4th in one. So I finally had enough points for Pro Circuit. Around this time I was talking with a lot of Yu-Gi-Oh! Players I met from US Nationals 2006 like Anthony Alvarado, Kris Perovic, Emon Ghaneian and some other players. So I still knew what the good decks were and what to use. GenCon SoCal approached, and I got ready for Pro Circuit in the worst way I think anyone can prepare for it, by not play testing at all. My teammate Robert Kraftschik gave me a decklist of what was a tweaked version of the team I was on’s decklist from Pro Circuit San Francisco which they called the Yankees. Though I never played the deck before that week, I gave my ideas for the deck with Robert and they ended up working out. I was able to test the night before Pro Circuit with Team Prodigy and it went REALLY bad. I lost every game I played for an hour and a half. It was really frustrating but I told myself that I would stick to the deck because all I was getting was bad draws. I won’t really go into more like a tournament report but with the deck I was able to make day 2 with a 6-4 record (getting my 4th loss in round 10). Though if I was to not do well, I would have had so many of my friends there to give me a deck for the SJC.

            It felt good to make day 2 of Pro Circuit, though I finished out of the money, it was the best card experience of my life. Then after Pro Circuit I made a visit to some friends and wanted some cards for the upcoming SJC, San Jose, and I told them I wanted to have some fun and play Exodia Burn, but everyone really disregarded it and thanks to Raymond Ye of Team J-Spot, I had a deck to play, which was Speed Burn with Chain Strikes. For more about SJC check my interview with Ally. But making a Day 2 in Yu-Gi-Oh! Felt so good after so long of not doing well, just going out there and having fun helped me to succeed. Then I got serious about Yu-Gi-Oh! again. It took some time to get everything back, and even til now I’m still trying to get back on track, I was able to do well, Top 8ing another regionals, losing to Emon Ghaneian and company’s (Adam Corn and Alonzo Peters) Gadget Monarch deck.

            Now I just feel like a regular duelist with 1 SJC Top 8, but that doesn’t say a lot. So many other great players are out there, and I can’t even compare to them. It’s hard to play two games though, keeping up with two games is good for the mind, but can really eat up a lot of time. Playing Vs System competitively at the Pro level was probably one of the best experiences of my life. I learned so much over the course of a year, to become the player I am today. I never really felt accomplished in card games, but I’m satisfied.

            The complexity of Vs System really helped me play Yu-Gi-Oh! Better to this day. Decisions and deck building aren’t so hard in turn in Yu-Gi-Oh! After playing Vs. Then again, mindsets change when you’re playing for Prizes and Money. Though I like both games, Yu-Gi-Oh! Is still flourishing, and Vs System just fades more and more as the months pass by. Though I am lucky to have learned so much from Vs Players and Yu-Gi-Oh! Players.

            I’ve learned a lot over time, and really games are meant to be played for fun. If you don’t have fun, it’s not that easy to keep yourself motivated. Playtesting is fine, but for tournaments, be prepared, prepare yourselves for the grueling hours, grinding it out throughout the long days and many rounds. Gauntlets are really good for card games, get your teammates or friends together, make or proxy the best decks in the game and playtest playtest playtest! It helps you become a better player and to really get in tune with your deck and the outs they hold when you play. So many techniques i learned from Vs that I can apply to Yu-Gi-Oh! Reading players when they play cards, and really making sure about moves, though I didn’t do that in my top 8 SJC match.

            It’s not always easy to make the best play, sometimes it’s not as obvious to you as it is to other people, but never give up, keep working hard and one day it’ll be your time if you haven’t had it yet. Also, don’t be intimidated by the “Pros” of the game, they’re all really good people, but they are competitors, you can learn a lot from just talking to them and make some great friendships as well. There are so many Pros in games that you can get overwhelmed, but then have a good conversation with. I was able to, playing Vs to talk to people like Doug Tice, Vidianto Widjaya, Anand Khare, Kim Caton, Michael Dalton and many others, that helped me to build knowledge of the game. So just try to talk with people and help yourself gain more for the game that you didn’t have before.

            There have been 2 things that have really made me more humbled as a player, when I got that final Handshake from Michael Dalton after round 19 of Pro Circuit and when one of the best Northern California players Keanson Ye said to me after a match we played at regionals that I lost, he said “You have become such a better player, when you got back I doubted you, but you really are a better player now.” Those two things I can take with me through the hard times of playing cards to know that I have really done well.

            I’m not trying to have you all changes games, because Yu-Gi-Oh! Is a great game on it’s own but just have fun, make friends and never regret things. Games are made to have fun, there has to be a winner or loser, unless you play hockey, soccer or the MLB All-Star game a few years ago, but even when you lose, just know, that you learn a lot from losing and that you can get back up and get them the next time.

- Tomas Mijares





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