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Weej's Different Perspective
Concepts to Duel by:
Shuffling techniques for the Beginner and Expert
Article #3 | 8/12/05

Our wonderful game of Yu-Gi-Oh! is a fun one at that. The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, and the look of astonishment on your opponents face when their just-Tribute Summoned Jinzo attacks your facedown Legendary Jujitsu Master and gets sent to the top of deck… priceless.


That being said, most people play to win, and play to win big. After all, what’s the point going to a regionals if you aren’t shooting for 1st? People want to win, and people play to win.


However, the game revolves around far more aspects than just the cards themselves. After all, the cards are only as useful as the person who wields them, correct? It’s a “pen is mightier than the sword” concept. The actual 2 out of 3 “duel” takes place far before the actual starting hands are drawn: it takes place the second you meet your opponent face to face and introduce yourself, it takes place the second you pull out your deck and fusion deck and place them on the field, it takes place the second you shuffle and let your opponent cut your deck. It all takes place synonymously, and ends with either you winning or losing.


Shuffling? How important of a factor could that be? You ask. It’s a very important factor at that. You could have the best deck at a tournament, with more powerful cards, and you could know how to use said cards with excellent follow through – but if you don’t draw WHAT you need WHEN you need it, it will be much harder for you to pull out a win, ESPECIALLY if your opponent has a lead on you.


Take it from me – when I just started playing in real life, I had the deck I needed, but I didn’t have the shuffling skills I needed because *cough* I let certain online programs do the shuffling for me. Because of this, I would get hands full of spell, trap, or monster, and little to do in between. Quality shuffling can decide a duel before it really even gets started. If your opponent summons Jinzo early and you have a hand full of traps, do you know the most probable outcome? You will probably die as he rushes the field before you are lucky enough to get something that you could actually use. It is important to learn how to shuffle, and how to shuffle well. No, it is essential, because a person that knows how to shuffle can stop an opponent from stacking. (More on that later.)


Notice how at the top of the article it says “Shuffling techniques for the Beginner and Expert”. You may be wondering where an intermediate shuffling technique would come into place. Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no such thing as an “intermediate” shuffler: you’re either going to really suck at shuffling, or really kick ass at it and get great hands. There is no white-picket fence from which to sit on (ouch) when it comes to shuffling, folks.


That being said, let’s go over the basics when it comes to shuffling. These should be universal concepts that you should already know about:

A. Have a 40 card deck (40-45.. but OBV man you need a deck!)

B. Treat your cards carefully as you shuffle them (Be gentle! Their your cards!)

C. Have some damn sleeves! (They protect and make it easier to shuffle!)


I cannot stress the important of fresh sleeves enough. Do not use the bull-crap that is Ultra Pro, they only came to popularity because they were the first brand and crappiest brand that at, to start making sleeves. Spectrum Ultra Pro sleeves are terrible, will collect grime which will slow down your shuffling and make them sticky, and will peel after 1 and a half months of heavy play. They are simply not worth it for a duelist on a budget or a duelist looking for quality sleeves. Instead, use Arcane Tinmen’s Dragon Shield brand sleeves. These sleeves are made and imported from Europe, will almost never tear, and are nice and slick for the longest time – making your shuffling job far easier. I entered a tournament and replaced my Ultra Pro sleeves with Dragon Shield sleeves and I ended up winning because the sleeves were so slick that it was easy to shuffle the cards. At the card shop I work at, I always try to sell Dragon Shield sleeves to customers versus Ultra Pro sleeves. The Shields are a dollar more, but they are far more worth it in the long run. If you can, buy those 100 count ones if you like big sleeves and a small deck box to go with them, because that’s what you get. Overall it’s a good brand if you want to shuffle better and extend the life of your cards.


Honestly, the point of shuffling and shuffling well is to randomize the cards order in your deck to the point where it is playable. It’s intention is not to stack, as in putting cards in a certain order so you have added power when you draw them. If you shuffle your deck well enough, they will be randomized to the point where every hand you draw will be “good” enough to play with. You will not have to resort to stacking, which is CHEATING.


Here are some effective ways of shuffling:


Poker Style w/o Bridge:

In this shuffling technique, you shuffle your cards gently as if you were doing them poker style. You do not bridge your cards in this style, because this will bend them horribly. Take your deck, and split it into two, trying to make each respective deck as even as possible in the split. Take each deck into your hands, then center them up along the lines of the sleeves, and let them go, trying to get each card from each deck to overlap against one another evenly. This will randomize your deck by 50%, but it will take multiple shuffles in order to get a quality hand with no “stuck” cards in your hand. (IE: Two Nimble Momonga that got stuck together in the Graveyard from your previous game.)

Shuffling Rating: 9.5/10 – It works, but again, you’re going to have to do it many times if you want full randomization.

Side to Side:

Here, you’re shuffling the deck from the inside to the outside. Hold your deck in your opposite hand. If you’re right handed, hold it in your left hand, and vice-versa. Hold the deck as if you were holding a fresh hotdog at a ball game (lol). Then center your right hand against the middle of the deck, pull the cards out, then place them on the top or the bottom of the deck. Continue doing this until you feel the deck is well shuffled. Keep in mind that in order for this to work, you will have to shuffle very quickly – and by “quickly”, I mean typing at 70 words per minute or faster quickly. You must pull the cards from the deck quickly and make no mistakes or mess ups when it comes to placing them, and you must do it fast in order for this style to work.

Shuffling Rating: 9.0/10 – Lower score because it’s much harder to do. If you have small hands, doing this style will be much harder. Try the style below for better results.


Top to Top:

This is a variation of Side to Side. This is the style that I use more often because it’s easier for me to shuffle quickly. Hold your deck upward with your opposite hand, then pull from the edge and center of the deck, spreading your cards out quickly and effectively. Again, you’re going to have to move your hands quickly in order for optimum randomization to take place.

Shuffling Rating: 9.5/10 – Because it’s easier to do than the Side to Side for people with smaller hands. People with bigger hands can get even more effective shuffles through this method.


Pile Shuffle: (Polish Shuffle/Stacker Breaker)

This extremely easy shuffling technique is best used when you are shuffling and cutting your opponent’s deck. Simply take his deck and separate them into as many small piles as you can. If you want to, do variant shuffling techniques on each pile, then place them on top of each other until your opponents deck is full. This technique is one of the most effective ways of stopping stacking. Stacking is when a player puts cards like Pot of Greed and Delinquent Duo next to each other and uses them in succession. It’s fairly easy to draw these cards in opening hands during duels, but caution should be taken if your opponent can do this consistently, because that means their probably stacking. After all, seeing your opponent discard Sinister Serpent through Graceful Charity in two duels before your third and final duel can be somewhat suspicious. They may not have even intended for it to happen, and the cards got shuffled together. Whether they intended on it happening is not the problem – you want to stop your opponent from being able to pull stuff off like that, and if they don’t randomize their deck well enough, you’ll have to do it for them. Remember, the more piles you are able to make and shuffle individually, the more likely you’ll be able to break any stacks that your opponent has waiting for you. This, in actuality, is a form of stacking in itself, but since you don’t know what you’re stacking for your opponent, it’s legal since it’s completely random.

Shuffling Rating: 10/10 – Easy to do, stops stacking n00bs, and is an effective shuffling technique that doesn’t take long to master.


Just Go With It

Learn how to shuffle, and learn how to shuffle well – it can go a long way and can mean the difference between a bad hand and a great hand. There are many other ways to shuffle, by all means, do not feel limited by just the techniques I went over in this list. For best results, try mixing the shuffling techniques together so that you shuffle several times in varying styles. It will increase your chances of a more randomized deck far better.


Until next time.


Send questions, comments, hate mail or fan mail to mrweej@gmail.com. I’d love to hear your opinions on my articles.


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