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AxelFoley's Second Opinion
Article I: Here's to you, Pharaoh

         Why the game was better in the past - and why it doesn't matter now.
                                                        July 24th, 2007


An Introduction like any other

            If Atem were to look at this real life card game, he would be probably be pretty
surprised. Who would have thought that a game involving Pharaoh's and powerful priests
manipulating monsters on stone tablets would evolve into beings arriving from the future
and historic connections to Greece. The Pharaoh may be annoyed that the duelists he'd face
would make so much of an emphasis on advantage. He'd also be surprised that it cost him 800
Life Points to activate his Brain Control.


I've been playing Yu-Gi-Oh! for far too long. I've seen it grow and change time and time again.

I've played, I've quit, and I've played the game again. For some reason, I can't leave this game.

Disturbingly, it has become a part of me. I have invested so much time and effort into playing it
and understanding it that it would be a waste for me to at least not understand and master
it's mechanics. It'd be a waste to not practice the deeper meaning of the game than just the
cards - the sportsmanship, bluffing, deception, and tactful mentality that this game employs
if you are to outplay your opponent. Unfortunately, the sportsmanship is something that this
could benefit more from, but that's besides the point.


There is no doubt that this format has been one of the best for the game. Compare it to
the Goat Control/Trinity format of years past. That format had decks that were very similar
give or a take a few cards. This format has several deck variants that either have the ability
to go far or the ability to take it all. Where in the Trinity Format it was Goat Control vs
Goat Control, in this format it can be T-Hero Beatdown vs Machine Beatdown vs
Perfect Circle Monarchs. If neither of these three decks run cards like Trap Dustshoot
and Mind Crush, then decks like Demise OTK can sweep them all.


The past dictates the present, to a certain degree

When comparing these decks by tier: most, if not all, are Tier 1. While there is more
variety now, all of these decks revolve around netting some form of advantage or
sweeping the broom and getting a quick victory. Decks that do no generate advantage
will lose against any deck that does. In the past, there were more decks that were
Tier 1.5, or, very close to being very good, but were cut short when the Ban List
came into effect. Pot of Greed, Graceful Charity, Harpie's Feather Duster, and
Imperial Order are all broken in their own regard, a Chaos deck could wield them
with destructive results.


But here's the clincher - so could a Insect deck, or a Beast Trample/Beastdown
deck, or even a really weird Deck Out/Mill that runs two copies of Bistro Butcher.
All of these type of decks had support, but little to no support at that. These broken
cards reinforced the decks, it gave them a chance. Back in the day, no Insect
or Dinosaur based theme had the kind of built in destruction that a monster like
Exiled Force has, and to this day, they still do not. But that Raigeki that's
collecting dust in the binder allowed them to stand toe to toe with that Warrior
Toolbox. The Achilles heal of these unsupported decks was the fact that
they didn't have as much support as the Warrior deck. Obviously, the
Dinosaur and Insect decks would be more widely played otherwise. No one is going to
summon Brain Crusher through Pinch Hopper because nine times out of ten
it's either not worth it or there is a better alternative, such as tributing a Frog
which can generate infinite loops in order to summon a Monarch that can
make said Brain Crusher a painfully dead draw.

It doesn't matter now, but if it ever does..

The reason for this rant disguised as an article is simple: in order to fix the problem that plagues
this game, more cards need to come into circulation. If Fish swimming in seas
and Plants taking nutrients from the soil have no support, then support needs to
be given to them. Not mediocre support, but support that actually generates advantage.
Not lazy, half-assed, filler support. But support that's good enough to actually warrant
using a theme outside of casual play. While creating crappy filler cards is understandable,
it never ceases to amaze me how much card board is printed that will never actually be used.

UDE and Konami working together is a start. Their collaborations, with an original intent
of trying to generate as much revenue as possible, much like a duelist trying to create
as much advantage as possible, is a necessary fact of life and is acceptable. We all
have to eat. At the end of the day, money dictates all. You can be ugly and still have
girls all over you if you're rich. You might be four foot ten and have trouble driving trucks,
but that Lamborghini Murcielago may be the right fit if you can drop the bills.

In fact, UDE has actually tried to give back to their players in light of their money making
schemes by giving us special, US exclusive cards (for the time being). The beautiful thing
about this is that UDE gives us something special while they end up making even more
money by having people go to the Sneak Previews and drop their $60 to get their playsets.
In the end, a three-fold triangle appears, and everyone wins. The players win, because
they are getting cards that they can actually use, the company wins because they make
more money, and more importantly, the game itself whose life span is dependant on the
company which manufactures cards for it and the players who actually play it continues
to thrive.


As more structured support is created for themes, such as themed draw support
a la Crystal and Gladiator Beast, swarming and team-worked based effects like
Six Samurai, and even more generic cards like Gellenduo, a new-age Spirit Reaper
that is a lot less gay from a playing stand point, the game will continue to grow and
improve much in the way it has now.

If only more cards could be released at a faster pace. "Flooding the market" is only
bad if you expose people to carrot juice that gives you botulism. If you put a kid
in a candy store, that kid will eat until he or she gets a stomach ache. It's as simple
as that.

We need more candy. Make sure you brush your teeth.


Send questions and comments to axelcop@gmail.com



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