Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Closing the Mind

As of the date of this post, I have

  • submitted 98 posts
  • had 56,352 views from countries all over the world 
  • and earnestly attempted to give something back to the Yugioh community. 

But all good things, and even mediocre things, must end.  Regardless of what you think of this blog, it is my turn to bow out.  

This blog began with a few tournament reports that I sent to SSJason19.  As some of the readers know, he is a former Yugituber with remarkable insight into this game.  I sent my rather whimsical tomes because I had incorporated many of his suggestions into my deck. He liked them enough to encourage me to start my own YouTube channel.  I was flattered but decided to hide behind the relative anonymity of eBlogger.

While SSJason19 gave me the encouragement to write, LFN and YGO gave me the model.  At his peak, he was far more prolific then I would ever attempt.  However, I could maintain an independent and advertisement-free blog. Besides, I liked his rather cheeky style and have tried to imitate it.  I hope he is flattered if he ever wanders this way in cyber space. 
However it would take more than good examples for me to sign up and start writing.  The actual motivation came from my son who left a few days before my first post.  This game was a lifeline during some rather stormy adolescent times.  It was a counter-cultural, niche activity that no one else in our family understood.  When he was gone, The Mind of Yugiold became an open letter about the game we both loved.  The posts were intended to keep him ready for the day of his return.  

To those over the age of 40, blogging is a rather odd and even narcissistic hobby.   It’s like publishing without having to deal with critiques and criticism.  Heck, you don’t even have to proof it.  The practice can give you a peculiar sense of pride as you track hits from around the world.  While not a great accomplishment, I did feel accomplished.

My most popular posts were my meta predictions for all of the archetypes.  The point of the posts seemed to get lost in the details.  They were meant to highlight the absurdity of both the archetype and tier system.  My most vocal readers wanted a more dynamic list, one that was updated weekly.  While I would love to see an interactive poll on the place of all the archetypes, I never intended to provide such a poll.

Looking back, I am amazed that I was able to post as often as I did.  Ideas for topics came much easier than I first imagined.  But then, such inventiveness is a by-product of time spent thinking about a game I love. 

To quote Daphne Du Maurier, “You can never go back again”.  While keeping up with trends and tech can help you reacclimatize, there have been too many changes for this blog to document.  My son has entered tournaments but not with the same focus and enthusiasm. The game is a jealous taskmaster.  Failure to give 100% takes you from competitive to casual and casual doesn’t feel good for many players.  Throw in a $150 Brionac and other pastimes become more attractive.

Nevertheless, I am not leaving because I am angry at Konami or find Nuckros disagreeable.  I do not think the game is going down the drain and I haven’t sold all of my cards or retreated into the world of Goat Control.  In fact, I just spent about $20 to pick up the Yosenju deck.  I will still play at Multiverse in Chapel Hill, Game Theory in Raleigh, and the Toy Factory in Hillsborough.  Though I may limit my big tournament play, I won’t stop it altogether.  After all, where else can you go and play a children’s card game all day?

I am going to stop blogging because I feel I have little useful left to say.  I have written most of the mathematical analysis I can think of.  At this point, only the names of the cards will be changed.  While I find the psychological aspects of the game fascinating, I am in no position to write about bluffing or other Jedi mind tricks.  You can’t impart knowledge you do not have.

More importantly, this blog never became popular with the people that mattered to me, namely the young men that I compete against on a weekly basis.  The reason has more to do with the length then the content.  I was recently reminded of this issue when I showed a post to a friend of mine.  “Too much to read”, he said.  In a world of Tweets and messages, a page of text is too much.

All activities have a cost. Spending time on one activity means you must deny time to another.  Yugioh, like any game, can swallow your time and attention.  It gives you just enough success to make you think you can take on the world.  The fact is less than 5% will top a big tournament.  The numbers, as they say, are against you.  For me, this blog has taken time from my first love – music. I have been a trumpet player long before I was a card player.  Before this Yugintensive, I gave benefit recitals.  It is time for me to get back to that love.

I will leave the blog up.  I have tagged this post as “Yugi Math”, which will allow you to find the probability related posts.  These concepts should be enduring.  I will also post the occasional “Old Person’s Guide”.  These posts are little more than my personal notes on current archetypes.  Advanced players will not find them helpful, but you older guys might.

Thanks to all who read and commented.  Please, dool on.

Yours truly with Star Wars characters from a Durham Symphony Concert.  The lovely lady with the french horn is my wife of more than 25 years. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Battle of Charleston Harbor

Over 800 doolists from across the States and overseas invaded the shores South Carolina to participate in YCS Charleston.  Though smaller than previous YCS tournaments, this one had all the features of a classic Yugioh free-for-all.  There were ample judges, salty competitors, and the requisite woman’s convention down the hall. Friends of mine quickly scouted the competition and came to the conclusion that this YCS would be the one to top.  Friday’s child is full of hope.  

Round 1: Heroes 1-0.  My first opponent piloted the recently released Dark Law Hero deck complete with that new deck smell.  He was so good-natured and friendly that he let me take back a move.  Would Belichik let Pete Carroll try a different play on second down? I don’t think so.  He likely would have lost regardless; however, it’s not a good idea in competitive play.  

Round 2: Qliphs 1-1. The second round was not so happy.  The good news was that I had extra time to eat.  The bad news was I lost in 3 turns in game one and four turns in game two.  I did learn that Stellarnova Alpha had to be played when Scout was placed in the pendulum zone and not when at the payment of 800 LP. Since the card is a “continuous” card, it is only activated at the time that it is first played.  I’m not sure why this point escaped me in my testing. 

Round 3: ??? 2-1. My third round opponent probably lost his first two rounds. He should have dropped.  While a free win is nice, it’s bad for your tie-breakers.  I likely needed to win the rest of my duels. 

Round 4: Satellar Mirror 2-2. Most losers can point to the moment when the tournament was lost. Mine came in a round four mirror match.  I anticipated a sizeable number of Satellar players and hoped that my version would be slightly faster than the average deck.  My hopes were dashed by Rhapsody in Beserk, a card that I foolishly took out of my Extra Deck.  At one point, he Snatch Stole my Gandiva, emptied my graveyard of Tellarknights, and attached his Rhapsody.  It was a risky move since drawing into an MST would have given me a powerful beat-stick. Evidently, he didn’t think that was likely as he let me gain 5,000 LP. Nevertheless, I never was able to climb back into the duel.  Game two was a Rhapsody Redux.  

Round 5: Qliphs 3-2. Of the eight matches, three were against Qliphs.  It’s funny how this was really easiest dool for me – then again, most of my play testing was against this deck. 

Round 6: Burning Abyss 3-3. I would have to get through five rounds before Diamond could put in some work.  After the long wait, he did just that.  Thanks to Snatch Steal he beat me with it in games one and three.

Round 7: Infernoids 4-3. There were a lot of questions about the number of Infernoid players that would show up in Charleston.  Quite frankly, I thought any deck that can easily remove cards from the graveyard would vivisect Satellars.  That prediction may still come to pass.  However, its reliance on cards like Reasoning makes it not quite consistent enough for competitive play.  

Round 8: Qliphs 5-3.  It’s nice to end with a win.  I would not have predicted that my best record would be against Qliphorts, but that’s Yugioh. 

I finished with 15 points in 208th place.  I can take a little solace in knowing that I beat two of the “Over-40” doolists.  Dudley finished in 301st and Rich in 284th.  I did not fare particularly well the following day and scrubbed out of all three of the Regional flights. I should add that they were some of the most entertaining and competitive duels of the weekend.  

So, there you have it:  Five years of playing Yugioh, four years of local tournaments, three years of regional and national tournaments, and eighteen months of blogging.  I have diligently kept up with trends, learned the rulings, and bought far too many cards. As a result, I am a competent duelist who generally garners respect from my opponents.  In the pool of tier two doolists, I’m one of the best. 

Unfortunately, the lifespan of even a tier two doolists is short.  In a few weeks, there will be another set with more archetypes and more rulings.  The experience of the past six months will mean little if one doesn’t keep up with the game.  Without significant effort, I will go from respected elder to doddering noob. Compared to Yugioh, medicine is a stale, petrified profession. At least, I can keep up with medicine.

For most doolists, X-3 is a reason to drop. For me, X-3 was an accomplishment. I might even improve on this record should the game remain stable.  But it won’t.  Instead, my achievement will go unrecognized and my dreams of returning to nationals will go unfulfilled. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Old Person's Guide to the Meta

It’s YCS Eve and all through the Carolinas doolists are checking their lists and getting them right.  Perhaps, just perhaps, there are even a few old timers trying to do the same.  Most of you can’t appreciate the challenges facing the older duelist. Let me heighten your sensitivity.

 Here is what you see:
Here is what the over 40 duelist sees:

I will attempt to fix this inequity by providing The Old Persons Guide to the Yugioh Meta. (Please note, card effects have been simplified to assist in understanding the archetype as a whole. This is not in PSCT.)

Burning Abyss
The BA effect monsters are all level three dark fiends.  They have the following effects in common:
  • Destroy the monster if you control a non-BA monster  
  • Use only 1 effect per turn  
    • Effect 1: Special summon the card from the hand if you control no magic cards  
    • Effect 2: You can effects that occur when sent to the graveyard
The following is a list of BA effect monsters. The card name in parenthesis is simply a memory aid. 

Cir (Wolfbark): Special summon a BA monster from your graveyard
Graff (Rescue Rabbit like): Special summon a BA monster from your deck
Scarm (Stratos): Add 1 level 3 DARK fiend-type monster from your deck to your hand

Cagna (Armageddon Knight for magic cards): Send 1 BA magic card from your deck to the graveyard.
Calcab (Compulsory Evac for magic cards): Return a magic card to the hand.
Farfa (???): Banish one monster until the end phase.

Alice (Effect Veiler): Negate one monster’s effects until the end of this turn.
Libic (Tin Goldfish): Special summon 1 Level 3 DARK fiend-type monster from your hand

Qlips are high level machine monsters that rely on the pendulum summoning mechanic.  They are all pendulum monsters that have the following effects in common:

Effects for monsters as spells (usually) in the pendulum zone 
  • You can only special summon “Qli” monsters
  • Qli monsters gain 300 ATK or your opponent loses 300 ATK
    • The scale 1 monsters cause ATK gains
    • The scale 9 monsters cause ATK losses

Effects for all monsters as monsters
  • Become a level 4 monster with an ATK of 1800 if summoned without tributing
  • If normal summoned/set, it is unaffected by  monsters whose level/rank is lower than this card's current level
  • Effects when tribute summoned or when tributed
    • The level 6 monsters have effects when tributed
    • The level 7 or higher monsters get effects when tribute summoned using a Qli monster

The following is the list of Qli monsters.  The first number is the level and the second is the scale.

Carrier (6, 1, Compulsory Evac): Return one monster on the field to the hand
Helix (6, 9, MST): Destroy one magic card

Disk (7, 1, Rescue Rabbit): Special Summon 2 "Qli" monsters from your deck, but destroy them during the end phase.
Cephalopod (7, 9, ???): If your opponent has more monsters in the Graveyard, gain LP equal to the difference x 300, and if you do, inflict the same amount of damage to your opponent.

Stealth (8, 1, Super Compulsory Evac): Return one card to the hand (without opponent’s response)
Shell (8, 9, Piercing BLS): It can make a second attack and inflict piercing battle damage to your opponent.

Monolith (5, 1, spell only): Draw cards equal to the number of "Qli" monsters tributed for summons this turn.
Scout (5, 9, spell only ROTA): Pay 800 LP; add 1 "Qli" card from your deck

The shaddolls are dark spellcasters that have effects when flipped and when sent to the graveyard.  You can only use one effect per turn.  Furthermore, the monster cannot target a copy of itself.

Beast (lvl 5)
FLIP:  Draw 2 cards, discard 1 card.
Graveyard: Draw 1 card.

Dragon (lvl 4)
FLIP: Return opponents card to hand.
Graveyard: Destroy 1 magic card

Falco (lvl 2)
FLIP: Special summon a graveyard Shaddoll monster in face-down defense position.
Graveyard:  Special summon this card in face-down defense position.

Hedgehog (lvl 3)
FLIP: Add 1 "Shaddoll" magic card from your deck to hand.
Graveyard: Add 1 "Shaddoll" monster from your deck to hand.

Squamata (lvl 4)
FLIP: Destroy 1 monster.
Graveyard: Send 1 "Shaddoll" card from your deck to the graveyard

Nothing looks more noob-like than picking up every card your opponent plays.  Hopefully this list will give the visually impaired, but wise doolist a little edge going into this weekend’s event.  

Editorial Note: I have had some good comments - and ones that I want to think about before answering.  My Tellar deck (like many) has had changes right up to the last minute.  I will give you my final list and a tourney report after we take on Charleston.