Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Why your dad is bad at Yugioh

There’s nothing like spending eight days in Haiti to put all things back in perspective.  Medicine is always challenging.  Now add differences in language, culture, and climate.  In the words of some of my younger Yugioh friends, the stuff got real … or something like that.  

It may take me a little while to get back into the game.  In the meantime, I have been thinking about another challenge – the challenge of age and Yugioh.  With that in mind, here are my reasons why your dad may not be so good at Yugioh.

  1.  He can’t see the cards. Do you want to know what it’s like to be an old Yugioh player?  Take an old pair of sunglasses, smear them with Vaseline, and try to read your cards.  PSCT is great until you can’t tell the difference between “:” and “;”.
  2. He likes his own ideas too much.  Your dad is may be reasonably accomplished.  He probably has had his share of successes.  Furthermore, he may believe the “For six years old and older” label on the card box.  So he comes up with his own deck and refuses to listen to the common wisdom.  We all fall victim to this problem.  When a combination we like works, we remember it; when it doesn’t, we blame that failure on something else.  As a result, we reinforce our own bad thinking.  Believe me young people, old people do not change quickly.
  3. He has money but no time.   There are advantages to age.  Yugioh cards may seem expensive, but it’s a cheap hobby compared to many others.  Do you know how many cards you can buy for one boat payment?  Have you looked at the cost of golf clubs? Travel of snow skiing?  Replacement parts for a Harley?  You get the idea.  What he doesn’t have is time.  You may be off doing the DN thing while he is trying to figure out why there is water on the kitchen floor. 
  4. He’s self-conscience. I can often forget that I am the oldest guy in the room.  I am fortunate to play with guys who neither coddle nor take advantage of me.  Once (and only once), I was called “pops” by some impertinent doolist.  Nevertheless, I can’t get through a big tournament without being aware of my age at some point.  Older players stick out – it’s inevitable.  How would you play if you were forced to wear a dress?  It could affect your concentration. 
  5. He doesn’t want to be “that guy”.    “That guy” is the rule shark or more simply “the jerk”.  I usually fold to such people instead of getting into a heated argument.  It’s unseemly to fight with someone who is literally half your age over a children’s card game.  For example, I was playing an Evilswarm player during a regional flight.  He attacked (by picking up his card, moving it towards my monster and saying “attack”).  I said “Damage step” and flipped up a Forbidden Lance.  At that point, he said I had to announce battle substeps before I could enter into the damage calculation.  At which point, I said “huh?” Sure, he wanted to play Pandemic and knew he couldn’t do so in the damage step.  I think I had a good case but I caved.  I would rather be known as a good sport than a winner.  I suspect your dad would do the same.  

Dads play this game because they want to spend time with their sons.  That’s why I started. If given the choice, I would rather lose with my son around then win without him.  But, I don’t get to make either of those choices.  

I suspect there are some sons out there that would rather have a dad that loses than no one at all.   

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Generic Gems: Legacy of the Valiant

Legacy of the Valiant continues the Konami strategy of focusing on archetypes.  The generic cards in this set come across as after-thoughts. Still, it's worth taking a look.  

For those keeping score at home, my "Buy it" recommendations on the last set would have cost you $82.20.  Buying those cards today would cost $145.94.

Leo, the Keeper of the Sacred Tree - $0.47, Buy It
·        There are 16 level 10 Synchro monsters and none are as easy to summon as Leo.  Though a 3100 point attack is reasonably beefy, he is actually weaker than all the level 10 monsters.  His effect won’t keep him out of trouble and the extra-deck is pretty tight. Still, he seems worth throwing a couple of quarters.

 Onomatopaira - $0.22, Leave it
·        Remember that aunt who used to pinch your baby brother on the cheek and mumble incoherently?  and how’s my little zu bu ba ba”.  This card is saccharin cute.  Though it’s a plus 1 spell card, it can only be used by awful decks.  This card won’t save them, so save your money.   

Oath of Companionship - $0.20, Buy it
·        Taking control of your opponent’s monster is always a good thing.  Though the conditions are somewhat restrictive, they are not inordinately so.  Monarchs, Malefics, and Sylvans can all do a great deal of damage without relying on the extra deck.  I like this card better than Enemy Controller.  A play set for less than a dollar? I’ll take it.

Shared Ride -$15.00, Pull It
·        Shared Ride is a good card that is close to being fairly priced.  I would certainly grab a set if the price drops into the single digits.  Against most decks, this is a 1-1. However, it has real promise against Spellbooks and Madolches.  Though Spellbooks may wane a bit, Madolches will be a power after the next set. 

The First Monarch - $4.92, Leave It
·        I’m not a fan of the new Monarch support.  I just don’t see how they will keep up with the herpy-derpy top tier.  Besides, the frog engine is likely more consistent.  Though I love Caius and friends, I’m steering clear of this card and the Mega Monarchs.

Skill Prisoner - $5.00, Buy It
·         Quick quiz: Compare and contrast the effects of Effect Veiler, Skill Prisoner, Breakthrough Skill, and Skill Drain.  Uh-huh, it can get a bit complicated.  The real advantage of this card is its ability to be used twice.  I bought a pair for $10 with hopes of pulling a third.

Powered Inzektron, $1.12, Pull it
·         Let’s see, a TCG exclusive that’s a light machine brought out before the Cyber Dragon structure deck? Hmmm … coincidence?  I think not.  Inzektron would have been more desirable if he came out during the dearth of the level 6 synchros. However, we have amassed a reasonable collection of these cards.  I do think he has a place in machine decks; Limiter Removal for 5,000 attack and he stays on the field?  Not bad. 

Number 101: Silent Honor ARK, $50.00, Pull it
·        This card will probably rise in value making it worthwhile to a handful of hardy players.  However, most of us are a little squeamish about paying so much for a small piece of cardboard.  I suspect this card will be coming to a tin near you.  In the meantime, hold it if you got it – it’s a great little card.

Evilswarm Exciton Knight, $88.00, Pull it
·        Remember how much Steelswarm was when he first came out? You can get that little roach for about $7.00.  It’s hard to see Exciton lose the same amount of value, even if he is reprinted.  Personally, I wish Konami would make this card available to everyone or no one.  The two tier system must drive some people away from this game.  Unlike Silent Honor, I do believe the card will come down a bit.  I would consider buying it if it hit the $50 mark. 

Downerd Magician, $14.00, Buy It
·        This card is saved by her ability to use rank three monsters as materials.  In addition to Spellbooks, she’s a natural fit in Ghostricks.  With two materials, she also becomes fodder for Eradicator Virus.  Though $14.00 is not cheap, I do not see her price coming down a great deal.  Fortunately, one is probably enough.

I will be traveling to Haiti over the next 10 days to support some of the doctors there.  There will be no shortage of challenges though staring down a row of Fire Fist monsters will not be one of them.  I'm sure I will be itching for a game when I get back. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hot Times in Hotlanta

So a Latino, an African American, a white guy, and an old man walk into a motel in Atlanta … 

“Do you want a King Sized bed?” asks the clerk

“Whut?  Are you kiddin’ me?”  Yugioh makes for strange bed-fellows but that suggestion is ridiculous. 

… and so began our two day Yugioh bender known as YCS Atlanta.  

In case you’re wondering, this YCS carried the Atlanta name only because that’s the nearest city.  You’d be quite disappointed if you were expecting Southern Belles and Mint Juleps.  Truth is we could have been at YCS Lubbock or any other American city that could promise a low flying aircraft every 15 minutes and a Waffle House every third block.  

Still, what could be more fun than playing cards for 2 days? 

Almost anything, if you lost your opening match because you failed to notice that Silent Honor Ark only applies to attack position specially summoned monsters.  (Hey, I only had the card for about 48 hours.)  Then I failed to use is ability to save himself.  X-1

My second match-up was against Spellbooks.  My side-deck was more aligned with Bujins and Skill Drain Decks and not Spellbooks.  Soon I was looking at X-2.  

Needless to say, I was not called for a feature match.  But I did hang in and play out the nine rounds of Swiss.  Really, how many waffles can you eat?

Day two was spent entering regional flights.  I’d love another national invite even if it means eating waffles in Detroit.  Alas, this was not meant to be either.  The competition is pretty tough.  Let’s face it, if you’re going to drop several hundred dollars to play at a YCS, you probably don’t suck.  

So how did I do? Of the 1,348 doolists, I finished 341 with 15 points.  Here is my record by day and by deck:

A few thoughts
1.       On the “Have No-Fear” philosophy.  I was Mirror Forced 4 times in 52 games or about 7.9% of the time.  It cost me the game once or 1.9% of the time. 

2.       Those who know all the decks do well.  I have a job and a wife.  There is only so much time.  I tend to focus on a small number of decks and get to know them very well.  It’s a reasonable philosophy.  However, it would probably help me to test some of the other meta decks.

3.       Diversity now!   The meta is wide ranging:  18 duels against 12 decks. 

One last thing … I pulled a Shared Ride. I can’t think of a more appropriate card considering the company that went with me.

Monday, February 3, 2014

If Football was Yugioh ...

A weekend at YCS Atlanta forced many of us to miss the big game.  As it turns out, we didn’t miss much.  Nevertheless, listening to the game on the ride back inspired our car pool to compare football and Yugioh.  Sure, the NFL has elite athletes … and Yugioh, not so much.  Still, both are competitive events that often pit large young men against each other.  Here’s how we imagined the Super Bowl would be played if it was more like a YCS

The Broncos would have scooped at half-time and said “Game 2?”

The Broncos would have played Rekindling and special summoned another 11 players on to the field.

The Broncos would have overlayed two players and summoned Exciton Knight to blow away the Seahawks. 

The Broncos would have sided-in Poisonous Winds

The Seahawks would go home worrying if Malcolm Smith would appear on the next banlist

The Seahawks would have said “GG …. and enjoy the Win-A-Mat”

I'll post my thoughts and experiences on YCS Atlanta later this week.