Sunday, May 25, 2014

One for the good guys ...

Successful people are often the targets of petty rumor and slander, particularly by those who aspire to be successful.  Yugioh is no different.  Thus, many players at the top of the game are treated with some suspicion.   It’s a card game and people have been cheating at cards since the invention of the printing press.  Accusing a winner of cheating takes them down a notch and brings them back into the realms of the wannabes.  
If anything, the sophistication and subtlety of our game facilitates such accusations.  In addition to the universal cons (e.g. marking cards), we have the “soft cheat” where advantage is gained by ignoring or reinterpreting certain card rules.  Attacking after Soul Charge, special summoning after Pot of Duality, or playing a once per turn card twice are all examples of soft cheating. Proving that such actions were taken deliberately is a question of intent and intent is impossible to prove.  Where there is no proof, there is speculation.  Speculation plus jealousy plus the internet leads to a proliferation of defamatory statements about any number of players.

But this is not one of those posts …

This post is a tribute to a player from our locals who not only won the Roanoke Regional, but did it with class and integrity.  

Alvaro began playing Yugioh a few years ago.  For about the first six weeks, he was an easy win and a good tournament draw.  After that, play was interesting.  In about four to six months, it was challenging.  I don’t think I’ve beaten him in 2014.  Fortunately, I am not the only player to experience his improvement. I’ve witnessed him go from regional washouts, to invites, to tops, and now to wins.  He is poised for a breakthrough in a YCS event.  I predict that he will, which will boost the prophetic powers of this blog.  

His success is not accidental.  Losses don’t bring harangues about card draws or luck sacking.  Instead, he carefully thinks about where his deck broke down and ways that it could be improved.  He also benefits from a distinct lack of sentimentality about cards and archetypes.  Dreaming about being the first Crystal Beast player to win a YCS is a great way to become another Crystal Beast player to never win a YCS.  Sell my Geargias?!?  Are you kidding?  Alvaro is free from such mawkishness.  This willingness to change decks has also given him a thorough understanding of the current meta.  There are few substitutes for playing a deck in real life.  Alvaro has made and benefitted from that commitment. 

While noteworthy, these are not the characteristics that have impressed me.  I know many really good players, but I know few who play absolutely above reproach. I have never seen an incident of sharking, self-serving rule interpretation, or questionable play.  He treats his opponents with respect, which makes even losing to him enjoyable.  

I’m not sure what life skills one can gain from being successful at Yugioh.  I suspect pulling out a “Nationals” mat will not impress many employers.  Still, you have to think there are places in this world that want young men with ethical strength. It’s unfortunate that most of the adult world won’t know how impressive his accomplishments are.

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