Misery. Lonely. Needy. Full of excuses. Between my previous article and this one a lot of critical changes came to my life and made one week an absolute living nightmare. I needed to get better, I needed to be completely honest with myself and needed to change to make myself stable again. Some people saw instantaneous changes and commented on them, others have seen small differences that affect their day in a positive manner. That’s why I literally disappeared from the Yu-Gi-Oh world since the TCGPlayer 10k because I knew at the time something wasn’t right for my life; I wasn’t acting like me and I wasn’t happy. I said after the 10k that ARG Chicago would be my last event because my perception of the game’s effect on my life had changed. It went from a side-note to a major part and a justification for my weakness.
Yu-Gi-Oh has been a balance in my life since my Junior year of high school when I came back to the game as a way to relieve stress. I was involved in football, wrestling, track, band, jazz band, and student ambassadors and so overwhelmed to the point where I needed to find some way to feel relaxed and make my brain just as active as my body had been. On Youtube I started to watch old episodes of the original series and on one of them I found a link to a match on the top of the line online system at that time, Kaiba Corp Virtual Duel System (KCVDS). I was amazed when I saw cards like Emergency Teleport and Black Rose Dragon being activated it felt like an entirely different world from what the game had at the beginning where Ceremonial Bell and Swords of Revealing Light was a difficult combo for ~10 year old kids to understand how to break. It seemed like an actual chess match where there would be similarities every game but rarely did everything fall in the same exact order. I was hooked and soon got on my way to playing the game again, starting with a Flamvell Stardust Dragon/Assault Mode deck because of how relatively cheap that it was at the time. I didn’t want to play it but because of one of the cards most associated with me, Dark Simorgh, was $45 dollars I could not play the Dark Simorgh monster mash deck list that I had tested and played with for months on end (and ironically never completed).
That’s been a theme for me in this game, I try to be cheap but somehow in the end get the expensive cards I want at the perfect time or settle for deck alternatives. I got 2 copies of Number 11: Big Eye at $8 a week after release and $30 right before the price jump caused by the Dragon Rulers absolutely demolishing OCG events. I picked up 2 Dantes for $24 a piece 3 days before the first event they topped and am very happy I made the decision when I did. I’m not trying to say I’m good at predicting these kind of jumps, but when I make a business related decision it tends to go in my favor rather than backfire. I can get by, I’ll never be able to thrive off of profitting from this game because I never have had enough money to justify me making a major investment even if it’s insured to make me profit.
Money, it’s literally the thing that had caused me to become as weak as I have and I’ve made so many excuses using it. Money is the thing that’s made me make articles for Hotsauce Games, it was the thing that made me smile at the end of the day when I got results and go on tilt when I didn’t, it’s a thing I let control me for too long. It was why I got my first top in April at YCS Chicago, I saw a way to get money to pay for food and I went relentless on Dueling Network. I had had Fire Fists from the previous “Dragon Ravine” format but quickly switched over to my main man Fire King High Avatar Garunix once I realized how much Fire Fists, the newly assumed tier 1, struggled against all parts of the deck. When Brotherhood of the Fire Fist-Bear would destroy a Fire King Avatar Barong causing a Fire King Avatar Garunix (Baby Garunix), Fire King Avatar Yaksha, or another copy of Barong to come down you essentially had the win right there because they were not able to gain advantage and even their beaters were smaller.
I’m never going to be the best player. I’m never going to be the best deckbuilder. I’m probably never going to actually win a major event, but the one thing I know how to do is analyze previous results and do research at events. I knew about Ojama Trio and XYZ Universe being the side deck cards of the weekend because I took the time to listen around at the thought process of others along with seeing them being used by above average players on Dueling Network. The easiest thing to do is see something someone else does and copy it, the hardest is to listen to why they’re doing it that way and not another. I guess that’s why I have a decent amount of success in this game: I look, I listen, I think ahead, and I understand why things are done in the ways they are. I wish I could have realized this 3 years ago and made it apart of all aspects of my life, but I guess I was too scared to.
Going into ARG Chicago I knew there was going to be ridiculous amount of Burning Abyss decks compared to anything else at the event and spent my limited play-testing time trying to manipulate and understand what wins the mirror match in game 1 other than you going first. Though my results don’t show it I know I was prepared for the event just by looking at the people in the top 4: Faisal Khan, a guy from my locals whom I had beaten the previous Saturday in a mirror match; Zach Leverett whom I had beaten at the TCGPlayer 10k in a mirror match; Matt Kolenda (congrats on winning, you truly deserve it), whom I tied with round 7 after winning game 1 and losing game 2 after a failed Dante, Dante, Acid Golem OTK because he had the second Flying “C”; and of course “Dirk Squad” and HotsauceGames member, RJ Scarpeli, whom I have a long history of matches against and has the most consistent decklists at any event he goes to with a new twist every time.
- 3 Tour Guide from the Underworld
- 3 Rubic, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
- 3 Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
- 3 Graff, Makebranche of the Burning Abyss
- 3 Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
- 2 Calcab, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
- 1 Alich, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
- 2 Caius the Shadow Monarch
- 1 Black Luster Soldier- Envoy of the Beginning
- 1 Allure of Darkness
- 1 Raigeki
- 3 Mystical Space Typhoon
- 1 Foolish Burial
- 3 Vanity’s Emptiness
- 3 Fire Lake of the Burning Abyss
- 3 Phoenix Wing Wind Blast
- 2 Karma Cut
- 1 Solemn Warning
- 1 Compulsory Evacuation Device
- 3 Puppet Plant
- 3 Maxx “C”
- 1 Majesty’s Fiend
- 1 Vanity’s Fiend
- 1 Mind Control
- 1 Bottomless Trap Hole
- 2 Twister
- 3 Fairy Wind
- 3 Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss
- 2 Virgil, Rockstar of the Burning Abyss
- 1 Ghostrick Alucard
- 1 Muzurhythm the String Djinn
- 1 Number 20: Giga-Brilliant
- 1 Number 47: Nightmare Shark
- 1 Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction
- 1 Wind-Up Zenmaines
- 1 Temtempo the Percussion Djinn
- 3 Downerd Magician
I was prepared for Burning Abyss and Qliphorts by far; I knew they were the main 2 that were going to be played because the Chicagoland area is normally predictable to knowing what you’re going to run into the most statistically. Obviously, what my side deck and main deck shows dramatically is that I underestimated the ability of El Shaddoll Fusion and the power of the Shaddoll deck in general at the event. If there were any more available from people I knew, I would have definitely played Majesty’s Fiend in the main deck over Caius the Shadow Monarch because of the dynamic it adds in the Shaddoll match-up to stop El Shaddoll Fusion from being the overwhelming card that it is. I believe in my game 2 against James Fraizer (Round 4 or 5) he resolved El Shaddoll Fusion and Shaddoll Fusion against me 7 times, with his eventual dropping of El Shaddoll Shekhinaga making me want to flip the table because I literally had no way around it’s effect or 3000 defense with it supported by adding Shadoll Fusion as it’s negation tool. In the 8th Round I faced the Denko Sekka version of the deck and saw I think for the first time in my Yu-Gi-Oh career a 7 link chain where he was still gaining advantage while I was just trying to slow the momentum. In what I assumed to be the last match I’d ever play, I got OTK’d games 1 and 3. Apparently El Shaddoll Construct and El Shaddoll Fusion are good cards; who knew?
If that penultimate sentence about me quitting didn’t stick out I’ll let this paragraph speak for itself. Was that my last major event for a bit? Most likely. Am I quitting? No. I thought I was going to, to be quite frank, but I realized I was being a submissive child who didn’t know what he wanted out of life and thought that walking away from this game would make me any better or happier. Ironically, walking away made many people come out of the wood works and tell me I can’t go, or I shouldn’t because they’d miss me, or they felt like it’d be a travesty for me to walk away when I have so much more I can do than I already have. For those whom do not know me personally, I am a very sentimental person; just looking at the back page of my trade binder shows things I’ve gotten from friends and could never get rid of. It’s because of these friends and even some random people who’ve said they’d miss me tons that I’ve decided to stick around a little bit. Maybe once I win an event I’ll walk away because that hunger still drives me as well, but for right now I just want a simple life to improve myself and have some good times. Besides, I’ve always been the person motivated to do too much rather than too little; guess it took a bit of time for that side of me to come back again and maybe that’s when I’ll be at my best.