Yu-Gi-Oh! is Love, Yu-Gi-Oh! is Life: Casual, Competitive, Collectors and Quitters


Jonathan Moore, here today to pour my heart out on the subject I love, the game itself. Yu-Gi-Oh! I usually try to keep a calm mind and heart when playing the game or trading (Although some of those delicious, shiny, misprint or LOB 1st ed cards get the better of me), but it’s originally my passion that brought me up from just a local player to the upper echelon of the dueling world. Many of you may not know me since my competitive seasons lasted from 2007 to 2009, but that’s all about to change. Like a phoenix, my passion for this game has risen from the ashes and will shine bright among the dueling world again. Many of you are now getting to know me through my articles and writings. I’ve had well met reception to a lot of my topics that talk about the what’s what and the who’s who of the Yu-Gi-Oh! world, as well as positive reception to my views on what needs to be fixed within both the competitive and casual worlds of the game. I’m going to share with you the story of who I am, how I came to be, and what I feel about all the four types of players mentioned in the topic that got you to click on this link.

I started the game young, probably about twelve. My very first purchase was six LOB Booster packs at a Border’s book store after seeing some episodes of Duelist Kingdom. As a teenager, I had just recently let go of my love for the pokemon card game (but still loved the video game), and Yu-Gi-Oh! seemed the perfect place to fill the void. Like many scrubs, I started out not knowing about tribute summoning, thought we played with 2000 life points, and played a 68 card deck that I thought kicked ass. I really got into it when I bought a whole box of MRD from Gamestop. Somehow, there had been a printing error, and each of my packs had four to five holofoils, and a rare. Needless to say, going into my first locals, I was loaded, and also was going to get bodied trading. I traded a Mirror Force for two Blue-Eyes White Dragons, as I’d never seen the actual card. Later I’d learn that I’d traded $40 into $10. Ouch.

I had one card in my deck taped, a Sword of Dark Destruction. I was properly informed of the rules of Yu-Gi-Oh! and fixed my deck the best I could, and even managed to win round 1, and my game 1 against my round one opponent, who then gave me a match loss after he decided that I was stacking where the Sword would go, even though the card was irrelevant even by MRD standards. From there, I left salty. The salt was real. DQ’d by some guy six years older than me after a game one win when he had obviously seen how the card was. I decided to begin playing online on Pojo. They had this old old magic/yugioh system my older brother showed me called Apprentice. There were no pictures, just squares with atk/def, and if you right clicked the cards, you could read the effects. There was also a ladder board system much like in YVD. I soon rose to the top 50 of this system out of over 2000 players, learning the proper combos, best decks, and reading their articles. I was ready. I went back out to my locals, and for the next year with one of my best friends (who quit due to life circumstances), and ran the show for a whole year. That is… until some kids from another local came in one day. My friend Kyle had been going over to their local and winning thanks to Mechanicalchaser (right before the rise of Gemini Elf) and as time had progressed, people from their local wanted to see how things were run where he had come from. Who was among the intruders? None other than Billy and Bobby Brake. This would be the first time in nearly a year I didn’t get first in my 16 person local. The fire was lit. I had to go to their shop and return the favor.

Creative Gift Baskets was about 15 minutes across town. This is pretty far for a fourteen year old, but my Dad was supportive of my love for the game. I’m really thankful that despite my Christian upbringing, my Dad wasn’t close minded to the idea of these card games. He drove me to all my locals and would pick me back up. This local being fifteen minutes further seemed like a big deal to me at the time. Can you imagine my hype, the car ride there? I was preparing for WAR. I came in, and another guy who would later become a friend, the local judge, Monte, looked over my deck to make sure it was tournament legal. I was just awed by the place. There were over fifty people in just this local tournament. Awe turned into determination, but my first pairing was against Monte! I thought it wasn’t fair, as he’d just looked through my deck, but determination and good plays allowed me to take the 2-0 over him. He was very salty, as people from my locals were known as scrubs over here. I managed to make it all the way to top four of single elimination and ran into Bobby Brake. I lost narrowly in a game three. The fire grew.

I tested and played and tested and played, and came back out the next week, and managed to take a first place over Bobby Brake late at night after the strip mall had closed. I didn’t want to split. I wanted my first win at this place and I got it. The handshake after made me feel very accomplished, and after that, I rarely did not miss top 4. During a regional soon after, all my stuff got stolen and I almost quit. I had been learning how to trade and had put a lot of time into it. The second banlist came out a few weeks later though, nullifying the multiple BLS – Envoys and many of the cards in that binder, and allowed me to scrap together a competitive burn deck. Yeah. I was going to be that guy.

My store started hosting regionals, and I got my first regional top 8 with a 58 card joke deck playing copies such as…

I got my Just Desserts though (pun intended) when I lost turn 19, end phase, game 3 to a Manticore Exodia deck draw combo for game. This was just the start though, as I would begin to tear regionals up. My next step was my first SJCS. I didn’t know how competitive gaming worked, and I went 6-3. Day two came and I wanted to see the best of the best, and I came in the doors to see Jake McNeely and Ryan Spicer. Not knowing who they were, I asked if they’d like to playtest, not knowing Ryan had topped the event, and they laughed at me and basically asked what I would have to offer in testing. I’d never thought I’d met people so stuck up in my life, but now, putting myself in their shoes, how would I act if I’d day two’d and was prepping for the event and some kid asked me to playtest? Not the same way, but I’d at least explain why I was busy. Teams like Outphase and Overdose were new concepts to me though, and I didn’t get that the elitism was more so to induce team wars, and also because it was slightly earned within the game.

After scrubbing another SJCS at 6-3, I had turned seventeen, and arrived at SJCS Houston in 2007. This was my third jump, and my first one I was truly prepared for. Six Samurai had been out for one week, and I had made it into a warrior tool box. I sided just one copy of Solemn Judgment like a scrub, played a copy of Neo-Spacian Grand Mole, and went undefeated until the second to last round when I ran into Adam Corn. He had an SJCS copy of Shrink that I hadn’t expected. I won the next round, and came in 3rd, which was bittersweet since it was the first SJCS allowing for top 16. The next morning, my wallet got stolen with my social security card in it (because I had used it at the DMV), and my mind was elsewhere, causing me to get molly whopped. Again. The salt. This accolade didn’t go unnoticed though. It would take me to my next level of playtesting. On pojo, Ryan Spicer asked if I would go to a regional in Louisiana with outphase, and I tested a lot with them the night before. In a car of me, Fili, Jason, Henry Vi, and one more (I can’t believe I’m forgetting someone now), we started the first of many trips together. Going to YCS Indianapolis with Fili, Billy, Ryan, and Sammy in the Troop dupe format, Fili, Billy, and I would all top 16, and Billy did so with Green Baboon! I lost to Kenny So, the winner of the SJCS who took Fili out the next round. After that, Billy and I would go 0-2 and 1-2 at Detroit when Fili won (My aunt got us all tickets to fly out there with points that were expiring) and come back to the next jump hungrier than ever, Houston 2008.

I started out 2-0. I was a member of a local team called MP3 (Main phase 3), and played my teammate Robby Stewart who had long time experience against my deck. I really thought going in that this was MY event, but that loss crushed me. I managed to beat Vincent Tundo thanks to Great Shogun Shien, and then before I knew it, it was round 8. I was in a feature match with Chris Bowling, and narrowly eeked out a game 3 win thanks to triple Solemn Judgment. As I went around the top tables this round, every samurai deck except myself went to x-2. I was the last samurai. I lost to Cedric in the last round of swiss, and moved on to day 2 in 8th place. I beat my now good friend Brian Mass who was playing an OTK deck thanks to Shien, and then had to face my toughest opponent and matchup of the tournament, Billy. It was both of our first times out of top 16 into top 8, and it was against each other. Game 3 I clenched it down thanks to triple Solemn Judgment and Swords of Revealing Light. From there, I managed to beat and 2-0 the winner of the previous jump Cedric‘s $5000 Dark Armed Deck thanks to Grandmaster popping back when getting killed by Crush Card Virus, and then take the $5000 deck of Adam Corn to a game three top decking war in which Lightning Vortex took it for me game three. Needless to say, my $200 deck wasn’t going to remain $200.

After getting my win, I relaxed my competitive drive. I still wanted to play to win, but my only accolade left to achieve that I hadn’t gotten yet was to top nationals and go to worlds. I had played in the Duel Dome. I had won a YCS. I topped over 20 regionals. I had nothing left to prove, and just wanted to have fun with decks that came out to be the first to make people face new strategies. I’ve played everything to ABPF X-Sabers to Watts at New Jersey. Playing the game slowly took a backseat to trading. I was interested in the market, how cards having potential and being good correlated to price, and how to predict reprints. From there, I amassed a decent collection, and laid back content to do so… Until now.

Now, the fire has rekindled. I want that nationals win. I want to win a jump in this decade. I want to conquer, maim, brutalize, victimize, and destroy every one of you who might stand in my way at a YCS or WCQ this year. Yes, that’s an exaggeration but it doesn’t mean I won’t do it! I love a good game of Yu-Gi-Oh! more than a beatdown, but I want to win again.

This brings me around to the topic, it’s obvious that this game is more than a game. It can be life consuming. There are the casual players who just show up to a local here and there and want to see what the next set brings. They might troll on facebook, Dueling network and the likes. They are still a part of the life blood of the game, and while they have the loudest voices with the least impacts, they’re good for the game. Then there are the competitive players. These guys get in a group. A team. They playtest. The study the best strategies posted on sites such as Hotsauce and ARG, analyze, and depict why it works or why it might be inconsistent. This time isn’t wasted, as it’s used to prepare for ARG Circuits, YCS’s, Regionals, and WCQ’s. They’re the driving force behind the game and making it what it is today. Then there’s the collectors. I became a bit of one. I enjoy seeing a shiny binder full of 1st e/d MRD and LOB, as well as TP/CP/TU set cards… but my competitive spirit realizes now that I enjoy topping events more than I do staring at the shiny cardboard, and that these were made to play with, not to collect dust. While I have nothing against collectors, and in fact applaud them, I can’t fit into this category again until I complete my goals. As to the quitters… you never really quit this game. I’ve even seen people rage quit and pick a deck back up the same day. The memories will always be there. Perhaps college, finances, life conditions, or other things have stopped you for now, but somehow this game will always have one more duel for you, even a casual one.

As it is for me, as well as many of the players here… Yugioh is love, Yugioh is life. Not my complete life, but it’s a different world when you step through those doors to your first WCQ, and you’ll be living in it!

Let me know what you think! Comments, Questions, Concerns, all welcome!

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