Jonathan Moore is back, here to talk about some things going on in the Yu-Gi-Oh! community and what you might see day to day around your area.
There are two trains of thoughts on teams in Yu-Gi-Oh! to most players. Simply put, most players think there are just the bad ones and good ones. This is pretty unfortunate, as in reality there are hundreds of people playing Yu-Gi-Oh! in teams, ranging from teams who like it as a hobby to play in the anime club at schools to competitive teams like ARG and Hotsauce Games (hey, we’re getting there so don’t knock it!). You have the ones who want to money-match and mostly just take on weaker teams, and ones who want to money-match to prove the glory and who is the best.
The point of a money-match is that there’s steaks on the line so players don’t just go in super-“#YOLO” and hope for the best, playing a risky and lame game. Shout outs to two local teams, Legacy and Outphase. Outphase really doesn’t play much any more, but a few years ago Legacy stepped up to the plate in a best of three team wars and barely lost the last one by just one member. Coming down to the wire, they earned the respect of some of the best players the game ever had, including a former national champion Chris Bowling, the only four time YCS champ Fili Luna, the back to back champ Billy Brake, YCS Champion Ryan Spicer, and YCS Champion Jason Holloway! What a roster to challenge by the up-and-comers! My point with all this is, Legacy didn’t have many credentials at the time and now they have ARG and YCS and WCQ tops. They knew they were good, but if any of you hadn’t heard of them, you’d probably laugh at a local team challenging the world’s finest. There are many teams on the verge who are waiting to pop out on the competitive scene who just need that little extra push or playtesting time to get there.
Now, there are several kinds of Yu-Gi-Oh! teams, and many many different kinds of people that you will see share this game between them that you might not expect to be together, but it works out. The game isn’t all about competition, even though the point is usually to win (sorry Self-Destruct Button!). As corny as this sounds, the true point of Yu-Gi-Oh! is to grow along side your friends, become better together, and enjoy the time spent and community that this game offers.
You don’t have to play Sylvans, Lightsworn, or anything meta. That one kid at your local who plays his Exodia deck all the time might lose to everyone there who knows what he plays and sides some cards for it, but he could go out to a YCS and counter the entire format and leave everyone from his area scratching their heads. Sticking to something works sometimes. My first win and my first top 16 (Which was the first tournament to be top 16 ever and I got third after swiss) were with the original Six Samurai, a deck I always kept built and playtested with. I would do very decent locally, and top regionals here and there, but failed to top the regional just a few weeks before my YCS. It prompted me to change to a side deck card that won me the finals and a game against Billy in the top 8, where Billy had what would probably be a 75% match-win ratio on me at the time in playtesting. The point is, I couldn’t have done this without my current team at the time, one you’ve probably never heard of, MP3 (Main Phase Three). iPods weren’t as big of a thing in 2008 and we thought the name was clever, but our roster was stacked for the short time the team lasted. I honestly shouldn’t have left to be a part of Kamikaze Krew, but I was drawn to the star studded roster and was moving on with my friend Billy, and as wrestling often states, I thought it was what was best for business. I was a lot less happy though, and didn’t see my friends as often, and went to playtest less and less with them. So just remember, just because you might get to start status and win an ARG or YCS, keep up with your friends even if you get on some other team!
Now for the types of teams you might see, and the people you can see in them
Most of these guys are either in the anime club, or just like to play Yu-Gi-Oh! and MTG on the side as a hobby. They typically have a deck that rarely changes, and only sink money into the game when something from the show excites them. Yeah, I played shamelessly at these tables with friends, and because I was competitive I’d always win, but they enjoyed playing with me because I wasn’t a sore winner and I’d keep up with their personal lives as well as be their outlet for their Yu-Gi-Oh! needs. Ever play against a Yubel deck outside of DN and get the final form summoned you? Probably not. It’s fun!
The Competitive Team
Most of these guys have credentials that only maybe 3% of the community has. WCQ tops, YCS tops, ARG tops, over a dozen regional tops. I personally consider anything over five regional top eights as a credential. That’s impressive to be there out of a field of anywhere from 150 players to 1000 players (those California regionals are the toughest!). These are some of the best Yu-Gi-Oh! players in the game that the average player could learn a lot from, and they’re often willing to share this knowledge because they strive to become better themselves, so they want good competition. They’ll probably be willing to slam down with you any time as long as you’re willing to listen, show improvements, and work hard.
What can I say? The FGC has stream monsters, and we have Zodiac and The American Yu-Gi-Oh! Group. Most of you scrolling through there will realize that you’ve come to the wrong neighborhood. The trolling is infinite, people can attempt to rip your cards/cash, you hear all the helmet Yamato jokes you can take, and you slowly live long enough to see yourself become the villain among this gnarly lot. That being said, some of the best, most honest warriors live here too. People who can’t afford the game outright to travel or get the decks they want to go out to events with, awesome moderators like my friend Robbie Kohl, and many who stick it out to find the good in people among the internet.
Now for some people you’ll see regularly among the average team.
This is a single person that is often under-appreciated and overused in a Yu-Gi-Oh! team. This person loves Yu-Gi-Oh! so much and wants the community to thrive so well, they’ll often get their team what they need to play just so that their friends can borrow their cards. This guy will often be the one making the drives out to regionals and taking everyone along. I trade with a lot of team moms, and they’re all really nice guys who just want to see everyone do well, and are often a driving part of the community.
The Competitive player
This person can strive to be dominate within his own group, and often pulls the team into team wars they don’t need to get into. “We can handle it! They’re just scrubs from four hours out.” Prepare to facepalm as on the car ride back you’re going to hear his x-2-1 33rd place bubble story over and over and over again, and what he could and should have done differently! He does better the team as a whole though, and often critiques every choices of tech card in the team decks. The competitive player will often have good insight on deck building and power combos in the game, as well as keep track of what’s going to come out.
Here we have the friend of the friend that’s really going to annoy team mom. He often provides nothing, and is only there because he’s one of your friend’s best friends. The team will often express their frustrations about him being around, but put up with him because their good friend seems so excited to have him around. Just get real with this guy sooner than later, and cut the dead weight. You don’t need to have a bad time.
This guy just likes to play a few games here and there and then wants to do something like watch anime, play video games, and do recreational activities with you and your friends (I have a local team of friends who often plays basketball. It seems like a pretty good team building activity). This guy is fun to have because he usually has something to show you or do besides just talk yugioh yugioh yugioh 24/7. That new animated superhero flick you didn’t know was out? You’re gonna get to watch it. Don’t like WWE? Too bad, you’re going to learn to love it. This guy will put a lot of fun in the group and is honestly what most of the players are.
In retrospect, there’s too many people and different kinds of people, but you can see the trends and the types who play Yu-Gi-Oh!. Team moms are awesome, its not stupid for doing what they do, they really help the community. I love the average Joe, they’re the best. As for the competitive players, they’re what keep the scene alive outside the anime, and help everyone strive to be better.
What are some other types you see outside of teams? I left out the Vendor/Dealer since that was in my last article, and most true vendors don’t have time to play and dealers often have little actual care for the game or community. Thoughts, comments, concerns, and all criticism welcome! Have an idea or observation about the community and want to see it written about? Let me know!