Thursday, May 14, 2015

How to Play/ Get Into: the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game

When it comes to hobbies/ things I've been playing since I was a wee lad, few top Yu-Gi-Oh!. I mean sure I quit the game for a while, but, we were all trying to "find our real identities" in middle school, weren't we?

Plus GX was getting a bit lame for me, I needed to take a break from "throw down a facedown" and "get your game on" for a bit.

I returned following the big boom that was Trishula getting banned/ the end of the Plant-Synchro era, but I got into the game just in time for the Wind-Up/ Inzektor format, the Dino Rabbit format (which wasn't that bad, I found), and of course, who could forget the classic Dragon Ruler format? :-)

But these are different times. More complicated? Sure! More diverse? You bet. Not everything is going to be competitive, but in an age where more and more cards are being taken off the banlist after decades of sitting on it, it's much easier for players new and old to hop into the game.

That's why today, I'd like to write a little "how-to" guide of getting back into the game. This is mostly going to be for casual players, like myself, who play more for fun and less for glory (though glory is always sought on the battlefield). If you want to pay competitively, I can give you a quick guide: look up the best deck, pay a ton of money, play the deck. Duh.

So, without further ado, let us begin.

Step 1: Go to the Yu-Gi-Oh! website

No, really. Everything you'll want to know, from the rules to the most basic of gameplay mechanics, is actually right there ( This step could easily just be "know the rules" but those are actually pretty complicated without something/ someone showing you what to do. The rulebook there breaks down everything, from the various Monster types to the various Spell and Trap types as well as how these cards can be used and when, specifically. Certain things like timing and what not are more implied throughout the gameplay, and cards themselves have specific rules. Some really basic rules include:
-40-60 cards per deck, 15 card extra deck
-No more than five monsters on the field on your side, no more than five Spells/ Traps
-Pendulum monsters placed on top of Extra Deck after destruction
-Draw before turn starts
-Sequence of turn: Draw, Standby, Main1, Battle, Main2, End
-Normal summon only once per turn, Special Summon unlimited.
-Traps cannot be activated turn they are placed down (unless a card says otherwise).

Step 2: Acquire the latest structure deck

Most of the latest structure decks will have a newer mechanic to the game. Starter decks are all well and good but those are meant for the bare bones beginners, and aren't really very good. Structure decks are designed for people to start playing and are the best way to learn the gameplay mechanics. A slow walk into the pool isn't as helpful as diving right in is. Trust me, playing a structure deck is much better than a starter deck because it helps teach you various combos and tricks you won't learn from cards that really have nothing to do with each other. Not only that, but most structure decks as of late have actually been pretty darn good, containing many cards played competitively. Structure decks also give a beginner a firm grasp of what types of archetypes there are, like the Six Samurai, Masked Hero, and Synchron archetype.

Step 3: Familiarize yourself with the Forbidden/ Limited List

Alright, sweet, you've got a structure deck and you're ready to start playing the game. Well, how about this card, Graceful Charity? Draw three to discard two? Better put that in the deck! WRONG. Knowing the this list, also known as the ban-list, is critical in the early steps of playing the game casually. If you're playing just a really, really chill game, sure, you don't really need to know the list. But if you're going to hop into some online matches, you're going to want to know how the list works. Plus, even if you are playing chill, maybe you'll want to know the list to set it as a restraint from playing too many really good cards. If you've got three copies of Tech Genus Hyper Librarian and are just cranking out Synchros for more draw power, perhaps playing just one will help you formulate quicker strategies, maybe even a few better ones.

Step 4: Watch some YugiTubers for gameplay/ deck analysis

Something that really helped me out was watching GalacticGod's (  little duel videos. He doesn't really explain what's going on, so for some newbies they may need to watch the videos twice. Luckily, he mostly uses some more casual decks, so it's decks that are complicated, but are mostly fun to play and rather easy to build. Plus, if you're not going to play online, the main parts of the decks are often relatively cheap and are commonly used cards in the game then. Again, it helps to know the ban-list as it often changes from video-to-video (you'll notice decks he uses back in his 2013 videos are vastly different in style than the ones now) but mostly it's just helpful to pay attention during the video. The Deck lists videos are probably the most vital key to anyone's introduction into Yu-Gi-Oh!. Most YugiTubers will post their decks and go through it, explaining their choices. "I used three Mystical Space Typhoons because blah blah blah" or "Well I wanted to use this card because I know that blah blah blah" Deck lists are often unique to the user, but it might be a style that you find yourself comfortable with.

Step 5: Go on Dueling Network and NETDECK
Netdecking is where you'll basically copy someone else's deck card for card. While it is a bit taboo nowadays, if you're a beginner, it's best to play someone else's deck after having them explain it to you rather than going off on your own. I'm not saying you should always netdeck, but if you're interested in a deck and unfamiliar with how it works, then go ahead and use that build and watch other games with that deck to learn how it works. Dueling Network ( is really easy to sign up for and does allow for users to create decks and watch gameplay...and it's free. It's one of the two most popular dueling sites, and it's the one that you don't have to download. It's more catered towards those who are very well aware of how the game is played, since everything is done manually, so I wouldn't recommend it to people just looking to hop right into the game. Not to mention many of the users are a little impatient.

(If you think you can brave using solely DN, go for it and skip this step, if not...)
Step 6: Download DevPro/ YGOPro and create your decks there
DevPro/YGOPro does require a download but after having it for a couple years I've found it has no negative effects on your system and is quite easy to download, just follow the steps. It serves a similar purpose to DN only it has no major chat, but you can chat with your opponent during a match if you want. I personally enjoy this service more because it's quicker and nothing is manual. Thus, if you want to learn how to play a deck quicker and even see how a normal game is supposed to flow--since the system has all the rules downloaded and often updated when a new list or set is released--then this is the service for you. It even gets cards from the OCG quicker than DN, so that's a plus.

Step 7: Start dueling!
Like I said, the best way to get into this game is to dive in headfirst! So, after you've gotten your structure deck or netdecked off of someone to serve as a base, the best thing to do is just start jumping into matches and see how you do. The only way to know how you feel with a deck is by playing with it, then shifting things around as you go along. There are many, many talented and professional players on both services so if you see a specific card continually popping up, and it's something often brought up on YouTube, perhaps it's time to tech it it. If the deck gets boring, find another one. In the game today, there are a ton of decks that see success. If at first you don't succeed, just keep pressing on. Practice really does sharpen the mind in this game. You'll find that after many matches, particularly against a variety of decks, you'll be able to react quicker, make better decisions, and find the best rhythm for your deck and prepare to face any foe. Sure, there are certain match-ups that practically scream un-winnable, but, we play the game for a reason, right?

And there's always hope that one card you can't beat will one day get limited!

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @seanovan13 to stay up to date on when I post. Thanks for reading!

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