2008 | The Irish Duelist

Not long now..



As you can see from the newly installed countdown timer above*, The Irish Open is fast approaching, and while I'm excited about the event in general, I'm a little concerned about what I'm going to do.

After my Fortune Tour Stop success I haven't really been happy with my TeleDaD deck at all, but that might not even matter. Ever since the event ended, I've been getting messages from people saying that they're either going to run it themselves, or they expect plenty of others to do the same. Will I run it? I'm not sure yet. It is a good, versatile variant, there's no doubting that, but the fact that it's out in the open means that I've lost a very specific 'mental edge' if I do decide to run it. The deck also has plenty of the general weaknesses that TeleDaD can have.

So, where does that leave me? Do I go with it anyway, seeing as I have been running it for the past 3 weeks since the event, or do I have to re-invent the deck for myself, hopefully eliminating all the downsides of the deck but not having enough consistent testing to warrant using it on the big stage? (Mind you, I did come up with that specific list at 5am on the morning of the event) I'm not too sure where I'll go with it all yet. I might even drop TeleDaD altogether since the Lightsworn deck I have on me at the moment is quite fun to play and is running a lot better than my TeleDaD. Either way, I'll make a decision closer to the tournament date, but with that timer up above ticking down*, I've not got long left.


-PJ

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*Note: I've subsequently removed the timer, as it isn't working. Irish Open is on the 4th of January, just under 13 days away, for those who want to know.

So... now what?

I woke up this morning and on the way into college I started getting a bunch of texts from my mate, needless to say it woke me up:

"Konami have fully taken over the TCG, upperdeck are no longer anything to do with it"

"Upperdeck is also suing Konami for 75 million dollars"

"Also, all premier events run by Upperdeck have been cancelled. Sorry for the repeated texts if you're asleep, but this is pretty major..."


My initial reaction was 'OMG! What the fuck just happened?' and now, hours on from that I'm still in a state of confusion. Before I go any further, here are some links that I've come across through the various forums:

Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Press Release (quoted in first post)
Upper Deck Company v. Konami Marketing, Inc.

I still don't know what to make of it all. There are many different views across the forums on the matter already, but here are the most prevalent ones:

-OCG and TCG might merge into one CCG, meaning we can use cheaper OCG cards now.
-The SJC Circuit and similar events no longer exist.
-Konami might do what happened in Pokémon and make all cards not made by them (ie: TCG cards) illegal for play.
-Konami will take over Organised Play and we'll be left with just locals for now.


As this story is still less than 24 hours old there are a lot of unanswered questions and I haven't seen any Upper Deck representative post up anything so far about it. Speaking from a players standpoint we don't know what to do, most of us have decks that cost us €100's to build and the thought of them maybe being worth nothing now makes us unsure if we should sell up or not. If we sell and later find out that there will still be big events and 'expensive decks' then we've got to re-build all over again, and it's a lot harder to do that now than it was 2-3 years ago. If we don't sell and the game 'dies', then we just lost out on our final chance to 'make our money back'.

Personally, I've always liked the 'big scene', the Shonen Jumps, Regionals, Fortune Tours, all of that. It's the main reason I play the game now. If that were to go I'd be left with just my locals and to me that is not good enough. I can see myself quitting the game if what I fear becomes a reality.

On the flip-side, if these events stay, we might be in for a bit of a Renaissance as the influx of cheap cards from the OCG will give everybody access to just about everything (Crush Card Virus is a Structure Deck common in Japan, remember) and people will never complain about prices again.

I guess the key phrase for now is 'wait and see'. I'll still be playing at my local Hobby League this weekend, expecting the worst and hoping for some sort of answer..


-PJ

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=====
THIS JUST IN!
=====
According to etcg.de the Fortune Tour Stop that was meant to happen in Germany tomorrow has been cancelled. Here's a printscreen of the translated webpage (click to enlarge):



=====
MORE NEWS!
=====
According to Cascade Games, they've been asked to cancel their forthcoming Regionals and other events (including to my knowledge, SJC San Fransisco): Link




-PJ

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Fortune Tour Stop (Dublin, Ireland) Report

After last week's article I managed to find a way to get to Dublin for the Fortune Tour Stop in the end. I had to stay at a mate's place in Carlow for the weekend, which was pretty decent of him. It allowed me to get some final testing in as well as saving a shedload on hotel fees. The downside? I had to take 4 buses to get to Dublin! Regardless, it was all good and I didn't mind the bus journey as it gave me plenty of time to think about the tournament ahead.

Need to prove myself.

Back in July, I finally achieved what I was aiming for for the past 2 years, I became the highest ranked player in the country. Four months on though and I don't feel too happy at all. Ourside of this brief period before September where I went undefeated for a month with Gladiator Beasts I haven't really played as good as my ranking suggests and it's getting to me. In the past month I've not won my 'good local' at all, usually floundering in the Top 4/8. I've tried out new variants of TeleDaD and Lightsworn and nothing seems to work, I'm in a slump at the moment.



With The Irish Open coming up soon and attracting a lot of interest from the British players I have that chance to play in a 'big event' again and I am very excited about it. What I don't like though is that, from the vibes I'm getting (and a few MSN conversations with players), the 'better' players that are heading over are thinking that the event is going to be a cakewalk. What I gathered from one particular conversation was that some think that, as number 1, they see me as being the best player in the country, and have based the entire tournament standard on that. While I know that I'm not the 'best' player in Ireland (I can think of at least 3 players who I would consider to be far better than me) I still find this as quite a bit of an insult.

So basically, I need to prove, to myself and to others, that Ireland is not an 'easy' place to play in and that I am (or can be) as good any 'elite' player that I'll face in the next 12 months. (I keep looking back at the European Championship in Amsterdam this year and picking at the silly mistakes that potentially cost me a World Championship invite) I have the cardpool (recently got my 3 Plaguespreaders, yay!) and the determination to do it, so I just need the avenue and a couple of events where I can step up my game, the first of which is the Fortune Tour Stop that is happenning this weekend in Dublin.

At the time of posting this, I don't know if I'll even be able to attend yet. Most of my contacts in Dublin are unavailable or don't have a place for me to stay for the weekend. (Travelling across the country for me is basically a 2 day trip when you consider the tournament timetable and the but schedules I have to rely on) However, I really want to go. I'm already qualified, so it's a decent opportunity for me to see how far I've really come since that eventful weekend in Amsterdam. If I can't go I'm stuck with my locals for another 2 months and while they are fun to play in, they don't provide me with an accurate simulation of what the Fortune Tour Finals and The Irish Open will be like.

So yeah, that's enough of a rant for now (I'm in that kind of mood today). Feel free to have a chat either here or on any of the forums I'm usually on.

-PJ

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Local Tournament (Cork, Ireland) : Top 8 Decklists

==========================
Alex Hayes
==========================
Monsters: 18
3 Destiny Hero - Malicious
3 Krebons
2 Dark Armed Dragon
2 Caius the Shadow Monarch
2 Dark Grepher
1 Destiny Hero - Diamond Dude
1 Destiny Hero - Doom Lord
1 Spirit Reaper
1 Elemental Hero Stratos
1 Sangan
1 Breaker the Magical Warrior

Spells: 17
3 Destiny Draw
3 Allure of Darkness
3 Cold Wave
3 Emergency Teleport
2 Reinforcement of the Army
1 Brain Control
1 Heavy Storm
1 Monster Reborn

Traps: 6
3 Solemn Judgment
2 Phoenix Wing Wind Blast
1 Torrential Tribute

Extra Deck: 15
3 Stardust Dragon
2 Goyo Guardian
2 Thought Ruler Archfiend
2 Colossal Fighter
2 Red Dragon Archfiend
2 Ojama King
1 Darkfire Dragon
1 Magical Android

Side Deck: 15
3 Skill Drain
2 Destiny Hero - Defender
1 Zombyra the Dark
2 Threatening Roar
2 Nobleman of Crossout
2 Light and Darkness Dragon
2 Instant Fusion
1 Soul Exchange

==========================
Brian Allen
==========================
Monsters: 16
3 Gladiator Beast Bestiari
3 Test Tiger
3 Bountiful Artemis
2 D.D. Crow
2 Gladiator Beast Laquari
2 Gladiator Beast Darius
1 Gladiator Beats Murmillo

Spells: 8
3 Gladiator Proving Ground
2 Book of Moon
1 Shrink
1 Enemy Controller
1 Monster Reborn

Traps: 16
3 Solemn Judgment
2 Dark Bribe
2 Divine Wrath
2 Gladiator Beast War Chariot
2 Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
1 Trap Dustshoot
1 Drastic Drop Off
1 Dimensional Prison

Extra Deck: 11
3 Gladiator Beast Gyzarus
3 Gladiator Beast Heraklinos
3 Stardust Dragon
1 Red Dragon Archfiend
1 Colossal Fighter

Side Deck: 15
1 D.D. Crow
2 Twister
2 Dust Tornado
2 Light-Imprisoning Mirror
1 Heavy Storm
1 Mind Control
1 My Body as a Shield
1 The Transmigration Prophecy
1 Neo-Spacian Grand Mole
1 Neo-Spacial Dark Panther
1 Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror
1 Gladiator Beast Hoplomus

==========================
Mark Sheehan
==========================
Monsters: 21
3 Mezuki
3 Zombie Master
2 Pyramid Turtle
2 Caius the Shadow Monarch
2 Krebons
1 Goblin Zombie
1 D.D. Crow
1 Malevolent Mech Goku-En
1 Paladin of Cursed Dragon
1 Red-Eyes Zombie Dragon
1 Destiny Hero - Dasher
1 Sangan
1 Morphing Jar
1 Prime Material Dragon

Spells: 14
3 Book of Life
2 Cold Wave
2 Zombie World
2 Card of Safe Return
1 Emergency Teleport
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Terraforming
1 Heavy Storm
1 Monster Reborn

Traps: 5
2 Dust Tornado
2 Graceful revival
1 Mirror Force

Extra Deck: 13
2 Colossal Fighter
2 Junk Warrior
2 Gaia Knight the Force of Earth
2 Stardust Dragon
1 Goyo Guardian
1 Red Dragon Archfiend
1 Magical Android
1 Thought Ruler Archfiend
1 Avenging Knight Parshath

Side Deck: 0

==========================
Andrew Murphy
==========================

*Decklist Witheld*

==========================
David Duggan
==========================
Monsters: 18
3 Destiny Hero - Plasma
3 Destiny Hero - Malicious
2 Caius the Shadow Monarch
2 Krebons
1 Spirit Reaper
1 Breaker the Magical Warrior
1 Dark Grepher
1 Elemental Hero Stratos
1 Sangan
1 Destiny Hero - Doom Lord
1 Mystic Tomato
1 Destiny Hero - Diamond Dude

Spells: 17
3 Destiny Draw
3 Allure of Darkness
2 Emergency Teleport
2 Fires of Doomsday
2 Reinforcement of the Army
1 Monster Reborn
1 Brain Control
1 Heavy Storm
1 Scapegoat
1 Giant Trunade

Traps: 5
3 Solemn Judgment
1 Mirror Force
1 Torrential Tribute

Extra Deck: 8
2 Stardust Dragon
2 Red Dragon Archfiend
1 Avenging Knight Parshath
1 Colossal Fighter
1 Goyo Guardian
1 Magical Android

Side Deck: 15
2 Needle Ceiling
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
2 Legendary Jujitsu Master
2 Wall of Illusion
1 Mystoc Tomato
1 Drillago
1 Lightnong Vortex
2 Divine Wrath
1 Soul Exchange
1 Ojama Trio

==========================
PJ Tierney
==========================
Monsters: 23
2 Judgment Dragon
3 Honest
3 Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress
2 Celestia, Lightsworn Angel
2 Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior
2 Jain, Lightsworn Paladin
2 Wulf, Lightsworn Beast
2 Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner
2 Aurkus, Lightsworn Druid
1 Ehren, Lightsworn Monk
1 Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter
1 Plaguespreader Zombie

Spells: 13
3 Charge of the Light Brigade
3 Solar Recharge
2 Cold Wave
2 Monster Reincarnation
1 Heavy Storm
1 Giant Trunade
1 Monster Reborn

Traps: 5
2 Zero Gravity
2 Compulsory Evacuation Device
1 Beckoning Light

Extra Deck: 15
3 Goyo Guardian
2 Stardust Dragon
2 Colossal Fighter
2 Red Dragon Archfiend
2 Thought Ruler Archfiend
2 Magical Android
1 Iron Chain Dragon
1 Avenging Knight Parshath

Side Deck: 15
3 Royal Decree
2 Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter
2 Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror
2 Imperial Iron Wall
1 Celestia, Lightsworn Angel
1 Aurkus, Lightsworn Druid
1 Ehren, Lightsworn Monk
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Beckoning Light
1 Dust Tornado

*Credit to 'DM2K' for the original concept.*

==========================
Martin Stephens
==========================
Monsters: 20
3 Grandmaster of the Six Samurai
3 The Six Samurai - Yaichi
3 Spirit of the Six Samurai
3 The Six Samurai - Zanji
2 Hand of the Six Samurai
2 Psychic Commander
2 Krebons
2 The Six Samurai - Irou

Spells: 14
3 Cunning of the Six Samurai
3 Six Samurai United
2 reinforcement of the Army
2 Emergency Teleport
1 Heavy Storm
1 Reasoning
1 Lightning Vortex
1 Monster Reborn

Traps: 6
3 Solemn Judgemnt
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Double-Edged Sword Technique
1 Mirror Force

Extra Deck: 15
3 Magical Android
3 Goyo Guardian
2 Stardust Dragon
2 Colossal Fighter
1 Red Dragon Archfiend
1 Thought Ruler Archfiend
1 Avenging Knight Parshath
1 Gaia Knight, the Force of Earth
1 Gladiator Beast Gyzarus

Side Deck: 15
2 Enishi, Shien's Chancellor
2 Great Shogun Shien
2 Kycoo the Shost Destroyer
1 Hand of the Six Samurai
2 Royal Oppression
3 Dust Tornado
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Scapegoat
1 Double-Edged Sword Technique

==========================
Aaron McInerney
==========================
Monsters: 18
3 Zombie Master
3 Pyramid Turtle
2 Caius the Shadow Monarch
2 Ryu Kokki
1 Giant Rat
1 Armageddon Knight
1 Marshmallon
1 Vampire Lord
1 Morphing Jar
1 Regenerating Mummy
1 Spirit Reaper
1 Paladin of Cursed Dragon

Spells: 14
3 Allure of Darkness
2 Card of Safe Return
3 Book of Life
1 Card Destruction
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Foolish Burial
1 Monster Reborn
1 Shield Crush
1 Heavy Storm

Traps: 8
3 Solemn Judgemnt
3 Dark Bribe
1 Mirror Force
1 Reckless Greed

Extra Deck: 0

Side Deck: 0

==========================


-PJ

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The Past and the Present Collide

PJ Tierney (Tele-DaD)
-vs-
Andrew Murphy (Chaos Control, pre-AST)

Reported by Alex Hayes


-

In an attempt to settle the debate between two of the most memorable decks in the history of Yu-Gi-Oh! table-topper PJ Tierney (Currently ranked #1 in Ireland) and renowned deck-builder and strategist Andrew Murphy took to the field in a veritable clash of the titans; the infamous traditional Chaos deck replete with the legendary Envoys against the current Tier 1 deck - Teleport Dark Armed Dragon.

Will new-age speed and consistency overcome old-school power and explosiveness? We were about to find out.

Weekend Report



Fortune Tour Challenge : Cork
Hobby League : Cork (Week 4 of 4)

Standings (Swiss)
1st. [5-0] PJ Tierney
(T-DaD)
2nd. [4-1] Thomas S.
(T-DaD)
3rd. [4-1] Mark S.
(Zombie Synchro)
4th. [3-2] Alex H.
(T-DaD)
5th. [3-2] Seàn L.
(Abundance OTK)
6th. [3-2] Kenneth W.
(Warrior Toolbox)
7th. [3-2] Seamus A.
(Zombie Hero)
8th. [2-3] Aaron McI.
(Monarchs)


Playoffs:
PJ Tierney [defeated] Aaron McI.
Thomas S. [defeated] Seamus A.
Mark S. [defeated] Kenneth W.
Alex H. [defeated] Seàn L.

PJ Tierney [defeated] Alex H.
Thomas S. [defeated] Mark S.

PJ Tierney [defeated] Thomas S.


Thoughts:
After losing last week I noticed quite a few problems with my experimental non-Draw deck and scrapped it for the 'standard' T-DaD variant:

[41]
[19]-[15]-[7]
-
3 Destiny Hero - Malicious
3 Krebons
2 Dark Armed Dragon
1 Breaker the Magical Warrior
1 Destiny Hero - Diamond Dude
1 Destiny Hero - Doom Lord
1 Caius the Shadow Monarch
1 Elemental Hero Stratos
1 Mystic Tomato
1 Dark Grepher
1 Snipe Hunter
1 Necro Gardna
1 D.D. Crow
1 Sangan
-
3 Emergency Teleport
3 Allure of Darkness
3 Destiny Draw
2 Reinforcement of the Army
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Monster Reborn
1 Brain Control
1 Heavy Storm
-
3 Solemn Judgment
2 Phoenix Wing Wind Blast
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Crush Card Virus

3 Stardust Dragon
3 Goyo Guardian
2 Thought Ruler Archfiend
2 Red Dragon Archfiend
2 Colossal Fighter
2 Magical Android
1 Avenging Knight Parshath

3 Skill Drain
2 Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer
2 Destiny Hero - Defender
2 Dust Tornado
1 Compulsory Evacuation Device
1 Zombyra the Dark
1 Spirit Reaper
1 Giant Trunade
1 Mirror Force
1 D.D. Crow


I played well enough at the event, though I did need some time to 'warm up' early on and made quite a few mistakes in my first round match (like forgetting to use the 'free' Destiny Draw I got off Diamond Dude, biggest misplay I made all day). Luckily, I ironed those out after the first game and was back on form for the rest of the day. I faced off against T-DaD 4 times (both players twice) and the games were a little tricky for different reasons. Against Tom it was the Solemns and triple Caius (along with the fear of Plasma hitting the field) which posed the biggest threat and Alex's Necro Gardnas and tricky tech but I won through in the end.

The Skill Drain side is officially pointless in my meta as there's not enough decks that I don't already have a big advantage over already to warrant using them. Also, when I did side in the suite, Zombyra was doing nothing for me other than being Allure bait. The rest of the side was fine, as was the main. Mystic Tomato = free Krebons most of the time.

Overall I was happy with the event and can now relax a little since I've qualified for the Fortune Tour Finals (I also won the Hobby League by a huge margin).


-PJ

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Tech Time : Compulsory Evacuation Device



This week's tech card is Compulsory Evacuation device, a card with a very simple effect that rarely saw play in the past, but with the advent of Synchros, it's a card worth considering.

The main reason it wasn't played in the past is because of 'card advantage', a theory which many believe is the most important in the game. (Personally, I believe it is important, but not to the point where every game is won or lost because of it) Kicking a monster back to the hand was essentially a 'minus 1' as your opponent would still have the same amount of cards in control and you would have one less (the spent Evacuation). While that is still the case, the recent introduction of Synchro Monsters to the game of Yu-Gi-Oh! is the single biggest factor in the rise of play this card has seen. The reason? Synchros burn up resources. For the standard Synchro Summon you are giving up (at least) 2 monsters in order to summon a bigger one. If you had to play other cards to get those 2 cards out, then that's more that you risk losing if your Synchro is gone. What Compulsory does essentially is remove the Synchro monster for 'free' as it goes back to the Extra Deck and not to the Hand, which eliminates the card's inherent 'minus 1'. Depending on how your opponent set up the Synchro Summon Compulsory can even be a 'plus 1' at times, but that isn't what matters, it's the fact that the monster is gone and would take another 2-3 cards to bring back.

The card has the usual downsides though. First, it's a trap card and comes with all the negative aspects of that type. Secondly, outside of kicking back a Synchro or a similarly 'costly' monster it is not much use, especially if your opponent can just summon it again that turn. (think Judgment Dragon, Test Tiger or Grandmaster of the Six Samurai). Finally, it's dead against Thought Ruler Archfiend, the only Synchro Monster with a built-in target protection effect. I think the best way to describe this card would be to call it an 'alternative Phoenix Wing Wind Blast'. It's slightly weaker, but has no cost in comparison. Worthy of a side-deck slot or 2 in my opinion.


-PJ

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Apologies



I was meant to write up 'Playing to Win : Part 4' yesterday in its regular Tuesday slot, but unfortunately, I had a lot of other things to do aswell and it had to take a back seat. My apologies to anybody that was waiting for it, it will be up next week instead.


-PJ

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Weekend Reports



Fortune Tour Cup - Limerick

Standings (Swiss):
1st: [4-0] PJ Tierney
(T-DaD)
2nd: [3-1] Christopher M.
(Fusion Heroes)
3rd: [3-1]Evan B.
(Macro Monarchs)
4th: [3-1] Niall O' C.
(Synchro Samurai)
5th: [3-1] Kieran D.
(GB)
6th: [2-2] Kim W.
(Crystal Beasts)
7th: [2-2] Kieran W.
(Synchros)
8th: [2-2] Eamonn H.
(Synchros)


Playoffs:
PJ Tierney [defeated] Eamonn H.
Niall O' C. [defeated] Kieran D.
Christopher M. [defeated] Kieran W.
Evan B. [defeated] Kim W.

Niall O' C. [defeated] PJ Tierney
Chris M. [defeated] Evan B.

Chris M. [defeated] Niall O' C.



Hobby League : Cork (Week 3 of 4)

Standings (Swiss):
1st: [5-0] PJ Tierney
(T-DaD)
2nd: [4-1] Alex H.
(T-DaD)
3rd: [3-2] David D.
(Decree Monarchs)
4th: [3-2] Thomas S.
(T-DaD)
5th: [3-2] Brian A.
(GB)
6th: [3-2] Kenneth W.
(Warrior Toolbox)
7th: [3-2] Seamus A.
(Macro/Oppression Gadgets)
8th: [3-2] Stephen O' D.
(Burn)


Playoffs:
PJ Tierney [defeated] Stephen O' D.
Thomas S. [defeated] Brian A.
Seamus A. [defeated] Alex H.
Kenneth W. [defeated] David D.

Thomas S. [defeated] PJ Tierney
Seamus A. [defeated] Kenneth W.

Thomas S. [defeated] Seamus A.




Thoughts

Getting knocked out in the smis twice in a row is slightly annoying, but I did okay. I was kind of chancing my luck by running the same deck 3 weeks in a row but I'm not blaming my losses on that. I felt that i played pretty well this weekend, bar one or 2 stupid misplays here and there. In the Limerick event the Samurai player was maining Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror which caused me a lot of trouble. Eventually it all came down to a 'live or die' roll with a Snipe Hunter and I rolled 1/6 twice in a row. On the Sunday I was playing really well, though I had a few tight games. I ended up losing in the mirror due to a dodgy hand and couldn't make a comeback.

The deck without D-Darws worked well over the last 3 weeks, but it does have its flaws. For a start it cannot finish games off as swiftly as a D-Draw build. (in one game I was on 14,000 to my opponents 1,400 and couldn't force the final damage through) The deck also falls to 'trump cards' too easily. I think I'll revert to the 'standard' build again and work on a few things this week.



-PJ

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Looking Ahead : Secret Village of the Spellcasters



Until we know Gladiator Beast Retiari's effect (been hearing rumours that it's an 1800/1000 card that destroys face-up's and can't 'tag out') I'm just going to have to find some other things to feature in the meantime. After looking at the Crossroads of Chaos spoiler this week's card caught my attention and could have a lot of potential.


Secret Village of the Spellcasters
Field Spell
-
If you control only Spellcaster-Type monsters, your opponent cannot activate Spell Cards. If you control no Spellcaster-Type monsters, you cannot activate Spell Cards.



Spellcasters just got a big trump card against the best decks of the format with this. The 'good part' of the card should be easy to fulfill, with cards like Magician's Circle and Magical Exemplar keeping your field presence throughout the game. Once you get that effect off you can cause a lot of trouble for your opponent, especially T-DaD players who almost 'need' to play 5-6 Spell Cards a turn to get their deck going. With this card being 'live' and the right protection, you can lock your opponent out of the game quite easily and you'll need to as the flipside of this card can be just as devastating to you. Having no spellcasters means having no spells and that could be quite the problem depending on what way the deck is built (I haven't seen any Secret Village decks online so I don't know how they work, but I presume they can play around the negative effect of this card).

There isn't really much else to say about the card, it's a simple, balanced effect that you should watch out for come Christmas time.


-PJ

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The Archive : Twenty Turn Clock



Around this time last year myself and Jeff T. (another Limerick player) were working on decks for the upcoming Pharaoh Tour (it's re-named the Fortune Tour this year) Qualifier. I was in my usual state of tryi8ng out too many different decks and having nothing to run on the day, while Jeff was running Zombies. The day before the event we were doing some testing and his deck was failing. After a bit of snooping around the Internet we found this article and Jeff built the deck (with a few minor changes). The next day I scrubbed in the event (I ran Demise for some strange reason) while he won with Final Countdown. While I don't think the deck can be competitive in the current format (which is incredibly fast) I still like the deck and wouldn't mind building a casual version sometime soon.


=========


Twenty Turn Clock: Part 1
Kevin Cavanagh
7/25/2007

Looking over the last thirty-two decks from the Shonen Jumps in Detroit and Phoenix one thing became very clear…this metagame has grown just about as stale as you can get. Every decklist looks the same for the most part. 90% of the decklists from the event are built around the same Machine Aggro engine or a Monarch based control build. I remember at least when Demise was in the metagame people were trying to play everything to beat it. I see so much originality and creativity when people are complaining about One-Turn-Kills and then none once the metagame settles down. Perhaps its because nothing can beat these two decks; maybe Raiza was that last little thing that monarch decks needed to make sure that nothing else can be played in the metagame.

All that being said, there was really only one deck that stood out as original and creative that was available for me to look at on metagame. Devin Djuricin had his deck reviewed on metagame by Jason Grabher-Meyer when he was X-2 at a Shonen Jump simply because there was nothing better and original to review from the X-1 and above tables. The deck in question is a build based off of the card Final Countdown, one of the game's most drawn out and hard to be consistent win conditions.

Jason gave a little review on metagame on the day of the event, but I plan to expand on his analysis and then change the deck up a little as I think the deck has one huge weakness. However, before I get into all that…the deck…

Devin Djuricin
Shonen Jump Detroit
Deck Title: Twenty-Turn Clock

3 Final Countdown
3 Lava Golem
1 Morphing Jar
3 Solemn Judgment
1 Spirit Reaper
3 Threatening Roar

1 Giant Trunade
1 Level Limit - Area B
3 Magical Mallet
3 Messenger of Peace
3 Nightmare's Steelcage
1 Scapegoat
1 Swords of Revealing Light
3 Upstart Goblin

1 Gravity Bind
3 Jar of Greed
3 Thunder of Ruler
3 Waboku

Analyzing the Deck – Card Selection
Even though every article I have the same “Card Selection” subject title right after the decklist…it's more like “Tech Selection” for most of the decks that I right. For the most part, your typical deck you see nowadays at any event will have the same base set of cards. If your opponent is playing monarchs he's going to have 7-8 monarchs, Brain Controls and Soul Exchanges, Dekos and Spies, etc. Machines will have Cyber Dragons, Troopers, Dekos, Limiter Removal, and Chimeratech possibility. With a deck like this, card selection is more important then ever because you're making something that doesn't have a unique design out there for you to follow. For the most part – every decision you make is yours and yours alone, which is why people tend to shy away from making decks that don't look like others. Let's analyze this particular deck piece by piece…

The Weakness
3 Lava Golem
1 Spirit Reaper
3 Nightmare's Steelcage
3 Messenger of Peace
1 Scapegoat
1 Swords of Revealing Light
1 Level Limit – Area B
3 Waboku
3 Threatening Roar
3 Thunder of Ruler
1 Gravity Bind

This is what I believe is the weakest part of the deck that Devin made. I think he packs the deck with may too much stall and he would almost need to rely on Solemn Judgement in the monarch matchup to show up. Solemn has to deal with Mobius the Frost Monarch coming out of the board (out of the main in some matchups) as well as needing to stop the main problems of Mystical Space Typhoon, Heavy Storm, and the growing in popularity Giant Trunade. This makes Waboku and Threatening Roar have the greatest importance to the deck. Solemn can only go so far, so using it on the big threats like Heavy Storm and Mystical Space Typhoon is your optimal play with this deck. Follow that up with using Waboku and Threatening Roar when Dekoichis / Mystic Tomatoes are trying to sneak past your Messengers and when your opponent goes for a Giant Trunade and you have the basic principals of how the deck is able to stall the game out without making a misplay.

The big weakness I see with this deck is the “one big turn” that turns the game around. Monarchs can do it with Monarchs and support cards given the chance and Machines need 2 monsters and a Limiter Removal for the most part and they can get it done. When playing the deck you should think of it like this…if your opponent gets one battle phase where they cannot be stopped, you're likely going to lose the game. Point blank.

Changes to “The Weakness”
-3 Lava Golem
-2 Messenger of Peace

Those would be the four cards I would take out from the portion of the deck I outlined above. Lava Golem might be useful in game one, but a good player that you would see at the upper tables will never allow you to beat him with a Lava Golem. Messenger of Peace is good, but it simply can't stop some of the things that monarchs and machines have to offer. Cyber Phoenix, Gravekeeper's Spy, Mystic Tomato, and countless other thing are going to run right through that. If you can keep the amount of cards you have to commit low, that would be optimal. Messenger of Peace could mean you need to commit more to the field when your opponent drops something small.

The deck doesn't have a whole lot of drawing power. Let's face facts, running effectively two monsters on your side of the table basically means they're getting blown up every single time by an Exiled Force, Nobleman of Crossout, or the growing in popularity Snipe Hunter. While Morphing Jar is huge if you get it to go off, I wouldn't count on your chances being all that amazing of it ever going off in a game. Your drawing power is limited to Upstart Goblin and Jar of Greed, both of which are being run in a full playset. I think the deck needs a bit more, so these are my changes.

+2 Reckless Greed
+1 Mystical Space Typhoon
+1 Mirror Force
+1 Torrential Tribute

Even good players won't see the Mirror Force and Torrential coming down from you. When you play against stall you don't expect to see destruction, which is why having the two biggest heavy hitters will take a lot of people off guard. Expect to see a lot of players commit everything they have to the field, just to get ready whenever they can get rid of your Messenger / Gravity Bind / whatever is currently halting them. Mystical Space Typhoon is what you want to see in those situations, as they will expect a Waboku when they get a Mirror Force to the face. Mystical in our deck is simply for Royal Decree coming in game 1. You auto-lose if a Royal Decree is turn face up against you. Solemn can't stop anything once it gets flipped up and then the “one big turn” is close and near. Reckless Greed – draw lots of cards. That's about all it is there for.

How the deck wins
The deck has only one win condition and that's wining via Final Countdown. Final Countdown has be to activated for twenty turns (effectively ten opponents battle phases) in order for you to win. It also costs 3000 life points to play, so you are basically going into every game working with a 5000 life point count. The deck has no way to gain life; so don't expect to come back from any strike larger then 5000. You need to draw Final Countdown and play it as quickly as possible. You can concern yourself with living once you set your opponent to a clock and put the pressure on them. Activate every Upstart Goblin when you draw it and set every Jar of Greed and Reckless Greed the turn you draw them as well. Draw as often as possible and don't ever hesitate to play Final Countdown the second you draw it. There's no use waiting around for anything…every turn matters when you play this deck.

The Nine
Waboku, Threatening Roar, and that other one that is only played in this deck all become the focus of what you want to draw once Final Countdown is activated. If you can wait and not use any until you play Final Countdown that would be optimal. With the draw power of the deck, you're likely to draw 5-6 of them by the time the ten turns is up, which gives your opponent a grand total of 4-5 attack steps to kill you. If they simply don't have the magic and trap destruction in a game when the countdown is running, you win. Take as much damage as you can in the early game if it isn't going to be lethal to you. If your opponent swings for 4800 on turn 2 and you've all ready paid the 3000 to Final Countdown, take it. That's one less turn you have to worry about keeping yourself alive. Only use resources when you cannot live. If you know you're opponent plays burn…you're kind of in a bad matchup anyway.

Breaking it down – One Simple Rule
Your entire game comes down to how fast you can draw Final Countdown. Your deck must be forty cards and you will Magical Mallet for the maximum every time you don't have Final Countdown in your hand. Don't keep any of “The Nine” or anything else back if you don't have the winning card in the first place. That's the only rule when you play this deck…Final Countdown as soon as possible and figure out the rest as you go along.

With the lack of anything new to write about yet, I will pick up next week where I have left off this week. We still have to review the two biggest matchups you will face right now (Monarchs and Machines), as well as construct a decent sideboard and also be ready for what you should expect to come out of your opponents sideboard.

Until Next Week,

Kevin Cavanagh
Amp- We run through you.

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Discussion Thread
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As I've said before, I like the deck, but it is going to be very difficult to create a version for this format. If I get tired of T-DaD, Gladiator Beasts or my 'third deck' (more on that once I actually get the cards for it) I might give Final Countdown a go in the coming months.



-PJ

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Tech Time : Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer



The recent Shonen Jump Championship was certainly an eventful one, the reign of Gladiator Beasts fell like Rome and there is a new deck at the top: Teleport Dark Armed (T-DaD). With this, people will eventually start running cards that would have previously been "Gyzarus'd" to kingdom come and new (or returning) tech will see play. This week's card is one of those.

Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer was (to my knowledge, I've only been playing competitively since 2007) initially a tech choice during the Chaos era, stopping your opponent from removing a Light and Dark to summon one of the Envoys while also cutting their Light/Dark count down to zero whenever possible. With T-DaD doing similar things with the Graveyard Kycoo can rise again. First off, it prevents your opponent from removing Destiny Hero - Malicious to summon a second and set up a Synchro Summon. It also makes Necro Gardna a dead card and prevents Dark Armed Dragon from wrecking your field. It also stops your opponent from playing D.D. Crow, which is always a good thing, especially in the mirror match. In fact, it's the mirror-match where this card will see most play. From the few mirror-matches I've played in already, whoever got out Kycoo first would be able to control the game unless the opponent could find quick answers and the card has been so useful to me in other matchups that I might even consider main-decking a copy in the near future.

It's also an 1800ATK beatstick which is the highest(usual) ATK score most decks can bring out independently of other cards. In addition to that, most of today's top decks are very grave-orientated. T-DaD has already been explained, Gladiator Beasts usually set up their major plays through Gladiator Beast Darius and Lightsworn kicks its entire deck to the grave in a matter of turns. Having a Kycoo out (with whatever protection is relevant) can potentially shut down most of these deck's big plays. Come November it will also be a reliable ally against Zombies, which get a huge boost from Crossroads of Chaos. The card is also a Dark monster , which has many obvious plus-sides.

The card (like every other card in the game) is not without its shortcomings though. That 1800ATK will make this card fall to Crush Card Virus and Bottomless Trap Hole, and it needs to do battle to start hurting your opponent's grave. Its defence is pretty low too so a quick Enemy Controller/Book of Moon can leave it in a vulnerable state. The Dark attribute also means its first effect can be negated by Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror and you will take 1,000 points of damage if a Caius hits the field.

Other than that though, it is a solid card, and worth taking up 2 slots in your side-deck at the very least.


-PJ

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Playing to Win : Part 3




By now, some of you will have been following my interpretations of David Sirlin's 'Playing to Win' series and may have read his as well as mine. So, before reading on with Part 3, I would suggest you read my 2 previous articles (here, and here), and a few of Sirlin's articles if you like.

--


How Far Should You Go to Win?


"Yu-Gi-Oh! is serious business" is a phrase you'll often hear on the forums and it is not without merit. When you take into consideration the prize structure for the Shonen Jump Championships and similar events (I've heard of $1,000 unsanctioned tournaments in the US and so on) and the idolisation that 'pro' players get for consistently topping these major events you can be forgiven for taking this game a little more seriously than what would be seen as 'acceptable'. Doing everything that's possible within the game to win may be the right way to go, but does it have its limits? Should players exploit any flaws in the design of cards or the game in general to win? The simple answer is 'yes'.


"If an expert does anything he can to win, then does he exploit bugs in the game? The answer is a resounding yes. The player cannot be bothered to interpret the will of the game designer as far as which moves are “fair” and which moves are not, or which moves were intended and which moves weren’t. It’s irrelevant anyway. The player knows only moves that lead to winning and moves that don’t."


Basically, if there is a card, deck or combo that was not taken into consideration by the developers of the game yet gives you a better chance of winning, you should use it. An example of this would be the rise in power of Gladiator Beasts this summer. I'm pretty sure that Elemental Hero Prisma wasn't initially designed to be abused with Cold Wave and Test Tiger (it was probably meant to be used in Fusion Hero decks to set up Polymerisation/Miracle Fusion combos, but none of that matters now) but abused it was and rightly so. Dimension Fusion wasn't designed to help you draw your entire deck in a single turn, but that's what it ended up doing (for some players) before it was Forbidden. 'Breaking' cards 'against the will of the designers' is a perfect example of playing to win and should be promoted in competitive play. Yu-Gi-Oh! players and deckbuilders should not be tied down by notions of pleasing the card designers, if they do it holds them back.


What about actual play? How far should a player go? Should they cheat, ruleshark, trash-talk, intimidate their opponent or whatever? This is where it gets tricky. Cheating is obviously a big no-no, and Upper Deck severely punish anybody that cheats in this game (provided they have proof). Rulesharking isn't 'illegal' per say, but it is very unsportsmanlike and should be kept to an absolute minimum. By the notion of 'playing to win' you should be rulesharking, but at the end of the day it is still a game, and as such, moral ethics and sportsmanship should be respected at all times (ie: 'playing to win' has its limits and breaking those could be harmful). Trash-talking and intimidation will be explained next week in Part 4.


"So what lengths should a player go to in order to win? A player should use any tournament legal move available to him that maximizes his chances of winning the game. Whether certain moves or tactics should be legal in a tournament is a totally separate issue that we’ll get to later. For now, the issue at hand is that if it’s legal in a tournament, it’s part of the game, period. Players often fault other players for “cheating” or playing “dishonestly” when they use (legal) tactics that should not be allowed in a tournament, often because they are exploits of bugs. The player is never at fault. The player is merely trying to win with all tools available to him and should not be expected to pull his punches. Complaints should be taken up with the governing body of the tournament (or the community of players) as to what should be allowed in a tournament. This is a dead simple issue that confuses too many players."


Short article this week, shouldn't take more than 5 minutes to look over. Most of the major principles of 'playing to win' have been discussed already and it's only the minor details that remain.

-PJ

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Weekend Reports



Local Tournament : Limerick

Standings
1st: [4-0] PJ Tierney
(T-DaD)
2nd: [3-1] Kieran W.
(Arcana Synchro)
3rd: [3-1] Kieran D.
(Gladiator Beasts)

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Hobby League : Cork (Week 2 of 4)

Standings (Swiss)
1st. [5-0] PJ Tierney
(T-DaD)
2nd. [4-1] Seamus A.
(Macro-Oppression Gadgets)
3rd. [4-1] Thomas S.
(T-DaD)
4th. [3-2] Christopher M.
(Fusion Heroes)
5th. [3-2] Mark S.
(Zombie Synchro)
6th. [3-2] Brian A.
(Gladiator Beasts)
7th. [2-2] Mungo H.
(Zombie beatdown)
8th. [2-3] Alex H.
(T-DaD)


Playoffs:
PJ Tierney [defeated] Alex H.
Mungo H. [defeated] Seamus A.
Mark S. [defeated] Christopher M.
Thomas S. [defeated] Brian A.

PJ Tierney [defeated] Mark S.
Thomas S. [defeated] Mungo H.

PJ Tierney [defeated] Thomas S.



28/9/2008 : Hobby League (Cork, Ireland) : Final from PJ Tierney on Vimeo.


Thoughts:
I ran the same main deck as last week, card-for-card, and it feels really good now. The deck's a little slower than Destiny Draw variants but it makes up for it by being more reliable in the mid/late game. I tweaked a few things in the side, trying out a few cards like Malevolent Catastrophe (didn't work well), Nobleman of Extermination (fantastic, I removed THREE Solemn Judgments at once during swiss in Cork) and Soul Release (was kinda dead, Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer is better). I might main the Kycoo considering I sided it in in 90% of my matches over the weekend.

Regarding the finals video above: I played like an idiot in Game 1, making quite a few bad reads, misplays, procedural errors and the like which would cost me games in bigger events. The one that stands out is probably 'Game 1 - Turn 9' where I misread his face-down card (thought it was Solemn Judgment). It was actually Torrential Tribute, but I retained priority to destroy his set Scapegoat, which was chained along with the Torrential. The goats should have been destroyed aswell but I completely forgot about it and almost paid the price for it when he got out Destiny Hero - Plasma. Despite my horrible play, I still won because he had the worst luck ever, milling 2 Malicious with a third in hand, and milling ALL THREE at once in Game 2. other than that, I'm happy with the way I played this weekend, and the deck is near-perfect for me right now.



-PJ

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Looking Ahead : Thunder King Rai-Oh



After looking through the rest of the Crossroads of Chaos OCG Spoiler I couldn't find anything that warranted an article (except for Plaguespreader Zombie, but it was recently featured on FeckinYuGiOh so I'm not gonna bother). Outside of CSOC there are still quite a few things set for release in the coming months and one card has been gathering a lot of attention amongst certain players..


Thunder King Rai-Oh
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LIGHT
Level 4
Thunder/Effect
1900/800
-
Cards can only be added to a player's hand by drawing them from the Deck. If your opponent Special Summons a monster, you can send this face-up card to the Graveyard to negate the Special Summon and destroy that monster.



This card was quite popular in Japan for a while as part fo the 'stun' deck, a Gadget-like control deck that stopped your opponent from doing anything. The deck consisted of playsets of various anti-meta cards such as Doomcaliber Knight, Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo, Royal Oppression and this guy. All of these cards are currently available in the TCG (although Doomcaliber Knight is a $1,000 Shonen Jump prize card) and Thunderking will join them around November when the second volume of the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Manga is released.

In the current Yu-Gi-Oh! environment, Thunderking will help players who want to take down T-DaD and Gladiator Beasts. The first effect is simple enough, people can only draw cards, which makes searchers like Reinforcement of the Army, Gladiator Proving Ground and Sangan useless. It also shuts down part of the Lightsworn strategy by preventing them from getting back milled copies of Judgment Dragon.

The second effect is the more popular one though. When your opponent Special Summons a monster, any monster at all, you can tribute this card to negate the summon and destroy the monster. That shuts down (or at the very least, disrupts) pretty much all of the top decks in the current format. The fact that it negates summons also prevents Stardust Dragon from protecting the targeted monster. Against Gladiator Beasts it can pose quite a threat if played early. Most GB decks cannot run over a 1900 monster without playing Gyzarus, Murmillo or Laquari which all need to be Special Summonned, which Thunderking can stop anyways. T-DaD players will be forced to play around the card, 'baiting' it with a Special Summon that could appear to be a threat, only to start summonning other things once it's gone. Lightsworn players could be forced to 'waste' an Honest on this card before dropping a Judgment Dragon later on. Either way, this card forces 'Tier 1' players to take action and if it's backed up by other means of anti-meta protection, then things get tricky quite fast.

This card will see play in the future, how much play will depend on what strategies people come up with to take down the big guns.


-PJ

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The Archive : The Magic of Making Mistakes



For the last week or 2 I've been stuck thinking of a regular slot for my Thursday articles. Last week I just slapped my European Championship interview up and that was that, but I've found an answer now. There are plenty of articles on Yu-Gi-Oh! out there, but outside of maybe a few websites that get a lot of traffic, most of these articles will go unnoticed or just be forgotten about. So, on Thursdays I'll have a look around and re-post any that I find appealing.





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The Magic of Making Mistakes
Bryan Camareno
June 14, 2007
View all articles by this author



If you know me or have met me before, you’ll know I freely admit that I lose more often than I win. I’ve seen the power of mistakes and how they can help you become a better player. Mistakes in gameplay are often opportunities to learn more, and can make you a much smarter player as well. What a concept!


Why is it good to lose?
There’s a wealth of knowledge to be gained from losing, though no one really enjoys it. You’re much better off learning from the experience of losing than trying to force yourself to enjoy it. If you don’t learn from your mistakes, then you won’t be any further along than when you started. So, there is a “catch” to this theory.


Even the champs don’t always do well
There is an idea circulating in the gaming public that the champions always win and that they never make mistakes. I’m sure some people believe that the secret to great tournament results is never making mistakes and never losing a game. I sincerely hope that you aren’t a part of that crowd, because you are in for mountains of frustration and wasted time.

A core difference between good players and mediocre players is that good players don’t dwell on their mistakes. They learn what they did wrong and move on. It’s just that simple.


Learning how to lose is important
You have to learn how to lose before you can benefit from losing. By that, I mean that you must have a firm understanding of what mistakes are, and how you can use them to your advantage. You must also understand that you are not defined by your mistakes, and that everyone makes mistakes sometimes. There is no such thing as a player who does not make mistakes. Most players are very good at lying to themselves in this respect, and they are doing nothing but a disservice to themselves.

Again, learning how to lose is simple. When you make a mistake during gameplay, think hard on these questions:

What events during the game led me to make this error in judgment?
What can I do to prevent this from occurring again?
What did I learn from this mistake?

When you lose, you can ask yourself similar questions such as:

What can I do to be better prepared for next time?
What did my opponent do well that I didn’t?
How can I use this experience to my benefit the next time it occurs?
What did I learn from this loss?
Should I make improvements to my deck as a result of this?

If you ask yourself these questions, you’ll be much more apt to extract critical information, and that will help you become a stronger duelist.


The Secret of Consistent Players
I’ve learned that the player who plays the game the best usually wins. However, even the player who plays better than everyone can sometimes lose. It doesn’t matter how good you might be in one tournament or one format, because your job as a player is to play your “A” game as often as possible. That’s really the secret: it’s all about consistency.

You won’t always win. That’s just the nature of the game. Sometimes you’ll just lose. Sometimes you’ll make a mistake which will cause a loss. It happens. That one rogue deck might ruin your tiebreakers and you won’t make it to the Top 16.

Just remember that it does happen. Make sure you focus on playing at your personal best.


Good ol’ Yu-Gi-Oh! Wisdom
Here are some tips for optimizing your play skills:

Remember that losing is a part of the game. You gain more from losing than winning.
Be decisive. Make your plays and respond accordingly.
Learn quickly from your mistakes and move on.
Don’t whine when you lose. It is OK to get upset, just don’t whine.
Don’t make the same mistake twice.
Focus on what you are doing, not on what your opponent might do.
Practice, practice, practice. In low-stress environments.
Always have a Plan B: anticipate your opponent’s moves, but don’t try to predict them. Anticipation and prediction are two different things.


Things to remember
I remember a quote about Hall of Fame baseball players that went something like this: “You only have to average three out of ten to make it to the Hall of Fame.”

To me, this just reinforces the concept that you cannot expect to win 100% of the time. It doesn’t happen. Yes, you can go undefeated all day in a ten-round tournament. Can you do it five times in a row? Not likely. It’s an unrealistic goal.

One reason why many players don’t perform well on a consistent basis is that they dwell too much on past mistakes and past failures. There’s no point in trying to fix something that already happened. There will always be more tournaments and more chances to win.

You are remembered in this game for your greatest accomplishments. I’ve had my fair share of accomplishments on the local and Regional level. Many players who know who I am won’t remember the string of humiliating losses that preceded my most recent Top 8 finish. I had dropped out of four Regional Qualifiers due to poor records before that Top 8 victory.

The trick is to not worry so much about what other players might say if you lose. They’ll forget about it eventually anyway. Take Theerasak Poonsombat (or Adam Corn). He’s never won a Shonen Jump Championship, but he’s finished Top 8, Top 4, or in the Finals of many others. Does that make him a less skilled player than a two-time Shonen Jump Champ? Of course not. Besides, you’ll forget that he’s never won a Shonen Jump Championship when he finishes with another amazing record. Winning a Shonen Jump Championship for him would be almost anti-climactic.


I’ll leave you with this quote to think about:

“Your competition is voracious and hungry. They’re out to steal your lunch. If you’re not getting any better, you’re getting worse. In fact, they hope that you’re not getting any better.”
-Brian Tracy


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I quite liked this article, and it resonates with the Play to Win piece I posted on Tuesday. Basically, it's an article asking you to be reflective about your losses/misplays and how you can take them on board and improve in the future. The player who complains or dismisses his losses will more often than not be the one to repeat those errors again in the future. The players who constantly try and improve however will eventually improve given the right attitude.

I remember when I was starting out competitively at my locals. I used to always use up my Fissure/Smashing Ground to clear an attack and do more damage, even when I had a stronger monster on the field. I lost more games that way than I won back then and the better players noticed it in the way I played. They told me that 'damage isn't everything' and that it doesn't matter how fast you bring your opponent down to zero, just that you bring them down to zero. After that I was using my cards when I needed them and not just 'because I have them' and started to improve. It's the kind of attitude that more people could do with to be honest.


-PJ

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Tech Time : Wall of Illusion



This week I'm going to talk about a card that doesn't get a lot of play (in fact, I haven't seen ANYBODY other than myself run this card outside of kids with random decks) but is still quite a useful card.

Looking at Wall of Illusion, it may seem like a weaker version of Legendary Jujitsu Master, but the drawbacks of this card compared to 'Juju' are more than balanced out by its positive aspects.

For a start, it's Dark and has 1,000 ATK, meaning it's CCV/Allure/DaD bait which almost immediately makes this card a better option in T-DaD side-decks. Whenever I was playing 'Juju' and seeing it get hit by a bigger monster I always wondered if CCV would have been a great help in whatever situation I was in. Now that I side Walls instead I have that option of Crushing my monster when it's threatened.

The other advantage of the card is that it 'bounces' the monster while in attack position. A simple Enemy Controller often make Legendary Jujitsu Master useless but that doesn't apply here. No matter how your opponent attacks this they're losing their monster which is exactly what you want to do. When this (or Juju) hits the field the opponent will often do one of 2 things: stall out, summonning a few monsters to rush you once the blocker is gone, or use whatever they have to get rid of the thing as quickly as possible. If you can force them to make plays they don't want to make, then you can take advantage later on.

The one downside of this card compared to Juju though is where the monster battling it goes after the fight. Instead of 'spinning' back to the top of the deck and 'locking your opponent's draw' it gets kicked back to the hand. Regardless, the monster is off the field and that is usually your main aim.

Should you run Wall or Juju? That's up to you, but both have qualities that the other does not possess. Personally, I believe that if you're not running CCV, go with the Jujitsu Master. If you are however, you at least have the option of a Crushable version.


-PJ

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Playing to Win : Part 2



After posting last week's article on Pojo it got quite a mixed response. Some took on the article well, while others couldn't handle what was being laid out in front of them. The overall feeling I got from the thread before it got locked was: David Sirlin's articles and analysis are fine, but the way he went about it is all wrong. After looking back I kind of agree. He looks at 'scrubs' in a degrading sense, which does not fit with what Yu-Gi-Oh! should be about.

So.. before reading on about Part 2, I'll post a little warning: These articles are more leaned towards giving the player a tournament-level mindset, helping them to focus their skill and concentration on the task at hand. The original articles look down on the scrub, while I do not intend to. Please also note that the term 'scrub' should not apply to local-level play, as local tournaments are what Yu-Gi-Oh! is built upon and should not be taken as seriously as larger competitive events like Shonen Jump Championships.

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More on Losing

In Yu-Gi-Oh! there is no such thing as an unbeatable duelist. We all lose at some stage, but how we handle it will define what kind of player we are. You can either take the loss on board, find out where you went wrong (if at all) and gradually improve as a player, or you can be a scrub and start making excuses by taking a losing attitude.


“At least I have my Code of Honor,” a.k.a. “You are cheap!”


You will find this excuse the most across the forums, mainly in the form of 'he sacked me with Gyzarus 5 times in one game' or something similar. Even from this single line you can tell that the defeated duelist is not going to improve from this loss. Rather than look inward and see if he could have played the match better, he takes the moral high ground and starts slating his opponent's Tier 1, or 'cookie cutter' deck or a single card that cost him the game. The loser will find excuses wherever possible to in some way make him seem like a winner in his own mind.


“I lost to a scrub!”


This call usually comes out because of over-confidence in either the players ability, deck or the matchup they had. Seeing your $1,000 deck fall to something like Warrior Toolbox or Crystal Beasts can be disheartening, but in Yu-Gi-Oh! (and most games) you are not entitled to a win just because you're running the 'best deck'. Yes, you should be winning more games than usual with Gladiator Beasts or T-DaD but saying that you'll only lose in the mirror-match or to another 'Tier 1' deck is an elitist attitude which is holding you back. Showing a lack of respect for your opponents skill level or his deck immediately puts you at a disadvantage if they are in the right mindset. If you're thinking in this way you'll play differently, either by holding back, waiting for a big finish, or playing everything you have to show your opponent just how great you are. The following quote fits best and there's no point in me re-phrasing it:

"Sometimes, these “weaker players” really are better than you, and you just aren’t admitting it. And if they aren’t better, then you should not let them win. You should be recognizing and learning from your own mistakes, or you should be improving to catch up to them. Either way, the heart of the issue lies in you, not in the player you just lost to."



While taking an elitist attitude against weaker players/decks can cost you games, the opposite is also true:

“I suck, why even try?”


At the moment I'm currently the highest ranked player in Ireland (I still wouldn't say I'm the 'best' player in the country though) and every so often at locals I come up against a player who thinks I'll walk all over them just because of my high ranking. The player might have a decent enough deck or actually be quite good at the game in general, but because they assume that I'll beat them easily they play a type of game they usually wouldn't and I more often than not win the game. This attitude also comes up when you have a bad matchup. Most decks fall to Gladiator Beasts, that's a fact, so when you're paired up against a player that runs GB you will often think that they will Gyzarus/Heraklinos you before you can even get a foothold in the game. Instead of focusing on whatever (slim) advantage your deck might have, all you can think about is your opponent and how fast they'll beat you down. Taking this attitude loses games and will more often than not end with the "I suck" or "It's GB" excuse.

If you break the above mindset and concentrate on your own game, then you'll hopefully start to do better against 'bad matchups' and 'better players'. All you have to do is play with confidence. I don't really want to use myself as an example (I've seen other writers do it and they come off as snobbish and elitist) but a game I played at locals last weekend should show you that breaking out of the inferiority complex of a bad matchup can win you games that you shouldn't be winning:

In the semi-finals I was up against a Macro-Oppression-Gadget deck (I was running T-DaD). Macro's a bad matchup for T-DaD, as is Oppression, but facing BOTH at the same time? That's auto-loss right there. I fought hard in the first game, but fell in the end, then I started siding and realised that just siding the regular stuff will not work. So, I took a risk and sided out 14 cards. Out went my Dark Armeds, Emergency Teleports, Krebons etc., basically everything that T-DaD usually runs and sided in whatever I had. What I ended up with was a very slow deck with 4 monarchs in it (2 Caius, 2 Mobius) but it was better in this matchup than T-DaD would have been. We played game 2 and I stalled for as long as possible with Wall of Illusion. His Gadgets and everything else in his deck couldn't run over it, so i bought myself about 10-15 turns before drawing into my Monarchs to win the game. Game 3 was more of the same but I got an early Mobius the Frost Monarch and proceeded to win the match despite the almost impossible odds placed upon me.

Anyway, back to the point at hand: losing and dealing with it. The forums (mainly) are full of complaint threads in relation to Yu-Gi-Oh!, some about the price of the game (I'll admit, it is a VERY expensive game if you plan to compete at the highest level), the current banlist or whatever. More often than not though, you see this kind of thing:

“This game is dumb / too random / too boring.”


If it's that bad, why are you still playing? Why are you still posting on a Yu-Gi-Oh! forum? Why are you reading this blog? (Please don't leave, I need all the readers I can get! [laughs]) If the game is as bad as you say, then you shouldn't have a problem with ditching it and finding something else to 'waste' your time and money on. But what if this isn't the case? These claims could often be false, or just plain subjective, however they should not be seen as a reason to base your losses on.

Yu-Gi-Oh! would not be considered 'dumb' by everybody that still spends $100's on the top decks, it would not be considered 'dumb' by Upper Deck, or the various PTOs who work with them to bring Shonen Jump Championships to your state. (or whatever big events we get outside of America, such as Pharaoh/Fortune Tours)

The 'random' comment does have some merit though. Yu-Gi-Oh! has quite a large luck factor as you're not working with the same opening hand, deck, or opponents all the time. A lucky top-deck can win you the game just as easily as your opponent could do the same. Some losses will be like that and it wouldn't be scrubbish in this case to state the fact that your opponent hit the one card in 30/40 that could have saved him. Complaining about Yu-Gi-Oh! in general being 'random' or 'luck-based' however is not the way to go. If the game is so random, how come the same people keep 'topping Jumps'? What makes one of the Bellidos go x-1 at every Jump while 'player X' drops after Round 5? It's hardly a fluke that these people do well. (A case can be made for cheating, but I personally wouldn't accuse anybody of cheating unless I had proof. Also, saying that somebody cheats while having no concrete evidence is VERY scrubbish)

Sirlin's final paragraphs can't be re-phrased any better if we were to put them into a Yu-Gi-Oh! state of mind:

"The “too boring” comment is always an easy way out. Basically, all these complaints are about shifting the blame over losing away from yourself and toward supposed deficiencies in the game itself. Again, sometimes the game deserves to be criticized, but be aware that these complaints are often just excuses that allow you to shrug off a loss rather than actually learn from it.

Catch yourself if you start to fall into any of these losing attitudes and take responsibility for your losses. Only the loser plays the part of the victim. The winner takes charge and actively seeks out improvement."




Well, that's it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the read.

-PJ

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Weekend Reports

Saturday:
Local Tournament : Limerick

Team Event : Standings

1st: [3-0] PJ Tierney/Eoghan M.
(T-DaD/Crystal Beasts)
2nd: [2-1] Alex H./??
(T-DaDless/Random deck)
3rd: [2-1] Kieran D./Calvin W.
(Gladiator Beasts/Corn Monarch)

==========




Sunday:
Hobby League : Cork (Week 1 of 4)

Standings (Swiss)
1st. [4-1] PJ Tierney
(T-DaD)
2nd. [4-1] Brian A.
(Gladiator Beasts)
3rd. [3-2] Thomas S.
('Classic' Dark Armed Dragon)
4th. [3-2] Seamus A.
(Macro-Oppression Gadgets)
5th. [3-2] Mark S.
(Synchro-Zombie)
6th. [3-2] Alex H.
(T-DaDless)
7th. [3-2] Kenneth W.
(Warrior Toolbox)
8th. [3-2] Seàn L.
(Crystal Beasts)


Playoffs:
PJ Tierney [defeated] Seàn L.
Brian A. [defeated] Kenneth W.
Alex H. [defeated] Thomas S.
Seamus A. [defeated] Mark S.

PJ Tierney [defeated] Seamus A.
Alex H [defeated] Brian A.

PJ Tierney [defeated] Alex H.



21/9/2008 : Hobby League (Cork, Ireland) : Final from PJ Tierney on Vimeo.


Thoughts:
This week, after a lot of chatting with some people online, I ran T-DaD without Destiny Draws in an attempt to achieve more consistent results with the deck. The Saturday event in Limerick was a Team event so I didn't get any real testing done there, but I did win the Cork event so I must be doing something right. The deck still lost to Gladiator Beasts although it was quite a close game that could have gone either way. Other than that, it did quite well and performed a lot better than the Destiny Draw build.

Necro Guardnas were always useful and pretty muchy saved me in the semis against that Oppression Macro deck. Macro's a bad matchup for T-DaD, as is Oppression, but facing BOTH at the same time? That's auto-loss right there. I lost the first game (as expected) and decided to take a risk by siding out FOURTEEN cards. I sided OUT my DaDs, CCV, Teleports, Krebons and a whole bunch of other stuff in order to make his deck completely useless against mine. When he attacked into my Wall of Illusion he literally FROZE and had no outs for something like 20 turns. I just stalled until I could clear his backrow with Dusts/MST and ran over him for game. Game 3 was more of the same but I got an early Mobius the Frost Monarch and proceeded to win the match despite the almost impossible odds placed upon me.

The finals is in the video above and I think I played it pretty well. Alex did make a few misplays here and there though but overall it was a tight game that could have gone either way. The only misplay that I made (that I can think of right now, I'll find more during the week) was not chaining D.D. Crow to Spirit Reaper's discard effect. However, I may not have been able to do that anyway, I'll have to check the rulings on it.

Other than that I'm happy with the weekend, how the deck ran, and how I played.


-PJ

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Looking Ahead : Black Rose Dragon



This week I'll be looking at the cover card of the upcoming set (Crossroads of Chaos): Black Rose Dragon.

If you've been watching the Japanese version of the Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's anime recently then you will know about this card already. It is the main card of Aki Izayoi, a Plant duelist who has a desire for destruction. Her signature card, Black Rose Dragon, sums her up entirely. First off, here are the vital details:


Black Rose Dragon
-
FIRE
Dragon/Synchro/Effect
Level 7
2400/1800
-
1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner monsters
When this card is Synchro Summoned, you can destroy all cards on the field. Once per turn, you can remove 1 Plant-Type monster in your Graveyard from play to change 1 Defense Position monster your opponent controls to Attack Position, and make its ATK 0.



This card will be the first 'splashable' Level 7 Synchro to be released in the TCG once Crossroads of Chaos arrives in November and will most likely be an auto-inclusion in every Extra Deck because of that. Teleport Dark Armed (T-DaD)players will most likely be considering Psychic Commander a little more once we get the Dragon as it is only a 'tech' card right now outside of some awkward LV3+LV3 Synchro Summon of Goyo Guardian. Most of the monsters in T-DaD are either LV4 or LV6 so having Black Rose Dragon will make any odd-level Tuners less redundant.

The first effect is going to be abused quite a bit in my opinion. Once the card is Synchro Summonned, it can wipe the field clean. If the T-DaD player has a follow-up (summoning Dark Armed Dragon, removing Destiny Hero Malicious from the Grave to set up another Synchro Summon) then they will gain quite a lead in the duel. Just how well this card's first effect will be utilised is unknown, but having a field clearer almost instantly accessible is something that should not be underestimated.

The second effect will help out Plant decks, which get quite a boost from Crossroads of Chaos. By removing a plant from the grave, you can practically attack directly while taking a monster out in the process. This could be just the kind of boost Plants need to bring them up to a more competitive level.

Like Stardust Dragon, Red Dragon Archfiend and Goyo Guardian, this card will be released in a collector's tin in addition to its booster release, thus providing cheap and easy access to yet another powerful Synchro monster.

This card has potential, just how much potential is what we will find out come November.

-PJ

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European Championship Interview

After my exploits in Amsterdam this Summer, I was asked to do an interview for a Czech Yu-Gi-Oh! site about the event and how I got on. The original interview can be found here. Please note that it was done over an MSN conversation so the sentences may seem a little broken up.




--
[CC]
Good day PJ, could you intruduce yourself for our readers ?
--
[PJ]
Sure. I'm PJ Tierney, (username PJ on various forums), an Irish player who plays with team Feckin'YuGiOh. Been playing sunce about december 2006

--
[CC]
What was the main reason for you to start playing Yu-Gi-Oh! ?
--
[PJ]
Well, back when the anime started my cousins were playing with the 2 starter decks. I saw the Kaiba one and Blue-Eyes looked so cool. I stopped for 2 years then..

--
[CC]
Why did you stop ?
--
[PJ]
My cousins stopped playing, and there was nobody to play against. I was only playing casual games as I wasn't living in a city and didn't know of tournaments. Then I went to Art College. And saw this comic store, The Gathering, in Limerick. I went in and asked about selling some old cards I had and they told me that there was an event on the saturday. I went in and played with thye only thying I had: A Summonned Skull deck.

--
[CC]
So you were crushed i suppose ?
--
[PJ]
Yeah, there were some really good players (who have left the game) when I started. They were all playing Monarchs and whatever was big at the time. I got hammerred by Stein for 2 weeks and then it got banned.

--
[CC]
So you just went there and started playing regulery ?
--
[PJ]
Yeah, pretty much. Kevin M. was the big player there at the time and he told me to go out and get the Warrior Structure. I got it and played with it for a month until the Gadget deck came out. Bought 3 of that and ran Gadgets for 6 weeks. Then a Regionals came up and my 'rise to fame' started there.

--
[CC]
Were there some "strange" reason why were you playing or it was just fun ?
--
[PJ]
It was fun at first, but then I saw how competitve the game was. I signed up to Pojo and started reading articles on Metagame. After seeing some Shonen Jumps I was like 'Wow, this game's like a sport'. I was always competitive and YuGiOh fitted in poerfectly with my lifestyle.

--
[CC]
Yeah, my reason was the same. I just like how competitive this game is. I think we can finally get to the European Championship. Did you enter such a big tournament before ?
--
[PJ]
Euros was the biggest event I ever played in, and by far the toughest, but I did have another big event in January, the Pharoah Tour Finals in Manchester, England. Myself and the rest of the irish went over and wanted to make some sort of impact. I was running Perfect Circle at the time, as was Ireland's #1 Stephen Lynam. There was an event at FanBoy 3 the day before which we used for testing and both of our decks bombed. But we saw that Peps (username at pojo.biz) was killing everybody with a really cool Gadget deck so myself and Lynam went back to the hotel at 12am and netted it. Lynam had all the cards (D-Prison and Soul Taker) while I had to trade like a madman at registration. I ended up giving away a Necroface for half the deck.

--
[CC]
So you decided to play Gadgets again ? How did it went ?
--
[PJ]
It worked really well, countering everything. I had great matchups and went 7-2 and finished 10th. Then...Paul Doherty, a UK player (Hi paul ) went to SJC Orlando and ran the deck. He made it to Top16. Peps was like 'Yeah, I broke the game.

--
[CC]
So you runned Gadgets during that time. What were you running at EC'08 ?
--
[PJ]
I was going to run DaD, but couldn't find the right build. I was testing out so many different things with the rest of Team FeckinYuiGiOh and nothing was working.So I went to the main evenue on Day 1 with no deck! I walked around for a bit and met a few UK players and bumped into Luke Lennard, he's the UK kid who has SJC prize cards. Good player with a lot of potential. He showed me his list and I was like 'Uhh.. I don't have Gold Sarco or Doomcaliber', so I made a few changes and registered with 2 minutes left on the clock. One sec I'll get the list : There it is, after Day 1, in 4th place. It's in German, but their site is really good regardless.

--
[CC]
So i if get it. You "took" his deck and played with it ?
--
[PJ]
Pretty much. I liked the look of it, but I had no time so I said 'screw it I'll go with this'. He went 5-1 on Day 1 with it too, good deck, good kid.

--
[CC]
I think it was a good choice. 7:0 is a nice result. But something went wrong during the second day. What was that ?
--
[PJ]
Round 8 I played against David Dursun (he ended up qualifying for Worlds). We got deckchecked and I got a little nervous. I was checked the day before and the judges thought I was stacking. But everything was okay now. I win Game 1 then in Game 2 I have the upper hand. He made an illegal play (he played Torrential after Armageddon Knight resolved) and I let it go by mistake. He then summonns 2 DaD and I activate Threatening Roar, but in the heat of the moment I also scooped Game 2 on that turn. Game 3 he just plays really well and beats me. He's a good player though, and the TT thing looked like a mistake. I hope he does well at Worlds.

--
[CC]
So you went went down after one mistake ? You ended up not-qualified, but still in a nice place.
--
[PJ]
Yeah, after that game I was a little edgy. And next round I got paired against Glad Beasts. I hate playing against them as I can't handle them. I lost that and then got to play DaD again Round. That game went to time. I make a play for game and he hits me with Rainbow Life. So I couldn't make it up.. Round 11, I play against another DaD (German player) and it goes to time again. After losing Round 11, Ali.(my opponent) said that I made a misplay that cost me the game. Vittorio (Wiktor) was beside him and he said that I need to learn to concentrate more. I ran the numbers last night and even if I made the right play I'd be 100LP short so it didn't matter.

--
[CC]
So you ended during round 12 in which place ?
--
[PJ]
I was in 31st going into Round Played against Noel Garde from France (GB), nice guy, good player, but I lost that game and ended in 40th.

--
[CC]
Did you get some special prize or just coin and a mat ?
--
[PJ]
I got the Coin, and the Mat (I have to say well done to UDE Europe on getting the mats, I know they worked really hard to get them) and some boosters. What I really gained though was experience.

--
[CC]
So you particulary liked the whole event ?
--
[PJ]
Yeah, it was a lot of fun.

--
[CC]
Are you going to surpass the best Yu-Gi-Oh! players in the world ?
--
[PJ]
My ego already has [laughs], but seriously, I still have a lot to learn. At Euros I proved that I can beat the best, but I just need a few more big events under my belt before I can take a big title.

--
[CC]
Can you get to the Worlds next year ?
--
[PJ]
Too early to say. It's really hard. Every round is like the finals of an SJC, it feels that difficult. I'd like to think that I can qualify, but as long as I'm in the running going into the final rounds I'm happy.

--
[CC]
Would you like to tell our readers some more ?
--
[PJ]
Yeah, the most important thing is to enjoy this game. Yeah, I was playing some games really seriously, but that's just me. I enjoy this level of play. But there were some moves that made me laugh out loud in front of everybody. David Dursun hitting me with Ceasefire when he has a full field was epic. But overall, the game's meant to be fun. I enjoy every second of it. Can i give some shoutouts?

--
[CC]
Of course, do as you wish.
--
[PJ]
Just want to say hi and thanks to Team Feckin'YuGiOh, everybody at my locals (The Gathering, Limerick, Ireland), the people on various forums and everybody who wished me luck. Oh, and Luke Lennard for giving me a decklist. Without all you guys I wouldn't be the player I am today or will be in the future.

--
[CC]
Thank you for this interview PJ. I wish you good luck at all events and hope to see you next year at EC'09.
--
[PJ]
Thanks mate, it's nice to be seen as 'famous' enough to get an interview. I'll see everybody at PTF and EC 09.


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Tech Time : Enemy Controller



This week, I'll be looking at a card that I've always liked to squeeze into my decks at some stage: Enemy Controller. Enemy Controller can be one of the most versatile cards in the game and in the current format, which is incredibly battle-focused, it can act as a swiss-army knife capable of getting you out of situations that you wouldn't normally have 'outs' to.

The reason for this card's versatility lies in that little icon beside the words 'spell card'. Yep, this card's a quickplay, meaning it can be used at almost any time while not having all the weaknesses that trap cards do.

The first effect is pretty straightforward, it can either block an attack or make an opposing monster easier to run over. Also, turning a monster to Defence position will virtually guarantee that your Gladiator Beasts can 'tag out' and get their engine going.

The second effect is where the swiss-army knife references come from (I call it the 'Sac-Swipe' as I sacrafice my monster to swipe theirs for the turn). Depending on the decks that are being played and the skill level of the players involved, Enemy Controller can make some amazing plays with the Sac-Swipe. The following scenario came up when I was testing out 2 decks (Gladiator Beasts and Teleport Dark Armed) last night:

My field: Empty
My LP: 5,100
My hand: Elemental Hero Prisma, Enemy Controller, Torrential Tribute

Opponent's field: Dark Armed Dragon, Stardust Dragon, Armageddon Knight
Opponent's LP: 8,000
Opponent's hand: Empty

It was my turn, and I just drew the Prisma. Normally, I'd play it safe and just set the Controller/Torrential, but since I had the Prisma, I could make a very elaborate play that would get be back into the game. I summoned Prisma, revealed Sanwich (for the first time in 4 months too, it was funny) and sent Sangan to the Grave. I then ran over the Armageddon Knight to get rid of it. At this point Enemy Controller turned the entire game around. I played it right after the Prisma/AK battle (still in the Battle Phase), Sac-Swiped his Dark Armed and ran over the Stardust. In Main Phase 2 I then removed the Sangan in my grave (I had no other Dark monsters in there) to kill the Dark Armed. Finally I set the Torrential, leaving me in quite a safe position, one which was a lot better than I was in at the start of the turn.

A play like that would not have been possible with any other card in the game, and it's these kind of elaborate, unusual plays that can win the tightest of games and mount comebacks that would have been near-impossible otherwise. So next time you have a spare slot in your deck, give Enemy Controller some consideration, you might be surprised at its potential.


Wikia Links
Main Article
Card Gallery
Rulings
Errata History

-PJ

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