Looks like Jae Kim's been writing again.. | The Irish Duelist

Looks like Jae Kim's been writing again..


Many of you already know who Jae Kim (JAELOVE) is, a player who's done work for Metagame.com, Pojo.com and a few other places. He's also topped a bunch of SJCs in his time and is generally well-respected among the YGO community. Last year he started up a site of his own, go-ygo.com, as there was no 'proper' strategy site at the time (this was before the Konami site went online). It was quite popular, but ultimately died off due to other commitments.

Anyways, I was looking around for some info on our newest SJC Champion, Satoshi Kato (I found an article I'm gonna post in a bit) when I saw that Jae's site had been updated. Here's the most recent article from his site.

On Balance: Part One with Volcanic Rockets!
Posted on February 20th, 2010

Konami has definitely taken a step back with Yu-Gi-Oh! The March 2010 list has a number of problems that will undoubtedly lead to a crippling lack of diversity in the metagame.

It’s unclear to what extent Kevin Tewart influenced the list. With September 2009’s iteration of the list, I got the impression from sources close to Tewart that his (and by extension the USA’s) opinion was valued by Konami and led to many of the good changes for the game. Unfortunately, both Konami Japan and Konami USA simply misunderstood the goals and keys to the Lightsworn strategy.

I would like to share what I feel is the main problem with Konami’s approach to each Yu-Gi-Oh! Forbidden list. This is not an indictment of the company in any way; I’m certain Tewart and his staff do the best they can for the game. It’s not fair to personally insult them or any part of Konami for their lack of understanding. I’m sure financial matters hold some sway as well over their judgment.

The Fundamental and Crippling Problem
The reactive (adjusting to events as they occur) and proactive (actively foreseeing and preventing events from reaching fruition) are basically at opposite ends of the spectrum. The benefits of a reactive approach are the lack of overextension or overreaction and the maintenance of order through whatever is necessary. Unfortunately, the reactive approach clearly does not work over the relatively long six month period. A six month period typically features about three to four sets in addition to numerous promotional cards. If you’re not going to do any speculation about the top decks in the next format, your balancing list will be hopelessly behind.

I’m constantly shocked by the extent to which Konami ignores proactive decision making. Six months is simply far too long to just leave alone. Proactive decision making would involve predicting what the next format would create, analyzing the power levels of each deck, and making the appropriate changes. Even if some of the changes were off the mark, the game would be better served by such an approach. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Before we begin let’s introduce a metric for game-balancing.

Card Analysis and Volcanic Rocket
Many months ago I had an interesting debate with many members of Pojo’s Banned/Restricted List Forum. Most of the regulars of this forum (T-Drag, Ravenofrazgriz, Atem, Kitsune Blue, Peps to name a view) are actually some of the most knowledgeable members of Yu-Gi-Oh! balance you can meet on the interweb. I suggest checking out Pojo’s Message Board sometime if you want to discuss Yu-Gi-Oh!

The discussion centered around Volcanic Rocket. I have a good friend, Evan “ Sandtrap” Vargas, who also believes in the power of the Rocket. And so every format, we dutifully try to build a deck that revolves around Volcanic Rocket, Volcanic Shell, and Blaze Accelerator with anti-meta tech. I have top eighted multiple regionals with Rocket decks but have never even considered using it at an SJC.

I use the same principles that help analyze cards for me to also build decks. So theoretically, if my card analysis principles are almost always close to correct….. then deck-building according to the same principles would lead to good results assuming the designers know what they are doing.

Keep in mind that my card analysis always boils interactions down to card advantage. To prove it has a sound basis, I want to throw out the idea that I was using My Body as a Shield, Trap Dustshoot, and Legendary Jujitsu Master in 2005 because of the same principles that I use today. Good cards generally always remain good cards. That’s because the art of Yu-Gi-Oh! dueling can really be analyzed quite thoroughly using card advantage (I did this for Cat Synchro if you recall).

This brings me to the Volcanic Rocket.deck, a mythical dream that Sandtrap and I keep chasing. Rocket is a 1900 that instantly floats the field. This makes the card very good (a bare minimum 7.0) and even better according to long established design metrics. A deck that focuses on card advantage floaters and anti-meta tech should always be tier 1.5 in my opinion.

A Quick Note on Tiers: Tier 0 is the dominant deck of the format (0 means it’s in a tier by itself). Tier 1 is a deck that is one of the favorites to win a Shonen Jump Championship. Tier 2 is a deck that can day 2 an SJC Championship and can win a regional. Tier 3 are decks that are good enough to win locals and regionals in exceptional cases.

If you have a format where a Rocket based anti-meta deck cannot ascend to tier 1.5 (so it has no realistic chance of day 2′ing an SJC), the format is probably messed up. It means the designer has introduced and refused to limit too many cards that break game design. Examples of broken game design include Wulf, Lightsworn Beast, Cyber Dragon, and Gale.

So using this Volcanic Rocket test as a framework, let’s analyze the problem with Konamis’ mentality in part 2 to be released shortly.