Hey everyone, this is The_SynchroGuy, and I want to talk about something that I thought would be an interesting topic to discuss. Should Yu-Gi-Oh! be fair or unfair? Now what do I mean by this? Well, in Yu-Gi-Oh!, when you look at the competitive aspect, you will sometimes come across decks that will just not let you play the game. Like this:

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(And this can be made on just the first turn.)


With many different decks like this, it’s almost hard to play the game. However, that’s what a lot of decks do nowadays. But it’s not like a game of whoever goes first will automatically win. Yes, going first does guarantee you that you will get a chance to start off and make a strong board, but that doesn’t always mean you’re gonna win. It’s possible to win going second. Heck, some decks revolve around going second.

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There are also some cards in the game that can help you when you have to go second. Even so though, it’s not guaranteed that you will always get the cards you want and get over your opponent’s board. Luck does play a little factor in this game after all. With all of that said, many players do not like this one bit. This in turn causes them to disway from competitive play, and/or request that some cards that cause this little bit of unfairness to be hit/banned on the next ban list.


With that said, I thought it would be fun to dive into this topic and try to look at it from both sides. What are the benefits and downsides to having this game be fair or unfair? Let’s get into it!

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Fair is a term used to describe something that’s “in accordance with the rules.” But in a more general sense, people would use the word to describe something that both parties would deem to be acceptable. Say for example, if you were to trade one of your cards for one card another player has, that could be considered fair since it’s one card for one card. However, if one person traded a couple of cards that equal to about $50 altogether for one card another player has that’s worth $50 by itself, that would be considered fair since both players traded $50 worth of stuff; meaning, neither player loses any money (in a technical sense).


Anyway, getting back on topic, what would be the benefits of having a “fair” Yu-Gi-Oh! game.


Positive Side:


One major thing I think a lot of people would like to see change the most are the solitaire plays; aka the turn 1 “you can’t play Yu-Gi-Oh!” board; aka the “break my board” challenge. This will be done either by not letting those types of boards be established in the first place, or making it so players that go second are, at the very least, able to get over those types of boards, practically every time.


You could say this would be done either by limiting the amount of special summons a player can do in a turn, or by changing up the effects that some cards have. Such as, changing almost every card that negates stuff into doing something else. Or, we can make the going second player have cards that stop all of those negations (or be able to work around them). There’s quite a few different ways this could go. Heck, this also could result in either FTK decks no longer being a thing, or making it so other decks can either stop or survive the FTK. (I know that’s something I wouldn’t mind seeing happen.)


Another big thing would be making the card prices cheaper. This is an issue that a lot of casual and budget players tend to face. Not everyone is okay with spending $20 on a single card (I’m looking at you, Ash Blossom).

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Since not everyone is made of money, trying to have a more fair version of Yu-Gi-Oh! could help players get the cards they need, and everyone can have access to all of the powerful cards they want. Maybe something like what the OCG gets, where booster pack sets can have all the cards that come in it, but where you are able to get some cards in different rarities. Like you could get a secret rare card as a super rare. (I will admit, that would be nice to see happen.)


I think the biggest thing that a fair version of Yu-Gi-Oh! would entail would be making everyone’s decks be on the same power level. Like even a simple starter/structure deck can go toe-to-toe with a meta deck.

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To be honest, we have had structure decks that did manage to become pretty competitive in the past. It’s just that not every structure deck is like that, unfortunately.


Negative Side:


What? Did you really think there would be no downside to having something that’s “fair”? Well, there is. If Yu-Gi-Oh! became a fair game, then it would become boring as hell. Think about it like this: instead of facing the struggles we face in life, all you had to do was eat, sleep, watch TV, and preserve the human race. That’s all you have to do, and everything else will be taken care of for you. Now ask yourself, if someone offered you that choice, would you take it?


Some of you probably would. But if you ask me, I wouldn’t take that deal even if they paid me on top of it. Because you know what’s going to happen if you take it? Well, first off, you’re going to enjoy yourself. You basically can do almost whatever it is you want to do. Eat what & when you want; sleep when and for how long you want; sounds kind of good, huh? But that’s only in the beginning, and it’s not gonna last forever.


Later on, you know what’s going to start happening? You’re going to get bored. Because it’s the same old thing, over and over. And because of that, you’re then gonna start making some noise; you’re going to be doing something you normally wouldn’t have done just so there would be some excitement for once. Maybe it’s trying to do some video editing, or creating a science project. Heck, you could just simply start a fight with someone, just so you can have something that’s a little bit different in your life for once.


Okay, so how does it involve card games? Well, from what I’ve learned about when it comes to creating a card game, ask yourself this question: if you were to rate every card in one of your booster packs from a scale of 1-10 (1 being the worst, 10 being the best), would you want all of those cards to be 7’s? Or have half of them be 1’s and 2’s, and the other half be 9’s and 10’s? If you said the former (having everything be a 7), then your card game is going to end up failing.

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(That is Mark Rosewater, the head designer for Magic the Gathering.)


One of the reasons why new card games don’t stick around for long is because the people that play it don’t actually love it. Sure, they like it, but they don’t love it. And that’s what that scale question is all about. Do you want people to like your game, or love it? And believe me, you want people to love it.


Of course, getting some people to love your game does mean that there are going to be people that hate it. But it’s better than the alternative, because just having everyone like your game is saying that you’re trying to please everybody. And as we know, you can’t actually please everyone. And you shouldn’t. Let’s say you tried to make everyone in the world like you, well, even if you did manage to do it, there is always going to be at least one person that doesn’t like you. And that’s you.

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Basically, what I’m saying is, if Yu-Gi-Oh! were to become a truly fair game, then not everyone is going to love it. They’ll like it, but not love it. And due to that, the game will meet its end.




Unfair is a term that is said to be, in this case, “not following the rules of a game or sport.” Or in other words, it’s a term we use to describe something that doesn’t follow the “morale code”. For example, if a human was to go fight, say, Godzilla, and he couldn’t use anything but his bare hands, would that be considered to be a fair fight? I would think not because we don’t live in a world where superpowers exist. (And if Godzilla were to attack us, we’re probably screwed.)


Positive Side:


One of the positive things about Yu-Gi-Oh! being unfair is that it keeps the game interesting. As I said before, one of the downsides about the game being too fair was that things would get really boring. The fact that things are a bit unfair is what makes players enjoy this game. Think back to those turn 1 boards. Yeah they are not always fun to play against, but they’re fun to play with. Just the feeling of going off and summoning out so many different monsters in one turn can be a lot of fun.


I think the most positive thing an unfair version of Yu-Gi-Oh! presents is a challenge. Now challenges are probably things that not too many people are a fan of. Specifically when it’s something that they’re not interested in. Or because the idea of failing doesn’t sound ideal to them. Yet, it’s the reason why life can be so interesting and fun.

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Yeah, facing a board that doesn’t let you play the game cannot always be fun, but if you are able to overcome it and pull out the win, how great do you think it would feel? Not knowing if you will be able to pull out the victory or not can be stress inducing. Or even scary. But that’s why when we pull out the victory in those moments, it feels so great. If it didn’t, then things truly would be boring.


Negative Side:


As we just went over, you will have to face things that are not exactly fun. And I’m not just referring to turn 1 boards that will OTK you on the next turn. This also includes stuff like: floodgate decks (i.e. Altergeist, Guru Control, Mystic Mine, etc.), decks where they will rip out every card from your hand (i.e. Gishki, Trickstar, Gottoms, etc..), and even FTK decks. All of these different things will keep you from playing the game. So, kind of like what we’re dealing with in real life. Except, this would probably be taken to the more extreme. Such as, there is no banlist, and everything can be played at 3 copies. (Fun note, I’ve actually read a post about some duelists doing something like this before. A lot of things we would expect, and some surprising things.)


Still though, if this were to happen, then it probably would come down to whoever goes first. At that point, whoever goes first would then, without a doubt, win the duel. Unless the opponent is able to acquire all of the broken hand traps needed that can stop that from happening. But then their opponent would probably don’t have a single card to play in order to win the duel, and everyone would be continuing the duel with so few cards. In that case, would all of the chaos that would emit from this unfairness just clash with itself so much that it somehow balances everything out?…


I think I’m getting too deep into this.




Before we get to the end of this post, I wanted to quickly mention something. I wasn’t sure if this would constitute as being fair or unfair, but wanted to briefly talk about it. And that topic is: mind games.

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Mind games are those moments where you set something, and your opponent thinks it’s something dangerous like Mirror Force or Solemn Strike, but it’s actually a bluff.


In a way, mind games are fair since you are battling against another human being. As such, you would want to figure out what it is they’re planning and try to counter it. Or would it be unfair, since mind games do involve trying to get your opponent to do something you want them to do. And I’m not talking about trying to get your opponent to play a certain card. I mean, trying to get your opponent to forgo, or not use, a card that would give them the win.


Like I said, that’s a tricky one to figure out. Mind games is just something that everyone does from time to time. Even in moments where they’re not even aware they’re doing it. I don’t know, what do you think? Are mind games fair or unfair.


My Thoughts


So now that we’ve gone over both sides, I want to give out my thoughts on both of them.


On the fair side, there are definitely some things I would like to see happen. One of them being the structure deck one. I would love to see every structure deck be able to not only be good to use for local play, but also let players be able to compete with the meta if they choose to become competitive. The last couple of structure decks have not been the greatest, so it would be nice to see that type of change.


And of course, I would love to see prices be more affordable for everyone. That way, everyone can build their IRL deck how they want it to be. It’s always sad when someone can’t have their ideal version of their deck when some cards are out of their price range. Also, being able to have higher rarity cards come out in lower rarities in the same booster box would be pretty great.

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However, when it comes to actual gameplay, I would much rather prefer the unfair version. As we already went over, having everything be fair sounds like it would be great at first, but would later get boring, until we decide to make some noise. Yes this does mean decks like turn 1 “unbreakable” boards and FTK decks will exist, but it’s not like we can’t actually deal with them. There are ways to get over and/or stop them. Even when they’re going first.


Of course, that does mean we have to get lucky at times, but it’s not like we can always win. Plus, there are always going to be moments where something bad happens and we can’t seem to do anything about it. I love the fact that we can do all of these crazy things. (Yes, even the FTK stuff.)

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Yeah it sucks to have to face that stuff and can’t do a thing about it, but again, we have cards that can help deal with stuff. Plus, Yu-Gi-Oh! is usually played in a best 2 out of 3. With the Side Deck, we can increase our chances of winning the next game. Again, that does mean we’ll have to get lucky sometimes, but, again, it can’t always happen.


I’m not saying you want Yu-Gi-Oh! to be something that you can’t lose to. Some of you just want the game to be more back and forth. Kind of like how Yu-Gi-Oh! was back in the old days. But who says those moments don’t happen anymore? They still do, just not as frequent. If you want a little more back and forth Yu-Gi-Oh! though, you could always play some type of control deck in order to slow things down.

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(I hear Guru Control is pretty good.)


Overall though, the way Yu-Gi-Oh! is right now, I would consider it to be both fair and unfair. Fair because there’s always a chance for you to win, no matter how small. And unfair because of all the crazy stuff that happens, and that’s what makes Yu-Gi-Oh! so much fun. All of that unfairness is what makes all the noise whenever we play the game. Yeah it comes with the downsides of getting our butts kicked on turn 1, 2 or 3 sometimes, but you can’t have one without the other; there will always be something bad with the good and vice versa.


All I can say is, if you want that win, then you need to work hard for it. Figure out what cards or strategies you can use to overcome these obstacles that stand before you. Sometimes that can be just acquiring the card(s) itself. There’s always a way to get them, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to get them.

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Yu-Gi-Oh! will not always be fair, but if you think Yu-Gi-Oh! should be fair, that’s when you will truly start to hate everything this game has to offer. After all, how do you know what’s fair and what’s not? Just because someone taught it to you? How do they know what’s truly fair? In the end, no one truly knows what’s fair. If we did, we wouldn’t have to be guessing based on our judgement or what our social norm dictates it to be.


I’m just gonna end this by saying: play Yu-Gi-Oh! however you like. Don’t let it get too chaotic, or things could self-destruct themselves. But don’t let it be too easy or too fair. There needs to be a challenge or else people are gonna be bored with it. Some will indeed hate it, but that also means there’s at least one person out there that loves it.

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Thank you for reading this! You’ve heard my thoughts, but now I want to hear from you? Do you think Yu-Gi-Oh! is currently fair? Why or why not? And would you prefer having this game be fair or unfair? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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I’ll see you guys in the next one! Hope you have/had an awesome day today! :grin: :thumbsup: