Hey everyone, this is The_SynchroGuy, and I’m here to talk about something that’s been on my mind for quite some time, and now I feel like it’s time to talk about it. One thing I’ve seen a lot of players do when they talk about the game, and this is something I’ve done a lot of too, is about their experience playing against a certain deck.
For example, if you say that you just played against something like Evil Eye, you might get a basic reaction of how either the deck is so weak, or why it’s so annoying to deal with it. Or, if you say you just played against Dragon Link, then you’ll get a reaction of how the deck is stupidly OP, or how it should’ve stayed dead.
It’s pretty understandable why we do this since whenever we look at tournament reports, we usually only see pie charts and such about which decks have the highest representation at a tournament. We do this in order to figure out what’s currently the best deck of the format. But I feel like over these years we have adapted the idea that whenever we duel, we usually focus on the deck we are facing, rather than the person who is piloting it.
Now I’m not saying we don’t acknowledge the person that’s playing the deck. But at times, whenever we recall the person, it’s usually someone we know because they’re a friend, someone from our locals, a famous pro player, or a YugiTuber. Heck, even at times if we know the person that piloted said deck that either topped or won an event, most of the time we refer to the deck the player used to top/win the event with. And that’s the thing I wanted to talk about. When you are playing Yu-Gi-Oh, are you playing against the deck, or are you playing against another player?
This is something I never thought too much about before. So what inspired me to make this post? Well, a few different things. The one that first gave me this inspiration came from this old movie from 1993, “Searching for Bobby Fischer”.
For those of you don’t know, Bobby Fischer was a very famous chess player. Considered to be the best chess player that ever lived. However, this movie was not about trying to find Bobby Fischer, or even a documentary about Bobby Fischer. It focused around a young boy who had a knack for chess. His favorite version was playing speed chess, and it was usually against some older gentlemen at the park. After his parents realized his chess skills, they found him a teacher to help him get better at the game.
The teacher did just that, and the boy became one of the best young players ever. But later on, both the teacher and the boy’s father started to push him more towards winning. So much so that he felt that losing was not an option. As a result, he was not having fun anymore. He felt that if he didn’t keep up and win, he’ll let everyone down. Upon realizing how wrong this was, the boy’s father took him to the park to play against one of his friends so he could have fun again. And it was during that game of speed chess that the boy’s friend said something that clicked to me. “Never play the board, always the man. You got to play the man playing the board. Play me. I’m your opponent. You have to beat me, not the board.”
After hearing that, I paused and started thinking about that statement, but applying it towards Yu-Gi-Oh. And honestly, he’s right. Whenever we’re playing a game, we’re not playing against the deck, or the board it makes. We’re playing against another player. I know what it’s like to play against a deck. I’ve played against the AI back on Ygopro multiple times in the past. I’ve even played a different game where you and your friends literally play against the deck. When it comes to playing an actual game of Yu-Gi-Oh though, it’s nothing like those things.
The other thing that inspired me to make this post was when I was doing research on mind games.
As many of us know, mind games is one of the best strategies a player can use in practically any game. Either to get a read on our opponent and figure out their strategy, or to intimidate them into doing something we want them to do. Last I checked, you can’t do something like this against a deck. It’s always being used on the player that’s piloting the deck. And we know this, deep down. Yet, we continue to act like we’re playing against the deck.
Sure, as we grow to get better at the game, we come to recognize what cards a deck will usually play, since most decks usually play the exact same cards. That’s a strategy we use to figure out how it works so that we can find its weak point(s) and exploit it. It’s still a really good strategy that I encourage you to learn if you’re looking to get better at this game. But still, at the end of it, it’s usually the player that’s playing it; a human being. And what are human beings best known for? Making mistakes.
I’ve had my fair share of losses because I made a mistake. Heck, even some of my wins against powerful decks was because my opponent made a mistake. No one can play a deck perfectly. All we can ever do is learn the strategies that we can make with the deck. And sometimes, when things become disarray, we have to go with our gut and wing it. And in those moments, we may end up making a mistake. It happens to everyone.
And every time we get into a sticky situation, we would have to get clever to out maneuver our opponent. Not the deck. If it was just the deck, then it would be so predictable.
If you give a new player one of the best decks in the current format, the deck is not gonna go on autopilot and play itself for the new player. No. The new player has to be the one playing the cards. And if he/she doesn’t know how it works, or even how the game of Yu-Gi-Oh works, they’re not gonna be able to bring out the deck’s true potential. But once they get to that level, they can come to really understanding the deck. By doing so, they can figure out its weaknesses and find ways to keep them from being exploited.
One way is by trying to out maneuver their opponent. Another way is through how they build the deck. This is another thing, I think, many players tend to ignore. While a lot of players can play the same deck, it’s not always exactly the same. That usually happens with players that are on the same team. But even then, those players may have some differences in how they build or play the deck.
Sometimes it’s small. Like a one card difference. Or they will play a few certain cards that the other player is not using. Regardless, it’s not always going to be the exact same deck every time. Will they still be playing the same strategies though? Sure. I mean, why not? As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
Of course though, let’s not ignore the fact that there are other variants of other decks/archetypes as well. Like Eldlich.
There’s the pure version, the Zombie World version, the Evil Twin version, the Zoodiac version, the Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon version, etc. These versions follow the same Eldlich strategy, but it’s what else that gets thrown together with it that makes the difference. And these different versions didn’t just randomly appear one day, they were made by players that decided to mix some other archetypes together with the Eldlich archetype. You see, these decks are not an extension of themselves. They’re an extension of you; the player.
We seem to treat every deck as if it was a living thing. Probably courtesy of the anime. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. What I think is wrong is thinking the player is just the power source for the deck. The deck isn’t its own thing. The monsters aren’t thinking for themselves on what to do. They are your companions; your partners.
What they want is to help you. They want to make sure that you are having a good time. And they’re gonna do that by doing whatever it is you tell them to do. They’ll even work with other archetypes because, again, they all want you to have fun. They’ll only say no when it’s an archetype they are unable to work with.
My point is: the deck is not an extension of the archetype(s) it represents. It’s an extension of you. It tells other players who you are, what you like, and how good you are based on the cards you use and how you play them.
I think one of the things that makes players usually refer to the deck they’ve faced is because it’s an online duel. Now I’m not saying online duels are bad. I’m glad there are ways to play Yu-Gi-Oh online. I love that. But playing online is a little different from playing at your locals. The difference being how you are literally face-to-face with someone in one case, while the other only shows you their username and the profile picture they are using. And when it’s an online duel, when we recall back to that event, the only thing that we have to recall the player is the deck they used. (Or the things they said.)
Online duel or not though, we still tend to recall certain Yu-Gi-Oh moments in our lives and choose the deck(s) that was part of it, as the defining factor. That’s why, I want to issue you a little challenge.
I challenge you to not focus too much on the decks you face. Instead, focus on the player who piloted it. Write down their name so that way you don’t forget them. But if you define yourself as someone that’s “lazy”, that’s fine. Instead, don’t focus and blame a deck that gave you a rough time. The deck was just doing what its owner told it to do because it wants to help its user win the game and have fun.
If you ever get a bad experience, don’t blame the deck. If you want to blame something, turn that something into someone and blame the player. Again, they’re the ones that piloted it and made the deck for what it is. My challenge to you is: don’t focus on the deck. Focus on the player.
Hope you guys enjoyed this! I’ve seriously wanted to talk about this for a while. Did this become a good blog? I don’t know unless you tell me. I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to post this, but since I put some time and effort into it, I had to see this through to the end. Anyway, let me know in the comments what you thought of this post! I would really love to hear from you!
I’ll see you guys in the next one! Hope you have/had an awesome day today!