Monday, May 2, 2016

Arc V Episode 2 Review

And with that, it seems the main plot has been set into motion!
This episode did a great job following up on the previous one, while also setting up what looks to be the main plot. Yuya wins his duel against Strong Ishijima, and with it, a healthy dose of fame. It turns out that he doesn't remember how to Pendulum summon, making things awkward in front of the press, and his potential new fan club. Yuya duels Yuzu in an exhibition duel, trying to recreate the circumstances under which he pendulum summoned, only to be knocked flat on his back when he fails to pendulum summon again.
The main point of this episode is two-fold: Yuya is trying to rediscover pendulum summoning, and the You Show Duel School is trying to sign on a slew of new students, thanks to Yuya's highly publicized victory. The episode also deals with the resolution of his duel against Strong, which is handled neatly and quickly after an effective recap. Actually, between the new developments with "pendulum cards"and the You Show Duel School hijinks, I nearly forgot that Yuya defeated Strong in this episode -- it was packed!
Despite that, the duel in the second half of the series was very boring. It lasted a total of 4 turns, one of which was Yuya attempting -- and failing -- too pendulum summon, with nothing else to do. The plot demanded a flat duel that has "Failure" written all over it, but it still doesn't make it very entertaining to watch.
It also appears that whoever's in charge of Leo Duel School will be our arc villain, hiring somebody to steal Yuya's pendulum cards at the end of the episode. It'll be nice to have a villain face off with Yuya, although Yuzu pretending to be a villain was quite enjoyable, and made sense, given their backgrounds as performers-in-training. A solid episode, that continues to portray realistic actions and consequences. Here's to hoping Yuya doesn't get caught in the all-too-common fame trap!


- Little action/stale duel in latter half
- Not feeling too attached to You Show Duel School
+ Logical results of discovering new cards and summoning methods explored
+ Yuya's friends matter
+ Dueling female!
+ A legitimate villain appears
+ Feels like two episodes in one!

Arc V Episode 1 Review

Arc V, the latest iteration of the Yu-Gi-Oh! is off to a promising start!
In the first episode, we're introduced to Yuya, the yu-tagonist, along with his female friend, her father, and stoic best friend. In addition, we meet one (or both?) of his parents, leading into serious character development for Yuya.
The basic idea is that Yuya is at a Duel Academy-like school to become a performer, in a future where new advances in duel technology have created "solid vision." These solid holograms have revolutionized dueling, and, as the series progresses, may have even greater repercussions (making the scenery come to life? Please, if the only time Yuya rides his hippo is during a duel, I'm a monkey's uncle). In this episode, he faces Strong Ishijima, the man who ostensibly scared his father into retirement. They duel to the roar of crowds, and while Yuya puts up a decent fight, all hope seems lost, until his pendulum necklace, a gift from his father, glows and his cards change. As the episode ends, Yuya performs the first pendulum summon of the Yu-Gi-Oh! era, surprising the crowd, his opponent, and even himself.
There is a lot to like here, and it's only the first episode! I have some high hopes for Arc V, though that doesn't mean there weren't a few hiccups either.
First off, we have Yuya's parents. I'm not sure if Yoko is supposed to be Yuya's mother or not -- but I'll assume she is. Her husband(?) Yusho had a huge influence in this episode, from the opponent, to Yuya's life philosophy, to the shiny new summoning method. It's thanks to his dad that Yuya is such an upbeat kid, but it's also thanks to his dad running out before a championship duel that Yuya has been coping by making fun of himself for the past three years. From the cold-open duel, it looks like Yuya has been clownish for some time, and his friends don't like it. Based off of his duel with Ishijima, and Yoko's statement that he's reinventing himself, it may be that Yuya has already moved past this self-deprecating phase, and will be more serious and confident in future duels.
Yuya himself is a likable protagonist. He reacts understandably towards his father's disappearance, and is clearly an intelligent duelist. I look forward to seeing how much of his personality will be serious and how goofy he'll be in the future. It looks like we have a duelist closer to Yugi than Yuma here, and that's cause for relief.
Yuya's friends, Yuzu and Gongenzaka, also make their debut in this episode. Gongenzaka appears to be the typical straight man to Yuya's clown, and is generally serious. In my opinion he's a little too gruff towards Yuma in this episode: why would you suggest fighting head-on when your monster is clearly outclassed by your opponent's? Give him a break! However, this is likely just his personality, and won't be a problem if they develop that aspect of his character, rather than just turning him into the obligatory "friend who opposes you" for this episode. Yuzu herself is also fairly generic in her first appearance. Thus far, she seems to be the hot-tempered (ironic, seeing how her father always goes on about his hot blood) female who hits the hero for perceived stupidity. In some ways, Yuzu seems to be similar to Naruto's Sakura Haruno.
While I wonder why more hasn't been said to clarify the situation with Yuya's father, I'm willing to wait for more information. After all, this is just the first episode, and it was jam-packed. We had an entertaining duel, some important backstory, and the introduction of several characters and new, core concepts for the series, such as Action Duels and Solid Vision. Ishijima is a good first opponent for Yuya, being connected to his father, and having a strong, professional aura about him, to combat Yuya's light hearted attitude. In spite of this important bearing on Yuya's backstory, I doubt we'll see more of Ishijima after his defeat, however. I was impressed by the maturity of Yuya's friends when Nico Smiley came to recruit him, and was pleased to see that they are being portrayed as legitimately caring about his emotional health, not just dueling glory.
My favorite part of this episode was Yusho's simple pendulum-based advice to his son: when life pushes, you can push back harder. When you want to cry, laugh, and use that energy to push back.


- Generic Yuzu and Gongenzaka
- Who is Yoko?
- So... Yuya's dad ran out of his life and a duel? Wait, what?
+ Interesting setting
+ Good protagonist
+ Characters act in a believable way
+ Promising character development

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Catapult Turtle Conundrum

Recently, a major errata was made to the OCG Catapult Turtle. It's effect has been changed to activate once per turn now. Most speculation points towards the Pendulum Summon mechanic being to blame, and this being an effort to curb OTK's based off of it in the future, but that's only speculation, given our limited knowledge of Pendulum Summoning. 
I'd like to step aside from Catapult Turtle for a second, and discuss a recent trend in the OCG. The rules were recently changed so that the player going first does not draw, to balance out the inherent advantage that comes with going first. The rules for field spell cards was also changed, so that both players can have a field spell active. These are interesting changes that go against over a decade of history -- very similar to the change in Catapult Turtle's effect. It's unknown at this time whether of not the TCG will make similar changes, so our discussion will remain in terms of the OCG. 
The point of interest about all these changes is that, for the most part, card design is much more interested in balance nowadays. Compare cards like Pot of Greed to Pot of Duality, or Pot of Acarice and Pot of Dichotomy. As a general rule, restrictions and conditions are placed on newer cards, as opposed to the unfettered cards that ran rampant back in the early days of the game. 
If the OCG is willing to add a restriction to an older card to prevent it from being misused, then it stands to reason that the same could be done to other cards -- specifically, cards on the Limited and Forbidden List (known as Limit Regulation in the OCG). Many of these "broken" cards are only there because they lack a "once-per-turn" clause, or a restriction like "except this card." Potentially, every single card could be balanced in time, and the F & L List would only be something needed until the cards on it are balanced for next format. 
Realistically, this won't happen. But that begs the question: why not? It doesn't seem very fair (or ethical) to only go back and change one card, when there are dozens that could benefit from such treatment. In the end, it could result in a healthier game, with a larger card pool. 
In the end, my opinion is this; it's all or nothing. If one card (that's been out for many years) is going to be changed, then all of the "unbalanced" cards should receive the same treatment. It seems silly to me to only change one card. If that's the case, I'd honestly prefer it was forbidden (or Semi-Limited, Limited, whatever the case is). 

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Ravishing Reptilianne Vaskii!

Tired of this?

(Disclaimer: This post was drafted when Dragon Rulers were a tournament warping strategy. With the recent resurgence of Rank 7 Mermails however, I felt this would have some relevance. Aside from that, a card as ridiculously powerful as Dracossack will find a way to break the game again someday.)

Well, today's your lucky day! There's a special somebody out there who's got the solution to your problems. Let me introduce you to...

Reptilianne Vaskii is a complicated woman. She'll only grace you with her presence if you can offer her two gifts -- monsters with 0 attack. After that, she'll destroy a face-up monster once per turn in gratitude. Since Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack summons two tokens with 0 attack when it's summoned, your opponent fulfills Vaskii's summoning condition for you! This means that when you summon Vaskii, your opponent will lose both Mecha Phantom Beast tokens, and then lose Dracossack to Vaskii's once-per-turn destruction effect. After that, you're free to make an attack with Vaskii's sizable 2600 attack points. 
If that sounds as good to you as it does to me, you'll want to throw a Vaskii in your side-deck immediately! But there are better ways to utilize her than as a "throw it in my deck and hope I draw it at the exact moment I need it" card. It's important that you can get to her when you need her, since your opponent can make her un-summonable by simply tributing one of their tokens for Dracossack's effect, and Dracossacks aren't as common as they were a year ago. I have two strategies that make sure Vaskii's always there when you need her. Here's number one.

This strategy is slower, but has the most payoff. Offering to the Snake Deity lets you destroy one of your reptiles, and two of your opponent's cards. Reptilliane Gardna activates when it's destroyed, making it a perfect partner for Offering. It lets you pull out a Reptilliane from your deck, meaning you can grab Vaskii. By taking a page from the Blackwing and Harpie playbook, you're able to give up two cards in order to destroy two of your opponent's, and search out a solution to Dracossack. 
Sometimes, you just don't have that much room. 
...that's where one of my all-time favorite cards comes in! 

King of the Feral Imps has a strong attack score, and a better effect. Our favorite Rank 4 royalty will let you grab any Reptile -- no stipulations on level or attack, or anything -- straight from your deck and add it to your hand. While we could go on for days about that implication in strategies like Worms and Aliens, it's King's uncanny ability to convince Vaskii to come out and play that we're here for. Conveniently, you can call in the King with any two Level 4 monsters, meaning that a King/Vaskii engine could be splashed into any deck that can consistently make Rank 4's. Because King's effect is a  main phase search, you'll never come out with less cards after making him. In decks like Gadgets, King of the Feral Imps can search out other key players, like Kagetokage. Kagetokage also provides another target for Offering, making a small engine like Gardna and Offering more consistent.
If you choose to play Reptilliane Gardna to search out Vaskii, you can use King to search out Gardna's for Offering to the Snake Diety, after you've already got Vaskii. 
Bottom line? Reptilliane Vaskii can be a one-card solution to Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack. It has a narrow function, but makes up for it by having two different ways to search it, and by being extremely effective. As long as Mermails continue to dominate, you should keep Vaskii in mind every time you build a side-deck. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Post San Diego: Gishki Deck-Out

Gishki decks are famous for two things: efficient, powerful ritual summons, and a clever strategy that strips your deck of every single card in it. Not familiar with that second one? Let's talk about the Gishki Deck-Out Deck piloted by Allen C. Pennington into the Top 32 of YCS San Diego!

Gishki Deck-Out
What's an Augus, Anyways? Seriously.
The Gishki Deck-Out Deck uses cards like Hand Destruction, One Day of Peace, and Card Destruction to cycle through their entire deck in one turn. From there, they summon Evigishki Mind Augus, and use its effect to recycle five cards from their graveyard - probably Hand Destruction, One Day of Peace, and most importantly, a second copy of Evigishki Mind Augus - and proceed to draw their entire deck again, and then summon another Mind Augus, tributing the previous one, and repeating the whole cycle. You may ask, "what's the point in that?!" The point is that many of these cards have both players draw cards. The Gishki player will be recycling cards, but their opponent will be helpless! Or, that's what they want you to think.

Don't Fall for the Bait!

Really, It's a Trap!

The Gishki Deck-Out relies on Evigishki Mind Augus. If you can banish one of the copies with Bottomless Trap Hole, or Dimension Slice, then you've effectively won. The Gishki players knows that, so they'll try to bait out your Bottomless Trap Holes by summoning Evigishki Soul Ogre. Don't fall for their trick! The real threat is Mind Augus. Similarly, if you can get both copies of Mind Augus into the graveyard, through something like Mind Crush, or a well-timed Raigeki Break, you can slow them down, and, if you're lucky, stop them in your tracks.

Placing A Veil Over the Situation
Two is Better than One!

While not every player is running cards like Mind Crush, Raigeki Break, or Dimension Slice, it's a sure-fire guarantee that you're running at least one copy of the popular Effect Veiler. If you run two or more, you should be golden! It's best to hold onto your copy of Effect Veiler until you draw into another one, thanks to your opponent's cards. You'll want to go after the Mind Augus, again. Negate the first one, and then the second. Hopefully, you'll have a chance to strike back before your time runs out!

Speaking Of Time...
The Gishki Deck-Out, when it works, can take a long time to perform it's combo. A really, really long time. So long, in fact, that the entire allotment of time for the round can run out during their first turn. If that happens, and they win, they'll win the entire match, due to official procedures for when the first duel of a match runs out of time. Because of that, it's often better to simply surrender when they start their combo and you don't have any ways out.

A Rip in the Space-Time Continuum
Macro Cosmos works better.

Despite having vastly different goals and playstyles, the Mermail and Gishki deck have two things in common: one, they're both composed of water monsters. That's pretty much irrelevant, but the second point isn't: they both fall to Macro Cosmos and Dimensional Fissure. Mind Augus can't recycle from the Removed from Play zone, and they can't even summon another to recycle the first. Other key cards in the deck, like Hand Destruction, also fall victim to the different dimension.

It's Good to be the King
We Used to be Adventurers, until we took a Rai-Oh to the knee.

Thunder King Rai-Oh can slow down the Gishki deck if you manage to get it out. It won't stop cards that only perform additional draws, but it'll stop searching cards, and the Gishki are full of those. If you can stop their search effects, the chance of them being able to use their combo on the first turn are reduced. Then it's up to you to strike hard and fast on your turn!

Shocking, Isn't It?
Another card that can lock the Gishki deck out of the game is Number 16: Shock Master. If you declare spell cards, their entire deck falls apart, and there's virtually nothing they can do. This makes decks  that can throw down a bunch of level 4s a good match for the Gishki deck, provided they don't go off on the very first turn of the game.

The Gishki Deck-Out deck can be difficult to deal with once it starts its combos rolling. But by adjusting your play style and using your cards properly, you stand a good chance of beating it. The more people who know about this deck, the weaker it becomes - strategies like this are like glass cannons, relying on surprise, lack of knowledge about their strategy, and weak side-decks to win. This articles addressed each of those points, so now it's up to you!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Here's the truth: I try to do too much here. I try to provide quality content, on a regular basis, and my schedule is just too full to fulfill my obligations. So here's what we're gonna do: I'll be posting Yu-Gi-Oh! related content on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Each article will end with what the next article will be about. This new schedule will allow me to maintain consistent quality, while also maintaining consistent posting. Mr. Tewart, if you ever happen to read this... I can maintain a work schedule! Providing daily content just isn't a top priority right now. Now, if I were working for the strategy site...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Would You Look at That! Inari Fire and Summoner Monk

I'll make it clear now - I love the adorable Charmer monsters, and all the cards related to them. Inari Fire is a case of retroactive additions to this menagerie, as the fox monster originally portrayed in the art of Blazing Hita and Familiar Possessed - Hita was just an enraged, juiced up Fox Fire. I could be wrong, but that's the assumption I've always held. If not, that's great, because that means we have at least five other monsters, who'll hopefully all have the same competitive potential as Inari Fire. Today, I'd like to look at a specific place where I think Inari Fire bumps up the amount of awesome sauce.
No, not Flamvells. While that's where the majority of the talk is, and while playing Inari Fire along with Flamvell Magician and Scrap Dragon is cool, I have a different deck in mind. That deck is Volcanic Alice! Alice decks typically function around a Summoner Monk engine, based on grinding out advantage through monsters like Sacred Crane or Volcanic Rocket. The Alice deck actually originated with a Volcanic engine along with Summoner Monk, and it's that retro build that I think Inari Fire works best in. The basic play sequence would go like this:
Use Summoner Monk's effect to special summon Volcanic Rocket (+1), discarding a spell card (-1) [0].
Volcanic Rocket's effect activates, fetching a Blaze Accelerator (+1) [+1].
Special summon Inari Fire from your hand (0) and proceed to either make a 2-material Rank 4 Xyz (-1) [0] or a 3-material, such as Number 16: Shock Master [-1].
Taking a -1 to go into Shock Master is completely acceptable, as Shock Master often functions as a win condition in and of itself. Even better, you can make monsters like Infernal Flame Vixen with your two pyro-type monsters if the situation calls for it, while leaving Summoner Monk on field to fetch more monsters. I think that a Volcanic Alice deck could be built in a few different ways now, with the added strength and consistency of Inari Fire. It could main-deck Royal Firestorm Guards, Pyrorex the Elemental Lord (just be sure to use graveyard manipulation!), and other fire monster all stars. Heck, that Flamvell Magician could probably make an appearance, because Scrap Dragon with Inari Fire is a really good play. Best of all, it's possible with only a Summoner Monk, Inari Fire and a spell card, in hand. I don't have a decklist, but that's only because Inari Fire and Summoner Monk are a really versatile pair. Anything running enough spells can throw in Summoner Monk and Inari Fire, whether it's a Alice deck, or a Fire deck. There's a multitude of ways you could build a deck just around those two, so go forth and build!