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Matthew Monahan Articles

96 posts in this topic

As a few of you know I've been writing for another site, on top of my contributions to this site, for the majority of the year. I didn't really like keeping any discussion separate from here so I talked it over with Ash and, after remembering how some reports of old from ARG were still posted here, condensed into quotes and linked so you can still read it here to avoid advertising rules which is fine with him, he said I may do the same with my articles. On top of it being the first contribution to this section hopefully inspiring others to do the same, when I have a new article posted, I'll have it posted here as well, updating the thread as well as the OP in chronological order, which I'll now c/p the articles in spoilers and links in so you get the most recent one first. There was actually a Burning Abyss one from February about the mirror, but I can't seem to find it, and it's of little consequence anyway. The first deals with something we've been discussing on the groundz on the last week, was actually written before-hand, and covers other topics as well.

 

EDIT: As of April 15th, pieces from now onward will be written for ARG's currently new Circuit Series site.

EDIT 2: The new site's giving me some difficulty with the spoilers, will fix in the future.

EDIT 3: As of February 2nd, 2017, I began rewriting old articles to make them easier to understand. They'll be added with a link to the post.

 

From most recent to oldest:

 

On Deck Building Logistics (Remastered) 

 

Yu-Gi-Oh! Fallacy & Bias

http://www.argcircuitseries.com/matthew-monahan/yu-gi-oh-fallacy-bias

 

 

Several have written before about the biases and fallacies rampant within the "community" (for lack of a better term) of this game. They wrote in the hopes that the reader would move past those errors in critical thinking. The problem is that they hadn't articulated the most central of them, especially for those above the literal lowest level of intellectual prowess (the comparative upper echelons of players, respectively.) I seek to alleviate these conditions by presenting you with what, from my experience, I have witnessed as being the most erroneous and widespread logical impurities (predominantly those I think folks have overlooked.)


 I would like you to keep in mind as a precept that I am not completely versed within the realm of what some of these are called in formal academia. So, I have ascribed my own names to them and am not entirely interested in what they are otherwise referred to as (although if you were to note their proper name to me, I would use them in the future.) Obviously me attributing different labels to them does not alter their meaning, although some players certainly are more attentive than they ought to about those semantics. 
1. The Negation Fallacy
We're going to start with the most important one. This is, above all else, the most destructive to how people think about the game (and a lot of things, as with any of these.) A negation fallacy is extrapolating a claim counter to another as completely negating the original claim. I'd like to distinguish that my meaning of the word negation is a bit different from the classical dialecticians, I consider a negation to be the complete overhaul of an idea to where 0% of the idea remains true.
Think of a reason to play a certain card. Do you currently think you should play it? Now think of a reason not to play the same card. Do you now think you shouldn't play it? There are examples of these in practically every contemporary discussion of Yu-Gi-Oh!, but I'll supply some of my personal findings:
A. Burning Abyss is bad because of Abyss Dweller.
B. Secret Village is bad because of people playing Spellcaster Normal Summons.
C. Infernity is bad because of Maxx "C".
I picked some of the low hanging fruit here, but judging by my reading of some recent discussion regarding what the goal of this game is, the Zodiac Duelist crowd is by no means the only perpetrator of this. A lot of fallacies previously discussed are rephrasings of this, but intrinsically amount to the same umbrella. The answer to this is diligence in trying to find both the exact effect that your information has on your other information, as well as analytically finding as many of these points as possible. 
It's what people may refer to as "seeing things from every angle," but goes further than just "seeing them" and actually asks what their relevance is, as a total.
2. The Flip-Flop Fallacy
This one isn't as much something that you can demonstrate by freezing a conversation at a particular moment and illuminating, but rather, something that is representative of a progression of discussion. The fallacy is "when faced with a theoretical problem, switch to practicality; when faced with a practical problem, switch to theoretics." The former is the far more prevalent of the two. Not only is this a blatantly dishonest way to try to reach the truth of a notion, but its problems exceed even that. Let's look at some examples:
A. *You made some good points, but I just don't think it can survive 11 rounds of swiss.
B. It works on paper but not in practice.
C. Isn't that kind of idealistic though? 
D. You're just over thinking it (and all anti-discourse equivalents.)
*Word to the wise, whenever people in conversations start weaseling their way out with things like "I see what you're saying, but...," "you made some decent points, but...," etc, odds are they aren't worth the time of day. Some people really do talk like that while considering something, but most of the time I see people do it just to reaffirm their position without seriously refuting what you said. If you catch them in the future completely ignoring what you damn well know they heard/read you say without refutation, while also arguing earlier points in your debate, you can take that as proof of their intellectual bankruptcy.  
Otherwise, there are two main things to point out about this. First, that the flip-flop fallacy is completely infused with how a lot of people think about the relationship of testing and theory in this game. The second, which logically answers both the first and this fallacy in general, is to hammer it within your head that there is no intrinsic difference between things that you realized in testing and things that you realized in theory, especially in how you ought to go about comparing and working on them. 
Did you find something in testing? Could you have found it in theory? The answer is "yes." Therefore, neither is granted any mystical superpowers over the other and, just like the solution to negation fallacy, the focus is on finding the pertinence and persistence of all points which bring you to your conclusions. We move forward:
3. Appeal to Authority
Other writers have done a decent job at explaining this one but I believe people seldom realize the extent, along with the three forms, of the appeal to authority. For the two people reading who don't know what an appeal to authority is, it's taking one person's argument over another person's on the basis of who they are as opposed to what they're saying. More interesting than telling you things you already know, though, is telling you the mentioned extent of this nuisance. 
The three main appeals to authority among Yu-Gi-Oh! players are: 
A. An appeal to current popular players.
B. An appeal to old popular players.
C. An appeal to popular Magic the Gathering players.
There is a lot of overlap between groups A and B, groups B and C, but not a lot of overlap between groups A and C. When you reach the upper comparative echelons of players in this game, you see a lot less of group A because they're either the popular players within that group, or they have some level of independent thought (even if this thought is hive mind within their "circle.)" It's like the distinction between calling the DPRK internationally anarchistic while domestically autocratic. 
So, due to the marginality of group A within the mediums I talk about this game, it's only natural that I find groups B and C both a lot more obnoxious, and that I encounter them more in general. However, looking at the bigger picture, group A is far and away the most common among players. 
4. Denial of Principle Continuum
To my knowledge, it was filmmaker Peter Joseph that coined this phrase, but I'm sure it has other synonyms. Essentially, it's an error of metrics where you apply a standard to one thing and not another thing, even though they're both applicable to the metric. This goes to the core of a lot of platitudinous nonsense people use to justify their incompetent deck-building. Examples:
A. I don't play 3 copies of X card because I don't want to draw multiples (while playing 3 copies of another card you don't want to see multiple of.)
B. I don't play X because "it doesn't increase my ceiling" (while playing another card that has nothing to do with summoning.)
C. Mathematics told me to play this specific number of X card, oh and I just decided to last-minute throw a Dark Hole in my deck.
I have my reservations about honestly all three of these concepts separate from the following conclusion, but obviously the answer here is universal application of your measures. Or at least, application to the point where you've covered all things comparable, nothing more and nothing less.
5. Contingency
This last note isn't as much a fallacy or bias as it is a contradiction. Let's say that you find reason to make your opponent believe you're a particular kind of player, a bad one will suffice for our purpose. Let's say that you use this rationale to cover your deck box and mat being a certain type that, sociologically, your opponent is most likely to make that assumption about. But wait a minute, what if you're also using the most expensive calculator and calculator case on top of that? Player's Choice white sleeves? Kid Robot backpack (lol?) 
Is it possible for your opponent not to consider them? Sure, but the higher the contradictions are, the more likely they will notice. The resolution here is to acknowledge this contingency and instead of that Kid Robot backpack, maybe bring one of those sacks on a stick that nomads travel around with. Joking, and this is an extreme example, but realizing the contingency not only in these accessory-related things but also deck-building is beyond important, such as one card relying on another to be good. 
Conclusions
We have introduced five transgressions in logical soundness here, as well as their solutions. We have dismissed the negation fallacy as not considering the effect of what it distorts, dismissed the flip-flop fallacy as being intellectually dishonest, dismissed appeals to authority while analyzing their various forms among players, dismissed the denial of principle continuum as the cause of a lot of inconsistencies in deck-building, and went over contradictions in contingency. Emancipate your mind from these, and you're on the right track. I'll end on a haiku:
I'll write less wordy,
In the future, best regards,
Matthew Monahan

 

On Timed Testing

http://www.argcircuitseries.com/matthew-monahan/on-timed-testing

 

 

 

 


I have written before about both testing and the logistics of such but something I had yet to cover, within those logistics, is rather or not you ought to test with formal time rules as they are at events. Our investigation requires we first take a step back and ask ourselves what the only two purposes of testing are.

"Finding situations you hadn't realized in theory" and "practicing your playing habits" are the only things that should result from testing, as I've argued before. Anything else, such as using results from testing to directly influence deck building without going through the middle-man of considering the situation's pertinence and likelihood in theory, along with the proper conclusion of it, are fallible considerations.
Therefore, we must judge rather or not you ought to test timed in accordance to how best they meet those paradigms. What we also must be vigilant in doing is comparing how this would work to other ways of testing effectively the same thing. An application of that in another area of testing is how some people put cards from their deck to their hand at the beginning of the game so they don't have to wait around to draw them.
So, the situations where you would want to play with a match clock will be judged in comparison to using the same idea as the "adding cards" scenario: just forcing situations to either go into time or not into time, or to ask yourself either.
Let's get a bit more in-depth on this topic though. You have heard it been said that testing with the clock is wise as it's more realistic and practices the skills in which affect your play going in to time.
I am here to convince you of, however, quite the contrary. Let us first address the idea of what makes you play faster. On the one hand, you can say that timing your tested matches allows for a sense of urgency in your playing. On the other hand, actually knowing the right plays for situations means that when they come up, you'll be able to immediately know what to do.
Compare the former to the latter. Whereas the former can allow for you to make the wrong play due to being constrained on time and rushed, the latter is the best of both worlds as it allows you both to play in a timely manner while also figuring out the right move to make in proportion to how thoroughly you practiced. In fact, when the right play corresponding to a situation and a specific set of circumstances becomes ingrained in your mind, you can also make the argument that you'd actually play faster than rushing anyway.
But, just playing faster doesn't guarantee you won't hit time. You still have an opponent who, no matter how many times you call a judge over or rush them, is volatile in their ability to play at the reasonable pace that we will. This will bring us back to the "adding cards" situation. Consider that you actually have the goal of practicing time (if you don't think you need to for whatever reason, than not playing it would be obvious anyway.)
What is the more effective way of practicing it? Playing games until you reach ones where it happens, or forcing it to happen in your testing? What if you asked at every turn how you would play differently if you were in x turn of time, or x turns before time, vs how you would play otherwise? That seems to be the only concrete way to apply as many scenarios went over in practice with the actual tournaments you play.
There is more we must consider, though. Thus far we have only thought about our practice in relation to the "practicing playing habits" component of testing, not the other one regarding analytics. Will time have an effect on how you build your deck? Of course it will, look no further than Rainbow Lives of the past. But there is more to it than that.
An indictment against using your own timed matches as the anecdotes for basing your theory of how often people go into time, and thus how you should build accordingly, is that there is a better method to find that out all-together. You should poll for that information where you can and average out the results, as you should with a lot of analytics. The reasons for this include: you being a particular slow or fast player, your opponents being particularly slow or fast players, you being an outlier, etc.
I will talk about polling specifics at a later time, but the point here is that the relationship that certain situations you find in testing bear towards deck building are better supplemented by polling in general. Certain situations, but not all. The distinction is sociological factors vs ones you can just figure out the likelihood of on a hypergeometric calculator. That relationship will also be something I'll address in the future.
We have looked at this issue from several angles. From the angle of playing habits we have found that a more efficient way to test timed if you need to is either A. forcing the situations to occur or B. asking yourself in each turn what would be different if you were about to go to time. From the angle of "realizing situations you didn't find in theory," we find that the odds you go into time, due in part to our reasonable pace among other things, are sociological in nature and therefore better found with polling.
Lastly, we looked at it in correlation to you, the player. We found that practicing timed not only isn't the most efficient way to go faster, but also not the most efficient way to make the best moves in the allotted time. All of these things lead me to the conclusion that no, you should not be standard round-clocking your testing matches, and you should practice the methods discussed as a better alternative to doing so. Thank you for reading.

 

 

ARG IDing

http://www.argcircuitseries.com/matthew-monahan/arg-iding

 

 

 

 


It may be common practice to save your intentional draw (ID) for the last round and then draw yourself into top cut at an ARG, but is it common sense? A further investigation is required, one that should uncover a better way to approach it and wiser strategies moving forward.

Footnote: keep in mind while reading this that there is no harm in asking your opponent for the ID because if they say "no," it's the same as if you would have played them in the first place.
What You Want and What You Need
To begin with, what do you totalistically need, at minimum, to get into top cut? At almost all ARGs, it's an x-1-1 record. But, does it matter which round you lost and which one you drew when the standings go up? Well, for tie-breaking sure, but almost invariably, it didn't.. previously. A tie and a loss in round 1 and 2 matters as much as they would in the last two rounds, until they added a new rule: how 1st/2nd is picked in ARG top cuts now.
Whereas the only advantage in placing higher used to be that you would theoretically play against worse players because they're lowing in the bracket (although that rarely pragmatically mattered,) now they've added a stipulation that could matter a lot more, and leads us to a questions.
Do you want to win or top? The interesting thing is where as this question asked some years ago would not have pretty straight-forward implications (wanting to do the best in swiss vs wanting to do the best in top,) in this case we realize a resolution to a previously antagonistic relation between swiss and top cut.
The idea used to be that it, if you were playing to win a tournament, it wasn't as big a deal if you played a deck that might lose a bit more in swiss to win in top cut. However, now with the rule in place of the higher seed picking 1st/2nd in top cut, in a lot of cases, the old theory will apply a lot less because now winning in top cut is more dependant on a better record in swiss than it was before.
Now, if you're playing decks where it matters a lot, the better you do in swiss, the better chance you have of doing in top cut, with more of a concrete correlation than the old "playing worse players" line. What was once an inverse relation is now a direct one in these circumstances.
Rather you want to win or top is something you'll have to decide for yourself, but as we've just demonstrated, it will often be the case that they'll have the same implications with the current rules. We can continue discussing the winning vs topping question, especially bringing up the question of "a higher % chance of topping is empirically more chances to get into top cut in the first place, even though it may be less chances to win when you get there, how do you balance the two?"
While we may delve deeper into that at another time, I'd like to return this, now that we've laid the ground-work for our understanding of what does and doesn't matter about records, to the questions of IDing. Henceforth, we shall render all considerations involving "the deck that you're playing having a huge difference between the 1st and 2nd in top cut," to be a negation and non-application of what I'm about to outline, so I don't have to keep repeating it. Thus, you have a litmus test to just look at your deck and decide if the following theories are applicable or not.
Unintentional Drawing
Another constant which we must outline the following discussion in is noting that if you play slow, or your if deck is slow, and you therefore go into time and draw a lot, I have a few things to say to you. First, that can be considered a negation of drawing earlier in the tournament (because if you suspect a good chance of drawing later, it will count as a loss.) Second, this is usually circumvented by people that either A. practice enough to play competently fast and/or B. use fast decks, which pragmatically tend to be better choices anyway, so more or less, it's on you to get to a point where you can implement these ideas.
While parenthesis may appear as something to brush by in passing, I want to expand on something said in the last paragraph. There are two things that indicate how the slower deck or player should navigate these waters. If you expect to end up drawing a match played out in a tournament, then you can say that there is a lower chance of it happening with 1 round left than with 7, even though the last round might be the one you have the highest chance of playing the toughest opponent (because the 7 rounds left would include that anyway as well as the other 6 before it.)
The other indicator, that combines with the empirical number of rounds left, is their knowledge of players they're likely to play against. What this means is that if you have only one round left and you know that you probably aren't going to get paired against someone you would draw against, and that it would be very opportune to draw your before-last round for reasons I'll discuss soon, those considerations can easily outweigh not IDing even with our consideration of the slower deck or player.
Obviously both of these points apply to everyone but they are amplified the slower you play/your deck is, and therefore it will almost solely be their own considerations (this is realized once you draw the distinction between "will I draw OR lose against the next opponent" or "will I lose?)" Moving forward, now that we have done the courtesy of additional outlining for our slower-playing/deck-playing friends, we shall not be making the considerations of unintentionally drawing (UD) hereafter. Otherwise, you can largely ignore the last 4 paragraphs.
Drawing Into Brackets
Since we're now in the realm of being able to ID in any round, as we can safely assume due to our earlier caveats that a draw in round 9 is just as valid as a draw in round 1, we now begin asking ourselves where our draw is best placed. There exist multiple angles to take here, and obviously there will exist overlap with none of these being mutually exclusive to any other considerations. The first of which, is drawing earlier to put yourself into certain brackets.
There is a two-fold nature that creates this as a strategy. There is drawing to avoid or play certain decks/types of players, and there is drawing to avoid or play certain individuals. As far as when to draw, these two have an antagonistic relationship because you're more sure of who you're avoiding or going to play individually later in the tournament than earlier, and on the other hand, if you're trying to avoid or play certain types of decks and avoid or play certain types of players, it wouldn't make sense as a strategy to do that later in the tournament rather than earlier.
Obviously when to apply this is relative to a particular format. For example, at one ARG I knew that a lot of people were using Infernoid, but quickly learned that it wasn't a great match-up for me. I knew the deck was fast and rarely went into time, so I ID'd earlier and then never got paired with it for the rest of the tournament as a result. This is the angle that cares more about the future rounds than who you draw with specifically, but the next angle we'll be discussing here does the opposite.
Drawing Against Strongest Opponent
Whereas the last theory we talked about can be justified when using a deck or strategy that it supported, this one is for the people that don't fall in that camp, which is the majority of the others. Here, we just simply want to draw against the opponent we think that we will have the lowest chance to win against in our tournament experience.
All that really needs to be noted to prove the comparative viability of this is asking yourself, what were your chances to beat someone that you would ID within the last round vs someone that you decided to play against earlier? Did you have information to alter your decision regarding how the tournament was progressing? Did you see that you got paired against the best player in the tournament and that everyone else around you was worse in a later round and still chose to play since it wasn't the last round?
Clearly, we can point out some errors here if that was the case. Therefore, if you're not in the slowplaying/slow deck group, and you're not in the "manipulate the bracket group," you ought to be in the "drawing against the strongest opponent" group. The thing to note that should shatter your previously mindset is that none of these things necessitate waiting til the last round to draw, and such concludes our investigation of the topic.
Concluding
We have realized what to do when you're a slower player or your deck is slower, when your deck or strategy can largely benefit from drawing into a certain bracket, and when, if you don't fall into either of the first two groups, you should be otherwise drawing. No player is uniform in that they will invariably only play a deck or have a strategy that necessitates only one of these things so you may bounce around a lot between them once realized, and there can even exist overlap in all 3.
These ideas directly challenge previously held notions about how you ought to use your draw at an ARG and I hope this piece helps spark a dialogue and gives you new things to think about on the subject. I hope you enjoyed my first article for the Alter Reality Games (ARG) Circuit Series website, thank you for reading.

 

 

Cards in Deck
http://blog.multimonsterdeals.com/cards-in-deck/

 

 

 

 


Who am I to write an entire article about deck building logistics and not delve into number of cards in deck? That will be our discussion today. We’ll go over the popular conceptualizations on this topic, dismiss or accept certain aspects of them, and in this process we shall reach our conclusions.

As a preface to this entire piece, we’re considering Upstart Goblin and the like to be one less card in deck, although realistically it’s a little bit better than one less card in deck due to searching before playing it compared to always being forced to immediately draw the next card. It’s still roughly a little bit over one card subtracted from your deck. For now let’s ignore the pragmatic side of these cards, such as life point gain and Naturia Beast, we will get to that later.
Let us begin with the most popular theory. It goes something like “the correct number of cards in deck is as few as possible because you’re maximizing the chance you see the best cards in your deck.” In practice they both negate and revise this argument, because otherwise you’d see them all using 3 Terraforming and 3 Chicken Game in every deck.
However, you can say that this is an unfair assessment as if those Chicken Games were Upstart Goblins, these same people might play them. While the line of logic “as few cards as possible” doesn’t really care about the pragmatic side of cards I’ve mentioned, I’ll still humor this by presenting another negation that still brings us down the same path.
You must realize that you’re still faced with the question of absurdity revealing the bounds of this idea. If you could play 0 cards, would you? 1 card? 5 that aren’t Exodia? 6? The answer is that you still have to play some sort of “reasonable line” here, which will still carry us to our next point.
Thus, their new, actually practiced line of reasoning becomes “the correct number of cards in deck is as few as possible *by reasonable methods* to maximize the chance that you draw the best cards in your deck.” What a convenient backdoor out of theoretics and into pragmatism they have found themselves!
However, we are still faced with falsifiability. Take the new Igknight FTK deck, for example. In this deck, you can combo with a hand of 5 Igknights (a little bit more complicated because of 3’s and 5’s but for the sake of the argument let’s say you can at basically all points.) You also have cards that you don’t want to draw, the ones that you would want to search for from your deck.
Now, riddle me this: What is the result of adding more Igknights to the deck here? Well, you’re increasing the chance you’re opening with all Igknights, which is good, while simultaneously decreasing the chance you draw those bricks, which is also good. There is absolutely no negative factor here, yet we’re arguing for playing more cards rather than taking them away.
Now, how are they going to get out of this one? Easy! It is no longer “the correct number of cards in deck is as few as possible *by reasonable methods* to maximize the chance that you draw the best cards in your deck,” it is now “every deck has a best number.” Of course, they do not mean something as amorphous as archetypes as we can have a whole different type of aforementioned Igknight deck that takes a different metric, but they are still talking about something as amorphous as strategies.
But dealing with this, proving its falsifiability, is absolutely no difficult feat either. What are decks outside of the cards in them? If that sounds too pseudo-philosophical for you, I’ll alleviate your mental blockade by explaining it in a more pragmatic way. Can you imagine switching out a card in your deck for another card, and that card could create a contradiction of the number of cards in your deck?
Let’s take a look at this new Pot of Cupidity card, for example. Let’s say you have a deck that regularly wins only with 3 or 4 cards left in deck, by means of necessary milling. Here, if you were switching out something for Pot of Cupidity, you would now create a problem comparatively regarding the number of cards in your deck because you wouldn’t be able to mill enough to still win while not decking out. Therefore, looking at something as amorphous as “the deck,” “the strategy,” or “the archtype,” are all completely wrong, which brings us to both a conclusion and a paradox that will be the next thing we tackle.
The only answer we have left is that there is nothing that determines the proper number of cards, or “ideal number,” outside of the what the cards you are playing dictate. But, now we have a problem. The cards you are deciding to play already total a number in the first place. How can we remain sound in our theory if there can be no difference in the ideal number and total of the cards you’re deciding to play?
The answer is to question the usefulness of some omnipotent ideal number to build to in the first place. Here’s a radical thought. Perhaps what determines the ideal deck size is determined in the last instance by an equilibrium of the relations between all the cards you’re playing with themselves, the rest of the field, and your technical play. Every problem stems from beginning with an ideal deck size as a cause rather than seeing it as an effect.
This perfectly lets us remain sound in theory when we look at how many cards we play in every deck, especially when looking at cards comparatively. When you’re considering putting another card in your deck, yes, you are decreasing the chance you see the rest of the deck. However, that isn’t something that is necessarily a complete negation of the idea altogether, because surely I’d want to decrease the chance of seeing the worst cards in my deck if it wasn’t going to affect how while my deck otherwise performs.
Those are each things to consider, but now let’s add one more thing, bringing up that pragmatism from the beginning of the article. Things like Upstart’s Life Point gain blocking you from winning (because the ideal that “life doesn’t matter” isn’t true in all cases,) your opponent using your Chicken Game, etc. These are all things to consider, but do you notice the pattern here? All of these things concern the relationship of the cards to themselves and have absolutely nothing to do with some falsifiable and omnipotent number to build to.
This is not to say that, historically speaking, it hasn’t probably been right for the tendency of playing less cards to exist. However, to apply a historical pattern to all cases is to blind yourself from when it is wrong. So take it for what it is, but free your mind from rhetorical nonsense regarding constants in the number of cards to play in your deck, because the only thing that determines this number are those very same cards in your deck. Thank you.

 

 

On Technical Play
http://blog.multimonsterdeals.com/on-technical-play/
FB Heading:
"I'm certainly going to write a better article on technical play in the future. While I hold the concepts in here to be true, it's just not as expansive as I could make it and only reflects a portion of what I think. Regarding concepts not really talked about that I brought up here in technical play theory, I suppose it would be mostly analyzing limits, clearly defining offensive/defensive play, going over observational information, noting rapport, etc. I'm not too proud of it due to rigid writing standards but I'm sure you can find something here to take from it constructively."

 

 

 

 


As deck building can be broken down into both power and consistency, technical play is a subject that can be broken down into physical and non-physical considerations. Mastery then, of these two topics as well as deck-building and the corresponding subjects of power and consistency under the framework of comparative thought, which is applied to just about everything including technical play as well, leads you to the best theoretical duelist. It is inhumane to master all of these subjects though, which is something I will elaborate on, but allocating your time spent to Yu-Gi-Oh! with the mindset of creating the best duelist in all of these subjects possible given these material conditions, if you’re a serious competitor, if you’re serious about winning, if you’re serious about the game in general, is what you ought to do.

So then, as it follows that knowing the valid concepts within deck building theory is what we need to know to become better deck builders, understanding all of the valid concepts and strategies in technical play is what we must know to become a better player. So where do we begin? It must first be understood the link and non-mutual exclusivity of the two topics, being that mental technical play directly dictates physical technical play, and regarding the stimuli of your opponent, vice versa. Then it must be acknowledged that, the practical application of one of these can, in situations, invalidate and contradict the practical application of another. If, in a vacuum, a play has a 60% chance of success, but a consideration of mental technical play, intuition, gives me information suggesting otherwise, a play with a lower chance of success in a vacuum could then become the correct play, which I’m going to give the precept of such a thing existing and ignoring previous arguments about playstyle, I will get more into this as well.

Note though, there are very many concepts in both of these categories but they fit a common theme and there is really only one big one for physical play strategies that can unite enough people around it, while there are a few frames of thinking for mental technical play that we’re going to go over, but the point is to keep in mind that this might not be a comprehensive list of every single concept in technical play, you can note more in the comments, I’d love you to, but it’s just the macro ones that come to mind for me practically and philosophically. So, if you’re looking for some equation to always get the right play out of, I’m not your guy. But, if you are looking for ways to think that will consistently link you to the better options available, please consider reading, while noticing the generality and non-specifity of some of my statements so that you’re able to apply them accordingly as you see fit.

Observation Application

What possible metric can be used, under these concepts, to justify a play over another given that the existence of the corresponding pool of thought can both theoretically and in application invalidate the method? The truth lies in knowledge, and the importance, because mental technical play, and this is a major point, is not exclusive to only you but always is dependent upon your opponent, how they’re likely to act, and how they’re likely to respond to various situations, is the ability to gauge your opponent. What must be understood in gauging an opponent is the sociological factors that you can infer from, and the extent at which you can actually infer and garner useful information from. Generally these types of discussions end with with very vanilla considerations. “Oh, you can ask them how far they traveled!” “Oh, you can analyze how well they’ve played in the game thus far!”

While these are certainly applicable, consider the extent of what actually is applicable. If my opponent sits down across from me, takes out his unsleeved deck, and isn’t using a mat, I’m going to infer something about them, that being they’re probably not that experienced, and that is something you can exploit via a stronger comparative technical play and corresponding mind games. A more popular example was in Six Samurai format was that if they had no dice, they likely were not using the deck. A less popular example? My opponent just activated Qliphort Scout at Nationals 2015 so I infer a level of competency about their mindset in the game and their technical play that is less than that of what I would infer about someone playing Nekroz, albeit the disparity isn’t that difference between in general I consider the majority of opponents not to be incredibly competent, but it doesn’t necessarily matter at a time when making popular decks is easy and technical play is as well.

However, two things must be noted here. First, that this is obviously completely unacceptable behavior in real life and acting on statistically feasible assumptions is only rationalized within the contexts of a simple game where you’re to play your odds, and I know it may seem sort of like I’m treating you like a child in not assuming 100% of my readers already understand this, but due to the grotesque level of incompetence of most players, you could hardly blame me. Also consider any other way I write about it can lead someone to make an unfair assumption about me if I don’t make it a point to expressly denounce such habits. That being said, there is a second point that in a way, ties into that, and that is the division of voluntary and involuntary information. Simply put, if 99% of people wearing blue shirts in an observation are using Evilswarm, it can not be rationally correlated and rather be attributed to coincidence because they probably just threw on a shirt and went to the tournament without thinking much about it, and it would therefore be an illogical thing to use as the basis for a theoretical application of the observation. However, voluntary acts are also immediately noticeable. Comments the opponents make, all these things matter and can fall under that category. So, the skill is in sorting out the fluff from the reliable data to act upon, and acknowledging this method exists far more than you may think it does is the first step towards achieving the mastery of it, as it applies to just about every other aspect of both other mental technical play, and physical technical play, being that I’ve already laid out the link between the two. Last, is to get creative with your observational applications, not ignorant, the importance of this is paramount to your success on the theory.

Offensive-Defensive Theory

We have now laid out our first major concept in the realm of mental play. Now, let’s switch it up and discuss a physical technical play concept, that being, offensive-defensive theory. It asserts that when you’re behind, you ought to play on the offensive to catch back up and hopefully eventually be ahead, and when you’re ahead, you ought to make plays that dictate that your opponent can do even less and less about their current situation. Now, I want to add the precept to this that, as with deck-building, no concept is technically infallible mathematically in practice, it could very well be the case that a play that might be considered win-more when you’re already winning (footnote, understand that stopping your opponent from playing when you’re winning effectively isn’t win-more, win-more and stopping your opponent from having any chance of winning are not at all the same things,) may be the correct play. It also may be the case that a play to stop your opponent while you’re behind is the correct play, in that case, it’s more likely to be the exception because you are likely to also have to dodge attempts from your opponent to go for game. However, as with the deck-building concepts in the previous article, these concepts are logically valid and applicable enough to where we can say they can apply to most situations. Last note on technical play contradictions insofar as this paragraph goes would be that the merit of one concept of technical play may outweigh, and practically always will if they contradict, another aspect of technical play when both are applicable, obviously you take the more merited and more comparatively (there’s that important comparative thought again,) of the two or more concepts then.

So what does this mean? You’re winning with a pendulum deck and have both Skullcrobat Joker and Thunder King Rai-Oh in your hand, it’s almost always going to be right to summon the Thunder King unless you have game, and that is the main constant exception to these theories if you haven’t noticed. “Unless it’s game.” “Unless you need to stop game.” Another note, on things like “aggressive,” “conservative,” “aggro,” whatever play, other writers have already done well to establish that they’re nonsense and have no bearing on telling you what play is the correct or incorrect play to make. This isn’t to say the correct or incorrect play is always obvious, it’s to say that there is one, so when you use justifications like that you stray from that point. People also like to use the concept of mental technical play as some sort of proof that life is not black and white, like is colorful, the playstyle then, exists. No, wrong. The aspirations of the mind due to their connection to the action one takes are directly correlated and therefore the possible actions a human can take are limited by their mind, some inputs valid some invalid, all comparable, and such, the chances of two being even close to exactly the same in practical effectiveness, as that we have proven when comparing two cards, is virtually impossible. I view these dismissals as laziness; an excuse not to further the ventures of your own mind to create better and more logicaly sound concepts to abide by, so no, we will be discussing strategy, all that which I know of, comparing, contrasting, until it is hammered into your head what actions to take, or at least the framework for deciding what actions to take, as is far more applicable and useful in more situations to know and understand.

What of comparative thought? We speak of needing this framework for deciding these things, and it is seldom acknowledged but the formula humans use to make most rationalizations is analytic thought > comparative thought with arbitrary goals in mind, and even to the extent those arbitrary goals go, they can for the most part continuously be broken down into analytic and comparative thought, under more goals, until you get to the point of reaching fundemental observed truths, which is the exact line behind the idea that smaller truths create bigger truths. We have, though, talked at length about comparative thought pertaining to the game of Yu-Gi-Oh! Of analytical thought? Well, as it pertains to what I was earlier discussing of the importance in both accuracy and merit in observations being the key to mental play, the analytic thought process is what must logically follow to indoctrinate yourself in, that is finding as much information as possible about a certain subject, hopefully before-hand because you only have forty minutes in a round and thus not a whole lot of time for critical thought, and with this you can then compare, for any situation mental or physical you find yourself in a game, to arrive at the best play, the mathematical rationalized connections of this being the most practical to base these things off of, sociological training applying for mental game (for all you psych majors.)

Every play. Every play must be considered, preferably before-hand, although the specifics of these situations vary, due to the contrasting power of the cards we’re dealing with the nature of the situations themselves remain very much the same throughout the majority of your match-ups. How to clear a board with a hand with using the least amount of your resources, where to effectively stop your opponent’s line of summoning with your trap, what have you. This isn’t to invalidate testing as we have went over in previous articles the importance of it insofar as situations that may not have came up via practical theory becoming more apparent, but just to say for the macro approach to match-ups, the common situations which are obvious, you needn’t even be playing a game to properly compare and contrast how you ought to handle these situations with your deck and thus figuring them out before-hand saves time in the real tournament, and is extremely possible especially due to the non-intracacies of technical play in 2015 due to the aforementioned power creep of cards in this game.

Consider situations that do invalidate technical play situations always have one clear mathematical correct, well, not clear but at least possible, answer. Your opponent has 2 cards in deck, you know both of them, an Ookazi, a brick, you’re at 500 life points with a set live mind crush. They draw to one, 50/50 shot of it being Ookazi, and you’re to assume that you having another turn doesn’t matter. Now, that’s obviously true in an abstract sense but if you want to get ultra-technical, to the point of undefineability, yes you could technically rationalize one over the other. No practical application, which my point is, will allow you to make those sort of crazy rationalizations though, so I hope for that case, you have brought a coin to flip with you, unless of course your mind game saves you giving away your opponent’s expression on the draw, which is the importance of my next concept and is something that Michael Steinman has written at length about.

Rapport

No, Squiddy didn’t write another tournament report. Rapport essentially analyzes the long-standing social relation between you and the subject. Think Adam Smith’s invisible hand, something along those lines of invisible forces that get people to act, via proper manipulation as you ought to do to your opponent, of the conversation, and gradually building upon this sort of trust until you can make your move and violate it, and they may very well have not even have noticed. This practice is something skilled salesman study at length and is the reason why, if you ever noticed, they like to mimmic you like a mirror verbally and posture-wise. This isn’t an act of nature, it’s calculated. This is one that particularly ties to fields I study en masse, populism and sociology. It was said once by a harsh dictator that the spoken word is far more competent than the written word at manipulating your subjects, I’d agree on the premise there is a level of humaneness and personality with talking to people personally. A part of it, as Mike notes, is getting them to agree with you, establishing light-hearted agreeability, and then getting them to agree with you on something wrong via little questions. I am clearly not the one who has written at length about this topic so I would suggest looking up his writings on the topic, but I will diverse on one thing from him. He talks about the importance of honesty here, but the entire practice has a dishonest goal, so rather than be arbitrarily honest, learn how to be as convincingly dishonest as you are convincingly honest, it might be harder, but it shall obviously lead to more exploitable results. Salesmen in general have mastered the art of lying, and to therefore master this particular art of technical play, you must do the same. Of course, keep it within the realm of not cheating, obviously. Should go without saying. People like to call this jedi-mind tricking sometimes, implying it’s some fast-action cause and effect, whereas you should definitely argue it’s more longstanding than that as a process.

Gauging

I’ve mentioned gauging and now we’re going to go into it. It is the act of determining where your opponent is at. Keep in mind this is not a universal thing, and by that I mean, being bad in one area does not constitute assuming them bad in another. A professor of psychology or a legendary gambler may have very well never touched a card in their life and therefore have bad physical technical play, but their mental technical play may very well outdo you easily. Since most mental topics run hand-in-hand, and since most physical technical play topics follow that same principle, you can still assume that someone that is competent in an area of physical technical play may likely be competent in another, same with mental and mental, but from my research, or just my observation throughout my years of playing this game, I’ve found that the correlation runs stronger between those similar targets than ones at the opposite side of that spectrum. Intuition is the key to gauging your opponent, as well as those same sociological observational precepts we laid out earlier. That meaning, an 8 year old no matter how story-book it is, is just not that likely to “jedi-mind trick” you or think that much about rapport. I’ll leave those observations, as I am leaving of the others, for you to make but just make sure you keep them scientific and therefore more logical to apply. But, these observations are exactly the kind you need to make in gauging your opponent’s skill level based on voluntary behavior, because once you know their skill level, you can exploit it technical play-wise as you should very well already be aware.

So you ask, what of the people leveling you? This isn’t a perfect science, and neither are the observation of involuntary micro-expressions. However, you just have to call a spade a spade with confidence and in a game that isn’t nearly as nuanced as high-level poker with far less competent of a player base, you can have it on my word that the only ones that are likely to try and take these advantages over you properly are ones that you have probably already heard of and have therefore mentally prepared for anywway. This is the crux of what I mean when I say that, due to the current information flow, almost all relatively good (key word being relatively here) players are known and that it creates sort of an enviornment where they don’t have an advantage that they would have if they were unknown. People track what decks they’re playing at an event, what they might play, etc. But, the comparative merit as far as technical play goes, as a footnote, of being popular vs unpopular, is intimidation vs surprisal of being good. In addition to this, most better players aren’t going to be intimidated, whereas most worse players aren’t going to be taken by surprised, because they don’t know any better. Since it’s obviously better to go after beating the better players in this context because you’re going to have an easier time with the worse, I then posit that it is optimal to be as unknown as possible, if you can help it, in the community. “Talk less, smile more, don’t let them know what you’re against, or what you’re for,” a friend of mine once posted. The irony being I’m writing to you with my name out in the open, but the truth being, I just don’t really care and these tiny optimizations in Yu-Gi-Oh! fields have certainly not been at the forefront of my mind as of late. Plus, no helping the small group of people that may know who I am now, unfortunately.

Limits

There are things that we can do in this game that might be technically optimal. It might be best to show up to your match in a chicken suit barking at them, by some theoretical rationalization, however, any normal not-Force-of-Will-playing person would not do that. Cardfight Vanguard too, while I’m at offending obnoxious playerbases (while I stand with the maybe the most obnoxious playerbase there is, no less.) The same can be said for deck-building, because when I talk about how far you get into the decimals when comparing cards, it is not to encourage people to actually do it, it is to encourage the exact opposite. We impose arbitrary limits to ourselves as humans in all our activities that we have to recognize that probably don’t meet whatever goal we may have best, usually because it conflicts with another goal of not wanting to be a completely socially obnoxious person. Of course, some people are just born without, for god knows why, this installed in their brain and may find it correct to just start being verbally abusive since the second you sit down to a match. Are there times where I think people go too far in limiting their self in tournament? Probably, such as with the Djinn debacle, and the irrational response of it all. Are there times when people don’t go far enough in limiting their behavior? Obviously, because if you’re ever physically fought someone over Yu-Gi-Oh, you probably also wear those old people diapers and poop yourself, going wee wee in the kitchen sink. I shouldn’t even be having to spell these things out for you because they just should be obvious and these things that limit how technically optimized your performance will be in tournament vary from person to person but keep in mind, god isn’t the only one that judges you. This is also important to understand because it puts in check the pathological nature of my suggestion on rapport.

Concluding

We’ve laid out the most basic concept in physical technical play theory (keep in mind the answer to a gamestate where neither player is ahead is that you usually want to put yourself ahead rather than focusing on stopping your opponent in those gamestates, and these always bar autowins as do any technical play concepts, and the reason why is because getting ahead and then stopping them is what seals the deal, where as stopping them at an equal-to-or-less position is just trading cards for cards.) We understand what to do when we’re winning, when we’re losing, when neither is happening, we know how to build rapport and understand mind games as well as how to apply sociological factors to our practice fairly, and we understand the limits that we have set for ourselves. I think that is a good sentiment to end on, thank you for reading.

 

 

On Deck Building Logistics
http://blog.multimonsterdeals.com/on-deck-building-logistics/

 

 

 

 


We’re going to overview a micro analysis of guidelines for how you ought to construct your deck, logistically. Keep in mind, these are logistics, meaning the relations to the format as a whole and the paradigms in which you ought to create your deck to take to a tournament, and what your strategy should actually be as a result, are not going to be discussed here. I have discussed them before, as with the popular deck problem and such and in the future shall present a type of format analysis in which via logical deduction brings you to the correct things to look for in how to address a format. However, there are constants within the actual construction of your deck that can also be addressed and are what I’m going to delve into in this piece. Basically, then, I won’t tell you what cards to use because your macro strategy that isn’t logistic by definition should tell you this (and that is something I will go over in a future article,) but I will tell you how to allocate your deck once you know what cards you want to play, as well as add an additionally sort of bridging discussion on the side deck when it comes to these two ideas. I’ve additionally said before that I believe deck building to be relatively easy when it comes to the bulk of it and the theory not extremely nuanced, because once you understand what you want your deck to do, I believe that to be a literal truth, as you have already set up the paradigms your deck-building must reflect to make your ideal consistent, keeping in mind the reality that “consistency” is simply the rate of power applied.

Footnote, consider that perhaps power might actually regarded as somewhat more important than consistency even though I currently think it unquantifiable, reason being (to play with some imaginary numbers,) if your deck is 100% consistent and 1% powerful, when placed comparatively to other strategies that are likely popular in any given format, they’re consistently more powerful even if they aren’t technically more consistent, and you would therefore win no games in any reasonable comparative analysis, but if your deck is 1% consistent and 100% powerful, perhaps you’re winning 1 in 100 games (assuming even in the least consistent example of opposing deck’s performance they still trump 1% power, a fair assumption to make given this concept’s practical application,) or some number thereof, as opposed to 0 in 100 games. Of course, being that the actual mathematical relation to both is probably humanly unquantifiable as mentioned, it’s not worth looking or reading too much into that, maybe sometime in the distant future computerization can do such for us, although advancements in computerization are just advancements in human calculations.
Now moving past my usual arbitrary technological jargon/babble, where to begin? We have ground to cover, a bit of it. We must talk about the “list” abstract structure of constructing the extra deck and how the concept can be shoehorned into loosely justifying another avenue in which playing 2 of a card in the main deck is correct, we must cover the truth that every card is relatable in terms of power and consistency (if you didn’t think Shaddoll Fusion and Fiendish Chain were necessarily comparable cards, you were wrong,) searchability increasing efficiency for cards that aren’t necessarily as inherently consistent individually, the side deck in general and what paradigms must be placed for its optimization, the “one card is better than another” generalization and its application (especially with non-searchable traps,) certain mathematical considerations with examples, other general theory like the reason why monsters are generally better than traps from a strategic perspective, and special exceptions to cases in which the aforementioned theory would otherwise prevail as well as why they’re the exceptions and not the rule.
That being said, this may not in practice or otherwise be all the possible concepts to go over they are and it may not be all you, nor I, are aware about, and scavenging my brain trying to organize them may breed some oversights, to that end, on one platform or another, I’ll be sure to note other concepts as I either realize, remember, or otherwise am made apparent about them. Even without the full extent of which, though, we still have quite the plethora of content here. There is one other thing I will do, though, and that is be verbally (writtenly) dismissive of previous deck building theory that I happen to vehemently disagree with, as well as explaining why I disagree with such, and by the exact same aforementioned token, I might not be able to cover every single piece of rubbish on planet earth I disagree with as well as those I agree with, and the same concept of future writings for those not presently realized applies. With these precepts in mind, let us begin. These will be in pseudo-random order as I can’t think of a superior way to organize this piece.
Intro to 3 of’s, 2 of’s, and 1 of’s
The first thing I want you to do is rinse your mind of the usual rubbish people use to justify the quantities of specific cards that they play. Let’s go over some of these so you understand the specific platitudes I refer to. “I didn’t draw it enough at 1, so I’m going to play 2.” “I didn’t draw it enough at 2, so I’m going to play 3.” “It wasn’t good at 3 so I’m going to bump it down to 2.” “It was really good at 2 I think I might bump it up to 3.” “I prefer it at 2, but 3 is fine.” I suppose this is an easy and arbitrary one and I really don’t want to sound like a broken record on the issues of this sort of thinking, it refutes itself and isn’t theoretical. However, those aren’t the only wants I want you to be aware of, this one I suppose you can call “pseudo-theoretical.” “It’s too cloggy at 3 so I play 3.” “You never want to draw 2 so you play 1.” “3 and 1 isn’t a good ‘ratio,’ 3 and 2 is a good ‘ratio.'” “I want to see it sometimes, but not always, so I play 2.” On the surface, these might seem perfectly valid pieces of “theory” to the average duelist, perhaps you used similar lines yourself, I know I probably have historically, no shame there. But, you have to understand the fallibility of all of these, and so you come at them critically.
“Clogginess”
For the people that use the term “cloggy,” you want to divide them into 2 groups, because there are 2. One is, like the former example, simply concerned with the fact they drew multiple in practice and thus should be disregarded in the exact same fashion. The other group, though, is more nuanced. They’re concerned with what I can only guess are the mathematical ramifications of playing more of a card or cards that are not good to see multiple of, usually they’re speak of individual cards but sometimes they speak of them collectively. When speaking collectively, although I wouldn’t use that term specifically due to the general misuse of it such as to not equate myself to those who misuse it, they may be correct. 30 traps out of 40 cards might be “too cloggy,” at least in the sense that you are likely to draw a lot of them, but it also may be the case you should be playing no traps. With Monsters and Spells they may say the same thing is well, and here we come to our first important distinction, which is just sorting out which things are rational and which are irrational fears, aka which cards aren’t necessarily bad to draw multiple of, assuming you don’t have some other circumvention in deck-building via problem-solving deck-building. An example of this would be similar to decks with a lot of Burning Abyss Monsters I have advocated. “Wouldn’t all these Monsters get cloggy?” Sure, but it’s not a bad thing because that is exactly the crux of the theory of the deck where they float into backrow and their Monsters clear their opponent’s field and attack for game, so given no exceptions for things like Nekroz which you need to have concessions for, yeah, you’re going to want more of them, regardless of diminishing returns issues.
However, by the same token, there are obviously diminishing returns issues that are valid insofar as while you might want to draw a certain card or group of cards, the more you play, the less additional likelihood to seeing it you’re adding and the more of a chance of seeing only it, you’re adding, which brings us to the next big issue in the entire “cloggy” line. The issue of diminishing returns which, in technical terms, is a synonym to this group’s issues, due to the precise nature of how it works with more cards equalling less chance of seeing that group of cards, is far more present when you get into a higher number of cards than a lower number. This means that there isn’t nearly as much of a “diminishing returns” issue for the difference of 2-3 cards than there are when you start playing 20 of a group of cards that aren’t good to see multiple of (keeping in mind the aforementioned distinction of what is and is not necessarily “not good to see multiple of.)”
But wait, wouldn’t that just prove their point then? Wouldn’t that, because the difference between 1 and 2 or 2 and 3 cards is greater than that of 10 and 11 cards, mean that their concerns are validated because you are more significantly increasing your chances of seeing them? Well, this is essentially the point in the macro-economics class where the teacher scolds the student for equating the rate of GDP growth over the years with the current GDP numerically. While the increase in percentage of the time you see a card will be higher when you move it from 2 to 3 than from 3 to 4 etc, the difference between the chances of seeing an 11-of are still massively higher than the chance of seeing a 2-of, which is a realist and important perspective to understand because it deals with what is actually in front of you instead of the effects theoretically adding and subtracting cards will have.
But let’s not talk ourselves out of the main criticism here, they’re arguing diminishing returns being an issue just within that vacuum of particular cards, using the phrase “cloggy” to describe you mathematically having a worrisome amount of chance higher of seeing multiple of these cards that aren’t good to see multiple of, within the differences of 2 and 3 and 1 and 2. Well, let’s let reality explain to us why these worries of overblown. The odds of opening 2 of a 3-of going first in a 40 card deck is 3.6%. The odds of drawing all 3, 0.1%. The odds of drawing two of a 2 of going first in a 40 card deck? 1.3%. These same odds going second? Not much more troubling. Two 3 of’s going second is 5.4%. All 3? 0.2%. Two 2 of’s? 1.9%. Now, do tell me, which do you think is more important: These miniscule numbers, or the comparative merits of the cards in questions to other cards on the axis of both power and consistency, keeping in mind that this issue is basically covered in consistency’s considerations as well? Which do you think, across a long perior of time – that being, on a macro scale, – will have a higher effect on your chances of winning? Once you answer this question the only sensible way possible, you understand the core invalidation that you should practice whenever you see someone giving a deck profile that tells the cameraman he decided to play two of a card because it “was cloggy.”
A similar issue arises when someone talks about a non-searchable card with the line of “you never want to draw 2, so you only play one.” However, the additional issue with this is a lot more direct and a lot less nuanced, especially given the precepts of what does and doesn’t really matter in relation to those numbers we discussed. All you have to do is ask, if something that miniscule is able to dictate the number you play of a non-searchable card (notice I keep using the term non-searchable carefully, there is a reason I do that, and I will get into that later,) why are you even playing the card in the first place? Isn’t it far more likely that, if something as week as that can justify playing less, that there is likely a card you should be playing before it, something that exceeds it on both the axis of power and consistency? Otherwise, you’d want to play more of it even given that because it would just be “that powerful” verbally unquote. It’s a comparative and therefore relative issue, yes (so is everything,) but being that the material critique in my mind is the mind is also a form of theoretical critique, it is still valid. That is the issue I have when people say that things are good on paper but bad in theory, since there is a reason for everything, your theory just must not have been complete, or wild coincidences have occured, it is one or the other, and both are the fault of you for not recognizing the situation as such. Of course, almost all forms of theory have some material, arbitrary, or unquantifiable assumptions involved with the exception of things that are within the confines of man-made things or concepts that we subsequently understand the reasoning of, but this game is a man-made object, therefore we can quantify it, which validates the perfected analysis of it, but that’s probably getting a little too philosophical for this piece, let’s continue.
Ratios
On ratios, people, in my experience, appear to use this term in three different terms, frustratingly. One group uses the term “ratios” as noted previously in something like “I think 2 Karma Cut and 2 Raigeki Break is a good ‘ratio,'” another group says “I think 3 Myrmeleo and 1 Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare is a good ‘ratio,'” and the last group, probably the closest to a practical application, says “I think this is a good ratio of Monsters to Spell and Trap cards.” I’m not going to get into dictionary-thumping arguments on what is and isn’t what the English language considers to be a “ratio,” but what I will do is sort out the useful ideas associated with the term in the context of this game from the useless ideas associated with the term. The problem of the first group listed is obvious. You’re picking two non-searchable cards and pretending they have some sort of independent relationship to each other, sort of like a deck within a deck, and sure, you can isolate that if you want, but what is the purpose of doing so? If no such independent relation is really any different mathematically or in practicality of any other relation in the same deck you want to isolate for whatever reason, what’s the purpose of even doing that in the first place? The answer is that there is no point and people just use that logic as a sort of laziness towards deck-building that plagues the majority of players in this game, but perhaps we ought to be grateful for that because as one of the theses of my previous article pointed out, their incompetence works in our favor. That same intellectual laziness is a constant throughout all of the refuted lines of thinking.
Next, we have to deal with claims that searchable cards to the cards that are searchable form ratios. Noticeably, this term has historically only been applies when the card you’re searching doesn’t do much searching itself, those end up being broadly painted as “floaters.” This suffers in one way from the same issue as the first, and in another way doesn’t. The way that it suffers from the same issue is that there are still other, likely searchable, ratios you can select arbitrarily in your deck, and on top of this, you’re still only looking at a 3 of and a 1 of. The second point is the opposite of that, that you’re actually looking at a 3 of and a 4 of, and this is exactly where you begin to see the issue. Play another Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare and it’s a 3 of and a 5 of, and so on, and just because your deck doesn’t infringe on playing more than 40 cards doesn’t make that at least abstractly untrue. Realization that it is simply a 3 of and a 4 of means that, like with the first claim, the “ratio” word because useless, because once you get abstract, it doesn’t matter anymore and invalidates that claim, just like you might play 3 Mystical Space Typhoon and 1 Solemn Warning, you’re playing 3 Traptrix Myrmeleo and 1/4 Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare. This is also true for cards that only search something else and do nothing else, meaning 3 Reinforcements of the Army when your only warrior is 3 Raiden, means that as far as theory is concerned, you’re playing 0 Reinforcements of the Army and 6 Raiden. Again, what we’re trying to do from a critical perspective here is to dismantle these ideas of ratios as useless and arbitrary in application, and now for this idea and the previous, we have done that.
But, as told, there is a third, and partially more nuanced line that the phrase has been used. This is the “I play a good ratio of Monsters to Spells and Traps” statement. The macro nature of this claim makes it more difficult to disintegrate, but it can still be done, as well as being replaced by an alternative better method, and be given an example of such. Consider that, as mentioned with RotA and as far as theory goes, it’s useless to consider cards that search other cards only as their own cards, meaning that they bridge lines of simple “Monsters, Spells, and Traps.” The cards that blur the line between these three groups, the game is currently full of them, make this line of thinking practically useless while constructing a deck, especially if your “ratios” of all three are arbitrary and don’t have anything to do with deciding that one card is better than another up until the point where consistency becomes an issue.
I’m going to repeat that again more blatantly because it’s a main point that I want to drive home here, keeping in mind we’re not just trying to disintegrate these claims for the fun of it but rather trying to offer a superior solution due to the fallacy of individually meritocratic thinking. One card is better than another and should be played before another up until the point where consistency becomes an issue. This should make all the sense in the world. Asserting that one card is better than another because all cards in your pile of 40-60 cards are comparable on axis’ of power and consistency is valid because the counter-claim, that some cards are “50-50,” ignores the ridiculous nature of that claim when you consider the amount of cards released and every format relation in the game. Is it theoretically possible that a “50-50” scenario exists? Yes. Does it? I would bet my life it does not. You have to understand that due to all of these micro-relations that all cards have and that affect all cards at once, it’s more likely that if you were to pick out the two cards closest to each other it might be something like “49.99152 vs 49.88221,” obviously those are imaginary numbers though, especially the integer, and it probably goes far greater into the decimals, and every next decimal you reach, the less likely two cards are to, for one micro reason or another, be completely the same. So yes, all cards are relatable and one card is better than another. But wait, wouldn’t it matter what deck you’re using? That is when you get into the concept of “the list,” and also why in practicality that concept is restricted more towards the extra deck but still exists for the main deck, and also proves that generally, decks should be consisted of 3 of’s and 1 of’s barring a list of exceptions that we are also going to cover. Back on ratios though.
So, if the ratio of an arbitrary concept like broadly dividing them by Monsters, Spells, and Traps, isn’t useful, then what is useful and what is the meaning of my pseudo-validation of this third claim? Well, this ties right back into, as most theory ties itself together, my the part of my thesis that states “until consistency becomes an issue.” For the aforementioned example, consider Infernity. I could tell you that one card is better than another and that, since in a vacuum, another copy of Dark Grepher might be better than a Spell card I am considering playing on a micro-scale, but we can’t ignore the larger impact here because if I were to decide a bunch of Monsters were superior to a bunch of Spells and Traps, I’d end up with an Infernity deck of 40 Monsters. This lets us know two things. First, on the floating topic of the list, it means that combos of cards and their corresponding consistency can be counted as different numbers, especially when you consider combos are just like cards that are significantly less likely to be drawn on a consistency axis. So yes, that means you can compare combos to actual cards. But it tells us another thing that may be the only validation of the term ratio, and that ironically differs from every commonly used way it has been implemented into the broad conversation. What it tells us is that there does exist a precise relation from the number of certain non-arbitrary groups of cards we play to the consistency of the deck overall. This may seem like an obvious conclusion to come to, and that’s because it is an obvious conclusion the way I laid it out, but lest you not understand the importance of the specificity of this claim, read it again taking note of the phrase “non-arbitrary groups,” and you may realize the non-obvious road I’m heading down here.
Some of these groups overlap. On the plane of consistency a 7 Scale pendulum Monster might also be a Spell card for a different plane. The two important things to understand here is that the general consistency of the deck overall is decided by quantifying these types of overlaps, and the second important thing to understand is, once again, the non-arbitrariness of these groups. 3 Reinforcements of the Army with 3 Raiden is not 3 Spell cards and 3 Monster cards, it’s 6 Monster cards. 3 Monster cards that special summon themselves and 3 Monster cards that require to be normal summoned are not 6 Monster cards. Obviously they also are if you want to be literal, but the problem with being literal in theory, is you’ll never solve anything that requires this sort of abstract thought, which is the crux of understanding micro-deck-building theory in basically every possible way. Keep in mind though, lest we lose sight of what is important to take away from this, there is still an axis of power, so these overlapping non-arbitrary groups do not declare themselves superior to other cards and strategies overall, especially considering the necessary information of outside input into consistency (meaning that if every deck is maining 40 Anti-Spell Fragrances, Spell cards are no longer very consistent anymore,) and that the power is also relative to the format that decides how good it is in the field while the consistency just simply determines the rate of your power, as discussed previously.
A last tidbit would be a refutation to “I want to see it only some of the time, so I play 2,” that logic holds the exact same premise and therefore the exact same issue as the “cloggy” argument, but also another in that you, the person playing the deck, aren’t some all-foreseeing god that is able to decide which cards that concept does and does not apply to, because some people seem to think they are, and the reality is it applies to none. Having all of these points refuted and sorted out, hopefully cleansing your brain of any sort of attachment to them, and if you didn’t have any sort of predisposition to those claims, then I guess you get a nice gold star on the chalkboard or whatever. Point is, simply criticizing something isn’t enough, for to change it, you have to present an alternative as mentioned, that being, a different way to look at how you should organize 3 of’s, 2 of’s and 1 of’s in your deck, when you ought to play them in such a quantity, and when you ought not to. We’ll begin with 2 of’s, because while for some it might seem the most complicated of the three, I actually consider it by far the simplest, and you’ll see why. One last point though, I want to add that it might make it seem like because I’m going after terms like clogginess and ratios as a preface that I’m just going after easy buzzwords. I think it’s beyond obvious that my presentation of what the mass of people actually mean by those buzzwords and my actually attacking that instead of the usual “haha buzzword is wrong I’m an ironic internet teenager” proves otherwise, as I’m attacking the actual ideas themselves.
Important Exception
I’m about to get into what you ought to be playing for 1 of’s, 2 of’s, and 3 of’s in your deck, but there exists an exception that I want to apply for all of them, and it’s something I’ve already gone over but I want you to keep in mind while you’re reading the following paragraphs. We’ve determined that there do exist non-arbitrary groups and sometimes their relationship with each other in relation to the consistency of your deck outweigh the relationship of individual cards. In the previous example we explored that in correlation to ratios, but it also exists for deciding 1 of’s, 2 of’s, and 3 of’s for your cards. This exception has basically everything to do with the functionality of how combos work on a scale of consistency, which is also obviously the precise reason why you have to make this distinction when you talk about, say, the merits of what quantity of individual cards to play. This is to say, as with the Infernity example, if a card in one group is better than a card in another group, but playing the first card would offset whatever necessary restrictions you’ve decided you have to make to keep the consistency of your combinations intact, then it might not be correct to play the card that, once again, is better in a vacuum. This is the essence of the “until you reach problems in consistency” portion of my thesis. Now that we have prefaced the following with that, let’s get into this.
2 of’s
We’ve already established that the idea of one card being better than another (up until the point consistency becomes an issue,) as well as the to-this-point vague mentioning of the list concept (again, we will reach that,) prove that generally you’re looking to play 3 of’s and 1 of’s, but there do exist reasons to play 2 of a card that are theoretically valid, five in particular come to mind. First, a searchable card that is found to come up multiple times in games often, to the point where it is decided necessary towards your win-rate. An example of this would be those that believed Nekroz of Clausolas wasn’t a very good card but also conceding that it would be likely to “come up” twice in the same game so they decided to play 2, keeping in mind it is a searchable card and the more searchable a card is the more you can concern yourself with how much it will practically come up within a game as opposed to being purely concerned with actually seeing the card in the first place.
The second concerns banlist restrictions, and is obvious. If you’ve determined you want to max out on a card but it is at 2, you play 2, not much to say here. The third are arbitrary self-restricting cards like Reborn Tengu, these being, cards that need another copy of itself to be used. If you’ve determined that you want to minimize on this card but still use it, and it requires another copy of itself, you’re essentially forced to play 2. Another example of this would be decks that just played 2 Tour Guide from the Underworld and no other targets, or something like that, if memory serves. The fourth simply is reserved for exceptions that actually are exceptions and not the rule. This would cover something like the concept of spreading out the Burning Abyss count as much as possible in my /Almost/Trapless Burning Abyss deck, because their actual effects were irrelevant leaving the only, albeit as mentioned miniscule, difference the concern of not drawing multiples of them en masse. No, it is not hypocritical of me to use the same logic I declared miniscule, because even the most miniscule justification can come up logically if everything more common than it is disregarded, I believe the old proverb that has something to do with solving crime or whatever would concur with me, something like “once you’ve ruled out the plausible, all that’s left is the implausible.”
The fifth and final concept relates back to the ever-present and haunting list idea. Basically, this has to do with when the 39th, 40th, and 41st card you should be playing in your deck is all the same card, or if you understand the concept more in-depth, the first two could be the 2nd and 14th cards, and the third could be the 566th card, it doesn’t really matter, but the point is if you’ve decided the proper number of cards in your deck to be 40, then the result you have here is the third copy of your card is “cut off.” This is loosely what people refer to as “not having enough room in the deck,” although I’d estimate 99.9% of the time they’re not using that phrase sensibly relating to that concept as this is not only a very unquantifiable idea if you’re not the most advanced computer from 1,000 years from now (if you want to deal with being correct,) but it is also often used on cards that don’t make sense to use the line on, in addition to it reflecting the exact same sort of laziness in deck building that we’re trying to detract from. Those are the five main justifications for playing 2 of a card, and I want to stress that the “exceptions” category should not be exploited to store the aforementioned type of laziness because this like Burning Abyss cards really are just the exception and don’t constitute anywhere near a majority to become the actual rule. Now with these things in mind, let’s get to the real important one.
Interesting note by the way, out of the cards you’ve decided you should play, if you understand the reasoning to play 2 of the 3 categories of 1 of’s, 2 of’s and 3 of’s, you don’t even need to understand the third, because you’ll understand that all cards you’re going to play but that don’t meet either of the two defined categories must land in the third one. So then, now that we’ve clearly defined what ought to be a 2 of, now which of the remaining categories do we want to define? Trick question, the answer is both (especially considering the isolated theory of one of them is extremely dependant on knowing the isolated theory of the other.) However, there isn’t a significant level of nuance to either of these, as I believe there isn’t with 2-ofs, and that really gets back to my statement about micro-deck-building being easy once you understand these things, the real difficulty in deck-building comes from applying macro-analysis to the entire format as well as taking into account expected deck representation and constructing a strategy, not a decklist but a strategy, to counter that and then deal with logistics to actually make it a reality. This is also the core of my frustration when people equate me talking macro-theory to me having a decklist to give to them, outside of the whole “spoonfeeding” issue that people seem to complain about even though it doesn’t particularly fascinate me, I feel as if they have missed the entire point of what talking macro theory and setting this paradigms actually is meant to do, because a decklist should just be the logical conclusion of doing that.
3 of’s
Needless to say, once you rule out 2 of’s, the difference between what should be a 3 of and what should be a 1 of becomes painstakingly obvious. However, that isn’t to say there don’t still actually exist reasons to do so outside of “oh my gosh this card is so powerful,” that you still should be aware of. Basically the central reason for which, is actually posed in a question. “If I wasn’t to play this card at 3, why even play it?” That meaning, since we’ve already gone over the specific reason to play 2 of a card, and we know that one card is generally than another, if you aren’t playing a card at 2 or 3, keeping in mind arbitrary banlist restrictions that really shouldn’t even have to be mentioned in a serious article but I will anyway just to block that one guy in the comment sections that goes “haha what if its limited/banned gotcha! what do u think of this anime btw,” but again, if you aren’t playing it at 2 or 3, and you concede that it doesn’t meet the criteria for a 1 of that we are going to go over, then now you have ruled out all 3 categories, and you are left with what should be a very strong realization. On these cards, which is the bulk of the cards we play in practice by the way, the only logical conclusion here is that it should be 3 or 0 for your 3 of’s. Remember, macro theory is what determines that you play the card in the first place, so this means that when you decide to play a card, if it doesn’t fall within the criteria to play it as a 1 of or 2 of, and I mean those EXACT criteria, then you must play 3.
1 of’s
These should be cards that are searchable and cards that are at 1 in which you have decided to play, plain and simple. If one card is better than another, it should follow that most cards are naturally shot up to 3 copies of themselves. However, remembering the example with Reinforcements of the Army and Raiden, as well as the issue of diminishing returns, where do we end up? Well, we end up with a very powerful concept to grasp in deck building. “I play x of it when it is good and >x of it when it is bad.” That is to say, in Geargia/H.A.T. format, if you have 3 Myrmeleo and 1 Acid Trap Hole, you’re playing 4 Acid Trap Hole against Geargia, and only 1 against other decks that you don’t have a particularly high chance of seeing, whereas you do have a high chance of seeing it when it is good. This concept is especially useful for either more diverse format that require to be attacked from multiple angles, as well as when you’re constructing a combo deck with specific pieces correlating to specific hands. That is what a 1 of should be, and when you ignore all of the nonsense “variety” arguments or whatever, using the truth of one card being better than another, I believe you will arrive at a similar conclusion.
However, there is one other way that you could reach the conclusion to use 1 of a card, and that is the exact same concept as one of the categories in which can also lead you to play a 2 of. Once again, relating to the list concept, whereas with 2 of’s you were to consider the 39th, 40th, and 41st cards or some corresponding numbers with the same results to be a possibility in which you would want to play 2 of, the same concept can possibly exist with 1 of’s when you have something like the 40th card in your deck, and then the 41st and 42nd or 50th and 1,000th card in your deck be the same and therefore only one of the copies of said card (multiple copies of the same card on the list are placed differently, although they often appear in a row,) is justified. I will say though that, as I keep repeating because I understand the necessity of hammering this into your head, that this idea as with all are not to be used to justify laziness by stopping at them, even though they do have real and logical applications. This isn’t a bag of loose justifications for you to pick out of a hat to justify why you’re playing a certain number of card, the point is for you to understand it in-depth.
I suppose it a bit weird that I would declare the 2 of’s easiest to explain yes the 1 of’s and 3 of’s took significantly less actual words, but this is only because ruling out 2 of’s made the other two comparatively look extremely simple, whereas otherwise if I was going to analyze it by comparing 2 of’s to 3 of’s and then 1 of’s to 2 of’s, you probably would have completely lost me because there isn’t actually a point of comparing them like that when you can just supply the actual reasons for which to isolate and play them, and that is exactly what I did, and exactly why I did it that way, and now we can finally move on from 1 of’s, 2 of’s and 3 of’s, given a proper understanding of both the refutations of the opposing argument as well as substantiating our own argument as correct. It took quite a lot of words, of course, but the next time you see two friends in your group chart arguing about rather to play 2 or 3 Mystical Space Typhoon in their Pendulum Performage main deck, you can either be a terrible person (me) and just slightly laugh to yourself and go back to your independent studies, or you can inform them and/or link them to this piece, either way, what you aren’t doing is contributing to the problem.
However, 26 or so paragraphs in, yet there is still more to discuss. I don’t believe in multi-part series, and I like information to be as compact and concise as possible, although perhaps I should learn interpage hyperlinking to index longer pieces thus making them more easily referenced. Let’s move on, and finally address something I keep returning to, so you can understand what on Earth I’m going on about.
The List and the Extra Deck
Imagine a list, let’s start with the simple application which is for the Extra deck. You have cards listed, multiple copies of the same cards being in seperate numbers, and they are in order of relative power + consistency. Unless for some outside force such as the card Re-Cover, the top 15 cards in this list is the correct Extra deck. Speaking specifically on its applications to the Extra deck, because it’s easy to articulate it in this way, it is also broadly arranged first by the most powerful and consistent (consistent in terms of the Extra deck just simply means going by how often it “comes up,)” to the least powerful and consistent. Another categorical approach is to order it, which you an also do in extra deck standards, least win-more that comes up the most, to most win-more that comes up the least, but win-more here is simply a synonym for power when you get down to it, and “comes up” would be your axis of consistency. In reality, most terms equate to those two terms in deck-building, and the ones that do not, are generally invalid nonsence. This also lets you understand a macro-scale of this game better, being that at the surface there is only deck building and technical play, then when you breakdown deck building there is power and consistency and you want the best deck within those standards.
In reality, this idea should be applied to the Extra deck because it is far simpler to understand that way and you get really down to the nitty gritty when you start applying it to the main deck, and even more complicated the side deck, but I do want you to know, this concept is still very real for both of those things, and in fact, it proves one justification for 1 of’s and 2 of’s. To get technical for a moment, basically the list is put on steroids when you involve the main deck because you’re now dealing with chance rather than cards that you don’t have to draw and can go into whenever as with the Extra, what this means is that you have to make accommodations in this theoretical list for combinations of cards, which are in reality directly comparable to actual cards insofar as they too have both a power value and a consistency value. So as it turns out, this proves that aside from just Shaddoll Fusion and Fiendish Chain being comparable, you can now compare Wind-Up Magician + Wind-Up Shark as a combo to Solemn Warning on both of these axis’.
However, once you realize the full possible extent that idea can go, you begin to be weary as to how you apply it outside of just using it’s existence to correctly point out certain justifications that make sense. In the perfect list counting all cards and combinations and comparing them and making them relative to the format, the top 40-60 cards (wherever the proper cutoff may be at the time,) is the correct deck to play going into a tournament. So then you might ask that because combos are relative to their decks, wouldn’t that then invalidate this idea? Well, the answer to this is that because all cards are comparable advancements in these combinations means advancements in the placements on this list and how well these cards work together, meaning that one combination being better than another moves a different combo down the list comparatively and with that new cards might become better that then are also raised along with this combo. It should also be noted that “combinations” in the list concept aren’t limited to just 2 cards, hell, they can go far past 60 cards if you want them to, and even include your opponent’s board, which is just more of a testiment to the near-impossibility of ever actually being able to have this list written down or calculated anywhere, but still, just by knowing it exists, you’re able to be aware at how cards and combinations of cards function in relation to each other, and that is a very important thing to know as you can then use that to make justifications, the same sort of justifications that I have already shown you a few examples of while explaining 1 of’s, 2 of’s, and 3 of’s. It is also worth noting that the ideas of the non-arbitrary groups of cards could also form their own theoretical list of interrelations. That is the best I can possibly explain that concept, let’s move forward.
“Monsters > Traps”
An intermediate thought or piece of information between the last section and the next one, which will be the closing section of this piece: Monsters are better at solving boards than Traps, generally. The reason I hold this at true isn’t because of some arbitrary distinction in which certain Monsters stop what they’re doing better than some Traps, I hold this true and I believe you might too once you acknowledge that if you stop your opponent with a Trap, you’ve made a trade-off and “profitable” or not, that Trap is gone forever. However, if you out their board with your Monsters, it’s basically pure profit because your Monsters aren’t consumables and stick around afterwords. Keep in mind this isn’t the same thing as the popular “Monsters > Traps,” which I don’t necessarily hold to be true barring exceptions for floating past them as a general rule. The reason I don’t generally hold it to be true is because you always have to have more Monsters than they have outs to your Monsters, generally in Traps, to overcome and beat them, however, they only have to have as many Traps as you do Monsters, not more. That being said, even though by this logic Traps would still generally be favored at stopping Monsters if you were to just look at it like that, I think my other assertion is a far superior way of looking at it, so it is neither “Monsters > Traps,” and not even its logical invalidation of “Traps > Monsters,” in reality, it is “Monsters > Monsters.” However, this is usually a piece of macro theory rather than micro theory, as macro theory dictates what cards you use, or at least consider, then micro theory compares and contrasts them. However, it is still important to have this frame of reference in mind while sorting through them in either case, from a strategic standpoint.
Now that we have gone over the main deck, its numbers, as well as the extra deck, what is left here? The side deck.
The Side Deck
There are two general strategies and ways to look at th3e side deck, one as a problem-solving mechanism, and the other as an entire strategy in and of itself, rather that has to do with smoke screening into a different deck, or adding different engines to the main between your main and your side deck in response to both certain match-ups and the knowledge of rather you’re guaranteed or likely to be going first/second in the upcoming game. It can also then, as a result of not having to consist the entire side deck as a conservation strategy, be a mixture of both of these strategies. Labeling one as “problem solving” isn’t to detract from the fact that the other solves problems too, but it just does so in a radically different way. In the same manner that a Burning Abyss deck solved the problem of floodgates to Nekroz by working around them last format, thus making the problem not exist anymore, conversion siding seeks to do basically the exact same thing. Rather than have a problem and attack the problem, you just make the problem overall cease to actually be a problem. This is exactly, from a strategic standpoint, why I often advocate these sort of pro-smokescreen tactics.
Would you rather have one strategy solve a problem with a given success rate, or would you rather circumvent the problem completely, thus making that rate by default, 100% no matter what? Easily, you’d rather do the latter, and that is the importance of figuring out integral strategies to involve with your side deck rather than just taking the incorrect framework and going “oh I’ll throw in a few of these because it’s good against such and such,” etc. It is also worth noting that the side deck’s and main deck’s relation and subsequent combined strategies both fall under the large roof of consistency and is therefore something you need to consider both building your main and side, especially when you consider you’re playing more games sided than mained. Another problem-solving aspect you can manipulate with your side-deck is to break opposing match-ups down into individual games, conceed one, then have your side deck win the other two, maintaining a good win-rate.
So then, what of the specific quantities of cards in your side deck? Do the same rules of 1 of’s, 2 of’s, and 3 ofs, apply? Well, yes and no. They apply insofar as that in specific match-ups one card is better than the other, but the don’t apply insofar as the overlap between match-ups is now something to consider so you have to realize which match-ups you actually need to solve and which you don’t need to, and being that you must also take cards out of your main deck during siding, you have to accommodate for that perfectly and you won’t always be able to get a perfect balance of number of cards you’re taking out to number of cards you think it necessary to put in, and that is exactly where the trade-offs happen that you need to consider. The good news though, is that once you’ve decided on a solid conversion strategy addressing a format, the organization of your side deck becomes way easier because it’s less about figuring out the comparative overlapping match-ups, your odds of playing them, and your actual need to beat them in correlation to your win rate, but becomes far more about, much like your main deck, just working out a consistently powerful strategy that can integrate into another consistently powerful strategy. Therefore, without even the need for the nitty gritty of the more conventional approach to side-decking, you can begin to circumvent both the need for such, and the strategy as a whole for one you already have logically proved as superior in the first place.
However, that isn’t to say you shouldn’t at least have the desire to get down to the technicalities of side deck construction for the strategy you aren’t likely to take, just incase you’re in situations where it may be correct to take that exact same strategy. To that end, the things that must be considered are going first/second, which match-ups you actually need support to win, and which games in general you actually need to lose or win in the first place to have an overall important affect on your overall win-rate. Note though, that first/second considerations are actually a form of conversion siding as well. Anyway, to these ends, you might consider something like how I sided absolutely nothing for the Towers Turbo match-up in Burning Abyss, fully acknowledging it as an autoloss, because I knew it wasn’t at all popular in the United States and therefore it wasn’t worth putting my attention towards when there were more pressing issues I needed to solve with the alloted space. Last note on side decking is even if you’re not fully committing to one blanket side conversion, smaller conversions can still be ingrained in your side deck, which may and probably are still going to be better than the alternative that we’re gone over already.
Conclusion
Well, it was a bit of reading, but we have learned enough to make it worth it. We have figured out what ought to be 1 of’s, 2 of’s, and 3 of’s in the main, we figured out the right frame for thinking about how to construct an Extra deck comparatively, and we’ve also talked about general and technical side deck strategy. In addition to that, we’ve shot down earlier fallible forms of thinking and replaced them with stronger logical ones. I often make this comparison but I want you to consider the merits of reading one long article that teaches you something against you writing back and forth with an equally less-informed Facebook friend about, like the earlier example, rather you want to play 2 or 3 Mystical Space Typhoon in your main deck. Perhaps in total you would have exchanged or read the same amount of words as I have written here, but from one you actually learn something, that can answer far more questions than just that, and my desire to reach my friends with this message far supersedes my interest in how boring people think this sort of literature is, especially when I myself don’t consider theoretics boring at all. I incite you then, to spread the messages within this piece, as I will do quoting this very paragraph as a heading when sharing it to incite you to read it, thus spreading the flow of knowledge hopefully as vast as I wish it to be, even though the intents of a few may differ from wanting to spread these sort of ideas, I’m confident that the mass of those that would far supersedes them. In any event though, I want to thank you for reading this, and for your time. Have a nice day or night.

 

 

On the November Banlist and the Popular Deck Problem
http://blog.multimonsterdeals.com/on-the-november-banlist-and-the-popular-deck-problem/

 

 

 

 


A few days ago, the format was updated. I’m not going to sit here and bore you with the actual list, you already know it, and I’m also not going to treat you like an idiot and go over each individual change, crapshooting guesses as to the specific reasoning Konami had for everyone, because I’m not a mind reader and it’s quite obvious that this was a format-resetting/new set-pushing list anyway. That is the macro-view of the idea to where the micro-view doesn’t even matter. The last thing I won’t do is convince you that Nekroz, Burning Abyss, and Shaddoll won’t be popular choices, entrusting you to already be aware of this information, and I’m sure you can find plenty of other aspiring writers on the internet that will do just that for you. That isn’t to say I’m advocating against considering them, you should consider all possible angles when approaching a tournament because tunnel vision leads to a non-comparable meritocratic view of the game. What I will do, though, is talk about both the changes in the format this list implies and also my considerations of strategies moving forward I have thought about the past several days. This should give you a proper context of the material you’re dealing with as well a frame of looking at attacking it in the best way possible, figuring out what to think about in order to do so.


Kozmo, Majespecter, Pendulum Performage, a mixture of both, and Infernoid. These are quite universally expected to be the most popular choices for the new format, especially Kozmo, Majespecter, and Pendulum Performage. Normally when formats first begin there is some confusion before the first event about what people will consider good or not and this leads to some mis-scaled representation of various strategies. The power creep of this game in 2015 completely invalidates that perspective’s existence until Konami decides to just release a banlist that makes a lot of decks considerably equal in terms of the average duelist’s view of how good they are, I highly doubt this will happen anytime soon, though. Broadly speaking, we already know the decks to beat. Therefore, all we need to know now is what cards these decks are playing, their projected representation, and rather they pick first or second blind/not blind. These are the basic concepts needed to properly theory for just about any tournament. But wait, there are no events to check the results from! How could we possibly find numbers without some arbitrary list of information to consider? Well, easy, community polling. Several days ago I did a few polls and asked for some information of various forums, popular Facebook groups, etc. The more participation/outreach the better.

The results of these polls and information-gathering as I’m reporting now, is quite staggering. Majespecter generally blinds first, Kozmo generally blinds second, Infernoid generally blinds second, Pendulum Performage generally blinds second, and the mixture of both may vary. It also suggested Kozmo as the most popular deck with Majespecter and Pendulum Performage basically tied for second, then the mixture of both or “Majespecter Performage,” then Infernoid being least popular. As far as list-gathering goes, as with most beginning of formats, people were quite stingy about talking about their standard new format lists, without realizing the irony that the majority of their lists were probably very similar to each other. However, I was able to oversee some discusses and acquire a few decklists, the results being, well, what you would expect. Only trends that aren’t obvious would be Deck Devastation Virus in decks that make King of the Feral Imps, Wavering Eyes in pendulum decks barring a few more Majespecter-heavy lists, and Storming Mirror Force in Kozmo. I suppose you could also consider Vector Pendulum + Painful Decision a new trend as well. A lot of this, even with the old format, was apparent at YCS San Jose anyway. These decks for the new format all have basically the same cards and quantity there-of as well. Point is, we have the information we need now, all that’s left to go over is the ideas I’ve considered moving forward.

However, before I get that far into this I want to articulate something that I don’t believe a lot of duelists actually understand and that is the popular deck problem, as well as the other portion of this article that is directly linked to the start of this format and every format. People will often ask (to me,) why aren’t you playing Kozmo? Why aren’t you playing Nekroz? Why aren’t you playing Majespecter similar to other lists? Aren’t you the preacher of trying to give yourself the highest chance of doing well? What they don’t seem to get is the inherent problem a deck has when it is popular, and it has nothing to do with all the arbitrary reasons that the constituents of entities such as the youtube community and Zodiac Duelist will tell you, “the surprise factor,” “originality,” all delusional garbage. Now follow my logic here. Being a popular deck, even if you’ve decided you can beat all the other decks in the field with it, naturally breeds mirror matches. Especially when your deck is the most popular deck, it should follow that your top priority ought to be figuring how to beat this deck, it is the deck to beat isn’t it? So what do you say? You’re siding Shared Ride for your Nekroz mirror? You’re siding Cyber Dragon for your Kozmo mirror? Who isn’t? So then what? Your technical play exceeds theirs in 2015? Laughable. The gap between correct technical play and status quo technical play, due to both the arbitrary power of the cards we’re dealing with and the general comparative competence level of the people that use them (comparative being the key word there,) suggesting that your technical play exceeds everyone else’s to where your standard list somehow will out do all others in the event and therefore have the highest chance of winning is absurd.

If you’re beating the other match-ups with the deck, you also have to figure out how to win the mirror match with your deck if it is popular, and that will essentially always breed this problem. Sometimes it IS the case that it simply out power creeps everything else, and sometimes it IS the case that the next innovation of the deck against itself and others puts your list above theirs. Problem for the latter is, as formats develop, not only does that become less and less likely, but due to the popular knowledge of most of these things and the flow of that information into the mainstream community as it is, that becomes more and more difficult to pull off. It’s the same reason people that used things like Secret Village of the Spellcasters in their Nekroz decks at the 150th YCS found themselves having a problem with people knowing about it and either playing it, or adjusting accordingly. It’s not even that though, as that might be attributed more towards poor confidentiality, but you have to understand that the more of these cards that pop up, the Vanity’s Emptinesses, the Secret Villages, the Mystical Refpanels, the less of these types of cards that actually exist and ARE NOT in the public’s conscious. Perfect example, Reasoning at YCS San Jose. Multiple Kozmo actually played it, and won with it, and it was something that was before-hand considered fringe and “hushed.” Therefore, it follows that the more formats develop, the probability that of your standard-ish list, even with some minor innovation, being the right choice to take to a tournament, plummets. But that is only for formats that aren’t already developed arbitrarily, everyone knew it was Dragon Ruler/Spellbook format when those two decks came out. This format? Everyone already knows, it is Kozmo, pendulum decks, and to an extent infernoid.

The formats are being solved faster and faster, so the need for taking an outside strategy while the mass of people are still trying to figure out how they’re going to win mirrors or how they’re going to make their Burning Abyss deck beat Shaddoll grows ever higher. This is exactly why I’d argue it makes more sense spending your time that is allocated towards Yu-Gi-Oh on figuring out how to best create a combative strategy towards the status quo rather than trying to figure out how to summon Nekroz of Valkyrus, tribute it off, and end your turn properly. One done right breeds you a significantly higher chance of success, the other does not. The last thing on that topic you need to understand is that your ability to solve formats in this way is directly related to the incompetence of the mass of players. You can only solve a format properly that is defined, and everyone playing the decks that help define it are helping you do just that, whereas an unpredictable field is much harder to solve, and that is the reason competent deck builders usually favor less decks in a format, not because they’re arbitrarily more exploitable, but because the nature of there being so few things to consider makes the exploitations that do exist, just that stronger. Let the public’s incompetence to understand this simple concept and line of logic be your greatest weapon. This is something that, if you follow these things, Pokemon TCG players and Magic the Gathering players en masse seem to understand, but not Yu-Gi-Oh players. Now, for some of my ideas, that are trying to do just that in this semi-solved new format:

One of the first that came to mind was Spellbooks. Spellbook of Fate is at three and it can banish big Kozmo monsters without targeting. Additionally, you can activate it before they even banish the little Kozmos and they can’t really do anything about it. Of course, the problem with Spellbooks that has been the problem with Spellbooks ever since before and after Spellbook of Judgment comes up arises once more, dealing with the decks consistency and the contradictions trying to do that ensues. There was also the ever-present issue of decks that are just faster than Spellbooks and Kozmos and how you’re going to stop them, such as Infernoid and pendulum decks. If you can solve all of these issues, I suppose you could be on to something, but from my knowledge of the game it seems quite a steep requirement. I guess against Infernoid the closest thing to a solution you can consider is Kycoo, but then you’re still left with the issue of pendulum decks and them just severely outpacing you and then attacking for game. Therefore, I would suggest starting by looking elsewhere.

The next idea was actually /Almost/Trapless Burning Abyss, this time with even more monsters than the previous incarnation of it, to make up for the loss of a Cir and two Graffs. The idea was that maxing on Draghig and Cagna while playing a Good & Evil of the Burning Abyss would sufficiently make up for the loss of power there. Against the pendulum decks, as with the Qliphort vs Burning Abyss match-up of the past, Fire Lake might be able to take autowins against them. The issue of course, is the growing popularity of Kozmos. There is still, however, F0 Utopic Future, and playing for damage like the deck should have been even before the banlist in this match-up. Still, the Kozmo deck is going to have these big guys, often multiple, out easily which means that the old F0 playing for damage strategy likely won’t cut it anymore. To that end, siding a Cyber Dragon package and playing a second Nightmare Shark might supplement this well. Also keep in mind, milling Cyber Dragon Core is a free Cyber Dragon, and Proto-Cyber Dragon is a level 3 for Crane Crane (but also keep in mind it’s effect will be negated and you can’t contact fuse with it if you bring it back with Crane Crane.) The Majespecter trap that banishes could create a problem but otherwise, the Majespecter cards don’t appear to create any significant problem for the Burning Abyss strategy, and the Burning Abyss deck should float past it nicely. Infernoid should likely be the same match-up that is highly arbitrary but unpopular, so really all you have to do is properly solve Kozmo and this should be a really strong pick theoretically.

Another Idea was Cyber Artifact Galaxy, one I actually wrote about elsewhere. The idea was using a Galaxy Soldier/Galaxy Wizard/Accellight engine with a Cyber Dragon/Cyber Dragon Core/Cyber Repair Plant as well as an Artifact Engine. The idea spurred from considerations of the card Cyber Eltanin, which deals with any Kozmo board and almost any Infernoid board quite nicely and is searchable with Cyber Repair Plant which is searchable with Cyber Dragon Core. Cyber Repair Plant needs a Cyber Dragon in grave to use and the way that I decided would best put them in grave is discarding them with Galaxy Soldier. The deck lacked any sort of defense or things to do going first so I decided Artifacts would supplement this perfectly as Galaxy Soldier could discard Artifacts that I drew when I did not have Sanctum/Ignition. They were all level 5 Light which meant that the deck could easily summon Pleiades and Soldier was a Machine Light which means Cyber Dragon Nova was also easily summonable. Instant Fusion and Norden also are really strong in correlation with Galaxy Wizard as it puts itself in the Graveyard for free essentially. Galaxy Wizard also adds a Galaxy “card” to your hand, not just a Monster, so Galaxy Expedition for easy Rank 5s and Galaxy Cyclone were both considerations. Another thing the Artifacts would do is help your pendulum match-up which you otherwise didn’t have much for. This idea is still being expanded upon currently.

Kozmo Artifacts. I realized early the “linear” summon-attack-go approach of Kozmo was one of its greatest weaknesses, or rather, something that could be improved. More Reasoning and the arbitrary Emergency Teleports help with that, as does Terraforming and Kozmotowns to help draw them. Otherwise, as far as the actual Kozmo cards go, there is unfortunately not much more they can be helped with, so it followed that another engine to help supplement this came to mind, which was artifacts. Pretty simple in concept, the 4 Artifacts that are obvious (Moralltach, Beagalltach, Scythe, and Lancea,) all had applications against separate match-ups across the board, they helped your pendulum match-up and even your mirror, while also summoning more monsters to help deal with that empty mass of space that is always on your board in this deck, a void waiting to be filled. Additionally, Sliprider being a level 5 helps make XYZs with these cards and it is also a light which helps them to make Pleiades.

Second to last idea chronologically to this point was a Trapless Qliphort deck playing 3 Majesty’s Fiend, 3 Vanity’s Fiend, 3 The Monarch’s Stormforth, and 3 Tenacity of the Monarchs. The idea is this is a deck that can blind second and that Stormforth and Tenacity sort of act like Cyber Dragon in clearing big Kozmo cards. Monolith replaces the tribute especially going first, and Vanity can also work against Kozmo but is especially good against pendulum variants and Infernoid. My issue is that without the Stormforth and Tenacity cards, the Kozmo match-up gets a lot harder, but both of those cards aren’t good going first. It doesn’t help that the Majespecter deck has quite a few outs to these cards as well. Trying to solve this conundrum creates a few issues. For example, you could make a deck that post-side can go first or second strongly by siding things like Denko and Storm and Trampolynx for going second and things like floodgates going first, but then what of your main deck? There isn’t a solidarity in what decks are blinding as far as picking first or second goes, it just favors people blinding second a little bit on a macro scale. Ultimately, the problem is that the cards that are good going second aren’t good going first and the cards that are good going first aren’t good going second and if you try to meet somewhere in this middle you just have a deck that is weaker in both categories and that obviously isn’t helpful, that is the beauty of a side deck but also the issue in figuring out how to allocate the main deck here properly, so that is an issue you have to solve that I’ve not necessarily came to a conclusion on yet.

The last idea, or rather, most recent idea were just various pendulum-related bits and pieces of information that don’t necessarily form anything. Magical Abductor can search Qliphort Scout. Your scales don’t have to be Qliphort monsters per se, the low scale can be 1-5, and the high scale can be 7-9 to still be able to pendulum summon Qliphort monsters. The 7’s can’t pendulum summon the level 8s and 7s for Qliphorts but they can summon the level 6s and arguably you’re generally just going to be tributing level 6 Qliphort monsters for the level 7 and 8s anyway so you therefore are less likely to wanna pendulum summon the higher level ones anyway. Additionally, Damage Juggler stopping Wavering Eyes, as well as the card Wavering Eyes, will be popular and strong this format. Wavering Eyes working with Plushfire is also noteable and where Wavering Eyes might not be that strong with the actual Majespecter cards themselves, it’s easy to see how even historically they have worked alongside Qliphort cards, and can work with Plushfire for newer cards as well. To that end, Storm is another card that can trigger Plushfire and has worked with Qliphort cards, especially Saqlifice which is searchable without Scout via Hidden Armory which you could play multiple copies of because it adds from Graveyard or Hand. Denko Sekka and Storm are really strong against Majespecter, and Storm can be discarded when you aren’t going to use it, especially going first, with Summoner Monk whereas Denko might not be that useful going first. If we’re on the subject of getting away from tribute summoning the Qliphorts, Royal Magical Library is also an idea that can help you to get to floodgates.

Notice how that last paragraph was a jumbled brick of loosely-related information. Some of that information may end up being useful, a lot of it might not, but it’s the rapid idea-brainstorming model that is essentially indoctrinated in my conscious, and I find it a really helpful thing to help view as many ideas as possible and their relation to each other. I call this an idea pad/things to consider, if you’ve been following DGz activity lately. This article will now self destr

 

 

On the Logistics of Testing
http://blog.multimonsterdeals.com/on-the-logistics-of-testing/
 

 

 

 


 In a previous article I illustrated the purposes of testing, and the two things, and only two things, that should logically come from it. Those being, finding problems you didn’t otherwise find via theory, and just practicing the technical play of your deck. Before I get that far into this I would just like to add one small footnote to that, that it is theoretically possible to never test, purely go off theory for deckbuilding and technical play, and still produce an optimal strategy, just as it is “possible” for a complicated flute piece to be played by someone with little-to-no experience perfectly just by sheer virtue of them sitting down and understanding how to do it correctly, envisioning it in their mind.

However, humans are creatures of habit and therefore learn better in practice than they are daydreaming. Both time-effectively, and logistically, the flute player that has practiced a lot in general and with that piece is far more likely to be able to play it in a shorter amount of time than the former. Applying this idea to deckbuilding theory is dangerous and not what I’m driving at because it leads to a results oriented mindset where you’re throwing dice, the dice comes out with a situation, and you make a judgment based on that situation without seeing all sides of the dice. However, perhaps some sides of that dice are extremely miniscule, logistic, and harder to see when using a larger scope. It stands to reason that therefore, those things, may then have a higher chance of appearing, being known, in practice, rather than theory.
The same concept obviously applies to the intricacies of technical play. Do not confuse my words, though, the dice situation only makes the observed lower-chance-outcome appear to you, it still doesn’t dictate how you solve it or rather or not you should at all. Those types of things ought not to be taken from a results-mindset but rather a logical one in deckbuilding theory. Contrast that with the situation of practicing pure technical play as the flute player practices playing the flute, and you see what there is to gain from information to take FROM testing, and what there is to gain from practicing HABIT while testing, and that relationship is the thesis of what I meant and hat I felt should probably first be reiterated here before I get into the more small-scoped issue I’m going to address in this article, but perhaps large-scope in the area of time management, that being the logistics of how I recommend you test.
A lot of writers will and have told you similar things. “Test in groups.” “Test with your hand revealed in these groups to have the maximum amount of input on your technical play.” “The Dueling Network ladder is either superior to real life/group testing on the grounds that you have something figurative to gain or lose and that people socially might disent from being serious in person.” What I’m going to do is explain to you why this could all be, and all not be, the correct answers, and why it is relative to where you are as a duelist. Also, I will explain to you why it’s feasibly possible to be at a level where the OPTIMAL way for you to practice your game, is by yourself, against yourself.
Let’s start on one extreme. You’re a new player, or you’re really just any player, that isn’t necessarily that comparatively good to other duelists, that is looking to improve yourself. How good you are as a player is just a reflection not of what you’ve done but what you know, and therefore aligning yourself with people that you’ve decided know more than you would make all the sense in the world because you stand to gain from this relationship. This is also going to be an argument distinguishing for the millionth time probably, that this does not mean to find whoever goes to your locals that has some YCS tops and listen to them. It’s possible they actually know less than you, I can name several people with success upon success that are pretty awful at this game and/or theory who’s success can be explained as either arbitrary or, dare I say, they might be better suited working on their magic act. It means you find those among you the closest to what you consider an actual zenith of information compared to you and learn from them, hopefully if they will, test with them.
Now let’s go to the other extreme, and this one is gonna come off as obnoxious and narcissistic but it’s the logical extreme of the former. No one surrounding you understands the game more than you because you probably don’t have a life, so therefore you have nothing to learn from testing with these people other than gaining some arbitrary edge in learning how their minds work when they play or what they’re going to play for the next tournament. That aside, I’d argue the best thing to do here, is to play against yourself. Obviously logistically you’d have to assume no bias but for anyone remotely competent that is no difficult feat at all, and you may even get theoretically double the testing and stand to gain more information this way. This illustrates the fallacy of when people tell you “there is always going to be someone better than you, that’s just a lesson of life.” Then what happens when you get to the top? Also then what reason is there to strive to be the best? The answer is that the aforementioned platitude is absolute rubbish and breeds underachievement.
But, for the majority, obviously the latter extreme likely isn’t going to be the case but rather the former may be. Then, in this testing with those whom you have deemed you stand to gain from surrounding yourself with, how do you go about it logistically? This is where the idea of playing with your hand open to garner ideas (keep in mind it can be in some ways arbitrary who is better than whom so a good idea by someone you’re better than is technically possible which is an argument in favor of playing with your hand revealed even if you’re the best in the unit) is validated.
Also, no matter where you are, testing random decks against each other is obviously useless. Have one duelist be the average opponent, average deck, average technical play, and have the other you with whatever deck you’re using. But don’t stop there, and this is an issue people have yet to seem to bring up. Also have an established control of the opponents technical play so that when you’ve decided your opponent in a real tournament is bad they might follow one train of thought that is better answered by another of your own, and by the other extreme side of the token, have your opponent be really good too. Allocate the time relating to how good your opponent’s technical play proportional to how much you expect to play against them in a real tournament. In 2015 this is obviously a small difference as technical play is de-emphasized now, but it is something to consider and should logically be implemented in your testing.
Regarding the idea of internet testing being superior to real life on the grounds that you can play on the internet longer hours, better allocated hours, and that it’s all around better time-management, you have to assess this either subjectively, or, still subjectively I suppose, but against the competence of those you would test with in real life or on Skype unrated on Dueling Network vs those on the Dueling Network latter. The other thing on the Dueling Network latter that may be uncontrollable is the probability of playing against regional decks like Towers Turbo that are more popular either solely on the internet or abroad than in America, or vice-versa with decks that may only be popular in America. Regarding Skyping with people so you already know of their competence and playing with them in unrated, that is certainly a fair argument to make in real life vs internet testing, and either way I’d certainly argue that in most cases with competent people over that of the Dueling Network latter.
On the logistics of testing, I believe that is about all that needs to be said. Concluding, how you test only should vary if you’re at the top echelon of duelist that you can test with (keep in mind, it might be lonely at the top because people don’t want to share ideas with you and want to be secretive about it under the worry you might use it or use something against it for the next event, and this mindset forms circles that might not be as, lets call it, “close-knit,” as people think they are, but that’s a topic for another day.) Thank you for reading.

 

 

On ARG Format
http://blog.multimonsterdeals.com/on-arg-format/

 

 

 Last week, Alter Reality Games’ new banlist was released to the public. The banlist will be in effect for the next four ARG Circuit Series events, including the 20,000$+ Championship in August (which I will be attending, as well as ARG Providence, say hi!) Players from all over the internet have since been discussing the list and playing the format. The discussion part of the format, regarding either the criticism of the idea of them hosting their own format or the critiques of the cards on the list itself, are not topics I will delve into (but I promise, I have plenty of thoughts on that.) I will however talk about my thoughts on the format the list creates, what decks people are talking about, which I think are better than others, etc. I’m not gonna fluff this article up by adding the list to make this piece look longer than it is, but here is the link to the list if you’re one of the few people whom have been living Patrick Star-esque for the past week:


http://articles.alterealitygames.com/announcing-the-arg-format/
There are seven decks it appears people are talking about most (there has been some discussion of other strategies, like dragunity, coming back as well, but we’re just going to limit this discussion to what are undoubtly popular choices in the new format.) These seven decks are Qliphort, Ritual Beast, Nekroz, Hero, Burning Abyss, Wind-Ups, and Satellarknight. That’s certainly more than we’ve become accustomed to in the last year or so (with the last format including this many popular strategies likely being Nationals 2014,) but of course this is a different list and format altogether, and beginning the story of this format with a race to find the best strategy out of many different decks definitely sounds like an inviting way for deck builders and theorizers to flock to such a format. Let’s go!
Qliphort
Here’s a deck that has certainly been altered and warped into different strategies in the past. In the beginning, it was simple. Qliphort was introduced to Shaddoll and Burning Abyss as a Trap deck and they formed a RPS-like format. Then, around the time of YCS Charleston, another new set was released that would offer more tools for Qliphort and Burning Abyss to play with, not as much for Dolls, and basically made that tournament a 2-deck event. However, by that point, the interesting part was that both of those decks had trapless versions that were gaining at almost parallel popularity. Trapless Burning Abyss and Trapless Qliphort, or Storm Qliphort. These decks both opted second blind generally making them favorable against decks that blinding first because you wouldn’t really have to worry about the result of a dice roll deciding the outcome of your match. While Trapless strategies even to this day (Nekroz,) share the same benefit, those two decks generally have not stood the test of time.
The next step for Qli? Nekroz came out, so it was basically back to floodgating. this goes on until very recently, a card called Wavering Eyes is released giving this deck a whole new angle that had not yet been exploited: Apoqliphort Towers. Trapless Qliphort was back, but this time it wasn’t winning by Storming you for your entire backrow then OTKing you, now it’s winning by summoning a monster and hoping their opponent doesn’t play an out to it. This kind of deck is one that relies on the popularity of other decks to crutch it to the top tables at events rather then your cards being superior to theirs. It’s a turbo deck based around maximizing your odds of seeing Towers, and for the most part, that’s all it does. There’s a clause involving Into the Void and Monolith where you can draw with Monolith after the discard for Into the Void, meaning if the first Towers goes down you can win by OTKing or summoning another possibly, but that is usually gonna be a stretch because the cards they would have to deal with your other cards wouldn’t be used on the Towers so they still have them for your other cards, and if they have the out on top of that you lose.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the Trap version of the deck no longer exists. Towers Qli has gained popularity more in the online world than in the real one, but it definitely still exists. How do you answer a deck like this? Well, simple. Assuming they lose if they don’t summon Towers, one avenue to winning is them just bricking but you obviously can’t rely on that so, because this deck is popular and they have a high chance of getting out Towers, the only definitive answer is you’re going to need to play an out to Towers. But that is only part of it, remember, you also have to answer the scales on top of that so they don’t just attack you for game on their next turn, but fortunately most decks already have built in answers to those, most outs would do. Answers to scales with an answer to Towers (preferably one that is searchable or an extra-deck card so you don’t have to draw it when you don’t need it,) is how you beat that deck. People have generally caught on to this of course, doing things like playing Decisive Armor in Nekroz, going back to Rank-Up Magic in Burning Abyss, etc. Because of people catching on the out for your gameplan, you’re of course given an issue in deck building and forced to either solve it or not play that deck, because at is those factors make it the wrong choice.
Keep in mind they have to A) out your Towers and B) out the scales that follow to win. So, you only have to stop them from doing one of those. That’s basically where the Towers Qli deck is at now. You either find a consistent way to solve that issue, or you drop the deck altogether. If you haven’t noticed I’ve been speaking a lot more about the Towers and Trapless Qli decks than the Trap version, and that is because, well, there’s not much to say about the Trap version. It’s a deck that hasn’t changed with time. You go first blind, hope to either out-Trap their Monsters or floodgate them, and that’s that. Floodgating in a defined format like one where Nekroz is dominant is fine because you can pin-point what floodgates to use. Trying to floodgate a format as diverse as seven (or more) decks? Unless you can find cards that universally stop them all from playing, I think you’re out of luck with that avenue. The closest thing is probably Lose 1 Turn, but with Skill Drain limited and Vanity’s banned, are you really gonna rely on drawing your 3-of Lose 1 Turn through an entire tournament? Hoping they can’t out it? Especially when it’s not good in the mirror and not the greatest against Burning Abyss? A way to solve that problem, again, is to find cards that floodgate ALL of the decks, if one doesn’t exist, well, then you’re back to the OTHER Trap plan: just hoping you have more Traps than they do plays.
Keep in mind, we’re assuming your Monsters are just clocking them and your Traps are putting in the real work, which in the Trap version, I believe is a valid statement. You’re not overlaying for cards that stop them from playing because of the stipulation of not being able to special summon non-Qliphort monsters, and the closest thing they can do to stop their opponent’s cards by themselves are searching Re-Qliate. This basically just makes your Monsters Vanillas. They’re there to take away the opponent’s life-points, not much more. Sure, you might get the occasional bounces and destroys from Helix/Carrier/Stealth, but those are all things restricted to your turn, not theirs, and on top of that they don’t happen often due to the large sum of Traps you use. Basically, you have to either A) beat them before you run out of Traps or B) have them run out of plays to win, because your Traps are what are winning the game for you, not your monsters. Relying on B, them bricking or running out of plays then killing them with your Monsters isn’t going to be a reliable strategy considering how floater-oriented the game is right now, so the only win-con is gonna be killing them before you run out of Traps.
Considering you’re gonna wanna go first so they don’t make a board with some of these decks going first that then make your Trap cards redundant, you’re gonna need to strive for pulling off this strategy at a one-card disadvantage every game. You need your monsters in combination with the Traps too obvious (because of the floaters in the game eventually being able to get past your traps and into your lie points,) meaning you’re going to have to rely all of these things happening: 1) You go first. 2) You have more traps than they do plays. 3) You have Monster(s) to clock them. 4) Your opponent cant break that set-up while at one more card than you. This has always been my problem with the Qliphort strategy. Other Trap decks generally at least had something about their Monsters that made their strategy a lot better, like Laggia in Dino Rabit, Infernities in Infernity, Wind-Ups in Wind-ups, even BA in BA. With the Qliphort monsters essentially being vanillas, they don’t have that same advantage. These are, throughout it’s release, been the exact issues with the Trap Qliphort deck.
Ritual Beasts
Here is a fairly newer deck that has been getting a lot of attention recently. It actually was released alongside Nekroz, but never saw much popularity until the time Nationals rolled around, and has been a popular and talked about strategy for the ARG format. While I can easily admit I’m not the most knowledgeable person in the world on the subject of Ritual Beasts, I do have the general idea of how it works. Essentially, the ideal turn one is 2 Ulti-Cannahawk searches, getting Steeds and Ambush, from there, you can essentially loop Ambush getting the next Steeds and Ambush until you’re out of them, at which case your opponent has likely lost because you have resolved 3 Steeds, on top of whatever other traps you may have. Here’s a good example of a deck that searches it’s own defense, contrary to what the Qliphort Monsters do. When this deck is allowed to play and do the Ulti-Cannahawk combos it generally wins, when it doesn’t? Well, there you have the issue with this deck: Consistency. Time to fire up the hyper-geometric calculator.
On turn one, there’s a limited amount of ways to get to this combo. Elder Double Summon Guy + Penguin or Bird is one (Elder + another RB is also one search but only one so not the combo,) Gold Sarc + Elder Summon-from-Banish Guy, E Tele + Penguin/Bird, Foolish + Elder Summon-from-Grave Guy (not everyone plays Foolish though,) and lastly Soul Charge interactions. This might sound like a lot of ways to open it, but lets get statistical. Going first, your chances of opening a 3 of with a 6 of in a 40 (we’ll assume no Upstart, it’s usually a 2-3 percent difference if you’re curious) card deck is 17.3%. That’s less than one in five games. A three-of and a one-of (Foolish, Sarc, Charge,) in a 40 card deck? 3.5%. You can see where this is going, a lot of the time, in fact, MOST of the time, you’re not going to open this combo turn one going first.
If the deck doesn’t open it, you’re basically back to Qliphort’s strategy of hoping your Traps stall long enough for you to do your combo. Albeit the payoff is a little higher when you get to your Monsters, the immediate issues remain the same, and I’m not going to re-state them. Of course, this is all only going first, going second you have a bit better of a chance (still not incredibly high, but better overall,) yet you’re now introduced to a whole new slew of issues involving you now having to jump around the hoops of opponent’s Trap strategies instead of just being able to do them turn one. On a larger scale, this outlines my issues with Trap decks in general as far as the dice roll goes. They don’t want to go second to eachother, so the dice roll now matters. Now you’re at the mercy of a game you’re not going to be favored 50% of the time. Wouldn’t it just be way better to have a strategy that doesn’t care about the die roll? A deck that can take full advantage of going first by making a board but also not fall to the disadvantages of going second by being stuck with Traps that don’t do much? In truth, this is the exact reason that when everybody uses Trap decks, you hear a lot more complaining about the die roll. “I won a lot of die rolls so I topped!” “I lost a lot of die rolls so I dropped!” The player going first having a hand size of 5 now certainly helped bridge that gap a bit, but it’s still there.
Nekroz
Yes, this is still a deck. Yes, it’s still consistent. Is it still powerful? Well, that depends on rather or not your opponent has a deck revolved around Extra Deck monsters that isn’t one like Ritual Beast that can get around Unicore and Claus. You see, with the banning of Trishula, all the deck is left with as far as beating their opponent are Unicore, Claus, Brionac, and Gungnir. The first three are amazing against extra-deck-revolving decks like Burning Abyss so it’s easy to see how the deck can still beat them, but against other decks, it’s going to have to rely a bit more heavily on Nekroz of Gungnir. The conundrum in combatting this deck when playing a deck that relies on extra deck monsters like Burning Abyss, is that while floodgates are still the best method of beating them, those floodgates aren’t good against the rest of the decks. That conundrum still exists even in Konami format, but it’s amplified in this format due to the far lower presence of Nekroz. Solve that issue and Nekroz shouldn’t be that hard to beat from their considering the strongest card in their deck was banned. Well, both of them were. The out for Towers here is obviously Decisive Armor or Diamond Crab King.
Heroes
Elemental Hero Stratos returns to one with Bubbleman simultaneously going to one, and such an occasion has brought back a rise in this deck. The lists I’ve seen vary, some are going for a Bubble-Beat style like in the past, some are staying the same as Konami format with just playing Dark Law.dek with lots of traps to protect it, and lists are in-between. The good news is that Fusion Gate was banned, preventing some of the FTKs/OTKs that have become an issue in the past (they could have also hit Blaze Fenix for a similar effect.) Heroes, like Ritual Beast, is another deck I’m not that educated about, however like Ritual Beast, I do know the basics. Their wins come from a variety of different angles. They can wipe out backrows with Acid and win that way, they can floodgate with Dark Law and win that way, they can go for OTKs with multiple Mask Change spells in the battle phase (or with 2 Warrior Rank 4’s in Bubble-Beat.) The good thing about this deck is being able to choose second blind, because of either Acid’s heavy storm effect, or OTKing with Bubble-Beat. A third avenue that contributes to why it can go second is the fact that Shadow Mist/Stratos are floaters around a lot of backrow and Mask Change spells emphasize that. Being impervious to Towers is also a plus to this deck (because of Excalibur.)
A problem with this deck is being generally weaker against decks that Dark Law isn’t good against. Sure, it can be strong against Burning Abyss or Nekroz with a Dark Law up or chained to a search card in Nekroz, but then it might not be doing much against things like Qliphort, Wind-Ups, and Ritual Beast. Sure, you have some other cards that are good against those decks (namely Acid,) but with Bubbleman at one, a lot of the more trap heavy variants aren’t focusing as much on that card. A way to solve this would obvious be to find more waters to use, but keep in mind regular Mask Change only works on Heroes. Mask Change II however, can work on whatever water you use so long as it’s a correct level. So, that could be an angle to take the deck and solve the issue of inconsistent match-ups thus making the deck a pretty strong contender in the format.
Burning Abyss
The power of this deck was significantly compromised by this list. While the first few turns might appear untampered, it’s longevity certainly has been altered by only being allowed one Cir and 2 Dante. What this means is that the second Dante has to add back Cir or the other Dante. If you add back Cir when both Dantes are in the grave, it means you have to bring one of the Dante’s back with it to keep it going. This situations happens really quickly if you’re playing a deck with more Burning Abyss monsters than usual, if you’re playing a deck more geared towards resolving Fire Lake, or if you’re playing Trapless Burning Abyss. Burning Abyss usually wins the long game against Nekroz in Konami format if it can get there without getting Trished or Dwellered or Briod for a lot, but in this format I don’t even know if there IS a long game for this deck. In the trap version, this issue is obviously slowed down a lot. You make Dantes at a slower pace so it takes you longer to get to that point. However, that is almost directly amended by the fact that the Traps make up for that lost time by dragging the game on until you still end up at that exact point. There’s basically no way around it, with this deck, you either need to find a way to quickly beat everything before reaching the long game, or have something that solves the long game. All other notes are basically constant with the current Konami format, with the exception of going back to Rank-Up Magic for an out to Towers, so the issue that you should be trying to solve with this deck is how to solve the late game, or how to win by not even entering it.
Wind-Ups
Well, the clock is ticking. Once some 12 year old in Japan who’s playing ARG Format for some reason finds the hand loop with this deck that probably doesn’t exist because Chain is banned, we have to consider this a real contender, in the same way that Blue-Blooded Oni FTK is a contender in current Konami format. Otherwise, I don’t see much redeemable about the deck. “Oh, but Magician Shark summons cards!” Does it summons Shock Master? Does it summon a field that says “I win?” No, it summons a decent board that you pulled out all the stops in your deck to create and without traps along with it it’s gonna crumble quickly and you’re going to be losing. It’s the exact same problem with some of the plant decks I tried to make before my friend showed me a combo that made Landoise and Naturia Beast: I was summoning Dracossacks and Karakuri cards and drawing some and all that nice stuff but at the end of the day, it’s 2015 and all these cards I drew and this field I made was meaningless to a Fire Lake or a Ritual Beast Steeds or a Nekroz of Brionac or one of their three Dark Holes or Raigeki or Exciton Knight or basically anything. That’s exactly what Wind-Up fields make as well, with the exception of if you have Giant Hand at your disposal, then it gets A LITTLE better. Until further notice, I don’t see a reason to favor this deck over Gigaplant OTK.
Satellarknight
Same as usual, regular trap deck game. The exception, where their monsters actually matter, is when Triver or Diamond come down. Triver usually spells game, Diamond if not outed against a deck it matters against spells the same. I don’t see much of a reason to drag out talking about this deck, not much is really different.
Other
While that basically spells out my thoughts on the seven more talked-about decks, there are some other decks I want to briefly mention because I feel they either are semi-popular, or deserve more attention.
First, Evilswarm. This deck has a really great Ritual Beast match-up by two angles. The first is the obvious Ophion just winning the game. The second is Exciton getting rid of their plays for the following turn and whatever field they have, and Steeds is just completely trumped by Pandemic. Against Nekroz an issue steps from dealing with Unicore and Clausolas, but if you can solve that Ophion solves the rest of the match-up for you. Tellaknight just won’t really be a favorable match-up no matter how you look at it, they’re playing a better version of your deck in this match-up. Hero you can floodgate with Ophion forcing them into an XYZ which you then have to stop with a trap. Burning Abyss is obviously another unfavorable match-up. Qliphort can be favorable either by summoning Ophion so they can’t pendulum, or Excitoning them for all of their cards. Also, this deck can protect floodgates with Master Key Beetle, ending the game against decks those floodgates are good against.
Second, Infernoid. Infernoid didn’t really get phased by the list at all, but it’s still lacking in the consistency department with the only clear-cut route to victory still being opening with a strong Monster Gate/Reasoning. When it does resolve them though, this deck is extremely difficult to beat with really any of the popular decks barring Heros with Dark Law. If you can find a way to make this deck more consistent, making your chances of opening Reasoning/Monster Gate high enough to where you’ll likely survive swiss and make it to top cut, this might just be the deck to go with.
Third, Dragunity. I can’t say I know much about how their combos still interact these days, but most of the variables are similar to 2013. A second Ravine isn’t much more to play with though. If you can find a way to make this deck consistency pull off a combo that ideally sets up its own defense therefore reducing the need to draw traps on top of it, I’d definitely look more into this deck.
Fourth, Sylvan. Basically, this deck is the same as 2014 minus 2 Soul Charge. Funny, it was strong in a format that was diversified and had many decks, just like this one. Perhaps it’s this deck’s time yet again, but there are some obvious hoops it would have to go through. One being Dark Law, another being Unicore/Clausolas/Brio, and so on. I would look more into this deck.
Fifth, Volcanic. While I think this is basically another trap deck, much like Satellarknight, this deck definitely has a draw engine I can appreciate that helps itself win the “having more traps than you do plays” game. Satellarknight can do something similar to this by Trivering back cards like Fiendish Chain, but this deck can be on that strategy basically from turn one. If you’re considering playing a deck like Tellarknight, I’d first ask myself, and really think about, if this deck is actually superior.
Sixth, Yosenju. This deck has always been interesting to me not because of me thinking it’s good or anything, but because it’s a trap deck with Monsters that force it to go second without really giving the user a choice in the matter. Otherwise, standard Satellarknight variant, compare and contrast accordingly.
Seventh, Shaddoll. I was actually surprised, but there are a dedicated few still playing this deck. I didn’t think it was the most consistent deck in the world with 6 Fusion Spells, and now it only has four. In past formats where we only had Shaddoll Fusion, it would be solved by using more copies of cards like Soul Charge and Super Polymerization. In this format, you don’t have that same luxury. Not a bad deck to combat decks revolved around the extra deck but then again if you’re playing it just on that virtue alone, what’s making this deck better than Nekroz?
Lastly, Mermail. This deck, like Shaddoll, has been seeing marginal popularity so far in the games being played for new format. It’s a deck that historically has been a strong deck to play into backrows with via floaters and Marksmen, and it’s largely been an unchanged deck since then. Dark Law is of course, bad news to this deck. Otherwise, I definitely would look a bit more into this choice. Outs to Towers include the standard Diva > Armory Arm, or a rank 4, likely a product of the classic Turge/Pike/Gunde play.
Concluding
Well, that’s about it for my introduction and first pieces of theory on the new ARG format. Hopefully I can help get more discussion going or contribute to on-going ones, I certainly look forward to competing in this format and seeing what comes of it. Til’ next time!
Photo Credit: Alter Reality Games

 

On Comparative Thinking
http://blog.multimonsterdeals.com/on-comparative-thinking/

 

 

 

 


Often among other article platforms regarding the Yu-Gi-Oh Trading Card game (and other card games,) you’ll see articles claiming they’ve discovered the formula for success. They’ve found the secret to winning all your tournaments, oh, they’ve solved the game. Such pieces of literature will give you a list of things that they believe, if practiced in unison, will give you the highest chances of winning your matches. A Triangle Theory, a Square Theory, “How to Win F@$T,” don’t they sound like more fitting titles for advertisements that cause most, including myself, to download AdBlock? Joking aside, and beyond obviously, the names don’t actually bare much meaning other than clickbait, but let’s review their content to find out why exactly that is.

The things that list may include, but are not limited to (I’m pertaining this to deck building, I’ll tackle Technical Play another day/foreshadow):
⦁ Consistent deck
⦁ Powerful deck
⦁ Legal deck (really?)
⦁ Floodgates
⦁ 6 Trap Cards
⦁ Combo deck
…and so forth. The underlying concept in which all of these represent when one claims the best strategies are to include this message is that “decks can only be the best on their own merit.” That is to say, outside factors don’t matter as long as you meet this arbitrary checklist. This notion is completely wrong. This idea ignores two dilemmas. The first thing it ignores is the possibility that multiple decks can meet the requirements of said proverbial checklist, so then, which would be the one with the high chance of winning? The one you can describe more colorfully? The other truth such an idea ignores is going to be the main point of this article, that truth being that:
Decks cannot be the best on their own merit, decks can only be the best comparatively.
Comparative thinking is the approach you want to take to really most forms of gaming I can think of. The best League of Legend champion is the best because, assuming optimal technical play for all functions, he will have the highest chance of success compared to any other champion.
While thinking about cards and decks by their own merit doesn’t acknowledge outside information and it’s effects on rather or not you actually have the highest chance of winning, comparative thinking takes into account all pieces of information available. This leaves very little room for error whereas thinking about decks and cards on their own merit leaves a lot of room for error because you’re looking at them in a vacuum when Yu-Gi-Oh! isn’t played in a vacuum, it’s played with your opponents cards and your other cards.
So what does this mean relating to actually deciding on what cards to use? Well, you’d often hear things like “x and y cards aren’t comparable, you’re comparing apples to oranges.” Replace with whatever combination you wish, Shaddoll Fusion and Fiendish Chain, Stellarnova Alpha and Dark Hole, etc. The truth is, that every card is directly comparable. Allow me to preface this with a pretty standard and generally well-understood correlation: consistency and power. Ask yourselves the following questions:
⦁ What’s a card or deck I can use all the time but doesn’t do anything when I use it?
⦁ What’s a card or deck that wins when I can use it, but I’ll never get to use it?
These two questions prove the existence and correlation of the concepts of power and consistency. Replace them with whichever buzzword you prefer, “impact,” “viability,” what have you. Simply put, it just means how often a card can be used and how much it matters towards winning when you use it. Every card in the game has some value of power and consistency, and this is precisely where Shaddoll Fusion and Fiendish Chain, for instance, are comparable.
But now that we know these two “axises” exist, the logical question to follow is how to apply it? Should cards that are more consistent and more powerful be used before cards that are less consistent and less powerful? Well, obviously they should be. There is no reason to play a card that does less less of the time over a card that does more more of the time. But then, what if it isn’t that cut and dry? What if you have a card that can be used 80% of the time but only has 20% power (completely arbitrary metric of power, obviously,) vs a card that has 80% power but can only be used 20% of the time? This question is just an example of the bigger question of:
⦁ What matters more, power or consistency?
Which concept should take up more of the proverbial plate? You can see many classic examples of this concept with success being held by both sides (although success is obviously anecdotal and doean’t mean anything in correlation to what will give you the best chance of winning,) formats such as Fire vs Mermail, for instance. Mermail being a bit less consistent over-all but making up for it in the power to just win the game when it could play. Fire being a bit less powerful but could Bear train their way to victory when their opponent either didn’t have a strong combination or couldn’t resolve it due to traps.
Consistency
So then, which matters more in correlation to giving you a higher chance of winning? Well, first I think we should delve into the actual scope of what they are. It’s easy to pull up a hypergeometric calculator, crunch in some numbers, then show you the percentage chance of drawing something and saying “this is how consistent it is.” The problem is, that is fallible in the exact same way that considering cards based on their own merit is, and, that’s only showing you your chances of drawing it, not using it. Both of them ignore outside forces, in this case there are several.
Outside forces that can alter the percentage of a time a card is usable include your opponent’s trap cards that interact with that card stopping it (percentages of which you can obviously find by just giving the same input into the calculator to the traps that stop it,) the deck and card representation of every strategy (some cards can be used more against one deck than other’s so overall cards that vary in chances of being useful in accordance to what is popular at the moment is again effected by this,) and of course, your opponent’s technical play (we’re assuming you’re playing perfectly of course, because if I was to assume otherwise, I’d be giving advice to only a specific group and not speaking truth of the whole game, and since perfect technical play is obviously the goal, it is a fair standard to have.) Your opponent can make a play that makes your card live or dead, and that’s exactly how it correlates to that card’s consistency. Other factors exist too, varying in scale/being marginal. Hopefully this has broaden some horizons on the scope of that the term “consistency” applies to.
Power
As far as power goes, It’s difficult to give this subject a metric. We do know that when you do get to play cards, that you’d want them to be the most powerful cards possible before anything else, but as far as correlating to your win condition, it’s difficult to measure what moves bring you closer to victory than others because of the several ways to go about winning. However, that is not to say that such patterns do not exist. Autowins are the most powerful moves comparatively to any other move. They’re moves that you win whenever you do them, but you win regardless of what your opponent’s life is or other factors (the “win regardless” caveat is why things like attacking for game with a Alexandrite Dragon you just drew isn’t considered an autowin.) Likely due to their power, auto-wins generally come at a great risk consistency-wise. Apoqliphort Towers could straight-up end most games it was summoned but you had to get out 3 Qliphort Monsters to summon it, making the frequency of you pulling it off a lot lower.
But what about the other end of the spectrum? The cards that are the least powerful in the game? Making an order of these cards isn’t going to be that difficult because of it being generalyl easy to imagine what kinds of cards would be on that list and the order they would form. In fact, I’ll show that list then explain why it is like I have it (this is of course just based on the information presented thus far:
1. Autowins (most powerful)
2. Lose-more
3. Win-more/Cards that don’t impact the game (where a lot of Vanilla’s would fall or a card that just said “both player’s shuffle their deck” would fall)
4. Cards that hurt you (as in, cards that not only decrease your chances of winning comparatively just by drawing them, but also have additional effects that actually hurt you, something like a card that just let the opponent draw 2 when you don’t have something that would make it beneficial to you)
Keep in mind, autowin can extend to more than just one card (but rather, an entire move/play/sequence.) This allows for things such as auto-wins that stem from combos (such as the recent Blue-Blooded Oni deck) to be counted as well (I’ll speak more on combinations later. Anyway, while most people are familiar about the term win-more, I don’t think a lot of people understand the concept of lose-more. These are cards that A. only come out when you’re losing and B. aren’t very helpful at getting you out of that position. I’d argue they ought to be played before win-more cards because win-more cards don’t technically impact the game because you’ve already won, while lose-more cards (things such as Zenmaines in a desperate situation) tend to just prolong losing. The difference is because you’re prolonging losing you can theoretically have a small chance to draw the right combination to still salvage the game and take it, whereas contrastly win-more cards determine that the game has already ended.
Because win-more cards can only be used when the game is already effectively over, they should be lumped into the same category of cards that also help you in no way and just hurt you just by drawing them over a better card. So then logically the only thing worse than a card you draw that does nothing is a card you draw that actually helps the format. I’d also like to make the caveat here that, as consistency would cover but still important to note, the power is obviously relative and is dictated by the format. Meaning, a powerful card in one format could be a card that only hurts you in the next. Also, the point of making lists like this in the first place is to know which cards should be played before which so we have a more clearer picture of both deck building and the concept of comparative thinking (when you weave together both the axis’ of power and consistency, of course.)
Anyway, you may notice the question mark in that list. This is a hard-to-pinpoint and very relative to the format group. I guess they’re just what we would call “good cards.” Your Nekroz of Valkyruses, your Book of Eclipses, your Djinn Releaser of Rituals, and so on and so forth. These are the kinds of cards that fill most decks to the brim. They tend to float around from format to format with some having more staying power than others. Here’s where you get into the nitty-gritty of comparative thinking. Saying a card that is an autowin is better than a card that does nothing is easy. Convincing someone to use Forbidden Lance before Mystical Space Typhoon in their Nekroz deck? Here’s where you want to start objectively comparing both cards on the axises of power and consistency. Objective is the key word here, you want to make sure no piece of information pertains to “it’s just good,” which again brings back the issue of thinking cards are good or bad on their own merit, which is a flawed mindset (as explained earlier) that you do not want to me taken into.
Combos
This isn’t going to be a longer and more drawn-out point like the others, I’d just like to say that combos can fit into both of these axis’s because combos can be considered cards. A logical proof would be to ask: What’s the difference between a card that you see 50% of the time, that is 50% (again, arbitrary) powerful, vs. a combo that you see 50% of the time and is 50% powerful? Obviously, the only difference that can be noted if taken up more of your 5, 6, or whatever card hand. But guess what? What if you were to just consider those extra cards being the costs to use these cards? So then the difference between a card that requires you to discard or use a specific card to use it’s effect and combinations that you have to have to discard or use multiple cards becomes quite blurry. Based on this train of thought, I’d argue that combos can be considered cards (It does obviously make the list of what cards to use before which a bit more complicated though.) So, combos can fit right into the methods of comparative thinking and the two axis’ of power and consistency.
Conclusions
Well, we now understand the basic extents of Power and Consistency. The most consistent strategy, card, or deck(s) (plural because of the possibility of two decks sharing this characteristic) you can have plays 100% of the time, and the most powerful strategy, card, or deck you can get autowins every game it’s allowed to play. This is obviously just to show off the theoretical ceilings of both concepts, but it is amusing to note that it does prove that the best Yu-Gi-Oh! deck that can ever be made would be a deck that can play 100% of the time and automatically wins each of those times. The closest thing I can think of like that is Makyura decks I’ve seen played in Unlimited Dueling Network matches, and even then those could theoretically brick by drawing all traps or something.
Another thing we learned was how to apply comparative thinking and remain objective while comparing cards while keeping the grounds for these comparisons based on the reality of the axis’ of power and consistency existing. It might have seemed a little hypocritical to cite things like people claiming powerful or consistent decks are the best then going on to say the most powerful and consistent deck is the best the game could ever see, but even then it still doesn’t ask which is comparatively better if two of that exact same threshold exist?
That also leads to the logically following question that if two decks match each other precisely (just as unlikely a situation to ever happen in this game as the deck that always wins) in consistency and power, which one is better? The answers to this question don’t lay within the confines of the game but rather could be covered in some sort of mind-game-like solution. Anyways, another question that wasn’t clearly answered was which is more important: consistency, or power? While learning a lot about both we didn’t seem to come to a conclusive answer to this question, and now that I’ve layed out all of my thoughts here already and have but none left to offer, I’d like to ask the question to you, you reader. Is consistency or power more important and correlated towards winning, or is it 50-50, or perhaps they’re mutually exclusive? While I am not sure of the answer myself, I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.

 

 

On Testing
http://blog.multimonsterdeals.com/testing-in-yu-gi-oh/

 

 

 

 


“I had three but it tested bad so I play two.”

“It was good in theory but bad in testing so I took it out.”
“It tested broken so I played it.”
To the untrained eye, these might seem like statements with little to no issue. If it worked well in his testing, why not use it? If it didn’t work well in his testing, why play it? Well, it’s actually quite the contrary. Today I would like to dive into the fallacies in both how people test and what they gather from their testing, and instead offer alternatives to both that I believe will let you make the most of your time “testing.” This one might be a little more controversial than my last two.
Results-Oriented Thinking:
“Most of the decks that topped the last YCS played Raigeki, so I should play it.”
I’d like to paraphrase my friend Jye here: “Results don’t make cards good, they don’t make players good, and they don’t make decks good.” The only caveat I’d add here is saying that if results influence deck representation for the next event, then it could theoretically and indirectly make decks good based purely on meta-call. However, in a vacuum of just that event, they do not make decks good. The truth is, the selection of cards that will give you the highest chance of winning isn’t affected by what has succeeded in the past barring deck representation for meta-calls as noted, and that selection won’t be affected by the results in the future. In fact, it’s not possible for it to be. Also, we’re working under the other concept that there is a list that will give you the highest chance to win implying perfect technical play, because that is true and it isn’t possible for it not to be. Perhaps I can delve more into that at another time.
The entire concept of results-oriented thinking begins to fall apart when you consider the logic that the best deck in the room can lose every match with perfect technical play and the worst deck in the room can win every match with perfect technical play. I’ve mentioned it a few times, but we’re also working under the caveat that you’re always making the best play, and that’s something I’ll expand upon in a bit. Sure, the best deck in the room can go undefeated and “work,” but it’s obviously possible that it doesn’t. What can you say then? A results-oriented mindset won’t get you to the best combination of cards in this case, which throws the entire concept out the window. The concept also ignores the possibility that NO ONE in the event had the best combination of cards, which I’d wager is probably always true. Humans aren’t computers, they’re fallible creatures so expecting any of them to pick the best combination of cards out of thousands and thousands of choices isn’t realistic, it’s idealistic.
Results Oriented Thinking from Results = Results Oriented Thinking from Testing
Results from tournaments and results from testing are the same thing constructively. As we just proved, you shouldn’t draw conclusions on card choices based on either. You might argue that you practice technical play in testing and you apply it in tournament, but “practice” and “apply” here are actually interchangeable terms. You might be applying your current technical-play knowledge in testing and you’d be doing the same in tournament. “Practice” can be a bit different because you can say you’re practicing FOR an event. The thing is, in the grand scheme of things if you’re going to more events after, the matches of the previous events would technically be previous “practice.” What I’m trying to say here is that the games you play when you try out stuff in “testing” and your actual event aren’t that different at all, you should be trying your best in both and one just has prizes while the other doesn’t. This notion, of course, ignores personal goals. However, those are subjective things and not objective things so it’s not worth going into that.
What I’m actually trying to explain here is that drawing conclusions from tournament results is the exact same concept as drawing them from testing. “He topped with it so I should play it” is the exact same fallible logic as “it tested well so I should play it.” Both of these notions ignore the truth that the best combination of cards is indifferent to such results, and this is exactly where your testing should not hold weight. So, if you shouldn’t draw conclusions on card choices from testing, what should you draw from testing or results (same thing as I described?) Let’s dive into some alternatives that would make way more sense and give you a far more productive use of your time.
Correcting Technical Play:
This one’s very simple. As my friend Hamish would say, “just plain old practicing your moves.” This is also where testing and tournament can differ and practicality. It’s obvious you’re playing to win in tournament if you’re a competitive player, but you’re playing to correct technical play in testing. Theoretically they’re both the same concept of giving yourself the highest chances of winning in practice. However, they differ when you can talk to your opponent about your plays or play open-handed in testing, something you can’t do in a tournament you’re trying to win. The best testing partner would be able to understand how to not affect his plays based on things he shouldn’t know from discussion, whereas in tournament not only should it affect your plays, you should just abuse that information to help you win. This is exactly where you would give yourself the best chance to win in tournament where you wouldn’t in testing. Obviously, giving this competent testing partner, it’s strictly better to not play to win when practicing your plays cus you will learn so much more via discussion with people either on the same level or better than you than you would just guessing moves in tournament and hoping they work out.
Thus, testing ought to be used to correct/practice technical play. Also I want to add something concerning the best list assumes perfect technical play. Like I said, humans are not computers. If you could play every deck perfectly, than sure playing the best combination of cards would give you the highest chance of success. But what if you can’t play the best combination of cards and/or deck perfectly, and rather aren’t as competent as you need to be to win with it? Well, then that choice, albeit the best assuming correct technical play, wouldn’t actually be your best option. You can prove this just by considering if deck A wins 100% of the time played perfectly but you can only play it right 50% of the time, and deck B wins 80% of the time played perfectly but you can play it right 100% of the time, deck B is a better choice than deck A because your win-rate is higher (by a 30% difference.) However, the reason why we’re assuming correct technical play in this discussion is because assuming otherwise would be subjective. Also, it can always be corrected with raw man hours so the burden would be on the player to practice or “test” more. Moving forward, there is one more thing testing can provide though:
Finding Problems in Your Deck You Might Not Have Found via Theory:
Point blank, every issue in every deck can be found via theory. For the third time now though, humans aren’t computers. Expecting them to instantly know every interaction or issue with their decks isn’t realistic. Sure, they can all be found if you just stare at cards long enough thinking about it, but this is where testing to reveal said problems might come in handy. This concept can be applied to both technical play and card choice. Let me give you an example. Say a returning player who doesn’t know how the Djinn lock works starts practicing their deck with 0 outs to the Djinn lock. They get Djinn locked in testing and then go on their handy-dandy hypergeometric calculator and realize that’s actually a very likely combo for them to have. Could they have found it via theory and knowing their surroundings? Yes. Could they also find it via testing? Yes, as we just proved. It’s easy to see where this can transcend into more complicated issues like combatting Nekroz Valkyrus and the like.
Theory:
Now that we’ve proved what ought to and what shouldn’t be concluded via testing, what’s an alternative to the otherwise-wrong way of thinking? I believe theory should hold more weight than anything else in card choices and deck constructions. I’m going to go far more in-depth with card theory in future articles, but for now we’re just grouping it all together to offer it as an alternative to using results to dictate card choice. You might argue “what if something is good in theory but bad in practice?” I have two main points to make here:
1. Like I said, it’s possible for the best deck in the room to go 0-9. Discarding theory because something like this happened doesn’t make sense.
2. Not all theory is truth. That is, quite literally, why it is called theory. Perhaps you did not consider something when “theory-ohing” out your deck and that came back to bite you and you lost as a result. Truths aren’t fallible, theory is the gateway to proving these truths and while some of them might be false and discarded, others can be right. How do you know which pieces are right and wrong, then? Well, that’s just the nature of getting good at card theory. If it is true that your theory has 100% no issues at all than it is actually a truth, and thats how you know it is right. You just have to make sure there aren’t problems with it, and that’s where discussion and logic etc. comes in.
Math:
Here is the last thing I want to say on the subject of testing. Math doesn’t change, ever. We might discover new mathematical concepts, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t already there just waiting to be discovered thus the bigger picture is that is doesn’t change. If you have an 80% chance of drawing a card, it actually doesn’t matter at all that you only draw it 50% of the time. You still have an 80% chance of drawing the card no matter how much you draw it. Thus using those kinds of conclusions as a substitute for actual math is completely useless.
Conclusions:
So, from what I’ve presented here, we can draw the following conclusion:
1. Theory should be valued over results.
2. Testing should not be used to directly dictate card choice.
3. Testing should be used to correct technical play, and is better for that than tournament play is.
4. Testing can be used to help find issues in your deck, as can theory.
5. Math doesn’t change.
Thank you for reading, hope to catch you guys soon!
Matthew Monahan

 

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I read your articles on testing, hoping that you might capture one particular thought of mine on the subject, and you did so very well: "No one surrounding you understands the game more than you because you probably don’t have a life, so therefore you have nothing to learn from testing with these people other than gaining some arbitrary edge in learning how their minds work when they play or what they’re going to play for the next tournament. That aside, I’d argue the best thing to do here, is to play against yourself." I actually won a regional using this method. Back in 2010, I had relocated to a new city, didn't have anyone to test with, so I just built every deck and sat and testing them all against each other for 20 hours in total. Drew a conclusion about what the best deck was, and absolutely crushed everyone at the regional. I actually learned more in that testing than I did in any kind of testing I had done prior.

 

A typical situation that I'd see is two great players arguing about some particular matchup. One of them says, "In my testing Firefist beats Mermail 80% of the time" and the other claims the opposite. How is that possible? If you're the best player in your testing group, any deck that you play will seem broken to you. But that testing isn't indicative of the strength of the deck, it's indicative of your strength as a player. So anytime I did test against some worse players than myself, I would try to take that into account. I wouldn't just say "well this deck won 2/3 of its testing matches, so I'll go with that," but rather I would try to say, "Can I find a way to win 90% of my testing games?" I would also try to consider the context of the games themselves rather than just the end result. One of the reasons that I snap picked Chaos Dragons for YCS Chicago (when most people were doubtful about the deck's viability) was the fact that in testing my average draws were beating the other decks' best possible draws. Rabbit would go first and open Rabbit+3 backrows and I would have absolutely no difficulty beating them. There would be times in testing where I'd win 40% of my matches and conclude that the matchup was favorable for me, and other times where I'd win 60% of my matches and conclude that the matchup was unfavorable for me. Being able to analyze your testing objectively is incredibly difficult, and no one can ever be perfect at it.

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a couple of things that came across my mind when reading the first article

 

i see 'not wanting to draw 2 so i play one' mentioned as not a valid reason to play one of a card, but what do you think about 'not wanting to draw 2 so i play 2'? in my opinion this is justifiable, as you're running the card to essentially the number that allows you to play as many as possible without experiencing the serious diminishing returns of drawing double. this generally applies to cards where if you draw multiples, the 2nd copy is essentially a blank; normal summons generally (denko in something that isn't shaddoll, for example, where extra copies can't just be fused with to make construct), or field cards that aren't detrimental to your strategy but you still want to see, like sky iris in odd-eyes magician (lets ignore the ability to circumvent this with terraforming + chicken game for a second, for the purposes of wider theory). if you run 3 then your chances of seeing multiple are significantly higher than drawing the only 2 cards in your deck

 

where do you think mained tech cards for specific decks come into the debate? if i main 2 maxx “c” as a relatively high impact card for pepe when it’s generally nothing more than a bad jar of greed against magician (assume both decks are represented equally), am i justified in not running 3? once again i think it’s a case of ‘drawing 2 is shit' (because i might be playing against magician, and also the heavy diminishing returns associated with the card in its ‘once per turn’ use) and ‘i want to maximise my chances of seeing this card when i play against pepe’ - i concede that drawing one against magician is fine, but drawing 2 is not, and so i play 2. do you believe this is justified or not?

 

oh what do u think of this anime btw

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I read your articles on testing, hoping that you might capture one particular thought of mine on the subject, and you did so very well: "No one surrounding you understands the game more than you because you probably don’t have a life, so therefore you have nothing to learn from testing with these people other than gaining some arbitrary edge in learning how their minds work when they play or what they’re going to play for the next tournament. That aside, I’d argue the best thing to do here, is to play against yourself." I actually won a regional using this method. Back in 2010, I had relocated to a new city, didn't have anyone to test with, so I just built every deck and sat and testing them all against each other for 20 hours in total. Drew a conclusion about what the best deck was, and absolutely crushed everyone at the regional. I actually learned more in that testing than I did in any kind of testing I had done prior.

 

A typical situation that I'd see is two great players arguing about some particular matchup. One of them says, "In my testing Firefist beats Mermail 80% of the time" and the other claims the opposite. How is that possible? If you're the best player in your testing group, any deck that you play will seem broken to you. But that testing isn't indicative of the strength of the deck, it's indicative of your strength as a player. So anytime I did test against some worse players than myself, I would try to take that into account. I wouldn't just say "well this deck won 2/3 of its testing matches, so I'll go with that," but rather I would try to say, "Can I find a way to win 90% of my testing games?" I would also try to consider the context of the games themselves rather than just the end result. One of the reasons that I snap picked Chaos Dragons for YCS Chicago (when most people were doubtful about the deck's viability) was the fact that in testing my average draws were beating the other decks' best possible draws. Rabbit would go first and open Rabbit+3 backrows and I would have absolutely no difficulty beating them. There would be times in testing where I'd win 40% of my matches and conclude that the matchup was favorable for me, and other times where I'd win 60% of my matches and conclude that the matchup was unfavorable for me. Being able to analyze your testing objectively is incredibly difficult, and no one can ever be perfect at it.

 

One of the ways I used my sub-par testing group was to let them play my deck against me in testing, with varying degrees of success.

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Did you change the chart at any point? I'm pretty sure I checked when you posted and the numbers didn't agree with the calc.

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These articles are really good. Was thinking about responding to them all but there's not much more to add. One thing you might cover in a future article could be about 'space'. While you've already covered that with power/consistency axis, it might warrant an additional article. I can't stand the amount of time in deck discussion where people say things such as 'This deck does not need upstart, since you already draw/don't have space' or 'I want to add this and this and this engine, but that's taking up 8 cards each and I simply don't have the space'.

 

I'd like to think of space as, given you play a certain amount of cards (lower is probably better but let's say you're playing 37 for example).

Let's see all of these cards as blanks, that is, you draw 6 cards and none of them do anything and you just lose.

You can then add the most powerful(powerful as in 'best', so rather: most powerful/consistent) cards in the game, probably your engine, let's say it takes up 28 cards. These are your best cards because, they will give you the highest chances of drawing good, powerful hands, hands that will win you the game, and any other engine trap floodgate etc. would not compete, because when you would switch any of these 28 cards for any card, your winrate would become lower. (Note that, while likely, engine cards do not necessarily have to be the best, and it's possible for floodgates etc. to be better than individual engine pieces, but in this example I take the 28 best cards, which in this case happen to be engine cards and that's not really a far stretch atm considering the powercreep and people dropping traps and non-engine cards more and more)

You can now see your deck as '28 engine cards, 9 blanks'. Then you can analyze what problems will occur when playing such a deck etc.

Based on these problems, you can make decisons:

What would win me more games? If these 9 cards would contain more engine cards, or floodgates, floodgate outs, traps, etc.? Each card you add would at least add 'something' to your winrate
You will then add the cards that will give your deck the highest win-rate total, and the other cards will be considered not good enough. There is no such thing as 'I really want to play these cards but I don't have space', that's just another way of saying 'these cards are bad because better cards do exist' and you should NOT 'try' to make space for them, instead you should just cut them and realize they're bad.

These best 37 cards would probably be the highest upon your power/consistency axis anyway, but this is just another way of looking at it for those who do not immediately see the link between your theory and 'space' in deckbuilding. 
 

Note that, if you had to compare a 6-card side engine and a 9-card side engine, and both would increase your winrate by the same amount (That is, if you're playing 28 cards and have 9 slots left, which are blanks), then obviously you should play the 6-card side engine and then add 3 stand alone cards. Not because 'I want to play the 9-card engine but I don't have space', but simply because the 6-card engine has better cards individually, the cards will be higher in power/consistency then those of the 9-card engine. A card is a card afterall, regardless of the fact it's an archetype or engine or whatnot, and each card in your deck should increase your winrate by the highest amount when compared to a blank, groups of cards working together increases individual card strength but does not change anything to that concept at all 

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Did you change the chart at any point? I'm pretty sure I checked when you posted and the numbers didn't agree with the calc.

you're a fucking moron tbh

 

call him out, end up being wrong, make a post accusing him of lying, edit your shit and neg everyone

 

fuck off guy

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New one finally up, want you guys to read this heading from my fb first tho:

 

"I'm certainly going to write a better article on technical play in the future. While I hold the concepts in here to be true, it's just not as expansive as I could make it and only reflects a portion of what I think. Regarding concepts not really talked about that I brought up here in technical play theory, I suppose it would be mostly analyzing limits, clearly defining offensive/defensive play, going over observational information, noting rapport, etc. I'm not too proud of it due to rigid writing standards but I'm sure you can find something here to take from it constructively."
 
With this in mind, here you are (will add to OP as well):
 
 

 

As deck building can be broken down into both power and consistency, technical play is a subject that can be broken down into physical and non-physical considerations. Mastery then, of these two topics as well as deck-building and the corresponding subjects of power and consistency under the framework of comparative thought, which is applied to just about everything including technical play as well, leads you to the best theoretical duelist. It is inhumane to master all of these subjects though, which is something I will elaborate on, but allocating your time spent to Yu-Gi-Oh! with the mindset of creating the best duelist in all of these subjects possible given these material conditions, if you’re a serious competitor, if you’re serious about winning, if you’re serious about the game in general, is what you ought to do.

 
So then, as it follows that knowing the valid concepts within deck building theory is what we need to know to become better deck builders, understanding all of the valid concepts and strategies in technical play is what we must know to become a better player. So where do we begin? It must first be understood the link and non-mutual exclusivity of the two topics, being that mental technical play directly dictates physical technical play, and regarding the stimuli of your opponent, vice versa. Then it must be acknowledged that, the practical application of one of these can, in situations, invalidate and contradict the practical application of another. If, in a vacuum, a play has a 60% chance of success, but a consideration of mental technical play, intuition, gives me information suggesting otherwise, a play with a lower chance of success in a vacuum could then become the correct play, which I’m going to give the precept of such a thing existing and ignoring previous arguments about playstyle, I will get more into this as well.
 
Note though, there are very many concepts in both of these categories but they fit a common theme and there is really only one big one for physical play strategies that can unite enough people around it, while there are a few frames of thinking for mental technical play that we’re going to go over, but the point is to keep in mind that this might not be a comprehensive list of every single concept in technical play, you can note more in the comments, I’d love you to, but it’s just the macro ones that come to mind for me practically and philosophically. So, if you’re looking for some equation to always get the right play out of, I’m not your guy. But, if you are looking for ways to think that will consistently link you to the better options available, please consider reading, while noticing the generality and non-specifity of some of my statements so that you’re able to apply them accordingly as you see fit.
 
Observation Application
 
What possible metric can be used, under these concepts, to justify a play over another given that the existence of the corresponding pool of thought can both theoretically and in application invalidate the method? The truth lies in knowledge, and the importance, because mental technical play, and this is a major point, is not exclusive to only you but always is dependent upon your opponent, how they’re likely to act, and how they’re likely to respond to various situations, is the ability to gauge your opponent. What must be understood in gauging an opponent is the sociological factors that you can infer from, and the extent at which you can actually infer and garner useful information from. Generally these types of discussions end with with very vanilla considerations. “Oh, you can ask them how far they traveled!” “Oh, you can analyze how well they’ve played in the game thus far!”
 
While these are certainly applicable, consider the extent of what actually is applicable. If my opponent sits down across from me, takes out his unsleeved deck, and isn’t using a mat, I’m going to infer something about them, that being they’re probably not that experienced, and that is something you can exploit via a stronger comparative technical play and corresponding mind games. A more popular example was in Six Samurai format was that if they had no dice, they likely were not using the deck. A less popular example? My opponent just activated Qliphort Scout at Nationals 2015 so I infer a level of competency about their mindset in the game and their technical play that is less than that of what I would infer about someone playing Nekroz, albeit the disparity isn’t that difference between in general I consider the majority of opponents not to be incredibly competent, but it doesn’t necessarily matter at a time when making popular decks is easy and technical play is as well.
 
However, two things must be noted here. First, that this is obviously completely unacceptable behavior in real life and acting on statistically feasible assumptions is only rationalized within the contexts of a simple game where you’re to play your odds, and I know it may seem sort of like I’m treating you like a child in not assuming 100% of my readers already understand this, but due to the grotesque level of incompetence of most players, you could hardly blame me. Also consider any other way I write about it can lead someone to make an unfair assumption about me if I don’t make it a point to expressly denounce such habits. That being said, there is a second point that in a way, ties into that, and that is the division of voluntary and involuntary information. Simply put, if 99% of people wearing blue shirts in an observation are using Evilswarm, it can not be rationally correlated and rather be attributed to coincidence because they probably just threw on a shirt and went to the tournament without thinking much about it, and it would therefore be an illogical thing to use as the basis for a theoretical application of the observation. However, voluntary acts are also immediately noticeable. Comments the opponents make, all these things matter and can fall under that category. So, the skill is in sorting out the fluff from the reliable data to act upon, and acknowledging this method exists far more than you may think it does is the first step towards achieving the mastery of it, as it applies to just about every other aspect of both other mental technical play, and physical technical play, being that I’ve already laid out the link between the two. Last, is to get creative with your observational applications, not ignorant, the importance of this is paramount to your success on the theory.
 
Offensive-Defensive Theory
 
We have now laid out our first major concept in the realm of mental play. Now, let’s switch it up and discuss a physical technical play concept, that being, offensive-defensive theory. It asserts that when you’re behind, you ought to play on the offensive to catch back up and hopefully eventually be ahead, and when you’re ahead, you ought to make plays that dictate that your opponent can do even less and less about their current situation. Now, I want to add the precept to this that, as with deck-building, no concept is technically infallible mathematically in practice, it could very well be the case that a play that might be considered win-more when you’re already winning (footnote, understand that stopping your opponent from playing when you’re winning effectively isn’t win-more, win-more and stopping your opponent from having any chance of winning are not at all the same things,) may be the correct play. It also may be the case that a play to stop your opponent while you’re behind is the correct play, in that case, it’s more likely to be the exception because you are likely to also have to dodge attempts from your opponent to go for game. However, as with the deck-building concepts in the previous article, these concepts are logically valid and applicable enough to where we can say they can apply to most situations. Last note on technical play contradictions insofar as this paragraph goes would be that the merit of one concept of technical play may outweigh, and practically always will if they contradict, another aspect of technical play when both are applicable, obviously you take the more merited and more comparatively (there’s that important comparative thought again,) of the two or more concepts then.
 
So what does this mean? You’re winning with a pendulum deck and have both Skullcrobat Joker and Thunder King Rai-Oh in your hand, it’s almost always going to be right to summon the Thunder King unless you have game, and that is the main constant exception to these theories if you haven’t noticed. “Unless it’s game.” “Unless you need to stop game.” Another note, on things like “aggressive,” “conservative,” “aggro,” whatever play, other writers have already done well to establish that they’re nonsense and have no bearing on telling you what play is the correct or incorrect play to make. This isn’t to say the correct or incorrect play is always obvious, it’s to say that there is one, so when you use justifications like that you stray from that point. People also like to use the concept of mental technical play as some sort of proof that life is not black and white, like is colorful, the playstyle then, exists. No, wrong. The aspirations of the mind due to their connection to the action one takes are directly correlated and therefore the possible actions a human can take are limited by their mind, some inputs valid some invalid, all comparable, and such, the chances of two being even close to exactly the same in practical effectiveness, as that we have proven when comparing two cards, is virtually impossible. I view these dismissals as laziness; an excuse not to further the ventures of your own mind to create better and more logicaly sound concepts to abide by, so no, we will be discussing strategy, all that which I know of, comparing, contrasting, until it is hammered into your head what actions to take, or at least the framework for deciding what actions to take, as is far more applicable and useful in more situations to know and understand.
 
What of comparative thought? We speak of needing this framework for deciding these things, and it is seldom acknowledged but the formula humans use to make most rationalizations is analytic thought > comparative thought with arbitrary goals in mind, and even to the extent those arbitrary goals go, they can for the most part continuously be broken down into analytic and comparative thought, under more goals, until you get to the point of reaching fundemental observed truths, which is the exact line behind the idea that smaller truths create bigger truths. We have, though, talked at length about comparative thought pertaining to the game of Yu-Gi-Oh! Of analytical thought? Well, as it pertains to what I was earlier discussing of the importance in both accuracy and merit in observations being the key to mental play, the analytic thought process is what must logically follow to indoctrinate yourself in, that is finding as much information as possible about a certain subject, hopefully before-hand because you only have forty minutes in a round and thus not a whole lot of time for critical thought, and with this you can then compare, for any situation mental or physical you find yourself in a game, to arrive at the best play, the mathematical rationalized connections of this being the most practical to base these things off of, sociological training applying for mental game (for all you psych majors.)
 
Every play. Every play must be considered, preferably before-hand, although the specifics of these situations vary, due to the contrasting power of the cards we’re dealing with the nature of the situations themselves remain very much the same throughout the majority of your match-ups. How to clear a board with a hand with using the least amount of your resources, where to effectively stop your opponent’s line of summoning with your trap, what have you. This isn’t to invalidate testing as we have went over in previous articles the importance of it insofar as situations that may not have came up via practical theory becoming more apparent, but just to say for the macro approach to match-ups, the common situations which are obvious, you needn’t even be playing a game to properly compare and contrast how you ought to handle these situations with your deck and thus figuring them out before-hand saves time in the real tournament, and is extremely possible especially due to the non-intracacies of technical play in 2015 due to the aforementioned power creep of cards in this game.
 
Consider situations that do invalidate technical play situations always have one clear mathematical correct, well, not clear but at least possible, answer. Your opponent has 2 cards in deck, you know both of them, an Ookazi, a brick, you’re at 500 life points with a set live mind crush. They draw to one, 50/50 shot of it being Ookazi, and you’re to assume that you having another turn doesn’t matter. Now, that’s obviously true in an abstract sense but if you want to get ultra-technical, to the point of undefineability, yes you could technically rationalize one over the other. No practical application, which my point is, will allow you to make those sort of crazy rationalizations though, so I hope for that case, you have brought a coin to flip with you, unless of course your mind game saves you giving away your opponent’s expression on the draw, which is the importance of my next concept and is something that Michael Steinman has written at length about.
 
Rapport
 
No, Squiddy didn’t write another tournament report. Rapport essentially analyzes the long-standing social relation between you and the subject. Think Adam Smith’s invisible hand, something along those lines of invisible forces that get people to act, via proper manipulation as you ought to do to your opponent, of the conversation, and gradually building upon this sort of trust until you can make your move and violate it, and they may very well have not even have noticed. This practice is something skilled salesman study at length and is the reason why, if you ever noticed, they like to mimmic you like a mirror verbally and posture-wise. This isn’t an act of nature, it’s calculated. This is one that particularly ties to fields I study en masse, populism and sociology. It was said once by a harsh dictator that the spoken word is far more competent than the written word at manipulating your subjects, I’d agree on the premise there is a level of humaneness and personality with talking to people personally. A part of it, as Mike notes, is getting them to agree with you, establishing light-hearted agreeability, and then getting them to agree with you on something wrong via little questions. I am clearly not the one who has written at length about this topic so I would suggest looking up his writings on the topic, but I will diverse on one thing from him. He talks about the importance of honesty here, but the entire practice has a dishonest goal, so rather than be arbitrarily honest, learn how to be as convincingly dishonest as you are convincingly honest, it might be harder, but it shall obviously lead to more exploitable results. Salesmen in general have mastered the art of lying, and to therefore master this particular art of technical play, you must do the same. Of course, keep it within the realm of not cheating, obviously. Should go without saying. People like to call this jedi-mind tricking sometimes, implying it’s some fast-action cause and effect, whereas you should definitely argue it’s more longstanding than that as a process.
 
Gauging
 
I’ve mentioned gauging and now we’re going to go into it. It is the act of determining where your opponent is at. Keep in mind this is not a universal thing, and by that I mean, being bad in one area does not constitute assuming them bad in another. A professor of psychology or a legendary gambler may have very well never touched a card in their life and therefore have bad physical technical play, but their mental technical play may very well outdo you easily. Since most mental topics run hand-in-hand, and since most physical technical play topics follow that same principle, you can still assume that someone that is competent in an area of physical technical play may likely be competent in another, same with mental and mental, but from my research, or just my observation throughout my years of playing this game, I’ve found that the correlation runs stronger between those similar targets than ones at the opposite side of that spectrum. Intuition is the key to gauging your opponent, as well as those same sociological observational precepts we laid out earlier. That meaning, an 8 year old no matter how story-book it is, is just not that likely to “jedi-mind trick” you or think that much about rapport. I’ll leave those observations, as I am leaving of the others, for you to make but just make sure you keep them scientific and therefore more logical to apply. But, these observations are exactly the kind you need to make in gauging your opponent’s skill level based on voluntary behavior, because once you know their skill level, you can exploit it technical play-wise as you should very well already be aware.
 
So you ask, what of the people leveling you? This isn’t a perfect science, and neither are the observation of involuntary micro-expressions. However, you just have to call a spade a spade with confidence and in a game that isn’t nearly as nuanced as high-level poker with far less competent of a player base, you can have it on my word that the only ones that are likely to try and take these advantages over you properly are ones that you have probably already heard of and have therefore mentally prepared for anywway. This is the crux of what I mean when I say that, due to the current information flow, almost all relatively good (key word being relatively here) players are known and that it creates sort of an enviornment where they don’t have an advantage that they would have if they were unknown. People track what decks they’re playing at an event, what they might play, etc. But, the comparative merit as far as technical play goes, as a footnote, of being popular vs unpopular, is intimidation vs surprisal of being good. In addition to this, most better players aren’t going to be intimidated, whereas most worse players aren’t going to be taken by surprised, because they don’t know any better. Since it’s obviously better to go after beating the better players in this context because you’re going to have an easier time with the worse, I then posit that it is optimal to be as unknown as possible, if you can help it, in the community. “Talk less, smile more, don’t let them know what you’re against, or what you’re for,” a friend of mine once posted. The irony being I’m writing to you with my name out in the open, but the truth being, I just don’t really care and these tiny optimizations in Yu-Gi-Oh! fields have certainly not been at the forefront of my mind as of late. Plus, no helping the small group of people that may know who I am now, unfortunately.
 
Limits
 
There are things that we can do in this game that might be technically optimal. It might be best to show up to your match in a chicken suit barking at them, by some theoretical rationalization, however, any normal not-Force-of-Will-playing person would not do that. Cardfight Vanguard too, while I’m at offending obnoxious playerbases (while I stand with the maybe the most obnoxious playerbase there is, no less.) The same can be said for deck-building, because when I talk about how far you get into the decimals when comparing cards, it is not to encourage people to actually do it, it is to encourage the exact opposite. We impose arbitrary limits to ourselves as humans in all our activities that we have to recognize that probably don’t meet whatever goal we may have best, usually because it conflicts with another goal of not wanting to be a completely socially obnoxious person. Of course, some people are just born without, for god knows why, this installed in their brain and may find it correct to just start being verbally abusive since the second you sit down to a match. Are there times where I think people go too far in limiting their self in tournament? Probably, such as with the Djinn debacle, and the irrational response of it all. Are there times when people don’t go far enough in limiting their behavior? Obviously, because if you’re ever physically fought someone over Yu-Gi-Oh, you probably also wear those old people diapers and poop yourself, going wee wee in the kitchen sink. I shouldn’t even be having to spell these things out for you because they just should be obvious and these things that limit how technically optimized your performance will be in tournament vary from person to person but keep in mind, god isn’t the only one that judges you. This is also important to understand because it puts in check the pathological nature of my suggestion on rapport.
 
Concluding
 
We’ve laid out the most basic concept in physical technical play theory (keep in mind the answer to a gamestate where neither player is ahead is that you usually want to put yourself ahead rather than focusing on stopping your opponent in those gamestates, and these always bar autowins as do any technical play concepts, and the reason why is because getting ahead and then stopping them is what seals the deal, where as stopping them at an equal-to-or-less position is just trading cards for cards.) We understand what to do when we’re winning, when we’re losing, when neither is happening, we know how to build rapport and understand mind games as well as how to apply sociological factors to our practice fairly, and we understand the limits that we have set for ourselves. I think that is a good sentiment to end on, thank you for reading.

 

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I just don't get it, I even tried to write this keeping in mind the complaints about the verbosity of my posts. Can someone tell me which words are too complicated? In my mind, this is all pretty much high-school level language. In addition to that, within the different categories I even numbered or emboldened the larger points. I also don't think any of the points I made were superfluous but rationally flowed together both as I was making them and in the practical application of showing how they can relate to pieces like Frogman's. I just am not understanding the discrepancy here. Are the concepts themselves too much for the audience?

 

I'd like to think of myself as not somebody who just skips over long walls of text, but jesus fuck what the hell man

This might be high school-level vocabulary but this is probably university density.

 

Compare with say, this ARG article on Unicore:

 

I'm trying to crack this mystery as well because I really like what you post. How you post is also fine, but for some reason it's just incredibly hard to break into.

 

Reading Ease
 
A higher score indicates easier readability; scores usually range between 0 and 100.
 
Readability Formula Score
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 57
Grade Levels
 
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 11.1
Gunning-Fog Score 14.2
Coleman-Liau Index 10.6
SMOG Index 10.1
Automated Readability Index 11.2
Average Grade Level 11.4
Text Statistics
 
Character Count 28,581
Syllable Count 9,533
Word Count 6,383
Sentence Count 276
Characters per Word 4.5
Syllables per Word 1.5
Words per Sentence 23.1

 

Reading Ease
 
A higher score indicates easier readability; scores usually range between 0 and 100.
 
Readability Formula Score
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 65.7
Grade Levels
 
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 9.1
Gunning-Fog Score 11
Coleman-Liau Index 9.2
SMOG Index 8
Automated Readability Index 8.7
Average Grade Level 9.2
Text Statistics
 
Character Count 6,182
Syllable Count 2,074
Word Count 1,455
Sentence Count 72
Characters per Word 4.2
Syllables per Word 1.4
Words per Sentence 20.2

 

 

The first one's yours, the second one is Hoban's.

 

One of the bigger things is length, and while you said that you already tried to incorporate the feedback from previous articles, while most people approach articles as blog posts (news article would probably be a better term but most of the time it's not really news), yours are closer to academic articles.

 

Take the latest one for example: 6k words, 10+ pages. 

It's a fair statement to say that if you actually want to be good at YGO you have to be able to comprehend all of this, but who your audience is and who your writing can actually cater to are two different groups.

 

Who's the target audience, anyways?

 

Like, the current platoon of Yugitubers are mocked as appealing to the lowest denominator, so what will the purpose of this be?

Lack of volunteer motivation is real, but so is not being motivated by virtue of not knowing what's trying to be accomplished.

 

Is it aimed at people who want to seriously improve, but don't necessarily want to post on DGz? Should it encourage people to join DGz, for info straight from the source?

Note that if it's aimed at any of the three big casual forums, anything presented will have to be done so at a lower level and density than Chumlee.statsdump

 

I mean, I'd listen/watch something like Victor Cards of the Week because I think it's always amazing what he comes up with, and I'm fairly sure tons of other people would also want to see that because that's the thing that we don't normally get: techs that can appeal to both casual and competitive players, especially when all of the interactions are laid out and presented coherently.

 
^ This was pointed more at the DGz streams, but the idea is the same. Your target audience isn't the group that plays at Worlds, it's going to be people who go to regionals, ARGCS, YCS, and so on. Most people just don't have the ability to take in 6000 words on every topic you post.
 
Although the competitive YGO crowd is like 20+, most people 20 and older don't actually read a level that scales linearly with age. Although grade 12 is still high school, you should actually be aiming at a grade 9/10 level of complexity.
 
If the purpose is to get more people playing seriously, correctly, and well, then the content is at times overwhelming. 
 

The Pseudo-Philosophical Art of Decision-Making

 

It isn't my desire for this piece to appear pseudo-philosophical, but it will by definition because my categorical analysis of the game requires it, and that is where we start our investigation. I hold that optimized decision-making follows the formula of analytical > comparative under objectives. That is, you decide your goal, analyze all relevant information, and then compare and contrast which best meets your goal. and comparative best option is the decision you make. An elementary example is that you are thirsty at a restaurant, and wish to select a beverage you consider that tastes the best. That is your goal. Your analytical thinking is figuring out every possible choice, that being, looking at the menu. Your comparative thinking then compares all analyzed information, the drinks with each other, until you decide one is above the rest. 

 

Three more things must be noted of this practice. First, the classical dialectic thinking that thesis + antithesis = synthesis. The first thing to consider there are two ways to consider theses here, one being truths, the other being a synonym of goals/objectives. The latter is what we're looking for here because it directly applies to how you caveat weigh your objectives. Say one objective is your definition of morality, and another goal that you simultaneously hold is that you want to make money. You might decide robbing a bank is the best way to make money. However, your definition of morality forbids this. So, you do two things. First, you decide which goal is more important to you, and this explains precisely where paths in life diverse. Robbing that bank might outweigh your morality and if those are the only considered factors, under these stipulations, it would then be correct to rob the bank. However, if one goal doesn't outweigh another (that meaning that you decide you want to achieve both,) then you synthesize. Your goal is now no longer making money (thesis,) and your goal in this case is no longer just morality (antithesis.) Your goal is now to morally make money. That is the synthesis here, and how objectives collectivise. 

 

The second adds to the first point. It states that as objectives can be theses and antitheses synthesized, that also, deciding the objectives themselves follows the same formula of analytical thinking > comparative thinking under higher objectives. This is where my notion that little truths create bigger truths comes from. What this asks is, what the conditions were that made you decide to make money. It also asks what conditions led you to even partake in your morality. The idea is that you can keep going up the latter from a micro-view to a macro-view of objectives continuously breaking into analytics and comparatives under higher objectives until you reach the final objectives, and these are either subjective material truths or objective material truths, point is, they're fundamental material truths and it means that you can't get past the blockade here of this dimension and how the universe operates in the cast of objective material truths (IE "What's there is there/A=A,)" nor can you break the blockade of life subjectivity in subjective material truth (IE "I just like doing this.)" The best way to put this idea into practicality is considering a toddler that keeps asking "why?" to every answer you gives her, such as the Louis C.K. bit. 

 

The third thing to note is that the following conclusion of both the first and second points is that any objective can be accumulated to all other objectives. This both delves yet derives from the simple thesis + antithesis = synthesis formula by both taking it to its logical extreme/absurdity and making it more all-inclusive. That is, even if you aren't consciously considering it, your goal isn't just go to a YGO tournament hope to do well then leave, it is go to a yugioh tournament at this particular date and time with x health conditions avoiding car accidents on the way while also making sure it is in my economic interest as far as the entry fees to the tournament goes as far as sustainability is concerned, etc. This demonstrates the collectivations, the caveats, whatever you want to refer to it as, of objectives. Last thing I want to add here is that time considerations themselves can be or not be an objective, they're not unequivocally linked to optimization. This is because if time wasn't finite, it wouldn't be as logical an objective as we consider it in our day-to-day lives as practical. Moving forward.

 

Cutting out some of the excess text, those first two paragraphs would look something like this:

 

The Pseudo-Philosophical Art of Decision-Making

 

Optimized decision-making follows the formula of analytical > comparative under objectives. You decide your goal, analyze all relevant information, and then compare which best meets your goal. An elementary example is that you are thirsty at a restaurant, and wish to select a beverage you consider that tastes the best. Your analytical thinking is figuring out every possible choice, that being, looking at the menu. Your comparative thinking then compares all analyzed information, until you decide one is above the rest. 

 

 

Three more things must be noted of this practice. First, the thinking that thesis + antithesis = synthesis. There are two ways to consider theses here, one being truths, the other being goals/objectives. The latter directly applies to how you weigh your objectives. Say one objective is morality, and another goal is that you want to make money.

 

You might decide robbing a bank is the best way to make money. However, your definition of morality forbids this. So, you do two things. First, you decide which goal is more important to you. Robbing that bank might outweigh your morality and if those are the only considered factors, it would then be correct to rob the bank. However, if one goal doesn't outweigh another (that meaning that you decide you want to achieve both,) then you synthesize. Your goal is now no longer making money (thesis,) and your goal in this case is no longer just morality (antithesis.) Your goal is now to morally make money.

 

Caveat is a known word, as seen in "caveat emptor" which many know as "buyer beware", but terms like "classical dialetic", "stipulations", "objectives collectivise", a lot of people would have to look up what those terms mean in this context, despite possibly already knowing their definitions.

 

I didn't even know how to summarize the latter two paragraphs because I would have to juggle so many concepts at once to connect the terms together. The underlying message is drowned out by just how much has to be thought about in the process.

 

Only in the fourth paragraph do you actually talk about YGO (some people might assume they clicked the wrong link and actually stumbled into some sort of philosophical nightmare realm), but it's only for the purpose of an equivalent example to an earlier point. 

 

I can't imagine that writing these weekly doesn't take a nontrivial amount of effort even when you claim that it's stream of consciousness, the additional effort doesn't even present a diminished return because people have already either bought into it, or rejected it as something they cannot comprehend, like trying to explain the concept of a 3D object to a group of squares.

 

Matt, the length of your sentences are due to your use of words that "protect" you from detailed scrutiny.
"Sometimes, probably, maybe" are unnecessary in clear objective writing. Also, remove the colloquialisms for clearer ideas. 
For subjective writing avoid overusing these words.

 

It isn't my desire for this piece to appear pseudo-philosophical, but it will by definition because my categorical analysis of the game requires it, and that is where we start our investigation.

 

The disclaimer doesn't mean very much, because people reading the content would either dig into it, or back away. The one sentence isn't going to change anyone's opinion on the walls of text that follow. Opening with this might even incorrectly shows hesitation (or worse, gets misinterpreted as insecurity in the text), instead of the conviction that actually follows it.

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small note, after the next piece gets up i will be free to work for other sites. if any stores want a kinda ok writer hmu

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Please go write for ARG.
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I'll ask Jim if a position is open.

 

Also, last article for this site is up:

 

Cards in Deck

 

http://blog.multimonsterdeals.com/cards-in-deck/

 

 

Who am I to write an entire article about deck building logistics and not delve into number of cards in deck? That will be our discussion today. We’ll go over the popular conceptualizations on this topic, dismiss or accept certain aspects of them, and in this process we shall reach our conclusions.

 
As a preface to this entire piece, we’re considering Upstart Goblin and the like to be one less card in deck, although realistically it’s a little bit better than one less card in deck due to searching before playing it compared to always being forced to immediately draw the next card. It’s still roughly a little bit over one card subtracted from your deck. For now let’s ignore the pragmatic side of these cards, such as life point gain and Naturia Beast, we will get to that later.
 
Let us begin with the most popular theory. It goes something like “the correct number of cards in deck is as few as possible because you’re maximizing the chance you see the best cards in your deck.” In practice they both negate and revise this argument, because otherwise you’d see them all using 3 Terraforming and 3 Chicken Game in every deck.
 
However, you can say that this is an unfair assessment as if those Chicken Games were Upstart Goblins, these same people might play them. While the line of logic “as few cards as possible” doesn’t really care about the pragmatic side of cards I’ve mentioned, I’ll still humor this by presenting another negation that still brings us down the same path.
 
You must realize that you’re still faced with the question of absurdity revealing the bounds of this idea. If you could play 0 cards, would you? 1 card? 5 that aren’t Exodia? 6? The answer is that you still have to play some sort of “reasonable line” here, which will still carry us to our next point.
 
Thus, their new, actually practiced line of reasoning becomes “the correct number of cards in deck is as few as possible *by reasonable methods* to maximize the chance that you draw the best cards in your deck.” What a convenient backdoor out of theoretics and into pragmatism they have found themselves!
 
However, we are still faced with falsifiability. Take the new Igknight FTK deck, for example. In this deck, you can combo with a hand of 5 Igknights (a little bit more complicated because of 3’s and 5’s but for the sake of the argument let’s say you can at basically all points.) You also have cards that you don’t want to draw, the ones that you would want to search for from your deck.
 
Now, riddle me this: What is the result of adding more Igknights to the deck here? Well, you’re increasing the chance you’re opening with all Igknights, which is good, while simultaneously decreasing the chance you draw those bricks, which is also good. There is absolutely no negative factor here, yet we’re arguing for playing more cards rather than taking them away.
 
Now, how are they going to get out of this one? Easy! It is no longer “the correct number of cards in deck is as few as possible *by reasonable methods* to maximize the chance that you draw the best cards in your deck,” it is now “every deck has a best number.” Of course, they do not mean something as amorphous as archetypes as we can have a whole different type of aforementioned Igknight deck that takes a different metric, but they are still talking about something as amorphous as strategies.
 
But dealing with this, proving its falsifiability, is absolutely no difficult feat either. What are decks outside of the cards in them? If that sounds too pseudo-philosophical for you, I’ll alleviate your mental blockade by explaining it in a more pragmatic way. Can you imagine switching out a card in your deck for another card, and that card could create a contradiction of the number of cards in your deck?
 
Let’s take a look at this new Pot of Cupidity card, for example. Let’s say you have a deck that regularly wins only with 3 or 4 cards left in deck, by means of necessary milling. Here, if you were switching out something for Pot of Cupidity, you would now create a problem comparatively regarding the number of cards in your deck because you wouldn’t be able to mill enough to still win while not decking out. Therefore, looking at something as amorphous as “the deck,” “the strategy,” or “the archtype,” are all completely wrong, which brings us to both a conclusion and a paradox that will be the next thing we tackle.
 
The only answer we have left is that there is nothing that determines the proper number of cards, or “ideal number,” outside of the what the cards you are playing dictate. But, now we have a problem. The cards you are deciding to play already total a number in the first place. How can we remain sound in our theory if there can be no difference in the ideal number and total of the cards you’re deciding to play?
 
The answer is to question the usefulness of some omnipotent ideal number to build to in the first place. Here’s a radical thought. Perhaps what determines the ideal deck size is determined in the last instance by an equilibrium of the relations between all the cards you’re playing with themselves, the rest of the field, and your technical play. Every problem stems from beginning with an ideal deck size as a cause rather than seeing it as an effect.
 
This perfectly lets us remain sound in theory when we look at how many cards we play in every deck, especially when looking at cards comparatively. When you’re considering putting another card in your deck, yes, you are decreasing the chance you see the rest of the deck. However, that isn’t something that is necessarily a complete negation of the idea altogether, because surely I’d want to decrease the chance of seeing the worst cards in my deck if it wasn’t going to affect how while my deck otherwise performs.
 
Those are each things to consider, but now let’s add one more thing, bringing up that pragmatism from the beginning of the article. Things like Upstart’s Life Point gain blocking you from winning (because the ideal that “life doesn’t matter” isn’t true in all cases,) your opponent using your Chicken Game, etc. These are all things to consider, but do you notice the pattern here? All of these things concern the relationship of the cards to themselves and have absolutely nothing to do with some falsifiable and omnipotent number to build to.
 
This is not to say that, historically speaking, it hasn’t probably been right for the tendency of playing less cards to exist. However, to apply a historical pattern to all cases is to blind yourself from when it is wrong. So take it for what it is, but free your mind from rhetorical nonsense regarding constants in the number of cards to play in your deck, because the only thing that determines this number are those very same cards in your deck. Thank you.

 

Also added a comment quoting the pertinence of this from another thread.

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Please go write for ARG.

 

http://www.argcircuitseries.com/matthew-monahan

 

Writing my first piece later today. Jim wants some product related stuff and obviously a decent correlation to the Circuit Series tournament, but otherwise he's cool with me writing about whatever other YGO-related stuff I want. 

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First piece is on ARG IDing, and basically summarizes and polishes what I and some others had advocated for in the thread about it several months ago. Might be a bit of a repetitive read for DGzers but for my new readers it could be of interest.

 

ARG IDing

 

http://www.argcircuitseries.com/matthew-monahan/arg-iding

 

 

It may be common practice to save your intentional draw (ID) for the last round and then draw yourself into top cut at an ARG, but is it common sense? A further investigation is required, one that should uncover a better way to approach it and wiser strategies moving forward.  

 
    Footnote: keep in mind while reading this that there is no harm in asking your opponent for the ID because if they say "no," it's the same as if you would have played them in the first place.
 
What You Want and What You Need
 
    To begin with, what do you totalistically need, at minimum, to get into top cut? At almost all ARGs, it's an x-1-1 record. But, does it matter which round you lost and which one you drew when the standings go up? Well, for tie-breaking sure, but almost invariably, it didn't.. previously. A tie and a loss in round 1 and 2 matters as much as they would in the last two rounds, until they added a new rule: how 1st/2nd is picked in ARG top cuts now.
 
    Whereas the only advantage in placing higher used to be that you would theoretically play against worse players because they're lowing in the bracket (although that rarely pragmatically mattered,) now they've added a stipulation that could matter a lot more, and leads us to a questions. 
 
    Do you want to win or top? The interesting thing is where as this question asked some years ago would not have pretty straight-forward implications (wanting to do the best in swiss vs wanting to do the best in top,) in this case we realize a resolution to a previously antagonistic relation between swiss and top cut.
 
    The idea used to be that it, if you were playing to win a tournament, it wasn't as big a deal if you played a deck that might lose a bit more in swiss to win in top cut. However, now with the rule in place of the higher seed picking 1st/2nd in top cut, in a lot of cases, the old theory will apply a lot less because now winning in top cut is more dependant on a better record in swiss than it was before.
 
    Now, if you're playing decks where it matters a lot, the better you do in swiss, the better chance you have of doing in top cut, with more of a concrete correlation than the old "playing worse players" line. What was once an inverse relation is now a direct one in these circumstances.
 
    Rather you want to win or top is something you'll have to decide for yourself, but as we've just demonstrated, it will often be the case that they'll have the same implications with the current rules. We can continue discussing the winning vs topping question, especially bringing up the question of "a higher % chance of topping is empirically more chances to get into top cut in the first place, even though it may be less chances to win when you get there, how do you balance the two?" 
 
    While we may delve deeper into that at another time, I'd like to return this, now that we've laid the ground-work for our understanding of what does and doesn't matter about records, to the questions of IDing. Henceforth, we shall render all considerations involving "the deck that you're playing having a huge difference between the 1st and 2nd in top cut," to be a negation and non-application of what I'm about to outline, so I don't have to keep repeating it. Thus, you have a litmus test to just look at your deck and decide if the following theories are applicable or not. 
 
Unintentional Drawing
 
    Another constant which we must outline the following discussion in is noting that if you play slow, or your if deck is slow, and you therefore go into time and draw a lot, I have a few things to say to you. First, that can be considered a negation of drawing earlier in the tournament (because if you suspect a good chance of drawing later, it will count as a loss.) Second, this is usually circumvented by people that either A. practice enough to play competently fast and/or B. use fast decks, which pragmatically tend to be better choices anyway, so more or less, it's on you to get to a point where you can implement these ideas.
 
    While parenthesis may appear as something to brush by in passing, I want to expand on something said in the last paragraph. There are two things that indicate how the slower deck or player should navigate these waters. If you expect to end up drawing a match played out in a tournament, then you can say that there is a lower chance of it happening with 1 round left than with 7, even though the last round might be the one you have the highest chance of playing the toughest opponent (because the 7 rounds left would include that anyway as well as the other 6 before it.) 
 
    The other indicator, that combines with the empirical number of rounds left, is their knowledge of players they're likely to play against. What this means is that if you have only one round left and you know that you probably aren't going to get paired against someone you would draw against, and that it would be very opportune to draw your before-last round for reasons I'll discuss soon, those considerations can easily outweigh not IDing even with our consideration of the slower deck or player. 
 
    Obviously both of these points apply to everyone but they are amplified the slower you play/your deck is, and therefore it will almost solely be their own considerations (this is realized once you draw the distinction between "will I draw OR lose against the next opponent" or "will I lose?)" Moving forward, now that we have done the courtesy of additional outlining for our slower-playing/deck-playing friends, we shall not be making the considerations of unintentionally drawing (UD) hereafter. Otherwise, you can largely ignore the last 4 paragraphs.
 
Drawing Into Brackets
 
    Since we're now in the realm of being able to ID in any round, as we can safely assume due to our earlier caveats that a draw in round 9 is just as valid as a draw in round 1, we now begin asking ourselves where our draw is best placed. There exist multiple angles to take here, and obviously there will exist overlap with none of these being mutually exclusive to any other considerations. The first of which, is drawing earlier to put yourself into certain brackets.
 
    There is a two-fold nature that creates this as a strategy. There is drawing to avoid or play certain decks/types of players, and there is drawing to avoid or play certain individuals. As far as when to draw, these two have an antagonistic relationship because you're more sure of who you're avoiding or going to play individually later in the tournament than earlier, and on the other hand, if you're trying to avoid or play certain types of decks and avoid or play certain types of players, it wouldn't make sense as a strategy to do that later in the tournament rather than earlier.
 
    Obviously when to apply this is relative to a particular format. For example, at one ARG I knew that a lot of people were using Infernoid, but quickly learned that it wasn't a great match-up for me.    I knew the deck was fast and rarely went into time, so I ID'd earlier and then never got paired with it for the rest of the tournament as a result. This is the angle that cares more about the future rounds than who you draw with specifically, but the next angle we'll be discussing here does the opposite.
 
Drawing Against Strongest Opponent
 
    Whereas the last theory we talked about can be justified when using a deck or strategy that it supported, this one is for the people that don't fall in that camp, which is the majority of the others. Here, we just simply want to draw against the opponent we think that we will have the lowest chance to win against in our tournament experience. 
 
    All that really needs to be noted to prove the comparative viability of this is asking yourself, what were your chances to beat someone that you would ID within the last round vs someone that you decided to play against earlier? Did you have information to alter your decision regarding how the tournament was progressing? Did you see that you got paired against the best player in the tournament and that everyone else around you was worse in a later round and still chose to play since it wasn't the last round?
 
    Clearly, we can point out some errors here if that was the case. Therefore, if you're not in the slowplaying/slow deck group, and you're not in the "manipulate the bracket group," you ought to be in the "drawing against the strongest opponent" group. The thing to note that should shatter your previously mindset is that none of these things necessitate waiting til the last round to draw, and such concludes our investigation of the topic. 
 
Concluding
 
    We have realized what to do when you're a slower player or your deck is slower, when your deck or strategy can largely benefit from drawing into a certain bracket, and when, if you don't fall into either of the first two groups, you should be otherwise drawing. No player is uniform in that they will invariably only play a deck or have a strategy that necessitates only one of these things so you may bounce around a lot between them once realized, and there can even exist overlap in all 3. 
    These ideas directly challenge previously held notions about how you ought to use your draw at an ARG and I hope this piece helps spark a dialogue and gives you new things to think about on the subject. I hope you enjoyed my first article for the Alter Reality Games (ARG) Circuit Series website, thank you for reading. 
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"Matthew Monahan is a semi-popular duelist" - Don't sell yourself short. Sentences like this look fucking awkward in a bio.

 

"Totalistically" isn't a word.

 

"Whereas the only advantage in placing higher used to be that you would theoretically play against worse players because they're lowing in the bracket (although that rarely pragmatically mattered,) now they've added a stipulation that could matter a lot more, and leads us to a questions." - This sentence is a grammatical train wreck.

 

Does Jim just not give you an editor?

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dont have an editor

 

taking out "semi-popular" i guess, more-so I thought it should include some sort of justification for me being able to have the platform to write on

 

ill fix "a questions," but aside from that I don't see any errors in the sentence

 

I'll make it "in total"

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Just say that you're popular.

 

Would you go into a job interview as say "I'm semi-qualified for this job"?

 

Using the phrase semi-popular makes it sound like you're doubtful about your popularity. That's what I was trying to get across.

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If something is inherently an opinion, you should always be confident about that opinion.
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"Whereas the only advantage in placing higher used to be that you would theoretically play against worse players because they're lowing in the bracket (although that rarely pragmatically mattered,) now they've added a stipulation that could matter a lot more, and leads us to a questions."

 

should be something like

 

"Whereas the only advantage in placing higher used to be that you would theoretically play against worse players because they're lower in the bracket, (although this effect was rarely significant) now they've added a stipulation which will be much more relevant in determining the outcome of your top cut matches."

 

Lowing should be lower, rarely pragmatically mattered is an ambiguous phrase because "rarely" is adverb (ie: was it rarely pragmatic or did it rarely matter?), "and leads us to questions" sounds awkward and isn't necessary in the sentence.

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didn't catch lowing I'll fix that too. I guess "rarely pragmatically mattered can just be "rarely mattered"

 

updated the site with the other stuff but i guess weebly takes longer to update the sidebar so it will have "semi-" for a while then change to just "popular"

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1. Use confident speech.

2. Don't use tons of fluff adverbs and adjectives. This isn't creative writing. We're not trying to show the reader how large our vocabulary is. Words like invariably, theoretically, pragmatically, and empirically are usually not necessary.

3. Always reread your work to yourself after you write it and see if it sounds awkward in your head.

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