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Turbo Duelist Cromat

yugioh's rise and fall, timelines and significant events

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the arg thread had a lot of talk about how ygo's playerbase is dwindling and what not. i don't have konami's sales numbers but i assume if locals are getting smaller, ycs are getting less attendance, then maybe that is true. i've decided to draw out a list of significant events and changes konami has made in the past few years, their short term and long term effects, and how i think it affected ygo as a whole. its gonna have some gaps here and there but i'll try to recall this to the best of my abilities as i've stayed in the game (keeping up even if i didn't play) since the start of this time line.

 

april 15, 2009: konami wins the counterfeit lawsuit vs upper deck, and takes over yugioh world wide.

regionals entrance fee and prizes changed so that entrants get packs equivalent to their entry fee

shonen jump relabeled to ycs, top cut changed from top 8 to top 32/16 based on attendance

for the next few years, this change has heralded a huge influx of people going to regionals and ycses, casuals who were afraid of losing their 20 dollars at their regionals no longer had that fear due to getting their money back in entry packs, and the amount of people who can now claim to have topped ycs's have increased 4 fold due to the top cut changes (which really was required, top 8 out of thousands of people would have been ridiculous for the rest of the players)

 

aug 7, 2010: duelist revolution. i recall this was the first time since konami's takeover that in set cards were bumped severely in rarity. pot of duality, a super in the ocg, was upgraded to secret and never commanded a price tag below 100 dollars, and having them in your binder basically was a symbol of status, much like CP staples.

february 5, 2011: six samurai released, infinite combos discovered, six samurai go on a war path against the unprepared.

march 1, 2011: gateway of the six limited. six samurai still top tier, but much easily managed

 

aug 11, 2011: Collector tin 2011. This tin had basically uprooted and remade konami's reprint policy. the simple announcement of pot of duality, archlord krystia, and e-hero gaia included along with the tin face promos in the tins dropped the price of pot of duality from 100 dollars to 50 dollars overnight. konami would continue to follow this reprint structure.

 

january 14, 2012: Order of Chaos. Yugioh experiences a powercreep never seen before, with the completion of THREE top tier meta decks, wind up, evolzar, and inzektor completely reinventing the game. 1st turn laggia locks, 2 card field clear, and hand discard loops made sure that old decks were completely obsolete whereas they were still playable before. the gap between tier 1 and tier 2 widened unprecedented, and unlike the previous oppressive decks that you could fight with weaker decks by side decking and main decking hate, this time there were 3 equally oppressive decks that was unfeasible to prepare for if you werent playing top tier.

 

march 1st, 2012: in a completely unprecedented move compared to the march 1st 2011 list where gateway was hit, konami did not limit any of the big 3 from order of chaos in any way, making a fraction of the players lose faith in the game. some people started to smarten up to the fact that banlists were used not to control the health of the game but to push product (it has always been this way but konami hid it well before. crazy decks like monk cat, six samurai, black wings were always nerf'd the banlist after their dominance). what was frustrating with the big 3 decks was that previous oppressive decks still let you play yugioh, even if they did kill you in 1 turn (monk cat fighter, dark armed return, synchro plants, black wing). the ORCS oppressive decks forbade you from playing yugioh at all, WITH the potential of killing you the very next turn. ironically a lot of people actually came in during this format as it was a dice roll/pay2win format. you didn't have to be good to pilot your deck to victory or win the mirror match. simply opening better and winning the dice roll meant you could beat even the most seasoned veterans and pros. deck prices reached over 1000 dollars due to tour guide being 150 dollars and higher and was a staple in every deck.

 

unfortunately, i stopped following the game as much shortly after that, but i think these events were the ones that had the most effect on yugioh. the short term effects were transparent, but now its time to evaluate the long term effects of these changes and how they affect yugioh now, and why there has been a decline in playerbase from all angles. i don't think there has been anything unexpected from konami after these initial changes except for maybe the megatins, and everything they've done since then have all been pretty predictable.

 

1. the decrease in the collectibility of yugioh cards.

 

in the past, old, obsolete, but rare yugioh cards were a symbol of status. having them in your binder meant that you were a serious collector, even if those cards werent as relevant or powerful anymore. their prices were dictated simply by their rarity, knowing that they would hold their value even if they were shit cards (venominaga, magic formula, etc). regarding the new wave of yugioh cards, while they commanded an expensive price tag initially for their hype and their power level, they retained their price as formats changed and more powerful cards released and banlists reduced the impact of those cards, because it was offset by the cards becoming rarer and rarer as the sets got older and older. examples include pot of duality, krystia, fader, vayu. i'd argue that those cards right before their reprints retained their prices due to their scarcity and not their power, as many decks already had stopped running them at that time.

 

the advent of the 2011 tins completely demolished people's collections. while a lot of collectors cried out that konami gutted them, the rest of the community rejoiced as they finally could get cards they wanted cheaply and just simply said things like "tough shit, shoulda gotten rid of them earlier, u shoulda seen it coming" etc. as players, this move was good, but for collectors it meant that yugioh was no longer a game where they could collect cards and have them hold their value. the effects of this are much more transparent now where people simply moved all their shit asap and no one ever wants to hold onto cards because holding cards is a liability. whereas before people with bling binders commanded awe and admiration, now when u see a guy with all the good cards in his binder at full rarity u instead just think that guys gonna get hit by the reprint train and there will be guts everywhere.

 

even crap rare cards like venominaga, yubel, etc were reprinted with no demand for them whatsoever killing their value too.

 

people might contest this point saying that they brought in more people than it kicked out, but i think it is relevant that it did remove a lot of collectors from the game.

 

2. saturation of tops from the top cut changes

 

i would say that the prestige of topping an event in the past was due to how scarce events were back then, but also that top 8 is ostensibly harder than top 32 because it is less forgiving (2 losses knocked you out). the prestige of having tops was also the reason why people in the previous years spent so much money and time on trying to acquire those tops. but now reality is catching up. topping an event means very little now.  read  the standings of any top 32 (not multiple toppers) to your locals and i guarantee that the people u asked probably won't know who that guy is. you topped a ycs? in the past you might be on a fraction of the level of adam corn, dale belido, or whoever the legends were. now you're on the same level of randy mcgee who topped that 1 ycs he went to and no one knows u or him.

 

3. people who quit don't come back to the game

 

a big difference from magic and yugioh is that people who quit magic can come back to the game later on and get used to the game because the mechanics are largely the same. the monsters might be different, the spells might be new, but im still playing mana and summoning guys and casting spells and attacking u. if u leave ygo for 2 years and come back you probably would have no idea what the fuck is going on and why that guy keeps summoning 5 monsters and where did the trap cards go?? it now is really hard for a person to get into yugioh because the entry level to the game is so damn high, and konami can't get people to stay nor can they get new people to get into the game due to complexity.

 

4. fool me once, shame on konami. fool me twice, shame on me

 

even the dumbest fools stop sticking their hand in the fire after the third time. most people know of konami's strategies by now. make u buy boxes to finish ur deck, kill ur deck with the banlist, then kill ur cards with a reprint tin and force u to repeat the cycle. by the way, we're hitting it so hard that ur old deck is completely obsolete and dont ever think of being able to win 1 game out of 20 with ur old deck vs the new shit!

 

and sure, you can say that u should have sold ur shit off before that happened, but 1st is that its a no win race, end of the day someone is getting stuck with ur shit cards, and 2nd is that people are wise to that tactic too now.

 

 

------------

 

tbh i dont even know if this is why ygo is dying. i kind of forgot what i wanted to write half way thru. the existence of csgo and league being free and the tv show being garbage probably made ppl care less about it too. u play for recognition where there is no recognition, u play for fun where there is no fun, u collect for the collectibility where there is no collectibility, and its way too expensive.

 

thats why bosh is so surprising. konami realizes that to revitalize their game they need to do something drastic and that something is to push powercreep so high that people might just get excited and join the game-just like what happened with orcs. holos in every pack, more secrets, these are all things konami is doing to revitalize the game and be unpredictable. because years of predictability has had a toll on their sales.

 

now the question is whether or not bosh will be the thrust the game needs or the final nail into the ground-because konami forgot that one of the reasons orcs succeeded was that u didn't have to be good to open rabbit/loop/summon dragonfly but pe pe will be a hard deck to build and play and not being good means you wont be able to win as many games. (i didnt play during ruler/judgement format so i dont know if that format with high skill ceiling and powerlevel brought more ppl to the game or made ppl stop playing)

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»ACP    33406

For me, the only big turnaround was the Konami takeover. One of the biggest things that gets overlooked here is the fact that the people they hired after the takeover were largely responsible for all of these bad things that happened afterwards: rarity bumps, organized play changes, and (lack of) tournament policy. I'm talking about people like Kevin Tewart, Julia Hedberg, and Jerome McHale. These were people that were almost universally hated by the playerbase, were fired under UDE for doing their jobs poorly, and were snap rehired by Konami purely on the basis of "You hate UDE? We do too! Welcome aboard!"

 

It would be like if Donald Trump became president and put Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and David Duke in his cabinet.

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»Noelle    5845

In these discussions generational shifts often get overlooked I believe. When we were kids it was cool among the nerds at school to have these cards but the kids have moved on to getting STDs and ygo is out, meaning the main source, the theoretical flow, of a continual influx of new players is ceased and desisted, and new shows prob sucking dick didn't help the kids become more enthusiastic about it either.

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Blacklisted    1329

IIRC, Mermail-Ruler-Mermail formats had the highest player counts for a lot of tournaments or at least in Australia. Since then, regional and locals have been dropping in numbers. Cards can't be resold anymore so CP Snowman and other midrange priced cards lost all their value, so people don't want to own cards. There isn't much incentive to play as the return on investment is very low

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»rap tap    20154

i legitimately cannot see this game being around 5 years down the road

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»Noelle    5845

Oh, and on the OP itself, you might do well to list something like YCS Long Beach as a peak, I think a fair interpretation was it being all downhill from there if your supposition about the initial changes KDE brought bringing in some more players in the beginning of it taking over is correct.

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Soul    7940
^agreed. Also, allen I think you are being a tad unfair. It's very hard to know what goes on in the konami back office, and to put the blame on a select few individuals shoulders without knowledge of the organizational structure there is in poor taste. Furthermore, konami hiring them back was probably less of a "u hate ude too" hire and more of a "you guys are probably the only trustworthy candidates for upper management in ygo" hire. They were assuredly the most qualified and safest people to go with.

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one thing i forgot was that while regionals were a good use of your 20 bucks, i think eventually people realized it wasn't actually a good use of your time. why go to regionals, spend 20 dollars for 5 packs, not top and risk getting ur shit stolen at a crowded convention hall with no food and unhygenic people when u could spend it... literlaly anyhwere else?

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Blacklisted    1329

one thing i forgot was that while regionals were a good use of your 20 bucks, i think eventually people realized it wasn't actually a good use of your time. why go to regionals, spend 20 dollars for 5 packs, not top and risk getting ur shit stolen at a crowded convention hall with no food and unhygenic people when u could spend it... literlaly anyhwere else?

 

 

Thats not as strong of a reason as most people don't PLAY the game for RoI because most jobs would offer more returns on money (and shit to write on your CV) than playing collectible/trading card games

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»ACP    33406

^agreed. Also, allen I think you are being a tad unfair. It's very hard to know what goes on in the konami back office, and to put the blame on a select few individuals shoulders without knowledge of the organizational structure there is in poor taste. Furthermore, konami hiring them back was probably less of a "u hate ude too" hire and more of a "you guys are probably the only trustworthy candidates for upper management in ygo" hire. They were assuredly the most qualified and safest people to go with.

Except they picked arguably the least qualified. You could say they were the most experienced, but experience is not the same as qualification. Picking someone for a job who has done it for several years and was proven to suck at it is about the worst hiring strategy I've ever heard of.

 

Believe it or not, they had plenty of options. Game designers and organized play managers are not that hard to come by.

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Soul    7940

thats entirely subjective though. for all intent and purposes the game saw steady growth in terms of playerbase and sales under their tenure, so its hard to say they did a shitty job (hard from an objective standpoint, not from yours, being a player of the game/customer). also as far as the semantics are concerned, experience is undoubtedly a qualifier in the job market.

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While you're right that topping an event no longer means quite as much as it used to, I wouldn't say that its lost its luster to the point that ur still only "randy mcgee" for topping. Topping one event and never topping again is grounds for this statement, sure. But imagine if youre randy mcgee. You top an event and suddenly all your friends who play with you realize that maybe they can too. Which makes them try harder or tell other people about your friend. Which makes more people play. So topping once makes good for marketing more or less.

As far as prestige goes, I would say that even though its a larger top cut and we cant say that one top is necessarilly quality, I will say that topping multiple events, especially consistently, should still be seen as an accomplishment. Maybe that goes without saying, but I just didnt want ur point, while mostly correct, to completely take away from those who top consistently.
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~Deadborder~    5156

one thing I'd also mention that the TCG seems to lack in comparison to the OCG is the anime-related sales

Quality of the dub aside, the fact that the ball was dropped several times in actually bringing new anime series over to match the cards being released in the sets definitely hurt the potential in getting the kiddie userbase in.

On a similar note, this ball-dropping combined with the fact that the majority of TCG players with any knowledge of the show stopped watching after Battle City and fill in the gaps by spewing long-dead Abridged memes means that whenever there [i]are[/i] anime-related sets like the Collector's Pack, they're heavily sloped towards DM cards (or worse, reprints of shitty DM cards) and you get stuck in a cycle of "the only relevance the anime has is DM only"

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+mmf    23487
documentary time?
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»Noelle    5845

documentary time?

 

thinking it over i cant decide if a "the smash bros" for ygo would be the shittiest thing ever or if we could crudely make it into one of the most ironically funny inside jokes ever

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~Deadborder~    5156

no what would happen is people realize it would be terrible to do in earnest and attempt to make it ironically funny, probably then turning it into the cringeworthy shittiest thing ever they tried to prevent it from becoming in the first place

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POLLUTEDxDELTA    1889

A couple years ago I wrote a few long posts on why Yugioh fell apart. The condensed version was:

 

No one bought new product because nothing was better than Monarchs. Phantom Darkness was the first huge change, where players had to buy into sealed product to get tier 1 decks. Yugioh started to resemble Magic in terms of having a Standard format, except that Standard cards lived 15 or so months and were rarely worth over $40 (that often retained value), and Yugioh's formats lasted 6 months with $100+ cards (which often tanked). If you wanted to play the best deck, you either had to grind trades or eat huge losses, both of which are pretty miserable, considering you are trying to play a game for fun.

 

Konami never provided enough prize support for the competitive scene. Pros reached their peak, then moved on to other things. They had no incentive to stay and help the community grow. Instead, community growth ended up in the hands of "Yugitubers", who we all know are fucking idiots. One of the only things left in Yugioh was the prestige of topping an event, which was dimished with top 32s, and the amount of cheating and bribery taking place. 

 

It took a couple years, but it seems like the player base connected the dots. Yugioh is a very expensive hobby with very little return, either in prize support or prestige. When you aren't playing for any stakes, you are effectively a casual player, and players grew out of that over time (college, work, dating, etc). The last shot Yugioh had was the ARG series, and Jim hasn't run it professionally at all. 

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In terms of product, I felt like them moving away from having a Retail Secret Rare, and a Hobby Secret Rare has hurt the game in the long run. If you needed a Chaos Emperor Dragon when IOC was released you could get one. All you had to do was buy a box from your local card shop. If you wanted Invader of Darkness you looked inside the trash can. It set a sort of ceiling on the prices of the secret rares. When Dark Armed Dragon hit player's had to really lay down the $$$$$ in order to play a top tier deck. I can't recall any card under the old format from a retail set being more expensive for $50.00. I'm not sure having Star Packs/HA packs get released every few weeks really helps either. There is not a ton of hype that gets built for releases when they happen so frequently. 

 

The point regarding how difficult it is to get back into the game is something I agree with. You couldn't hand Wilson Luc a Tier 1 Deck on the day of a regional and expect him to X-1 it. There are just so many obscure rulings and interactions that it's impossible for most to just jump back in without a few weeks of reading material. In fact, he'd probably get multiple game losses for drawing when he went first. 

 

I think Yu-Gi-Oh has a serious problem with how they are marketing themselves to new players. The TV Show is garbage, and is rarely even on TV. If I was watching Saturday morning cartoons I'm not even sure I'd know I was watching "Yugioh" with how much random crap they are up to. They need to get Yugi, Joey, Kaiba, back on the show. They are your stars. They aren't putting out any quality video games anymore either so you're not really seeing the "Yu-Gi-Oh" brand in the electronics section either. There is no telling how many people hear about Pokemon via the Game Boy game and eventually drifted over to the card game. 

 

Regionals are a colossal waste of time. You are essentially buying 5 booster packs and spend your entire day for a shot at winning the playmat of the month. Half the room ends up getting invites to Nationals. You used to have to Top 4 a regional for an invite. I heard a room groan when they announced only the Top 16 would get invites. It blew my mind. In premier events, I'd prefer a cut to Top 16, but they need to get their coverage model figured out. I think they would be better off not having any coverage, than the joke product they are putting out there now. 

 

This is all being viewed through my nostalgia goggles so I may be totally off base, but that is how I feel as someone who played from MRD through 2009 and then sporadically after that. 

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+Urthor    10208

I'd definitely say the big change in card design was the Shining Darkness and not the Duelist Revolution, but yeah.   

 

 

But yea this game's long term health was always going to get like it is now.  Even if card design was perfect and this game matched MTG neck n neck in the card design stakes, the fact is the audience was built by a cartoon show that has been utter garbage since ZeXaL was released and whose main characters I can't even name.  

 

The audience is more or less 80-90% people who watched the Original Series and 10 years later has enough money to play the TCG the television show was based on really.  Online has crashed faaaaaar before now, DN is 1/3rd of what it was, all the free riders who liked the game but couldn't afford it left largely and now that drop in players is slowly feeding through to premier events.  Regional numbers dropped in 2013-2014. 

 

Premier events are the very last thing that has started to go, not the very first.  

 

 

 

Also obligatory metagame.com literally sold Yugioh the game and Konami's sheer stingyness and horse blinkered Japanese mindset to marketing that cause them to not invest in Metagame style coverage has probably contributed far more ot the collapse than anything.  The West turned over a pretty high amount and revenue peaked in 2011-2012 I'm fairly sure, as people aged into the Yugioh spending bracket, yet the card quality and marketing investment didn't match that demographic hump at all.  

 

If Konami had invested in the right ways and made much better cards after the takeover I genuinely think they had the opportunity to make the 2014-2018/9 period growth years in terms of revenue if not player numbers as they entrenched customers and ramped up spending from them, probably would have made millions of dollars more for the cost of metagame coverage, which had a budget of 100-200k a year maximum in terms of website hosting, paying Jason Grepher Meyer, Matt Peddle et al an absolute pittance to write articles, Julia's 50k a year salary as the editor and fuck all else.  

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lmao i still remember konami's complete disconnect with the playerbase with coverage one time, deciding to feature x-7's and having that feature burned into my memory as the worst thing i have ever read related to yugioh

 

you don't need to feature bad people in order to cater to bad people.

 

bringing in robbie as a coverage writer and actually featuring good people has improved coverage a lot. but it may be too little and, way too late.

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lmao i still remember konami's complete disconnect with the playerbase with coverage one time, deciding to feature x-7's and having that feature burned into my memory as the worst thing i have ever read related to yugioh

 

you don't need to feature bad people in order to cater to bad people.

 

bringing in robbie as a coverage writer and actually featuring good people has improved coverage a lot. but it may be too little and, way too late.

 

They really shot themselves in the foot not being more proactive with video coverage. I remember refreshing the metagame page all the time waiting for the round's feature to be up. I would have killed to see some of those matches live. Can you imagine how many sweet moments were lost because there was no video? I still remember the fairy tales regarding a video tape someone has of Emon stacking CCV at nats, meanwhile, SCG and Wizards has an event being streamed live every Saturday.

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1 thing I think you forgot to mention was the huge banlist shakeup in 2014 that saw a total of 55 cards moved around and lists coming out every 3 monthd. That event saw a surge of players coming back but alas that stopped when they made minimal and bad changes as well as denying us a deadline for the reveal. They literally said they will release it whenever they want tough luck etc. That's just bullshit and shows how the company treats their playerbase
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ibGehring+    1409
I'm not sure if you guys are aware but product sales are higher than ever before. To me that does not indicate a dying game.
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»Digbick    7246

I'm not sure if you guys are aware but product sales are higher than ever before. To me that does not indicate a dying game.

good goyim

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