I was originally invited onto the Metagame.com team purely as a Vs. System writer, and I’m very happy where I am. However, that sneaky, cheeky Jason Grabher-Meyer has been rather luring me across the spiritual divide by writing about the Yu-Gi-Oh! game. Jason has the infuriating habit of writing eminently readable articles regardless of the topic, so I have found my interest in Yu-Gi-Oh! rather piqued.
While working on the demo team for Vs. System at Gen Con Minehead, I was introduced to the game properly by being thrown straight into a Booster Draft. I know that draft isn’t Yu-Gi-Oh!’s most highly supported format, but I would urge people to have a go at it. I had a lot of fun, and (despite passing this card Spirit Reaper, which is apparently quite good) I even made it all the way to the finals of my second draft with the various Yu-Gi-Oh! judges who were working Minehead. I can only presume that they were going easy on me.
Cut forward to the Vs. System Pro Circuit in Amsterdam. Having had an unspectacular start on Day 1 that left me feature match reporting rather than playing for the rest of the weekend, I found myself spending fair amounts of time hanging out with the other reporters and judges in addition to covering the key events of the day.
It is amazing to see the lengths to which players will go to get a little bit of competition, even when they are meant to be feature match reporting or judging. Various little challenges were suggested during the day, including fitting the quote “Sad news arrived from Zanzibar: there would be no pygmies” into feature match coverage and the now-legendary “Big Mouth Challenge,” which, in the interests of decency, I shall not relate at this juncture.
About mid afternoon on the final day of the event, Rob Hooley, a prominent UK judge for both YGO and Vs. System, came up with a doozy of a challenge for me—to qualify for, and do well in, Yu-Gi-Oh! nationals, which conveniently were scheduled for just one weekend hence.
Much like Marty McFly, sometimes I just don’t know when to say I’m chicken.
I had played the computer game version of the game, but had yet to actually play a Constructed game. As if I weren’t making things hard enough for myself anyway, I decided not to read up on decklists or solicit any help in deckbuilding beyond being told what cards do. The Yu-Gi-Oh! community at large seem confident that I won’t do especially well. Confident enough that one way or another, it looks like I’ll be able to borrow all the cards I need for Last Chance Qualifiers and the main event itself. If any of you read my Top Ten Tips for a Tip Top Tournament, you’ll know that I have already broken quite a lot of my rules for how to go about preparing to do well at an event. I love a challenge.
As I write this, it is about lunchtime on Thursday. The Last Chance Qualifiers are on Saturday. In spite of the fact that, in theory, there really isn’t any pressure on me to succeed at all, I find myself really quite excited about the whole affair.
Tune in soon to find out about the mysterious deck “Ghandipants” that is my weapon of choice for the event, and for a rundown on how I got on.
May your Blue Eyes White Dragon always be shiny,
Tim “Heart is in the Cards” Willoughby
timwilloughby (at) hotmail (dot) com