If you’re coming from the YuGiOh anime, you might have certain expectations of YuGiOh Master Duel. Some of the earliest arcs of the card game anime largely revolved around summoning monsters, then just having them attack your opponent for big damage with the occasional boss monster with a quirk for our heroes to work around.
Anyone who’s actually played Konami’s TCG would know that’s very much not the case- YuGiOh is a brutal game where not only are you expected to be familiar with every laughably broken combo someone might use at you, you’ll also need your own if you’re going to keep your head above water.
It’s a huge praise to just how 1:1 YuGiOh Master Duel is, considering almost every card in circulation is currently in the game. Anyone with a rough clue of what they’re doing could simply just spend a few hours grinding and build their real-life tournament terrors and start tearing up the ranked duel scene.
The Struggle Of Anyone Not Running A Killer Deck
Unfortunately, that does impact less competitive players, who aren’t prepared to have their opponents play long turns that end in them winning the game.
“Man this game is hardcore, so it’s been a while since I played Yugioh but I decide to try out this game and man people are so strong even in lower ranks in ranked duel, literary in the first ranks, supposed to be the beginner ranks I only fought people with fully build decks, not any decks mind you, really good ones…and they knew exactly what they are doing, I can only wonder how it is in higher ranks”, writes redditor Lipefe2018.
While some might call the behavior sweaty or being a tryhard, the one thing you have to remember is that in the TCG scene, this is simply how you play the game. YuGiOh is the anime fighter of card games, giving you an incredible amount of freedom to come up with the most busted decks, especially with Japan’s OCG format (which Master Duel uses).
YuGiOh decks are all inherently built around combos. These are long chains of cards, whose effects all work with each other to produce effects like summoning powerful monsters like Blue-Eyes Chaos Max Dragon to give you a beatdown or even setting up cards like Masked Hero Dark Law to punish your opponent for trying to have fun.
They’re incredibly satisfying to pull off- and absolutely a core part of the YuGiOh appeal alongside its huge host of card archetypes and mechanics. While some players might complain at the absolute torrent of rules and mechanics to remember, it’s very much a case of “but this was the game the developers wanted to make”
Letting New Players Play The Game Too
Still, that doesn’t mean that some players aren’t calling for a way to allow newer players to fight each other instead of worrying about a Chaos Max OTK deck to blow them asunder.
The problem isn’t just that new players are losing their games- it’s the sheer scale of how badly you can lose at YuGiOh. For many games, putting two cards down is a fairly standard opener. In YuGiOh, there’s an incredible pressure that if you haven’t taken steps to setting up your deck’s win condition in your opening moves, your opponent might luck out and execute theirs first.
You don’t have to be a top tier deck user to have this, either. I use a laughably off-meta HERO deck and even I managed to end a player’s first duel on the first turn I was allowed to attack.
“I wish there was an option for players who barely know what their doing to be able to fight only other people who barely know what their doing. I’ve been sitting here for like five minutes whilst this guy takes his first turn, summoning a shit load of these Sky Striker fuckers as I play like 2 cards a turn from this basic dragon deck. Beyond tilted, lads, beyond tilted”, writes redditor NevTheLad.
“Performing full Drytron combo on some poor 7 year old in Bronze IV just to feel something”, writes lcmaier, without an ounce of regret.
The solution is pretty self-explanatory- as the game goes on, more competitive players will naturally climb the ranks, creating a more balanced beginner ranks. We see it all the time in fighting games- since it’s all down to your individual skill, you won’t have to worry about “false Golds” since you’d have to actually be capable of winning duels.
That being said, the ability to learn combos is never gonna go away if you want to play competitively. Metas are metas for a reason, and telling people you only want a deck full of normal monsters with no gimmicks isn’t going to stop them from using your deck as a rag to wipe the floor with. Even if a deck isn’t top 10-worthy, YuGiOh duels very much have their own language, and you’ll need to be able to speak it if you want to maintain a competitive edge.
One thing’s for certain though, when you’re on the giving end of a combo? Utter bliss.