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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Taking A Break/Quitting Yu-gi-oh?

So... let's talk Pendulum Summons.

A Pendulum Monster. No, I don't know what they were smoking.
But first, let me give a little background information about myself. I have been playing Yu-gi-oh ever since I was a small child, around third grade or so. When trading cards were banned at my elementary school, we held discreet duels behind an electric generator on the playground. We didn't know the rules except for the ones from the anime, which meant 2000 Life Points and Trap Hole could win you the game.

I have been a casual enthusiast ever since. I met my best friend growing up because of Yu-gi-oh, and it's been a staple of our occasional reunions as we both grew older, a constant reminder of simpler and more innocent times. It's been an important part of my social life and I've met some truly wonderful people because of it. I wouldn't call myself a competitive player- I went to one regional in the tenth grade and got my ass handed to me- but I've always enjoyed playing and strove to improve myself. Recently, I even started building some surprisingly effective decks and writing about them, and with my discovery of online dueling methods such as DevPro or Dueling Network, I was able to get in a lot more practice.

Let it also be known that I am not inherently opposed to change. Change is inevitable and a part of life, and can often be healthy. The problem is that Yu-gi-oh has recently seemed to be changing simply for change's sake, and regardless of the potential positive intent of the designers, it has had a negative impact on my ability to play and enjoy a game I hold dear. 


So, yeah, Pendulum Monsters. These cards essentially function as both Spells and Monsters, with a different effect depending on how they are played (either as a Monster or in the new Pendulum Zone), and allow for any number of monsters within the level corresponding with the red and blue Pendulum Scale to be Special Summoned en masse. If all that sounds confusing to you, don't worry, you're not alone. Konami seems to be under the impression that every new Yu-gi-oh anime (which remains the center of the entire multimedia franchise that is Yu-gi-oh) requires a new card type to shake things up. The problem I have with Pendulums is that they required some fundamental rule changes in order to accommodate them. I was a huge fan of Synchros when they came out, because it was the first time that a new card type had been introduced, and I eventually warmed up to Xyz despite my initial misgivings. At the very least, they fit within the existing game mechanics and didn't require the addition of an entire new card zone in addition to a completely ridiculous new method of Summoning.

But, I suppose I'm getting ahead of myself. I mean, let's face it, a lot of Xyz were also pretty broken (and this is coming from an Evilswarm player), and Yu-gi-oh has had some pretty serious power creep that our Forbidden/Limited list is hardly able to keep in check. To remedy this, some new rules have been implemented in order to help balance the game in the OCG... the problem is, from my perspective, the game just doesn't feel the same. Not being able to draw when going first seems like a negligible
Hi, for some reason I was never banned. 
change, but it really alters the dynamic at the beginning of games, now that going second allows the first Battle Phase as well as the first Draw Phase. In addition, the ability for each player to have an active Field Spell- which actually benefits some of my decks in the long run- kind of defeats the initial concept of Field Spells representing the zone in which the duel was taking place.

Believe me when I say, I don't want to quit Yu-gi-oh. Maybe eventually I'll adapt, like I did with Xyz Monsters, and come to appreciate the new mechanics. But dueling for me has always been a comforting reminder of childhood friends and good memories, and this sense of familiarity is what kept bringing me back to the game even when I was frustrated with Konami over something (banning Stratos...). Yu-gi-oh has the capacity to expand on older concepts, like Ritual Monsters, or offer new and improved support for older Archetypes, without fundamentally changing the nature of the game just for the sake of a crappy new anime series. I've always felt that being able to proudly appreciate your childhood hobbies was more of a sign of maturity and adulthood than many would claim, but it may be time to face up to the fact that Yu-gi-oh is only going to continue to run itself into the ground.

I'd still be sad to see it go, however.

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