Card of the Day : 30th of December

We’re back to Dog Days for today, and this time we’ve got 2 cards from the Trial Deck. Here we have a Character and its complementary Climax Card.

Millhi’s Hero Cinque & Holy Sabre

Red / Level 2 / Cost 2 / 7500 / Soul 2 / Soul Trigger

«勇者 Hero» / «スポーツ Sports»

[A][(1)] When this card attacks and there is [Holy Sabre] in the Climax Field you can pay the cost. By doing so you add one Character from your Waiting Room to your Hand and during this turn this card gains +3000.

[A] Encore [Put one Character from your Hand to the Waiting Room] When this card is placed from the Stage to the Waiting Room you can pay the cost. By doing so you place this card in its previous position in Rest.

Red / 2 Soul Trigger

[A] When this card is placed on the Climax Field from your Hand, you put the top card of your Deck to Stock and all your characters gain +1 Soul.

Here we have Cinque. who I’ve gathered is the main character of Dog Days. This card has fairly low attack considering it’s a level 2 cost 2, but this is to compensate for its abilities.

Under most circumstances it’ll just have its Encore ability, which makes it hard to kill. This will be especially useful for this card, because the longer it stays around the more likely it’ll be able to use its Climax Synergy. Unfortunately its low attack score means that once your opponent reaches Level 2 as well you’ll probably have to encore it every turn to keep it around.

The Climax Synergy is where this card is meant to shine though. The attack boost allows it to take on some level 3 cards, and  its character retrieval ability is especially useful because its not restricted to any specific attributes.

I’d have to wait and see what the rest of the Dog Days cards are before I could say if this would be worth using over other cards in the set with Climax Synergy.

Sorry about not getting around to the Mail Magazine cards yet, but I might get time over the weekend. Also I’m planning on doing some articles on cards in the upcoming Yu-Gi-Oh! set Order of Chaos.

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Today’s Card : 29th December

Today we’ve got a couple of cards from the Nichijou Extra Pack. So far it looks like the set is going to be Yellow and Blue, the former focusing on the school girls, the latter on Hakase and Nano. Today we get two yellow cards.

“Simply Stupid” Yukko

Yellow / Level 0 / Cost 0 / 500 / 1 soul / No trigger

No attribute

[C] During your turn, all your other characters gain power + 500.

[S] [(2) Rest this card] Look at your deck and show up to one character with the attribute «漫画 Manga» or «仏像 Buddhist statue» to your opponent and add that card to your hand. Shuffle the deck.

Here we have Nichijou’s level 0 support card. Since the focus of the Yellow cards seems to be on «漫画 Manga», this card will be essential to the deck.

Its first ability can be useful since it works irrespective of the attribute of your other cards, however the fact it’s only during your turn could leave you vulnerable.

The second ability is similar to [Aliens Nagato & Asakura & Kimidori(SY/W08-076)] and will hopefully allow you to add just about any yellow card from your deck to your hand. Of course since the entire set has yet to be revealed I can’t currently be sure which cards will miss out.

Resentment Mio

Yellow / Level 0 / Cost 0 / 3500 / Soul 1 / No trigger

«漫画 Manga»

[C] The character opposite this card gains Soul + 1.

This is a pretty standard penalty for cards with attack power above the baseline for that level. Along with [“Danyan” Hakase] it looks like Nichijou won’t be lacking for attack at level 0.

I’ll try to get the Mail Magazine cards done tonight (hopefully…).

Today’s Card : 28th December

In attempt to get myself writing a bit more often, I’m going to be trying to write one of these for every Weiß Schwarz card revealed on the Bushiroad website from now on. This means every weekday. To start things off we’ll be looking at the two Dog Days cards from the 28th of December.

Lop-eared Eclair

Red / Level 0 / Cost 0 / Attack 2000 / Soul 1 / No trigger

«動物 Animal» /«武器Weapon»

[A] When this card attacks,  pick one of your other «勇者 Hero» characters and it gains power +1000 during this turn.

[S] [Put this card to the Waiting Room] Choose one of your «勇者 Hero» characters and it gains power +2000 during this turn.

Now I’ll be honest I have never watched Dog Days, so I don’t know anything about the series beyond there being animal people or something? I’m going to assume there are quite a few «勇者 Hero» cards in the set, namimo tells me at least the main character is.

This card seems decent assuming «勇者 Hero» is the main attribute of the set. This card is intended as support, but unlike most support cards can’t safely stay Back Stage. Its first effect can help you overcome your opponents cards (mostly early in the game) since +1000 is quite a hefty boost at level 0. Due to its low attack it however isn’t very durable and will likely only stick around one turn. However this means that your opponent will likely be forced to attack it and possibly save one of your other more powerful cards, lest they be faced with a +1000 boost again.

The second effect gives a large boost for a level 0 card, but is very costly. Compared to say [Top Secret Immigrant Mari (EV/S12-029)], which gives +1500 and doesn’t cost you a card, it just won’t often be that useful. Admittedly cards like Mari will be defeated on the following turn, but at least you’ll gain 1 stock.

Onmitsu Squad Head Yukikaze

Red / Level 0 / Cost 0 / Attack 1500 /Soul 1 / No trigger

«動物 Animal» /«神 God»

[A] When this card is reversed, if this card’s opponent is Level 0 or below then you can reverse that character.

[A] [(1)] At the beginning of your opponent’s attack phase, you can pay the cost. By doing so, choose one of your other «勇者 Hero» characters and it gains power +1500 during this turn.

This card is the far better of the pair. Firstly it’s the level 0 suicider for Dog Days, which makes it basically a staple in Dog Days decks. Pretty much any series with access to this sort of card plays it.

The second effect is a support ability. Unlike Eclair this effect can be used without sacrificing the card or needing to be on the Front Stage, but does carry a cost of 1. I think this is a much more useful support ability and means that unlike most level 0 support cards it will still be useful once you get above level 0. It can give the sort of boost that would normally be reserved for a level support card, but admittedly only boosts one card. In addition since it’s used at the beginning of your opponent’s attack phase you can force your opponent to unnecessarily boost their attack to avoid this effect.

Hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow with the cards for the 29th of December, and I’m also hoping to look at the Bushiroad Mail Magazine cards soon.

Preparing for YCS Brighton: Part 2

As the second part of my preparing for YCS Brighton articles I will be looking at aspects of game mechanics and how cards function which players might not have full understandings of, and will not delve into discussions on strategy, since this can be very much deck specific.

There are some aspects of the game that many players and judges do not understand, and will result in bad decisions. There are also many players who can play, and win, without knowing these things. However sooner or later you may encounter a situation where this can turn the tide of the game for you. Everyone in the main event should hopefully understand the basics of the game, but there are some more complicated matters that fewer people understand. By understanding them it can help you against players who aren’t completely up to speed on things, and can help you discern the players trying illegal tactics because they hope the opponent won’t understand well enough to argue. For judges knowing these things can help in settling disputes correctly.

1. Priority

This is not some magical ability monsters have that allows them to dodge trap cards, despite this being the instance where it is most commonly heard. Priority is simply your ability to make a move. In your own turn you have priority to make a move before it is passed to the opponent to respond. At different points in the game this allows you to do different things. In most cases you retain priority to activate spell speed 2 or higher effects, but there are a couple of exceptions to this, and several situations where people regularly overlook it.

The two main exceptions are when a monster is summoned, and during your main phase.

When a monster is summoned you are, at least in the TCG, also allowed to activate ignition effects, whether it be of the monster you just summoned, another monster on the field, or even a monster in the graveyard, such as Destiny Hero Malicious.

During your main phase, provided all other chains etc are clear you have priority to make whatever move you wish, whether this is playing a spell/trap, a monster, or merely switching a monster’s battle position. Usually this is of little importance and you can play without worrying about this, but situations may occur where this is important.

Some situations that are often overlooked are during the draw phase, and in response to the resolution of previous chains.

In the first situation priority is rarely an issue because little tends to happen during the draw phase, besides drawing. However on rare occasions knowing you have priority to make a move first  can be vitally important. If you suspect the opponent has a card such as Trap Dustshoot face down, and you’ve just hit 4 cards in hand, if one of them is a quickplay you can activate it before the opponent can use their trap card on you, thus preventing them activating it. However this is not an excuse to try and weasel your way out of Trap Dustshoot should it be used on you and you just so happen to have had a quickplay in hand. Unless you had a reason for activating a quickplay that early (such as suspicion of Dustshoot), trying this sort of tactic will likely be looked upon poorly, and could result in penalties.

When a chain resolves the turn player retains priority to activate a spell speed 2 or higher effect, before passing it to the opponent. After this play may then resume as normal. This means that you can, for example, Mind Crush the card your opponent just added to their hand with Reinforcement of the Army before they can summon it.

2. Spell Speeds

This is in the Rule book, so really most players should know this. Surprisingly not all of them do. A card can only be added to a chain if it is of equal or higher speed than the previous card. The only exception to this is the fact that you cannot chain a Spell Speed 1 effect to another Spell Speed 1 effect. This means Ignition Effects (Spell Speed 1) cannot be chained to normal Spell Cards (Spell Speed 1), which in turn cannot be chained to normal Trap Cards (Spell Speed 2), which cannot be chained to Counter Trap Cards (Spell Speed 3). In many cases knowing this will help you understand if you are allowed to chain card X to card Y.

3. SEGOC (Simultaneous Effects Go On Chain)

If multiple effects meet their trigger at the same time they are resolved using SEGOC, which are the rules for how a chain is built. Effects are placed on the chain in the following order:

  1. Turn Player’s mandatory effects
  2. Opponent’s mandatory effects
  3. Turn Player’s optional effects
  4. Opponent’s optional effects

If two effects are of the same type then their controller may choose the order. This is why Blizzard and Black Whirlwind could be used to dodge Royal Oppression in the past. Both of the card effects are optional and have the same trigger (Blizzard being normal summoned), which means the player gets to choose their order. If Blizzard is placed first it means the current final chain link is Black Whirlwind, this means that Royal Oppression cannot be chained, since it must respond directly to an effect/summon. Were the order reversed Royal Oppression would be perfectly legal to add to the chain.

4. Responding to attacks

Most people are aware of how responding to attacks works. Player A attacks with Stardust Dragon, Player B responds with Dimensional Prison, for example. There are however some often overlooked details that can win you games. Firstly, you may only have one chain in direct response to the attack, and cards that specify this timing, such as Mirror Force or Dimensional Prison, can only be used during this chain. This means that if a Counter Trap, such as Seven Tools of the Bandit, is used the player responding to the attack loses anymore chances to use these cards.

After this, but before you actually move to battle, you are allowed an infinite number of chains, provided you have legal cards to activate. This includes cards such as Enemy Controller and Book of Moon. This means that, for example, if you attack a monster with higher attack than yours, and the opponent passes their chance to respond to the initial attack, because they think they’ll win the battle anyway, you may then use Enemy Controller to switch them to defense, and allow you to defeat the monster, without worrying about something like Mirror Force. This will come up on rare occasions, and can be vitally important. Some time ago I witnessed a famous English player taking apart a famous German player because he knew and understood about this, whilst his opponent didn’t.

5. The Damage Step

This is arguably one of the most confusing aspects of Yu-Gi-Oh! and going into the full details of absolutely everything would take far too long, so instead I’m going to focus on what gets asked the most, what you can and can’t use in the Damage Step. You may use the following:

  1. Counter Traps (with a few exceptions like Negate Attack)
  2. Cards which modify Attack/Defense
  3. Quick effects which negate things
  4. Cards which specifically activate in the damage step (Mystic Tomato, Kuriboh, Gorz etc)
  5. Exceptions, such as Michizure

Category 3 is slightly complicated by a few exceptions, but basically no one will use those cards anyway. So if you find yourself questioning whether you can activate a certain card during the damage step, just run through the list and see if your card fits into any of these categories. If not chances are you can’t activate it.

There are some additional restrictions ‘During Damage Calculation’ whereby only specific cards which modify attack and defense can be used. For example Honest can be used, but Shrink cannot. Counter traps and Quick effects etc. can however still respond to these cards.

6. Effects, Effect Veiler and Skill Drain

Understanding the differences between how these two cards work, and how effects themselves function can win you games. Despite their similarities, Effect Veiler and Skill Drain do not work in the same way, and knowing these differences can save you from making bad decisions.

The most important thing to know about effects is that they activate and resolve in the same place, regardless of where the final card ends up. For example Hand effects, such as Honest and Effect Veiler, activate and resolve in the Hand, despite the fact the actual card will usually end up in the Graveyard. A card that sends itself from the field to the Graveyard as a cost for its effect, such as Stardust Dragon, will still activate and resolve on the field.

With this in mind we can start to understand how Skill Drain and Effect Veiler differ. Skill Drain negates the effects of face up monsters, whilst Effect Veiler negates effects which activate on the field. Now you might think these two are the same, but there is a subtle difference between the two. Skill Drain only looks for the actual state of the card, whilst Effect Veiler generally couldn’t care less.

To demonstrate we’ll look at two examples using Stardust Dragon:

  1. Player A has Skill Drain and a face down Mirror Force. Player B attacks with Stardust Dragon. Player A responds with Mirror Force, Player B chains Stardust Dragon’s effect to try and stop it.
  2. Player A has a face down Mirror Force and earlier in the turn used Effect Veiler on Stardust Dragon. Player B attacks with Stardust Dragon. Player A responds with Mirror Force, Player B chains Stardust Dragon’s effect to try and stop it.

The first thing to know is that neither Skill Drain, nor Effect Veiler negates activations, so using effects is still okay, it’s whether or not they resolve properly which is the issue.

In situation 1 Stardust Dragon is no longer face up on the field when its effect tries to resolve, so Skill Drain will have no effect over it and its effect will resolve properly.

In situation 2, since Stardust Dragon activated on the field it will still be negated by Effect Veiler, even though it is no longer on the field.

As long as the monster is no longer face up on the field when its effect resolves, Skill Drain will have no power, whereas with Effect Veiler it’s very hard to escape its influence. Fortunately though flipping a monster face down, with Book of Moon for example, can sever this link.

7. Ending Phases

You cannot pass from one phase to another unless both players agree to. This can usually be safely overlooked during normal play, since it would only slow things down. However in some situations it is important to realise this. For example, if Player A wants to end his Main Phase, but Player B uses his Formula Synchron to summon Black Rose Dragon, then there has not yet been an agreement to end the Main Phase. This means that Player A can still make further plays before entering the Battle Phase.

8. Cards that don’t work like you think they would

There are several cards out there that function in ways that might not be immediately obvious to you, but it can be very important to know about them.

From reading cards like Gachi Gachi Gantetsu, Jain or Windup Zenmaines you might get the impression their first effects are trigger effects, when in actual fact they are continuous. This means cards like War Chariot or Dolkka cannot be used to stop them in this instance. This can be very useful to know when facing Dino Rabbits.

King Tiger Wanghu has a trigger effect, not a continuous effect. This means he can be hit by, for example, War Chariot or Doomcalibre Knight. It also means you cannot use an ignition effect of a monster if you summon something that will be killed by Wanghu, since Wanghu has already started a chain.

Reborn Tengu will activate even if you have no more legal copies to summon. This means it will get rid of Doomcalibre Knight even when all your copies are spent.

Utopia is not a quick effect. You cannot use it in a chain.

Karakuri Komachi mdl 224 “Ninishi” has a continuous effect to allow an extra normal summon of a Karakuri. This means things like War Chariot and Doomcaliber cannot negate this effect. In addition summoning extra copies of this card does not give you extra normal summons on top of the first one.

Hopefully someone out there has found this useful. If you have any more situations/ issues you’d like addressed or have any comments please let me know. Hope to see people at the event, and remember to have fun.

Preparing for YCS Brighton: Part 1

With the first YCS (Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series) event in the UK fast approaching I thought it might be a good idea to take a little break from the Weiss Schwarz articles. So today I’ll be presenting some of my thoughts on preparing for the event, both for players and for judges. Due to length I’ve split things into general advice, and advice related specifically to actually playing. I’ll be starting with the former.

1. Food and drink

This will be very important for both players and judges to pay attention to. Whilst it is possible to go through the day of a large event on very little sustenance (as I found out in Euros 2008) you will probably be left worse for wear by the end of it. By making sure you eat and especially drink you can keep your mind working properly, which can be especially important for players, where one wrong decision can make the difference between winning and losing. You also want to try and avoid collapsing during an event if possible.

2. Drinking

What you do outside of the event is up to your own discretion but there are a few things to bear in mind. You can be removed from a venue for being intoxicated, so please try not to arrive at an event still drunk, unless you’re good at hiding it. For players turning up hungover is fine, although it might negatively impact your performance. Judges on the other hand should never arrive at an event hungover. You are meant to be a representative of Konami and should not be giving the general public a negative impression.

3. Grooming/Hygiene

You will have a long day or weekend surrounded by other people (let’s be honest, mostly guys) and maintaining at least some level of personal hygiene would be of great help. No one wants to be stuck in a room all weekend with several hundred to a thousand smelly, sweaty guys. Admittedly sometimes there’s not much you can do if it’s a long day and it’s been 12 hours since you last had any chance to wash, but you could at least make sure you do this before coming to the venue. This is doubly true for Judges who must make themselves presentable as representatives of Konami.

4. Sleep

This might seem obvious, but try to get enough sleep over the weekend. Different people can function on different amounts of sleep and you should know what your limits are. It’ll also put you in a much better mood during the day. This is more important for judges, since their failures can reflect badly on the entire event, whereas a player performing badly will only disappoint themselves and maybe their friends.

5. Decklists

Check that you’ve written yours correctly. Check the names and amounts are correct, and that the deck and decklist match and are both legal.

Do not use ambiguous abbreviations. Noting something like BW=Blackwing on your list then using BW throughout should be okay, but please check with the Head Judge to be certain. Using abbreviations such as Stardust is not okay, since there are several possible cards with Stardust in the name. Most people will probably mean Stardust Dragon, but who’s to say someone won’t mean Stardust Shimmer?

If you can’t fit everything in one row/column continue to the next row/column as long as you make it clear that you are doing so.

It is okay to write/print them out in advance, and you do not have to use the official Konami ones. However please make sure your decklist is legible. It makes deck checks rather difficult if judges can’t read your list.

Finally remember to put your name down. There’s always one person who forgets.

6. Know how your cards work and how popular cards work

This is probably obvious to most players but it helps to actually know how your cards work in advance of the event. This will no doubt help you win games, and will also lead to less disputes over how cards work. It also helps to know how the currently popular cards work, for exactly the same reasons. For judges it of course helps to know all this stuff too, so that rules disputes can be settled quickly.

Neither players nor judges can be expected to know everything about all cards. The judges are there to aid the players when they’re not sure, and the judges go to the Head Judge or rules documentation/resources when they’re not sure.

7. Rulings

There are a few things players should be doing more often with regards to this, but judges can also be lacking in this respect too.

If you are unsure of how something resolves /works or disagree with your opponent over an issue please call a judge to try and get the situation resolved. Players should not be reluctant to do this. Several times I have spoken to players at events who have been concerned their opponent has been making plays that are illegal, but have been afraid of being accused of Rulesharking, so never called a judge over. Wanting to check the game is being played correctly is not Rulesharking, and if you’re unsure of something you should always call a judge over.

It is a judge’s responsibility to answer rules questions, solve disputes and resolve unclear situations, it is not their place to make plays for one of the players. They can say if plays are legal and how cards and game mechanics function, but they should not be coaching the players. If players wish to ask a rules question it must be public knowledge, and both players should be aware of the question and answer given.

Asking “Can I use card X?” is a bad question, because it likely isn’t what you actually want to know. What you often actually mean is “How will this situation resolve?”, which isn’t really the sort of question a judge should be answering, since it will influence the player’s choice. Often the answer to  “Can I use card X?” will be “Yes”, since it’s not an illegal move, but it often won’t work in the way the player hoped it might, which can leave the player frustrated.

Different people disagree over good judging practice, but personally I feel it is better to try and explain to the players how certain cards and mechanics function, so they can try and deduce for themselves how a situation resolves, and learn for next time. As opposed to just thinking it worked some way because a judge said so. Often it is sensible for a judge to stick around to see how things actually play out, because it’s likely the players will also want a check that something has been resolved correctly.

Judges should provide players with enough information to make legal plays, they should not be helping them with what would be a good or a bad play.

When giving a ruling judges should always try and explain the ruling, since it will teach the players and leave them more satisfied with the response.

8. Appeals

Players always have the right to appeal. Players should remember this, and judges should remind players of this fact. If you disagree with the judge, appeal and get a ruling from the Head Judge. Sometimes you’ll be wrong, sometimes you’ll be right, sometimes you’ll be both wrong. It’s better to know there and then, than complain about it on the internet after the fact.

9. Translation

Players have the right to translation of a card into their own language, which judges can provide. If translation is required for a ruling, the translator should only be there to provide translation. Any conversation between a player and a translator should be conveyed to the other player and the judge answering the rules question. All information should be provided to both players and judges should remember this fact. If the judges are not doing their job properly the players should remind them of this fact, or report them to the higher ups. A judge should not be giving a player preferential treatment because they share a language.

10. Beware Thieves

Unfortunately these sorts of events attract thieves, so you must always keep a close eye on your belongings, and report any incidents to the Konami staff or the judge team.

11. Communication

This is one of the most important things to bear in mind whilst playing. At all times be clear what you are doing and try to make sure your opponent is too. Many arguments are the result of the players not communicating properly.

Often players can get by with shortcuts whilst playing to speed things up, but this is the usual source of conflict.

Remember to check if your opponent has a response to your actions and make sure they give you the same courtesy. This helps avoid arguments over whether one of you was rushing and not allowing the opponent to respond, or at least makes them easier to resolve.

Declare all your attacks in order and ask the same of your opponent. Pushing all your monsters forwards at once is not attacking. This helps avoid conflicts with regards to Gorz or Tragoedia, where a player will try to gain advantage through sloppy play.

If you do not share a common language you can try to devise some kind of system for indicating these things, with hand gestures etc.

12. Life points

Please remember to record both players lifepoints on paper, and make sure both players are doing this. Feel free to use a calculator to work things out if you’re not great at maths, but don’t use it as the only means of keeping record. If there is a dispute over lifepoints it becomes much easier to resolve if there are two records there. Sometimes it’s as simple as one player taking lifepoints off the wrong player. If you haven’t been recording lifepoints don’t expect to be believed if you say the opponent has been keeping them wrong.

13. Bring supplies

You will need pen/pencil and paper and should not expect to be provided with them. If you need dice or coins to resolve your effects please bring them. You’ll probably also need tokens during games. You may need to change sleeves during the tournament, so it helps to bring extra copies with you. Finally make sure to bring enough extra money with you in case of emergencies/ needing to buy some of the previously mentioned supplies.

In the next part we’ll be looking at some matters with regards to how Yu-Gi-Oh! and its cards work, which can be useful to know.