Yugioh is often defined by veteran players as individual formats. You'll hear “That was a good format”, or “Last format was cheaper to play competitively”. These are remarks by players who enjoyed playing the game for various reasons…and really, that's what makes Konami money. Players that had fun come back for more, but only if they can afford to. The more fun the game is, the more likely a player's budget for the game will go up. Konami understands this, and, in addition to releasing new packs every year, provides tournaments, promotional cards, and video games to entice a greater number of players. Still, there are areas of this game that the community would say Konami does not work hard enough at.
With a new format, Konami needs to address many of the failings it has had previously to keep players with the game. If you're like me, you are already addicted to Yugioh, but I could cite various reasons to quit…which is a nightmare for Konami. The only thing worse than not brining in new customers is losing your old ones. That's why I've compiled this checklist for Konami, filled with issues that players everywhere have brought up, and many that you are certainly familiar with. Will Konami read this? Of course not, but maybe it's time we, the consumer, took a stand for ourselves.
1. Stop overpowering archetypes.
I can't help but start with one of the biggest complaints in Yugioh: archetype support. Either you're getting too little or too much, it's a hugely biased and unfair part of this game that really comes down to Konami's preference over what ‘should' be better. Examples abound, last format we had Lightsworns and Blackwings, two archetypes that have always been a major tournament threat. Only recently did Lightsworns take a hit after being ignored for so long.
After being introduced in Light of Destruction, Lightsworns quickly became one of the favorite deck types in the game. They had a powerful mill engine and an amazing ace card: Judgment Dragon
. Needless to say, the archetype had numerous support cards, and more to come in The Duelist Genesis with Charge of the Light Brigade
. Like Gladiator Beasts, Lightsworns had a strong toolbox with cards like Jain, for monster removal, Lyla, for Spell and Trap destruction, and Lumina, for graveyard revival. Each card was broken in it's own right, and had outside support that helped them reach tier 1 easily. (such as Honest
, Necro Guardna, and Beckoning Light)
To fully appreciate the overpowering of Lightsworns, look back a few sets to Tactical Evolution, where Venom monsters were introduced. While you might not be immediately familiar with them, Venoms were are reptile-only archetype based around Venom Swamp
and the summoning of Vennominaga, the Deity of Poisonous Snakes. The monster in the archetype are rather pathetic, maxing out at only 1600 attack for a level five monster. Even so, they have some good effects that work with Venom Swamp, but in the end, they are ‘balanced' not broken. Support cards like Offering to the Snake Deity
are nice, but they don't help the deck much unfortunately.
A few people have told me that they talked to Konami reps about the overuse of archetypes, and they came up with a very simple answer: Players use these decks (Blackwings and Lightsworns) because of cards like Kalut and Honest
. If you're reading this right now, you're probably thinking the same thing I am about that statement…it's BS. The reason those decks are played is because they are heavily supported beyond simple damage calculation effect monsters.
In any case, reducing the amount of broken cards that go into a single archetype will allow much greater innovation. Rather than being told how to play because of the cards being released, players should be able to discover and invent new ways. I'm not saying that synergy should be dropped from new cards, only that a line needs to be drawn and no longer crossed ever other expansion. The crushing of Lightsworns in last Forbidden/Limited list has been all for naught it seems, with Infernities and X-Sabers picking up right where they left off. Over-powering them much? You bet.
2. Provide more reprints.
Every player's dream in this game is for all the high rarity cards they want to be reprinted. This is common sense, nobody wants to put down a fortune on this game, and having Vayu, Armor Master, and others reprinted drops their price. Then again, Konami losses money because less packs are being bought…or do they?
While I don't expect to see Archlord Kristya
in the next Gold Series as a common, there are a dozen other Booster Sets that have some great material for a third Retro Pack. I'm talking about the GX era cards, a series that was mostly overlooked in last Retro Pack, but saw some light in the Gold Series 2 set. Cards in everything from The Lost Millennium to Tactical Evolution. There are a number of great Ultra and secret rares that have only ever been printed once…just begging to be put in a Retro Pack 3 or Dark Legends 2. However, with many cards from Gladiator's Assault, Light of Destruction, and Phantom Darkness already reprinted, there may not be much hope for any new reprint sets (especially when you consider that the Twilight Pack covers that are quite nicely).
Perhaps even more important to players would be reprints of the 5Ds series cards up until Raging Battle or Crimson Crisis. Gold Series 2010 is going to be a great chance to pick up cards that were never in your reach before, probably dropping the price of Blackwing decks by $25 or more. Judgment Dragon
as a Gold Rare is especially nice, finally putting Twilight in the hands of players who bought their Ultra Rare Honest
earlier this year…only to have them limited in a short time.
The loss of Special Edition packs hurts, a lot. No more can we expect to get a great deal in paying slightly less for three packs plus an extra card. However, the new setup with the 2010 tins (which include 4 super rare cards) is especially nice…Dark Armed Dragon for $5 anyone? This alone may just make up for losing Special Editions.
3. Spread Competitive Play
This is more of a ‘situation-by-situation' complaint. Let's face it, if you don't live in a large city, chances are your local hobby store does not host Yugioh Tournaments…or if they do, its not sanctioned. This is a serious issue, as many players are forced to drive two or more hours to get to the nearest tournament location. This might be okay for Regionals or Sneak Preview event that happen once or (at most) four times a year, but going to locals every weekend is usually unfeasible.
Shocking as it might be the number of card shops in the world are limited, and there's not one around every corner. For them, hosting tournaments are great ways to get people out to their stores and buying cards, but there's more potential there. Malls should be the ideal places to host tournaments for this reason. They draw people into their buildings were they can buy food or other products. I'm no manager, but I fail to see why something like this would not work. Even if the mall did not have a deticated card shop, there should be at least one area ideal for hosting such an event for 20 or 30 people.
The biggest issue is not the number of players in an area that can get together (I'm sure you can find at least a dozen people within 25 miles of your home), but Konami's rules for sanctioning a tournament location. Space, food, and the ability to buy Yugioh products are necessary to be considered. Even so, I've found it rare that Konami even responds to such emails requesting sanctioning, whether just to lazy to file through them or unable to respond to so many requests…it's impossible to know. The short number of US tournament locations can be easily seen on the official Yugioh website, and note that the list is nearly twice as long as it should be. (Since many areas are listed twice) If Konami want to bring more people into this game, more need to start playing, and to do that, you have to give players that want a competitive environment that chance, and far too many are being left out.
4. Reduce the Price of Packs.
Since we are still on the subject of price, I thought I'd add in what could possibly be the single biggest complaint in Yugioh: the price of cards. Now, this is not just individual cards we're talking about, but the packs themselves. Right now, a pack of 9 cards costs $3.99, which might seem fair at first, but when buying three packs, a measly three, it will set you back $12. Now, here we are looking at six packs costing $24, and nine costing $39. In my opinion, that's a bit much considering that you might not even pull a single Ultra from that.
Buying in bulk is by far the best solution for those looking to save money. 24 packs of The Shining Darkness at 3.99 per pack will total about $94...but buying a box will only cost around $68. Now don't get me wrong, I think that $68 for 24 packs is a great deal (even better when buying a Special Edition Box…but don't look for one for this set), but I think that it is too much money to put down on this game all at once. I think that Konami should begin producing “half-boxes”. Buying half a box for $25-30 might not be so bad, it's the price of three Special Editions, with 12 packs instead of 9.
Konami is a business, so especially with these previous three points, there may be numerous economic reasons to NOT do what I just mentioned. None of us work for Konami, and as much as we might complain, they might simply say “We can't afford to do that”. If so, then that's too bad, but if Konami is reaping huge profits by forcing us to pay to much for a game, then that's a legitimate reason to cry out. Perhaps most important to note is that since we, the consumer, are buying this product in high demand…it must be worth the price to us, so why would anyone want to drive prices down at all? Until some sort of drop in sales occurs, prices will very likely remain the same.
4. Develop better Yugioh Video Games
Yugioh is an expensive game to play, with cards that can often be hard to get…let alone all at one time. But what if you COULD have all the cards you ever wanted? For most people, Yugioh Virtual Dueling (YVD) is their answer to this, yet there is a large part of the community that would like a structured, online dueling or offline dueling emulator. Konami knows this, and that's why the World Championship series for the DS, and the Tag Force series for the PSP exist. However nice these games are, they have some fundamental marketing problems that actually resemble the Madden football franchise.
Each release of a World Championship game gives the player a good number of new cards, usually four to five expansions ahead of the last game. World Championship 2010 was just recently released, and it featured all cards up to Absolute Powerforce. The previous game stopped at Crimson Crisis, so Ancient Prophecy and Stardust Overdrive
(along with the Warrior structure deck) are new to the game. However, with The Shining Darkness already released, it doesn't make much sense to buy this game which will not feature any of the cards from that set, nor the TCG exclusives of the last two sets.
Now, this only bothers people who buy the games to test out their decks, as when the next real life expansion launches, they cannot experiment with those new cards. Instead, we are forced to wait and buy the next game when it comes out, and the next one when that game is obsolete. Yet the solution to our buying problems comes in a pair.
Konami should release Yugioh-based video games primarily in the late spring after the latest set has just been released (last year would have been Raging Battle, or this year's The Shining Darkness). By doing this those games have much greater replay value. Last year you could not have played Blackwings with Shura, Kalut, Blizzard, or Black Whirlwind
in World Championship 2009 because the game didn't include those cards…forcing us to wait until Tag Force 4 to play Blackwings at their true level. To be Honest
, I'd rather go about updating my card libraries a different way: downloadable content. While the games feature a great downloading system for new cards, they don't update them en mass. If the developers promised to release the entire Absolute Powerforce, and The Shining Darkness sets as a download on their release, I'm sure many more people would have bought the game.
Let's end this article on a positive note, I don't want it to feel like a rant. Konami has done a lot of great things over the years for this game, and the support when it comes to competitive play is second to none. We have nearly live coverage of a TRADING CARD GAME after all, and that's an accomplishment in itself (although they are a little slow to update at times!). Yugioh is huge, and hopefully will only grow, giving people the chance to have fun in a competitive environment, starting community events, and even providing jobs for judges, organizers, and writers like myself. With any luck, Konami will continue to improve the game.
Any other complaints about this game you might have? Comment on them, in this case complaining is good.
Until next time then.