Why Quitting Yu-Gi-Oh! Is So Hard

Doug Zeeff

10/17/2017 11:00:00 AM
 Comments

We all have that friend that “quits” Yu-Gi-Oh! every couple of months. They might be frustrated with the new best deck, or maybe their favorite strategy got hit on the F&L List, or maybe they just lost on the bubble of an important tournament. Sure, they might even sell all of their cards, but we know better.

They'll be back playing in a month or two.

Today, I wanted to discuss why it's so hard to fully rid yourself of Yu-Gi-Oh. I'm aware that there are of course going to be ex-players that never picked up the game again, but I feel there's an overwhelming number of duelists who always come back. I don't necessarily think this is unique to Yu-Gi-Oh, but I will say out of all the card games I've played that it's by far the most common in good old duel monsters!

Social Media
Even if you've just gone to a handful of locals or a few Regional Qualifiers, chances are good that you've made some friends along the way. I've always admired the way that card games can bring people together. I personally believe that a big factor at play is how Yu-Gi-Oh! players are instantly given a plethora of small talk subjects just because they're into the same hobby, which makes things not as awkward for newer acquaintances.

What ends up happening is your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds get filled with Yu-Gi-Oh! player's posts. I want to clarify real quick that I don't mean they're filled with Yu-Gi-Oh! posts specifically, just posts from Yu-Gi-Oh! players. However, when you eventually do “quit” Yu-Gi-Oh, it's extremely difficult to purge your newsfeed of all the Yu-Gi-Oh! players you've met along the years. That's not to mention that you might care about their personal lives by this point, so you wouldn't want to hide their posts in the first place.

That catch is that when that happens, it's very likely that your feeds will be filled to brim with Yu-Gi-Oh! posts during a YCS weekend and whenever a new Forbidden & Limited List drops. In my history, at least, those two occasions have always been big hits with social media, and that could get you curious as to what's going on. Heck, just this past September when the F&L List dropped, my good friend Pasquale Crociata messaged me and asked what the changes meant for the game, and he hasn't dueled in over a year!

It's easy to say “just unfollow all of your Yu-Gi-Oh! friends,” but I'd argue that that's not always the best option. Just because you don't play the same game as your friends anymore doesn't mean you have to completely cut them out of your life, you know?

Also, considering how often and widespread YCS's are, there's bound to be one in your backyard given enough time. It's really, really hard to turn down a fun weekend event with all your old friends if you don't even have to travel for it, so I regularly see people play for two days just to relive the glory days. There are even some well-known players that do this exact thing every single year at the same YCS!

Legacy Support
I've mentioned before how one of the biggest differences between Yu-Gi-Oh! and virtually every other card game out there is that it doesn't have set rotation. If you haven't heard of that, basically certain card games only let you use the most recent two years of cards that have been printed. In a game like Pokemon, important cards that are rotated out are reprinted in newer sets to keep them playable. In a game like Hearthstone, there's a base set of classic cards that are always allowed, but once a set is past the two year mark the cards are rotated out indefinitely into the underplayed “wild” format.

Yu-Gi-Oh! doesn't do that, and instead has a bigger list of Forbidden & Limited cards compared to other games. In some ways it acts as a forced set rotation, especially when the top decks are slaughtered. A good example would be the recent hits to the Zoodiac archetype, putting key monsters like Zoodiac Broadbull and Zoodiac Drident on the chopping block.

What's key here is that even though there are a handful of cards that get restricted, the vast majority of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are allowed to be played at three copies per deck, even years after they were printed. If you went to a tournament tomorrow and wanted to take Destiny Heros, a theme that came out over five years ago, you could.

Would you do well? Probably not. But you'd technically be able to play using your old cards.

That's great because it gives cards long term value. There are hundreds of Pokemon cards that will never see the light of day again, but with Yu-Gi-Oh! that's not the case. The dollar value of those cards might go down over time, but they're always there to be used if you choose to do so.

The other crucial thing about Yu-Gi-Oh! not having Set Rotation is also another factor making it hard to quit for good: legacy support. There's not a strict definition for the term “legacy support,” but it essentially refers to older decks leveraging new compatible cards, usually years after any archetype cards have been printed. Think: Blaze Accelerator Reload or Toadally Awesome. Sometimes legacy support can come indirectly, such as Pre-Preparation of Rites making Herald of Perfection decks viable again.

 Pre-Preparation of Rites
$2.69
$1.57
$0.80
Pre-Preparation of Rites117952
Set Shining Victories
Number SHVI-EN065
Type Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

Add 1 Ritual Spell Card from your Deck to your hand, and add 1 Ritual Monster from your Deck or Graveyard to your hand whose name is listed on that Ritual Spell Card. You can only activate 1 "Pre-Preparation of Rites" per turn.


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Let's say you played Yu-Gi-Oh! in 2011 and your favorite deck was Synchrons. You quit that summer, but you always held onto the deck. Fast forward to 2015, and the new Synchron Structure deck is released! Even though you hadn't played in four years, you decide to pick up Yu-Gi-Oh! again so you can play with a lot of your older cards. That sparks a renewed interest in the game for you, and before you know it you're going to Regional Qualifiers every weekend!

Because Yu-Gi-Oh's the most generous with legacy support, it also tends to the be the easiest game to get back into for a lot of people. I took a two year gap between stints in Hearthstone, and the second time I joined the game it was definitely a painful process. I had to build up an entirely new collection before I could even muster a few wins in ranked, because every single one of my decks was unplayable.

That's simply not the case in Yu-Gi-Oh! outside of a few F&L List changes, which makes it very appealing to come back to after a long break.

Of Course, People DO Quit
Despite all these reasons to stay in the game, not everyone stays with it forever. I've noticed that the biggest reason people stop playing doesn't come down to metagame shifts, or new mechanics, or even the paywall. A lot of the times it just comes down to moving away from their friends, like when you go to college.


It's one thing to keep up with Yu-Gi-Oh! when you've got a handful of friends to spend time with every week to test the newest cards, but it's much more difficult if you're two hours away from the nearest locals. There's definitely a lifestyle where you only go to YCS or Regional Qualifiers and never test outside of them, but not everyone can keep up with that.

Luckily, for the reasons I've just gone through, the game will always be waiting for you when you get back.

-Doug Zeeff


Doug Zeeff hails from Michigan and is currently an English major in college. When he's not found emailing Konami about why there's not a single walrus card in all of Yu-Gi-Oh! you can find him regularly posting unorthodox, unfiltered Yu-Gi-Oh! content on his Youtube channel, Dzeeff. In his spare time he enjoys eating cheese, Overwatch, and, of course, playing Yu-Gi-Oh. Click here to follow him and his adventures on Facebook!


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