Rising From Mediocrity: Realizing You Did Not Actually Get Sacked

On November 2, 2012 by Julian Wong

Like sports, success in Yu-Gi-Oh! is often more about mental toughness than ability. I will be writing a series of short articles outlining gaps in mental flaws I have noticed in learning players that can grasp but are having trouble excelling in a premier Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament setting. Realizing I was a mediocre player (despite excellent credentials) was the epiphany I needed to reach a higher level of play.

“I can’t believe this person opened Wind-Up Shark and Wind-Up Magician, I got sacked.”

We have heard these stories many times and have experienced it ourselves on many occasions but why do we get upset? If we have all had the same experiences for a seemingly common occurrence, then why do we get so upset when it happens? The answer is fairly straightforward, we acknowledge the negative statistical outliers more so than positive outliers. In a game where excellence is required (A record of 9-2 is often needed to top, or an 82% win percentage), probability will show us that it is unreasonable to expect things to always go your way.

The best decks in Yu-Gi-Oh! almost always involve the most explosive and/or consistent card combos in the game. The majority of games will be won by the player that best executes the combos available to them to maintain control of the game. As there are many powerful card combos in Yu-Gi-Oh!, it should not be surprising when you or your opponent has a good hand. Using statistical tools like the Deck-u-lator, you can better prepare for the likelihood of certain game combinations occurring.

A common example in this format is Wind-Up Magician and Wind-Up Shark. Assuming a 40 card deck, in which three copies of both cards are used, there is a 13.3% chance of opening with both those cards in your hand. That is about one in every seven games or once every three rounds. You should not be getting OTK’d by Wind-Ups on the very first turn, very often. It will, however, happen three or four times on average throughout the course of an eleven round tournament. As you can only take two losses in order to still be in contention for the Top 32, having this occurrence happen as often as it does is not that unlucky at all.

However, these calculations only factors in the first turn for this one combo. This does not include the existence of Wind-Up Factory or the combo of Tour Guide of the Underworld and Wind-Up Shark. The Tour Guide/Shark combo has a 9.8% chance of having both in the opening hand, meaning there is over a 20% chance that the Wind-Up deck will open either OTK combo, once every five games!

I could continue with similar examples but that would be a moot point. Getting upset when ‘unlucky’ just means you were not mentally prepared for all possible game situations. Sometimes you will have the better hand and sometimes your opponent will have the better hand, it is as simple as that. That isn’t to say you won’t try your best to win, but accepting that once in a while you will simply lose for game situations out of your control will allow you to understand how to win.

Julian Wong is a Real Estate Executive from Vancouver, Canada. Julian has been a member of United Gosus since 2010, as a member of Player roster. To learn more about Julian, please visit his member profile.