Interview with Julian Wong
Many Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG players have tackled many questions when working on their decks. Since the game's inception in 1999, many players have discussed what the best decks have been, which strategy is the best to adapt, how to build a deck, and how to jump into the competitive environment from casual play. Over the years, the answers to each of these questions have changed as the game continues to develop, as well as including frequent changes in the game's Advanced Format, the format in which the majority of players play.
Kidzworld.com recently conducted a short interview with Julian Wong of Team United Gosus. Julian's credentials include 2 Regional Championships (British Columbia, Canada) and 2 Top 16 placings in the Shounen Jump Championship Tournaments (4th in San Francisco 2009, and Top 16 Los Angeles 2010). We decided to pick Julian's brain based on the current environment (March 2010 Advanced Format).
Kidzworld.com: Thanks for taking the time for this interview Julian. Which decks do you find are at the top of the current environment?
Julian: I'd have to say that the top decks in the current format are the Infernity and Frog archtypes. Both decks are fully capable of winning a given game in one turn, sometimes even the first turn in the case of the Frog FTK. The ability to win in one turn at any given moment is an incredible advantage. The next closest deck would have to be the X-Saber archtype, which can control the game very well when played correctly. Of course, these decks would have to be properly constructed to be top level, but many of the top level builds for each of these decks share similarities.
K: You mentioned that these decks have to be "properly constructed". What do you take into account when constructing a competitive deck?
J: When building a competitive deck the most important thing to remember is knowing what your strategy is and what your cards do. The majority of the time your deck will follow the main strategy you have practiced (practice does make perfect in Yu-Gi-Oh!). However, in a long grueling tournament you may be in a position where you must make an unorthodox play in order to win. For example at SJC LA Round 5 Game 3, my opponent attacked directly with Aurkus, Lightsworn Druid and I played Gorz, Emissary of Darkness and special summoned a 1200/1200 token. In Main Phase 2, my opponent removed a Light and Dark Monster from his graveyard to special summon Chaos Sorcerer and removed my Gorz. Next turn, I summoned Jain, Lightsworn Paladin and attacked Aurkus, destroying it. I then attacked the Chaos Sorcerer with the Token and discarded Honest to destroy it by battle as the token is a light monster. This may seem obvious reading it now, but when you're tired and the pressure is on it is easy to overlook this play. The best players in the game are always aware of these little details that can give them an edge.
K: Being aware of the little details of the game is a great piece of advice. What other advice would you give a new player or someone looking to jump into the competitive environment?
J: The best advice I can give a new player is to know what you want from the game. If you want to have fun and build creative decks, great! if you want to win, that is great too. However, don't make fun of others because they want different things from the game. For new competitive players, my advice would be to learn how to play well from a superior player that is willing to teach you. Many of the 'best' players in the game won't teach new players. It isn't because they're arrogant jerks, but it's because they know most players simply aren't very good and won't understand the advanced concepts of elite play. If most players aren't good, why would they help? You must prove you're good at the game until you get the respect and advice of your superior peers. If you're unwilling to learn and subsequently improve, you may need to reconsider what you want from the game. More simply put, Rome wasn't built in a day.
K: With this format coming to a close, what kind of criticisms do you have for this format?
J: This has been one of the best and worst formats depending on what aspect of the game you're most interested in. It's the best in the sense that many viable decks are able to win a big tournament. It's the worst in the sense that many of these viable decks do NOT reward playing well, simply drawing well and winning dice rolls can carry you to the playoff rounds of the tournament. That being said, the best players will still find ways to win as you can only get lucky for so long. As long as you're making the high percentage play, you're giving yourself the best chance to win.
With changes to the Advanced Format looming, will Infernity and Frog FTK still be the top decks in the minds of top players? With the recent release of Duelist Revolution, how will new cards affect the upcoming format?
Next time, Kidzworld.com analyzes the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG September 2010 Advanced Format!
Anthony Ngo TCG Writer