Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How do we handle "hate" cards?

Alright, today I have another serious political article for you guys. If you guys have been playing a lot the past few years, you've probably noticed how over time, there's been a steadily increasing number of continuous cards that lock out a particular aspect of the game. I've seen many players refer to these as "hate cards." A hate card (or shutdown card, floodgate card, etc.) is fairly easy to identify: it's a card that lasts continuously, often without any set duration or cost, that can almost singlehandedly win you the game against a certain strategy if it's not dealt with. Here's a list of some of the most notable examples I could think of:

-Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror
-Light-Imprisoning Mirror
-Poisonous Winds
-Deck Lockdown
-Imperial Iron Wall
-Gozen Match
-Rivalry of Warlords
-Skill Drain
-Soul Drain
-Mind Drain
-Dimensional Fissure
-Macro Cosmos
-Anti-Spell Fragrance
-Royal Decree
-Vanity's Emptiness

We've gotten to a point now where nearly every deck that sees play has a pointed weakness to at least one or two of these cards, sometimes way more. And the point that a lot of people in the community have been making for a long time now is that cards that automatically give you the win just because you drew them and your opponent didn't draw an out to them isn't the healthiest thing for the game. For example, here are two quotes from the 2013 North American champion regarding these cards, specifically Gozen Match and Rivalry of Warlords:

"This is something I’m sure most people don’t think about, but these cards are absolutely awful for the game. There is almost no player interaction while either of these cards is face up on the field. Any deck that can side one of these says “I’ll play my cards while you can’t play yours.”"
-Patrick Hoban, March Banlist Discussion. [02/07/13] Link to source.

"On previous ban lists, I had Gozen Match and Rivalry limited because they did not allow for players to interact. If one deck could play one of these cards and the other was hurt by it, they usually could not play any actual Yu-Gi-Oh. I don’t like the idea of limiting player interaction..."
-Patrick Hoban, September Banlist Discussion. [08/05/13] Link to source.

As I said earlier, a huge amount of decks in this game have some kind of extreme weakness to the cards listed above, therefore this is an issue I think everybody should be devoting some thought to. If you still aren't convinced, just ask yourself this basic question:

"At the end of the day, is it really fair that your opponent won just because they drew a card that you never drew an answer to?"

I think the vast majority of logical people will come away from that question and find the answer to be no. Saying yes would effectively be to argue that luck should have an even larger role in determining someone's success in this game, and that's just outrageous. With that much luck, there comes a point where Yugioh would just become a glorified coin toss.

So what can we do about it? Well, personally I think the biggest problem with these cards is their indefinite duration. I think it's good that all decks have a weakness that can be exploited, but what's unfair is when the weakness is permanently exploited, by a single card, oftentimes all alone and with no outside help or strategy. So with that being said, here's an example of an individual change I'd suggest:

Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror
Continuous Trap Card
Negate all DARK monster effects activated on the field or in the Graveyard. Destroy this card during your 4th Standby Phase after activation.

Essentially what this new feature does is allow a skilled opponent the ability to wait out your hate card regardless of if they draw an out, then overwhelm you with all of the cards they saved. It also makes playing the hate card more skillful, because now that you have a set time limit, it makes more sense to use that time effectively and save your best plays for that window of safety, in which you should ideally try to kill your opponent.

Now, I'm not saying that every one of these cards should last for exactly four turns - some may need to be longer or shorter depending on the type of card they're attempting to combat. Since Dark monsters have historically been very widespread and influential, I think it would be fair to give them a duration lasting four or five turns instead of something like Poisonous Winds, which could effectively give a reparation of sorts to the Wind Attribute's mostly terrible representation throughout history by lasting for only two or three.

The hardest part is incorporating this into the game. The only way I can think of that happening is for Konami to either ban all of the hate cards and print new versions of them, or simply errata each of their effects. Both are rather unlikely, but they're still worth noting.

So that's all for now guys! Leave me your thoughts in a comment and I'll get back to you soon. Later.

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