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Baneful


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Baneful's Column
January 20, 2014

How and Why I Started Playing

Earlier I wrote an article explaining why I was (and you are) never too old or too cool to keep playing Yu-Gi-Oh! As a corollary then, I guess you're never too young or too nerdy to start playing either (if that makes any sense whatsoever).

If YGO is (or was) special to you, you're sure to remember how you started: your roots. I was 11, a total nerd and socially awkward. I'm 22 now (twice as old) and see how much I've changed. But I never kept up with the latest fads or trends back then. Some of my friends in school had shown me their cards. I was really impressed at the time, even if I have the misfortune of now knowing I was so impressed by effect-less monsters with weak stats. I saw a couple of others with them but never thought too much of it. Eventually, I would come to playing the game and loving it. Why? Probably because it was ubiquitous and I wasn't hard to influence at the time, but years later I found myself loving it (it was hard to stop).

When my best friend came over to play (at that age, it was "play" – not hang out), he showed me his cards. Oh, him too? At that point, the next day, I decided to go to the supermarket with my allowance (YGO was so mainstream at the time, they sold it well outside of comic book stores) and spend $11 on Starter Deck Yugi. Tough decision at the time, but for that age it was a big one. Yugi was the good guy and Kaiba was the anti-hero. I realized that having Dark Magician (2500-ATK) as my boss monster, I was at a disadvantage to the Blue-Eyes White Dragon (3000-ATK), but I figured the other cards in the Yugi deck would be good enough to make up the difference. I surprised him next week by dueling him, but I lost horribly. I was watching the anime to "practice my dueling skills" so I could finally learn to beat him! I bought 3 packs of Pharoah's Servant to help boost up my deck. I got a super rare Fairy Meteor Crush out of it, and not much else. Needless to say, I got my butt kicked again.

The tides soon turned as I got lot of packs on my birthday and I really buffed up my deck. And I also figured out one more thing. We were playing incorrectly. For Level 5 and higher monsters we had to offer sacrifices, and we didn't. He had lots of Level 8 monsters in his deck and I only had the Dark Magician and a few others. So, I helped fixed his deck to a more stable beatdown with a leaner deck count (from 50-something to 40). I surpassed my "mentor" easily at that point, but a month after Labyrinth of Nightmare came out in 2003, he quit playing after losing interest. We haven't spoke (no bad blood) in a long long while, but I was the one who turned out getting sucked in where all my friends who strongly insisted I played did not. The irony.

In the Legacy of Darkness (the next set) , I met a new friend who re-sparked my interest but after he moved, I quit and sold most of my collection (aside from like 50 cards I stumbled upon in my garage later on). I moved to a new town (by the time Dark Crisis came out) and there happened to be 3 neighbors my age who happened to play, so I started up all over again and rebuilt my collection. That's where memories, a lot of good and some quite bad were made. I remembered having cards stolen, being ripped off in trades (trading my Black Luster Soldier – Envoy for a bunch of commons) and losing my entire deck once. I built a deck from scratch after losing it, and kept using it for a few months. One of the happiest days of my life was months later when I found the original deck I had lost in my pant's pocket (of pants that were thankfully not put in the laundry wash). The original deck was stall-burn and the new one was aggro. I had the luxury of mixing the best assets of both combined, but I digress.

I would play it obsessively until 2008 (for about 4 years), moving from comic book store to comic book store. It's a tough business and many of them don't stay open for a long time. Even if I didn't think much of them at the time, I still miss all of the old ones I went to that went out of business. Cherish them; take pictures of them. You'll miss them. But anyway, in 2008, I was age 16 and got a summer-long job in construction. When I started in July, I was working to save enough money to get several boxes of Light of Destruction so I could have all of those holo-foil Lightsworns, feel like a king with an expensive collection and win lots of games. But, by the end of that job in early September, I had a different change of plans. I quit after being jaded, as well as caring too much what people thought of me. I did come back in 2011, but today I don't play nearly as often as I used to. Today, I just have fun writing about it. And there it is, full circle.

Contact: banefulscolumn@gmail.com

 

 

 


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