Tag: Yu-Gi-Oh

What does that song sound like?

What does that song sound like?

Everyone’s had those moments where they hear a song — be it in the background of a T.V. show, on the radio or a restaurant backing track, or whatever it may be — and can’t quite put their finger on what that song is.

If you haven’t had that moment because you have a photographic memory or something… Well the I’m sorry to be leaving you behind with this topic.

I have those kinds of moments fairly often, as I am a fan of a range of music but am not necessarily an audiophile like my Dad and sister.

But I’m not here to talk about remembering specific songs.

Rather, I’d like to talk briefly about what I would consider a much less discussed but equally prominent concern: Identifying exactly what category it sounds like that song should belong in.

I don’t mean something like “pop song” versus “rock song” versus”country song,” or whatever the overall genre might be. This is specifically about those times where a song sounds like other songs you’ve heard before, but you can’t quite put your finger on exactly what that similar sound is.

Now. This is an odd conversation topic on my blog I’m sure, considering I don’t talk too often about the particulars of music. I tend to just stick to the generals of “my sister played a thing” if I do bring it up.

But in this case the context suggests that it’s not a thing my sister played, because she doesn’t play video games anymore.

Yeah I’m still on that bit, Aly

See recently Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links got a major update. A much-needed one for me, as I was starting to drift away from the game.

Until they added on the next generation, 5D’s, and a novel (for me) summoning style called Synchro summoning.

Learning a brand new way to duel has gotten me right back into the swing of things. Synchros offer up an interesting level of field management that Ritual monsters attempted to hit but couldn’t, as you need to have a specific “tuner” monster on the field alongside a specific number of stars to summon a Synchro monster.

So many of the cards being added as a result are interested in flooding the field with monsters and augmenting the number of stars on a monster, that way you can summon things with specific requirements. It’s just the kind of micromanaging that makes me love to do things like deck build.

Which… Who knows, I just might do again soon.

Look out for some Synchro deck profiles, possibly.

But for right now that’s off-topic. The only reason I gave all that context is to get to the point that a new season of the anime being added into the game also means new characters to play.

New characters means new battle tracks. One in particular has caught my ear so far:

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Meet Akiza Izinski. I know literally nothing about her because I never watched 5D’s.

But I do know that in Duel Links she has absolutely amazing battle music.

I have to say, as much as I like a wide range of music, video game soundtracks are definitely at the top of my list. I could go on-and-on about different songs I adore from various games.

In fact, I’ve been considering doing video game music posts around here. Just haven’t really had the time to hash out a specific style for it.

But Akiza’s theme here is a real prime example of the kind of tune I can just melt into.

The opening ten seconds or so has a plain single instrument rift that brings to mind N’s theme from Pokémon, or Moonstruck Blossom from Kirby Triple Deluxe.

Then the song continues to build until about 30 seconds in, when the real magic begins.

At that point, the piano is co-opted by some kind of Theremin-sounding track that gives everything a techno/haunted house feel.

Even when the Theremin bits disappear, the song keeps its haunting undertone despite somehow also bringing a lot of battle-ready energy to the table.

The song overall is just really well-done, and makes grinding for cards against Akiza a real pleasure.

My problem is, as much as I can (somewhat haphazardly) explain the emotions that this song elicits, it’s hard for me to place exactly what the song reminds me of. Because it definitely reminds me of SOMETHING.

There’s an air of the haunting melody underlying Lusamine’s battle theme from Pokémon, as one of the comments on that YouTube video I used mentions.

Haunting yet beautiful. Her chief gimmick appears to be monsters based on roses, so it’s an encapsulation that makes sense.

I also get some heavy Binding of Isaac vibes. Not sure why for that one. It just does.

Unfortunately though, part of the reason I wanted to write this is because I’m hard-pressed imagining what kind of other songs this song reminds me of.

So I wanted to throw it out to all of you.

Does this song bring any others to mind? What kind of comparisons would you make for it?

Let me know down in the comments, and while you’re at it let me know if you’re interested in seeing me write about video game music more!

I get very passionate about that particular breed, so I’m sure I could do it in a heartbeat.

Printers, Posters and Posh Interior Design

I know I said essentially the exact same thing about two days ago, but pardon me if this post is a little bit short or discombobulated.

We may not have been sniffing paint fumes this time around, but the family has been off on a nearly 12-hour journey across L.A. County doing chores and such. So I’m a bit tired and honestly just want to rest up considering I’m hanging out with the crowd again tomorrow and want some energy for that.

You’re not here to talk about tomorrow though, are you? Especially not when we have a Herculean tale for today.

Get out your maps if you’re interested in following along our route from the day.

We started relatively close to home in Manhattan Beach, first going to our family optometrist for my dad to get an eye exam. Also spent a good chunk of time in the surrounding mall buying sunglasses at the same time as I was doing some planning for future events.

Then we hit up a nearby Best Buy. We were picking up a new home printer we had ordered because our old one was ‘donated’ to the Redondo Union band program.

Aly’s the head librarian and has to make a lot of copies of sheet music, long story short.

While we were there I discovered this gem as I perused the video game section:

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Pretty disturbing how transparent his limbs are, huh?

Felt like that was worth sharing.

After finishing up there we got ourselves some lunch, then made our way to the Fandango office so my dad could follow-up on some work that was being done in the conference rooms there.

At first I imagined I might focus this blog post on that. Specifically all of the movie posters that I snapped some pictures of all around the office while he was testing the technology.

Because they have some pretty unique, awesome movie posters. Check some of these out:

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Pretty cool stuff, right?

Of course I also considered writing something related to my own work since I was expecting to hear back about my application to the Honors Student Advisory Council at Cal State Fullerton today.

But when I did it turned out to be a no. So… Figured I didn’t want a blog post that was a total downer about that.

There was even briefly a thought running through my head that I could offset the general negativity of that idea by countering it with this neat, little milestone I happened to hit this morning:

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But uhh… Subjectively I figured 500 basically consecutive days of playing a mobile gotcha game could also be considered pretty sad as an ‘accomplishment.’

So I tabled that idea.

Soon enough a perfect opportunity for a blog post came along, however.

A little store known simply as

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By little, of course, I mean the exact opposite of little. Because anyone who has ever been to the Swedish furniture chain should know that Ikea stores are god damn gigantic.

Yet this particular store takes that idea to the nth degree. The Burbank Ikea is the largest one in the United States, you see. Big enough to be seen from space, as my mom quipped.

Can’t really argue with that sentiment, honestly. From the ground it took us probably four, four-and-a-half hours to make our way through the labyrinth of ridiculously named decor.

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The “map” here straight up looks like a subway system.

In fact, that whole adventure would probably be a little too long to enumerate in the order of how we did things. So I’m going to cop-out by just throwing together a slideshow of pictures here.

For anyone who’s curious about what it looks like in the absolute epitome of capitalism of course.

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Boy howdy that’s about a sixth of a day of furniture, ain’t it?

Luckily even when we got tired and my legs felt ready to collapse we were still having a good time.

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Seriously there’s few things as fun as a random thing to do with some friends than wandering an Ikea. In case you want something to do sometime soon.

Plus, even though we didn’t get all of the new furniture to fit into Aly’s refurbished room today, we still got a bunch of nice household stuff. Like some pillows that we desperately needed.

Or that we will desperately need after such a long day out, I suppose.

I also made a very interesting little observation while we were there. See as you can imagine for a store the size of a small country that has replicas of households built within it, all segmented into various kinds of applications throughout a maze, Ikea needed a way to direct the mass exodus of people.

From what I recall growing up, that goal was mostly accomplished by taping or painting arrows on the floor. That much hasn’t changed:

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Except that’s not tape. Nor is it paint.

That arrow is courtesy of a digital projector.

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At first I was confused about the whole thing. It seems like it would be far less expensive to use tape rather than installing all of these projectors throughout the store. There are a lot of arrows, as I’m sure you can imagine.

But then I thought about it and realized that there’s also some merit to the long-term staying power of projectors versus something like tape.

People are constantly walking throughout that store. Thousands, probably. Day-in and day-out. Seven days a week.

That’s got to wear on physical markings pretty considerably. Enough so that tape or paint might have to be re-applied every other day just to keep the information fresh.

With a projector you don’t have to worry about that. So long as the tech is working, you never have to worry about the arrows washing away under a sea of feet.

I kind of came around in my own head to recognize how good of a long-lasting idea it is to do this, is what I’m saying.

Bet you didn’t think you’d be reading a blog post that said ‘sea of feet’ in it today, did you?

Well I did it. Which likely marks this portion off as a good place to end things off.

I didn’t really have a solid idea of exactly what I wanted to write about today, so thanks for making it this far into my roadmap of our long day of chores. It seemed like as good of a stand-in for content as I could imagine.

So with that said, I’m off to go play some video games before bed. Hope you all have a good day/night/whatever it may be in your time zone!

A Warm, Lazy Night

After spending most of the afternoon melting into a puddle of goo on the couch, struggling to come up with something to write about in the heat-laden haze post-Gladeo meeting, I think I’ve finally just decided to give up for the night.

I really have nothing to talk about right now, and my brain is too mushy from the 100+ degree temperatures here in California today to feel my obligatory post is worth stressing over tonight.

So how about this. I’ll just use this post as a ‘things to come’ set-up of sorts.

People like that right?

With my work meeting this morning came the confirmation that both of the Career Spotlights and the Career Profile I’ve been working on are going through the editing process, so they should be published online any day now. As they come around I’ll be sure to talk about them in more detail.

However, if it’s anytime in the near, near future (though that’s somewhat doubtful from where they are in the process), I might hold off talking about them for a day or two. I have a pretty succinct idea for what my posts will hold for a period of time.

Tomorrow I’m going to go to Old Fort MacArthur Days with Aly and a few of my friends. I’ll probably throw out a post with a slideshow of cool things we see like I did last year – but this time I’ll know how to include videos, too.

Sunday I’m going to see Ant Man and the Wasp with my family. I’ll do one of my mini reviews on that after I see it.

There’s also an update to Fire Emblem Heroes coming on the eighth, but I haven’t quite decided whether I want to post two things on a day or whether I should hold off the mobile game update for Monday to take up some extra space. Supposedly there might be another new banner on the 10th as well, but I don’t have personal confirmation for that.

Though speaking of extra space filler, I also have a couple posts in my drafts folder. One is a slightly more extended discussion on Funko Pops I’ve been cooking up, as I have a personal issue with something regarding their business practices.

There might also be a couple Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links deck profiles I can throw together on some decks I’ve been having fun with lately. Especially one featuring Shining Flare Wingman, who I discussed my love for a bit ago.

Beyond that I’m also interested in doing a couple of ‘nostalgic’ sort of posts examining things I haven’t looked at in a long time.

Also also, I’ve begun to put some work into my Honors Project proposal, and especially with the help of my friends I’ll likely have something to chat about in regards to that once I have more succinct views about what my novel-in-progress will include.

Otherwise… Yeah. That’s about all I have to discuss in terms of forward-thinking blog post ideas.

Right now I’m just kind of sitting here in the lukewarm heat of the nightfall, wallowing in a food coma following a nice meal with my parents at one of my favorite restaurants and catching up on some T.V. shows.

Oh, speaking of, I suppose I also might expect a post talking about Luke Cage season 2 at some point in the near future. Because if we finish that show anytime soon I’m definitely willing to talk about it.

Otherwise let me know if there’s anything you might be interested in seeing around here! I’m pretty open to ideas if there are any going around you might want to see me discuss.

A Shining Blast from the Past

A Shining Blast from the Past

With the latest Tag Duel Tournament ending in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links soon, I wanted to take the chance to talk about something regarding the event I’ve been interested in since it started.

It has nothing to do with the event itself, as I quite like how Tag Duels work in balancing two duelists fighting on the same team.

No, what I’m interested in is the new reward cards that came from the event. Namely, this one:

Say hello to Elemental HERO Shining Flare Wingman.

This pretty cool looking card right here, for all intents and purposes, is kind of useless when you give it a critical eye. It’s attack and defense stats are okay, but underscored by the fact that it’s a fusion monster that requires a second fusion monster just to summon it.

That’s a fairly difficult summoning condition for the uninitiated, as it means you need three different monster cards and two copies of polymerization just to get him out. His inherent abilities do help him stand out, as he gains at least 1200 attack instantly from all of the HERO monsters in the graveyard just required to summon, then everything he beats over inflicts damage once sent to the grave…

But still. The summon is a tough sell when he has no real protection from any kind of destructive spells or traps.

I’m not here to discuss the merits of this card as a viable battle strategy, however. Even if seeing him added into Duel Links has inspired me to try building a deck around him.

I’m here to discuss the reason why seeing Shining Flare Wingman brought a huge wave of happiness and nostalgia running through my system. Check this out:

Welcome to 2006, where a young nine-year-old Jason vaguely interested in Yu-Gi-Oh! card collecting decided to buy this magazine because the monster on the front looked so god damn cool.

I mean that too, I don’t think I ever seriously read through this thing. I just loved looking at the cool monster pictures on it and inside of it.

To this day, the Shining Flare Wingman edition of Beckett’s Yu-Gi-Oh! magazine is still the only one I own, and seeing his arrival in Duel Links brought the memories of it flooding back. Luckily it just took a quick dig through my 2006-ish era comic books to find the thing.

But those are a story for another day.

Now that I’m older and actually interested in the world of media, I actually perused the magazine with a more analytical eye.

As it turns out, Beckett is an online marketplace for card games and their accessories. Primarily sports cards, but also other trading card games like Yu-Gi-Oh!

That’s probably not a surprise to many of you, but I seriously never bothered to look it up before now. I just always thought of this magazine as “The Yu-Gi-Oh! monster thing.”

At its core, the magazine as a whole is just a conduit to show off what cards are available for what prices online.

In 2006 anyway.

Obviously that’s not all that useful for me anymore. So instead, the really fascinating thing about this magazine is what they fill the rest of this thing with.

It’s 88 pages long, and honestly a perfect feature-writer handbook for how to built an interested following with content related to what’s being sold.

Seriously it’s got everything. News about the card game:

Profiles on cards and decks, much like the Shining Flare Wingman deck that’s advertised on the cover:

But then there’s the more fun stuff that shows how interested whoever put these things together was in not only the card game, but the culture surrounding it.

There are articles all about things like the anime throughout the magazine, which I’m sure appealed to me because the anime was my route into Yu-Gi-Oh!

Top tens and episode reviews.

Seriously, this thing is like the perfect analog representation of exactly what you’d expect to see from fandom-driven sites online today.

It’s like Buzzfeed before Buzzfeed. Except all about Yu-Gi-Oh!

And much more my speed.

Of course there’s also other magazine mainstays, like this section all about reader-submitted fan art:

Shout out to Michael from Utah for truly capturing the anime mood.

Seeing this part of the magazine in particular reminds me a lot of the old Highlights magazines, those book-centric ones everyone would get from book fairs in elementary school.

All it needs is a few hidden object games and I would be 100 percent down.

On the bright side, in place of those kinds of games, this magazine also talked about Yu-Gi-Oh! video games.

So hey, it’s got my best interest at heart.

Most of the rest is just advertisements and and pages upon pages of sales figures for individual cards.

While those are interesting in their own right just to take a glimpse back at early 2006, as it seems these things came out bimonthly, I definitely think my biggest takeaway is how awesome all of the extra surrounding content is.

Seriously, looking through how much fun the creators must have had pulling together all of these feature-y articles kind of inspires me to be a bit more interested in the features side of the journalism spectrum.

And all because a mobile phone game dropped a somewhat useless monster that gave me a rush of nostalgia 12 years after a seminal moment in my youthful development.

Isn’t life just a crazy thing?

Making up for lost time

I had a fun day with my friends yesterday. Chilling for the first time this summer, playing games late into the night, watching dumb internet videos and eating pizza.

Because I got lost doing that, I unfortunately didn’t have the chance to write a blog post. I don’t imagine anyone is going to fault me for that necessarily, but I still personally feel bad for dropping the ball on my goal, so I wanted to write something extra today to make up for it.

It won’t be nearly as gargantuan as my Yu-Gi-Oh!-themed post from this morning, as I spent large chunks of the last week working on that.

Also yes, I know I could have just rescheduled that to post yesterday and completely circumnavigate this internal turmoil.

But I didn’t think about it until today so shush.

I’ve just finished doing another edit for Boom, this time on a piece about the impact of Mexican migrants on the history of soccer’s popularity in the United States as we approach the 2018 World Cup. However, like with the Kennedy piece from the other day (which is online and can be read here), I don’t necessarily have much to say about this one because it’s not available to read so I can give full credit where it’s due.

So instead I figured I would talk about some of the highlights from my friend hangout yesterday.

We played Minecraft for a hell of a long time. It’s something we’ve been doing through online connections and Skype chats for the past couple weeks, so getting to do it in person was a lot of fun.

In fact it was also an excellent showcase of the power of the Nintendo Switch to be a great multiplayer console. While mine was plugged into the large TV we have upstairs that way I could play split screen with Juan (who doesn’t own the game), both Tiana and Mitchell were playing on their personal consoles at other parts of the room, since they’d both brought them along.

Then on top of that, we were also playing with Jonathan, who’s still up at UC Davis finishing off his school quarter. Luckily he had the time to spare, since our main world is hosted on his console. We even called him on Skype, and he basically stayed in the loop for the entire day, which was pretty cool.

Sometimes it’s nice to appreciate how miraculous technology can be in terms of keeping us all connected.

I would share some photos from our time playing, but I’m still working on a more reliable way to pull photos off the Switch that don’t involve needlessly posting them ALL on Twitter, so that’ll have to wait for another time.

For now enjoy this reference Minecraft made to Heavy Rain that was just convenient enough to be hilarious:

After our (admittedly somewhat bloated) play session of Minecraft came to a close, we had some pizza and watched dumb internet videos. Memes, vine compilations, video game-related things. All that good stuff.

One such video was Long Long Man, which is a series of Japanese gum commercials that you need to watch right now if you haven’t seen it.

We introduced my sister to it and this was her reaction when the big reveal came at the end.

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I’m not kidding, watch it. It’ll change your life.

Here you go. Thank me later.

We also watched the first episode of Aggretsuko, a slice-of-life anime about anthropomorphic animals who work in a modern-day office setting.

Also the main character deals with misogyny and other headaches by sneaking off to sing death metal in secluded places.

It’s an odd show and I’m not sure I can necessarily give a full scope of my opinions on it having only watched one episode. However, my friend Kaleb did write an extended piece about the show from a more knowledgeable platform that I would recommend giving a read.

One other particularly notable thing from last night was our experience with Fire Emblem Heroes. As I’ve talked about before, one of the reasons I stick with the game so adamantly is because we all play it together.

It hasn’t exactly been kind to me recently, however. I was rather eager to go after one of the red units on the Legendary Ryoma banner, to the point that I started spending a lot of orbs.

However, lots of time and orbs passed, and I wasn’t getting anything.

Eventually it was concerning how I wasn’t able to pull a single five-star unit on the initial eight percent banner.

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It got pretty bad. Even my last-ditch effort to buy some orbs when I ran out failed, despite the fact that I imagined having everyone around would make it more likely that the game would take it easy on me.

The game didn’t take it easy on me.

The Ryoma banner is gone now, and all of my orbs have gone to waste.

It’s not an encouraging feeling. Especially considering Tiana decided to summon on her eight percent chance just to test whether or not it was my luck.

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Turns out it was all my luck.

Hallelujah.

That disappointment aside, it was a pretty amazing moment when she literally pulled the unit that had been avoiding me for so long just in a whim.

All-and-all I’d say that aptly describes what makes our hangouts so fun. Doing things that would otherwise be a good time alone, but become that much better when we’re together because of how we can play off each other.

That said, I really don’t have too much more to say, so I think I’ll leave it here.

Hope everyone has had a nice Thursday! Look forward to my posts that will wrap up this week about the RUHS band banquet tomorrow night and whatever updates we’ll be seeing in FEH in the next few days.

‘Dark Magic Destruction’ deck profile — Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links

‘Dark Magic Destruction’ deck profile — Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links

Duel Links has kind of fallen out of favor in my phone app priority list for some time now.

It’s not that I don’t still love the game. I do. But Konami has a tendency to… Power creep a little faster than I’m comfortable with as a free-to-play user.

By power creep, I mean they add a new box of cards about once every two-to-three weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why that’s the decision they’ve made. New boxes mean a host of new cards that redefine the Player vs. Player metagame and keep the community thriving with new strategies.

It makes sense and is arguably a good business decision.

But because I don’t pay to buy the new boxes out, I wind up still stuck using a slowly accumulating set of gems to buy out older boxes while people are kicking everyone around with the newest stuff. While I still love the game for the computer-driven content that’s also constantly being added in, having myself be stuck in place on the PvP ladder because I can’t get past the newest, strongest card combinations without dumb luck is frustrating.

The PvP is half the draw of Duel Links, as it’s the real place to test out decks and earn good rewards. So it’s a shame that being so frustrated with it has taken away some of the fun of the game for me right now.

However, in the face of that frustration, I’ve decided to take a different approach than just giving up.

On April 26, the character level cap for every Legendary Duelist in the game was increased from 40 to 45. This meant a number of things for the game, but most notably: More gems and a new character-specific card for each duelist.

Many of the new level-up cards are just okay at best in my opinion. But two of them specifically stood out. Yami Yugi and Arkana both received a new support card for the Dark Magician archetype.

Seeing those two additional cards and remembering how much fun I used to have playing my Dark Magician/Dark Magician Girl combo deck inspired me to try to play a fun, nostalgic deck again rather than a purely meta-driven one.

Thus, my ‘Dark Magic Destruction’ deck was born.

It’s not the best deck in the world, but it has a bunch of super fun combo pieces that I’ve been enjoying playing more than most everything else since counter-fairies got a short-lived buff a few months back.

Because I’ve been having so much fun with the old DM, I wanted to bring back something from the days of old on my blog: Deck profiles.

I only did one about a year ago for a Bakura-driven fiend monster deck that I used during the 2017 World Championships. Seems fitting to have that format return now that I’m hitting the 2018 World Championship Qualifiers with a brand new, classic deck.

I’m looking to write a lot over the summer, and I’m going to  try new things with this post in particular using the knowledge of formatting I’ve accumulated via Fire Emblem posts and using my newfound video powers.

So perhaps deck profiles are something that can see a return more frequently with new decks I try out over the next few months. Let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in seeing!

For now, with that prologue about my current Duel Links journey out-of-the-way, let’s jump in.


The Basics

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Welcome to the dark carnival, everyone.

Obviously this isn’t your daddy’s Dark Magician. No no, this is the special red Dark Magician, utilized by Arkana the Rare Hunter during Yu-Gi-Oh!’s Battle City arc in the original anime.

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For all intents and purposes, red Dark Magician is exactly the same as the original Dark Magician. Same stats, same description, same level, everything. The red guy is basically an angsty, cool teenage reprint of the classic monster.

A cool reprint with probably one of the best play mats in the game. Just saying.

So why use him instead of the classic, iconic DM?

Well… This version of the card has a special animation when summoned by Arkana specifically. And we’re using Arkana today, not Yugi.

See Arkana has a special skill called ‘Master of Magicians’ that helps grease the combo wheels of this particular deck. It allows him to draw one of three cards from outside of the deck (Dark Magic Attack, Thousand Knives and Dark Magic Expanded) after losing half his life points.

As you’ll see, it works perfectly with Dark Magic Curtain, one of his signature cards.

Now that you understand the skill helping drive the deck, let’s break down the actual cards making up that deck.


The Monsters

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How could I start with anyone else?

Dark Magician is a normal monster that typically requires two monster tributes to summon. However, given the fact that it became the de facto mascot for Yu-Gi-Oh! as a whole through its use by the original protagonist Yugi Muto, the card has received a heaping helping of support throughout the years that makes it a still viable boss monster to bring out.

In Duel Links, that support has slowly come out through things like the level-up rewards for Yami Yugi and Arkana, as I mentioned before, as well as in part through support via Tea Gardner and Yugi Muto.

Most of the strategies he uses involve cycling through spells that both allow for easier summoning, for drawing cards and for dealing with the opponent’s board.

My deck is something of a mix of all three.

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Skilled Dark Magician is one of the newer cards added for Dark Magician through Arkana level-up rewards.

He’s an effect monster that can be immediately summoned with a fairly chunky 1900 attack and 1700 defense point spread that allows players to tribute him off when three spell counters are placed on the card (via separate spell cards being used while he’s on the field) to summon DM from the hand, deck or graveyard.

It’s the ‘deck or graveyard’ part of that statement that makes our skilled friend here so special. In a deck that utilizes combining and chaining spells for large plays, it’s rather easy to build up those three counters in the right circumstances, which means you can have a powerful unit early duel that has utility and revival capabilities late in the game.

Trust me, when I explain how the spells work together, you’ll see why he’s such a good card. I do wish there were three available, but two is a solid amount for now.

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Now THIS is the real combo-maker of the deck. Magician’s Rod is a fairly unique support monster for the Dark Magician deck that facilitates a lot of different things because it has a number of effects — more than making up for the somewhat slim 1600 attack and downright disgraceful 100 defense.

First and foremost, summoning the Rod allows players to pull a spell or trap from the deck that lists ‘Dark Magician’ in some capacity. In my deck specifically there are three spells that do so, and each are important at different points in the duel.

In other words, this is the card you want in your opening hand to start working a bunch of different combos, but when late game comes he becomes more of a liability due to that low attack.

The secondary effect is less useful, but it has potential to help. When Magician’s Rod is in the graveyard, if a spell or trap is used during the opponent’s turn (except during the damage step), the player can tribute one of their monsters to add the Rod back into their hand.

There’s some synergy to this effect in conjunction with the next card on my list, Blue Dragon Summoner. However, more often than not one use of the Magician’s Rod will lead to the exhaustion of most of its combo-making cards, so there isn’t a whole lot of point adding it back to your hand when there are no more cards to draw with it.

In other words, don’t be dumb like me and accidentally tribute your Dark Magician during your opponent’s turn to leave yourself open for the kill. Bad idea.

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As I mentioned before, Blue Dragon here has some synergy with Magician’s Rod because of its primary effect: allowing players to add a normal monster (Dragon, Warrior or Spellcaster) from the deck to the hand when it’s sent from the field to the graveyard.

Obviously Dark Magician is the target for this effect. Being able to add that sucker to the hand is more often than not a benefit because it gives you a boss monster to summon and thins out the deck — or gives you cards not during your draw phase, thus making it more likely to draw other cards during said draw phase.

Yu-Gi-Oh! is a game of statistics, man.

What makes Blue Dragon special is that the drawing aspect works for both battle destruction and card effect destruction. Thus you can get a Dark Magician by using the Summoner as bait for an attack just as easily as you can get one by making him tribute fodder for something like Mgician’s Rod.

Theoretically Legion the Fiend Jester could also be an apt card to fill this slot over Blue Dragon, as he has the same draw effect and an extra assistance effect for tribute summoning.

But I have a soft spot for Blue Dragon, he’s an old favorite of mine. Plus his 1500 attack allows for a little more battle utility than Legion’s 1300.


The Spells

In this Dark Magician deck, there are three spell cards that are useful specifically for the Magician himself, those that can be drawn out by Magician’s Rod. I’m going to go over those first in the order that I’d argue they’re useful to have throughout the duel.

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Another Arkana level-up exclusive card, Dark Magic Curtain is a magical (pun slightly intended?) playmaker to have in your opening hand for a duel.

By paying half of their life points, a player is able to summon Dark Magician from the deck. However, for the rest of that turn, no other summons can be conducted — though monsters can be set.

If it’s turn one and this card is available, not only can you thin your deck one card by pulling out a Dark Magician, you can instantly summon it and start the duel with a 2500 attack monster on deck.

On top of that, this card is the primary reason to run the Arkana-varient of the Dark Magician deck. The average 2000 life point cost (half of the 4000 starting point) is just enough to activate his ‘Master of Magicians’ skill, which instantly adds an extra card into one’s hand.

As amazing as all of this sounds — and frankly is through proper execution — there are downsides. For one, if all of your Dark Magicians are already in the hand or on the field, Curtain becomes an instantly dead card unless somehow the boss monster gets shuffled back into the deck.

On top of that, not being able to summon for the rest of the turn kind of sucks. It means players need to choose between using the Curtain or playing a number of other combinations at once. Though Blue Dragon is a good card to set, to be fair.

Long story short: If you have this card starting out or can use Magician’s Rod to grab it right away, you’re golden. If it’s stuck at the bottom of the deck until its time has passed, it’s worth nothing.

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This card is the newest Yami Yugi level-up reward that essentially inspired me to make this whole deck in the first place.

With Dark Magic Inheritance, players can banish two spell cards from the graveyard to add a ‘Dark Magician’ or ‘Dark Magician Girl’ centered spell or trap from the deck to the hand.

Because of how many spells are in this deck, it’s not hard to get two of them in the graveyard. Until you manage to do so it’s a dead card, but the second it isn’t a dead card it becomes a great way to thin the deck given that it’s a quick play spell, allowing one to activate it easily during whichever phase of the battle they prefer.

In my experience, the best practice with Dark Magic Inheritance is to summon DM using Curtain, then either activate the spell Arkana draws through ‘Master of Magicians’ or use an Enemy Controller, and afterward you’ll be able to draw out Dark Magic Attack from the deck for more deck thinning and the chance to wipe out the opponent’s field.

Unfortunately, the window to use Inheritance is a bit small considering there’s only two other cards in the deck it can draw, but that’s more on my personal decisions for what to include than on the card itself.

If you want to add more DM cards into the deck, it becomes wildly more useful. Nice returns on investment.

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Honestly there isn’t much to say about this card. When you control Dark Magician, you can wipe out your opponent’s back row of cards. Every spell and trap they control.

Simple. Clean. Effective.

So effective, in fact, that I decided to use this instead of the similar monster-based equivalent, Thousand Knives. That spell allows you to destroy one monster on the field, which has much less utility in the long-run than a board wipe in my opinion.

Sure there are cases where the opponent can still activate their spells and traps in response to this wipe and mess with your turn, like using an enemy controller to stop you from attacking. But in my opinion, forcing those kinds of plays rather than letting them utilize the cards at an opportune moment is always preferential.

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Now we’re into the spells that aren’t necessarily Dark Magician-specific.

Even if for the purposes of this deck, Ancient Rules may as well be.

Level-up rewards from Seto Kaiba’s younger brother Mokuba, Ancient Rules simply allows the player to special summon a level five or higher normal monster from the hand. Have a Dark Magician in hand? Well now it’s on the field. Plus you can normal summon that Skilled Dark Magician you’re holding onto for a totally fatal knockout.

Again, simple. While it may be another card that’s ‘dead’ with no Magician in hand, the deck has enough drawing power in my experience to make up for that.

Though I will admit at this point in the profile that a lot of the deck’s contents can be considered dead cards. Which is a seemingly unfortunate reality of playing around a single big boss monster.

So this card is here to help mitigate the risk:

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I’ve talked about Enemy Controller a few times now, and that’s because it’s essentially the staple card that can be placed on any and all decks in Duel Links.

Few other cards offer as much utility as this. Change your opponent’s card to defense or attack position when desired. Tribute your own monster to steal an opponent’s monster. Complete either task during basically any part of the battle due to the quick play aspect of this spell.

It’s just endlessly useful for protection and offensive strategies. Always a good choice when thinking of something to add into a deck.


The Traps

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Champion’s Vigilance is another card that’s essentially dead when not used in conjunction with Dark Magician… But I love it so much that I couldn’t not include it.

When you have a level seven or higher normal monster on the field, anything your opponent does can be negated once.

They summon a monster? Negate and destroy it.

Activate a protecting spell card? Negate and destroy it.

Try to lower your attack with a trap card? Negate and destroy it.

I’ve had so many clutch moments where a field wipe with Dark Magic Attack leads to an immediate victory because you know the first thing they do next turn, likely summoning a monster, will just be a waste.

I do understand how unfortunately limited the card’s utility is, however. Not only is it a dead draw without Dark Magician available, but even if he’s available you still need a turn of placed face-down waiting before being able to activate it.

That’s why I only included one, to mitigate the risk of starting with three Champion’s Vigilance in an opening hand.

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The last card on my list here is another solid, generic defensive card.

When Wall of Disruption is activated, every face-up attack position monster your opponent controls loses 800 attack points for each monster they control on the field.

Though that means defense position monsters are safe, anything not in defense position can lose up to 2400 attack, which will neuter essentially everything in the game. That includes any monster that would negate directly targeting cards, since the Wall is non-targeting.

So take that White Night Dragon.

I mostly just have one of these here since Dark Magician being the strongest thing on the board is a risky thing more often than not.


Gosh, that was a slog to write out. Hopefully it’s just informative and explanatory enough to help anyone who doesn’t regularly play the game, though!

As I briefly mentioned way up at the top of this mountain of words, part of the reason I went through with this small project was discovering the ability to upload videos to YouTube for my own personal use here.

But not just that. In this case, I also figured out a way to record what’s happening on my phone screen.

As a result, please enjoy this sizable duel that I recorded as an example of the Dark Magic deck succeeding:

Though I didn’t have the opportunity to utilize my 1-2 combo of Dark Magic Inheritance in this match-up, I was able to pull off the Skilled Dark Magician tribute, which is a much more rare occurrence in my book.

Plus it’s a good example of Enemy Controller coming in clutch and saving the day.

Of course the magic of editing and selection means you all don’t have to see the many, many loses I accumulated before getting this successful match-up. As I noted throughout this post, many of the Dark Magician-specific cards are dead draws if their combo pieces aren’t available.

Despite those loses, I still think the deck is a lot of fun. And boy is it fantastic when you happen to draw just the right opening hand to demolish an opponent.

For example, this other duel I happened to save:

On the one hand I feel bad about how quickly I was able to demoralize this Bonz.

But on the other hand… God what a satisfying victory.

Also, side note, amazing how both videos wound up with the same thumbnail image. Totally didn’t plan that out or anything.

With that said, I suppose that wraps up my thoughts and advice on using an Arkana Dark Magician deck in Duel Links. Hopefully someone out there found this interesting and helpful, and if you did please let me know in the comments down below!

At the same time I’m interested in doing some more of these, so if there are any decks or cards anyone out there wants to see utilized in some way, shape or form, I’d love to take a crack at it. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated!

… So long as I actually have those cards, of course. But I’m sure you knew that.

If you made it this far, thanks so much for sticking with me! Hope you have a great rest of the day.

 

A lazy Sunday

As the weekend closes out with another relatively chill day, I find I don’t have a whole heck of a lot to talk about.

I don’t want to skip a day of writing, but at the same time I’d rather not fall into the clichéd territory of the post talking about how I don’t have anything to talk about. So instead, upon the advice of my sister, I’ll just debrief on exactly what I did today. Because why not?

The early morning was somewhat lazy. I slept in until the beast was roused by my parents, who wanted to make sure I was cognizant of the fact that they were leaving to go do chores with my grandparents and drop Aly off at a bowling party.

They figured after I spent time with the old folks the other day I’d probably prefer to stay home. Plus, someone needed to stay home to pick the girl up from her party, and as the third family member with a license and a car it all fit together perfectly.

Funny side story from this morning: My dad forgot his phone at home on the charger this morning. I found that out when I heard it ringing from upstairs, which is what led to me actually getting out of bed. I ran upstairs to see what was happening, only to find I’d missed the call coming in from mom’s phone by a matter of seconds.

The second I hit the icon to call her back, I heard my cell phone starting to ring.

From downstairs.

So I had to head back down, at which point I missed the second call and also lost the connection from dad’s phone since I don’t have the password to unlock it.

I called them back from mine soon after to let them know I had his phone, but overall it played out like an Abbott and Costello routine.

Once I was up and about, I had the opportunity to relax a bit. While watching some videos and eating cereal — the true sign of a successful Sunday — I did some more research for some scholarships I’m planning on applying for as well as some research into profiles I’m working on for Gladeo.

Plus I did my daily activities on Duel Links and Fire Emblem Heroes. Always have to get those out of my system, even when Legendary Ryoma continues to screw me over. Only two days left for that event… So we’ll see how things turn out.

Eventually I got the call to chauffeur the young one. Her party was set to end at 2:00 p.m.

Naturally she let me know at 1:50 p.m. or so.

So I pulled all of my stuff together and drove out the actually somewhat considerable distance to a place called PV Bowl, which is a rather popular destination in my family since I found out about the place through staff bonding days on the High Tide back in high school.

Once I picked her up we decided to go to lunch. There’s a large shopping center right across the street from the bowling alley where we popped into a Jersey Mike’s, followed soon after by a trip to Yogurt Land. My choice than hers, respectively.

Because she had a bunch of homework to do (given she still has another three weeks or so left in the school year) we went home after that. Even though she insisted we go to blindly wander some other store as a further distraction. Unfortunately someone had to be the good brother in the relationship.

Of course, that doesn’t mean she wasn’t able to persuade me to watch a few Vine compilations when we got home. They’re about her favorite thing on the planet, and I do appreciate indulging in the endless gutter of internet creativity on occasion.

Soon enough my parents got home with the week’s groceries, but I managed to get out of putting them away by heading out with my dad on a longish car ride back in the direction of Palos Verdes to pick up some KFC. There are much closer KFCs to home, but he brought a cigar along so it was clearly a drive to blow off some steam.

I was willing to indulge the long ride with nice company. It was nice to have some alone time to chat, catch up on life.

When we got home the night was pretty quiet from there on out. Aly finished her homework, we all ate chicken, we looked over the upcoming California Primary ballot, we watched Westworld (as mind-blowing and wild as ever) and then I started writing this up.

Simple and clean.

Cliché aside I really didn’t have a lot to talk about tonight, but I’m somewhat impressed that I was able to get a solid 800 words or so just talking about my day. It was kinda fun to debrief too, honestly.

I’ll probably try to pivot back to a post with a more defined subject tomorrow, but if you’re interested in hearing me just chat more about my days in the future, let me know. It might become my fallback for more lazy days coming up, frankly.

Music by Moonlight

Music by Moonlight

Probably a shorter one for you all today. I’ve been out quite literally all afternoon at this event and don’t necessarily feel awake enough to spend all night writing.

That said, I suppose I can’t complain too much about being tired since I had a great time at Jazz under the Stars today.

Jazz under the Stars is an annual end-of-year concert that’s put on by the Redondo Union High School jazz bands/music program. Given my little sister’s involvement with the musical performing arts in high school, it has become a yearly tradition for my family to attend.

In fact, I still remember last year quite fondly. During the night’s performances, I finally managed to unlock the cards I needed in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links to be able to play the at-the-time overpowered Gravekeeper’s deck.

That deck was really fun while it lasted in the meta.

My aside here, by the way, only exists because Aly told me she was annoyed that my last post about her music stuff was interrupted by my talking about video games.

So there you go Aly. Have fun with that side story.

But that’s enough being petty. I do actually have some nice things to say about tonight’s musical event.

The show altogether was about five hours of different performances out in the front lawn of the RUHS auditorium.

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A bunch of different bands and combinations performed, including the two primary jazz band classes at the high school (Jazz A and Jazz B, as convenient naming schemes have it), quintets of freshman in the program and of like-minded brass musicians, as well as some performances by the student band from Adams Middle School – which also happens to be an alma mater of mine.

One performance also featured some RUHS music program alumni coming out to play, and a few songs were done alongside the band director’s own high school band director/mentor.

I took the liberty of recording a couple of the pieces at the show, in part because Mom asked me to and in part because it offered me the chance to continue guinea pigging this whole uploading videos schtick.

Here’s one of the songs done by the Adams Middle School band:

And here’s my sister performing as a part of Jazz A (the advanced band, #humblebrag):

No idea how these people can keep performing for eight minutes at a shot. Musicians are some special kind of talented, man.

I do wish I had recorded the brass quintet as well, since they did a cute maneuver where most of the members started off hidden amongst the audience and walked up to the stage… But oh well.

Hindsight is 20/20 and all that.

Alongside all those performances was another display of talent by the school’s swing dance club. It’s apparently a frequently popular activity amongst band kids at RUHS, and my sister is also a part of that:

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She’s the one with the red hair if you hadn’t caught on just yet.

The night of music sitting out on a lovey Southern Californian plaza would be nice enough as is, but there were other parts of the event that I enjoyed.

Because Jazz under the Stars is the last major concert of the school year, the band director took an opportunity to salute a number of graduating seniors. It’s honestly kind of touching just how intimately he seems to know each and every kid with such a large collection year after year.

On top of that, the event was also full of little torch-passing moments. The middle school performance was one, as it was the opportunity to see some kids coming into high school.

I also caught this moment:

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Where Magic Moreno helped teach some kids how to work the sound board for the event.

However, arguably one of the best parts of the event was the food.

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See this tri tip sandwich? Yeah. Not sure I even have to say all that much more.

A guy named Kevin Pierre caters most of the band program concerts at RUHS and makes a hell of a steak sandwich. It’s always a highlight.

On top of that, there was also a gelato stand, a jarred pickle stand and a nut stand manned by an RUHS student who started his own business.

Pretty cool stuff.

That’s about all I’ve got to say about Jazz for today. Stay tuned for what will probably be a post talking about the end-of-year band banquet next week, but until then please go back and enjoy the Jazz Band A performance again.

Seriously still impressed me how long those guys can play.

Good Gladeo Housekeeping

Shout out to video games for making me push off this post for half a week.

Actually that isn’t totally fair. Yes, video games are a large culprit, but I have also been busy running around a bit doing chores and such. For instance I had a lovely time today going out with my mom and grandparents, Rhea and Joe, to get my Grandpa’s walker fixed before having lunch over in old town Torrance.

The walker couldn’t lock down, it had a screw loose, which is a bit of poetic writing in itself that is by no means lost on me. I love my grandparents, but they are getting up there.

Grandma does read my blog stuff on occasion though, and if this is one of those times when I just so happen to be vaguely making fun of them, then my apologies! You know I love you both a lot.

However I didn’t want to spend a huge chunk of this post, for as short as it’ll be, talking about my adventures with the old folks today. It’s just my excuse for waiting so long to finish writing the damn thing.

Instead I’d like to spend some time talking about Gladeo.

You all remember Gladeo, right? The internship I jumped into last summer that I’ve stuck with — despite an admittedly sizable chunk of time when I was dealing with medical issues and dropped the ball. But that’s beside the point.

Now that this summer is getting into full swing I’ve started to plan out more work that I’ll be doing for the nonprofit. Trying to find some industries to dig into, interesting representatives to interview, all that good stuff.

Part of that initiating work for me has been going through my blog/website here and fleshing out my ‘Gladeo work’ section. See, a few months back, Gladeo released a brand new, better optimized website. Before there was an awkward split with profiles on careers filling up one site while the highlights on people who work in that industry were on a different site.

Now everything is all together and it looks much more sleek.

Plus, there’s a better indication on the site showing who wrote what pieces, so it’s much easier to cite the profiles and such I’ve worked on if I decide to go out for more job interviews!

As a result, I revamped the Gladeo portion of my blog, like I said. Not only did I add in all of the pieces that I’ve worked on but haven’t had the chance to talk about because they were lost in the editing process as that new site was being finished, I also fixed the wording to reflect terms that we now use.

It isn’t ‘career profiles’ and ‘career highlights’ anymore. Now we’re calling them ‘career profiles’ and ‘spotlights,’ because even Michelle, the founder, realized that the similar nomenclature was a bit confusing from anyone looking in.

Really that’s about all I have to say on the matter, so if you’re interested in reading the work I’ve done for Gladeo you can now check out that page over on the right!

With some work already lining up, I’m hoping to update that page a good bit more over the next few months. I’ll be sure to keep everyone who’s interested in the loop.

In the meantime, if there’s anyone (preferably in the L.A. area) that’s well intertwined in a particular industry, be it entertainment, tech or anything honestly, that you think has an interesting story that could help the youth of the world determine whether they want to go into that kind of career, don’t be afraid to let me know.

I’d be very interested in talking with them!


P.S. In case anyone’s curious, the title of this post isn’t just me fellating myself for doing an amazing job changing a couple of minor details on my own website.

It’s actually a reference to this Yu-Gi-Oh! card name, which I thought had a nice ring to it.

What can I say, I have the game on the mind after discovering this amazing little thing earlier.

I hope Konami paid well for this little product placement.

The True Cost of a Shadow Game — Gaming Economies

The True Cost of a Shadow Game — Gaming Economies

I’ve wanted to write something on this topic for some time now, and after I declared Duel Links my favorite game of 2017 I figure it’s as good a time as ever to do something with the game. As strange as it sounds when mentioning that I’ll be talking about a nostalgic anime-based card game simulator, Duel Links in particular has piqued my interest regarding the different versions of in-game economies utilized by microtransaction-based games.

I can actually pinpoint exactly when I decided I was interested in delving into this topic. It was on October 23, when I took this screenshot of exactly what inspired me:

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For those of you who don’t play Duel Links and don’t understand exactly what this shows, I’ll elaborate on the subject in stages to give everyone a full understanding.

The main economy in Duel Links is based on gems. They are arguably the most valuable collectible in the game because you use them to purchase packs of cards from boxes.


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What are Card Boxes?

Yu-Gi-Oh! is a card game with a long, long history and easily hundreds of thousands of cards in its overall catalog. These cards are released in boxes that often correspond to one theme or another, and those themes can contain a variety of cards that fit together in closer-knit groups called archetypes.

As an easy example, a card pack that’s themed around Spellcasters might contain a number of monsters, spells or traps that support the Dark Magician archetype (made popular by the headlining character of the original anime series).

The mobile game Duel Links works in the same way, with Konami releasing boxes of cards at least once a month to try and catch up to the amount available in the real life trading card game. These boxes switch off on each release between a full box and a mini box. They are headlined by one monster that tends to have the most additional support in the pack. However, in full packs especially there are often a number of archetypes given support.

Servant of Kings was the seventh mini box in the game and one of 17 available as of December 31. It features Dark Magician of Chaos, which ties into the Dark Magician archetype I mentioned earlier, but beyond that frankly has a much more eclectic range of supportive cards than most mini boxes do.

With that general game context out of the way, now I can delve into the economy itself.

When buying card boxes, gems are your best friend.


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How are gems utilized?

The two kinds of boxes in Duel Links are similar but ultimately different animals.

~ In a single main box, there are 600 cards available which are split into 200 packs that players can open. Of the four card rarities, things break down like this:

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Cards from the “Galactic Origin” Main Box
  • 10 cards are “Ultra Rare” with one of each kind of UR card available
  • 24 cards are “Super Rare” with two of each kind of SR card available
  • 192 cards are “Rare” with six of each kind of R card available
  • 374 cards are “Not Rare” with eight or nine of each kind of N card available
  • Regardless of rarity, there are 100 unique cards to get in the box.

~ In a single mini box, there are 240 cards available which are split into 80 packs that players can open. Of the four card rarities, things break down like this:

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Cards from the “Echoes of Silence” Mini Box
  • Two cards are “Ultra Rare” with one of each kind of UR card available
  • Eight cards are “Super Rare” with one of each kind of SR card available
  • 70 cards are “Rare” with five of each kind of R card available
  • 160 cards are “Not Rare” with 10 of each kind of N card available
  • Regardless of rarity, there are 40 unique cards to get in the box.

Each individual pack contains three cards and can be purchased for 50 gems. A single pack purchase is always available to players, but as more gems are collected a larger collective buying option becomes available.

By that, I don’t mean you get a discount for larger purchases. Purchasing discounts are exclusive to spending real money on cards.

Rather, you simply get to do larger pack opening sessions the more gems you have. When you have 100 gems you can open two packs at a time, when you have 150 gems you can open three packs at a time, and so on. There’s a cap at 10 packs, which costs 500 gems.

In one sense, it seems strange to cap things off there. Yet 10 packs is a perfect place to cap things off because it breaks down the boxes in a digestible way.

Under the way this system has been set up, 500 gems becomes a recognizable baseline that players (or at least that I) aim for before opening packs.

By waiting to get to 500 gems before buying, the 600 cards in a main box are distilled into 24 pack opening sessions and the 240 cards in a mini box are distilled into eight pack opening sessions. That kind of bite-sized dividing is very clever because it gives players a goal to work up to and makes an intimidatingly large task into an easier, far more enjoyable series of tasks.

After all, it’s much more of an accomplishable idea to collect 500 gems eight or 24 times than it is to collect 4,000 gems for a full mini box or 12,000 gems for a full main box. Add onto that the graphical interface involved with each pack opening and you get that small scale addicting purchase system mobile games like this are known for.

That said, I haven’t even mentioning the fact that every box, in theory, should be opened three times.

In Duel Links, the deck you can build based on the cards you collect are limited.

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There’s a maximum of 30 cards usable per deck (with five extra deck cards for fusion monsters), and you can only have three of a given card in each deck – with the exception of a few cards that are on a limited list, of course.

When you start a duel, each player’s deck is shuffled and four cards are drawn. As a result, a deck should be built to offer the greatest odds of having cards that are needed to win in an opening hand.

As the game’s metagame had come to dictate, that means decks typically stick to the minimum 20 card requirement and have two-to-three copies of the important cards.

So, if you want those three copies of the ever-present Super Rare card Wall of Disruption in your deck, you need to reset the “Servants of Kings” mini box three times, since each box only has one copy. If that Super Rare is the last card you pull in all three of those boxes by sheer dumb luck, you’ll have to spend 12,000 gems in all.

Of course that also means it might not take every pack in the box to get all of the Super Rare and Ultra Rare cards, you could get them all right when you start opening packs for a given box.

That’s where I cycle back to what inspired me to do this post in the first place.

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In this run at the “Servants of Kings” box, I wound up having to spend exactly 4,000 gems to clean out everything because one of the two Ultra Rare cards was the last one I needed. Instead of getting a veritable bargain of 3,950 gems, I got stuck with full price.

Something about that really got into my head, and I decided to analyze this economic system after getting stuck in that position. I find that overall Duel Links has a far more reasonable economy in place than most mobile games, despite the fact that this project’s inspiration began with my being screwed over.


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How can you collect gems?

There are many ways to collect gems in Duel Links, and I would argue one of the best aspects of the game is the fact that there are certain means of collection that are limitless.

The chief means of collecting gems is leveling up.

Players advance through a series of stages in the game, with multiple missions offering challenges that impede advancement. These missions always include one that provides gems for completing every other challenge in a stage.

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However, the biggest collection of gems come from leveling up Legendary Duelist characters.

There is currently a level 40 cap on these characters (which has the potential to increase). As they advance through these levels players gain access to multiple rewards, including new cards and skills to fit that character or related archetypes, multiple concurrent deck building options for the character and gems.

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Levels 28 through 30 are the most satisfying when it comes to gem collecting.

All together, each character can gross 2,290 gems by leveling up to 40. With the recent additions of Bonz and Arcana as playable Legendary Duelists, there are 25 characters available in Duel Links.

Thus, you can get a grand total of 57,250 gems by leveling up each character to the max. Plus a couple dozen extra gems from overall player missions that additionally reward leveling up these characters.

While this is the primary pool of gems available in Duel Links, at the end it amounts to the equivalent of completely buying out four mini boxes if a player wants three copies of the Super and Ultra Rare cards.

In hindsight, not necessarily the most lucrative deal in a game with eight mini boxes and nine main boxes, with more being released about once a month.

Luckily, more characters are released fairly regularly and there are plenty of other gem deposits available to cash in on.

One of the more valuable but less consistent sources of gems are special giveaways for holidays, in-game events, the release of a new box and compensation for mistakes Konami has made (such as the game going offline unexpectedly).

 

A cache of gems also becomes available every month when the Ranked Dueling arena resets.

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As you play against other duelists around the world, you can get gems through ranking up and as rewards for reaching a certain amount of wins in a season. In fact, once you get the final displayed reward at 120 victories, every couple dozen victories will also give you 30 gems at a pop.

Similarly, a number of gems become available as periodic score-based rewards during things like Duel-A-Thons, Duelist Chronicles or limited time character unlocking events.

 

Beyond that, there are three “daily” small sources of gems to make use of.

I use daily in quotes because technically only one of these sources is a truly daily activity. That activity is watching a random duel recording from a match between two other players.

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Learn all the fanciest Player-versus-Player duel strategies from this fancy television box on the PvP Arena screen.

The other sources are technically daily but with some technicalities.

In the Duel School, players can take on a duel with a borrowed deck once a day that offers a random reward. On occasion, that reward is three gems:

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The other rewards this challenge cycles through includes 20 general keys, seven colored keys and 5,000 gold (easily the most useful of the three).

Not a lot, but it’s something.

As an added note, the Duel School also opens a few missions allowing players to practice new strategies available when a new purchasable card box opens.

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The new card box challenges include full duels with loaner decks and limited turn tests meant to show off specific combinations of cards.

The third “daily” source of gems is tapping environmental features on each screen of the overworld.

 

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  • The fountain next to the Legendary Duelist gate
  • The lanterns in front of the PvP Arena
  • The hologram card on top of the Shop
  • The trash can in front of the Card Studio

As an added note, the pictures I’ve displayed are from the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX world. The objects I mentioned are exactly the same in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! world.

These four can be activated at least once a day to get between one and five gems each, with the objects refreshing multiple times a day. That means if someone is lucky they can get 20 gems in a shot throughout the day.

Fair warning, however, more often than not each object only gives one gem at a time.

What really makes the system of gem collection in Duel Links special, however, is the fact that farming Legendary Duelists at the Gate offers an infinite source of potential gems.

When you spend a certain amount of keys collected by dueling Standard Duelists, you can battle one of the Legendary Duelist characters from the first two anime series. Duking it out with these higher level Duelists has a random chance of providing players with boxes of five, 10 or 15 gems a pop in their eight potential assessment rewards.

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The chance of getting gems is increased when considering the fact that bonus gems are rewarded in place of a skill that had already been unlocked.

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Even if this kind of gem earning is considerably more tedious than something like leveling up a character for large stipends, as I mentioned before one can battle Legendary Duelists as often as they want so long as they have the keys to spare.

Trust me, after a fair amount of time has been invested in the game, keys are no longer a concern.

If a player desires, they can grind up gems infinitely between taking on Legendary Duelists and Ranked Duels. When that idea meshes with the finite amount of collectibles available in Duel Links at one time, the true genius of the system shines through.

While nobody will likely ever collect every box-purchasable card through grinding alone because of how long it would take, it’s entirely possible to do so. The goal is achievable because you’re guaranteed to get everything in a given box eventually.

It’s way different than the system in other free-to-play mobile titles where random number generation applies to what you get at one time during a purchase, but the amount of options that random generation chooses between stays in a large pool each time.


Currently, this kind of system where I can consistently set goals and earn my way up to them in bits at a time is my absolute favorite form of microtransaction-based gaming because when I do feel frustrated seeing this:

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Recurring through-line for the win.

I’ll always know that I’m guaranteed to get that Man-Eater Bug in my next purchase no matter what. Then, once I have all three of them in my collection, I never have to look at that particular box ever again.

In my head, that’s a real, tangible sense of accomplishment.

Plus, let’s not forget that even if you don’t want to spend any gems, you can get tons of cards through Legendary Duelists, leveling up characters and through special events. These cards can either stand on their own or support card archetypes in certain boxes, so a player can pick and choose what boxes they want to buy from to build the decks they want.

I don’t throw the term around that often, but it’s a fairly genius way to handle things in my opinion.

Even if Konami releases card boxes a bit too frequently to make total purchase completion an achievable goal in a set timeframe without potentially spending some money anyway.

As one final note for any players curious about jumping into Duel Links: Do not ever look at the incessant phishing offers in the global chats.

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Those are always scams. End of story.

Based on this (I believe fairly comprehensive) guide I’ve put together on the economy of Duel Links, what do you think of the system they’ve put together?

In your opinion, are there other games that do the microtransaction push more fairly for players?

This kind of analysis is a longer project that I’m interested in delving into for other games as well, so if you enjoyed the post or have suggestions for how to make it better, please feel free to let me know!