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 The importance of automatic plays

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Join date : 2012-02-08
Age : 26

PostSubject: The importance of automatic plays   Thu Oct 09, 2014 7:48 am

The importance of automatic plays

Sup, friends and enemies. Today I'm going to demonstrate a simple concept to you on how to increase your in-game skills pretty quickly. Time and time again people complain about misplaying a lot or getting outplayed. Some of them blame their losses on luck and can't recognize that they are at fault, some are reasonable, but end up in frustration, because they just can't find a way to fix the problem. This article mainly serves to help these kind of players. However, it can also be applied to progressed players, since I think that it should definitely be part of any duelist's repertoire.

Ok, let's get started:

Let's say we have 2 players of the same caliber. One of them just picked up a Burning Abyss deck and wants to duel his buddy, who surprisingly enough runs the exact same deck, except he already played it all through last format. It's not a surprise that the second player won most of the matches. The first player misplayed a lot throughout the testing session: He either didn't know what to do and made suboptimal plays, took way too much time to make a move, or even froze and didn't do anything but passing. He also made many mistakes in regard to rulings, mistakes that his playing partner could capitalize on to steal games for nothing. He also felt that he always was one step behind, that one failure led to another and that he finally lost track of what was going on during the game.

So what's the difference between both of these players? They run the same deck, they have the same experience, they had the same luck during testing. Is the first one a complete scrub and the second one a highly gifted professional? You know that that is nonsense. In fact, the answer is very simple: The second player didn't have to think about what he was doing most of the time.

Making a correct play, without having to think about it, is what I call making an automatic play.

The truth is that in a tournament situation (or any situation in the game for that matter), you don't have the time to think about each and every move you make and remember every little detail and ruling. It would cause too much stress, which would lead to massive misplays and embarrassment. Your in-game goal as a duelist should be focusing on actually relevant plays and complicated scenarios. That's more than enough effort already. Trying to remember both basic and complicated moves, while thinking about reads, while thinking a few turns ahead, while thinking about what might be in your opponent's hand, and so on and so forth, is just ridiculous and it's never going to work. Try to memorize a phone book in 10 seconds. You are not some alien superbrain with photographic memory. So not only are pro players better than average or bad ones (in the sense of skill), but they also don't have to stress about common scenarios. Pro players have so much experience and insight in the game of Yu-Gi-Oh!, that playing optimally is deeply integrated into them, like a habit, without them having to think much about it.

There's also the phrase "autopilot deck", a deck that is premade and requires little skill or experience to use. Yes it's true that some decks are easier to play than others on the surface, that Satellarknight is more straightforward than Shaddoll, but with enough work and dedication any deck can and should be turned into an autopilot deck. Besides that, even autopilot decks require decision making. Just throwing that out there.

I'm not telling you turn your brain off completely, I'm telling you to put your attention on important maneuvers, on reads or complicated combinations, everything else should be automatic!

Now that you have grasped the concept, that thinking too much is bad and that thinking less is actually a good thing, I will show you some ways to improve your automatic play:

Use 1-2 Decks

Concentrate on using only 1-2 decks until you have mastered them. By doing that, you will remember combos and rulings much faster, because you will see the same cards over and over. The opposite of that is trying out a new deck without having properly learned the old one. That way you would forget everything you've gathered about any archetype. You would always be stuck on the same level and all of your testing and research would be for nothing. Jumping from deck to deck will get you nowhere.


This is one of my favorite ways to increase my automatic play capability and the best thing about it is that it can be done completely on your own without needing a playing partner. Goldfishing means playing against yourself or an imaginary opponent, while testing the strategy and practicability of your deck.

Basic Goldfishing

In Basic Goldfishing you literally just play by yourself. You draw your opening hand, then play out the cards, summon monsters, activate effects, set spell or trap cards, try out combos. You can practice it for every game state, early, mid or late game, depending on when you want to stop drawing additional cards. If you don't know how the deck works at all, you can just put every needed combo piece into your hand and start practicing.


Advanced Goldfishing

In Advanced Goldfishing you simulate a playing partner. You build the decks you are expecting to face at your next tournament (or matches if you don't play in tournaments), then play out both players' hands and combos. The most important part about this is not lying to yourself: Play as if you don't know your opponent's hand or backrow. This is quite difficult to do and impossible to accomplish completely, but you should still stick by it. With having an opponent , albeit not a real one, playing out your cards and remembering everything will be a lot harder, but it's the better way to develop automatic play skills. It can also show you if your deck is functioning at all, or if it's not worth investing time into so you pick another one before putting in all that work.


I'd recommend doing this on Dueling Network, because you probably will not have all the cards available and proxying everything would take too much time. Goldfishing should be done up to half an hour per day in the first few weeks in which you have started running the deck, then decreased later on when you know about most of your deck's playing sequences.

Read every card of your deck several times

Read? Yes R-E-A-D. Everyone is guilty of this one and so many players don't actually know what their cards do. Go over every single card of your deck, slowly and thoroughly. Take as much time as you need and do it several times a week. Did you know that Batteryman Charger can summon from hand, too? Or that Sinister Shadow Games can flip up face-down Shaddoll monsters after it has been used? Too many people (myself included) seem to miss those little things. So make sure that you read your stuff.

Familiarize yourself with the meta decks

You should have a good idea about what's going on in the current metagame. Do a research on every popular deck of the format, find out the strenghts and weaknesses of said decks. I also recommend building and testing them a bit, even if it's only a standard version. The premise behind this is simple: You have to think less if you know what's coming. Do you know what the advantage of rogue decks is? They take away the opponent's ability to play automatically. The opponent is suddenly unfamiliar with the rogue deck player's card choices and doesn't know many rulings about the deck he's facing, if any at all. He's caught by surprise and that will definitely cause a lot of misplays. If you are planning on picking up a rogue deck, you should read this paragraph twice as much as anyone else. If you don't prepare adequately, you won't be able to use one of your biggest advantages, because if both players don't know what they are doing, then the player with the better deck will win , i.e. the meta player. Not having a clue about the meta is a huge drawback for any duelist, so don't be lazy and do your research.

Look up every ruling of your deck

Welcome to knowing what your cards do part 2. Look up every ruling of every relevant card of your deck on Wikia or use Google. Ruminating about rulings during a match is one of the worst feelings you can experience as a player and often you will either freeze and overthink too much, or let somebody get away with things that they shouldn't get away with. If you aren't familiar with basic rulings, don't feel ashamed and just read the rulebook. Look up SEGOC, chain links, missing the timing and learn about the Damage Step, too. The more you know, the less you have to think and the less you have to think the more you can concentrate on the actual game. Bonus: Look up every ruling of every meta deck. This should be done optionally if you can find the time and definitely if you plan on entering a big tournament. By the time you enter a tourney you should know any important ruling of any common played deck in your area. What I suggested doing right now, is the bare minimum. If you want to become a ruling expert, or a Judge even you have to expand your knowledge and look up way more specific rulings.

Choose a deck that fits your playstyle

A deck that is fun for you to use is way easier to pick up and learn than a deck that you're completely uncomfortable with. If the deck fits you like a glove and you love using it, there's already an automatic play factor involved. The harder way is to use a deck that you don't like at all, which can and will be boring and frustrating to master, but depending on it's status it could give you more wins in the long run and also develop your abilities. It's up to you which one you choose, although I'd recommend not killing yourself over trying to learn something that just isn't for you. On the other hand, don't take this advice too far and only use tier 1 or 2 decks. The exception to this recommendation are beginners, they should always play the best deck, regardless of their playstyle.

Play and Playtest a lot

This one goes without saying. This is where the wheat separates from the chaff. Knowledge is power, but dead knowledge is useless. The purpose of everything you've just read is to use it in reality. Depending on where your goals in the game are, you should at least play a few matches every couple of days or if you are preparing for a tournament, hour long testing sessions against relevant matchups multiple days a week. It all depends on you and how much work you want to put in. There is no substitute for experience. If you truly want to improve, you have to play against better players. By losing to better players, you will analyze your mistakes and try to figure out what they are doing differently from you, you'll wonder why they are more successful. They'll force you think harder. If you only play against bad players or the same teammates over and over again, well there goes your learning curve. Get on a good team, test with the expert players, participate in online warring. Just to make this clear: You are definitely not as good as you think you are. You are only as good as your competition. By gaining a lot of experience against good players using good decks your ability to make automatic plays will go through the roof.

If you are losing constantly change the deck immediately

There's no point in doing all of the above and putting in hard work just to continually lose Yu-Gi-Oh! matches. You have better things to do with your free time. If you aren't sure about your deck choice, always pick the best deck. That's the safest bet you can make.

After practicing like that for a while, the chosen deck becomes "your deck", you will know exactly what to do in most usual scenarios.  Depending on your deck choice, this process can take anything between a few weeks or a few months, but it's definitely worth the time and effort you put in. Playing automatically is the centerpiece of your in-game skill, in my opinion.

Aight, that's it for this article. Hope I've helped some of you and hopefully I can show you guys how to side deck before I start studying again. 'Til then and see y'all.


Scorpion67: im so gangovered !!! im  starting to hate alchoool
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