How to Revitalise Yu-Gi-Oh! Post COVID

Hey there card game fans. Ya boi CJ coming out with what I think is a rock solid plan to kick off Yu-Gi-Oh! organised play in 2021. Bear in mind that I’m making some assumptions about inter-state borders and pandemic numbers and all that jazz, but I feel these are reasonable. I’m also not a YGO player, I realised quite early on that I am the bad at card games, but what I am awesome at is planning events and knowing what players want.

Yu-Gi-Oh! (okay lets just say YGO, its easier to type…) hasn’t seen a major event all 2020. No YCS, no Worlds, no States, no Nationals, no LLDS. Nothing. And the playerbase is suffering for it. There’s less engagement, less excitement, and less locals turnout.

So how do we fix this?

Step 1: No YCS January 2021

We all know it’s not happening, our interstate borders don’t look like they’ll open before Christmas, and planning a YCS takes a big chunk of time and downpayments. So I’m not holding it against anyone that YCS 2021 can’t happen in January. Similarly, Worlds 2021 is unlikely to happen due to US and European infections still being active with little sign of slowing down.

Step 2: LLDS Mar/Apr 2021

Since engagement of players is the major problem, and re-motivating them to get into the swing of things is the goal, the year should start off with a circuit series like the LLDS. Put bums back in seats, get players into the competitive spirit, and send a very clear message that 2021 is a year of revitalisation!

Step 3: Announce YCS June/July

So if we can’t have YCS January, we can at least start planning YCS July right? Same event structure, Sydney or Melbourne venue, just in the middle of the year. And (as you’ll see is a running theme for me…) anncounce the thing in Jan/Feb. Give your players time to get excited, time to plan decks, plan accommodation and get their cards together. Australian YGO has been plagued by some very late announcements of major events these past few years and that needs to become a thing of the past.

Step 4: Announce States/Nationals for Sept/Oct

Since we’re likely not getting a Worlds in 2021, there’s a gap in the back end of the year for major events. States and Nationals can fill that quite easily, and with using the stucture proposed for 2020, will fill that block nicely. Of course, the bonus of tickets to Worlds isn’t a thing…unless you plan for a Mega-Worlds in 2022. Extra tickets, bigger event, huge hype, the lot. Then your Nationals can feed directly into that player pool.

Step 5: Rethink how Releases work

Currently, most players’ first look at new YGO cards are in the week leading up to release, when someone somewhere gets early access to and leaks the contents of your new set. As an ex-MTG player, the fact that Konami doesn’t do a spoiler season, or at least a set announcement themselves is a huge wasted oppotunity. Konami is trying to sell the set, and aren’t generating any hype in the TCG for their new product.

Dear Konami: Get out there, 1-2 weeks before set release and display your new cards (in their TCG rarities) on the vast array of networks available to you. You’ve got community FB channels, your own FB channels, Youtubers, websites (like us!), and you’re using none of them. Time for Konami/YGO to catch up and jump into the 21st century. You’d see a sales jump as a result.

On this point, we at ATGN might be given product for review before release, but are bound by strict embargoes that prohibit publishing until street date. The ship for our opinion to matter has well and truly sailed by that time. People have opened the boxes, seen the leaks, and we’re not able to do the job of PR as well as we can for other games.

So there you have it, a clear plan for not only re-introducing competitive play to YGO 2021, but growing the game by increasing player engagement.

If you’ve got your own ideas, or want to add something to that plan, leave a comment below. If you agree, give us a signal boost. Konami, you know where to find me if you need it 😉

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