Dueling: Anime Vs Real Life
The Yu-Gi-Oh card game can be challenging to learn, but once mastered, playing's a lot of fun. Well, at least when you're not dueling against cheaters. Like almost every character in the anime. Don't believe me? Well, let's take a look at just how many rules of the official card game are broken by those ludicrously-haired fools.
Pay attention, there will be a quiz later.
1. Summoning into Defense Position
For those who don't know, when you play a monster card, you put it into either Attack or Defense position. If you choose to summon it into Defense, the monster card is "set" face-down, preventing your opponent from seeing what it is. The card will be flipped face-up if it's attacked or you later choose to switch it to attack position. Not too hard, right?
Apparently it is for Yu-Gi-Oh characters. Almost every duelist in the first four series will summon monsters into Defense mode face-up; face-down monsters (an integral part of the game) virtually never make an appearance. In the real game, many monsters are even designed for the face-down position, and will utilize "flip" effects when turned face-up. However, thanks to the anime's rules, these flip effects can't happen. Yugi, if you've got time to dye your hair two colors and spike it, you've got time to learn face-down position.
To be fair, the most recent anime (Arc-V) has actually started utilizing face-down monsters. About time you got your cards in order, Konami.
2. No Forbidden/Limited Cards
Some cards in the game are considered somewhat overpowered; thus, in official play, they are either entirely banned or limited (meaning you could only have one or two copies in your deck instead of the usual three). Now, if you get together and play with your friends (assuming you have any; we duelists are not known to be social butterflies), you can use whatever rules you like. Un-ban the forbiddens, go crazy, whatever. But in official play, remember that many cards aren't even allowed.
Yet, in the anime, even when playing in worldwide-tournaments, every card is fair game. More than once, we've seen a duel where too many copies of a limited card were played, and the duelist should have automatically lost. Would losing due to using forbidden cards make for an exciting episode? No. But would it accurately simulate how a real-life tournament would go if someone played those cards? Yes.
Oh, and for any curious, the frequently updated forbidden/limited list can be found here.
3. Checking the Effects of Opponent's Cards
Any duelist worth his or her salt knows to read the effects of their opponent's cards. When your adversary summons a monster (unless they're first set into face-down Defense mode), you're allowed (and encouraged) to read the effects of that monster. Well, duh, it makes sense. If you weren't able to read opposing monster effects, your rival could easily cheat by making up new effects.
So why is it then in every anime, duelists are surprised by card effects? As soon as a monster (or magic/trap) comes out, its capabilities should be immediately revealed. Even Arc-V proves guilty of this fault. Yea, I get that leaving a monster's powers a surprise makes for better tension, but it's yet another difference between real life and anime.
Similarly, cards in your and your opponent's Graveyard (discard pile) are always allowed to be checked, yet no one in the anime ever does, often to their later chagrin.
4. Made-Up Card Effects
If duelists failing to assess their opponent's cards upsets you, wait til you hear this: Anime cards are often entirely different from their real-life counterparts. Monster cards are particularly vulnerable to this. Usually, their Attack/Defense will be the same as their real-life versions.. but their effects differ. Typically, the effects are skewed towards the anime's favor, offering our protagonists strategies we could never employ. Occasionally, you'll find a card whose effectiveness is actually hampered in the anime. For example, examine a favorite card of Arc-V protagonist Yuya: Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon. In the show, this monster doubles battle damage when battling level five and above creatures; in real life, it'll double damage against any opponent. A subtle change, yes. But one that could easily make a large difference in a duel. Minor changes like these are the norm for the anime, and occasionally you'll even a spot a huge difference between effects.
4. Starting Life Points
Here's a small change: in anime duels, each player's Life Points usually begin at 4000, half the normal amount. Why? It helps keep the matches concise, allowing the duelists to make comebacks that defeat an opponent in a single turn. And that's exactly why official play has duelists begin with 8000; if one player gains the advantage, the other usually still possesses enough life to have another turn (and thus, opportunity to turn the match around). Shame on you, Konami, shame.
5. Whatever the heck happened in Season 1
Pandemonium. A great word to describe the mess of a card game that occurs in the Duelist Kingdom arc of the first series. Basically, the "rules" for the game fluctuated each episode in order to make it look like the antagonist was ahead. Here's some examples:
- Duels may begin with only 2000 Life Points.
- Only one monster could attack each turn. Sometimes. Confused? Me too.
- Machine-type monsters are immune to non-physical attacks. Basically, Machines were ultimate.
- Monsters played in their "favorite terrain" automatically power up.
- Some trap cards automatically activate; their owner cannot choose when to play them.
- Players can summon a bunch of monsters in one turn. Plus, stronger ones don't require tributes. Hey, if you're gonna screw the rules, go all the way, right?
Bonus: Card Games on Motorcycles
Aka, Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's. Yea, to my knowledge, we don't have official tournaments where players duel and race motorbikes. And if we do, let me know - those sound like worthy minions to join my dastardly cause. Now, how about that aforementioned quiz?