Childhood Nostalgia – My First MTCC Yu-Gi-Oh! Tournament

The ambient buzz that filled the convention hall simmered down as the announcer signaled the commencement of the event. People of all ages took their seats and pulled out little boxes filled with cards. As some laid out colorful mats on top of their tables, invigilators went around the room and collected little pieces of paper from each seated individual. On the top of each slip were the two bold words – “Deck List.”

This past December, I took part in my very first Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament at the Metro Toronto Convention Center. For those who don’t know, Yu-Gi-Oh! is a strategic trading card game that is originally based on the Japanese manga written and illustrated by Kazuki Takahashi. I’m a huge anime nerd and remember waking up early each morning before school to watch classics like Digimon, Pokémon, and Naruto. While I never really got into the whole collecting cards for Yu-Gi-Oh!, I was intrigued by the anime and I saw the whole franchise as a fantasized version of chess.

Flash forward a couple of years, and I noticed an event on the Metro Toronto Convention Center Winter Schedule that was listed as “Yu-Gi-Oh! Regionals.” Before I knew it I was researching viable decks and trying to see what would be something fun to play around with at the Regionals. Yu-Gi-Oh! cards have, hands down, some of the best artwork I’ve seen in a game. Some archetypes of cards, especially the ‘Bujins’ and ‘Elemental Heroes,’ have fantastic-looking support. While a camera doesn’t really do justice to the art, I’ve posted images some of my favorite cards below.






The rules are simple – each Player starts out with 8000 lifepoints and when a Player’s points are depleted, they lose the duel. There are three types of cards – Monsters, Spells, and Traps. Monster cards have attack and defense points, types and attributes, and many useful effects. Hacking away at an opponent’s lifepoints with an attack-position monster is the most common way of reducing a Player’s points to 0. Spell cards generate advantage and can be used to create devastating combos. Traps are most often used defensively to discourage the opponent from attacking with Monsters, and to disrupt an opponent’s combos. I won’t go into the specifics of the game, but I have provided a link to a beginner’s guide here.







While the game does come down to chance draws, especially when you need that perfect combination of cards for a powerful play, Yu-Gi-Oh! incorporates a ton of strategy with its risk versus reward framework. Do you haphazardly use that ‘Mystical Space Typhoon’ to blow away your opponent’s facedown spell and trap cards, or wait for a more opportune time to use it? Or do you make that powerful play right now and risk running into a ‘Mirror Force’ or ‘Dimensional Prison,’ or play defensively? The mechanics of cause and effect are bluntly apparent in Yu-Gi-Oh! as each action from a Player can result in a dramatic shift in the momentum of a game.

The deck that I decided to play at the Regionals was an old-fashioned ‘Monarch’ build that focused on filling the field with large Monsters and gaining card advantage through their effects. My decklist is as follows:


Monsters (22):

3 Majesty Fiend

3 Vanity Fiend

2 Caius the Shadow Monarch

1 Mobius the Mega Monarch

1 Raiza the Mega Monarch

1 Thestalos the Mega Monarch

3 Mecha Phantom Beast Hamstrat

3 Battle Fader

3 Ghostrick Jackfrost

2 Cyber Dragon

Spells (15):

3 The Monarchs Storm Forth

3 Return of the Monarchs

3 March of the Monarchs

3 Pot of Duality

2 Mystical Space Typhoon

1 Raigeki

Traps (5):

3 Royal Decree

2 Wiretap


While I didn’t get very far in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Regionals (I had a record of 3 losses and 2 wins), it was really fun to take part in! It was a little surprising to see people of ALL ages participating in the tournament, and the experience washed away the stereotypes that I had about the game. What’s your favorite anime or game that you enjoy playing with friends? Let me know in the comments section below.

Until next time,



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