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Leave Your Ego At The Door

Doors Flickr - brad montgomery Have you noticed, by watching YuGiOh duels on YouTube, playing in your locals or even playing online, the number of YuGiOh players who have seemingly huge egos? You know the type that are bragging about their playing skills, berating the play of others, and thinking they are just better than anyone else.

If you are serious about winning games, you should leave your ego at the door when playing YuGiOh.

The main problem with bringing your ego to the dueling table is that it may influence your decision making. Remember that the goal in YuGiOh is to make the correct decisions at the table, the ones that will win you the most games on average. You introduce a new goal when you bring your ego to the table. You now want to win the most games you can while keeping your ego intact. This new goal might result in you making a different decision than you would have made otherwise, nearly always a worse one.

Your ego may lead you into several traps at the table, the following seven being the most common:

1. You might set cards that you shouldn’t.

Psychologically, losing set cards is like surrendering, which is equated with defeat. In an ego-fueled game, setting a lot of cards can seem extremely unattractive, especially if you think there is a chance you have the best hand. When contemplating setting cards, the questions going through your mind should be things like:

What is the probability my opponent has the Heavy Storm?

If they do, what are the chances of me drawing cards to handle the situation?

Am I getting the correct reads from my opponentl?

What is the likelihood that my opponent is bluffing?

Undue influence from your ego may lead you to consider irrelevant factors and think irrelevant thoughts such as:

Will I look like a fool if I set to many cards? Like setting my 2 Bottomless Trap Hole.

Will I look stupid if I don’t set the right cards and he shows a bluff? Like setting my Solemn Warning when he has only 1 set card and 5 in hand.

2. You might allow a personal feud to cloud or override your judgment.

YuGiOh is by nature a confrontational game. It is only natural that conflicts arise and players start to hold a grudge against one or more of their opponents.

The unfortunate result is that you might let a grudge lead you into bad decisions. You might go out of your way to try to get one over on your nemesis. You may make overly agressive plays that just don’t pan out.

3. You are likely to try too hard to get even.

Remember when we mentioned earlier that it is a bad idea to try to “get even” when you are stuck in a duel? One of the reasons you might try to do this is because of ego. Nothing hurts a player’s ego like losing a match to the one person who brags about winning all the time.

But some players don’t. They will stubbornly keep playing in the hope that they can at least win a game and salvage some pride. The more they lose, the more they will want to try to win at least one game in a match. It is a vicious circle that could have been avoided if their ego had allowed them to walk away after losing a comparatively small amount of games.

4. You might play in games you can’t win.

Players with big egos do not like admitting that they are outclassed, even to themselves. As a result, they may play in games that they simply can’t win.

5. You might make plays to impress your opponents.

Sometimes you will be tempted to make plays that look good even if they have little chance of working. Your ego is interfering with your decisions if you are making crazy plays that only work once in a blue moon so that you can slam your cards down and say “Who’s Your Daddy Now!”

6. You could inadvertently give away information to your opponents.

You will repeatedly see players demonstrating their knowledge of the game at the YuGiOh table. From a strategic perspective, there is no advantage in doing this. If your opponents are weak, then it doesn’t pay to advertise yourself as the table predator. On the other hand, if your opponents are strong players, you would like them to view you as a weak player in the hope they play incorrectly play against you as a result.

7. You might scare away players who you would rather play.

Of course, the nasty end of this verbal posturing is when decent but egotistical players berate and belittle other players for what they perceive as bad play. This is not only unpleasant, but is also completely asinine from a YuGiOh point of view. Poor players should be nurtured and cherished. Poor players make YuGiOh profitable for winning players and less costly for average players. If you look at bad players as your “customers,” it is easy to see that berating them is just not good business practice.

These same players may have cards you need or want. If you treated them bad, they most likely will not want to trade with you. So guess who loses out?

Learning to suppress or at least control your ego will help you avoid these seven pitfalls. Your ego is the enemy. Work on eliminating it just like any other deficiency in your game.

6 Responses to “Leave Your Ego At The Door”


I gotta say this article is really good. I sadly have problems with most of these things you listed. I am one of the top players at my locals and that kinda gave me a big ego. After reading this, I’m gonna definitely have to watch my ego.


@matt – thanks for the support. Glad this will help you out. I’ve played against several people that had huge egos. It felt really good beating them. Not just once but twice.

Keep playing good YuGi’s!

infuriated duelist | August 5th, 2012 at 1:55 pm

At my local there has been the same group of *expletive* ego maniacs keeping people from having fun for like a million years. As a result, slowly each year we lost at lest 2-3 people. As a result, these jerks just end up playing each other get the same tops every *expletive* tournament. This has to be some sort of rank stacking, cheating if you will. E-mail me if there is even a remote thing I can do to bar this madness from continuing.


@infuriated duelist – Sorry to hear you have to go through some jerks at your locals. I’m not sure how you local store owner runs their tournament, but ours use a computer to for pairing each round. Thus we don’t have any issues with rank stacking. If your locals does not use a computer, maybe you can get these guys to play in the earlier rounds. This way some of them get at least 1 lost and their chances of topping drops.

The only other thing I can say is for you to beat them. Play cards that hurt their deck and beat them. Once they loose they tend to not be as much of a jerk, at least to you. I’ve never had to deal with those issues since I’m old enough to be their daddy.

Good luck and let me know how it goes with you.


I hope almost everyone near my area reads this…. I have people in my area who will try to play against my Inzektors with a structure deck and say they will win…. Let`s hope they understand that ego is misleading.

[...] And this commitment to excellence must be maintained. I’ve seen many player at my locals rise to excellence and then, impressed with their own success, begin to slack off. They get complacent and sloppy and lower their level of commitment to the game. They become cocky and arrogant within themselves, thinking that their previous success will automatically translate to current and future success. They put their ego into the equation and they should have just left their ego at the front door. [...]


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