The other day a friend asked me what it took to be a competitive Yu-Gi-Oh player these days. I thought about it for a bit, and told him finally, “You need money”. Sadly, that is what’s become of the Yu-Gi-Oh TCG in today’s world- if you want to play competitively, or at least go to a YCS, you need to have the money to get the cards that win.

With the release of Hidden Arsenal 7 and Lord of the Tachyon Galaxy, the meta shaped up rather quickly – it is now dominated by the decks that came out with those packs. At a YCS, you see a lot of players using Evilswarms, Spellbooks, and of course, Dragon Rulers. And who can blame them? Evilswarms essentially lock down most decks from summoning, Spellbooks search so fast that they can OTK during their next turn, and Dragon Rulers are so fast and consistent that they allow easy rank 7 Xyz summons every turn, not to mention their ability to regain hand advantage with Super Rejuvenation. These decks ARE very good, there’s no denying. So what’s stopping your every-day Yu-Gi-Oh player from playing them? Money trouble.

Just as money makes the world go round, it also makes the Yu-Gi-Oh world spin too. Konami realised that they could make some very good money by making the aforementioned decks expensive, so they did. That’s why you can go to any card shop or online and find that a Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack is worth around $130, or that Number 11: Big Eye is worth about $110. People might think that you could still play these decks without their boss monsters, and this is true, to a certain extent. Even without their practically unbeatable rank 7 Xyzs, Dragon Rulers are still very powerful, and Prophecy players don’t really need to Xyz summon, simply because High Priestess is too good (although she is worth $80). However, Dragon Rulers without Dracossack or Big Eye simply aren’t as good, because they lack that ability to destroy cards on the field and not get destroyed by anything, or to steal their opponents’ monsters. Evilswarms also need their boss monster- Evilswarm Ophion is want makes the deck so good to play.

Sure, you could play other decks that maybe aren’t as good, but many players feel that if you really want to play competitively, you need to play the highest tier decks, which means spending a lot of dough for your cards. For example, if you want to play Dragon Rulers, you need three Dracossacks and at least two Big Eyes. Considering how much they’re worth, you’d have to spend over $600 just to get them, and that’s not something every Yu-Gi-Oh player is ready to do.

If you plan on playing competitively, these are the kinds of questions you have to ask yourself. Is it worth spending so much money on cards just so you can play competitively? Or would you rather play a less expensive deck, and maybe not do so well at tournaments? The choice is yours, Yu-Gi-Oh players.