So, if you've kept up competitively with the TCG for the past few formats, you will know about the theory of the Upstart Goblin article. To keep it short, it was lately popularised by an American player named Patrick Hoban whose theory was running 37 is better than 40 in the TCG because you see your core /combo cards more. Hoban is one of the best players in America and is also one of the best theorists whereby his explanations on cards, theories are very good. One of them was the theory on the skill curve, where skill is highest at the beginning of the format, and decreases exponentially as the format progresses. Although it has been very widely received in America especially, it has never showed much influence on the European meta or even anywhere in the OCG. Granted this is because OCG has a different meta with much better power cards and more powerful strategies to consider, I have decided to gather the thoughts of various players from Asia and Europe.
I chose 2 players from each respective region : Europe, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore.
I handpicked the players based on a couple of factors which are:
1) Accessibility. You wont see me interviewing HK or Taiwanese players because i cant really speak chinese, neither can i write in chinese, or even get in contact with them.
2) Number of tops/ relevance in the respective countries. Basically i will interview the best players who have made an impact over the past few years. To be 100% results oriented is wrong, but tops are a decent way to measure how relevant/ good a player is, without much bias. Hoban was always shunned but after he started his winning spree, everyone started accepting his theories.
3) How well the player knows the TCG meta. For example, some of the players in X country may be good, but IMO they may not keep up with the TCG as much. So, to avoid outliers, i decided to make sure that most of the players i interviewed have some background knowledge about the TCG.
PS: dont be offended if i didnt interview you ! I have only 2 players which is very few, so that the article isnt too long. Also, i may not be as close to you or even know you so. Also do note player preference exists in the OCG and is a widely accepted concept. So, do not be alarmed to see people mentioning on player preference.
So, basically, i asked every candidate what they thought about the upstart theory based on the TCG format, and whether they think running 37 cards is optimal/ and worth cutting other cards/techs out for the chance to draw more combo pieces. Also, i asked them to comment based on different decks in TCG such as otk-combo-grind deck like HRuler, straight otk decks like karakuri, and grind-combo decks like firefist.
Also, there's a written article here talking about the math of Upstart Goblin:
IDK if its accurate or not or the correct math can be found in some DuelistGroundz thread.
Here's what they have to say:
C1: Shahmir Roshidi- Shahmir has been incredibly consistent last year and have finished in single digit tops in every single tournament in Malaysia that he has gone to, meaning a 100% top ratio. To top it all, he occasionally keeps up with the TCG , and he knows his stuff so what better candidate !
(Take note some of these interviews were conducted on whatsapp, and FB messenger)
" It depends on the type of decks that use it. The best deck to use Upstart will be a combo deck, if not, i don't recommend running it. They need to get to their pieces faster. It also depends on what decks you view as combo decks, and how you wanna play those decks. Eg: TCG plays FF/ Mermail as combo decks but OCG doesnt. In DRuler Hieratic, i think Upstart isnt bad as the lp cost is negligible since the deck is more grindy and doesn't attempt to otk as often. I honestly dont get why players use upstart in decks like Windups and Firefists. There seem to be better choices. It depends on the decktype and the player's preference. All it does is make your deck 37 cards."
C2: Zack Teoh: Zack has been the most consistent player last year winning 2 whole events and topping every single sanctioned Malaysian event. I do not know how much he keeps up with the TCG but i decided to give him a brief overview of it beforehand so he has a clearer image. Here's what he has to say:
" My opinion on Upstart is that Upstart is good , but not all decks have the space/chance to play Upstart. Based on the TCG, i think Upstart should be run because the game play is slower so you need to access your cards more and the 1k is negligible unlike in OCG."
C3: Irwin Arogo: Irwin is the best player in the Phillipines now winning nationals back to back, winning Asia Plus, and winning every single other card game tourney like VG (he's represented Phil in multiple events), and has been successful in other games such as MTG.
" I think Upstart should be used in decks that only need to draw their key cards early, or benefits from spell card activations such as Prophecy in the previous formats. I don't like it because its like giving your opponent 1000 lp extra for no reason at all. For the part about cutting the deck to 37 to mitigate bad draws and drawing unnecessary cards by running less cards, i think that while deckbuilding, the player will not include cards that are situational or useless for their deck strategy. I don't think it improves consistency as much because its just a 1:1 spell, and it doesnt make too much of an impact. Its far different from Pot of Duality which can fix your draws and give you 2 extra options to choose from."
C4: Karlo Bonillo: Karlo is one of my closest Asian buddies and he has in depth knowledge about the game. He has several accomplishments in the past winning 1 or 2 events and topping at least 8-10 others, before he started slowing down and committing less to the game recently. He also has been keeping up with the TCG so he seemed like a suitable candidate. To Edsel and Jun (Elvis Agoto) i wish i could interview you guys too but i only could interview 2, and to Jun, i don't know you that well personally and I didnt know how much you kept up with TCG, and as for Edsel, i think you're busy with UNI and pilot training so yea.
" I prefer to play other useful cards compare to Upstart Goblin. IMO, cutting Upstart means you will reduce space on cards which could be helpful for your matchups. I value card space alot. 40 is the minimum for me and i wish to put other cards in my deck. I think Upstart is player preference, as it depends on what the player values more. Some players value consistency, but i value utility and having more options rather than just having my combo pieces. Since Hoban like it and it works for him well, then good for him. But for me its not worth the space"
C5: Alpay Engin: Alpay has shown consistency over large events in the past formats, and has shown exceptional performance in the last format. The 3 big players last format was Alpay, Joshua, and Michel (with Michel out of the competitive scene with an unreasonable ban #FreeGruner) .
PS: Alpay didn't talk much with me because he was driviung to school at the time of interview and he only said a few words. Furthermore, it was pretty obviuous his first language is not English so he may keep the interview short. Also, dont really know him very well personally.
" Yes , i think Upstart is quite good. I personally run it in Firefists. You need it to get to Tenki and resolve the 1st turn spirit play ASAP. Sorry, i'm driving to school now, hard life. Will I see you at Berlin?"
C6: Joshua Schmidt: Joshua needs no introduction along with Alpay. He topped every YCS in the past format, and finished top4 at worlds 2 years ago.
" Alright. i'm not a big fan of playing Upstart in every deck, playing 37 sure is nice, but its not as if its for free. I consider LP as a resource too and playing a game against more LP could lead to you losing in the long run due to having to spend more resources. Generally, i like it only in decks that need it like Geargia to get to their armour asap without much ways to accelerate. Or decks like heiratics which dont have many ways to get to their key cards aside from Upstart. Most of the time, I would rather just pick 3 other cards which can be good in various situations, and i think that is better most of the time as well."
C7: Wesley Seek: Wesley aka Lambyseries is a teammate and close friend and has shown himself to be one of the best players in Singapore (whether you like it or not) by being consistent in the last few events. Despite having a few months hiatus from the game due to army commitments, Wesley returned to competiive play and went top 4 at Singapore Open ; an impressive feat for someone who has taken a long break from the game for almost 4 months. He has always been like the Asian Hoban, having interesting and strange theories which he believed strongly in, some of them which can cause controversial discussions because it's different from the norm (such as maindecking red eyes, reborn in every single variant of druler, and siding Dprison VS Hanzo Hieratic in the 2012 March format), and some which are so accurately explained and thought of, you would just apply it straight away.
Here's what he has to say: (and it might be the best response out of the entire 8 players. He also wrote a fking thesis , and it took me a lot of time to type out what he had to say, so i hope you guys enjoy the response)
"In no way is Upstart a staple in everydeck because not every deck has the same purpose. By purpose, i mean the way it functions, its win condition, its playstyle etc. Its hardly a negative to thin the deck but not every deck should run it, why?
Firstly, is purpose: If we use otk as an example, you clearly wanna put 8k dmg on board ASAP with as much ease as possible. Considering the 1k gain, can u consistently get an extra 1k-3k dmg in with that extra thinning?
What are you intending to draw that justifies you drifting slightly further from your purpose to warrant running Upstart? With that said, i dont think Hieratics should be running Upstart. For Druler in OCG now, i think its viable because thinning for another colour, or obtaining the Dragon shrine is very crucial as your win condition and beginning of your resource pool resolves around utilizing your edrags and that is only obtainable when you have access to all of your colours ASAP.
So onto more popular decks like FF. Can you realistically otk with FF not consistently, or even hardly? Whats your win condition? To me, it is resolving Bear, getting those hits in, putting the pressure on opponent and generating advantage. So, yes FF should play Upstart since you wanna see bears, tenkis, tensus etc to pressure the opponent.
Upstart in geargiakarakuri? Well you dont wanna draw your karakuri tuner engine or the geargianos and MK2 early to fuel geargiagear. Sure drawing arsenal/armour t1 is important, but weighing the random 1 more draw to something precise like Duality, I would rather go with Duality because in this case, simply because theres the option of not choosing something that shouldn't be drawn early or not drawn at all.
Tldr; i believe Upstart shouldn't be played in outright OTK decks. It should be played in decks that can combo off or start winning with the early access to 1 or 2 cards (edrags, bear, nebradisk in OOparts, medraut, leopard, tenki, kaust + pollux, castor + verz, Yamato, Inzektor Damsel etc)
To conclude, dont run a card because someone runs it , run it because it makes sense. If someone runs it and it makes sense to you, then run it. Learn to doubt, and learn to question and not to follow blindly, know why things are done for certain reasons, then make the best decisions."
Last but not least we have :
C8) Anders Koh (DSummon)- Fresh off his win from YCS Sydney, i could not think of anyone else better to interview better! DS piloted an otk version of Karakuri to win the event. Karakuri, known as a combo deck should theoretically run Upstart.... right? Or maybe not? See what he has to say:
" Technically, the math involving Upstart makes sense. However it still depends on the deck build and what is is built to do. If its a deck like darkworld, Upstart is viable cos you need to see key cards and its meant to grind out for game with advantage. In my deck, i think upstart isnt viable since I need to deal damage quick and otk.
The main point i didn't run Upstart was because the deck was designed to end the game ASAP before your opponent starts to farm and make a comeback. (He attributes it to the slow pace format in TCG).
In a typical deck like Firefist which sorts of grind but doesnt really otk, it depends, but its all up to player's preference and build.
Personally, i think if you have to cut stuff for space in your maindeck, it makes no sense to cut on real traps or techs just to try to build consistency through your draws. Plus anyway, YGO is about lifepoints, and makes no sense to give your opponent free LPs just to obtain a little bit of consistency.
Also, there are cards like Exciton Knight which exist. If all you do is obtain consistency, and you have less answer to opponent's plays, doesn't make sense if your opponent can just clear your board and gain a massive lead just through an explosive play. Thats about all the thoughts in my head for now"
Like i mentioned in the previous post, blogging and articles are almost a dead trade because almost everyone knows about the theory etc and the important part of YGO is applying it in your games, and players should look to Youtube duel wideos as the way to go to learn YGO, observe plays and techs etc.
But i decided to make this post because it was interesting to see what people think about a certain theory. Hopefully you enjoyed the post.
As of now, i would like to make a conclusion and give my opinions, but its late and i wanna head to bed, but let me know what you think in the comments below ~
That's all for today.
ANW A FRIEND TOLD ME TO GIVE A SHOUTOUT TO HIS FRIEND'S YOUTUBE CHANNEL SO CHECK IT OUT http://www.youtube.com/user/YGOEscapade?feature=watch
THERES ALSO A GIVEAWAY SO JOIN IT~