Why is the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Still So Popular?

Recently I was asked why I thought the game Yu-Gi-Oh! is as popular as it is. I went back and forth on my answer for a while. The conclusion I came to is that one of the things I hate the most about the game is actually the reason it persists long beyond many others of the genre: Change.

Yu-Gi-Oh! is an ever changing landscape of mechanics and styles. When the game was first introduced here in The States it was an unbalanced mess, but you had free reign to make any kind of deck you wanted, using whatever cards you liked the most. Over time the game balanced, partly due to the introduction of Archetypes. And that was a huge selling point as the game progressed; archetypes became a way to play a unique deck while not needing to be a master deck builder.


Now many people complain about the way archetypes have changed the face of the game, myself among them, but the concept was solid. Not only that, but even with everything archetypes have done wrong, they’ve been a godsend to the game by adding consistency to both the competitive and casual sides of the game. The other benefit to archetypes? Each one changes the way the game is played.

The same goes for the new Extra Deck monster types that are introduced with each new cartoon series: Synchro monsters, Xyz monsters, Pendulum monsters. Each one has forever changed the landscape of the game in an irreversible way. And that truly is a good thing.


As a long time player I want to play the game I fell in love with. I want to use the deck I lovingly built over weeks of pouring over my card collection. But, as a card game enthusiast, I don’t want my gaming to be the same all the time. I want to have six decks, each with their own play style. Changing the way the game is played over time allows for that kind of gaming mentality, while also making it easy for new players to get into the game. Because, as much as some people dislike it, if veteran players have to relearn the game while new players are learning it for the first time it creates an atmosphere that entices those new players to stay.

And new players are the lifeblood of any game that wants to stay on top. Change keeps the game fresh. Change keeps the game from getting stale. And while it is frustrating, change doesn’t mean the end of what we liked about the game in the first place; it just means a temporary departure. Konami has put effort into reviving old archetypes / deck ideas. This means that eventually that deck you built years ago can be made again with newer cards and mechanics. You’ll have to buy a bunch of new cards to do so, but let’s face it, if you’ve been sucked into this game you’re definitely okay with buying a bunch of cards.

What do you think? Tell us why you think Yu-Gi-Oh! has persisted as long as it has in the comments!

All opinions are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Deck Ape...or anyone else. Arrr!

Michael Allan

Michael is an Independent Author, known best for his debut novel "The Brothers of Blue Fire". He is also head of the Graphic Design group "Full Circle Endeavors", which provides book covers for Independent Authors at reasonable prices. And, of course, he blogs about the subjects.

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