Finally, we finnish!
Difference in playing:
I can’t say much for this, but I wanted to touch on it – for my experience of magic at least, it seems a lot more…planned. You can have a game plan of turn 1 preordain, turn 2 squadron hawk, turn 3 sword, turn 4 equip, attack, mana open to leak, etc etc, and have it work out half the time. It can make for similar games. Yu-Gi-Oh has this to some extent, but I find most of the time you take your cards as you get them, with more of an overall plan than turn by turn basis. However, this is countered in commander, where generally the only play you have is when to play your commander and everything else is up for grabs. But it seems to happen in standard – minimum deck size games. It may not always, but it seems to often enough that I should comment on it. For example, my flyers plan is T1 vault skirge, T2 Squadron Hawk, T3 Aven Mimomancer, T4 2 Hawks, T5 Grav shift for game. And while it can alter slightly or slow down a turn, it rarely makes a massive change in game plan.
Now this is pretty much completely opinion reliant. Yu-Gi-Oh opts to adopt the manga style of Japan. Magic takes the western fantasy style. Both work very well in the respective settings and I like them both, where which I prefer depends on the independent card. Both good styles, for different reasons, and since its so depending on context I can’t say much more than this.
Finally, I come to this. Both have elements. In Yu-Gi-Oh, there is no overall set theme, instead many mini themes. Each monster type typically has a or multiple themes within it. The advantage of this system is that you start off with a decent ground, and can add an odd card here and there as sets go on. If you make a theme about say, Vampires in Magic, and they didn’t work quite as well as planned, for the standard game at least you just have to deal with it. Since Yu-Gi-Oh has no ban list, you can just add it in later and help out. Which is nice. But I digress.
The mini themes are nice. Gladiator Beasts to Six Samurai to Frogs. You can make a theme deck if you want, or you can go on random cards, or a more subtle theme such as Chaos. It’s nice to see these mini themes over all the sets. But magic takes a different approach. Each set of non-core set sets is creating a new world or revisiting another, creating an overall feel rather than odd pieces. You could argue here that this makes Magic have improved flavour. And I’ll agree. The effort it puts in is awesome and can really create a different feel – and that’s all good. But it can be limiting. A designer has a really good card idea but it does not quite fit, so they may wait several years to see it. Yu-Gi-Oh can always find space, and this can be really helpful for subtly helping an old theme become apparent again. And each mini theme still has a distinctive, fun playstyle. Both have merits, but for outright flavour Magic comes out top, but the likes of Gladiator Beasts should not be discarded(geddit).
I actually almost forgot. An essential part of magic. It has a similar representative in Yu-Gi-Oh, but not one that matters nearly as much. The colours. Magic is splint into five colours that really each do their own thing. This is one advantage of the mana system I forgot to cover. It allows you to limit what decks can do what – If you want to draw cards with blue and destroy creatures with black you might have to miss out on Red’s direct damage. This is something I can only really see as good. It does leave certain colours out of the game a bit – White has little way to gain actual card advantage alone with very few draws, but it has board wipe to cover that, which means before deck building even begins choosing colours is a deciding factor. Sure, Yu-Gi-Oh has attributes, but these do not affect what does what but rather what the category the card fits under. They have some flavourful execution in certain requirements for cards like Chaos Sorcerer or Frozen Fitzgerald, but have a pretty passive role overall. It’s a defining feature of magic and gives restrictions otherwise impossible. A decision must be made when making card choices, to ensure more than just interacting with each other to being able to have the right colour mana to cast consistently. A card might be a perfect fit, but if you have to dedicate another colour it might be worth a pass. Sure, Yu-Gi-Oh has similarity. In Chaos, every non-light/dark creature you take is an opportunity for frustration. And you must consider the balance. But it feels much less influential – you could still get use out of an off-attribute card, but in magic it’ll probably be useless. And many decks don’t even consider attribute or monster type at all, yet still work fine. The colour system has disadvantages, but overall is pretty fun that separates it.
So what’s better? Neither and both. Both are great games that are very fun with lots of advantages and disadvantages to both. Indeed, I’m at over 3700 words and I believe I could still cover much more. But I’ll end with this. In my opinion, Yu-Gi-Oh is better for both single player and competitive games, but this may just be from experience, and Magic is better for Sealed, Casual and Multiplayer. I really love both games and I doubt that will change, so if you are currently only playing one I would really recommend giving the other a go(Especially if your names Ollie) – there are ways to get a decent deck for both with a relatively low price tag. I hope you enjoyed my first three part article, and feel free to let me know if I’m wrong.