Each winning their own category, we caught up with the winners of the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Chamionship 2023, and got their thoughts on being the best at their respective games.
These include Takagi (Duel Links) as well as Josh, QuantalThink and Emre from Snipehunters (Master Duel) and Paulie Aronson (TCG/OCG), giving their own thoughts on having just won this prestigious event.
Duel Links 2023 Champion Takagi
Takagi was the first Champion to be crowned, wowing the entire crowd with a 3-0 shutout against his opponent in grand finals. Using Destiny HEROs for his first game before swapping out to Synchrons, he embodied the spirit of Duel Links- fast, surgical combos that create a terrifying wall of offense, all despite having less monster and spell zones.
How did it feel winning 3 games straight like that?
Takagi: I feel very great, it feels like all that hard work has paid off.
If they could add one card to Duel Links that haven’t yet, which would you want to?
Takagi: I’d like to add in the series of Sky Striker Ace
After the final match of Duel Links, they announced that Rush Duel would be added to the game, what are your thoughts on this？
Takagi:Is very good to have new things added to the game, and I hope I can play it as soon as possible.
Speaking of future content, would you rather future character abilities be centred around competitive play or being more fitting for the anime?
Takagi:I think it’s all fine, as long as what I like is ok. It’s all fine, I’ve accepted it
Now you become the champion of the duel links tournament, any plans for next year?
Takagi:I hope next year I can become champion again.
Master Duel 2023 Champions snipehunters
snipehunters, the three-man team for Master Duel’s event had a much more gripping fight to the top- their match came all the way down to game three, as the team bravely fought against US group Team 7 only to snatch victory 5-3. It should be noted that not only was this Master Duel’s debut event at Worlds, it was also the debut team event.
So how does it feel to be the first Master Duel winners in Yu-Gi-Oh! history?
Josh: Amazing. It’s completely amazing. We can’t believe it. We’re lost in words.
Can you tell me some of the strategy that you guys have used for your deck building?
Josh: Okay. So I used Naturia Runick and I used Dragon Link, which was there to cover for the weakness to Tearlaments from Naturia Runick because it’s really good against everything else.
QuantalThink: I played Tearlaments which was good against almost other matchups, but against Exosister and Necrovalley Stun, which decides Skystriker was a good way to defeat the weaknesses of Tearlaments.
Emre: I was playing Labrynth because it had a good matchup to almost anything, especially going first. And for the 2nd deck, I played Exosisters because it has some really good matchups that Labrynth doesn’t.
Do you think it’s better for everyone to have, on the team, to run the same or similar decks or is it better run at different decks?
Josh: Well, for this tournament it was impossible because of the deck building restrictions, we could not use the same cards except for three that we could decide. So we decided to share Maxx C, Ash Blossom and Triple Tactic Talent but we could not bring the same deck multiple times.
Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG/OCG World Champion – Paulie Aronson
How does it feel winning the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship, especially as the first US winner?
Paulie: It’s amazing. I was just telling some friends, and over the past month I spent so much time practising for this event, specifically Worlds format. I don’t even know what’s going in TCG like the new set Duelists Nexus, i haven’t even tested with new cards because I was just so focused on Worlds format. Right after the WCQ was my birthday, and my friends wanted to celebrate, go out, and i said i can’t, i have to stay home, i gotta practice. And I practice for worlds everyday since WCQ, and it paid off. It shows that when you’re dedicated and you put the time in, you can accomplish really cool things.
That was really tense, especially after Nibiru came out in Duel 2. How did that feel in the moment?
Paulie: I already kind of played around Nibiru a little bit by making Hieratic Seal of the Heavenly Spheres earlier So like, like, I think as you guys know, I ended up being able to make Borrelend Dragon and Borreload Savage Dragon through the Nibiru. Um, so I and I knew as last card in his hand was Tenyi Spirit-Ashuna So once he was thinking on Lubellion the Searing Dragon Summon, I was actually happy because I was like “Oh, he Nibs, he has no cards next turn, and I’m still able to land on at least one or two interrupts behind it, but if he hadn’t used Nibiru I would have landed on at least Branded Bystials, either way it was gonna be a great board.
So at that point Nibiru wasn’t enough, it wasn’t an issue.
But it takes some thinking to figure out like the best board I could make through the Nibiru? It was a cool play with the Striker Dragon and stuff so , it worked out. But yeah, it was, it was it was it was an interesting game.
Are there any cards in your side deck that end up being useful?
Paulie: They all end up kind of been equally useful. So the way i built my side, and the way i tend to build a lot of my decks in general is like to just play a lot of versatile generic cards that just have as much coverage as possible. I’m a big fan of a more consistent, lower impact cards over like high impact volatile cards that sometimes are really good and sometimes aren’t like that, like drills is really volatile card, but i did end up winning with it this weekend, just because the way the format was so diverse, sometimes you just gotta make different decisions.
I generally like versatile cards, we have a lot of coverage. So I’ll give you a better example. I side-decked Infinite Impermanence in a deck where I was already maining Effect Veiler and Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring and [Nibiru], the regular handtraps, control.
I sided Infinite Impermanence, which usually that point you probably use your side slots for more high impact, matchup-specific hand traps, or other cards, but like I really tend to prefer as many generic broad coverage cards as I can have. So I was like there’s gonna be combo decks in the room that I’m going to want more hand traps than even these 12 and I want another hand trap that can go in and against no matter what that combo deck is or what that deck is I wanna be able to put in another generic hand trap, I had Ghost Belle & Haunted Mansion as well but bell doesn’t cover enough.
And another example, so Infinite Impermanence over a card like Contact “C” which could have been a good tech choice to his event blows out Rikka, blows out other matchups that I expected to see at the event, Branded another one.
I just chose Infinite Impermanence over it because i just want these slots to be live in every matchup. For my Go First Side card slot, same concept, I played Solemn Strike over a card like Eradicator Epidemic Virus, which was very popular inside Dragon players recently. I just prefer a card like Solemn Strike that will always be live, you know, going first against every matchup in every hand. So I really prefer cards like that just to have as consistent at deck as possible.
Anything to share with fans who might be interested in picking up Yu-Gi-Oh?
Paulie: Yes, i always like to emphasize that to not just theory-deck, but practice as much as you can. And when you practice, don’t play to win, practice to learn, like sit down with a friend, take your two decks, play open handed.
If you see a play your friend put on that was better go back and change it, see how the game goes differently. Explore all lines of play, figure out the best one that way. It’s not about who wins, it’s about both of you learning your decks as much as you can. So that when you sit down at a tournament and you see that matchup or even just took combos, you’ll have that knowledge with you. So practice as much as you can and learn as much as you can.
And another thing I would just say to all players is always play with good sportsmanship. I try really hard in my games to always have good camaraderie with my opponents to be friendly.
Like, I want to make new friends, your opponent isn’t your enemy, sometimes I watch people play and they’re so stressed and they feel tense. I try to make an effort to make sure my opponent feels relaxed so we can have a good game.
You don’t have to shark your opponent. I don’t like to shark people. I like to play relaxed, and like i said be friendly. And I hope my success can demonstrate to people that you can play that way and still succeed. So that’s probably the one thing I’d like to say to all players.
The Yu-Gi-Oh World Championships are a great way to hype yourself up on one of the most iconic card games of the past 25 years. There’s drama, there’s runbacks and there’s pop-offs the like of which have never been seen.
Our thanks to Paulie, Takagi and Snipehunters for taking the time out of their celebrations to answer our questions, and Konami for giving us the opportunity to talk to them.
ⓒ2020 Studio Dice/SHUEISHA, TV TOKYO, KONAMI. ⓒ2020 Konami Digital Entertainment.