Yu-Gi-Oh! is a tradable card game that has been existing for quite a long time now, and has recently been making noises in the Philippine gaming world. The game aims younger kids to teens, but mature players also play the game since it has simpler game play and casual enjoyable environment. It is not as cutthroat as other card games which makes the competitive level of the game lighter compared to others. Friendship and brotherhood in Yu-Go-Oh! is strong which makes the game more fun and entertaining. We got a chance to talk to Mr. Jack Siao, one of the owners of Courtside Philippines and discussed how Yu-Gi-Oh! has grown over the past few years.
Courtside being the official distributor oh Yu-Gi-Oh! in the Philippines, has been focusing on running Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments for two years now. According to him, the Yu-Gi-Oh! community has tripled from the time they have started in terms of sales and people joining the tournaments. Mr. Jack Siao shares on how the game has steadily grown over the past few years: “More and more people are joining the tournaments.. and then also the level of play has definitely increased… Before sa international hirap tayo (Before, we are having a hard time in international tournaments)… That was the common impression ng ibang bansa na pag sa philippines mahina… mahina yung cards… mahina yung players (Other countries’ impression over the Philippines is that we not that strong… That we don’t have much access to stronger cards and our players have weaker skills compared to them). And now this is the first international tournament na they were surprised na Philippines ang nag number one (And now this is the first international tournament that they were surprised because Philippines grabbed the number one spot)… We have arrived. They will be watching is closely now that we have achieved a certain status…
Philippines stands up proud as Jomer Flores, Rey Vincent Lim and Karlo Bonillo brings home the gold and wins the top spot in the recently concluded Yu-Gi-Oh! Asian Championships 2011 PLUS (Team Tournament Division) last Dec 16-19, 2011 which was held in Taiwan. Gamearenaph.com was lucky enough to conduct an exclusive interview with these guys.
Gamearenaph: What is Yu-Gi-Oh!? How do you play it?
- Yu-Gi-Oh! is a card game that involves skills and strategy. Even if you and your opponent has the same set of cards, its your skills and strategy that matters in order to win.
Gamearenaph: What is the difference of Yu-Gi-Oh! with other tradable card games?
- In other card games, the card set rotates quickly. After a set rotates, cards in those set aren’t tournament legal anymore. But in Yu-Gi-Oh!, there are no set rotations so you can use old cards from old sets, however some cards are banned. Whenever a new set comes out, new decks will also rise.
Gamearenaph: Where do you usually join Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments?
- Every Sunday in SM North. Every Wednesday and Saturday in Courtside Robinson’s Galleria.
Gamearenaph: How many players do we usually see in big events and local tournaments?
- We have many local Yu-Gi-Oh! players. In big tournaments, 100+ players usually participate. Around 16-32 players join the weekly tournaments.
Gamearenaph: What is the usual age bracket of Yu-Gi-Oh! players in the Philippines?
- The players’ age group varies. There are many older players, but we usually see more younger people. From grade school, high school, college and even college graduates.
Gamearenaph: How do you play as a team?
- We apply team play. We fight with individual opponents and battle simultaneously. Player A vs player A, player B vs player B and team leader vs team leader. The tournament we joined allows timeouts. We use timeouts in order to plan our next moves.
Gamearenaph: What is the name of your team?
- Team Topdeck.
Gamearenaph: How did dyou prepare for the big international tournament and how did Courtside Ph choose you to represent the Philippines in the Asian Championships 2011?
- A qualifier tournament was held. there were single elimination matches but we participated in teams. Whoever wins will advance to the next round. 32 teams participated with a total of 96 players.
Gamearenaph: So you guys won the top spot?
- We won 4th place. Unfortunately, the top players didn’t have enough requirements to fly out of the country so it was passed down to us. We were the only team in the top 4 who have complete requirements to compete internationally.
Gamearenaph: Can you share your experience after you landed in Taiwan? Were you guys excited?
- It was our first time in Taiwan, so we felt a little bit uncomfortable. It was too cold when we arrived and they asked us to submit a lot of requirements. On the first night, we attended a welcome dinner and rested.
Gamearenaph: Which countries participated in the said tournament?
- There were eight countries who participated namely: Malaysia, Thailand, Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Macau, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Gamearenaph: Since you are in a foreign land, how can you compare the style of playing of players in Taiwan and in the Philippines?
- It was a little difficult for us, since we can’t understand what the other players are saying, since they are speaking in a different language. We also speak in tagalog and they couldn’t understand us as well. There were translators to help us understand what other players are saying. We thought that there is no room for mistake since we are already in this level. We are more careful since we don’t want to waste this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Gamearenaph: Whom did you have a hard time dealing with, local or foreign players?
- International players are more challenging because they are already champions in their own countries. Every match was a close fight. Our last opponents from Malaysia were champions for a few consecutive years. Everyone’s bet was Malaysia while the Philippines remained an underdog.
Gamearenaph: What was your initial reaction when you learned about your victory?
- The winner was announced but we didn’t understand it since it was in taiwanese language. We thought that we were only in the 3rd or 4th spot because every match in our bracket were close fights. The we were surprised that everyone was congratulating us and shaking hands with us. We felt very happy because our country finally achieved something because our country seldom wins international events.
Gamearenaph: How did people treat you when you came home in the Philippines?
- Everyone was amazed and realized that Philippines can win international events. The number of players increased because they got inspired that the Philippines can stand a chance in winning against international players.
Gamearenaph: What can you say to aspiring players to convince them in playing the game?
- You can travel for free when you win and most importantly, you’ll gain a lot of friends.
Gamearenaph: Any tips you can give to your fellow players?
- Let us support Courtside because if there are no sales, there would be no tournaments. Get a passport and other requirements so you can fly out of the country and participate in international events. Love the game. Practice and read about the rules in the internet. Rules are very important to learn and lastly, Study hard.