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Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game» Forums » General

Subject: Yu Gi Oh vs magic the Gathering rss

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Ethan Cyr
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For this comparison I will be focusing I large on lore and how it interacts with the basic mechanics of each game. I am not an expert in either game, but have played both since I was very young, and am very familiar with the ins and outs of both.
The first point of comparison I want to touch on is something that is often put to the side in people’s minds when thinking about TCG’s, but can be very influential in how the game sells with noncompetitive and casual players, and strongly the younger audience of gamers. The lore, or flavor text, is the back drop for the game, the justification for how and why the players are where they are and what is causing them to fight. In Yu-Gi-Oh the player is a powerful wizard using these to do combat with another wizard, this form of “Dueling” as the game dubs it, originated in ancient Egypt where Pharos fought one another. In MTG the player is a “Planeswalker in the Multiverse, a mage with the ability to travel between planes, cast powerful spells and summon armies of creatures to your aid.” (From the MTG website). The ideas behind these two games are pretty similar, as with most combat based TCG, the player is some form of exceptionally powerful being with the ability to unite forces and cast spells in one respect or another. However the lore behind the two games begins to split when they go more in depth about their worlds. In Magic there are extensive stories and backgrounds to the different factions and characters that appear on the cards, where as in Yu Gi Oh the lore is drawn from the manga and anime, which is centered purely around the duelists playing the game, and does not actually talk about the cards themselves. This carries over into the marketing behind the games as well as the structure of the decks. In Yu-Gi-Oh, while there are many decks made to center around specific creature types and card interactions, they are very often based off a deck used by a character in the manga or anime, and are thus marketed as such. In Magic the Gathering, there is no show or comic to induce lore to cards, the lore is drawn the background provided to each run of new cards and by the cards themselves in their flavor. Likewise there are not decks based around being like a player, but rather decks based around being part of a certain group or faction in a greater conflict, the guilds in Gatecrash, or the Khans in Khans of Takir, to name a few. Of course Magic decks are also based around colors of manna, each of which has certain personality attributes, whereas in Yu-Gi-Oh monster cards have certain types which decks are often based around, these types often maintain a theme of how they interact with card of the same type, as well as cards of other specific types. However unlike Magic, Yu-GI-Oh does not give very strong outlines to the differences between these types and has very little overlaps between them. Over all I feel the lore behind Yu-Gi-Oh and the use of an animated television series has made it much stronger and easier to attract a younger audience. Magic relies more strongly on receiving exposure experienced players teaching new players the ropes of the game and helping them get into it. I think to a certain degree however, Magic is more oriented around its building and furthering the lore of the cards, whereas Yu-Gi-Oh is more about continuing the game. On its surface this comes out as though it would be a poke at Magic, saying Yu-Gi-Oh is better, but in all honesty, because of the way Magic gives justification and thorough back story to its expansions and thus its cards, it gives them a much more natural feel. They go together better, the lines of what works with what is somewhat clearer. True part of this also emerges from the color wheel in Magic, but I feel a great deal of it also comes from the immense background given and the setting provided for the various factions. In Yu-Gi-Oh there are the creature types, and some cards that run with a theme or name between them, but very often there isn’t much if any background given. Certain cards are only known as related because the cards names are similar and thus you assume they go together. In Magic the cards will have the same typing, maybe share a name piece, and have a continued theme in the way they work on the board. Again I am not intimately familiar with all the details of every card in both these games, and I am basing this off of my life time’s experience playing casually with friends and in school. I want to show this comparison though through to groupings from the two games, Jeskai from Magic the Gathering, and the Elemental Heroes from Yu-Gi-Oh. The Jeskai are a group from the Khans of Takir expansion, and have a unique new ability assigned to them called Prowess. Not every Jeskai has Prowess, but only Jeskai have it, and many Jeskai cards have effects and abilities that stack very well with Prowess. The Elemental Heroes in Yu-Gi-Oh were introduced in the Lost Millennium set, and are grouped together by their name, and by the fusions that involve many of them. This is something that I feel highlights a distinct difference between Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic. In Magic the cards that group together are relatively rigid in their grouping and how they will work well, whereas in Yu-Gi-Oh, the groupings are based off of things such as fusions and what not and can function as a sub set of a bigger themed deck. This is partially true for Magic, but in my experience it does not really work that well in competitive.
Again this is based on my experience and is probably not the most insightful. Thanks for reading.
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