It doesn’t take very long playing Yu-Gi-Oh to understand that the game is incredibly complex. And Konami seems to agree, which is why with their latest series, they’re not even bothering to play the primary game. They’ve introduced an entirely new way of dueling: Rush Duels.
Made up by the main character, Rush Duels are a way of ignoring the rules of dueling in favor of having fun. In Japan, Konami is slowly releasing structure decks that allow players to participate in Rush Duels themselves. But which game is better than the other? Which one deserves to carry the brand forward from now on?
10 ORIGINAL: ADAPTED TO POWER CREEP
As much as players hate power creep, it’s a facet of every card game that’s ever been made. The designers make more and more powerful cards, and the players get used to the new power level. Rush Duels is presenting a game that’s more balanced, but it won’t last.
They’ll break the game within a year or two and fans will get too used to it to go back. In the main game, players are already used to it—they passed unreasonable during the Tele-DAD era in 2008, everything else is just building on what was there already.
9 RUSH DUELS: FEWER RULES
Rush Duels, by design, have fewer rules in the game. And quite frankly, this is a benefit. This game was originally meant for kids, but now there are so many rules to it that what kid would want to play it?
Every card has a mini-essay worth of text on it to explain how its rules work and to keep it from being abused based on its effects. Rush Duels, fortunately, have made it much more simple to play the game.
8 ORIGINAL: GAMES ARE SHORTER
One thing that’s for certain about the modern Yu-Gi-Oh game: the duels don’t last terribly long. With players capable of dropping multiple monsters that each have over 2000 ATK, sometimes a Yu-Gi-Oh game can end in a single turn.
Often, the game can end on the first turn, as players summon monsters that lock their opponents out of actually playing the game, making it impossible to do anything other than go to the next game.
7 RUSH DUELS: NEVER OUT OF CARDS
The most annoying thing about Yu-Gi-Oh these days is how the opponent always seems to have infinite resources. Every player has been in this scenario at one point or another, where their opponent’s deck always has something else they can do, no matter how they’ve been outplayed.
With Rush Duels, this isn’t a concern anymore—both players can always draw more cards from their deck to continue playing rather than simply quitting out of attrition.
6 ORIGINAL: GETS MORE CARDS
Rush Duels, unfortunately, aren’t nearly close to proving themselves. Konami isn’t about to stop making their primary money maker, and that means that despite the anime focusing on Rush Duels, the real game isn’t exactly going to move on.
They still get their minimum of four base sets a year, two or three special sets for whatever reason, two structure decks at minimum, and a collection set near the end of the year for good measure. Rush Duels will wind up lacking in cards well before the main game does.
5 RUSH DUELS: FEWER SUMMONING TYPES
The original Yu-Gi-Oh at this point has no fewer than seven different summoning types, not counting the classic types introduced in the base game. Players get acclimated to synchro, then they introduce Xyz.
Xyz have barely gotten their time in the sun before suddenly we’re dealing with Pendulum monsters. They’ve all got their own special way of being summoned, and it’s more stuff to keep track of over time.
4 ORIGINAL: MORE STRATEGIC
The game has long evolved beyond the simple mechanics seen in the original series. There are monster cards which can use their effects from hand, working like trap cards. There are boss monsters that can negate card effects.
What’s the best way to survive going second? How can the player build a big enough board to survive going first? Every single move in modern Yu-Gi-Oh is under a microscope, and a single mistake is often what decides a match.
3 RUSH: LEGEND CARDS
This is something done by other games that should’ve long been a part of this game. Special cards that are meant to be “ace” cards are noted as such, and effectively the player can only use one copy of them.
They can only have a single Legend card in their deck, which makes the deck special and makes the game less likely to be broken by the presence of cards that warp the balance of the game. Right now, legend cards are ones like Blue-Eyes White Dragon and Dark Magician.
2 ORIGINAL: ARCHETYPE VARIETY
Over the years, there have been dozens of archetypes introduced to everyone’s favorite anime card game. There are decks based on all manner of different references.
Want a deck centered around Star Wars? It exists. Another about the Power Rangers? That’s real too. What about a deck of talking plants? We’ve got no less than two. How about ones that reference Kamen Riders? As it stands, the game has something for any kind of player.
1 RUSH: SLOWER SPEED
Rush Duels naturally have far slower pacing due to the way its rules work. Games can last multiple turns until finally one player is beat down into having zero life. But it’s never one-sided, and it’s rare one side can make more large monsters than the other.
This gives players time to actually settle into the game they’re playing rather than risking the possibility of having to immediately go to game two after seeing an opponent’s opening board.
It doesn’t take long playing Yu-Gi-Oh to understand the game is incredibly complex but are the simplified Rush Duels better than the original game?