They never stood a ghost of a chance
Recently, I purchased Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution for the Switch. This is the second time that I've bought this game (I also got it for the Xbox One back when it didn't have "Link Evolution" in the title), and it's what I've been playing as I read ProZD tweets about Fire Emblem: Three Houses. And even though it's technically my second go-round with the same game (though Link Evolution has some neat updates), I still love it, mainly because there's enough options that it feels fresh.
And one of those options is the "Reverse Duel." See, the main single player campaign of the game takes you through the various Yu-Gi-Oh! arcs and lead characters, ranging from the original series to VRAINS. This is both fun and challenging, as it's basically throwing in my face every criticism I've ever had about the duelists. "Okay, you think you could do better with Joey Wheeler's deck? Why don't you try it, genius?" But, after you've gone through a duel on this standard mode, you can try a Reverse Duel, which means that you play with the deck of the person that lost in the anime. And it's here that I found that no anime characters have it worse than Yu-Gi-Oh! villains.
If you can, imagine for a second that you're in Duelist Kingdom, Maximillion Pegasus' big island devoted to nothing but card games about monsters and the angst associated with that. And imagine that you're good at Duel Monsters. Like really good. Like ranked good. You've won tournaments with your deck and the beasts that it unleashes are infamous around the world. And then you come across Yugi, the guy that beat Kaiba, and you figure "Yeah, I could take him. Sure, he beat Kaiba but that was probably a fluke and also he probably needs a stepladder to see the arena. How hard could it be?"
But as someone who has played copious Reverse Duels, let me tell you: It's super hard. Weevil may have been number one, with Rex Raptor as number two, and Mako Tsunami as number three, but they never stood a chance against any of the good guys. Because Yugi has one thing that they don't, and no, it's not the power of friendship. It's a second strategy.
I don't know what Weevil aka Insector Haga does with the cards he gets from packs that aren't bugs. I imagine all of the trash cans in his parents' house are filled with hundreds of pounds of cards that didn't pass the Weevil Quality Assurance Test of "Does it have a bug on it?" But maybe building an entire deck around hoping that Yugi will stumble for long enough for you to get your Great Moth out and literally nothing else isn't the best idea. Maybe consider a Plan B for if your opponent has a good first hand.
This all comes to a boiling point with Mako Tsunami, a guy who, if you remember, cooks fish on the shore to lure people into fighting him and his water monsters. This is an official tournament, so he could probably just ask people to duel as that's what they're all there for. No one's just on a day hike and are like "Oh crap. You wanna duel me? If I'd known I would'a brought my cards!" But I admire Mako's confidence, because having played with his ocean beasts, he's really, really certain that everything is gonna go exactly right. Because if it doesn't, Yugi is gonna plow through his parade of octopuses and fish critters.
Now, this game is much more strict about the rules than the glorious anime. And I adore the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime, as it's got solid voice acting, pretty good animation, killer music, and the Kazuki Takahashi's monster designs are top notch. Seriously, the guy doesn't get enough credit for creating a cavalcade of monsters that I want to collect. However, every once in a while, the anime will throw something out like "BUT SURPRISE, YUGI. THIS IS A FOREST ARENA, WHICH GIVES ALL OF MY DINOSAURS PLUS 300 IN ATTACK AND DEFENSE AND FORCES EVERYONE NAMED YUGI TO RESHUFFLE HIS HAND INTO HIS DECK." You're left wondering if it's legal, but hey, everyone just goes with it, so it seems cool. Don't wanna be a nerd about things and pull out the rule book.
But in this game, you can't count on surprises like that. You have to make every turn count and not mess up at all. So I see why Yu-Gi-Oh! villains tend to be obnoxious little tyrants. You have to have such inflated self worth to think "Yeah, every card in my deck is dinosaur or dinosaur-adjacent and I refuse to even consider an alternative to that. Also, I deserve the prize money." I almost feel bad for them. You spend your whole life dueling against kids who I assume are just now learning what Duel Monsters is and then you suddenly face Yugi, a child with a diverse deck and the Heart of the Cards.
Oh Weevil. You poor thing. You never stood a ghost of a chance.
What is your favorite Yu-Gi-Oh! villain? What's your favorite series in the franchise? Let us know in the comments!
Daniel Dockery is a writer and editor for Crunchyroll. You should follow him on Twitter!
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