20 January 2022 happens to be date that Konami released its ew digital game for the popular Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game. This Japanese trading card started as a popular craze in around 2002 in the West when Blue Eyes White Dragon and Dark Magician were sought after cards. Both cards still have relevance even to this day, but the game has long passed its roots as a simple card game. New rules and summoning mechanics have made this trading card game more complex for new players but for me, who grew up with the series, Synchro, XYZ, Pendulum and Link Summoning are all familiar territory to me.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel has been released for several platforms such as the PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo and Steam (for PC gamers), while the mobile version is still in the works and is slated to be released later.
The game comes out with new, shiny animations for card summons and a more slick layout. At first glance, it seems like a typical pay to win game due to the Gem mechanic (which allows people to pay real money to purchase more cards). As a new player, you do get a generous amount of Gems and CP to purchase enough Packs and craft cards that you need to build two solid decks. Once the luster of being a new player is over, grinding for more Gems is harder.
The game is like Duel Links without the character voices and is based on the normal trading card game rules. (My pet hope is they bring in the character voices into this game. But it is clear that the target audience are the more serious Yu-Gi-Oh! players.)
When you boot the game for the first time, you are introduced to a tutorial, which you can skip and just claim the rewards. But then you are taken to choose between three decks based on Dragon-Type, Synchro Summoning and Link Summoning.
I went with the Dragon-Type Deck, because it had some powerhouse cards like Luster Dragon, Blue Eyes White Dragon and Silver’s Cry (which allows for an easy summon for Blue Eyes).
To be able to purchase Gem Pack 3,500, which is a “special”, it costs US$28.99, but about AUD$40.00. This is not cheap. You can use these gems to purchase Packs, Structure Decks, Accessories (such as card protectors, duel fields and icons) and Specials (such as Duel Passes and Bundles).
In terms of Packs, the Master Duel Pack has 6,750 cards, whereas the Revival of Legends and Stalwart Force Packs each only have 80 cards. Both these packs will make it easier to obtain certain desired cards.
You can get more Gems and Cards by completing Missions (which include logging in bonuses and dueling a number of times). I recommend claiming them as soon as possible to help you get more packs.
When you are about to pick Packs, I recommend having a strategy in mind in what kind of deck you want to create. For me, I jumped at the chance to create a Red Dragon Archfiend/Resonator Deck (thanks in part to Secret Packs, which unlock when you acquire enough key cards from opening packs).
If you have Gems, I recommend picking up each of the Bundle Deals, such as the Lightning Storm Bundle Deal Set, which give you 10 Master Packs and the bonus card for 750 Gems. Not only do you get a bonus card, this bundle represents a 250 Gem discount on the usual cost of 10 Master Packs (which is usually 1,000 Gems).
When opening Packs, you don’t always get a Super Rare (SR) or an Ultra Rare (UR). There are only 8 cards per pack, but there are chances that you can acquire more than one SR or UR per pack. Sometimes you may see a normal back on a card, but it can be revealed to be a SR or UR.
To unlock Secret Packs, you need to open packs and acquire either SR and UR cards that give you a key card. With enough key cards, you can purchase one of many Secret Packs that give you a guarantee that 4 out of the 8 cards per pack will be based on the feature cards. The other cards will be drawn from the extensive Master Pack set. The Secret Packs are all normal price, 1 Pack is 100 Gems and 10 Packs is 1,000 Gems.
You can get Bonus Packs by getting tokens like the Legacy Pack token, which only gave me two useless cards. You can acquire the Legacy Pack token as a reward from one of the Unlimited Missions.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel also lets you generate Crafting Points (CP) by dismantling excess cards. By dismantling cards and earning CP, you can acquire new cards. By paying 30 SR, I was able to acquire a Resonator Call to help with my Archfiend/Resonator Deck strategy.
You can jump into the Solo Mode to unlock cards like Raigeki and Monster Reborn. Unfortunately with these modes, you have to use the Starting Deck, but you can add cards obtained in this mode to power them up.
I recommend completing each of the Practice Duels in the Duel Strategy Solo Mode missions, which each are easy and give you 600 Gems each.
Then you can just Duel people online. At this stage, there is just online duels with other people. Free Duel and other modes will be added later.
In terms of gameplay, it is what you expect from a digital version of the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game. The game seems fluid enough, though it could make changing turn phases, i.e. turning to Battle Phase, a bit more easier.
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