Sunday, August 30, 2009

Forsaken by Konami: Duel Tour South East Asia




Everyone hears about the big events from these places, and hears about all sorts of decks coming from there, and such.

But there is a forgotten backwater in Yugioh, one which not many care for, and even less notice.

South East Asia.

In the month of August, I took a 3 month trip around South East Asia, dueling every weekend.

During this time, I took some time to do some research on the game state of Yugioh in South East Asia.

I would like to bring to light some trends I have seen during my trip, as compared to Japan, about Yugioh in these countries.

The countries I studied were Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. I also had a friend who studied Singapore, the Philipines, and Indonesia, during the same time, looking into similar factors as I did.

I would like to take the time now to thank everyone who I’ve met with, played with, traded with, gave me free stuff, the store I played at and our sponsors(yeah they didn’t pay for us to duel but MEH), and all the people who made this trip possible, fun, and educational.

The TCG is expensive. The OCG is Cheap. Correct? Think again.

Duel Tour South East Asia has proven this wrong to me. Yes, in Japan, Yugioh is a rather cheap hobby to puruse. However, in South East Asia, this is quite different.
Lets start with Structure decks. In Japan, 1000 yen, or 10 USD, will get you your Structure/Starter Deck of your choice. Great for getting cards you need.
But when you look at Malaysia, the price is 70RM. This is the equivalent of around 2300 yen, and 23 USD. That’s right, Malaysia is shelling out 23 USD per structure deck.
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. My entire food bill for the entire week in Malaysia was around 100RM. 70RM could easily feed you for a week in Malaysia(GOOD food too. If you go to Malaysia be prepared to eat a lot).

Lets compare. 1000 yen in Japan would be around 1 lunch of so-so quality. Yet, in Malaysia, 70RM would buy you food for a week. Yet, the same amount of money is used to purchase the same amount of cards.

In singapore, the price for a deck is 30 Singapore dollars, at 2000 yen/20 USD. While not as pricey as Malaysia, because Singapore is significantly richer, that’s still twice the price that Japan and the rest of the world pays for the same amount of cards.

Compared to food, 20 Singapore Dollars would probally feed you for a day, or two if you spend real smart/get your friends to pay for you.

Alas, Konami’s distibution doesn’t help either. I have word that Konami’s Distributor sells to the stores the structure decks to Malaysian retailers for 55RM each, giving you 15 RM profit to the retailer for each one sold…

Regardless, Konami should not be selling to retailers for TWICE the price they sell the same product to the rest of the world.

Needless to say, Yugioh in South East Asia, despite being OCG, is not a cheap hobby to maintain…

On top of that people use TCG cards there too…

Organized Play: Wait was Konami here?

One of the biggest things that stuck out at me when I was on my trip was the organized play. Its next to nonexistant. With the sole exception of the nationals and the asia tournament(but that includes China, Korea, Hong Kong too), there are no tournaments sponsored by konami, whatsoever.

Being from a city where there are four to five konami sponsored tournaments daily, this really bugged me.

Oranized play has been reduced to more or less completely fan or store run tournments, with you having to pay a smallish fee to enter, and play for store produced prizes, at the best.
Luckily for Singapore, they have a forum for themselves, so they can organized said tournaments quite easily.
Unluckily for the rest of the places, they don’t.

Another thing about tournaments that stuck with me was when I was in Malaysia. I was playing with Lam, LGQ and TYKS, when the shopkeeper suddenly announced a tournament. There was no prior notice, but the people joined. It was interesting how the game state and tournament state is so casual and open that tournaments happen at whim.

Another thing that I noticed in the tournaments around South East Asia is the format they use. In Japan, almost all the tournaments are played single elimination, so I was quite surprised when I was still in the running after losing one match. In South East Asia, mainly due to the amount of space, the swiss and cut to top 8/16 is easily possible, but also made the game, in my opinion, far more “fun” oriented, with the focus more on playing than winning.
I feel that this might be a better take on the game, but your mileage may differ.

Then again, the fact that Japanese tournaments are single elimination are mainly because of the amount of duel space avaiable. In my Locals, about 6 people can play at a time(yes, and we have 40+ Weekly attenders), while in singapore, the smaller stores had about five of the same sized tables, allowing for much more players to play at a time, without the fear of time constraints.

Another thing I noticed a lack of was the communication between players after the match. In Japan, its quite common practice to, after a match, to discuss the various plays, the opponents deck, and offer some changes, and exchange remarks about the match overall, sometimes at the table, but most of the time at most locals, right after submitting the win/loss record. In South East Asia, I found none of this, with people and spectators looking on with a puzzled look when I did this…


Heres one place where places like Malaysia and Thailand really stood out. Because of the high price of cards, many players have to be on a real tight budget to build their decks, leading to very interesting card combinations in an effort to make the deck work. Also, it takes a considerable amount of time to complete decks in these areas, making a good deck something to work towards, for most of the population.

In singapore, due to the more availability of cards due to the overall well being of the country, more card stores, etc, deck building is significantly easier, but nonetheless costly.

One direct offshoot of this in Malaysia and Thailand is the increased amount of trading. People trade cards the rest of the world would tear up, and bring a lot of cards to the gaming store to trade, much like how the game was supposed to be intended to be.
Also, people brought two files, one for the money cards, like the rest of the world, but another for commons and rares, which most people would simply not bother to bring. There is quite the trade market in these countries between the common files. It helps both the making of decks, and also the overall community.
(I also noticed that Debris Dragon often tended to be in the money cards file… I feel responsible.)

One of the reasons Ive noticed that Singapore has a stronger YGO community is that compared to Malaysia and Thailand, the infrastructure of the city is much, much better. It is easy to move around the town, unlike Malaysia. This indeed does contribute to the fact that the Singapore community has a more interconnected yugioh community, contributing to the better cards, cheaper cards, and better tournament structure. Definitely the fact that everything in singapore is less than half an hour train ride away helps.

Another big thing I saw was the lack of DT cards seeing play. Being away from Japan, of course Duel Terminal Cards would be much more pricey, but in Malaysia, they were next to unobtainable, impossible in Thailand, and a rare commodity in Singapore, as comapared to the common card status to money card status in Japan. While this means that things like the Fishborg OTK and Dewloren FTK(LAST format) will be harder to pull off, it also poses as a limiting factor in deck building, cutting off staples such as Mist Wurm and Catastor.

But, according to some players, the DT cards are illegal for Konami tournament play in these countries, further limiting the card choices available.

With the lack of any sponsored play, bad distribution, giving only cards that are available in a language near unreadable by players, I will safely say that Konami has truly foresaken the players of South East Asia as a whole, and the players making an effort to keep the game we all love alive.

This concludes my studies during my Duel Tour of South East Asia. I hope it was a good read.


  1. Nice study u haf made nevertheless hope u enjoyed the trips in sg=)

  2. Good Read.....a real Eye Opener too. 0_0

    We do what we can , to preserve something we all love . So i ll keep going on!

  3. Great read. I really enjoyed it. Although it is true that prices in the US of some cards are higher than their Japanese counterparts, it really was surprising to hear about the prices in South East Asia. I bought a Dark Armed Dragon for $20 today, and a Plaguespreader Zombie/Zombie Carrier for $25 last week. I can only imagine how much those cost in South East Asia.

    And for another price comparison, XX-Saber Faultroll English is $12-$15 on eBay and other online US stores, while I've seen the Japanese version go for less than $1. Of course, Faultroll is a Super Rare in the TCG, and Common in OCG. I wonder how much he is in South East Asia, if X-Saber is catching on there...

  4. good read bro. I actually thinks that its too short. but then again, too long and you would be repeating points.

    PS. in big tourneys, IE nationals, we can't even use book promos and LE cards. making it very difficult to win against BF and GB(top decks in malaysia).

  5. Actually in Singapore, most structure deck price ranges from $23-$25. Haha, hope you had a great time dueling people from Singapore.

  6. actually our decks cost abt 20 SG dollars onli not 30

  7. Hong Kong is responsible for most of the things that Rau mentioned. They are also the ones that came up with the "no non-konami product promos" allowed (Book and LE packs promos). Applicable to all the South East Asian Countries + HK and Taiwan =/

  8. Haha hope you can do shop reviews too!

  9. Sigh. This is entirely true, as one SD on my country OCG Warrior's Strike would cost you about php1000(US$20-$21). DT cards like Brionac will cost php1500($32). Useful commons from starters are US$2 each and for some odd reason, a Book of Moon runs for PhP300 each($6). This is really saddening...

    Glad to hear about Singapore's community doing good. It seems like MY and PH share the same situation.

    Good read.

  10. @Thompson:
    Dont remember enough about the stores to do reviews. Not a critic of stores, already gave my thoughts to shopkeeper if I felt the shop was good enough.

  11. Hmm, I gotta say I am not too suprised and I don't really think Book for 6 and structure commons for 2 is that bad. (When Monk come out I would pay $8 for him rather than the 12 for the structure here)

    Book before common reprint was commonly going for $6 rare. As well, we had commons going for $15 awhile ago, (Smashing ground). Gales cost 10 at one point and so did blizzards.

    Ebay exists for them as well, so if they can't player 2 player irl, ebay should ahve some cheap shipping rates between Japan, I believe.

    The Konami not organizing events, I come from a city with a population of about 1 million people and we have pretty much 1 non-konami run event a week. As well, we still use mantis which isn't single elimination either and this is in the U.S. Regionals have not been announced for our area and until a year ago we were lucky to see more than one here. (Our state probably has more area than the three countries you discussed combined)

    So I really don't see it as that bad, sure structures are a bit more expensive but player 2 player online is a constant that should alleviate concerns.

    Thats just how I view it, maybe I am wrong and its much worse than here.

  12. Or you can also discuss the meta played at each place you went to, and how is it different from the decks being played in Japan at the moment.

  13. nice read...too bad u didnt visit penang

  14. just as kentho said, Penang has a considerably lower price for cards compare to KL. and I heard that they are more duelist there

    @PsychicKid : dark armed? 5 USD. plague? 5~7 USD.XX-Saber Faultroll ? how bout I throw 2 in for u if u take my dark armed for 6 USD? regardless the SD and LEs, Malaysia's single card price ain't that high, unless its DT or hot stuffs. this is mainly because Chinese are the main players and u know we won't pay unless its at a good price...

  15. Good read. We have a forum for duelists to view for General Discussions on the collectibility on YGO, as well as Monthly and Weekly Tournaments. We are still awaiting for the OP kit to arrive (anytime now Konami...), and by then only OCG cards will be allowed as they said.

    Thanks for the read Rauzes. Junk Synchron should be in the money files as well. ;D

  16. I really do hope that Southeast Asia will be given more attention. We in the Philippines put special effort in keeping the game alive, and the market here have great potential. A Singapore-like playing community is nice, but we definitely wish we would be more like Japan and the US. Good read.

  17. what you all said over here in your post are true

  18. Haha Rau, did u try laksa and kolo mee in malaysia? Too nice rght =D penang laksa bestest ever. syok. I think most of us SEA duelists are used to the no promo rule in Konami sanctioned tourneys.

    To rau: KL at rm70 per deck is already good. In Kuching, the shopkeeper is a cutthroat. He sell at Rm 90 per deck. Says he that he needs to make profit since he ordered from KL =.= Thats why we all ostracize the only shop in Kuching that sells Yugioh cards (at a small scale of course: no singles)and we just order direct from Kl,

    sad us.

  19. Good read, to your information: In Denmark (wheer i live) organised play outside of regionals dosn't exist, the rest is fan based or store based. Also a structure deck in Denmark cost 120kr. (around 23 dollar). So importing cards is really the best option.

  20. waw..thanks for these..i hope all other YGO players and konami people read this...

    i'm from philippines and i play YGO...i will say it is really hard to get cards for us..and some cards cost almost twice their original market price here...

    organized play is really impossible to us now

    we have our own forum site to connect us to other players in the country..yeah we organize our own tourney with the help of local is really hard...

    i also sent a request to KONAMI back then to please give us a official tournaments at least a MONTHLY TOURNEY..but they returned no reply to me...

    if you wanna know more about YGO PHIL, visit that's our forum site..

    my name on that site is Oblivion....most of the members know about me..

    thanks Rauzes....

  21. *Sigh* Yes, that is truly what's going on in the good ol' Republic of the Philippines. It has even come to the fact that if you have regular access to Singapore and can sneak cards through customs that you will be hailed as a hero and will be mobbed upon by potential traders/buyers/orderers.

    You'd think that Konami would concentrate on their home continent, but no.

    Whoever you friend was who visited us should've come to a specific place in Manila. There's a duelist haven in a specific card store where everyone's tight-knit with each other.