The 3v3 format from a European perspective. – Raphael Neven

Dear YGOrg readers, my name is Raphael Neven, and today I’m going to discuss my perspective on 3v3s and the upcoming 3v3 YCS Atlanta.


Dear Yu-Gi-Oh Community,

If you have seen my interview on Farfa’s channel or know me personally, you know that I am a big fan of the 3 versus 3 tournament structure. You can imagine the hype I feel talking about the system now that an official YCS has been announced which fully adopts this system.

Check out the YCS Atlanta 2019 information here:


What is 3v3?

For the exact rules on 3 v 3 you can click the link to the KONAMI web page, but it basically works like this; a team consists of player A,B and C, which play at the same time versus the player A, B and C of the opposing team. All 3 players of the team play a normal best of 3 match with their opponent, and the team with the most match wins at the end wins the 3v3 round. For the upcoming YCS the time limit has been expanded to 45 minutes each round.

The amount of rounds is still unclear however these type of events can hit 1500 people pretty easy, so I am hoping for a tournament with 500+ teams entering. If the tournament is a success I would expect a similar version in Europe, so I really hope KONAMI US makes the most out of this.


My experiences with 3v3?

I first encountered the 3v3 system at a Side-event at YCS Atlanta, which I entered with my team mate from Complexity Card Gaming, Joshua Oosters and my friend Hassan. We had no experience with it so far but because it was a type of tournament that was not introduced in Europe at the time, it felt like a great chance to play a new type of format. We were sold instantly, getting 2nd place due bad tiebreakers, but having a lot of fun in this new tournament. The fact that we could speak Dutch to discuss our options while our opponents did so in English gave us a nice advantage and even confused some of our opposing teams. Since then, I have entered EVERY 3v3 event I’ve had the chance to, I love it so much!


So.. Why should you care?

3v3 is very interesting for a couple of reasons. First there is the part were you are allowed to discuss with the person next to you, which means player C can talk to player B, but player C cant talk to player A. This means that even the positioning of the players matter which opens up a whole new dimension of preparing for a tournament.  Are you going to have the middle player (B) play a slower control deck so he can assist his team mates because his turns takes less time and plays are less in depth (Like in MTG) or are you having him play with a fast combo deck so his match ends quickly and can assist his players afterwards? All of these new strategies are making preparing for an event even more important.

Secondly, there are some fundamental things in the game for the last year that made it less enjoyable for me, like the amount of FTK and FTK-like combo decks has sky-rocketed. I never played in an FTK format before 2018 and suddenly we had Pendulum FTK, Zexal Pendulum, Danger! FTK, Rongo and Gouki (with Sorceress) that hand-loops for 6 trough 2 hand traps. This made matches very die roll dependent, which is a bad way for the game. Also bricking in your first turn meant that you would not see a second turn, even a normal hand in a slower deck like Sky Striker would not get the chance to set up its play, as combo decks would steam-roll them if they didn’t open enough disruptions.

These flaws get ’fixed’ in some kind of way as playing 9 possible matches, much of the random variance (winning/losing die rolls, sacking, bricking occasionally) gets taken away for a big part comparing to a normal possible 3 matches. This is the core of why I think 3v3 is an amazing way forward. It doesn’t ban problematic cards or strategies, but at least makes matches less decided by variance and more by the which team has the better players.

The fact that players can discuss plays is huge for the learning process of newer or more casual players. I would not suggest that teams ’carry’ a player that is below their skill level, (in the nicest way possible of course) but just discussing and watching first hand your friends play for an entire YCS will benefit your view on the team and the game itself a lot.


What can we take away from a format (and an event) like this?

For a game that wants to present itself more like an e-Sport, introducing more team-events could be a big step in the right direction. I think teams in general are a great way to help individual players and experience the game. I expect the 3v3 system to boost the team scene in Yu-Gi-Oh!, but of course it is not required to have fun at the tournament at all. Just entering with a group of friends from your locals  can work just as well. You can even register and find other people who don’t have a team yet and team up on the spot, which is a pretty cool idea.


All things considered, I am really hyped for this tournament and also curious on your opinions, do you think this can be the saving grace of the game or is it going to fail harder than sealed play in top-cut ? Are you considering going to Atlanta? Do you think we’ll see something like this in Europe?


Until next time, and hopefully see you at YCS Atlanta!

Raphael Neven


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