[Infinite Article] How Many Normal Summons Should You Play?

What’s a Normal Summon?

“Normal Summon” has an official meaning in Yu-Gi-Oh, but in the competitive scene we use the term to refer to a card that requires your once-per-turn Normal Summon action to fully realize its potential. Normal Summons are tricky: you can only use one of them every turn, even if you have more than one in your hand. Having too many Normal Summons can slow you down, effectively sticking you with dead cards; if you have three Normal Summons in your hand and can’t use two of them, your hand performs like you have three cards that turn instead of five.

So why use Normal Summons at all? A fundamental part of game balance is to weigh the output of power a card can give you, against the frequency with which you can actually use it. There are lots of ways the design team can create balance that way: perhaps a powerful card can’t be searched out of your deck so you won’t have as many opportunities to play it, like

Cards that consume your Normal Summon make up a big portion of the most powerful effects in the game, and using one of them is certainly better than none. Normal Summon cards are so good that if you just ignore them, you’ll quickly be outpaced by most opponents. You want to play powerful Normal Summons and you want to see them in every game, but the trick is to not see too many. You want to maximize your power output each turn by using all the cards in your hand, sure, but it’s important that one of those cards leverages the ‘power balancing’ of the Normal Summon, because the sheer potential of many of those cards is so high.

Put simply, if a Normal Summon card isn’t powerful enough to justify the weaknesses inherent to the Normal Summon requirement, you shouldn’t be playing it. But on the whole, Normal Summons are so good that they’re worth navigating the balancing act.

With that in mind, we’re going to figure out how many Normal Summons you should run in your decks so you can get the best results, as often as mathematically possible.

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