Recovery Time: Why Less is More (In Today’s Format)

In the game of Yugioh, different effects are the result of the various plays existing in a duelist’s deck. Continuing with the fighting game analogy from the Bread and Butter Index, consider the types of attacks available for a given player.

There are light, medium, heavy, special and super attacks. The time required for a player to recover before attempting the same action again is what is similar between attacks in fighting games and specific actions in Yugioh.

Recovery time in fighting games is measured in seconds, whereas in Yugioh, recovery times are measured in turns, considering limiting factors such as the draw phase and the ability to normal summon once per turn. However, exceptions to this rule exist in both cases.

Recovery Time in Fighting Games

In the fighting game genre, normal attacks are the basics. The user needs to press only one button to achieve the desired result, as it may be a punch or a kick. Here, the user can repeatedly press buttons and the character will respond with nearly as much speed.

Unfortunately, normal attacks in their lonesome will win very few matches against skilled opponents. While normal moves have quick recovery times, they lack damage. Opponents will likely be unable to counter normal moves without escalating into a more powerful move.

Enter the special move. Special moves provide the player with greater attack power and disruption ability. However, the recovery time increases. Furthermore, the special move requires unique button presses for a successful attempt. In addition, the recovery time for special moves is significantly higher than normal moves.

This caveat allows opponents to easily close the gap and counterattack any special moves the initial user missed. Additionally, the higher recovery time means the user is incapable of spamming the same high damaging move without consequence.

Finally, the super move. Super moves are not required to win many games, but at higher skill levels, they are necessary to compete. However, the trade-offs here are steeper than both normal and special moves as most readers will know at this point.

How does this all relate to Yugioh once again? Consider normal, special and super moves as one, two, and three-card plays. One card plays are cheap and abundant and are in high frequency. Two-card plays are less frequent but in theory, more powerful. Lastly, three-card plays are expensive but provide the user with powerful, duel-defining plays. Well, at least in theory.

Recovery Time in Yugioh

Target Cards Expected Draw Phases Required to Draw Target Card Again Total Turns
10+ 2 4
9 3 6
8 3 6
7 3 6
6 4 8
5 5 10
4 6 12

One-card plays are the safest due to its high opening hand consistency, and this consistency plays largely into recovery. Recovery in this sense is the ability draw into appropriate cards to re-start the initial play.

Consider the Zoodiac archetype. One card is required to achieve its end-game state and the user is capable of dedicating up to twelve cards to this. Calculating the expected value of 12 cards illustrates the duelist is likely to open with one of these cards on average. Furthermore, they are likely to draw another card of this variety just shy of once every two draw phases. This used to be a space exclusively for level four and lower monsters, but not anymore.

Two-card plays are next up. Look at the ABC-Dragon Buster and Bujintei Tsukuyomi play. The cards required for this combo will provide the opening user with at least one copy of each (10 cards for piece 1, and 6 cards for piece 2). The user of this play will need to wait for an average of four draw phases to receive two of the combo pieces once more (If the user has maximized the total available cards for this combo).

However, the user can expect the required draw phases to decrease based on the number of cards dedicated to each of the combo pieces. Unfortunately, two-card plays resulting in boards of the caliber of ABC’s are limited in total quantity of combo pieces available.

Finally, the three-card play. Here are the most expensive plays in nature, such as first-turn fusion summons or complex synchro combos. Here, the opening hand consistency of such plays are low, to begin with, and the odds of repeating the same play are close to zero. Such plays are virtually a one-off, excluding resource recursion from the graveyard, extra deck or banished zone.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, one-card plays are on another level. Whether if the effect involves summoning a large, disruptive board,  or mass removal. In the case of one-card mass removal, most cards of this variety have spent considerable time on and off the forbidden list. Is it not safe to assume the same for some of the most popular plays in today’s metagame? But I digress. The ability to draw into another play is the main advantage of dedicating fewer cards to one play. The end results are what determines how unbalanced the scales are.

Latest posts by Ezell Frazier (see all)

Ezell Frazier

Creator of the Deck Optimizer, I enjoy the analytics of Yu-Gi-Oh.

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