Yu-Gi-Oh! games invigorate Tutorials


Breandan Gibbons

Seniors Ned Laird-Raylor, Turab Naqvi and Arib Rahman play Yu-Gi-Oh! cards in the senior lounge as spectators look on. Laird-Raylor relies on three things for his competitions:“First, building the deck: what cards are in the deck. Second is how I play with those cards, because a good player with a bad deck can still beat a bad player with a good deck. Lastly: the belief of the heart of the cards.”

While the halls are quiet and teacher’s rooms fill with students focused on work during Tutorial, the senior lounge is focused on something else: the battle to end all battles. Seniors Arib Rahman and Ned Laird-Raylor transitioned their Tutorials into time for logical battles and fierce competitions on Yu-Gi-Oh! Mats.

It has quickly become an ideal way for them to compete as friends and get ready for their next class by focusing their minds on something other than school.

Yu-Gi-Oh! is a classic card game that originates from Japanese Manga comics and cartoon shows. It was first sold in 1996. It is a strategy game where opponents take turns in attempt to defeat all of the other cards that their opponents place out on the mat. The goal is to max out the attack and defense points of each card in the player’s deck.

The game requires strategy, quick thinking and a long view of the game. The players must always be thinking several moves ahead and have an understanding of their opponent’s strategy.

They key to the game is “belief in your deck and in the heart of the cards,” Rahman said.

When Laird-Raylor prepares for a game, he looks at three things.

“First, building the deck: what cards are in the deck. Second is how I play with those cards, because a good player with a bad deck can still beat a bad player with a good deck. Lastly is what Arib [Rahman] said: the belief of the heart of the cards.”

The students started their series of battles after a challenge in French class.

“We were in French and [Laird-Raylor] disagreed with me on a verb conjugation. After we argued for a bit I said, ‘Alight, bring your [Yu-Gi-Oh!] decks.’”

To settle their French dispute, Laird-Raylor and Rahman decided to use Yu-Gi-Oh! instead.

“From there, I brought my deck to school for a tutorial, and it started as a joke but we played and now we’ve been married for six years,” Laird-Raylor said.

Their battles in the Senior Lounge during tutorials often draw crowds of a dozen students and get quite intense.

“I really like watching because it gets kind of intense and it’s just very funny. It also reminds me of when I used to play it as a child,” senior Marlo Graham said.

The crowd that these initial battles drew was, at times, a distraction, but with experience came wisdom on how to handle the clamoring students for Laird-Raylor and Rahman.

“At first it was pretty annoying but it was nice to have the support,” Laird-Raylor said.

Ned [Laird-Raylor] showed me the power of the heart of the cards

— Arib Rahman

Rahman agreed: “The constant slamming on the tables was a constant source of annoyance,” he said.

After the initial excitement, the fans cooled off and let the players be players.

“It has gotten to a point that is very manageable. We still have spectators, but there are only a few and they are respectful,” Laird-Raylor said.

Passion for Yu-Gi-Oh! for Rahman and Laird-Raylor began long before their Tutorial bouts.

Laird-Raylor found inspiration from his elders: “I got my deck from my grandfather actually,” he said.

“Arib [Rahman] told me it had a lot of weak cards and I told him that his deck has no weak cards. I then promptly sent him to the shadow realm.”

Rahman was crushed by that defeat and considered quitting. However, love for the game, as well as support from his foe, kept him in the competition.

“Ned [Laird-Raylor] showed me the power of the heart of the cards and I came back to the game,” Rahman said.

The game keeps the players’ minds fresh and is a good break from the daily rigor of the school day. Rahman finds the activity “rejuvenating” for the rest of the day.

Laird-Raylor found a strategy that does not let him fall behind in his work by using the lunch  period to work on homework because lunch “is the least important meal of the day,” he said.

Then, during tutorial, he plays Yu-Gi-Oh! which gives him just enough time to refocus for the remaining class.

Although it is mostly a way for the players to be entertained during their free blocks, Yu-Gi-Oh! is a great way to keep the mind working in a more competitive setting to allow complete focus in the classroom.

The little break they find in Yu-Gi-Oh! provides the break necessary to invigorate their studies and ensure that their grades do not get sent to “The Shadow Realm.”