Meet Timmy, Johnny and Spike

ImageWelcome to the player profile support group. We all have problems and that’s okay.

Spike: “Hi. My name is Spike and I play to win.”

Timmy: “Hi. I’m Timmy and I just like overextending.”

Johnny: “I’m Johnny and I just want my sweet combo to go off.”

You are one of these types of players. I’m a Spike. Maybe you really only fit in one camp, maybe two, maybe all three. Mark Rosewater, lead designer of most Magic sets, fully explains these psycho-graphic profiles in much better detail than I probably can. He’s had more time to understand these theories because Magic is 10 years older than Yugioh and he was never trying to understand anything other than how to play until 2012 or so.

“Timmy plays Magic because he enjoys the feeling he gets when he plays. What that feeling is will vary from Timmy to Timmy, but what all Timmies have in common is that they enjoy the visceral experience of playing. As you will see, Johnny and Spike have a destination in mind when they play. Timmy is in it for the journey.”

“To Johnny, Magic is an opportunity to show the world something about himself, be it how creative he is or how clever he is or how offbeat he is. As such, Johnny is very focused on the customizability of the game. Deck building isn’t an aspect of the game to Johnny; it’s the aspect…..The Uber Johnnies build their decks based on sheer stubbornness. They are out to prove that what conventional wisdom says can’t be done, can be done. To them, no card is too bad to find a use for. No deck archetype is too unworkable. Nothing truly is off limits. “

“Spike plays to prove something, primarily to prove how good he is. You see, Spike sees the game as a mental challenge by which he can define and demonstrate his abilities. Spike gets his greatest joy from winning because his motivation is using the game to show what he is capable of. Anything less than success is a failure because that is the yardstick he is judging himself against. “

In general, Timmies like to do cool things, like summon Five-Headed Dragon. Not always big monsters, but usually. Johnnies like to do cool combos. Cool interactions between cards, like using Beast Striker, Kinka-Byo, Moja, Chain Dog and King of the Beasts. And Spikes are the competitive players that don’t care about anything but the win. These are the players that play Performapals because they’re good, not because they like visiting the circus.

I am, 100%, a Spike. I don’t know if it was how I was raised that led me to be a Spike, or what. But I’ve always been one. I liked Ancient Gears when the Structure Deck came out, but it was bad so I made it as good as possible. Infinite Gadgets and Geartown to cheat out Gadjiltron Dragon. When my friend started playing a zombie deck, I chose to use Macro Cosmos. Growing up, my sisters specifically did not enjoy playing Monopoly because one didn’t like hotels and the other thought she should get $200 every turn, not just when she passed go. I’m also a stickler for rules. Prove you’re the best within these rules. That’s the challenge of game design. That’s also why Mark Rosewater designs Magic and I don’t. There has to be a card for each type of player and creating cards with limitations that are still fun is hard.

Game design aside, as a Spike, I don’t think I’ll ever understand Timmies or Johnnies. I play for the win. I’m paying money to play in a tournament and win (usually) packs. Cool combos are cool, and so are fun games. But why would I bother playing a Moja deck, or Lunalight, if I’m trying to win? I’m going to do what gives me the best chance of winning. As long as I don’t break any written rules of the game, I’ll use ‘cheap combos’. Timmy and Johnny decks, while neat, can’t do unfair things. Given my card access, I’m going to play the best deck I can. Sometimes that’s the best deck of the format, sometimes it’s not. That comes down to money. I know buying a new deck every time a new best deck comes out isn’t always possible. But that’s what I’m going to recommend every single time because I’m a Spike. If Nekroz is the best deck, I’ll play it. If SPYrals end up being the best deck, I’ll play that. If I can end the game with Hope Harbinger, Giant Hand and Vanity’s Emptiness, I’m not going to try going for the Odd-Eyes Utopia Beyond OTK every single time. I’ve played games where I haven’t been able to do my wombo combo and beaten my opponent before I could do my combo. I just don’t understand what Timmy and Johnny get out of the game. I logically see it, but don’t understand it.


Image (1)Read Mark Rosewaters articles on the psycho-graphic profiles. Then read the ascetic profiles. They’re less important, and I’m more Mel than Vorthos, but I can appreciate flavor cards. I just wouldn’t ever want to play them. This is my disclaimer. I’m a Spike. I’m not a Timmy or a Johnny. I don’t understand why someone would play garbage. Flavor or playstyle is not more important to me than playing a good deck. I don’t like Ritual Summoning. I liked the Ice Barrier dragons and they are dead in the lore. I thought that necromancers wearing them as armor was dumb. And on top of that, they’re rituals. But Nekroz is one of my favorite decks that I’ve played because it was good and mirror matches were skillful.

I can kind of see the appeal of doing other things, doing unique things or trying to do the impossible. But if it’s not competitively viable, I quickly give up because winning one out of 100 games isn’t fun. One Timmy I knew just liked to do fun things like use Scrap Iron Scarecrow. To him, that was the most fun. It didn’t matter that I had all of the cards to get rid of it. He didn’t care if Scrap Iron Scarecrow wasn’t good. He just liked to stop attacks. He also didn’t understand that Scrap Iron Scarecrow sets itself after resolution and another turn must be waited because it’s a trap.

Johnny Li said that he only hears this when players say certain things. Johnny Li also wrote a great article on excuses that you should read.

“I couldn’t draw anything.” – My deck has bad card choices.

“He sacked me.” – I am not interested in reflecting on my losses.

“He ripped the answer.” – I failed to play around his outs

“I didn’t face any meta!” – I did not practice thoroughly.

“At least I’m not cheap/don’t run meta/don’t netdeck.” – I am unwilling to adapt my strategy to the evolving game due to a personal code of morals that is acknowledged in neither the rulebook nor the tournament structure.

“I prefer to be original.” – I am afraid of what losing a mirror match implies about my level of skill, so I will cling to an unoccupied niche and claim this niche as my defense against any and all accusations against my ability.

“I play for fun.” – I am willing to redefine a word in order to seize a nonexistent moral high ground in the face of failure.

All of these things are true, but Johnny Li, despite actually being a Johnny, is really a Spike. Like me, Johnny Li didn’t understand that something other than winning drives Timmies and Johnnies. I still don’t know why, especially in tournaments. But, Timmies and Johnnies care less about winning. The Scrap Iron Scarecrow Timmy was ecstatic when he won. Timmy was ready to lose another 99 games before winning again. When I lose that one game out of 100, I’d be disappointed with myself. What did I do wrong? Could I have prevented that last bit of damage earlier in the game? Did I just get careless? I know very well that Yugioh is a game of variance, and that you can’t win every game. I know that you just lose games here and there because you had a bad hand and your opponent didn’t. But that doesn’t stop me from feeling like I’ve failed.

I’m a Spike. If you ask my opinion on Blackwings, it’s going to be that Blackwings are garbage. I’m not interested in proving that Gusto is playable now. If you show me your Deskbot deck and ask for non-specific advice, I’m going to tell you to play something else. If you come at me with a unique idea, I’ll look at it, but if it can’t beat the current meta, it’s probably garbage. This is why I haven’t done casual corner in a long time. I’ve found that much of the vocal Yugioh community is Timmies and Johnnies. These are the players complaining about the meta because Construct is Forbidden and they can’t play their Shaddoll/Noble Knight deck that summons Ultimaya Tzolkin.

Timmies and Johnnies can have their fun, but it’s not fun to watch. The player at UK nats with the 50 card Beatrice deck is a Johnny. He lost badly to Atlanteans because he wanted to prove his deck building skills. Tomorrow I’ll talk about scrubs, their mindset, their artificial rules and what you need to do to improve your game.

What type of player are you? What type of player do you hate playing against? Let me know in the comments. Click an ad, get some Effect Veilers for the March 2013 format and come back tomorrow when I’ll be addressing the issue of the scrub.


Bonus: this is my rough plan for the rest of the week

casual corner ddd
dragon rulers


2 thoughts on “Meet Timmy, Johnny and Spike”

  1. One thing I like about Spikes is that they have a easy to define path to self-improvement at the game.

    One thing I do dislike is when Spikes start hating on deck types without giving a case where the archetype would be good. (Like Ghosttrickes need some good removal options, rather than being a turbofog deck)

    Or at least acknowledging that why a particular win condition is either bad or completely overpowered broken (I’d argue that mill to graveyard is generally bad against decks that only lightly self-mill or don’t self mill, as the graveyard in most TCGs is more accessible than the deck, or is used as a flag for more power from your cards on field (see. “Worm Victory”)

    I do like playing with Low-Power cards, so I enjoy formats that do that (hence my affinity for sealed), but I don’t expect that all of those cards be viable in a meta with higher Power/more cards.

    I’m not a fan of draft, because I don’t have enough space to consider all of the cards in a format and their likelihood of happening.

    Granted Yu-Gi-Oh! doesn’t really have either of their formats, but hey, 5D’s World Championship 2011 kinda did.

  2. I’ll play against anyone,but I’m almost positive I’m not a spike.But I dislike losing too much and generally stop playing a deck until I can fix it if it loses too much.

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