A pile of Yomi cards scatterd.

I am not the most qualified person to ever write about Yomi, and I am certain that much of what I am going to say in this article is arguable, and I would love to have those arguments. What I want to talk about is the importance and advantages of making, and keeping, a big hand.

A pile of Yomi cards scatterd.

Here is a piece of very logical thinking that, when I finally realized it, changed my Yomi game a great deal: the only way to draw more than one card per turn (barring jokers) is to block. It’s obvious, it isn’t a secret, and it is true. But what does this mean? Lot’s of things, but one of the major ones is, when a player is low on cards, let’s say 5 or less, that player’s options are very limited. He will be unlikely to combo, unlikely to power up to aces, unlikely to dodge (lacking a decent follow-up), and much more likely to block.

If you begin a barrage of throws at an opponent like this, it will be very difficult for him to turn this game around unless he has other decisive advantages. Why throw? Primarily throws keep him from blocking, secondly it’s less likely he can do any serious damage to you with an attack, even if he catches on, because doing damaging combos is probably not possible with such a small hand. And doing so will make an even smaller hand!

Of course the flip side is also true, which is the point of my article. You do not want to find yourself in the position of wanting to block, and have your opponent KNOW you want to block. Because if you increase your chance to block while they increase the chance to throw you are going to come out behind. The biggest way to telegraph desperation to block is to be low on cards!

So after the long-winded introduction, if you are still with me, I present Alex’s strategy. Keep your hand as large as you can, for the vast majority of the game. My philosophy is, don’t use cards now, that can get better later. Here are some of the things I generally don’t do:

Power up one pair into aces, I prefer to wait for trips or better. Of course with exceptionally powerful or important aces like Arg’s or Degrey’s I will do this. Although even in those cases I do this very rarely. Setsuki is pretty much omitted from all of my rules, as hand management with Setsuki is totally backwards to normal playing. So probably don’t worry relating my strategy with her.

Combo anything after throws, unless it’s the most powerful attack I have.
Doing Throw-7-ender is something you will rarely see me doing. I feel like this is a waste of a 7. I would much rather have that 7 in my hand as a 2-option card then 7 damage to the opponent. I will also rarely do throw-5-6 or anything like that. The exception here is if my opponent is at 30 life or lower, and maximizing damage is the main goal.

Incorporate normals into combos without making straights.
Same as throw, you will not see me doing Starter-4-5-Ender. I would much rather just do start/ender and keep the normals in my hand for powering up, and straight play.

Play an attack without any follow up.
This is mostly just a newbie mistake, but I see it all the time. People will throw out an attack, like a 4, and follow it up with nothing. Or even something like 4-Ender. In a case like that, I think it’s better to just play the ender naked, and keep the 4 in your hand.

The reasoning for hoarding all of these cards is two-fold. There is legitimate strategy in keeping a large hand, because it gives you more chances to draw into straights, three-of-a-kind and four-of-a-kind increasing your damage output and hand value. A hand like 5,7,A,J,T (Characters will vary) isn’t that great, and if you blow it by playing something like Throw-7-J just for the damage, you miss out on the opportunity to draw another 7 for a power up, or a 6 for the straight. When you could have just played a throw and kept the opportunity.

The second reason is all mind games. If you have a small hand your opponent might decide to throw you more, making you fight uphill to get a decent hand. With a big hand your opponent is less likely to think you are starving for options (even if you are with a hand like 5, J, J, Q, A or something). Also the bigger your hand is the more threatening your damage output is, this should scare your opponent into playing more defensively against you.

The opposite of this also works, if you think your opponent is aware of your implied desperation for options. If you have a Grave with the hand Q,Q, A, A, your opponent might try to throw-loop you knowing you want to block. But in reality you are just looking to deal 30 damage to him. This works best with stealth aces of course.

I hope this made sense, please tell me what you think.

product showcase of yomi set

Have you ever been inside someone’s mind so deep you feel like you are reading their soul? Do you want to try? Play ten Yomi games against the same opponent in a row, and the two of you will develop a bond like none you have ever had. That is how powerful this card game is.

product showcase of yomi set

Imagine rock-paper-scissors, poker, and a fighting game all rolled into one. That might be the best way to describe Yomi. Doesn’t it sound great? Yomi is a fighting game (like Street Fighter, Tekken, or Soul Calibur) except in card game form, printed on multiple standard 54 card decks of playing cards (52 cards and 2 jokers). The reason I say “decks” is because each deck is a separate character, and each card is a “move” that character can perform. The standard shipping of Yomi comes with 10 decks, or 10 characters, although only two are required to actually play the game. The rock-paper-scissors is translated in this game to attack, throw and block/dodge with attacks beating throws, throws beating block/dodge and block/dodge beating attack. The beauty of the usually boring RPS crapshoot is the fact that outcomes of the clashes are asymmetrical. Meaning sometimes it’s better to play certain moves, and sometimes it’s better for your opponent to play certain moves. The simple fact that you must deal damage to your opponent to win the game, and block/dodge doesn’t deal any damage is enough to throw the RPS triangle out of whack!

degrey move card from yomi card game

How It Works

You choose a character and draw 7 cards. Each card has 2 sides featuring different actions. Some are block/attack, others dodge/throw. You can play either side of the card, so really your 7 card hand is more like a 14 card hand because each card has two options. Both you and your opponent play a card face down, and then both reveal. You played attack and he played block? Well he wins, and in this case, he gets to draw a card (more options) and he gets to take the block back to his hand (no card disadvantage), you on the other hand must discard your attack and do 0 damage. Both played a throw? Each character has a speed, and the faster throw will win dealing damage. Furthermore, each character has a different distribution of attack-throw-block cards, special ability cards and innate abilities making them all require a radically different style of play. You would think with 10 characters all with different moves and styles the game would quickly degenerate into a unbalanced slugfest where only several characters can compete. Lucky for us David Sirlin has a fetish for asymmetrical game balance and he really shows off with Yomi. No matter what the match up, no characters is hugely favored. It’s possible to get frustrated and feel like you are being steamrolled by some kind of beastly character but more likely you are just getting out-played.

What Makes Yomi Better than Other Card Games?

Firstly, Yomi is a self-contained game. You never make your deck any better, and you will never need to update it. You only need to buy the game once and it’s ready to play forever. So this game isn’t a major investment, but more like a board game that you can bust out every now and then. You don’t need to commit to buying expensive rare cards to give yourself a fighting chance.

Secondly, this is a strategy card game. From my experience, despite being printed on a poker deck, Yomi is probably only 10% luck. Because your opening hand has ~14 options it’s very unlikely that you will be in the “unlucky” position of not having the particular kind of move you feel like you should play. Of course it CAN happen, but it’s never happened to me yet! If you find yourself in a draw “X” or die situation in Yomi it isn’t a matter of bad luck, but a set of mistakes you made earlier in the game. This is a true psychological strategy game. Who can be the better mind-reader. The game has all the math, reading and bluffing elements of poker but without the river-suckouts. And the best part is, the more you play it with the same person the more intense the games get. You start getting reads on them, you can begin baiting them and setting traps while at the same time avoiding getting caught in one of your tricks. It gets my head spinning just thinking about it. This game really is mental combat distilled.

Just Buy It

If you have friends, and you like board games, card games, or poker (and have time to do something other than play poker.) then just buy this. I will give you my word that you will enjoy it thoroughly. I mean the game is just awesome. The characters are all interesting and different, the art is worth looking at, the gameplay is deep and compelling. There is NOTHING BAD ABOUT IT! Also for added bonus you can even play it online for free!!!

THIS CARD GAME is 10x better than the last game you played. Card game, video game or anything else. Go try it out!!! Then you can buy it from Sirlin’s store and write me a thank you note for exposing you to this masterpiece. Is it expensive? Yeah it is at about $100 HOWEVER that is probably cheaper than most games you compare it to considering what you get. If you buy ten magic the gathering reconstructed decks it will cast you $100 and you won’t even get to awesome playmats.