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.
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.