Stamina is the name I've given a concept dubbed "The Philosophy of Fire" by Magic the Gathering player and writer Michael Flores. As a concept it has been pretty much absent from the minds of Yu-Gi-Oh! Players, but been put into practice many times to produce some of the fastest decks we've seen. Many FTK decks run on this concept: Frogs, Chimeratech Overdragon, Magical Scientist, Dark Magician of Chaos, Exchange of the Spirit, Empty Jar, Reversal Quiz, etc. Let's review what I said previously about Stamina.
Stamina deals with resources that measure a players ability to continue to play the game. These are resources which players start the game with, but don't naturally gain over the course of the duel. This includes things like life points, and cards in deck.
Early game, while Stamina is high for both players, cards the interact negatively with your opponent's stamina, or positively with your stamina are worth less because the resources are already abundant. Naturally over the course of the game, cards are lost from the deck. Life points can be lose as well, but this requires action from the players. Later in the game, when cards in deck and life points are low, stamina related effects are valuable. A Single card or attack can end the game. This means early game, cards must be able to deal a lot of damage or mill many cards for your opponent's deck to be useful.
The Philosophy of Fire
For burn cards you'll want to be using your Magical Cylinders or Dimension Walls when your opponent's Strong monsters attacks. Other Options are Des Koala since early game your opponent will have a larger hand, so it should be able to do some decent damage. Another would be Chain Strike at Chan Link 4 or 5. Another way to go would be to use Just Desserts and Ojama Trio is get in at least 1500 damage and clog your opponent's field to prevent them from swarming you. At the core of these examples is an underlying theme: Burn damage must be close to baseline monster damage (1500+) early game in order to stay in the race.
Another viable option is to use cards that can continuously apply pressure on their life points. In a way this gives you both tempo and stamina advantage. Some cards that do this are: Stealth Bird, Solar Flare Dragon, Dark Snake Syndrome, and Lava Golem + Nightmare Wheel. Wave-Motion Cannon can create a similar situation, but it can be removed form the field before the effect can be actualized.
Later in the game weaker burn cards like Poison of the Old Man and Tremendous Fire may be useful in finishing off any remaining life points. If you are running a deck totally dedicated to burn it might not matter when you play them though, but it should be note that the lose of card advantage early game without a big reward in damage may give your opponent the edge.
Don't forget you can interact with Stamina simply by doing battle damage to your opponent, so if you run a stamina related card it better be worth it. Attacking is the most efficient way to lower your opponent's stamina as it costs you no cards to deal damage, and can be done one per turn by each monster you control.
Put Your Nose to the Millstone
For mill cards the same rule applies. Cards like Morphing Jar, Morphing Jar #2, Necroface are more useful early game than Hand Destruction, Dark World Dealing, or other lesser cards. Card Destruction + Serial Spell is another interesting finishing strategy for mill decks and in combination with Morphing Jar can be at least 15 cards out of the deck (more with Book of Moon/Book of Eclipse/Book of Taiyou shenanigans).
Stamina as a Cost
Many times life points or milling are included on cards as a cost. Early game the cost is more worth it, since you have more life points and cards in deck to spare. Later in the game, hard costs (strict numbers rather than half) become more of a problem as life points and cards in deck are more scarce.
The Lightsworn archetype is based around the idea of using stamina in the form of cards in deck as a cost. The deck can be very explosive in the early parts of the game, and if even capable of ending the game in a single turn, but as the cards start to run out, if you cannot find a way to end the game, you might run out of cards.
Cards that say pay half, like Solemn Judgment have the opposite problem. Early game, the cost may not be worth it, while later in the game the cost is reduced. There is no doubt Solemn Judgment is a very powerful card, but that is because there is never a time it cannot be used. You just have to ask yourself if the cost at the time is worth it since it impacts your survivability. If it means you win the game this turn though, the cost can never really be to much.
Like in the previous articles I will give an example of a recent successful deck that runs on the theory. What better deck to choose than the one that won the World Championship tournament. Here is a look at a Frog OTK deck.
The deck doesn't offer much in terms of card advantage, but when it comes to tempo it can special summon monsters rapidly and repeatedly. It converts this tempo into stamina advantage with Mass Driver allowing it to take out their opponent on the first turn of the game!
To review the main themes of all the theories:
- Card economy focuses on using your resources to give yourself more and better options than your opponent.
- Tempo focuses on using your resources to put yourself in a better position than your opponent.
- Stamina focuses on using your resources to remove your opponent's ability to continue to play the game.
1. The Fundamentals
2. Card Economy