Are there Professionals in the game of Yu-Gi-Oh!?

Hello everyone! 

My name is Koty Angeloff and I am the 2019 Yu-Gi-Oh! National Champion! I will be writing on Luxury Gaming's website weekly so be sure to check out all of my articles!

This week’s topic involves professional players in the game of Yu-Gi-Oh. Before I share my thoughts on this subject, I would like to note many people have different perspectives of what a professional actually is; this includes having a certain amount of tops, the quality of those tops, or something even as far as playing Yu-Gi-Oh as your job.

“Professional” is defined as: Engaged in a specified activity as a main paid occupation rather than as a pastime. Going by this definition I don't think a lot of people can say they fit these criteria. But now you need to ask yourself: are Twitch streamers such as DistantCoder and Farfa considered professional players since they technically play the game as their main paid occupation? Most people reading this would most likely say no, which is why I don't think you can entirely take the definition that I used above as an exact indicator whether or not someone is a professional player.

Now you must ask yourself if this only applies to real-life tournaments. In some trading card games you could potentially earn a living off playing professionally, but this is not reliable for Yu-Gi-Oh because of how Konami prize support is structured for the players. If we were to define a professional player within Yu-Gi-Oh, since it is not an E-sport or a reliable way to make a living off of, then I believe the only way that you would be able to define such a person is their performance at Tier 3 and higher events. Now the questions everyone has are: "Who determines what is needed?" and "How would you compare what is required to other games?" These answers will vary from each person's opinion and there are no solid answers to them. In my opinion, to become a professional at the game of Yu-Gi-Oh! would include the following achievements, with my reasoning included:

Top three to four Tier 3 events a year and appear in the top 4 in at least one of those instances:

People will have mixed opinions with this, simply because they think that you need to top X number of regionals, or that number should be higher or lower. Like I said this is just my opinion on the matter. The high performance in three to four events implies two different things: You're good enough to consistently do well in this specific format and can show results, and you're better than the above-average player and deserve some recognition. Also, earning top 4 in at least one YCS means more than simply “topping”; you can actually make it quite far in top cut, which proves that it wasn't a fluke you have greater skills than the average player.

Top the WCQ (national tournament) at least once:
This may seem unusual since I just explained multiple YCS events each year, but the WCQ is the second-most prestigious event in a year of Yu-Gi-Oh. If you can top this tournament at least once, then you are one of the better players in your country.

Have consistent performance over the last 3 years:
Any experienced player can have one or two formats they perform well in, but it takes an actual professional to adapt to all formats of Yu-Gi-Oh, rather than a couple. Doing all of these things will definitely put you in the argument of being a professional in my eyes and in many other people's eyes as well.

I would love to hear reader feedback! Let me know if you think other criteria should be implemented, or if you would tweak my conditions. I stream on Twitch Monday-Friday at 1p.m. Est every week, so if you like competitive and informative content, then be sure to come watch me and ask all the questions you want at
Thank you all for reading, and I hope you read my future articles as well!
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