Equipped with his best 40 cards, a lot of strategy and a bit of luck, Adam Teshuba has earned the top world ranking playing his favourite style of the Yu-Gi-Oh card game.
Getting player of the year status for 2022 is a "very prestigious" award for the 27-year-old Windsorite, who found out last week. Teshuba received the most points in a single season out of the roughly 100,000 people in any country to ever play the GOAT format — one of several ways to play Yu-Gi-Oh — in competition.
Comparing it a mixture of chess and euchre, Teshuba said the goal of the game is to reduce your opponent's life points to zero by using monsters and other cards in your deck.
"There's kind of that surprise element, that mystery element that you kind of have to break down and determine what's the optimal play ... taking risks, they're all decisions you have to make constantly every turn and that element really, really is attractive to me," said Teshuba.
The University of Windsor engineering student plays against other people from around the world primarily online. As pandemic restrictions eased, he found himself travelling to Chicago, Ohio, Connecticut and Philadelphia this year.
His father Al Teshuba said supports his son's competitive Yu-Gi-Oh side and is proud of his global accomplishment. Memorization, math, strategy and teamwork are all skills Al said his son refines when playing the card game.
"Adam's a very, very well-rounded young man. He's going to do great," said Al. "For him to be able to have a hobby that he enjoys, something that is very safe and fun and ... keep his brain sharp, I think it's terrific."
Yu-Gi-Oh playing cards first came out around the early 2000s. Although he first started playing when he was 10 years old, Teshuba said those who play competitively are typically in their 20s. He started playing the game again five years ago and it turned competitive within the last few years.
The GOAT format Teshuba plays stems from the Yu-Gi-Oh card popular in 2005 known as the scapegoat, but the term is also an acronym for the greatest of all time.
Although Teshuba hasn't won any money, he earned prizes worth more than $5,000, including a PlayStation 5, Yu-Gi-Oh cards and playing mats.
With plans to graduate soon, Teshuba said he plans to hold onto his deck of Yu-Gi-Oh cards for as long as he can find time to play.
"You need to have balance," said Teshuba. "Again, this is just a game. It's a highly competitive game and I am excelling at it. It's just about balance."
For now, he's focusing on being captain of the Team Canada Yu-Gi-Oh team. The group of six has already defeated Team U.K. and is currently setting up a match against the Americans.