How the Progression Series Changed YuGiOh Forever

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Cimoooooooo (yes, with eight O’s) has been a YouTube content creator for YuGiOh since 2014, when Alex Cimo announced in his second ever video that he was going to be the Next Greatest Yugituber! OK that great YugiTuber statement was part of a YuGiOh competition. He mentions his enthusiasm and critical eye when it comes to cardboard that would be the two things that would leave a lasting impact on the YugiTubing community. It took a few years, but believe it or not, he actualized that statement, thanks to his innovation of the Progression Series!

Along with his co-host Gage, the YugiTuber better known as Nyhmnim, Alex came up with the idea to start from the very beginning of YuGiOh and build decks from opening just a virtual box of Legend of Blue-Eyes White Dragon. These virtual packs are opened on my favorite YuGiOh pack simulator from YGOPRODECK. Each week, Alex and Gage open just twenty-four packs of each subsequent set, and they can only build decks just using those cards.

Because of the chaos of modern YuGiOh, many players were pining for past formats, including Goat Format and Edison Format. The Progression Series did something fresh, and in a way that literally cost its co-hosts nothing, playing their games on the famous Dueling Book browser-based software. What’s particularly fun for me is that I started playing YuGiOh in 2005, but Alex and Gage started many years later. So, watching them fumble around with older cards in the first season of the Progression Series was actually a delight to watch, and Alex and Gage are both extremely engaging and entertaining co-hosts.

Perhaps the best part of Progression Series is the mind-games between Alex and Gage, since they have a unique metagame in which the only cards playable are the ones they themselves pulled from their virtual packs. That means each week one has no idea what the other is playing or even what they each pulled until the end of each episode. Unfortunately, as great as this idea was, as the series progressed (no pun intended), the card pool for each player began to diverge to a point where one co-host began to run away with the entire series (I won’t spoil who that is.)

It took two and a half years, but the first season of Progression Series ended with opening the Burst of Destiny set. Here’s the entire 83 video playlist on YouTube:

But, wait, I said first season! That’s right; there’s a season two of Progression Series. This series is much better than the first Progression series. While the first definitely had its moments, Alex and Gage realize that their card pools needed more diversification. Therefore, in season 2, they added a wheel that added wrinkles to the series, allowing each of them a chance to re-roll their pulls for a certain set, banning a card from the series, unbanning a card from the series, or getting a strong wildcard to bulk up their collection. Also, the loser now gets three of the latest Tournament Pack, which offers some strong cards as a consolation prize.

Here’s the Season Two of Progression Series playlist, in which they’ve also added reprint sets and Duelist Packs, making for a much more diverse array of options for deckbuilding:

In addition to the famous Progression Series, Cimooooooo also hosts The History of Yu-Gi-Oh and The History of Jank with MBTYuGiOh, aka Joseph, another fantastic content creator who has a very different style than Cimo, yet is another incredibly fun and insightful co-host. There’s little doubt that Alex has played a huge part in his ascension in the YugiTube sphere; Joseph has admitted as much.

These series are very similar to the Progression Series in that each week Alex and Joseph progress through the history of YuGiOh set by set, although some sets offer multiple decks that they want to cover. The first History series covers decks that were actual competitive winners at the time. The Jank series follows a similar timeline but is composed of decks that people tried to make work, and perhaps could win small local tournaments, but that had obvious flaws that made them glass cannons or hilarious janky attempts at making a theme work. Both are quite enjoyable, and you never know exactly who will win here.

Cimoooooooo has another series with a different co-host, TheRJB0 (aka Robert), called Sealed Showdown. This series is very similar to the others, but this time, it’s stripped down to a single set at a time. Like the Progression series, you get one box of a booster set, BUT after each episode, everything is ejected and you start fresh with the next set.

While I greatly enjoy this series and TheRJB0 is a great co-host, albeit very different from Gage and Joseph, he brings a very different, much more relaxed character to this series. My only issue with this series, and why it’s my least favorite, has to do with the format itself. Some sets are not conducive to building fun or interesting decks, as YuGiOh rarely allows you to build a deck from a single set. This isn’t Magic the Gathering, after all, where the game literally is meant to be played from a handful of packs. Heck, even the Pokemon TCG allows you to do that!

Cimoooooooo had another series with another of my favorite YugiTubers Ruxin34 called the Auction Series. It’s a bit hard to explain; they are given a random selection of products and they have to bid imaginary Kaiba Bucks on them. Then, whatever products they win, they open and build a deck from them. This was a great concept, but apparently, Cimoooooooo found he needed to cut a series, and both he and Ruxin agree this one had to be put up on the shelf. It’s too bad, because it was probably my favorite of all the series.

While all of these series are definitely variations on a theme, with different co-hosts, and with different sets being featured each week in each series, it doesn’t get stale or boring. YuGiOh has a vast history and it will take many years for these series to even reach the present day of Duel Monsters chaos. Considering I don’t enjoy the modern game at all – although I still dabbled with Duel Links for a couple years and I played Master Duel a lot in 2022 – watching these series is a nostalgia trip for me and a great treat for getting my writing done!

So, if you enjoyed YuGiOh at one time or another, these series are well worth a watch. Even if you’re just interested in trading card games at all you’ll probably want to check this channel out. As much as I’d like to see a Magic the Gathering Progression Series, those that tried one didn’t do it all that well and they didn’t last. I’d do one myself, but the issue is that Wizards of the Coast doesn’t allow things like Dueling Book to exist, so it would be a pain to start with early sets. Also, because MTG was designed to build decks from a single sealed box, I don’t think an MTG progression series would even be as random as the YuGiOh one has been.

Hilariously, I’d say that YuGiOh’s recent resurgence in popularity has a lot more to do with the Progression Series than the current Trading Card Game itself. Konami has certainly taken notice, though, and that’s why a lot of old archetypes are being revisited; they really pay attention. Now, when it comes to the banned and restricted list for tournaments… we won’t go there. Suffice it to say, the Progression Series and its cousins will be going for quite some time to come. Cimoooooooo has 306 thousand YouTube subscribers with almost 700 Patreon supporters, so clearly the interest is higher than ever.

Have you ever played YuGiOh or another Trading Card Game?

Writing words, spreading love, Amelia Desertsong primarily writes creative nonfiction articles, as well as dabbling in baseball, Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, and whatever else tickles her fancy.
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