Far from Home Talk: Raphael Neven from NETHERLANDS

Another player who’s come a long way from home to participate in the first YCS of the year is another familiar face, Raphael Neven. He’s already been to Australia before for study purposes but this time it’s to play a game which he loves and is no stranger to the competitive scene. Raphael won the Dutch Nationals in 2013 but more impressively, has won a YCS in both North America and Europe and is here to claim a win in a third continent. After competing in the World Championship last year, he is ready to take on another year of Yu-Gi-Oh! Despite coming off 26 hours in transit, he was willing to sit down and have a talk about his experiences playing this game.

Far From Home Raphael


Hey Raphael, how are you feeling about this weekend?

I am feeling very excited. It’s been such a long flight but it’s worth it because I have so many friends here and I loved it the last time I came here. It was a no brainer to come when it was announced. The weather here is nice compared to back at home so it’s nice to be here.


How long did it take you to get here?

It took me 25 hours. I stopped over in Hong Kong and tried to get food but I couldn’t. I would definitely recommend others to come here because Sydney is a beautiful place. I recommend people spend at least 2 weeks here. I’m only staying for a week this time because I’ve been here before but it’s definitely not enough.


What deck are you playing?

I am play Sky Striker Orcust. It is the best deck!! I play the Scrap cards because it allows you to extend your plays beyond the normal Sky Striker Orcust build. It plays a heavier Spell Card line up so your Sky Striker spells become more powerful earlier on in the game.


When did you decide on this deck and what other decks did you consider?

I decided on this deck about 5 minutes before you asked me. The other decks I considered were… well I didn’t actually consider any other decks to be honest. I was too busy with exams to test other decks so I just took the deck I played in Milan and changed a few things around.


How do you approach big events and what is your goal?

The goal is always to do as well as possible. How do I approach it? I approach it very seriously. I spend a lot of time theorising and practicing. I make sure I have a lot of sleep on the Friday and drink a lot of water throughout the day. If I don’t do well, I just try to have as much fun as possible with my friends.


How do you stay on top of your game throughout the long day?

After a match, especially when I lose and get upset, I try to go outside and figure out what happened wrong and try to learn from it so I don’t make the same mistake because that would be like losing two matches in one. As soon as you get upset, you take up too much energy getting over it and it makes you perform worse as the day goes on. It’s very important to handle losses well as it takes too much energy. Other than that, drink a lot of water and don’t over spend your energy. I personally don’t eat too much on the day but I do recommend staying on top of the basics.


How long have played this game and how did you improve to get where you are today?

I have been playing for 7 years now and I only recently considered myself as decent and that is mostly because I have been testing with people who I consider better than me. In 2016 I joined a team with a lot of the best players and I feel my skill level skyrocketed because I got so much value playing with the best of the best. To try and figure it out on your own is something I consider impossible because there is just too much to learn. I also traveled to as many YCS as possible as each tournament gave me more and more experience.


What would be one piece of advice you would give to aspiring players?

I would tell players that if they really want to get to the top of the game then they need to prepare to put in a lot of time and effort and travel as much as they can. I think traveling all around the world to play is worth it. You need hours and hours to improve and just need to put in the time. Keep traveling even if you don’t think you will do well because the experience you gain is significantly more important than constantly doing well in your locals. You learn more even if you just missed out on top cut. Locals is just for fun to be honest, it’s a completely different field to YCS or even regionals.


Which locals do you play at and what is it like?

I play at a locals called Yugi-Wan and it’s a small store close to me. It has nice owners and a nice atmosphere but the level of play isn’t the most competitive. I like going to hang out with people I know and play some fun games. When I test for big tournaments, I prefer to play more closely with friends and team mates.


How was the World Championship?

It was a dream come true. It was something I always wanted and I’m glad I competed in the race. I really would love to come back but due to conflicting schedules, I don’t think I will be compete in the race this year. There are too many events happening at the same time and I prefer traveling to other countries than play some regionals in my area. All people should aspire to go at least once in their career.

Any shout outs or final words?

I would like to shout out to my team, Team JRBJobber and everyone at Duelist Academy. Also to my mother who paid for half this trip.

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