Evolution of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Neuron App Is Officially Sanctioned


Yu-Gi-Oh! is a game that is always evolving whether that is in the official tournament rules or in the game mechanics themselves. Today, we'll look at recent policy changes related to the Neuron app and its possible impact on organized play.

On November 17, Konami updated its tournament policy. There's not too much that's relevant to the competitive community, except for a new subsection: "Section II: Duelists Responsibilities, Subsection E: Neuron." While the section itself is a short one, its implications could change the way players approach organized play. Let's break down the features that might be useful in official tournaments.

Life Points Calculation and Supplements

Previously, players did opt to use unsanctioned third-party apps to keep track of life totals, but they could only do this at unsanctioned events. This will not be the case anymore. Keeping track of both players' life points ensures that players know where they stand in the game and while it is still required to record your life totals on paper, the use of the Neuron app allows players to keep that information digitally as well for sanctioned events.

life point tracking

The app also has some other built-in features that act as supplements for the life points calculator and should make certain actions easier while dueling. Under the Tools tab, one side contains options for dice rolling and coin tossing. They are useful at the start of a duel to determine which player goes first and during the duel itself in certain situations that require coin tossing, dice throwing, or even for choosing cards at random.

The other tab is the more interesting one, related to counters. Another update in the same policy reads: "Counters must be added to cards in the appropriate quantity (example: if card effect(s) would place four counters on a card, Duelists should add four counters, rather than using a die placed to show 'four.'" This effectively means that the practice players used to follow in the past by using dice as counters is not permitted anymore … unless players use a single die for each counter. Just try to imagine a Mythical Beast Jackal King with twelve counters, with twelve dice on top of it, possibly hiding the entire card. The Neuron app can assist with this issue as it has the capacity to keep track of counters on four different cards, and up to 99 counters per slot (note that you still need physical counters in addition to the Neuron app). The players, however, have to remember which of the four slots corresponds to the card they are tracking and sadly can only keep track of counters on up to four cards at the same time.

Overall, the rule change complicates things for duelists, but Neuron at least helps adjust for this to some degree. I do hope that they update the app to allow people to track more than four cards at a time along with allowing users to enter the names of tracked cards.

Camera Search

If you are dueling against someone with foreign cards and that person doesn't happen to have the translation of these cards, you both do not need to waste time either calling a judge or waiting for your opponent to give a rough translation of the card. You can just pick up your phone, activate the camera search option, point the camera at the card, and take a picture. The app will then run the picture through the card database before displaying all the needed information in one of eight possible languages. This is a remarkable feature that should help reduce language barriers when playing in international tournaments.

card search/translation

It isn't just useful for breaking language barriers as it also will show you the current legal text on a card, reducing the chance of confusion when someone is playing with an old copy of a card that has since undergone an errata.

Deck Lists

In the Deck Registration part of the official tournament policy, it states: "At Tier two or higher events, Deck Lists must be submitted using either the 'Save List' function in Neuron or the official Deck List form." That single line is a huge update. Tier two or higher events basically include every type of competitive event, except for OTS level events, Premiere! events, Yu-Gi-Oh! Day, YCS VIP Qualifiers, Duelist Leagues, etc., which are tier one events.

At tier two or higher events, you must submit a decklist using either the form that can be downloaded from the official Yu-Gi-Oh! website or through the card database. If using the card database, you choose the cards you want and generate a complete type decklist that you can already print out. Now, you can just open your decklist on the Neuron app and click the save list button, allowing you to e-mail yourself the completed pdf ready for printing. This gives you much easier access to same-day updates to your decklist, as it can all be done from the app. Also, interestingly, if you access the card database with your player ID, you will find all the decks that you have already saved in your Neuron app and can generate decklists directly from there.

These options should be very advantageous to people with questionable handwriting. Also, using the database and the Neuron app ensures accurate card names and helps avoid confusion if two cards have similar names. Some of you might remember the incident where Alpay Engin received a game loss in round three of YCS Utrecht 2020 back in February for writing Shaddoll Construct on his decklist instead of El Shaddoll Construct, resulting in a swift loss in one of the fastest matches ever shown from an official event.

Shaddoll Construct el Shaddoll Construct

With everything that is going on right now, Konami seems to be taking a more digital approach towards some aspects of competitive play. First reducing judge interactions by allowing the use of Neuron's camera function will help ensure that play progresses smoothly without interruptions or need for time extensions occurring from the presence of a judge. Also having a built-in calculator that keeps track of players' life points along with providing extra functions such as dice, coin, and counters is a step that is long overdue. Another nice thing about the app is that it includes your personal Card Game ID, so you can always have it with you when registering for tournaments.

One other option I am hoping Neuron will accommodate in the future is showing the common rulings on specific cards, through the camera function or just searching up the card on the app. This would be very helpful to clarify card effects and to avoid cheating. I didn't go over all of Neuron's features, just the ones that can be used in sanctioned events. But who knows what other features might be added or become useful down the line? For now, this new tournament policy update is a big step in the right direction by incorporating the app into official events. I hope Konami continues on this path and I can't wait for organized play to return to the way it used to be before the pandemic arrived.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.

1 Comment

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pazim96(08.12.2020 02:18)(Edited: 08.12.2020 02:18)

It should be mentioned that while the app has those functions included, you cannot (fully) use them during an official or sanctioned event. Unfortunately, this article is very misleading in that regard.


“During a Match in a Sanctioned or Official tournament, NEURON may be used in offline mode for the following functions only:
• Life Point calculation (Duelists must also keep a paper record of Life Points)
• Dice rolls/coin flips
• Camera Search for card translations”
- II. E Neuron (p. 19 in the KDE-E version)

“ Physical counters are required – the “counter” function in NEURON cannot be used without also using physical counters.”
- IV. H Tournament Materials (p. 32 in the KDE-E version)