It’s a good time to duel! A slew of new boxes and events has transformed the Duel Links meta in recent months. A variety of decks, both old and new, are now viable and can take you far. However, getting that coveted King of Games rank is not always easy — some decks will always be more dominant than others. But now that the Kaiba Corp Cup second stage has ended, we have a better understanding of which decks perform the best and what makes them tick. Without further ado, here are the best Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links decks of the current meta.
The best Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links decks:
Editor’s note: The deck recipes are based on top decks used in tournaments and in the KC Cup. This list will be updated regularly as the meta evolves and new decks become dominant.
1. Dark Magician
Yugi’s longtime companion Dark Magician is more versatile than you might think. With many support cards now in the game thanks to recent events and the new Future Horizon Box, Dark Magician is now a tier one deck. The best news, however, is that you don’t need to spend a fortune or buy any structure decks to pummel opponents with it. Two of the key cards are ultra-rare but they are not impossible to get with some grinding.
So, how does the latest iteration of Dark Magician work? It’s a incredibly consistent deck with powerful searching, as well as the ability to banish and negate. This achieved with the help of two cards — Magician Navigation and Dark Magical Circle. Magician Navigation allows you to summon Dark Magician, triggering Dark Magical Circle’s banishing effect. Once in the graveyard, Magician Navigation can also be banished to negate an opponent’s spell or trap. This opens the way for a safe direct attack, which usually results in a one turn kill.
However, to get this chain going you need two other essential cards. Magician’s Rod is the most important. It’s a staple of every Dark Magician deck because it allows you to search for spells and trap belonging to the archetype. Thankfully, you can obtain it from the Card Trader. Illusion Magic, another necessary card, however, can only be obtained through leveling up Arkana to level 25. Illusion Magic the key to getting your magicians from your deck to your hand and triggering the effects of the other core cards. So, if you haven’t bothered to level up Arkana yet, take advantage of the current 1.5 XP campaign and do so.
Other cards worth mentioning are The Eye of Timaeus and Dark Cavalry. They are there to give you a chance against the other top deck lurking in ranked — Elementsabers. Don’t skip them if you want a smooth sailing journey to King of Games. Other meta decks aren’t as effective against Dark Magician, but we recommend you use Ishizu and her powerful Sealed Tombs skill for optimal results in any matchup, including mirror matches. Power of Dark is another skill you can use. It’s not as good as Sealed Tombs, but it can still give you the upper hand in some duels.
What about tech cards? Prepare the usual — Treacherous Trap Hole and Cosmic Cyclone. Don’t worry if you don’t own enough copies though. You can replace them with similar powerful cards like Galaxy Cyclone, Fiendish Chain, Enemy Controller and more. All that’s left is to practice against some NPCs to get a feeling for all the timings and combos. Once you master it, it’s the best Duel Links deck you can play.
2. Invoked Elementsabers
Warriors, spellcasters and fusion monsters have joined forces to gives us one of the best Duel Links decks: Invoked Elementsabers. It’s not often that we see a single box provide almost all the necessary materials for a tier one deck, but this is the case with Dark Dimensions and this new and explosive archetype.
Elementsabers is an OTK (one turn kill) deck that relies on its powerful fusion beasts to crush opponents — Invoked Cocytus and Invoked Purgatrio. Getting them out on the field requires meticulous play and a good understanding of all your cards’ synergies. The two most important cards are Aleister the Invoker and Invocation.
Summoning Invoker adds the fusion spell Invocation to your hand. You then need to fuse Invoker with either a Fire monster for Purgatrio or a water monster for Cocytus. Here is where you need to be careful though. Your field spell Palace of the Elemental Lords can add the monster with the right attribute to your hand, but at the cost of skipping your next battle phase. The other solution is changing attributes in the graveyard — something all Elementsaber monsters can do. How will that help you? Unlike Polymerization, Invocation can use monsters in either player’s graveyard as fusion materials.
Once you have that figured out and you’ve performed your fusion summon, you can shuffle Invocation back into your deck, allowing you to add the banished Invoker back to your hand. Aleister can then be discarded once more to boost a fusion monster’s attack. If you have Purgatrio on the field, using this move is almost always a guaranteed win because the fusion monster inflicts piercing damage and can attack every monster your opponent controls once per turn. Cocytus is an even safer bet because it’s immune to enemy card effects and can attack even when it’s in face-up defense position. This makes the deck not only incredibly consistent and self-sustaining but one that assures quick victories in most matchups.
Three copies of Cosmic Cyclone are an essential part of the Elementsabers deck.
Invoked Element Sabers has one weakness, however. The deck doesn’t have much backrow removal even though Elementsaber Lapauila can negate spells and traps. This is why three Cosmic Cyclones are an essential part of it. They are also needed to trigger the skill this deck is usually played with: Sorcery Conduit. This Yami Yugi skill allows you to draw a random spellcaster monster every time your life points decrease by 1000. Since Invoker is the only spellcaster in your deck, it’s an effective searching mechanism which makes Invoked Elementsabers incredibly consistent.
We should note, however, that Invoked Elementsabers is not a cheap deck. Most of it might come from a single box, but it’s a main box and you need two or three copies of multiple UR and SR cards. It’s possible to acquire it with some gem hoarding and a lot of luck, but you might need to spend real cash as well.
It was about time for a Synchro deck to shake up the meta. There have been some strong archetypes floating around in the past, but none as effective as Shiranui. This zombie samurai deck relies on a quick and explosive offense and has multiple variants that all work incredibly well. It’s without a doubt one of the best Duel Links decks.
The most successful version currently in the meta is a 30-card deck that make use of That Grass Looks Greener. Just like other decks that utilize this card, the goal is to mill part of your deck to the grave. This in turn activates the core card — Burgeoning Whirlflame. This trap allows you to banish two fire monsters from your graveyard and add Burgeoning Whirlflame back to your hand. What so special about that? Almost all of your Shiranui monsters are fire type and have effects which can be triggered upon banishment. Solitaire allows you to summon another Shiranui monster once per turn, Samurai adds a monster to your hand, Spiritmaster destroys an opponent’s card and so on.
But how do you do damage? This is where your synchro cards come in. They require one tuner monster and one non-tuner whose combined star number equals that of the synchro you want to summon. Shiranui has plenty of great ones — Sunsaga not only has 3500 attack, for example, but protects all of your other cards with his effects. Squiresaga, on the other hand, can boost your attack and destroy a spell, trap and/or monster on the field. However, it’s still recommended to add one Black Rose Dragon to your Extra deck in case you need you find yourself in need of a field clearing ability. Gozuki and Bacon Saver are two other cards that are great additions, which will only compliment the archetype and “grass” strategy.
Of course, the whole deck depends on That Grass Looks Greener card. To ensure you draw it in your first hand, you need to use either the Restart or Spell Specialist skill. We recommend the second, since it makes the Shiranui deck the most consistent. This is how it works: you need to have five or more spell cards with different names in your deck, which significantly increases the chance of your opening hand containing a spell card. Nevertheless, most decks run one copy of Gold Sarcofagus because it can not only search for your Grass card, but also trigger monster effects by banishing.
Shiranui can make use of limited cards.
Finally, when it comes to tech cards, you can go wild — since none of the Shiranui cards have made it onto the limited list, you can use two copies of Enemy Controller or whatever else comes to mind. It’s what makes Shiranui so great. But it’s one of the best Duel Links decks for another reason too. Because most of the archetype cards are located in the Soul of Resurrection mini box, it’s as close to free-to-play as you can get in the current meta.
If you want to spread your wings with winged beast deck, look no further than Crow Hogan’s Blackwings. This is yet another OTK synchro deck that specializes in swarming and quickly dispatching with your opponent.
At the core of the Blackwings deck lie two powerful searching cards. Black Whirlwind is the key to getting monsters to your hand — every time a Blackwing monster is normal summoned to your side of the field, this spell card allows you to add another Blackwing monster with less attack from the deck to your hand. But what if you don’t draw it in your opening or second hand? Then you can use Blackwing – Simoon the Poison Wind. Don’t be overwhelmed by the wall of text in his description. He can be used when you control no other monsters to bring forth your Whirlwind and summon Simoon himself. From there, you’ll want to summon Blackwing – Oroshi the Squall via Whirwind’s effect. It is a tuner monster that will enable you to bring the big bads from your Extra deck out.
There are a bunch of great synchros at your disposal. Obsidian Hawk Joe not only has 2600 attack points but can redirect attacks and resummon level 5 or higher Blackwing monster from the graveyard once per turn. This works excellently with Raikiri the Rain Shower’s card destruction ability. Pair them together and when your opponent is about to destroy Joe, make them aim at Raikiri instead. All that’s left is to resummon Raikiri and wipe the opponent’s board. Don’t underestimate the other cards in your extra deck either. Onimaru the Divine Thunder is immune to destruction from card effects and can gain 3000 attack if its special summoning conditions are met. There isn’t much more you can ask for.
There are a couple of things to note, however. Unlike most of the decks on this list, Blackwings prefer going second. If you do go first, don’t rush and take out all of your strong cards at once. You never know what your opponent might have in stock (usually a Treacherous Traphole). There also are a variety of skills you can use with this deck, but the strongest is Harpie’s Hunting Ground. Its attack boost might not be significant, but it allows you to search for more monsters with Whirlwind. Finally, for trap and spell cards, you’ll want Hey, Trunade, which can clear the way for an OTK , as well as Blackbird Close. The latter is incredibly strong because it can be played from your hand when your Blackwing synchros are on the field.
Blackwing is not a cheap deck, but like Elementsabers, pretty much all of its cards can be found in one main box (Aerial Assault). It’s a great fit for any player that loves beatdown decks and it’s one of the best decks Duel Links has to offer at the moment.
5. Cyber Dragon
Zane Truesdale’s Cyberdarks were all the rage last year, but this time his original archetype is picking up speed — Cyber Dragons. It’s a best-of-both-worlds fusion deck, which combines card destruction with high damage output.
So, how what makes Cyber Dragons tick? There are multiple versions of this deck in the meta, but all of them have three cards at their core. The aptly named Cyber Dragon Core is the first of your essential cards. Once per turn, when normal summoned, it allows you to add one Cyber spell or trap from your deck to your hand. Use this effect to get Cyberload Fusion or Cybernetic Overflow. Cyberload Fusion is a fusion card as it name implies, but it works differently from Polymerization. It can only use materials from your banished cards and from your field. It then shuffles the fusion materials back into the deck instead of sending them to the graveyard. Cybernetic Overflow can only be used once per turn, but it makes the deck consistent and self-sustaining.
With its help, one of your first targets to summon is Chimeratech Rampage Dragon: a powerful effect monster, which can clear your enemy’s backrow and attack up to three times per turn in exchange for sending two Light Machine monsters to the graveyard.
Your Cybernetic Overflow trap also works to clear spells and traps. To use it, you need to banish Cyber Dragon monsters with different levels from your hand, graveyard or field. This is why the deck usually features both Cyber Dragon and Cyber Dragon Vier (five and four stars respectively). Better yet, even if your opponent destroys the trap before you can activate it, its second effect allows you to search for another Overflow or Cyberload Fusion. This gives you the ability to make come back plays even when faced with difficult matchups.
But what if you’re facing beefy monsters that your Chimeratech Rampage Dragon can’t take care of by itself? You can use Concentrating Current or you could rely on your Cyber End Dragon. The dragon can be fusion summoned with Cyberload Fusion, and with 4000 attack, few monsters can stand up to it. The best way to get it out on the field is to play the deck with Zane’s Cyber Style skill. However, you can also play the deck with Draw Sense: Low-Level to ensure you get your Cyber Dragon Core copies when you need them.
Depending on what cards you choose to include, Cyber Dragon is not a cheap deck, but it’s one of the best Duel Links decks regardless. It’s also worth investing in because it’s an archetype that might see further support in future boxes.
Don’t think any of the above decks are the right fit for you? Here are a couple of other top tier decks that can help you on your way to King of Games:
- Dark Lords: an older deck that has been around since last summer but still a very powerful one.
- Ritual beasts: don’t like Synchros? Give ritual beasts a try instead with this excellent deck.
- Thunder Dragons: a lesser known but powerful deck that could surprise opponents used to seeing only other meta decks.
These are our picks for the best Duel Links decks of the current meta! Which ones are your favorites? Let us know in the comments below.