It’s always a good time to duel! The Yu-Gi-Oh trading card game and anime have been around for ages, but most video game iterations have had a hard time taking off. Duel Links is the latest effort from Konami, and it is a fun and competitive one even though it’s not a 1-to-1 copy of the trading card game. In Duel Links, there are only three monster and spell/trap card slots, and only 30 cards maximum allowed per deck. Characters also have unique skills, making the meta diverse and exciting.
But as in any card game, ranked is ruled by the most consistent. So, if you want to reach the coveted rank of King of Games or climb high in the September Kaiba Corp. Cup, here is our list of the best Yu-Gi-Oh! dual links decks that will help you get your game on.
Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links decks:
Editor’s note: We will update this list regularly as the meta evolves and new decks become dominant!
1. Ancient Gears
Dr Crowler is a colorful character that can quickly get on your nerves with his signature deck — Ancient Gears. There have been some powerful decks featuring the archetype floating around in Duel Links before, but few were this dominant. Now with added support thanks to the Ancient Gears Awakening structure deck, Crowler’s class in back in session.
So, how does this new Ancient Gears deck work? It is a beatdown or an OTK (one turn kill) deck that relies on summoning its boss monster — the Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon. It’s an incredibly powerful card not only thanks to its 3000 attack points, but its ability block monster, spell and trap card effects until the end of the damage step when it attacks. This means your opponents have almost zero counter play, no matter what archetype they are running. After your attack is finished, the Reactor Dragon can even destroy another spell or trap on the field.
The Ancient Gears deck relies on spells to summon its boss monster.
But you don’t want to normal/tribute summon the Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon most of the time. Instead, to get it out on the field as soon as possible, you should destroy two of your instrumental spell cards — Geartown or Ancient Gear Fortress. They are some of the most powerful searching cards currently in the game, so you’d usually want three copies of Geartown and one to two copies of Ancient Gear Fortress in your deck. Their destruction allows you to summon the Reactor Dragon from your deck, hand or graveyard or just hand and graveyard. Ideally, you’d have two copies of the dragon you can get out on the same turn. With 6000 attack points combined and no pesky spells or traps in your way, it’s an almost flawless OTK.
To start this chain of events, however, you need some powerful general tech (spell/trap) cards. The most consistent versions of the deck run two copies of Galaxy Cyclone and two copies of Double Cyclone. They both can target any spell card on the field, meaning they can be used on Geartown and Ancient Gear Fortress. But since one is ultra rare and the other super rare, they aren’t exactly easy to get on your hands on. You can replace them with the less fancy but still effective Twister, De-spell and Storm. You also want some serious traps, which can allow you to stall in case you don’t draw your winning combo. The ones we’d recommend are Floodgate Trap Hole, Treacherous Trap Hole, Paleozoic Canadia and Drowning Mirror Force.
Finally, you should know that victory comes at a price. Most of the cards you need to make this deck work can be found in the previously mentioned Ancient Gears Awakening structure deck. It costs 1000 gems and it has a one-time gem purchase limit. So, if you want to buy it two or three times for the extra copies of Geartown and Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon, you’ll need to spend some real cash. Unless you still have your Road to Worlds Campaign dream UR ticket, which can net you an extra Reactor Dragon. But if you want to be the King of Games, the new Ancient Gears is the best Duel Links deck you can currently play.
If monster destruction combined with some coin tosses is your thing, there is no better deck in the meta for you than Desperado. With the help of the Full Metal Desperado structure deck and some old but useful cards, you can control the board and deny your opponent the chance to attack.
How does the Desperado deck work? As you might have guessed from its name, the key card it relies on is the Desperado Barrel Dragon. It is an improved version of Bandit Keith’s signature card — Barrel Dragon. If a face-up Dark Machine monster is destroyed, you can summon it from your hand and trigger its coin flip effect. For every head you flip, you can destroy a monster. If you land three, you can wipe the opponent’s full board and draw a card.
The Desperado deck works best when played with Sartorious Kumar.
Of course, you can play the Desperado deck with Bandit Keith and one of his various skills, but it is at its full power in the hands of Sartorius Kumar. His Master of Destiny skill makes it so that when you toss a coin, the result will always be heads for the first three tosses. So, there is no gambling involved. It’s a consistent and infuriating archetype to play against.
But in order for the skill to activate, you need to have five or more cards with different names that have a coin toss effect. The most common and successful cards are Twin-Barrel Dragon, Time Wizard, Cup of Ace and Arcana Force XIV – Temperance. Their effects allow you to destroy additional cards, halve damage you take and draw cards to get that perfect combo off.
Dark Machine type monsters are also essential, since their destruction allows you summon Desperado from your hand. So, make sure to include three copies of BM-4 Blast Spider if you have them. Cyberdarks are a great option too. From that point on, it’s easy. Toss those coins and destroy your opponent’s monsters, then attack. The recommended tech cards are the usual — Paleozoic, Treacherous and Floodgate.
Nevertheless, this deck is out of reach for returning and new players. The event which allowed you to unlock Sartorious has passed and Konami has not added him to the gate as an unlockable duelist yet. You can try your luck with other characters with LP boost, but the deck will not be as consistent. Nevertheless, if you have Sartorious unlocked and don’t mind spending some money on the structure deck, the Desperado deck is among the best Duel Links decks at the moment.
3. Cyberdark Neos Fusion
Although Zane Truesdale has been in the game for a while now, his Cyberdark cards never amounted to much until recently. Now, combined with Neos Fusion (or even Desperado), they are part of the top tier Duel Links decks.
You’ll need two of them to be exact — Cyberdark Cannon and Cyberdark Edge (three copies of each). This means you need to have Zane unlocked even if the deck actually works best with other characters. The one you’ll see most often is Bandit Keith. His Switcheroo skill prevents the deck from bricking, i.e. not drawing the right cards at the right moment.
But why are the Cyberdarks instrumental? Because they help you end the match quickly. Discarding Cannon adds an Edge to your hand. You can then activate Cannon’s effect in the graveyard and equip to the Edge, giving it not only 2400 attack points, but the ability to attact your opponent directly (disregarding monsters) for half damage. If you’ve gotten your hands on Leng Ling through EX gems or the card flipper campaign, it is another excellent card to combo with Cyberdark Edge. It allows you to attack directly twice and can finish your enemy in a pinch. A common burn variant of the deck adds two Lava Golems as well, which can be the overkill you’re looking for.
But your trump cards are Elemental HERO Brave Neos and Neos Fusion. The latter allows you to summon Brave Neos without Polymerization by simply sending one fusion material monster (Elemental HERO Neos) and one random monster to the graveyard. You can easily send Cyberdark Cannon to make use of its effect and quickly swarm the board with monsters. Neos Fusion also protects Brave Neos since you can banish it from the graveyard to prevent Brave Neos’ destruction. Three copies of Neos Fusion and you’re almost unstoppable! Three copies of Elemental HERO Brave Neos are preferable too, but as expected you can only find these cards in the Neos Fusion structure deck, so you need to get your wallet ready.
You need to buy a structure deck to get the Neos Fusion cards.
But even so, it is probably more affordable than some other decks on this list, considering the Cyberdarks, Lava Golems and Elemental Hero Neos cards are all obtainable for free through battling Legendary Duelists at the gate. The recommended spells and traps also aren’t too cost prohibitive, one of them being Enemy Controller — a common Kaiba drop. So, if you are a fan of both Zane and Jaden and want to harvest the power of their legendary monsters, give the Cyberdark Neos Fusion deck a try.
4. Silent Spellbooks
This deck has proven its staying power. Spellbooks have been around in the meta for more than a year and they’ve managed to escape ban list nerfs almost unscathed. However, this comes at a price. Even if you are an efficient gem hoarder, a Spellbooks deck will cost you some real currency. This is because Silent Magician, one of its key cards, is found in a structure deck. The rest of the cards are mostly from a single mini box, but you need three of copies of multiple super rare cards. In other words, it’s not a cheap deck but it is an effective one.
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The Spellbooks archetype has excellent card synergies that can easily catapult you to KOG if you master them. Yet, it’s harder than it might seem. It is one of the few decks on this list we recommend practicing multiple times against NPCs before jumping into ranked. Here is how it works: you need to start the chain of events with either Spellbook of Secrets or Spellbook Magician. Both allow you to add another Spellbook card from your deck to your hand. If you get the Magician for example, summon him and then add Spellbook of Secrets. Activate it right away. From there, you need to search for Spellbook of the Master. It allows you to copy the effect of another Spellbooks card. Use it to copy Secrets and get a Spellbook of Fate in your hand. Set it.
It is the most powerful book in the Silent Spellbook arsenal. With it you can return set spell/traps to your opponent’s hand, banish monsters or change their attack position. 90% of the time you should use it to banish cards. However, to activate any of these effects, you need to have three Spellbook cards in your graveyard to banish. Don’t worry too much, since you can get one of them back via Spellbook of Eternity, starting the cycle all over again.
But how do you deal damage? This is where Silent Magician comes in. This monster is special summoned by tributing one spellcaster monster, usually the Spellbook Magician of Prophecy. She gains 500 attack for every card in your hand on top of her base 1000 damage. If your opponent somehow manages to smite her off the field, she is immediately replaced by Silent Magician LV8, which has 3500 attack and is unaffacted by spells. If you want to pressure your opponent even more, Breaker the Magical Warrior also makes an excellent addition to the Silent Spellbooks deck, as does Pegasus’ Mind Scan skill.
Of course, the deck has its downsides, since it’s hard to master and requires slow and meticulous play. That can frustrate opponents into making mistakes, but you are not immune either. However, it is still one of the most consistent picks even after a year in the meta. So, if you don’t mind spending some real coins, Spellbooks is one of the best decks Duel Links has to offer.
If you liked the idea of Spellbooks but want to spend less, Triamids offer a very similar play-style. Slow and steady wins the race! The Triamids archetype is relatively new to Duel Links but it has already proven its worth. This deck doesn’t need to be played with one specific character, and if you’re patient it can crush almost any other meta deck.
Triamids are centered around field spells. Activating them or sending them to the graveyard makes use of their various effects and allows you to search for your Triamid monsters. Just like Spellbooks, you will need some time to understand and master the cycle. Here is how you can theoretically start it: activate Triamid Cruiser, followed by another Triamid field spell. The first will be sent to the graveyard, allowing you to search for a Triamid monster. If you don’t have Triamid Hunter in your hand, pick him, since he will allow you an additional normal summon that turn.
You can then summon Dancer or Master, if you have them in your starting hand. Both of these cards have powerful effects that synergize with your field spells. Triamid Master can sacrifice a face-up Triamid card to destroy an opponent’s set card or he can activate a field spell directly from the deck as a quick effect. Dancer, on the other hand, can boost the attack of every rock monster you control, including herself and return a Triamid card from the graveyard to the deck.
Combined with the continuous trap Triamid Pulse, which lets you banish two cards from the grave to destroy a face-up card or return three field spells back to the deck, the cycle becomes self-sustaining. Triamid Kingolem, on the other hand, makes all of your monsters function like the Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon — no card effects can be activated until the end of the damage step. You can clear out your opponent’s board or simply ignore their back row and smash away with your boosted monsters for an OTK.
Triamids work best with the Balance skill.
However, for the most consistent results, it’s recommended you use the Balance Skill. You can unlock it on any character. It allows you to have a balanced starting hand (instead of two traps and three spells for example) at the cost of having at least six cards of each type (spell, monster, trap) in your deck. This means your deck will consist of more than 20 cards — usually a deadly sin in Duel Links — but it’s a necessary sacrifice for that coveted KOG rank. And Triamids are not that expensive either! If you’ve hoarded some gems, you can easily get the required cards. They can all be found in the Guardians of Rock mini box or through the Card Trader. It’s one of the few true free-to-play deck on this list. But it’s also one of the best Duel Links decks overall.
6. Magnet Warriors
Alpha, Beta and Gamma have been among Yugi Muto’s signature heroes since the beginning. Yet, they never made a huge impression in the Duel Links meta until their new and improved Electromagna versions appeared. Found in the Guardians of Rock mini box along with Berserkion the Eletromagna Warrior, these rock warriors are ready for battle.
Similar to the Ancient Gears, the new Magnet Warriors deck focuses on getting out your boss monster — Berserkion. It must be special summoned from your hand by banishing one Alpha, Beta and Gamma Electromagna warriors from your hand, field (face-up only) or graveyard. When on the field, Berserkion’s special effects allow you to banish a level 4 or lower Magnet Warrior to destroy a card on the field. Multiple times per turn! And if he is destroyed by battle or card effect, the banished Alpha, Beta and Gamma Electromagna Warrior return on the field in his stead. This gives you the ability to clear any pesky back row or set monsters your opponent controls before attacking with Berserkion’s 3000 damage head on. And even if it is destroyed, you have insurance.
But, of course, most of the time you won’t open with Berserkion in your hand in the first turn. This is where the effects of the other warriors come in. When summoned, Alpha allows you to add one level 8 Magna Warrior monster to your hand. Use it to get Berserkion. If you don’t have Alpha, you can use Beta and Gamma’s effects to find it, allowing you to get Berskerion once again. It’s an almost flawless system. But it works like a charm when Delta the Magnet warrior is added to the mix. You can tribute Alpha to summon Delta (even on your opponent’s turn). Delta’s effect then allows you to send a level four or lower Magnet Warrior to the grave. This means you now have almost of all your special summon materials in place. With the use of a trap like Powerful Rebirth, you can also return a warrior and reuse its effect, so all three cards necessary to summon Berserkion are out of the deck.
30-card deck? It's possible with Magnet Warriors!
There also are powerful 30-card variants of the Magnet Warriors deck, which work similarly but rely on That Grass Looks Greener to mill your deck to the grave. They are used with Switcheroo as a skill and they offer even more protection to your cards. They can incorporate Triamid Pulse to clear the opponent’s board (Magnets are Rock-type monsters too) and Block Dragon to prevent your Rock-Type monsters being destroyed with a sneaky Treacherous Trap Hole or any other card effect.
Of course, the Magnet Warriors deck is not as strong as some others on the list, but it’s a fun deck that can get you to King of Games regardless. It also won’t break the bank, since most of its cards can be found in the Guardians of Rock Box and via the Card Trader. You will have to reset the box, but if you are a strictly free player, this is a good bet if you want to get a full and powerful archetype without grinding endlessly.
The Duel Links meta changes constantly when new boxes and characters are introduced. This is why we felt the need to add some honorable mentions. These decks haven’t proven themselves as top tier just yet, but they have a lot of potential. The first is undoubtedly the Flower Cardians archetype. It has great OTK potential and seems almost unbeatable against some of the current meta decks. You can find in the latest box — Valhalla Calling. It also contains vital support for Dark Lords, another potential top tier deck, in the form of Banishment of the Dark Lords.
The third promising deck is Fortune Ladies. For this one, you need to have Dark Signer Carly Carmine unlocked. Her event recently ended, but she will return at some point in the future. Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to battle new Legendary Duelists when they appear so you don’t miss out on powerful cards or skills. But some of Carly’s essential cards, including Fortune Lady Every, can also be found in the new box. Use your 500-gem celebration reward wisely!
These are our picks for the best Duel Links decks of the current meta! Which ones are your favorites? Have you managed to get to the King of Games Rank before? Let us know in the comments below.