Qualifiers begin: Will I have the Heart of the Cards?

Qualifiers begin: Will I have the Heart of the Cards?

I have been playing Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links since Spring Break, and in that time I would argue that I’ve gathered a good amount of cards and have become fairly competent at pulling decks together to play with.

Thus, I think it’s about time that I try my hand at a pretty serious event that just began, an event serious enough that I feel it’s worth talking about.

The qualifying rounds for the Duel Links division of the 2017 Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championships have begun, signified by the iconic Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon hanging out omnipresently across the Duel Links hub world:

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Thar she blows, cap’n.

More complete details of the World Championships can be found here (for the Duel Links division) and here (for the Trading Card Game division), but the part I’m interested in boils down to this.

Starting today, June 1, the usual ranked duels player-versus-player portion of the Duel Links multiplayer hub has been replaced with Qualifier Duels. Anyone who reaches the highest duelist ranking (King of Games) by June 9 will advance onto the Final Qualifiers, which last until June 11. Winning duels during the Final Qualifiers earns a player points, and at the end the top ranking players will get to attend the World Championships in London, England.

Only 12 players will get to go to the Championships in August, with usership divided by world region. Two players will get to go from North America, which means that out of the untold number of players on this continent, I’ll be competing for two spots.

To be completely honest, from everything I’ve seen from players who are way better than me… I’m not holding my breath. I’ve never made it to King of Games even without the added flare of competition this will obviously drudge up, so I would be surprised to get anywhere close.

But hey, a trip to London wouldn’t be so bad… So what the hell. I’ll do my darnedest.

Even if I don’t make it to the coveted Final Qualifiers, there will be prizes available for my troubles all the same. Every player who competes in even one Qualifier duel will receive a fancy Game Mat and Card Sleeves themed after the World Championships, and depending on what rank a player reaches they also receive a number of other prizes on the way up.

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For the uninitiated laypersons I’m sure are among you, the gems that are rewards for Bronze, Silver and Gold ranks are used to purchase card packs from a number of packs currently available in the game. Nothing special necessarily, but they are the building blocks of this free-to-play title and are highly coveted as a result.

Reaching Platinum earns players a Super Rare Card that, naturally, we aren’t being told about ahead of time. Total mystery, likely something super good. I haven’t made it to Platinum before, so that’s currently my main goal. I’m always ready to get new cards.

Reaching King of Games nets players an Ultra Rare Jewel, which can be used to buy Ultra Rare Cards from the game’s Card Trader (which cycles through new stock every 12 hours). Also, it allows advancement to the Final Qualifiers, like I said before.

That’s really about it to be honest. Nothing too complicated, it’s just an exciting chance at something big on the heels of the last big event, which was the arrival of a new Legendary Duelist (The Paradox Brothers, for anyone who has a nostalgic interest in the show like I do). So, it’s about time I quit writing about it and get busy pushing toward my goal of at least hitting Platinum Rank 1 for the first time in my history of playing.

Okay, so I still have some more I’d like to write about. Namely, I have a whole big display about the main deck I’m planning on using for the Qualifiers. However, I know that’s getting into the nitty gritty of things that a lot of people aren’t going to want to sit through, so I’m going to put it below a read more. That way, anyone interested can read on, and anyone who isn’t can just go on with their lives. A win-win, I’d say!

So, until next time, wish me luck on competing, and tell me all about what your favorite games based on things that are nostalgic to you in some way in the comments below! Duel Links definitely hits that itch for me, so I’m interested to hear what you all might have to say on the matter.


Alright, here we go. Props to anyone sticking with me here for this next leg of the long-winded gabfest I apparently love to subject you all to.

Is it smart to reveal my planned main deck and the strategies behind it online right before the competition starts? Probably not. But I doubt anyone playing the game against me is going to see, and even if they did half the game is based on the luck of the draw anyway, so it probably wouldn’t matter either way.

This is a deck I call my “Fiendish Pursuit,” which is based on the monster type of the same name.

Fiends.

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Again, for those of you who may not know the game, here are some of the basics in regards to what Duel Links offers.

My deck is 20 cards, the minimum requirement for any deck a duelist creates and what is generally recommended. In a sense, your goal is to make as clean and consistent a deck as you can for a game that has a limited number of play space on the battlefield.

Only three monsters, three spells and/or traps and one field spell can be played at a time and four cards are drawn from your deck at the beginning of each duel (unless a player is using a skill which changes that number in some way), so you better hope that what you get is what you need.

Every deck is built in the deck slot of one of the Legendary Duelists you control, each of whom is unlocked in some way or another through the course of playing the game. For this deck I’m using Yami Bakura, a character unlocked through a special event who has become my favorite because of his voice acting and the music that plays when he is your opponent.

It’s seriously great, check it out here if you’re interested.

The reason why character diversity is important in choosing who you want to control when using a particular deck is that each character gets an array of skills they can use during duels, some of which are unique and specifically useful for a variety of reasons. With Bakura I’m using the skill “Tether of Defeat,” which allows me to send one card either from the top of my deck to my graveyard or from the top of my opponent’s deck to their graveyard once every time I destroy an opponent’s monster.

This skill has a variety of uses, one of which being the possibility that I can potentially nullify a useful card from my opponent’s deck before they get to use it, which also gets me one step closer to victory by the opponent running out of cards to draw. The other primary use behind this skill… Will make more sense once I go into details about which cards I’ve chosen and why.

Speaking of, seems like it’s about time to get into that. Hope you’re ready for more!


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The Normal Monsters

Arguably the least complicated category, normal monsters are just that: Normal. There’s nothing special about them necessarily, they just come with different attack and defense stats. So I won’t go too deep into why I chose to use them, unlike the other categories here.

All three of these fiends are specially received from Bakura’s unlock event, special appearance event and level up rewards. Man-Eating Treasure Chest has a pretty solid attack stat and Headless Knight has a pretty solid defense stat. I have two of each and I can place them in their respective best positions and typically survive in conjunction with the other cards I have.

The “Archfiend” Beast of Talwar is the star of the show for this deck, however. He only requires one tribute card to summon and has a damn good 2400 base attack. Drawing one of the two I’m using also gives me synergy with the field spell I’m packing, but I’ll get into that later.

The Effect Monsters

Here’s where things get good. Effect monsters do a variety of interesting things and combine their usefulness into near countless strategies. Here are the ones I’ve chosen:

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Kiseitai is a dark fiend reward card you can earn by defeating the Legendary Duelist Weevil Underwood. It’s relatively weak on its own, but has an effect which allows it to attach itself onto the opponent’s monster that destroys it. Once the card is attached (signified by taking up a spot in your spell/trap zone), it adds 50 percent of the attached monster’s attack stat to your Life Points at the start of their turn. Always useful, especially with cards like Mirror Wall that you can use your Life Points to extend.

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Winged Minion is another relatively weak monster that has a great effect meant to boost up your other monsters. Another gift from Bakura’s level up rewards, this fiend can be tributed any time immediately after it has been summoned to add its base attack and defense to another fiend of your choice. With its help, Beast of Talwar has 3100 attack points, higher than the legendary Blue-Eyes White Dragon. Pretty awesome.

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Shadowslayer, found in the Neo-Impact card pack, still lags behind any of the normal monsters in this deck. However, if every monster on your opponent’s side of the field is in defense position, it can directly attack your opponent’s Life Points rather than having to beat through a number of monsters to get there. In a game where every player has 4000 Life Points (unless boosted by some ability), this is a substantial chunk of damage, especially with cards like Winged Minion that can boost its strength. It also has great synergy with the trap card Windstorm of Etaqua.

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Here is one of the bread-and-butter cards in this deck: Dark Necrofear. This card is the signature card for Bakura, meaning whenever he summons it you get a special 3D animation – pretty cool. The card has a very high 2800 defense stat, and its 2200 attack can be boosted to high levels easily with other cards in the deck.

A special summoning requirement must be met to bring Dark Necrofear from your hand to the field. To summon her, you have to have three fiends already in your graveyard. Those cards are banished from play, and Dark Necrofear is summoned. This is the other reason why “Tether of Defeat” is important for this deck – you can potentially throw one of your own cards away and speed up the process of summoning this card. The nature of a special summon means you can summon this card and another monster card in the same turn, even if you can usually only summon one monster at a time.

Dark Necrofear’s effect allows you to take control of an opponent’s monster when she’s destroyed and sent to the graveyard while under your control. Considering it is almost impossible to destroy without a high-level monster, the fact that you can take control of one of them after Dark Necrofear is destroyed is pretty great.

The Field Spell

Field Spells are cards you can place in your special field card zone that provide a special effect for your cards and potentially your opponents cards as well. Some characters have skills which automatically place a field spell on your side at the beginning of a match, and those field spells typically buff a particular kind of monster, so they’re quite useful in buffing certain decks.

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This field spell, Archfiend Palabyrinth, is relatively new to Duel Links. It was introduced as a point-gathering reward in the Paradox Brothers event that just ended. The spell has two main effects:

  • All fiend monsters on your side of the field gain 500 attack points.
  • When you control an “Archfiend” monster, you can banish a second fiend monster you control to special summon a second Archfiend from your hand, deck or graveyard.

Both of these effects are amazing in their own right. The inherent 500 attack boost is gratefully appreciated, as it increases the usability of every monster I discussed above. On top of that, Beast of Talwar becomes a monster that not only has 2900 attack, but can also special summon a second Beast of Talwar at essentially any time so long as you can get a second fiend on the field first.

Seriously, when this works out, it REALLY works out. What a damn powerful card that I’m glad I got.

The Spell Cards

Spell cards have a wide variety of effects that can be activated at any time (within the parameters of the given card, of course). They come in multiple forms: Regular spells, equip spells, quick-play spells and field spells – though I went over those already.

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Black Pendant is a piece of jewelry that’s elegant both in design and in effect. It is an equip spell that you can attach to one monster to give that monster 500 extra attack. Like with Archfiend Palabyrinth, a 500 attack boost is always greatly appreciated… But that isn’t the only reason to use Black Pendant. When the card is sent to the graveyard, either because the monster it was attached to is destroyed or because you remove it somehow, your opponent takes 500 damage. Like I said before, the game has each player start with 4000 Life Points, so even if this isn’t a huge margin in the grand scheme of things, every little bit helps.

Plus, it definitely comes in clutch if your opponent only has 300 Life Points left in my experience.

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Riryoku is one of the few Ultra Rare cards I’ve purchased from the Card Trader, and for good reason. It allows you to half the attack stat of one card and add that attack onto a monster of your choosing. Through this effect, you can neuter one of your opponent’s monsters to power up your own (making them weaker in the process) or you can give the strength from a powerhouse you have to a card that needs it more in that moment (such as siphoning power from Beast of Talwar to Shadowslayer).

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Dark Mambele is another card specifically earned through a special Bakura event. It’s effect is simple in that it allows you to banish one face-up target on the field if you control three or more dark attribute monsters. Every monster besides Headless Knight has a dark attribute in this deck, so as long as some of them can stay on the field in the right moment (perhaps through the help of special summoning) you can get rid of a nuisance on the field. Always a coveted effect in my opinion.

The Trap Cards

Trap cards are less of an instant gratification than spell cards are. They must be placed on the field for at least one turn before activation, though their effects are typically meant to turn the tides of a battle turn in some way, so timing with these are everything.

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Windstorm of Etaqua is generally considered to be a staple trap in Duel Links. You can only get one at this point in time by leveling up Mai Valentine. The card does exactly what it says: Changes the battle positions of all face-up monsters your opponent controls. It works well with Shadowslayer, who can attack your opponent directly when they only have defense position monsters, but it also just has a general usefulness in protecting your monsters from attack. All and all a solid card, even if you can play around it by setting some monsters in defense position so they’ll be changed to attack after it activates.

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Mirror Wall is also generally considered to be a staple trap in Duel Links. It’s one of the Ultra Rare cards you can receive from the Neo-Impact card pack and is seen in decks more often than not due to its versatility and highly desired effect. When activated, every time your opponent declares an attack, the monster that performs the action has its attack stat halved as long as Mirror Wall stays on the field. To keep it on the field, however, you must pay 2000 Life Points at the beginning of each turn (which is why Kiseitai is so useful). Typically the card destroys an opponent’s monster who attacks only to find its attack stat suddenly weaker than yours, but if it isn’t destroyed it will continue to have the stat reduction as long as you can maintain Mirror Wall.

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The Golden Apples are pretty simple in concept, but for this particular deck especially it’s a useful card to have. When this card is set face-down on the field, if your opponent inflicts battle damage to your Life Points you can activate the card to restore the same amount of Life Points you lost and also special summon a dark fiend token monster with attack and defense stats matching the amount of damage you took. This token is open to being tributed for something new, or you can apply the damage buffs you give to everything else and it can serve as just another monster. Undoubtedly useful in this set-up.

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Damage Gate is another new arrival to Duel Links as of the Paradox Brothers event. In fact, I’m experimenting with its viability by having it in this deck more than anything. When you take battle damage, this card allows you to special summon a monster from your graveyard with an attack stat lower than the damage you took. With a deck full of relatively low attack stats, there’s plenty of opportunities for this card to shine and give another chance to potentially summon something new like the Beast of Talwar.



Whew… What a small marathon this has been. Far more than I expected it to be. If you’re still around, I give you even more props than before. This was far longer than I ever expected to get with this, and even I’m exhausted by it now. However… Let me know if you’re interested in seeing more of this kind of deck breakdown in the future! It’s fun to do, even if it is more than a bit time consuming.

Also, just know that even after all of this work building it up… The deck is still subject to change. There are plenty of other useful cards I’ve considered adding in, but my desire to keep around 20 cards has hindered that. However, it’s encouraged to change so it can better perform as I find faults. So, if you see any faults in the deck you think should be addressed in some way, tell me about your ideas in the comments, and I can work on fixing it up for the future!

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