Tag: Yugi Muto

‘Dark Magic Destruction’ deck profile — Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links

‘Dark Magic Destruction’ deck profile — Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links

Duel Links has kind of fallen out of favor in my phone app priority list for some time now.

It’s not that I don’t still love the game. I do. But Konami has a tendency to… Power creep a little faster than I’m comfortable with as a free-to-play user.

By power creep, I mean they add a new box of cards about once every two-to-three weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why that’s the decision they’ve made. New boxes mean a host of new cards that redefine the Player vs. Player metagame and keep the community thriving with new strategies.

It makes sense and is arguably a good business decision.

But because I don’t pay to buy the new boxes out, I wind up still stuck using a slowly accumulating set of gems to buy out older boxes while people are kicking everyone around with the newest stuff. While I still love the game for the computer-driven content that’s also constantly being added in, having myself be stuck in place on the PvP ladder because I can’t get past the newest, strongest card combinations without dumb luck is frustrating.

The PvP is half the draw of Duel Links, as it’s the real place to test out decks and earn good rewards. So it’s a shame that being so frustrated with it has taken away some of the fun of the game for me right now.

However, in the face of that frustration, I’ve decided to take a different approach than just giving up.

On April 26, the character level cap for every Legendary Duelist in the game was increased from 40 to 45. This meant a number of things for the game, but most notably: More gems and a new character-specific card for each duelist.

Many of the new level-up cards are just okay at best in my opinion. But two of them specifically stood out. Yami Yugi and Arkana both received a new support card for the Dark Magician archetype.

Seeing those two additional cards and remembering how much fun I used to have playing my Dark Magician/Dark Magician Girl combo deck inspired me to try to play a fun, nostalgic deck again rather than a purely meta-driven one.

Thus, my ‘Dark Magic Destruction’ deck was born.

It’s not the best deck in the world, but it has a bunch of super fun combo pieces that I’ve been enjoying playing more than most everything else since counter-fairies got a short-lived buff a few months back.

Because I’ve been having so much fun with the old DM, I wanted to bring back something from the days of old on my blog: Deck profiles.

I only did one about a year ago for a Bakura-driven fiend monster deck that I used during the 2017 World Championships. Seems fitting to have that format return now that I’m hitting the 2018 World Championship Qualifiers with a brand new, classic deck.

I’m looking to write a lot over the summer, and I’m going to  try new things with this post in particular using the knowledge of formatting I’ve accumulated via Fire Emblem posts and using my newfound video powers.

So perhaps deck profiles are something that can see a return more frequently with new decks I try out over the next few months. Let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in seeing!

For now, with that prologue about my current Duel Links journey out-of-the-way, let’s jump in.


The Basics

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Welcome to the dark carnival, everyone.

Obviously this isn’t your daddy’s Dark Magician. No no, this is the special red Dark Magician, utilized by Arkana the Rare Hunter during Yu-Gi-Oh!’s Battle City arc in the original anime.

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For all intents and purposes, red Dark Magician is exactly the same as the original Dark Magician. Same stats, same description, same level, everything. The red guy is basically an angsty, cool teenage reprint of the classic monster.

A cool reprint with probably one of the best play mats in the game. Just saying.

So why use him instead of the classic, iconic DM?

Well… This version of the card has a special animation when summoned by Arkana specifically. And we’re using Arkana today, not Yugi.

See Arkana has a special skill called ‘Master of Magicians’ that helps grease the combo wheels of this particular deck. It allows him to draw one of three cards from outside of the deck (Dark Magic Attack, Thousand Knives and Dark Magic Expanded) after losing half his life points.

As you’ll see, it works perfectly with Dark Magic Curtain, one of his signature cards.

Now that you understand the skill helping drive the deck, let’s break down the actual cards making up that deck.


The Monsters

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How could I start with anyone else?

Dark Magician is a normal monster that typically requires two monster tributes to summon. However, given the fact that it became the de facto mascot for Yu-Gi-Oh! as a whole through its use by the original protagonist Yugi Muto, the card has received a heaping helping of support throughout the years that makes it a still viable boss monster to bring out.

In Duel Links, that support has slowly come out through things like the level-up rewards for Yami Yugi and Arkana, as I mentioned before, as well as in part through support via Tea Gardner and Yugi Muto.

Most of the strategies he uses involve cycling through spells that both allow for easier summoning, for drawing cards and for dealing with the opponent’s board.

My deck is something of a mix of all three.

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Skilled Dark Magician is one of the newer cards added for Dark Magician through Arkana level-up rewards.

He’s an effect monster that can be immediately summoned with a fairly chunky 1900 attack and 1700 defense point spread that allows players to tribute him off when three spell counters are placed on the card (via separate spell cards being used while he’s on the field) to summon DM from the hand, deck or graveyard.

It’s the ‘deck or graveyard’ part of that statement that makes our skilled friend here so special. In a deck that utilizes combining and chaining spells for large plays, it’s rather easy to build up those three counters in the right circumstances, which means you can have a powerful unit early duel that has utility and revival capabilities late in the game.

Trust me, when I explain how the spells work together, you’ll see why he’s such a good card. I do wish there were three available, but two is a solid amount for now.

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Now THIS is the real combo-maker of the deck. Magician’s Rod is a fairly unique support monster for the Dark Magician deck that facilitates a lot of different things because it has a number of effects — more than making up for the somewhat slim 1600 attack and downright disgraceful 100 defense.

First and foremost, summoning the Rod allows players to pull a spell or trap from the deck that lists ‘Dark Magician’ in some capacity. In my deck specifically there are three spells that do so, and each are important at different points in the duel.

In other words, this is the card you want in your opening hand to start working a bunch of different combos, but when late game comes he becomes more of a liability due to that low attack.

The secondary effect is less useful, but it has potential to help. When Magician’s Rod is in the graveyard, if a spell or trap is used during the opponent’s turn (except during the damage step), the player can tribute one of their monsters to add the Rod back into their hand.

There’s some synergy to this effect in conjunction with the next card on my list, Blue Dragon Summoner. However, more often than not one use of the Magician’s Rod will lead to the exhaustion of most of its combo-making cards, so there isn’t a whole lot of point adding it back to your hand when there are no more cards to draw with it.

In other words, don’t be dumb like me and accidentally tribute your Dark Magician during your opponent’s turn to leave yourself open for the kill. Bad idea.

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As I mentioned before, Blue Dragon here has some synergy with Magician’s Rod because of its primary effect: allowing players to add a normal monster (Dragon, Warrior or Spellcaster) from the deck to the hand when it’s sent from the field to the graveyard.

Obviously Dark Magician is the target for this effect. Being able to add that sucker to the hand is more often than not a benefit because it gives you a boss monster to summon and thins out the deck — or gives you cards not during your draw phase, thus making it more likely to draw other cards during said draw phase.

Yu-Gi-Oh! is a game of statistics, man.

What makes Blue Dragon special is that the drawing aspect works for both battle destruction and card effect destruction. Thus you can get a Dark Magician by using the Summoner as bait for an attack just as easily as you can get one by making him tribute fodder for something like Mgician’s Rod.

Theoretically Legion the Fiend Jester could also be an apt card to fill this slot over Blue Dragon, as he has the same draw effect and an extra assistance effect for tribute summoning.

But I have a soft spot for Blue Dragon, he’s an old favorite of mine. Plus his 1500 attack allows for a little more battle utility than Legion’s 1300.


The Spells

In this Dark Magician deck, there are three spell cards that are useful specifically for the Magician himself, those that can be drawn out by Magician’s Rod. I’m going to go over those first in the order that I’d argue they’re useful to have throughout the duel.

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Another Arkana level-up exclusive card, Dark Magic Curtain is a magical (pun slightly intended?) playmaker to have in your opening hand for a duel.

By paying half of their life points, a player is able to summon Dark Magician from the deck. However, for the rest of that turn, no other summons can be conducted — though monsters can be set.

If it’s turn one and this card is available, not only can you thin your deck one card by pulling out a Dark Magician, you can instantly summon it and start the duel with a 2500 attack monster on deck.

On top of that, this card is the primary reason to run the Arkana-varient of the Dark Magician deck. The average 2000 life point cost (half of the 4000 starting point) is just enough to activate his ‘Master of Magicians’ skill, which instantly adds an extra card into one’s hand.

As amazing as all of this sounds — and frankly is through proper execution — there are downsides. For one, if all of your Dark Magicians are already in the hand or on the field, Curtain becomes an instantly dead card unless somehow the boss monster gets shuffled back into the deck.

On top of that, not being able to summon for the rest of the turn kind of sucks. It means players need to choose between using the Curtain or playing a number of other combinations at once. Though Blue Dragon is a good card to set, to be fair.

Long story short: If you have this card starting out or can use Magician’s Rod to grab it right away, you’re golden. If it’s stuck at the bottom of the deck until its time has passed, it’s worth nothing.

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This card is the newest Yami Yugi level-up reward that essentially inspired me to make this whole deck in the first place.

With Dark Magic Inheritance, players can banish two spell cards from the graveyard to add a ‘Dark Magician’ or ‘Dark Magician Girl’ centered spell or trap from the deck to the hand.

Because of how many spells are in this deck, it’s not hard to get two of them in the graveyard. Until you manage to do so it’s a dead card, but the second it isn’t a dead card it becomes a great way to thin the deck given that it’s a quick play spell, allowing one to activate it easily during whichever phase of the battle they prefer.

In my experience, the best practice with Dark Magic Inheritance is to summon DM using Curtain, then either activate the spell Arkana draws through ‘Master of Magicians’ or use an Enemy Controller, and afterward you’ll be able to draw out Dark Magic Attack from the deck for more deck thinning and the chance to wipe out the opponent’s field.

Unfortunately, the window to use Inheritance is a bit small considering there’s only two other cards in the deck it can draw, but that’s more on my personal decisions for what to include than on the card itself.

If you want to add more DM cards into the deck, it becomes wildly more useful. Nice returns on investment.

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Honestly there isn’t much to say about this card. When you control Dark Magician, you can wipe out your opponent’s back row of cards. Every spell and trap they control.

Simple. Clean. Effective.

So effective, in fact, that I decided to use this instead of the similar monster-based equivalent, Thousand Knives. That spell allows you to destroy one monster on the field, which has much less utility in the long-run than a board wipe in my opinion.

Sure there are cases where the opponent can still activate their spells and traps in response to this wipe and mess with your turn, like using an enemy controller to stop you from attacking. But in my opinion, forcing those kinds of plays rather than letting them utilize the cards at an opportune moment is always preferential.

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Now we’re into the spells that aren’t necessarily Dark Magician-specific.

Even if for the purposes of this deck, Ancient Rules may as well be.

Level-up rewards from Seto Kaiba’s younger brother Mokuba, Ancient Rules simply allows the player to special summon a level five or higher normal monster from the hand. Have a Dark Magician in hand? Well now it’s on the field. Plus you can normal summon that Skilled Dark Magician you’re holding onto for a totally fatal knockout.

Again, simple. While it may be another card that’s ‘dead’ with no Magician in hand, the deck has enough drawing power in my experience to make up for that.

Though I will admit at this point in the profile that a lot of the deck’s contents can be considered dead cards. Which is a seemingly unfortunate reality of playing around a single big boss monster.

So this card is here to help mitigate the risk:

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I’ve talked about Enemy Controller a few times now, and that’s because it’s essentially the staple card that can be placed on any and all decks in Duel Links.

Few other cards offer as much utility as this. Change your opponent’s card to defense or attack position when desired. Tribute your own monster to steal an opponent’s monster. Complete either task during basically any part of the battle due to the quick play aspect of this spell.

It’s just endlessly useful for protection and offensive strategies. Always a good choice when thinking of something to add into a deck.


The Traps

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Champion’s Vigilance is another card that’s essentially dead when not used in conjunction with Dark Magician… But I love it so much that I couldn’t not include it.

When you have a level seven or higher normal monster on the field, anything your opponent does can be negated once.

They summon a monster? Negate and destroy it.

Activate a protecting spell card? Negate and destroy it.

Try to lower your attack with a trap card? Negate and destroy it.

I’ve had so many clutch moments where a field wipe with Dark Magic Attack leads to an immediate victory because you know the first thing they do next turn, likely summoning a monster, will just be a waste.

I do understand how unfortunately limited the card’s utility is, however. Not only is it a dead draw without Dark Magician available, but even if he’s available you still need a turn of placed face-down waiting before being able to activate it.

That’s why I only included one, to mitigate the risk of starting with three Champion’s Vigilance in an opening hand.

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The last card on my list here is another solid, generic defensive card.

When Wall of Disruption is activated, every face-up attack position monster your opponent controls loses 800 attack points for each monster they control on the field.

Though that means defense position monsters are safe, anything not in defense position can lose up to 2400 attack, which will neuter essentially everything in the game. That includes any monster that would negate directly targeting cards, since the Wall is non-targeting.

So take that White Night Dragon.

I mostly just have one of these here since Dark Magician being the strongest thing on the board is a risky thing more often than not.


Gosh, that was a slog to write out. Hopefully it’s just informative and explanatory enough to help anyone who doesn’t regularly play the game, though!

As I briefly mentioned way up at the top of this mountain of words, part of the reason I went through with this small project was discovering the ability to upload videos to YouTube for my own personal use here.

But not just that. In this case, I also figured out a way to record what’s happening on my phone screen.

As a result, please enjoy this sizable duel that I recorded as an example of the Dark Magic deck succeeding:

Though I didn’t have the opportunity to utilize my 1-2 combo of Dark Magic Inheritance in this match-up, I was able to pull off the Skilled Dark Magician tribute, which is a much more rare occurrence in my book.

Plus it’s a good example of Enemy Controller coming in clutch and saving the day.

Of course the magic of editing and selection means you all don’t have to see the many, many loses I accumulated before getting this successful match-up. As I noted throughout this post, many of the Dark Magician-specific cards are dead draws if their combo pieces aren’t available.

Despite those loses, I still think the deck is a lot of fun. And boy is it fantastic when you happen to draw just the right opening hand to demolish an opponent.

For example, this other duel I happened to save:

On the one hand I feel bad about how quickly I was able to demoralize this Bonz.

But on the other hand… God what a satisfying victory.

Also, side note, amazing how both videos wound up with the same thumbnail image. Totally didn’t plan that out or anything.

With that said, I suppose that wraps up my thoughts and advice on using an Arkana Dark Magician deck in Duel Links. Hopefully someone out there found this interesting and helpful, and if you did please let me know in the comments down below!

At the same time I’m interested in doing some more of these, so if there are any decks or cards anyone out there wants to see utilized in some way, shape or form, I’d love to take a crack at it. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated!

… So long as I actually have those cards, of course. But I’m sure you knew that.

If you made it this far, thanks so much for sticking with me! Hope you have a great rest of the day.

 

Let’s talk about this Duelist Kingdom event

Let’s talk about this Duelist Kingdom event

Its been a while since I gave my other mobile gaming obsession any love around here. While I still play Duel Links just about every day, nothing particularly exciting tends to go on in the day-to-day breadth of the game besides the occasional new/returning  duelist unlock events and traveling duelist events.

Until today, when we gained access to the “Set Sail for The Kingdom: Duelist Chronicles” event. This one is pretty special and cool, so I wanted to give it some praise in the hopes that we see similar events down the line.

Now for those of you who do not play Duel Links, there are two kinds major events that take place on a semi-regular basis.

  1. New Legendary Duelist unlock events: Once in a while a new Legendary Duelist character will take over Duel World, the hub area for Duel Links. That character will invite players to collect an item specific to their personality or canonical storyline in the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime in bulk. These items can be traded for the chance to battle that character at various difficulty levels to accumulate points and win special prize cards. The points typically go toward earning players a variety of basic rewards like gold and gems for pack openings, but the points also unlock the character you’ve been battling at a certain level.
  2. Traveling Duelist events: Though these are generally more hated than the Legendary Duelist unlock events, traveling duelists are a pretty common way to shake up what players can find in the game for at least a week at a time. Unlike the new Legendary Duelists who reside in the hub world’s character portal, traveling duelists appear randomly in the world similar to the extra reward-granting Vagabond. The main problems most people have with these events are that the characters have a random chance to appear, but they also have a random chance to drop their exclusive cards, making it hard to get a good amount of special cards one might want. Plus, they appear in Duel World at a random difficulty level, meaning if you get a lv. 30 encounter as opposed to a lv. 40 encounter you have an even further decreased chance to get a special card drop.
    • For example:
      • Mokuba Kaiba drops cards that support dragon decks in general, though he specifically provides support for Blue-Eyes White Dragon and gives players access to special high-level cards like Darkflare Dragon and Frost and Flame Dragon.
      • Arcana made a pass as a traveling duelist in the build-up to Yami Marik appearing in Duel World. He added some spellcaster support to the game, namely around Dark Magician (a card which he had a special alternate art for).
      • Joey Wheeler occasionally goes through cycles as “Super Joey” and gives players access to support cards for Red-Eyes Black Dragon, such as Red-Eyes Spirit and Red-Eyes Insight.
      • Mai Valentine has appeared once in an event similar to Super Joey’s as “Elegant Mai” with card drops to support her token Harpie and Amazoness decks on top of Vennu, Bright Bird of Divinity, a powerful ritual card.

Though both of these reoccurring event-types do provide some variety and reason to keep playing the game, they do tend to get stale over time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always jump at the chance to get extra materials and new cards, but the RNG associated with these time sensitive events – particularly the traveling duelists – almost makes them more annoying than appreciated.

Not that saying so stops me from playing them adamantly of course.

So, what does the Duelist Kingdom event do differently?

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It all starts in the hub world.

While every Legendary Duelist unlock event adds a big aesthetic centerpiece to the main hub world, this ship actually serves more of a purpose than simply bringing up the event’s informational page. This ship actually delivers you to a mini-game within the game, something that can best be described as a Yu-Gi-Oh! anime-themed board game.

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The board game itself is simple. As you defeat standard duelists in Duel World, you receive dice fragments. Seven dice fragments can be used to roll a die labeled one to three. The number you land on indicates the number of spaces you can move on the map, and each space hosts a different event:

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Item Spaces give players prizes such as gems, gold or gate keys.

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Support Item Spaces dole out a special die that specifically allows players to move one, two or three spaces at a time of their choosing without having to waste dice fragments.

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Coin Spaces give out “Millennium Coins,” which I’ll elaborate more on in just a bit.

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Forward Spaces move you forward by the number specified alongside the symbol, simply enough. There is also an equivalent Back Space that does the same thing but backwards.

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Episode Spaces play out scenes from the anime using the in-game engine of portraits talking to each other. There are 10 scenes to see through this method, and you get an additional small prize after each viewing.

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Standard Duelist Spaces let you duel a regular duelist to obtain some Millennium Coins. The difficulty of these fights increases as you move through the game mode and they appear to have new, unique decks for each fight.

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The Vagabond Spaces offer more challenging duels against real player-generated decks. Even if you lose these fights, you still earn Millennium Coins.

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Legendary Duelist Spaces are story-driven battles that prevent you from advancing until you win a duel. These spaces allow you to choose to fight at lv. 20 difficulty or at lv. 40 difficulty.

Part of the reason these Legendary Duelist encounters – and the event as a whole by extension – are so special ties back to how they present a story. Advancing through the event actually plays out the events of the Duelist Kingdom arc in the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime. In a sense, this allows you to play along with the original story using characters that have been introduced into the game over some time now.

Duelist Kingdom is probably the only arc in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! anime that I personally remember fondly, and it is arguably a memory that has kept me interested in the card game for all this time. Thus, it feels pretty special for me to experience, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that has that connection.

While playing through the storyline by itself is already a really cool feature, the way Konami engrains the story into the actual duels against these Legendary Duelists makes everything even better.

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Not only do these Legendary Duelists appear on a series of maps in the order they’re originally encountered, they have pretty unique decks that can be as challenging as a competitive player-vs-player deck.

However, rather than letting players get away with using their most overpowered decks to blow through the competition, Konami made it so you benefit by experimenting with different deck combinations that you might not otherwise try.

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The extra missions associated with each duel net additional Millennium Coins if you follow the guidelines. These guidelines contribute to the feeling of playing along with the original story by encouraging you to use the character and some of their key cards that were used against the opponent. Though doing so often leaves you at a disadvantage when playing at the lv. 40 difficulty, the reward for doing so is worth it.

Speaking of said rewards, I suppose it’s time to dive into Millennium Coins.

Though these coins are arguably the most important thing to collect in the Duelist Chronicles, what they do is actually rather simple. For every 30 coins you collect you get the opportunity to play the Card Lottery and earn up to 10 rewards at a time from a large prize pool.

While gems and gold are always fine prizes in their own rights, the main draw to this system is the cards you can collect. Though there are some basic cards like Celtic Guardian, more rare and dope cards like Kuriboh, Toon Barrel Dragon, Horn of the Unicorn and Union Attack are also available.

Just about all of the cards are recognizable for anyone who has fond memories of the series and Duelist Kingdom in particular, so it’s a nice goal to work toward.

On top of the card lottery, you also win prizes by clearing maps. When you beat one of the five maps you get something, and once you complete the final level you get to start over and earn a whole new set of rewards.

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The most noteworthy of these zone rewards comes when you beat Pegasus for the first time: You unlock Yugi Muto as a playable character.

Once delegated to only being a traveling duelist, Yugi Muto has been requested to be playable by countless players in the past. After all, he is the main character of the show, even if most people remember his Yami form better. Plus, with a new character comes a fairly substantial influx of special cards and gems through level up rewards, which are always an appreciated addition to the game.

The fact that this event doubles as a character unlock event while bringing something completely new to the table through a special board game makes it easily the best thing I’ve seen added to Duel Links in a long time. It’s fun, it’s creative and there are enough prizes to keep players coming back, or even encourage them to use those stockpiles of duel orbs to restore standard duelist battles for more dice fragments.

Personally, I hope more Duelist Chronicles happen from here on out. If nothing else I would love to be able to have the same experience with parts of Yu-Gi-Oh! that I don’t remember that well so I can learn more while having a good time.

After all, is there anything better than that?