Deck Building Guide - Guide for Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's World Championship 2011: Over the Nexus
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Deck Building Guide Version 1.00 By: Chris Schalk ======================================= Table of Contents ======================================= 1. Introduction 2. Basic Deck Strategies [#BDS] 3. General Deck Building Tips [#GDBT] 4. The Deck Building Process - Archetype [#DBPA] a. Selecting a Focus b. The Core of the Deck c. The Higher Level Monsters d. Additional Support e. Trap Cards and Completed Deck f. Finishing the Deck g. Determining the Number of Copies of Each Card h. Paths not Taken 5. Common Deck Building Pitfalls [#CDBP] a. Having too many cards in your deck b. No focus c. Deck is not focused enough d. Overdoing the theme e. Normal Monsters f. Equip Spells g. Reload, Magical Mallet, and Card Trader h. Cards that don't fit the deck's focus i. Situational Cards j. Monsters with Summoning Conditions k. Poor Ratio of Monsters, Spells, and Traps l. Magic Cylinder m. Not filling up the Extra Deck n. Dark Bribe 6. General Support Cards [#GSC] 7. Legal Info 8. Contact Info 9. Credits ======================================= Version History ======================================= Version 1.00 - First full version. Basic Deck Strategies, General Deck Building Tips, The Deck Building Process - Archetype, Common Deck Building Pitfalls, and General Support Cards added. (05/25/2011) Version 1.01 - Fixed a minor error regarding the strategy applications of a card. (05/26/2011) Version 1.02 - Fixed a few more minor errors and typos. (06/02/2011) ======================================= 1. Introduction ======================================= This guide is designed for newer players that are familiar with the basic rules of Yu-Gi-Oh and would like to try their hand at building their own decks. I have critiqued many decks on the Yu-Gi-Oh message boards over the years. Time and time again I have seen newer players making many of the same mistakes. It's not their fault, they're just new to the game. That is why I have chosen to write this guide, to help newer new players become better deck builders. In this guide, I will take you through the deck building process from start to finish, and then you will be on your way to making your own successful decks. I have also added reference tags next to the main sections in the table of contents. Now, all you have to do is use ctrl + f, type in the reference tag, and it'll take you to that section of the guide. ======================================= 2. Basic Deck Strategies [#BDS] ======================================= There are several different types of stategies a deck can implement. These strategies are basically how a deck will play, and how a deck plans to win. a. Swarm or Aggressive This type of strategy is pretty straightforward. The goal of this type of deck is to swarm your opponent with more monsters than they can handle. This type of deck often has many ways of special summoning monsters, or getting more monsters from the deck. A swarm deck will usually pack some removal spells to clear away anything that is stopping your monsters from running over the opponent. The main goal is to win as quickly as possible, giving your opponent very little time to do anything. b. Control This type of deck likes to win by card advantage, or basically having more cards than the opponent. Control decks will usually pack a lot of removal cards, and quite often some form of making the opponent discard. Once the control player has gained enough card advantage, it's basically a walk in the park to win a duel. If you have 4 cards in your hand, while your opponent only has 1, chances are you are going to win, even if your opponent still has 8000 life points, just due to the fact that you have more cards. More cards give you more options while playing, and having more options than your opponent can really put your opponent in an uphill battle. c. OTK (One Turn Kill) OTK decks aim to use a certain combination of cards that will let them win in a single turn by dealing 8000 or more points of damage. A great example of this is to summon Armed Samurai - Ben Kei, who gains additional attacks based on how many equip spells are equipped to him. Equip cards such as Mage Power, Axe of Despair, and United We Stand not only increase his attack power, but increase the number of times he can attack. With these equip cards attached to Ben Kei, it becomes easy to attack for more than 8000 damage in a single turn. d. Stall or Low-Level Stall decks will use cards like Level Limit-Area B, Gravity Bind, and Messenger of Peace in an attempt to stop the opponent from attacking. From there, a stall deck can use a number of methods to winning, including low-level monsters that can still attack, burn, deck-out, or an alternative winning method (such as Final Countdown). e. Burn Usually combined with stall cards, burn decks will use cards that inflict direct damage to the opponent. One of the most popular win cards for a burn deck is Wave-Motion Cannon, but there are a variety of other burn cards as well. There are also monster that have effects to inflict direct damage, such as Des Koala and Stealth Bird. f. Deck-Out If you try to draw a card, but there are no cards left in your deck, you lose the game. A deck-out strategy tries to make that happen to your opponent. Necroface, Morphing Jar, Needle Worm, and Morphing Jar #2 are all popular choices for this type of deck. It is also not uncommon that a few stall cards show up in this type of deck either. g. Alternative Winning Methods There are a handfull of cards that will let you win the game when certain conditions are met. These cards will have the entire deck based around meeting those conditions in order to win. Here's a list of the alternative win cards: Destiny Board Exodia, the Forbidden One Exodius, the Ultimate Forbidden Lord Final Countdown Last Turn (this card is currently banned) Vennominaga, the Deity of Poisonous Snakes ================================================== 3. General Deck Building Tips [#GDBT] ================================================== a. Keep your deck as close to 40 cards as possible This tip is based on basic principles of statistics. The fewer the cards in your deck, the greater the chance it is for you to draw the card you need, when you need it. Having a 40 card deck will also increase your deck's consistency, meaning you'll be able to pull off the main combos or summon your most important monsters on a regular basis. b. Include multiple copies of key cards This goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip. If your deck is focused on the Gravekeeper archetype, Necrovalley will be one of your main cards. Including 3 copies of Necrovalley in your deck will give you better chances of drawing Necrovalley as soon as possible. c. Start with the staples When you first begin building a deck, there are a few cards you should consider. I like to call these cards staples. The staples are generally good cards that can easily fit into almost every deck. You don't need a good reason to include these cards in your deck. Rather, you would need a good reason NOT to include the staples in your deck. Opinions may vary, but I find the cards listed below to be very splashable and are strong supportive cards to add into nearly all of my decks. Monster Reborn Dark Hole Torrential Tribute Mirror Force Solemn Judgment Mystical Space Typhoon Torrential Tribute, Dark Hole, and Mirror Force have the potential to destroy multiple monsters, giving you card advantage. Having more cards than your opponent means you'll have more options, and having more options gives you a better chance of winning. Monster Reborn may not generate card advantage, but being able to summon any monster from either graveyard can be a game swinging effect. Mystical Space Typhoon is a 1-for-1 card trade, but getting rid of your opponent's trap card before they can use it can help your game plan from being disrupted. MST can also eliminate a key continuous spell/trap card that your opponent relys on. Since MST is a quick-play spell, it can find a home in almost any deck. Solemn Judgment is a card that can make or break you. It has the power to stop almost anything at the cost of half your life points. Half your lp may seems like a big cost (especially on the first couple turns of a game), but on the bright side, it's a cost you will always be able to pay. Solemn Judgment can be used to stop your opponent's key play, preventing them from winning. It can also be used to stop an opponent's trap card that would otherwise wreck your strategy (ex. Mirror Force). However, using Solemn Judgment at a bad time could cost you the game, so be sure to use it wisely. d. Keep your deck focused The first thing you should do when building a new deck is to select the focus for the deck. You can choose to focus on an archetype such as Six Samurai, or you can focus on summoning a specific high power monster such as Stardust Dragon/Assault Mode. Your deck could also be focused on a general strategy such as burn or deck-out. Pick something that you want your deck to do on a game-to-game basis, and build your deck to accomplish that. Consistency is the key here, you want your deck to be able to do what it was meant to do, as much as possible. e. Extra deck staples The extra deck is separate from your main deck, and is responsible for holding all your fusion and synchro monsters. The extra deck is limited to 15 cards, and it's recommended that you fill all 15 slots. Since the extra deck is separate from your main deck, there's no penalty for maximizing your extra deck. Even if you don't have any tuner monsters in your deck to perform synchro summons, you never know when you could play Monster Reborn to revive your opponent's tuner monster and synchro summon a monster that would greatly benefit you. Below is a list of the synchro monsters that are included in most extra decks, and what makes them good. Not all of them could be included in every extra deck, and others will need to be replaced for theme specific synchros, such as Blackwing Armor Master. This list should give you a good start on how to fill up your extra deck. Ally of Justice Catastor This 5-star synchro monster instantly destroys any non-dark monster that tries to battle with it, no matter who declared the attack. This is great for removing troublesome monsters in a pinch. And with 2200 attack, he can take out a nice chunk of your opponent's life points. Arcanite Magician A 7-star synchro monster that can blow up two cards. Sounds like a pretty decent deal. 400 attack afterwards may seem low, but that does give Arcanite Magician the ability to dodge Bottomless Trap Hole. This card gets better use in a deck focused on spell counters, but otherwise will often be replaced by a theme specific synchro. Armory Arm It doesn't look very impressive at first, but as one of the few (or only) 4-star synchro monsters, it does have a few niche uses. In addition to boosting another sychro's attack power to win battles, Armory Arm can be used as a synchro material monster himself. This can become useful if you have a tuner monster that's on the field, and you have the ability to return that tuner from the graveyard to play. First, you can synchro summon Armory Arm, revive your tuner monster, and then use Armory Arm to synchro summon into a higher level synchro monster. Black Rose Dragon This 7-star synchro monster gives you the option to nuke the field upon its summoning. This effect can be highly useful if your opponent has a lot of cards on their field, or if you're in a tight spot. Black Rose Dragon is a monster you almost always want to have 1-of in your extra deck. Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier 2300 Attack for a 6-star synchro is just short of being great, but the real use for Brionac comes from his ability. By discarding a card, you can return a card on the field to its owner's hand. This can be helpful by clearing your opponent's field, letting you attack directly for victory, or can even return opposing synchro/fusion monsters back to the extra deck. (Remember, a synchro monster can never be in your hand, returning it to the hand puts it back in the extra deck.) Chimeratech Fortress Dragon Ok, this one isn't a synchro monster, but it does have a place as an extra deck staple. You can summon CFD by using your opponent's Cyber Dragon and machine type monsters as well, which is why it deserves to be mentioned here. Dark End Dragon This 8-star synchro monster requires dark type monsters to synchro summon, making it a little more restrictive. However, Dark End Dragon can help clear out your opponent's monsters, and has decent attack strength, even after using its effect once. Formula Synchron As a 2-star synchro monster, he isn't for every deck to pull off. But for the decks that can synchro summon Formula Synchro, he is amazing, drawing you a card, and giving you the option to synchro summon on your opponent's turn. This gives you time to wait and see what synchro monster would be best for you to summon, making it a great asset. Gaia Knight, the Force of Earth A 6-star synchro with 2600 attack and no effect doesn't seem like much, but Gaia Knight has its uses. 2600 attack lets it run over most other 6 star or less monsters, most notably the Monarchs. His attack power also let's him beat Stardust Dragon in battle. Goyo Guardian A 6-star synchro with 2800 attack and an ability that lets me steal opponent's monsters that he destroyed in battle. This makes Goyo Guardian arguably one of the best synchro monsters out there. Mist Wurm Much like Brionac, Mist Wurm returns cards from the hand to the field. A 9-star synchro may be harder to pull off, and you do have use at least 3 monsters to synchro summon it, but the effect can be rewarding in the right situation. However, these drawbacks make Mist Wurm one of those cards that is replaced with a theme specific synchro. Naturia Beast This 5-star synchro monster requires an earth attribute tuner and earth monsters to synchro summon, making it more restrictive in its uses. However, the benefits gained make it worth mentioning. Naturia Beast can negate your opponent's spells, at the "cost" of putting the top 2 cards from your deck into the graveyard. This effect actually gains you card advantage, and can also set up your graveyard for other effects. Red Dragon Archfiend As an 8-star synchro with 3000 attack is not a bad deal, especially when you combo it with an effect that destroys your opponent's defense position monsters. This will stop your opponent from hiding behind that Marshmallon or Spirit Reaper. Unfortunatly, being an 8-star synchro, Red Dragon Archfiend is often left competing for extra deck space against Stardust Dragon and theme specific synchros. Scrap Dragon This 8-star synchro has good power with 2800 attack, but its real value comes from its first ability. Once per turn, you can destroy one card you control, and one card your opponent controls. Destroy your own Dandylion or Card Trooper, and you're not losing any card advantage. Stardust Dragon This in an 8-star synchro that is arguably one of the best synchros in the game. With his ability, you can negate any card that tries to destroy any of your cards, and then your Stardust Dragon revives itself automatically during the end phase. His 2500 attack can be difficult to overcome when he stops anything with a destroy effect. Decks that run Starlight Road or have an easier time making 8-star synchros will often put 2-3 Stardust Dragons in their extra deck. Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier As a 9-star synchro monster requiring a minimum of 3 monsters to synchro tummon, it may be rare for typical deck to summon Trishula, but on the occassion you do, it's a powerhouse. Upon summoning, you get to remove from play a card in your opponent's hand, field, AND graveyard. On top of that, Trishula has a hefty 2700 attack. It may be difficult to summon in a deck that isn't specifically desinged to summon 9-star synchro monsters, but when you do get that opportunity, you'll want be sure Trishula is in your extra deck. ================================================== 4. The Deck Building Process - Archetype [#DBPA] ================================================== a. Selecting a Focus In this section, I'll use an archetype, or a group of cards with something in common, as the focus. Some examples of archetypes include Elemental Heros, Crystal Beasts, and Six Samurai. For this exercise, I'll focus on the Gusto archetype. b. The Core of the Deck Now that we've selected a focus, the next thing I like to do is look at the main monsters we'll be using. More specifically, I like to start by looking at the 4-star or less monsters, as these monsters will generally be the most readily available monsters for us to summon during a duel. For that reason, I like to call this the core of the deck. Since we're going to be seeing them a lot, it's important to look at them and know what they do, and how they can support the other monsters of the deck. Gusto Egul, Gusto Skwirl, and Gusto Gulldo are the tuner monsters we'll be using, ranging from 1 to 3 stars. Egul and Gulldo have effects that summon other Gusto monsters from our deck when they're destroyed in battle. Gusto Skwirl can summon higher level monsters with his effect, but it's a bit more difficult to pull off, since Skwirl has to be destroyed by a card effect. For this reason, I'm only going to start off with 2 Skwirls in the deck. Next we have Gusto Thunbolt and Wynnda, Priestess of Gusto, which can also special summon more Gusto monsters from our deck when they're destroyed in battle. And finally, we have Caam, Serenity of Gusto, that can return 2 Gusto monsters in our graveyard back into our deck to let us draw a card. Ok, so what do we have here? We have a bunch of cards that like to be destroyed in battle, and some that let us put those monsters back into our deck. This gives our deck the potential to cycle through a lot of our cards in a short time, and to fill our graveyards with Gusto monsters. Being able to search our deck and special summon other Gusto monsters of our choosing give this strategy some versality, in the sense that we can have whatever monster we need when we need it. Another thing to note is that all of the Gustos the like being destroyed all have 1500 Attack or less, and all the Gustos are wind attribute monsters. This gives us the option to use Flying Kamakiri #1, the wind elemental searcher, who also likes being destroyed in battle. Now we have a boatload of things that want to be destroyed in battle, now we just need a way to make that happen more profitably. Enter Creature Swap. This allows us to give our opponent our low powered Gusto monster in exchange for a monster of their choosing. The switch is permanent, and if your opponent only has one monster, there's really no choice. Then, we can attack the Gusto monster we just gave them, and since the destroyed monster goes to our graveyard, we get to activate its effect, and summon another Gusto monster from our deck. Let's take a look at our current deck list, after adding in the core monsters and staples ------------------------------------------- Gusto Deck Monsters - 19 3 Gusto Egul 3 Gusto Gulldo 2 Gusto Skwirl 3 Gusto Thunbolt 3 Wynnda, Priestess of Gusto 3 Caam, Serenity of Gusto 2 Flying Kamakiri #1 Spells - 7 3 Creature Swap 1 Monster Reborn 1 Dark Hole 2 Mystical Space Typhoon Traps - 3 1 Mirror Force 1 Solemn Judgment 1 Torrential Tribute Total so far - 29 ------------------------------------------- c. The Higher Level Monsters Now that we have the core monsters down and our main strategy assembled, now we should take a look at any tribute, synchro, fusion, or ritual monsters that are part of the Gusto archetype. First we have 2 tribute monsters, Reeze, Whirlwind of Gusto, and Windaar, Sage of Gusto. First, Reeze has us return a card from our hand to the bottom of our deck to give us another creature swap effect, which is always welcome here. Windaar can revive one of our Gusto monsters when he destroys an opponent's monster in battle, which can be useful to start up another Gusto chain of cycling or for setting up a synchro summon. Both monsters are psychic types that can be special summoned from the deck with Gusto Thunbolt. Also, given the nature of our core monsters, we generaly don't want to tribute for these two. Given these two reasons, I'm going to put only one of each in the deck for now. On to the synchro monsters, where we find Daigusto Eguls, Daigusto Sphreeze, and Daigusto Gulldo. Eguls can remove a wind monster from our graveyard to destroy a face down once per turn, not bad. Gulldo is a 5-star synchro that can return 2 Gusto monsters from our graveyard to our deck to destroy a face up monster. Pretty cool, and he fits right in with the recycling theme we have going on. I find Sphreeze to be really interesting. Upon synchro summoning, we can return a Gusto monster from our graveyard to our hand. On top of that, our opponent now takes all battle damage from battles involving our Gusto monsters. This can create some crazy shenanigans if our opponent has a face up attack position monster. Summon Gusto Gulldo, attack your opponent's monster, they take the battle damage, you summon another Gusto from your deck. Rinse and repeat. It's safe to say we'll want at least 1-2 copies of each of these monsters, so with that in mind, here's the updated decklist. ------------------------------------------- Gusto Deck Monsters - 21 3 Gusto Egul 3 Gusto Gulldo 2 Gusto Skwirl 3 Gusto Thunbolt 3 Wynnda, Priestess of Gusto 3 Caam, Serenity of Gusto 2 Flying Kamakiri #1 1 Windaar, Sage of Gusto 1 Reeze,Whirlwind of Gusto Spells - 7 3 Creature Swap 1 Monster Reborn 1 Dark Hole 2 Mystical Space Typhoon Traps - 3 1 Mirror Force 1 Solemn Judgment 1 Torrential Tribute Extra Deck - 6 2 Daigusto Eguls 2 Daigusto Sphreeze 2 Daigusto Gulldo Total so far - 31 ------------------------------------------- d. Additional Support Ok, so we still have room for some more cards in the deck. There are a couple more Gusto support cards to evaluate. Contact with Gusto returns 2 Gusto monsters from our graveyard to our deck to let us destroy a card of our choosing. Destroying cards is always nice, and it also fits in with the recycling strategy. Then there's Blessings for Gusto, a trap card that returns 2 Gusto monsters from our graveyard to our deck to let us revive another Gusto monster in our graveyard. This is not a card I want to be adding to the deck. How did I come to that conclusion? Lets take a closer look at what the card does. Sure, it's a card that is a part of the Gusto archetype, but the card actually works against our main focus. First off, it requires 3 Gusto monsters in our graveyard to activate (2 to return to the deck, and 1 to summon). Even though our theme is centered around recycling, 3 Gusto monsters in the graveyard is asking for a lot. All of the other recycling cards so far only require 1 or 2 Gusto monsters in the graveyard to activate. On top of that, we already have a number of recycling effects, adding too many could create conflicts during a duel, in which Blessings for Gusto is competing to be used before Contact with Gusto, Reeze, and Daigusto Gulldos, among other cards. However, the thing that hurts Blessings for Gusto the most is that is special summons from the graveyard. Our core strategy involves summoning more monsters from our deck in order to fill up our graveyard to use other effects. Summoning from our graveyard goes against this strategy. (On a side note, Windaar does indeed also summon monsters from the graveyard. But unlike Blessings for Gusto, Windaar doesn't require 3 Gusto monsters in the graveyard to be used.) Our central strategy does involve filling up our graveyard, so this would be a great place to put the Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter and Charge of the Light Brigade as a milling engine. Another thing to note is that our 3 Gusto synchro monsters are all psychic type, meaning we can easily slip in a Miracle Synchro Fusion to our main deck and an Ultimate Axon Kicker to our extra deck. This gives the deck more power, and a great late game finisher monster. This would also be the time to fill up the rest of the extra deck with other extra deck staples. With all the synchro summoning going on and stealing our opponent's monsters with Creature Swap, Mind Control fits right in. With Mind Control, we can take our opponent's monster to use for our own synchro summon. e. Trap Cards and Completed Deck Well, since our deck is not dependant on any archetype specific traps, that gives us a couple options when it comes to the trap line-up. We can go with a traditional trap line-up of Solemn Judgment, Bottomless Trap Hole/Solemn Warning, Torrential Tribute, Mirror Force, etc. This would be completly acceptable, but there is another valid option I'd like to point out. Our main strategy involves having our monsters destroyed in battle. We want our monsters to be in combat as much as possible. Card like Mirror Force and Torrential Tribute kinda go against this theme. Sure, there are some monsters we need to destroy, and we have other effects that destroy monsters. But we don't want to destroy monsters so much that our Gusto monsters are never involved in combat. So instead of the traditional trap line-up, we can kinda forgo traps alltogether by using 3 Royal Decrees. This would also stop all of monster destruction traps our opponent is using as well, and would keep our Gusto monsters in combat more often. Well, we have one last slot to fill in the deck, and for that, I'm going to add in Giant Trunade, since it also fits with the strategy of keeping opposing traps off the field and letting our Gusto monsters combat. It's also useful for setting up a turn where we make a big play and we don't want our opponent's traps to spoil our plans. Here's the final decklist after putting everything together: ------------------------------------------- Gusto Deck Monsters - 24 3 Gusto Egul 3 Gusto Gulldo 2 Gusto Skwirl 3 Gusto Thunbolt 3 Wynnda, Priestess of Gusto 3 Caam, Serenity of Gusto 2 Flying Kamakiri #1 1 Windaar, Sage of Gusto 1 Reeze,Whirlwind of Gusto 3 Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter Spells - 13 3 Creature Swap 1 Monster Reborn 1 Dark Hole 2 Mystical Space Typhoon 1 Charge of the Light Brigade 2 Contact with Gusto 1 Miracle Synchro Fusion 1 Mind Control 1 Giant Trunade Traps - 3 3 Royal Decree Extra Deck - 15 2 Daigusto Eguls 2 Daigusto Sphreeze 2 Daigusto Gulldo 1 Ultimate Axon Kicker 1 Ally of Justice Catastor 1 Goyo Gaurdian 1 Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier 1 Black Rose Dragon 1 Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier 1 Stardust Dragon 1 Red Dragon Archfiend 1 Scrap Dragon Total - 40 ------------------------------------------- f. Finishing the Deck Ok, we have our 40 card deck, so are we finished? The answer is no. The next step is to take the newly made deck and play a handful of duels with it. After playing several games, make adjustments you feel are necessary. I would recommend that you ask yourself the following questions: Did I win or lose most of my games? If I lost, what caused me to lose? If I won, what were the main cards that lead to the victory? Were there any cards that sat in my hand doing nothing, for whatever reason? Were there any cards that did not have as large of an impact on a duel as expected? Are there any cards previously excluded that I'd like to try out? By answers those questions, you can now make adjustments to your deck. The next step is... you guessed it, play another handful of games with your deck, and repeat this process again. Deck building is a continuous process of making minor adjustments based on your duel results and personal preferences until you are satisfied with the deck. g. Determining the Number of Copies of Each Card A common issue in deck building is figuring out how many of each card you should add to your deck. There's no clear cut answer for this, and sometimes the only way to determine this is to play a handful of games. Even then, the difference between having 2 copies of a given card versus having 3 copies may all come down to a personal preference between different players, and neither is right or wrong. However, if you are struggling to determine how many copies of a card to have, try asking yourself the following questions: How important is the card to the central focus? How often do you want to draw the card? What are the conditions to playing the card, and how easy are these conditions met? (A condition can be anything required to take place before you play the card. For instance, Mystical Space Typhoon has the condition of having another spell/trap card on the field that you want destroyed.) How often will the card be a dead card? After answering those questions, if you are still unsure, I would recommend starting with 2 copies. This should be enough where you will draw it on a regular basis, so at least the card will be in your hand, but won't overwhelm you. Then play a handful of games and evaluate the card in question again. Be sure to pay attention to how much the card supported your main theme, and how often you were able to play the card when you drew it. Building a deck is a continuous process, so don't be afraid of tweaking your deck time and time again. Having a card with 2 copies may seem to work out great, so you may want to try 3. Then, after testing the deck again, you find that 3 is too much, and the card is sometimes a dead draw. Or maybe your deck has changed so much that 2 copies is now too many, so you want to bring it down to 1 or even remove it from your deck completely. h. Paths not Taken The Gusto archetype provides us with many deckbuilding options. The exercise above just showed one way to build a Gusto deck, but there are multiple other ideas that could lead the deck on a different path. I like to call these paths not taken. Here, I'll give a brief overview about different ideas that could be used with the Gusto archetype. Gusto OTK with Exodia Using Brain Research Lab, Mind Master, and Caam, Serenity of Gusto creates a combo that could be used to draw a lot of cards. The goal here would be to draw the 5 pieces of Exoida to win. Here's how it works. Use Mind Master to tribute a Caam, using Brain Research Lab to cover up having to pay life points. Search your deck for another Caam, and tribute that to Mind Master to summon another Caam from your deck. Use Caam's effect, returning the other 2 Caams in your graveyard back into your deck to draw again. Repeat this process until you draw all the parts to Exodia. Lightsworn This deck is already using Ryko as a milling engine. Since the Gusto strategy involves filling the graveyard with monsters, adding some more Lightsworn to the mix wouldn't be a huge stretch. Lightsworn monsters are also in the business of milling cards from your deck, making them useful for almost any graveyard based strategy. More Milling Effects Maybe you don't want to go with Lightsworns, but do want some more milling effects and cards that benefit from being in the graveyard. Card Trooper, Necro Gardna, and Plaguespreader Zombie can fit this role quite well, and have some nice synergy with other cards already present in the deck. Plaguespreader Zombie could be used to return one of our tribute monsters to the top of our deck for Gusto Thunbolt to special summon out so we don't have to worry about tributing a monster. Card Trooper provides us with more mill effects, and Necro Gardna can be used to negate an unfavorable attack. Psychics All of the Gusto synchro monsters are psychic type, and so are some of the other monsters in the main deck. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to add more of a psychic focus to the deck. This could give you the chance to use things like Mind Master, Mind over Matter, and another Miracle Synchro Fusion with Ultimate Axon Kicker. Dark Simorgh Going along with the strategy of keeping our monsters in battle and away from traps, Dark Simorgh stops your opponent from setting cards on the field. With all of the mill effects in the deck, it will be relatively easy to fill up the graveyard with dark and wind monsters for Dark Simorgh. All of the Gusto monsters are wind attribute already, so now you just need some dark monsters (Plaguespreader Zombie anyone). With additional cards that remove our monsters in our graveyard from the game, Burial from a Different Dimmention could find a home with this deck as well. ========================================== 4. Common Deck Building Pitfalls [#CDBP] ========================================== I have critiqued many decks on the message boards over the years, and I have noticed some recurring patterns when it comes to some of the deck building pitfalls. In this section, I will discuss these pitfalls and how to avoid them. a. Having too many cards in your deck The minimum number of cards required in your deck is 40. Take advantage of this. Having less cards in your deck gives you a higher chance of drawing the cards you need, when you need them. Also, if your deck has 50 or even 60 cards the chances of being able to focus strongly enough on your central theme because you won't be able to draw the specific cards you need. So try and keep your deck as close to 40 cards as possible. Personaly, I do just about whatever it takes to keep my deck at 40 cards. I'd say 99% of my decks are exactly 40 cards, and as a result, I'm able to consistently draw the cards I need to make the deck's theme work. b. No focus A deck with no focus is just that, an unfocused deck. A deck with no focus will have monsters that have no synergy with each other, and no specific support cards to take advantage of. Meanwhile, if your deck has a focus, you will be able to take advantage of the synergies between your monsters and your other theme support cards. The result is a focused deck that is much stronger. c. Deck is not focused enough This pitfall can be best illustrated with a deck. ------------------------------------------- Dragon Deck Monsters - 29 2 Blue-Eyes White Dragon 2 Red-Eyes Black Dragon 1 Armed Dragon lv7 2 Armed Dragon lv5 2 Horus the Black Flame Dragon lv8 2 Horus the Black Flame Dragon lv6 2 Red-Eyes B. Chick 2 Paladin of White Dragon 3 Horus the Black Flame Dragon lv4 3 Armed Dragon lv3 3 Masked Dragon 2 Kaibaman 3 Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands Spells - 15 1 Mystical Space Typhoon 1 Dark Hole 1 Monster Reborn 2 White Dragon Ritual 2 Ancient Rules 3 Level Up! 2 Inferno Fire Blast 2 Burst Stream of Destruction 1 Reinforcement of the Army Traps - 6 1 Mirror Force 1 Torrential Tribute 2 Dragon's Rage 2 Dragon's Bead Total - 50 ------------------------------------------- Do you see the issue here? This deck has too much going on all at once. You have a deck that is trying to summon Blue-Eyes, Red-Eyes, Armed Dragon, and Horus. The result is a deck that can't do any of these things very well. For starters the deck has too many cards, so it will be much less likely to draw the specific cards you need when they are needed. Furthermore, none of the 4 main monsters has enough support, and what's worse is that the support that is present, doesn't work with the other monsters. For instance, Red Eyes B. Chick can summon Red-Eyes, but it does nothing to help Blue-Eyes or the level monsters. Likewise Level Up! is only useful for the level monsters, and does nothing to help Red-Eyes or Blue-Eyes. To avoid this pitfall, make sure your deck has a specific focus, and that the focus is well supported. d. Overdoing the theme This is best exemplified by another sample deck. ------------------------------------------- Gravekeeper's Deck Monsters - 23 2 Gravekeeper's Assailant 2 Gravekeeper's Chief 3 Gravekeeper's Commandant 3 Gravekeeper's Spy 2 Gravekeeper's Spear Soldier 2 Gravekeeper's Guard 2 Gravekeeper's Vassel 2 Gravekeeper's Curse 2 Gravekeeper's Cannonholder 2 Gravekeeper's Descendant 1 Gravekeeper's Visionary Spells - 12 1 Mystical Space Typhoon 1 Monster Reborn 3 Necrovalley 3 Royal Tribute 2 Book of Moon 3 Gravekeeper's Stele Traps - 5 1 Mirror Force 1 Torrential Tribute 3 Rite of Spirit Total - 40 ------------------------------------------- See the issue with this deck? Every card with gravekeeper in it has been thrown in the deck, regardless of if the card is good or not. To avoid this problem, make sure you take the time to evaluate the cards before adding them to your deck. Not sure if a card is good enough? No problem, just add it to your deck for the time being, and try it out in a few duels. Then you should be able to determine if the card in question is worthy of remaining in your deck. e. Normal Monsters Normal monsters are generally not good to have in your deck because they are just that, normal. They have no effect for you to take advantage of, and no effect that your opponent has to worry about. Normal Monsters can attack, defend, and that's it. Effect monsters can do that too, but they also come with a bonus effect to help you even further. There are times when using normal monsters is appropriate. For instance, if your deck is based around summoning Blue-Eyes White Dragon, then of course you'll have to use the normal monster Blue-Eyes. Also, if you're using support for normal monsters such as Advanced Ritual Art or Heart of the Underdog, then it is also appropriate to use normal monsters. f. Equip Spells Equip spells, such as Axe of Despair and Mage Power, are generally not a good idea to add to your deck, simply because all they do is increase your attack power. Let's take the following senario: You and your opponent each have 1 monster on the field, and your opponent has a face-down card. You equip your monster with Axe of Despair and attack. Your opponent activates their face-down Mirror Force. You lose both your monster and your equip spell. Meanwhile, your oppoent only used up their Mirror Force. You lost 2 cards while your opponent has only lost 1 card. Your opponent has now gained card advantage. Having more cards available to you means you have more options, and more options is better. In this situation, your oppoent now has more options then you, which increases their chances of winning and your chances of losing. Using equip spells just opens the door for your opponent to gain easy card advantage. Another drawback to using equip spells is that you need a monster to equip them to. This may seem obvious, but look at it this way. Both you and your opponent are in top-deck mode, meaning you both have nothing on the field and nothing currently usable in your hand. Basically, you are both hoping to draw a card that will be better then what the other draws. You happen to draw an equip spell, and with no monster to equip it with, your equip spell has just become a dead draw, or a card you cannot currently use. Essentially, you have just lost your turn. g. Reload, Magical Mallet, and Card Trader I frequently see these cards appearing in the decks of newer players, and I can understand why. Reload and Magical Mallet allow you to exchange your hand back with your deck in an atempt to draw a better hand. However, the price you pay for using these cards is far too steep. Say you have 5 cards in your hand and then you play Reload. You put your hand back into your deck, and you get to draw only 4 cards. You went from 5 cards down to 4 cards. You now have less options in your hand, and you have given your opponent the all important card advantage. Meanwhile, Reload has done nothing to disrupt the strategy of your opponent. Bottom line, avoid Reload and Magical Mallet. Card Trader, while it is a continuous spell, does still fall under the same category as Reload and Magical Mallet. Card Trader does nothing to disrupt the opponent's strategy. Card Trader is a card your opponent can safely ignore. h. Cards that don't fit with the deck's focus I'll illustrate this with another sample deck. ------------------------------------------- Gravekeeper's Deck Monsters - 21 3 Gravekeeper's Assailant 2 Gravekeeper's Chief 3 Gravekeeper's Commandant 3 Gravekeeper's Spy 3 Gravekeeper's Spear Soldier 2 Mystic Tomato 1 Marshmallon 1 Sangan 2 Caius the Shadow Monarch 1 Breaker the Magical Warrior Spells - 13 1 Mystical Space Typhoon 1 Dark Hole 1 Monster Reborn 1 Smashing Ground 1 Fissure 1 Brain Control 3 Necrovalley 2 Allure of Darkness 2 Wave-Motion Cannon Traps - 6 1 Mirror Force 1 Torrential Tribute 3 Rite of Spirit 1 Bottemless Trap Hole Total - 40 ------------------------------------------- Now, in this deck, there are a couple of cards that are out of place. For starters, Wave-Motion Cannon does not belong in this deck. That is not to say that Wave-Motion Cannon is a bad card, it is just out of place in this deck. The focus is gravekeeper's, not burn, and that card slot is better used for something that would support gravekeepers. Marshmallon is another out of place card. Sure, it can't be destroyed in battle, which makes it decent tribute fodder for Chief and Caius. However, Marshmallon does not fit with the dark support cards of Mystic Tomato and Allure of Darkness. Furthermore, Gravekeepers are an aggressive swarm deck, and Marshmallon adds nothing to the offense. The lesson here: some cards may be good cards, but if they don't fit with your deck's focus, then they are best left out of your deck. i. Situational Cards Some cards have requirements that need to be met before you can activate the card. A great example of this is Radiant Mirror Force. It has a great effect, however, in order to activate it, your opponent has to have 3 or more monsters in attack mode. If your opponent has any less, Radiant Mirror Force becomes a dead card, or a card you cannot use. Also, if your opponent has 3 monsters attacking you, chances are they're allready going to be sure you don't have any potentially dangerous face-down spells or traps. j. Monsters with Summoning Conditions There are some monsters that can only be summoned by meeting certain conditions. Ocean Dragon Lord - Neo-Daedalus is a great example. You have to tribute a Levia-Dragon - Daedalus in order to summon him. Levia-Dragon is already a 7 star monster, and Ocean Dragon Lord only gains a slight boost in attack power and effect. This makes it really not worth the effort it takes to summon. There are many monsters in Yu-gi-oh with requirements for summoning. So, how can you tell if it is worth the effort to summon these types of monsters? Well, a monster with summoning requirements would need to have an extemely powerful effect to make it worth the effort to summon. Dark Armed Dragon is a good example of a monster that is well worth his weight for his summoning condition. How easily the summoning conditions can be met are also a big factor when deciding on if you should use these monsters. k. Poor Ratio of Monsters, Spells, and Traps You can only normal summon once per turn. If your deck has too many monsters, you will find yourself with a bunch of monsters just sitting in your hand. In a general 40 card deck, a ratio of 20 monsters to 20 spells and traps is a good ratio to aim for. Now certainly, you don't have to hit this ratio exactly, but you should certainly try to avoid having things like 30 monsters with only 10 spells and traps. I don't want to list a range for the number of monsters, because each deck is different. Depending on the theme, you may want more or less monsters in your deck. Another card I would like to mention in this section is Royal Decree. If you have Royal Decrees in your deck, you should have a MAXIMUM of 6-7 traps, and I'm really pusing it with those numbers. Look at it this way, if you have 10 traps in your 40 card deck, and 2 of those traps are Royal Decrees, essentially one fourth of the cards in your deck become dead cards (cards you cannot use) when you have Royal Decree on the field. That would make Royal Decree very counterproductive to your deck, so do keep an eye on the number of traps you have if you plan on using Roayl Decree. l. Magic Cylinder Magic Cylinder is a card I see popping up a lot. However, Magic Cylinder is not as great as it first seems. First of all, it only stops the attack of one monster, and it doesn't even destroy that monster. If my opponent uses Magic Cylider, I only worry about the direct damage in 3 senarios: 1. If it reduces my life points to 0. 2. If it lowers my life points to the point where I cannot pay for costs of cards like Judgment Dragon. 3. If my opponent is playing a burn deck. If my opponent is not playing a burn deck, I'm generally not worryed about Magic Cylinder. In fact, Magic Cylider would give me card advantage (remember, Magic Cylinder does not destroy the monster). And more often than not, situations 1 and 2 two don't arise when my opponent uses Magic Cylinder. m. Not filling up the Extra Deck This is something a bit more minor, but I do see this a lot. Whenever you have Fusion or Synchro monsters, you should always run the maximum number possible. Even if you can't summon all 3 copies of a fusion monster from your deck list alone, some crazy things can happen in a duel. Besides that, there is absolutely no penalty for having cards in your extra deck. If your deck doesn't even have a single tuner monster, it would still be wise to fill up your extra deck with 15 synchro monsters. You never know when you might be using Monster Reborn on one of your opponent's tuner monsters in order to get out of a tight spot. Again, there's no penalty for having a full extra deck. In fact, I'd say there's a penalty for having an empty extra deck. An empty extra deck means your opponent does not need to fear for any fusion or synchro monsters. On the other hand, having a full extra deck can give you an intimidation factor, even if you never summon anything from it. n. Dark Bribe Recently, I've seen Dark Bribe get misused a lot, being throw into almost any given deck. Don't get me wrong, Dark Bribe can be a good card in certain situations, but that doesn't mean it belongs in every deck as a staple card. Dark Bribe is most useful for protecting continuous cards from spell/trap removal. In these situations, you almost don't care what your opponent draws, as long as your main continuous spell/trap card(s) remain on the field. Dark Bribe can also find a home in certain OTK decks. In this case, it won't matter if your opponent gets to draw a card because you just stoped your OTK combo from being broken up and you're going to win this turn anyways. In general though, Dark Bribe will not be a card to put into all your decks. Giving your opponent an extra card gives them one more option than you, and when your opponent has more options than you, that puts you in an uphill battle. ======================================= 6. General Support Cards [#GSC] ======================================= In this section, I'll discuss some of the general support cards. I find that the following cards fit in with a variety of decks, but not nearly enough to consider them staples. In fact, I wasn't really sure how group these cards, because their effects also vary. So instead, I'll just list them here, and explain the types of decks that they support the best. Book of Moon This is a very versitile quick-play spell. You can use it to save your monster from your opponent's attack by flipping the opposing monster into face-down defense. You can also use this opportunity to attack a monster with a low defense. Book of Moon can also be used on your monster to save it from Brain Control, Lightning Vortex, Smashing Ground, Mirror Force, etc. You can also use it to re-use the flip effects of your monsters. Flipping a monster face-down will also make all equipment cards attached to it fall off. Book of Moon is a very versitile card, and one of my personal favorites. Bottomless Trap Hole A great 1 for 1 removal trap that also works on special summoned monsters as well. Furthermore, removing the monster from play mean you won't have to worry about any monster reborn shenanigans that would just revive the fallen monster. Bottomless Trap Hole also does not suffer the restriction of having to wait for the monster to attack. This can be a huge benefit compared to other 1 for 1 removal traps such as Dimensional Prison. For example, if your opponent summons Judgment Dragon and activates its effect, you Dimensional Prison will be destroyed before you get the chance to use it. With Bottomless Trap Hole, your opponent will still have the opportunity to activate JD's effect, but you will be able to activate your BTH, removing the 3000 attack dragon from the game before it can come for your life points. Card Trooper Any deck that wants to fill up their graveyard with cards can probably find a spot for Card Trooper. This guy let's you put up to 3 cards from the top of your deck into the graveyard. Also, when Card Trooper is destroyed, you get to draw a card, so he essentially replaces himself. Cold Wave This spell card does come as a -1 to your card advantage, but when used wisely Cold Wave could win you the game. If you're going for a final strike on your opponent, using Cold Wave can shut down any trap cards that would otherwise wreck your plans. Even if you're not going for a final strike, Cold Wave can be used to help set up your field, provided that you don't need any spells or traps to execute your plan. Compulsoary Evacuation Device With the rise of synchro monsters, Compulsoary Evacuation Device has risen in value. With no cost, it can put a synchro monster back into the extra deck, where your opponent would need to synchro summon it again. Creature Swap Any monster whose effect activates when it's destroyed in battle can make use of creature swap. Say you have a Mystic Tomato in your hand, and your opponent has a strong monster on their side of the field. Summon your tomato, and give it to your opponent with Creature Swap. They're forced to give you their great monster. But wait, it gets better. Now attack the tomato, and since the Mystic Tomato goes to your graveyard (since it is your card to begin with), you get the effect of Mystic Tomato. The creature swap is also a permanent switch, so you still get to keep your opponent's monster. What a great deal. Cyber Dragon Cyber Dragon is very easy to special summon and comes with a nice 2100 attack. He is also great Synchro material. Comming in with 5 stars means you can pair him with a 3 star or 2 star tuner monster (which are much more common than 4 star tuners) and bring out an easy 7 or 8 star Synchro monster. Dimensional Prison Dimensional Prison competes with Bottomless Trap Hole and Solemn Warning as trap cards that remove your opponent's monsters in a 1-for-1 trade. So why use Dimensional Prison? First, there's no minimum attack value required to activate it. Second, unlike Bottomless Trap Hole, it can get rid of Stardust Dragon (remember, removing it from the game is not the same as destroying). However, it does come with a downside, and it's that your opponent has to attack with the monster first. This means if that monster has any sort of activate effect, it will get a chance to use that effect before you get to remove the monster. "Discard 1, Draw 2" cards There are a number of cards with an effect like this. Most require you to be using a specific archtype or attribute of monsters to meet the discard requirement. These cards don't provide any card advantage, if you start with 5 cards in your hand, then activate Solar Recharge, you will still have 5 cards in your hand when the spell has resolved. So why are these cards so great? There are two things that make these cards great. First, it helps you draw deeper into your deck. The more cards you draw, the better your chances are of finding the exact cards you need, when you need them. Second, that discard can help you set up your graveyard for other effects, such as putting more Lightsworn monsters into the graveyard so you can summon Judgment Dragon. Examples of "Discard 1, Draw 2" cards include, but are not limited to: Solar Recharge, Rare Value, Allure of Darkness, Trade-In, and Destiny Draw. There are others out there, so look out for them and see if they fit in with your deck. Elemental Searchers If your deck is running a number of monsters that share an attribute and have 1500 or less attack, consider using the elemental searchers. When destroyed in battle, they will let you search your deck for a monster of the same attribute with 1500 attack or less, and special summon it to the field. The elemental searchers are (in no particular order): Giant Rat, Mystic Tomato, Flying Kamakiri #1, Mother Grizzly, Shining Angel, and UFO Turtle. Giant Trunade Much like Heavy Storm, Giant Trunade clears the field of spell/trap cards. However, instead of being destroyed, the s/t cards return to the players' hands. Not having to worry about any s/t cards will pretty much leave you free to play whatever other cards you desire. Giant Trunade really benefits swarm and OTK decks, allowing each deck to set up their field of monsters or their OTK combo, respectively. Giant Trunade can also help on the defense by comboing with a Swords of Revealing Light to get you some extra turns with the Swords. Mind Control If your deck is focused on synchro summoning and you have lots of tuner monsters, consider Mind Control. It allows you to take control of one of your opponent's monsters for a turn. You can't attack with it, but you can activate its effect, flip summon it if it has a flip effect, or even use it for your own synchro summon. If your opponent has only one monster standing between you and their life points, you can Mind Control their monster, and attack directly for a final strike. Pot of Avarice Any deck in which you can fill up your graveyard quickly with monsters, consider Pot of Avarice. You have to put 5 monsters back in your deck, but in return you get to draw 2 cards, giving you instant card advantage. Pot of Duality This card is great at digging deeper into your deck and finding the card you need. There is a drawback of not being able to special summon the turn you use Pot of Daulity, so it's best in decks that don't heavily rely on special summoning. Royal Decree Any deck with a low number of traps should consider Royal Decree, because chances are it will hurt your opponent a lot more than it will hurt you. Royal Decree will also allow you to play without fear of your opponent's Mirror Force or Torrential Tribute messing up your plans. Another neat trick is that you can chain Royal Decree to the activation of your opponent's Mirror Force, and your opponent's card will be negated, while your decree will still be on the field stopping other traps. Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter + Charge of the Light Brigade These two cards are typically used as a milling engine. Both cards will add cards from the top of your deck to the graveyard, which can help you if your deck is focused on a graveyard based strategy. The typical ratio of cards here is 3 Ryko and 1 Charge of the Light Brigade. For decks that have an even heavier focus on filling up the graveyard, Pot of Avarice can also be added to this milling engine. Sangan Any deck with a handful of monsters with 1500 attack or less should consider using Sangan. Sangan also makes a great monster to use for a tribute summon, because you will still get to use its effect. Since it's a dark monster with 1000 attack, it fits right in with a deck that wants to use Crush Card Virus. Smashing Ground If your deck needs a little more monster removal, Smashing Ground is a great 1-for-1 removal card. More often than not, the monster with the highest defense will also have the highest attack, aka the monster you probably want to destroy the most. Solemn Warning This card can negate the summoning of any one monster, but comes with a cost of 2000 life points. It's a great way of getting rid of just about any monster, including Stardust Dragon, just be sure to use it wisely. Starlight Road If you're worried about cards that will destroy multiple cards of yours at a time, consider running Starlight Road. Not only will you negate that Dark Hole, but you also get to summon a Stardust Dragon from your extra deck to further protect your cards. Starlight Road is great for aggressive decks that are afraid of losing multiple monsters to Dark Hole, Torrential Tribute, Mirror Force, or some other card that destroys multiple monsters. Trap Stun Trap Stun can be used as a one turn Royal Decree. This gives you more flexibility in your trap line up if you want to include effects that negate all traps. ======================================= 7. Legal Info ======================================= Copyright 2011 Chris Schalk This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright. ======================================= 8. Contact Info ======================================= Email: email@example.com Please feel free to contact me with questions or suggestions for this guide. When sending me an email, make sure the subject line makes a reference to this guide. Also, please do not email me asking me to rate your deck. While I would to be able to rate everyones' decks, I simply do not have the time to do so. However, do feel free to post your decks on the message board and I'm sure other people will be able to rate your deck, and if I happen to be on, I may end up rating your deck there as well. ;) ======================================= 9. Credits ======================================= CJayC - Because he's awesome Konami - For creating the card game known as Yu-Gi-Oh! Yu-Gi-Oh World Championship message board community - For giving me feedback and support since writing the first deck building guide for WC2009. You - For taking the time for reading this guide Jesus Christ - For being my Savior