It's tough playing Yu-Gi-Oh, whether someone is new to the game or they've been in the game for over a decade. The reality is that Yu-Gi-Oh isn't getting less complex, and Konami isn't releasing weaker decks as the days go by. Where it used to be only a handful of decks were good, these days there are dozens of decks that can grab a win.
However, there are some decks that either sit at the very top of the meta, or are able to counter the meta efficiently enough that they can shut down the best decks. Some of these decks are easy enough to pilot, while others are complex beasts that require knowing the deck in and out. In either case, veterans who are tired of being on the losing end might want to consider investing in these decks.
Buster Blader would normally not be worth talking about. But considering how relevant Dragons are in the current meta, it’s hard not to bring them up. They’ve got a fusion monster in Dragon Destroyer Swordsman that can gain 1000 ATK and DEF for each Dragon-Type monster on the field or in the graveyard, change all Dragons the opponent controls to defense, and stop the opponent from activating dragon-type effects altogether.
And that’s just one trick the deck has available—as long as Dragons are here, Buster Bladers are a fun deck to counter them.
Eldlich was one of the most popular decks last year and unlike Adamancipator which relied on outside support to get the job done and eventually got hit, Eldlich maintains most of it’s power. It’s not as powerful as it was last year, but it’s still a solid competitor.
It relies on a very tiny core of monsters, which means it can use its impressive traps and the ability to summon monsters like Black Luster Soldier – Soldier of Chaos to the field as a boss monster.
Drytrons were a major part of the meta last format and are still just as annoying as they were before. In the first place, it’s hard not to be annoyed by any deck that easily drop 2000 ATK monsters and ritual monsters that can negate pretty much anything.
The Drytron extra deck is a collection of some of the most powerful boss monsters introduced in the last few years, from Accesscode Talker to Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS.
Even separate from Dragon Link, Dragonmaids is capable of some pretty impressive stuff. What really holds a lot of people from using this deck is the price-tag, as it’s one of the more expensive decks thanks to the rarity of some of the cards.
The point of Dragonmaids is to use the smaller Dragonmaids to special summon out the bigger ones during the battle phase, bringing them out from the hand or the graveyard, which is what makes them really troublesome.
Prank-Kids was impressive for a lot of its life span, with a few duelists even snagging some Top 16 or Top 8 spots with the deck when they were being clever. However, the biggest problem with Prank-Kids was that it needed a minimum of two cards to go off.
And then they got a Link-1 monster, which meant they only needed one. With just that little bit of help, Prank-Kids managed to climb their way into the meta and remain there. Between the ability to go into Link-4 monsters like Accesscode Talker and the Prank-Kids boss with astonishing consistency, this is one of the better decks a player could have so long as they can remember the combos. And that's without the decks own Prank-Kids Link-4 monsters which can either destroy all monsters or all spells and traps the opponent has depending on what the player summons.
Madolche is one of the most consistent decks in the game, capable of putting 8000 damage on board from a single card. It’s ideal board state is one that can be reached with a minimal amount of cards in hand, and it’s pretty hard to stop it once it’s set up properly. It’s also capable of going second, something that a lot of decks have to figure out how to deal with in case they lose the dice roll.
It’s got one of the best boss monsters in the game that offers non-targeting removal, and they can summon so many monsters—the only way to trip them up is backrow and handtraps, something Madolche fans will want to keep in mind if they build this deck.
Zoodiacs remained powerful long after people were tired of them, and Konami eventually had to hit nearly everything about the deck to stop it from being relevant. But as cards have come off the list and it’s gotten a few new toys, it’s regained a bit of its power.
Having such a tiny core engine means people can splash it with other great cards and get over, but running the deck pure isn’t a bad idea either so long as a player is willing to run the best Infinitrack monster, Infinitrack Fortress Megaclops and Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS as boss monsters.
Virtual World was one of the best decks of the format...a format ago. That said, it’s still one of the most solid decks in the game even now. Virtual World Jiujiu can send cards on the field to the graveyard, getting around a lot of ridiculous anti-destruction effects.
Meanwhile, Virtual World Shenshen can take banished monsters and put them back into the graveyard, allowing Virtual World to keep going indefinitely. Without True King of All Calamities though, players will need a proper boss monster to work in their place, so that’s something to keep in mind.
When mixed with the Invoked engine, the best cards in Shadolls help make up one of the most deadly decks in the game right now. While Dragon Link simply summons tons of monsters and dares the player to stop them or get over their boss monsters, Invoked Shadoll can summon their own boss monster in El-Shadoll Winda and stop the player from playing.
Even better, they can get Magical Meltdown and make the players unable to respond to some of their other cards. Either players have to know how to get around these cards, or they can simply build this deck themselves.
Dragon Link is one of the best decks in the game, and has been on the outskirts of the meta for several formats. It’s only recently though as other decks that would’ve shut it down have been hit and it continues to get more tools that Dragon Link takes its place as one of the best decks in the game.
Dragon Link is capable of summoning multiple monsters that possess negation at once, and its consistency means that without being hit by Konami it’ll continue being relevant long after most fans are tired of it. Anytime someone can easily dump some of the best Link monsters in the game out on people, it's a given the deck will be amazing.