In Yu-Gi-Oh!, as with all long-running TCGs, there’s a frankly staggering number of cards to choose from. The most difficult challenge faced by new players is how to put a deck together in the first place. The very best cards, after all, are often out of reach (competitive decks can be very expensive). Still, with experience, players will learn to avoid silly joke cards and be able to perform well at a more casual level.
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It’s not all about super serious competitive play. Among the many and varied archetypes in Yu-Gi-Oh!, from Harpie cards to Ghostrick cards, there are a lot of decks that may not fit with the metagame, but that will always be fan favorites. Here are some examples.
All the best Duelists know that Yu-Gi-Oh! is about choosing a strategy, theming a deck around it, and ensuring the cards chosen can pull it off as consistently as possible (protagonist Yugi’s famous heart of the cards shtick doesn’t work in real-life, so there’ll always be some RNG involved).
When it comes to core strategies, Dinosaur decks keep things as simple as possible. Grinding opponents into the dust with good old fashioned strong monsters is the order of the day here. Dinosaurs suffer in a metagame where strong card effects are preferred over brute strength, but certain Dinosaur cards have been doing very well recently and they’re always a blast to play.
When it comes to crafting an efficient and workable deck comparatively cheaply, the Cubic archetype is one that a lot of players have been exploring in recent years. These decks are very interesting and can function quite nicely in an anti-meta role.
The goal here is a bit of a longer game, with a strategy that tends to revolve around reducing the power of opposing monsters to allow Cubics to defeat them and Special Summon powerhouses. There are some complicated interactions between the monsters in this archetype, so it’s not really to be piloted by brand-new players, but it certainly offers something different.
8. Fortune Ladies
Spellcaster is one of the most iconic card types in the game. It’s been represented by many Duelists in the show, appears in a huge range of archetypes, and has a dizzying amount of support & potential strategies available to it. Fortune Lady is one very interesting Spellcaster archetype.
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Fortune Lady has the potential to be played either in decks dedicated to the archetype or splashed into a variety of other decks. The main Fortune Lady monsters have a variety of useful effects, from the powerful draw engine that is Fortune Lady Water to Fortune Lady Dark’s ability to quickly overcome to opponent with numbers. This unique archetype has a lot of interesting potential (and has gained more support since a lot of players will have run it last).
7. Cyber Dragon
Cyber Dragon, the handy Machine Monster (it’s always nice to be able to Special Summon from your hand when you have no monsters on the field) that launched a thousand quirky hybrid decks. With a combination of its own archetype and Cyber cards, there’s so much utility here.
Cyber Dragon isn’t as powerful as it once was, but Chimeratech Fusions, Cyber Network, and other brilliant support means that tech revolving around this classic card/archetype can never really be counted out. Beware of OTKs!
It’s often a lot more fun to run something a bit unconventional, and lunalight decks are an excellent example of this. Like Fortune Ladies, this is an archetype of all-female Monsters that have a range of interesting effects.
Lunalight struggled at first, but received a very nice expansion in late 2018/early 2019 which meant they had a lot more cards to work with. Special Summoning is the crux of the game plan here, with heavy hitters like Lunalight Leo Dancer being a major threat if it can get onto the field efficiently. The meta can be very hard to keep up with, with its absurdly powerful cards, but Lunalight Monsters have made a more low-key name for themselves.
Long-time Yu-Gi-Oh! fans will fondly remember Maximillion Pegasus and his Millennium Eye-fueled reign of terror. Through a devious mix of cheating and some of the most ridiculously strong cards the anime had ever seen, Pegasus and his Toon Monsters were all but unstoppable.
What was Toon World even capable of in the show? Protecting his Toons was just the beginning. In reality, Toon decks are incredibly reliant on this Spell card and are very unreliable as a result, but there’s something about their old-school nature and the heavy direct attacks they can inflict (not to mention the cards’ goofy designs) that will always appeal. The charisma of this legendary Yu-Gi-Oh! villain helped too.
Blackwing decks have been popular picks since the archetype first arrived in the TCG, offering a fast and aggressive swarm style of play that resonates with many. Some Blackwing cards were simply considered too good. When it comes to the current metagame, though, they’re not really at the top of the pile.
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An issue Blackwings often face is one of momentum. If a Blackwing deck can’t build up a head of steam from the off, it can be very tough to recover when up against some of the very best archetypes at the moment. Nonetheless, Blackwings remain popular.
Predaplant decks can also function very well against certain meta options, while serving as a real curveball. These Plant Monsters focus on a strategy of Fusion Summoning heavy hitters while trying to disrupt the other player’s attempts to do so.
With solid swarming potential and effects that manipulate the opponent's’ monster levels, Predaplants have some huge surprises up their sleeves. Their major downside, as with Blackwings, is that they need to seize control of a Duel from the off and maintain it. It’s super tough for them to come back once they’ve started to fall behind.
2. Blue-Eyes White Dragon
For a lot of fans of classic Yu-Gi-Oh!, Blue-Eyes White Dragon was the powerhouse monster. Players got goosebumps when they saw Kaiba unleash it on the show. Everybody gazed upon its 3000 ATK points and trembled.
With this creature being the icon it is, a whole archetype sprung up around it over the years. Cards like Neo Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon and Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon really do have devastating power, and there’s something about running a Blue-Eyes deck that’s immensely satisfying and nostalgic. Like Dark Magician, Blue-Eyes White Dragon will always be one of the most beloved creatures in Yu-Gi-Oh!
In the same fashion as Blackwings, the Lightsworn archetype isn’t really the force to be reckoned with that it used to be. This archetype is very unique, revolving around a mechanic that would usually be completely self-destructive in a TCG: milling, or discarding one or more of your own cards from your deck.
It's not seen as often, but Lightsworn is still a solid archetype with a lot of excellent cards behind it. The mighty Judgment Dragon can still cause havoc at a moment’s notice.
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