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Yugioh: Building a Better Deck 101

Updated on December 18, 2015

Your Deck needs to be an extension of you.

Deck construction is vital to winning duels in Yu-Gi-Oh
Deck construction is vital to winning duels in Yu-Gi-Oh

The Basic Art

Yugioh, just like any other collectible card game focuses very heavily on building and playing a deck of cards that are both competitive and comfortable for the player who uses them. That player is referred to as a duelist in the Yugioh gaming arena.

In the beginning it is not uncommon for a would be duelist to make use of starter decks or structure decks that are pre designed for learning the game. of course over time you will want to extend these basic building blocks and develop a deck that you are more apt to play and enjoy. We all have certain aspects of the game we like. That is where we should focus out deck building endeavors on. If you are a dragon guy hit up a dragon deck, if you are a trap tossing gal get your trap on, go with what you know.

Maybe you are looking for a deck that spams the playing field with highly powerful dragons. If this is your cup of tea maybe you should look into the world of Hieratic dragons as your building foundation. Perhaps you want to drive the opponent crazy by manipulating the cards they play. If this is your strategy Ghost Tricks may be what you are looking for. Regardless how you want to play the game will directly influence the way you build your deck. There are however some basic rules that go into deck construction.

I want to stress that these rules can be bent and even broken if need be to perfect a deck that you are happy to play and that will bring you success.

Draw Power In Action

Pot Of Duality

Pot of Duality has long been my go to for drawing power.
Pot of Duality has long been my go to for drawing power.

Rule 1 2:1:1 Ratio

This rule is what many deck builders rely on when constructing their masterpieces. It means 2 monsters to every 1 trap and 1 spell card. I know it seems at first like math but trust me it is very simple and can help you in deciding how to make your deck work for you.

Yugioh allows decks to be no less than 40 cards but no more than 60. That leaves a lot of room for play and it is often said you can always tell a new player by the fact they have a 60 card deck. This is because we start to think more cards, especially great ones means more of a chance at a victory. This is not always the case. Remember you have to draw into those great cards and sometimes we may hit some cards that are just not as effective.

This is why some duelist recommend staying at 40 cards. It gives you a much better chance of drawing the card or cards you need to pull out your best moves or combos and secure a victory. Do not get me wrong some great decks do rely on more cards. My Blue Eyes White Dragon deck runs 46 cards so I am 6 over the minimal requirements.

Think of it this way. The boss card you need is in that deck and if you run 60 cards you have 1 in 60 chance of pulling it as opposed to 1 in 40 with a smaller deck. I do have some solid recommendations if you choose to run more than the minimal amount of cards.
Look for cards that can add drawing power and searching power to your game play. Let me explain.

Drawing power is granted by cards that allow you to draw more than the one card during the draw phase of the duel. For me Pot Of Duality is a vital part of my deck. It lets me look at the top three cards of my deck and choose the one that is most useful and than shuffle the other two back into my deck. This means I can draw a card that is useful to me as opposed to simply taking the card on top.

Cardcar D is also a great way to get some extra draw power to get you closer to that vital boss card or to the cards needed to start and execute your game engine.

Search power comes from cards that actually let you look through your deck for certain cards. My deck uses the maiden With Eyes of Blue. When attacked I negate the attack and summon a Blue Eyes White Dragon from my hand, deck or graveyard. This card is a two edged sword of awesomeness. It lets me look for and summon one of the most dominate cards in the game but it also allows me to locate that card in one of three places. If my three blue eyes are not in my deck I can still pull them into play. Having the ability to pull my boss card from three different locations makes maiden a very nice card to run.

Cards that counter well.

My favorite card!

Rule 2 Avoid situational cards and cards that do not counter well.

Sure as a dragon player I am apt to look at the card Stamping Destruction with the thought of running it. The card allows me to inflict 500 points of direct damage to my opponent as well as destroy one of their spell or trap cards if I have a dragon on the field. Did you notice the catch? If I have a dragon on the field. If I do not than this card is likely to lay dormant and not really affect the game either way. I can substitute the staple card Mystical Space Typhoon and accomplish the same feat without the obligation of having a dragon on the field. I will not get to do that 500 points of damage but I am also not suffering because the card I drew will not play at the time I need it to.

Situational cards can be risky to play in any deck. I admit I am often criticized for running Burst Stream of Destruction to give Blue Eyes some serious stopping power because it is highly situational, but at the same time my deck is revolved around Blue Eyes white Dragon so it is a card I know I can use.

Look at cards you can add that capitalize on definites. You know you are going to lose a monster or two in every duel so why not look into adding cards that make this beneficial. I use Interplanetarypurplythorny Dragon. Basically as soon as a monster I control goes to the graveyard by battle or a card effect I can put this purple beast into play. At 2200 attack points he is a formidable foe in any arena and it gives me the ability to get a huge beater out at the cost of something that was going to happen regardless.

Always look at the effects of cards and ask how they would factor into your deck or if they would at all. A lot of people run 3 Dark Bribe, 3 MST, and 3 Magic Cylinders but is it vital to have that many traps or would it be more beneficial to find monsters who can also negate spells and traps and save the trap slots for cards that might prove more vital in a challenging duel? You have to decide where you stand on that issue on your own.

Novelty Can Cost Ya!

Cards like Draining Shield bring back memories but won't win games.
Cards like Draining Shield bring back memories but won't win games.

Rule 3 Set aside childish things!

My old favorite card was Debris Dragon. I am a dragon guy so it only served a level 4 dragon tuner would find his way into all of my deck builds. Of course the issue was my syncros are all level 8s so Debris will not sync up with a level 4 so now I had an issue. The issue was I never really used the card as it was intended but it was my favorite card so I continued to use it with no success and finally I realized I just needed to part ways with it.

We all feel the need to flood our dragon deck with all cards that say dragon or our Crystal Beast decks with a horde of Crystal cards but we need to understand just because the name implies it's use or it looks cool it may just not be right for the deck we are running.

My attachment to debris Dragon put me in the loser's bracket more times than I care to even think about and I became rather agitated with it until finally I put it in my personal collection and did away with it in my decks.

If it does not benefit your deck get rid of it.


Yugio continues to be the card game to beat and to play!
Yugio continues to be the card game to beat and to play!

Rule 4 Know the staples and how to use them.

Staples are cards that kind of go well with every deck you run. These are cards that seem to find their way into almost every deck build. One of these would be the syncro Stardust Dragon that basically allows you to negate a card effect at the cost of Stardust but at the end phase bring him right back into play. Staples are vital to building a competitive deck that gets the job done the way you feel it needs to be done. Let's look at a few.

Mystical Space Typhoon, or MST. This card allows you to destroy one spell or trap card on the field. You will almost always find at least one of these in every major deck build out there today. It is a great card to take out an opponents back row and also to secure a good attack knowing no trap card is there to counter.

Call Of The haunted. This is the card that we all knew as Raise Dead in Magic the Gathering. You can bring back a monster from your graveyard and return him to play. A great asset but remember if the opponent wipes out Call of the Haunted they wipe out the card it brought back as well.

Dark Hole. This card removes all monsters from the field and sends them crashing into the graveyard. This is a great way to take out a strong front row that is devastating you.

Trap Hole. The opponent summons a monster and wham you toss it right into the graveyard. of course now we are seeing more people opting for Bottomless Trap Holes which remove the monster from play.

Dark Bribe. Negate and destroy a trap or spell card when it is activated. What more could you ask for?

There are tons of other cards that fit the bill as staples. These cards are the primary building blocks of a successful and competent back row.

The final rule.... rules.

This rule is a two parter. The first know your cards and what they do. Never assume that you have it down. If you get confused ask someone who is more knowledgeable about how to play the card the right way.

The second part is to have fun. I am unfortunate enough to play alongside players who are tournament driven and who spend on average hundreds of dollars a month on the game. I however rely on what I can afford here and there and even though I can not compete with a 300 buck e-drag deck I still have fun playing what I have. The real essence of the game is not the competitive nature as much as the fun factor that goes into the game.

I hope you have at least learned a few simple tricks that may aid you in building the deck you desire. I may post at a later time a photo opf my blue eyes deck for you to see and might even break it down to show why I chose each piece of the puzzle. Best of luck and may every duel you enter find you victorious with a win or at the very least a good time.


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