Starting on the 24th of January the skill Three Star Demotion will be nerfed and will only be usable once per duel, and only when your life points are at 1000 or below (unless you use it for the members of the Gate Guardian). What this boils down to is that 3SD Ninjas will no longer exist and Ninja players will have to adjust their deck and use another skill.
Currently big contenders for the new Ninja skill are Beatdown and Balance, and the new Ninja deck will run quite a few more level 4 Ninjas, or focus more on Earth Armor Ninja and Flame Armor Ninja, which synergize well with Beatdown.
In this guide will will include a Balance and Beatdown version of the deck for those that already want to practice before the nerf hits, in case you want to start preparing for the KC Cup which starts early February.
Although it is hard to figure out right now how well Ninjas will fare after the nerfs (because currently most people on the ladder are stilling playing pre-nerf decks), there does seem to be hope right now for Ninjas to still be viable afterwards, albeit not a top tier deck.
One of the reasons 3SD Ninjas were so strong is because you can get Black Dragon Ninja out on your first turn and start using his effect to banish your opponent’s monsters, or himself to get in multiple attacks on your first turn. Now this won’t be possible anymore, and you’ll have to rely on Ninjitsu Art of Transformation to get out your Black Dragon Ninja. No longer will Ninja decks be able to run 6-7 high level Ninjas, but rather have to cut down to 3-4 in order to not brick and because you’ll have to use level 4 Ninjas + your Transformation traps to get out your Black Dragon Ninja, you will be more limited to use its effect to banish monsters because you won’t have access to as many cards as with the 3SD version (because you already had to spend cards to get BDN on the field).
This monster’s effect states that you can send 1 Ninja monster and 1 Ninjitsu Art card from hand and/or face-up from your field to the graveyard, then (after they are in the graveyard) you can target 1 monster on the field (either player’s field) and banish it. If this face-up card (Black Dragon Ninja) leaves the field, special summon all monsters banished by this card’s effect to their owner’s field.
The most important thing to note is that you can choose to banish your own Black Dragon Ninja, which will cause him to be immediately special summoned again after he leaves the field. This is the strongest effect in this deck as it allows you to get in more attacks, avoid nasty effects on your Black Dragon Ninja/other Ninjas you control just get rid of a face-up OR face-down monster your opponent controls that poses a threat.
If you control a Black Dragon Ninja, and your opponent summons a Cyber Angel Dakini and activates its effect, you’ll want to use Black Dragon Ninja’s effect in response to banish itself, that way it will come back unharmed at the end of the chain, and unless your opponent tributed a Cyber Angel Idaten, your attack will be higher than his, making you in control of the duel.
If your opponent is smart enough to bring out a Cyber Angel Idaten, and tribute the Idaten for Cyber Angel Dakini there is almost nothing you can do to win now because its attack will be too high.
That’s why the only play you can make is to banish your opponent’s Idaten when he activates another ritual spell (if you think he’ll summon Cyber Angel Dakini), that way if he doesn’t have enough monsters to tribute, or he can’t match the exact amount of stars required for Machine Angel Absolute Ritual, he won’t be able to summon Cyber Angel Dakini (your opponent will have to show their hand), and the ritual spell will be sent to the graveyard. Sometimes, if you keep track of your opponent’s hand, banishing Idaten won’t be the best play. If you know he has a Cyber Angel Benten in his hand, he’ll still be able to summon Dakini even if you banish Idaten, that’s why there are situations you’ll have to banish a Cyber Angel Petit, if he doesn’t have another monster with 2 stars in his hand, it’s very unlikely he can match the required amount of stars perfectly for Machine Angel Absolute Ritual and he won’t be able to summon Dakini.
You can activate Black Dragon Ninja’s effect during the Battle Step, this means that if your Ninja was affected by for example Wall of Disruption/Enemy Controller/Windstorm of Etaqua, you can undo that effect by banishing and resummoning your ninja. If you control 1 Black Dragon Ninja, 1 Red Dragon Ninja and 1 Ninjitsu Art in your hand, and you attack with Red Dragon Ninja, but he is affected by Wall of Disruption , and for example you are about to lose all your remaining life points because of the damage you will take, you can activate Black Dragon Ninja’s effect by sending itself and the Ninjitsu Art card in your hand to the graveyard to banish your Red Dragon Ninja, that way it will get summoned again immediately but without the attack reduction. Even though Black Dragon Ninja’s effect says it can only be used once per turn, this doesn’t apply when your Black Dragon Ninja is banished and comes back, same logic applies with attacks; normally a monster can only attack once per turn, however if it leaves the field and gets special summoned that same turn it can attack again.
Watch out when you send a Ninjitsu Trap card that is still linked to a Ninja monster to the graveyard for Black Dragon Ninja’s effect, as this will also result in the destruction of the monster linked to that trap card.
If Red Dragon Ninja is summoned (even flip or special summoned) you can banish 1 Ninja or Ninjitsu Art card from your graveyard to target 1 set card your opponent controls; you can look at that card and decide if you want to put it on top or at the bottom of their deck (they cannot activate that card in response). This is a very efficient way to lock down your opponent and mess up their game (if it was a trap and you put it on top of their deck you now it will be useless for them next turn).
Summoning a Red Dragon Ninja + Crimson Ninja by tributing a Black Dragon Ninja with the effect of Ninjitsu Art of Duplication is one of the main ways to deal with decks that rely heavily on backrow to win the duel.
This monster’s card effect reads “When this card is summoned; you can...” (not “If this card is summoned…”) meaning this effect can miss the timing if the summoning was not the last thing to happen. To be more precise; if you activate a Ninjitsu Art of Duplication/Transformation to summon a Red Dragon Ninja, and that Ninjitsu Art card was not activated as chain link 1, Red Dragon Ninja won’t be able to activate its effect. So if your opponent activates an Enemy Controller and you chain those Ninjitsu Art cards to that activation (they’ll be chain link 2) and the summoning of Red Dragon Ninja will miss its timing. However if you activate those cards (not in response to something else) they will be activated as chain link 1, so even if your opponent activates an Enemy Controller in response to you; your cards will be the last thing to happen/resolve so you won’t miss the timing.
Great card to run 2-3 copies of in the newer versions of the deck as it’s a great target for Ninjitsu Art of Transformation, allowing you to summon a Black Dragon Ninja, or if you use Ninjitsu Art of Duplication on a Red Dragon Ninja/Black Dragon Ninja, you can summon this Ninja together with some Crimson/Armed Ninjas (1 star Ninjas).
Important things to understand about this card’s effect; you cannot activate this card’s effect if you do not control another Ninja monster, and you cannot use this card’s effect if your opponent only has 1 spell/trap (because you need to control one other ninja besides Ebisu, this means you control at least 2 ninjas, and this effect says you can send spell/trap cards equal to the number of ninja monsters you control, so not possible to only send 1 spell/trap back to the hand).
When this card is summoned you can target 1 Ninja monster and increase its level by 1. You can use this effect on itself and it will become a level 5 monster. Now you can activate your Beatdown skill and raise its attack to 2000.
In a version with level 1 Ninjas you can use Ninjitsu Art of Duplication to summon an Masked Ninja Ebisu and 1 Crimson Ninja, because Flame Armor Ninja will be level 5.
Currently the preferred level 1 Ninja in Ninja decks. Duplication into a Red Dragon Ninja + Crimson Ninja, or into Ebisu + Crimson Ninja x2 are great ways to deal with heavy backrow. Watch out when Crimson Ninja is flipped and your opponent doesn’t control any traps/spells, you have to destroy your own traps if you control any. Also keep in mind that if you want to activate Masked Ninja Ebisu’s effect, there might be situations where you don’t want to flip your Crimson Ninja face-up (if you leave your opponent with only 1 spell/trap you can’t activate Ebisu’s effect Anymore).
Besides the obvious strength of upgrading for example a Masked Ninja Ebisu into a Black Dragon Ninja, this card is also great to avoid or undo effects on your Red Dragon/Black Dragon Ninjas.
Also opens the possibilities of multiple attacks. Imagine a situation where you have 1 Black Dragon Ninja and 1 set Ninjitsu Art of Transformation on the field, and your hand consists of 1 Ninjitsu Art card and 2 Ninja monsters. You can attack with Black Dragon Ninja, activate Ninjitsu art of Transformation to summon a new Black Dragon Ninja from you deck for a second attack. Then you can send the Ninjitsu Art card + a Ninja monster from your hand to the graveyard to banish and resummon your own Black Dragon Ninja for a third attack. Now that your Black Dragon Ninja is no longer attached to the Ninjitsu Art of Transformation you can send that trap + the last Ninja monster in your hand to the graveyard for a fourth attack.
In a 3SD Ninja deck, people could run only 2 copies of Ninjitsu Art of Transformation, however without 3SD you’ll have to run 3 copies in order to have more consistency with the deck, because without Transformation you can’t bring out your Black Dragon Ninja (unless you tribute summon, in which case you probably already lost).
Most of the time you’ll want to activate this card by tributing Black Dragon Ninja to summon 1 Masked Ninja Ebisu + 2x Crimson/Armed Ninjas or Black Dragon Ninja into Red Dragon Ninja + Crimson/Armed Ninja. This means this card is a great way to get rid of your opponent’s backrow since you can bring out all your Ninjas that deal with that.
Some decklists will decide to cut out the level 1 Ninjas (for example the Beatdown version), in which case Ninjitsu Art of Duplication becomes worse because you can no longer go from a BDN into RDN+Crimson Ninja, or Masked Ninja Ebisu+ Crimson Ninjas. (that’s why the Beatdown version only runs 2 Ninjitsu Art of Duplication, but the Balance version still has 3 copies)
This card (together with Armor Ninjitsu Art of Alchemy) helps to improve your opening hands. Sometimes having 1 star Ninjas in your hand will be useless and this card allows you to change them for a Ninjitsu Art of Duplication/Transformation instead.
Even if you don’t want to activate this card’s effect, it can still be used as fodder for Black Dragon Ninja’s effect.
This card will become more important in versions without 3SD because it can place a Ninjitsu Art of Transformation from your deck on your side of the field.
As mentioned above, this card also helps with your opening hands together with Ninjitsu Art Notebook. You probably only want to run one copy of this, together with 3 copies of Ninjitsu Art Notebook. This way you’ll often be able (at the start of the duel) to activate Notebook, send a Ninja from your hand to the graveyard to set Armor Ninjitsu Art of Alchemy from your deck, and because this is a normal spell card you can activate it immediately to destroy your Notebook and draw 2 more cards, basically allowing you to get rid of bad cards, fortifying your opening hand.
Don’t forget that all monsters banished by Black Dragon Ninja’s effect come back if he leaves the field, keep this in mind if you think you have game by banishing your own Black Dragon Ninja to get in an extra attack in.
Follow up for the previous note; some monsters that are banished cannot come back once your Black Dragon Ninja leaves the field, for example Ancient Gear Golem. Because the Ancient Gear Golem card reads; Cannot be special summoned.
Don’t autopilot and immediately set all traps. Keep in mind that you might need Ninjitsu Art Cards in your hand for Black Dragon Ninja (you can’t use the traps that are set, only traps that are face-up).
Ninjitsu Art of Transformation cannot be used on a face-down monster.
Ninja Grandmaster Sasuke
|Great level 4 Ninja because of its decent attack and effect.|
Ninjitsu Art of Shadow Sealing
|This card can work great as monster removal, preferably you tribute one of your smaller ninjas to banish one of your opponent’s big monsters. Also slows down decks like Cyber Angels and Dinosaurs (Hydrogeddon) that like to swarm the field. Keep in mind if this trap leaves the field, the banished monster comes back, so watch out when you send this card to the graveyard for Black Dragon Ninja’s effect.|
|Remains a great tech in this meta, also greatly helps in the Ninja mirror matchup.|
Floodgate Trap Hole
|Has been a great trap in this meta for a few months now, and has found a spot in certain Ninja decks just because of its potential to slow down your opponent if you need to draw into your combos.|
|Just like Floodgate Trap Hole, a great card ever since its introduction, greatly helps against Cyber Angels or in the mirror match against other Ninjas (take control of their Ninjas and get rid of them by activating Ninjitsu Art of Duplication/Transformation on them).|
Earth Armor Ninja
|This Ninja has a similar effect to Cyber Dragon; he can be special summoned from your hand if your opponent controls a monster and you don’t. It’s a level 5 monster so you can raise its attack to 1900 with Beatdown. If you can special summon this monster, and normal summon a Flame Armor Ninja you will have a 2200 & 2300 monster.|