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New player guide: What packs to buy first?

Duel Links, which packs to buy, which decks to build to reach KOG for new players.
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update 08/11/2018

Overview

If you have just started playing Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links and you are looking at the Shop, wondering where to start, you might be overwhelmed by how many different packs are currently available. This game is approaching its 2nd anniversary and right now the Shop features 13 Mini BOXes and 15 Main BOXes; investing into every single one of these is definitely not advised as the vast majority contain outdated cards and/or archetypes that are not viable anymore, so in this guide I will try and direct you towards the ones that feature cards that are currently relevant.

Staples

For starters, let’s talk about some of the most popular cards in the game right now—mostly Spell and Traps that can fit in pretty much every deck and make the difference between winning or losing a duel.

Cosmic Cyclone

Cosmic Cyclone
Cosmic Cyclone
Quick Spell
Galactic Origin [UR]
Pay 1000 LP, then target 1 Spell/Trap Card on the field; banish it.

Generic backrow removal; Cosmic Cyclone’s activation cost has great synergy with a lot of Skills.

Enemy Controller

Enemy Controller
Enemy Controller
Quick Spell
Ranked Rewards / Seto Kaiba [SR]
Activate 1 of these effects.● Target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; change that target's battle position.● Tribute 1 monster, then target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; take control of that target until the End Phase.

Versatile Quick-Play Spell that can be used to protect your monsters and/or your Life Points or to steal an opponent’s monster. Enemy Controller is currently Semi-Limited.

Hey, Trunade!

Hey, Trunade!
Hey, Trunade!
Normal Spell
Rampage of the Forest [SR]
Return all Set Spells and Traps on the field to the hand.

Backrow removal that bounces Set Spell/Trap Cards back into the opponent’s hand or forces them to activate; Hey, Trunade! can enable a lot of OTKs. This card is currently Semi-Limited.

Floodgate Trap Hole

Floodgate Trap Hole
Floodgate Trap Hole
Normal Trap
Generation Next [UR]
When your opponent Summons a monster(s): Change that monster(s) to face-down Defense Position. Monsters changed to face-down Defense Position by this effect cannot change their battle positions.

Trap Card that generally used to slow down the opponent by locking a monster that has just been Summoned in face-down Defense Position.

Mirror Wall

Mirror Wall
Mirror Wall
Continuous Trap
Neo-Impact [UR]
Each of your opponent's monsters that conducted an attack while this card was face-up on the field has its ATK halved as long as this card remains on the field. During each of your Standby Phases, pay 2000 LP or destroy this card.

With Blue-Eyes White Dragon, Cosmo Brain and Masked HERO Anki around, Mirror Wall has proven to be, once again, a very efficient Battle Trap that doesn’t rely on the opponent having multiple monsters on the field in order to be effective.

Paleozoic Canadia

Paleozoic Canadia
Paleozoic Canadia
Normal Trap
Valiant Souls [UR]
Target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; change it to face-down Defense Position. Once per Chain, when a Trap Card is activated while this card is in your Graveyard: Special Summon this card as a Normal Monster (Aqua-Type/WATER/Level 2/ATK 1200/DEF 0). (This card is NOT treated as a Trap Card.) If Summoned this way, this card is unaffected by monster effects, also banish it when it leaves the field.

Similar to Floodgate Trap Hole, Paleozoic Canadia can flip monsters face-down, but it’s more versatile and it has an additional effect that allows you to Special Summon it from the Graveyard as Level 2 monster.

Treacherous Trap Hole

Treacherous Trap Hole
Treacherous Trap Hole
Normal Trap
Clash of Wings [SR]
If you have no Trap Cards in your Graveyard: Target 2 monsters on the field; destroy those targets.

A Trap Card with a minor activation requirement and the ability to destroy two monsters on the field. Treacherous Trap Hole is currently Semi-Limited.

Wall of Disruption

Wall of Disruption
Wall of Disruption
Normal Trap
Servants of Kings [SR]
When an opponent's monster declares an attack: All Attack Position monsters your opponent controls lose 800 ATK for each monster they control.

A great Battle Trap against decks that focus on swarming the field, it’s able to punish them extremely hard, but it’s also a lackluster answer to single high ATK monsters in some situations.

Recommended Start

Vampire

Nearly untouched by the last Banlist, Vampires are what any new player should look into; we have already advertised this deck in particular in the previous version of the New Player Guide, so the fact that we are still pushing towards it should come as no surprise.

Vampire decks are fast and consistent, they have searchers in the form of Vampire Retainer and Vampire Familiar that can give them access to pretty much the entire archetype, they have removal in the form of Vampire Kingdom and they can take advantage of Treacherous Trap Hole, Enemy Controller and/or Hey, Trunade! without having to take out key cards like Masked HEROes have to.

One of the things that really sets Vampires apart from other decks is how well they are able to handle removal thanks to Gozuki and Samurai Skull: these two monsters can potentially float into another one when they are destroyed and leave the field respectively, taking out a lot of value from cards like Treacherous Trap Hole and Spellbook of Fate.

As I said at the beginning, Vampires were “nearly” untouched by the Banlist and that is because all decks suffered from Treacherous Trap Hole and Hey, Trunade! being Semi-Limited, except for Spellbook, but that shouldn’t take anything away from this deck.

Example Core Vampire Deck

  • Vampire Retainer and Vampire Familiar are the two searchers of the deck, they are pretty much a necessity, but it’s still possible to play the deck without two copies of each.
  • Vampire Vamp, considering how often you’ll have to face Blue-Eyes and Masked HERO decks, is highly advised.
  • Vampire Grace is the easiest way to trigger Vampire Kingdom’s effect. It’s unfortunate that you will have to dig through a Mini BOX that currently holds little value in order to get it.
  • Samurai Skull is the fastest and most consistent way to get Retainer and Familiar into the Graveyard, it’s not subject to Paleozoic Canadia and Floodgate Trap Hole and, even if it’s banished by a Spellbook of Fate, it can still Special Summon something from your Deck.
  • Vampire Kingdom increases your monsters’ ATK while also giving more value to Vampire Grace’s “bleed” effect;
  • Vampire's Domain allows you to get a full board with a Level 5 or higher “Vampire” monster on your first turn and it can also get back some of the Life Points you have spent to activate your monsters’ effects.
  • Vampire Takeover puts Vampire Kingdom on the field straight from your Deck and it can also Special Summon one of your “Vampire” monsters from the Graveyard.

Example Filler of Vampire Deck

  • Gozuki is not necessary to play the deck, but it can’t be denied that it can make it more consistent.
  • Backrow removal is sort of a controversial topic: it’s pretty much useless against Blue-Eyes, but it’s very good against other decks such as Gladiator. Cosmic Cyclone has synergy with a certain popular Skill that is being used at the moment with this deck, but Hey, Trunade! definitely offers more against backrow-heavy decks since it’s very easy to generate OTKs with Vampires.
  • Enemy Controller is versatile and it has added synergy with Gozuki, Retainer and Familiar, but you will only be able to run two copies of it.
  • Mirror Wall helps you deal with Masked HEROes, it may avoid by itself an OTK on turn 2, but it not advised to invest in Neo-Impact as a new player with a limited amount of Gems.
  • Treacherous Trap Hole is now Semi-Limited, which definitely hurts it; you can run one or two copies of this card or go for Enemy Controller and/or Hey, Trunade! and use Paleozoic Canadia and/or Mirror Wall as protection.

Blue-Eyes

Blue-Eyes didn’t make the cut for the previous version of the New Player Guide, but that was before The White Dragon of Legend Structure Deck was released; Blue-Eyes is very strong and consistent, being able to get out on the field multiple 2500+ ATK monsters on the board very quickly, so I don’t see a reason why it shouldn’t be recommended to new players.

Example Core of Blue-Eyes Deck

  • Dragon Spirit of White offers backrow removal and a pretty big body on the board. This card can take advantage of support for both “Blue-Eyes” and Normal Monsters.
  • Cosmo Brain can be Special Summoned quite easily in this deck and it allows to get a Blue-Eyes on the field straight from the Deck; Cosmo Brain has synergy with monsters such as Psychic Ace. Thanks to A Trick Up the Sleeve, you can start the Duel with Cosmo Brain in your hand.
  • Silver's Cry can Special Summon your Blue-Eyes White Dragon and Dragon Spirit of White from the Graveyard, together with Cosmo Brain, it enables early OTKs.
  • Bingo Machine, Go!!! allows you to add Blue-Eyes White Dragon or Dragon Spirit of White to your hand from the Deck, making it even easier to Special Summon Cosmo Brain.
  • Birthright serves a similar purpose to Silver's Cry, the only issue is that it's a Trap Card and it's also bound to the monster.

Example Filler of Blue-Eyes Deck

  • The White Stone of Legend searches Blue-Eyes White Dragon and has some synergy with Cosmo Brain.
  • Protector with Eyes of Blue can Special Summon Blue-Eyes White Dragon or Dragon Spirit of White from the hand.
  • Majesty with Eyes of Blue is an interesting card that can send a “Blue-Eyes” monster from the Deck to the Graveyard.
  • Enemy Controller, Paleozoic Canadia and Treacherous Trap Hole are great cards in general you can add to your Deck for protection.

Masked HERO

This is not the first time Masked HEROes are hit by the Banlist, but this time the blow was pretty heavy. Masked HERO decks are still great, they can make explosive Mask Change plays and OTKs opponents quite easily, but they are expensive and, if Cyber Angels and Fur Hires have taught us anything, it's that a Banlist can and will keep on hitting a deck consecutively until the vast majority of the players will eventually stop playing it.

Silent Spellbook

Silent Spellbook is really one of the only decks that has been around for so long and has not seen any of its cards featured in a Banlist yet.

Whenever a new deck comes out, it always looks like this one has an answer or it's at least able to stand up to it, but having to go through Visions of Ice and Spellbound Silence for an optimized version, is a bit too much to ask.

If you are willing to invest some money into the game and you don't mind every single duel you play looking exactly like the previous one, then this is the deck for you

Yubel

Assuming you were to play during the Rise of The Yubel Event and you also managed to get your hands on three copies of Yubel and the single copy of its next two forms that were given out during said event, to build this deck, you would still need to invest quite a lot of Gems in a pretty old Mini BOX that doesn’t really offer much aside from Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys and Super Rush Headlong.

Which Boxes are worth investing in?

Which packs should a new player open first and what cards should have the priority? These are the questions I want to answer in this section.

While there are certainly a lot of great cards in almost everyone of these boxes, not all of them are currently relevant: a certain card or even a whole archetype might become very good in the future, but what I will mention here are just the ones that are staples in current meta decks and cards that are extremely versatile in general.

In order to properly understand how important these cards are, I will assign each one of them a number that represents the priority a player should give to them from 1 to 3 (1 being high priority and likely relevant in the current meta and 3 low priority and not currently relevant, but worth mentioning because of its versatility).

Main Boxes

Mini Boxes

Structure Deck

Terms [Updated]

General Terms

SD: (Standard Duelist) Generic duelists that spawn in both Duel World and Duel World GX; you beat them to obtain mainly Gold, Jewels, some low rarity cards and Gate Keys.

LD: (Legendary Duelist) Duelists you can face at the Gate using Gate Keys that can also spawn randomly in Duel World one at a time; you beat them to obtain their unique cards.

Farm(ing): The act of repeatedly beating a Legendary Duelist with a specific deck aimed towards achieving higher scores in order to obtain more and better drops.

PvE: (Player vs Environment) Any type of content in which the player faces an AI.

PvP: (Player vs Player) Any type of content in which the player has to face another player.

KoG: (King of Games) The highest rank you can obtain in PvP.

Card Trader: The character that stands in front of the shop: you can interact with him to exchange materials (Gold, Jewels) for the cards he offers. The cards change every 8 hours, but some of them are always available.

UR: An Ultra Rare card, the highest rarity currently in Duel Links. In each box only one copy of each UR is included.

SR: A Super Rare card. In a main box (180 packs), each SR will have 2 copies included, while in a mini box (100 packs) there will only be one copy of each SR in that box.

Resetting a box: If you are looking to get multiple copies of a UR/SR card from a box, you might want to reset the box when you get it in the first couple of packs, which will put the amount of packs back at 180 or 100 (depending on the box) so you can pull it again.

Skill: In Duel Links you can link a skill to a deck, which will add some sort of advantage. Each character has their own unique exclusive skills that they can learn from levelling up, but they can also obtain skills through a random drop when you duel against Legendary Duelists or PvP.

Legendary Duelist: A legendary duelist is a character from the TV show, these duelists can drop more precious rewards than standard duelists.

Gaming Terms

Backrow: Term that refers to defensive Spell and Traps.

Backrow removal: Cards that can destroy or banish your opponent’s backrow; an example of a backrow removal card is Cosmic Cyclone.

Beatdown Deck: A deck that focuses on applying pressure with high ATK monsters.

Beatstick: A monster likely used just for its ATK value and not for its effect.

Brick: A card that you essentially do not want to draw (but seemingly love to be in your starting hand); examples are Bacon Saver in a Red-Eyes Zombie deck and Wulf, Lightsworn Beast in a Lightsworn deck.

Burn: A strategy centered around repeatedly damaging your opponent with cards’ effects.

Burn Deck: A deck that focuses on burning the opponent.

Deck out: When you run out of cards in your deck and can’t conduct your Draw Phase.

Deck thinning: Generic term that refers in general to decreasing the number of cards in your main deck by adding a card(s) to your hand, sending card(s) from the deck to the Graveyard, Special Summoning a monster(s) from the deck or placing a card(s) in your Spell/Trap Zone from the deck.

Engine: A minimum of two cards in a deck that have good synergy.

Floater: A card that is able to replace itself; an example can be Crystal Seersince the card adds a card to your hand when flipped face-up, essentially replacing itself in your hand.

Handtrap: A card that can be activate from your hand in response to a specific action by your opponent; an example is Sphere Kuriboh, a monster that can be discarded in order to avoid an attack and switch the attacking monster into Defense position.

META: (Most Effective Tactic Available) A term that refers to the current situation in PvP; a META deck is a deck that is a deck that is successful at the current moment.

Mill: Terms that refers to lowering the number of cards in the deck by sending a card(s) from the deck to the Graveyard or banishing a card(s) from the deck.

Mill Deck: A type of deck that focuses on decking out the opponent.

Nerf: Nerfing a card means altering its effect or ruling or limiting its usage.

Recycling: A term that usually refers to utilizing cards that were sent to the Graveyard again; an example can be Sphere Kuriboh since, after being discarded by its effect, it can still be used as tribute for a Ritual monster.

Scoop: Forfeiting a match.

Searcher: A card that can add a specific card or type of cards from your deck to your hand; an example is Gravekeeper's Recruiter, a monster that can add another Gravekeeper’s monster from your deck to your hand when sent from the field to the Graveyard.

Stall: A strategy usually centered around avoiding damage from the opponent.

Stall Deck: A deck that focuses on avoiding damage from the opponent, likely utilizing cards that can slow them down like Floodgate Trap Hole, Paleozoic Canadia or Massivemorph.

Splashable Card: A splashable card is a card that can be used in different decks and boost their consistency; an example is Enemy Controller.

Swarm: A strategy centered around summoning multiple monsters on the field at once; a “Swarm Deck” that’s currently very relevant is Fur Hire.

Tech: Normally refers to cards put in the Side Deck in order to have a better matchup against a certain type of deck, but in Duel Links this use doesn’t exist so it usually refers to single cards placed in a deck to face a certain deck. Example sentence:“Paleozoic Canadia is a good tech against Fur Hire”.

Top-decking: In a very critical situation, drawing the exact you needed is referred to as “top-decking”.

Other Guides

How to Get Icon/ Card Sleeves
How to Get Card sleeves/Playmat
Crd.Sleeves/Mat
How to Get Icon
Icon
How to get the Neo Spacian Aqua Dolphin Icon
A.Dolphin Icon

Comments

Hot New Top
Anonymous 5days ago
I'm surprised Aromages aren't on here- they're one of the cheapest to build yet still viable competitively decks, with most of their cards being simple rares you can get from the card trader.
Anonymous
Can someone share a good aquaactress deck ? Thank you
<< Anonymous
Another Anon Reply
I don't like copy and paste so here's some suggestion:

3 arowana
3 pink fish
3 blue fish
2 continuous spell
2 aquarium

Then depends on what you like for the rest:
-storm
-tripper mercury
-cyclone back row removal
-trunade
-wetland
-snowman eater
-treacherous trap hole
Etc

Make it 20 cards deck and keep thinning your deck with the fishes. Good luck
<< Anonymous(Another Anon)
Anonymous 5days ago Reply
Small correction for the continuous spell bit, it should be:

2 aquarium lighting
2 aquarium set
Easy.
But I already built Blue eyes for free.
And still got plenty of gems.
<< Anonymous(Easy.)
Anonymous Reply
Too bad Blue-Eyes turns out to be not exactly the best deck right now.
<< Anonymous(Easy.)
Anonymous 30days ago Reply
offerings you got could be nice early on.
silver's cry so good, but you could also try to get birthright, where you have cards as WoD (that could work in BEWD deck) and chalice wich is a tech that can be usefull, chalice is might not best for BEWD but
Anonymous
If you are F2P player who don't want to spend a single cent to Konami, you should focus on building a farming deck rather than competitive deck if you want to enjoy all the events on this game for a long time. Here are cards you should consider to get :
- Secret Pass To The Treasures
- Golden Ladybug
- Neo Spacian Air Hummingbird
- Unhappy Girl
Anonymous
Listen close.

If someone tells you to open Ultimate rising. IGNORE it. Same with neo impact.

Big boxes with virtually useless cards bar 1 or 2 URs. Nty

My baby acc made it to play in no games hardly. I bought dragon structure to power through early stage missions.

Got mai. Leveled her to 25 for etaqua. Leveled kaiba to 13 for beatdown skill.

Opened Dawn of Destiny till 3x super rush.

Made a crumby naturia deck. Played pvp till I got 2 econs. Used rare tickets for the covering fire card. Super useful in naturia. Especially if you lack mirror wall.

Boom hit plat. And I wasn't even trying.

Deck ended up being

3x Maroon 3x stag beetle 3x pumpkin 3x hydragenea 2x econ 1x covering fire 3x SRH

2 filler cards can be the counter trap or any thing of your liking. I used 2x tribute to the doomed as I got them going for SRH.

Dawn of Destiny is the box you want. Focus on getting 100 wins a season for the rewards. Focus on cards you want for an ideal deck. This saves you a crap ton of farming. Since you won't have optimal farming decks.

Best of luck.
<< Anonymous
Anonymous Reply
Ignore this guy, naturia is trash in the current meta
<< Anonymous
Anonymous Reply
Naturia will get you to plat, listening to this post will get you to legend, the top tier decks in the current meta bar yubel Amazoness and Fur Hireless, which post patch has only 1 copy of its 3 best game control cards, mini box costs 4000, lets say you get unlucky and have to near clear 3x, that’s still only about 10k gems, with all the early game gems you get it’s easy to get a viable deck or 2
Noah
This is so stupid, the core deck from vampire doesn't even have a list. How am I supposed to know what cards are in the deck.......
Anonymous
Definitely Servants of Kings
Anonymous
But yourself a good drink instead of thinking what pack to buy
Anonymous
Maybe fur
Anonymous
Fill your deck with normal monster with no effects, two traps, two luck depending spells, one time wizard and reach semi finals like Joey Wheeler.
<< Anonymous
Anonymous Reply
^
True wisdom
<< Anonymous
Anonymous Reply
(Nah, I'm just joking)
Anonymous
Just buy fur hire or vampires. for amazoness you need princess so 3 ranked ur ticket or play 3 entire seasons.
<< Anonymous
Anonymous Reply
Could get some princesses through the 5Ds release tickets, but amazoness still need expensive traps to run optimally.
Anonymous
Servant of the kings

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The D.D. assailant and juggler is actually optional. Just change it with the best monster you hav...
Pokemon? And you still playing it? What about ♡PUBG♡?
Good luck with your galaxy when they can activate treacherous from the freaking hand lol
Does it get it effct when used with junk synchron?
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