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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.
Duel Links Breaking News
New pack: Absolute Inferno!
update 12/02/2019

Updated Information

  • Geartown Turbo Section Added

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 has recently celebrated its 2nd anniversary and right now the Shop features 16 Mini BOXes and 17 Main BOXes; investing into every single one of these is definitely not advised as the vast majority contain outdated cards and/or archetypes that are not viable anymore, so in this guide I will try and direct you towards the ones that feature cards that are currently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 Trap Cards that can fit in pretty much any deck. These cards have proven to be a great investment for many players by remaining relevant for a very long time and should be one of your primary foci, if you have just started playing the game.

The cards are sorted by Type and Rarity

Sphere Kuriboh

Sphere Kuriboh
Sphere Kuriboh
DARK Fiend ★1
ATK 300 / DEF 200
The Ultimate Rising [UR]
When an opponent's monster declares an attack: You can send this card from your hand to the Graveyard; change the attacking monster to Defense Position. When you Ritual Summon a monster, you can banish this card from your Graveyard as 1 of the monsters required for the Ritual Summon.

A Hand Trap that is able to prevent OTKs; Sphere Kuriboh has managed to stay mostly relevant ever since its introduction.

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 take control of 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.

Spell Card that bounces Set Spell/Trap Cards back into their controller’s hand; 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’s 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
Visions of Ice [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 powerful Battle Trap that can punish the opponent for swarming the field.

Recommended Start

Koa'ki Meiru

“Koa'ki Meiru” has recently received the best piece of support it could have ever asked for: Diamond Core of Koa'ki Meiru. Having significantly improved in both consistency and durability, this deck has completely taken over the ladder and we honestly think it’s a good investment for any new player. You can start by investing in Gaia Genesis—that’s where you will find most of the cards you need to build this deck—and then move on to Revolution Beginning to get a set of Diamond Core of Koa'ki Meiru.

Example Core Koa'ki Meiru Deck

  • Koa'ki Meiru Maximus can pretty much be considered the main card of the deck: it’s a 3000 ATK monster that can be Special Summoned from your hand and that has the ability to, once per turn, destroy a card on the field;
  • Koa'ki Meiru Urnight allows you to swarm the field and Special Summon exactly what you need from your Deck;
  • Koa'ki Meiru Sandman is a great card in the current meta because of how reliant certain decks are on Trap Cards;
  • Diamond Core of Koa'ki Meiru gives you access to any of your monsters and even to Iron Core;
  • Iron Core of Koa'ki Meiru is the Spell Card your Deck revolves around: most of your monsters require it in order to activate their effects and/or be Summoned.

Example Filler of Koa'ki Meiru Deck

  • The deck lacks a reliable Turn 1 play, so Sphere Kuriboh is generally a great card to keep in your Deck, unless you want to run the Balance version;
  • Koa'ki Meiru Ice is a very interesting monster that can destroy Special Summoned monsters on the field;
  • Hey, Trunade! is a quick form of backrow removal that can be used before Summoning your monsters.

Vampire

Despite the rise of Koa'ki Meirus, Vampires are still one of the best decks around: they 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 entirety of 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, unlike Masked HEROes

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.

Geartown Turbo

Ancient Gear Awakening, the recently released Structure Deck EX, has had a huge impact on the meta: a brand new competitive deck has entered the scene, quickly overpowering the competition.

Building a Geartown Turbo Deck without purchasing at least a second copy of Ancient Gear Awakening is unfortunately pretty difficult, but the value you are going to get from it is undeniably pretty high, especially if you are a new player. Stacking up Gems takes time, but purchasing packs, even during a sale, is ridiculously expensive; Ancient Gear Awakening offers an almost already playable deck for a much lower price.

Example Core Geartown Turbo

  • Pulse Mines is used to prevent OTKs. A few decklists run Enemy Controller instead because it synergizes well with Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon’s effect and Geartown/Ancient Gear Fortress.
  • Ancient Gear Wyvern can search any “Ancient Gear” card: it will give you access to Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon when you only have Fortress out.
  • Planet Pathfinder is used to search Geartown and, since it’s a Machine-Type monster, it also enables Pulse Mines.
  • Double Cyclone is used to destroy Geartown and Ancient Gear Fortress and trigger their effects.

Example Filler of Geartown Turbo

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 we 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.

Other Interesting Options

DecksCost
Silent Spellbook
Silent Spellbook
Premium

Ancient Gear Fusion Beatdown
Premium
Armades Control
Armades Control
Very Expensive
Amazoness (Banish Control)
Amazoness (Banish Control)
Very Expensive
Fabled Synchro
Fabled Synchro
Very Expensive
Karakuri Synchro
Karakuri Synchro
Expensive
Gemini Control
Gemini Control
Expensive
U.A
U.A
Expensive
Buster Blader DNA Surgery
Buster Blader DNA Surgery
Expensive
Fur Hire
Fur Hire
Mid-Expensive

Aromage
Free to Play

Which Boxes are worth investing in?

Which packs should a new player open first? This is the question I want to answer in this section.

While there are certainly a lot of great cards in almost every single one 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 mostly 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

PackCard/Rarity
The Ultimate Rising
The Ultimate Rising
Sphere Kuriboh [1]
Neo-Impact
Neo-Impact
Mirror Wall [3]
Valkyries Rage
Valkyries Rage
Little to no value.
Chaotic Compliance
Chaotic Compliance
Destructotron [3]
Crimson Kingdom
Crimson Kingdom
Gozuki [2], Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroyer Swordsman [3], Dark Paladin [3], Buster Blader [3]
Electric Overload
Electric Overload
Little to no value.
Generation Next
Generation Next
Samurai Skull [1], Floodgate Trap Hole [2]
Galactic Origin
Galactic Origin
Cosmic Cyclone [1]
 Primal Burst
Primal Burst
Little to no value.
Abyss Encounter
Abyss Encounter
Ties of the Brethren [3], Citadel Whale [3], Sea Stealth Attack [3]
Valiant Souls
Valiant Souls
Paleozoic Canadia [1], Vision HERO Witch Raider [3], Masked HERO Anki [2], Mask Change [2]
Crusaders Battleground
Crusaders Battleground
D.D. Assailant [2]
Burning Nova
Burning Nova
Evocator Chevalier [3]
Gaia Genesis
Gaia Genesis
Galaxy Cyclone [2], Drowning Mirror Force [2], Koa'ki Meiru Maximus [1], Koa'ki Meiru Sandman [1], Koa'ki Meiru Urnight [1], Koa'ki Meiru Ice [1], Iron Core of Koa'ki Meiru [1], Dark Valkyria [3], Gemini Spark [3], U.A. Midfielder [3], U.A. Stadium [3], U.A. Penalty Box [3], U.A. Dreadnought Dunker [3], U.A. Mighty Slugger [3], U.A. Rival Rebounder [3]
Stardust Acceleration
Stardust Acceleration
Stardust Dragon [3], XX-Saber Fulhelmknight [3], XX-Saber Hyunlei [3], XX-Saber Boggart Knight [3], X-Saber Souza [3], Saber Slash [3], Silver's Cry [2], Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon [2],The White Stone of Legend [3], Genex Undine [3], Protector with Eyes of Blue [2]
Blackstorm Rising
Blackstorm Rising
Breaker the Magical Warrior [2], Cards of Consonance [3], Dragunity Knight - Vajrayana [3], Dragunity Dux [3], Dragunity Phalanx [3], Dragunity Militum [3], Dragunity Aklys [3], Dragunity Divine Lance [3]
Revolution Beginning
Revolution Beginning
Karakuri Shogun mdl 00 "Burei" [3], Karakuri Komachi mdl 224 "Ninishi" [3], Karakuri Merchant mdl 177 "Inashichi" [3], Karakuri Soldier mdl 236 "Nisamu" [3], Karakuri Cash Cache [3], Karakuri Anatomy [3], Diamond Core of Koa'ki Meiru [1]

Mini Boxes

Comments

Hot New Top
Cibai 9days ago
i need help....

any recomendation, free to play - low cost
<< Anonymous(Cibai)
Anonymous 9days ago Reply
Visions of Ice.
<< Anonymous(Cibai)
Anonymous 8days ago Reply
Go for BEWD cosmo brain , works fine with just onetime buying of ex deck. Just somehow get 3 bewds
Anonymous 23days ago
Six samurai is a good option for a beginner
<< Anonymous
Any Guy 10days ago Reply
Nope. This is pretty bad for a beginner. Cipher DNA is good and cheap.
Nephtys 23days ago
TBH this Guide is pretty useless a New Player will not understand what u should play if even u dont know... Its clear that u don't play competitive cause this Guide is completely garbage in Terms of indepth look into an Archetype. If u dont play the Deck u cant write a Guide about it
Anonymous 23days ago
I am ftp and have all those staples 3 copy each.
Anonymous 25days ago
How likely will koa‘ki decks be nerfed and are they still worth investing? Thoughts?
<< Anonymous
Anonymous 20days ago Reply
Koaki may get nerved around May timeframe as the limited list seems to update in the span of 3-5 months with the most recent being Spellbook of Fate and Silent Sword Slash.

However I doubt it will get hit anytime soon as some of the cards are still brand new.
Oldbutgold 25days ago
Hey, starting all over again. How to invest the starting 3000 gems wisely if i want to start from 0, and build the vampire deck?
Anonymous 26days ago
When will this be updated with the new box?
Anonymous
Meta is an anagram... guess you learn something new everyday
<< Anonymous
ValleCula Reply
I often confuse the terms as well, don't be too harsh on the guy.
<< Anonymous(ValleCula)
Anonymous Reply
Example filler of "KM" deck is wrongly named as filler of "vampire" deck
<< Anonymous
ValleCula 23days ago Reply
Completely forgot to fix it, oops.
<< Anonymous
Nephtys 23days ago Reply
Meta=Atem the Pharao
Anonymous
For f2p starting players, go spend it all on Sylvan.
<< Anonymous
Anonymous Reply
Don't trust this, spend on clash of wings or servant of king instead. Clash of wings has decent f2p deck (fur hire) as well as a decent staple (widespread ruin). Servant of kings has no good deck but 2 good staples (wall of disruption and forbidden chalice).
<< Anonymous
Anonymous Reply
I don't think now is a good time to spend at all, really. It's likely the current top decks will get hit by a banlist update some time in the fairly near future. (Masked HEROes are long overdue for one, and Vampires have been dominant enough to expect one for them, too.)

If you just straight want the "best deck", I'd wait.
Anonymous
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
Anonymous Reply
I think you might have forgotten about RL in the banlist
<< Anonymous
Anonymous 10days ago Reply
Rose Lover being semi-limited doesn't really affect the deck by much.
<< Anonymous
Anonymous 10days ago Reply
Also, Aromage is listed there now.
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 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 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

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