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New player guide: What packs to buy first? [May 2019 Updated]

Duel Links, which packs to buy, which decks to build to reach KOG for new players.
Duel Links Breaking News
Dark Signer Kalin Kessler appears in Duel World(5Ds)!
update 08/05/2019

Updated Information

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 18 Mini BOXes and 19 Main BOXes; investing into every single one of these is definitely not advised as the vast majority contain outdated cards and/or archetypes that are not viable anymore, so in this guide I will try and direct you towards the ones that feature cards that are currently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

Karakuri Ninja mdl 339 “Sazank”

Karakuri Ninja mdl 339 "Sazank"
Karakuri Ninja mdl 339 "Sazank"
EARTH Machine ★3
ATK 1200 / DEF 1200
Valiant Souls [UR]
This card must attack if able. When this face-up Attack Position card is selected as an attack target, change it to Defense Position. When this card is flipped face-up, select 1 face-up monster on the field, and send it to the Graveyard. During the turn this card is flipped face-up, it can attack your opponent directly.

Sazank is able to get rid of many problematic monsters such as Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En, sending them straight to the Graveyard and bypassing various types of protection.

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 used primarily to prevent OTKs and protect your monsters; 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 back row removal; Cosmic Cyclone’s activation cost has synergy with a lot of Skills like KaibaCorp Bling.

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.

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.

Recommended Start

Six Samurai Synchro (Budget)

Warriors Unite, the 19th Main Box, has greatly improved the “Six Samurai” archetype, giving it a powerful Synchro Monster that can be Summoned with ease thanks to a variety of Tuners and non-Tuners that can be Special Summoned from the hand or directly from the Deck.

The fact that we are advising both new and returning players to build this deck should come as no surprise: Six Samurai Synchro is strong, consistent and also relatively cheap to build.

Example Core Six Samurai Synchro Deck

  • Secret Six Samurai - Fuma can be Special Summoned directly from your Deck via Shien’s Dojo and be used as Synchro Material together with any Level 4 “Six Samurai” monster to Summon Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En. Any Six Samurai Synchro Deck should run three copies of this card.
  • Legendary Six Samurai - Kizan can be Special Summoned from your hand if you control another “Six Samurai” monster.
  • Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi can return a monster your opponent controls to their hand and/or be used as Synchro Material for Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En.
  • Six Samurai United is used to replenish the resources spent to Synchro Summon and draw into Six Style - Dual Wield and Enemy Controller.
  • Asceticism of the Six Samuraican be used in combination with Legendary Six Samurai - Legendary Six Samurai - Kageki, Kagemusha of the Six Samurai, and the Skill The Tie that Binds to easily Summon a second copy of Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En or to get a Secret Six Samurai - Fuma on the field, destroy it and Special Summon whatever you may need.
  • Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En can negate the activation of Spell/Trap Cards such as Hey, Trunade!, preventing your opponent from getting rid of your back row.

Example Filler of Six Samurai Synchro Deck

  • Legendary Secret of the Six Samurai can be Special Summoned from your hand when you Normal or Special Summon a “Secret Six Samurai” monster (Secret Six Samurai - Fuma).
  • Six Style - Dual Wield has fallen a lot in popularity, but now that Six Samurai decks don’t have access to Treacherous Trap Hole anymore and a lot of decks include Lava Golem to punish swarming, it may rise back up. Six Style - Dual Wield allows you to disrupt your opponent’s plays and can act both as backrow and monster removal, enabling early OTKs.
  • Armades, Keeper of Boundaries is used as an answer to Karakuri Ninja mdl 339 "Sazank" and Cipher Soldier.
  • Giganticastle is used to get rid of Lava Golem. Since you can obtain it from the Card Trader and we now have more space in the Extra Deck, I would advise running at least one.

Dino Survival's End (Free to Play)

It has certainly been a while since the last we’ve had an event that was actually worth farming, but it’s nice to know that now, thanks to Tyranno Hassleberry, there’s a brand new competitive deck around that is also fairly easy to build for any player.

If you got your hands on at least two copies of Survivals End, you might want to give this deck a try before diving into Gaia Genesis or purchasing Ancient Gear Awakening.

Example Core of Dino Survival's End

  • Evilswarm Salamandra has great synergy with Giant Rex: its effect allows you to increase its ATK by banishing a monster from your Graveyard, which will trigger Giant Rex’s effect and Special Summon it. This card is used to quickly establish a presence on the board.
  • If Babycerasaurus is destroyed by Survival’s End, it will allow you to Special Summon a Level 4 or lower Dinosaur-Type monsters from your Deck. Take advantage of this effect to get more value from your main Trap Card.
  • Megalosmasher X is the Level 4 Normal Dinosaur with the highest ATK, it ties with Koa'ki Meiru Urnight and Ancient Gear Wyvern under Ancient Gear Castle and it can get over Koa'ki Meiru Sandman, Koa'ki Meiru Wall and Koa'ki Meiru Ice.
  • Fossil Dig gives you direct access to any of your Dinosaur-Type monsters.
  • Paleozoic Marrella can send Survival’s End from the Deck to the Graveyard: it thins your deck and it also gets your main Trap Card exactly where you want it. “Paleozoic” Trap Cards have additional synergy with Survival’s End because, when they are Special Summoned from the Graveyard by their own effects, they are treated as Normal Monsters.

Example Filler of Dino Survival's End

  • Enemy Controller gives you an alternative way of dealing with high ATK monsters, it can be used to stall or to make an aggressive play. You can combine Enemy Controller with Survival’s End Graveyard effect to take control of an opponent’s monster while also destroying another card on their side of the field.
  • Canadia and Hallucigenia can disrupt the opponent’s plays and allow your monsters to get over Koa'ki Meiru Maximus and Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon.
  • Leanchoilia allows you to recycle Survival’s End or any of your “Paleozoic” Trap Cards, giving the deck a bit more durability and/or an additional destruction effect.
  • Swamp Mirror can be used to Special Summon one of your “Paleozoic” Trap Cards from the Graveyard, it can be used to activate Survival’s End since it is considered a Normal Monster and it can also be used for its Graveyard effect if you make it a Dinosaur.

Darklord (Budget)

Darklord is a brand new powerful deck that is also relatively easy to build due to the fact that all of the cards needed to play it come from the same Box.

The “Darklord” archetype consists of mostly DARK Fairy-Type monsters and its main strategy revolves around setting up the Graveyard and then swarming the field with various high ATK monsters that can take advantage of the effects of Spell/Trap Cards in your Graveyard to disrupt your opponent’s plays and quickly overwhelm them.

Example Core Darklord Deck

  • Darklord Ixchel allows you to quickly go through your Deck while also setting up the Graveyard without decreasing the number of cards in your hand. Adding more copies of Ixchel will drastically increase the consistency of your deck.
  • Darklord Amdusc works really well in combination with Darklord Ukoback and an argument could be made for running even three copies of it.

Example Filler of Darklord Deck

Now that Six Samurai decks do not have access to Treacherous Trap Hole anymore, Darklord Tezcatlipoca has definitely lost quite a lot of value. You can still play one or even two copies of this card since it does prevent your monsters from being destroyed by battle and not just by card effect.

Geartown Turbo (Premium)

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

Other Interesting Options

DecksCost
Neos Fusion
Neos Fusion
Premium
Steelswarm Neos
Steelswarm Neos
Premium
Steelswarm
Steelswarm
Very Expensive
Yubel Nephthys
Yubel Nephthys
Very Expensive
Buster Blader DNA Surgery
Buster Blader DNA Surgery
Expensive
Darklord
Darklord
Mid-Expensive (Budget Version Available)
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 [2]
Neo-Impact
Neo-Impact
Little to no value.
Valkyries Rage
Valkyries Rage
Little to no value.
Chaotic Compliance
Chaotic Compliance
Little to no value.
Crimson Kingdom
Crimson Kingdom
Gozuki [3], 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
Floodgate Trap Hole [2], Samurai Skull [3]
Galactic Origin
Galactic Origin
Cosmic Cyclone [1]
 Primal Burst
Primal Burst
Little to no value.
Abyss Encounter
Abyss Encounter
Little to no value.
Valiant Souls
Valiant Souls
Karakuri Ninja mdl 339 "Sazank" [1], Paleozoic Canadia [2], Vision HERO Witch Raider [3], Masked HERO Anki [3], Mask Change [3]
Crusaders Battleground
Crusaders Battleground
Little to no value.
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]
Stardust Acceleration
Stardust Acceleration
Silver's Cry [2], Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon [3],The White Stone of Legend [3], Genex Undine [3], Protector with Eyes of Blue [2]
Blackstorm Rising
Blackstorm Rising
Little to no value.
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]
Absolute Inferno
Absolute Inferno
Cerulean Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys [3], Devotee of Nephthys [3], Disciple of Nephthys [2], Rebirth of Nephthys [3]
Warriors Unite
Warriors Unite
Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En [1], Legendary Six Samurai - Kizan [1], Six Samurai United [1], Six Style - Dual Wield [2], Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi [1], Legendary Six Samurai - Kageki [1], Secret Six Samurai - Fuma [1], Asceticism of the Six Samurai [1], Legendary Secret of the Six Samurai [1], Kagemusha of the Six Samurai [1]

Mini Boxes

PackCard/Rarity
Age of Discovery
Age of Discovery
Little to no value.
Flame of the Tyrant
Flame of the Tyrant
Little to no value.
Wonders of the Sky
Wonders of the Sky
Little to no value.
Land of the Titans
Land of the Titans
Little to no value.
Dawn of Destiny
Dawn of Destiny
Little to no value.
Echoes of Silence
Echoes of Silence
Little to no value.
Servants of Kings
Servants of Kings
Forbidden Chalice [3], Wall of Disruption [3]
Blades of Spirit
Blades of Spirit
Fire Formation - Gyokkou [3]
Resonance of Contrast
Resonance of Contrast
Vampire Grace [3]
Rampage of the Forest
Rampage of the Forest
Hey, Trunade![2]
Visions of Ice
Visions of Ice
Spellbook Magician of Prophecy [3], Spellbook of Secrets [3], Spellbook of Fate [3], Spellbook of the Master [3], Spellbook of Eternity [3], Spellbook of Power [3], Treacherous Trap Hole [2],
Clash of Wings
Clash of Wings
Widespread Ruin [3],Beat, Bladesman Fur Hire [3], Wiz, Sage Fur Hire [3], Dyna, Hero Fur Hire [3], Donpa, Marksman Fur Hire [3], Recon, Scout Fur Hire [3], Mayhem Fur Hire [3]
Empire of Scarlet
Empire of Scarlet
Vampire Familiar [3], Vampire Retainer [3], Vampire Vamp [3], Vampire Kingdom [3], Vampire's Domain [3], Vampire Takeover [3]
Power of Bravery
Power of Bravery
Buster Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman [3], Destruction Swordsman Fusion [3]
Secrets of the Ancients
Secrets of the Ancients
Armades, Keeper of Boundaries [1], Junk Synchron [3], Ancient Fairy Dragon [3]
Tornado of Phantoms
Tornado of Phantoms
Little to no value.
Dimension of the Wizards
Dimension of the Wizards
Psychic Wheeleder [2], Psychic Tracker [3], Power of the Guardians [2]
Lords of Shining
Lords of Shining
The White Stone of Ancients [2], Darklord Ixchel [2], Darklord Superbia [2], Darklord Morningstar [2], Darklord Nasten [2], Darklord Amdusc [2], Darklord Ukoback [2], Darklord Contact [2], The Sanctified Darklord [2], Steelswarm Moth [2], Steelswarm Girastag [2], Steelswarm Cell [2], Steelswarm Scout [2]

Structure Deck

Terms [Updated]

Comments

Hot New Top
Anonymous
Six samurai is a good option for a beginner
<< Anonymous
Any Guy Reply
Nope. This is pretty bad for a beginner. Cipher DNA is good and cheap.
Anonymous
How likely will koa‘ki decks be nerfed and are they still worth investing? Thoughts?
<< Anonymous
Anonymous 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.
Nephtys
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
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 Reply
Completely forgot to fix it, oops.
<< Anonymous
Nephtys Reply
Meta=Atem the Pharao
Anonymous
I am ftp and have all those staples 3 copy each.
Anonymous
When will this be updated with the new box?
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
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
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
This is the real mask hero deck
If you a f2p try fur hire or other crap deck
<< Anonymous
Anonymous Reply
wtf :V
<< Anonymous
Anonymous No. 2 Reply
I'm sick of debating whether this deck is F2P or not.
Regardless, it eats Fur Hire, Vampires, U.A. and other Masked HERO decks for breakfast, and can put up an even fight against Amazoness.
<< Anonymous(Anonymous No. 2)
Anonymous Reply
It's funny how this MH deck falls to a simple Sphere Kuriboh or Treacherous Trap Hole - extremely common card - so... No, it doesn't eats any other deck with good techs.

And no, it definitely doesn't put up an even fight against Amazoness. Sure, you can banish their two Onslaught, but the odds are against you. Good luck drawing your two CC in time to banish their searchable traps.
<< Anonymous
J Reply
My yubel deck has a 8/10 record against masked hero decks like this, thank you for relying on a single spell to win games like Cursed seal of the forbidden spell isn’t farmable for free....
Anonymous
crusader and primal have a good card example for primal dark world and some cloudian and gem knight and crusader has noble knight it actually decent deck.
<< Anonymous
Anonymous Reply
Dark world is expensive and its brick city, you either OTK or brick then surrender
<< Anonymous
Anonymous Reply
all those decks are pretty amazing and decent, the problem with insanely strong decks is tat they can brick hard
<< Anonymous
Bak atit agin Reply
What is OTK?
<< Anonymous(Bak atit agin)
Anonymous Reply
One turn kill. Typically deal >4000 damage in 1 turn.

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The Ultimate RisingAge of DiscoveryNeo-ImpactFlame of the TyrantValkyries Rage
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Blades of Spirit Primal BurstSelection Box Vol. 01Resonance of ContrastAbyss Encounter
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Clash of WingsBurning NovaEmpire of ScarletGaia GenesisStardust Acceleration
Power of BraveryBlackstorm RisingSecrets of the AncientsSelection Box Vol. 02Revolution Beginning
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Comments (updated every hour)

Blue eyes has pretty good matchups against stalls lava golems with cards such vermillion dragon m...
There is no level 50
I use this with survival instinct, I also banish giant rex, and I say bye bye.
I do that to farm people, funny.
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