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How to Build a Dark Magician Deck in Yu-Gi-Oh

Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.

Building a Dark Magician Deck

In the Yu-Gi-Oh anime, you've likely seen Yugi Moto wield his infamous Dark Magician, a renowned original normal monster, and many duelists want to experience its magical powers for themselves. Luckily, thanks to a myriad of awesome support cards and upgraded forms, Dark Magician remains a viable option even today.

But with hundreds of spellcasters and supports available, it can be challenging to learn which units warrant inclusion in your ultimate Dark Magician deck. To aid in this endeavor, today we'll review some of the best options from each card type to help you construct your optimized and customized Dark Magician deck list!

Support Monsters

  • Apprentice Illusion Magician
  • Chocolate Magician Girl
  • Magician's Robe
  • Magician's Rod
  • Legion the Fiend Jester
  • Magician of Dark Illusion
  • Breaker the Magical Warrior

For brevity, we'll quickly tackle the key points of each card. Apprentice Illusion Magician can be special summoned by discarding any card, searches a Dark Magician when summoned, and can activate a hand trap ability to boost a dark spellcaster's power in battle. Chocolate Magician Girl lets you discard spellcasters to draw cards (also filling your graveyard) and stalls opponents with her abilities that trigger when attacked.

Magician's Robe can search and field Dark Magician from your deck and revive itself once; Magician's Rod adds a Dark Magician-related spell/trap from your deck and can recycle itself to your hand by tributing other spellcasters.

Legion the Fiend Jester grants you an extra spellcaster tribute summon, and when sent from the field to the graveyard, pulls a Dark Magician from your deck. Magician of Dark Illusion changes its name to Dark Magician (useful for other effects), can special summon itself from your hand, and can once revive a defeated DM. Breaker the Magical Warrior can destroy a single spell/trap with its spell counter, then makes good link or xyz material.

Pendulum Monsters

  • Timebreaker Magician
  • Purple Poison Magician
  • Black Fang Magician
  • Harmonizing Magician
  • Mythical Beast King Jackal
  • Dragonpit Magician

The Dark Magician archetype bears many cards that special summon its ace, but you can substitute or supplement these with pendulum cards, useful for both swarming and their ongoing pendulum zone effects. Our first five combatants are all dark spellcasters, fitting snugly into your DM deck. Timebreaker and Purple Poison wield low scales that, when combined with the high scales of Black Fang and Harmonizing Magician, can field even level seven monsters (like Dark Magician) without tributing!

Timebreaker also shields your pendulum monsters from effects and (as a monster) can banish itself alongside another monster. When defeated, Purple Poison destroys a face-up card while Black Fang revives a dark spellcaster. As a pendulum scale, Harmonizing boosts your monsters' ATK stats, and as a creature, summons a pendulum Magician from your deck with its effects negated.

Jackal King's pendulum scales and abilities aren't particularly useful, but his hearty ATK, DM synergies, and effect-negating monster abilities make him surprisingly useful to your theme. Finally, Dragonpit is water-attribute, not dark, but its high scale, impressive DEF stat, level seven, and normal monster status combo well with several DM cards.

Main Deck Boss Monsters

  • Dark Magician
  • Dark Magician of Chaos
  • Palladium Oracle Mahad
  • Sorcerer of Dark Magic

By itself, Dark Magician doesn't wield any effects, but you'll of course want it for the numerous supports it receives. Meanwhile, Dark Magician of Chaos ironically doesn't belong to either the Dark Magician or Chaos archetypes (it was poorly translated), but its higher ATK scores, synchronized traits, and spell recycle still warrant inclusion.

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Palladium Oracle can special summon itself when drawn, summons Dark Magician when defeated, and its light attribute helps if you're stocking your graveyard with the light/dark attributes needed for a Chaos deck. Finally, Sorcerer of Dark Magic is costly, requiring two level-six or higher spellcasters as tributes for its special summon, but brandishes a monstrous 3200 ATK and the ability to negate and destroy an unlimited number of traps (not just once per turn).

Extra Deck Boss Monsters

  • Dark Magician the Dragon Knight
  • Ebon High Magician
  • Ebon Illusion Magician
  • Number 11: Big Eye
  • Wee Witch's Apprentice
  • Quintet Magician

Fusion monster Dark Magician the Dragon Knight needs DM and any dragon monster as material, but offers an impressive 3000 ATK stat. It also switches its name to Dark Magician and helpfully shields your spells and traps against both targeting and destruction, rendering them nearly invincible.

Xyz monster Ebon High Magician can activate cards from your hand during your opponent's turn, and when leaving the field through an opponent's card, special summons DM while also removing an opposing card. Ebon Illusion special summons spellcaster normal monsters (like DM or Dragonpit) from your deck and banishes opposing cards when one attacks.

Big Eye simply wields sturdy ATK and can permanently steal opposing monsters. Link monster Wee Witch's Apprentice isn't terribly strong, but boosts the ATK of your dark monsters and lowers that of light, while also providing additional extra deck zones (useful if you're using pendulum).

Finally, Quintet Magician is currently OCG only and needs a whopping five fusion materials, but is massively strong and nukes your opponent's entire field when summoned.


  • Dark Magical Circle
  • Dark Magic Attack
  • Dark Magic Expanded
  • Chaos Scepter Blast
  • Magician's Right Hand
  • Illusion Magic
  • The Eye of Timaeus
  • Future Fusion
  • Pendulum Call

Dark Magical Circle searches a Dark Magician or related spell/trap from the top cards of your deck and banishes opposing cards when you special summon your ace. Meanwhile, while control DM, Dark Magic Attack mimics the long-banned Harpie's Feather Duster by destroying all opposing spell and trap cards!

Dark Magic Expanded is a quick-play spell that activates ATK-boosting and defensive abilities based on the number of DMs and DMGs in your field and graveyard, while Chaos Scepter will either field Dark Magician of Chaos when destroyed or banish an opposing card if he's already fielded.

Magician's Right Hand will negate your opponent's first spell each turn while you control a spellcaster, and Illusion Magic tributes a wizard to search two Dark Magicians. The Eye of Timaeus and Future Fusion both help fusion summon without depleting your hand. For pendulum decks (and the price of a discard), Pendulum Call helpfully searches out two pendulum Magicians, then protects them for a few turns if set as a scale.

Finally, while not listed here, don't forget the power of archetype-independent spells like Raigeki, Twin Twisters, and Pot of Desires.


  • Magicians' Defense
  • Magician Navigation
  • Dark Renewal
  • Eternal Soul
  • Black Illusion

DM decks emphasize traps a bit more than most series. True to its name, Magicians' Defense adeptly halves all damage you take (including effect damage) while you control a spellcaster monster, and if sent to the graveyard, it also revives a spellcaster. Magician Navigation masterfully special summons both a DM from your hand and any level seven or lower dark spellcaster from your deck, and it can banish itself from your graveyard to briefly negate a face-up spell or trap.

When your opponent normal or special summons, Dark Renewal sacrifices a spellcaster to destroy their new monster, then summons a spellcaster from your graveyard or deck, either rejuvenating your lost unit or replacing it with something stronger. Eternal Soul can add Dark Magic Attack to your hand and renders your DMs immune to opposing card effects, though it'll destroy your monsters if it exits the field.

Finally, Black Illusion temporarily negates the effects of your dark spellcasters with 2000 or more ATK, but essentially makes them invincible for the turn, granting immunity to battle destruction and enemy card effects.

Buying Dark Magician (Inexpensively)

You might think that because of his age and iconic status, Dark Magician would be crazy expensive. Luckily, thanks to several reprints, you can easily obtain your own legal copy for prices under two dollars! Hopefully I don't need to point out how crucial he is to this structure—I owe several ranked wins to him.

More Dark and Spellcaster Monsters

Today we've examined several awesome Dark Magician deck ideas, including a pendulum blend, but because the dark attribute and spellcaster type are so abundant, you've got dozens of options to play with. From the Shaddoll fusion monsters to the dark-related Virus Control traps, Dark Magician combines with a staggering number of themes to keep Yu-Gi-Oh's second most infamous card relevant in competitive play.

With hundreds of potential deck options, duelists are still uncovering the secrets to building the ultimate Dark Magician deck. But for now, as we eagerly await Konami's next expansion of Magician support, vote for your favorite classic deck archetype and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!

© 2018 Jeremy Gill


Feilian on December 02, 2018:

Which deck would you prefer, blue eyes white dragon or dark magician

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