I consider myself a gaming enthusiast, from chess and checkers to Yu-Gi-Oh TCG, console gaming, and beyond.
You’ve all been waiting for it, and it’s finally here: how to overcome the most Hulk-mode inducing, mind-tangling, bloody-fist clenching decks of the Yugioh TCG. Old kings like the Monarchs, Lightsworns, and Burning Abyss remain a threat, while the new-money Kozmos, Draco-Pals, and Yang-Zing prove not even a ban-hammer with the might of Thor can keep some kids down.
However, the biggest surprise making duelists scratch holes in their heads is how original Konami has been in creating new spins on current mechanics. Graveyard effects, decks with boss-monsters tougher than Godzilla outfitted with Powerzord body armor, and search engines with more speed than quantum computers represent the nuisances of yesterday.
Why not make a Xyz deck that can continuously stack on each other . . . for no reason? What about the immortality to card destruction and targeting . . . on an entire deck of monsters? Or what about a deck that can Xyz, Pendulum, Fusion, and Synchro summon… all in one turn? If you thought decks were annoying before, my friend, then you’ve never raised a sword against the current top dogs: The Zoodiacs, Majespectors, D/D/Ds, or ABC-Dragon Buster. But there’s no need to fret. This is the writer you’re talking to. He’s here to help you sharpen that sword, then dip it in adamantium, then lace it with vibranium, against the toughest meta in Yu-Gi-Oh.
The Zoodiacs: Bionic Arm Hand-Me-Downs
The Zoodiacs are said to be the new Xyz stars of the dueling world, but actually seem like an apocalyptic meteor shower. Instead of Xyz summoning like a normal deck would, these loosely Chinese-zodiac-based, Michael Jackson-glove-passing nuances held the brains behind Konami hostage and forced them to say, “To hell with our mechanics! Why should you need two monsters the same level to Xyz summon?” And from that moment on, they’ve dominated the meta.
Every Zoodiac monster has its own effect and grants effects to the Xyzs they’re attached to, and then those gauntlet-hopping Xyzs have their own effects. Zoodiac Thoroughblade draws when summoned and adds piercing damage (meaning even if your monster huddles in fetal position, you still feel the burn), Viper can attach from the hand to a Zoodiac Xyz on the field and adds the ability to banish the monster the Xyz battles, Raptier sends cards to the Graveyard and adds the special summoning of one of its twins by detaching, and then there’s more to the troupe that negate certain targeting effects depending on what funky glove the underling decides to toss to its older brother or sister, among other things.
Then you have the Xyzs . . . Zoodiac Broadbull searches, Tigermortar recycles overlay material, and Drident, the most feared of the gang, can destroy 1 faceup card every turn. There’s also one more spike to add to arsenic cake: All of the Xyzs gain the attack of every Zoodiac attached to it. The writer will not lie: the consistency and power of the Zoodiacs are amazing. With the monsters gaining effects on top of effects, along with plenty of space for Trap and Spell support, a punch from a Zoodiac glove might as well be Superman’s infinite-mass punch, while he’s wearing Sonic’s sneakers.
They say fear is the enemy, but the writer believes the Zoodiacs have not done enough to incite that fear. The average duelist may see hardened beast warriors sporting an army’s worth of Infinity Gauntlets, but all the writer sees are this year’s cheesy teen fighters tossing around the only weapon they found to combat crime, it letting them lift weapons they’re feeble arms normally couldn’t wield: a single, lame, super strength gauntlet. It’s time to put these demi-human kids to bed and to show them what it’s like to tangle with the big monsters.
- Exterminate the rat: Out of all the annoying bionic armed demi-humans you’ll face, the writer believes Zoodiac Ratpier gives the deck most of its speed and consistency. Banish or negate its influence before the invasion begins.
- Ride the wave: The Zoodiacs can Xyz summon so many times in a turn you’ll start seeing black squares haunting you in your nightmares. Maxx “C”, a monster card enabling its user to draw each time their opponent special summons a monster, will either give you the materials necessary to prepare yourself against these powerglove aficionados, or scare them into ending their turn, giving you a chance a strike back. While you’re at, side some Swift Scarecrows or Battle Faders in your deck, because a decent Zoodiac player can OTK while yawning.
- Confiscate the gloves: The most effective method to stop this year’s YA novel stars is a simple one: ground the little brats. Skill Drain, a continuous trap negating all monster effects on the field, will have the Zoodiacs throwing a floor tantrum while you trim their master’s lifepoints.
FYI: Zoodiac players love to fill their decks with the “hippest” Trap support around, since their monsters do most of the heavy lifting. If you’re not running Dark Bribe, Trap Stun, Royal Decree, or, heck, Seven Tools of the Bandit, then be ready to have your plays answered with Solemn Strikes and Dimensional Barriers.
The Majespecters: Houdini’s Pets Trying to Escape Death
Here comes the sick, diabolical joke of the pendulum mechanic. As if to justify the card Poisonous Winds, a wind-deck was constructed not only with nothing but pendulum monsters but also with monsters that cannot be destroyed or targeted by any card effect. However, as if desiring to give the flaming, animal worshipping monks a run for their money, the scariest thing about these little animals with atomic farts is how well they work in tandem with their Spell and Trap support: All the Majespecters are searchers, except for their boss unicorn, who’s annoying in his own right, and all their support tributes them to either destroy, banish, or spin (Yugioh jargon for send back to the deck) their enemies, except for when they put their butts together for the ultimate fart, which is a continuous Trap making it so you can’t negate their effects.
Majespecter Raccoon searches for any monster, the Cat searches for any card in its archetype, the Fox searches for any Trap . . . you get the idea. As for the nonmonster support, by tributing a tornado-wielding runt, Majespecter Storm spins a monster, Tornado banishes a monster, Cyclone is quick-spell that doubles one’s attack without tributing (it only doing half battle damage doesn’t help its case) and Tempest is a countertrap card negating a monster effect or the Special Summon of one or several monsters at once.
Remembering their boss, Majespecter Unicorn, who can return one of its breezy buddies to the hand to bench one of your opponent’s monsters, during either turn, and the Field Spell’s ability to special any Majespecter by tributing one, and you may have witnessed the creation of the stun deck from Hell. But are these really Houdini’s attack hounds after mastering the powers of Storm, or a failed magician’s rejected animal acts with gastric problems? The writer would argue the latter, and would be happy to give them Pepto-Bismol in the form of muzzles, chains, and steel-plated diapers
- Use magic chaff: Other than Majespecter Tempest and Sonics, and, considering their low attack, Majespecters use targeting effects to blow your buddies away. Forbidden Dress, Forbidden Lance, or any archetype specific effects stopping targeting or Spell and Trap effects, will leave Houdini’s pets dazed as their funky breezes miss their victims.
- Add pendulum hate: Majespecters are more pendulum-reliant than most of their extra-deck-cramming cousins, because their support tributes them to hinder you. Attacking the Pendulum mechanic proves effective with Spell-Shattering Arrow, Dimension Barrier, and Anti-Spell Fragrance. If your deck can handle it, banishing them upon their tribute (a la Dimension Fissure, Macro Cosmos, etc.) also ends their category 0 threat.
- Poison the air: The writer said it before and he’ll say it again: Konami finally gave players a reason to use Poisonous Winds, a continuous Spell card making one unable to special summon Wind monsters while reducing their attack by 500. If you run in a place plagued by escaped roadkill from a magician’s workshop, then side it.
FYI: Majespecters lack Spell and Trap disruption cards in the archetype, relying on staples to protect themselves from cards shining purple or blue. As long as the cards you use don’t destroy or target, reducing your monster count for stun cards stops Majespecters before they get started.
The D/D/Ds: Dumb Deleterious Demagogues
No, the writer is not talking about the President Donald Trump and his cabinet, but one of the latest, most pretentious Yugioh archetypes. The Different Dimension Demons, for those insisting they’re referred to by their “technical” name, are the Pendulum deck rivaling the protagonist’s deck in Arc V, so you know they’re already more overpowered than the love child of an indestructible force and an immovable object.
Many duelists, nearly all of them actually, stare blare-eyed and whore-mouthed when the D/D/Ds do what they do, and for any duelist first witnessing the show, it’s quite a terror to behold. Utilizing monsters effects that activate in the hand, field, graveyard, and pendulum zones, the D/D/Ds specialize in summoning through every mechanic available in the game, aside from Ritual summoning, and then these Scrooge-faced dictators have effects making the venture worth the effort.
Abyss Ragnarok’s pendulum effect special summons a D/D from the grave when one is special summoned, Beowolf destroys all Spells and Traps on the field, Ghenghis specials from the grave and recycles the archetype’s support, Siegfried negates a Spell or Trap card once a turn, Kali Yuga also destroys all Spells and Traps on the field, negates all card effects on the field, and recycles D/D Spell and Traps and… Sigh, there are just too many Xyzs, Pendulums, Synchros, and Fusions in this deck to name them all here. Then the Spells and Traps allow them to Fusion summon and search and destroy for . . . you know what? This is ridiculous. Forget all the summoning the Duh Duh Duhs do. Forget all their paranoid support that would make Stalin look tame by comparison.
Do you want to know what the D/D/D’s true strategy is? Intimidation. Sure, they storm the field like a battalion of Agent Smiths armed with ray guns, lightsabers, and kinetic-shield armor. Sure, they bear the name of Earth’s greatest conquerors, explorers, and doomsday events… But wait a minute. Why do these “Different Dimension Demons” have the names of warriors from our dimension?
Shouldn’t they speak the tongue of Toudslskajosdi and bear the crest of Cthulhu or something? Are those the toy guns from Dollar General that make annoying noises, flashlights, and last year’s glow-in-the-dark, Halloween outfits? Are those clones of Dwight from The Office? Wow, that was a close one. Forget shooting until you see the whites in their eyes; this shouldn’t take long.
- Shrink their gate: D/D/D is the name, and swarming the field from the extra deck is their game. Shrink their landing strip with either Summon Breaker, a Field Spell ending the turn after the third summon, or Summon Limit, a Continuous Trap limiting each player to 2 summons per turn.
- Absorb the darkness: When dealing with a deck of cross-dimensional fiends, the good ole’ Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror yields results. Most of the resultant dictators still have high attacks, but at least they’ll lose their superpowers.
- Target the spells: The D/D/Ds’ mutations may give them more abilities than a trained child prodigy, yet the writer believes Spells, including the Pendulum monsters, give the deck its momentum. Spell destruction cards, like Twin Twister, Mystical Space Typhoon, and Galaxy Cyclone, or Ghost Ogre and Snow Rabbit to balance between Spell and Monster disruption, will place a hold on the searchers before their Mussolini can plant flags in your dimension.
FYI: Similar to the Mighty Dorkin’ Glove Rangers, the D/D/Ds love playing solitaire from the Extra Deck, so why not similarly ride their fortune? Maxx “C”, everyone’s favorite, mysterious . . . whatever it is, is just as psychologically effective against Beast Warriors as it is against dimension-hopping Fiends. Who knew?
ABC - Dragon Buster: If It’s Broke, Make It a Killing Machine
Those of us currently sweating our 9-to-5s with landlords laughing maniacally across the street remember when XYZ Dragon Cannon proved a threat. Back when the game was “fair” and one had to actually wait their turn before calling airstrikes on the field, a monster promising destruction each of the owner’s turn was as dangerous as a tank on a hilly field with one’s back against a brick wall. Of course, the game has changed.
The field got bigger, your-backyard-to-a-football-field-expansion-bigger, and the brick wall became a wooden fence to a duelist running the right deck, making XYZ Dragon and its scrapped assembly parts cassette players in the modern world of dueling (If you don’t know what a cassette player is, you’ve proven the writer’s point). But the creators of Yu-Gi-Oh, unfortunately, for us old souls, couldn’t let these pieces of tin rot in a landfill. As if a sick, mechanic’s take of Frankenstein, XYZ Dragon Cannon and its parts were dissembled, redesigned, refurbished, and then crafted into a new demon: ABC Dragon Buster. The boss monster not only has greater support with its union pieces: each providing a type of protection depending on the monster its equipped to and having effects when sent to graveyard, and a Field Spell that accelerates the deck to bullet train-with-nitrous speeds, but it can banish any card on the field simply by discarding a card during either player’s turn.
Also, as if taking a page from the solitaire-styled, Trap-riding Ritual Beasts, the faux dragon rolls on the field by banishing its three unions from the field or graveyard, and can banish itself to bring its junk parts back to the field, and that’s a trigger effect. If XYZ Dragon Cannon was a cassette player, then ABC-Dragon Buster is the gold-plated Blu-Ray player with built in lights and laser cannons tacked on the side. You’ll rage at its elusiveness, you’ll scratch your head at its power, you’ll sit with clenched teethed as it makes the Super Quantums look like limping track stars.
But, luckily for you, you’ve come to this article. If one looks past the gold bling, flashing lights, and shiny aesthetics, one will see the same tangle of wires, rusted boards, and alphabet soup of algorithms run these guys like any other machine deck. Worst of all, considering the source material, these guys are nothing more than reptilian-shaped machines desiring to be a dragon. Accept no substitutes.
- Shut down the hangar: ABC Dragon Buster becomes a Model T without its Field Spell, Union Hangar. Destroy the card the moment it appears, and be ready for a smooth ride through your opponent’s scrapyard.
- Sit on it with an actual monster: Any deck running a boss monster has one weakness now, no matter how invincible, intimidating, or irritating it is: giant Japanese monster butts. Side in Kaijus to sit on your opponent’s hard-earned mech of devastation, then… just laugh. LOL, just laugh your butt off. Not really, because that’s bad sportsmanship. But still laugh.
- Shut down the machines: System Down, the Spell card that banishes all Machine types in your opponent’s grave and field, is the bane-all to any Machine deck, and should definitely be sided if your locals has a few smug ABC duelists lurking about. Even if their poster Mecha-Godzilla tries to run, its smaller pieces will still get banished. Oh well.
FYI: Baiting ABC Dragon Buster can work; negating its effect on the field does not. Unless one uses Soul Drain, this versatile pile of refurbished junk can chain to its banishing effect by banishing itself, making its most annoying ability resolve off the field.
Who Is Next?
The writer truly enjoys adding new, powerful archetypes to the furnace to make Yu-Gi-Oh players more knowledgeable. We sent the Zoodiacs to bed without their toys, caged the Majespecters for a doctor's visit to cure their hurricane fart syndrome, exposed the D/D/Ds for being try-hard, wannabe dictators from Dimension Wadiya, and sent the ABC - Dragon Buster to the Scrap Factory with Scrap Dragon and Golem as the eternal torturers.
When many duelists thought old strategies would be shoehorned for Pendulums, Konami pleasantly surprised everyone by strengthening old mechanics beside the newest. And things are about to get more interesting. The game will completely change soon with Link Summoning, and the writer will still be here to give the new mechanic and all its cohorts the thrashing they deserve. For information purposes, of course.
Joseph Ford from LYME REGIS on April 28, 2020:
Just a thought as to some additions for either annoying decks or Outs:
Adamancipator (Stop excavating.Stop.Done? ONLY 6 negates?
Salamangreats. Ok, so you are my Main deck, and you are so consistent that I have begun going second to see how many negates I can play through.
Eldlich/Eldlich Kaiju Invoked (my best version) So...You never normal summon?Ever?
Pole position FTK 3 Judge Calls in last 3 games????
Zoodiac:5 words: There.Can.Be.Only.One.
Majespector: Lightning Storm.Thor seems to be a traitor here...
D/D/D Dimensional Barrier/Damage the Spells/Destroy the Bosses
ABC Attack,Banish,Crow when they realise they are now out of Mecha Boi.
steelman303 on January 12, 2020:
Link hater on October 11, 2018:
Honestly.... I like everything in yugioh EXCEPT LINK SUMMONING IT MAKES ME FEEL LIKE IM BACKED INTO A CORNER WAITING TO BE SHOT
Dodd obliterator on August 06, 2018:
I am Dodd , master of the Dodd pendulum domination deck, spy to this website. I have read what you 've put about the dddd weakness. AllWrong mate. Do you know? even when you destroy spell and traps and destroy the xyz fusion or whatever it is monster , they'll just come right back. Pendulums go to extra deck remember, so use cards like did Lilliputians and good old call of haunted and you be chilling. And laughing you butt off at how wrong the at hour is hahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Zeron87 (author) on January 14, 2018:
Thanks for the comment, Majjeh17! Yes, I remember the days when Raccoons rolled out of garbage cans with illusions while the real ones gave you a bad case of rabies. Annoying times... No matter what deck your running, I always found the greatest success when I sat on my summon negation, return to the hand, or banish cards for their boss: Number 64. For specific siding, use Final Attack Orders, King Tiger Wangu, and in Dark decks, the Deck Devastation Virus. Don't worry about Obedience Schooled: it takes too much effort to stop it. Just focus on targeting the boss or siding the cards I mentioned above.
Hope these tips helped! Happy hunting out there.
Majjeh17 on January 08, 2018:
Hi Zeron i just found you on here and wondered if you could give me some advice on facing the Racoon Decks my friend made one and its super annoying any tips or advice on facing one would be amazing thank you =)
Zeron87 (author) on November 01, 2017:
Forgedphoenix09: Thanks for commenting, buddy! If you need help on deck construction, try going to my profile and reading my articles on How to Build a Competitive Yugioh Deck, Part 1 and 2. These will give you tips on making the deck you need to match your friend.
From what you're telling me here, you may have a problem with your deck's theme, considering you have a huge collection of cards, including Crystal Beast Spells but no monsters. Gather your cards together and try to create a cohesive objective with what you have. Do you have a lot of destruction cards? How about boss monsters (a monster with a difficult summoning condition but a powerful effect)? Do you have any Monarchs, Synchros, or Flip Effects? And if you don't have the cards available to complete a deck, make plans to collect them (I'd definitely do this with the Crystal Beasts. They're a decent, defensive rogue deck.)
Hope these tips helped ^_^!
Forgedphoenix09 on May 23, 2017:
I am a rookie player who has collected cards for a while now but most of my cards are missing the rest of the set. (I have crystal beast spells but no crystal beasts.) I never really battled until recently when one of my friends taught me. I have only beat one of his six decks which has silfer the sky dragon in it. (Magic Cylinder for the win!) Does anyone have any suggestions?