Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
The Strongest Yu-Gi-Oh Deck Builds
Many dueling fans often wonder "What is the ultimate Yu-Gi-Oh deck construction? What strategies can I use to build a top deck?" Luckily, we have access to several online decklists and databases constantly gathering information about the strongest decks and most-played cards.
I harbor my own author-biased thoughts about the most powerful decks, but today we'll go exactly by the data (gathered from yugiohtopdecks.com) to countdown and rank the best, most popular tournament-placing Yu-Gi-Oh decks available!
Here's what made the list:
- True King Dino
- Burning Abyss
- World Chalice
- ABC-Dragon Buster
- True Draco
10. True King Dino
True King Dino decks are often (but not always) packed with 60 cards rather than the 40-card standard. Why would you increase your card pool and thus risk a more-unpredictable deck? Well, extra cards allow for more search options, a better defense against mill decks, and allow you to play the card-drawing but deck-destroying Pot of Desires without fear.
Regardless of your deck's size, True King Dino builds use wyrm-type True King monsters alongside dinosaur-type supports and an excellent field spell (Dragonic Diagram). Since True King Agnimazud wields an extra banishing effect when used with fire monsters, many of the best utility monsters bear the flame attribute, like Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring. Dinosaurs also enjoy access to one of the best search spells in the game, Fossil Dig, which can pull any level 6 or lower dinosaur from your deck, and they easily summon several powerful Evolzar rank 4 xyz monsters. These builds tend to be short on continuous spells and traps but can use traps like Heavy Storm Duster for spell/trap removal.
Signature True King Cards
True King Agnimazud, the Vanisher
Heavy Storm Duster
True King of All Calamities
Ultimate Conductor Tyranno
Double Evolution Pill
Bottomless Trap Hole
Often mixed with other archetypes like Mekk-Knight, Spellbook, and Windwitch, Invoked decks rely on an extraordinary fusion spell, Invocation, to summon impressive fusion monsters. This includes Invoked Purgatrio, who gains ATK for every card (of all types) that your opponent controls, can attack all opposing monsters once each, and inflicts piercing damage to defense position units. You'll also want several link monsters to let you access multiple extra deck zones at once. Pure Invoked decks operate fine, but some players opt to add in the swarming capabilities of the Mekks and Witches.
Either way, Aleister the Invoker plays a crucial role due to both being a fusion material on the Invoked fusion cards and for being able to search Invocation from your deck. Luckily, Aleister himself can be searched with the field spell Magical Meltdown, which also helpfully prevents the negation of your fusion spells.
Signature Invoked Cards
Aleister the Invoker
There Can Be Only One
8. Burning Abyss
A monster-heavy theme, the Burning Abyss series activate unique powers when sent to the graveyard, mass-swarming and overwhelming foes with their unique abilities. Some duelists even opt for a Sekka side blend, meaning they don't include any spells or traps other than Sekka's Light, allowing for heavy draw power and essentially wasting your opponent's spell/trap removals.
Fielded Burning Abyss monsters usually destroy non-Abyss monsters you control, so exercise caution with their self-mutilating structure. That said, many can be special summoned from the hand if you don't control any spells or traps, and aces like Dantre, Traveler of the Burning Abyss will send more Abyss creatures from your deck and/or hand to the graveyard, stocking it with revival fodder and activating more burial abilities.
Signature Burning Abyss Cards
Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss
Farfa, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
Pot of Desires
Dante, Pilgrim of the Burning Abyss
7. World Chalice
World Chalice decks use their archetype's powers to summon unique link monsters, whose effects will revive other World monsters from the graveyard or call them from the deck, and you'll be amassing bonus extra deck zones along the way. Many of the low-level World monsters (such as Chosen by the World Chalice) are normal monsters, qualifying for support cards like Unexpected Dai.
Lee, the World Chalice Fairy is a nice World-search, World Legacy's Heart can add defeated members from the graveyard to the hand, and Imduk the World Chalice Dragon is an interesting link monster that only takes a single material to summon. For meatier boss monsters, your extensive searches pay off by fielding impressive beasts like Ib the World Chalice Priestess and Ningirsu the World Chalice Warrior to annihilate your foes once your preparations have been made.
Signature World Chalice Cards
World Legacy - "World Chalice"
World Legacy's Heart
The Phantom Knights of Shade Brigandine
Lee the World Chalice Fairy
Imduk the World Chalice Dragon
Mask of Restrict
6. ABC-Dragon Buster
Often infused with some Sky Striker flavor, the ABC series revolves around three union monsters (A-Assault Core, B-Buster Drake, and C-Crush Wyvern) who can make their equipped light-attribute machine-type monster immune to monster, spell, and trap effects respectively.
These union cards also defend their attached monster from a single destruction and activate bonus effects when sent to the graveyard. The series is a bit slow in terms of swarming; luckily, the field spell Union Hangar can special summon a union monster from your deck and the trap Evenly Matched will help you catch up ig you fall behind. The three main union staples can also combine into the powerful fusion monster ABC-Dragon Buster without the use of a fusion spell!
Signature Dragon Buster Cards
Pot of Desires
Another build that usually opts for the uncommon 60-card deck, Zombie themes are often mixed with dinosaur and plant supports. With 60 cards, there's a lot going on here, but usually, the Shiranui zombies and Predaplant plants make the largest showing.
Sadly, with the banning of the mass-graveyard-fill "That Grass Looks Greener" spell, the deck has lost access to one of its best utilities. That said, Fossil Dig and Souleating Oviraptor help search out your prehistoric beasts while Pot of Desires again takes advantage of your larger deck size to draw two cards for one. With so many slots, this deck is very customizable, and you might even prefer mixing it with the deck-destroying Lightsworn series.
Signature Zombie Cards
Pot of Desires
Double Evolution Pill
Shiranui Style Synthesis
Heavy Storm Duster
4. True Draco
I'm tempted to replace this entry (due to its similarities with True King) with Lair of Darkness, which probably just hasn't had time to reach the list, but True Draco decks often (but not always) disregard their extra deck, favoring tribute summons and anti-special summon tricks for your opponents. But if you really want the extra deck intact, you can still mix the series with Invoked or Demise cards.
The spell Disciples of the True Dracophoenix offers repeated extra tribute summons, monster recovery from the graveyard, and spell/trap removal upon exit. Amano-Iwato and Skill Drain both cancel out your opponent's monster effects, while True King's Return is a behemoth of a trap that can revive a True Draco from your graveyard each turn, tribute summon during your opponent's turn, and destroy a monster upon exiting the field. True Draco Apocalypse, making this a family more trap-oriented than most decks.
Signature True Draco Cards
Disciples of the True Dracophoenix
True Draco Apocalypse
Dinomight Knight, the True Dracofighter
Pot of Duality
True King's Return
Majesty Maiden, the True Dracocaster
True Draco Heritage
Trickstars are often blended with the Skystrikers to form a build that's all about summoning link monsters. Start your turn off with Sky Striker spells like "Sky Striker Mobilize - Engage!" whose effects rely on having empty main monster zones, then field and search additional cards by normal summoning Trickstar Candina.
A heap of impressive link monsters such as Borreload Dragon, Trickstar Holly Angel, and Sky Striker Ace - Kagari add power while leaving your main monster zones empty, allowing you to activate additional Sky Striker magic cards. Finally, Trickstar Reincarnation serves an interesting trap that can punish an opponent for abusing Pot of Desires, working towards a mill loss for your adversary, and revive a defeated or discarded Trickstar from the graveyard.
Signature Trickstar Cards
Sky Striker Mobilize - Engage!
Sky Striker Ace - Kagari
Sky Striker Mecha - Hornet Drones
While Dark Magician decks enjoy a heap of brutal supports, lately the pendulum Magicians have ruled. Played in pure decks or alongside Odd-Eyes/Performapals, these guys swarm the field fast, have an awesome two-monster search in the form of Pendulum Call, and can consistently destroy cards on their opponent's turn thanks to the trap Time Pendulumgraph.
Astrograph Sorcerer was a staple until being banned, but Black Fang Magician, Purple Poison Magician, Oafdragon Magician, and Chronograph Sorcerer remain as potent as ever, especially when you're working to summon the mighty Supreme King extra deck cards. Though pendulums took a hit with the extra deck limitation rules, link monster Heavymetalfoes Electrumite softens the blow with impressive pendulum support effects that round out an expansive and versatile group.
Signature Magician Cards
Black Fang Magician
Pot of Riches
Purple Poison Magician
A pun on the words "spy" and "spiral", SPYRAL decks revolve around summoning SPYRAL Super Agent and buffing him with a heap of great support cards. Other members like SPYRAL Tough and SPYRAL Double Helix change their name to match Super Agent's, letting them qualify for the effects too.
SPYRALs can be easily normal summoned since they're only level 4, but they also let you guess the type top card of your opponent's deck to score a free special summon from your hand. Pick monster and you'll usually guess correctly, saving your normal summon for another monster as well, learning what card your opponent will draw, and activating your SPYRAL's bonus entrance effect. Silly concept? Yes. Powerful fan-favorite monsters? Most definitely.
Signature SPYRAL Cards
SPYRAL Super Agent
SPYRAL GEAR - Big Red
SPYRAL MISSION - Rescue
SPYRAL Double Helix
More of the Best Yu-Gi-Oh Decks
These archetypes highlight the best Yu-Gi-Oh deck recipes of recent years, but be sure to make your own Yu-Gi-Oh deck that's custom-tailored to your playstyle. Whether you favor the opponent-hindering Virus Control cards or the ritual summoning antics of Cyber Angels, there's bound to be a competitive Duel Monsters deck structure for you.
Although today's decks veer on the higher price scale for their competitive edge, there still exist many ways to obtain cheap singles, and smart shoppers can soon be dueling with a viable yet affordable deck. But in the meantime, as we eagerly await Konami's next expansion of top-tier cards, always check the ban lists to make sure your cards are within limits, vote for your favorite structure and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
Questions & Answers
Question: Why isn't the Zoodiac style of Yu-Gi-Oh deck on this list?
Answer: A formidable series, but not one that appeared in the top ten for the site that these rankings came from. Good eye, though.
Question: I have about eight "Hero Kid" cards to use. Is Hero Kid a good Yu-Gi-Oh card?
Answer: You could do worse, but there are better-swarming monsters. And remember that (assuming they aren't limited), you can only include three copies of a single card in your deck.
Question: Is the HERO Deck good?
Answer: HEROs frequently see new supports, but to be honest, they've never been top-tier, and even with their added members, they're still struggling.
Question: In Yu-Gi-Oh, If Magicians had all their cards off the ban list, with the Pendulum Zone now being part of the spell and trap zone, do you think they could be as powerful as they were?
Answer: No, since that still wouldn't let them mass-revive them from the extra deck like they formerly could, but it certainly wouldn't hurt. To their credit, they're maintaining a strong presence despite the extra deck rule changes.
Question: Are Cyber Yu-gi-oh decks any good?
Question: Does artifact and constellar deck have potential? I'm asking as someone who plays duel links a lot, also is it possible to build a top tier but like an affordable deck?
Answer: 1. Kind of, especially since xyz monsters can now be summoned to main zones.
2. Unfortunately, top-tier decks are gonna cost a lot of money, but well-constructed budget builds can hold their own, at least in local tournaments.
Question: How are Gem-Knights faring these days?
Answer: They're in a weird place since two of their key cards are limited as of this writing ("Gem-Knight Master Diamond" and "Brilliant Fusion"). If more copies of these were allowed, Gem-Knights would see more usage, but even then they might struggle against modern decks.
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
Anonymous on June 30, 2020:
I think raidraptors are pretty good
Eric Hernandez on June 29, 2020:
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on June 29, 2020:
Good enough that I bet they could make a comeback with a fresh batch of new supports (like the Toons got).
Eric hernandez on June 28, 2020:
Are Nekroz decks still considered good?
I know they're not considered meta, but are they still playable?
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on April 29, 2020:
I've always liked pendulum themes, but I'm torn on Supreme King Z-ARC; he's amazing if you get him out, but that's a big if, and every slot in the extra deck counts.
Ru on April 21, 2020:
D/D/D Deck. The new deck has links as well. Also the supreme king dragon deck. Summoning zarc can help in duels alot. I win every duel after I summon zarc with my supreme king dragon deck.
Ashley Cunningham on April 08, 2020:
I'm surprised not to see Lunalights make this list especially with the way they can churn out rank 4s and just stop your opponent playing the game
NiNja V 1231 on March 29, 2020:
Dark Magican is good but I have to say Dragon Master knight
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on March 15, 2020:
Dark Magician is definitely holding his own with powerful supports like "Magicians' Soul" and "Magicians' Combination".
Ru ggdvdfjsnbd on March 14, 2020:
I think dark magician is the best. It’s OG
HNegative on December 28, 2019:
I like Mekknights and orcusts. Orcusts r pretty meta and mekk has a good swarm specially with link duels. Though it may suffer due to the new rule change where links are no longer necessary, same with orcusts.
A on December 04, 2019:
I think blue-eyes are the best.
Ali Jassim on October 28, 2019:
Gravekeeper's deck is a good one too.
Trent on September 08, 2019:
What would a decklist for the trickstars look like im interested in morphing mine slightly atm i run a straight trickstar burn deck
cookieCrisp13 on May 14, 2019:
would this deck be any good in today's meta. it does well on yugioh nexus. also any tips on how to make it better.
3 blue-eyes white dragon
1 blue eyes alternative dragon
3 impcantation talismandra
3 impcantation candoll
3 manju of the ten thousand hands
2 white stone of the ancients
3 white stone of legend
3 blue eyes chaos max dragon
3 blue eyes chaos dragon
3 trade in
3 cards of consonance
3 melody of awakening dragon
1 bingo machine go
3 chaos form
3 advanced ritual art
Saiyantyrant on May 05, 2019:
I’m kinda surprised that salamangreats aren’t on here, cause they are pretty broken
DZDRAGON on March 05, 2019:
Yeah wait until the end of the duel then banish all light machine type monsters to special summon cyber entain and it gains 500 ATK and DEF for each light machine monster that was banished
Kungwoo on January 20, 2019:
Zombies are broken, 2-3 zombie horde structure decks and you have the core of a 1st place WCQ deck. The main boss monster is too broken and the amount of synergies that can be played is insane.
I play a original blue eyes deck on November 30, 2018:
I am getting a dark magician deck and for the top ten dark magician support cards, what about ebon high and ebon low magicians
cyberdragon on November 27, 2018:
wait, ABC deck is one of the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have that so that is awesome
Jerrett on November 07, 2018:
I'm actually shocked they dont have the Nordic or the dinosaurs bc both are pretty broken in my opinion, it's very easy to get set up with both decks
methos on November 01, 2018:
I play a lot on Duel Nexus & I consistently beat about every deck on your list except True King & True King Dino with Infernoids .
Here ' s my build .
3 Lair of Darkness
3 Void Vanisment
3 Charge of the Light Brigade
2 Void Imagination
1 Monster Gate
3 Void Feast
2 Raiden , Hand of the Lightsworn
3 Ahrima the Wicked Warden
2 Barrier Statue of the Inferno
3 Infernoid Decatron
2 Infernoid Harmadik
2 Infernoid Patrulea
2 Infernoid Sjette
2 Infernoid Seitsemas
1 Infernoid Attondel
2 Infernoid Devyaty
2 Infernoid Onuncu
2 Hiita the Blazing Fire Charmer
1 Dark Strike Fighter
1 Beelze the Diabolic Dragon
1 Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon
1 #11 Big Eye
3 Elder Entity N'Tss
1 Infernoid Tierra
1 Dante Traveler of the Burning Abyss
1 utopia Prime
1 Utopia the Lightning
1 Photon Strike Bounzer
anon on October 31, 2018:
please do a series of the strongest decks in history!
SPELLBOOKS, DRAGONRULERS, TELEDAD, ETC.
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on October 12, 2018:
Ah, the D/D/Ds are a fun bunch, but they took a big hit when link summoning arrived, as their extra deck monsters and pendulums are now trickier to use.
Are you playing with the new format or the older one? They can be fierce in both, but were particularly deadly before the days of link monsters.
BEWARE DANGER on October 12, 2018:
What about DDDs. A friend of mine uses them and they are REALLY powerful. They may be hard to use but they still are pretty effective
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on September 29, 2018:
Believe me friend, I'm as fond of the Ancient Gears as ever (check out my countdown on them), but as the intro states, these structures came straight from the rankings on the topdecks website.
Yes on September 29, 2018:
You have top 10 strongest decks list, but Ancient Gears arent on it? Shame on you, missing what is literally the most broken deck in the game
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on September 16, 2018:
For specific tips, I'd need a little more information about your deck, but I'd definitely recommend the xyz monster Cyber Dragon Infinity, who has powerful negation and removal abilities. To summon him more easily, you'll also want the xyz monster Cyber Dragon Nova.
eli on September 15, 2018:
I have a prettystrong cyber dragon deck that I got from the 3 strong dragon decks I added some cards to make it stronger now im winning I want to keep it that way. I know how to use it to. any tips?