Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
How to Play Gravekeeper's Cards in Yu-Gi-Oh
A fierce anti-meta deck that still maintains a presence in competitive play, the Gravekeeper's family transitioned well through the link monster era because they don't heavily rely on extra deck summoning. This dark-attributed spellcaster-type series features an amazing graveyard-lockdown that can shut down your opponent's discard pile-based effects and leave them with nothing to counter your magical assault.
But with dozens of tomb-protecting members and supports available, which cards do you absolutely need in your decklist?
These are the ten most crucial cards for your Gravekeeper's Yu-Gi-Oh dark deck build!
- Gravekeeper's Recruiter
- Gravekeeper's Spy
- Allure of Darkness
- Gravekeeper's Commandant
- Magician's Left Hand
- Gravekeeper's Oracle
- Magician's Right Hand
- Gravekeeper's Stele
10. Gravekeeper's Recruiter
As we'll later see, the quintessential Gravekeeper's field spell, Necrovalley, boosts the ATK/DEF of all Gravekeeper's by 500, propelling Recruiter's 1200 ATK and 1500 DEF to a respectable 1700/2000.
But more than that, Recruiter essentially acts as a Gravekeeper's-exclusive Witch of the Black Forest, searching and adding any Gravekeeper with 1500 DEF from your deck to your hand whenever Recruiter is sent from the field to the graveyard. This handily triggers regardless of whether Recruiter was tributed, destroyed by battle, destroyed by effect, or sent with another effect, making it excellent material fodder for a tribute, ritual, fusion, synchro, or link summon.
We've seen it before, we'll see it again. As long as you have one (and only one) monster type in your graveyard, this continuous spell skyrockets the power of all monsters you control bearing the same type by 800. Since Gravekeeper's members are all spellcasters, you shouldn't have to worry about contaminating your graveyard with unwanted types and accidentally cancelling the effect.
800 ATK for all Gravekeeper's (and any other spellcasters you employ) really adds up, especially when combined with Necrovalley, or even just duplicate copies of Solidarity.
8. Gravekeeper's Spy
Gravekeeper's Spy offers two significant benefits to your build. First, when flipped face-up after being set, she lets you special summon a Gravekeeper's monster with 1500 or less ATK from your deck. This simultaneously pulls and fields a monster, no draws or normal summons required. As a bonus, the monster's level isn't specified, so even higher-level cards such as Gravekeeper's Shaman can be summoned as long as they fit the ATK restriction.
Beyond that, Spy wields a decent 1200 ATK and a bountiful 2000 DEF, holding her own in battle, especially when combined with Solidarity and Necrovalley, and her level of 4 is useful for summoning powerful rank 4 xyz monsters.
7. Allure of Darkness
Nearly all Gravekeeper's are dark-attributed; thankfully, dark has plenty of imposing attribute-specific bonuses. The magic card Allure of Darkness serves as a powerful draw tool, letting you instantly draw two cards, but you must then banish a dark monster from your hand.
If you can't, you'll have to forfeit your entire hand, but with your base hand plus two cards, you should easily possess at least one Gravekeeper (or another dark card) to exile. Essentially, Allure of Darkness lets you quickly cycle through your deck, tossing what you don't need and keeping what you do while maintaining your overall hand size.
6. Gravekeeper's Commandant
As of this writing, Commandant is the one burial guardian bearing the earth, not dark attribute, so you won't be able to banish him with Allure. Thankfully, he's got another trait he can employ while nestled in your hand: you can discard him to add Necrovalley from your deck to your hand.
Again, Necrovalley is the foundation of any Gravekeeper's build, and Commandant helps ensure you access it early in the duel. All decks have access to Terraforming, a spell that searches any field spell from your deck, but Commandant has the added bonuses of being a decent battle monster, letting him help even if you've already amassed all copies of Necrovalley.
5. Magician's Left Hand
Designed for the Magician archetype but formidable in any spellcaster build, Magician's Left Hand negates the first opposing trap card or effect each turn and destroys it—as long as you control a spellcaster. Since all Gravekeeper's fit this criteria, Magician's Left Hand should be active at almost all points in your duel, defending your precious monsters from traps and keeping them around long enough to swarm your foe.
Other trap-negating options like Royal Decree have drawbacks (in that case, negating your traps as well), but Magician's Left Hand leaves you unencumbered and free to employ the traps that your opponent will suddenly be unable to use. Of course, only the first trap each turn is negated, but forcing your opponent to "waste" one just to access their second justifies Left Hand's usage.
4. Gravekeeper's Oracle
Gravekeeper's Visionary is an impressive ace, but I prefer Oracle as the archetype's boss monster. As a rare level 10 titan, he bears some awesome effects that let you access him with a variety of tributes. Like most level 10s, you can normal summon him by tributing two monsters, but his effects also let you tribute any three monsters or a single Gravekeeper's unit.
Why would you want to forfeit extra creatures? Well, Oracle gains strength depending on the number of sacrifices used for his tribute summon; each lets him gain one of the following effects of your choice (only once each):
- Oracle gains ATK equal to the combined levels its tributes had on the field times 100
- Destroy all set cards your opponent controls
- All monsters your opponent currently controls lose 2000 ATK and DEF
All three abilities are powerful and useful in a variety of situations. The first is especially deadly with three tributes, letting Oracle gain upwards of 1000 ATK; when combined with Solidarity and Necrovalley, he'll have one of the highest raw ATK scores in the entire game!
3. Magician's Right Hand
When a series is as reliant on a field spell as the Gravekeeper's, you want to do your best to protect that field spell. And since most of the best spell/trap destroyers in the game are spells themselves, the magic-negating powers of Magician's Right will superbly defend your arena.
As long as you control a spellcaster-type monster (which all your Gravekeeper's will count as), you negate and destroy the first opposing spell that resolves each turn. This awesome barrier prevents your opponent from playing spell-annihilating tricks like Mystical Space Typhoon and Twin Twisters as well as any other spells they wish to employ.
2. Gravekeeper's Stele
As we're about to see (spoilers), Necrovalley normally prevents both players from moving cards from the graveyard. This prevents your opponent (and you) from reviving cards with Monster Reborn or adding them back to the hand with spells like Salvage. Gravekeeper's Stele handily avoids the effects of Necrovalley and can add any two Gravekeeper's from your graveyard to your hand.
Able to circumvent your field's net and recycle monsters regardless of ATK or DEF scores, Stele is simply an excellent support for this series.
One of the best field spells in the game, Necrovalley has always been the keystone to a Gravekeeper's victory. First, it boosts the ATK and DEF of all Gravekeeper's monsters (even your opponent's) by 500, a hefty amount that far exceeds the 200 or 300 of most fields. Additionally, cards in the graveyard can't be banished (shutting down infamous Chaos builds), any card that would move a card in the graveyard elsewhere is negated, and any card that changes types or attributes in the graveyard is negated.
While these limitations apply to your field as well, you'll have advanced knowledge of Necrovalley since you're (obviously) building your own deck and can build around it. Additionally, any Gravekeeper card that needs to access the graveyard usually bears an effect allowing it to bypass Necrovalley, so you're really only hampering your opponent.
Power-boosting and opponent-locking, Necrovalley remains the absolute must-have for Gravekeeper servants. Its final graveyard type-lock ability also works well at guaranteeing Soldiarity's ATK-boost, and I can't recommend it enough for Gravekeeper decks, especially since you can buy this imposing field for around four dollars. I've earned my share of wins with this opponent-hindering series thanks to its awesome field spell, and it holds up surprisingly well despite its age.
Future of Gravekeeper's Monsters
With their already-decent battle stats boosted by Necrovalley and Solidarity, Gravekeepers are a surprisingly powerful beatstick deck whose signature card negates several monster-reviving and card-recycling tricks your opponent may employ.
With several impressive wizards left to cover (like Gravekeeper's Shaman, Visionary, and Nobleman), we'll undoubtedly return to unearth more essential Gravekeeper's cards. But for now, as we eagerly await Konami's next expansion of tomb-guarding mystics, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
Dragonmaster786 on November 26, 2018:
The Counter Trap Dark Illusion is also essential because it negates
and destroys targeting effects by spells, traps and monster effects.