Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
Dark Magician—An Iconic Monster
The signature card of original anime protagonist Yugi Moto, Dark Magician stands alongside Blue-Eyes White Dragon, Red-Eyes Black Dragon, and Buster Blader as one of Yu-Gi-Oh's most ancient and iconic monsters. Although most classic cards (legal ones, anyway) are far outclassed by modern offerings, Dark Magician stays relevant in competitive play thanks to a myriad of awesome support cards.
But with hundreds of support members to choose from, which ones reign supreme? Here are the top 10 cards you should buy for any Dark Magician build! Other than Dark Magician himself, of course; hopefully I don't need to remind you to include him in his own deck.
10. Ebon Illusion Magician
Copying Dark Magician's battle attributes (not to mention naming pattern), Ebon Illusion Magician can be xyz summoned by either using two level-7 monsters or a rank-six spellcaster xyz (and its materials). Either way, once per turn, you can spend one of Ebon's xyz units to special summon a normal spellcaster monster from your hand/deck. This can be used to pull Dark Magician, or, if you're blending with the pendulum Magicians, cards like "Dragonpulse Magician" and "Dragonpit Magician". Plus, Ebon lets you once per turn banish any opposing card when a normal spellcaster monster declares an attack.
That's a versatile removal that also denies graveyard recoveries, and it'll even trigger on your opponent's turn if they try attacking with a normal spellcaster.
9. Magician's Rod
As a cheap level-3 monster, Magician's Rod can be normal summoned without tributing, simultaneously adding a spell or trap that specifically lists Dark Magician in its text from your deck to your hand. Thankfully, these tend to be some of the best support members, and we'll several in this countdown.
Additionally, if you activate a non-damage step spell or trap during your opponent's turn while this card is in the graveyard, you have the option to tribute one spellcaster monster you control to add this card to the hand.
A few pro tips to help you make the most of this card:
- For the latter ability, remember most traps can be activated at any time on an opponent's turn, but only quick-play spells can be used on their move, so construct your deck accordingly.
- After your normal summon Rod to search for your card, remember that it can still help by serving as synchro, xyz, or link material.
- Note the first ability of Magician's Rod can also only be used once per turn, and the second only once while face-up on the field.
Effective and easy to summon, Rod offers a great way to spend your turn's single normal summon.
8. Magician of Dark Illusion
With similar artwork and the same spellcaster type, dark attribute, and level of 7, Magician of Dark Illusion heavily draws inspiration from Dark Magician. He also reverses Magician's battle stats, wielding 2100 ATK and 2500 DEF, and his name even alters to "Dark Magician" while fielded, great for activating certain name-dependent effects with an alternative to the genuine article.
Dark Illusion also offers two effects that can each be used once per turn. First, during your opponent's turn, if you activate a spell or trap (except in the damage step), you special summon Dark Illusion from your hand, a great way to gimmick him to the field without tributes. Next, if you activate a set spell or trap while this card is fielded, you can special summon Dark Magician from your graveyard, although this can only be done once.
Good stats, easy summoning, and a Dark Magician revival prove that alternative illusions can be more impressive than the real thing.
7. Palladium Oracle Mahad
Similarly to the "miracle" ability in Magic: The Gathering, Mahad offers an effect that activates when you first draw it, revealing Mahad to special summon him from the hand. In addition to mimicking Dark Magician's 2500 ATK and 2100 DEF, Mahad offers two additional traits. First, if he battles a dark-attributed monster, his ATK is temporarily doubled during the damage step. Next, when this card is destroyed (either by battle or effect), you can special summon Dark Magician from your hand, deck, or graveyard.
Mahad offers your Magician build plenty of spectacular powers. Thanks to his draw trait, you can easily summon him without tributes, he demolishes dark monsters in battle, and he summons Dark Magician from any of three different zones upon its demise. As a final bonus, note Mahad's light attribute—coupled with the dark attributes of most (if not all) Dark Magician members, you'll be able to meet the light/dark requirements for renowned Chaos monsters like "Chaos Sorcerer" or "Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning". He's also got a useful female counterpart in "Palladium Oracle Mana".
6. Apprentice Illusion Magician
Apprentice requires a tribute to normal summon, but you can easily circumvent this with her effect, special summoning her by discarding one card. Whether normal or special summoned, Illusion adds a Dark Magician from your deck to hand.
Illusion also carries a hand-trap effect, letting you discard her from hand (or sacrifice her from the field) to give your dark-attribute spellcaster-type monster 2000 ATK and DEF for one battle when it fights an opposing monster. This goes a long way towards compensating for Dark Magician's lack of high-ATK beatsticks and can be used with any dark spellcaster, not just DM.
5. Soul Servant
As a quick-play, you can cast Servant on your opponent's turn if you set it; it'll place a Dark Magician or card that lists Dark Magician or Dark Magician Girl in its text from your hand, deck, or graveyard on top of your deck. Yep, this can set your next draw with almost anything from the theme.
That's nice, but Servant's graveyard effect is even better, banishing itself to draw cards equal to the number of Palladiums, Dark Magicians, and Dark Magician Girls with different names in both fields and graveyards! This can draw a whopping four cards, twice the power of the banned "Pot of Greed", and it's nice that it counts opposing zones in case your cards get stolen.
4. Magicians' Combination
This one works best when you're using multiple Dark Magician Girls alongside Dark Magicians. Combination is a continuous trap you can activate once per turn in response to another effect. You tribute a Dark Magician or Dark Magician Girl, then special one with a different name from your hand or graveyard and negate the effect.
Unlike some negating traps, you're just negating the card, not destroying it, but this can really disrupt your opponent's plays, especially since it's a continuous threat. Top it all off with a nice exit effect: if your face-up Combination is sent to the graveyard, you can destroy one card on the field, getting a final use out of it.
3. The Dark Magicians
The Dark Magicians won't be easy to cast, requiring Dark Magician, Dark Magician Girl, and any spellcaster as material. But pull it off, and not only do you get a 2800 ATK beatstick, but one that can draw a card once per turn when an effect is activated, and if it's a trap or quick-play spell, you can set it and use it that turn!
You still get to keep the card even if it's a monster or normal spell, and if the Dark Magicians are destroyed, you special summon a DM and DMG from your hand, deck, or graveyard, quickly refilling your field with your key units.
Recommended fusion spells to summon The Dark Magicians:
- Future Fusion
- Super Polymerization
- Secrets of Dark Magic
- The Eye of Timaeus
2. Dark Magical Circle
A continuous spell, when Dark Magical Circle is first activated it lets you look at the top three cards of your deck and add to hand a Dark Magician or spell/trap that specifically lists Dark Magician in its text. Unless luck is truly against you, this lets you play Dark Magical Circle without reducing your hand! Either way, you also get to place the remaining cards on top of your deck in any order, setting up your future turns as you see fit.
After that, once per turn, when Dark Magician is normal or special summoned to your field (except in the damage step), you can target and banish an opposing card. Since the first ability potentially searches for Dark Magician, it shouldn't be long before you're using Magical Circle to annihilate opposing cards of all types. With only the small limitation of being able to activate each of its effects once per turn, Dark Magical Circle bestows immense power for virtually no cost and belongs in absolutely every Dark Magician deck. Here's a quick list of cards Circle can tutor (in addition to today's other spells/traps):
- Eternal Soul
- Magician Navigation
- Dark Magic Inheritance
- Bond Between Teacher and Student
- Dark Burning Magic
- Dark Magic Attack
A staple in my own DM deck, Circle is also surprisingly cheap, often costing less than a single dollar!
1. Magicians' Souls
You can easily special summon Souls (preferably in defense position) by sending a level six or higher spellcaster from your deck (not hand) to the graveyard. This both conserves your turn's normal summon and helps tutor Dark Magician or Dark Magician Girl into your graveyard to revive with other effects. Or, after milling the spellcasters, instead of summoning Souls, you can revive a DM or DMG from your graveyard.
Plus, Souls can send up to two spells/traps from your hand or field to the graveyard to draw that many cards, letting you exchange unneeded units for new cards (and again stocking your GY). Easy yet powerful, Souls is a must-have for the theme, and once his effects are used, he makes great tribute, link, or fusion fodder.
Spellcaster Supports in Yu-Gi-Oh
Dark Magician cards have withstood the test of time, and come in many shapes and sizes. For instance, by adding light-attributed monsters lets you use the light and dark-needing Chaos cards, adding pendulum Magicians helps avoid tribute summoning, and supports like "Secret Village of the Spellcasters" and "Magician's Right Hand" negate opposing spells. Always keep your eyes peeled for potent Dark Magician benefactors (including more-general spellcaster supports), but with these ten entries in your deck, you're already well on the way to winning your duels.
As we eagerly await more Dark Magician archetype members, vote for your favorite entry, and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
Questions & Answers
Question: Does the effect of Oracle Mahad take place when you first initially draw it in a Dark Magician Deck as well?
Answer: Yes, that's the only time you can use its first effect that lets you special summon it. If you don't activate that ability immediately, you'll have to field it by normal summoning with tributes or using other special summon effects.
Question: Are there any more Dark Magicians I could incorporate into a Yu-Gi-Oh deck?
Answer: There's definitely some other awesome support cards to browse, linked to below.
Question: How about Dark Magician Girl as a card in a Dark Magician Yu-Gi-Oh deck?
Answer: As classic as Dark Magician Girl is, her power stems from being a requirement for other cards, like "Dark Burning Magic". Thus, depending on which directions you take your deck in, she's either pretty useful or almost worthless.
Question: Do Archfiends work well with a Dark Magician deck?
Answer: There aren't many, but if you're using the pendulum Magicians alongside Dark Magician, you could throw in pendulum card "Archfiend Eccentrick", who can switch between monster and spell/trap removal as needed.
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
Steven Porter on April 10, 2020:
Eternal soul, then eye of timeus to bring out dark magician dragon knight, and they protect each other from effects.
Gareeb Atma on January 09, 2019:
"Dark Burning Magic (something my exes specialize in) " nailed it man.
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on June 27, 2018:
I definitely try to sort the entries based on usefulness, but ultimately their exact positioning matters less to me than showing a number of helpful cards to enthusiasts. And I certainly agree with you that Dark Magic Attack is pretty useful; you can find it in my follow-up countdown linked below:
Sakamoto on June 27, 2018:
Hmm, I still believe Apprentice is better than both Chocolate and DMG tho, and Dark Magic Attack is better than Dark Burning Magic. It's easily searchable in a DM deck, more easily used, and it's not like DM decks lack a way to deal with Monsters. Circle and Ebon are more than often enough to make those Monsters fade away, and got banished is much worse than got destroyed.
Mr.Darkco Magician on May 21, 2018:
My gosh this is super helpful because I have a Eye of Timeus, Claw of Hermos, and Fang of Critias, Dark magician deck, and I neede this to see what cards could protect my Eternal soul and help me summon dark magician so muck easier than having to tribute.
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on April 26, 2018:
Haha, if I took something off to make room for Apprentice Illusion, you could just say the same thing about the deleted item, but you're right, that's also a good Dark Magician support.
Starscourge on April 25, 2018:
I believe you missed out on Apprentice Illusion Magician
BEWARE DANGER on April 11, 2018:
Nice article,man. This information is definitely going to come in handy next time I build a dark magician deck