Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
What Are Chain Strike Decks in Yu-Gi-Oh?
In Yu-Gi-Oh, most decks attempt to reduce their opponent's life points through monster battle damage, but some tricky structures instead opt for indirect effect damage. While you can usually inflict more pain with a monster's power, effect damage doesn't require you to remove any defenders before landing your blows, and there aren't many ways for opponents to block it beyond negating your cards.
Effect damage decks come in many shapes and sizes, one of the most popular being "Chain Strike" or "Chain Burn" builds, which aim to chain several spells/traps into fierce combos. These builds often completely forgo monsters and strive for a quick win, letting you focus more on offense than stalling. But with hundreds of variants available, which members are most crucial? Here are the 10 best cards for your Chain Strike Yu-Gi-Oh deck!
10. Card of Demise
Card of Demise admittedly has several drawbacks, as you can only play one per turn, can't special summon the turn you use it, prevent your opponent from taking any more damage that turn, and have to send your entire hand to the graveyard when your turn ends.
However, Demise lets you draw until you have three cards in your hand, potentially nabbing more cards than even the infamous (and banned) "Pot of Greed." And since Chain Strike decks heavily emphasize spells and traps, you should be able to set everything before your turn is up, avoiding the discard penalty.
9. Lava Golem
True, Lava Golem is a monster, but he's not meant for you. You can't normal summon or set the turn you play him, and you can only special summon him to your opponent's field by tributing two monsters they control.
Admittedly, you've just handed your rival a fierce warrior with the same stats as a
"Blue-Eyes White Dragon" (3000 ATK and 2500 DEF), but you've also eliminated two of their monsters that were presumably bigger threats. Additionally, Golem's controller suffers 1000 damage at their main phase, steadily landing substantial injuries the longer its recipient keeps it in play.
8. Reckless Greed
Reckless Greed lets you draw two cards, but you have to skip your next two draw phases. Thus, your overall draws won't improve, but you'll be nabbing your cards quicker. Better yet, activate multiple Greeds at once, as no matter how many you play in a turn, you'll only skip your next two draw steps.
And since Greed can be activated at any time, it's another great chain-starter that's helped me win several duels. Greed fits well in many decks, and it's an easy recommendation considering it costs less than a single dollar!
7. Secret Barrel
Secret Barrel's another trap that you can play at any time; use it to boost a chain or bait a removal. It simply inflicts 200 damage to your opponent for each card in their hand and on their side of the field.
With six monster zones, six spell/trap zones (including the field spell slot), and a six-card hand limit, Barrel can potentially land a massive 3600 damage, nearly half of your opponent's starting 8000 life. And if your opponent exceeds their hand limit (they don't have to discard until the end of the turn), it could nab even more.
6. Secret Blast
Yet another any-time trap, Secret Blast doesn't punish an opponent's hand, but now inflicts 300 damage to them for every card they control. Again, this can potentially score a whopping 3600 pain, and if Blast is destroyed by an opponent's card and sent to your graveyard, you inflict 1000 damage to them.
Thus, merely fearing a hidden Blast can prevent opponents from accessing their spell/trap removals, and you can chain it to a removal, activating both its effects to possibly inflict as much as 4600 damage in one round!
5. Just Desserts
Another trap you can play any time, Just Desserts inflicts 500 damage to your opponent for each monster they control, maxing out at 3000 damage. Even just two monsters lets you deal 1000, more than most single cards can inflict.
Just Desserts is another card that could make opponents purposefully summon fewer monsters than possible; use it in builds that focus more on stalling opposing monsters (with cards like "Waboku," "Magical Cylinder," and "Dimensional Wall") than outright removing them.
4. Balance of Judgment
Balance of Judgment offers another great hand-replenishment option to decks that burn through their cards quickly. You can only activate one per turn, but if your opponent controls more cards than you control and have in hand, you draw equal to their surplus. After setting and activating your other cards, use Judgment to rapidly refill your hand and punish foes for preparing their field.
3. Pot of Duality
One of the game's best "Pot of" cards, Duality prevents you from special summoning the turn you play it, but other than cards like "Lava Golem," you shouldn't have many monsters to cast anyway.
Duality excavates (reveals) the top three cards of your deck, lets you add one to your hand, and shuffles the remainder back into your deck. Thus, your overall hand size doesn't increase, but you get to choose which of the next three cards you obtain and potentially kick off a chain. Just remember you can only use one per turn.
2. Mystic Mine
This powerful field spell prevents opposing monsters from attacking or activating effects while your opponent controls more monsters than you. It also imposes the same penalties on you if you control more, but in zero-monster decks, that shouldn't be a problem.
Two amazing shields in one, just remember Mine destroys itself during the end phase if both players control an equal number of monsters, so try not to eliminate opposing units.
1. Chain Strike
The card that inspired this type of deck is a quick-play spell, letting you activate it an instant speed. Chain Strike inflicts 400 damage to your opponent times its chain level in the current stack, often netting 1200+ damage at once. However, you can't activate it if the current chain includes multiple cards or effects with the same name.
That said, thanks to a technicality, you can actually string two Chain Strikes together, as at activation, there will only be one in that chain, letting both your spells successfully resolve. Currently semi-limited, you can only include two copies in your deck, so strive to combo them and land thousands of damage at once.
Integral to any Chain Strike deck, I owe many victories to these cards, and remember that you can respond with them when targeted by a removal. Best of all, they're surprisingly affordable, costing just a single dollar!
More Effect Damage Cards in Yu-Gi-Oh
Although Chain Strike decks usually prefer a quick victory, defenses like "Battle Fader" and "Drowning Mirror Force" can help stall, while effect damage monsters such as "Marshmallon" cut your foe's life points. Alternatively, direct attackers like "Spell Striker" help land battle damage without needing to remove enemy creatures, but watch out for cards that can negate traps, like "Jinzo" and "Royal Decree."
Not only are Chain Strike decks competitive, they're also affordable, as spells and traps tend to be cheaper and you won't need to shell out for expensive extra deck monsters. Thus, I recommend this theme to budget players, but for now, as we eagerly await Konami's next expansion of effect damage spells and traps, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill