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Top 10 Yu-Gi-Oh Structure Decks

Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.

What Are Structure Decks in Yu-Gi-Oh?

Structure decks offer players prebuilt, ready-to-play decks emphasizing various themes. These work well for newer players or as starting points to competitive builds, and unlike starter decks, they occasionally contain multiple copies of the same card.

Structures need tinkering to unlock their full potential (especially with their incomplete extra decks), but provide inexpensive ways to delve into dueling—which reign supreme? These are the ten best structure decks in Yu-Gi-Oh!

Cyberse Link structure deck

Cyberse Link structure deck

10. Cyberse Link

Description: Swarm cyberse and link monsters
Main Deck: 40
Extra Deck: 3

Best Cards:

  • ROM Cloudia
  • Cynet Backdoor
  • Tri-Gate Wizard

Despite releasing before the "Powercode Link" structure deck, Cyberse Link provides my favorite link monster theme, even if it has some problems. There isn't a true archetype in play here, and several cards (looking at you, "Premature Rebirth") aren't winners. Plus, even some good cards are an odd pick for this theme, like "Glow-Up Bulb", whose tuner capacity is wasted unless you add synchro monsters to the extra deck.

That said, you do get a few extra deck cards, alongside splashable staples like "Mathematician" and "Gold Sarcophagus". Overall, the deck has several pieces that can work, but will need tweaking before they really mesh; try mixing with cards from the "Link Strike" starter deck.

Wave of Light structure deck

Wave of Light structure deck

9. Wave of Light

Description: Negate opposing plays with counter traps supported by fairy monsters
Main Deck: 41
Extra Deck: 0

Best Cards:

  • Neo-Parshath, the Sky Paladin
  • The Sanctum of Parshath
  • Solemn Warning

Counter traps are deadly weapons since they're the single card type that operates at "spell speed 3", meaning only other counters can respond to them. Wave includes many fairy-type monsters who support counters and includes at least one copy of most cards the theme needs.

The lack of any extra deck monsters is unfortunate, even if the theme doesn't heavily rely on them. Beyond that, this is a great deck for players who don't plan on tinkering much; Wave of Light has lower potential than some structures, but impressive out-of-box strength.

Order of the Spellcasters structure deck

Order of the Spellcasters structure deck

8. Order of the Spellcasters

Description: Swarm spell counters and Endymion pendulum monsters
Main Deck: 41
Extra Deck: 1

Best Cards:

  • Servant of Endymion
  • Pot of Desires
  • Day-Breaker the Shining Magical Warrior

This theme's monsters gain spell counters whenever a spell (even an opposing one) resolves, rewarding builds stocked with magic cards. The effects naturally blend with pendulum cards, which can be played as either monsters or pendulum scales, the latter of which will supply spell counters.

So, use the pendulum Endymions to swarm while utilizing spell counters for a variety of effects. The deck contains a few lackluster traps you should swap out, but I appreciate that it contains a link monster, helping resummon defeated pendulum cards. Try adding in some of the excluded Mythical Beasts, fellow spellcaster pendulum monsters who also emphasize spell counters.

Pendulum Domination structure deck

Pendulum Domination structure deck

7. Pendulum Domination

Description: Swarm D/D pendulum monsters and self-damaging Dark Contracts
Main Deck: 40
Extra Deck: 3

Best Cards:

  • D/D Savant Newton
  • D/D/D Cursed King Siegfried
  • Dark Contract with the Witch

D/D (different dimension) monsters are a versatile bunch emphasizing fiend-type pendulum monsters. They also enjoy several types of extra deck monsters, including fusion, synchro, and xyz; Domination comes with one of each.

D/Ds are also bolstered by "Dark Contract" spells and traps, which activate powerful effects but force you to take damage at your standby phase. Luckily, your monsters have several ways to destroy or temporarily negate Contracts, mitigating the risk and barraging foes with continuous abilities.

The deck also has fewer off-archetype cards than most structure decks, giving it some nice consistency, but I recommend adding link monsters to help recast defeated pendulums from the extra deck.

Shaddoll Showdown structure deck

Shaddoll Showdown structure deck

6. Shaddoll Showdown

Description: Brandish the flip effects and fusion monsters of the Shaddoll archetype
Main Deck: 41
Extra Deck: 8

Best Cards:

  • Shaddoll Falco
  • El Shaddoll Construct
  • Super Polymerization

Another variable bunch, the Shaddoll family's dark attributes and spellcaster types blend surprisingly well other themes (like "Dark Magician"), but can also function on their own (as seen here). Shaddoll main deck monsters have flip effects and ones that activate when sent to the graveyard via effect from anywhere, triggering when discarded, destroyed on the field, or milled directly from your deck!

So, you'll be activating graveyard-triggered abilities while fusing powerful beatsticks, beginning with an impressive eight extra deck monsters. Flip-based themes are admittedly a little slow compared to aggressive swarming builds, but often take the win if they can endure the first few rounds.

Realm of Light structure deck

Realm of Light structure deck

5. Realm of Light

Description: Harness the self-milling tactics of the Lightsworn archetype
Main Deck: 40
Extra Deck: 1

Best Cards:

  • Judgment Dragon
  • Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress
  • Solar Recharge

The Lightsworns have long been a popular tribe thanks to their fast antics, quickly milling cards from your own deck into the graveyard. Once it contains at least four Lightsworns with different names (nice synergy with a deck that doesn't duplicate cards), you can special summon "Judgment Dragon" from your hand, whose devastating effect spends 1000 life points to destroy all other fielded cards.

Coupled with fierce 3000 ATK, his arrival can very easily win you the game, with few decks able to recover against a mass field wipe and direct attack. Throw in handy supports like "Lightsworn Sanctuary" and "Solar Recharge" alongside a useful synchro monster and you've got a formidable deck that doesn't require much maintenance, though I highly recommend adding more Judgment Dragons.

Master of Pendulum structure deck

Master of Pendulum structure deck

4. Master of Pendulum

Description: Swarm using Magician, Performapal, and Odd-Eyes pendulum monsters
Main Deck: 40
Extra Deck: 3

Best Cards:

  • Performapal Skullcrobat Joker
  • Pendulum Call
  • Sky Iris

With this structure, you'll be quickly fielding anime protagonist Yuya's various monster sets. Normally I'd advise against mixing three archetypes, but these pendulums share several supports, like the potent "Sky Iris" field spell, which protects your pendulum scales while searching Odd-Eyes cards from your deck.

Many of the deck's cards are or have been banned/limited ("Pendulum Call", "Performapal Skullcrobat Joker", etc.), so you're getting more than a few gems, and I'm glad to see some extra deck monsters. Today's most adaptable deck, you can develop Master in several routes, whether that's more Magicians, Performapals, Odd-Eyes, or Supreme Kings cards (don't forget additional extra deck members, especially link monsters).

Rokket Revolt structure deck

Rokket Revolt structure deck

3. Rokket Revolt

Description: Support link monsters using the graveyard-empowered Rokket archetype
Main Deck: 40
Extra Deck: 6

Best Cards:

  • Magnarokket Dragon
  • Squib Draw
  • Borreload Dragon

Rokket monsters emphasize link-summoning, activating bonus effects from the graveyard when destroyed. Fortunately, if your opponent won't kill them for you, you can do it yourself with cards like "Squib Draw", which destroys a Rokket to draw twice.

With a fair reservoir of extra deck monsters in tow, Revolt lets you rapidly cast link cards while refilling your hand or destroying opposing cards via Rokket graveyard triggers. My only complaint is how the main deck includes less-useful general dragon supports where it should have more Rokkets, but you can swap out undesirables once you collect a few extra archetype members.

Lair of Darkness structure deck

Lair of Darkness structure deck

2. Lair of Darkness

Description: Tribute opposing monsters to activate various traps
Main Deck: 41
Extra Deck: 0

Best Cards:

  • Lair of Darkness
  • Darkest Diabolos, Lord of the Lair
  • Eradicator Epidemic Virus

Named after its titular field spell, Lair of Darkness uses dark monsters alongside tribute-based abilities from the "Virus Control" traps. These generally require you to sacrifice your own creatures, but with Darkness out, you'll be able to tribute opposing troops, an excellent removal that bypasses most monster defenses.

While the lack of any extra cards is disappointing, your Virus traps can absolutely wreck your opponent's field thanks to Lair, simultaneously sacrificing their monsters while wiping their spells/traps. The theme's monsters also employ various tribute effects; to upgrade, add some extra deck monsters and more copies of Lair, which you can search with the included "Ahrima, the Wicked Warden".

Soulburner structure deck

Soulburner structure deck

1. Soulburner

Description: Assault foes with the fire-based Salamangreat archetype
Main Deck: 40
Extra Deck: 6

Best Cards:

  • Salamangreat Foxy
  • Salamangreat Balelynx
  • Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring

Currently a top-tier archetype, Soulburner employs the fire-attributed cyberse-type Salamangreats. Not only do they contain several effects that summon themselves from your hand (quickly swarming the field), they also brandish several fearsome link monsters.

Try replacing the few non-archetype cards like "Inferno" with more Salamangreats, making a strong theme even better. Overall, you're getting several great cards here, especially alongside a well-stocked extra deck. A must-have for any Salamangreat fan, the theme is surprisingly cheap for such a competitive group, costing less than $15!

How to Improve Your Yu-Gi-Oh Structure Deck

Structure deck cards range from great to terrible; how can you tweak your theme to unlock its potential? The boosters released immediately after structure decks often support their cards, rounding out your build. Some players even buy three copies of the same structure, taking the best cards and forming a composite deck (which also fills your extra deck).

With their specific focuses and ability to duplicate cards, I generally prefer structure themes over starters and recommend tweaking one yourself. But for now, vote for your favorite prebuilt and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!

© 2020 Jeremy Gill