Updated date:

Top 10 Best Yu-Gi-Oh Decks (2019)

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

What Are the Strongest Yu-Gi-Oh Decks?

Thanks to online databases, modern Yu-Gi-Oh players enjoy quick access to trending top-tier decks. This lets us swiftly determine which archetypes are the strongest, but with the dynamic nature of ban lists plus new set releases, the exact rankings are continuously shifting.

We all harbor our own biased thoughts about the most powerful builds, but today we'll go exactly by the data (gathered from yugiohtopdecks.com) to count down and score the best, most popular tournament-placing Yu-Gi-Oh decks available (as of the start of 2019)!

Signature Trickstar Cards

MonstersSpellsTraps

Trickstar Candina

Trickstar Light Stage

Trickstar Reincarnation

Trickstar Lycoris

Terraforming

Rivalry of Warlords

Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring

Pot of Desires

Evenly Matched

10. Trickstar

Whether mixed with Sky Strikers or used on their own, Trickstars are a powerful theme who swarm link monsters while landing effect damage. They carry the excellent field spell "Trickstar Light Stage," which you can search with "Terraforming," and their signature trap "Trickstar Reincarnation" offers a great milling tactic that quickly exiles your opponent's deck.

Since most Trickstar builds share the same monster types and attribute, you can use the traps "Rivalry of Warlords" and "Gozen Match" to restrict your opponent's monster access. Meanwhile, you'll be casting powerful link monsters like "Trickstar Holly Angel" and "Topologic Trisbaena" to exploit their vulnerability.

Signature Paleozoic Cards

MonstersSpellsTraps

Mistar Boy

Pot of Desires

Paleozoic Olenoides

Dupe Frog

Scapegoat

Paleozoic Canadia

Swap Frog

Twin Twisters

Paleozoic Dinomischus

9. Paleozoic

Paleozoics can be blended with the Frog or Demise themes, or simply wielded on their own. Unlike most themes, they largely forgo spells in favor of their unique trap cards.

Paleozoic traps first apply various effects to harass your foe, then revive from the graveyard as water monsters when other traps activate, assaulting your foe on numerous fronts. While this makes them vulnerable to banishing tactics like "Macro Cosmos," their unusual trap abundance makes them hard to stop; few opponents carry adequate counters against these trap-to-monster aces.

Signature Danger! Cards

MonstersSpellsTraps

Danger! Nessie!

Allure of Darkness

Infinite Impermanence

Danger!? Tsuchinoko?

The Beginning of the End

Imperial Order

Danger!? Jackalope?

Sekka's Light

Red Reboot

8. Danger!

Danger cards are sometimes mixed with the Thunder series, but also work well independently. Often neglecting traps, these dark creatures activate their effects from the hand, discarding a random card to special summon the activated unit (assuming it wasn't tossed), quickly swarming your field.

Even better, Danger creatures wield a variety of discard effects, so even if they're trashed (whether through their own abilities or other traits), you still access useful effects. Thus, they can be somewhat unpredictable, but they're known for first-turn kills and quick access of rank three xyz monsters.

Signature True Draco Cards

MonstersSpellsTraps

Inspector Boarder

Card of Demise

True Draco Apocalypse

Ignis Heat, the True Dracowarrior

Disciples of the True Dracophoenix

There Can Be Only One

Majesty Maiden, the True Dracocaster

Dragonic Diagram

The Monarchs Erupt

7. True Draco

True Dracos can be paired with True Kings or Monarchs, or simply used on their own. They emphasize tribute summons and let you sacrifice continuous spells and traps in addition to monsters, ensuring you always have fodder for your aces. Once fielded, they search cards from your deck when your opponent activates effects, quickly granting you card advantage.

True Dracos are a versatile group; many of their builds forgo the extra deck to use "The Monarchs Erupt" (which negates effects from non-tributed monsters), while others employ a full suite of extra deck creatures. The former option provides today's cheapest deck list, making it a great choice for budget duelists who still want a competitive theme.

Signature Magician Cards

MonstersSpellsTraps

Chronograph Sorcerer

Pendulum Call

Evenly Matched

Wisdom-Eye Magician

Star Pendulumgraph

Heavy Storm Duster

Mist Valley Apex Avian

Twin Twisters

Infinite Impermanence

6. Magician

From Odd-Eyes to Performapals to Supreme Kings, the pendulum Magicians offer many routes to develop their theme, keeping your opponent guessing even once they see your initial cards. Magicians utilize pendulum summons to swarm monsters up to level seven, often employing "Mist Valley Apex Avian" and "Mythical Beast Jackal King" to negate opposing cards.

Like several series, Magicians tend to neglect traps, but they enjoy one of the best spell searches in the game, "Pendulum Call," which discards a unit (prepping your graveyard) to nab any two Magicians from your deck and shield your pendulum scales for a few turns. But that's just the tip of the iceberg—you can take your spellcasters in whichever direction you want, and their lengthy run among the top decks showcases their lasting power.

Signature Altergeist Cards

MonstersSpellsTraps

Altergeist Hexstia

Secret Village of the Spellcasters

Personal Spoofing

Altergeist Meluseek

Pot of Desires

Rivalry of Warlords

Altergeist Marionetter

Terraforming

Solemn Strike

5. Altergeist

For an easily-grasped theme, look no further than the Altergeist wizards. They generally remain independent of other archetypes and utilize impressive swarming capabilities to summon link monsters rapidly. Additionally, they place nets like "Secret Village of the Spellcasters" and "Rivalry of Warlords" to ensnare your foe, leaving them helpless to counter your tactics.

It's as simple as that; for a devoted spellcaster theme that emphasizes binding your opponent over sheer power, you'll find few better than the Altergeists.

Signature Gouki Cards

MonstersSpellsTraps

Gouki Suprex

Called by the Grave

Phantom Knights' Fog Blade

Neo Space Connector

Gouki Re-Match

Evenly Matched

Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights

Twin Twisters

Red Reboot

4. Gouki

Warrior-type Gouki decks offer odd mishmashes of various themes that often exceed the standard 40-card minimum, sometimes opting to builds 60-card decks. Goukis often ally with Danger, Phantom Knight, and Neo Spacian cards, making their main deck members unpredictable.

These decks focus on link monsters, both summoning powerful aces and placing Gouki materials into the graveyard (which activates their search effects), and they offer several battle damage traits to maximize your martial prowess. At a glance, the builds sometimes look like haphazard messes, but they form surprisingly competent smorgasbords that blend the best elements of several strategies.

Signature Burning Abyss Cards

MonstersSpellsTraps

Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss

Sekka's Light

Evenly Matched

Orbital Hydralander

Twin Twisters

Red Reboot

Fiendish Rhino Warrior

Card Destruction

Wiretap

3. Burning Abyss

Burning Abyss decks employ fiend-type monsters with powerful graveyard effects. Since many rely on not controlling spells/traps, Abyss decks are almost exclusively made of monsters, and they don't contain many duplicates, letting you access powerful cards like "Orbital Hydralander" that reward you for diversifying your theme.

Your goal is to stock your graveyard with as many members as possible, accessing their graveyard effects and overwhelming foes with your self-reviving cards. As icing on the cake, Abyss units aren't especially reliant on the extra deck, making them surprisingly affordable for such a competitive structure.

Signature Thunder Dragon Cards

MonstersSpellsTraps

Thunder Dragon Colossus

Allure of Darkness

Red Reboot

Thunder Dragondark

Brilliant Fusion

Evenly Matched

Thunder Dragon

Gold Sarcophagus

Summon Limit

2. Thunder Dragon

Classic "Thunder Dragon" finally scores his own archetype, and boy does it impress. The main deck monsters quickly fill your graveyard by discarding themselves to search other cards; meanwhile, fusion monsters like "Thunder Dragon Colossus" impose powerful penalties on your opponent. For instance, Colossus prevents them from adding cards to their hand except by drawing, a brutal snare that completely shuts down most searches.

Thanks to the light and dark attributes of Thunder Dragon beasts, you can banish them from your graveyard to summon the powerful Chaos monsters, and they also mesh well with the Danger cards.

Signature Sky Striker Cards

MonstersSpellsTraps

Sky Striker Ace - Raye

Sky Striker Mobilize - Engage!

Evenly Matched

Sky Striker Ace - Kagari

Sky Striker Mecha Modules - Multirole

Heavy Storm Duster

Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring

Sky Striker Mecha - Widow Anchor

infinite Impermanence

1. Sky Striker

This spell-oriented series rewards you for stocking your graveyard with magic cards, offering bonus effects when you have at least three. Thus, you'll quickly harass your foe with multi-part spells that essentially offer two effects in one. Additionally, the Sky Striker monsters are easily summoned (their numerous link units only need one material), and they're adept at swarming.

What can I say; with nearly every member in the archetype a winner, it's no surprise the Sky Strikers are king of the hill. Keep an eye on those ban lists, as the Striker aces may eventually see some bans or at least limitations to curb their enormous potential.

More of the Best Yu-Gi-Oh Decks

Remember, in addition to today's list, archetypes like Cyber, SPYRAL, and Mekk-Knight still see usage and are worth considering (especially in terms of value). And with the topdecks website and ban lists continuously updating, we'll be back before long to tackle a whole new set of top-tier decks.

Still, change is good, preventing a single theme from stagnating at the top and allowing new cards a chance in the spotlight. But for now, as we eagerly await Konami's next set of tournament-winning decks, vote for your favorite series and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!

Questions & Answers

Question: Do you think that spell counter decks are good?

Answer: I find them more fun than good. The Endymions and Mythical Beasts do contain some worthy members, though.

Question: How would an Endymion Mythical Beast deck hold up against Sky Strikers?

Answer: I've always liked the Mythical Beasts, but it's hard to beat the Sky Strikers without a top-tier deck.

Question: Would I need to have all Trickstars for my Trickstar decks?

Answer: No, few competitive decks utilize all of their archetype's cards, especially since you can run up to three copies of the best ones.

© 2019 Jeremy Gill

Comments

Nordic on July 30, 2020:

What are your thoughts on a competitive Nordic build.