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Yu-Gi-Oh: Guide to deckbuilding for beginners

The Requiem

EDIT: Revised on 09 / 14 / 2006

Okay. You went out and picked up your structure deck. And maybe a pack or two. Are you ready to start playing? Technically, yes, but did you just stack every card you own in a deck and shuffle it? (trust me...Ive seen that) Or maybe you did things the right way. Picked a theme, and then set out to win games with your mind, now that you have the tools.

I thought so.

There are a few necessary steps to take when you want to build a deck, and Im here to help walk you through it somewhat.

Step One

The first thing you have to do before you even touch your cards is to select a theme. There are many ways you can go about this. You can center it around getting out one particular monster and tear people up, or a group of similar type, or attribute monsters to flatline someone, so long as they're working together. If you need an example of a theme, flip over the back of the box of the structure deck (whichever one) you picked up. Thats a themed deck right there. Zombie, Dragon, Water, Fire, Warrior, Spellcaster, Rock, and Winged Beast are currently avilable, and are the most simple of themes to work with. The upper echelon of themes include things like the once-mighty chaos, mill, burn, etc. The point is to pick one and start from there.

Step Two

Now that you have your theme all picked out, you have to pick out the cards you are going to use to get your job done. Wait, what are you doing? You cant just pile 35 monster cards, and whatever's green and magenta you have on the floor and run with it! You still have much contemplation to do. The monsters you choose have to be able to work together. (I dont care how many times youve seen Dark Magician and Blue-Eyes White Dragon played together on television, thats a bunch of writers making up stuff to entertain the children. THis is real life, thats not gonna happen.) For example. Say you want to build a zombie deck. Chances are, a piece of your monster lineup will look like this:

[3]Pyramid Turtle
[2]Spirit Reaper
[1]Vampire Lord

Another piece of your spell lineup could be this:

[2]Call of the Mummy
[2]Book of Life

And trap? Lets say...

[2]Tutan Mask

Thats fine and dandy, but it the rest of it is something like
[3]Blue-Eyes White Dragon
[2]Burst Stream of Destruction

You are either really creative, or just like your shiny things too much. The base of your deck definitely should be made up of cards that fit and/or support your theme, but if its going too far off the wall, like, to extremes, then you're losing ground.

Some cards fit well as support in just about any deck. Some examples include:

Smashing Ground
Call of the Haunted
Heavy Storm
Mystical Space Typhoon
Torrential Tribute

....the list goes on. Not for long, but I didnt list many of the "staples".

Also, keeping a balance is crucial. A deck with 28 monsters, 10 spells, and 2 traps is bound to not work very well. This is not always the case, but most of the time, thats a recipe for disaster. Balance is crucial because you dont want to overload your deck with too much of a good thing and start drawing into good cards at bad times. A deck with 40-43 cards, with setups of around 18-21 monsters, 12-14 spells and anywhere up to about 8 traps is a nice balance with good flow and will give good results. Much better than a 28-10-2 type of thing.

The too much of a good thing can extend into your monster selection as well. For example, you build a warrior deck, and like Don Zaloog a lot. Does that mean its a good idea to shove 3 of the guy in your deck? Now I like the gun-toting Donny Z. as much as the next guy, but if you take three of him among about 15 other creatures, you're asking to draw him when you either wont need him, or wont be able to use his effect to the best of its ability. Make sure its a monster like an tutor, if its run in threes. Otherwise it just might be overkill.

Step Three

Step 3 is actually something like a step 2.5, as it has to do with your card selection. Its a more advanced method of thought. Step three is basically a lesson in Synergy. We'll start with the word's literal meaning.

1 : SYNERGISM; broadly : combined action or operation
2 : a mutually advantageous conjunction or compatibility of distinct business participants or elements (as resources or efforts)​

In regards to Yu-Gi-Oh, what this means is that the effects of your cards promote each other in a sense. For example, last format Merchant Pot Turbo (MPT)was a popular deck. What MPT did was use a thicker monster build with plenty of tutors and other things to feed the graveyard like Thunder Dragon and Magical Merchant to thin out the deck, then use cards like Pot of Avarice to shuffle the thinners back into the deck to pick up cards. Its great to have a theme, but if effects within the deck clash, its not a good idea.

A couple common examples of things played that have bad synergy are as follows:

-Cards like Bazoo that remove heavily from the graveyard, with cards like Pot of Avarice, or the "staple" Call of the Haunted / Premature Burial.

-Cards like Royal Oppression with monsters like Cyber Dragon

Good synergy looks like this:

-Cards like Manticore of Darkness working for other monsters like Bazoo, or in another case spells like Pot of Avarice

-Cards like Macro Cosmos working for cards like Golden Homunculus.

Understanding how synergy works can lead to a better deck overall.


Now that you have read over what you should do, try and do it on your own. Come up with something good, and show it to your friends. In a game of YGO. And please. After this...no more threads like that "World's End" deck, okay folks?
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Oh, hells nah!
Thanks for doing this, it will prevent many of those "Utimate Decks" that have been coming out from being posted.


Thanks for posting this Orochi, a lot could use it but many people are running 10 to 18 spells 17 to 21 monsters and 5 to 11 traps in today's meta


Let's rock!
It's basically their style since I've seen a few based Trap Decks that are slaughtered by Jinzo. So sad...

The Requiem

but many people are running 10 to 18 spells 17 to 21 monsters and 5 to 11 traps in today's meta

Maybe in your playtesting group, but the tournament level decks that I rate/fix/build say otherwise..It really just depends on what youre playing, and your preferred playing style. I just put what works best for me.


Let's rock!
Indeed...I find that alot of people are putting in cards that arent needed...and some very good cards that should be used...ARENT BEING USED!



Care to Battle?

I'm perfectly fine with just 5 Traps. I don't wanna overload on Traps...


It just depends on the 5 Traps

3x Royal Decree
Torrential was good last format

2x Decree
Mirror Force is good this one


Dome Ace Seraphi said:

I'm perfectly fine with just 5 Traps. I don't wanna overload on Traps...

Trap cards such. They always have, they always will. P.A.C.M.A.N decks don't need that much trap protection. (aside from Solemn Judgement or Royal Decree)

Trap cards are only used to balance out resource use in decks. Book Of Moon can easily handle any card comming at you, but then that's a waste of reosurce, and a common negation-bait. Draining Shield balances ****.


blazemxx said:
That's weird. What about change of heart and Negate Attack?

Change of Heart is banned in Advanced Format, which is what most people play. Negate Attack isn't really a staple because all it does is negate an attack and end a battle phase. It doesn't get rid of a problem, like Sakuretsu does.

Blaziken D.

Sherlock James
A theme? I think it's better to have an assortment. Themes are what decks like Zombie Madness and all those are for. Just my two cents, though.

----- Deoxys