Crafting Your First Yu-Gi-Oh Deck

by Bryan Scheidler

So you have decided to try your hand at a Collectible Card Game. Good choice, CCG’s have been a popular form of gaming for decades all around the world and are accessible at any skill level, and Yu-Gi-Oh is arguably one of the most popular. You are probably wondering though, “How do I make my own deck to play?” A good question, and it is a question I am answering for you today. Let me just get one thing straight before we start, I am not an expert player, far from it in fact. I haven’t played the game in years but recently the kind people from Konami sent me some cards and I just had to build myself a new deck.

To get started, the first thing you need to do is get yourself some cards. Pretty obvious I know, but even that can be a little tricky. The best way to get going is with a starter deck. These are decks that you could use right out of the packaging in a game. They usually come with a nice mix of monster, spell, and trap cards. These decks come in a variety of flavors and are a great way to get your feet wet. But what do you do once you are ready to customize your deck with new cards, that is where the expansion sets come into play. The question now becomes which expansion to buy because each one introduces new cards and new styles of game play. Do you want to add cards from the Extreme Force or Circuit Break expansion? What about the Code of the Duelist and Pendulum Evolution expansions? It can get overwhelming if you try and learn it all at once, so your best bet is picking the one that looks most interesting to you and jump down that rabbit hole.

Now that you have your cards you are going to need to learn a little terminology before you can truly make a deck you are comfortable with.

Fusion Monsters – a type of Monster Card. The color of their card frame is violet. These cards are placed in the Extra Deck. To be properly Special Summoned, Fusion Monsters must first be Fusion Summoned (unless otherwise specified). If they leave the Extra Deck without being properly Special Summoned, they cannot be Special Summoned while they are banished or in the Graveyard.

Ritual Monsters – are monsters that must be Special Summoned with a Ritual Spell Card. Ritual Monsters are Special Summon-only monsters. This means that they cannot be Special Summoned from the hand or Deck except by Ritual Summon and the card “Ritual Foregone”, and cannot be Special Summoned from the Graveyard or while banished unless they were first Ritual Summoned

Tuner Monsters – are monsters with “Tuner” listed on the Type/Ability line. They are required for the Synchro Summon of a Synchro Monster. Normal, Fusion, Effect, Pendulum, and Synchro Monsters themselves can all be Tuner monsters, although some card effects can treat non-Tuner monsters as Tuners.

Pendulum Zone/Monsters – A Pendulum Monster can be used in two ways: either as a Monster card by Summoning it, or as a Spell Card by activating it in the Pendulum Zone. While not in a Pendulum Zone, a Pendulum Monster is treated as a Monster Card, and its monster effects are applied, but its Pendulum Effects are not. It can be Special Summoned by appropriate card effects. If it is also a Normal or Effect Monster, it can also be Normal Summoned/Set from the hand, just like any other Normal or Effect Monster. While in a Pendulum Zone, a Pendulum Monster is treated as a Spell Card and not as a monster. A Pendulum Monster can be activated from the hand as a Spell Card in the player’s Pendulum Zone, but it is not possible for Pendulum Monsters to be Set in the Pendulum Zone.

Extra Deck – is a Deck where Fusion, Synchro, Xyz, and Link Monsters (as well as Pendulum Monsters that would otherwise have been sent from the field to the Graveyard) are stored during a Duel. The Extra Deck is separate from the Main Deck and is placed face-down in the Extra Deck Zone. Like the Main Deck, the number of cards in the Extra Deck is public knowledge. Unlike the Main Deck, the player can look through their own Extra Deck at any time. The face-down contents of the Extra Deck are not public knowledge, so the opponent cannot look through face-down cards in the Extra Deck; however, the face-up cards in the Extra Deck are public knowledge, so either player may look through them at any time.

Tokens – are used as representations of Monster Cards. The Tokens represent monsters that appear on the field as part of a card effect. These monsters are not included in the Deck, as stated as Limitation Text on each card. A Monster Token can be represented by a coin (Heads is treated as Attack Position and Tails is treated as Defense Position), a die, or other such acceptable marker. Fan-made cards are often used as markers in Tournament Duels by players.

Now that All the terminology is out of the way here are some rules for crafting your deck:

1. Keep Your Deck Balanced: When first starting it is really important to have balance in your deck. Have balance between your types of cards, balance between monster strength, balance between monster types. If you are to heavy in one of these categories a properly prepared opponent could easily destroy your deck . A good rule to follow is keep the ratio of 2:1:1; for every 2 monster cards you have you have 1 trap and 1 spell card. If you stick to this you shouldn’t ever find yourself in a situation where you are stuck without something to play.

2. Be Practical about your card selection: You may have come across an amazing card in one of the booster packs, in fact you most likely will. The danger is putting it into your deck and not realizing that you can only play in very specific situations that will almost never come up. While it may be hard to leave it out of your deck, you will be better served with more multi-purpose cards

3. Know Your Cards: There are a lot of cards in Yu-Gi-Oh and most of them have very special rules and conditions when their effects happen. When building your deck make sure you know exactly how the cards work so you are not caught in a situation where your opponent has to explain to you that you’ve been using it wrong. Additionally if you are building your deck around a specific kind of play style like fusions or rituals, this becomes all the more important since a failure to understand how those work could make your entire deck worthless.

4. Keep Trying New Combinations: The great thing about this game is the sheer amount of cards available. It would be foolish to think there is only one way to make a deck. Keep trying different combinations and keep trying new cards, because you will always find a new strategy or combination that works.

So here it is, the moment of truth, did I follow my own rules? After all this talk about how to make a deck as a beginner, what did I manage to put together? As a fan of the original show it was hard for me to stray from the Dark Magician and his supporting cards. Of course it didn’t hurt that in the packs I was sent many of the cards were “Yugi” focused. All that being said here is my deck.

– Dark Magician x 3
– Gemini Elf
– Neo the Magic Swordsman
– Mystical Elf
– Saggi the Dark Clown
– Crowned by the World Chalice
– Giant Soldier of Stone
– Dark Magician Girl x2
– Magician’s Valkyria
– Apprentice Illusion Magician
– Magician’s Rod
– Magician’s Robe
– Breaker the Magical Warrior
– Old Vindictive Magician
– Skilled Dark Magician
– Skilled White Magician
– The Tricky
– Fairy Tale – Sleeper
– Lord of D.
– Buster Blader
– Odd-Eyes Mirage Dragon
– Blue-Eyes White Dragon
– The White Stone of Legend
– Dragon Spirit of White

– Spellbinding Circle
– Tyrant Wing
– Mirror Force
– Wonder XYZ
– Dark Renewal
– Eternal Soul
– Magician Navigation
– Miracle Restoring

– Dark Magic Attack
– Dark Magic Expanded
– Illusion Magic
– Black Luster Ritual
– Odd Eyes Fusion
– Ancient Rules
– Black Pendant
– Mystical Space Typhon
– The Eye of Timaeus
– Thousand Knives

Extra Deck:
– Dark Magician the Dragon Knight
– Dark Rebellion XYZ Dragon
– Supreme King Dragon Dark Rebellion
– Zodiac Tigermortar
– Dark Magician Girl the Dragon Knight
– Amulet Dragon
– Blue-Eyes Twin Burst Dragon
– Dark Paladin
– Black Luster Soldier
– Starving Venom Fusion Dragon

So is my deck perfect? Of course not, but I am a beginner and I think this will be a fun deck to start playing with. Now, who wants to duel?

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