The Crystal Beasts debuted in Duel Links in November 2017 in the Jesse Anderson roaming event. At the time, the archetype was very limited in its card pool, and used cards like Loading... for its beatdown strategy. Shortly after, Jesse returned in the event “Awaken! Rainbow Dragon!” where the Crystal Beasts finally became a cohesive deck, but it was still too slow and gimmicky to be seen as a meta threat. Things changed in April 2020, however, when Crystal Beasts gained two high-impact support cards in the Truth Universe Main Box. Even though the skill Transcendent Crystals got nerfed on the May 2020 Forbidden/Limited List, the Crystal Beast strategy now has what it takes to topple the tier list.
About the Author
Howdy, my name is NESHY and I am the author of this Crystal Beast Guide! I was the first person in the Yu-Gi-Oh TCG history to have competitive success with Crystal Beasts, and now I hope to bring my skills to the Duel Links realm. I have been playing Duel Links since its worldwide release in Jan 2017, and I've built countless Crystal Beast variants as I watched the deck grow (especially when Loading... was at 3 with Meet My Family! ). What really draws me in about the archetype is a combination of its artwork, its playstyle, and a whole lot of nostalgia. I especially like how “sticky” the beasts are, meaning they get repurposed as a crystal instead of going to the Graveyard. If you find yourself enjoying this article, you may also like the Crystal Beast content I create on my YouTube channel, where I share different combos, deck builds, and duels against the meta using only Crystal Beasts!
Crystal Beast is an archetype that focuses on placing monster cards in the Spell & Trap Zone as Continuous Spell Cards in order to activate powerful effects. By playing a control game, they can survive long enough to gather all 7 “Crystal beast” names on the field or in the GY to summon their main boss monster, Loading... . Interestingly, only 4 out of the 7 Crystal Beasts are actually Beast-type, with the others being Fairy, Aqua, and Winged Beast. The heart of the deck lies in Loading... , not only in it being the strongest beast, but also because of its effect to place another Crystal Beast from your hand, Deck, or GY to the Spell & Trap Zone. While the monsters themselves generally carry underwhelming effects, the “Crystal” Spells and Traps are some of the most powerful cards in the game.
There are two paths to take when building Crystal Beasts: Rainbow Overdragon OTK and Conclave Control; this guide will be covering the latter as it actually has KOG representation. Conclave Control focuses on controlling the field with Loading... in order to disrupt the opponent and give the player follow-up for the next turn. From there, the player can use cards like Loading... to summon multiple Loading... , boost each of them to 2000 ATK with Crystal Power , and OTK the opponent. Crystal Beasts can also use Xyz monsters to supplement their strategy in the r4nk toolbox, meaning they will only get better as new Xyz options release.
Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus (3x)
The heart of the deck. Sapphire Pegasus is a ghetto +1 that can access beasts from the hand, Deck, or GY. Being able to place another Sapphire Pegasus means that playing anything less than 3 is incorrect. He's also the main beatstick of the deck, allowing for easy OTKs and Xyz summons when combined with other “Crystal” Spells and Traps. Opposing cards like Loading... and Loading... can actually help Sapphire Pegasus by allowing him to facilitate more of his on-summon effect. Cards that negate and destroy, such as Loading... , are actually somewhat resisted by Sapphire Pegasus as he will simply go to the backrow, enabling other cards like Loading... and Loading... .
Crystal Beast Topaz Tiger (2x)
The second name required for Loading... . Though he does provide strong utility by reaching a higher damage threshold than Loading... , he is still not as useful as his equine partner. Topaz Tiger would most likely be replaced with Loading... if it ever gets introduced.
Crystal Bond (1x)
If Loading... is the +1, then this card is the +2. Not only does it give access to Sapphire Pegasus, but it immediately enables cards like Loading... and Loading... without having to use a normal summon. Crystal Bond puts you so far ahead on card advantage that the worry of losing out on resources becomes nonexistent. Unfortunately, only one copy of this card is obtainable in the game, but this drawback is mitigated with three copies of Loading... , meaning that you can essentially play four Bond. This is the type of card that other archetypes wish they could have.
Crystal Promise (1-2x)
Loading... for Crystal Beasts. This card allows for easy OTK and Xyz setups in order to quickly overwhelm the opponent. Playing Crystal Promise along with Loading... will force opponents to use their defensive cards, else they risk losing the duel. It is recommended to only play one copy and save it for the right opportunity to go all out, but as more Xyz monsters get introduced, more copies could be warranted.
Rainbow Bridge (3x)
It’s an archetypal searcher, it’s not once per turn, and it’s 11 words long, simple as that. Playing this card at three copies allows you to toolbox any “Crystal” card since you have consistent access to them. Because of this, Rainbow Bridge also increases the ceiling of the deck by requiring more decision-making: will you search out Loading... and play defensively, or will you push for game with Loading... ?
Crystal Conclave (3x)
If Loading... is the heart of the deck, then this is the soul. Crystal Conclave has two effects, the first of which allows you to special summon a new Crystal Beast from the deck if one were to get destroyed. Because of this, Conclave gives access to Sapphire Pegasus if you only open it alongside Loading... . This effect becomes even more powerful if multiple copies of Conclave are face-up on the field when a Crystal Beast is destroyed, meaning you can employ massive swings in tempo. The second effect of this card, however, is what makes this strategy possible; by sending itself for cost, it targets a Crystal Beast CARD you control and any other card on the field and returns them to the hand. This effect provides useful disruption and puts a crystallized beast back in the hand for follow-up on the next turn. Since there are plenty of cards that resist destruction, and more monsters are coming from the Extra Deck these days, bouncing back to the hand has become an invaluable method of removal.
Battlin' Boxer Veil/Sphere Kuriboh (1-2x)
As Crystal Beasts fill up the Spell and Trap zone with their effects, it is worthwhile to look into hand traps as defensive options. Traditional traps, such as Loading... and Loading... , tend to clog up the backrow, so using defensive cards from the hand can help make the deck run smoothly. These two cards provide similar roles in preventing OTKs, but Battlin’ Boxer Veil has the extra utility of being a Level 4 for r4nk Xyz while Sphere Kuriboh can help destroy an opposing monster on the crackback. If you have neither of these two cards, it is recommended to pursue Battlin’ Boxer Veil since it is not only easier to pull, but it also comes in a more relevant box - Rage of Volcano.
Red Resonator (1-2x)
Red Resonator opens up Synchro options for Crystal Beasts. Due to Loading... giving a normal summon every turn, Red Resonator wiill almost always have a beast to summon from the hand. Some of the most noteworthy Synchro options include Loading... , Loading... , Loading... , and even Loading... to climb into either Loading... or Loading... . Vulcan the Divine is a particularly strong option for the deck, being able to act as its own Loading... and give you a Crystal Beast for the next turn. One thing to look out for when using a normal summon on Red Resonator, however, is that it is not as safe as normal summoning a Loading... if the summon gets interrupted by a Loading... or an Loading... , then it will not be able to place a Crystal Beast in the Spell & Trap Zone to enable Conclave.
Star Seraph Scepter & Star Seraph Sovereignty (3x & 3x)
As one of the most powerful engines in the game, the stick and chair combo allows you to draw intro your techs, destroy opponents' cards, and call upon powerful r4nk Xyz monsters. It is also really versatile, as you are able to make Loading... to rip an opponent's card going first, or set up a Loading... to get some pops. As great at this engine is, however, it uses your normal summon, locks you into 3-material Xyz, and requires both the stick and the chair in hand to do the full combo. If the combo does get interrupted by cards such as Loading... , you can use Loading... to set up Loading... and get the third body required for the Xyz summon. Bond could also be used to set up for a Loading... and interrupt the opponent's turn.
Neos Fusion & Blackwing - Zephyros the Elite (2x & 1x)
Another superstar engine, Neos Fusion provides a strong beater in Loading... as well as a Loading... for any Level 4 or lower monster. Brave Neos helps solve the deck's problem with the low damage threshold by being able to beat over Loading... , Loading... , and other beefy buffoons after the Crystal Power boost. The protection effect from Neos Fusion often clashes with Loading... , but this is not a big issue. Where this engine really shines, however, is in its use of the Zephyros being able to revive itself by bouncing back a crystallized beast or the Necrovalley as cost. The card makes for easy r4nks, especially when combined with Loading... .
The most important tech card of the deck, Necrovalley stops any deck that uses the Graveyard as a resource. Since Crystal Beasts dwell in the backrow most of the time, turning off the Graveyard does not hurt the strategy as much as it does other decks. Necrovalley has a good history of stopping meta decks like Shiranui, Invoked, Noble Knight, Crystron, Thunder Dragon, Lightsworn, Fire King, and Witchcrafter. It is important to note that Loading... will not be able to recur beasts from the GY while it is active, so it is up to you to keep the beast from going to the GY as much as possible in order to survive the grind game. This card can also be searched with Loading... if more copies are desired.
Parallel Twister/Cosmic Cyclone (2x)
These cards both provide their own forms of removal, one being able to destroy any card on the field, and the other specifically for Spell and Trap cards. Parallel Twister carries more flexibility in any matchup as some decks do not play any defensive backrow, such as Thunder Dragon and HERO. Even though this card is an inherent -1, the drawback is mitigated by cards like Loading... and even turning off your own Loading... if the matchup calls for it. Cosmic Cyclone on the other hand does not need any setup in order to be played, and can even be activated during the opponent’s turn (though this option requires setting it in the backrow). Crystal Beasts struggle against backrow decks, such as Aromage and The Weather, so if you find yourself playing against these decks more often, Cosmic Cyclone would be best for you. Otherwise, if it is a monster-heavy format, Parallel Twister would be more valuable. Either of these options is a definite must-have for any Crystal Beast deck, but the choice is up to you. Loading... is a budget alternative to these cards.