Since being introduced to Duel Links in the Absolute Inferno Box in February this year (we had some limited cards from Burning Nova last year), Lavals have been primarily played as a gimmick deck, appearing on YouTube and the occasional tournament for the entertainment value of the deck, rather than any real viability on the competitive scene. However, like many decks, the Neos engine has added some much-needed constituency to this archetype. Although it still probably isn't tier worthy, good players who understand the mechanics of the deck will still be able to hit KOG with some luck. This article will attempt to help those players who want to do this by explaining the fundamentals, what the go-to plays are, and how the core cards work.
My name is Tom; I’ve been playing Duel Links since the game came out in mid-2017 and I love Lavals! (unsurprisingly). I hit KOG with it this month (June) and have played it in two meta weeklies with varying degrees of success. I hope you find this article helpful – YOU FOOLS!
This archetype is heavily reliant on getting Lavals into your graveyard, so you can make use of the effects of Loading... and/or Loading... . For this, you are mostly going to be using Loading... to dump a Loading... (which in turn triggers further dumping).
The most important thing to remember is how the effects of the various Laval monsters work, because most of them have conditions to activate. For instance, Lakeside Lady’s destruction effect can only come into play if you have two additional Lavals in the grave with DIFFERENT NAMES i.e. – you need Lakeside Lady, Volcano Handmaiden and in all likelihood Loading... or Loading... (usually the latter). In addition, Handmaiden will only trigger if you have another different named Laval in the grave, so sending two handmaiden’s to the grave turn one with Molten Conduction Field is not what you want to be doing.
The deck is undeniably weak to Sealed Tombs , since the deck is so reliant on banishing and re-summoning those banished monsters. A well timed sealed tombs can render your Dustflame Blast useless. In these situations, you need to play around the skill where you can. If you have an opportunity to destroy a backrow or a face down monster – do it (unless you suspect it to be a trigger card like White Stone of the Ancients etc). Don’t wait it out in hopes of a better play. It’s important to have your Laval tuner’s banished and ready to go in case you draw into a Cannon.
There are only two options for skills really. Switcheroo gives a little more consistency since you can shuffle potentially dead cards back into the deck in hopes of pulling a Loading... , Cannon or Dustflame. However, use of this skill is essentially out of your control, since you have no means by which to lower your own lifepoints, which makes it a risky choice. I experimented with a version that runs Loading... to counter this but couldn’t find a way to make it work.
The other choice and my preference is Destiny Draw . Since this deck is so reliant on essentially two core cards (Cannon, Dustflame), the ability to pull one of these cards as a guarantee can be the difference between a win and a loss.
Laval Cannon (3x):
Probably the most important card. All of your synchro’s will involve use of Cannon. You ideally want to open with him but if you are thinning your deck with Loading... (you rarely want to send this card from your deck to the graveyard) you will usually draw into this card fairly quickly.
Laval Lakeside Lady (2x):
The ability to banish this card plus one other Laval from the grave to destroy a facedown is extremely useful in this meta, since it directly counters several decks, most notably Subterrors. You typically want to banish Handmaiden as your other Laval, since this gives you the option to go into both 5-star and 7-star synchro’s when summoning Cannon.
Molten Conduction Field (3x):
You almost always want to send a Lakeside Lady and a Handmaiden. This should be your play in 9/10 duels. This will trigger Handmaiden’s effect and allow you to keep dumping monsters from your deck. You will often have your deck down to 9-10 cards by turn one/two if you open with MCF.
Laval Volcano Handmaiden (2-3x):
Make sure there is already a different Laval monster in the grave before you send this card to grave or its effect will not activate. Helps get Lavals in the grave quickly for Dustflame/Lakeside plays.