Shiranui are a synchro-based, Zombie archetype that debuted in Duel Links December 2019 with the Soul of Resurrection minibox and quickly gained traction in the meta with its small, but sufficient combo engine. Unlike the many other combo decks that dominated the meta at the time (e.g. Darklords, Blackwings, and Ritual Beasts), Shiranui decks were able to fit in a sizable amount of backrow to complement their core monsters without loss of consistency. This gave Shiranui (as a deck) a balance between having aggressive, one-turn-kill (OTK) plays and room for defensive tech cards to counteract the meta. As time went on, and the "shadow buff" to the skill Spell Specialist was discovered, players shifted their builds to focus more on Loading... and turned Shiranui into an explosive combo deck. However, with the Feb 2020 banlist hitting both Spell Specialist and Loading... , players have gone back to the more balanced builds of Shiranui, which play as a control deck early game before transitioning into a beatdown deck mid-to-late game.
The core of the Shiranui archetype focuses around using and recycling its key tuner, Loading... , to synchro climb from the initial levels 6 Loading... and 7 Loading... into the game-ending levels 8 Loading... and 10 Loading... . The gimmick of the archetype is that Loading... allows the player to essentially "synchro summon from the grave" by banishing the monsters involved. As such, all the Shiranui main deck, non-tuner monsters have dual effects that (1) help get Loading... out of the deck and into the grave and (2) trigger on banish to enable further plays. One of these plays forms the basis of the synchro climb by bringing back Loading... from the banished pile (via Loading... 's effect) to allow for another synchro summon. This synchro climb also recycles Loading... and puts it back in the grave for use again next turn, thus making Shiranui a very resilient deck that always sets itself up for follow up plays.
As a foreword, this guide assumes that the reader has an intermediate level of knowledge of the game mechanics in Duel Links and Yu-Gi-Oh! in general. The main concepts that we expect the readers to already know -- beyond the basic rules of e.g. summoning and activating spells / traps -- include the Toggle Button, reading “delays,” the Duel Links Limited 1, Limited 2, and Limited 3 lists, soft and hard once-per-turns, and Chain Links. We refer to these terms throughout the guide.
The Play Starters: Shiranui Squire (2x), Shiranui Solitaire (2-3x), Gozuki (2-3x)
These three monsters are the main starters of the deck, with Loading... being the most important and Loading... being the next important. Loading... used to be more of a luxury than necessity, but as of the July 2020 banlist putting Loading... to Limited 2 status, Loading... has become an important replacement for the 3rd copy of Loading... . All three of these monsters get Loading... out of the deck to then put into the grave to initiate the synchro climb next turn.
Loading... and Loading... each have a primary effect that activates on the field and a secondary effect that activates on banish. Each effect of Loading... and Loading... is a hard-once-per-turn (HOPT).
- Loading... - On normal summon, Loading... can special summon either the level 2 tuner, Loading... , or the level 3 tuner, Loading... , from hand or the deck. After activating this effect, one is locked into special summoning only Zombie monsters for the rest of the turn. - Early game, this effect allows one to synchro immediately with Loading... into the level 6 Loading... or level 7 Loading... off just one card (i.e. this is a 1-card combo). If the skill Level Duplication or Level Augmentation is involved, then this one card combo can even lead into a first turn level 8 Loading... or level 10 Loading... . - This effect is by far the best option for getting Loading... out of the deck and into the grave as it also gives one a decent size Synchro Monster on the field for board presence. - Mid-to-late game, this effect can tutor out a tuner to synchro with e.g. an already on-board Loading... into the level 8 Loading... or Loading... into the level 10 Loading... . - Keep the special summoning restriction to Zombie monsters in mind when using cards like Loading... . If one activates Loading... 's effect, then one cannot chain Loading... ’s effect in grave to a trap card that turn, since Loading... would not be summoned as a Zombie. - This effect is a HOPT. - On banish, Loading... can trigger a one-sided Loading... effect to draw the player a card and then force a discard. - Early game, this effect can be used to dig through the deck for backrow or set up the grave for plays, e.g. dumping a Loading... from hand to grave for a synchro from grave next turn. - Mid-to-late game, this effect can be used to dump e.g. a level 4 Shiranui non-tuner from hand to grave to synchro with a Loading... that was already sent to the grave on a previous turn. - When used in combination with Loading... in Loading... variants of the deck, this effect allows one to discard Loading... back into the grave to use again that very same turn. See the "Playing with That Grass Looks Greener" section of the guide for further detail. - This effect is a HOPT.
- Loading... - On board, Loading... can tribute any Zombie monster on one's side of the field to special summon a 0 DEF Zombie tuner from the deck, e.g. usually the level 2, Loading... , or the level 3, Loading... . Loading... can even tribute himself -- doing so would allow him to dodge on-field effect negation like Loading... . - Early game, this effect is used to get Loading... out of the deck to then ideally put into the grave with a tech card like Loading... . This sets up for next turn the deadly Loading... + Loading... combo as mentioned in the "Mid-to-Late Game Combos and Plays" section. - Mid-to-late game, this effect can be crucial for unclogging one's board of monsters hit by Loading... . - Mid-to-late game, this effect can also be used to send monsters to the grave for Loading... or another effect. For instance, if one has Loading... in grave from a previous turn and the level 6 Loading... on board, then one can use Loading... to tribute Loading... to summon another tuner from deck. Then, one can use the effect of Loading... in grave to banish itself and the now in-grave Loading... to special summon the level 8 Loading... , while also still having Loading... and the other tuner ready on board for another synchro summon. - Loading... 's effect is not limited to tutoring out the Shiranui tuners -- it can special summon ANY 0 DEF Zombie tuner from the deck. This includes e.g. Loading... . - This effect is a HOPT. - On banish, Loading... can special summon back any other banished Shiranui monster. While this effect is typically used to recycle the Shiranui tuners, it can also bring back any of the Shiranui Synchro Monsters if they were originally, properly synchro summoned on the field (i.e. not through the effect of Loading... ). - This effect is most often used for the deadly Loading... + Loading... combo as mentioned in the "Mid-to-Late Game Combos and Plays" section. This combo leads into a game-ending 5500 ATK level 8 Loading... . - This effect is by far the most important on-banish effect of all the Shiranui monsters, as it can recycle resources as well as extend plays. Smart use of this effect is what sets apart a good Shiranui player from an average one. Always be on the look out for opportunities to abuse Loading... 's effect (e.g. via Loading... , the level 7 Loading... , or even the level 8 Loading... 's effects). - When used in combination with Loading... in Loading... variants of the deck, this effect can be used defensively during the opponent's battle phase to summon back a banished Shiranui monster to take an attack. See the "Playing with That Grass Looks Greener" section of the guide for further detail. - This effect is a HOPT.
- Loading... - On board, Loading... can trigger a Loading... effect to mill a Zombie monster from one's deck to grave. - Early game, this effect is often used to mill Loading... to set up a synchro summon from grave next turn. Ideally, Loading... survives the first turn to then mill Loading... next turn for the deadly Loading... + Loading... combo as mentioned in the "Mid-to-Late Game Combos and Plays" section. - Early game, this effect can also be used defensively by milling Loading... to grave. This way, if the opponent deals with Loading... and sends it to grave, then Loading... 's second effect can trigger to banish the Loading... in grave and destroy an opposing face-up card (but only if one has a Zombie monster in hand to special summon). - A similar defensive play to above is to mill Loading... and get a draw and discard when Loading... dies to unload a hand full of Loading... s onto the field and grave. One can also potentially draw into an important handtrap like Loading... with this play to better survive the turn. - Mid-to-late game or after a mill from Loading... , this effect becomes an incredibly flexible way to get any Shiranui monster from deck to grave to abuse with e.g. Loading... and Loading... . - This effect is a HOPT. - On being sent to grave, Loading... can special summon a Zombie monster from hand by banishing a non-Loading... Zombie monster from grave as a cost. - This effect comes up a lot in the initial mill off Loading... . For an example, see the section on Loading... . - This effect often triggers on the field from Loading... being destroyed, tributed, or used for a synchro summon. Two particularly powerful plays that come up are (1) using Loading... as tribute for a card like Loading... and (2) using Loading... for the synchro summon of Loading... . In the former case, one not only gets to destroy an opposing card with Loading... , but one also gets to special summon a Zombie monster from hand to replace Loading... . In the latter case, Loading... 's on-summon effect will trigger first on Chain Link 2 to destroy every card on the field, allowing Loading... 's effect to then trigger on Chain Link 1 to special summon a Zombie monster from hand for a follow up play. - Late game, Loading... 's first effect can be used to mill itself from deck to trigger this second effect. - This effect is a HOPT.
The Combo-Oriented Monsters: Shiranui Spiritmaster, Shiranui Samurai
These two monsters are best used in combo-oriented builds of Shiranui (e.g. Loading... variants), since their effects require an already established graveyard. For that reason, neither Loading... and Loading... are used that often in the standard, balanced builds of Shiranui.
Both Loading... and Loading... have a primary effect that activates on the field and a secondary effect that activates on banish. Each effect of Loading... as well as the on-banish effect of Loading... is a hard-once-per-turn (HOPT).