Are you a vegan, disgusted with the flagrant abuse of chickens on the ranked ladder?
Didn’t farm Super Joey, and now everyone gets to play Khaleesi while you sit and watch from the sidelines with your mill and toon decks?
Do you feel like YOUR Duel Links Ranked Love Life doesn’t have as much cuckoldry as it used to?
I’m Hot Dolphin, and I hit KoG this season playing No Mortal Can Resist Psychics. I chose this deck after a series of failed attempts through Legend with a Venus deck, where I was repeatedly beat down and out-drawn by Red-Eyes variants. I decided that, since you can’t even demote from Legend anyway, this was the perfect place to craft and test a deck that can respond to the ever-increasing amount of competitive decks that rely on graveyard rotation. I haphazardly threw this deck together with whatever sounded like it had synergy, queued up for ranked, and was fresh out of Legend not even twenty games later.
Due to the speed at which I was able to reach KoG, I cannot, with confidence, say that my decklist is optimal. For this reason, I will not be telling you exactly how many of exactly what card you should be running in this deck to expect success. There are multiple ways you can build this deck and succeed on the ladder, and I will cover as many as I can, so that you, the reader, may build your own deck around your own needs.
The Psychic archetype comprises of fairly low ATK and fairly lower DEF effect monsters, who aim to control the field with an array of versatile effects at the cost of LP. Over the course of Duel Links’s lifespan, Psychics have seen mild success against top decks, but have generally been sidelined in favor of more focused and consistent decks, often with stronger draw power. However, with the introduction of a searcher/swarmer in Serene Psychic Witch , and one of the most powerful 1-for-1 cards in the game in Psychokinesis , Psychics now share several of the most important strengths of any competitive deck in the Duel Links meta, and synergize with one of the most potent, underutilized anti-meta character skills in the game.
No Mortal Can Resist - Can be used when your Life points are at least 1000 less than the opponent’s. All monsters in the opponent’s Graveyard changes to Skull Servants (Zombie / DARK / Level 1 / ATK: 300 / DEF: 200). This skill can only be used once per turn.
The focal point of this deck. As of this writing, the current notable competitive decks in Duel Links that have interact with the monsters from the Graveyard are Red Eyes Variants, Nephthys, Frogs, Fiends, Naturia, Ninjas, and Gemini Zombie decks. These decks, combined, easily make up at least 60% of the ladder from Platinum and beyond. In a Psychic deck, most of your core cards will include some method of managing your LP to the appropriate No Mortal Can Resist threshold, allowing you to completely shut down the flow of decks that rely on Graveyard circulation. This skill can only be used during your Main Phase.
I lied earlier. There are two exceptions that I can tell you exactly how many you should be running in a Psychic deck.
3 Serene Psychic Witch - When this card is on the field and destroyed, banish 1 Psychic from your deck with less than 2000 ATK. If this card stays in your graveyard, special summon the banished monster. This is one of the best searchers in the game. It easily sets up Power Injector and Destructotron, acts as fodder for Borg, and pulls out Wattsychic Fighter to kill your opponent’s draw. When building my deck, I decided that the luxury of being able to choose any Psychic monster makes it redundant to run more than two of any one Psychic Monster.
3 Psychokinesis - If you control a face-up Psychic, target 1 card on the field; destroy it, and if you do, take 1000 damage. The most cost-efficient 1-for-1 removal card in the game. Can be used early to snowball a lead, or late into a duel to kill an especially difficult back row or monster card. If you don’t have a strong lead on your opponent, a single Psychokinesis will often be enough to trigger No Mortal Can Resist. Be wary when using this card on back row; your opponent can chain quick-play spells and many traps to it, which will still activate the effect, and result in you losing LP. Of course, that’s not always a bad thing…
Aside from these 6 cards, the best way to build a Psychic deck is entirely up to you; mix and match accordingly to what you’re encountering on the ladder. Next, I will cover some of the relevant monster and back row cards that I have tested since reaching KoG.
Reinforced Human Psychic Borg - Twice per turn, you can remove from play one Psychic monster from your graveyard to give this card 500 ATK. The combination of a searcher that can special summon this card, the low stats of Psychics, Enemy Controller, and the prevalence of Super Rush Headlong in the meta makes it very easy to fill your graveyard with Psychics, making this a very efficient and easy to summon boss monster. Borg shares an EARTH attribute with most other Duel Links Psychics, which can result in a huge loss of offensive momentum to a defensive Super Rush Headlong.
Power Injector - Once per turn, pay 600 LP to give all face-up Psychic monsters 500 ATK during this turn. Allows you to manage your LP around No Mortal Can Resist, and allows you to overpower common beaters. Sub-par on it’s own, excels when paired Psychic monster on the field and special summoned with Serene Psychic Witch. Psychics have two 1700 beaters in Duel Links, who, when paired with Power Injector, will reach a clean 4000 combined ATK points, forcing your opponent to burn back row/Sphere Kuriboh or be OTK’d.
Genetic Woman - Once per turn, you can pay 1000 LP to add 1 banished Psychic monster to your hand. Your only method of banishing Psychics is with Borg, or cards that are currently terrible. This is one of two 1700 ATK Psychics currently in Duel Links, which is the highest of any current Psychic that doesn’t require a tribute. The strict limitation and steep cost of it’s effect means it will rarely be used more than once per duel, and usually in the final turns of the duel. Genetic Woman is a WIND attribute monster, which can be used to get around a defensive Super Rush Headlong.
Telekinetic Shocker - If a Psychic type monster on the field would be destroyed, you can pay 500 LP to destroy this instead. This is your other option for a 1700 ATK Psychic, except it’s EARTH attribute. It’s effect triggers off of both battle and card effects, allowing your Borg to comfortably ram into Mirror Walls or tank Super Rush headlong.
Destructotron - During the End Phase, if this is the only Psychic you control: destroy it. You can pay 1000 LP to destroy one of your opponent’s set spells/traps. It’s effect is redundant with Psychokinesis, but cannot remove frontline. If special summoned with Serene Psychic Witch, and used in conjunction with Psychokinesis, you will be able to remove at least a third of your opponent’s field, and will almost guaranteed be able to activate No Mortal Can Resist. It’s fragility combined with it’s high LP effect costs make it a risky, but highly rewarding choice.
Wattsychic Fighter - When this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can target 1 card in your opponent’s graveyard; place it either on top or bottom of their deck. This effect can only be used once per turn. Anyone who has played against a Weevil can tell you how devastating a dead draw is. Best case scenario is, of course, to send Skull Servant, but controlling your opponent’s next draw will rarely work against you. Even more fragile than Destructotron, but if Wattsychic Fighter is on the field, it’s already done it’s job.
Spell and Trap Cards:
Enemy Controller - It does everything. This card defines the Duel Links meta, always has, and is only going to become more common as players collect Ranked Duel Tickets. With the increase of competitive decks that can pull out OTKs, there’s rarely ever a reason NOT to run it.
Super Rush Headlong - Allows you to either protect your frontline, or make aggressive plays with your Psychics that you otherwise may not be able to. This is one of the most powerful and versatile quick-play spells in the current meta, and it should be expected in any deck that cannot beat down a Red-Eyes.
Mirror Wall - The Big Tilter. Anything that runs into it is a spooky skeleton for the rest of the duel, if you pay for it. Usually, you won’t even have to.
Eliminating the League - Sometimes 3 removals just isn’t enough, and you need it to be on THEIR turn. An excellent tech for ladder, if you lack Mirror Walls. Eliminating the League loves Psychokinesis when your LP is getting low, and has pretty decent chances of killing something in your opponent’s hand. You even get to see your opponent’s hand, which will help you to prioritize targets for Psychokinesis. Who even knows what those clowns are running in ranked?
Supremacy Berry - Can fit reasonably well into an Enemy Controller or Super Rush Headlong spot. At 4000 LP, acts as a ticket to No Mortal Can Resist, if you want it to. Otherwise, the extra longevity allows two uses of Destructotron, a turn of Mirror Wall, or two Psychokinesis. It’s even decent fodder in a list that runs Eliminating the League. Fits well in just about any Psychic deck.
Red-eyes - It’s still Red Eyes, and they’re inevitably going to get one on the field. You still live and die by your backline, and their variety of attributes in their monsters means SRH will only slightly slow the beatdown. A cautious Red-Eyes player will turn ON their toggle to activated Red-Eyes Spirit before your main phase. The speed, versatility, and sheer power of Red-Eyes makes it difficult for any deck to go against, but a lack of experience against Psychics and No Mortal Can Resist can cause the Red-Eyes player to make misplays they otherwise might not. Important to note: a Psychic monster special summoned by Serene Psychic Witch cannot be targeted by Champion’s Vigilance. Bait out their Red-Eyes Spirits with Psychokinesis, blow up what’s left with Destructotron, and either force them to suicide into your backrow, or overwhelm them with a Borg. Hopefully, they won’t draw their entire deck before you can respond.
PHOENIX - Unlike Red-Eyes, Nephthys decks are unable to get their boss monster onto the field during your turn, leaving you ample opportunity to lower your life points to active No Mortal Can Resist. Also unlike Red-Eyes, a defense-position Nephthys can be run over by half of your Psychics without backrow support. An early Psychokinesis will decide the game; use it against a Yaksha, and watch them send their hand to their doom. If they get out an early Nephthys with Fire King Island, Psychokinesis it and blow up their entire frontline. Your opponent can choose to hold onto their Nephthys, instead of immediately sending it to the graveyard, but, more often than not, they don’t. A recent tech in Nephthys is Destruct Potion, which only helps you to turn it into a skeleton for the rest of the duel.
NINJA - Your best option is to bait out their Ninjitsu trap cards, and Psychokinesis the first one they activate. Using Psychokinesis on their frontline will usually result in them tributing their Ninja, and you wasting a valuable Psychokinesis. If you’re running SRH, it will take priority over an attacking Ninja Grandmaster Sasuke, forcing them to either use a Ninjitsu, which you can Psychokinesis, or lose the Ninja. Ninja decks love to stall with Sphere Kuriboh, Windstorm of Etaqua, Curse of Anubis, and Enemy Controllers to get out Red Dragon Ninja and kill your draws. A well timed play with Psychokinesis and Wattsychic Fighter or Destructotron will usually be enough to swing the game in your favor.
CONTROL - Very similar to the Ninja matchup, but easier to swing into your favor early on with Psychokinesis. Generally, you want to pick apart their field with Psychokinesis and Destructotron before fully committing to an attack. Control runs quick-play spells that it can chain into Psychokinesis, so in most cases, it’s better spent removing their frontline. Heavy Flame Knight will pop anything you special summon with Serene Psychic Witch, inhibiting both your ability to stall with multiple Serene Psychic Witches, and your ability to overwhelm them with a sufficiently beefed up Borg.
TOONS - Did you draw Psychokinesis? No? Outplayed. If you drew psychokinesis, was it enough to get over Magic Reflector? No? Outplayed. If it was enough, you successfully outplayed your opponent.
WEEVIL - A bad draw into a Parasite Paracide or an activation of Jade Insect Whistle makes all of your Psychokinesis useless and instant kills Destructotron. If you’re able to use a Psychokinesis, odds are it’s because you control a Lava Golem, and you cannot afford to give up LP just for him to chain it into Enemy Controller, Windstorm of Etaqua, or Curse of Anubis. You will have no difficulty activating No Mortal Can Resist, and killing a draw with Wattsychic, but Weevil’s control over your LP and typing of your monsters make this a very difficult matchup. Do not pass Duel, do not collect 200 gold.
ICE BARRIER - If you can survive the initial onslaught, you should be able to take control of the field and run away with the game. Tea burn 2.0, except you can Enemy Controller it.
HAZY FLAME - Bugfix never ever.
MILL - Actual Tea Burn 2.0. You live and die by your Destructotron and Psychokinesis. If Destructotron is sent to the graveyard, you have the option of banishing it with Borg, and adding it to your hand with Genetic Woman. It’s not the best option, but it’s more than several other competitive decks.
NATURIA - An early Destructotron into No Mortal Can Resist makes Naturia Marron a sitting duck and Naturia Stag Beetle a regular beatstick. Be careful for Anti-Magic Arrows and Exterio’s Fang, otherwise, it’s a pretty easy matchup, especially if you are able to activate No Mortal Can Resist multiple times.
MAKO - His beaters out-beat yours, he can swarm them more quickly, and he’s got good removal and backrow. You should always expect at least two Mirror Walls in higher ranks. The match is generally a slug-fest, and Telekenetic Shocker shines here in protecting your Borg, which Mako will rarely get over without a Metalmorph. Wattsychic Fighter can help even out an early disadvantage if Mako pulls an early Fish Depth Charge play.
MAUSOLEUM - Mausoleum players love to get out Lava Golem and take it back with Owner’s Seal, into a Fenghuang the next turn. A tributed Serene Psychic Witch won’t activate it’s effect, so be mindful of Lava Golem. A recent, popular tech in Mausoleum is Ultimate Providence; try to bait it out whenever possible, so you don’t waste valuable removal. A +2 Borg with Power Injector support gets over Invader of Darkness. If you can beef up your Borg, their only remaining win condition will be a Golden Apples play.
Psychics can do a little bit of everything, if not as well as some of it’s competitors. My hopes in writing this article is that you, the reader, will conclude that this archetype has serious merit and potential both competitively and for the ranked ladder climb, and try it out for yourselves, if you’ve got the cards for it lying around.
I haven’t even come close to covering all of the quality options for this archetype; in the time it took me to write this report, I’ve found six other Psychic decks that have reached KoG, some running Destiny Draw, Balance, even Bandit. At absolute worst, this is a generalist deck that relies on surprise factor and misplays from it’s opponent, but I believe that this archetype has the potential to grow into one of next big decks that you dread to encounter on the ladder; and even a viable competitive counterpick in the same vein as Mill, Toons, or Control. This archetype is just starting to attract attention, and I encourage all of you readers to try it out and experiment with it for yourselves, and adjust accordingly with whatever you encounter on the ladder; after all, my own VERY sub-optimal decklist was built purely in response to the number of Nephthys and Red-Eyes players. Thank you for reading.