The Ancient Gear archetype debuted in Duel Links in October 2017 with the launch of the event Dr. Crowler’s Tricky Tests! At the time, Ancient Gears were used in control decks in tandem with Sergeant Electro to be a nuisance to heavy backrow decks. As the meta sped up, the niche of Ancient Gears became outdated and the deck was powercrept off the tier list. However, Ancient Gears received meta defining support in February 2019 with the release of Ancient Gear Awakening structure deck, giving the deck much needed power to allow it to compete with the other top tier decks. Additional support was provided upon the release of Dark Side Of Dimensions in Dark Dimension.
Hello! My name is Gregulator and I’m the author of the Ancient Gear Guide on DLM. When I was first introduced to Duel Links, I was drawn to the Ancient Gear archetype by their easy access and cool artwork. It was my very first King of Games decklist and helped me learn how to play the game. Between Ancient Gears’ release and the time of this guide’s publication, I’ve become increasingly involved within the Duel Links community. I irregularly participate in tournaments but I have topped an MCS and multiple Meta Weeklies and won a handful of Anytime tournaments. I actively play in Clan Wars for TCG Clan and the Unforgiven Suspects for Team Wars. It is out of confidence and love for the deck that I decided to write this guide, to share my perspective on the deck and its place in our meta and to help newer players get their foot in the door, just like I did many months ago.
Today, Ancient Gears are a beatdown oriented deck focused on swarming the field with Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon (AGRD) to push for fast OTK or controlling the field with access to their multiple backrow destruction while searching their pieces for next turn OTKs. Ancient Gear’s strength as a deck comes from Ancient Gear Wyvern and Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon’s effect to deny the activation of monster effects upon attack declaration, ignoring Aleister the Invoker, Flip Flop Frog, Dawn Knight, Secret Six Samurai - Fuma, all Subterror Behemoth Flip effects and effects that trigger by battle destruction like Delta The Magnet Warrior and Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda. Ancient Gear decks are also equipped with backrow destruction to be used both offensively and defensively, allowing for flexible plays against an assortment of playstyles. While Ancient Gears are no longer on the tier list, the deck remains a strong choice to reach King of Games and can be a niche pick in certain formats as a counter pick for the foreseeable future.
The goal of this guide will be to introduce the core of an Ancient Gear deck, discuss relevant tech cards, provide sample decks, highlight combos and plays, and analyze common matchups.
- Middle Age Mechs:
The universally accepted skill, Middle Age Mechs (MAM) plays Ancient Gear Castle (Castle) at the beginning of the user’s first turn. Castle’s effect increases the attack of all Ancient Gear monsters by 300 points. Castle accumulates counters for every normal summon by either player. For every counter placed on Castle, the player may choose to tribute Castle over a monster. This skill accomplishes two things. First, it applies a ton of pressure in tandem with Ancient Gear Wyvern’s effect to search an Ancient Gear card from the deck. By Turn 3, Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon becomes live with either a normal summon from your opponent or with Geartown, which allows any player to tribute summon an Ancient Gear monster for one less tribute.This skill allows Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon to beat over Darklord Morningstar, Darklord Desire, Assault Blackwing - Raikiri The Rain Shower, Fortune Lady Every, and opposing Reactor Dragons in defense position.
The primary win condition of the deck is to special summon Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon and abuse its effect to dominate the battle phase. Reactor Dragon shuts off many relevant monster effects and prevents the activation of battle traps. Taking advantage of this feature allows the user to dominate the opponent’s backrow, swing over multiple strong monsters, and control the board with little to no punishment. Core cards in the deck facilitate the summon of Reactor Dragon. Ancient Gear Wyvern can search it or add Ancient Gear Fortress or Ancient Gear Reborn from the deck to the hand. Destroying Geartown can special summon Reactor Dragon or Wyvern from the deck, hand, or graveyard, while destroying Ancient Gear Fortress can special summon Reactor or Wyvern from the hand or graveyard. Geartown’s effect allows the normal summon of Reactor Dragon for either one tribute or an Ancient Gear Castle with one counter. Lastly, Ancient Gear Reborn provides the deck with recovery in grind games where it can constantly revive Reactor Dragon if the opponent manages to clear it from the board. In tandem with one another, the core of Ancient Gear decks all focus on establishing Reactor Dragon on the board in order to apply pressure and push for game. The following cards
The strength of Ancient Gears relies on their versatile spell and trap removal. These cards are used to destroy Geartown or Ancient Gear Fortress to special summon Ancient Gear monsters to swarm the field. Additionally, they can be used to remove the opponent’s backrow, limiting the disruption options for the opponent, ensuring Ancient Gear monsters can be safely summoned. Each card carries their own niche. Galaxy Cyclone is often the best card to facilitate plays in a general sense. Double Cyclone is strong versus backrow decks. Twister is a great quickplay and stronger in formats with dominant field spells or continuous spell and traps. Similarly, Unending Nightmare is essentially Twister as a continuous trap. Breaker the Magical Warrior is best used when spell negation is common in the meta. De-Spell is a F2P alternative and is only recommended to new/budget players.
Ancient Gear decks can be tailored to play a control focused or aggressive OTK style depending on the format. The supporting backrow techs give Ancient Gear decks their identity. Slower decks often use disruptive cards while faster paced decks opt to use cards to help facilitate their OTKs. These are tech options that are interchangeable with one another and are highly format dependent.
The release of the Invoked archetype in Dark Side of Dimensions offer Ancient Gear decks an intriguing option. AG decks can typically struggle to apply pressure without opening with Ancient Gear Wyvern. Aleister the Invoker can use dead Ancient Gear cards in hand or the opponent’s graveyard to put big bodies on the board while being a consistent normal summon to get counters onto Ancient Gear Castle. Invoked fusions give the deck a consistent toolbox which can be used to either stall to get Reactor onto the field or offer the deck a secondary win condition. Invoked synergizes well with common tech cards like Ancient Gear Reborn, The Regulation of Tribe, and Enemy Controller.
- Geartown can “miss the timing” if destroyed Chain Link 2 or higher. This occurs when a destruction effect is chained to either the activation of Geartown or to a destruction effect, like Galaxy Cyclone or Breaker the Magical Warrior’s effect. To prevent this, it is advised to let Geartown resolve before using a card like Double Cyclone or Unending Nightmare to destroy it. This is a common strategy for dealing with Geartown on the opponent’s end.
- Ancient Gear Fortress can never “miss the timing”. It is safe to destroy this card at anytime to activate its graveyard effect.
- Ancient Gear Fortress can only protect Ancient Gear monsters while it is faceup on the field. Monsters summoned before this card’s resolution are protected if Fortress successfully resolves. Be mindful this protection only lasts for the turn they’re summoned and expires after the end phase.
- Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon’s effect to destroy a spell/trap card is live even if it is destroyed by battle. A neat combo involves suiciding Reactor Dragon into a monster and using the graveyard effect to destroy a Geartown or Ancient Gear Fortress to revive the same Reactor Dragon. This can be done when the opponent’s monster is equal to Reactor’s or Reactor’s attack has been lowered by a card effect like World Legacy Clash or Asymmetaphys
- Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon’s effect only stops the opponent from activating cards after it declares an attack. Face-up cards on the field with continuous effects can still prock. Notable examples include an equipped Cyberdark Cannon, Triamid Kingolem, Amazoness Onslaught, Sea Stealth Attack, and Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En’s protection effect. It is worth mentioning cards like Survival's End, Neos Fusion, Revendread Origin and Darklord Tezcatlipoca are not activated effects but instead are effects that proc when conditions are met and Reactor Dragon only stops activation of cards and monster effects.
- There is no window of activation for opponent’s cards in between Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon attacks. During the battle phase, this can be taken advantage of by destroying a Geartown or Fortress to special summon an additional Reactor Dragon with no window to respond in between attacks.
Top 4 Homie Cup #22 by Lamposted
Invoked Ancient Gear Decklist, inspired by Gregulator & Tenma
New Player / F2P Friendly Ancient Gear Starter Deck
- NOTE: (Replays Will Try to Open the App)
Following the October 2019 Banlist, The Darklord matchup has become more manageable for Ancient Gears, however it is still considered unfavorable. Darklords boast three strong features in their deck that make the match unfavorable. Firstly, Darklords have insane swarm potential with Darklord Contact. Contact makes the deck extremely difficult to OTK. Secondly, The Sanctified Darklord is a huge nuisance for the deck as it can negate Ancient Gear Wyvern’s search effect and Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon’s effect, which prevents the snowball sequence (Reactor destroy Geartown, summons another Reactor, etc). Lastly, Darklord Desire and Darklord Morningstar are easy to summon boss monsters which can deal with Reactor Dragon easily. It also worth mentioning Darklord Tezcatlipoca is a hand trap that can be discarded to protect Darklords from being destroyed by battle or card effect, similar to Neos Fusion and Secret Six Samurai - Fuma. This means even if Reactor declares an attack onto a Floodgated Desire, the opponent may use Tez to protect Desire and use Desire’s effect to remove Reactor from the field on the following turn.
With these factors in mind, the main win condition of the deck is to establish consistent protection from Darklord OTKs. Stunning Darklord monsters with Forbidden Chalice can slow down the deck. Enemy Controller can be used to tribute take a Darklord monster and when chained to a Sanctified, can allow the user to resolve key effects. Trap cards like Floodgate Trap Hole can halt and stall against Darklord Desire and Darklord Morningstar. Drawing into Ancient Gear Reborn can be a strong win condition in itself, as without Cosmic Cyclone, Darklords have no in archetype out to the revival of Reactor Dragon in defense position. While the Darklord matchup can be difficult, it’s always important to be mindful of establishing win conditions and using resources wisely when possible. Any mistakes can leave the player without enough gas to recover and Darklords can quickly snowball the match in their favor.
Side Deck/Tech Choices
Invoked as a deck type is a difficult matchup to cover as the deck typically employs anti-meta cards to help achieve wins. At the time of writing, Invoked decks are commonly using Invoked Magellanica coupled with Scrap Goblin and Black Rose Dragon as the primary win condition. Other Invoked decks use cards like Retaliating "C", Magician Girl engine, Flip Flop Frog and Justice Bringer which Ancient Gear has a strong matchup against.
The key card in the matchup is Invoked Magellanica. Magellanica has an annoying defense of 3300, which walls off Reactor Dragon. Since Ancient Gear monsters are all EARTH, summoning Magellanica can be easy. Additionally, summoning Ancient Gear Wyvern in attack position can be a liability, as it’s easily a window for an OTK from Invoked Cocytus and Concentrating Current. Cards like The Regulation of Tribe can be looped with Ancient Gear Reborn to fend off OTK sacks and stall for key cards in matchups. In Scrap Goblin Builds, it is of high importance to prevent the summon of Black Rose Dragon as even with a fortress revive, Magellanica can clear Golem with an attack boost and the AG player will be in a top deck mode. Element Saber build can be somewhat easier to handle, as Palace of the Elemental Lords provides the player with consistent Double Cyclone targets and targeting protection from Elementsaber Molehu is provided by Ancient Gear Fortress. Ancient Gear decks teched with their own Aleister the Invoker may use the opponent’s graveyard to offer them an extra deck toolbox beyond Magellanica such as Invoked Purgatrio’s pierce effect and Invoked Cocytus’s protection.
Side Deck/Tech Choices
A volatile matchup to put it lightly. Ritual Beasts rely on two characteristics of their deck to function: 1) Ritual Beast Ambush and 2) The fusion monsters quick effects to tag out into other Ritual Beast monsters. For Ancient Gears it’s straightforward what needs to be done. Galaxy Cyclone or Double Cyclone must be used to preemptively hit Ritual Beast Ambush to force untimely special summons. Likewise, the piercing effect from Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon can be beneficial for aiding in OTKs. Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda cannot float after an attack and is naturally smaller than Ancient Gear Wyvern Any failure to not OTK the opponent will result in the Ritual Beast player essentially searching for Spiritual Beast Pettlephin, bouncing cards, and then winning.
Side Deck/Tech Choices
Blackwings are an incredibly difficult matchup for Ancient Gears. As an explosive and resilient deck, Ancient Gear players must be able to do two things to win. The first is to control their board and use generic disruption like Paleozoic Canadia or Floodgate Trap Hole. Depending on the Blackwing player’s hand, the correct “choke point” can be hard to determine as Blackwing - Simoon the Poison Wind is an additional normal summon which complicates how many followup plays are possible. The second method to victory is to abuse the sacky nature of Ancient Gears. Inherent backrow destruction in the deck and various cards like Double Cyclone, Twister, Typhoon, and Unending Nightmare have strong synergy with the deck in conjunction with being strong anti-Blackwing cards. Typically Blackwings have weak disruption like Blackbird Close which is only effective versus Ancient Gear Wyvern and cannot be used if Ancient Gear Fortress has been played. If the Ancient Gear player is unable to OTK the turn of a big push, Blackwing players have strong followup if they played conservatively. Blackwing Tamer - Obsidian Hawk Joe can revive cards like Assault Blackwing - Raikiri the Rain Shower to pop cards on the field or Assault Blackwing - Chidori the Rain Sprinkling may be naturally bigger than Reactor Dragon. Blackwing - Gale the Whirlwind can permanently halve Reactor Dragon’s attack allowing most Level 4s to swing over it. Proceed with caution and may the luck be ever in your favor.
Side Deck/Tech Choices
Desperado or Coin Flip decks focus on turboing out Desperado Barrel Dragon and the dark machine type monsters either facilitate the summon, offer board control, or generate card advantage. The strength for Ancient Gears in this matchup is preventing Desperado from hitting the field to begin with, as Wyvern and Reactor Dragon both deny Desperado’s special summon effect in the hand from triggering when they attack and destroy DARK machines. While this may seem easy to do so, the matchup can snowball out of favor if the Ancient Gear player fails to control the board.
They key in the matchup is to establish a board to deny the summon of Desperado. Paleozoic Canadia and Floodgate Trap Hole can be used to keep BM-4 Blast Spider from using its effect. Blast spider itself is a huge threat as Ancient Gear Castle is activated if going first, so without a disruption card, Blast Spider can get Desperado onto the field. However, Blast Spider’s defense is 2200, which means only Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon can swing over it.
When Desperado is already on the field, the goal for the player is to summon Reactor Dragon with protection from Ancient Gear Fortress. Fortress will protect Reactor from Desperado’s effect and will guard vs targeting cards like Canadia, World Legacy Clash, and Bad Aim. Desperado decks often use Bad Aim and Dust Tornado or Cosmic Cyclone in the side deck, so it is advised to not play into those cards if it can be avoided. For the Ancient Gear player, side deck cards like Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror can turn off the effects of all DARK monsters, so it must be dealt with by the Desperado player and is often a strong side deck card. Lastly, World Legacy Clash can be chained to Desperado’s effect and force the Desperado to destroy itself if and only if a heads is rolled and it’s the only monster faceup on the field.
Side Deck/Tech Choices:
Ancient Gears (Mirror Match)
Ancient Gear mirror matches are often decided by the player who can position the board to their advantage best. A few facets must first be taken into consideration, because they produce two different game states with equally viable and distinct win conditions. The first consideration is the skill, Middle Age Mechs (MAM). Ancient Gear Castle provides a 300 attack boost for all “Ancient Gear” monsters on the field. The presence of at least one castle on the field allows Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon to swing over opposing AGRD in defense position. This feature promotes active game states, where well timed offensive outbursts can outright win the game. A second consideration is Ancient Gear Fortress. Fortress denies targeting and prevents responses due to Wyvern’s effect. Without interruption, AGRD can achieve fast OTKs by swarming the field with lots of monsters. The final consideration is potential deckout and stall, fueled by a passive game state where AGRD is sitting in defensive position backed by multiple backrow and card advantage. With these considerations taken into account, a few strategies exist in the mirror match to satisfy a viable win condition.
The first path is an aggressive OTK approach. Strong hands enable swarming multiple monsters onto the field and can overwhelm the opponent if their board is weak. Summoning Ancient Gear Wyvern + Fortress can protect Ancient Gear monsters from disruption cards commonly found in AG decks, like Paleozoic Canadia. Be careful when deciding to go for game, as AG decks can either main or side deck cards like Skull Meister to prevent Geartown or Ancient Gear Fortress' graveyard effect from resolving. A well timed Skull Meister can leave a board open and vulnerable to a follow up reverse OTK if there is no contingency plan. When pushing for OTK, destroying the opponent’s back row can be beneficial if Enemy Controller is in hand, as both AGRD in defense or attack position can be exploited in the mirror match with one Castle on the field.
An alternative strategy to winning the mirror match is to play disruptive and wait patiently for windows to OTK. Slower builds relying on Floodgate Trap Hole and Canadia can stall for turns while combo pieces are accumulated. Popular cards like Skull Meister backed by backrow can successfully halt OTK pushes and leave the opponent drained. Chaining any form of destruction such as Double Cyclone, Bad Aim, or Unending Nightmare to force Geartown’s destruction on Chain Link 2. After the opponent is spent, it’s important to assess if any Ancient Gear Castle is needed. Destroying an opposing Castle can slow down an opposing summon of AGRD but also slow down any offensive momentum if an opposing one is summoned. Lastly, chainable backrow such as World Legacy Clash and Mirror Wall can either stall for a turn or provide protection to follow up with an OTK. The key to winning this stage is correctly identifying what part of the opposing engine poses the biggest threat to disrupt it.
When both players have exhausted resources, victory via deckout becomes a viable win condition. While this strategy is very slow, it can 100% win games if opposing outs are exhausted, including Enemy Controller and Treacherous Trap Hole. When going for deckout, it’s important to recognize and build a board in which any surprise out could occur. Most AG decks may have outs to 1 AGRD in defense position, but dealing with two can quite difficult. It is this reason why sometimes playing patiently and passively in an otherwise quite aggressive deck can pay off.
While the above paragraphs explore win conditions where both decks use the same skill Middle Age Mechs (MAM), other deck building choices exist to help win the mirror match. Skills such as The Tie that Binds offer an edge and allow players to apply more pressure as they have a consistent way of swinging over opposing AG monsters. Main decking multiple Enemy Controllers and playing cards such as Bad Aim can add extra outs to Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon, the first being an offensive out with econ take usually while the second is a more reactive card and can be situational. Likewise, System Down banishes all machine monsters at the cost of 1000 life points, and can be brutal as revival effects from Geartown and Fortress become obsolete.
Side Deck/Tech Choices:
Overall, Ancient Gears are a meta defining deck. AG’s strength in the battle phase make it a top tier deck in Duel Links. Ancient Gear is often portrayed as a gatekeeper of the metagame, preventing decks that rely on floating or monster effects in the battle phase from becoming top contenders. As such, Ancient Gear has sustained its place on the tier list since its introduction and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Although Ancient Gears playstyle may be described as linear, the deck’s strengths compensate for its predictability and its accessibility makes it a great introductory choice for new, returning, and veteran players alike.
Jonesy9027 - I would like to thank Jonesy for reviewing the guide and helping me format it for the website. He highlighted various areas of the guide where I could improve explanations and ultimately contributed to making the guide more new player friendly. A big shoutout.
The playerbase - a small group of active Ancient Gear players who play Ancient Gears in events.
Dkayed and Duel Links Meta - an excellent gathering place for the community to come together.