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 As the meta sped up, the niche of Ancient Gears became outdated and the deck was powercrept off the tier list.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.
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 participate sparingly in tournaments with a few Meta Weekly tops and Anytime tournament wins, but i play actively and regularly in Clan Wars and Team Wars for Animal Plays, where I am the main deck builder for our Ancient Gear decks and hold an 80% match win rate (12-3) in Clan Wars S2. 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 Sphere Kuriboh, Karakuri Ninja mdl 339 "Sazank", and Secret Six Samurai - Fuma. 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. These effects have proven to be strong and helped shape the meta to what it currently is today.
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 (Wyvern) ability 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. Secondly, level 4 monsters meta monsters like Koa’ki Meiru peak at 2000. Wyvern’s attack with castle allows it to meet this threshold. With Castle on the field, Ancient Gear monsters surpass many relative benchmarks in the meta today, beating over defense position Secret Six Samurai - Fuma, Level 4 Six Samurai monsters, and all relevant Level 4 Koa’ki Meiru monsters, except for Koa'ki Meiru Urnight. This skill allows Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon to beat over Koa'ki Meiru Maximus and opposing AGRD in defense mode. The major downside to MAM in the current format is it ensures Six Style - Dual Wield will be live after playing any card. This obstacle makes it difficult for Ancient Gear players to commit to the board. However despite this downside, Middle Age Mechs is the recommended skill to play the deck with.
- Sealed Tombs:
As Six Samurais become more dominant in the meta game, Sealed Tombs (ST) offers a real alternative to Middle Age Mechs. ST Ancient Gears allow the player to prevent banishing from the graveyard, ensuring their pushes cannot be bounced back to the hand by Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi. Using ST also denies the Six Samurai player an automatically live Six Style - Dual Wield. A big downside to this skill however is leaving Ancient Gear Wyvern below many relevant attack thresholds. At 1700 attack, Wyvern is walled by defense position Secret Six Samurai - Fuma, all Koa’ki Meiru monsters, and Legendary Six Samurai - Kizan.
Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon (2-3x):
Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon (AGRD) is the boss monster of the deck. AGRD boasts equally powerful attack and defense at 3000 apiece. This allows it to tie Koa'ki Meiru Maximus and beat over it with Ancient Gear Castle on the field. On attack declaration, the opponent is not able to activate spells, traps, or monster effects, giving AGRD immunity to most battle traps and Sphere Kuriboh. Its additional effect allows the player upon successfully attacking, regardless if it survived or not, to destroy a Spell/Trap on the field. This grants the player to either destroy the opponent’s backrow or destroy Geartown/Ancient Gear Fortress to snowball and swarm the field with more monsters. These traits make AGRD one of the top boss monsters of the current meta.
Ancient Gear Wyvern (3x):
Ancient Gear Wyvern (Wyvern) is the main normal summon of the deck. Upon summon, Wyvern allows the player to add one “Ancient Gear” card from the deck to the hand, excluding itself. This effect provides consistent access to both Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon or Ancient Gear Fortress (Fortress) which open up for big plays the following turn. Wyvern shares the effect with AGRD that monster effects cannot be activated upon attack declaration but does not have the built in spell/trap immunity AGRD has. Wyvern’s effect prevents the user from setting cards after it was summoned, so it’s important to set cards prior to Wyvern’s normal summon.
Geartown is the field spell for the deck and the primary card to enable the special summon of Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon. Geartown allows the summon of any Ancient Gear monster for one less tribute and when it is destroyed, allows you to summon an Ancient Gear monster from your hand, deck, or graveyard. The destruction of Geartown is the main enabler of many OTK pushes for Ancient Gear decks and it is a primary focus of the deck. An important note is Geartown can and will miss the timing if it is destroyed Chain Link 2 or higher.
Ancient Gear Fortress (1-2x):
Ancient Gear Fortress (Fortress) functions as a blanket protection card while serving as a combo piece for swarming the field. Its first effects grants Ancient Gear monsters immunity from targeting effects on the turn they’re summoned. This effect is useful as it guards your monsters from cards like Paleozoic Canadia, Survival's End, Treacherous Trap Hole, etc. Secondly, it prevents the opponent from responding to the activation of Ancient Gear cards and effects. This useful protection ensures Ancient Gear Wyvern cannot be Floodgate Trap Holed, as opponents cannot respond to Wyvern’s effect to add an “Ancient Gear” card from the deck to the hand. Lastly, Fortress’ graveyard effect allows the player to special summon an Ancient Gear monster from the hand or graveyard. This effect extends plays for potential OTK by summoning AGRD or builds advantage by summoning Wyvern. A key difference to note is Fortress’ destruction effect takes place if destroyed. The graveyard effect will prock regardless where its destruction in the chain took place meaning this card cannot “miss the timing”.
Breaker The Magical Warrior:
Breaker the Magical Warrior (Breaker) is one of the main combo starters of the deck. Its effect allows it to destroy any spell or trap card on the field. Breaker’s effect is flexible and can be used to destroy Geartown or Ancient Gear Fortress to special summon an AG monster or to destroy the opponent’s backrow to to clear a non-disruptive path for later AGRD summon. Following the release of Six Samurais, Breaker’s utility has increased as a popular combo starter compared to Galaxy Cyclone or Double Cyclone, as its effect cannot be negated by Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En.
Double Cyclone’s (DC) niche as a dual combo enabler and backrow removal is valuable to Ancient Gear decks. As Six Samurai dominates the meta, Double Cyclone’s spell speed 2 is incredibly useful to Ancient Gears. Double Cyclone can be chained to a Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En negation to destroy Six Style - Dual Wield. When used on potentially Shi En negated Ancient Gear Fortress, Double Cyclone’s destruction effect will resolve first, ensuring the graveyard effect occurs while destroying a Dual Wield. Defensively, Double Cyclone can be used to destroy Shien's Dojo, preventing a Secret Six Samurai - Fuma special summon and potentially Shi En altogether. As the meta shifts to play heavier disruption in response to Six Samurai’s ascension, sniping those disruption cards during the opponent's end phase can swing the duel heavily in favor of the Ancient Gear player. DC frequently becomes more live as players shift towards backrow heavy decks, in particular Amazoness decks, and should be considered more than just a free to play substitute in the current meta. Builds using DC should consider playing multiple Ancient Gear Fortress. Doing so allows for backrow destruction paired with Double Cyclone, a special summon from the hand or graveyard, and next turn follow-up with extra copies available.
Twister’s niche in the deck is a single target face-up face-up spell/trap destruction quick-play spell with a mere 500 life point cost. In the Six Samurai meta, Twister’s niche is strong for a few reasons. Offensively, Twister is spell speed 2 so it can be chained to Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En’s effect. The key interaction is chaining Twister to Shi En’s attempted negation of Ancient Gear Fortress. Twister will resolve first, destroying Fortress in the spell/trap zone, enabling the graveyard effect of Fortress to special summon an Ancient Gear monster from the hand or graveyard. The only comparable card is Double Cyclone, but that requires a backrow card and sometimes boards only consist of Shi En and Secret Six Samurai - Fuma, turning this play off. Defensively, Twister can be used to disrupt opposing Six Samurai plays by destroying face-up Shien's Dojo. As a quick play, Twister can be used to destroy as soon as Dojo acquires Bushido counters, preventing the special summon of a Fuma from the deck. Outside of Six Samurai matchups, Twister has at least some use in other matchups, including the mirror match and against Amazoness to destroy face-up Amazoness Onslaught.
Galaxy Cyclone (GC) is one of the primary starters for the deck. Similar to Breaker, GC destroys any set card on the field and any face-up card the following turn. A flexible spell for the deck allows the user to be proactive and destroy a set Geartown or Ancient Gear Fortress or clear the opponent’s backrow for safe summons of AGRD. Galaxy Cyclone often serves as great “negate fodder” for Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En, as while it is negated for a turn, it usually forces the backrow negation and becomes live the following turn, as Shi En cannot negate its effect in the graveyard. GC is a nice tech choice for the Amazoness matchup, as it can be used to potentially clear Floodgate Trap Hole for Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon and it can be used in the graveyard to destroy faceup Amazoness Onslaught.
Arguably one of the most powerful cards in Duel Links, Enemy Controller (Econ) has great synergy in Ancient Gears. Econ works in tandem with Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon’s effect to prevent the activation of opposing spell, trap, and monster effects from activating. After AGRD’s attack declaration, lethal can be on board with a potential Econ take play (tribute one monster and take control of an opposing monster) that cannot be disrupted by the opponent. Take advantage of revival effects if tributing AG monsters, as destroying Geartown to summon a tributed AGRD with no activation window in between summons can be deadly for the opponent. Against Six Samurai, Enemy Controller can be used to accomplish two things - bait a Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En negation and/or switch Shi En to defense position, turning off Six Style - Dual Wield. Additionally, Econ can be used to prevent Secret Six Samurai - Fuma from crashing or by removing a Six Samurai monster to turn off Enishi effect during an attack. Enemy Controller can be a game winning card in the mirror match as the deck has no inherent out to opposing AGRD in defense position when both Ancient Gear Castle are off the field.
Karakuri Ninja mdl 339 "Sazank":
Sazank’s usage as a tech card is tied directly to the Tier 0 status of Six Samurai as a deck. Sazank’s effect upon flip is to send a face-up monster from the field to the graveyard. The strength lies in the word “send”, meaning the monster is not destroyed. This bypasses Secret Six Samurai - Fuma’s graveyard protection. Sazank can be used to remove Legendary Six Samurai Shi En from the field to follow-up with combos without worry of negation or to remove Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi to remove the bouncing threat. In other matchups, Sazank can be a dead card but has some use as it can remove an Amazoness Queen, Lava Golem, or Fortress Warrior from the field.
Unending Nightmare (Unending) is a tech card suited for metagames where continuous spells and traps are prevalent, as it allows the Ancient Gear player to use the card aggressively to begin combos or defensively as a form of disruption against the opponent. Currently, Unending has a strong niche as a countermeasure to Shien's Dojo, Six Samurai United, Amazoness Onslaught, and opposing Ancient Gear cards in the mirror match. The card may be considered slow and a dead draw in mid to late game but when seen early, Unending provides the AG player great value.
Paleozoic Canadia (Canadia) functions as a great disruption and tribute engine in Ancient Gears. This card can be used to target opposing monsters and flip them facedown, stopping their ignition effects. This card is used on threatening monsters, such as Koa'ki Meiru Urnight and Koa'ki Meiru Maximus. Going first, Canadia can be used to stall the opponent from synchro summoning by flipping materials facedown. Against Amazoness, Canadia can be used to flip down Amazoness Princess to prevent it from attacking and special summoning Amazoness Queen. Since Ancient Gear decks usually take a turn to setup properly, Canadia as a stall and disruption card works perfectly to buy time to get to your win conditions. Canadia’s secondary effect to special summon as a monster from the graveyard serves as additional tribute fodder for Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon or Enemy Controller.
Floodgate Trap Hole:
Similar in function to Canadia, Floodgate Trap Hole (FGTH) is a meta staple and serves as a great disruption and stall card in Ancient Gears. FGTH flips monsters facedown permanently when summoned. A key difference is FGTH does not target monsters specifically. This distinction makes it stronger in the mirror match where opposing AG monsters may be under the targeting protection of Ancient Gear Fortress, a notable exception is Ancient Gear Wyvern, as you cannot respond to its effect activation the turn it is summoned.
Skull Meister’s strength in the mirror match is incredibly powerful. Skull Meister can be discarded from the hand to negate an effect that activates in the graveyard, except during the damage step. Notable meta examples include Geartown, Ancient Gear Fortress, Diamond Core of Koa'ki Meiru, Secret Six Samurai - Fuma, and revival effects from Amazoness Onslaught and Paleozoic Traps. Skull Meister finds its value in the mirror match by disrupting plays like Galaxy Cyclone’s graveyard effect and preventing special summons from cards like Ancient Gear Fortress and Geartown. In the events or on the ladder where Dinosaurs and Ancient Gears are popular, this is a card to strongly consider in the main deck and definitely the side deck.
These cards mimic Galaxy Cyclone in F2P variants of Ancient Gear decks. While De-spell may be less flexible than Galaxy Cyclone, it's one of the best budget choices and is easy to access. The major downside is the loss in flexibility, but contribute to the overall strategy of the deck - the special summon of AGRD or Wyvern through destruction of Geartown and Ancient Gear Fortress. Proceed with caution, Storm can make Geartown miss the timing if the opponent has backrow, even if used at Chain Link 1.
Planet Pathfinder (Pathfinder) serves as a normal summon substitute for Wyvern or Breaker in more combo-centric versions of the deck. It is currently one of the only methods of reliably searching Geartown. Pathfinder’s effect states it can be tributed to search a field spell from the deck, allowing the player to access Geartown and begin their combos. However, Pathfinder’s effect is a trigger effect and is susceptible to Canadia and FGTH so proceed with caution when using this card.
- 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 crashing AGRD into a Koa'ki Meiru Maximus or opposing AGRD, suiciding, and using the graveyard effect to destroy a Geartown or Ancient Gear Fortress to revive the same AGRD.
- 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 Amazoness Onslaught, Sea Stealth Attack, and Vampire Grimson. It is worth mentioning cards like Survival's End have an opportunity to activate its graveyard effect after Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon declares its attack.
- 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 AGRD without fear of summoning into Floodgate Trap Hole.
Tenma, Top 10 Global April 2019 KC Cup
Jayrabian, Top 100 Global April 2019 KC Cup
Autumn Leaf, Top 16 MCS XVII
Swagbodi, 1st Place April Giveaway Tournament
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The introduction of Six Samurai to Duel Links has centralized the format into a tier 0 metagame, where all decks are Six Samurai or Six Samurai “counters”. For Ancient Gears, it’s important to recognize the threatening aspects of Six Samurais in order to properly play against them. The three major concerns Six Samurai poses against Ancient Gears are:
Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En The core strategy of Ancient Gears revolves around the destruction of Geartown to special summon Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon from the deck. Shi En poses an obstacle as once per turn, it can negate a spell or trap for free. Shi En’s effect negates all common methods of Geartown destruction with exception of Breaker the Magical Warrior.
Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi Ancient Gear decks are very resource intensive and Enishi poses a major threat. Its effect to banish two Six Samurai monsters from the graveyard to return a card to the hand essentially makes committing to the board very difficult. It’s of utmost importance to play around Enishi and prevent his summon, as its effect is a quick effect.
Six Style - Dual Wield Dual Wield is an incredibly powerful card that is almost always live versus Ancient Gears. Middle Age Mechs begins the AG player’s turn with Ancient Gear Castle, so any single card will make a Dual Wield live if the opponent has met the conditions. For this reason, committing to the board vs Shi En and any set is threatening, because without protection from Ancient Gear Fortress, any card can be bounced back to the hand, leaving open fields for follow-up OTK.
While these threats should not be taken lightly, Ancient Gears have access to a very strong boss monster in Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon. AGRD’s built in spell/trap destruction makes it very difficult to keep Shien's Dojo on the field long enough to summon Enishi from the deck. Additionally, AG Wyvern and RD prevent Fuma’s floating effect from activating, ensuring it cannot float into Secret Six Samurai - Kizaru to search for Enishi. Because Six Samurai players can establish very strong boards, there are different ways to approach the game depending on the coin flip to begin the duel.
Going First: When going first, it’s important to prevent the synchro summon of Shi En if possible at all. To prevent this, staple backrow such as Paleozoic Canadia can be used to halt a synchro temporarily for a turn. Cards like Twister and Double Cyclone should be used early on Shien's Dojo to deny the opponent a special summon from the deck, usually Secret Six Samurai - Fuma. When able to disrupt like this, it’s essential to keep resources up for an Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon summon, as without Enishi or Dual Wield, Six Samurai have few inherent outs to this card. When Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon is on the field, it’s important to not be completely left open to a Dual Wield play. Using this turn to potentially resolve an Ancient Gear Fortress can protect the card from being negated by Shi En as well as guarding following AG summons from targeting by Dual Wield or Enishi.
Going Second: Going second vs Shi En and/or a single Six Samurai monster can be menacing. Trap cards such as Floodgate Trap Hole and Paleozoic Canadia can be useless to turn off Six Style-Dual Wield. When one Six Samurai is in face-up attack position with set cards, it’s advised to keep Dual Wield in mind. Turning off Dual Wield by using Enemy Controller to switch Shi En into defense position works. Because Shi En can negate one spell or trap per turn, the player must judge whether or not which card Shi En must negate. With Double Cyclone + Fortress, bait Shi En into negating Double Cylone, then use Enemy Controller to switch it into defense position. This turns off Dual Wield and allows a safe summon of Ancient Gear Wyvern and a safe resolution of Ancient Gear Fortress for follow-up. Be weary of leaving monsters in attack position, as the opponent may summon Fuma to crash and special summon Enishi or Secret Six Samurai - Kizaru to search Enishi.
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. They key to winning this stage is correctly identifying what part of the opposing engine poses the biggest threat and 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:
The revival of Amazoness poses a unique threat to Ancient Gears, as their primary win condition is banishing monsters via their continuous trap Amazoness Onslaught. Onslaught’s strength versus Ancient Gears is its effect is continuous, thus it can be activated even when Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon attacks. This distinction makes Amazoness a strong control deck that can be tailored to have a strong matchup against Ancient Gears depending on the backrow selection to support the Amazoness monsters.
When tackling the Amazoness matchup, it’s important to understand the various threats and win conditions against Ancient Gears. Certain boards require either patience or aggressive pushes and the player’s ability to judge efficiently may determine the duel. Amazoness Onslaught’s banish effect is the primary threat to Ancient Gears, as the banish effect cannot be stopped nor can Onslaught be destroyed by Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon whilst battling an Amazoness monster. Amazoness Onslaught is quite difficult to break with an Amazoness Queen, because she prevents all Amazoness monsters (including herself) from being destroyed by battle, creating a minimum of two threats that must be addressed. To further support the deck, Amazoness players typically tech Floodgate Trap Hole to clog the AG’s board, Bad Aim and Skull Meister to disrupt special summons involving Geartown or out AGRD, and lastly Gravity Lash and Mirror Wall to be chainable attack reduction cards to make pushes and stall for a turn respectively. Lastly, Amazoness Swords Woman’s battle damage reflection makes her crashing into AGRD a viable win condition, especially in conjunction with Queen.
With these threats in mind, it’s important to analyze the board state at every given moment. Early Floodgate Trap Holes and Paleozoic Canadia can halt the threat of Amazoness Princess and Queen, allowing the Ancient Gear player to acquire enough backrow hate to safely commit to an Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon. Enemy Controller can be used to out Amazoness Queen for either an OTK or to take for an AGRD tribute summon. Backrow removal options such as Galaxy Cyclone, Double Cyclone, and Cosmic Cyclone can be used to remove troublesome cards like Bad Aim, Floodgate Trap Hole, and Amazoness Onslaught. In particular, Double Cyclone enables an Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon to be summoned when used on a Geartown or Ancient Gear Fortress if Bad Aim is not present and it does not get floodgated. Monsters such as Ancient Gear Wyvern and Breaker the Magical Warrior can bait the opponent into using these backrow, making the summon of AGRD safer. These monsters can also be used as tribute fodder, with Wyvern enabling AGRD to pierce defense position monsters. Galaxy Cyclone’s graveyard effect can be used to take out an opposing Amazoness Onslaught. To play around Skull Meister, consider taking advantage of Ancient Gear Wyvern’s effect to use Double Cyclone in the Battle Step, as Skull Meister’s effect in the hand will be negated and can be used to summon an AGRD. It’s important to note multiple monsters on the field can lead to potential Lava Golem plays by the opponent. Lastly, Jinzo is commonly used as a side deck card to negate Amazoness Onslaught’s banish effect for easier AGRD summons.
In all, Amazoness matches are very diverse as they have a multitude of options. The best advice is to play calm, analyze the situation, and commit to pushes when they’re safe or make aggressive pushes to avoid safe losses.
Side Deck/Tech Choices:
The Koa'ki Meiru (KKM) matchup can be described as volatile at best. As of the March 2019 Banlist, nerfs to the Koa’ki Meiru deck have stifled their OTK presence, as the main OTK enabling Koa'ki Meiru Maximus was limited. However, Koa’ki Meiru decks can still boast a favorable matchup, as Koa'ki Meiru Urnight into Koa'ki Meiru Wall can negate most spell effects to prevent Geartown’s destruction. Likewise, failure to OTK can leave Ancient Gear boards vulnerable to followup Maximus, Koa'ki Meiru Rooklord, or Koa'ki Meiru Ice pops.
Going first, it’s important to disrupt their board with cards like Paleozoic Canadia and Floodgate Trap Hole while preparing a next turn push. It is advised to not spit out AGRD recklessly because Koa’ki have multiple forms of removal to get rid of it in the form of Koa’ki Meiru Maximus and Ice if it was special summoned by Geartown or Fortress. Going second, it’s important to build a strong board to either OTK if possible or to dismantle theirs and prepare to disrupt an Urnight/Maximus/Rooklord OTK push. The matchup odds can be improved by main decking more disruption like Canadia and FGTH. In a tournament, side deck cards like Magic Drain could be used to negate Diamond Core of Koa'ki Meiru searches while Enemy Controller can allow for OTK pushes through their fragile boards.
Side Deck/Tech Choices:
Dinosaurs are a control deck utilizing the Paleozoic engine to set up their graveyard for Survival's End (SE) disruption plays and generating card advantage. The core strategy of Dinos is to cycle through their dinosaurs using SE on the field to wipe normal monsters to float into Babycerasaurus (Baby) and then use SE’s graveyard effect to destroy cards on the field and float into an advantageous Dinosaur by Baby’s graveyard effect. The key interaction in the matchup is SE can prock during an Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon attack, disrupting many OTK pushes and the consistent floating and disruption can interrupt common combos and plays in AG decks, such as destroying Geartown Chain Link 2 to make it “miss the timing” and destroying Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon during the battle phase.
Winning against Dinosaurs boils down to either pushing for OTK before their graveyard is setup or disrupting their plays at a moment that is beneficial and spends the fewest resources. Any disruption in the Dinosaur sequence must be timed precisely to avoid losing a valuable resource. The first few points are requiring Dinosaurs on the field for SE to activate in the graveyard. Early in the duel, it can be beneficial to using Paleozoic Canadia and Floodgate Trap Hole to flip dinosaurs facedown on Turn 2 to prevent SE’s graveyard effect. Dinosaur players that use Paleozoic Marrella in the Draw Phase and mauver themselves to have a normal monster or Paleozoic on the field may telegraph they’re setting up for a SE play. For example, a dangerous board may have a Baby with 2-3 backrow. This is only a smart play when the opponent has a SE play, meaning a backrow card is likely Paleozoic Marrella (Marrella) to pitch SE to the graveyard for a destruction and float.
Playing around Survival’s End can be a tricky task. It’s important to recognize when it is safe to make pushes. Using resources to start the engine can result in lost card advantage if played without outs to Survival’s End. For example, it’s not advised to use backrow hate to destroy Geartown, as with a Dino on the field, the opponent may chain SE to destroy Geartown and make it miss the timing. Cards in the deck that can aid in this matchup include Skull Meister, which can be chained to SE to negate its effect. It is advised to play patiently and gather enough resources to push for game with protection from Ancient Gear Fortress, as it will protect all Ancient Gear monsters from Survival’s End the turn they’re summoned if resolved. Other card options such as Double Cyclone (DC) and Bad Aim can be useful in the deck, as they serve a dual purpose and can force Dinosaur players into triggering their effects at non optimal moments in the duel. Double Cyclone prompts early activation of traps and clears Floodgate Trap Hole while Bad Aim’s effect to target Dinosaur monsters can lead to premature SE plays, allowing the player to commit with more ease. This is beneficial because this situation can allow for a follow-up play and their early commitment drains them of their fuel for threats like Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon or Geartown.
Dinosaur players only have access to 3 “destructions”, so limiting the lost advantage is key to winning. Level 4 Dinosaur monsters have higher attack stats compared to AG level 4 monsters, allowing Dinos to beatdown and win games. However, Dinosaur players use few monsters and applying pressure early can force them to activate their SE at non optimal moments in the duel, leading to a loss in playable monsters, risking a deck out.
Overall, Dinosaurs have a slightly favorable matchup versus Ancient Gears. Their constant disruption can be a nuisance as they’re one of the few decks that can disrupt during the AGRD attacks. As these duels can be very unpredictable, assessing the correct timing based on resources available can afford opportunities to play aggressively or patiently. Additional tech slots to make this matchup more favorable should always be considered in the main or side deck.
Side Deck/Tech Choices:
Replays Will Try to Open the App: Replay 1
Yubel-Nephthys (Yubel) is a common matchup in the ranked PVP ladder with a strong matchup versus Ancient Gears, thus it warrants discussion. Yubel - Terror Incarnate (Yubel-TI) cannot be destroyed by battle and destroys all monsters on the field during the opponent's end phase. Because standard Ancient Gear decks do not play standard monster removal, playing versus Yubel requires disrupting the opponent’s strategy during key interactions. For Ancient Gear players, the main strategy for defeating Yubel should be considered in two points: preventing her summon or using her for an Enemy Controller play.
In order to prevent Yubel-TI from hitting the field, it’s important to be aware of the most popular summoning methods. Popular methods in current Yubel decks include utilizing: Fire King Island (FKI), Fire King Avatar Yaksha’s (Yaksha) effect, and Disciple of Nephthys’ (Disciple) effect. Skull Meister can be used when FKI activates to negate Yubel’s effect in the graveyard. Using Ancient Gear Wyvern or Reactor Dragon to destroy Yaksha will not proc the effect to destroy a Yubel in the hand. Disciple is arguably the most difficult card to deal with because of its 2000 defense stat. However, Skull Meister can negate Yubel’s effect in the graveyard if Disciple destroys it. Paleozoic Canadia can be used to flip down Disciple to disrupt its ignition effect, allowing the AG player to stall for a turn.
When Yubel-TI is on the field, options become limited. The main way to remove her from the field is swarming the field and using Enemy Controller to take control of Yubel-TI to enable an OTK. Summoning multiple monsters off a Fortress or Geartown destruction in conjunction with the normal summon can enable this play. Paleozoic Canadia is immune to Yubel-TI’s end phase destruction effect, so it is a good candidate to use as econ fodder. Likewise, spot removal cards such as Treacherous Trap Hole can be used at Chain Link 2 or higher to destroy Yubel-TI and make it miss the timing, preventing Yubel - The Ultimate Nightmare’s summon.
A final note is to simply outplay! Ancient Gear players can take advantage of Ancient Gear Wyvern and Reactor Dragon’s monster effect negation. If an opposing Fire King Island is on the field, simply declaring an attack followed by a spell/trap destruction will prevent Yubel-TI’s graveyard effect. Other cards like a well timed Bad Aim can be used to destroy Yubel-TI, forcing it to miss the timing.
Side Deck/Tech Choices:
Overall, Ancient Gears have the strength and power to compete with multiple top tier decks in the meta. Their presence in the meta game has shifted decks towards building with non targeting disruption. Although Ancient Gears playstyle may be described as linear, the deck’s strengths compensate for their predictability and will remain a top contender for the ladder and tournaments.
My team and clan, Animal Plays - they’ve helped me grow into the player I am and I love them. I thank them for their support and encouragement while writing this guide. Special thanks to Brenduke and ThreeD for elaborative critiques on sections.
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.
Jadehex - same^
Dulling - I would also like to thank Dulling for reviewing the Ancient Gear mirror match section in the matchups and for helping me.
Tnobes99 - I would like to thanks Tnobes for his feedback and discussion with the Dinosaur section of the guide.
Mako-Boy - My Animal Plays team coach. He helped me gather replays and reviewed the guide and was a big help in this aspect.
Dkayed and Duel Links Meta - an excellent gathering place for the community to come together.