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Crystal Beasts Guide

Overview

The Crystal Beasts debuted in Duel Links in November 2017 in the Jesse Anderson roaming event. At the time, the archetype was very limited in its card pool, and used cards like Gaia Power for its beatdown strategy. Shortly after, Jesse returned in the event “Awaken! Rainbow Dragon!” where the Crystal Beasts finally became a cohesive deck, but it was still too slow and gimmicky to be seen as a meta threat. Things changed in April 2020, however, when Crystal Beasts gained two high-impact support cards in the Truth Universe Main Box. Even though the skill Transcendent Crystals got nerfed on the May 2020 Forbidden/Limited List, the Crystal Beast strategy now has what it takes to topple the tier list.

About the Author

Howdy, my name is NESHY and I am the author of this Crystal Beast Guide! I was the first person in the Yu-Gi-Oh TCG history to have competitive success with Crystal Beasts, and now I hope to bring my skills to the Duel Links realm. I have been playing Duel Links since its worldwide release in Jan 2017, and I’ve built countless Crystal Beast variants as I watched the deck grow (especially when That Grass Looks Greener was at 3 with Meet My Family!). What really draws me in about the archetype is a combination of its artwork, its playstyle, and a whole lot of nostalgia. I especially like how “sticky” the beasts are, meaning they get repurposed as a crystal instead of going to the Graveyard. If you find yourself enjoying this article, you may also like the Crystal Beast content I create on my YouTube channel, where I share different combos, deck builds, and duels against the meta using only Crystal Beasts!

Introduction

Crystal Beast is an archetype that focuses on placing monster cards in the Spell & Trap Zone as Continuous Spell Cards in order to activate powerful effects. By playing a control game, they can survive long enough to gather all 7 “Crystal beast” names on the field or in the GY to summon their main boss monster, Rainbow Dragon. Interestingly, only 4 out of the 7 Crystal Beasts are actually Beast-type, with the others being Fairy, Aqua, and Winged Beast. The heart of the deck lies in Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus, not only in it being the strongest beast, but also because of its effect to place another Crystal Beast from your hand, Deck, or GY to the Spell & Trap Zone. While the monsters themselves generally carry underwhelming effects, the “Crystal” Spells and Traps are some of the most powerful cards in the game.

There are two paths to take when building Crystal Beasts: Rainbow Overdragon OTK and Conclave Control; this guide will be covering the latter as it actually has KOG representation. Conclave Control focuses on controlling the field with Crystal Conclave in order to disrupt the opponent and give the player follow-up for the next turn. From there, the player can use cards like Crystal Promise to summon multiple Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus, boost each of them to 2000 ATK with Crystal Power, and OTK the opponent. Crystal Beasts can also use Xyz monsters to supplement their strategy in the r4nk toolbox, meaning they will only get better as new Xyz options release.


Core Cards

Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus (3x)

Duel Links Card: Crystal%20Beast%20Sapphire%20Pegasus

The heart of the deck. Sapphire Pegasus is a ghetto +1 that can access beasts from the hand, Deck, or GY. Being able to place another Sapphire Pegasus means that playing anything less than 3 is incorrect. He’s also the main beatstick of the deck, allowing for easy OTKs and Xyz summons when combined with other “Crystal” Spells and Traps. Opposing cards like Paleozoic Canadia and Book of Moon can actually help Sapphire Pegasus by allowing him to facilitate more of his on-summon effect. Cards that negate and destroy, such as Ultimate Providence, are actually somewhat resisted by Sapphire Pegasus as he will simply go to the backrow, enabling other cards like Crystal Promise and Crystal Conclave.

Crystal Beast Topaz Tiger (2x)

Duel Links Card: Crystal%20Beast%20Topaz%20Tiger

The second name required for Crystal Bond. Though he does provide strong utility by reaching a higher damage threshold than Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus, he is still not as useful as his equine partner. Topaz Tiger would most likely be replaced with Rainbow Dragon, the Zenith Crystal Beast if it ever gets introduced.

Crystal Bond (1x)

Duel Links Card: Crystal%20Bond

If Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus is the +1, then this card is the +2. Not only does it give access to Sapphire Pegasus, but it immediately enables cards like Crystal Promise and Parallel Twister without having to use a normal summon. Crystal Bond puts you so far ahead on card advantage that the worry of losing out on resources becomes nonexistent. Unfortunately, only one copy of this card is obtainable in the game, but this drawback is mitigated with three copies of Rainbow Bridge, meaning that you can essentially play four Bond. This is the type of card that other archetypes wish they could have.

Crystal Promise (1-2x)

Duel Links Card: Crystal%20Promise

Monster Reborn for Crystal Beasts. This card allows for easy OTK and Xyz setups in order to quickly overwhelm the opponent. Playing Crystal Promise along with Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus will force opponents to use their defensive cards, else they risk losing the duel. It is recommended to only play one copy and save it for the right opportunity to go all out, but as more Xyz monsters get introduced, more copies could be warranted.

Rainbow Bridge (3x)

Duel Links Card: Rainbow%20Bridge

It’s an archetypal searcher, it’s not once per turn, and it’s 11 words long, simple as that. Playing this card at three copies allows you to toolbox any “Crystal” card since you have consistent access to them. Because of this, Rainbow Bridge also increases the ceiling of the deck by requiring more decision-making: will you search out Crystal Conclave and play defensively, or will you push for game with Crystal Promise?

Crystal Conclave (3x)

Duel Links Card: Crystal%20Conclave

If Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus is the heart of the deck, then this is the soul. Crystal Conclave has two effects, the first of which allows you to special summon a new Crystal Beast from the deck if one were to get destroyed. Because of this, Conclave gives access to Sapphire Pegasus if you only open it alongside Crystal Beast Topaz Tiger. This effect becomes even more powerful if multiple copies of Conclave are face-up on the field when a Crystal Beast is destroyed, meaning you can employ massive swings in tempo. The second effect of this card, however, is what makes this strategy possible; by sending itself for cost, it targets a Crystal Beast CARD you control and any other card on the field and returns them to the hand. This effect provides useful disruption and puts a crystallized beast back in the hand for follow-up on the next turn. Since there are plenty of cards that resist destruction, and more monsters are coming from the Extra Deck these days, bouncing back to the hand has become an invaluable method of removal.


Tech Cards

Battlin’ Boxer Veil/Sphere Kuriboh (1-2x)

Duel Links Card: Battlin'%20Boxer%20Veil
Duel Links Card: Sphere%20Kuriboh

As Crystal Beasts fill up the Spell and Trap zone with their effects, it is worthwhile to look into hand traps as defensive options. Traditional traps, such as Fiendish Chain and Floodgate Trap Hole, tend to clog up the backrow, so using defensive cards from the hand can help make the deck run smoothly. These two cards provide similar roles in preventing OTKs, but Battlin’ Boxer Veil has the extra utility of being a Level 4 for r4nk Xyz while Sphere Kuriboh can help destroy an opposing monster on the crackback. If you have neither of these two cards, it is recommended to pursue Battlin’ Boxer Veil since it is not only easier to pull, but it also comes in a more relevant box - Rage of Volcano.

Red Resonator (1-2x)

Duel Links Card: Red%20Resonator

Red Resonator opens up Synchro options for Crystal Beasts. Due to Crystal Conclave giving a normal summon every turn, Red Resonator wiill almost always have a beast to summon from the hand. Some of the most noteworthy Synchro options include Vulcan the Divine, Archfiend’s Call, Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, and even Red Rising Dragon to climb into either Red Dragon Archfiend or Dark End Dragon. Vulcan the Divine is a particularly strong option for the deck, being able to act as its own Crystal Conclave and give you a Crystal Beast for the next turn. One thing to look out for when using a normal summon on Red Resonator, however, is that it is not as safe as normal summoning a Crystal beast Sapphire Pegasus; if the summon gets interrupted by a Floodgate Trap Hole or an Ultimate Providence, then it will not be able to place a Crystal Beast in the Spell & Trap Zone to enable Conclave.

Star Seraph Scepter & Star Seraph Sovereignty (3x & 3x)

Duel Links Card: Star%20Seraph%20Scepter
Duel Links Card: Star%20Seraph%20Sovereignty

As one of the most powerful engines in the game, the stick and chair combo allows you to draw intro your techs, destroy opponents’ cards, and call upon powerful r4nk Xyz monsters. It is also really versatile, as you are able to make Evilswarm Ouroboros to rip an opponent’s card going first, or set up a Stellarknight Delteros to get some pops. As great at this engine is, however, it uses your normal summon, locks you into 3-material Xyz, and requires both the stick and the chair in hand to do the full combo. If the combo does get interrupted by cards such as Karma Cut, you can use Crystal Bond to set up Crystal Promise and get the third body required for the Xyz summon. Bond could also be used to set up for a Crystal Conclave and interrupt the opponent’s turn.

Neos Fusion & Blackwing - Zephyros the Elite (2x & 1x)

Duel Links Card: Neos%20Fusion
Duel Links Card: Blackwing%20-%20Zephyros%20the%20Elite

Another superstar engine, Neos Fusion provides a strong beater in Elemental HERO Brave Neos as well as a Foolish Burial for any Level 4 or lower monster. Brave Neos helps solve the deck’s problem with the low damage threshold by being able to beat over Dark Magician, Dragon Spirit of White, and other beefy buffoons after the Crystal Power boost. The protection effect from Neos Fusion often clashes with Necrovalley, but this is not a big issue. Where this engine really shines, however, is in its use of the Zephyros being able to revive itself by bouncing back a crystallized beast or the Necrovalley as cost. The card makes for easy r4nks, especially when combined with Crystal Promise.

Necrovalley (2x)

Duel Links Card: Necrovalley

The most important tech card of the deck, Necrovalley stops any deck that uses the Graveyard as a resource. Since Crystal Beasts dwell in the backrow most of the time, turning off the Graveyard does not hurt the strategy as much as it does other decks. Necrovalley has a good history of stopping meta decks like Shiranui, Invoked, Noble Knight, Crystron, Thunder Dragon, Lightsworn, Fire King, and Witchcrafter. It is important to note that Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus will not be able to recur beasts from the GY while it is active, so it is up to you to keep the beast from going to the GY as much as possible in order to survive the grind game. This card can also be searched with Demise of the Land if more copies are desired.

Parallel Twister/Cosmic Cyclone (2x)

Duel Links Card: Parallel%20Twister
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone

These cards both provide their own forms of removal, one being able to destroy any card on the field, and the other specifically for Spell and Trap cards. Parallel Twister carries more flexibility in any matchup as some decks do not play any defensive backrow, such as Thunder Dragon and HERO. Even though this card is an inherent -1, the drawback is mitigated by cards like Crystal Bond and even turning off your own Necrovalley if the matchup calls for it. Cosmic Cyclone on the other hand does not need any setup in order to be played, and can even be activated during the opponent’s turn (though this option requires setting it in the backrow). Crystal Beasts struggle against backrow decks, such as Aromage and The Weather, so if you find yourself playing against these decks more often, Cosmic Cyclone would be best for you. Otherwise, if it is a monster-heavy format, Parallel Twister would be more valuable. Either of these options is a definite must-have for any Crystal Beast deck, but the choice is up to you. Storm is a budget alternative to these cards.

Rare Value (1-2x)

Duel Links Card: Rare%20Value

The Destiny Draw for the archetype. Though not a core Crystal Beast card, it serves as a way to trade the backrow crystals into real cards and dig deeper to find the tech cards. It requires two Crystal Beasts in the Spell & Trap Zone in order to be activated, and the opponent gets to select which one goes to the Graveyard, potentially pausing precise plays. If the activation requirement is met, however, it will resolve even if the opponent chains Cosmic Cyclone to remove one of the crystals.

Super Rush Recklessly (1-3x)

Duel Links Card: Super%20Rush%20Recklessly

If this card was always paired up alongside Crystal Conclave, it would be an instant three of in any Crystal Beast deck. Super Rush provides a very powerful form of removal and can also be combined with Conclave to put you far ahead on card advantage. The shuffle removal proves to be very powerful, as in the instance of chaining it to the activation of an Invocation and targeting Aleister the Invoker; if the opponent does not have another copy of Aleister in hand, the Invocation will resolve without effect, leaving the opponent with no way to recycle it and get the engine going. This card does not come without its drawbacks, however. Sometimes you will not open Super Rush + Conclave and therefore will have to resort to giving up monster presence in order to use the card. The combo requires Super Rush, Conclave, a Crystal Beast, and no removal from the opponent in order to be successful. As such, if just one of these pieces is missing, Super Rush is inevitably less than amazing.

Abyss Dweller

Duel Links Card: Abyss%20Dweller

If there is one thing that rogue decks appreciate, it’s floodgates that slow down the top tier decks to a more manageable pace. Abyss Dweller is no exception, being able to stop any decks that use the Graveyard as a resource with the added bonus of always being accessible from the Extra Deck. Even better, this effect can be used as a quick effect, meaning an opposing Karma Cut won’t be able to keep it from activating.

Diamond Dire Wolf

Duel Links Card: Diamond%20Dire%20Wolf

Honorary Crystal Beast? Diamond Dire Wolf represents removal that is always accessible, which comes in handy when you’re really in need of some spot removal (though this deck already does that through Crystal Conclave). If you control a face-up Conclave and three Crystal Beasts, you could overlay two of then for Diamond Dire Wolf and use its effect to destroy your third Crystal Beast, triggering Conclave’s effect to special summon from the deck and essentially ignore this canine’s cost.

Gagaga Cowboy

Duel Links Card: Gagaga%20Cowboy

This one comes with double utility. In attack position, he can beat over almost anything after the Crystal Power, and in defense he can gun down the opponent for 400 burn damage. You won’t summon him often, but it’s always nice to have the option to win without having to go through opposing monsters and backrow.

Gagaga Samurai

Duel Links Card: Gagaga%20Samurai

This super slicer is yet another Gagaga, but instead of utility, this one offers raw power. It serves as a double attacker that can be buffed by Crystal Power. More often than not, you will have enough attacks to deal lethal damage, but it’s always nice to have the option especially if you only control two Crystal Beast Topaz Tiger, after a Crystal Beast gets hit with Fiendish Chain, or your beasts are lowered from a Wall of Disruption. The second effect will almost never come up.

Number 18: Heraldry Patriarch

Duel Links Card: Number%2018:%20Heraldry%20Patriarch

Facing down too many Dark Magician and Blue-Eyes White Dragon on the ladder? This Xyz monster is the one for you! By locking down your opponent to just one name, DM and BEWD decks are going to struggle to get out of a deadlock like this. Though be wary, as DM can play The Eye of Timaeus and BEWD can normal summon a tuner to make Vermillion Dragon Mech in order to break the lock, so don’t see this as a win-con but rather as a way to see a couple more draw phases.

Number 39: Utopia

Duel Links Card: Number%2039:%20Utopia

This is the r4nk that you can’t go wrong with. Its hefty ATK can beat over most monsters after the Crystal Power boost. Its attack negation effect is useful for stopping OTKs, but be wary because it destroys itself if it does not have any Xyz material. This card gains extra value when playing Number C39: Utopia Ray for massive OTK potential; play LP reducing cards like Cosmic Cyclone and Herald of the Abyss to fulfill its LP condition.

Number 50: Blackship of Corn

Duel Links Card: Number%2050:%20Blackship%20of%20Corn

A ship that has extreme value when it comes to dealing with monsters that cannot be or shouldn’t be destroyed with normal means. If there are cards on the field that you wouldn’t necessarily want to bounce back to hand, nor destroy them, such as Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda, this card would be a great addition to your r4nk toolbox. Unfortunately, it can’t attack after using its effect, so it might be difficult to finish the opponent off on that turn.

Number 91: Thunder Spark Dragon

Duel Links Card: Number%2091:%20Thunder%20Spark%20Dragon

If you look at our deck, you’ll notice that every form of removal has to target something: Crystal Conclave, Parallel Twister, Super Rush Recklessly, Vulcan the Divine, and even Number 50: Blackship of Corn all need a target. This thundering titan, however, gives us access to a walking Dark Hole, dealing with monsters that cannot be targeted such as Lunalight Sabre Dancer. Though it is expensive to make, requiring three materials, this cost can be mitigated by playing Battlin’ Boxer Veil for extra material.


Skills

  • Crystal Power

The primary skill choice for modern Crystal Beast decks. After the Transcendent Crystals nerf, this skill became the new mainstay for the archetype. It turns every backrow crystal into a Banner of Courage, giving you a solid boost during your turn. This skill allows Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus and Crystal Beast Topaz Tiger to beat over monsters they otherwise couldn’t, forcing opponents to crash their own monsters else they risk losing them on the crackback. This skill can also boost the ATK of Xyz monsters, allowing Number 39: Utopia to beat over Dark Magician and Dragon Spirit of White, and Gagaga Cowboy to beat over 3200 ATK monsters. While you could in theory boost up by 600 ATK, it is not recommended because 99% of the time an open Spell & Trap Zone is more valuable than a third Banner of Courage.
  • The Tie that Binds

Budget alternative to Crystal Power. This skill still offers OTK potential for Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus, boosting them to 2000 ATK if you control two. The overall damage ceiling is smaller, however, giving a maximum of only 300 ATK.

Tips

It is possible for Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus to miss timing when summoned off of Crystal Conclave. If your face-up Crystal Beast is destroyed while you control two face-up Conclaves, and you choose to summon two Sapphire Pegasuses from the deck, only the one that was last summoned will be able to activate his effect. In a similar vein, if you control a face-up Conclave, and an opposing Elemental HERO Brave Neos destroys a face-up Crystal Beast by battle, the Brave Neos will activate its effect as Chain Link 1 and Crystal Conclave as Chain Link 2; Conclave will summon a Sapphire Pegasus, and Brave Neos will add a Neos Fusion to your opponent’s hand. Since the last thing that happened was not the Sapphire Pegasus summon, he will not be able to activate his effect.

Crystal Conclave could help dodge enemy Wall of Disruption and Drowning Mirror Force by bouncing back your own monsters. At the same time, if your opponent activates Cosmic Cyclone or Storm to destroy your Necrovalley, you could bounce it back to your hand and activate it the next turn if the opponent’s deck loses to it.

It is important to note that in order to use the second effect of Crystal Conclave, it must already be face-up on the field, so it is usually best to immediately flip it up during the Draw Phase in order to play around Night Beam and Galaxy Cyclone. If you get a read on your opponent playing Hey, Trunade!, however, wait until they activate it before you flip up Conclave so that they essentially waste the card. The same logic applies to an opponent playing Ms. Judge; if you flip up Conclave while she is on the field, it will trigger her effect and essentially waste it since the Conclave will not be destroyed and you will still be able to activate the bounce effect in a different chain. It gets tricky, however, because your opponent could instead summon a monster like Twin-Barrel Dragon, which could destroy the Conclave before it has a chance to flip itself up beforehand. In general, it is recommended to just flip up Conclave in the Draw Phase, but in order to not give free information immediately, meta gaming experience is required.

Since Crystal Conclave states “return them to the hand,” the card will always resolve as much as possible, even if one of the targets gets removed. As such, if you have two face-up Conclaves and only one Crystal Beast in the backrow, you can use one Conclave to target the Crystal Beast and another card on the field, then chain the other Conclave to target the same Crystal Beast and a different card on the field, and return all three of them to the hand. This is known as the “Conclave Cool Guy” move.


Sample Decks

Kurokodairu, 1st Place Anytime Season #33

Duel Links Card: Crystal%20Beast%20Sapphire%20Pegasus
Duel Links Card: Crystal%20Beast%20Sapphire%20Pegasus
Duel Links Card: Crystal%20Beast%20Sapphire%20Pegasus
Duel Links Card: Star%20Seraph%20Scepter
Duel Links Card: Star%20Seraph%20Scepter
Duel Links Card: Star%20Seraph%20Scepter
Duel Links Card: Crystal%20Beast%20Topaz%20Tiger
Duel Links Card: Crystal%20Beast%20Topaz%20Tiger
Duel Links Card: Star%20Seraph%20Sovereignty
Duel Links Card: Star%20Seraph%20Sovereignty
Duel Links Card: Star%20Seraph%20Sovereignty
Duel Links Card: Crystal%20Bond
Duel Links Card: Necrovalley
Duel Links Card: Necrovalley
Duel Links Card: Crystal%20Promise
Duel Links Card: Rainbow%20Bridge
Duel Links Card: Rainbow%20Bridge
Duel Links Card: Rainbow%20Bridge
Duel Links Card: Crystal%20Conclave
Duel Links Card: Crystal%20Conclave
Duel Links Card: Crystal%20Conclave
Duel Links Card: Number%2039:%20Utopia
Duel Links Card: Number%20C39:%20Utopia%20Ray
Duel Links Card: Stellarknight%20Delteros
Duel Links Card: Diamond%20Dire%20Wolf
Duel Links Card: Evilswarm%20Ouroboros
Duel Links Card: Gagaga%20Samurai
Duel Links Card: Vylon%20Disigma

Side Deck:

Duel Links Card: Kiteroid
Duel Links Card: Kiteroid
Duel Links Card: Ally%20of%20Justice%20Cycle%20Reader
Duel Links Card: Book%20of%20Moon
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Leeching%20the%20Light

Mika*+*, King Of Games

NESHY, King Of Games

Mattlex, King Of Games


Matchups

Noble Knight

Having such a good Noble Knight matchup makes Crystal beast a great contender in the current meta. The matchup relies on resource management and precise gameplay in order to come out on top. Going first, it is best to use Crystal Conclave to bounce back the normal summon, most notably Noble Knight Medraut, after your opponent equips him with a Noble Arms equip spell. After turn 1, however, conserve the Conclaves for Xyz monsters such as Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus and get a 2 for 1. If you have two Conclaves or you need access to Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus, let the Artorigus destroy a beast so that you can summon more from the deck before bouncing the bladed buffoon. Be wary of Merlin in the GY when you target the knights, as he essentially makes them dodge targeting effects. Cards like Forbidden Lance can negate the effects of Noble Arms of Destiny, meaning the equipped monster can be destroyed by battle or by Parallel Twister. Necrovalley outperforms against the deck, ensuring that you will win the resource game so long as your opponent doesn’t find an out to it.


Invoked Neos

Neos has always been a great matchup for Crystal Beast because the Elemental HERO Brave Neos is easily dealt with by a Crystal Conclave, and Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus can use Crystal Power to beat over the Keeper of Dragon Magic. Invoked used to be an auto-loss for Crystal Beast, up until Invoked Cocytus got banned. Now, Invoked only threatens the deck with Invoked Purgatrio which also does not appreciate being bounced by Conclave. Since both of the fusions are weak to Conclave, the matchup is very advantageous for Crystal Beast. In fact, the only thing that is threatening about the deck is the Karma Cut, which can put you on a timer if enough of them resolve. Necrovalley, on the other hand, has the potential to stop the Invoked engine entirely. Now that Invoked decks are only running a single Invocation, it is worthwhile to banish it early on with Cosmic Cylone and stop the engine for the rest of the game. One thing to keep in mind when facing down a Purgatrio OTK is that it’s sometimes best to choose not to crystallize the beasts, in order to not give the Purgatrio more attack.


Thunder Dragon

At first, these thundering titans can be overwhelming with their high ATK, Synchro and Xyz potential, and floating capabilities. But just like in the TCG, Thunder Dragons do not appreciate being bounced back to the hand. This is especially true if they go into the extra deck for monsters, such as Hieratic Sun Dragon Overlord of Heliopolis which can be bounced immediately on summon for an instant 2 for 1. Chaos Dragon Levianeer can be spooky, especially because it does not target, triggers Thunder Dragons, and doesn’t mind going back to the hand. Keep in mind, however, that it can’t attack the turn its effect resolves, potentially giving you another turn to deal with it. Sticking a Necrovalley before your opponent gets 3 LIGHT/DARK monsters in the Graveyard is a great way of preventing Levianeer from hitting the field at all. Necrovalley also does wonders against the Lightsworn variant, especially if the opponent wants to Glow-Up Bulb. This matchup requires some experience to navigate, but overall Crystal Beasts come out on top most of the time.


Blackwing

This is one of those matchups that is sometimes decided by the coin flip due to both decks having a high variance in the power of their opening hands. On the one hand, Crystal Beast can set up double Crystal Conclave, on the other hand, Blackwings can open double Cosmic Cyclone and Blackwing - Simoon the Poison Wind. The biggest advantage Crystal Beasts have is they want to go into a grind game against Blackwings when they run out of gas. This can be achieved by bouncing back the Synchros with Conclave until their hand is smaller than a defense position Rainbow Dragon. Even then, you could probably make a lethal push earlier on if their hand lacks the power to put up a formidable fight. Blackwings struggle at recovering resources, top decking, and grind games, three things that Crystal Beasts excel at. If you can survive their OTK push, you will normally be able to close out games and win matches by virtue of your superior grind game.


Desperado

Another matchup that is heavily dependent on variance; if your opponent activates two Cup of Ace on the first turn, it is unlikely that you will win that game due to sheer card advantage. Other than that, this matchup can be pretty simple, so long as your opponent is not able to summon Desperado Barrel Dragon. Bounce the Machina Fortress with Crystal Conclave or destroy it will Parallel Twister, and stay away from destroying the DARK Machines like Twin-Barrel Dragon if your opponent has a card in hand that could be Desperado. Try to force out the grind game; lethal pushes can be a challenge against this deck due to Arcana Force XIV - Temperance preventing battle damage. Necrovalley is generally not useful in this matchup, but it keeps Machina Fortress from coming back from the GY as well as Super Team Buddy Force Unite! from reviving monsters. Head Judging is not as big of a threat to Crystal Beasts as it is to other decks. This matchup requires experience in order to be successful.


Witchcrafter

One of the easiest matchups in the game, made even easier if you open Necrovalley. Witchcrafter Madame Verre can be easily outed by Crystal Conclave and Number 50: Blackship of Corn, given that it has already used its effect negation that turn. All the other Witchcrafters are small enough for the beasts to beat over after Crystal Power. One card to look out for is Witchcrafter Collaboration, which stops Conclave from using its first effect in the damage step. Otherwise, if you open Necrovalley, you’ve likely already won the game.


Blue-Eyes

Blue-Eyes used to be one of the easiest matchups for Crystal Beast; whenever you saw that you’re up against a DSOD Seto Kaiba, you could breathe a sigh of relief. Nowadays, the deck has more staying power and pressure than ever before with Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon being a main decked card. The Alternative sets up awkward situations: do you bounce back the Blue-Eyes White Dragon and risk being punished by Alternative in hand, or do you bounce back Alternative only to find they already have a Blue-Eyes in hand? One way to help answer this question is to get a read on their backrow and consider if they’d want to pitch a card in their hand for Karma Cut, Raigeki Break, or Ultimate Providence. These cards gain extra value if they pitch a stone for cost. Karma Cut in particular is the most threatening, but Raigeki Break and Ultimate Providence are less threatening since it just puts the beasts in the backrow. If you get the read that your opponent is on Ultimate Providence while you have game on board, do not activate the effect of Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus so that you can keep it from being destroyed by the Ultimate Providence. It is important to not destroy set The White Stone of Ancients until you can flip up a Crystal Conclave, otherwise you run the risk of your backrow getting banished by the Dragon Spirit of White in the End Phase. Evigishki Merrowgeist can be a useful tech in your r4nk toolbox in dealing with a White Stone of Ancients. Abyss Dweller can prevent Ancients’s GY effect while Steelswarm Roach can prevent the Alternative from hitting the field as well as any Synchro summons. Try not to target the Dragon Spirit until you know that it can’t be tributed for a Blue-Eyes in hand, which can be determined by the delays made by your opponent if they don’t have interactive backrow. When your opponent goes for a Synchro summon, it’s either easily bounced like Vermillion Dragon Mech and Giganticastle, or it’s the Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon. The latter is very problematic for our deck because it dodges any targeting effect we’d use to get rid of it, and summons Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon, which also dodges targeting and destruction for all opposing dragons until the end of the next turn after it is summoned. If your opponent summons Sage with Eyes of Blue with a Blue-Eyes on board, you could bounce the Blue-Eyes before the Synchro summon and run into the 0 ATK Sage on the next turn, pushing for lethal. But this comes with its own risks, however, because the opponent could activate Ancient Rules or summon Alternative to put the lvl 8 body back on board; so it is usually best to let the Synchro summon happen if they have at least 1 card in hand. A great time to use Conclave is during the Battle Phase when you have full knowledge of all the threatening monsters staring you down. Because of this, let the Alternative use its effect to destroy a Crystal Beast; not only will this trigger Conclave, but you also get the chance to use it on something more valuable like a Synchro. If your opponent normal summons a stone and activates Sage in hand targeting the stone, bouncing back the stone with Conclave will cause the Sage to resolve without effect. Necrovalley is yet another all-star in this matchup, ensuring that you win the grind game due to Ancients not being able to banish itself for more Blue-Eyes. Vermillion Dragon Mech will also not be able to banish tuners from the GY and destroy the Necrovalley, but it can still banish a tuner from the hand to destroy it. This matchup is a lot tougher than it used to be, but definitely not unwinnable. With precise playmaking and a little bit of luck, the Crystal Beasts can come out on top.


Final Thoughts

Crystal Beasts have always been seen as a bad deck, but with the right deckbuilding and technical play it can actually duke it out with the big boys. Because they are seen as the underdog, they can use that edge to their advantage by employing unexpected swings in tempo without the opponent even batting an eye. Not to mention, Crystal Conclave is undoubtedly one of the most powerful trap cards in the game, rivaling even the power levels of Magician Navigation and Cybernetic Overflow. Moving forward, Crystal Beasts only get better as new Xyz monsters release, such as Lightning Chidori. Ultimate Crystal Magic would also be an interesting card to include in the game, since Jesse Anderson has actually used it in one of the Tag Duel events. The biggest support card for the deck, however, would be Rainbow Dragon, the Zenith Crystal Beast. It puts on enormous pressure beaming itself from the hand, and it solves the biggest problem with Crystal Beasts: the low damage threshold. With this card in the game, Crystal Beasts would undoubtedly reach Tier 1 status as other decks tremble before the awesome might of this 3000 ATK crystal dragon. For now though, Crystal Beasts hold a fantastic niche in the Duel Links metagame, as well as our hearts.


Acknowledgements

  • Shoutout to the fam, Team FS, Top Caliber Gaming in Arizona, and Duelist Academy for shaping me into the player I am
  • Thanks to GabyMogaX, Kurokodairu, Mattlex, and Mika*+* for being fantastic Crystal Beast players and giving me feedback on this guide
  • RandomPl0x for approving this guide and being a diligent Moderator
  • Dkayed and Duel Links Meta for fostering an excellent community

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