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Dark Magician Guide

Overview

Dark Magician is a fan-favorite archetype that revolves around the main character’s ace card, Dark Magician from the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime. Over the past year or so, it has received very strong support in Duel Links with cards like Dark Magical Circle and Magician Navigation, which when combining the two cards, will allow you to swarm the field and banish a card your opponent controls during either player’s turn. The deck has overall good matchups against many of the control decks of the format like Gouki, Shiranui, and Invoked Magician Girls, as it can overwhelm the opponent with 2 relatively large monsters and banish a card off the field during either player’s turn. In addition, it also has Spell/Trap negates to counter most of their disruptions. However, because it takes a turn to set up their combo, they struggle against the aggressive decks of the format in Blackwings and HEROS, especially since they play large amounts of backrow removal in Cosmic Cyclone and possibly even Hey, Trunade!, while also applying a lot of early-game pressure on their first turn. Speaking of backrow removal, while mildly annoying for most control strategies, it’s especially devastating against this deck in particular, as part of what makes this deck viable is the Circle, and most anti-backrow cards can compromise its utility.


Introduction

Hey guys! My name is amaya, and I am this guide’s author. I’ve been in the community since mid-2019, and what made me write this guide is the fact that I see far too many bad players of this Deck Type, and the original guide made by Buns was severely outdated with no indication of him updating it. I have a handful of Meta Weekly tops (2 of them with this Deck Type), and have competed in Clan Wars for 2 Seasons, so I have a fair bit of competitive experience. I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read my guide!

First and foremost, I will be listing a key of abbreviations that will be frequently used in this guide and what they mean, in an attempt to make explanations a bit shorter and easier.


Skills

  • Balance

Because of Magician’s Rod being put to Limited 2, the deck is not as consistent at getting their standard DM Circle Navigation combo. As a result of it, the most recommended skill for those who want to make the combo more consistent is Balance, which will guarantee a Monster, Spell and Trap in the opening hand (assuming you have at least 6 of each in your Deck).

  • See You Later!

These variants have been moderately popular in recent times, as it can help recycle Magician’s Rod without needing to put it in the GY, or you can summon a Dark Magician off of Dark Magic Curtain, and then use the Skill to return it back to the hand to have a live Magician Navigation. It also can unclog your field if needed so Navigation can be live.

  • Power of Dark

This skill will boost your monsters’ ATK and DEF by 200 by playing Yami at the start of the Duel. This skill will help against Blackwings as Assault Blackwing - Raikiri the Rain Shower and Blackwing Tamer - Obsidian Hawk Joe will no longer be bigger than your Dark Magician unless they waste a Cosmic Cyclone or Raikiri pop on your Field Spell. It also can reduce the ATK/DEF of Fairy monsters by 200, which can help against Valkyries and Weather Painters. In addition, it will make MoDI + Kycoo/Rod threaten over 4000 damage.

  • The Tie that Binds

This skill will work similarly to Power of Dark, but has two distinct differences: It will only boost your monsters on your turn, and it doesn’t place a Field Spell on your field that your opponent can just pop on their first turn. Use if you don’t care about bricks that would be prevented by otherwise using Balance.

  • Beatdown

Essentially, this is a more risky variant of The Tie that Binds, as it is once per Duel and only boosts your Lv 5 or higher monsters in Dark Magician, Magician of Dark Illusion, and Dark Cavalry. However, the extra power it grants can be the difference between having lethal or being 100 off and then getting wiped the next turn. In addition, it gives the deck an inherent out to Invoked Cocytus, which this deck otherwise struggles to deal with.

  • Titan Showdown

A very aggressive take on the deck, this skill will take advantage of summoning Dark Magician on your first turn through Dark Magic Curtain and Star Blast by paying half your LP. Being half of your opponent’s LP will trigger the skill to allow your DM to deal 5000 damage on an attack, as the damage you deal will be doubled in that scenario. With that said, there is quite a hefty risk involved with using this variant, as the Skill can be used against you if your opponent is half your LP.

  • Sealed Tombs

This skill will prevent any cards from being banished or any monsters from being Special Summoned from the GY until the end of your opponent’s next turn after activating it. It’s particularly useful against Shiranui and in the mirror match, especially when going 2nd in the latter to prevent your opponent’s Magician Navigation in the GY from negating your own Navigation.

  • Master of Rites

While this skill is rare in competitive play, this skill is mainly used in Magician of Chaos builds utilising its effect to destroy a card on the field when a Spell/Trap effect is activated (i.e. Dark Magical Circle or Magician Navigation). The skill will be activatable each time you lose 1000 LP to return any card in your hand to add a Ritual Monster (Magician of Chaos) or a Ritual Spell (usually Chaos Form or Advanced Ritual Art) from your Deck to your hand.

  • What Grows in the Graveyard

This skill is only used with the Spore Toolbox variant, as it will place a Dark Verger in your GY at the start of the Duel, which can summon itself from the GY when you Normal Summon Spore. With this Skill, Spore turns into a 1-card Level 9 Synchro or Rank 3 Xyz using Goyo Defender, and the latter can lead into a Fortune Lady Every when combined with Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity and Wind-Up Magician.


Core Cards

Dark Magician (3x)

Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magician

The main card of the Deck. It is the monster you Special Summon off the effect of Magician Navigation or Dark Magic Curtain to trigger your Dark Magical Circle to banish a card your opponent controls. Run 3 at all times to maximise your chances to draw it.

Magician’s Rod (2x)

Duel Links Card: Magician's%20Rod

A card the deck would absolutely love to run at 3, but it is currently Limited 2 on the Forbidden/Limited list due to it making the deck too consistent. On Normal Summon, it can add a Dark Magician Spell/Trap (usually Dark Magical Circle, Magician Navigation, or Illusion Magic) from your Deck to your hand. It also has a GY effect to add itself to the hand after activating a Spell or Trap on your opponent’s turn by Tributing a Spellcaster monster you control.

Dark Magical Circle (3x)

Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magical%20Circle

Because of Magician’s Rod being Limited to 2, having 3 of this card is more important than ever for making your Deck competitive. On activation, it will allow you to look at the top 3 cards of your Deck and add any Dark Magician or a Spell or Trap that lists the card “Dark Magician” among them to your hand, then place the rest of the cards back on top in any order. In addition, it will allow you to banish 1 card your opponent controls when a Dark Magician is Summoned. Be aware that both of its effects are a hard once per turn, so if a card like Cosmic Cyclone or Raigeki Break is chained to the activation of Dark Magical Circle to get rid of it, you cannot activate a second one from your hand, nor can you banish multiple cards with multiple Circles.

Magician of Dark Illusion (1-2x)

Duel Links Card: Magician%20of%20Dark%20Illusion

Magician Of Dark Illusion is very useful in this deck and it’s usually the main target to Special Summon with Dark Magician when using Magician Navigation. It can also be Special Summoned on your opponent’s turn upon activating a Spell/Trap allowing you to trigger the Dark Magical Circle effect if you have a live Navigation. It’s 2nd effect is also very useful to Special Summon Dark Magician from your GY when activating a Spell/Trap or an effect of one to trigger your Dark Magical Circle. Be aware that this effect can only be used once while it is face-up on the field.

Magician Navigation (3x)

Duel Links Card: Magician%20Navigation

This is the main way to Special Summon your Dark Magician, and will also pull any other Lv 7 or lower DARK Spellcaster from your Deck. Common targets to Summon off of Navigation include a second Dark Magician, Magician of Dark Illusion, Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer, and Night’s End Sorcerer. In addition, because it is a Trap Card, it will allow you to trigger your Dark Magical Circle during your opponent’s turn.

Illusion Magic (1x)

Duel Links Card: Illusion%20Magic

This card can Tribute one of your Spellcaster monsters to search for 2 copies of Dark Magician from your Deck or Graveyard. Even though you can only use 1 copy due to only 1 copy being available in-game, it’s still incredibly valuable for getting DM in the hand to activate Navigation, while also setting up the Magician’s Rod’s GY effect by Tributing it. Rod can also search it.


Tech Cards

Cosmic Cyclone

Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone

A very strong backrow removal option that helps when going second, which this Deck typically does not like to do. Usually you’ll want to hit your opponent’s Cosmic Cyclone so it does not disrupt your Dark Magical Circle.

Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer

Duel Links Card: Kycoo%20the%20Ghost%20Destroyer

This card is very meta-dependent, but can help against a handful of GY-based decks like Shiranui. It has a Continuous effect that prevents your opponent from banishing cards from the GY, and when it deals damage, it can banish 2 monsters from your opponent’s GY. It’s still worth considering in most cases as it can help in the mirror match in a pinch to stop your opponent from using Magician Navigation’s effect in the GY.

The Eye of Timaeus

Duel Links Card: The%20Eye%20of%20Timaeus

This card will perform a Fusion Summon on any Dark Magician you control by targeting it, and then summoning any Fusion Monster that lists DM as a material. This will allow you to summon monsters that help get rid of Invoked Cocytus. In addition, when this card is used on a DM while Magician of Dark Illusion is on the field, it can re-summon Dark Magician back onto the field. Add Dark Magical Circle into the equation, and it can banish another card off the field. However, this card CANNOT be searched by Magician’s Rod or added to the hand by Dark Magical Circle, as it does not specifically list the card “Dark Magician” in its card text, but rather a “Dark Magician” monster.

Dark Cavalry

Duel Links Card: Dark%20Cavalry

This is usually your primary target to summon off of The Eye of Timaeus to get rid of problem boss monsters. It gains 100 ATK for each Spell and Trap on the field and in the GY, and can negate any card effect that targets anything on the field by discarding 1 card. On top of all of that, it has piercing damage, making it quite a strong boss monster in its own right.

Dark Paladin

Duel Links Card: Dark%20Paladin

This has much more niche applications compared to Dark Cavalry, but it will gain 500 ATK per Dragon on the field/in the GY, and can discard a card to negate any Spell card, even ones that don’t target anything on the field. Against a deck like Blue Eyes, this can quite easily get well over 5000 ATK. Run if you want to, but you probably will not summon it very often.

Amulet Dragon

Duel Links Card: Amulet%20Dragon

Another more niche option, as on summon, it will banish any amount of Spells from the GY to gain 100 ATK for each one. This is quite decent against Witchcrafters as they dump a lot of Spells in the GY, and can also be good to banish Galaxy Cyclone to stop them from being used next turn to pop your Dark Magical Circle. In addition, on destruction, it will float into any Spellcaster in the GY, including Dark Magician. Be aware that if you float into Dark Magician when the Amulet Dragon is destroyed by battle, it will NOT trigger Circle, as Circle cannot activate its effect in the Damage Step.

Herald of the Abyss

Duel Links Card: Herald%20of%20the%20Abyss

This card has 1 main function, and that is to remove a problem monster off the field such as Invoked Cocytus and Witchcrafter Madame Verre in the best way possible: non-targeting, non-destruction, and bypasses pretty much all forms of protection. Having a 1500 LP cost can also synergise with skills that require you to take damage to activate, such as Sealed Tombs.

Dark Magic Expanded

Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magic%20Expanded

This card can boost a DARK Spellcaster by 1000 while there is a Dark Magician on the field or in the GY, and has bonus effects if there is more than 1 Dark Magician in those places. If you have 2 or more DM’s on the field/in your GY, it will prevent your opponent from responding to your other Spells/Traps that turn. If you have 3 or more DM’s on the field/in the GY, it will make all of your DARK Spellcasters unaffected by your opponent’s card effects for the turn.

Magician of Chaos

Duel Links Card: Magician%20of%20Chaos

This is only really seen in Master of Rites builds, but it’s a Ritual Monster that is treated as Dark Magician while on the field or in the GY, so it can trigger Dark Magical Circle, and can destroy any card on the field once per turn when any Spell or Trap effect is activated (including Circle or Magician Navigation).

Chaos Form

Duel Links Card: Chaos%20Form

This is one of 2 Ritual Spells that are seen in Master of Rites variants (the other being Advanced Ritual Art, where it will summon your Magician of Chaos from your hand by using materials in your hand that equal Level 7 or banishing a Dark Magician in your GY. It is also searchable by Magician’s Rod.

Advanced Ritual Art

Duel Links Card: Advanced%20Ritual%20Art

You can use this in your Master of Rites variant over Chaos Form (or run 1 of each) as your Ritual Spell. This card is not searchable outside of using your Skill, but it will use a Dark Magician in your Deck as the Ritual Material for the summon of Magician of Chaos.

Necrovalley

Duel Links Card: Necrovalley

This Field Spell will prevent cards from being banished from the GY and negate any effect that would move any card in the GY somewhere else. While this card does stop your Magician Navigation from negating your opponent’s backrow, it’s almost an auto-win against decks that heavily rely on the GY such as Invoked Magician Girls, Crystrons, or either variant of Shiranui.

Dark Magic Curtain

Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magic%20Curtain

Seen in all See You Later! builds, Titan Showdown builds and in some Sealed Tombs builds, it will pull a Dark Magician out of the Deck at the cost of half your LP. This can trigger Dark Magical Circle during your turn (even on your first turn) to banish a card. Most builds usually play 2 if they can synergise with it, but you can get away with using just 1 if you missed the events that allowed you to get more copies.

Star Blast

Duel Links Card: Star%20Blast

While this card is currently Limited to 1, this is another good way to trigger Titan Showdown alongside Dark Magic Curtain, as it will allow you to pay LP to be in range to activate the Skill, while also allowing you to Normal Summon the Dark Magician without Tributes for that turn if necessary. It is not recommended for other variants, however.

Paleozoic Canadia

Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia

This card will flip an opponent’s monster face-down, which can help against Blackwings and Karakuri to deny Synchros, and even be used to deny Xyz plays.

Floodgate Trap Hole

Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole

This card works like Canadia, but only works when a monster is Summoned. It also does not target, and will flip the monster face-down permanently. As a result, it is a decent answer to Invoked Cocytus.

Raigeki Break

Duel Links Card: Raigeki%20Break

This versatile card will destroy any card on the field by discarding 1 card. You can discard extra copies of Dark Magical Circle / Magician Navigation to pay the cost, while discarding the latter gives you an extra negate during the next turn, assuming you have a Dark Magician on the field.

Karma Cut

Duel Links Card: Karma%20Cut

Basically, this is like Raigeki Break, but will only work on face-up monsters. However, it will banish the monster and any copies of that monster from the GY, which can be useful against Shiranui and Witchcrafters to banish their Shiranui Spectralsword or their Shiranui Sunsaga from the former, or banish the Witchcrafter Madame Verre from the latter, and this will bypass the destruction protection from Sunsaga.

Wall of Disruption

Duel Links Card: Wall%20of%20Disruption

Another meta-dependent tech, but it will reduce all ATK position monsters by 800 per monster the opponent controls on their attack. It’s particularly good against Karakuri as they don’t have a ton of good ways to deal with it outside of Cosmic Cyclone, which is better used on Dark Magical Circle.

Heat Wave

Duel Links Card: Heat%20Wave

This card can only be used at the start of the Main Phase, but it can potentially blow out many aggressive decks as it will stop both players from summoning effect monsters until the start of your next Draw Phase. What’s good about it, is that it does not stop you from summoning Dark Magician by the effect of Magician Navigation or Dark Magic Curtain, as Dark Magician is not an Effect Monster.

Night’s End Sorcerer

Duel Links Card: Night's%20End%20Sorcerer

This card is similar to Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer, but has different applications. On Special Summon ONLY, it can banish 2 cards from the GY, which can be triggered by Magician Navigation summoning it from the Deck. Be advised that this effect can miss the timing, so you can only activate the effect if you Summoned it on Chain Link 1. The main reason to play it is that it is also a Lv2 Tuner, allowing you to make Synchro plays into Vermillion Dragon Mech to pop a card on the field, Giganticastle to have a monster bigger than Invoked Cocytus, or Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon to summon DM from the GY during your Standby Phase and have a 3k Defense wall that cannot be targeted or destroyed by card effects for 2 turns.

Magician’s Robe

Duel Links Card: Magician's%20Robe

While this card has niche applications, this card will allow you to Summon a Dark Magician from the Deck during your opponent’s turn by discarding a Spell/Trap. This allows you to be able to trigger your Dark Magical Circle through a Hey, Trunade!, while also potentially discarding extra copies of Magician Navigation to have more negates. It also has a GY effect to revive itself after activating a Spell/Trap effect during your opponent’s turn, allowing it to be decent Tribute fodder to Normal Summon DM in a pinch.

Dark Magic Attack

Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magic%20Attack

This card can wipe your opponent’s entire backrow as long as you control a Dark Magician. If you are free to play and/or don’t feel like digging for Cosmic Cyclone, this is a decent alternative. In many cases, however, it is a win-more card, as Magician Navigation can negate most, if not all of the backrow that you are destroying with this card. With that said though, it will eliminate, or at least force out Counter Traps and/or cards that can activate in the Damage Step, which otherwise cannot be negated by Navigation in the GY.

Void Trap Hole

Duel Links Card: Void%20Trap%20Hole

A meta-dependent card, it will negate the effects of any monster with more than 2000 ATK on that monster’s summon and destroy it. Use if you are afraid of cards like Chaos Dragon Levianeer or Black Rose Dragon. Other relevant monsters that this card can destroy are Invoked Purgatrio and Shiranui Sunsaga.

Bad Aim

Duel Links Card: Bad%20Aim

A pretty decent card nowadays, as it will be activatable when any effect is activated by your opponent, which will then pop a card on the field, other than the card that activated directly after it in the chain link. It is more or less matchup dependent, but it can be useful to take out a Witchcrafter Madame Verre that is being targeted by a Witchcrafter Collaboration or any HERO being targeted by the effect of Mask Change.

Mirror Wall

Duel Links Card: Mirror%20Wall

This card is quite strong in the mirror match, as it can be flipped up in the Damage Step to dodge the Magician Navigation negate. Not only that, it isn’t countered by Hey, Trunade!, as it’s a Continuous Trap. The 2000 LP cost it has can be taken advantage of to trigger skills like Sealed Tombs or Titan Showdown as well.

Divine Wrath

Duel Links Card: Divine%20Wrath

This card is rare in top builds, but is very strong against monsters like Witchcrafter Madame Verre. It will negate any monster effect and destroy the monster that attempted to activate by discarding 1 card. As a Counter Trap, not a lot of cards can actually respond to it, either.

Champion’s Vigilance

Duel Links Card: Champion's%20Vigilance

While this card is Limited to 1, it has a potentially game-ending effect in negating any monster’s Summon or any Spell/Trap while you control a Dark Magician, and as a Counter Trap, it’s much harder for your opponent to respond to it. It’s also one of the few cards in Duel Links that can negate other Counter Traps, which is something that Magician Navigation cannot do. With that said though, it’s a dead card if you don’t have any ways of getting Dark Magician on the field, and it’s not easily compatible with the Titan Showdown variant, as it competes with Star Blast for the Limited 1 card slot.

Fiendish Chain

Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain

This card has solid utility in negating any face-up monster’s effect and preventing said monster from attacking. This can be handy in negating monsters like Karakuri Shogun mdl 00 “Burei” to stop them from extending their combos and also prevent them from attacking with that monster. As a Continuous Trap, however, it can very easily clog up your backrow, especially when you need backrow slots to activate Dark Magical Circle and set Magician’s Navigation, so I personally don’t recommend it at any more than 1 copy in this deck.

The Spore Toolbox

The Spore Toolbox will turn Spore into a 1 card Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity and Fortune Lady Every, but can also lead into alternative options such as Wind-Up Zenmaines, Coral Dragon, Vermillion Dragon Mech, and Mist Wurm.


How to deal with Invoked Cocytus

This Deck is notorious for having problems with cards like Invoked Cocytus and Lunalight Sabre Dancer, as they cannot be targeted by Dark Magical Circle and are bigger than Dark Magician, so this section is designed to give you the pros and cons of the 3 commonly played cards that will help get rid of those cards, those being The Eye of Timaeus, Herald of the Abyss, and Dark Magic Expanded.

The Eye of Timaeus:

Pros

  • Adds depth to Dark Magician as a whole, and gives them a better boss monster in Dark Cavalry.
  • Can out multiple problem monsters, and Cavalry itself is hard to take out for some decks, especially in the mirror match.

Cons

Herald of the Abyss:

Pros

  • The safest out to Cocytus.
  • Can also help trigger LP cost skills like Sealed Tombs.
  • Can be used even if there is no Dark Magician anywhere on the field or in the GY.

Cons

  • Requires 1500 LP cost, and as a result, conflicting synergy with Star Blast and Dark Magic Curtain.
  • NOT searchable.
  • Not guaranteed a follow-up play after Herald.
  • UR from an older Main Box, so it is a relatively expensive card for those who are F2P or on a budget.

Dark Magic Expanded:

Pros

  • IS Searchable!
  • Has additional effects besides outing Cocytus under certain conditions, as with 2 or more DM on the field/GY, it can also make your other Spell/Traps Spell Speed 4, for example.
  • Most accessible of the 3 cards, as it is available in the Card Trader.

Cons

  • Will not always work as an out to Cocytus, especially since it does not solve the issue of boost with Invoker or boosting it with Palace of the Elemental Lords.
  • May require multiple Expanded to out the Cocytus.

Summary

Herald is the SAFEST out to Cocytus, and will do the job as effectively as it can get. However, you may not always have the best follow-up afterwards, and can sometimes not be activatable depending on your Life Points.

Expanded is the MOST ACCESSIBLE and is the only out that is SEARCHABLE. However, it does the job the least effectively and may not even be a true out to the Cocytus, depending on the board state.

Eye is the best in terms of POWER, as it gives your deck an extra dimension for the opponent to deal with. However, it comes with the most risk out of all of them, and may not even have a chance to resolve.

What I personally prefer? I prefer Eye, as the extra power is worth the risk in my opinion. If your opponent tries to disrupt you, you can just negate the disruptions with Navigation in the GY. Even then, which one you decide to play is entirely up to you.


Sample Decks

These lists are for players who want to play the Deck or try a different variant of the Deck, but don’t really know where to start. These lists all are viable for tournament play/getting King of Games with.

Balance DM

2nd Place MCS 35 - Davide Magri

Top 16 Meta Championship Series 35 - Julesnd

Duel Links Card: Magician%20of%20Dark%20Illusion
Duel Links Card: Magician's%20Rod
Duel Links Card: Magician's%20Rod
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magician
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magician
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magician
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magical%20Circle
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magical%20Circle
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magical%20Circle
Duel Links Card: Illusion%20Magic
Duel Links Card: Magician%20Navigation
Duel Links Card: Magician%20Navigation
Duel Links Card: Magician%20Navigation
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Karma%20Cut
Duel Links Card: Karma%20Cut
Duel Links Card: Trishula,%20the%20Dragon%20of%20Icy%20Imprisonment
Duel Links Card: Melomelody%20the%20Brass%20Djinn
Duel Links Card: Temtempo%20the%20Percussion%20Djinn
Duel Links Card: Grenosaurus

Side Deck:

Duel Links Card: Kycoo%20the%20Ghost%20Destroyer
Duel Links Card: Necrovalley
Duel Links Card: Necrovalley
Duel Links Card: Offerings%20to%20the%20Doomed
Duel Links Card: Offerings%20to%20the%20Doomed
Duel Links Card: Poisonous%20Winds
Duel Links Card: Poisonous%20Winds

1st Place Anytime Season 30 - KOGPhenom

skill

Top 16 MW 144 - Serenity

Duel Links Card: Magician%20of%20Dark%20Illusion
Duel Links Card: Kycoo%20the%20Ghost%20Destroyer
Duel Links Card: Magician's%20Rod
Duel Links Card: Magician's%20Rod
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magician
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magician
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magician
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magical%20Circle
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magical%20Circle
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magical%20Circle
Duel Links Card: Illusion%20Magic
Duel Links Card: Heat%20Wave
Duel Links Card: Magician%20Navigation
Duel Links Card: Magician%20Navigation
Duel Links Card: Magician%20Navigation
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Karma%20Cut
Duel Links Card: Karma%20Cut
Duel Links Card: Melomelody%20the%20Brass%20Djinn
Duel Links Card: Temtempo%20the%20Percussion%20Djinn
Duel Links Card: Grenosaurus
Duel Links Card: Trishula,%20the%20Dragon%20of%20Icy%20Imprisonment
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Cavalry
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Paladin
Duel Links Card: Amulet%20Dragon

Side Deck:

Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: System%20Down
Duel Links Card: System%20Down
Duel Links Card: System%20Down
Duel Links Card: The%20Eye%20of%20Timaeus
Duel Links Card: Karma%20Cut

These are all pretty standard, but the core remains mostly the same. Just put whatever techs you have to work with/the techs to help against the matchup you see the most.

See You Later! DM

1st Place Anytime Season 29 - neo

skill

Top 4 MW 146 – Irving

Duel Links Card: Magician%20of%20Dark%20Illusion
Duel Links Card: Kycoo%20the%20Ghost%20Destroyer
Duel Links Card: Magician's%20Rod
Duel Links Card: Magician's%20Rod
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magician
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magician
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magician
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magical%20Circle
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magical%20Circle
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magical%20Circle
Duel Links Card: Herald%20of%20the%20Abyss
Duel Links Card: Illusion%20Magic
Duel Links Card: The%20Eye%20of%20Timaeus
Duel Links Card: Magician%20Navigation
Duel Links Card: Magician%20Navigation
Duel Links Card: Magician%20Navigation
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Karma%20Cut
Duel Links Card: Karma%20Cut
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Cavalry
Duel Links Card: Vermillion%20Dragon%20Mech
Duel Links Card: Brionac,%20Dragon%20of%20the%20Ice%20Barrier
Duel Links Card: Azure-Eyes%20Silver%20Dragon
Duel Links Card: HTS%20Psyhemuth
Duel Links Card: Naturia%20Barkion
Duel Links Card: Samsara,%20Dragon%20of%20Rebirth

Side Deck:

Duel Links Card: Night's%20End%20Sorcerer
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Necrovalley
Duel Links Card: Necrovalley
Duel Links Card: Divine%20Wrath
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Wall%20of%20Disruption

KCC Sept 2020 Top 100 Global - Manju

KCC Sept 2020 Top 100 Global - yutolinks

This build can be a bit more aggressive thanks to playing Dark Magic Curtain, while not completely sacrificing the turn 1 play, as you can banish a card your opponent controls with the Circle on your first turn, then use SYL to return the DM back to the hand, to then have a live Navigation ready for the next turn. Deck space is a bit tighter though, so you don’t have quite as much room for other techs versus other variants.

Power of Dark DM

Giveaway #27 Top 4 - Gregulator

skill

If you don’t mind the somewhat frequent bricks that this can have, this deck is perfectly reasonable to play, and will allow you to have lethal plays a bit more often thanks to the extra power.

Titan Showdown DM

This is the aggressive take on the deck, allowing you to deal 5000 damage on a single attack after resolving Dark Magic Curtain or Star Blast. Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda can be Set after resolving Curtain, as Curtain has the restriction of not allowing you to Summon other monsters the turn the card is activated. If you do not have Winda, you can replace her with Flip Flop Frog, which when flipped up, will return monsters on the field back to the hand without targeting, or you can play whatever backrow cards you have. If you are missing any Curtains, replace them with more Windas, Flip Flop Frog, or any backrow you have, though I would recommend having at least 2 Curtains to optimally play this build. Mirror Wall can also be played to have more cards to trigger your skill.

Master of Rites DM

DLV MAX KCC September 2020 - Emma Valentine

This build is basically like other variants of the deck, but with Magician of Chaos to be able to have a going 2nd play without the use of Dark Magic Curtain. It also provides a great follow-up if the initial field gets wiped with Chaos Form, as it can use a Dark Magician in the GY as the Ritual Material.

Spore Toolbox DM

1st Place Anytime Season 30 - Serenity

skill

Utilising the Spore Toolbox, this deck not only has access to the standard combo of Dark Magician, Dark Magical Circle, and Magician Navigation, it also adds an alternative play in using Spore for 1-card Wind-Up Zenmaines and a 1-card Vermillion Dragon Mech with 2 card pops, while also digging through your Deck, thanks to the effect of Coral Dragon.


Examples of Plays

Taking out a Dark Cavalry without Herald

Dark Cavalry says that it will negate any card effect that targets a card on the field by discarding 1 card. However, you can play around this! In order to do this combo, you need Magician Navigation, Dark Magical Circle, a Dark Magician in the hand and another DARK Spellcaster in the deck, a Magician’s Rod or a Magician’s Robe in the GY (if it’s Robe, your field must be empty) and it has to be your opponent’s turn. Activate Navigation to summon DM and another DARK Spellcaster from the Deck. This will trigger Circle to attempt to banish the Cavalry. This is the opportunity for Cavalry to negate, but because you still have priority, Rod will also trigger to Tribute a Spellcaster to add itself to the hand or Robe will activate to revive itself onto the field. Cavalry will no longer be able to negate, as it has to chain it’s effect to negate directly in response to the effect that targets a card on the field. You have then successfully taken out a Dark Cavalry and dodged it’s negate!

Stopping a Simoon effect from just Navigation and Circle

When Blackwing - Simoon the Poison Wind activates its effect in the hand to play Black Whirlwind or a similar effect is activated, you can immediately activate Magician Navigation to summon a Dark Magician and another Spellcaster onto the field, then because of turn player priority, this will trigger Black Whirlwind, and then your Dark Magical Circle will trigger on chain link 2 to banish the Simoon, and they get no search from the Black Whirlwind!

Attacking 4 times

In order to do this play, you need a Dark Magician, a Magician of Dark Illusion, and another monster on your field, at least 1 Dark Magician in your Deck or GY, and Illusion Magic in your hand. Attack with all of your monsters, then activate Illusion Magic to tribute the DM to add 1 DM from your Deck to your hand. This will trigger MoDI to re-summon the DM back on the field for an extra attack! In addition, it will trigger Circle to banish a card on the field if there is anything left to banish.

Searching for both Navigation and Circle with 1 Rod (basically why you should NOT always search Circle with Rod FIRST!)

Did you not open Dark Magical Circle, but you opened Magician’s Rod and either Magicians Navigation or Illusion Magic? Not a problem! Firstly, Normal Summon the Rod, and DO NOT search for Circle, but instead search for Navigation/Illusion Magic (whichever one you are missing). Tribute the Rod with Illusion Magic to search for 2 Dark Magicians, and then set Navigation and any other backrow you opened. Once your opponent does their plays, activate Navigation to summon DM from the hand and a Magician of Dark Illusion from the Deck. Afterwards, Rod will trigger in the GY to Tribute the DM to add itself back to the hand. After you draw for your turn, you will then summon Rod a second time to then search for the Circle. Activate the Circle, which will then trigger MoDI to re-summon the DM you Tributed, and this will immediately trigger the Circle to banish a card off the field!


Common Matchups

These matchups are what you should expect in tournaments if you play this deck, and are also relatively common on the ladder when trying to reach King of Games.

DISCLAIMER: As of recently, due to an update to in-game replays that masks the players’ hands, many tournaments have stopped using a Side Deck format as an anti-cheating measure. If you plan to take this deck into a No Side Deck tournament, consider those Side Deck Choices in your Main Deck.

Blackwings

Dark Magician has a very difficult time defeating this deck, as they usually carry Cosmic Cyclone and Forbidden Lance to play around the Dark Magical Circle, and can exert a very aggressive push right away on their first turn to overwhelm you. In addition, all of their Synchro Monsters are bigger than Dark Magician. However, if they go 1st, it is fairly winnable if you tech your deck properly.

Side Deck Choices:

What to do in this matchup?

Usually, if they have Cosmic Cyclone, they will use it on Dark Magical Circle right away before beginning their combos, assuming they go 2nd, meaning your other backrow is usually safe. If you go first after setting up the combo, turn the toggle ON to check for delays in the Draw Phase. If the hourglass flickers, they have a Cosmic Cyclone 100% guaranteed, unless they are playing D.D. Crow. If the Circle was left alone, banish the Simoon in response to it activating with Circle. If they attempt to Lance it, leave it alone if you have other backrow cards, as their searches will then be greatly restricted. The other main threat to banish is Assault Blackwing - Raikiri the Rain Shower, so if you go 2nd and they have this on the field, this is your main priority to get rid of in their Draw Phase of their next turn. If you have Paleozoic Canadia in the backrow, you can also wait until they fill up their field, and flip down whatever Tuner is on the field (if the other 2 monsters are non-tuners), and vice-versa. That way, they’ll be forced to end their turn or unclog their field with Trishula, the Dragon of Icy Imprisonment.


Blue Eyes

This matchup (in my opinion) is relatively even, but with a slight favor for Blue Eyes. If you go first, you have a very considerable advantage, but the same can be said if Blue Eyes also goes first, but in that instance, it is a bit harder for you in comparison.

Side Deck Choices:

Duel Links Card: Light-Imprisoning%20Mirror
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Ally%20of%20Justice%20Cycle%20Reader
Duel Links Card: D.D.%20Crow

What to do in this matchup?

Blue Eyes rarely run cards like Cosmic Cyclone or Forbidden Lance, but they do have backrow removal in the form of Dragon Spirit of White. If you go 1st with the full combo and they summon a monster face-up, immediately either chain Magician Navigation so you can banish it with Dark Magical Circle or use your other backrow to flip it face-down or get rid of it, as they likely will be attempting to activate Sage with Eyes of Blue in the hand to summon their Dragon Spirit of White from the Deck. If you go 2nd, try to get rid of their Raigeki Breaks with your Cosmic Cyclone if possible before you attempt to set up the combo. If you feel no delays off of their backrow at the start of the turn, they could be Karma Cuts or Ultimate Providence, so play around them accordingly. Finally, Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon can negate effects like Magician Navigation and Magician’s Rod in the GY, though this effect is a soft once per turn, and it can tag out into another LIGHT Dragon Synchro whenever it wants, so if you want your Navigation in the GY to be live, consider threatening it with your Dark Magical Circle or other backrow cards. Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon also poses another potential problem for this deck, as on Summon, it and other Dragon monsters they control cannot be targeted by Circle and your other card effects for 2 turns after it is Summoned, and has higher Defense than all of your monsters’ ATK outside of Dark Cavalry and Dark Paladin, not to mention that Spirit Dragon can tag out into it. In addition, during each of their Standby Phases, it can summon a Blue-Eyes White Dragon or Dragon Spirit of White from the GY. If they summon the latter, it can also banish your backrow. If they have Dragon Spirit of White on the field alongside Azure, do NOT take out the Dragon Spirit of White first, as it can just be resummoned to take out another backrow card, unless you plan on banishing it with Karma Cut or Circle. With all of this said, however, Azure-Eyes CAN be targeted on its Summon, so you can immediately flip it face-down with Canadia or just outright take it out with Karma Cut or Raigeki Break. If the Spirit Dragon decides to tag out while you have a Navigation live with the Circle, you can chain Navigation to the tag-out so you can banish whatever they summon off of the tag-out, including their Azure-Eyes.


Cyber Dragons

This matchup is pretty hard when they go 1st, but is a bit more manageable if the coin flip is in your favor. Most builds play triple Cosmic Cyclone, so even if they go 2nd (which is not ideal for them), they can banish your Dark Magical Circle before it has a chance to banish anything. If they go 1st with their full combo, good luck.

Side Deck Choices:

Duel Links Card: Heat%20Wave
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Non-Fusion%20Area
Duel Links Card: Artifact%20Lancea
Duel Links Card: Light-Imprisoning%20Mirror

What to do in this matchup?

First and foremost, be cautious of Cyber Style, and make sure that you do not inflict more than 2000 damage, unless you have a reasonably secure lethal play, or they already triggered the skill themselves. If you go 1st with your combo, you have at least a decent advantage. Set up the combo as normal and pass. If they open Cyber Dragon Core and they do not have Cosmic Cyclone to banish Circle, wait for them to set their backrow and attempt to end their turn before activating Magician Navigation. You’ll want to banish their backrow and attempt to hit Cybernetic Overflow, as usually their monsters aren’t big enough to take out Dark Magician outside of Cyber Twin Dragon and Cyber End Dragon. If you don’t hit the Overflow, prioritise negating that above all else, unless both of your monsters are being threatened. If they go 1st, however, try not to use Circle right away, unless it is your only option, and try to get them to burn their Overflows. Cosmic Cyclone will be extremely valuable, and you could either use it right away to hit a disruption, or play into one disruption, and then force out their other disruptions with the Cosmic Cyclone.


Crystrons

This matchup is a bit more in your favor, as you can banish their Crystron Citree or Crystron Rion before they end their turn (assuming you go 1st), and even going 2nd, they only have 1 Crystron Impact most of the time, so grinding through them is pretty easy, especially with your negates from Magician Navigation to negate Sea Stealth Attack and the aforementioned Impact.

Side Deck Choices:

What to do in this matchup?

If you go first with the full combo, you are already in a great spot. Set up the combo as normal, and then prioritize banishing or flipping down any tuners on the field to slow them down. If you go second, you really just need to be cautious of Cosmic Cyclone and Citadel Whale. If they have the Whale set-up, prioritise banishing the Umi played by Mythic Depths so it is no longer bigger than your Dark Magician, and Sea Stealth Attack will then be permanently turned off as well. Your Navigation negates should primarily be used on Crystron Impact, as they usually only have 1, but you can also negate Sea Stealth Attack in a pinch if you haven’t banished the Umi yet. Against Level Duplication variants, they tend to forgo Crystron Rion for a second Crystron Impact, so grinding through them is a bit tougher. They also tend to max out of Spell/Trap removal/counterplay such as Cosmic Cyclone and Forbidden Lance, due to the SSA engine not taking up any of their deck space. However, because both variants consistently play 30 cards, they won’t always have such to counter your backrow.


Mirror Match

This mirror match is quite dependent on who gets their combo first, and most often, this will mean that whoever wins the coin toss will have a significant advantage. You can make this easier going 2nd depending on what Side Deck choices you make, as listed below.

Side Deck Choices:

What to do in this matchup?

If you go 1st, you already are in the winning position. Prioritise banishing the opponent’s backrow with Dark Magical Circle, unless you have 2 Magician Navigation and they did not set triple backrow. If you go 2nd, you can either do the safe play and hit the Circle with Cosmic Cyclone, or try to hit the Navigation so it is forced out at an inconvenient time and they lose their negate. Usually the first person to get their combo going will win, so that will be the main priority. Sealed Tombs as a Side Deck skill can help make it less polarizing though.


Invoked Magician Girls

This matchup is in your favor most of the time, as long as they don’t summon a Turn 1 Invoked Cocytus, and you can negate their Invocation and other backrow pretty easily thanks to Magician Navigation, not to mention that their monsters are quite easy for you to play around. Be aware that they will likely side cards like Chaos Hunter against you, so be prepared for it, as it can be quite a large hurdle for you to overcome.

Side Deck Choices:

What to do in this matchup?

In a nutshell, all you need to do is stop Invoked Cocytus from being Summoned or take it out with The Eye of Timaeus, Herald of the Abyss, Dark Magic Expanded, etc., as without Cocytus, they are going to have a very rough time against you. However, I would advise against attacking with Magician’s Rod on an empty front row, as that can trigger Draw Sense: DARK, which will give the opponent a free Aleister the Invoker in their Draw Phase. Going first, you already have a pretty significant advantage, as they do not usually carry backrow removal outside of Unending Nightmare, which is a little too slow to be relevant when you have the full combo going 1st. Be sure to have your deck/side deck prepared to take on Chaos Hunter, as that is a very common side deck card that they play to try to mitigate the Dark Magical Circle banish and stop Magician Navigation from negating their Invocation. As for what cards can deal with Chaos Hunter, any cards that can flip it face-down like Paleozoic Canadia, negate its effects like Fiendish Chain, or destroy it like Raigeki Break will do the trick. If it is not boosted by any card effects, you can swing into it with Dark Magician in a pinch, and they will take each other out, as they have the same ATK points.


Invoked Roids

Much like Invoked Magician Girls, this is a favorable matchup, as long as they don’t summon a turn 1 Invoked Cocytus. They also play a bit less backrow, but have Kiteroid as their main protection, which can provide them with a bit more longevity.

Side Deck Choices:

What to do in this matchup?

Much like with Invoked Magician Girls, all you need to do is stop Invoked Cocytus from being Summoned or take it out with The Eye of Timaeus, Herald of the Abyss, Dark Magic Expanded, etc., as without Cocytus, they are going to have a very rough time against you. However, I would advise against attacking with Magician’s Rod on an empty front row, as that can trigger Draw Sense: DARK or Sorcery Conduit, which will give the opponent a free Aleister the Invoker in their Draw Phase. Their main aggressive plays are with Submarineroid and any Invoked plays. Using Cosmic Cyclone on their Megaroid City attempting to destroy a card to search can be really annoying for them, especially if they are trying to search for a Kiteroid. Magician Navigation can also negate its effects for a turn in a pinch, but those negates should primarily be used on their backrow trying to take out your Dark Magician or their Invocation. As for what to banish with Dark Magical Circle, I would go for the backrow or any stray Submarineroids that happen to be on the field.

Control Shiranui

Another pretty favorable matchup for the most part, and it can be made easier based on the backrow you play. The only real problem is their Side Deck (in Side Deck tournaments), Ballista Squad, and Forbidden Lance.

Side Deck Choices:

What to do in this matchup?

The main things to worry about are their tech cards, and preventing Shiranui Sunsaga from coming out to wipe your field. Usually this is fairly easy, as you can flip down their Shiranui Spectralsword with Paleozoic Canadia or use the Dark Magical Circle to banish it. Karma Cut will also be quite devastating on their Spectralsword if they have a second in the GY, as if all of their Tuners are banished, they will be at a severe disadvantage. As for techs/side deck cards that they commonly run, be cautious of Forbidden Lance and Typhoon (though Typhoon is mainly played in the Side Deck). They do sometimes play Cosmic Cyclone as well, however, though it does come at a cost of losing out on more copies of Spectralsword if they play multiple copies of CC, so do keep that in mind.


Combo Shiranui

This variant is a bit harder to deal with, as it can provide more explosive plays that the core of Dark Magician sometimes is just unable to handle, the backrow they do play in Sealing Ceremony of Katon is not a very good card to try to negate with Magician Navigation, and can even threaten to banish the Navigation itself. As long as you are prepared for the matchup, however, it’s still not terribly difficult.

Side Deck Choices:

What to do in this matchup?

Firstly, it’s important to pay attention to how many Shiranui Spectralsword they are potentially playing, as for every Spectralsword they reveal, they are playing 1 less Cosmic Cyclone, much like with the Control variant. Usually they play 1 to 2 Spectralsword, so that usually equates to playing 1 to 2 Cosmic Cyclones. If you go 1st, try to save your Navigation for when they end the turn, or consider not even activating it at all until your next turn, as Ghost Meets Girl - A Shiranui’s Story cannot be activated unless you control a monster, and use your other backrow to remove their threats, especially any Tuners that are Summoned.. This tip only does not matter if you already have a Magician’s Rod on the field. Speaking of Ghost Meets Girl, your Navigation negates should primarily be used on that or Needlebug Nest, especially the latter as it is Limited to 1, and can provide a pretty significant amount of advantage if it resolves. Also, I would consider siding Chaos Hunter specifically for this matchup, as it will prevent Sealing Ceremony of Katon and Shiranui Squiresaga from doing anything, though if your opponent is smart, they can banish a Shiranui Spiritmaster from the GY with Katon or Shiranui Samurai to pop the Chaos Hunter on Summon. Chaos Hunter being used in response to the summon of Squiresaga is pretty devastating for them, however, so it is definitely worth the side deck slots. Add Power of Dark to the mix,and they have to summon Shiranui Samuraisaga or a Shiranui Sunsaga in order to out it, which is fairly difficult when they cannot banish anything, or have already used their Level Augmentation or Level Duplication. Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer will also help a lot in this matchup, but it will only completely shut down the former and limit the latter, as Squiresaga can banish from the field as well for her effect, and can banish herself.


Ritual Beast

If they open Ritual Beast Tamer Elder plus Spiritual Beast Cannahawk and go 1st, you’re going to most likely wake up to a Spiritual Beast Pettlephin setup to pick apart your board the following turn, so as long as that doesn’t happen, it shouldn’t be a huge problem, assuming you opened optimally.

Side Deck Choices:

What to do in this matchup?

The main things to note are to pay attention to the banish pile, know that each small Ritual Beast monster can only be Special Summoned once per turn, and that each of the big Ritual Beast Fusions can only be fused into and defuse with a Spiritual Beast and a Ritual Beast Tamer, with the only exception being Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda, as she is treated as both. If you go 1st with the full combo, you can banish whatever they summon/set first or you can wait until they have used up all of their Special Summons for the turn and end on their big Fusion before activating Magician Navigation to banish their big monster, which will not be able to tag out at that point. This can be risky, however, as they can also get a Spiritual Beast Pettlephin to bounce your Circle back to the hand. If they end their turn on a set monster, more often than not, it is a Winda, so prioritise banishing the set monster and rely on Cosmic Cyclone and Navigation to deal with the backrow if they set any. Going 2nd, it’s not the worst idea to swing into set monsters if you are able to with Magician’s Rod or Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer, as if it’s a Winda, it has high enough defense where it won’t actually be destroyed by the battle, and if it is not, most of the other possible sets will get destroyed, with the exceptions being the Pettlephin and Ritual Beast Tamer Lara. If it is a Pettlephin by itself, you can activate Navigation right away in the Draw Phase to banish it with Circle only if they do not have a Cosmic Cyclone in their hand. Check the delays in the Draw Phase to see if they have a quick-play card (unless it is impossible to determine what it is because there is something else causing delays). That way, they need to have an Elder or a Ritual Beast Return (which they usually play 3 of combined) in order to get back in the Duel. I’d also recommend having the toggle ON the entire duel, as you then have the ability to stop them from sneaking out a Fusion by setting Tamer alongside a Spiritual Beast and vice versa.


Witchcrafter

As this deck has gotten much slower due to the recent banlist, this matchup has become easier to deal with. Witchcrafter Madame Verre on turn 1 can be very annoying though, especially if you open Magician’s Rod and need it to resolve to set up your combo.

Side Deck Choices:

What to do in this matchup?

Basically, all this matchup will come down to is how much backrow hate your opponent will have to work with. If you see Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress be summoned, immediately use Magician Navigation to banish it off the field with Dark Magical Circle, UNLESS you have ways to play around it, such as flipping it down with Paleozoic Canadia or getting rid of it on activation. If they don’t have a lot of backrow removal, it’s usually best to wait until the Battle Phase to do any banishing with Circle, as the smaller Witchcrafter monsters cannot tag out into another Witchcrafter outside of the Main Phase. With that said though, your primary target to banish is Witchcrafter Madame Verre, as it will otherwise be quite difficult to get rid of by battle. However, you can also banish the smaller ones outside of the Main Phase when they can’t tag out if you have other ways of taking out the Verre.


Gouki

This matchup is another pretty favorable one. The Goukis won’t be able to float when they are banished by Dark Magical Circle or Karma Cut, and most of their backrow can be negated/doesn’t do a lot against this deck. It is a fair bit harder if you go 2nd, but shouldn’t be a huge problem nonetheless.

Side Deck Choices:

Duel Links Card: Karma%20Cut
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Bad%20Aim
Duel Links Card: Straight%20Flush

What to do in this matchup?

This is a good matchup, so there isn’t a ton to explain, but you do have to be pretty wary of cards like Ballista Squad popping your Dark Magical Circle, especially when you go 2nd. Necrovalley also has a minor impact on this Deck by preventing Magician Navigation from negating all of their backrow. As for what to negate, negate any backrow that threatens to take out your Dark Magician. Your Circle banishes should primarily be used on their backrow or their Necrovalley, since none of their Main Deck monsters are bigger than Dark Magician without a boost from Gouki Twistcobra, but if they didn’t set a lot of backrow, you can force the Twistcobra to Tribute itself if it is on the field alongside another Gouki. Like I said earlier, this matchup shouldn’t be that bad.


Karakuri

This matchup mainly depends on how they open, and is one of the few decks you actually don’t mind going 2nd against. If they don’t open Cosmic Cyclone and sack you, however, you can banish whatever they Normal Summon with Magician Navigation and Dark Magical Circle and instantly win. If they go 1st, this deck doesn’t particularly care too much about the Karakuri Cash Inn outside of on Magician’s Rod, but do be extremely cautious of Karakuri Cash Shed, and try to take out some backrow before setting up your combo, especially if they have a Karakuri monster in Defense Position.

Side Deck Choices:

What to do in this matchup?

If you go 1st, try to disrupt whatever they Normal Summon, as that will usually shut them down for the entire turn, and you can just auto-win from there. If the Karakuri player leads with Karakuri Merchant mdl 177 “Inashichi”, turn the toggle ON before activating your backrow against it. Wait for them to search, and if they search a Karakuri Bonze mdl 9763 “Kunamzan” while you have Raigeki Break, Karma Cut, or any way to remove the Merchant in that chain link, wait for the Kunamzan to activate before you chain the backrow to remove the Merchant, so the Kunamzan’s effect will fizzle, and in addition, they cannot activate it again the same turn. If you go 2nd, however, prioritise getting rid of their Synchros like Karakuri Steel Shogun mdl 00X “Bureido” and Karakuri Shogun mdl 00 “Burei”, as most of them are bigger than your Dark Magician. The biggest target by-far is the Bureido, as it will continuously give them advantage every turn, so consider using your Dark Magical Circle effect on this in the Draw Phase if you do not have another backrow card to get rid of it. Outside of that, not a whole lot you need to know. System Down and Acid Rain in the Side Deck are very good as well to completely blow them out. Like I said earlier, however, be extremely cautious of Karakuri Cash Shed, and if they have a Karakuri monster in Defense Position, either try to take out the Shed, or bait it out before activating Circle or Magician Navigation if you only have 1 Navigation set.


HERO

This is arguably your hardest matchup in most circumstances. Triple Cosmic Cyclone, the ability to dodge Dark Magical Circle on their monsters with Mask Change, Elemental HERO Stratos being able to pop backrow without targeting, and even the threat of Hey, Trunade! are all extremely scary for this deck. With that said, however, Heat Wave and Summon Breaker are potentially able to blow them out if you go 1st. Cosmic Cyclone can also be handy if they get a Vision HERO Increase in the backrow as long as you chain the CC in response to Increase’s effect.

Side Deck Choices:

Duel Links Card: Heat%20Wave
Duel Links Card: Summon%20Breaker
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Bad%20Aim
Duel Links Card: Warrior%20Elimination
Duel Links Card: Special%20Hurricane

What to do in this matchup?

Like I said earlier, this is most likely your hardest matchup, so in some cases, there really won’t be anything you can do to win. You can try to disrupt them with Cosmic Cyclone on Vision HERO Increase in the backrow, but make sure to use it when chaining to the effect of Increase. Dark Magical Circle’s effect onto any of their monsters will either get rid of it or force an early Mask Change, so you could potentially take advantage of that. Your best targets for Circle are any of their Fusion monsters like Masked HERO Anki, Vision HERO Adoration, and Vision HERO Trinity, and for Adoration’s case, if they have another HERO on the field (or they haven’t used their Normal Summon yet) and you also have a monster on the field, I would banish it on summon. If you feel a Mask Change delay, then it might be a bit better to hold the Magician Navigation into Circle banish until they use the Mask Change on their monster in the Battle Phase to try to push for game.

Six Samurai

While this deck is uncommon in tournaments, it is somewhat popular on the ladder, and is another one of your hardest matchups. If they go 1st, they can set up a Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En, which can not only negate your Dark Magical Circle, but also negate Magician Navigation and your other backrow as well. If you go 1st, however, it is significantly easier as long as you open the combo and/or any way to disrupt your opponent’s plays, though you do have to be wary of Cosmic Cyclone and Forbidden Lance.

Side Deck Choices:

What to do in this matchup?

Firstly, the biggest issues for this deck against Six Samurai are Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En and Six Style - Dual Wield, as the former can negate your Spells/Traps, while the latter will return 2 cards on the field back to the hand, but only if they control 1 Six Samurai monster in ATK Position. If they go 1st and have a turn 1 Shi En, try to bait the negate with something other than your Dark Magical Circle, unless you have Forbidden Chalice in your hand or any way to stop the Shi En from negating the cards you want to resolve. If they open a single Six Samurai in ATK position, try your best to not put 2 or more cards on the field, as Dual Wield can only return 2 cards on the field to the hand, or none at all. Usually you can get a good read on if the backrow is a Dual Wield or not if there is no delay once you place any 1 card on the field. If they are going 2nd and you have the full combo, any and all Magician Navigation negates should be used on the Dual Wield, unless there is a way for it to be inactive (changing their monster to Defense Position, putting a 2nd monster on their field, etc.). If they are threatening to summon Shi En while you have the combo, immediately chain your backrow to stop the Summon. Usually, you’ll want to banish their Secret Six Samurai - Fuma with Circle, as it can float into any other Six Samurai monster from the Deck when destroyed. Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi can also be slightly annoying, but a smart Six Samurai player will not use its effect if it can unclog your field enough to activate a Navigation that is Set, unless they have Shi En to negate the Navigation.


Weather Painters

This deck is quite favorable as a matchup, but The Weather Thundery Canvas can be slightly annoying. The deck doesn’t instantly fold to a single Cosmic Cyclone either, so it could be a pretty grindy game.

Side Deck Choices:

What to do in this matchup?

This is the only matchup where it’s actually bad to try to get rid of their monsters, as they will pretty easily be able to dodge Dark Magical Circle and Karma Cut. You really want to hit their backrow with Circle, because none of their Main Deck monsters actually can out Dark Magician without The Weather Thundery Canvas. They do also carry Necrovalley quite often, so that could also be a good target to banish with your Circle to allow Magician Navigation to negate their backrow.


###Off-Meta / New Deck Matchups

This section is mainly for any new decks that have come to Duel Links, and any occasional matchup that you see on the ladder or in tournaments.

DISCLAIMER: As of recently, many tournaments have stopped using a Side Deck format. If you plan to take this deck into a No Side Deck tournament, consider those options in your Main Deck. For these matchups in particular, they are VERY RARE in tournaments, so I personally would not worry about seeing them if you feel like your list loses to any of these Decks.


Valkyries

This matchup is also pretty easy, and the only real threat to the deck is Valkyrie Erda, as it will reduce your monster’s ATK by 1000 and banish anything the Valkyries destroy by battle. However, they usually only play 1, so once you get rid of it with Karma Cut or Dark Magical Circle, it’s a very easy deck to beat most of the time.

Side Deck Choices:

What to do in this matchup?

Basically, just try to threaten Valkyrie Erda as much as possible with Dark Magical Circle, Raigeki Break, Karma Cut, or whatever other backrow you play, as Erda is usually their main win condition against you. I personally haven’t faced them too much with this deck, but I’d say they would likely side in Chaos Hunter against you, so be prepared for it going into Game 2 and 3 if you play this deck in a tournament. Cosmic Cyclone onto whatever face-up Spell or Trap they attempt to use to summon Valkyrie Sigrun is also extremely powerful against this Deck.


Dragunity

This is an OTK deck that doesn’t actually have the best Dark Magician matchup, since you don’t really summon too many monsters for Dragunity Knight - Ascalon to banish, and Ascalon’s floating effect doesn’t activate when it is banished by Dark Magical Circle or Karma Cut. A single disruption from Circle or your other backrow can force them to end their turn as well. If you are not careful though, it can clap you pretty hard. The only things you really have to worry about though are Cosmic Cyclone and the occasional Hey, Trunade! variant.

Side Deck Choices:

What to do in this matchup?

Interrupting their initial combo is extremely strong against this deck, whether it be through Dark Magical Circle’s effect to banish their initial Summon or any of your other backrow. If you go 2nd, any set backrow are usually Cosmic Cyclone or Forbidden Lance, so Cosmic Cyclone in the opener is good for preventing them from interrupting you. It can also be used to banish their Dragunity Couse when they equip it to their Dragunity Senatus or their Dragunity Dux if you go 1st. Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer can help with getting rid of their Tuners in the GY, while also stopping Dragunity Knight - Ascalon from banishing monsters from the GY to clear your field, though this is only good for 1 turn most of the time, since Kycoo is only 1800 ATK versus Ascalon’s 3300.


Satellarknight

This matchup is pretty coin-flip heavy if you ask me. If you go 1st, this deck is pretty easy to out-control, but going 2nd, this deck can set up negates with Stellarnova Alpha, which can negate pretty much whatever you do while also cycling through their deck in the process.

Side Deck Choices:

Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Bad%20Aim
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Light-Imprisoning%20Mirror

What to do in this matchup?

The big elephants in the room in terms of this matchup are that Stellarnova Alpha cannot be negated by Magician Navigation in the GY, it will only be activatable while the player using it controls a face-up “tellarknight” monster, and you cannot activate cards or effects in response to the Summon of Stellarknight Delteros or any of their monsters while Delteros (with at least 1 Xyz material) is on the field. Speaking of Delteros, this is the monster you want to try to prevent from coming out, as it will limit your opportunities to activate your backrow cards to disrupt their plays. If it does happen to be on the field before you start your combos and/or they have any backrow set, try to hit their Stellarnova Alpha with Cosmic Cyclone or bait out the Alpha, so the board becomes easier to pick apart later on. The rest of the backrow usually doesn’t bother you that much, and you can negate the ones that do attempt to disrupt you with Navigation in the GY.


Geargia

Right now, the best way to play Geargia is playing it with backrow and the Invoked engine, so it’s a pretty straightforward matchup for the most part. I’d say the only potential issues to look out for are Invoked Cocytus, Diamond Dire Wolf, and Machina Fortress.

Side Deck Choices:

Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Bad%20Aim
Duel Links Card: Karma%20Cut
Duel Links Card: System%20Down
Duel Links Card: Acid%20Rain
Duel Links Card: Artifact%20Lancea
Duel Links Card: Kycoo%20the%20Ghost%20Destroyer

What to do in this matchup?

This matchup is much like other Invoked Decks, but with a couple notable differences. Firstly, if they are playing it with Machina Fortress, this card can actually be very annoying if not dealt with promptly. As its ATK is 2500, it can go even with your Dark Magician and once it gets destroyed by that exchange, it will destroy another card on the field, clearing the way for a potential lethal attack, not to mention that it can revive itself from the GY if needed as well. Banishing it with Karma Cut or Dark Magical Circle is usually your best bet, as the few lists that do see success only play 1 Fortress, if at all. Secondly, the FIRE monster of choice for this deck is Sergeant Electro, which can lock down a backrow card and prevent it from being activated (though you can still chain the card in response to this). Finally, much like with Invoked Magician Girls, if you see Diamond Dire Wolf be summoned, get rid of it immediately with your backrow.


Sharks/WATER Xyz Toolbox

As of me writing this guide, not much is known about this deck in the current meta. However, from my initial review of the deck, it’s not too bad of a matchup, but they will likely carry cards like Hey, Trunade!, so I’d be advised to be prepared for it.

Side Deck Choices:

Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Karma%20Cut
Duel Links Card: Magician's%20Robe

What to do in this matchup?

The main boss monster to worry about for this matchup is Number 37: Hope Woven Dragon Spider Shark, though it’s honestly not the worst thing in the world to deal with. Banishing it with Karma Cut or Dark Magical Circle will bypass its floating effect, so you have that base covered. Number 32: Shark Drake is harder for them to summon, but it can attack twice on monsters. Also, note that if it re-summons your Dark Magician to attack again, this will NOT trigger Circle to banish the Shark Drake off the field. If they use Territory of the Sharks over Level Duplication, they can only use WATER monsters, so you don’t have to worry about cards like Diamond Dire Wolf if that is the case.


What Counters Dark Magician

This section is designed to list the cards that will give Dark Magician a hard time, and are popular in Side Decks if the player is expecting this deck in tournaments. So if you are looking for cards to watch out for in general, or happen to be one of the many DLM community members that dislike this deck, this section is for you.

Any form of backrow removal or cards that counter backrow disruptions

Duel Links Card: Hey,%20Trunade!
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Lance
Duel Links Card: Galaxy%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Night%20Beam
Duel Links Card: Typhoon
Duel Links Card: Storm
Duel Links Card: Lyla,%20Lightsworn%20Sorceress
Duel Links Card: Elemental%20HERO%20Stratos

If you force the Magician Navigation at an inconvenient time or dodge the Dark Magical Circle banish, this deck is much easier to beat. Hey, Trunade! and Storm are especially devastating as they clear not only the Navigation, but also any disruption that is set to protect the combo.

Chaos Hunter

Duel Links Card: Chaos%20Hunter

This card can be activated when Magician Navigation resolves to Summon itself from the hand by discarding 1 card, and because of the way chain links work, it will always be chain link 2 to Dark Magical Circle. The reason why that’s relevant is that it has a Continuous effect that prevents your opponent from banishing cards, period. As a result, it not only counters Circle by making the effect fizzle, but unless they get rid of this card, they cannot activate Navigation in the GY to negate your backrow.

Last Day of Witch

Duel Links Card: Last%20Day%20of%20Witch

If you hate Witchcrafters too, then this Side Deck card can also help against this deck, as it will either force a negate from Magician Navigation or wipe out all of their monsters, since they are all Spellcasters.

Cursed Seal of the Forbidden Spell

Duel Links Card: Cursed%20Seal%20of%20the%20Forbidden%20Spell

While I personally have not seen this used in a while, this Counter Trap will negate any Spell Card and prevent said Spell from being activated for the rest of the Duel by discarding a Spell. While it is relatively hard to activate, if you successfully resolve it against a Dark Magical Circle, you basically win the Duel, as a major part of what makes this deck viable is the Circle, and not having access to it severely hinders the Deck.


Shoutouts/Credits

Shoutouts to the DLM community for being as amazing as it is, shoutouts to Dkayed and all of the DLM staff for running amazing events and a great website, and shoutouts to my friends in the clan Lost Tribe and my clanmates in my current clan, Qutie Pies ! Biggest shoutouts to Gregulator and all of the DM haters for spamming insect emotes in the deck channel in the DLM Discord server which gave me more reason to make this guide.


Guide formatted and uploaded by Jadehex.
Thumbnail designed and created by Jadehex.

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