Dark Magician is an old archetype that recently got a very strong support card from the Future Horizon Main Box being Dark Magic Circle. The deck also had Magician Navigation introduced in the Guardians Of Rock Mini Box in May 2019. This deck revolves around summoning your Dark Magician with Magician Navigation and banishing your opponents’ cards with Dark Magical Circle while doing so, as well as being able to negate one of your opponents’ spells/traps by banishing Magician Navigation from your graveyard any turn after you had activated the navigation.
Sealed Tombs is a very strong skill for dark magician in the current meta as it shuts down some of the top decks like shiranui, darklords, crystrons and its very useful in the mirror to stop them from banishing Magician Navigation to negate spells/traps allowing you to activate your own.
Beatdown is less popular than the previous two as in most matchups you banish any problematic monsters with Dark Magical Circle without needing a skill to get over them (with the exception of darklords where Power of Dark is stronger)
Master of Rites
Master Of Rites revolves around using cards with lifepoint costs such as Cosmic Cyclone and Dark Magic Viel to send 1 of the cards in your hand back to the deck and add either a Magician of Chaos or a Chaos Form (whichever one you’re missing) to ritual summon a Magician of Chaos. It has very good synergy with Dark Magical Circle which will be talked about later in Tech Cards.
Dark Magician (3x):
Dark Magician is your main boss monster and it’s considered core at 3 to maximize your chance of drawing it and special summon it using Magician Navigation.
Dark Magical Circle (2-3x):
The most recent support card we’ve got for the deck. Ideally you want to run 3 but 2 can suffice as you can also search it with Magician’s Rod. It allows you to banish any card your opponent controls when you normal/special summon your Dark Magician through Magician Navigation, Magician of Dark Illusion’s 1st or 2nd effect, or just tribute summoning it.
Magician of Dark Illusion (1x):
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 turn upon activating a spell/trap allowing you to trigger Dark Magicial Circle effect if you didn’t start with Magician Navigation. It’s 2nd effect is also very useful to special summon Dark Magician from your graveyard when activating a spell/trap or an effect to trigger your Dark Magicial Circle.
Magician Navigation (3x):
This is the main way to special summon your Dark Magician along with a Magician of Dark Illusion or a second copy of Dark Magician if needed. It also allows you to negate any spells/traps that threaten your Dark Magician.
Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer(1x):Burgeoning Whirlflame plays, it’s also helpful vs elementsabers to stop them from fusing with monsters in their graveyard.
Cosmic Cyclone is very good in this deck to get rid of your opponent’s cosmic cyclone so they can’t disrupt your Dark Magical Circle. It’s also nice to get rid of key backrow cards like The Sanctified Darklord and Cybernetic Overflow.
Your best fusion target to summon using The Eye of Timaeus. It deals with any problematic targeting cards such as Treacherous Trap Hole while giving you a big body on the board to get over other boss mosnters.
Amulet Dragon is rarely summoned over Dark Cavalry but it does have its use against darklords to banish Darklord Contact and Banishment of The Darklords after they had used their graveyard copy effects.
Dark Magic Expanded:
This card is very useful for going aggressive turn 2 by special summoning a Dark Magician from your deck after paying half your lifepoints while triggering Dark Magical Circle to banish one of your opponent’s cards. The main reason it’s not seeing a lot of play is that it restricts you from summoning anything else that turn(but you can still set). Therefore you can’t search it through Magician’s Rod then activate it on the same turn.
Dark Magic Veil:
Dark Magic Veil is a very good to trigger your Dark Magical Circle banishing effect on your turn by special summoning a Dark Magician from hand. Its main downside is being unsearchable and having bad synergy with Magician Navigation as using it turn 2 means you’re unlikely to have another dark magician in hand to activate the navigation.
Enemy Controller is very useful in this deck not only for taking your opponents’ monsters to OTK but it also triggers your Magician of Dark Illusion 2nd effect by tributing a dark magician then special summoning him right back while banishing one of your opponents’ cards with Dark Magical Circle
Dark Magic Attack:
This card is very powerful against backrow heavy decks such as elementsabers and cyber dragons and you can easily search it through your Magician’s Rod
Paleozoic Canadia:Darklord Desire, Shiranui Shogunsaga and flip down blackwing monsters to stop their synchro plays.
Night’s End Sorcerer can be special summoned through your Magician Navigation to banish cards from your opponent’s graveyard which helps a lot vs decks like Shiranui, its also a tuner which allows you to synchro summon with your dark magician to deal with problematic cards or get over certain attack thresholds.
- On your opponent’s turn, tribute Magician’s Rod with Illusion Magic to add 2 Dark magician to your hand.
- Activate Navigation to special summon Dark Magician from hand and Magician of Dark Illusion from the deck, activate rod’s graveyard effect to tribute your dark magician and add rod back to hand.
- Circle effect activates in a new chain to banish one of your opponent’s cards.
- On your turn normal summon your rod to search a second circle, which triggers your Magician of Dark illusion to special summon the dark magician in the grave and get another banish with your circle.
However in the 3rd step you can choose to activate Magician of Dark Illusion 2nd effect to special summon your Dark Magician back on your opponent’s turn. But this limits you to only 1 circle banish and clogs your board if you were to top deck another Magician Navigation.
If you’re playing in the mirror or against an esaber invoked deck, you can use Enemy Controller to tribute your Magician’s Rod to take the opponent’s spellcaster such as Aleister the Invoker, then activate Magician’s Rod graveyard effect to tribute their spellcaster and add itself back to your hand. Remember that both of Dark Magicial Circle’s effects are hard once per turn(HOPT) so you can’t activate more than 1 circle in your turn, and if you have multiple circles on the field you will still only get 1 banish per turn. Another general note is that if you use Illusion Magic on your rod with no Dark Magician in hand and the opponent uses Cosmic Cyclone on your Magician Navigation you won’t be able to use it. So it’s better if you activate your Illusion Magic on your turn and not set it(if you have no dark magicians in hand) to guarantee getting navigation off. And a final note if you’re playing Night’s End Sorcerer is that it effect would miss the timing if you special summon him in a chain link 2 or higher with Magician Navigation. (i.e chaining a navigation to an opponent’s card or one of yours.)
This matchup is rather difficult for dark magician due to all the blackwing synchros having higher base attack then your dark magician, as well as Assault Blackwing - Raikiri the Rain Shower being able to clear your board.
Something important to note in this matchup is when you special summon dark magician through Magician Navigation, your Dark Magical Circle would resolve in a new chain therefore you can’t chain navigation to Black Whirlwind search to stop it.
If going 1st in this matchup with only a Dark Magical Circle and a Magician Navigation for backrow and the blackwing player activates Blackwing - Simoon the Poison Wind right away, you should chain the navigation to it. This way the Black Whirlwind would activate as chain link 1 then circle activates as chain link 2 and banishes it to stop their search.
However, if they have a Whirlwind already and then activate simoon and you don’t have backrow besides the navigation, it’s better to hold it till they summon the raikiri, same thing if they opened lvl 4 monsters + Whirlwind.
Sometimes the blackwing players would search simoon off the the Whirlwind expecting you to banish their monster right away, or keep a simoon in hand hoping you activate the navigation early, so it’s better using the navigation+circle combo when they have a raikiri and another monster out.
If going 2nd in this matchup with the circle+navi setup against a raikiri + Blackwing Tamer - Obsidian Hawk Joe you should toggle on on their turn and activate the navigation on their standby phase to banish their raikiri before it gets to pop your cards.
Power of Dark is the preferred skill in this matchup as it makes your Dark Magician bigger than most of their synchro monsters.
Side Deck/Tech Choices:
This matchup is very favored for the player going 1st .if they go aggressive turn 2 with their Cyber Dragon Core and u sense a delay they might be holding a Cyberload Fusion in their hand so it’s better to take the damage and use the Magician Navigation in the end phase or in response to Cyberload Fusion if they decide to use it turn 2.
It’s important to note that the main card you want to negate with Magician Navigation is their Cybernetic Overflow so if they activate another trap like Paleozoic Canadia for example you can let it go and hold your negate for the overflow.(granted you have 2 dark magicians on the field).
If you’re going 2nd in this matchup and they have a Cybernetic Overflow set that would pop 2 of your cards, you should try to set 3 backrow if you can in order to have a live navigation after they destroy 2 of your backrow, if you decide to activate circle and set 2 you will likely get OTKed on the following turn.
Side Deck/Tech Choices:
Darklords can be very annoying for dark magician as they constantly put out big monsters like Darklord Ixchel that dark magician can’t get over. Hence a lot of players have shifted to using the Power of Dark skill against them so that your dark magician has higher attack than all their monsters bar Darklord Desire and Darklord Morningstar (it also ties with Darklord Superbia). In this matchup it’s very important knowing when to activate your Magician Navigation if they have multiple monsters with higher attack than dark magician. For example if they have a nasten and a desire on board you’d let them swing with the nasten first then activate your navigation to banish the desire through Dark Magical Circle. It’s also important knowing what darklord monster to banish, if they have a nasten and a desire for example without a contact in the graveyard you would banish the nasten as desire is easy to out with your circle later on or through The Eye of Timaeus, but it always depends on the board state overall if their desire is more of a threat than their other darklords or not. Remember that The Sanctified Darklord can negate your Magician’s Rod but you can dodge the negate by chaining Illusion Magic or using Enemy Controller to take 1 of their monsters.
Side Deck/Tech Choices:
Dark Magician (Mirror Match)
Sadly this mirror match often comes down to who goes first with the Dark Magical Circle + Magician Navigation combo to then banish the opponent’s circle, however if you open the combo + Cosmic Cyclone you can just banish 1 backrow with that cosmic and the other with circle to OTK on the following turn. An important note in the mirror is that if your opponent summons a Dark Cavalry you can still banish it with circle if you have a Magician’s Rod in the graveyard and a navigation. You do so by activating navigation, targeting the cavalry with the circle, then chaining the rod’s graveyard effect to tribute a dark magician, since the targeting effect is chain link 1 and rod is chain link 2 the dark cavalry can’t negate that effect as the rod chain blocked it, you can do this same play against Red-Eyes Slash Dragon as well.
Side Deck/Tech Choices:
This matchup is slightly favored for dark magician as you can negate their Invocation with Magician Navigation, however, sabers also have problematic cards for dark magician such as Invoked Cocytus, Elementsaber Lapauila which you should be careful of. Generally you run The Eye of Timaeus to deal with Cocytus through summoning Dark Cavalry and negating the aleister boosts. As for Lapuila you want to setup a double navigation against it so you can summon your Dark Magician through its negate. Also don’t activate Dark Magical Circle turn 2 against the lapauila as they’ll negate it right away. An important note in this matchup is that Palace of the Elemental Lords effect to send an elementsaber from the deck is only once per turn, so if the elementsaber player uses Elementsaber Molehu effect to flip down Magician’s Rod for example to protect his lapauila, you can activate the Magician Navigation without worrying about lapauila negating through palace. If you go 1st in this matchup with the setup and they summon Aleister the Invoker, banish it before they try to fuse through your circle.
Side Deck/Tech Choices:
Shiranui have two viable versions being played at the moment: 20 cards heavy traps version with sealed tombs, and 30 cards with That Grass Looks Greener which is a lot more aggressive. I’ll talk about each of these matchups separately.
- 20 cards Shiranui:
This matchup is rather annoying for dark magician due to this deck running a lot of backrow hate/protection like Cosmic Cyclone, Forbidden Lance, and using Gold Sarcophagus to banish Shiranui Spiritmaster to pop the Dark Magical Circle as well. In general, it’s better to activate Sealed Tombs on the first turn against both versions to stop Shiranui Squiresaga from banishing Shiranui Squire and destroying your circle. Overall it’s better holding the Magician Navigation and activating it in the end phase to summon Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer along with the dark magician, however if you’re forced to activate it early due to a Cosmic Cyclone it’s better to just summon Magician of Dark Illusion so the kycoo doesn’t get destroyed right.
- 30 cards Shiranui:
This version of the deck is somewhat easier to deal with as it doesn’t run a lot of backrow hate. As mentioned above it’s safer to just activate Sealed Tombs on your first turn to stop their setup until you can put a kycoo on board. Since this version runs Black Rose Dragon you should be careful if they’re about to make a level 7 synchro. Since Shiranui Squire restricts only zombie summons. So if they activate the squire you can hold your navigation until they summon Shiranui Squiresaga and then banish it. If you’re going 2nd against a turn 1 Shiranui Squiresaga you should put your toggle to ON and activate the Magician Navigation in their standby phase to banish that squiresaga. You can also activate Treacherous Trap Hole early to get rid of it as well before it gets to destroy your navigation/circle.
Side Deck/Tech Choices
This matchup can be very difficult for dark magician if the ritual beast player sets up his banish pile turn 1 with a Spiritual Beast Pettlephin setup for next turn. Power of Dark skill helps a lot in this matchup to make your dark magician bigger than their Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio and it forces them to deal with the Yami to get over the dark magician.
When going 1st against ritual beasts if they open Ritual Beast Tamer Elder and a ritual beast, it’s best to banish their ritual beast with your Dark Magical Circle as soon as they summon it to stop them from fueling their banish pile and stop them from going into one of their fusions too. And if you have a Treacherous Trap Hole you can also destroy their two monsters right away without having to activate the Magician Navigation early. It’s important to notice what they search using the Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk. If they search a Ritual Beast’s Bond they can dodge the circle banish using the bond so it’s often better to hold the navigation until the battle phase to force a tagout and protect your Dark Magician.
If you can get another banish on your turn after they had tagged out your main target to banish should be Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda as it can float into Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio which is bigger than your dark magician.
It’s important to note that if they try to bounce your Dark Magical Circle using Spiritual Beast Pettlephin and you chain Magician Navigation you won’t get the banish effect off as circle resolves in a new chain and it’d be in your hand when dark magician is special summoned. If you can’t manage to break their board (they did the elder cannahawk combos turn 1) you don’t have to play aggressive and overcommit, just chain your navigations when they try to bounce it,and keep trying to thin your deck to draw The Eye of Timaeus summoning Dark Cavalry as ritual beasts struggle to out it and it’s piercing effect is very strong against them as well.