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Desperado Guide

Overview

Desperado Barrel Dragon debuted in the EX Structure Deck, Fullmetal Desperado and revolutionized the coin flip meta. Boasting a strong 2800 Attack stat, it also has a supporting ability that allows you to flip coins and destroy face-up monsters on the field, up to the number of heads. Moreover, when you flip 3 heads, you get to draw a card, provided you successfully destroy a monster on the field. For an exceptionally strong EX card, one would think that the summoning requirements would be somewhat difficult; however, it can be special summoned after a face-up DARK Machine is destroyed by battle or card effect. Using primarily cards from the EX Structure Deck, as well as other staple cards to enhance its consistency and stability, this deck has proven to be a force to be reckoned with.

Introduction

Desperado is a control deck which utilizes Desperado Barrel Dragon’s effect in the battle phase to destroy monsters while supporting Desperado with backrow to maintain field presence and generate card advantage. When paired with Master of Destiny, Desperado decks utilize strong generic DARK machine monsters like BM-4 Blast Spider in conjunction with synergistic coin flip cards like Twin-Barrel Dragon and Ms. Judge. This lineup provides Desperado decks with powerful battle phase control, spot removal, and negations all which make Desperado a versatile deck. As of the time of this guide, Desperado decks utilize a Parshath counter trap package, providing the deck with a slew of counter traps that offer spell speed 3 negates. Because of the consistent card advantage Desperado can potentially generate, it compensates for the cost of Rebirth of Parshath and other counter traps.


Skills

Master of Destiny ultimately caused this deck to be Tier, and will be the main focus when talking about Core Cards later in the guide. This ability allows you to get 3 guaranteed Heads, provided you have 5 different coin flip cards in your deck. A notable strength is that it turns a risky card like Cup of Ace into Pot of Greed for the first 3 heads, which is significant in terms of assisting your card advantage. Moreover, it guarantees heads for Desperado Barrel Dragon so that it can blow up monsters on the field. Master of Destiny is the true coin flipping connoisseur of abilities.

  • Other Skills:

For players without access to Master of Destiny, Desperado decks can be played with these skills. While the tiered version plays MOD, decks using these skills can reach King of Games. Sealed Tombs is an anti-meta skill that is best abused to counter graveyard centric strategies. Switcheroo found success with Cyberdark focused variants. When paired with Cosmic Cyclone, Switcheroo enables you to shuffle garnets into the deck such as Elemental HERO Neos, Bacon Saver, and other cards you would rather keep in the deck. Similarly, Draw Sense: High-Level can be used to manipulate your draw for guaranteed Desperado Barrel Dragons. Lastly, Destiny Draw is another meta call and best used in decks where seeing one of tech cards can be crucial for winning the duel.


Core Cards

I decided to place the core cards after the abilities because I want to clarify that even though there are a few relevant abilities to use with Desperado, we will be primarily focusing on Master of Destiny since that is the most popular and successful ability for the deck.

Desperado Barrel Dragon (3x)

Duel Links Card: Desperado%20Barrel%20Dragon

The boss monster of the deck. There is no reason to play any less than 3 of it because it can be special summoned when a face-up DARK Machine is destroyed by battle or card effect. Once on the field, Desperado can flip coins in the battle phase and destroy face-up monsters on the field equal to the number of heads, with the additional effect of drawing a card if successfully destroying at least 1 monster if 3 heads appear. Moreover, when it is sent to the graveyard by any means, it allows for the search of a Level 7 or lower monster that has a coin flip effect! Overall Desperado is a powerhouse monster with a fairly simple summoning requirement.

BM-4 Blast Spider (2-3x)

Duel Links Card: BM-4%20Blast%20Spider

Blast Spider is one of the main DARK Machine monsters that enables easy Desperado summons. Alongside an incredible 2200 defense stat, its first effect allows it to pop a face-up DARK Machine (including itself) and another face-up card on the opponent’s side of the field. This is particularly useful for getting around cards like Secret Six Samurai - Fuma, who can prevent destruction if the only thing being destroyed is a Six Samurai monster. This is a soft once per turn, enabling you to pop a face-up card for every Blast Spider you have. On top of enabling the special summon of Desperado, Blast Spider’s second effect inflicts burn damage when a DARK Machine destroys an opponent’s monster by battle or card effect (including its own effect) equal to half of the destroyed monster’s original attack. Blast Spider must be face-up on the field to activate this effect and this effect is a hard once per turn.

Twin-Barrel Dragon (1-2x)

Duel Links Card: Twin-Barrel%20Dragon

Much like Blast Spider, Twin Barrel Dragon is another card that assists with destroying cards on the field; however, there are a few key differences: Its effect occurs on summon, it can only pop cards on your opponent’s field, and it requires 2 coin flips. The effect requiring coin flips is great because it can be searched via Desperado Barrel Dragon. Moreover, with Master of Destiny, you are both assisting a met requirement for the ability to function, as well as usually guaranteeing a free destruction of an opponent’s card early in the game. The downsides are that after you use 2 or 3 of your free heads, your chances of destroying a card are no longer guaranteed. Moreover, the only way that Desperado can be summoned with Twin Barrel Dragon is by it being destroyed by your opponent, which is not as reliable as Blast Spider. While mandatory to run, it is usually advisable to play less Twin Barrel Dragons than Blast Spiders to accommodate for its late game struggles.

Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive (1-3x)

Duel Links Card: Dekoichi%20the%20Battlechanted%20Locomotive

Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive seems a bit slow on the surface since you have to set it to use its effect; however, its ability is rewarding enough to still consider if it resolves. Whenever Dekoichi is flipped, its flip effect triggers, which allows you to draw a card. While its effect replacing itself does not seem fantastic, if you draw into Desperado Barrel Dragon while it is being destroyed in battle, it can be summoned right away! Furthermore, if your opponent does not choose to attack it while set, you will be rewarded with an extra card on your next turn after flipping it face-up.

Cup of Ace (2x)

Duel Links Card: Cup%20of%20Ace

The main spell that makes Master of Destiny the best ability to run. What once was a risky card (either a +1 or -3) is now a guaranteed +1 provided you still have 1 of your 3 guaranteed heads remaining. Cup of Ace is semi-limited, so this will take up your two semi-limit slots; however, there are no better semi-limit cards to consider when this card allows you to gain an early card advantage.


Other Relevant Cards in Master of Destiny

Arcana Force XIV - Temperance (0-1x)

Duel Links Card: Arcana%20Force%20XIV%20-%20Temperance

A Level 6 coin flip monster that has a relevant discarding effect: By sending it to the graveyard, you reduce all battle damage from one attack to 0. Very similar to Kuriboh, except it can be searched via Desperado Barrel Dragon.

Ms. Judge (0-1x)

Duel Links Card: Ms.%20Judge

Ever since the counter trap variation of Desperado has become viable, Ms. Judge has become one of the better coin flip options to play. Its continuous effect applies on the resolution of the opponent’s first card to resolve on a chain link (which means Ms. Judge’s effect can also apply to counter traps), and it flips 2 coins. If 2 heads are received, Ms. Judge negates the effect. While usually not a huge deal late game, this is extremely dangerous if opened alongside a counter trap on the first turn of play.

Time Wizard (0-1x)

Duel Links Card: Time%20Wizard

While declining in usage due to the counter trap variation of Desperado not using him, Time Wizard has some fantastic utility against Six Samurai or the mirror matchup. The guaranteed heads to nuke your opponent’s board can be really strong; unfortunately, lots of the current meta decks are not entirely hindered by Time Wizard. As a result, this card has started to see more play as a side card as opposed to being played in the main deck.

Fiend Comedian (0-1x)

Duel Links Card: Fiend%20Comedian

Another card that has declined in usage due to the counter trap variation of Desperado. Before the discovery of the counter trap variation, Fiend Comedian acted as a 1 card blowout against Darklords and Vendreads when timed correctly. Its effect to banish all cards in your opponent’s graveyard if you called the coin flip correctly was devastating. As of late, the counter traps assist in providing similar utility to stopping what Fiend Comedian could have stopped. Regardless, Fiend Comedian is still one of my favourite coin flip cards, and will potentially stay in my main deck.

Rebirth of Parshath (3x)

Duel Links Card: Rebirth%20of%20Parshath

This counter trap is the main reason for the counter trap engine to exist and thrive in Desperado. Its effect allows you to negate a Spell, Trap, or monster effect and send it back to the deck by revealing a counter trap, as well as paying 1000 life points and discarding a card after the reveal. Moreover, if you successfully shuffle the card back into the deck, you are able to summon a Parshath monster from your Main Deck or Extra Deck. The monster we summon with Rebirth of Parshath is the Synchro.

Avenging Knight Parshath (1-3x)

Duel Links Card: Avenging%20Knight%20Parshath

Avenging Knight Parshath is a 2600 beatstick that can change the position of an opponent’s face-up monster and inflict piercing damage if it attacks a defence position monster. Having access to a minimum of 2 Avenging Knight Parshath will generally allow you to get the most out of Rebirth of Parshath because you seldom are able to resolve 3 in one Duel. The rest of the counter traps that you use with use with Rebirth of Parshath are all not necessarily needed, but 3-4 more counter traps must be used to maximize the utility of the engine.

Divine Wrath (0-2x)

Duel Links Card: Divine%20Wrath

Divine Wrath is undoubtedly one of the better counter traps since it allows the negation of an effect monster’s effect by discarding a card. With numerous problematic monster effects to negate, it is certain that utility will usually be found with this card.

Ultimate Providence (0-2x)

Duel Links Card: Ultimate%20Providence

While usually acting as a “Poor man’s Divine Wrath”, this Card is theoretically the best discard 1 counter trap since it can negate a Spell, Trap, or monster effect; however, Ultimate Providence must discard the same kind of card it is attempting to negate. As a result, there may be cases where you don’t have the right card to discard in order to get the negate you want, making this card slightly less reliable as a tradeoff for its versatility.

Debunk (0-2x)

Duel Links Card: Debunk

Debunk has become one of the better counter traps of the format. Its effect allows it to negate and banish the effect of a monster in the hand or the Graveyard. This is fantastic against 3 of the meta decks in Darklord, Fortune Lady, and Desperado itself; unfortunately, it is usually dead in other matchups, so it should usually be sent by another counter trap that discards if possible.

Wiretap (0-2x)

Duel Links Card: Wiretap

With battle traps finding their way back into the meta, as well as counter traps starting to thrive, Wiretap is the perfect card to stop a specific trap from messing up your gameplan. Its effect negates a trap and shuffles it back into the deck, making it a strong choice in the mirror match and heavy backrow decks. Wiretap has intrinsic usage against the majority of the meta decks, excluding Vendread, Spellbook, and Darklord because even though shuffling The Sanctified Darklord back into the deck can theoretically set them back, there are simply better counter traps to use against Darklord specifically.


Rebirth of Parshath Caution Warning and Examples

As mentioned previously, Rebirth of Parshath is the main reason for the counter trap engine to exist and thrive in Desperado; however, not knowing how it works can lose the game at times because there are situations where Avenging Knight Parshath is unable to be summoned. In order for Avenging Knight Parshath to be summoned, Rebirth of Parshath must successfully negate the card AND shuffle it back into the deck; therefore, if both actions do not occur, no summon occurs. There are two main situations where this arises. The first one is if the card were to resolve in a different place from where it was activated because it sent itself as a cost. The second is if the card was already destroyed by battle, but used a flip effect.


Other Tech and Side Deck Cards

Cyberdark

Duel Links Card: Cyberdark%20Edge
Duel Links Card: Cyberdark%20Cannon
Duel Links Card: Leng%20Ling
Duel Links Card: Elemental%20HERO%20Neos
Duel Links Card: Neos%20Fusion
Duel Links Card: Elemental%20HERO%20Brave%20Neos
Duel Links Card: Elemental%20HERO%20Neos%20Knight

Neos Engine

Duel Links Card: Elemental%20HERO%20Neos
Duel Links Card: Bacon%20Saver
Duel Links Card: Neos%20Fusion
Duel Links Card: Elemental%20HERO%20Brave%20Neos
Duel Links Card: Elemental%20HERO%20Neos%20Knight

Strong Generic Backrow

Duel Links Card: World%20Legacy%20Clash
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Mirror%20Wall
Duel Links Card: Wall%20of%20Disruption
Duel Links Card: Drowning%20Mirror%20Force
Duel Links Card: Dimensional%20Prison
Duel Links Card: Bad%20Aim

Side Deck & Niche Cards

Duel Links Card: Genex%20Ally%20Crusher
Duel Links Card: Necrovalley
Duel Links Card: System%20Down
Duel Links Card: Closed%20Forest
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Xing%20Zhen%20Hu
Duel Links Card: Generation%20Shift
Duel Links Card: Liberty%20at%20Last!
Duel Links Card: Treacherous%20Trap%20Hole

Sample Decks

Kcful’s Top 4 Meta Weekly

Duel Links Card: Desperado%20Barrel%20Dragon
Duel Links Card: Desperado%20Barrel%20Dragon
Duel Links Card: Desperado%20Barrel%20Dragon
Duel Links Card: Twin-Barrel%20Dragon
Duel Links Card: Arcana%20Force%20XIV%20-%20Temperance
Duel Links Card: BM-4%20Blast%20Spider
Duel Links Card: BM-4%20Blast%20Spider
Duel Links Card: BM-4%20Blast%20Spider
Duel Links Card: Dekoichi%20the%20Battlechanted%20Locomotive
Duel Links Card: Ms.%20Judge
Duel Links Card: Cup%20of%20Ace
Duel Links Card: Cup%20of%20Ace
Duel Links Card: Divine%20Wrath
Duel Links Card: Divine%20Wrath
Duel Links Card: Rebirth%20of%20Parshath
Duel Links Card: Rebirth%20of%20Parshath
Duel Links Card: Rebirth%20of%20Parshath
Duel Links Card: Ultimate%20Providence
Duel Links Card: Ultimate%20Providence
Duel Links Card: Ultimate%20Providence
Duel Links Card: Avenging%20Knight%20Parshath
Duel Links Card: Avenging%20Knight%20Parshath
Duel Links Card: Avenging%20Knight%20Parshath

Side Deck:

Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Necrovalley
Duel Links Card: Closed%20Forest
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Debunk

Grucius’ 1st Place DLE Damage Step #4

Duel Links Card: Avenging%20Knight%20Parshath
Duel Links Card: Avenging%20Knight%20Parshath
Duel Links Card: Avenging%20Knight%20Parshath
Side Deck:
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Wiretap
Duel Links Card: Debunk

Tnobes’ Top 8 HHC Cup NA

Duel Links Card: Avenging%20Knight%20Parshath
Duel Links Card: Avenging%20Knight%20Parshath
Duel Links Card: Avenging%20Knight%20Parshath
Side Deck:
Duel Links Card: Time%20Wizard
Duel Links Card: Necrovalley
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Dimensional%20Prison
Duel Links Card: Bad%20Aim

Matchups

Just a reminder that all matchups will be considering the counter trap variation since it has become the most successful in competitive play as of late.

Desperado (Mirror Match)

What better way to start the matchup analysis than the mirror matchup. While there obviously is some hand dependence, there are certain critical factors to keep in mind. First of all, in most matchups, opening a hand of any low level DARK Machine and Desperado usually leads to setting your monster so that you don’t take any unnecessary damage. This is not the same for the mirror because your opponent having Twin-Barrel Dragon can easily set you back, especially if the Machine you set was your only summonable one. There are 2 cases where setting your DARK Machine is a safe play. The first case is if you have more than 1 summonable DARK Machine. If you have more than 1 summonable DARK Machine, you may as well attempt the safe play of setting because you will at least have another one ready in case Twin-Barrel Dragon is summoned by your opponent and they pop your set monster. The second case is if you open a live counter trap that negates a monster effect (i.e. Rebirth of Parshath, Ultimate Providence, or Divine Wrath). Having a counter trap turn 1 is always a safe position because most Master of Destiny Desperado builds usually opt out of not running backrow removal in the main deck. The best DARK Machine to set alongside a counter trap is BM-4 Blast Spider. With Blast Spider, you are able to stall out any monster that is not Avenging Knight Parshath, Desperado, or Arcana Force XIV - Temperance (which is seldom tribute summoned). This gives you time to draw more counter traps so that you can later win the counter trap war. If you have neither another summonable DARK Machine, nor a counter trap that negates monster effects, it is usually better to summon it if Desperado is already in the hand. The other critical factor as of late as mentioned earlier is the counter trap war. After both you and your opponent have played a turn, it is highly likely that both players will have 1-2 counter traps set, and possibly even 3 if a player gets lucky and is able to activate double Cup of Ace on their turn. The integral part to keep in mind is that it usually is not worth playing into a counter trap or committing to a counter trap your opponent plays unless you either have no other option or are able to push for game. For example, if your opponent set a monster and a backrow, assume that the backrow is a counter trap that can negate monster effects. If you have a Twin-Barrel Dragon in hand and no other play if it gets negated, it is not worth summoning. Rather, a better play would be to set it and your counter traps that you drew. On the next turn, if your opponent passes, then you can attempt using Twin-Barrel Dragon because you will both have potential counter traps to defend (if deemed necessary, but you can usually let it go), and another summon/set of a DARK Machine. Keep in mind that if you are able to let a counter trap go at a time where it doesn’t determine the game, that usually means that you will have the advantage to win the counter trap war on the next critical exchange. This potential future critical exchange usually leads into the summon of Desperado, which will help you win the game if you are able to summon one while preventing your opponent from summoning theirs.

Side Cards

Duel Links Card: Debunk
Duel Links Card: Wiretap
Duel Links Card: Dimensional%20Prison
Duel Links Card: Drowning%20Mirror%20Force
Duel Links Card: World%20Legacy%20Clash
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Ms.%20Judge

Darklord

Usually one of your easiest matchups, which is why counter trap Desperado remains to be top tier. Setting up 1-2 counter traps turn 1 is potent against Darklord, especially if one of them is Rebirth of Parshath. With Parshath, your option to negate is quite scarce if it’s your only negation, so it is important to use your negate based on the strength of your hand. For example, if you have a battle trap or Desperado in hand, it is usually a good idea to hold onto the negate to prevent Darklord Superbia from summoning another monster after Darklord Contact is used. This way, you prevent the Darklord player from swarming the field and being able to use another Darklord Contact for the turn since it can only be activated once per turn. This puts the Darklord player into a position where they either have to special summon Nasten from the hand or scoop. If the Darklord player does not open Ixchel and Superbia, it is a better idea to prevent Darklord Desire from outing your monsters. This way, you negate the biggest threat and you have Desperado to summon later on if they destroy your DARK Machine. In cases where your hand is not as strong though, it may be worth risking the negate on Banishment of the Darklords and praying that there is no sufficient follow up play. For your other counter traps, it is important to negate the Darklord effects on the field, especially the effects that pay 1000 Life Points to copy a Darklord Spell/Trap. Life points for Darklord can be scarce, so if put them in a corner where their Life Points are less than 1000, you will almost always win the duel against them. While a favorable matchup for Desperado, there are two common ways Counter Trap Desperado can lose to Darklord. The first way is if Darklord opens full combo first turn (Banishment, Ixchel/Superbia, Contact), or if they open Hey, Trunade! and full combo going second. The second way is if Desperado opens either a full monster hand or a hand where Rebirth of Parshath is dead. It is more common for Desperado to open a live hand than it is for Desperado to open ideally, making this matchup ideal. After side deck, most Darklord players will side into !Destiny Draw, in addition to Hey, Trunade! (if they already did not have it in the main deck prior) and/or Jinzo. Unlike most decks that play !Destiny Draw, Darklords can usually meet the requirement of it easily since they only need to activate 2 Darklord monster effects to copy a Darklord Spell/Trap to reach Destiny Draw range. As a result, it is usually recommended to be a bit more aggressive if their card count is lower because Darklords rely on keeping field presence in order to turn !Destiny Draw into a one turn kill (OTK) with Hey, Trunade! or Jinzo. Forcing your opponent to search Banishment of the Darklords as opposed to a side deck tech is almost always a great position for Desperado, especially if a set counter trap is still present.

Side Cards

Duel Links Card: Necrovalley
Duel Links Card: Debunk
Duel Links Card: Drowning%20Mirror%20Force
Duel Links Card: Wall%20of%20Disruption
Duel Links Card: Fiend%20Comedian
Duel Links Card: World%20Legacy%20Clash
Duel Links Card: Ms.%20Judge

Fortune Ladies

Prior to Counter Trap Desperado, Fortune Ladies were a losing matchup; however, the counter traps can tip the matchup in favour of Desperado. The matchup is not as coin flip reliant as other matches since the counter traps give you lots of options to disrupt their boss monster Fortune Lady Every. Moreover, the hardest board to out going first is if they can open their 2 card combo of Fortune Lady Light or Fortune Lady Past and Fortune Lady Calling and end on 3 backrow since Draw 2 with the special summon of Fortune Lady Water prior to Synchro summoning into Fortune Lady Every. Generally, going first and opening a counter trap is a win against the deck. If they manage to open the combo going second, wait until Fortune Lady Past uses her effect to attempt to banish Light because the Fortune Lady player will not be able to use another Calling (whereas if you negated Calling, they could use another if they had it in hand). As a result, you ultimately stop their combo and have them stare down an Avenging Knight Parshath with Light if your set counter was Rebirth. Even after side, the matchup is usually easy, but it can become a bit more coin flip reliant as opposed to ladder.

Side Deck

Duel Links Card: Ms.%20Judge
Duel Links Card: Debunk
Duel Links Card: Wiretap
Duel Links Card: Divine%20Wrath
Duel Links Card: Fiend%20Comedian
Duel Links Card: Necrovalley
Duel Links Card: Dimensional%20Prison
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: World%20Legacy%20Clash

Six Samurai

Six Samurai is a slightly favourable matchup for counter trap Desperado. Opening a counter trap against Six Samurai can be quite disruptive to their plays. Depending on how many counter traps you open, you will want to assess the situation for when to use them. For example, opening with multiple counter traps, including Rebirth of Parshath means you could potentially risk using it against a Shien's Dojo; however, it is usually better to conserve it for a World Legacy Clash or Six Style - Dual Wield since they can both disrupt your plays. If Six Samurai goes first and opens with Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En as well as Six Style - Dual Wield and World Legacy Clash, BM-4 Blast Spider is your best response because you are able to play around Dual Wield, the protection of Secret Six Samurai - Fuma, and the stat reduction of Clash after they protect Shi En with it. Moreover, this gives a perfect opportunity to get Desperado Barrel Dragon on the field while evading a potential Six Style - Dual Wield. It is critical to check for delays before you summon Spider because if you notice one before you play any cards, then it is certain that a Return of the Six Samurai or a Powerful Rebirth is set. Both of these cards will cost you the game if you attempt to blow up Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En with Blast Spider because they will chain their trap to summon Sectety Six Samurai - Fuma, Shi En will protect by sending Fuma, and then the Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi they summon off of Fuma will bounce your Desperado Barrel Dragon before you get a chance to use its effect in the Battle Phase. Instead, it is a better idea to set a DARK Machine so that you either summon Desperado Barrel Dragon if they kill it next turn with a Six Samurai monster or force your opponent to summon Armades, Keeper of Boundaries to prevent the summon of Desperado, but also lock themselves out of a potential Six Style - Dual Wield. Being able to play around most Six Samurai boards is ultimately what causes Desperado to go from being an even matchup to a slightly winning matchup. Moreover, with more Six Samurai decks choosing to run !Sealed Tombs over !Beatdown to beat Darklords, the matchup is even easier since it forces them to use a card mentioned above to assist with the outing of Desperado Barrel Dragon.

Side Deck

Duel Links Card: Time%20Wizard
Duel Links Card: Ms.%20Judge
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Wiretap

Spellbooks

Prior to the main box Dark Dimension, this matchup was simply a coin flip since the player who set up first usually won; unfortunately, this matchup is now less favorable for Desperado. While nothing necessarily changed with the core playstyle of Spellbook, what did change was the addition of the Invoked Engine since Aleister the Invoker is a Level 4 DARK Spellcaster to synergize with Light and Dark. With the Invoked Engine, Spellbook players now have access to one of the nastiest cards for Desperado in Invoked Cocytus. Invoked Cocytus is a Fusion monster can be made with Aleister the Invoker and a Spellbook Magician of Prophecy. Moreover, alongside a remarkable 2900 defence stat, which walls out Desperado Barrel Dragon, it also cannot be targeted or destroyed by card effects. This means that if they summon Invoked Cocytus, the only possible way for Desperado to win prior to side decking is by decking them out. Outside of Cocytus, handling the spellbook engine is relatively straight forward. Access to spot removal via BM-4 Blast Spider and Twin-Barrel Dragon can deal with Silent Magician on the field. Counter traps like Rebirth of Parshath can be used to negate Spellbook of Fate, giving more freedom to control the board with the monster lineup. In the Battle Phase, Desperado Barrel Dragon is truly a menace to Silent Magician as it can use its effect to reliably pop. Conserving counter traps for Fate or to shuffle a monster back into the deck can be advantageous for followup OTKs with Desperado, as Spellbook decks typically do not play much backrow. Since Invoked Cocytus single handedly makes the Spellbook matchup a losing one due to the prevention of targeting or destroying it by card effects, attack boosting cards like Forbidden Chalice are integral to play in the side deck just to have a chance of outing it. Pray that you win the coin flip and that you open a live Rebirth of Parshath at bare minimum.

Side Cards

Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: Necrovalley
Duel Links Card: Drowning%20Mirror%20Force
Duel Links Card: Fiend%20Comedian
Duel Links Card: Dimensional%20Prison
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Mirror%20Force
Duel Links Card: Windstorm%20of%20Etaqua
Duel Links Card: Curse%20of%20Anubis

Triamid

Triamid is easily the hardest matchup when not taking into account the side deck. It is near impossible to beat them if they go first because all they need to do against Desperado is set up the field spell, have a Triamid monster, and have a backrow to prevent a breakthrough of an attack, which are all provided with Balance. Even if you are lucky and manage to go first, the only way you win the match is if you are able to disrupt their field spell with Rebirth of Parshath and then hope they do not follow up with a second field spell. Triamid Kingolem is the bane of Desperado’s existence because it allows Triamid monsters to freely attack over any DARK Machine while turning off the opportunity for Desperado to be summoned. Moreover, if Desperado is somehow managed to be summoned through BM-4 Blast Spider’s destruction effect, Triamid Fortress prevents the destruction of Triamid monsters, which will cause a problem in the long run because Triamid Dancer will be able to eventually boost the Triamids to attack over Desperado, all while staying under the influence of Fortress. While Counter Traps now reduce the safety of freely swapping fields spells (like previously being able to activate a Triamid monster’s effect to swap into Triamid Fortress in chain to Desperado Barrel Dragon in the Battle Phase), this factor is generally not enough to give Counter Trap Desperado a reasonable window to take the game from Triamids, resulting in the match usually ending with the Triamid player attacking for game with at least 2 Triamid monsters under the influence of Triamid Kingolem. After siding, there are more ways to disrupt the Triamid player, but the matchup is still difficult and coin flip reliant.

Side Deck

Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Closed%20Forest
Duel Links Card: Necrovalley
Duel Links Card: Wiretap
Duel Links Card: Fiend%20Comedian

Gravekeepers

With the box Dark Dimension, Gravekeepers now have a playable, competitive archetype. The main strength of the Gravekeeper Archetype comes from being able to play around the conditions of their field spell Necrovalley, which ultimately turns off any activity that would occur in the graveyard. Fortunately, Desperado is not affected by Necrovalley since all of its plays occur from the hand or field, and not the graveyard. Moreover, thanks to the counter traps, it is really easy to disrupt the plays that Gravekeepers could potentially have. Being able to disrupt Gravekeeper's Supernaturalist with Rebirth of Parshath or Divine Wrath usually sets them back for the rest of the game. Gravekeepers tend to use a few battle traps, so be weary of keeping all your monsters in attack mode in case they are running Wall of Disruption or Drowning Mirror Force.

Side Deck

Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Time%20Wizard
Duel Links Card: Ms.%20Judge
Duel Links Card: Dimensional%20Prison
Duel Links Card: Wiretap

Invoked Neos

One of the newer decks to be introduced into the metagame. With access to Aleister the Invoker and Keeper of Dragon Magic searching Neos Fusion, the deck can consistently make strong Fusion monsters. When paired with Beatdown this allows the deck to be able to out any high attack monster, including our Desperado Barrel Dragon with the protection of Neos Fusion. Like Invoked Spellbook, the deck is capable of having access to Invoked Cocytus by playing copies of Flip Flop Frog. Having Flip Flop Frog in Invoked Neos also allows the deck to out certain threats that could not be dealt with by means of attacking over. Using your counter traps, it is ideal to negate either Keeper of Dragon Magic or Aleister the Invoker. Negating Keeper of Dragon Magic is ideal because they have to discard a card for cost in an attempt to search Neos Fusion. On the other hand, Aleister the Invoker is a good card to negate because once it searches Invocation, Invocation can recycle Aleister, which can potentially be problematic since Aleister can boost a Fusion monster in the damage step by 1000 Attack. Negating Neos Fusion or Invocation are also good hits if they did not use the effect of Aleister or Keeper prior. All in all, this matchup is winnable, but beware of Invoked Cocytus being summoned since that will be the nail in the coffin unless a tech card specifically to out Cocytus is played in the deck such as Windstorm of Etaqua, Concentrating Current, and Forbidden Chalice to allow Desperado to swing over Cocytus. Disclaimer: Chalice is to be used on Desperado only to swing over Cocytus without an Aleister defense boost. You cannot target Cocytus with Chalice.

Below are some tech cards that can be used to deal with most fusion monsters. Please note the majority of cards cannot out a cocytus on the board. Getting rid of Cocytus requires specific cards like Mispolymerization, Windstorm of Etaqua, and more obscure choices that have yet to be fully explored and proven.

Side Cards

Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: Dimensional%20Prison
Duel Links Card: Drowning%20Mirror%20Force
Duel Links Card: Wall%20of%20Disruption
Duel Links Card: Lava%20Golem

Final Words

Desperado is arguably the strongest deck when it has a card advantage; however, the lack of consistency in getting said card advantage is the deck’s weakness. The counter traps are a strong addition since they are able to disrupt your opponent, but disrupting them does reduce your hand size, so make sure the negations are worth it. Outside of the counter traps, Desperado operates exactly the same as Desperado using regular traps. If Desperado Barrel Dragon can control the game alongside some backrow, it will almost always end up being a win. Also, getting lucky with non-guaranteed heads never hurts either.

Acknowledgements

  • Shoutout to my Team War team Phoenix for giving me a chance to play on a team of their caliber. It is because of my teammates on Phoenix that my love for competitive Duel Links flourished and motivated me to become the best Duel Links player I can be. We are a family of clappers, so it would be a crime to not mention them first.
  • Huge shoutout to Gregulator for helping me with the formatting to make the guide even better! He also helped with recognizing everything that should be covered and let me know of any detail I was missing!
  • Shoutout to Kcful for returning with a vengeance and getting multiple tops with Desperado. He is also fairly active in the chat to help new players while I was not around, which was always appreciated.
  • Shoutout to RandomPl0x for formatting the guide as well as being generous to me throughout the process of making it. I appreciate you and everything you do for Duel Links Meta!
  • Shoutout to the rest of the people that I missed, but still actively help the Desperado channel grow! This deck should be around for a while until more cards like Invoked Cocytus get released. #Cocto0 :kappa:

Guide formatted and uploaded by RandomPl0x.
Thumbnail designed and created by RandomPl0x.