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Elementsabers Guide

Overview

Originally released on September 26th of 2019, Invoked-Elementsabers wasn’t one of the most popular Invoked variants that it is today, nor was it even a meta deck at all, rather, it gained popularity around 2 months later, with archives showing its first appearances in a top cut were in MCS 24, Meta Weekly 99 where it won the tournament, and a week later in November 2019’s KCCup where it also won and had a multitude of placements within top 100. After a couple of hits on the banlist the deck is still going strong, and still shows its dominance, winning MCS 32.

Introduction

Invoked-Elementsabers (shortened to Sabers from now on) is generally a slow-paced control deck that specialises in not allowing your opponent to have fun/play the game, it achieves this through cards like Elementsaber Molehu in combination with Palace of the Elemental Lords and generic spells and traps (like Floodgate Trap Hole, Fiendish Chain, Paleozoic Canadia, Concentrating Current, etc). One of the main gimmicks is that it has great synergy with the Invoked engine, being able to change attributes in the graveyard accordingly to what Invoked Fusion monster you want to summon.

You may have noticed that in the introduction that I said this deck was “generally a slow-paced control deck”, and in some ways that is right, but due to a hit on the most recent banlist, in my opinion, there has now become 2 ways to play. One being with Elementsaber Malo and the other without. The only difference between these lists on paper is a swap of Malo and Nalu (and the inclusion of Invoked Cocytus in the extra deck), however in some ways the playstyle changes, as playing Malo requires you to be much more aggressive, which I will address in further detail when we get to the Matchups part of the guide.

Hopefully this guide will teach you how to optimally play Invoked-Elementsabers, how to build the deck, and how not to get stomped in a competitive format.


Core Cards

These are cards that allow your deck to function, which you will need all or most of the required copies to play the deck on a decent level (some exclusions here that we’ll get to):

Invoked Portion

Aleister the Invoker (x3)

Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker

Aleister the Invoker is one of, if not, the most important card in your deck, as it allows you into paths that summon your powerful Fusion monsters such as Invoked Cocytus and Invoked Purgatrio through his effect of adding Invocation from your deck to your hand with the additional effect of boosting your Fusion’s attack by 1000atk and def points when discarded by his effect. You’re going to need 3 of these bad boys, as it is the one card you will always want to see in your hand at any point of the duel. If you want to see him more, Fusion Reserve can be an extra copy(ies) of Aleister as you can simply set it, and next turn you’ll be able to add an Aleister from your deck to your hand by simply revealing a Fusion monster from the Extra Deck.

Invocation (x2)

Duel Links Card: Invocation

Simply put, Invocation is amazing, firstly, it acts like Polymerization in that it summons Fusion monsters from the Extra Deck by using materials from hand, different to Poly though is that it can use materials from your field and graveyard + your opponent’s Graveyard when attempting to summon an “Invoked” Fusion monster (cards used from the field and/or grave are banished), it can bring also an Aleister back from the banished pile after using it with its second effect. The only problem with this card is that it can be completely dead when Aleister is not present, with those all too familiar ‘Double Dead Invo’ hands always showing up somehow, sometimes making you want to quit the deck entirely due to how frustrating it is to see a hand like that.

Invoked Purgatrio (x3)

Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Purgatrio

Invoked Purgatrio is one of the 4 “Invoked” Fusion monsters that we currently have and arguably one of, if not, the best one in strong contention with Invoked Cocytus. It’s effects are battle oriented, as he gains +200 attack for each card your opponent controls (similar to Palace), deals piercing damage and can attack every monster your opponent controls, once each. You can opt to play with only 2 on the ladder (Ranked) however as you progress and maybe if you consider playing in tournaments, you’ll eventually want to get that 3rd as you will sometimes miss lethal damage solely because you didn’t have it.

Invoked Cocytus (x0 or 1)

Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Cocytus

Moving on to another one of the best cards in the game, Invoked Cocytus cannot be targeted, it cannot be destroyed by card effects, and it can attack your opponent and their cards while in defense position meaning most battle traps won’t work on it, pretty much, it’s a monster.

*Side note - the fact that it’s Limit-1’d means you cannot *currently play Malo when using it (hence the 0 or 1). If the meta is slow-paced, or you’d rather play a grind game with your opponent this is for you. Also, if you’re new to, or not very confident with the deck, I recommend you play with this and a Nalu to serve as a crutch.

Invoked Magellanica (x0-2)

Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Magellanica

Invoked Magellanica is your Limit-2 of the deck, and is a beefy monster, with 3,000 attack and 3,300 defense. One of the bigger drawbacks of the card is that it has no effect meaning that’s literally all it is, a big, beefy monster, but that can also work to your advantage in some cases, as since it is not an effect monster it cannot be targeted by Fiendish Chain which is common in the Shiranui and Mirror matchups.

*Side note – With the popularity of Witchcrafters rising Magellanica has become much less relevant, so completely removing it should be considered for better limit-2 cards like Enemy Controller or Concentrating Current.

Invoked Caliga (x1-2)

Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Caliga

Last of the Invoked Fusion monsters we currently have, Invoked Caliga is the crusher of combo deck’s dreams, acting as your win condition in matchups like Crystron, Hero and Ritual Beast as simply setting it up can be the difference between a win and a loss. Be careful however, as when it is face-up it stops your effects too, meaning you need to search Invocation with Aleister before you change attributes in the grave (or you could choose to not use Aleister if you already have Invocation). Molehu allows us to flip our own Caliga face down to allow us to use multiple effects during our turn.

*Side note - sometimes decks such as Dragunity and Hero have cards that don’t care about Caliga’s effect because they are either Continuous effects or don’t count as monsters at that point (Examples are Dragunity Couse and Vision HERO Trinity). Moreover, Caliga has a synergy with Lava Golem as Lava Golem’s effect is mandatory and that counts as the one effect that can be activated. Thus, your opponent cannot activate any more effects that turn.

To summarise, your Extra Deck should look like this:

Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Purgatrio
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Purgatrio
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Purgatrio
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Cocytus
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Caliga

With the last slot being up to you *Side note – If playing a Malo variant, you replace Cocytus with Caliga.


Elementsaber Portion

A quick thing to address, if you didn’t already know, all of the Elementsabers must send a card from hand (or deck instead if you’re using Palace) to activate their effects. Not being able to do so will not give you an activation prompt.

When sending Elementsaber monsters to the grave, make sure to not send Malo/Nalu to the grave too early against decks that use Necrovalley in the Main or side deck (such as Blackwings and some Blue-Eyes variants) as doing so could turn an extremely winnable matchup into a losing one, however in matchups that don’t, you generally want to send them as you generally don’t want to draw them (unless you plan on making double fusions your turn, in which case you don’t need to mill them).

Elementsaber Molehu (x2-3)

Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu

Elementsaber Molehu is probably one of the most famous cards from this deck seeing as in combination with Palace of the Elemental Lords or another Elementsaber monster, it acts as a Paleozoic Canadia on legs, and essentially bullies any Synchro deck with a hope of playing the game, by continually flipping Tuners and Non-Tuners alike. The reason Molehu is so strong is not only because he is a walking Canadia, not only does he have a big attack stat for a lv4 monster, but because while using his effect to flip monsters face-down it fills up your Graveyard with Elementsabers, meaning you can change their type and have access to any and all of your Fusion monsters in the next or even same turn. *Side note - the reason it is x2-3 copies instead of just x3 is because you in fact can choose to play only 2, however if you do so, know that you should try to play a total of 5 Elementsabers instead of the optional 4.

Elementsaber Lapauila (x0-1)

Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Lapauila

Whilst being the only usable Elementsaber that currently doesn’t have a Fusion to go directly into (no Light or Wind yet) it warrants a spot in some variants of the deck because of its Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En like effect, being able to negate one spell or trap per turn. Because of this fact, it is a great card in the Dark Magician matchup, one of your worst ones, and definitely earns its spot in the Main or Side deck (your preference). *Side note - you don’t need to play this in the Malo variant, as it can be too slow for it, but is still usable there in the case you do want to.

Elementsaber Nalu (x0 or 1)

Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Nalu

Elementsaber Nalu is one of your 2 (arguably 3) Saber monsters that, without the Invoked fusions, would be cut faster than Thunder Dragons got Nerfed. The reason she is used is because it is an easy way to go into an Invoked Cocytus, one of your main Boss monsters as you don’t need to send her to the grave to get a useful attribute. For a similar reason, she is used because you can go into an Invoked Cocytus under the effect of Necrovalley which would be otherwise impossible without spell removal cards.

Elementsaber Malo (x0 or 1)

Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Malo

Similarly to Elementsaber Nalu, Elementsaber Malo is used as an easy way to get to one of your other Boss monsters, being Invoked Purgatrio whether there’s a Necrovalley or not. The reasons you run Malo are almost the exact same as Nalu, in fact, the one difference being the aforementioned Fusion monsters.

*Side note for both cards - you should only play one or the other but never both (therefore 0 or 1), since, as mentioned before, Nalu is useless without an Invoked Cocytus, and you can’t play both Malo and Invoked Cocytus due to their shared Limit-1 status

Elementsaber Aina (x0 or 1)

Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Aina

Most of the time you should only use this card if you own/choose to run 2 Molehu, as the card’s effect isn’t particularly relevant, and neither is the fusion it corresponds to (Magellanica only really sees use in the mirror match or against decks that play Fiendish Chain since it cant be hit by it). It can, however, be useful when both your Molehus are in grave, as it potentially allows you to resummon a Molehu should you have another Saber monster ready as fodder. You can also get Magellanica out under Necrovalley.

Elementsaber Makani (x0)

Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Makani

You don’t use this card for many of the same reasons as Elementsaber Aina, except this one doesn’t even have a corresponding Fusion monster for the attribute, has abysmal stats and an effect that is extremely slow, since you could just cut the middleman and directly search the one you want with Palace. If we ever get Invoked Raijin in future this card might see use but currently it has no place in the deck.

Palace of the Elemental Lords (x3)

Duel Links Card: Palace%20of%20the%20Elemental%20Lords

This card is easily one of the biggest contenders for the best card in the deck. It can search any of your Elementsaber monsters for free (well… with the drawback of losing your next Battle Phase, but you can live with that) and it enables all of your Elementsaber monsters to also activate their effects for basically free (If you send the cards from deck you technically lose no card advantage). One of the other great bonuses to the card is the fact you gain +200 attack points for each different attribute in your graveyard. Now, this may seem insignificant, but in some games, it can be the difference between winning and losing, games such as the mirror match are sometimes decided purely by who establishes their card first. Palace also increases the attack points of your Aleister, thus dodging the effect of Chain Disappearance, a potential side deck card against Witchcrafter and even other Elementsaber-Invoked decks.

Elemental Training (x0)

Duel Links Card: Elemental%20Training

This card used to see play back in the early days of the deck. However, now it hardly sees any play due to its slow nature as well as the deck changing pace. It allows you to get Molehu and Lapauila out on the field if you didn’t draw any in addition to fueling your grave with Sabers for a follow up. It also protects your Palace from removal cards like Cosmic Cyclone. Moreover, it also allows you to dodge Circle banish by chaining it to target. However, it is pretty much useless as Palace allows you to search for any Saber monster, rendering Elemental Training obsolete.


Ritual Beast Package

Duel Links Card: Spiritual%20Beast%20Tamer%20Winda
Duel Links Card: Spiritual%20Beast%20Tamer%20Winda
Duel Links Card: Spiritual%20Beast%20Tamer%20Winda
Duel Links Card: Ritual%20Beast%20Ulti-Apelio
Duel Links Card: Ritual%20Beast%20Ulti-Pettlephin

Although not as popular and considered a niche ‘tech’, this package is one where you are opened up to both another win condition, and extra stall options through Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio and Ritual Beast Ulti-Pettlephin respectively. When I talk about an extra win condition, I talk about the times when both of your Invocations have been fizzled by Artifact Lancea and you have no copies of The Transmigration Prophecy, perhaps in a game 2 situation or against a deck that plays it in the main deck for example, Shiranui, what you would do is create a situation that lets Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda be destroyed and summon an Ulti-Ritual Beast to either act as a wall, or an offensive pressure. This package basically ensures that you have another option that isn’t ‘Molehu beatdown’.

*Side note - the Fusion monster summoned by Winda cannot be Floodgated since it is summoned in the Damage Step, similar to how Silent Magician works when summoning the lv8. Also, don’t use Poisonous Winds in your side deck when using this package or boost Ulti-Apelio with Aleister when it attacks (if it is getting attacked the card doesn’t go back down to the original 2,600).

In the end your Main Deck Core should look something like this

Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Lapauila
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Nalu
Duel Links Card: Invocation
Duel Links Card: Invocation
Duel Links Card: Palace%20of%20the%20Elemental%20Lords
Duel Links Card: Palace%20of%20the%20Elemental%20Lords
Duel Links Card: Palace%20of%20the%20Elemental%20Lords

Malo Variant

Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Malo
Duel Links Card: Invocation
Duel Links Card: Invocation
Duel Links Card: Palace%20of%20the%20Elemental%20Lords
Duel Links Card: Palace%20of%20the%20Elemental%20Lords
Duel Links Card: Palace%20of%20the%20Elemental%20Lords

Skills

Destiny Draw

Arguably, this is the current best skill that the deck can use, as after taking 2,000 points of damage you get to pick any card in your deck and draw it (only once per duel), with an upside to the skill being that its able to be triggered via card effect as well, meaning you can use cards such as Unending Nightmare and Appointer of the Red Lotus. The fact the skill can get any card may open up some plays you might previously unavailable, such as using it to grab an Aleister the Invoker from your deck opening up a potential Fusion play, or using it to grab a Concentrating Current to sneak in a lethal blow.

Sorcery Conduit

Next up, the second best option, and one if you don’t want to skill farm for Destiny Draw (even though you really should!), Sorcery Conduit is a skill that can directly search Aleister the Invoker after losing 1,500 life points, like Destiny Draw, however can also be used multiple times per duel, and is slightly easier to trigger.


Techs

A ‘tech’ is another way to call a card universally applicable, you can replace one ‘tech’ with another. Some objectively work better with this deck, and others don’t, but this section will go into the ones that are work here. Ratios are almost purely subjective here, but I will put the better choices closer to the top of the list.

Fiendish Chain (x2-3)

Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain

Fiendish Chain is going to be the first card on the list, as it is one of the best techs in the game as the negate provided by this card is simply amazing, and combined with the multitude of other backrow you play, it can be too overwhelming for some decks to handle. Negates are especially important in this meta as most cards have effects on summon. E.g. Magician’s Rod and Black Rose Dragon. Another important feature of Fiendish Chain is that it locks the field up as monsters locked by Chain cannot declare an attack making them useless outside of a role as a wall and tribute fodder. However, it does have its own weaknesses. As a Continuous Trap, it can clog up your Spell/Trap zones. Especially when your opponent synchro summons with the monsters locked by Chain, it stays in your spell/trap zone. It is also important to take note that you need a zone free for Invocation. It is also vulnerable to Cosmic Cyclone because it’s a Continuous trap, meaning it wont resolve if it is removed on the same chain link

Floodgate Trap Hole (x3)

Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole

Next up, Floodgate Trap Hole is one of your stall cards, which will hopefully allow you to stall until you draw Palace or Aleister if you haven’t already, also, it will ruin any synchro archetype player’s day. During this current meta this is generally one of the more preferred backrow choices and is recommended you run x3 because of how much it slows down the game in your favour, and the fact that it can sometimes outright win the Blackwing matchup It is especially powerful due to its non-targetable nature, being able to flip non-targetable cards like Cocytus and Saber Dancer face down. Moreover, it also synergises well with Purgatrio because the cards it affects stay face-down in defense unless moved by another card effects, falling prey to Purgatrio’s destructive piercing damage. It does however, have a strict activation timing of only being activated WHEN a monster is summoned. Thus, it is unable to flip monsters summoned on Chain Link 2 or over.

Paleozoic Canadia (x0-3)

Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia

Most of the time it is recommended to play Floodgate over Canadia in this current Meta because of the fact it can flip those untargetables and it locks your opponent’s monster’s battle position, however, Canadia also has its own positives. Stuff like being Cocytus fodder when summoning or being able to flip a monster at any time instead of only ‘when’ like floodgate.

Divine Wrath/Ultimate Providence (x0-2)

Duel Links Card: Divine%20Wrath
Duel Links Card: Ultimate%20Providence
Since these two cards are so similar I'll address them in the same paragraph. Divine Wrath and Ultimate Providence are pretty great cards with the one big drawback, it takes 2 cards for the price of 1 which can be a steep cost if you're running low on cards, this concept is called card advantage and is further explained in the video provided. In conclusion, these cards should only be run in Metas where negating a monster or spell/trap would win you the game, at no more than 2 copies altogether.

Video

Bad Aim (x0-2)

Duel Links Card: Bad%20Aim

Bad Aim is a good card for taking the opponent by surprise, as in some instances it can ruin their strategy when done correctly. Examples of this could be in the mirror match, if you know that a set monster is Aleister the Invoker, you can chain Bad Aim it so they do not get to search an Invocation. Another plus for this card is that they could confuse the delays for a counter traps and play a lot safer than they otherwise might have. Where this card falters is when cards cannot be destroyed, in cases like Shiranui where their big boss Sunsaga generally takes more than one hit, or Cocytus where it doesn’t work entirely.

Enemy Controller

Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller

Enemy Controller can serve dual purposes for the deck, first by changing the Battle Position of a monster, to help with beating over cards, or to take an opponent’s monster by tributing your own. This can help with an unexpected push for lethal or to be utilized in other ways, such as preventing/baiting negations or to grab an opponent’s monster to use with Invocation. Playing 2 of this card can make the Witchcrafter matchup much more winnable as their main defense is generally going to be a lone Verre (and sometimes Machine Angel Ritual too) since they are vulnerable to having it stolen by this card.

Concentrating Current

Duel Links Card: Concentrating%20Current

Concentrating Current is a great offensive option for the deck, allowing you to boost a monster’s Attack equal to its Defense value. Best used on Cocytus, due to its higher defense value, but can also be used on Purgatrio for more piercing damage as well. An important note with Concentrating Current is that Aleister’s effect (to increase Attack and Defense by 1000), can be chained to it allowing for an extra boost on your monsters during the Damage Step. It is also very powerful as it can be activated during the Damage Step and thus cannot be negated by cards such as Magician Navigation.

Treacherous Trap Hole (x0 or 2)

Duel Links Card: Treacherous%20Trap%20Hole

Treacherous Trap Hole allows you to destroy any two monsters on the field (including your own monsters) if you have no Trap Cards in the Graveyard. The reliable monster removal option can be a great addition to the deck, however, because of the condition of having no Trap Cards in the Graveyard, using Normal Trap cards alongside it like Floodgate can interfere with it. Especially since this deck is backrow heavy, it is not recommended to run Treacherous Trap unless you run exclusively continuous Traps instead, such as Unending Nightmare or Fiendish Chain to keep the Traps out of the Graveyard, or if you don’t have those, other Limit 2 cards like Concentrating Current and Enemy Controller are better choices.

Fusion Reserve (x0-2)

Duel Links Card: Fusion%20Reserve

Fusion Reserve serves as a searcher for the deck, allowing you to reveal a Fusion monster in the deck and add a material that’s specifically listed on the card to the hand. Having another searcher for such a key card like Aleister is amazing for the deck, as it adds extra consistency to the Invoked package. When playing larger builds of the deck, it is generally recommended to play this card as well so you actually see your Aleisters.

Unending Nightmare (x0-2)

Duel Links Card: Unending%20Nightmare

Unending Nightmare allows you to destroy one Face-Up Spell or Trap in exchange for 1000 Life Points, and is good in matchups such as Dark Magician and Blackwing. Because the deck cannot run cards like Cosmic Cyclone (Due to it and Palace of the Elemental Lords both being limit 3), the deck can struggle with backrow removal, however, Unending Nightmare can help alleviate this issue as it serves as a removal for face-up Spells and Traps that are an issue, such as Dark Magical Circle, Necrovalley or sometimes Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror in side deck formats. It also has great synergy with the Treacherous Trap Hole variant of the deck, due to its ability to remain on the field as to not interfere with the conditions of Treacherous Trap Hole. Moreover, its effect of burning the player of 1000 Life Points each time makes it a valuable card for triggering your skills (Destiny Draw or Sorcery Conduit).

Herald of the Abyss (x0-1)

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

Herald of the Abyss is monster removal for pesky cards that you cannot get over (such as opposing Cocytus’, Madame Verres and Shiranui Sunsagas), and can be paired with Sorcery Conduit to directly draw Aleister next turn. It allows you to declare a Type and Attribute and forces your opponent to send a card to the Graveyard that matches the Type and Attribute you declared. This removal can get around a variety of protection options, such as non-targeting cards like Lunalight Sabre Dancer or Invoked Cocytus, the destruction protection of Shiranui Sunsaga and also bypasses the protection of Forbidden Lance, which is super helpful (Since it is the player sending the monster, not the spell it doesn’t care about Lance).

Sphere Kuriboh (x0-2)

Duel Links Card: Sphere%20Kuriboh

Sphere Kuriboh serves as an option for battle protection, being able to change an attacking monster to Defense position by discarding itself. Helpful in almost all battling situations, Sphere especially shines since the opponent can’t change the position of the monster after being hit with one, leaving them vulnerable to your plays the turn after. For this deck specifically, it can help out if you don’t happen to have an Aleister in hand, allowing you to potentially make your opponent play into Destiny Draw, or making your opponent vulnerable for a deadly Purgatrio attack by putting their monster to defense.

Appointer of the Red Lotus (x0-2)

Duel Links Card: Appointer%20of%20the%20Red%20Lotus

Appointer of the Red Lotus is a helpful scouting trap, allowing you to pay 2000 Life Points to reveal all cards in your hand (this is mandatory and will not allow you to activate the card if you cannot meet the condition), then look at your opponent’s hand, and remove one card from their hand until the end of their next End Phase. This can help not only allow you to see what cards your opponent may have so that you can play around it, but also to remove any plays they may have by banishing their combo starter. Lancea is especially powerful in fizzling our Invocation, thus making appointer a powerful card. Appointer can also remove other annoying handtraps such as Sphere Kuriboh and Kiteroid as both cards hinder our push for lethal. Secondly, it also triggers your Destiny Draw and/or Sorcery Conduit Skill. *Side Note - A neat little trick is, you can banish a card from their hand in their end phase so that it will come back two turns later (after your turn and another of theirs passes) instead of the same turn you activated it if you used this in you opponents turn. This can be especially powerful against Lancea because otherwise your plays would’ve been stopped.

Void Trap Hole

Duel Links Card: Void%20Trap%20Hole

Void Trap Hole is a decent tech option as it can negate and destroy powerful boss monsters your opponent may summon. Such cards include Shiranui Sunsaga as well as most other boss monsters in the game. The negating effect also stops their on-summon effects. However, it only stops monsters with over 2000 Attack, so it is unable to destroy Invoked Cocytus unless under the effect of Palace. It also cannot destroy vanilla boss monsters, and as such, is unable to destroy Dark Magicians that your opponent may summon. Another reason it doesn’t see a lot of play is due to other negate cards such as Fiendish Chain do the same thing and leave the monster on the field which can arguably be better than destroying it as it is an avenue for Purgatrio to deal piercing damage to the opposing player.

Mirror Wall

Duel Links Card: Mirror%20Wall

Mirror Wall can serve as another defensive option for the deck, halving the attack of any of your opponent’s monsters. It can be activated in the Damage Step, thus it cannot be negated by Magician Navigation. Moreover, it can also surprise your opponent as they cannot retract their attack, potentially causing their monsters to be destroyed by battle. It is also a way to trigger your draw skills, albeit a bit slow since it only pays in your Standby Phase meaning you must wait a turn to use them.

World Legacy Clash

Duel Links Card: World%20Legacy%20Clash

World Legacy Clash is one of the less popular Limit-2 cards used in this deck, however has its own benefits as it can aid in an aggressive push, ‘dodge’ certain effects, allowing your monster’s effects to resolve or just generally protecting your monsters due to it banishing for cost. Another thing is it cannot be negated by Navigation in the damage step, which can be useful.

Twister

Duel Links Card: Twister

Since the loss of Cosmic Cyclone Elementsaber struggles much more against cards such as Dark Magical Circle and Necrovalley. Because Twister is a quickplay spell, it can be activated on both your and your opponent’s turn meaning it’s a great way to deal with the aforementioned cards. This card is not generally played in the Main Deck due to not many decks playing face-up spell/trap threats.


Sample Decks

MCS32 Winner - grucius

Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Lapauila
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Nalu
Duel Links Card: Invocation
Duel Links Card: Invocation
Duel Links Card: Concentrating%20Current
Duel Links Card: Palace%20of%20the%20Elemental%20Lords
Duel Links Card: Palace%20of%20the%20Elemental%20Lords
Duel Links Card: Palace%20of%20the%20Elemental%20Lords
Duel Links Card: Divine%20Wrath
Duel Links Card: Divine%20Wrath
Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain
Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain
Duel Links Card: Bad%20Aim
Duel Links Card: Bad%20Aim
Duel Links Card: The%20Transmigration%20Prophecy
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Purgatrio
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Purgatrio
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Purgatrio
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Magellanica
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Cocytus
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Caliga

Side Deck:

Duel Links Card: Chaos%20Hunter
Duel Links Card: Chaos%20Hunter
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: System%20Down
Duel Links Card: Chain%20Disappearance
Duel Links Card: Chain%20Disappearance
Save & Test

MCS32 Top 16 (Winda Sabers) - Copa

Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu
Duel Links Card: Sphere%20Kuriboh
Duel Links Card: Sphere%20Kuriboh
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Malo
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Nalu
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Invocation
Duel Links Card: Invocation
Duel Links Card: Hey,%20Trunade!
Duel Links Card: Palace%20of%20the%20Elemental%20Lords
Duel Links Card: Palace%20of%20the%20Elemental%20Lords
Duel Links Card: Ballista%20Squad
Duel Links Card: Ballista%20Squad
Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain
Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Fusion%20Reserve
Duel Links Card: Fusion%20Reserve
Duel Links Card: Typhoon
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Purgatrio
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Purgatrio
Duel Links Card: Ritual%20Beast%20Ulti-Apelio
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Magellanica
Duel Links Card: Ritual%20Beast%20Ulti-Pettlephin
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Caliga

Side Deck:

Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Cocytus
Duel Links Card: Artifact%20Lancea
Duel Links Card: Artifact%20Lancea
Duel Links Card: Spiritual%20Beast%20Tamer%20Winda
Duel Links Card: Spiritual%20Beast%20Tamer%20Winda
Duel Links Card: Typhoon
Save & Test

MW129 Top 8 (30 Cards) - BlindBandit

Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Lapauila
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Lapauila
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Nalu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Nalu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Aina
Duel Links Card: Invocation
Duel Links Card: Invocation
Duel Links Card: Concentrating%20Current
Duel Links Card: Palace%20of%20the%20Elemental%20Lords
Duel Links Card: Palace%20of%20the%20Elemental%20Lords
Duel Links Card: Palace%20of%20the%20Elemental%20Lords
Duel Links Card: Twister
Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain
Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain
Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Needle%20Ceiling
Duel Links Card: Needle%20Ceiling
Duel Links Card: Needle%20Ceiling
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Purgatrio
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Purgatrio
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Purgatrio
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Magellanica
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Cocytus
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Caliga

Side Deck:

Duel Links Card: Chaos%20Hunter
Duel Links Card: Chaos%20Hunter
Duel Links Card: Debunk
Duel Links Card: Debunk
Duel Links Card: Unending%20Nightmare
Duel Links Card: Unending%20Nightmare
Save & Test

MW134 Top 16 – Anthoxe

Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Molehu
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Lapauila
Duel Links Card: Elementsaber%20Nalu
Duel Links Card: Invocation
Duel Links Card: Invocation
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Palace%20of%20the%20Elemental%20Lords
Duel Links Card: Palace%20of%20the%20Elemental%20Lords
Duel Links Card: Palace%20of%20the%20Elemental%20Lords
Duel Links Card: Divine%20Wrath
Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain
Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Fusion%20Reserve
Duel Links Card: Unending%20Nightmare
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Purgatrio
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Purgatrio
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Purgatrio
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Magellanica
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Cocytus
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Caliga

Side Deck:

Duel Links Card: Chaos%20Hunter
Duel Links Card: Chaos%20Hunter
Duel Links Card: Mirror%20Wall
Duel Links Card: Debunk
Duel Links Card: Debunk
Duel Links Card: Light-Imprisoning%20Mirror
Save & Test

Matchups

Witchcrafter

The newest deck to come into the meta, Witchcrafters, is a control deck that specialises in consistently summoning their main boss monster Witchcrafter Madame Verre using the smaller monsters + a Lightsworn engine to synchro with and add all of the in-archetype spells from the grave to the hand in the end phase.

Game Plan

Your game plan will deviate from the usual Caligas and Molehus and will rather take the form of trying to set Aleister the Invoker alongside other backrow, this is because of Madame Verre’s effect that can negate your monster effects that are face up, meaning searching Invocation will be difficult, but if all you have is Palace, still try to use it. Your easiest ways to win this matchup are to either Main deck a couple of Enemy Controller so you can steal Madame for a quick victory before they manage to set up (or potentially get Aleister to dodge the negate) or to negate Madame’s effects via a Fiendish Chain. In this matchup, resolving Aleister will be vital to your victory. This can sometimes be hard but ways to make Aleister resolve are:

a) Making them attack into Aleister so you can search Invocation.

b) If they do not attack, you can wait until you can set up a Molehu + Palace to accompany your set Aleister. Next you’ll attempt to add Invocation via Aleister, to do this you will have to bait out Verre. The best way to do this would be: Flip Aleister > Verre activates > Chain Molehu to flip Aleister > Resolves or alternatively, Flip Aleister > Verre doesn’t respond > Resolves > Activate Molehu to flip Verre

Doing this ensures you get both a type in the grave to summon a Fuse with, and the Invocation to do so. A nice interaction with the smaller Witchcrafters is that they can only be activated in the Main Phase, so you can either bait them out by attempting to enter the Battle Phase or flip them in the Draw/Standby Phase.

Cards to watch out for

Duel Links Card: Witchcrafter%20Madame%20Verre
Duel Links Card: Black%20Rose%20Dragon
  • Witchcrafter Madame Verre: This is the main problem card of the deck, as it can negate the effects of all monsters you control, and can boost itself or another Spellcaster, both being once per turn. One main issue with this is it can negate key cards, for example Invoked Cocytus, which prevents it from attacking if in defense, or Invoked Purgatrio which doesn’t allow you to deal piercing and attack more than once.

  • Since the addition of the Lightsworn engine to Witchcrafters, Black Rose Dragon, and most of the other synchros in the Witchcrafter toolbox, have become a prominent threat to our control strategy because if we have no way to answer them, they could overwhelm us with problem cards. An easy out to the synchros can be to flip them with Molehu, as they generally wont have a Madame established by that point (if they do you’ll need to deal with it or the tuners with backrow like Floodgate instead)

Effective Counters

  • Last Day of Witch: This side deck card is a nice removal option for this deck mainly because you only play warriors for the most part (and the spellcasters you do play don’t care about going to the graveyard).

  • Fiendish Chain: Next, Chain serves as your main out to Madame’s battle effect, as even if you flip it down, it will still be able to boost since the text states it activates in Damage Calculation. *Side note - You cannot chain Aleister’s boost effect due to it only having a window before the end of the damage step, so do not forget to boost then.

  • Enemy Controller: In this matchup Enemy Controller can be crucial to winning some games and is, in my opinion, one of the best techs that Saber can run against this deck (even warranting removal of Magellanica)

  • Shadow Game: This skill is great as it serves as a secondary win condition in the case you cannot get over a Madame. The reason the skill works so well here is because since the inclusion of the lightsworn engine, clogging up an opponent’s board generally means victory seeing as they will generally have more cards in the graveyard than you.


Blackwings

Blackwings are another prominent Synchro archetype that were originally released in 2019, only getting any majorly relevant support in the Aerial Assault main BOX and have been meta relevant ever since. Due to the amount of disruption Saber has, this is a relatively easy deck to play against, due to the interaction your flip cards and Black Whirlwind has, if the Blackwing monsters don’t have any attack value (since they’re face down) the Whirlwind will ‘fizzle’, essentially meaning it will not resolve. *Side note – WW = Black Whirlwind but shortened

Game Plan

In the Blackwing matchup you main win condition is going to be to establish Invoked Purgatrio however, getting here is a different story. In the Blackwing matchup going first you’re going to want to set up a Palace + Molehu and/or a Floodgate Trap Hole (which can sometimes outright win you the game), then on their turn you want to flip their monsters like so: Lv4 (no Simoon or WW): Flip immediately WW + Lv4 (no Simoon): Flip Immediately Simoon (with or without extra WWs): Flip a Tuner when you see one, examples of times you should flip are:

  • Summon Simoon, Summon Lv4, Summon Oroshi, Flip Oroshi
  • Summon Simoon, Summon Lv4, Summon Gale, Flip Gale If able, it is generally favourable to Floodgate Oroshi (or Gale if they summon that before) because it clogs the opponents board and can potentially lead a deck out win (if your opponent follows the standard combo, their monsters attack will cap at 1800, which can’t get over Molehu). When going second your main concern will be Blackbird Close, so just summoning Aleister is out of the question, rather, you should try get Molehu on board so that on the next turn, you can use his effect to attempt to flip Raikiri. If they do use Close, it usually means the coast is clear (unless they opened Simoon, 2 WW, Close and another non-Oroshi Blackwing monster and then also drew Close off of Pixie Dragon which is unlikely) and you can summon Aliester safely with a fusion material in the grave.

Cards to watch out for

Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Necrovalley
Duel Links Card: Blackbird%20Close
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Lance
  • The most dangerous cards is this matchup are Cosmic Cyclone, Necrovalley and Blackbird Close, which are all commonly run in the Main Deck although some lists opt not to run Cyclones.

  • The main killer here is Necrovalley however, as when on the field you cannot banish cards from either grave (meaning no Fusion Summons) and you cannot change the Elementsaber monster’s attributes in the grave either (meaning less Palace boost). If they do manage to set up a Necrovalley your main plan should be to try get Malo/Nalu (whichever one you play) into your hand and fuse with them into their respective Fusions, as the longer they sit on Necrovalley, the more likely you are to lose.

Effective Counters

Duel Links Card: Typhoon
Duel Links Card: Twister
Duel Links Card: Artifact%20Lancea
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Lance

Since this is one of your better matchups you most likely will not need to side anything but if you have cards that are dead in this matchup, you can side any of these cards (most likely you’ll be siding Typhoon, Twister or Artifact Lancea, as they are crucial against other decks and happen to work here too).


Blue-Eyes

Blue-Eyes is a fan favorite deck that has been out as long as this game has existed, it mainly focuses on summoning strong synchros and big monsters using discard traps such as Karma Cut and Raigeki Break to discard The White Stone of Ancients as a door to Blue-Eyes White Dragon (BEWD) or Dragon Spirit of White (DSoW). It’s main consistency piece is Cards of Consonance which will commonly lead to them discarding The White Stone of Ancients or The White Stone of Legend so they can draw 2 cards and will can lead them to BEWD or Spirit Dragon.

Game Plan

This is one of your toughest matchups because most of your standard backrow is useless, stuff like Chain can’t not being able to target BEWD since it’s a normal monster and cards like Floodgate don’t help against cards like DSoW and Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon since they can just tag out or be tribute by Cosmo Brain, because you cannot deal with their traps sometimes and because Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon can negate all of your graveyard effects like Invocation and the Sabers. Generally, if youre going first the plan is to go for a set Aleister so you can resolve him if the attack into him, and then getting a Molehu flip in board to combat the potential Karma Cut that would stop your fusion summon (if you flip Aleister face-down it wont get banished) with going second being much of the same, with a key difference being to take advantage of a vulnerable board if the opportunity presents itself (i.e. making Purgatrio and attacking for a lot of damage if the opponent has no set spells/traps). *Side note – Try not to attack into face down monsters as 99/100 times it will be an Ancients set.

Cards to watch out for

Duel Links Card: Karma%20Cut
Duel Links Card: Raigeki%20Break
Duel Links Card: Blue-Eyes%20Spirit%20Dragon
Duel Links Card: Blue-Eyes%20Alternative%20White%20Dragon
  • Karma Cut: This card is a difficult one to play against because you cannot play aggressively without a way to deal with it, like Molehu flip, and most of the time the only solution is to play through it.

  • Raigeki Break: This is much of the same story, however this can also destroy your backrow cards and you cant dodge it with a Molehu flip.

  • Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon: One of the more annoying in-archetype cards for the reasons mentioned before and because its also just has large stats.

Effective Counters

Duel Links Card: Ally%20of%20Justice%20Cycle%20Reader
Duel Links Card: Light-Imprisoning%20Mirror
  • Ally of Justice Cycle Reader: This card comes absolutely clutch in this matchup, and while not outright winning it, it makes it a lot more winnable by banishing cards like Alternative Dragon and Ancients (no BEWD in End Phase) from the graveyard.

  • Light-Imprisoning Mirror: Like Cycle Reader, this card can be the MVP in this matchup, negating all of the Blue-Eyes cards effects on field and in grave preventing the recursion of Alternative and even the summon of BEWD if used early enough in the duel.


Invoked-Elementsaber (Mirror Match)

Game Plan

In the mirror match the person who has the advantage is generally the person with Palace established 1st, as with it, you can attack over all of your opponent’s monsters safely and have a constant threat of types and Molehu flips. When going for a Fusion play, always have a Molehu at the ready (or Enemy Controller/Treacherous Trap Hole) so you can dodge cards such as Fiendish Chain or Floodgate Trap Hole (if you Molehu flip your fusion down you can flip it back up instead of having it clog a monster zone). On the topic of clogging, like the Blackwing matchup, it is a vital part to your win condition and a stalemate should always be in the back of your mind as a backup plan. To do this, cards like Floodgate Trap Hole and Fiendish Chain are great here since generally, us Saber players don’t play outs to backrow and permanently getting rid of a Cocytus by trapping it face down is huge.

Effective Counters and the card(s) to watch out for

Duel Links Card: Artifact%20Lancea
Duel Links Card: The%20Transmigration%20Prophecy
  • Lancea is going to be the most crucial card in the side deck game, because if someone draws it, it prevents the opponent from banishing with Invocation, meaning no Fusion Summon most of the time and commonly leaves the opponent with both a dead Invocation in grave, and without a play (cannot summon Molehu). It should be at this point that your push begins, as they’re in a position that can make them completely vulnerable (most likely no Molehu, as mentioned before, and will have at most 1-3 backrow). To counter the Lancea yourself, you first need to know if it’s there, which can be difficult with Molehu and backrow masking the delays, but an easy way tell is to stare at the hourglass on your first turn. If it flickers they have it and you shouldn’t invest into an Aleister play (or do it if you have all the materials in hand), and if not, you’re safe.

  • A card like The Transmigration Prophecy can also be really nice as a means to recycle your dead Invocations, Sabers for Molehu and send potential fusion materials in either players grave back to deck.


Invoked Neos

Invoked Neos is a really old version of Invoked that recently saw reemergence due to having great consistency and a nice all around matchup against a lot of decks. This, like Elementsaber-Invoked can be called less a deck, and more a bunch of engines due to the use of Keeper of Dragon Magic and Neos Fusion as a good way to establish early card advantage with Volcanic Shell’s search effect, meaning readily accessible discard fodder for your traps like Karma Cut, Raigeki Break and counter trap line up being Divine Wrath and Ultimate Providence.

Game Plan

Due to the use of the traps mentioned prior, this matchup can become difficult when you don’t have a way to either deal with/play through them. Most of the time they will have 1-2 set in the first turn meaning you either resole everything when going first or try to bait out cards like Karma and Raigeki going second. Another important factor is the monsters, as they will pressure you constantly with Elemental HERO Brave Neos and Purgatrio, so you should generally try to end the duel before you get too overwhelmed.

Cards to watch out for

Duel Links Card: Karma%20Cut
Duel Links Card: Raigeki%20Break
Duel Links Card: Divine%20Wrath
Duel Links Card: Ultimate%20Providence
Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone

Most of these cards I mentioned before so I won’t talk about them here, however, due to the amount of variety you can deal with, knowing what delays are what is crucial in this matchup (you can generally guess by staring at the hourglass and seeing when it flickers) and you can check them using this process:

  • Set a card, if the hourglass flickers its: Raigeki Break or Cosmic Cyclone
  • Summon a monster, but no flicker its: Divine Wrath, Providence or a dead card like Invocation or Neos Fusion (you can further check to see what a set could be by seeing if there’s a delay when you activate a monster effect).
  • Summon a monster in attack position with a flicker it’s: Karma Cut, Raigeki Break or Fiendish Chain If all of these apply, or you see the hourglass flicker in Draw Phase there’s a chance they could have Aleister in hand, so keep this in mind when attacking.

Effective Counters

Duel Links Card: Hey,%20Trunade!
Duel Links Card: Artifact%20Lancea
  • Hey, Trunade!: This card can be really great in this matchup since it deals with most of the threats the opponent could throw at you with just one card (doesn’t deal with Aleister or Lancea).

  • Artifact Lancea: This card is better against the Invoked portion of the deck, as some lists tend to run 1 Invocation so they open better hands. Doing this leaves them without a way to get into Purgatrio which can be very favourable.


Shiranui

Shiranui is a synchro-based control deck originally released in December of 2019 that specialises in its small monster engine consisting of Shiranui Squire, Shiranui Solitaire, Shiranui Spectralsword and Gozuki. The rest of the deck consists of techs such as Ballista Squad, Floodgate Trap Hole and more commonly in tournament formats Artifact Lancea. *Side note - The recent banlist does not greatly affect the deck or it’s playstyle, however it opens up opportunities to play some cards previously unused.

Game Plan

The Shiranui matchup is a weird one, as it is simultaneously extremely hard and easy. This can be due to 2 things,

  1. The person going first has a massive advantage, as being able to set up Palace + Molehu, Floodgates or Chains can make the matchup very simple, as all you’d have to do is play though the backrow and flip the Squire/Gozuki/Solitaires when they come onto the board, however, if your opponent wins the coinflip it means you must deal with cards such as Forbidden Lance, Fiendish Chain, Floodgate Trap Hole and Artifact Lancea that all make it harder for you to Fusion summon.
  2. As mentioned before, the techs. These bad boys can absolutely ruin your day and you can’t do anything about it sometimes but if played through/around, can turn the matchup from poor to winnable. So going second the game plan then turns into: Waste the Lanceas, banish the Spectralswords to prevent the graveyard summon and pray you opened better than they did. ###Cards to watch out for
Duel Links Card: Artifact%20Lancea
Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain
Duel Links Card: Ballista%20Squad
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Lance
  • Artifact Lancea: As stated in previous sections, this card messes up your fusion summons, however against Shiranui be wary, as they can choose to play this card in their Main Deck.

  • Fiendish Chain, Ballista Squad and Floodgate Trap Hole: These are three cards are common techs you’ll find in a Shiranui deck, with Chain and Floodgate being able to be played around with Molehu, and Ballista having to be played through.

  • Forbidden Lance: Another annoying card to play against, because they can target their own monsters to stop your backrow from affecting them, or use it on your Aleister to fizzle invocation (you cant fuse with Aleister because the card states the monster it targets “is unaffected by the effects of other Spells/Traps.”).

Effective Counters

Duel Links Card: Debunk
Duel Links Card: Inverse%20Universe
Duel Links Card: Artifact%20Lancea
Duel Links Card: Hey,%20Trunade!
Duel Links Card: The%20Transmigration%20Prophecy
  • Debunk: is a simple counter to Shiranui, all it does is negate the cards in grave/hand as it says, but this can do so much for the matchup since it has the same tempo as Shiranui, and can win you the game sometimes, whether it be by negating a Lancea or Spectralsword in grave.

  • Inverse Universe: This is a spicy tech card, as it switches the opponent’s monsters attack and defense permanently, this can be a great help as all of Shiranui’s monsters have 0 Defense, meaning if you surprise them with this card in the damage step, it will leave them very weak to attacks. *note, they can still negate the effects of this card with Forbidden Lance in the damage step.

  • Hey, Trunade!: This is another spicy tech that if played correctly can allow you to start plays otherwise intercepted by backrow.

  • The Transmigration Prophecy: This card is great as it can do 2 important things, recycle dead Invocations in a matchup that will have an abundance of Lancea, and it can also send Spectralsword back to the deck preventing your opponent from using them to synchro.


Crystrons

Crystrons are a Synchro based archetype originally released in the Cybernetic Revolution main BOX and overtime got more support in the Spirits of the Beast mini BOX, their main gimmick is to synchro summon on your turn and to overwhelm you with their consistency and multitude of plays. There are currently 3 variants of this deck. Pure, Lightsworn and SSA. With the recent nerf to this deck whereby Crystron Impact is put at 2, SSA variant will definitely see more play. If you know how to play against this deck, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue, as personally I believe its a 60/40 in favour of Sabers (unless they are playing the Sea Stealth Attack Variant, then it becomes much worse, and depends on the techs you play/draw).

Game Plan

Going first against the pure or Lightsworn version, a general game plan should be to either set up an Invoked Caliga or Elementsaber Molehu + Palace, preferably with a disruptive trap thrown into the mix as well. During their turn your opponent will generally make a board that ends on a Non-Tuner and a Tuner (most commonly Crystron Citree). Either flip their tuner in the End Phase, or, if they try to summon a Crystron Quariongandrax instead, you should stop that line of play (this time by flipping the Non-Tuner monster right before they make a Quarion). Going second it’s about the same plan, but you’re going to prioritise the Molehu summon and try to flip the Citree while its effect is activating, to do this you should set up a Palace and start poking in the Battle Phase, this will cause the opponent to either use Citree (in which case you’d chain Molehu’s effect to flip the Citree and prevent the summon) or do nothing allowing you to walk over it.

SSA: Additionally, in the case that your opponent is playing a Sea Stealth Attack variant of the deck you’re going to try to establish an Invoked Cocytus as soon as possible by stealing a material from their graveyard, this could lock them out of an Ametrix if they use Genex Undine, or, make their life harder if you banish Crystron Sulfefnir since they only have one Impact, and cannot use Rion to get it back. If the SSA player manages to summon a Citadel Whale onto the field your main way of outing it becomes Invoked Cocytus, which you should use to attack over with an Aleister boost. In the case that you play Unending Nightmare in the Main Deck you can chain its effect to SSA to prevent it from being on the field, this works because it hasn’t resolved yet, and cannot protect itself from destruction via banishing from the field. Unending nightmare should only be used to destroy SSA or hit Umi when a crystron monster targets it so they can pop it and summon a tuner.

Cards to watch out for

Duel Links Card: Crystron%20Impact
Duel Links Card: Crystron%20Quariongandrax
Duel Links Card: Sea%20Stealth%20Attack
Duel Links Card: Citadel%20Whale
Duel Links Card: Black%20Rose%20Dragon
  • In the Crystron arsenal there are few cards that mess up your life like Crystron Impact, the fact it can turn your Invoked Cocytus’s defense into 0 and negate one targeting effect you play (except Fiendish Chain) makes the game much more difficult for each inch you give them, the good thing is though, Konami recently put it to two, so you only need to worry about it twice at most (but probably only once). Essentially, what I’m saying is you’ve got to win before they set this card up, or soon after because if not, it pretty much allows them to play freely.

  • Other cards to worry about are Crystron Quariongandrax as when established, can banish all of your Elementsabers from grave and set Aleisters meaning you can’t search for Invocation and Black Rose Dragon as it can make you go negative in card advantage which is crucial to maintain in this matchup.

Effective Counters

Duel Links Card: System%20Down
Duel Links Card: Unending%20Nightmare
Duel Links Card: Chain%20Disappearance
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Cocytus
Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain
  • To effectively counter Crystrons, cards like System down are vital to stopping their strategy, as after you activate this card you essentially win the game (*note - it shouldnt be used unless you can follow it up with either a game ending push, or enough disruption to streamline a path to victory).

  • Chain Disappearance: is another card that, if you go first, will do you wonders, however going second, the card is extremely poor and can end up dead in some scenarios.

  • Fiendish Chain: This card is amazing in this matchup as they cannot negate it with Crystron Impact, and is generally good because the entire deck relies on monster effects *Side Note – you cannot negate the effect of Undine to send from deck to grave since it is a cost.


Cyber Dragon

Cyber Dragon are a Fusion based deck that rely on their big bosses in the extra deck and Cybernetic Overflow + Cosmic Cyclone to get rid of problem cards + backrow. Their main piece of consistency is Cyber Dragon Core because it can search the previously mentioned Cybernetic Overflow, Cyberload Fusion or Cybernetic Fusion Support by just being played on the field.

Game Plan

The general game plan is to set up an Invoked Cocytus as fast as possible, this is because they cannot get over it without a Cyber End Dragon, which is difficult to make, or a Herald of the Abyss, which they generally play only 1 of. After this, you should be poking the opponent, trying to make them use all their cards like Overflow and Cosmic before either you or them go into a big Fusion monster and attack for lethal damage. *Side note - a fun interaction with Cyber Dragon is you can flip any of the monsters that are not the original “Cyber Dragon” with Molehu or other cards and they cannot use it as material for cards like Cybernetic Overflow, or it could mess a Cyberload Fusion up when making an attempt to make Cyber End Dragon or Cyber Twin Dragon.

Cards to look out for

Duel Links Card: Necrovalley
Duel Links Card: Herald%20of%20the%20Abyss
  • Necrovalley is a popular side deck card in many Cyber Dragon player’s lists due to their inherent weakness to Shiranui and, this works against you as they can side it in to prevent access to cards that use/interact with your graveyard.

  • A popular Main Deck card that Cyber Dragon uses is Herald of the Abyss to out your Cocytus.

Effective Counters

Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Cocytus
Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain
  • Invoked Cocytus: This is the best card in your arsenal to deal with a Cyber Dragon player, since, as stated before, they cannot get over it without techs like Herald of the Abyss

  • Fiendish Chain: This is another great card to counter Cyber Dragon as it can stop the Fusion monster’s attacks and works like Molehu in the sense that it negates the name change meaning they cannot use it for Cybernetic Overflow’s cost.


Dark Magician

With support originally released in Guardians of Rock Mini BOX, Dark Magician is a hyper consistent ‘Going First’ deck that if played right, or opens well enough, can effectively and efficiently dismantle a deck and sometimes (in our case) can kill the opponent very quickly if they don’t have enough protection and go second. Looking at the recent hits on the banlist the deck’s playstyle doesn’t change much, however it becomes significantly less consistent due to losing a Rod and loses a previously used Limit-2 spot

Game Plan

This is one of your hardest matchups considering both of your decks are so slow, it’s going to be very coinflip heavy (and even if you win the 50/50). When going first the best way to counter this deck is to set up an Elementsaber Lapauila to negate any incoming Dark Magical Circles and preferably a Fiendish Chain too so you can negate the Magician’s Rod’s effect and prevent Lapauila from getting destroyed, from there, you should make a Purgatrio and outright win (unless you don’t have Aleister ready in which case you should stall for longer). Now the tough bit, going second against an optimal Dark Magician board (Circle, 2 Sets, Rod) you essentially lose since both of your decks are slow, and since he/she had time to set up and you didn’t it will essentially mean a huge disadvantage. Since you dont really run Main Deck outs to a Circle banish, especially for a going 2nd scenario (Unless you main deck Twister/Typhoon) you won’t generally get a chance to play. This would be the point that you go into game 2 in a tournament format or play your next game on Ladder, of course you should always play for the win in the case the Dark Magician player gets a bad hand.

Cards to watch out for

Duel Links Card: Dark%20Cavalry
Duel Links Card: Dark%20Magical%20Circle
Duel Links Card: Magician%20Navigation
Duel Links Card: Karma%20Cut
  • Dark Cavalry: This card is a tough one to get past, as it prevents you from targeting cards when it has fuel to discard (and is not once per turn!). Cards like Aleister, Chain, and other common Saber techs will all be negated as long as your opponent has cards in hand to discard. *Side Note – if your opponent decides to use MoDI to as material for The Eye of Timaeus you can flip it with Molehu and it will fizzle (doesn’t work on normal Dark Magician).
  • Dark Magic Circle: One of the main problem cards in the Dm strategy, Circle can banish one card on the field if a Dark Magician is summoned. This can get problematic when in combination with Navigation as they can summon a Magician at any point (so stuff like you normal summon Aleister and they chain Navigation to get rid of it and prevent you from fusion summoning or when you activate Palace to search Lapauila so you can’t negate their card).
  • Magician Navigation: Apart from using this card to summon Dark Magician, this becomes a problem card because on the turn after its used, it can banish itself from the graveyard to negate the effect of a spell/trap card on the field. Typically, it is used when theyre making a push and you activate a backrow, or when you activate Invocation to prevent you from summoning a Fusion monster. A fun interaction against this card is to destroy the spell/traps targeted by navigation in grave with cards such as Twister, Typhoon, or Unending Nightmare since it can only negate “1 face-up spell/trap your opponent controls;”, and if the card is no longer on the field, it cannot be negated.

Effective Counters

Duel Links Card: Twister
Duel Links Card: Typhoon
Duel Links Card: Unending%20Nightmare
Duel Links Card: Chaos%20Hunter
Duel Links Card: Hey,%20Trunade!

Considering this is arguably your hardest matchup you will definitely need to side for this.

  • Unending Nightmare: is your most common Main Deck pick, however I personally feel is overshadowed by all the other cards as it is much slower in a matchup where you need to be quick, for example, you can use Typhoon on the opponent’s turn 1 which means it is already a better choice if you have it.

  • Chaos Hunter: This card is also a great option, and its payoff can be great, as it discards to summon itself to act as both a body and prevents your opponent from banishing, however the main downside to this card is that it can be chain blocked by using Navigation on chain Link 2 (this can be achieved through chaining to Aleister, Palace or any backrow they might have).


HERO

Heroes are a fast-paced, Fusion based OTK deck that have been here ever since the GX world came about 2 years ago, however only recently resurged in popularity due to new support that came in March and Selection Box no. 3 being their main searcher Elemental HERO Stratos and playstarter Vision HERO Faris.

Game Plan

Going first against Hero: you should try to get either an Invoked Caliga or a standard Elementsaber Molehu + Palace and backrow board. Caliga is very important because Heroes heavily rely on their monster effects to get a respectable board and to progress any plays, so, by setting up a Caliga you’re essentially turning off this line of play. If Molehu is set up instead, your main plan would be to not play into a Mask Change, to do this, you must bait it out. This process can be simple with the appropriate backrow options, and the order of operations would generally be to use a Floodgate Trap Hole (or whatever option you have) on the first Fusion monster you see so they cannot get over Molehu, if they do use a Mask Change at that point, Molehu flip in Battle Phase is the next play. *Side note - You use Floodgate Trap Hole on the first Fusion summon because if they chain Mask Change to a Molehu flip, Floodgate will miss the timing. Going Second against Hero: the plan is basically the same as turn one, but on turn two (also you should aim for an aggressive Molehu play). One of the upsides to going first however is that you can potentially OTK them, this is achievable via Purgatrio.

Cards to watch out for

Duel Links Card: Mask%20Change
Duel Links Card: Vision%20HERO%20Trinity
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone

Effective Counters

Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Unending%20Nightmare
Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain
  • Floodgate Trap Hole: Is used on the Fusion monsters summoned by Polymerization as standard Hero builds only play 1, meaning they cannot use it or remove it unless they use Vision HERO Increase, or dodge your flip using Mask Change.

  • Unending Nightmare: This card is only really used against Vision HERO Increase going second and can be chained to his effect to destroy it. This is useful because Increase is considered as a Continuous Trap when in the S/T zone and will not resolve if destroyed (Due to Increase tributing for cost it also means the other Hero goes to the grave).

  • Fiendish Chain: Fiendish Chain can be used like Unending Nightmare to negate Increase’s effect when in the monster zone, however is more flexible and can negate any Hero’s effect/attacks.


Ritual Beast

Debuting in the Spirit of the Beast Mini BOX, Ritual Beast is an intricate combo deck that specialises in abusing Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk’s effect in tandem with the other Spiritual Beast’s soft once per turn effects to overwhelm you with their amount of possible advantage generated.

Game Plan

Going First: The general game plan is either to set up a Caliga/Cocytus or Elementsaber Molehu + Palace with backrow, Molehu’s effect should be used either when the other player hasn’t set up their Banished pile yet to make their plays a bit akward, or at the last possible moment, for example, whenever the Ritual Beast player’s Fusion monster is vulnerable (cannot tag out). This should set you up for a turn 3 Cocytus/Purgatrio which is their biggest counter (Do not forget Palace’s battle phase skip if you searched with it!) Going Second: Going second is like going first as well, however it is more acceptable to make a turn one Invoked Cocytus as they cannot get over it without a tech card like Herald of the Abyss, due to Cocytus’ effect. *Side note - Never attempt to negate Elder’s effect, as it does absolutely nothing to stop the Ritual Beast’s strategy and is just a waste of protection/resources.

Cards to watch out for

Duel Links Card: Spiritual%20Beast%20Pettlephin
Duel Links Card: Herald%20of%20the%20Abyss
  • Herald of the Abyss is a popular tech card used in Ritual Beast (cut in the Shadow Game version) that allows them to get through a Cocytus that would otherwise wall them off from your Life Points.

  • Spiritual beast Pettlephin is a really annoying card in this matchup due to the fact you cant do much against it, backrow and flipping are useless but if you do chose to use cards like Fiendish Chain or Molehu they can just tag in and out of their fusion monster. A great counter to this card and deck in general is a counter trap line-up as they cannot tag out or respond to them.

Effective Counters

Duel Links Card: Poisonous%20Winds
Duel Links Card: Artifact%20Lancea
Duel Links Card: Divine%20Wrath
  • Poisonous Winds: This is one of the best side cards to play against Ritual Beast, simply due to the fact it completely turns off the deck, if unable to special summon the deck is at a major disadvantage, however the card can be disrupted by one Cosmic Cyclone which non Shadow Game variants run.

  • Artifact Lancea: Another one of the better side cards against Ritual Beast, however is a bit more applicable to other decks such as Shiranui and the Mirror Match. This is in my opinion, better than Poisonous Winds due to not being able to be disrupted outside of counter traps (which a standard build doesn’t play).

  • Divine Wrath: This card is also great but its strength lies in being able to be played in the Main Deck, due to being Universally applicable, as almost all relevant decks today rely on at least one monster, whether it be for consistency or to play the game. *Side note - the best target to hit with your counter trap is Ulti-Cannahawk when it uses its effect to search.


Final Thoughts

With the recent Leaks of a new box on the way the relevancy of this deck will be put to the test, but due to the overall consistency, ceiling and flexibility of techs available to the strategy and overall decent matchups across the board, I believe Invoked-Sabers will stay in a decent position in the meta game until additional hits on the banlist or a new deck that powercreeps the meta arrives.

Acknowledgments

  • Big thanks to DLM mods, helpers and especially RandomPl0x for helping me with formatting, and to the other Experts for pointing out mistakes and additions to the guide. Wouldn’t be here without you all.
  • Another big thanks to both Ricecake51 and Near for helping me with the guide.
  • Thanks to rob3a1, who both proofread the Matchups section and taught me everything I know about Sabers.
  • Also thanks to GrogPosted.
  • And finally, thanks to whoever read even a small part of this guide as a lot of effort was put into making this.

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

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