Since being introduced to Duel Links in the Absolute Inferno Box in February this year (we had some limited cards from Burning Nova last year), Lavals have been primarily played as a gimmick deck, appearing on YouTube and the occasional tournament for the entertainment value of the deck, rather than any real viability on the competitive scene. However, like many decks, the Neos engine has added some much-needed constituency to this archetype. Although it still probably isn’t tier worthy, good players who understand the mechanics of the deck will still be able to hit KOG with some luck. This article will attempt to help those players who want to do this by explaining the fundamentals, what the go-to plays are, and how the core cards work.
My name is Tom; I’ve been playing Duel Links since the game came out in mid-2017 and I love Lavals! (unsurprisingly). I hit KOG with it this month (June) and have played it in two meta weeklies with varying degrees of success. I hope you find this article helpful – YOU FOOLS!
This archetype is heavily reliant on getting Lavals into your graveyard, so you can make use of the effects of Laval Lakeside Lady and/or Dustflame Blast. For this, you are mostly going to be using Molten Conduction Field to dump a Laval Volcano Handmaiden (which in turn triggers further dumping).
The most important thing to remember is how the effects of the various Laval monsters work, because most of them have conditions to activate. For instance, Lakeside Lady’s destruction effect can only come into play if you have two additional Lavals in the grave with DIFFERENT NAMES i.e. – you need Lakeside Lady, Volcano Handmaiden and in all likelihood Laval Cannon or Laval Miller (usually the latter). In addition, Handmaiden will only trigger if you have another different named Laval in the grave, so sending two handmaiden’s to the grave turn one with Molten Conduction Field is not what you want to be doing.
The deck is undeniably weak to Sealed Tombs, since the deck is so reliant on banishing and re-summoning those banished monsters. A well timed sealed tombs can render your Dustflame Blast useless. In these situations, you need to play around the skill where you can. If you have an opportunity to destroy a backrow or a face down monster – do it (unless you suspect it to be a trigger card like White Stone of the Ancients etc). Don’t wait it out in hopes of a better play. It’s important to have your Laval tuner’s banished and ready to go in case you draw into a Cannon.
There are only two options for skills really. Switcheroo gives a little more consistency since you can shuffle potentially dead cards back into the deck in hopes of pulling a Neos Fusion, Cannon or Dustflame. However, use of this skill is essentially out of your control, since you have no means by which to lower your own lifepoints, which makes it a risky choice. I experimented with a version that runs Cosmic Cyclone to counter this but couldn’t find a way to make it work.
The other choice and my preference is Destiny Draw. Since this deck is so reliant on essentially two core cards (Cannon, Dustflame), the ability to pull one of these cards as a guarantee can be the difference between a win and a loss.
Laval Cannon (3x):
Probably the most important card. All of your synchro’s will involve use of Cannon. You ideally want to open with him but if you are thinning your deck with Molten Conduction Field (you rarely want to send this card from your deck to the graveyard) you will usually draw into this card fairly quickly.
Laval Lakeside Lady (2x):
The ability to banish this card plus one other Laval from the grave to destroy a facedown is extremely useful in this meta, since it directly counters several decks, most notably Subterrors. You typically want to banish Handmaiden as your other Laval, since this gives you the option to go into both 5-star and 7-star synchro’s when summoning Cannon.
Molten Conduction Field (3x):
You almost always want to send a Lakeside Lady and a Handmaiden. This should be your play in 9/10 duels. This will trigger Handmaiden’s effect and allow you to keep dumping monsters from your deck. You will often have your deck down to 9-10 cards by turn one/two if you open with MCF.
Dustflame Blast (3x):
Arguably the best card in the deck. Can wipe a field clean. Don’t be stingy with its use either. If you have 6-7 Lavals in your grave but only 1-2 cards to destroy then its usually worth it. Remember, you aren’t just destroying your opponents cards, but setting yourself up for synchro plays.
Lavalval Dragon (1-2x):
Probably going to be your most used synchro. Very good against Neos as it completely ignores the protection of Neos fusion by sending it back to the extra deck. Also useful against Subterrors but typically only when they have little to no backrow. Its also not once per turn so if you have enough lavals in the grave go nuts. Your first choice cards to send back to the deck should be cannon and handmaiden.
Pretty self-explanatory at this point. Typically want to be sending Lakeside Lady or Laval Miller as the other monster for the fusion.
This card can be replaced with any other Laval monster really, since its primary purpose is to act as the third Laval in the grave to trigger Lakeside Lady’s effect. However, I found Miller to be the most useful since even if you open with it, it can still serve a purpose by sending cards from the deck to the grave and not result in a total brick.
Armades, Keeper of Boundaries:
Same as Neos Fusion – pretty self-explanatory. Didn’t go into as much as I thought I might but still useful against Six Samurais to prevent Secret Six Samurai - Fuma effect.
Black Rose Dragon:
Will probably drop one of my Stennon to run this card. Can help wipe a board when you are out of options.
The Warrior Returning Alive:
If you run this card, it means you dump your Cannon with Molten Conducting Field and then add it back to your hand. Very tempting but I found I struggled with consistency when running this card, but running 1 might be viable.
- If you open Neos Fusion, always make sure it’s the last thing you activate, as you can’t special summon after you have used it. Seems pretty obvious but can catch you out if you aren’t paying attention.
- Always make sure you are keeping track of exactly how many Lavals you have in the grave. It’s important to know how many cards you could potentially destroy with a Dustflame should you draw it.
- If you turn one a Molten Conducting Field, the order you send the monsters to the grave should almost always go as follows. (Handmaiden + Lakeside Lady) - Handmaiden - Handmaiden (should all 3 be in the deck) – Laval Miller (Cannon if Miller in hand). This guarantees the destruction of at least one face down.
- Molten Conduction Field should always be the first thing you do if you draw into it (unless you have already used it once in the duel – you very rarely want to use it more than once, since you will start sending Cannon’s to the grave, and we need to keep them in the deck where possible.
- You can set any dead Molten Conducting Fields to act as decoys. The same goes for your third Neos Fusion.
- If you are going into Stennon, make sure you remember its initial effect, which forces you to discard a card if you have any in your hand. The last thing you want is to summon Stennon and have to discard a potential game winning card like Dustflame Blast or Laval Cannon.
This is your ideal opening hand. You will win a duel 99% of the time with this hand assuming you don’t misplay. Your go to play is as follows:
- Molten Conduction Field Field – send a laval handmaiden and lakeside lady to the grave.
- Handmaiden will trigger, and you should send another handmaiden, and then once more. The final handmaiden effect should trigger and you should send your Laval Miller to the grave.
- If your opponent has a facedown, activate lakeside lady’s effect and banish handmaiden along with itself to destroy – prioritise destroying backrow in most scenarios.
- Normal summon Laval Cannon and use its effect to re-summon one of handmaiden or lakeside lady depending on the situation. Synchro summon into your chosen Synchro monster (if its Laval Stennon – make sure you set your Neos Fusion and Dustflame Blast first – since you can still use Neos Fusion after setting and we don’t want to discard Dustflame).
- Activate Neos Fusion, send your remaining lakeside lady from the deck to the graveyard along with an Elemental Hero Neos. You will now have the option to destroy another facedown again should you want to.
- Set your Dustflame Blast.
- You now have two high atk monsters on the field, both with excellent effects and you have the ability to wipe your opponents field completely clean next turn.
Sanglot 5th/8th Place Duel Links French Championship #3
Focus on getting rid of the Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon – that what you need to destroy with Dustflame Blast. If you do use Dustflame Blast, keep an eye on any toggle delays – if you don’t see any, consider not destroying the backrow cards, they might be Ancient Gear Fortress in disguise. Sometimes you won’t want to set any cards (even if you have Dustflame Blast) as backrow so they can’t Double Cyclone them off while triggering Geartown of Ancient Gear Fortress.
Lavalval Dragon can be very useful here since it can send the big hitters back to the hand, while doing the same to any The White Stone of Ancients your opponent might be setting. Don’t get trigger happy and destroy a face down unless you have a follow up play. You don’t want them just swamping you next turn with 2+ 3000 ATK monsters.
Can struggle against the Sealed Tombs variant. You want to go into a Lavalval Dragon as early as possible since sending Koa’ki Meiru Maximus and/or Elemental HERO Brave Neos back to the hand can be devastating. Make sure you are keeping an eye on whether they have a Bacon Saver in the grave.
As with most decks atm, this is a problem area. Red-Eyes Slash Dragon can negate any targeting with Lakeside Lady so you’ve got to get it off the field asap. Dustflame Blast is your win con here – although if they get a Power of the Guardians it can be a struggle.
Can be a challenging duel if you aren’t careful. The most important thing is not to let them use Six Style - Dual Wield. Destroy their face downs asap and if you can’t – just don’t use more than one card. Sit on a Neos if you must, you will usually have at least one fusion in the grave to protect so just be patient. Don’t play into their hands.
If they get Silent Magician out then you need to try and bait them into negating something you can afford to lose before going into your real plays. If you have two Neos Fusion then you are in dreamland since they will nearly always negate the first one and then upon summoning you will have double protection. Lavalval Dragon is very good since it can bounce Silent Magician LV8 back to the hand which can be tricky to swing over.
Actually a favourable matchup. Prioritise hitting backrow when destroying – you need to get rid of Subterror Final Battle so they cant cuck your plays with an insta-banish. But even if they do, that card isn’t dead since banished cards can often be re-summoned with Cannon.
I hope you now understand the basics of Lavals and how to run the deck both on the ladder and in more competitive tournament scenarios. As most of us know, hitting KOG with meta decks can quite stale after a while and having a go at doing it with decks that aren’t on the tier list can help keep the game fresh. If you have any questions, leave them below and I will try my utmost to answer them as quickly as possible.
Massive shout out to RandomPl0x – who formatted this and made it look all pristine and clean on the website. Also, many thanks to Dkayed and Gia Joestar for maintaining such a a strong community around this game – most of us would have given up along time ago if it weren’t for you guys. Finally, a little shout out to my mate Bludreamer, who’s slumming it down in Legend at the moment. Don’t worry bud, you’ll get there someday.